Tune in to learn how Organizational Health is comprised of a number of factors whether visible and known throughout the company or those that remain below the surface, as well as, the importance of them all both big and small.
Spot helps companies create a culture of walking meetings to impact wellness and employee satisfaction with an all-in-one productivity app. Take notes, share documents, transcribe conversations, and access previously recorded meetings all in one place.
Bryan Smith, founder at LEON and the host of the Organizational Health Podcast, chats with Salomé Martini, the People Operations Leader of Spot, to get the lowdown on how they plan to scale and grow the company without sacrificing the health and well-being of their employees.
Key insights include:
Bryan Smith: Hey, what's going on everybody? For LEON, I'm Bryan Smith and you are listening to the organizational health podcast. It's a show where we get down in dirty for 15 minutes with people leaders, executives and founders on the playbooks that they use to improve organizational health. In today's podcast, we have Salomé Martini. People Operations leader at Spot Spot is building a growth service in a mobile. Communication platform for local server, providers to increase, lead generation and customer retention Sala. Are you ready to kick this off? All…
Salomé Martini: Of course.
Bryan Smith: Fantastic. Tell us about your background past experience and why your career path was in HR.
Salomé Martini: Amazing. Well my name is Salomé people call me Solo. I've been in Nature professional for the last 15 years. I would say, I started from the entry-level positions at HR first with HR systems in big corpus, such as Big for Companies here in Argentina and then I headed to the financial industry a little bit. And there I started to work as a nature business partner, which means having a generalist scope about all the things that are connected with HR. And I've been working as a nature baby for almost eight years.
Salomé Martini: And then I decided to shift a little bit towards a, you know, change management agent and that pivot. I have to say that was born because of the pandemic scenario, like something inside me told me that I, I can't do a little bit more about ensuring that everyone has the things that they need to get their job done. And and a couple of years ago, I received the opportunity, I heard about the opportunity to joining this amazing startup to work, as a people operations leader. I didn't know what it was to be honest. So I was a little bit scared but then I realized that it was something very miserable and those are the things that I love the most about this profession, it's being heard and it's been in this small table where decisions are made
Salomé Martini: So I joined here to help a little bit about the organization about the structure about the processes, but mostly ensuring everyone has what they need to be, heard and enabled to fulfill their the work life balance that they, they want to pursue. So, here I am doing a little bit of everything.
Bryan Smith: Okay. So you know your VP for a while are in the VP level. You're worth experian for a good amount of time, right. And you're an HR business partner there. And I know specifically you're working with a little bit within the sort of engagement space also, right. So I'm curious this revive a little deeper into that…
Salomé Martini: Yes.
Bryan Smith: but let's talk about spot for right now. Right. So what is the size of the company ahead Count? Um you know your people team currently, is it just yourself. Do you have other people within the role funding to date and then goals over the next, you know, say year?
Salomé Martini: Okay, perfect. So spot is an American startup. It was born in Chicago, two years ago. We are a bunch of people where 27 people right now and we are aiming to continue increasing our team in the next three months. I work as a people operations leader but and I work with the chief of staff, We both managed the people strategy and processes. And for the next years since we are in our product market feat stage, we are thinking about continue growing specifically, our growth team and, you know, that always come with some needed needs about the, you know, operation part as well. So, that will be our short-term goals for now when it comes to, you know, our team members and strategies right now,
Bryan Smith: Okay. Now, so how is it? How is your world different than what you were doing an experience? And if you could explain your your role and experience a little bit more in detail?
Salomé Martini: Of course, well at Experian I was an inch or business. I had two different hats on one hand, I was the airshow business partner for Data and Analytics Division and also Argentina and Chile Division, geographical speaking. And as I said before, this meant like, You know, generalist role, but then since Experian is a financial industry that growth in organically by acquiring other companies, I also was the Asia engagement for all the companies that we were acquiring at that moment, which implies a lot of challenges when it comes to culture, right? And when comes to change management. So I was leading the the Asian workstream for those acquisitions from the you know, the moment that we acquire that company. But even before that like planning about the headcount running about the processes compensation and benefits, what will be our talent?
Salomé Martini: Decision finals for the whole division, but mostly how were we going to ensure the worst cultural alignment between both companies under the same mission? And and then here at Spot it's it's kind of different because nowadays it's like I also have two different hats but those hearts are divided.
