Q&A with Julia Markish, Director of Advisory Services at Lattice

Media 7 | September 22, 2021

Julia Markish, Director of Advisory Services at Lattice, has a professional mission to impact the way work works so that people can live more fulfilled, integrated lives. She helps business leaders create inclusive, supportive, and effective environments that result in organizational success and thriving teams. She has advised executives on organizational culture through her independent practice, Orca, coached and trained leaders on how to achieve clarity for themselves and their teams via Talentism, trained and led discussions about Reinventing Organizations with the Teal Team, which she co-founded, and started and led the Employee Practice at Medallia.

It isn’t stated values, but rather behaviors and norms, that actually comprise a company’s culture.



MEDIA 7: Could you please walk us through your two-decade-long professional journey and what made you choose this career path?
JULIA MARKISH:
Coming out of college, I chose consulting as a profession for the common reason of having little idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I stayed in it for as long as I did, however, not because the work proved to be so perfect for me (it didn’t), but because at Bain, I felt like a valued and cared-for member of a community — I belonged. This was my introduction to — or perhaps induction in — employee engagement: I was engaged because of my sense of connection to the people, not because of a (lack of) connection to the work. That was what made me go snooping around the world of eNPS at Bain; it was what pushed me to take up managing LinkedIn’s Talent Brand, and it redirected me to HuddleUp, the front-line-team engagement platform started by Bain’s NPS guru, Fred Reichheld. After we were acquired by Medallia, I quickly became both the internal and external advocate for Employee Experience, leading the Employee Practice there for several years.

This was also the time when my compass underwent an evolution — when I started thinking more about fulfillment versus fun, purpose versus passion. I began to consider cultures — and the people who make up those cultures — more holistically, in the context of history, society, and the natural world. I did some independent work around organizational culture and alignment. I became an executive Clarity Coach with a forward-thinking coaching company called Talentism. I co-founded the Teal Team, based on Frederic Laloux’s seminal work - Reinventing Organizations. Finally, mid-pandemic, I found my way to Lattice, which was just starting to think about an Advisory Services function. The moment I saw Lattice’s mission, to make work meaningful, I knew it was the right next step.


M7: How does people strategy drive business strategy? Could you please elaborate?
JM:
Global industry has been steadily moving in the direction of people-centricity for the duration of industry’s existence, but it’s only become a common philosophy in the last half-century or so. Now more than at any other time, a company is more likely to be thought of as an ecosystem than as a machine. Knowledge work, specialization, continuous innovation, a focus on customer experience — today’s most valued attributes all rely on employees being valued and encouraged to be individuals. The hallmark of a machine is that while everything is interconnected, it’s also expendable — any one part can be easily replaced.

This kind of approach is what the industrial revolution was built on. In an ecosystem, on the other hand, there is a delicate balance between each participant — its hallmark is more or less the opposite of expendability so each part defines the state of the whole. This is where we find ourselves today. In an ecosystem, in order to care for the whole (execute on business strategy) it is imperative to also care for the organisms that make up the whole: ensure that they are well adjusted to the environment, that they have what they need to flourish, that they can contribute in a meaningful way. Translated into business terms: people strategy drives business strategy.


Knowledge work, specialization, continuous innovation, a focus on customer experience — today’s most valued attributes all rely on employees being valued and encouraged to be individuals.



M7: How does Lattice manage to make the 'Remote Work', work?
JM:
Lattice has a number of principles and tools in place that first helped us adjust to remote work, and have continued to help make it sustainable.

  • In terms of principles, the most important one has been ‘Clear Eyes,’ which is one of our company values. Clear Eyes means transparency and honesty, no matter what. Whether it’s leadership sharing a WIP remote policy to keep the company informed of their thought process despite not having an exact answer or plan, or it’s individual employees who have the courage to call out when they are confused or taking on too much.
     
  • This segues into the second principle, which is to truly be people-first. Our policies focus on how to enable people not just to work well, but to be well. Leaders model behaviors that support that, too — they take time off, they respond to all-hands questions with a lens of self-care.
     
  • And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Lattice uses Lattice — it’s been a critical tool for engaging employees in their work and each other, be it through private feedback, pulse surveys, praise, 1:1s, or even performance reviews.


