The Start of the Movement: Recap of TINYcon 2016

6 min read
Sep 22, 2016

The Start of the Movement: Recap of TINYcon 2016 by TINYpulseAppreciate this moment, Mark Roberge said yesterday at the close of TINYcon 2016. We’re in the midst of a movement.

We couldnt be more thrilled about our inaugural TINYcon conference. Innovative and creative leaders came together from all over the world to push the conversation on employee engagement, performance management, building great workplaces, and more. NPR and Geekwire seem to agree!

The Start of the Movement: Recap of TINYcon 2016 by TINYpulseOur brains are just about overflowing with all the things we learned. Were so excited; we cant wait to do it all over again for next year’s TINYcon!

But first, here are just a few highlights from TINYcon 2016:



Dan Price, Founder & CEO of Gravity Payments

Dan shared his personal perspective on the $70,000 story everyone has heard in the media.

  • He was surprised at how many of his employees were struggling on the edge of financial disaster due to their pay. The focus of those people when you remove those financial distractions was immense, and the company benefited enormously from that.
  • He realized that there were some unintended consequences to his decision. It was unfair to some people in his company, and he apologized to them. For him, it was a lesson that its OK to do something that is partly right and partly wrong.
  • Dan pretends that all his employees are volunteers. If he has a vision and people have bought into that vision, then financial motivation becomes a distant second or third most important reason to work for Gravity.


Frances Roy, SVP, Chief Talent Officer of Ascension Health

Frances took us through the process of introducing TINYpulse at Ascension, which employs more than 150,000 associates in over 1,500 locations in 23 states, and lessons learned along the way.The Start of the Movement: Recap of TINYcon 2016 by TINYpulse

  • The annual survey was not working for them. Have you ever done a big engagement survey and then the next year have everyone say, 'Its amazing what has been accomplished in a year'? she asked.No one?
  • The feedback was that associates felt a strong sense of calling and accountability to work at Ascension. They have a true sense of belonging and value from patients and managers.
  • The engagement of Ascensions 150,000 associates is linked with their patient satisfaction. Engagement is also linked to business priorities and outcomes and clinical outcomes.


Margaret Wheeler, Chief People & Culture Officer of Stitch Fix

Margaret explained how companies can find their OS (operating system) to find out what makes sense for them as an organization.

  • Stitch Fix’s OS has three components: our people, our values, and our leadership.
  • Be true to yourself and your OS. For example, Stitch Fix benchmarks compensation to market rather than using performance-based raises. This drives some people away — that’s OK, because you can help people go be great somewhere else.
  • A company cannot grow if culture lives only with one person, like a Chief People & Culture Officer. The employees have to be responsible for generating their culture. “I often find that the solution is in the people of the company,” Margaret told us.


The Start of the Movement: Recap of TINYcon 2016 by TINYpulseDan Spaulding, VP, Head of People & Culture of Zillow Group

Dan gave us a look inside the award-winning culture of Zillow Group.

  • The founders of Zillow knew from the beginning that they didn’t want to burn people out. They wanted to launch, grow, and scale a business with work-life balance.
  • Their goal is to create an intense work environment that gets things done during the day, so employees can get out of the office and live their lives. To do so, they treat people like adults, let them make choices — and deal with the consequences of treating people like adults.
  • Face the complex issues around culture head-on. It can get tough, especially when you allow employees to make their own choices, but as Dan told us, The only wrong answer is not having the conversation.


Josh Bersin, Principal of Bersin by Deloitte

Josh shared his HR expertise to show us how workplace culture is evolving and what companies must do to stay competitive.

  1. Deloitte’s research has shown that there are five things that matter to people at work: meaningful work, supportive management, fantastic environment, growth opportunity, and trust in leadership.
  2. Slack time is important. A study of the manufacturing industry in Germany found that work productivity plateaus after 50 hours per week. People need to work less to become more productive.
  3. Performance frameworks traditionally are not designed for feedback. The new process is building a feedback loop that happens regularly.
  4. You dont have to be a high-tech company to build a great work environment. An incredible management team and an incredible culture are what you need.
  5. For people under the age of 35, the most important job benefit is training and development. Wegmans is a great example of a company that has emphasized professional development and seen huge success because of it.
  6. Research shows that the best companies measure their contribution to all of their stakeholders: community, staff, investors, customers, etc. These companies performances are eight times better than the S&P 500.


Matt Ehrlichman, Founder & CEO of Porch

Matt revealed the rewards of making transparency a company value and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, even alongside the challenges that brings.

  1. The Start of the Movement: Recap of TINYcon 2016 by TINYpulseTransparency can be an advantage in recruiting, retaining, and engaging employees; rebounding from challenges; and better execution.
  2. Sharing Porch’s company information helps your employees get more invested. I don’t want people to just feel part of something, Matt said. I want them to really be part of something.
  3. Usually, companies become more risk averse about transparency as they grow because they fear information leaks. But you have to make a trade-off: is it worth the risk? Sharing information means you have an employee base with all the information they need to do good work and be fully integrated into the company.


Mark Roberge, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School

Mark taught us about his methodology for hiring the right talent, which he developed when he took over the sales department during HubSpots early stages.

  • Marks data-driven experiment allowed him to analyze the qualities that correlated with a candidate being highly successful in his department, making him better able to make the right hiring decisions.
  • Its not just about skill, but context. He once hired a salesperson who was number 1 out of 800 at their previous company, but the person was only moderately successful at HubSpot. Why? The previous company was a big, established company that required a much different, shorter sales pitch than HubSpot, which was introducing a brand-new concept.
  • The top factor that correlated with success at HubSpot was coachability.


The Start of the Movement: Recap of TINYcon 2016 by TINYpulse


Well be sharing much more great TINYcon content in the days to come, so stay tuned.

And if you want to be a part of the next-generation leadership movement, register now for TINYcon 2017!





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