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Interview with Selma Chauvin

On the theme of People & Tech, the VP International Marketing of UKG talks about digitization in the workplace, and its implications for HR and Marketing departments everywhere.

Selma Chauvin-2

people & tech

About Selma

Geek and passionate about marketing & tech trends for the past 15 years, Selma is specialized in bringing new BtoB SaaS products to market in Europe. From early-stage Start-Ups to acquisition or IPO, she's fond of building and developing the appropriate strategy & team to support companies' hyper-growth, building the right product/market mix, overachieving challenging revenue objectives and driving successful internationalization. Today, she's the VP of International Marketing & Business Development at UKG, a leader of the HR Software industry.

My name is Selma Chauvin, I'm vice president of International Marketing at UKG. UKG is a brand new group that was born from the merger of three companies: People Doc, Ultimate Software, and Kronos. We realized that a company cannot be successful if its employees are not motivated if they do not want to accompany this performance. So we said to ourselves that the best way to allow a company to be at the top of its performance is to limit friction. That is to say, all the little interactions between employees and HR when they have small needs that will prevent them from focusing on the main mission. And we sincerely believe that if we can remove all these little frictions, then employees and the company will perform better. And that's UKG.

Digitalization & Marketing

Digitalization for a marketing department is not new. We experienced this big bang a few years ago when marketing was equipped with new tools to respond to an increased need for digital in order to conquer new prospects and new customers. It was easy for us because we were in front of the prospects in front of the customers and it was very simple to put revenue in front of a tool investment. There are other departments in the company that doesn't necessarily have this facility. I'm thinking of HR, I'm thinking of finance, which are often seen as cost centers and not profit centers. Investing in tools was perhaps a little more complex and a little more long-term with recent events, so I'm thinking of the pandemic that is still hitting us right now. Well, companies realized that this need was becoming extremely important, urgent, and a priority for the functions that served the employees. Simply because employees are no longer in the office, no longer in the store, and still need to interact with their finance department and their HR department.

Health crisis & Organization

This need for tools can also be seen in groups, in organizations that were already prepared to work remotely, etc. For example, when the pandemic first arrived, we didn't change our way of doing things. We already had 40% of our staff, especially the entire research and development department, working remotely. We were equipped with many collaborative tools. We didn't feel the immediate need to rethink our processes. Except that after a while, we realized that all the informal parts, the conversations in the hallway, and all the information that was passing through the company in an unstructured way, were missing. So our transformation wasn't really about substantive tools, but rather about how to recreate a link between people, even at a distance. We used our collaboration tools, but we also set up a little game. For example, it's a kind of video game where the offices were represented and the employees could move around, sit in their place, go have a virtual coffee with one of their virtual friends, so as to find a little bit of those moments of relaxation between employees who pretend to be nothing. We get attached to our company because, once again, a company is not just a place where we go to work, it's a place where we spend 8 hours a day. And you need to have social ties with the people who are there.

Transformation & Corporate Values

When there is a crisis, when there is a pandemic, what brings people even closer together is the adherence to common values. Usually, we can think that this is always a bit artificial. Top management will give us a list of values. They will create goodies around this value. And that's about it. Except that in the end, not really, because it allowed us to know how to position ourselves. It's a situation that had no precedent, and when there is no precedent, you have to find solutions that are a little bit innovative to envisage the future. We created new processes in our systems that allowed people to answer very simply the questions of the employees about the situation and what to start on Monday at 8 am. Could they get a computer tomorrow at 9:00? All those little HR questions that we think about. We walked our clients through it.

Marketing and Human Resources Alignment

This alignment between HR and marketing, I think now it's fundamental in all companies and it was seen even more so with the situation that just happened. Why is that? Simply because it comes back to this alignment between the inside and the outside. The first person your customers are going to talk to is not your marketing department, it's your customer service department for example. And if these people don't buy-in and aren't happy in the company, all the efforts you're going to make on the marketing side are ruined in advance, and that's even rather healthy and normal. So my recommendation, now that we have all this history and all this information, is to use it. From now on, for me in any case, we must align HR and marketing. That is to say that the investments, the money, and the energy that you devote to your marketing to gain new customers, invest it also in your HR department, in your finance department so that it serves your employees as well as possible and everyone will win in the end.

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