M7:  Employee engagement and performance feedback help to shape company culture. Could you please shed some light on this?
JM:
I often remind our clients that engagement and performance programs are as much communication devices as they are requests for input. How frequently we run engagement or performance cycles, what questions we ask employees to respond to, the attention we give each cycle, and the actions we take as a result — in the case of engagement surveys, action plans at the team or company level; in the case of performance reviews, discussions between the employee and their manager — are all indicators of what’s important ‘around here,’ and what isn’t. For example, a company that asks only managers to provide a series of ratings for each of their team members’ accomplishments is sending a very different message from the company that requests qualitative input on the strengths and potential of employees from across multiple sources. These messages shape the company’s culture: they demonstrate to employees what behaviors are encouraged and which ones will go unnoticed. In the case of these two hypothetical companies, for example, I would expect collaboration to be much more prevalent in the latter company than in the former.


The most essential way to stay competitive is to continuously analyze for product-market fit.



M7: What do you think is essential to stay competitive in a market that is going through constant digitalization?
JM:
At the risk of coming off as simplistic, I think the most essential way to stay competitive is to continuously analyze for product-market fit. In addition, it’s critical to be aware of whether the digitization of a given market is accompanied by an updated philosophy, or if it’s simply a simplification of an analog process. Digital technology reaches different functions and different sectors at different paces, and it’s just as dangerous to try to ‘revolutionize’ a given sector earlier than it’s ready as it is to arrive as a late entrant to an already highly competitive market. When I look at the Performance Management industry, there are some companies that are running annual paper-based reviews, others that are relying on their HRIS to provide the digital equivalent of a paper-based review, and then there are those that have embraced a completely different approach to performance management — one that has only been made possible by new technology (continuous feedback, goal alignment and integration, and so on).


M7: What advice would you like to give our readers?
JM:
One of the biggest exploding-head moments of my career was realizing that it isn’t stated values, but rather behaviors and norms, that actually comprise a company’s culture. And that those behaviors and norms are not just a result of the combination of employees’ personalities; they are eminently open to influence. Just as described above, what the leadership of a company communicates to be important, worthy, rewarded is what rises to the top of the behavioral pyramid. And of course, I don’t just mean ‘say’ when I write ‘communicate’ — talking about the importance of something is step one, but then there’s ‘walking the talk.’ What gets spotlighted at allhands? Who gets praise during a team meeting? Who got the most recent promotion? What gets asked about in the engagement survey and what gets acted on? These are all signals that shape a company’s culture. And it’s only when the company’s stated values are aligned with those signals that the values are worth the paper (or walls) they’re written on.

ABOUT LATTICE

Lattice is the people management platform that enables leaders to develop engaged, high-performing teams. By combining performance management, employee engagement, and career development in one platform, Lattice provides powerful, real-time insights through analytics. Lattice's Advisory team brings together client data, industry knowledge, and market research to distill successful practices across People Programs.

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KellyOCG Introduces Kelly Helix Analytics for Human Cloud Solution

KellyOCG | September 20, 2023

KellyOCG, the consulting and outsourcing arm of Kelly, has unveiled the latest iteration of the Kelly Helix technology platform. This unveiling marks the debut of two groundbreaking solutions: Kelly Helix Analytics and an upgraded Human Cloud solution, both designed to elevate user experiences and deliver enhanced value to clients. Kelly Helix Analytics represents a significant step forward in their Talent Analytics portal's evolution. It leverages cutting-edge technical architecture to deliver real-time, customized data to clients, thereby enhancing the effective management of their external workforce. This innovative solution introduces unparalleled transparency, providing businesses with a comprehensive view of their external workforce, encompassing global rates, performance metrics, and supply chain efficiency. The newfound clarity enables organizations to develop more agile and effective workforce strategies. Kelly Helix Analytics offers the ability to tailor dashboards to specific user groups. This customization ensures the delivery of real-time, relevant, and actionable information to hiring managers and stakeholders. These insights enable better decision-making and increased productivity. Accessing KellyOCG's enhanced Human Cloud solution through Kelly Helix UX streamlines the process of acquiring and managing freelance talent for businesses. This simplified access empowers businesses with the confidence to identify the right individuals for their specific tasks. Streamlining engagement, KellyOCG provides an intuitive platform for businesses to independently search for and engage with freelancers. This simplifies the talent acquisition process, making it more efficient. Tammy Browning, President of KellyOCG, expressed her enthusiasm about the platform's evolution, stating, I am delighted to announce the strategic progression of the Kelly Helix technology platform. When we introduced Kelly Helix UX in 2021, our objective was clear: to enhance our clients' experience and simplify their journey. [Source: Cision PR Newswire] The tool empowers hiring committees to actively participate in talent acquisition by directly searching for and selecting freelancers aligned with their specific needs and criteria. Furthermore, the solution offers enhanced visibility into the freelance workforce, providing businesses with valuable insights. These insights empower decision-makers and optimize resource allocation. As industry leaders in talent management, KellyOCG ensures that clients remain at the forefront of the Human Cloud revolution. This allows organizations to confidently access the global pool of freelancers, supported by our trusted expertise. About KellyOCG KellyOCG connects companies with the talented people they need to fuel and grow their business through a global talent supply chain and workforce solutions, including Managed Service Provider and Recruitment Process Outsourcing. With decades of industry experience and a commitment to technology-driven solutions, KellyOCG serves a global client portfolio across various industries in North America, APAC, and EMEA.

