Strengthening Personio’s Product, Design, and Engineering Leadership as We Build the Future of HR Technology

This year alone, Personio has doubled the size of our Product, Design, and Engineering (PDE) team to over 600 members. We’ve also restructured the team into autonomous domains in order to maintain a culture of empowerment and agility throughout our hypergrowth journey. These shifts have one specific purpose: building and innovating on a platform that our customers love. 

This organizational evolution requires a strong set of diverse leaders, three of whom have joined the team recently: Nicola Hills, Dean Bakker, and Helen Keighron. Our London office now plays home to Nicola, VP of Engineering for Workflows & Integrations, while Dean, our new VP of Product (also for Workflows & Integrations), is based in the Berlin office. Helen will be relocating from the United States to take on the global VP of Design and Research role. 

Nicola and Dean, responsible for Personio’s product platform, are already making an impact in workflow automation and our partner integration ecosystem. Helen, taking on a new role in the team, will focus on creating a second-to-none user experience for HR professionals and employees across Europe. Her hire is another testament to our ambition of bringing our product to the next level.

“Ensuring that our product excels is vital at all times, but becomes particularly important in a time of economic uncertainty,” says CEO Hanno Renner. “Helen, Nicola, and Dean join the Personio team at a critical point as we focus on what we offer to customers, so that our customers can focus on what matters most: their people.”

Helen Keighron, Personio’s new VP of Design and Research

UX experience is one of the many strengths Helen brings to the table from her 20-year career in tech. Most recently a Senior Director of UX at HubSpot, she spent over three years scaling an impactful UX team focused on creating consumer-grade experiences for sales and service professionals. She was first drawn to Personio’s mission of enabling better organisations and the opportunity to be a part of the hypergrowth experience. But it was the executive team’s passion for continuous improvement, and their commitment to sponsoring a step change improvement in the product experience, that sealed the deal for her. 

“Personio’s approach to supporting European businesses comes down to enabling their People Operations teams to spend time on developing their own people, not fighting through administrative pain. The all-in-one platform fills a void in the market, and I found myself wishing I could use it right away!”

For Helen, and her team, it’s an exciting time. “The team is poised to create a next-generation user experience that will drive delight and focused efficiency for People teams and employees. It’s a true privilege to steer a team at this stage of growth and into a green field opportunity.”

Nicola Hills, Personio’s new VP of Engineering

For Nicola, who has spent over three decades in software and engineering at tech companies, the opportunity to make an impact at one of Europe’s fastest-growing tech start-ups was an intriguing prospect. After 20 years at IBM early in her career, Nicola most recently worked at Snyk as Senior Director of Engineering. Now, at Personio, she’s looking forward to building market-leading platform capabilities while continuing to enhance our tech culture. “Our PDE team already has a dynamic, interesting, and supportive way of working together – I’m excited to see how that grows and evolves even more in the future.”

But it’s not just the growth opportunities and fast pace that brought her to this company. That leadership-led foundational commitment to creating a second-to-none product for our customers was also a key element. As she says, “Our mission is to ensure the product can continue to scale for existing and future customers, providing business-enhancing efficiencies today while being built for the future.” 

While she puts her engineering expertise toward our company’s product, she’s also a strong advocate for diversity in the tech space. Nicola is working, along with the Diversity Committee and Talent Acquisition team, to ensure our job ads and recruiting process are as unbiased as possible. “It’s all about ensuring the visibility of the diverse team we do have, increasing the candidate pipeline overall for women in tech, and making it clear that Personio is an open and supportive employer.”

Outside of Personio, Nicola has worked with schools and universities across the UK to help young women understand the benefits and rewards of a career in the technology sector. That’s included joining various panel discussions, mentoring young women in the industry, and sharing best practices on increasing diversity in tech. 

Dean Bakker, VP of Product

Dean Bakker comes to us with 15 years of industry knowledge in building digital products and experiences at companies like IBM and OLX Group. Most recently he was Director of Product Management at N26 before joining our team as the new VP of Product, Workflows & Integrations.

His attention was first caught by the focal point of Personio: our values and operating principles. “I’m proud to join a company that places such a high premium on the way we work together. Our people are empowered to take ownership of their roles, and the environment of collaboration and transparency is pretty unique.”

Another element Dean appreciated is our value of #CustomerEmpathy, which continually focuses our priorities on the ultimate reason Personio exists: our customers. “This is a company that places our customers at the heart of everything we do. I’m excited to bring my strong customer and commercial experience to the table as we look to take Personio’s product to the next level.”

Part of the Product, Design, and Engineering teams at Values day of All Company Culture Week 2022.

Between these three new hires and the preparatory steps we’ve taken in recent years, we’re already well on our way to Personio’s vision for the future of HR technology. From each PDE domain to tech leadership to the CEO office, our teams are aligned in creating a best-in-class experience at Personio – for our customers and for each other. 

Come join the team and help us change the way millions of people experience work every day.  We’re hiring for multiple roles within Product, Design, and Engineering – check out our Careers page to find the right next job for you! 

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