Salomé Martini: Whether it is for the short-term or the long run, right? Because you know that in the short term we have to ensure business community, which means like, you know, providing processes providing frameworks providing regular chickens ensuring. There is a feedback culture especially when you work remotely and you work async most of the time because we are global distributed and we have different time zones. So sometimes that can be like a great challenge when it comes to alignment and those will be like the things that I have to ensure in that short term but also in the long run, there are a couple of milestones that has to, you know, Being on with that.
Salomé Martini: Business sustainability in the long run like for instance, you know, even performance management all the things that you have to do to kick off the year and ensure, you will have the best management that you can have to ensure that it's going to happen. So, that's my scope here. And I couldn't feel more comfortable. Like, this is what I like, this is my thing.
Bryan Smith: Yeah. I mean it's really interesting too, right? Because coming from a company like experience a spot you know you're taking a lot of sort of like the heuristics and learn practices that you implemented over at experience and putting them in the spot. But what's crazy about what you're doing at Spot now is you're creating structure and processes that are going to take this company from whether at today to, hopefully, you know, you know, a thousand percent count, or whatever. You know, the goals are sort of long term. So, you know, I'm sure it's an exciting process for you to be able to sort of dig deep and understand like What can we do now and make this company successful or to ensure that this company is gonna be successful long term. So let's pivot on that a little bit. And what I want to talk about is sort of the goal of this podcast which is really defining and understanding organizational health. So within your own words, How would you define organizational health and then the second part to that How is organizational health and your definition of it different in a enterprise level company like Experian versus what you're doing at Spot right now.
Salomé Martini: Right? So to answer the first question, which is, What is, what does, what does mean to be a healthy organization? I think that the pandemic has upended major aspects of you know, business operations. Including the way that leaders should approach this ever elicit and critical topic of organizational health. I think. Now this does refer to the ability of an organization to cope with change and continue to function with a high performance, workplace culture and to follow these sort of framework. Workplace culture, depends on the way interact on the way that people interact, sorry, and collaborate with each other. So I think that being healthy is it kind of a natural way of the chicken goals and not a goal percent? You know, the things that I mentioned before about business continuity in the short term and sustainability run. I know
Salomé Martini: This may sound very abstract but to overcome this sense of something that can't be touched or measured. We also created a sort of
Salomé Martini: Single source of truth, if you will, where we always always set clear, expectations about the things that we want and how do we want them? And I think that's a way of, you know, to promote this cultural attribute, which not always can be me shared in a posterity. So this is a challenge sometimes. It's not like only the welfare perks that a big organization is providing to their employees but it's to be intentional about fostering the right culture and keep this going on a daily basis. Like Hey you know what, if you are going to set that meeting ensure you are inviting the right people? Enjoy your setting in agenda enjoy, everyone knows why they are therefore or even next actions or How do I answer an email or you know those are the things that in short organizational health and I think it's
Salomé Martini: Premier Organizational Health It's like an iceberg that represents the culture of that organization. So on the top of the water, you may have something tiny but still visible enough. To let you know that under the water. You may have something bigger. Right? So for instance, over over the water, we have Clear Expectations, We have core values that will guide us to where we want to get. We have the ways that we have to set a meeting. We have those like kind of procedural things that we need to know but under the eye under the water, there are some other things. We have, you know, mental well-being, which means that you make people feel safe and you make people feel in understands of belonging to that organization.
Salomé Martini: And I heard a previous podcast that talk about the psychological aspect. And sometimes this is a taboo for many leaders, especially tech leaders but it's it's not like something abstract. It's like, How will you let the team members know? They are on the right direction with regular chickens? How will you make them feel safe by telling them? We hire you because we trust you. But also we know that sometimes you may struggle with lack of information or you may need more time. You know, it's okay to need help sometimes as it is in your personal life. You need help and you go to therapy or even if you don't need it, but you want to have the right tools to face a challenge in situation. Well, this is the same. So this is what healthy means that spot.
Bryan Smith: That was fantastically put by the way. I know you're a little worried about from then from an English standpoint but you were killing this right now by the way. You know, and I and I love that analogy regarding the iceberg. Right because no organizational health, it is obviously about strategy and in the processes that you're sort of implementing, but at that same point, a lot of what we do. It's it's about sort of the micro interactions that you have with your people to establishing, sort of a safe environment of communication and well-being, and expectations and all those other things, right? It's really an output input thing, right? You set a strategy and then you let your out your inputs sort of drive that strategy through the conversations that we have with our people. So um, all right. Cool. That was that was fantastic about How do you go and I know you touched on a little bit about like you know, Poll surveys but a lot of it is sort of like qualitative as well. How do you go about?
Salomé Martini: Here. Perfect.
