Date: 25th of August 2021, 9:00
Each year more pressure is put on the recruitment of the right employees. But it is becoming equally important to be the right company. Both young graduates and senior professionals are increasingly interested in the ethics of the companies they work for. Are potential employees looking at turnovers and benefits, or are they more interested in companies that do the right thing?
In this webinar, Nico Blier-Silvestri, CEO of Platypus, and Stine Mangor Tornmark, CEO of Openli, will talk about this and also cover questions like:
The webinar takes one hour, is free, and you can ask questions throughout.
Stine:: Good morning.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Good morning.
Stine:: So today I have the pleasure of letting Nico take the floor. He is a good friend of mine, actually. He has an amazing startup and we've actually known each other for quite a few years now.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Seven.
Stine:: Yeah. I think actually more, almost. So what we'll talk a little bit about today is the importance of compliance, culture and people. Then you might be thinking so why is Nico here? Before we jump into that, and I'll leave the floor to Nico, please bear in mind he's French, he has amazing expressions. If you have any questions whatsoever, Nico is always the guy with a clear answer and amazing humor. I am so excited for him to be here. As always, guys, let us know if the sound is good, if the screen is working and all. It is so much more fun if we know that you guys are actually paying attention, and at the same time also getting something out of it.
Stine:: So as always, questions in the right hand corner of the screen are more than welcome. Please let us know if things are working and if they aren't. Then I'm really excited about having this chat. And Nico, maybe you wouldn't mind introducing yourself?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Stine, first of all. When you reached out saying like yeah, like we're doing webinars and everything and it would be great to have you on board, I was like yeah, I think it'd be great to talk about GDPR, I mean it's very much my area of expertise. Then you explain no, no, no, no, no, we're going to talk about something else, we're going to talk about big vision about culture of compliance, culture of doing the right thing in an organization. I was like okay, yeah, this is pretty cool, this I can do.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So my name is Nico, I am French like you can hear this. This is just, after like 20 plus years of living abroad the accent won't go, it's just there. I curse a lot so you'll probably hear me drop some bad words, I'm sorry, yeah, it happens. I've been working in HR and recruitment broadly for the past, what, 15 years, give or take, of my career.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: First in France in big companies like Yahoo, Informatica, I started actually in headhunting, pure headhunting, and then switched to internal recruitment in big companies and then switched to HR. Stine and I met, yeah, you're right, probably like eight, nine years ago because we started more or less exactly at the same time at Trustpilot when Trustpilot was barely, what, 30, 40 people by the lakes in Copenhagen. It was tiny.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Stine was the first legal and I was basically the first HR, so the company was starting to become a company and not just a beautiful mess. And I think together both on the legal side and on the HR recruitment side we took the company from like 30 to 350 people in the case of two years, opened the UK office, the German office. You went to the US, I went on vacation for 89 days talking about doing the right things in the company for 89 days on vacation so we didn't have to get the Visa. I was on vacation, it was great, in New York City, to open the office.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Then after this I went to Falcon, Falcon Social, for the ones who know, was going through the same phase of hyper growth, building HR, building recruitment. Then Unity Technology reached out and it's very difficult to say no to Unity Technology if you like gaming and if you... I mean, doing recruitment and HR for Unity Technology, it's like you're given all the best tools and unlimited money. It's like playing with a cheat code, basically, when you play video game, because everyone loves the company, you have unlimited budget. It was amazing. We hired like 500 engineers in the span of two years in Europe, absolutely insane. The company did a very successful IPO in January, so very happy about this.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: After Unity I went to Revolut, and I think I'll mention all of those companies when we have discussions because a lot of those companies did some things good and some things, in my opinion, that were not as good. Revolut I was chief people officer, a fast growing organization. I think if you're a little bit into finance, fintech and everything, you've obviously heard about Revolut. Went to Peakon, great tool, great company here in [crosstalk 00:04:41]
Stine:: There is kind of like a... You choose unicorns.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: No, they choose me, I think. It's more like they choose me. But yeah, I was talking with a friend, he told me, "Nico, you realize you've worked and built six unicorns?" I'm like, yeah, I'm lucky, I've been lucky. And maybe I'm a little bit good at what I do. Let's be French ego a little bit here, but yeah, I think I'm not too bad at what I do.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: After Peakon, I would still be at Peakon if I didn't have the idea for Platypus. I started my business with a consultant, my friend Dan, who's as well extra, who knows Stine very, very well as well. We started the business, I think we're more or less the same age with Openli, right?
Stine:: Yeah, we are.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yeah, exactly. So almost three years, we're going to be three years old in Q1 next year, and Platypus is basically all the stuff I've learnt and been frustrated with over the last 15 years regarding recruitment, regarding culture, regarding what is tangible, not tangible. Killing gut feelings, bringing data when there is no data when it comes to company culture and assumptions.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Platypus is based on the idea of you don't know what you don't know and without data you are basically just another person with an opinion. You need data.
