Computer Futures

TECH Talks featuring Amanda Osuna Talent Development Leader

During a company acquisition, what happens to the company culture? Is there a blueprint or a manual to follow for the culture after an acquisition? In our latest TECH Talks, our VP, Danny Cohen, interviews Amanda Osuna, Talent Development Lead at Accruent. In her 5 years with the company, she has seen 19 different acquisitions and the impact each of them has had on the company culture at Accruent. Her fast career growth within the company has given her the unique opportunity to be apart of many employees' talent acquisition process and their talent development support in her latest role. Learn the mindset and the basic strategies on how to keep a strong company culture during an acquisition and beyond. 

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WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW >>

 

[DANNY]

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening everyone, and welcome to TECH Talks Sponsored by SThree and Computer Futures, TECH Talks was created out of the need for deep conversations that spotlight the voices of today, experts, thought leaders and technology leaders in our industry.

Our mission is to bring skilled people together to build the future. And this is what we're doing right now by sharing these exclusive interviews with business owners, experts in technology and executive leaders. within talent acquisition, we hope to navigate the fast-paced challenges happening in the marketplace today. So with no further ado, I'd like to introduce the star of the show, Amanda. Welcome, Amanda.

[AMANDA]

Thank you. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

[DANNY]

Me too. Me too. As you know, I've been trying to get you on here for so long. I'm so happy and proud that you could you agreed to do this because I know how busy you are. So just a little bit about Amanda so everyone can know about you. It's always nicer for me to tell it rather than about telling how good I am.

Amanda's focus has been on talent acquisition and culture, a much larger focus that includes employer branding, overseeing three departments culture, engagement, L&D, and internal communications. She started career in recruiting on the dark side with me. She's taken the opportunity to expand, her career to culture and engagement where she builds teams that create and sustain a strong culture, with a focus on challenge that needs to be resolved immediately.

She has a superpower for bringing the right people to the table. She credits a portion of her success to her internal crew where there were many opportunities for growth, as well as a lot of trust within the scope of each person's role, which makes for a very collaborative working forward. So there you go. There's Amanda, everyone! So, Amanda, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into talent acquisition and so forth?

[AMANDA]

Yeah, so I kind of fell into recruiting as I feel most people do. Right? It's not necessarily something you go to college or university and major in.

[DANNY]

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a recruiter.

[AMANDA]

Exactly. I actually wanted to be in human resources. I also didn't know anything about that either. But my best friend at the time, she was working at a staffing agency and she had graduated a year before for me. So she said, you know, you might be really interested in this recruiting seems like something that you'd be good at. And I was the president of my sorority. I also ran formal recruitment.

And so as silly as that may sound to some people, it actually helped translate really well into my experience with recruiting. So, yeah, I started at a local staffing agency here in Austin. I was there for about four years, started as the front desk coordinator, and worked my way up into, I think, five different roles.

[DANNY]

Wow!

[AMANDA]

Yeah and overseeing the corporate side of the team, so I hired internally, did a lot of our new hire training and then decided I just really wanted to be in the corporate world and actually work with some of the people that I got to hire and that's how I fell into Accruent and then five years later have had five different jobs, which has been quite the experience. Wow. So when you were navigating your way through, was it those five different jobs that were your focus to get to where you wanted to go or was it more about they've seen strengths in me? And they've seen passions in me, so I'm just going to move.

[DANNY]

Was it that kind of approach or, you know, was it going through what was best for you?

[AMANDA]

You know, I think that's one of the things I really love the most about Accruent is that they're very focused on what are your skillsets and strengths and helping you to find your career path and a career path. For most people, right. It's not straight. It's very zig-zagged. And I appreciate so much that Accruent let me grow into a lot of these roles.

I actually no longer am even part of the talent acquisition team. I passed that team off a couple of months ago to take over learning and development and communications. All a whole new challenge for me because my entire career has been recruiting. And so to not have that, it's just a completely different experience. And truthfully, I never even six months ago would have assumed that I would no longer be part of a recruiting team. It's just always been who I am and where my passion has laid first, right.

And so I think that's just the interesting thing is the more you get to explore, the more you realize what your passions really are. And I spent a good chunk of last year rolling out our new company competencies and values. And through that experience and through our manager training realized I really love training. I'm really passionate about it. I'm really passionate about helping our employees grow and learn and that really correlated nicely with learning and development.

So now a lot of those passions have shifted where it's like, OK, well what else can I do, what new challenges can I take on? And that was really tied to L&D. And then communication kind of came along with that, which is funny because I didn't realize it, but I had been doing communications for a year at Accruent. And so that's kind of where I am today. But, you know it's interesting, because life never works out the way you planned for,

[DANNY]

Yeah, of course.

[AMANDA]

It's worked out really well for my career to go in such a different direction than I assumed I would ever go.

