Welcome to another chapter of the Employee Spotlight series! Join us today as we enjoy a ‘cuppa’ with Kristy Dean, Head of People & Culture at Perform Partners. In her role, Kristy is nurturing the Perform Culture and inspiring our people. Read on to find out more about how she is looking after our colleagues day-to-day and what are her plans for the future.
It’s very varied, which I enjoy very much. I joined Perform in a brand new role for myself and the organisation so alongside getting to know the team, I created a mind map of all the items related to our People and Culture. From there, I agreed the first few months’ priorities with our Founders and started to add to the existing foundations with new initiatives.
I love project work and with my career background in Business Analysis, each day brings new opportunities to collaborate with different team members! I’m not particularly a fan of BAU (Business As Usual) and I feel very fortunate to have a great team supporting me. When we get to a point with a project where we have built some foundational processes, we’ve tested them and we know they are repeatable, my People & Culture team do a great job of looking after those processes in BAU. This allows me to move on to the next project and then the next project, revisiting implemented processes where applicable to provide improvements based on the team’s feedback.
There are elements of administration in my day to day, I think every role has that, and we’re working on ways of being able to distribute and grow our team to support the business.
Since April 2022, so just over a year.
From day one, we weren’t sure whether this role would be enough to fill a day. Based on my Business Analyst background, we were thinking about doing 50% customer facing, business analyst work and 50% People & Culture ‘stuff’ as I have always enjoyed the journey of understanding people, their drivers and what role culture plays in a business setting. But as the conversations evolved, it was becoming clear that I wasn’t going to do customer facing work because within the first month or so, I had mapped everything out!
So far in the Perform Partners journey, the business has been super amazingly focused on customers and customer delivery and working with contractors. The Founders also recognised that we needed to build a permanent colleague base while retaining our culture. In addition to onboarding processes and recruitment, there are career path plans, learning and development opportunities, well-being and much more to think about.
Well-being, for example, is high on my priority list. We don’t want to do crisis management, we want to support people every single day, so that they feel they can do what they need to do rather than getting overwhelmed and becoming stressed. Being proactive rather than reactive is the key for us.
All in all, it’s an ever-evolving role. There’s so much to do.
I had a career as a Business Analyst (BA). I didn’t know I was a BA when I first started out on my journey of work. The manufacturing plant I worked at was being closed down and I needed to move on so I asked myself – what do I do? How do I define that so that I can apply for other places?, I ended up discovering that I was a BA and doing a further qualification through the British Computing Society. I worked at various places after that, mainly focussing on digital e-commerce solutions – it’s been a wild ride.
I became a People Manager at my previous company, and it wasn’t the experience that I really wanted as there were lots of restrictions around what we could do. I contacted the recruiter that placed me there and she set me up with a few conversations.
The first one I had with Shaun and Paul, I felt like there’s something there. They took a chance on me, and I took a chance on them. And I love it. The people are wonderful. The way that we interact is open and respectful. We’ve got a long way to go in some areas versus others, but it’s being part of that process and part of that journey that is just inspiring.
I love people – they are my passion and seeing people thrive, achieve, and fulfil their potential is just magical moments. I go out and speak at conferences and webinars, or I do events and I’ve had some people say to me: “Oh my God, that’s like really, really brave” or “I find that really intimidating”. The reason I do it is to show people that there’s a different way of working. You can bring yourself to work if you feel like you have an environment that will nurture you, so talking about how to create that environment is really a passion of mine. I think I’m in the right role now!
I’m a big reader and I appreciate different viewpoints. There’s a guy called John Amaechi. He’s got a book called ‘The Promises of Giants’. He physically, dimensionally, is a giant, but he talks about the impact that you have on others in that leadership space – for bad or for good. It’s a great book. I’m very much into emotional intelligence too, I have a practitioner certification in this and the person I trained with, Scott Watson, Mr. Emotional intelligence, is awesome.
From a more personal perspective, my brother was also a major inspiration. In 2010 he suddenly passed away in his early 30s and we received so many lovely messages about how he supported and encouraged the kids that frequented the Games Workshop branch he worked in. There are many ways Andy’s passing impacted me, Most of all, the importance of being kind and empathetic in every interaction as no one truly knows what is ahead of them.
The team. It has got to be the people. It might be the cheesiest thing in the world to say, but it’s true. The people that you work with make a massive difference. I do genuinely think we’re creating a culture together that will allow people to just be themselves and bring as much of themselves to work as they wish to.
I’ve got the age of 43 and I’ve never broken a bone in my body! That’s quite an achievement because I’m super clumsy!
On a more serious note, I think it might have been taking that leap to join Perform. It was something I debated over a good couple of months – it wasn’t a quick decision and I’m super proud of doing that. The Founders have been supportive of the things I want to do and where I want to take my journey.
General life advice that I stand by is to be curious and kind. You don’t know what’s happening in other people’s lives. Aim to approach every interaction with the awareness that every person is a human being, whether they’re behind a screen or whether they’re physically in front of us. Use your curiosity to ask open ended questions and check in when you recognise changes in someone’s behaviour. These are big ones for me.
And collaborative working where you all aim for progress over perfection! That’s probably another one to put into the mix – collaborative, curious and kind.
I am going to go with Human. Fundamentally, we’re all human, and I think that is underrated in the business world and particularly in the world of Tech.
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