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Tatyana Mamut: Support Employees With the Right Messaging and Process

6 minute read
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Pendo's Tatyana Mamut discusses the relationship between IT and HR, the skills that drive innovation and more in this DWX leaders interview.

Tatyana Mamut is a transformative Silicon Valley leader and entrepreneur whose career has led her to Amazon, Salesforce and beyond. Currently the senior vice president of new products at software company Pendo, Mamut appreciates the impact a new innovation can have on a population. She recalls being in Kenya in 2008 when M-Pesa — one of the first mobile phone-based money transfer apps — took off.

"It completely changed the way I thought about value, transactions and mobility. It seemed like an entire nation got rid of their cash money and transferred it to their digital wallets on their Safaricom mobile phones nearly overnight," she said.

She balances her excitement about innovative new technologies with a strategic mind that wants to get a real value out of the newest thing. Simply adopting the next “shiny object” for the sake of doing something new is not enough.

"Companies should have a digital adoption strategy tied to any new software rollout. We are seeing a shift from companies buying more software, to investing in getting the most value out of the software they have. When you build training and compliance into your rollout plan and then measure usage and engagement over time, you can ensure ROI for your software purchases."

Pendo is a sponsor of Simpler Media Group's Digital Workplace Experience Summer Event, taking place online on July 15. Mamut will present a breakout session during the event. We spoke with Mamut about how to foster a healthy partnership between IT and HR, how to engage employees in a remote or hybrid work environment and why in-the-moment feedback is the most actionable feedback for your organization.

'Fundamentally, HR and IT Are Solving the Same Problem'

Simpler Media Group: How can organizations get honest feedback from employees about the employee experience? What are some of the major roadblocks to getting honest feedback?

Tatyana Mamut: In my experience, the best type of feedback is in-the-moment feedback, as it’s likely to be more honest and relevant. For example, we’ve interviewed business process leaders. They often roll out a business process, and then a few weeks later [they] will send out a survey or conduct focus groups about whether the process was an improvement or not. But in those elapsed weeks, the company has missed the opportunity to gather real-time feedback about the moment of transition. It’s interesting but not that helpful if weeks elapse between the process change and the feedback on that change. We need to speed up our feedback loops.

Employee net promoter scores or engagement surveys are also helpful for truncated feedback. At Pendo, we use a combination of quarterly eNPS and weekly Pulse surveys through our employee engagement platform, as well as an “Ask Me Anything” with our CEO at our biweekly Town Hall meetings.

SMG: How do you engage employees on digital platforms rather than overwhelm them?

Mamut: This is a real problem. We’ve seen the number of apps that employees use skyrocket. An average employee today uses 15 apps but they are feeling less aligned with their company goals, and only one in three employees say the apps they use are empowering and easy. At the same time, traditional software training leads to L&D and Zoom fatigue, and 70% of the content imparted in a training course is forgotten within 24 hours.

In the world of employee app engagement, less is often more. A surgical approach to delivering the right message to the right employee in the right app at the right time is much better than a complete library of static docs and tools that employees need to wade through. 

We should offer employees the right messages at the right time through in-product onboarding and simple nudges in the contexts where and when people are actually trying to get the work done.

SMG: What does a healthy, productive partnership between HR and IT look like? What does an unhealthy one look like, and how can you begin to fix that?

Learning Opportunities

Mamut: Fundamentally, HR and IT are solving the same problem: How to make employees more productive and proficient in their jobs. This problem has three well-known components: people, processes and technology. Traditionally, HR has focused on people and IT has focused on technology — unfortunately often in silos. The more that IT and HR can work together to create a holistic approach to designing the people, processes and technology together, the more productive the enterprise will be.

Tatyana Mamut: "The more that IT and HR can work together to create a holistic approach to designing the people, processes and technology together, the more productive the enterprise will be."

SMG: What soft skills will remain relevant as hard, technical skills become more important for so many jobs and employees?

Mamut: Innovation can’t happen without creativity, communication and compelling storytelling. These [competencies] are as important — or perhaps even more important — than ever. Remember that computers are good at computing quantitative data, or doing the rote, mathematical work. But we know that what really drives growth and value is innovation — which is the interpretation of the quantitative data, the discovery of insights behind that data and the ability to tell a story about a solution that will drive growth and value to both employees and customers.

SMG: Is it more or less difficult to engage and train employees in remote or hybrid work settings? What is your advice for HR/IT teams transitioning to these new ways of working?

Mamut: Companies that have shifted from physical offices to digital workplaces should be asking questions like:

  • How do we onboard new employees when so many of them are never going to show up at the office?
  • How do we engage them in collaborative workflows?
  • How do we provide them with context and real time support when they can’t walk to a co-worker’s desk for help?
  • What is the experience like when their boss is eight time zones away and they have to finish something quickly?

From onboarding to new workflows to re-training after a promotion, companies need to consider all the ways that employees sought support from each other in physical settings, but in a digital-first or digital-only context.

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