This time for Fond of Work, we spoke with Jenny Dearborn, Chief People Officer at Klaviyo. Jenny is a global executive and entrepreneurial leader, driving talent transformation aligned to strategic disruption and company vision. She is an award-winning thought leader, speaker and author on human capital management, corporate culture, global workforce and data analytics. She is also a board member and advisor to tech firms from pre-seed to IPO.

How did you first get into the HR space?

I started in HR as an instructor teaching professional development classes like 7 Habits of Highly Effective People at Hewlett-Packard. I was 25 and I worked in Bay Area Personnel Services at Hewlett-Packard in Mountain View, California.

Why are you fond of your work?

I love being creative and I can do that in this role as Klaviyo’s first Chief People Officer. I’m building from the ground up and it’s so much fun. My hair is on fire most days, but it’s absolutely awesome, the energy is incredible.

Why do you think HR is an important department for every business to have?

People are the most important part of any business – the most successful businesses know this and put people first.

How has COVID-19 affected how you recognize your employees?

We have to be more deliberate in how we reward and recognize employees. There’s no more water cooler time or bumping into people in the hallway to say good job — recognition has to be deliberate, strategic, and purposeful or people will just forget to do it.

What’s the best advice you’ve received in your career?

If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not learning.

What are some of the most pressing issues HR leaders face today?

Creating a culture of inclusion. We will never achieve real diversity without a culture where people from all perspectives feel like they belong.

What’s one thing you’ve had to learn the hard way in your career?

I have consistently received this constructive feedback in my career — slow down, bring people along, and include others in the process.

Any advice for future HR leaders?

The most successful HR leaders are not just data driven, but deeply connected to data analytics. Basically, if you’re not a part-time data scientist, you’re doing your company a disservice.

Thanks so much to Jenny for taking the time to speak with us. Stay tuned for the next interview in the Fond of Work series, coming soon!

Fond is a global SaaS platform that seamlessly consolidates employee rewards and recognition processes into one easy-to-use solution. For more information on how Fond can help you, request a demo today!