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TecHRseries Interview with Kathleen Vegh, Associate VP, Global Employee Experience at Hyland

Kathleen Vegh, Associate VP, Global Employee Experience at Hyland takes us through some of the company’s key initiatives that helped drive better work experiences through 2020 while diving into a few predictions on HR technologies that will start taking more priority through 2021:

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Tell us a little about yourself Kathleen…your journey into HR and how your role at Hyland has evolved over the years? In what ways has your people culture evolved?

I never really knew what I wanted to be when I was in school. I knew I needed to go to school and I knew the social aspect of school was fun, but as far as the career I dreamed of…I wasn’t quite sure. I was always a bit jealous when I would hear someone say with beautiful conviction that they would be a teacher, social worker, doctor or engineer. I never really had that, or for me it changed on a daily basis. So I went for Organizational Communications, Business Administration and Marketing and hoped that somehow that would qualify me for something. And then the rest of my knowledge I learned, and am still learning, along the way.

What you don’t often hear is “man, I really want to be an HR professional when I grow up.” Maybe one day that will change. Better yet, maybe one day I can help change that. I have always enjoyed getting to know people above everything else. When I solve problems, I like them to be people problems. When I think of things we need to do next, I enter in through the lens of the impact it will have on employees. People – interesting, kind, unpredictable people are what has kept my job exciting and fulfilling over the years.

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When I had the opportunity at Hyland to build my career around creating meaningful and memorable experiences for Hylanders as part of the HR team, my journey of discovering my career path really began.

The people culture at Hyland has evolved greatly over the years, and I think the simplest way to explain it is that it has moved from a people culture centered around the “what” to a people culture centered around the “how”. Moving from a laundry list of the many offerings and programs – the “what” employees get from their employer to the “how” it makes them feel. Do they feel cared for, do they feel valued, do they feel engaged. The “how” comes to life during the big and small moments. Interacting in a way that shows you truly care for and respect one another.

Amid the pandemic this year; how did Hyland focus on creating a better remote experience; can you talk about some challenges the team faced this year and how your leaders worked towards alleviating them?

The challenges were endless. I think we all knew that in many similar and different ways, together we were all up against something.

When COVID-19 began to hit our communities, Hyland’s leadership team responded immediately, without hesitation. They made clear to all employees – through weekly briefings with CEO Bill Priemer, updates that are always available on our company intranet and regular email communications from managers – that there was a plan in place, and that it prioritized employees’ and customers’ health and wellbeing. 

Steady leadership and transparency have always been cornerstones of Hyland’s operations. At a time of intense uncertainty, Hyland made sure to be a steady beacon for employees. Our CEO immediately pivoted his weekly company briefings, known as Monday Meetings that started more than 15 years ago, to open with an update on the company’s response to COVID-19. Having this open line of communication in place reassured employees each week that Hyland was stable, prepared to face these uncertain times, and ready to support employees in all the different ways they now needed. 

We were also ready to support the leaders in our company. Knowing that they would be where employees turn, we equipped them with online resources on how to lead in uncertain times and held leadership meetings dedicated to best practices for leading in times of crisis. Guidance on how to meet employees where they are, coupled with our long-time culture of flexibility, meant that employees had the support they needed to adjust their work and personal lives at their own pace. 

Leadership has not only encouraged support, caring and flexibility among management, but has demonstrated it through several key decisions:

  • Letting employees work fully remote – even before mandated quarantine, employees were strongly encouraged to work from home wherever possible
  • Collecting feedback from employees on their workplace preferences through extensive surveys
  • Communicating and updating our Global Recovery Plan – a comprehensive plan for returning to offices in phases based on employee comfort, health conditions and recommendations
  • Completing multiple acquisitions this year and welcoming new employees
  • Sharing the financial stability of Hyland at our Quarterly Business Reviews

Hyland has always taken a lead role in ensuring employees are informed, supported and listened to. These practices continue as the pandemic brings new challenges every day. 

Additionally, right from the beginning of our COVID-19 response, we knew employees would face stressful situations that we, as an employer, could not control. Hyland quickly launched programs and resources to address stressors surrounding anxiety, productivity, parenting and caretaking, staying healthy and staying connected.