Bryan Smith: Quantifying organizational health spot or any other company? You've may have worked out.
Salomé Martini: Well, I think that we should rely first of all in the
Salomé Martini: In the business goals first because you know what? A business goal can only be achieved if you have the best team so that I think would be one of it. And I think here is the first hand as a as a remote worker myself. Now, the approach that I have to to my work, it's like, Do I feel identify with this business mission? Is there something that I can add from my role to make that go through or not? It's like, Do I belong to this business mission or not? So, we have, we, We should never forget about business indicators. I know these may some like, very economical speaking but still, this is very important because these pied all the technologies in the world. You will always need to people to succeed. So if you are succeeding, it means that you have the right people. That will be like the My like the macro goal if you will,…
Bryan Smith: but,
Salomé Martini: like the biggest one. And the Indicator. That should take a look at. and then we have all the things such, as for instance, are we are we listening to our To our team members. Do they need support? Are they like missing to many meetings? Are they completing all these tasks or not? Are they like those are that day-to-day indicators? And Why am I describing this? Because I want to speak to those small organizations like us. That don't help all the budget in the world, to trust with the biggest indicators or biggest data and analytics. Those are very important and the attrition rate for instance, on all those popular that we all know. But take a look at the small things. Are you as a people leader being heard or not and why you should ask yourself and you should manage that self-awareness. um,
Salomé Martini: Are people asking for vacation? No, they are not. They are very committed. Oh, maybe they don't feel like they can take some days off. So always look, always always remember about the iceberg. You see that there are just a couple of days of requested on our HR system Oh yeah, people is very committed. Maybe they don't feel like they can go on vacation because you don't have the proper backup process. Right? So I would say, like, take a look at the small things and try to track those and manage those numbers with accountability because and also pick into speaking to other Asia leaders, if you want to be heard in the small table,…
Bryan Smith: Here.
Salomé Martini: where decisions are made, you have to represent. Every indicator that you can and don't skip any detail like always always over communication than lack of communication. I would say that like to give you some examples.
Bryan Smith: Yeah, that's fantastic. So, so if I'm understanding this correctly, so I want to make sure that one that the business goal is, is always top of mind, right? So, that's, that's sort of like the North Star metric. And the thing that you're cut your company, your team is sort of working towards, and from there, it's sort of drilling down into the sort of that iceberg, methodology and sort of tracking the things that matter to your team right now. Regardless, if that is days off, communication meetings, whatever that is to sort of understand, you know, as activity being done. But more importantly, are people doing the right things at the right time to be able to protect their own mental health, or well-being, or whatever it is right. Does that sound about correct?
Salomé Martini: Right. Right.
Bryan Smith: All right. Sure.
Salomé Martini: Can I add something else if I have room for that? Um, we have a good practice here that I personally love it, which is a demo day where we all show off a little bit. The things that we do And of course, we took this concept from the tech world but still it is for marketing sales and operations teams. First of all, to show off a little bit, our work and the things that I mentioned before everything should be connected to everything. So we give those spaces for everyone to show their work, but also to let the other people know, What is my teammate do it? What is this area doing? How can I support that area?
Salomé Martini: So for instance, another indicator is everyone participating in this demos is RNA,…
Bryan Smith: Hmm.
Salomé Martini: like Why or is people asking some questions? Maybe we have the daily sun that we have the stand-up meetings is Is everyone telling us? Hey I can't do this is everyone showing some blocker because if you don't show any blocker ever I will feel worried as a people as a people leader because it is impossible for you to be perfect. so, or that, or that was a miss hiring and we have to promote you because you are Superman, right? So it's like, um, those are the tiny things and the invisible things that we should take a look at. Like I think that always silence is also communication right and I'm most importantly.
Salomé Martini: In this cases, if I feel like for instance? Well, I was very clear with what I wanted from my team members. But you know what, sometimes communication is not what you say, communication is what the other person gets from your speech. So you have to ensure that there is a clear breach between what you expect and what they receive. And if it wasn't clear, then your people won't feel safe. Won't feel supported and believe me. I think that there's nothing more important as feeling supported as a remote worker because you may struggle with isolation. Despite Covid-19 has ended thankfully crossing fingers sometimes you feel kind of alone and you kind of need those bonding interactions, you need those day-to-day chickens and you need to foster with other areas to feel like you belong to something bigger than you and your desktop, right?
