The Personal Brand as an Employee Perk- Part 1
Andrea Herron 00:02
Have you ever wondered how a company is able to offer unlimited time off or be a pet friendly office? Curious how HR leaders manage the well being of remote or essential workforces? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Hi, I’m Andrea Herron, head of people for WebMD health services. And I’d like to welcome you to the HR Scoop. On this podcast, I talk with other HR leaders to explore the world of unique employee benefits, and about the challenges of managing unique workforces. Because well being isn’t a one size fits all approach.
On this inspiring episode of the HR scoop, I’m joined by Kylie row, CEO of Kylie Roco. We dive deep into personal development and what drives corporate culture. Learn why it’s crucial for employees to feel like they can share in leadership’s organizational vision, the importance of developing vulnerability to be heard, and why HR leaders should embrace the development of personal branding. Welcome to another episode of the HR scoop. Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Kylie Roe, CEO of Kylie Ro Co and founder of CX labs, and just all around creator and entrepreneurs. So welcome, Kylie.
Kylie Rowe 01:19
Thank you. It’s such a pleasure to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this so much.
Andrea Herron 01:24
Great. Well, I can’t wait to get into it. But before we do, I think it would be great for audience if you could tell us a little bit about your inspiration to start your current company CX lamps.
Kylie Rowe 01:36
Yeah, so my company is technically called Kylie Roco. Very original name. If you know, our program, one of our virtual programs, our six month virtual Leadership Development Program is named CX labs. And if someone watches this later on, we might have rebranded because we’re looking at doing a company rebrand. But right now the company’s called Kylie Roco. And there’s a reason behind that. The inspiration for me really, and I tend to just go deep. So I’m going to just warn everyone that’s watching and listening and listening to this right now. I’m very open. And I tend to publicly share things that I’ve that have been challenges for me in the past lessons learned. And that’s just the way that I roll both in my personal relationships and professional, I just really like to be me in the most authentic, genuine way. And so for me, really, the journey of leadership development started a long time ago.
For me, as a young woman, I lived with an eating disorder for 10 years, and I had bulimia and I was I was very ill and nearly died in that addiction. And I’ve since now been in recovery for 14 years. And what that process has really shown me is just how important it is to take care of yourself, and to learn those very important coping skills to be able to regulate your emotions express how you feel, and to just genuinely be able to develop relationships with humans, which is the number one most important thing in business. And what I noticed is, as I became familiar and continued to work on my personal development, what I now call personal leadership has become a passion of decades, and is the way that I like to explain it. And I have a background being a TEDx curator. And we often talk to people who want to give a TED talk about what is your passion of decades, because if you’re not an expert in a leading research area, then maybe there’s just one thing that for a decade or more you’ve been incredibly passionate about. And typically when there is something like that, you’re gonna know more about it than other people. And you might have a really big idea or something around that to share.
And I would say that personal leadership, the combination of personal development and leadership development is my passion of decades and combined with really, this side of me and I know in the past, we’ve talked about our top strengths. I’m a strategist, I am a thinker. I like to analyze information, I love ideation. And being a strategist at heart and being in the past a business executive. I know that companies run best when the health of their people is intact, because then we ultimately see a healthy workplace. And I found myself in my last full time employment position, really noticing that I was I was working in a toxic work environment. And it was so important to my own personal well being that I decided to resign from that culture and therefore I identified that right then there afterwards.
It took me a little bit of time, but I decided you know what, my passion is leadership development. My expertise is business strategy and marketing. I will Want to run a company doing this? You know. And so they I tell people, sometimes I basically run a content marketing company, we do paid content and fried content. And it’s all centered around personal leadership. And I’m so thankful because I really truly feel like I’ve finally, finally given myself the chance to really work in my zone of genius.
Andrea Herron 05:19
Well, that is awesome. And we are big fans of authentic vulnerability here. So thank you for sharing your story. And I love the idea of passion of decades. Of that, that’s exciting, I’m going to have to think we should all be thinking about that. Because we all probably have a specialty and something that we’re not giving ourselves credit for. Right? And it builds confidence to when you can recognize a passion as an expertise, then you know, that you’re good at something. And you can leverage that, that strength in knowing and apply it to different parts of your life. Absolutely. So I know you have a passion for, you know, leadership and personal development. So I’m curious, from your perspective, does a corporate culture need to start at the top? Or could a company still build a strong culture with, you know, amazing employees devoid of a progressive or strong leadership style? What a great question.
