White Glove HR: Adding Value by Learning and Understanding People

whiteglove HR

Our job at Udemy for Business is to always stay ahead of the market and help our customers be at the forefront of workplace learning and employee development. Last Thursday, August 11, we hosted a People Innovators event that brought together an all-star panel of People Leaders that included: Annette Reavis, HR Director at Facebook, Doniel Sutton, VP of People at PayPal, Flora Fiorillo Head of People Operations at Beepi, and Matt Frost, People Growth Partner at Medallia.

The discussion was eye-opening, with fresh people management and HR perspective from the panelists. An interesting topic that came up, that we haven’t come across before, is the idea of a “white glove service” for HR.

White Glove HR

When you hear “white glove” typically, you may think of high-end furniture delivery. But, that’s not what we’re referring to. White glove HR service is really about three key things. First, it’s about developing a hands-on relationship with key business leaders to better understand not only their business challenges, but also their personal challenges. Second, we must become familiar with our own products and services in order to help our businesses grow. And lastly, we cannot be afraid to take the necessary steps, however uncomfortable they may be, to fix what’s not working.

Learn and understand the person

HR is often working in a separate part of the office, meeting with other HR folks, conducting exit interviews, dealing with payroll issues, or developing new training curriculum. What’s wrong with this traditional model is that it’s not personal. Doniel Sutton of PayPal states, “At PayPal, the People team is focused on understanding our employees on a much deeper level through analytic segmentation. In the same way we seek to understand our various customer segments, we endeavor to do the same with our employees. Understanding what they value, what motivates them, what influences how they work, enables us to respond to their needs in a more direct way.”

Doniel and other people leaders realize that people are the solution to real business problems. Today’s HR teams must not be afraid to get closer to the business, which means getting closer to its teams and its leaders. Who are the leaders you need to be talking to on a regular basis? Make your conversations with them hands-on, meaningful and helpful.

Get to know your products and services

Understanding the business requires a curiosity to know your own product and service. What is on the upcoming roadmap? Do you know how to use the product? What makes your product or service similar to, or different from the competition?

While it is usually the customer service or product department that knows how your products and services operate, in today’s workplace, you can add much more value to the business by being an HR leader who cares about the actual products and services that are being sold. Flora Fiorillo of Beepi says, “I am focused on making sure that people feel the mission of Beepi across all regions so that there is no development gap. One of the things I’m working on is getting people into the HR role who get the business, want to be part of the business, and are ready to partner with people.

Don’t be afraid to fix what’s not working

There’s no need to wait until something is broken. If something isn’t working as effectively as it could, fix it. For example, if you’re having trouble building a strong relationship to partner with a key business leader, have a candid conversation about why. Not being proactive will damage your effectiveness at the company. If you’re finding that the business is measuring things the wrong way, speak up. Matt Frost of Medallia states, “HR needs to realize that true learning happens on the job. It’s a very easy metric to put people in a room and say that training happened, but that’s not necessarily the right metric.

When it’s all said and done, HR is all about people. We recently rebranded our long-standing HR Innovators Events series to People Innovators, in an effort to more broadly encompass a larger trend we see in the space – that it’s all about people. Our rebrand to People Innovators is not only an evolution of our business, but it’s also an evolution of the HR space.

At Udemy for Business we know that when done right, learning is the key component that will drive people to get better, in turn making business progress in the short and long-term. Acting as a hands-on, white glove service to business leaders is a real path towards HR creating business impact.

So ask yourself, what color are your gloves?

Packed house at People Innovators!

Packed house at People Innovators!

Introducing Health and Wellness on Udemy for Business


Today’s millennial workers demand more from their employers than any previous generation. They not only expect organizations to provide them with meaningful, stimulating work but also insist that businesses foster their professional development and promote their personal well-being. Udemy for Business has long been committed to helping hundreds of forward-thinking businesses upskill their workforces by providing them with relevant, dynamic courses for working professionals. Now, in order to help businesses take a more holistic approach to employee welfare, we are excited to announce our new Health and Wellness category. Here, business and employees will find courses ranging from meditation to yoga and ergonomics to stress management.

Why the focus on health and wellness? Technology has taken over the workplace and our performance expectations of employees have risen as a result of this. Weekend and evening work is not uncommon, with employees clocking an average of 4.5 extra hours a week outside the regular 9 to 5. In fact, a huge percentage of us have our phone in the bedroom at night and even check email in bed. But being constantly plugged in is taking its toll. Sleep deprivation, inactivity, and overexertion are unhealthy and unproductive. We have a collective responsibility and opportunity to help employees restore balance so they can thrive personally and professionally.

Consider this statement from Caroline Webb, CEO of Sevenshift, an advisory firm that uses behavioral science to help clients improve their professional lives, and the author of the new book How to Have a Good Day. In a recent McKinsey podcast, she points out:

… [the investment of time in sleep, exercise, and mindfulness] … it’s not just an investment that pays back long term, it’s an investment that pays back, all the evidence suggests, rather immediately. The idea of that shift…is something which I’ve seen at the heart of everybody who makes a difference in the way that they’re living their lives, and also in the way that their teams around them are living their lives.”

Many companies are taking this advice to heart. For example, Thoughtspot, a startup modernizing the way companies do business intelligence, is already ahead of the curve. Alicia Avrach, a content strategist at ThoughtSpot said, “I just saw that Udemy is introducing a wellness category. This is great news and supports some of our initiatives to bring more wellness into the workplace. How did you know?

Taking a proactive approach to the health and well-being of your employees goes a long way toward employee satisfaction. At Udemy for Business, we can help you achieve your health and wellness goals through engaging, high-quality courses. We believe in giving businesses the tools they need to reward employees with the kind of care and support fit for the modern workforce.

Want to introduce health and wellness courses to your organization? Learn more here or email us directly at business@udemy.com.