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Why Workplace Authenticity Matters More than Ever, According to Credly’s VP of Customer Success

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Pre-pandemic, it was relatively easy to keep tight boundaries between our personal and professional lives.

But in a post-pandemic world, things have shifted. Now, people have their dogs or children in the background during Zoom calls. Others have yoga breaks and book clubs blocked into their work calendars.

Companies have also put a bigger focus on their employees’ mental and physical health: For instance, HubSpot began offering its employees access to mental health tool Modern Health, as well as an employee discount for the Headspace app.

All of which is to say: The workplace has changed, and whether people work from home or return to the office, they’re going to want — and expect — the freedom of bringing their full selves to work.

Here, I sat down with Krystal Lamoureux, VP of Customer Success at Credly, to learn her leadership tips for encouraging employees to bring their full selves to work. Let’s dive in.

What It Means to Bring Your Whole Self to Work, and Why It Matters

For starters, I asked Lamoureux what it means to bring her ‘full self’ to work.

She told me, “I think the pandemic has helped me realize that being a professional does not mean I have to check my personal life at the door. It forced me to shrink everything about me to fit inside the four walls of my home. Suddenly work, school, and play were all occurring in the same place and at the same time. Pre-pandemic, my kids went to school and I commuted to the office. Somewhere in the car post-drop off, I switched from mom to professional.”

Lamoureux adds, “When the pandemic hit, I no longer had the option to segment my day or attention the way I used to and, as a result, the way I work has changed (for the better). Not only has my wardrobe shifted to more casual options (leggings, yoga pants, and hoodies for the most part), but I’ve also adjusted when and how I work.”

Research has shown tremendous benefits to authenticity in the workplace, both for individuals and for organizations at-large. For instance, Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership’s 2021 Leadership Development Survey found people who behaved authentically at work felt more confident, more deeply engaged, and happier.

Additionally, respondents said being authentic enabled them to build stronger coworker relationships, and roughly half even said authenticity made them “more able to do their best work” in the office.

Authenticity in the workplace can’t happen without psychological safety, but it’s a critical component for happy, healthy employees. Additionally, it’s simply a good business practice to foster authenticity in the workplace, since people who feel they can bring their full selves to work ultimately connect more deeply and fully with their team — leading to lower turnover rates and higher engagement.

As Lamoureux puts it: Our personalities, experiences, likes and dislikes, and goals and aspirations all join together to form the person who shows up for work every day anyway.

“Bringing our whole selves to work creates a much richer, more authentic product for everyone involved. Allowing people to bring their whole selves to work creates a more authentic, happier work life.”

quote from credly vp on authenticity workplace

So — what does authenticity look like in practice?

Lamoureux told me, “I don’t have a dedicated office space in my home, but I usually set up shop at the dining room table where I have a tidy background for video calls. When I’m chatting with my team, I’ll move to my couch to snuggle with my pup. Our CEO often encourages us to turn our cameras off and walk around during calls to avoid Zoom-fatigue. Knowing that I’m not always expected to be on-camera allows me flexibility to tend to laundry while I participate in a meeting.”

Aspects of Lamoureux’s life outside of work — her dining room, her puppy, and her laundry — will inevitably mingle with Lamoureux’s work, and she’s okay with that.

As she puts it, “Am I always at my desk? No. Am I still working and being productive? Yes. Do I have a better work-life balance? Absolutely.”

In terms of leadership, there’s a delicate balance between encouraging authenticity and expecting your employees to deliver results, but with empathy and trust, you can find a way to accomplish both.

Lamoureux told me, “I expect my team to be responsible, responsive, and complete what needs to be completed. I also expect them to take care of their family obligations and their health. We do a work-life blend at Credly — meaning there will be times we are online shopping for new shoes on Tuesday at 3 p.m. (and getting opinions from coworkers), and other times when we’re answering emails at 9 p.m. on a Thursday. The bottom line is that I want them to set healthy boundaries because it’s necessary for us all to do good work.”

How can you encourage authenticity in the workplace?

Creating fun ways for employees to interact with one another that isn’t work-related is an effective starting point for encouraging authenticity.

At Credly, Lamoureux’s team has coffee breaks and book clubs to connect with one another and learn more about each other as full human beings.

  • Coffee Breaks: We have a weekly coffee break with only one rule: no work allowed. Sometimes, we incorporate a theme into our coffee breaks encouraging people to dress up or bring something to share. It allows us to show bits of ourselves in a fun way. We’ve learned so much about one another from these casual conversations.
  • Book Club: we generally read 2-3 books per year as a team. Sometimes, they are work-related, but sometimes they aren’t. We’ve had such deep, rich discussions in those book club meetings!

Additionally, one of the most effective and simple ways to encourage authenticity is to lead by example. The more authentic you can be as a leader, the more you’re giving employees permission to do the same. 

How do businesses fail when it comes to creating an authentic culture?

Finally, I asked Lamoureux how she feels most businesses fail when it comes to authenticity.

quote from credly vp on authenticity at work

She told me, “I think most businesses want the best for their employees but are afraid to reset what a productive, professional environment looks like. Our world of work isn’t what it was two years ago, and as the world opens up again and employees return to offices, I think it could be tempting for business leaders to try to function the same way they did pre-pandemic.”

“It’s the baseline for ‘normal’ — how things used to be. But with all the turmoil of the pandemic, we’ve also learned new, wonderful ways of working and it’s essential that organizations keep those elements.”

Ultimately, it’s critical your team learns how to pivot and meet the needs of each employee today. Perhaps those needs have changed as a result of the pandemic; or, maybe the pandemic simply brought them to light. Either way, to increase the satisfaction, engagement, and happiness of your employees, it’s vital you encourage and foster authenticity.

company culture template

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SEO Recap: ChatGPT – Moz

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SEO Recap: ChatGPT - Moz

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?

Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.

Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:

Video Transcription

Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.

The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”

So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?

No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.

Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.

Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?

So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.

It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.

But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?

I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.

It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.

What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.

So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.

My favorite use case so far though is coding. So personally, I’m not a developer by trade, but often, like many SEOs, I have to interact with SQL, with JavaScript, with Excel, and these kinds of things. That often results in a lot of googling from first principles for someone less experienced in those areas.

Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.

It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.

That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

The definition of a whitepaper varies heavily from industry to industry, which can be a little confusing for marketers looking to create one for their business.

The old-school definition comes from politics, where it means a legislative document explaining and supporting a particular political solution.

(more…)

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.

The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.

Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.

In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.

Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.

The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.


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About the author

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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