Sheri Kelleher is SVP of people success at Incorta, winner of OpenComp’s People-first Employers to Watch in 2023 Award in the 100-500 category. In this interview, Kelleher talks about how the global company earns consistently high Glassdoor reviews with constant feedback loops, a drive toward total transparency, and by empowering employees to set their own career paths.
A little about Sheri Kelleher
Kelleher’s 25-year career in HR spans tech startups and privately held companies, including Berkeley Lights, Triple Point Consulting, Navis, Connery Consulting. She’s also an OPEN Imperative board member.
Tell us about Incorta.
Incorta helps businesses turn raw data into analytics. We’re a Series D company backed by Silicon Valley Bank, M12, Prysm Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Wipro Ventures, Sorenson Capital, Telestra Ventures, among others. We’re predominantly remote, with about 350 employees. HQ is in San Mateo, California with additional U.S. locations in Newport Beach, California and Austin, Texas. In the Middle East, we’re in Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt and Dubai.
How do you define employee-centricity?
It’s putting the employee and their well-being at the center of all business decisions. By understanding what’s important to our employees, we’re able to understand what’s important for our business leaders to focus on to maintain high levels of engagement, productivity, and balance.
What are the pillars of your employee experience strategy?
At Incorta, our core values are engagement, feedback, and communication. Those are principles by which the Incorta community can live their best work lives in a safe and respectful environment.
We care deeply about the engagement of all our staff and measure engagement frequently through 1:1s, quarterly reviews, and twice annual engagement surveys. This provides a great opportunity for anyone at Incorta to give and receive valued feedback. Feedback from our employees beyond individual performance is captured in monthly meetings with the CEO, including town halls and more intimate conversations with representatives across all departments and geographies, known as the COR team meeting.
How do you measure the effectiveness of your employee experience strategy?
We track attrition, diversity metrics, and employee referral rates.
There’s a constant feedback loop at Incorta that allows us to understand our employee experience in real time — from engagement surveys that allow us to compare employee comp data by demographic, geography, tenure, and department, to weekly 1:1s, team calls, and quarterly and annual reviews. The insights we receive are invaluable to the ongoing evolution of our company.
What do you do to optimize candidate experience?
We want to make the candidate experience for any applicant as smooth and time-efficient as possible. We automate the scheduling and interview coordination using an applicant tracking system that’s designed for the easiest user experience.
Our recruiting team responds to successful applicants within three business days and follows up with feedback within 48 hours of an interview. We’ve invested in manager training materials and provide new hiring managers and interviewers with a toolkit to help them grow not just interview skills, but also confidence when selling our opportunity to potential hires. Anyone who engages with candidates can articulate the Incorta experience, which is measured by tracking offer acceptance rates and interview declination rates.
How do you approach career pathing?
Since there are no rules around how quickly or turbulently a startup can grow, people are setting their own career paths all the time. Incorta is very supportive of self-growth and encourages professional development for those who want to move up or transition their careers. We embrace our startup culture and look for talent exchange opportunities within the organization to keep our people engaged and growing professionally.
With regard to our performance communication cycle, we have quarterly check-ins where employees talk about their career aspirations and ways they can see themselves growing with the organization and as individuals.
How do you ensure pay equity and pay transparency across the employee lifecycle?
Incorta discloses salary bands to candidates upon interviewing and will soon standardize these ranges in all online job postings. We’ll also share bands internally and discuss them during promotional conversations, annual salary reviews, and relocation instances. To further ensure pay equity and pay transparency, we include managers in compensation discussions for hiring, promotions, and calibrations.
OpenComp has been a valuable strategic partner for us because the compensation platform is so easy to use and allows us to have real-time relevant comp data with comps specific to our peer group. Thanks to OpenComp, we’re not guessing when it comes to compensation and total rewards. They helped us define our compensation philosophy with our executive team and we’re able to make decisions that align with that philosophy and which are fair and unbiased. Total pay transparency.
What’s your approach to Glassdoor reviews?
Incorta has been very fortunate to maintain a consistently high Glassdoor score over a long period, and this has largely come down to the number of reviews we’ve received from current and former employees, as well as those who’ve interviewed with us. These reviews happen both organically and with encouragement.
At the end of an interview process, we encourage candidates to share their feedback with our team and share their experiences online. Newly hired and highly engaged employees are also asked to discuss their experiences during the new hire check-in calls.
We’ve all lost that one employee who took another opportunity that was “too good to miss,” or lost out on a candidate who decided to take another offer. We find that even when folks decide Incorta isn’t right for them right now, they’re sometimes more than happy to gush on their interview experience.
For Glassdoor reviews that might not read as favorably as others, we always ensure HR is able to respond in the fastest time possible and, if necessary, encourage the reviewer to reach out directly if needed.
What tactics are you testing right now to improve the employee experience?
We recently adopted a new platform, Culture Amp, for check-in conversations between employees and managers and OKR reviews. We heard feedback that our former system was complex, dated, and not very intuitive. We’re seeing an increase in the platform’s use and overall adoption. Obviously, we are keen users of OpenComp, and this tool has been game-changing in helping us discern competitive and equitable offer packages for prospective employees.
We also recently rolled out a new initiative called Leadership Matters, which is a monthly podcast-style conversation with our global leaders. Our head of people picks thought leaders within the company to discuss best practices. The next session will be on inspirational leadership.This initiative just rolled out in Q3 2022 and has been a HUGE success. We’ve just increased these sessions from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours because we had so much engagement. Not only are we interacting with each other, we’re learning from each other and building connections too.
To learn more about Sheri Kelleher:
- Listen to Kelleher on the High Growth Matter Podcast: Leading Teams Through Market Shifts
- Read: Incorta manages cash and runway, while gaining global pay consistency, with OpenComp