Stine:: But with an HR focus, right?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: 100% HR, it is purely HR. It was supposed to be... Like, the first idea was to do a recruitment tool at the start to basically solve one of the big issues in recruitment which is there's no data when you talk about culture fit, culture match. I don't like those terms but companies love to look at culture fit, culture match. But there's no data about culture so how can you look at this? So we wanted to solve that problem and what we've realized is that our methodology, our way of gathering data about culture within an organization allows us to do something that's way more holistic as a platform to help with recruitment, with retention, with people management, and so on and so on and so on.
Stine:: So as you guys might have heard now, Nico knows a thing or two about people, recruitment, retaining employees, but also what drives new employees. Just to make sure that you all know it and maybe I don't know it as much of course, I definitely don't know it as much as Nico does, but one of the areas that people are looking into when it's about finding a new company, it's very much about what is the company culture.
Stine:: As part of the company culture is the way of taking responsibility for your employees, it's about doing the right thing, it's about ethical behavior. Nico, I was wondering, given the fact that you guys are actually making that cultural footprint for each of the companies that you guys are working with and you're working with amazing companies like...
Nico Blier-Silvestri: yeah.
Stine:: All the big guys.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: We try, we try.
Stine:: On the tech scene. Can you talk a little bit about how important it is for all the people that you're doing these footprints of, all the candidates that are potentially applying and getting on with those companies, how big is compliance? How big is it in terms of the company's positioning on their, I think, doing the right thing?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: There's a few things to look at. First of all, company culture has been talked about for years, if we're being honest. It's been like what, the last 20 years? Like here it's important to have a good company culture, it is great to have a good company culture. Culture eats strategy for breakfast, that's the big sentence people love to use.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: The reality of it is is what is it to have a good company culture? I think if we're bluntly honest, and I usually am, for years it's been bullshit branding. You do a nice video that you put on your LinkedIn or on your company website where there's a ping pong table, there's a few beers. Let's make sure we put a bit of diversity in this video just to make sure we're doing the right thing. Then like hey, we've got a great culture that's based around basically we're having fun in the company.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Now, we're having fun in the company doesn't mean you have a good company culture, right? In terms of retention, in terms of doing the right thing in the organization, in terms of taking care of the right people.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I like to call this bullshit branding and I think people are tired of bullshit branding. People are very much like exhausted of looking systematically always at the same type of video, and you can remove the logo of one company and put the logo of another company and it's exactly the same.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Doing the right thing, is this company going to be aligned with what's important to me? Are they going to take care of me? I think COVID has been obviously terrible and an absolute nightmare, and it still is, but in terms of HR and in terms of people and in terms of culture within an organization it's been good for two things. Number one, remote, or hybrid, or this re-looking into how we put the office at the center of who we are as an organization.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: There's not one company in the world now that can say we don't do remote. You don't say we don't do remote, you say we don't want to do remote. And that's a big, big difference, right? And it's obviously as well a big thing around compliance, culture, and everything.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: The second thing is culture has never been more important than now because you've been working remotely, you've been working from home for the past 18 months. Some of us have, or at least at some parts of this 18 months. Then you've realized shit, I hate that place, I hate my boss, I hate that culture. What they're saying they are is not the truth of what am I experiencing internally. I want to look somewhere else and I want to work somewhere else. Now with remote, you basically can find a job anywhere, in theory.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So how does the compliance view come into this? Compliance is basically ethically and morally am I doing the right thing in the organization? Am I, as an organization, leadership, but I think it basically relies on anyone in the company. If it becomes only the responsibility of managers to be compliant ethically and morally right, then it's not working. That means you don't have an engagement about that's how we want to do things in the organization. So compliance-
Stine:: How important is it for the recruitment side of things? A lot of the people on this webinar are compliance people, just as an example. Or they might be in marketing. So you have the bullshit marketing you just talked a little bit about.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yeah, sorry about this, but it's true, basically.
Stine:: Then you have the people who are working with compliance and proud of what they do. If we talk a little bit about it in terms of the recruitment and retaining employees, how important is this today?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: In terms of recruitment I think it's probably the part of the life cycle of an employee that is the most hit or under the influence of compliance. Because basically you're not dealing with employees, you're dealing with people who might become employees. We're going to talk about GDPR at length, but most recruiters don't know what they can or cannot ask, let's be very honest. Hiring managers have no idea what is compliant and not compliant to ask in a recruitment setup, like in an interview.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: They're still here even in Denmark, and I would like to think that we're quite further in Denmark versus other countries, but they're still here in Denmark some hiring managers that I've heard asking questions like are you married or do you plan on having kids? And you're like whoa, whoa, whoa. The bell is not even big enough to say this is not legal, you cannot ask this.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Then there is all the data that your applicant tracking system is gathering. Are you collecting the right data, are you allowed to collect the right data? How long is the data staying in the system? Do you tell candidates that they might be deleted or not within the next 6 months, 12 months, and so on? All this is unknown. People are not looking into this and they're about to be hit by a massive wall of pricks because it's not a nice to have anymore, it's a complete must have.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Compliance in the recruitment is, that's exactly the term actually. It's not a nice to have anymore, it's a must have. Now, compliance within HR in terms of retention, I think it's obvious that you need to follow the rules and guidelines that are basically legal and mandatory things that you need to do in the organization but I'd like to think that compliance again, to me, is more linked into... it's a state of mind, it's a how do we work within the organization?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Because you can... Maybe it's because I'm French but you can look at compliance or the first reaction about the word is like oh my god, it's boring, it's going to be heavy, and it's putting me within this little box and I can't get out of the box.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: But if you change this mindset about compliance is not this, compliance is about doing the right thing at the right time, and those rules are just here to basically ensure that it's not only on the good side for the organization but it's on the good side for everyone within the organization.