[DANNY]

But in terms of, you've had a change of job in a pandemic. That's quite a lot to take. So what have you, in terms of yourself and what you're observing in the industry lately, seen as the biggest challenges you've faced in this unique position?

[AMANDA]

Yeah, that's a great question. And you do know me so well because it's exactly why I took this role, because I do love the idea of being able to develop our employees internally!

Now, after seeing them through the interview process. But, you know, it's interesting because I think one of the things that's come out of this that's been so positive that I wasn't anticipating is that we are a very global company and a lot of our offices have come to us through acquisition. So in the time span of Accruent we've done 19 acquisitions, which is significant. Right. And so that sometimes creates a lot of different types of culture or some misalignment with communications.

Through COVID, it's actually strengthened our communication because everybody is on this even playing field, everybody is getting the information at the same time. We 're having more of a regular communication cadence with our president. We're having more meetings and conversations and our events instead of being Austin or New Orleans focused they're for everybody in the company. And that's just a very different vibe than what we ever experienced from a culture standpoint. So, yes, there are terrible things about life and COVID, but that's actually been something that has very positively affected the company.

[DANNY]

You know, it's funny because I remember when we met, it was maybe about a year and a half ago talking about when you were acquiring new businesses and it was quite a big change. And I remember you were talking about the nuances between, because I obviously lived in Amsterdam for nine years and I was working with my duchies for so long and I loved it, absolutely loved it. But they're different to the UK, they're different to America. It is a massive difference. Yet you think, oh, no, we're all the same, which is the sort of message in a way which is really positive, but all the same. But actually there are major differences and I can imagine your experience with that because they're really your customers, aren't they? The people who work in there, yeah?

So in terms of the major project you've been doing, it sounds like the values was a really important part of that. How did it go in terms of actually rolling that out?

[AMANDA]

So we rolled that out, I think it ended in September of last year. The roll out is not the hard part. The hard part is phasing it into your everyday life and your day to day conversations and making sure it's coming up.

One of the things that we do during our company all-hands [meeting], we do a 'Fortive 9' recognition, so Fortive is as our parent company, we're Accruent but owned by Fortive. And so the the values are called 'Fortive 9,' but we recognize people at every all-hands for a job well-done or an outstanding, exemplary job with these values. So that's one way we also incorporate them into our interview process, as well as form interviews and then also just trying to make sure we sprinkled them throughout the day-to-day conversations.

One of the things that our team does is we have 'Inspiring Instances.' That's one of our values and then 'Courageous Call Outs,' which is also a value. Oh, I like that. Yeah, just diving into every week. Talk to us about something you did last week that was really inspiring for the team or someone or something someone else did. The 'Courageous Call Out' is great, because it's like...

[DANNY]

I'm stealing that! I'm literally writing it down right now. I'm going to be honest about it because I don't want you to think 'what's he writing down?'

[AMANDA]

No, go for it! But the 'Courageous Call Out' is probably my favorite because it gives people an opportunity to recognize their mistakes, to say, 'hey, this is actually something I did not do well last week and this is how I'm committing to change that in the future.'

So just as an example, I was supposed to have a hard conversation last week with someone and I chickened out and I didn't do it. So I told my team on Monday, 'hey, this is what I didn't do. This is my Courageous Call Out. Hold me accountable so you can ask me on Monday of next week if I did it. And I did it! I can check it off my list now.

[DANNY]

Well done. But did your staff go, 'Which one of us is she talking about?'

[AMANDA]

Haha! It was none of them!

[DANNY]

Did you you put that as a disclaimer because this isn't about you.

[AMANDA]

Of course it's not about you guys! Exactly. Exactly!

[DANNY]

So Accruent, how have they adjusted with the whole pandemic? Because what we've noticed is we've had to transform. We have had no choice, you know, deploying laptops to our entire company of 3000+ staff, going from aN office where you work in, to obviously, I haven't seen the office in God knows how long. So what have Accruent seen, and what have you seen working with Accruent working around the technology challenges?

[AMANDA]

Yeah, especially compared to other companies, especially not in tech. I think we're very lucky in the sense that we are able to work from home for the majority. I think our assessors are probably the only ones that can work from home as much. And some of them have started going back into the office, but you know it's been a struggle as far as understanding schedules, right? That was part of the beginning.

Because you have people who were working from home with children. You have people that are trying to virtually school their kids or home school them and then working with families or their spouses. You have people whose significant others may have lost their jobs, so they're struggling with. Also in general, like there's someone on my team who this is her first job. So can you imagine walking into a global pandemic as your first job out of college, trying to figure it out.

[DANNY]

When did she join?

[AMANDA]

She joined in late January. So, I mean, right before it happened. And now she has to figure out how to work from home, when she's very much an extroverted person. And she also has to figure out how to even be productive at home. And that's something that takes a long time to get skilled at. Right. And especially if you don't have a work from home space, that's going to be more of a struggle.

