AllVoices Advisors: Q&A with Dan Spaulding

By Claire Schmidt
October 16, 2019

Welcome to AllVoices Advisors, a series introducing our amazing advisors here at AllVoices. We’re on mission to create safe, happy, and healthy workplaces for all and we’re lucky to have a team of experts dedicated to helping us along the way.

Today, we’re sitting down with Dan Spaulding, Chief People Officer for Zillow Group. Passionate about workplace issues, Dan has worked across a number of companies, countries, and industries over the course of his career. We’re thrilled to share some of his incredible insights with you!

What made you decide to join AllVoices as an advisor?

There is a real trust gap between employees, their employers, and HR. I am passionate about working with anyone innovating ways to build better pathways to build trust.

How is AllVoices changing the way company leaders address bullying, bias, harassment and other workplace issues?

AllVoices helps shine a light on what people are concerned about in their workplace. It enables employers to address concerns before they become issues.

Why is company culture important and what have you found makes the best company culture?

I believe that companies don’t dictate culture, they influence culture. Real culture is how people show up (or don’t show up) for each other everyday. When companies focus less on how to explain their culture and more on how course correct when the organization doesn’t show up as it should you create a flywheel of accountability that is authentic. Things are going to happen - what do people do when they do? That is why culture is important.

How do you think the business world has changed since the #MeToo movement?

People can no longer ignore that you are either working on making your workplace a safe space or you are enabling structures that have failed women for decades.

Beyond harassment and bias training, what steps can HR leaders take to ensure that companies are safe and inclusive?

Create multiple pathways to elevate and address workplace concerns. Not everyone feels comfortable coming forward - but you need mechanisms to collect that feedback regardless.

As Chief People Officer, what do you think is the best way to motivate employees or what are the strategies you’ve seen work?

People don’t want perfection they want honesty. Being transparent and vulnerable that you need help is the most motivating strategy I have seen. People want to make your company successful - bring them and let be a part of the solution, not just a recipient.

How do you think company leaders can better protect whistleblowers and people who speak up to change their company culture?

Companies have an obligation (ethically and legally) to protect whistleblowers. Most companies have defined anti-retaliation policies that will protect people- give them a shot.

What skills do you admire most in a leader?

The longer I work the more I admire leaders that truly admit their own mistakes. Only way to really change is to be willing to change yourself.

What are you most passionate about in this phase of your career?

Getting the chance to redefine HR and support in the workplace. I have been fortunate to learn from and help people grow their careers for two decades. It is incredible to finally be in a spot to help bring those insights into building better systems, structures, and policies for all.

What was the hardest lesson you’ve learned so far?

No one can do it all themselves. I have failed at this and watched others fail. You have to have help.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Focus on incremental improvement every day, you can control making something better everyday.

What excites you most about AllVoices?

Not every business (or employee) has the resources that a large company does - AllVoices is a great way to create a meaningful pathway to help your employees get support at work.

Don’t get caught off guard by employee feedback. AllVoices can help.
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