Stine:: And guys, for the ones, just ask questions to Nico or to me. Like that's what he's here for. But Nico, you said a little bit about compliance isn't something that is necessarily the first thing that candidates look for.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: No.
Stine:: But can I challenge you a little bit on that?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yeah.
Stine:: Facebook. 10 years ago, everybody wanted to be employed by Facebook. It was super cool, it was fast moving, it was going to change the world. It already did 10 years ago, right. But that's the positioning they had. Then came some really shit press.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Dodgy.
Stine:: About their compliance, about how they were handling data and the way that they were really exploiting people's rights to privacy. And all of a sudden, this is just my own personal opinion, but from what I'm hearing it is not as attractive to be an employee of Facebook as it was.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: No it's not.
Stine:: My feeling would be compliance and culture is actually one of the main drivers for that.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I think it's... Again, we need to silo about. Are you in a literally position where you're like a software developer and you basically can work to any company in the world in any organization and then you can be in a situation where like actually I don't like what those guys are doing and I'll park it, or are you in a job where you basically don't have much choice and you need a job and you'll take the job, right?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: But I believe, and I'm aligning with you, that maybe the younger generations, the people that have basically a digital native that you and I talked about two minute before the call, the people that are like the Facebook generation and so on. First of all, even those kids, I was talking the other day with an 18 and an 16 year old and they're like, "Yeah, I'm not on Facebook, it's for old people." That hurts a little bit but it's probably the truth.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Those companies, those digital generation, those younger generation. I don't know if you call them, they're not millennials, the xennial or the zennial, they are aware of the power of their data and they are aware of what can be done and should not be done with my data, and therefore they look more at... I wouldn't say systematically compliance, because again you need to have the understanding of what compliance is, but they are looking at the culture of is this organization doing the right thing? Are they ethically and morally correct? And we all know Facebook is not, and you can quote me on this, because they are dirty, dirty people that steal your data and try to change your mindset in terms of politics, and then they get very, very evil people elected in some very important part of the world.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: But the reality is I think it's... I agree with your point, I think it's much stronger in some areas of the job market than in others. I think if you're looking at blue collar, a lot of people don't really care about the compliance or anything, because maybe they don't have the choice to care or maybe they're just like I need a job. But I believe that this trend that we see in... And even in Google, Google for years was like it's the best employer and everything. You see everything that has been happening with what's coming out about salaries, salary disruptancies between women and men and so on, and the fact that they are not actually treating people well.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Those big companies, what they've been doing is they haven't done recruitment like we do, they've done farming. They've done hiring people without having a job for those people because it's basically it was the good old war of talent, if I have this person, even if I don't use them, that means Facebook or Apple or Microsoft don't have those people. Right?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Then you know what? That's capitalism and everything, but if then you don't take care of your people internally and then you don't play by the rules that you should, then yeah you're going to lose your people and they're not going to be engaged and happy internally.
Stine:: So if we're talking about the young professionals, as you talked a little bit about more scratching the surface, what is it that they're looking for and why is it that they're looking for companies with potential positive impact? So that, just FYI, I can tell you companies like Too Good To Go are getting so many applicants. We work with them as well. And their social profile is really driving a lot of candidates, a lot of young professionals who are super proud and dedicated. Can you talk a little bit about why that is and what we're seeing?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So we have the data on top of it, with the profiles, the people who are building their with Platypus and we have age groups that we could turn into some sort of evil, big American companies and use that data for wrong. But we don't. What we see is people are careful, I mean the younger they are, the younger generation they are is we see basically two things, two big drivers when they build a Platypus. Mission, I need to be aligned with the mission of the organization, which is what you mentioned with Too Good To Go. People that want to work with Too Good To Go, not only it's a cool company, the mission, the vision, the goal of the organization is great. Like I need to feel that I'm engaged and I believe in what we're going to build.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: The second thing we see is wellbeing. People want to see an organization that's going to take care of them. And I think, again, COVID has done a big slap in the face for people that have realized like okay, I give eight hours per day to an organization, they actually don't really care about me. I can be replaced like this. If I die tomorrow there'll be a job advert next week to just replace me.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I want an organization that not only is aligned with my personal goals of what I believe the world should become, and I want an organization that's taking care of my wellbeing, whether it's like a mantel of physical wellbeing within the organization. Those are the two biggest trends we see. Then the standard kind of logical one, we see learning career, like I want to grow, I want to develop myself and so on. As something like are like the big trends in terms of the values of generations that are, let's face it, younger than us.