Kylie Rowe 06:17
And I’m going to, I’m going to argue, and I have argued that it’s top down and bottom up, and that’s going to have, that’s going to be how it will be the most effective. And every person regardless of your title, position rank, you don’t have to have chief in the title of your job, to be a leader, we start with being leaders of ourselves, knowing who we are our core values, our priorities, the things in our life that really make up our well being. And that is where that is where everything stems from.
And so every individual, regardless of where you’re at, in the organization really does need to know those things. But at the end of the day, the behavior that’s modeled at the top is absolutely going to affect the culture. But for people who are listening to this right now, and maybe feeling like oh, my gosh, she’s talking to me, there is grassroots change is totally a thing. And we have seen so much of it more and more. And I would encourage people to, before you decide to leave your company, try to change it, try to be an advocate, identify what your person how you define personal leadership, work on what wellbeing means to you start to model that on your own, attract individuals that you work with to kind of join you. And then you can start having those conversations around.
What can we possibly do here, just together, or maybe as a group that would actually support well being in a culture in this organization, and it can, it can really lead to change. And if people are being good leaders, they’re going to be listening, they’re gonna be they’re going to be learning that there’s groups of employees that start initiatives, and ideally, something grassroots would just grow so much that eventually it would start to be built in the business strategy of the corporation. Yeah,
Andrea Herron 08:12
I agree with you, I it does go both directions. And especially right now I think about culture, and how much things are shifting and what is normal, and what’s up, what’s down what’s sideways, I think there’s so much opportunity for people to even throw ideas out there, if they don’t have, you know, maybe the built in support already, or they’re waiting for something, you don’t have to wait, you know, any of us can toss it out there or try something. I mean, we have an employee here that started every week, just coffee, get togethers virtually. And we he was totally empowered to do that. And it’s just a great way to connect and show some leadership that isn’t from the top down. But a lot of it is and of course, that’s, you know, important part of it. So is there a certain area you have seen leaders fall short, that maybe we could avoid some pitfalls there?
Kylie Rowe 09:09
I think that’s a really that’s, of course, also a really good question. And one of the things you know, and a lot of a lot of the corporations that I work with will do leadership development, training for entire teams and all end up having individual coaching sessions with each person as a way to really further develop their leadership, provide them some customized self reflection and introspective work. And it’ll be in those sessions where people really confide in me about things that are going on and some of the things that I’ve heard. And really, I’m starting to see a trend and I’m what I’m really hearing is leaders aren’t creating a shared vision. And some leaders don’t even have a vision, you know, and and so it’s really important as the leader to make sure that you know what your company vision is, and You absolutely have a roadmap lined out for how you’re going to get there. And as quickly as you can, bringing employees into the fold of that, and if to whatever degree or to whatever degree, you’re able, actually empowering the employees to be part of that vision making process. And there’s this term that we’ve started using more and more in the work we do called Creating a culture of accountability. And there’s processes where you can literally brainstorm Mind Map, innovative solutions, that will end up being the ideas of employees, and then you can start to actually create individuals will start to create accountability around getting those things done, and implementing into the company strategy and tactics moving forward. And so as much as a leader can create a shared vision, that is that is one of the number one reasons why people have left companies or they don’t want to work somewhere because they don’t know where it’s headed. And so employees really, really care about that.
Another thing that I’ll talk about is listening in general, and we can dive into this one more, but it is one of the most challenging skills to develop. But I would argue one of the very most important and listening isn’t just, you know, what we what we typically expect, but I mean, listening starts with yourself, then you’re listening in a one on one environment, you have to learn how to how to listen in team in group environments, how do you listen to your organization? And ultimately, like, are you actually paying attention to what’s going on in your industry? What’s going on beyond that in a macro sense? And of course, if you’re delivering a product and service, are you listening to your audience? Are you listening to your customers, there’s a lot of listening that needs to be done. And I think lots of leaders are picking and choosing things that they want to listen to, instead of being more comprehensive about all of those different areas where they can obtain really important information. One thing I’ve noticed with listening, and we’ve all heard the term active listening, I don’t think we’re necessarily all that good at it.
