Customer stories

Interview with Pablo Garcia, Managing Director of Expleo’s Stockholm office

Post by
Marcus Castenfors
Interview with Pablo Garcia, Managing Director of Expleo’s Stockholm office
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Marcus: Hi Pablo, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Could you start by telling the audience a bit about yourself and your role?

Pablo: I’ve been specializing in Quality Assurance (QA) for the last 20 years. I am now the Managing Director of Expleo’s, a global consultancy firm, Stockholm Office.

Marcus: I heard a rumor that you have the lowest attrition rate within the entire Expleo Group. Is that true? What is your secret to success?

Pablo: Oh, yes, we have. Well, there are different things that are our secret to success. The first thing is that we use metrics to measure the happiness within the office, thanks to Hapkey. We follow up all the time on how people feel, how they are, and that gives us the chance to make swift counter-actions in case someone needs extra support. 

We use Hapkey this way: we send out the survey every week on Fridays, and on Mondays we review the data within the management team. 

From the dashboard, we automatically see the people that have a lower happiness index. It will also be apparent who didn’t respond, and that is data in itself. They could have forgotten to respond but it could also mean that they might have an issue. 

So, the first action from the management meeting is that I personally follow up on the ones that need attention. I normally have between 0 and 2 calls per week. It’s simple, I just give them a call and say, “How are you doing?” and they go: “Yeah, I'm fine” or “I'm not fine” and I ask: “What's happening? Why?” and then I try to be as useful as possible. 

In my experience by proactively reaching out, you get closer to your employees. You understand them better, and you call them the moment when they need you. But sometimes, I get “I hate my assignment” and I go: “Why?”. By having meaningful conversations, I will understand the underlying problems better and have more insight on how I can recommend certain solutions. If you don't have the data or the conversations, you don’t know where the problem is and how to fix it. 

I have to tell you, Marcus, last week, we got the international results from the yearly Best Place to Work survey. More than 10 000 employees from offices in 35 countries responded. What’s amazing is that the Stockholm office was rated the highest within the entire group, 87%, way beyond other offices.

Marcus: And how do they measure the state of the workplaces in other offices?

Pablo: They measure it by using Great Place to Work. It’s an organization-wide, once a year, survey. But that only gives you information once per year. It's too late, you know? We use Hapkey every week.

Marcus: Okay. So, you have 87% at the Great Place to Work. What's the number 2?

Pablo: I can't say but I saw a team with 78%.

Marcus: And what did people at Expleo say when they look at the number from the Stockholm Office?

Pablo: I actually had some calls. People are asking me “What do you do?” or “How do you do it?

Marcus: And what do you say?

Pablo: Foster a culture of respect and where people help each other. And I also say -- follow up -- , always follow up with your employees to understand their situations and problems that they might face.

I mean, the real reason why we started with Hapkey is because I wanted to create a tool on my own, you know that, Marcus. I wanted to create a tool because you want to see when the level of happiness goes down over time. I mean, if it goes down for a month or two months, then you know you have a problem. And if you don't have a measurement, you will not have insight.

Suddenly, the best people might leave your company, and then everybody else starts to leave. The value of companies such as ours is in our people, our consultants, our employees.

To keep the value of your company, you need to continuously work on the happiness within the organization.

Marcus: You’ve been measuring happiness prior to using Hapkey, could you share a few stories of your past experiences with the metric?

Pablo: Yeah. I have never been able to measure it as methodically as we can now. Before, we had a happiness index in Excel sheets.

For example, I worked at a large corporation with 20 test managers or something like that, and I was the head of QA. Every week, we had a meeting and at the end of it, everyone would fill in their happiness index numbers. We also created graphs to show the data over time. 

By measuring happiness, I saw right away that this is one of the best methods to keep your people. If you want to keep your people, you have to keep them happy, and by keeping them happy, you have to know what's happening in their professional lives.

Marcus: And Hapkey, contrary to other pulse tools out there in the market, is not anonymous. So, what's your opinion regarding anonymous surveys vs. non-anonymous surveys?

Pablo: The non-anonymous surveys will give you an overarching score, and you can look at it over time. If it goes down one month, then you can, for example, have a meeting and discuss the root cause and get voices heard. But Hapkey helps you not even get to that point when it’s an actual problem.

Marcus: So what I'm taking away from this is that you use Hapkey as the indicator, but the tool sparks meaningful conversations. You marry both the quantitative and qualitative aspects. You combine both sides.

Pablo: You are completely right.

Marcus: Let’s say there is a reader out there who’s a team lead, what advice would you give him or her to make their team happier?

Pablo: Follow-up and measure at least weekly the happiness index. It will make your team much stronger. And I would suggest starting off with Hapkey. You get 2 weeks for free. That will give you at least a hint if the tool is what you actually need. You'll see the benefits, and Hapkey’s cost is almost nothing compared to the benefits you will receive.

Marcus: What problems do you think Hapkey solves?

Pablo: Hapkey solves the problem that you don't have to recruit new people all the time. As I said, the value of companies during this day and age is in the minds of the people you have employed. 

I have seen companies that have an attrition rate of 47-50%, meaning that half of the employees will leave during a year. Every 2 years, you've actually employed the whole company again. 

At the Stockholm office, we have employees who have worked here for many years, at least from 2011. That is 10 years. And they still continue to grow, and they’ve found a role where they're happy.

I think that's the way to build a great company, having a long term view of more than 1 or 2 years ahead. I look at this company and I strive for it to be well, alive, strong, and making money for the next 20 years.

I would say that is the fundamental problem Hapkey helps solve: you will have a more sustainable business.

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