So I think at the beginning it was just challenging to figure out how to do it on your own first and then also balance that with your teams and make sure that you're still holding people accountable for metrics and results, but understanding that they're in a completely different world and it's really going to impact people very differently.

[DANNY]

Is this the lady who posted this on LinkedIn about you?

[AMANDA]

It is, actually, yes.

[DANNY]

I'm sorry I've got such a weird memory, but I do remember that because that was recently. And then she couldn't have been more thankful for the work you've done, not just the company, but how much you supported her.

And I want to lead this into you because we're coming to the end of the interview, but there's one thing that I think we've really struggled, we did such a good job at the beginning, but I think it's because of time we're now in that, you know, the first quarter every one was like 'in three months, we're probably going to get back to work.' Yeah. Mh, yeah? And so now, communication is so difficult. And you're right, we've come closer together more than ever we're communicating as a global business. But, you know, I'll give you a really bad example and you'll go, OK, I get it, hopefully you'll get what my point is. But there's a guy on Anchorman, the 'Wammy guy' and I got him to do a cameo for my staff, doing some shout outs, one for promotion, two for 5 year anniversaries, and then just some funny things. And I sent it out to the company, my group, at Computer Futures and said 'Very important email coming out in a moment.' And then the email came out and it said "Wammy" And then I also sent an email to my leadership. 'Make sure everyone watches this.' Because it's really funny. So then a week later, I ask half my staff. You know, just going around 'how well did you enjoy the video?' What? What video? So what had happened is, I think at the beginning everyone was like, give us information!

We want to know what's going on. And there's been a HUGE amount of information that everyone is quite tired. And they're in that second wave of like 'This is getting quite tiring now.' So how have you in terms of communication, because I think communication is everything, how are you engaging staff? What are you seeing as THE most important thing that you need to take as a lead within your organization?

[AMANDA]

I feel like this is a promo for Accruent.

[DANNY]

Beautiful! Brilliant!

[AMANDA]

Well, I think the biggest one was just, First of all, we hired an internal communications manager. And that was huge. So #1, putting the emphasis on internal communications. And that happened in April. And she has been instrumental in changing so many things about communication, making sure that we stay up to date. We have our president who's right now sending out weekly videos about our inclusion and diversity action plan that we're rolling out. So he's working on that or she's been working on that. She's also been working on streamlining all-hands.

We actually just started doing a leadership chat and that first one was today with our people team. But it's a leader with each of the C team members and they're doing a deep dive into their departments so people can get a really good piece of information about what's going on with every department versus an all-hands, where it's kind of like a highlight reel. Right, of very quick blurb of here's 5 minutes about what we're doing in each piece of the business, whereas the leadership chats are a full hour on what you're really getting to understand about the business.

So I think that's one of the pieces. And also just making sure we have things like manager calls, consistently scheduling those scheduling. We're doing courageous conversations. So that's tied to the I&D initiatives, just letting people talk and give information about some of their experiences and what they're feeling and what's going on in their world. So that's just a quick highlight of some of the things we're doing, but also rolling out a communication guidelines plan with our internal comms manager this year.

[DANNY]

I love it. I love it. Well, thank you so much. Before we kind of close off, if there was one thing you think all companies should do right now to really kind of challenge us and challenge the narrative around how best to communicate? How best to develop your staff?

If there's one thing you think we all need to be doing, given all the way things have changed so much in the world, what would your one thing and I don't want to put you on the spot, although I kind of have. But if there's one thing you would say, what would it be, Amanda?

[AMANDA]

Well, I'm going to pivot a little bit, and I'm not going to talk about the pandemic. But more about the racial injustice, and what's going on in the world. And I think people think they have a good understanding of how people are feeling. And I don't know that that's true. And I think a lot could be learned if we just listen more and really took the time to educate ourselves and understood what people are going through. And that's a big thing that we're trying to focus on as a company, is how do we just listen?

Because we don't know everything and we don't have all the answers. And that's OK to give ourselves that grace, but we also have to be willing to not be defensive, but just listen and be part of that conversation.

[DANNY]

Because then do you believe actions will come from that? Do you believe then there'll be a kind of like 'this is when and what we need to do it?'

[AMANDA]

Yeah, absolutely. I feel like if people have more of an open mind to listen and understand then they're not going to have all the answers right away, that it'll be much easier to solve the problem.

[DANNY]

I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for your time and everybody listening, Thank you so much for your time. As you know, this will be, the full interview will be on our website. It will be on all social channels, whether it be Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. But, Amanda, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it. I know how busy you are. I can't wait to see you again in person, but have a lovely day and thank you so much again. Thank you, you too. Take care!

Whether you’re a professional looking for a job or a business seeking highly skilled talent, the team at Computer Futures are here for you. By combining our local expertise and specialist market knowledge, we can provide expert recruitment and employment solutions across a range of IT markets.

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