Bryan Smith: So um, you know, and I I love that concept and we talk about this on a previous podcast about organizational, health is is a combination qualitative and quantitative measures that used to sort of make better decisions and implement better strategy, right? But I want to dig into the the qualitative aspects, right? Because you as a people leader, who has, you know, a ton of experience, you sort of have sort of this This background or this backbone of understanding qualitative sort of inputs, right? And how to act on them. You know, but for newer HR or people eaters and what type of questions can they ask, or what type of things should they be looking at? From a qualitative standpoint. That maybe they don't have data in front of them, but maybe it gives them some sort of reading and understanding of what might be going on with their people.
Salomé Martini: Of course, yeah, that's that's a terrific question. I really appreciate it because sometimes as as a new joyner, as struggle with those myself sometimes, it's kind of difficult because first of all, you have to be and this is like the huge, a huge top tip that I can give that you have to feel
Salomé Martini: Um, intentional about that. You are truly caring about the other one that you are not just asking that to check on boxes, right? That you are not following some fancy template that you found on the Internet and you are truly carrying about them. And they are like, Imagine you are a taxi driver and they are the passengers during those check-ins and they have to guide you like, which direction are they taking in this days? And also, you are not just a toxic driver, but you are waiting for them in the destination, right? So it's like, you have to ensure that the way they want to go makes totally sense for you and for your organization. So imagine that and make sure they're not like empty boxes out there. Um, and…
Bryan Smith: Here.
Salomé Martini: when I say regular chickens, it's Only if necessary of course it's it doesn't have to, you know, feel forced, right? So it has to be natural and if you know that someone for instance is, Kind of having some challenges or struggles with a specific topic. And next time you're going to join a meeting to show off that don't expose your team. If you don't feel like they feel supported enough because it's your responsibility as the people leader to make them feel supported and enabled, right?
Salomé Martini: And also, I would say that it's a small things for instance. Like for instance, you have a sales team and they're about jumping to a very, very specific get into the thick of a meeting with a client and you may take, you may tell them, Okay, go on, you know, an exploration call to check if you have A good wife, eye connection. Check if you sound well check those things and this is a very technical aspect. You see it's not that only psychological aspects, it's also functional like you are always like, you know pushing them a little bit forward.
Salomé Martini: Something something else it's like I hate. I hate performance reviews and I know that they are important though, but I think that sometimes and this is something very Very important here, sometimes the performance review. It's kind of you know those Netflix shows that you see one sister per year. So you have that season with your manager in December and then up to next December, you never heard again about your manager. So you have to, you know, ensure that I'm not saying that you don't have to have those milestones,…
Bryan Smith: If? You.
Salomé Martini: They are very necessary but those have to be another check him. Like okay, so this is part of the job that I've been living through all this year
Bryan Smith: Yeah, sort of like, leveling up to that right rather than just that makes sense.
Salomé Martini: Exactly, exactly. Exactly.
Bryan Smith: Right? So, um, so the me sort of overview here, so roughly within spot right now, 27, people head count, you know, obviously, you guys are growing and looking to sort of increase that the way that you look at organizational Health at Spot is really a collection of qualitative and quantitative metrics. Making sure that one that there is psychological safety in both the functional aspect of leading people, as well as, as well as sort of like the technical aspect, making sure that business goals are always the main driver, I of growth within a company and then creating goals sort of around that to make sure that the team and the business unit and the founders and everybody else are aligned to sort of that process, right? So
Bryan Smith: What I want to do is I want to just end this right now with just a couple other questions relating back to sort of the qualitative because we talked a lot I'm sorry the quantitative we talked a lot about qualitative process. What type of metrics do you track internally? That helps you understand Organizational health? Is that engagement is that well-being scores? You know What does that look like on your end?
Salomé Martini: Well, what I do first always and this is this is not because they have like a hurricane, my mind. But this is because I truly believe that managers always have to be one step ahead because we always trust on them as individual contributors to guide us. When needed. Of course, we are all accountable and we take ownership of our goals and we are grown-ups, but I always like to start with managers because they represent, they are not just sharing our cultural values, but they should you know, leave our cultural values on a daily basis. So every time that I want to track on those, I always start by providing my mind. I have regular chickens with every manager here and during those chickens I always provide them as sort of. I have two ways actually I have a kind of survey which I I just this piety and the moment that we are leaving and then I have some chickens with them.