Stine:: I thank you.
Stine:: We started talking a little bit about GDPR and you also said that it's kind of like you just have to live with it like COVID. This is Nico's word, not me. And that especially for compliance and culture and HR, this is just the new normal. Can you talk a little bit about what it is that you see and how things are on recruitment side of things?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yeah, exactly, my line with you earlier on was like GDPR is like COVID. It's here, so you can decide that hey no it doesn't exist, like the three monkeys, and basically it's going to be shit. Or you can decide to be aware of it, get a vaccine, or have a tool like Openli or like somebody that helps you with GDPR because it's basically here and it's going to stay here. If you're not looking into it, you're fucked, and it's going to be very costful. It's just going to hurt.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So in terms of recruitment, that's really where it's hitting HR the most, because usually anyway once you're inside an organization they have all your data, right? Date of birth, social security number, address and everything. They need to be like obviously not putting it on the dark web and everything but not many companies know how to do that.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: But on the recruitment side of things, that's when really GDPR's hit everyone in the face because before you just would receive a CV, and I'm like the generation where we would still receive letters and fax, but you would receive a CV via email, it will go in your applicant tracking system and that's it. You had the CV forever and it didn't really matter, you could contact the person or not, I mean it was very, very simple. You were not even asking for consent when you would have the reply, it was just the reality of it. Everything was built for the organization to be in a position of power, basically.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: But as you know way more than me, GDPR is very much changed, it's like you need to collect consent, you need to accept, you need to tell the person that if they want to be pulled out of the database they can. How long are they going to be in the database, who's having access to these database? I mean, all these data.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: If we're being bluntly honest, I think anyone here can even do a very, very simple test, even if you're not looking for a job send a CV to a company and see what they're gathering in terms of data and see what they're going to reply and everything, and you're not going to get the answers that you probably legally should get.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Every single organization, I mean I'm being French here, but I would say 90% of the organization are just not GDPR ready when it comes to the recruitment side of their business. And that's as well basically because of the ATS, the applicant tracking systems are not ready because most of the big ones, you know Greenhouse and everything, they're all US-based. So they look at GDPR as like yeah, sure, that's a nice to have. We don't really have to look into this right now. The European ones like [Tim Taylor 00:22:13], [Rick Trudy 00:22:15] and everything, they're local so they had to look into it way more and they're more GDPR ready.
Stine:: So where are we today, in your opinion, in terms of how compliant are companies starting to be when it comes to recruitment?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I think in Scandinavia we're not bad, because in general we're just ahead of the rest of the market. But if I look at my home country, if I look at south Europe, if I look at the UK... Although, the UK now being outside of EU, do they still have to do GDPR or not?
Stine:: Well, they have to do UK GDPR, which is a copy of the GDPR but with small tweaks and as time goes what we'll see is that those two pieces of legislation will probably start to differ. It's going to get more and more complicated, and if you are in the EU and let's say that you're getting applicants from French employees or potential employees, well then you're getting data about European citizens. So not only do you have to comply with the UK GDPR you actually also have to comply with GDPR. All of a sudden it's two rules that you need to abide by, making recruitment even more complex.
Stine:: On top of that, China just came out with new legislation about privacy. You have Japan with very specific legislation. US is getting more and more. And if we're talking about recruitment, you're getting employees from all over the world.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yes, you are, you are. But my CV, even I not knowing this, my understanding is that if I'm based in Denmark what I need is to follow the Danish rules of GDPR even if my candidate comes from the US, but that's not the case, I need to...
Stine:: You still need to abide of course with GDPR. The problem is that a lot of the legislation, like we have in the USA, if you're getting data about European citizens you have to comply with GDPR, if you're also based in the US. [crosstalk 00:24:15] legislations outside of Europe have similar rules. Meaning, if you're getting CVs and applications from candidates, let's say, Australia. You will [crosstalk 00:24:27] abide by Australian privacy laws together with European.
Stine:: Now it's becoming super tricky, right, because now you have all of these rules and that is complex. As of like for the ones that are recruiting outside, I can tell you when we were at Trustpilot, as an example, we started recruiting in the US. We did it as we did in Denmark. People had the opportunity to upload a picture of themself. This is a major no-go because if you're getting a picture from a person, you'll be able to see the color of the skin very easily.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Exactly. Welcome to discrimination.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yeah.
Stine:: And therefore, we had to erase all applications that we had received where it was possible to upload a picture, because otherwise... Then we had to write to the candidates and say, "Thank you dear candidate, we love the fact that you applied, but we had to delete your resume and your application because it was possible to include pictures. We don't want to discriminate, this is very important for us, so we kindly ask you to reapply." And you're just thinking...
