“Culture Defines Us”: A Fresh Take on HR with Clearly’s Andrew Kyle

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The up-and-coming People & Culture Coordinator from Clearly talks about the importance of company culture and how values and purpose attract talent. Tweet it

Andrew Kyle, People & Culture Coordinator at Clearly

“It starts right at the CEO, and goes through all our departments.”

That’s Andrew Kyle, People and Culture Coordinator at Clearly, talking about the importance of culture at the online eyewear retailer.

“Culture really defines who we are and how we do what we do. We recently rebranded ‘Human Resources’ as ‘People and Culture’ to reflect that.”

Interesting shift. Does it reflect a bigger trend? Might a company known for changing the eyewear-retail landscape have a thing or two to say about how HR and recruitment need to change? What fresh insights might an up-and-comer who cut his teeth at the big-thinking organization have to share?

Andrew kindly agreed to a little Q&A …

“On the recruitment side, the key message we communicate … is really about our focus on positive change.”

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‘Culture’ is part of your job title – what does it mean at Clearly?

It’s huge for everyone here. Our mission and our vision are well defined, but everyone has the opportunity to add to it and make it what it is. Culture shapes how we show up everyday at work and how we interact with our customers and each other.

As the company has matured over time, how as the culture changed?

The change has been fairly organic. We’ve always had a work hard, play hard mantra, but it’s become a more refined take on that. We still show up and have a lot of fun at work – and work really hard – but employees are maturing and starting families. The culture has adapted to be more about embracing a balanced lifestyle.

For example we just started a Beer Club, but there is also a Fit Club, so you can do fitness challenges, track and field days. Whatever it is you like to do, there’s going to be an opportunity to do it and have fun with it along with your colleagues.

Verne Harnish’s ‘Rockefeller Habits’ are something we’ve embraced into our culture as we’ve grown. We do morning stand-ups and all-hands meetings, where the entire team gets together once a week. We reinforce core values, and ensure open lines of communication so that we’re all on the same page.

You guys are hiring in a lot of different areas: tech, eye care, customer service, logistics. How do you attract different types of talent – people with different interests and personalities – to the same brand?

One of our core values is to “do some good”. Our mission with that is to reach one billion pairs of eyes by 2030 by providing prevention and treatment for vision problems. Anyone who wears glasses or contacts understands how important vision correction is, and by being able to provide that access to people who wouldn’t normally have it, we have a great opportunity to transform lives. Connecting with people who share that goal with us is an important part of how we attract talent.

Employee referrals are another big piece. With such a diverse team, when we have a role open we can put a call out to employees and there is a good likelihood someone internally will already know our next great hire.

“Connecting with people who share [values and goals] with us is an important part of how we attract talent.”

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Have you faced any reluctance or skepticism from optical talent about joining a company that has disrupted their industry? If so, how has Clearly approached that challenge?

As a partner of the industry, our focus is on communicating with and educating the importance of eye health. We share what we’re up to as a company, and how working to address unmet vision care needs is beneficial for everyone. We’re working to make positive change, and we can’t do it without that optical talent – because a big focus now is on eye health and lens education.

How do you do that communicating and educating?

Our recent rebrand was part of that. On the recruitment side, the key message we communicate with our new careers site and on social media is really about our focus on positive change. We also share that message one-on-one with professionals on LinkedIn, letting them know where we’re at as a company, and the work we’re doing – particularly through our charitable arm, Change the View.

Do you guys have a formal on-boarding program?

We do. Day one is with someone from the People and Culture team – we take the new team member around for a full tour. We show them how everything works and the full lifecycle of a pair of glasses, from when they are received, go through our state-of-the-art lab, are handled by the logistics team and go out the door. Next is call shadowing: sitting on the phones in our Vision Care call centre and listening to the types of questions and concerns that come up.

It’s surprising to hear from a lot of new employees whose previous jobs didn’t really have much of an on-boarding. It’s how we make sure they’re prepared with the right knowledge, tools and support to be successful in their new roles.

‘Change’ is a big topic of conversation in the worlds of HR and recruiting. As an up-and-comer, someone with a newer perspective, what’s your take?

We need to start embracing employees as social ambassadors. I’m really inspired by what Ambrosia Humphrey at Hootsuite has done with this, from the #HootHire event to all the great content they produce that is so easy for their staff to share.

Everyone is on social media. Strategize, find ways to get your people to share what it’s like to work at your company, to promote your messages.

“… Find ways to get your people to share what it’s like to work at your company, to promote your messages.”

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Share this article on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Learn how Recruiting Social helped Clearly build its new careers site.

From an interview with Christian De Pape.