Hiring, Strategy, and Leadership Tips from Groundswell Chief Product Officer Tammy Hahn
Across the world and across industries, the pandemic has disrupted everything. This includes hiring, managing, and strategizing. The so-called “Great Resignation” is underway, and companies are having to adapt on the fly.How is Groundswell dealing with this new reality? Through people-centric solutions that benefit both management and employees. If you want to dive into the details of what that means and get some leadership tips, recently, our CPO Tammy Hahn appeared as a guest on The Product Management Leaders podcast. Here are some highlights, where Tammy discussed how evidence, conviction, and tenacity can help organizations thrive.
The Power of Generalists
Legacy hiring and recruiting strategies are not working. Even as employers increase salaries at the quickest rate in nearly 40 years, positions remain vacant. What does this tell us? Monetary compensation is not everything. Recruiters must understand what motivates modern employees to create appealing job postings and offers. The best move of all is to hire people who share your company's values. This is the approach we take at Groundswell:
“I'm looking for people that can flex: people that are generalists who aren't afraid to go high-level as well as get into the nitty gritty. At Groundswell, there is no product yet, so you don't have any metrics to fall back on to have a hypothesis in terms of what will optimize a certain flow— the flow doesn't even exist. You need to navigate the unproven and ambiguous to earn the right to optimize.”
Here at Groundswell, we are still in the early stages of determining our core flow and the value we bring to our users and clients. This requires a very specialized approach to hiring, where we bring in people who are comfortable being creative and adaptive, and working from a blank slate.
Leading Products Vs. Leading People
Every business owner and executive has a unique set of experiences and ideas on the approach and characteristics of effective leadership. In the podcast, Tammy shared one of her leadership tips: not every situation demands the same type of leadership approach. Excellent leaders adapt to their environments and empower their teams. During the course of the podcast, she had some great insights into the differences between leading products and leading people:
“Not everyone is meant to be a great people-leader. As you move up the career path of a people leader, especially in a larger organization, the further away you move from actual product management... In fact, if you want to go up that people leader path, it's more about coaching, communication, and project management than it is about designing and building the product. Leading people is different from leading product definition and execution.”
Being an excellent leader demands constant commitment, management, and the development of a team that is competent and results-oriented. There can be no true leadership without team management. On the people management side, Tammy explored how important it is for managers to approach failure in the right way:
“I don't like to call failure “failure.” I like to call it a misstep. What matters is what you learn from that misstep, not so much the failure itself. It's a learning process. I only consider it a failure if you fail to learn, and you repeat that mistake over and over again. Great product leaders build a culture of curiosity and calculated risk-taking without the fear of repercussions if hypotheses prove false.”
This jives perfectly with the Groundswell approach, where we frequently hold pre-mortem sessions to grasp all the things that can go wrong ahead of time. Becoming a successful leader necessitates ongoing personal and professional growth, regular and open team feedback, and response on feedback received.
Product Strategy: Knowing When To Keep, Pivot, or Kill
A product strategy is a company's strategic goal for its product lines, outlining where the products are heading, how they will get there, and why they will thrive. Instead of striving to include everyone and every feature, a product marketing strategy concentrates on a specified customer base and functionalities. As a CPO, Tammy discussed, one of the challenges here is prioritization:
“Prioritization is always hard. Every stakeholder is always demanding something from a product manager. It's really, really hard. It's all about starting out with the right objectives upfront. The way that I operate as a leader is to align on your objective, collaborate on the strategy and then execute the tactics. Beautiful things happen when everyone on the team is aligned on the objectives and has a voice on the strategy.”
Goals are essential for focusing on and working towards. To make them viable and get the most out of the goal-setting process, we believe it's a good idea to track your progress and evaluate your progress on a daily basis. Another important leadership tip is to have clear company goals:
- Is it to expand or to keep our current customers?
- Is it simply to boost our brands? If so, what is the plan of action?
- If we want to expand, will we enter a new market, enter a new vertical, or broaden our product offering?
Once you know the goals, you can move into strategy. And in the early stages, Tammy said, that it is a good idea to start with metrics:
“The product growth graph peaks at a certain point then declines. That's when you know you need to deprecate said product. I would really try to understand the metrics, what does growth look like from a usage adoption perspective, as well as from a business sales perspective.”
CPOs can use product data and analytics to forecast consumer behavior, improve decision-making, discover market trends, and calculate the ROI of marketing campaigns. The clearer your vision of your clients, the easier it will be to approach them:
“Product is a leading indicator; sales and revenue are lagging indicators. What are some predictions that you're heading towards your peak? It’s not growth, from a business metric standpoint; it's growth or adoption and usage of your product. As a leader, you may need to make the hard choice of investing less in plateau-ed products that are still generating revenue.”
Advice for CPOs
Tammy offered many leadership tips on the podcast; one of the most important takeaways was that leaders and managers have the most influence over the people they lead and supervise. They are in charge of ensuring the success of their department, and they are crucial in shaping company culture. Tammy is a big part of our leadership-management team. She ended the podcast with some leadership tips and advice for aspiring CPOs:
“Know your objectives, stand your ground and have the data to back you up on why you're choosing to make your decisions. I think the worst thing that you can do is to be too agreeable for the sake of being agreeable and getting people to like your decisions.”
Tammy also said that it is okay to have a different opinion:
"You have to be okay with the fact that not everybody's going to like your decision. You need to have the conviction and data to back up why you're making those hard choices so that your team is able to focus. Get your evidence, have conviction on what you want to focus on, and stick to your guns. A great product leader provides focus on what the teams are working on, and more importantly, making it clear across the organization what the teams will not be working on."
Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses
Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today
In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.
Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy
Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism. Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.
1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact
One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.
2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice
Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.
3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions
“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.
4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change
Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.
Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?
Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.
Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:
- User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
- Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
- Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
- Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.
An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.
5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday
Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity
Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.
For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.
At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.
1. Make Giving Easy:
A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.
2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:
Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!
3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:
Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.
4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:
Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.
5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:
Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.
12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask
In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.
Scroll down for a free survey template below.
Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.
Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?
Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.
How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?
Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.
Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?
Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.
Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.
Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?
The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.
Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?
With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.
Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?
This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.
How do specific benefit categories fare?
By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?
What additional benefits do employees desire?
Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"
If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.
How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?
While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.
There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.
What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?
Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact. Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.
- How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
- Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
- How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
- How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
- How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
- If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?