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TecHRseries Interview with Colleen Carr, Chief People Officer at Conga

Colleen Carr, Chief People Officer at Conga joined us for a quick chat to share a few thoughts on how HR leaders should balance traditional and modern day employee management and engagement techniques to create a better workplace culture. Catch the complete QnA:

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Tell us a little about yourself Colleen …your journey in HR. How have you seen the role of the typical B2B HR person in Tech evolve over the recent decade? 

I started in HR right out of school almost by accident! I was fortunate to work for Hewlett-Packard, where I worked or managed every function in HR in different markets, like instrumentation, manufacturing, computers, and life sciences.  I have seen HR go from a transactional organization focus on back office activities to a much more strategic one. Today, we bring our expertise to the executive table for business and M&A strategy, organizational design, employee engagement, and leadership development.

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Employee trends and workplace cultures have transformed significantly in the recent decades, as an HR leader: what according to you should today’s HR leader balance out when creating a mix of traditional and modern day techniques to enhance employee work cultures?

Culture must vary depending on where an organization is in its growth journey. A start-up’s needs are very different from those of a company that’s been around for decades. Generally speaking, techniques should take into account the company’s vision and/or mission, its composition (are most people co-located or dispersed around the globe?), and its employee demographics. Older workers may want more structured approaches, whereas younger workers may be more comfortable with less formal interactions. Creating shared experiences can be particularly valuable in building and sustaining a shared culture. So while tried and true techniques are important to maintain (i.e., quarterly town hall meetings, skip-levels, etc.) to keep apprised of the business, it’s important to explore ways for people to relate to one another on a more personal level—on shared interests, for example. Tools like Slack and Teams are great for this, giving people the opportunity to talk about books, pets, parenting, etc. on a level playing field that supports asynchronous communication.

Seeing how HR Tech is impacting the role of a typical HR team, what are some of the different HR Technologies that mid to larger businesses should definitely invest in and why?

Three key technologies that every org should invest in:

  • A HRIS that’s configurable and provides actionable insights
  • A communication tool that supports targeted messages and readership stats/reporting
  • A recognition tool that enables peer-to-peer feedback and encourages other to ‘like’ and build on feel-good moments.

We’d love to know a little about Conga’s experience and the team’s response to adjusting to the new normal…what are some top employee practices that were put in place especially because of the pandemic?

Like many other companies, Conga continues to adapt to life under COVID-19. Early on, we created a microsite where employees could easily find news, resources (WFH tips, instructions for reporting potential exposure, links to the CDC, mindfulness exercises, and related websites), key contacts, and other details related to our response. We instituted a WFH stipend so people could purchase items for their remote work setup, surveyed employees on their preferences and concerns about a future return to offices, and, most recently—as we heard that people were beginning to feel burned out—kicked off a series of discussions to brainstorm ideas for better balancing work-life commitments. We’ll take the learnings back to our exec team for review and experiment with some new ideas, while continuing to invest in opportunities for people to come together, have fun, and continue to connect with leadership and each other.

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Conga

Conga is a leader in end-to-end Digital Document Transformation. From collaboration and creation, through contract management and negotiation, to agreement and e-signature, the Conga Suite has set the standard for automating business productivity and CRM investment through end-to-end Digital Document Transformation. The Conga Suite, which includes Conga Composer, Conga Collaborate, Conga Contracts, Conga Grid, Conga Sign, Conga Orchestrate and Conga AI, drives segment-leading ROI by simplifying and automating intelligent data, documents, contracts, signing, and reporting outcomes.

Colleen Carr is the Chief People Officer of Conga, where she oversees all operations related to hiring, talent development, and human resources. With more than 25 years in leadership roles at public and private technology companies, Colleen has a proven track record of creating work environments in which employees thrive. Prior to Conga, Colleen served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Blue Coat Systems, Inc. There she was responsible for all HR activities focused on programs for innovation and scale, employee engagement, acquisitions, and building employee and management systems. Colleen has also held senior HR leadership roles at Actian, Hewlett-Packard, and Agilent Technologies.