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Which is shit, I mean it's shit candidate experience. So that's the big, what recruitment is juggling with is the most important thing nowadays in recruitment, because the market is completely open and it's super aggressive at the moment, I mean everyone is hiring. You need to juggle with I need this candidate experience to be as quick, as smooth and as amazing as possible. I need to collect the right data, because basically you need a CV. I'm not saying you need the name, the age and everything, that can come later on. But you need some kind of information about why should I talk with this person versus another person, you need to be obviously like we said GDPR compliant. Is my tool... Because recruiters are, in general, pretty smart but very, very lazy. Extremely lazy. I mean, let's face it. And they don't want to look at... I mean, my job is to hire people. I don't want to look if I'm GDPR compliant or all this kind of stuff.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: It's an absolute nightmare. I don't even think we are, we've just been hiring recently. I don't even think generally... Well, we don't use an ATS so at least there is that, but I don't think we are fully GDPR compliant. When you asked about where do you think companies are, I think most of them... Again, we're going to the like you don't know what you don't know, I think most of them think that they are oh no, we are okay and everything, but if you start digging they're probably not. They probably have some issues at some point, even about the picture.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: If you look at just even on top of it, like per country, per region you have CV culture, right? There is like some CVs where you're going to put your name, your age. In Denmark, people put their age, if they're married and if they have kids and everything. That's very standard. First when I moved here I was like why are you telling me this? This is just... But this is what people do.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Now, is it okay to have this data in terms of GDPR? I mean, as long as the person gives consent then you can, but yeah. It's an absolute sea monster that most people don't know the extent of and are not ready for.
Stine:: You've gotten a few questions, Nico. One of them is how powerful, would you say, that the business approach of compliance grows? Which advantages would a business have to go from the get-go?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I don't think it should even be your business approach, I think that's the only way of doing business. And you could remove compliance but saying ethically or morally right, because basically-
Stine:: Doing the right thing is what we normally say.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Exactly, it is like doing the right thing. Are you doing the right thing from the get-go in terms of recruitment, in terms of letting people go? I mean let's be bluntly honest, when you hire people, we've just had interviews with that. We have lovely people we're hiring and they're like, "Where do you see the company being in five years and everything?" And again, I like to be bluntly honest and I tell them like, I don't really remember the last time I met somebody that stayed five years in an organization. If you're being bluntly honest, right? People stay for two to three years.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So my job is not really to bullshit you, my job is to make sure that everything we do is together as a relationship or like an employer, an employee, within the next two to three years is within the right thing, doing the right thing. So on your onboarding, on your promotion or not. Even in letting you go.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: You let go of people, people resign, but you let go of people as well. Then there's a right way of letting go people, there is like people should never, ever be surprised of being let go. That's the the one most important thing, right? There's been discussions, they've been looked at a performance plan or something like this. I mean unless somebody comes drunk naked, punch somebody in the office, then I guess it's okay to let somebody go on the spot.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So I think this compliance first, it's not a business approach, it is the only way of doing business. Any other way of doing business is negative and toxic to your business you're going to fail. It's as simple as that.
Stine:: I think something related to actually telling the world about it. Promoting it, branding it, doing it, and leveraging that advantage. Because I know, and you and I completely agree on this, it's the only way to do business, but it's not how everybody's doing it. So there is a competitive advantage, would be my claim.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: The problem I perceive on this is that it could be perceived as bullshit branding. That's my only thing. If you start saying like hey, we're the only one doing the right thing, we're amazing and everything, is it true or are you just basically again doing bullshit branding?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I try to do the right thing and then having people talk about how we do things, than me doing videos on LinkedIn saying, "Hey, I'm a good employer, I take care of my people." I mean god, no, I want to punch myself in the face.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So I believe, yes, it's how you brand this. Not to look as some kind of we do things better than they do. You know what I mean? So yes about the communication, very much the how. I'm not sure on the how we do this, how do we go forward in communicating this? But I generally think it's the best and the only way to do the, like you said from the get-go, that's what we've done, that's what you've done as well. We've literally tried systematically, what is the best for the organization within how do we do things right, from day one.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: It's not always easy, I mean it's probably easier to cheat on many, many things, with employment, with contracts. If we're being honest as well it's super complicated to run a business, I mean there's so many things on the compliance aspect of things. But it's the only way, in my mind.
Stine:: Had a question about in your opinion, what are the three actions to take in order to promote compliance culture in a company? So I'll let you answer first and then I'll be happy to add a few sentences, but go ahead.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Culture within an organization, it's not the words you put on wall. So if you start putting hey we have compliance on the wall, that probably means there's a problem with compliance in the first place? Let's be very honest. Culture is not just words we drop and we say like hey, this iso your culture, this is what we do. Culture is actions and behavior and communication that you had basically from everyone. Like yes, as a leader I have a bigger impact on the culture of the organization, but every single person working in a company impacts the culture of an organization.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So it's about putting forward how we do things a certain way, compliance, ethically, morally the right thing. It's about communicating openly. Transparency, again, comes very closely with compliance. It's about doing the right things, celebrating doing the right things and flagging things that we feel this is not the right behavior, those are not the right actions, this is not the right things that we want to do in this organization.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Three actions, to me, again, it's one, it's walk the talk. If you say something, you do that thing. And again, being bluntly honest around hey we fucked up. We did a fuck-up on this one, raise a hand, we fucked up, this was not compliance, we've cut corners and everything, what do we learn from this? And share transparently with the organization.