We knew we had to react differently to a climate where none of us were comfortable, and where we could meet people where they were. With our strong culture as a foundation, we were able to create and adjust programs quickly. Some employees were – and are – overwhelmed by working and homeschooling their kids; others feel isolated and alone at home. By providing a myriad of options, we offer a virtual community that strives to address the uniqueness of everyone’s situation.

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Mental health resources that are available to the global Hyland community: 

  • Tips for Wellbeing While Working from Home
  • Coping with COVID bi-weekly behavioral health sessions with our Behavioral Health Therapist Valarie McKnight covering topics including grief, depression, anxiety and stress management techniques
  • Parent Support through COVID sessions with our Behavioral Health Therapist Valarie McKnight and Sleep Consultant Lacey Russo
  • Parent Support through COVID resources, including school decision-making tool, safety best practices for K-12 education, home learning options, nonprofit resources for students with disabilities, mental health resources for children, and Hyland parent networking groups.
  • Coping with COVID sessions with our Wellness Manager, Ann Marie Hutchins, catered specifically to audiences in EMEA, APAC and India, as well as global sessions with Hutchins as well as Dietician Julie Wise and Behavioral Health Therapist Valarie McKnight
  • Virtual group mindfulness meditation sessions
  • A Gratitude Challenge to engage employees and promote a positive mindset. Employees shared weekly photos and notes of things they were grateful for and received gratitude journals at the end for participating. 
  • Managing Emotional Distress session with Dr. Kellie Kirksey of Creative Wellness Solutions. Participants practice mindfulness, breath work, movement and meditation.
  • Promoting a number of different employee resources from our Employee Resource Program

What are some of the ways in which you’ve seen businesses’ needs for HR Tech change this year – how do you feel HR tech innovators can enhance their offerings to suit these changing needs in 2021 and beyond. Can you talk about the top technologies that have been handy to support employee culture and remote work at Hyland?

Virtual platforms for collaboration; I think we have all come to realize that more than we ever thought we would – I mean we would be lost without video conferencing tools and chat platforms. They have become our daily work.

Additionally, we launched a new Employee Experience Feedback platform in 2020 that includes multiple modes of receiving feedback so that we can ensure we are continuously listening to employees and creating meaningful change as needed around what they share.

Expanding beyond that and looking to other top technologies for 2021 in HR. Employee Engagement/Wellbeing platforms will be considered more than ever before. These types of platforms will allow companies to run global engagement and wellness programs, allowing all employees to participate and have the same experience regardless of where they sit around the globe.

We’d love to hear some of your observations on exciting employee initiatives and programs you saw being undertaken by tech leaders in 2020 to help teams deal with the challenges of the new normal?

Hyland responded to increased employee interest in virtual training and education through quarantine by providing more opportunities. We did not cancel any programming, but instead fully converted it to virtual, offering interactive experiences that offer equal impact and experience to our global workforce. We saw a huge spike in professional development utilization in Cornerstone, our online resource library, with 300-400 percent completion in work from home education, self-help and career development.

Other virtual learning opportunities and resources have included:

  • Cornerstone educational sessions for dealing with challenging times
  • Best work from home practices guides
  • Virtual Leadership Summit – an established in-person program was converted to a virtual program as it prepares Managers for strategic problem solving and cross-functional collaboration through an interactive simulation while being observed by Hyland peers and trained professionals.
  • Globesmart resources for working from home
  • Webinars on Staying Effective & Connected While Working Remote” and “Practicing Mindfulness
  • A Cornerstone playlist, covering Zoom BasicsZoom Advanced Features, Mindfulness at Work, Stress Management, Virtual Teams, Managing a Virtual Team, Motivating Your Team, Personal Productivity
  • Tips on working remotely from the experts – Learning from the Pros!
  • Mentoring Circles – sharing expertise and knowledge in a group setting
  • Virtual Onboarding for new hires, including the newly opened Poland office 

Additionally, many employees feel more connected to their immediate work teams, but less connected to others around the company that they would pass in the hall, but don’t necessarily have meetings with. Those connections are important to ensure we continue to foster.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a great way to build relationships across the organization. And the more positive relationships you have at an organization the higher the level of engagement. ERGs connect employees and serve as a resource to develop a diverse and inclusive work environment.  Led by employees for employees, ERG membership has grown by more than 55% and held nearly 60 events since 2019.

Through COVID-19, each ERG worked to put on virtual programming to support members. Every ERG has an ERG Leadership Committee made up of an Executive Sponsor, President and Leads to support the programming. These ERGs help support inclusion at Hyland. The ERG Leadership Committees create wonderful and meaningful experiences for all!  

