Kate Bergin, People Business Partner, Datadog, spoke at Professor Sam Liu’s Human Capital Management Effective Partnership Strategies class and shared her recent experience at WW (WeightWatchers). Kate explained how WW embraced Cloud technology during the challenging pandemic environment as the company made a pivot toward virtual wellbeing and customer coaching.
Kate led the digitization of WW’s talent management by automating and scaling performance management, feedback and talent review processes. This improved the employee experience, while increasing retention, as WW team members had greater clarity and control over their career growth. This transformation required the input and buy-in from WW leaders across all functions. For HR to be an effective partner to the business, Kate mentioned how trust was established through a combination of empathetic listening, delivering on promises and creating opportunities in increments.
Kate advised EPS students to work with leaders by asking probing questions to reveal concerns and open the door for targeted solutions. While not all leaders were willing to accept her recommendations, given time or budget constraints, Kate emphasized the importance of data and analytics to sway leaders and objectively frame HR's value.
Students spoke highly of Kate’s visit and appreciated both her WW-related insights and the points she shared about her personal career journey. Kate also shared the importance of investing in one’s "skills portfolio’" to gain exposure in technical areas, such as compensation & rewards or HRIS. As she explained, this exposure, if experienced early in one’s career, serves as a foundation to augment leadership and communication skills gained later as one rises in the organization.
Professor Liu noted, “Kate brings tremendous experience to the classroom, having led strategic transformation at WW during an unprecedented time of health and economic pressures to benefit employees on a personal level.”
Kate recently started a new role as a People Business Partner at Datadog, an essential monitoring and security platform for Cloud Applications. Thank you, Kate, for an insightful and illuminating talk!