Hrtech Interview with CEO and Founder, Clear Review – Stuart Hearn

Clear Review

Stuart Hearn CEO and Founder of Clear Review talks about the ways in which performance management software can help with elevating employee productivity

1. Tell us about your role at Clear Review?
I’m the Founder and CEO and there are three really important aspects to this. Firstly I have to set a clear strategy and vision for the HR problems that our product is going to solve, both now and in the future. Secondly I have to create the right culture in which our people are motivated to do their best work. And thirdly, I have to make sure that we have the right talent within the business at all times as we continue to scale.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I’ve always worked in HR since graduating. I used to be International HR Director at the music division of Sony and then spend 8 years heading up a HR consultancy that focused mainly on performance and talent. Over that time, I saw how complex and ineffective most companies’ performance management processes were and how existing technologies were hindering things further. So I saw an opportunity to build new technology that supports a simple year-round approach to performance management and helps employees to continuously improve and develop

3. How do you think technology is changing the HR Sector?

The rise in cloud based technology means that information can be accessed from pretty much anywhere by anyone. This has enabled HR teams to decentralize HR processes and data out to line managers, giving them greater accountability for their people.

By doing this, people management has increasingly become a core part of ‘management’ and not something that is seen as the responsibility of HR. So technology is finally allowing HR to move away from being transactional to being strategic, something that the profession has aspired to for a long time.

4. How is digitization empowering the employee performance management processes?
Digital apps like Clear Review have enabled employees to ‘own’ their own performance and development, rather than having it dictated to from above. They can now set their own objectives and personal development goals, book check-ins with their manager at a cadence that suits them and request feedback in real-time as events occur. These are things that genuinely empower employees to bring their best selves to work and to continuously improve. It’s a far cry from the old days of a once a year performance review meeting centered around completing a long form.

5. What role does a performance management software play in engaging the employees?
The sense of making progress and understanding how you contribute to the wider business strategy are key components of engaging and motivating people. The new types of performance management software help employees to visualize both of these things, as well as gaining satisfaction from being recognized straight away for your achievements. For managers, the software helps them to have better quality performance conversations by providing them with ‘in the moment’ coaching prompts for the various types of discussions they need to have with their employees.

6. What is the impact of employee engagement on the wellbeing of the employees?
Employee engagement and wellbeing are intrinsically linked. In fact the excellent scientific research that underpinned the Utrecht Work Engagement approach, showed that wellbeing and engagement are actually two sides of the same coin. Therefore, it’s possible to put in place measures and interventions that target both engagement and wellbeing at the same time, something we’ve done within our own software.

7. In what way can companies improve the productivity of their workforce with Hrtech tools?
I think everyone now understands the productivity improvements that can be leveraged through automation and AI. HR, line managers and team administrators used to spend a lot of their time trying to compile and maintain people-related data, whether that is holidays and absenteeism, or shortlisting job applications. HR tech and now do much of this work for them, improving productivity. However, what we’ve recently found from our own data is that performance management, done right, can improve performance and productivity across all employees by around 33%. That can of improvement can have a massive impact on a company’s bottom line.

8. How can Change Management affect the ongoing customer success?
It’s a known fact that most technology projects fail to generate the benefits and cost savings that were envisaged in the business case, and more often than not it’s down to poor (or non-existent) change management. This is especially important in HR tech whereby to get the efficiencies from the product, we often need to change the behaviours of the end users – managers and employees – who are busier than ever. So for HR tech vendors to help their customers to succeed with their tech in today’s fast moving organizations, they need to be investing in good change management to complement their software.

9. Can you explain to us in detail about your Managing Remote Workers product?
Whilst Clear Review wasn’t designed specifically for remote workers, the things that it encourages – regular, structured check-in conversations, real-time visibility on progress against goals and deliverables, and real-time feedback delivered digitally – are more important than ever when employees are remote and managers cannot physically interact with them. Last year we added an engagement and wellbeing module to the system and again, this has become even more important in the post-COVID remote working world where we need to keep a continuous pulse on levels of wellbeing and help employees and managers to understand how they can improve their own engagement and wellbeing when they can’t be together in person.

10. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
I moved from writing in paper based notebooks to making digital notes many years ago, so Evernote is central on my homescreen (alongside the Clear Review app of course!). I also Slack for team messaging and Asana for keeping track of my tasks. As part of my job, I regularly write posts and comment on various HR related subjects in LinkedIn so their app is also on there. Outside of work, I recently switched to driving an electric car so I have Zap-Map on my homescreen so I know where I can charge up the car at any time.

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Stuart Hearn CEO and Founder of Clear Review

Stuart Hearn is CEO and Founder of Clear Review: a performance review software system. Stuart is passionate about modern performance management trends and how they can motivate employees and managers to perform and excel.


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