How to lead people and teams in a digital world? Learn from the best.
That’s why we interviewed Rani Verschoor, Organisational Development Lead at N26. Within her role, she plays a critical part in maintaining a healthy growth of the organisation by supporting and maintaining a high-performance culture through this change.
Rani has 7+ years of experience in hyper-growth environments. Before joining N26, Rani was leading the HR department in a small startup and worked at Zalando for multiple years where she led one of the recruitment teams for the Berlin offices. Next, to work, Rani loves to travel, play music, cook and also take her dog Jamie (also Chief Cuddle Officer @N26) out for long walks in nature. Here’s what she told us.
T: What’s the role of technology in HR?
R: Technology can provide solutions for complex problems and take care of routine tasks that enable resources in an HR department to focus on the moments that truly matter. Not only in core HR processes (where this is an absolute must) but Technology can also deliver in terms of providing a great experience for all your customers.
T: How do you structure an organisation with an employee-centric culture?
R: Employee centricity I believe does not come from structure but mindset and your core values. You need to define for yourself how you define your culture and what role the employee plays in that. Once that is established, you can take this into account when making decisions and also when launching initiatives that drive this forward.
T: Which are the critical elements of diversity and inclusion strategies?
R: Very simple: You need to do it. A lot of times I observe people debating about it, but not doing much. And do not get me wrong: I am very happy to be living in times where we are aware and where we see people of influence taking this seriously. However, sometimes I do think the power is in our daily actions, no matter what role you play within the organisation. Same for inclusion: How inclusive are you? Do you tolerate the people you work with on a daily basis or do you accept them for who they are?
T: What is your biggest challenge when managing talents?
R: At N26 we are growing a lot as an organisation. Being a unicorn now, we are strongly investing in becoming a global player and growing very quickly. We know though, that we can’t retain talent if you do not invest in them. Therefore this year we are also further investing in our talents by also setting up structures (f.e. Promotion process) that can help our people to truly invest in their own career while making a great contribution to N26.
T: Which are the simple tactics for turning Employee Feedback into a Habit?
R: It might sound simple, however, I have also learned over the years that the simple things are not necessarily easy to do. Having a culture of feedback takes time to accomplish, especially since giving feedback (good and bad) in a constructive manner shows also maturity. In younger organisations, a lot of times people struggle with this. I think a great start is driven by the leaders in the organisation where they set an example of giving feedback and of course, also give the opportunity for employees to give feedback to them. Nothing innovating or groundbreaking about this, however, I have noticed that this is not always a given.
T: “Agile HR mindset”, what does it mean?
R: From my perspective, having an agile HR mindset is really shifting your thinking, putting the customer at the centre and also setting up a structure that can be changed easily or does not break down when bigger changes occur. This can come into any area of an HR business, but also in the way we view organisational structure. Sometimes this can mean rolling out an MVP as quickly as possible in order to test if this could work or not and sometimes this means really thinking about a certain framework and taking longer in delivery, in order to set something up that can adapt to changes in the longer term.
T: One word of advice every young HR Professional should hear
R: Try to find an organisation where you have an environment where you can grow, feel challenged and where people are interested in investing in you. Also since HR is so versatile and has multiple specialist areas: I also want to encourage young non-HR professionals to think about a career in HR.