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Workers Compensation

Sequoia Launches Comp OS 2.0, the Compensation Solution that Gives HR and Finance Leaders a People Advantage

PR Newswire | September 27, 2023

Sequoia, the pioneer in benefits and compensation, announced Sequoia Comp OS™ 2.0 on the Sequoia People Platform. This transformative solution equips companies with real-time visibility and heightened control over their organization's global people spend. Sequoia Comp OS, which is already used by over 250 Sequoia clients, unifies HR, finance, business leaders, and employees within a single operating system, simplifying the often tedious and frequently spreadsheet-reliant compensation management process. By offering a single source of truth, Sequoia Comp OS allows HR and financial leaders to have the same insights into the past, present, and future of their people spend, enabling real-time adjustments as their workforce and business changes. Sequoia Comp OS is a modern way for companies to: Standardize jobs and set pay ranges to establish competitive and equitable pay. Allocate total compensation effectively for current and future jobs with headcount planning, active hiring plans, and merit cycle planning. Stay compliant with pay regulations and corporate governance. Communicate successfully with employees through personalized offers, merit letters, and total rewards statements. Leverage real-time guided analytics to track global people spend and organizational changes. In addition, Sequoia provides strategic Compensation Advisory services through their team of compensation experts specialized in helping modern companies. This same team worked hand-in-hand with Sequoia's product organization to design the Comp OS solution so that clients can quickly operationalize their tailored advisory services. For 22 years, our company has worked with many of the best HR leaders and finance leaders at some of the fastest growing companies in the world. Yet, a very large majority are managing their biggest investment, their people, using multiple disparate spreadsheets and old data, said Greg Golub, CEO & Founder of Sequoia Group. Our solution puts HR and finance on the same page so they can better partner together, spend less time wrangling spreadsheets and more time stewarding the people strategy at their companies. We built it so we could operationalize our compensation needs for our 1,200+ global employee-company and it's been a total game changer for us, so I am excited to bring it to all our clients. Courtney Cherry Ellis, SVP of People at Auditboard said, "We were able to work with Sequoia as an extension of our team to create a compensation philosophy that made sense for Auditboard and our employees. With Sequoia, we were able to operationalize a fair and equitable pay structure across the company." Matthew Kennedy, SVP of People at Tonal said, "Our partnership with Sequoia began many years ago through advisory on our executive compensation philosophy, and over the years it has evolved. Sequoia is now a key partner for all things comp and benefits." We are bringing together data that companies would typically gather from disparate HR tools to provide business leaders with the complete picture around employee compensation and enables them to make executive decisions with confidence, said Kyle Holm, VP of Sequoia's Compensation Advisory. When you can drive the strategy with an operating system, HR and Finance leaders spend way less time crunching spreadsheets and much more time focused on stewarding the people advantage for their companies. Sequoia Comp OS is available to all Sequoia clients today. To learn more, visit sequoia.com/comp-os. About Sequoia Sequoia is the leader in Total People Investment. We help companies create a people advantage through improving retention, attracting top talent, and increasing people-spend ROI. With expert advisory services across compensation and benefits and a powerful platform, we connect employee total comp programs with insightful people analytics so companies can manage their global people investment in real time to better meet the needs of their evolving workforce. Visit Sequoia.com or follow us on LinkedIn to learn more.

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