Stine:: Agreed. I think one of my learnings, so as I was heading up compliance and privacy and governance and all that at Trustpilot, and we were rolling all these learning programs out, e-learning, messaging and all that. I think one of the biggest learnings were if you want to implement a new behavior, it's all good and fine to write a piece of documentation, which compliance managers love. And then you spread it into your organization and you ask them to read it and sometimes you ask them to confirm that they've read it, otherwise on some other times you just put it on the internet or Slack or whatever it might be. But the thing is, that does not drive any change in behavior. None whatsoever.
Stine:: It can be good in terms of alignment with management in saying okay, is this the policy that we want to have as a company? I think that is where the policies actually do make a positive impact and where they're really important.
Stine:: Once that has been established, it's about the actual daily tasks that are associated with that policy. So let's say that you're creating a policy about diversity. We want to be a diverse company or we want to... we care about privacy, privacy is important for us as a company, and therefore we have this employee privacy notice.
Stine:: That really isn't the first way of actually getting that promoted within the business. It is, for example when you start onboarding employees. You tell them, for example meet them at the coffee station and you tell them by the way, any questions you have about privacy and what we're doing with your data, I'm the person. This is just as an example.
Stine:: Now you've built a relationship with the employee, but the employee's actually been told. Then it's about continuously making changes in the way that you're carrying out your business. It's implementing like approaches and procedures so that it actually differs and so that you're telling people continuously what's going on.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So we agree on the communication. I obviously didn't bring up like putting policies in place and everything because I think it's a massive pain in the ass but I appreciate that it's obviously very important and you should do it.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: The policy, like I've heard Dennis that talked about using the word ethic and culture depending on where you're from, culture and everything, and I think it's a good point. I will still use ethic because I'm a very stubborn person, Dennis.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I think those policies, those guidelines, or those like how we do things, you should have it written. It should be written. Like an employee book or something like this. However, I very much agree with you, people don't fucking read things. They don't.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Even if you put hey you need to click to say that you've read it, yeah, you're going to scroll down. It's like I saw this amazing meme the other day, like the cure for cancer could be in the second page of the acceptance GDPR thing, like we wouldn't know because nobody reads it, you just scroll down and say I agree.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So yes, to have the policy so that when you discuss and you talk openly with your organization saying if you want to... It's actually written somewhere. It's not just me talking the good game and everything, it is written somewhere. But having somebody that specialize writing those is very, very important as well, because otherwise you are not compliant when you write your own policies within the organization.
Stine:: Then I think another learning is that management should always go forward. They are the ones that should be the good examples. They are the ones that should be talking about why this is important and showing it. If it isn't anchored with management, how can you expect that the employees will follow you?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Otherwise it's always the same, it's do what I say not what I do. And that's how you create basically a non-culture, you create like they're saying stuff, I don't believe them. You create politicians, basically. Which is like the worst thing you can have in the culture of an organization. It's like yeah we have guidelines, we have policies and everything, but we know that the top is not doing it. They're saying they're doing it but they're not acting on it.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: And at the same time, I'll go back to what I said, we are humans, fuck-up happen, and that's where true leadership goes up, when you're like okay, we fucked up. I fucked up on this, on this, on this. How do we learn from this and how do we make sure that it doesn't happen again? What do we put in place to make sure that it doesn't happen? This is more purely on the HR retention than on the recruitment side of things.
Stine:: Now you started to talk a little bit about retention, because I think that is, right now, as important. We're talking about everybody looking for employees, it's one of the biggest areas right now, if you're looking. Everybody is screaming for tech resources and getting people and stuff. But, more importantly is actually retaining the good employees.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yeah, but what is a good employee, Stine?
Stine: Yeah, but employees, right? And then in that regard, how much is the right culture and doing the right thing impacting that?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Doing the right thing is always going to be the right thing to retain people. And it's going to play a big, big part in the retention of talent. If you, again, walk the talk. As long as people are not surprised and disgruntled by hey the company's saying ABC but they're doing XYZ, then you're fine.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: The new black in audit is auditing culture and that includes ethics. Auditing culture is basically what we do, but I'm not sure about audit, because audit, the problem with the words and here we're probably going to have Dennis jump in like, "Hey I studied philosophy so it's not the right thing to say," but the problem with the word test, audit and everything, is that when you audit something there's a right or wrong, when you test something there's a right or wrong, you fail or not. In my mind there's no good or bad culture, there is bad behaviors, right?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I know, but I worked at Revolut and I should say actually I survived Revolut, and Revolut was a lot in media around terrible culture and terrible work-
Stine: Can you give a few words for the ones that don't know Revolut?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Revolut is an absolute massive unicorn in fintech that has a terrible, terrible, terrible reputation around the culture and the employees because they basically don't care about their people, they just hire, fire, like it's just basically it's same people as a lemon that you squeeze, get the best out of, and then just throw away. Their retention is absolutely horrendous.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Now, why I didn't say it was a bad culture, genuinely, is it was a nightmare for me because it's not aligned with my values, the way I want to see people treated or do the right things and everything. However, there are still people working there that I know that are friends that are enjoying these type of cutthroat KPI, like it's all about performance and everything. Like Wolf of Wall Street, terrible way of looking at culture.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: But to some people that's a good culture. That's why I'm saying in very black and white way, there is no good or bad culture, there is the wrong spot for you as a person. You're not in the right organization. Did I lose you, Stine? No, you're still here.
