Office Hours: I'm the Chief People Person at Chime and was previously Chief People Officer at Zenefits. I'm Beth Steinberg.Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Beth Steinberg, Chief People Person at Chime, the largest and fastest growing challenger banking company in the US with over 5 million accounts. I am also the founder of Mensch Ventures, a people and talent advisory firm. I am an active advisor at Molekule, PeopleTech Partners, RippleWorks, TechWomen, Felicis Ventures and Riverside Capital. And a current mentor for First Round Capital. Formerly an advisor at Reddit, Greenhouse and many other emerging tech companies.Prior to Chime, I was the Chief People Officer at Zenefits and held leadership roles at Nike, EA, Facebook, SunRun, and BrightRoll.Ask me anything about talent, leadership, people management, startups, and more!
Thanks so much for joining us @bethsteinberg!Elphas – please ask @bethsteinberg your questions before Friday, April 23rd. @bethsteinberg may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi @beth thanks for the OH. My question is when you’re a startup, how do you develop people finding & vetting methodologies like I hear about at Google and Apple? And further, how on earth can you attract those types of people if you’re not in those networks and or don’t have those kinds of salaries and comp packages to offer as a startup? 
Hi Jo -- Thanks for your question. This is a complicated question. I would actually come up with your own methodologies based on the values of the company, the behaviors you want to reward in your company, and leadership behaviors for people leading others. I would think through the core competencies you will need in the short term, midterm, and long term to build your company.Again, not sure you want to attract people from a certain company or archetype. I would do the work, and spend the time, to think about what is best for your company -- not someone else's.I think the reason most people want to come to a start-up, especially in the early days, is to build something that matters. You will not be able to compete on cash comp, but think about what value proposition exists for your company; people, mission, building, values, etc.
Thanks @bethsteinberg Hi I’m in the earliest stages of my startup- just me. I know the first few hires can be make or break foe the company. My weaknesses are in building culture and identifying personality traits during an interview that will make someone a good fit. Any advice on how to select great first hires?Are there chief people officers who do fractional or part time work?
21st Century Office Life. What would you. list as the ideal policies for today's workplace especially in tech? And is there anything People ops can do to create a diversity friendly environment?
I am not a big policy person. I think that you need minimal policies if you have a culture where people are aligned and rewarded for the right behaviors. I cannot think of anything that I would consider an "ideal policy". People Ops need to make sure the leaders in the business are creating a diversity-friendly environment. This must be driven from the top to be successful.
No wonder it's so hard to create a diversity-friendly environment, something that can't be described or prescribed, it seems.
Hi Beth! Thanks for answering our questions. I'll be joining a startup as their first HR hire, the founders seem supportive HR and its importance. The startup has a mix of bluecollar retail workers and professional workers.What would you recommend doing during the first month? And later?
Hi Ana,Congratulations! I would recommend listening and l learning in your first month. It is important to learn the business and build relationships across the company. Based on what you learn, I would formulate a business plan of the key areas you can contribute across the company. Building a people strategy and sharing that broadly is a great way to evangelize the work of the People team.Good luck!-Beth
Hi Beth, I’m looking to start a company in the near future and something that I want to really focus on is the management style of the company. I recently left a company that was run by management who was regularly condescending towards women in the workplace and I find myself wanting to create a work environment that is the polar opposite of my experience. How have you been able to create a positive and collaborative culture within your companies? Thank you so much,Steffi
Hi Steffi - I am sorry to hear about your previous experience. I wish we were at a place where all people were treated equally in the workplace.I would recommend devising and memorializing values, leadership behaviors, and tenets of your culture early on. It is not enough to come up with these foundational pieces of the company, but to activate them into the interview process, performance feedback, promotional process, compensation systems, etc. You also need to make sure and reward people who embrace these tenets. People tend to embrace what they see others rewarded for. It is important that companies reward not only output but how the output was accomplished. The what and the how need to be of equal importance.I also feel strongly that building a culture of open dialogue where people can talk about difficult subjects is critical. Addressing the importance of diversity, equity, and belonging early on is also critical. Data has shown that diverse workplaces have better financial outcomes. Embracing a diverse workforce is not only critical for a functional and engaged culture but for also for robust financial results. All of your guidelines, policies, processes should be checked to make certain they support a culture of DEB.It is much for complicated than I am making it seem, but I hope these few thoughts are helpful.-Beth
Thank you so much for your input, it helps tremendously.