  • Veterans Employee Resource Group (VERG)
    The Veteran ERG is a community for all veteran and military employees at Hyland. The group provides resources to Hyland that promote and support military individuals.
  • HylandWIN (Women In Networking)
    The Hyland Women in Networking ERG is a community of females and female supporters encouraging and inviting each other to build one another up to their full potential. The group provides resources for employees to be: Courageous, Charismatic and Knowledgeable.
  • Multicultural Employee Resource Group (MERG)
    The Multicultural ERG provides members with a forum where they are encouraged to showcase their diverse identities, learn from fellow employees about unfamiliar cultures and introduce solutions to obstacles that people of color and underrepresented cultures experience.
  • Hyland Pride Alliance
    The Hyland Pride Alliance ERG aims to strengthen Hyland’s active, inclusive culture in order to attract LGBT+ talent to Hyland and provide a network of support for Hylanders, their families and allies. The group promotes LGBT+ awareness and is a safe and supportive forum for discussing LGBT+ issues.
  • accessABILITY
    accessABILITY aims to create and nurture a culture of change for accessibility throughout Hyland.

Sticking with the theme of ensuring purposeful connections are made amongst employees inside and outside their teams. Mentoring programs are a great answer. We launched a new take on Mentoring in 2020.

Mentoring Circles are a modern approach to mentoring that allows Hylanders to learn from other Hylanders by sharing expertise and knowledge in a group setting. The program allows employees to develop in specific competencies through the insight, perspective and support of both Mentors as well as peers. 

Employees will also have the opportunity to expand their internal network, participate in knowledge sharing of best practices, develop a customized career development plan and increase their organizational knowledge across Hyland.

As businesses get ready for 2021; what are some top HR and hiring trends in tech you’d like to throw a little focus on?

Seeking to attract a diverse pool of candidates will be a priority at Hyland next year. Hyland’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is not new, however, we are at a unique point in time that demands focused attention around how to grow the diversity of our organization.

This work is complex, ongoing and requires long-term commitment to realize the change we want to see. We are dedicated to the following:

  • Increase our sourcing and outreach strategies in order to diversify our candidate pool. 
  • Training for all employees and leaders regarding recognizing and managing unconscious bias. 
  • Ensure that every employee has equal opportunity to professionally develop and advance.

What are a few of your biggest takeaways and tips on creating strong remote work cultures….and adjusting to today’s new normal?

Listen and connect! For many of us, there will be life before COVID, during COVID and after COVID. When the “after” comes, we’re still not sure. In the meantime, we have a responsibility as an employer not only to support employees now, but also to plan for how we continue to better support them once “after” is finally here. 

We are currently soliciting employee feedback on how employees would like to see Hyland’s culture evolve post-COVID-19. Employees are encouraged to share their thoughts on this topic through an anonymous employee feedback survey, and we are looking forward to using that information as we continue to evolve Hyland over the next few months.  

As we look to a future at Hyland post-COVID, we know that we won’t go back to the same company that we were at the beginning of 2020. We know that at the very least, we will allow many of our employees to choose to continue to work from home indefinitely through our new “Flexible Work Policy.” Once the pandemic ends and we transition employees back to our offices, employees will be able to choose to work in the way that best works for them and Hyland – in the office, remotely or a combination of both. 

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The pandemic has pushed us, sometimes in uncomfortable ways, to confront our weakest points. Moving forward, we will be looking at our DEI initiatives more thoughtfully and comprehensively, designing our resources to apply more fully to employees outside of our headquarters and larger offices, and connecting better across different time zones and cultures. 

It has also helped us to rely and build on our strengths – helping each other, providing a flexible workplace to meet ever-changing needs, and constantly pushing ourselves to be better for our employees, customers and communities. We are confident that when we are on the other side of this crisis, we will be a better company, meeting the needs of our employees better than we ever have before.

Hyland


Hyland is a leading content services provider that enables thousands of organizations to deliver better experiences to the people they serve.

Kathleen Vegh is the Associate VP of Global Employee Experience at Hyland, in her role, she leads a team that is responsible for attracting and retaining top IT talent. The team’s goal is to create meaningful and unique experiences that engage, connect, and develop our workforce in pursuit of increased employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

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