Stine: No. Just listening.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So retention of talent. There's lots of stuff to touch upon this. First of all, do I want to retain everyone? Should I retain everyone? Like you said I should retain my top talent, but what is my top talent? How do we define top talent? Is it purely on performance, is it on happiness of the person?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I mean obviously performance is, at some point, we need to look at it couple we're not doing NGOs, right? It's a business, there needs to be performance and everything. Is it like... Because if it's only performance and the person is actually toxic to the rest of the organization do we forget about the performance? At what stage do we accept that performance is okay with not being the best with everyone in the organization? That's the first thing.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So you have a 9 box, you have lots of ways of looking at retention based on talent and then performance, and based on like potential of the person and everything. I'm a big, big believer that the person, I think a positive impact with the people around them, like kind of a team player, the term that everyone is using, is almost more important than the performance because you can have some people that are not your top performer but they make people around them better. Like Zidane in football, let's go football. Like Zidane in football. He was amazing obviously, but he made people around him look fucking amazing as well.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: And you need people like this in your organization. Usually those people like this in your organization are the people that are the most aligned with the culture of the organization. Now we're going back to retention and culture. So doing the right thing to me is not a question of culture, it's a question of that's the way you should run your business, do the right thing in terms of being compliant, again sorry Dennis, but being ethically, morally, doing the right thing. Then that might be different between doing it in Denmark and the US and France, I completely agree with you, but at least within your sphere of that's the way we want to do things... At least if you're clear about that's what's important to us as an organization here in this company, right?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Then yes, the culture, like what is the culture of our organization, let's be very clear that the moment you hit a certain number, like 20, 30 people, you will have subcultures and you need to understand the subculture of the organization because you will not have the same culture in sales in legal if you have a big team of legal or in tech or in product and everything, and you need to understand all those subcultures within your organization and see do we want complete alignment when it comes to retention, do we want to change and generate a different subculture within the organization by bringing people in?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I'm not a big believer that you should always fight to retain everyone, even top talent. When we have people starting at Platypus, one of the first thing I tell them, and I tell them like everyone in the company, if somebody calls out for a job offer, take the call. Always take the call, always.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: And I should have, I should say, "No, no, put it down, and tell us who it is," and I'm going to scare them and reach out. No, but take the call, it's super important to know, for you to understand why do you still want to stay in the organization? I don't want you to stay in the organization if you don't feel this is the right spot for you to stay, and if you don't feel it's the right spot to stay you should tell me because maybe we can change things or maybe we're just cogs, but it's again, we're going back to compliance, transparency, honesty, being just bluntly honest about what is it we are, how do we do things, is it the right spot for you or not, and like companies that are saying, "Oh yeah, we retain 99% of our talent."
Nico Blier-Silvestri: First of all it's not true, let's be honest, you're playing with the numbers. And second thing, is this actually the right thing? Because you can't go and say, "It's great to create diversity and change your way of thinking within the organization and say we retain everyone." That's not how evolution is working. Evolution is working by bringing new things and then it makes your company evolve and become something hopefully better.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So fighting systematically for retention, no. Doing the right thing when it comes to retention for the culture of your organization, yes. I talked a lot.
