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22. November 2022

Great Leaders Do: How We’re Evolving & Empowering Personio’s Leaders

Portrait of POD teammates against blank wall

Leadership styles in business have changed over the decades, and no doubt will continue to do so. What many now consider to be “modern” leadership has, instead of focusing purely on commanding respect and obedience, shifted to a more human-centred approach. It emphasises trust and psychological safety, creating an environment of transparency and flatter hierarchies. At Personio, leadership is a hot topic: not just because we have ambitious goals and need great leaders to help us achieve them, but because providing quality leadership to our teams is deeply aligned with our core values and operating principles.

In 2021, when Personio hadn’t yet reached 1,000 employees, our leaders shared in a survey that they needed more clarity around the responsibilities and expectations we had of them. As we were heading into a period of prolonged hypergrowth, with plans to nearly double in size over the next year, this was a red flag. It was clear that we needed to rethink the way we trained and supported our leaders in order to set them and their teams up for success.  

Our People & Organisational Development team, affectionately known as “POD,” is dedicated to developing our people and leaders at Personio. From the team’s inception they’ve been working to bring training content and facilitation in-house, hosting educational events and providing digital resources while sustaining and fostering the company’s growth through leadership.

When the engagement survey results flagged this opportunity to improve, the POD team dived in head first. They conducted extensive rounds of interviews to better understand the needs of Personio’s leaders, what was going well and where they saw gaps in training and support. Based on this research, working together with other People teams and stakeholders, they built up and launched the Great Leaders Do Framework.

The overall goal of Great Leaders Do is to provide tangible expectations and resources for our leaders, enabling them to better support their teams each day. Established with a user-centric approach, the team used design thinking and a product mindset to create a new programme that would cater to the many unique leaders at Personio. Some of the key initiatives POD created include the Leadership toolkit, a series of live leadership events, and the Personio Leadership Academy.

Large group of Personios at Leadership Presentation
Personio leaders attending the 2022 Leadership Summit during All Company Culture Week

Live Leadership Events

The Leader Connect Live series is a monthly event, both in-person and live streamed, designed to bring the Great Leaders Do framework to life. Our leaders use this time to shape the shared understanding of what it means to be a great leader at Personio. The optional sessions feature a mix of internal and external speakers, bringing fresh perspectives as well as the ability to learn from their own collective experience.

The POD team also hosts the Leadership Summit once per year during All Company Culture week. This summit brings together all 250+ Personio leaders into one room to network, learn from each other, and celebrate our successes. The event wraps up with a series of awards, voted on by employees, that highlight the leaders who have best lived up to Personio’s pillars and values.

The Leadership Toolkit

The Leadership Toolkit is a comprehensive, digital collection of resources for Personio managers. It ensures leaders have on-demand access to the information they need to effectively support their team members through each stage of the employee lifecycle. Curated for a variety of learning styles, the toolkit includes bite-sized and in-depth videos, playbooks, articles, podcasts, and more.

Leadership Academy

The Academy is a six-month development journey for both new and experienced leaders. It covers topics like interview skills, the basics of modern leadership, driving performance and growth, and fostering great feedback over the course of multiple trainings. With four different tracks, the Academy now serves leaders at every level of experience and time with Personio:

  1. Exploring Leadership, for those interested in exploring leadership topics and preparing for a future as a leader.

  2. Emerging Leaders, for Personios who have been promoted internally into a leadership role.

  3. Launch for Leaders, for those who have been hired externally into leadership.

  4. Open Enrollment, an offering for Personios who have been leaders for 6+ months and want to continue their leadership learning journey. 

In addition, POD is also launching a mentorship programme geared towards developing existing and aspiring leaders.

Group of POD Teammates laughing on stage in group picture
People Organisational & Development team in the Munich office

The Outcome

As 2022 comes to an end, the impact of the POD team’s work can be felt throughout the company. Since the Great Leaders Do launch, they’ve hosted three Leader Connect Live sessions, one Leadership Summit, and nearly 60 Leadership Academy trainings. Recent survey results are also showing remarkable success, with a 37 percent increase in the number of leaders who feel that Personio clearly communicates its expectations of leaders. Moreover, 89 percent reported that they now feel recognised and celebrated as a leader at Personio.

And, last but certainly not least, Personio was recently shortlisted for the HR Excellence Award based on our Great Leaders Do framework.

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What's Next

As we’re continuously working on our operating principle #SeekToImprove, the POD team is always seeking feedback and iterating on the trainings and resources available. The team has also hired a new Employee Listening Partner, who will focus on the overall impact of the company’s engagement efforts with leaders and all employees.

Our initiatives are always a direct result of employee feedback, which allows us to tweak and tailor policies and processes to ensure they are providing maximum value. It is our long-term plan to continue journey-line expansion and to integrate our leadership framework into how we evaluate leaders. Because we know that by enabling them to act as multipliers of success, we are equipping our leaders with the essential skills they need to help Personio succeed – now and in the future.

We’re looking for leaders to join our teams across Europe. Head to our careers page today to explore your options!

Interested in joining Personio? Explore our open roles and find the right job for you!

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