Hello Beth. Nice to meet you. and thank you for your time and sharing us your knowledge. I'm a people manager at a Fintech in Latam ( We are 50 people in the company, and we're ready for our first performance review. In your experience, what do you think are the most relevant points to take into consideration for a performance review?Thank you!!
Hi Karime -- I think the most important part of Performance Feedback is to have it set up to help people succeed, not fail. You need to drive that ongoing feedback is critical -- it cannot just happen 1x a year. I would ask employees what they want out of the process and why.
Hi @bethsteinberg! I am currently a Customer Success Manager at a small tech company (50 people) but I am really interested in pivoting into People Operations/HR. How would you recommend taking steps to make this career change? For additional background, our company is going to be hiring some sort of People Ops/HR position (the first we've ever had) in the next few months. I talked to my CEO about my interest in this position but because of some internal politics/leadership gaps at play at the macro level and my own lack of foundational HR knowledge, he is hesitant to support an internal move. However, he is very supportive of me learning more about People Ops and wants to help me get to where I need to be in order to make a pivot in the near future. So I'm curious if you have any recommendations for next steps to start to get the necessary experience?Thank you in advance for your insight!
Hi Jessica - There are some foundational learning that would be important to make this change, especially in a small company where you would be responsible for everything. I would recommend taking a few courses on compensation management, labor laws, and organizational design, at a minimum. Understanding the recruiting process would also be important. There are a lot of good online options these days including Berekely Extension. Maybe take one or two to see if you enjoy the content.
Thank you @bethsteinberg! I appreciate the insight and will definitely take a look at some of the online courses you pointed me to.
Lars Schmidt, a thoughtful leader in People & Talent, has a lot of open-source info. You should check it out:
Hi Beth, Do you think remote work will become the default in knowledge-based industries? How did the pandemic change people's operations in Chime? What's the best way to connect with you for speaking feature opportunities?Thank you!
I think a hybrid/flexible workforce will become the norm in knowledge-based industries. I believe that many employees will still want to be in an office environment. It is clear other people want to maximize for flexibility. I think the best companies will need to make room for both. Key considerations are maintaining/enhancing company culture, ability to hire and retain, and of course to meet business objectives.The Pandemic changed so much in People Operations and Talent. Within a matter of days, we need to move all hiring and onboarding to be remote friendly. This was no small act. I also believe the pandemic, coupled with racial and social justice issues took a large toll on people within many companies. Navigating this is something most People teams did not have experience doing.Thank for asking about speaking opportunities. Right now, I do not have the capacity to take anything on, but happy to consider opportunities for 2022. Feel free to message me on this platform.-Beth
Thank you, Beth!
Hi Beth - I work as an HR consultant with nonprofit organizations, but I feel like I see articles about start-ups having huge people management issues in the news all the time. How do you think Human Resources/People Management can better position themselves as a strategic partner for start ups that is a vital add (either a full time hire or via consulting) early on (and worth the $) to try and avoid culture problems, scandals, and more?
Gracie Ann -- I think it really depends on the leaders in the company. Honestly, some leaders understand the importance of the role and others do not. Skate to where the puck is, and do not go to a company that does not see the value of this work. It is hard to change hearts and minds when there is not a belief that leadership matters to business outcomes.The reality is People management takes skill. Companies treat these competencies like they are magic; they appear once someone is given the title. Leadership and management are competencies and should be treated as such. They need to be learned and practiced just like any other skill. I am not sure I answered your question, but this is complicated and I am not sure why some leaders don't appreciate how important culture is to business outcomes. I honestly don't waste my energy trying to convince people who don't understand this -- enough people do.
This was super helpful, and I know it is hard to pinpoint an answer to such a broad question in just a few paragraphs! I hear what you are saying though, there is plenty of opportunity within the space of folks who do see the value in this, so it’s just not worth the energy to try and convince those who do not see it. Thank you for your response and I look forward to seeing the answers to questions others have posed!