I met Raluca and Bogdan when they pitched Nestor to myself and my manager. Before meeting them, I did not fully understand what they could do for us. By the end of the appointment, I was totally impressed. Not just by the tool, but also by the research behind their approach, and the mindset of the team.
Since Offbeat is also a way to connect L&Ds with technology, I couldn’t pass the chance to share their story. Enjoy!
Tell us a bit about you guys, what are you doing with Nestor, and what’s your background story?
We believe that happy people make a business thrive. Nestor started at Y Combinator in Silicon Valley in 2018. Its vision is to help people reach their full potential in the workplace while driving business growth.
Our mission is to bring coaching in the workplace in a more assisted way. Nestor helps leaders with actionable intelligence on different levels. Coaching their people for performance. Enhancing a leadership culture through coaching practices. Increasing Culture-ROI based on business and emotional intelligence prediction and analytics. Our holistic approach improves the employee experience, well-being, and personal growth while driving Culture-ROI and business growth at scale.
Based on years of research and experience in technology, people science, and people management processes, our team helps organizations adapt their development programs. We aim to support an ongoing method of clarifying expectations and reviewing the progress of their objectives in a constructive, future-oriented way. All whilst focusing on developing and applying employees’ strengths.
If I’m a company just starting to understand leadership development, what should I do first? What would be your starting point for small organizations, and big ones?
The modern workplace presents many challenges for employees and managers alike. Ever-changing job requirements, fast-moving technology, cross-functional teams, global expansion, or remote work. More than that, we are in the middle of a global pandemic that changed everything companies knew so far.
The new normal is still uncertain and so are the rules for any new development programs being designed and implemented. Regardless of the company size and the level of uncertainty, there are some good directions we’ve seen organizations take:
- Involving the leadership team more in contributing to the business direction;
- Promoting and maintaining the company culture alive;
- Redefining the hiring process to include a culture-fit evaluation;
- And being more involved in helping employees’ personal and professional development.
One of the most important things is getting it right from the start. The bigger the organization, the harder it is to make the change. Changing the culture when there are more than a couple of hundred employees it’s a hard or nearly impossible job. By that time it is already built and shifting people’s focus is a lengthy process. What you can do is adding small adjustments and constantly evaluating people based on their fit to the corporate values.
Is there a way to scale culture through a leadership development program?
Deeply connected with the company culture are the leaders of the organization. Leaders are those that help the CEO promote the culture and bring corporate values to life. Before designing leadership development programs, we recommend a value-based leadership assessment. We suggest starting with the leadership team itself and top-level managers within the organization. This way you have a clear picture of your leader’s context. The skills they have, the teams they lead, their work values, and how close they are in matching the company culture.
Employees want their manager to provide clear expectations and help them rank what they should do next. They need their manager to know what they are working on and to coach them toward excellence. Talented and dedicated employees will always want to also be held accountable for their performance. So, helping managers with coaching their people is important for any leadership development program. Setting leadership development goals, offering the support and the resources they need, and tracking the progress over time is critical. Connecting them with personal leadership development trainers also adds benefits to such programs.
You guys are working with a lot of data. Could you point us to 2-3 behaviors that make up good people management? Is it different for each company or have you seen some common patterns?
Indeed, we’ve been working with people across various industries. Measuring behavior differs from one company to another. This is usually coupled with the company’s industry vertical, the target market, the region people live in, or the type of operations their job requires. Although there can be variations in the management style, there are a few behaviors we’ve been noticing. Some of them are Communication, Coaching, Empathy, Trust, Results-Oriented.
What final impact do these behaviors have on the team and the business productivity?
Aligning role-specific expectations with the business’ strategic direction is critical to any organization. Managers and employees, together, commit to the company’s purpose, brand, and culture.
Aligning individual performance expectations with team goals ensures that they do not conflict and that any employee’s expectations support teamwork. Employees whose expectations align with their team goals, understand that they are expected to both give full effort to their personal responsibilities and at the same time collaborate at their best with their coworkers. More and more organizations have recognized the value of coaching as an effective People and Performance Management method. It offers employees at all levels the opportunity to grow, enhance their value, and reach their personal and professional goals.
Let’s assume people managers in your organization have different skill levels. How can you build a personalized program at scale?
People are different and so are their skills, reactions, and experiences. People are the most important resource a company has, and companies need to pay special attention to it. Leaders ensure the connection between business demand and people’s needs.
In our opinion, people are the best source of knowledge for others. When designing learning programs, one of the first things to consider is using your people to help others grow. This way, all parts involved achieve a greater level of satisfaction while contributing to an internal optimization of resources. Skilled people managers practice their skills and challenge themselves in working with various people through internal coaching or mentoring sessions. Learners are more familiar with colleagues within the organization and they can establish social relationships while developing their skills. Moreover, HR budgets are optimized when using internal resources to develop such programs.