Dear Yaiza, thank you for taking your time to answer some questions. Today (January 13) is “Make Your Dreams Come True Day”. What were your dreams and how did you make them come true?
First of all, thank you very much for considering me for this day, because it’s true, I am one of those people who made my dreams come true!
When I started at university, I didn’t know what the future would provide. I had dreams, challenges and opportunities. I love the world of labor law, that’s why I studied Labor Relations, but I knew I couldn’t work in a consulting firm doing payroll manually without adding any value to the process. I haven’t seen any fully automated processes either, but I always thought that much more value could be added on top of the work payroll specialists do. When I started working in this sector I always knew that my dream is to help build something bigger, to help disrupt the market by building an automated solution reducing all manual processes I have been suffering for years. Little by little I got into a project, continuing with the payroll processes but trying to improve the whole system from a product perspective. There came a time when I stopped doing the payroll process and became a Product Owner. I thought we should improve the whole system, so we could make it work. The truth is that I’m thankful for this opportunity every day and being able to learn all the knowledge I have now. After that, Rollbox came! Where I could foresee what I was dreaming for: a whole industry change.
What is your current role at Personio and how does a typical workday look like for you?
I’m Product Owner of the Payroll Automation Team, mostly on the calculation side. My day to day business at Personio is trying to combine all the knowledge of my fellow Germans payroll specialists and process it in order to enable the Engineering Team understanding it so we can develop our product. Also, as a distributed team, I spend some of my time aligning with different product teams so we all together follow the same goal: building our amazing product.
And when did you join Rollbox (Personio)?
I started at Rollbox in March 2018, almost 2 years ago. They convinced me because they were doing an automatic payroll process that had always been in my head and is finally realized. In the beginning, I worked in the Operations Team, doing the payroll process and working directly with the clients. Then I was getting more into the Product Team, always trying to see how the product would advance and become a very powerful technology. When the merge with Personio started, I was asked if I want to return to my role as a Product Owner and continue learning more and more about all the product processes and Germany payroll. And… my dream came true. Now I can learn about other country’s payroll processes, improve professionally and think about how we can build a helpful product for any country.
Have you always been a Product Owner within your career?
Not at all, but what I can say is: I am a payroll nerd. I have worked mostly for consultancy firms or agencies, making internal and customer-facing payroll until I was given the opportunity to build a payroll product, an interface to process payroll. After that, I was looking for a change and pursuing my dream. It’s funny because I ended up working at Rollbox because one of my former colleagues recommended my work as they were processing internal payroll for them. The team at Rollbox was very small and I was working really close with the Product and Engineering Team, mostly reviewing payroll and teaching how calculations and government communications were made. My gut feeling keeps telling me that I was enjoying the product part more than the other one, the sense of belonging on building a big thing, my engineer mindset keeps telling me.
You’re working at our office in Madrid, but you’ve also been to our office in Munich a few times. What is the biggest difference between our offices?
It’s always a very productive experience to travel to Munich, besides learning new things and talking with my colleagues face to face, I have the feeling I have a second family. I think the biggest differences between Munich and Madrid are the weather and the number of employees. In Madrid, we are currently in the process of renovating our office right now to have the same design and features as the Munich office has. I hope it will look just as nice once it’s finished. But the truth is: our terrace will always have the better view (I am sorry for that Munich).
What is something that you want to learn in 2020? And how are you going to realize this goal?
Following our motto #payrollrevolution my goal in 2020 is to build the revolutionary payroll solution that any company has always dreamt about. Easy, intuitive and updated to labour regulations so that any user with little payroll knowledge is able to properly run payroll. My dream is to reach more countries and show all of Europe what we are capable of doing at Personio. The most important objective is building a unique solution to process payroll all over Europe.
What is something that your colleagues do not know about you (yet)?
I’m pretty transparent – or at least I try – I think I’m a person who doesn’t have many secrets, but maybe I’m very tough with myself and that’s why I overthink so much. On a personal level, I’m a nerd about numbers and laws. For me, for example, LinkedIn is a tool to update myself constantly. I spend hours reading laws, regulations, and technological processes to get ideas. I enjoy listening to them and seeing what they have to offer.