Salomé Martini: To take. Okay? Is is any, is everyone feeling safe? Is everyone feeling? Supported are the goals being met, How was your last one-on-one with a specific team member? And I kind of gathered all that information. And I use a personal method that I, that I, but I like, which is a talent card and I like to have like a review from everyone and I kind of separate which what are the things that these people is rocking up and what are the things that these people need support with? And when I, when I select those things that they need support with, I always think about those behaviors that we want to ensure they are 100% achieved. and those are accountability ownership decision, making problem solving, and with those for things,
Salomé Martini: I kind of miniature it from a scale of 1 to 10 and I always have that information. I don't like to be annoying as an Asia operations leader. What I like to, I like to be as a ninja, maybe, you know, being silent. I'm being there when you need it. But always, I always have my thermometer on as I say, and I always encourage everyone to take a look at their third eye because you have to see. You have to see the invisible and you have to make the invisible more visible. It sounds weird but it's like with this kind of indicators. You can always go one step ahead. And then, well, as I, as I told you, I always cared about, is people these people taking days off. It's not also, if we have attrition, thankfully, we don't have it.
Salomé Martini: People is really, really safe. And another indicator is that Everyone is very open and honest, not only with me but with everyone it's not that I have to look under the rocks to find out. Any problem is that we have all those spaces to ensure they can raise their hand and say, Hey I don't I don't agree with you or hey I need support or I need more time. Or I don't feel like this feature is going to promote engagement through our clients or, you know, those are the things that I that I always look at. But well yeah I think that General thank you.
Bryan Smith: Okay, that makes sense. And by the way, on your new nickname is Silo Martini, the HR Ninja, by the way. So you don't have a hat or…
Salomé Martini: no, please
Bryan Smith: a hoodie, but I'm so introducing you that for now on. All…
Salomé Martini: okay.
Bryan Smith: Cool. So, let's, let's finish this up. So on, we have a piece we do at the end, which is called the Top Three at three, right? So three questions. So, first question is, what books are you reading right now? Or What would you recommend for people leaders?
Salomé Martini: Okay, I'm I'm reading a great great book which is the Art of Gift. Which I find it very, very exceptional because it's It's like What are you given as as an initial leader and what are you receiving in like instead? um, and, Well, I will recommend, I mean I have I have lots of books right now but I would recommend any books that comes with change management and basically, because it's like, It doesn't matter which organization are you being part of as long as there is people, you will always have to change course when needed. And if…
Bryan Smith: Yeah.
Salomé Martini: if I have to provide a message with, you know, It's strong like to emphasize a great idea. Is that Don't be afraid of changing and don't think about change as something huge and as something impossible sometimes it's the small things that can cause great impact among your, you know, the people you work with even how how you answer an email, you know, even those little things can be like great for everyone.
Bryan Smith: Okay, so next question. Who do you follow right? Well, who would you recommend to follow? I don't LinkedIn. It could be founders people eaters but who are some people that you look up to?
Salomé Martini: Okay. So what the people the people that I follow are not necessary from from Asia but I feel very identified with a startup here initial leader at the startup here because she's mostly my age and I feel identify with her because always she also had the challenge of you know, leading right organizations and having you know having medians in you know the language from her native…
Bryan Smith: If you.
Salomé Martini: which is where can I and Amy? Monty Glio,…
Salomé Martini: I will send you the information if you want me to an email that the good thing about her and…
Bryan Smith: Thank you.
Bryan Smith: Yeah, that's great.
Salomé Martini: is that she always compares HR with Daily things. You know that we are, They were champions from the FIFA World Cup yesterday, and she always was like, comparing a football match with how decisions are made in a great organization on or, you know, if a football team with an organizational team. So I would
Bryan Smith: Okay. All right, fantastic. So I'm definitely send me that. And then what do you do in your spare time? What do you do?
Salomé Martini: um, Okay. Well so I'm I'm a huge fan of fantastic literature Argentinian, fantastic literature. So I like to reading short sales short story tells and now I've become a fun of HP Lovecraft because I'm trying to improve my English and I like those kind of dark stories that invited me to reflect a little bit. So definitely reading on one hand and also I have a five-year-old kid so free time is a way of speaking, right? It's like I don't have much free time but I love spending time with him and what I and I learned a lot from him and personally I like to see the world through his life a little bit and forget that you are a nature professional and forget that you've been working for.
Salomé Martini: 15 years. Like try to start from scratch sometimes and chill. Those are my favorite things.
Bryan Smith: All right. Well Silo the HR Ninja Martini. Thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate you did fantastic. It was an amazing amazing recording. So And…
Salomé Martini: Was it?
Bryan Smith: then one last thing, where can people find more information about you?
Salomé Martini: Well, they can follow me on LinkedIn and Salome Martini. And then, well, they can email me follow at meet with Spot.com.
Bryan Smith: All right. Well, fantastic. Well thank you so much. Have a great day.