Andrea Herron 12:09
The one thing I’ve noticed is there’s a huge difference in truly listening and being present and not forging the conversation ahead, three back and forth ahead while the other person is still talking. And they desire to problem solve, because nine times out of 10, people just want you to listen, they’re not ready, they don’t want you to jump to problem solving, even though we all have great ideas, right? But if we could just listen and either ask if they want us to problem solve, or just don’t, I think that is huge and so easy. If you get in the habit of it that hard if you aren’t thinking about it. Mm
Kylie Rowe 12:47
hmm. I totally agree with you. And that was that was what I was getting ready to respond with, which means I wasn’t quite actively listening, because hearing my response, but I totally, I totally agree with you. And, and the thing about developing listening skills is this benefits not only your workplace relationships, but also your relationships in your social life, and in your intimate relationships and with your family. And so this is really, this is really an important skill. And being able being able to feel heard, is one of the things that people are really craving right now, you know, in addition to just having a greater sense of connection and belonging, the number one way to feel connected to someone is to feel heard by them. But we can’t feel heard, if we don’t have psychological safety to create a little bit of vulnerability. And you know, that’s going to take a lot of these emotional intelligence skills and a lot of some of the other things that are developed in the typical leadership program. But yeah, it’s, it’s all about being heard. So how do we create safe spaces where people are willing to share? I do think there is a shift from those skills being considered, quote, soft skills to now just business requirements. And if they’re not nice to haves anymore, you have to be listening.
And another thing you mentioned earlier, I want to circle back to really quickly was that shared vision? Because that is another component that is so critical. We’ve all had time over the past 1820 months. I don’t know what his time anymore, but it’s been a while right? To really think about how we spend our time. What do we want to, quote, go back to what, how do we want to organize our lives going forward. And if you don’t have a shared vision that is clear and communicated and your staff can rally around, you’re really missing out on a retention and engagement opportunity for your staff. Totally not to mention attraction because then once the employees get bought into the vision, they’re going to start talking about it, you know, and they’re really your number one ambassadors for a company, whether they’re paid, whether they’re that’s actually their job or not. And you can you can share visions, in marketing and externally on websites and people, the employee journey absolutely starts long before someone’s hired at your company, when they’re noticing your social media, when they’re looking at your website, in the content that you end up posting online to attract people. And if you can really create create that shared vision early, you’re attracting the people that really want to accomplish what matters? Absolutely. Absolutely. I
Andrea Herron 15:35
want to pivot a little bit now to some personal brand questions, because I think it’s easy to understand how building a strong personal brand is important for your own personal career advancement. But obviously, the workplace requires collaboration. So how does improving your personal brand translate into improving performance on a team or benefiting the overall organization?
Kylie Rowe 16:01
I think there’s, there’s a component of personal branding that, first of all, when when you have when you’re doing personal branding, well, you’re growing your network. And if you’re, if you’re you have a strong brand, you identify that you work at a certain company, you’re sharing things that you’re learning, and you’re encouraged by your company to do that, again, you’re then being an ambassador for the company in a way that’s very positive reflection of what’s going on in the workplace.
And for me, in a lot of cases, when I leveraged my personal brand, I use it as a tool for crowdsourcing. And, you know, I, there was a talk that I had given in the UK earlier this year, and it was a talk about how to lead during difficult times, you know, and when, when I and that was the main theme of the talk. And what I decided to do is turn to my network and posted questions, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see what people said. And I was able to actually do somewhat of a qualitative analysis to identify the themes, or what are the most important things that leaders need to know in these challenging or difficult times. And the number one thing that came up and I created a word cloud, it’s really cool.
I wish I could like show the audience right now what this word cloud looks like. But just imagine a bunch of words. And in the middle, the biggest word is communication. And behind that, you know, a smaller word, but still communication, listening. And we already talked about it. But you know, having a strong personal brand working on a team can it can help you leverage resources, it can help you get connected to other people from other companies that are maybe already doing something and you don’t need to recreate the wheel. You know, the, the the information gathering piece of it, I think, is really critical. And the other thing is, I’m a strong believer that especially when you’re talking about leadership, and creating culture, these things really, truly do need to show up in external marketing functions. And they can absolutely show up when individuals share that they’re engaging in activities that are contributing to their well being in the workplace. And as long as corporations can support individuals to do personal branding and actually provide training to do that, well, it’s, it can be a huge, it can be a huge bonus for the company, because everyone’s voice is more credible when someone else is amplifying it.
Andrea Herron 18:34
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