TecHRseries Interview with Mike Lanni, Head of HR at Trustpilot

The last few months were chaotic for businesses and industries who were not already used to the concept of remote work. As the Covid19 pandemic progresses and the situation for businesses and the global workforce change with its effects, HR teams are setting in place new policies and fundamentals in tune with the new normal. In this interview, Mike Lanni, Head of HR at Trustpilot shares a few thoughts on enabling employees while ensuring adequate motivation persists even during this global downtime.


Tell us a little about yourself Mike, what are some of the biggest highlights of being in the HR space in tech for you?

HR in the Tech space has been super exciting and innovative. We are constantly looking for new solutions through systems, processes and workforce culture. I have found that the Tech space is the most forward looking in terms of best practices whether social (BLM, Volunteering, etc.) or providing employees with the best experience (flexibility, Minority ERG’s, Recruiting practices).

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How have you helped enable employee motivation while boosting morale in your team the last few weeks as the Covid-19 pandemic has played out?

Covid certainly caught everyone off guard and has been the most unique challenge I’ve seen in my HR career. I think what has had the biggest impact on our employee base is our communication, transparency and empathy as a company. That has been driven at all levels of ELT and down. There will also be many positive outcomes from this, for instance, how we think about work life balance, flexibility, and benefits.

We’d love your thoughts on how tech companies can re-create their onboarding structure during a time when virtual hiring and onboarding is now becoming common

Being someone who started fully remote and has never stepped foot in the office, it is all about communication and engagement. Most employees decide within the first 6 months whether they will stay at an employer and that impression and early experience is incredibly important (not to mention replacing talent can cost upwards of 2x salary!). Providing consistent touch points early on via Slack and Zoom, proper training and role expectations, fun team gatherings and making sure all their technology and equipment is up and running (a SWAG care package wouldn’t hurt either!).

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When it comes to measuring employee productivity for a distributed workforce: what are some of the top HR Tech products you’d advise teams to implement as part of their tech stack: what other suggestions do you have here to address the issue of measuring productivity while ensuring motivation levels are kept at an all-time high given the personal challenges employees have been facing during this uncertain time.

I think software like Trello, or Jira, are great tools for keeping teams aligned and collaborating which will be more essential as we remain distributed. Some companies have gone a step further and focus on monitoring and putting in place tools that can track employee emails or call logs etc to make sure employees are working and spending ample time at their desks. I believe in trusting employees and setting clear SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. Being clear and transparent with expectations and what success looks like means we can provide employees with real time coaching and development while keeping them motivated and working towards accomplishments.

Could you talk about some of the innovative employee best practices/team building activities companies have been doing (or that you’ll be undertaking at Trustpilot) during this challenging time?

This certainly is an unusual time where we can’t bring people together for team building or fun experiences during the best time of the year weather wise. However, we will continue to encourage teams to take breaks from the daily grind and drum beat and have personal catch ups, virtual coffee chats or happy hours and other fun team events and employee spotlights (maybe a version of “Cribs” for Trusties?) – I’d welcome any and all suggestions!

What top best practices would you share for teams to ensure they are able to maintain the overall workplace culture and company culture while they work from home and as they slowly return to a work-from-office model over the next few weeks and months?

I think it’s making sure we continue to do the little things consistently:

  • Keep people informed
  • Connect on video (not just slack!)
  • Create the best physical working set up you can
  • Avoid micromanaging teams
  • Have fun and personal catch ups as you would in the hallway
  • Continue to share feedback and ideas with your leadership both personally and through Peakon

A few general thoughts / tips for businesses worldwide dealing with the current world pandemic?

Companies wouldn’t be what they are today without their employees and the companies that separate themselves from the competition tend to have the best employee environments and culture. Continue to support your staff and be empathetic to what people are going through. Whether that’s providing employees with physical equipment, mental/emotional support, time off, flexible hours, etc. This situation will improve and we will come out a stronger company if we treat people right through the journey.

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Mike Lanni is the Head of HR in North America for Trustpilot. He has worked in HR for over 10 years and recently joined Trustpilot from Shutterstock where he spent 3 years in various HR Business Partner roles, most recently supporting Global Engineering, Product, and Marketing. Prior to Trustpilot, Mike was an HR Business Partner at JP Morgan Chase for 3.5 years supporting their Sales, Trading, and Banking functions and Cognizant where he spent almost 2 years supporting technology consultants focused on Media and Technology clients.