Stine: Maybe my last question and then... Dennis is adding another few questions. But what I would just go and maybe just ask of you before we either leave the floor to the participants, for you if you have anything, that you want to have across. Can you talk a little bit about what you see for the future in terms of compliance and culture and the way things are developing? In terms of recruitment, HR, retention.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I think like you said, doing the right thing, again, because of COVID, has never been more important than now. Like I've seen so many organization even here in Denmark when COVID started to hit, when put stuff in place where you could let people go and we will cover and everything, they just jumped on this. And there's a lot of companies that I know, that you know, that did not financially have to do it. But they just jumped on it because it allowed them to hey you know what, let's get rid of our bottom 20% performers. Is that the right thing to do? Absolutely not. It's really not the right thing to do. This is going to bite them back in the ass because people don't forget and they don't forgive, and in the age of social media, people talk about reputations of organization and culture of an organization.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: So I think what I like, there's many things that are toxic with social media, I hate Glassdoor because Glassdoor to me is just a massive amount of shit data that... I could just right now write a review about Openli, I've never worked there, and just destroy Openli online. It's like, you cannot trust Glassdoor but Glassdoor was the first dinosaur around give the voice to the people, let the people talk about what is it that organizations are doing.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I believe that with tools like Platypus, companies won't have the opportunity to bullshit anymore, to bullshit branding. That's what people want to see, they want to know is that the right organization for me in terms of what is important to me?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: We're going to see a massive change in terms of even if you think about compliance doing the right thing, this whole remote or hybrid work is opening so many things in terms of compliance of what is compliant or not compliant. If I have somebody not coming in the office, yes they are my employees but what can I ask or not ask of them? Do I need to provide a new desk? What are the things that I can, should, or must do? And we just started scratching the surface of this.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I don't believe that there was the US again going super fast into like yeah, the future is remote. I don't believe the future is remote, I believe the future is hybrid. Some people like to come to the office, other people don't. I think this whole diversity of how I want to perceive myself working in this organization, that's the future. And that opened so many doors in terms of again, the legality of this, they're like what is compliant, not compliant.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: On the recruitment side of things we see that things are becoming harder and harder and harder in terms of what data do I gather, what can I keep and what should I cannot keep? The people that are going to win are the ones that are going to be bluntly genuine, honest and transparent about what do we do and how we do this. Like if you apply to that job, this is what we're going to keep, this is what we're going to use, and this is what we might need from you later on. As long as you're transparent, I think you're going to win that war.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: The big companies where it takes like an absolute... the ones that are like asking you can you upload your CV and then they ask you again to upload shit loads of information, they're going to lose. People are not going to want to apply.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I mean, I've read a great article the other day, there was an increase of drop of 23% of applicants when there was one more click added, from five to six clicks to apply to a job. And that's insane because we became very lazy, we want everything faster and easier and everything, so how do you juggle this super fast and easy with we need to be compliant, GDPR and so on?
Stine: So guys, Dennis, Mattias, Pierre and all the other ones, feel free to shoot questions at Nico. The floor is yours. I can see that there is amazing conversations going on about ethics.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: I love it. Ethic philosophy is fucking amazing.
Stine: So I think I can see that there are still conversations about where they're saying you have to comply with the law and the law is still the law. It's another topic but let's avoid it. Regarding whether it's good or bad or the place you are, but ethical is to understand the context of the law and the positivity impact and implementation. Right?
Stine: So I think what we're just saying here, and we think it's amazing that we have these types of conversation. It's a little different for Matt but the conversation about the importance of compliance and culture needs to be not only in this little forum but also at company level.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yeah.
Stine: That is something that everybody who is sitting and listening, and me and Nico as founders and CEOs, you need to have these conversations on the board level, on the management level, because it's so important.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: It's, again, ethic, moral compliance. It's like let's simplify it for now because if we start talking about philosophy and everything it's too early to have a glass of wine and I can't do philosophy without a glass of wine. But it is like let's keep it simple by doing the right things, are we doing the right things? And obviously you have, you must follow the law, but on top of the law, because the law not systematically you look at all the common case and everything, are we doing the right thing in the organization, in the way we want to build this organization? And it's the right thing by the employees.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: One that's, for instance, I think a lot if I bring one specific subject at the moment in the media, it's like the maternity cover versus the paternity cover. And do you want to do the right thing about offering the same amount of weeks to the father than the mother in the organization? Here you can just play by the law, you could, or you can decide that morally, ethically, sorry Dennis I keep on going back, but do I want to do the right thing? And what are your beliefs within the organization of doing the right things? Those are great discussions to have within leadership in an organization.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: It's all those things that need to be brought up. I think as a leader, I assume Stine as well, to me it's even more important when it's my people that are coming up with this subject and bringing this up. It's like this is important to us. What are we doing about this? Are we doing the right things about this? LGBT+ community, how do we address needs of minority groups within the organization? Do you, are you looking into it? Is it something that you park? Is it doing the right things or not?
Nico Blier-Silvestri: And doing the right thing is very much depending of what you feel is the right thing, so that's why this, because what I feel is the right thing is my Nico way of looking at it. I try to be as open as possible in what I think should be the right thing for the organization but I don't know what I don't know. So unless I have these conversations going with my 25 employees about what do you think is the right thing and what should we put in place in terms of compliance and doing things in the organization? Then it's going to be a Nico company and I don't want to build a Nico company.
Stine: Cool. On that note, unless there are any other questions, I just want to say thank you so much for joining, Nico. Amazing as always.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: It was fun.
Stine: And thank you so much guys for listening in and participating. I promised Nico that we had active participants and Ned, as always, which is amazing. Please keep them coming, and really enjoyed having you here Nico.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Yes.
Stine: I actually think we'll do another round at another time to really talk about remote, this is something that is very much up in the air. How do you combine compliance and remote workers and what do you do? But if anybody else has anything that you want us to talk a little bit about, well, looking forward to it. And I can see I love your idea, Dennis. And looking forward to having that conversation.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Thank you all. If you want to reach out easily to find on LinkedIn, Nico Blier-Silvestri, platypus.io.
Stine: Amazing. Thank you guys. Bye.
Nico Blier-Silvestri: Ciao.