/ Startups

Helping people do great work

The changing nature of work

We spend so many of our waking hours at work. We build some of our most important relationships at work. And our work has a huge impact on our mental and physical wellbeing.

The nature of work is changing. Our generation think of careers more like a ‘portfolio’ moving between roles and companies to get cross functional and cross organisational experience. This generation is looking to do something that has a purpose. We want to do something that feels important, to get paid for it and have the opportunity to learn and progress.

Most companies aren’t set up to handle this change in what people want from work. They don’t have the data or the tools to act on or influence it. Failing to engage your employees is also expensive. Team members who aren’t engaged with their work cost the US approximately $550 Billion in lost productivity each year.

What have we done so far?

Two years ago we started working on Personably. We knew that we cared about how people experienced work. What helps people grow and develop? What makes a great team? How can a group of people achieve more than the sum of their parts? How does enjoyment of what you do impact whether you’re able to do great work?

We began by making a product to help teams build the best onboarding experience for their new hires. Having both worked for fast growing start-ups, Lewis (my co-founder) and I saw the importance of onboarding for how teams work.

A new hire’s first experiences at a company should help them build a network among teams, align with the company goals and be given the tools and support needed to become confident and productive. Skipping this introduction has a negative impact on the productivity of the individual and others around them.

Too often in the chaos of a growing company, crucial things get forgotten: ensuring a welcome email goes out at the right time; having a lunch arranged with a buddy in the first week; and making sure all their accounts are set-up by their first day. Beyond this, onboarding is the most intensive period of learning a new person experiences at a company. It’s vital that those first few months are right.

Over the past two years, the product we've built is the best way for a team to build out their onboarding process once they begin to scale. We’ll connect with the tools you use, to automatically complete your onboarding checklist: sending emails before someone starts, setting up their Slack, Google and new accounts, and scheduling everything that needs to happen in the new person’s first weeks and months. People teams can invite managers to collaborate on the onboarding curriculum. We’ve just released a welcome dashboard for new hires, allowing teams to keep the hires engaged from the moment an offer is made.

Personably has helped onboard hundreds of new hires at companies across London.

What’s next?

Over the course of building Personably, we’ve spoken to hundreds of teams and individuals. We’ve come to learn a lot about building teams and how the products people use can help with that. We’re grateful to everyone who’s offered advice and shared their thoughts along the way. To continue our mission to help people do great work, we believe there are three things which need our focus:

  • using automation, to ensure the most important people processes can’t fail
  • building a product that’s with you from your first day at work to the day you move on
  • a tool that can give insights into your future as well as your past

Automating the manual work

Existing HR products and hacked together checklists still revolve around setting reminders for managers and people teams to do things. If someone is away, busy or hiring people at scale this falls apart.

We’re using automation to make people processes seamless. By automating the manual work involved in organising your onboarding, Personably reduces the risk of failure.

This gives the People team and managers the tool they need to focus on creating a better employee experience for the new hire. They can spend time learning from feedback and delivering great training instead of having to remember to send emails and book meetings the day before they start. The new hire gets the alignment they need to be able to do great work.

There from your first day

Teams don’t have a way to keep track of who their people are and how they want to progress, starting from their very first day. Without that data there’s no way for them to make it happen. Other tools tend to come in too late to make an impact, they end up being something the team picks up six months in when the new employee is likely already feeling unseen and the review only references their last two weeks at work.

With Personably we’re there for the new hire from the beginning. We’ll give you a connection to your new place of work, giving you access to your calendar so you can see what’s up ahead and a list of things to do before you start. We’ll then start by collecting feedback during your onboarding, giving teams the data they need to improve their processes going forward.

Individuals should be able to give and receive regular feedback from those they work with. They should be able to see this all in one place and see week on week and month on month how they’re improving. Where they need to invest more time (and what they should spend that time on). This includes highlighting what you want to achieve, enabling others to help you make it happen.

By having a product which shows managers what’s important to you and which opportunities exist within the company, they can be more active in helping you progress and your team can be more productive. Ultimately, you’ll be more likely to stay at the company for longer.

Moves with you

We believe that an important part of this shift to people building up ‘portfolio careers’ is having a constant that can move with you when you move on to somewhere new.

In the future, Personably will be that constant. Other tools lose touch as soon as you move on. That information lives with your previous employer. We’re taking a more employee focussed approach.

We’re going to give employees a way to represent where they’ve worked before and the skills they learned. When someone joins a new company your team will be able to see what you worked on before. It’ll mean when there are new pieces of work or problems they’ll have more visibility on who internally can help, even if it’s someone unexpected. It’ll also give managers and team leads a clearer idea of the skills in their team and what the gaps are.

We’re going to help people progress through the company. We’re building something to give managers and people teams the information they need to make this happen. As an individual, we want you to see the options you have and take them. We want to show insights not only from where you’ve been before but also, forward looking across your career. We’re going to make it simple to gather and understand this data.

We’ve got some awesome customers using Personably, including Monzo, GoCardless and Onfido.