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Episode 6: Refine Labs’ Megan Bowen chats about destination workplaces with Tanya Bakalov

Culture Corner - Episode 6: Refine Labs’ Megan Bowen chats about destination workplaces with Tanya Bakalov
HelloTeam is proud to welcome Megan Bowen, COO at Refine Labs, onto the Culture Corner Podcast! Listen as Megan and Tanya discuss ways to create a workplace that represents a talent destination for prospective workers, what those workers seek in modern companies, and how Megan’s decision to take a pay cut early on actually furthered her career. Check it out on Spotify, Amazon Music and more!

Podcast Guide

1:56 – Megan on her first job as an account manager, “I liked it because it was a little bit of everything, it was a little bit of sales, a little bit of customer service, a little bit of account management, little bit of training and professional development. And I found the challenges and kind of the variety of the work impactful.”

2:52 – On joining ZocDoc, “You know what, I’m going to take a pay cut, I’ll take a step back. And I want to join this company, because I really believe in what they’re trying to do here.” And some viewed that as maybe taking a little bit of a risk. But the way I saw it was I could get in at a startup. Even if I was objectively taking a step back, I thought you know what, I think I can figure out a way that this can accelerate my career.”

5:45 – Megan discusses becoming COO of Managed by Q, “I then had responsibility for marketing for sales, customer success operations. And looking at everything through my customer success lens was, for me, very impactful because I recognize the importance of the customer across each of these functions. And by taking that approach, we were able to make a lot of changes across all of those functions so that they were much more aligned.”

10:10 – Tanya speaks about current issues she sees in companies with turnover, “And it’s so relevant right now, we see retention and recruiting challenges across all of our customers. And as we recently also read in the media, 4.3 million employees did not go back to work in September, and have completely dropped out of the workforce. So talent retention is a huge part of what we do every day.”

12:05 – Megan on a key way to motivate retention,  “So one is really having a compelling vision and mission. This goes back to the why. Why does the company exist? What are we trying to do? Right? Even in the context of Refine Labs, we’re a marketing consultancy. We provide services to our customers to help them get more customers. But our broader vision and our broader mission is that we want to have a huge transformational change on how startups think about going to market and completely transform the way that they’re thinking about it, right? That bigger vision is compelling and exciting for people to get on board with.”

15:54 – In response to a question from Tanya about how Refine Labs displays itself as a talent destination, “We actually take a page out of our marketing framework playbook in being really upfront with what it’s like to work at Refine Labs. And so we have this page called before you apply, that has videos of all of our teammates that are answering really straightforward, basic questions about what their day to day is like, why they decided to join, what the biggest challenges are…”

18:28 – “And then I think a couple more pieces that are really critical to the whole talent destination concept, as well, is recognition and feedback and achievement and growth. And so I like to say that we have like a feedback on the fly culture, the goal is that we’re always providing feedback as things happen. But we do have formal feedback sessions every 90 days, people crave feedback.”

21:05 – Megan on making surveys for her company, “And so first is, when you’re thinking about designing the survey, I like to include a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions. It’s important to have some quantitative measures so that you can actually take a look at trends over time.”

22:48 – “One of the questions we have is, do you see yourself here in two years? And it’s okay, if the answer is no, like, I’m not here to keep everybody at the company forever. That’s not the point, right? You know, we all have our chapters, and some will be longer than others, it’s wanting to actually get a real sense of what’s going on.”

25:34 – “One of the things we actioned on from the last quarterly survey was actually mapping out career pathing. People wanted to understand how they could grow and what that looked like. And what was important to us was to not only map out, maybe a traditional career path of getting into management, but also having a career path that didn’t rely on that for people that either don’t prefer -or are not necessarily good at – managing people.”

28:51 – Megan on one of her favorite books about management, “I’ve been recommending to people this book called Brave New Work [by Aaron Dignan]. And one of the reasons I like it is it talks a lot about not being beholden to old school or traditional hierarchies, or org charts or modes of operating a business or a company. It has this great analogy and it talks about a comparison between streetlight controlled intersections and roundabouts, and how street light controlled intersections are really based on compliance.

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