5 minutes with… Kier Campion, Global Talent & Development Lead at Kambi

This month we’re pleased to announce a new series where we interview HR leaders about their careers and their thoughts on key trends, as well as asking them to share advice for their peers – all in 5 minutes!

We begin the series with Kier Campion, Global Talent & Development Lead at Kambi.

What is your HR background?

Like many HR professionals, my starting in HR was by accident, not designed. A happy accident of course. Talent has always been my bag, starting in Recruitment, then Resourcing Strategy before crossing over to Learning and then in time Talent Management. I love being able to join the pieces together so I can create a business aligned talent strategy. Although I have loved my time in HR, some of best learning I have had has been in the more “commercial” non-HR roles I have worked in. This has been so valuable for me to understand about business growth and then therefore how talent can impact this.

What does your role as Global Talent & Development Lead at Kambi entail?

It’s genuinely a really broad role – which is exactly the reason I was attracted to it. I have three core areas within my role (amongst other things), Talent Management, Performance Management and Learning & Development so there is great width there. However, being part of a small (but powerful) People Team means I also get a lot of depth! No hanging up my admin hat quite yet.

Let me tell you a story about my day (so far) today. I kicked off the morning with uploading 154 thumbnail images for our brand new (and very shiny) learning platform, pretty repetitive and time consuming work – there are no shortcuts! I was hitting “save” when a member of our executive team asked for a “quick catch up” regarding the structure of their organisation moving forward to handle some really key business growth challenges. I rolled from that meeting to running an internal workshop with a cross section of stakeholders to discuss our future approach to the employee review cycle (and it is not even lunch yet!)

Kambi is a fast-paced growing tech environment, how easy/difficult is it manage talent in that environment?

It certainly isn’t easy!

Kambi as growing tech business, has never really invested in talent management before, but as we hit the 800 employees (and still growing), spread across six countries globally, we know it’s an area we need to invest in. Being so fast paced in our day-to-day operations but also our growth means we normally figure out the problem or find a solution in the moment – it’s all about failing fast and learning quicker! This of course is hugely challenging, but expected. Our employees and executive team understand this challenge so are patient but willing to listen and contribute to create the way ahead.

How does a growing tech environment focus on its culture when it’s growing at pace?

The challenge is real, so real that we discuss it as a People Team daily.

As we transition firmly into being a medium sized organisation we are making tough decisions about “who do we want to be!” We know we need to work differently now we are 800 people globally servicing international operators. However, what hasn’t changed is a focus on values, “we act, we care, we deliver”. As long as we can stay focussed in these three areas, our culture and our success will both grow in the right direction.

Is it easier to join up the employee experience in a smaller business?

Before joining Kambi that was one of the benefits, I expected to see. I was infact wrong. It feels like it should be much easier with smaller teams (and bureaucracy) to handle. Of course, this is true; however, we are trying to build the way ahead quickly and efficiently which means sometimes the different chapters of the story feel a bit out of sorts. So yes it is easier to get things done, but sometimes the rush (and need) for the finish line means we may end going running as individual runners rather than a joined up relay-team!

You have a global remit at Kambi, how do you tailor your approaches for different countries or regions?

As a growing tech business, I believe that my focus needs to be about creating scalable solutions for everyone everywhere. This naturally sounds a bit like “one size fits all” – however, when you really think about it, the offer is much more than this. As I create new solutions or approaches to talent initiatives, I over invest my time into exploring the needs for each part of our organisation, whether that be by function or of course location. This upfront investigation and real collaboration is crucial to the longer-term success of the talent offer; it means I am working with the business to find one solution that fits everyone!

Prior to your time at Kambi you held roles at Kingfisher, Arcadia Group, Harrods etc, what have been the biggest difference working in a growing tech environment?

I have been so lucky in my previous career to work at such developed organisations. Although all have gone through elements of change, they have had some solid groundwork for the talent area that I have been able to build on. Kambi literally had nothing when I joined, so the fundamental difference is there are no parameters and no rules. This of course is any talent persons dream, but much of my work is around first educating and then exciting the way ahead all at the same time so I can deliver a scalable solution for the growth needed today and in the future.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to your peers who might be considering a move into a growing tech environment?

  1. Be honest with yourself. What are you up for?
    There is always temptation to start with the fun, value adding BIG stuff in talent, but more than anything the basics come first – it is not always fun, but just like building a house, you can’t put the walls or the wallpaper up until you have built the foundations!
  2. If like me you are coming from a larger, well-developed organisation realise you will not have the support you previously did. If you want learning materials printed, you are doing it yourself – gone are the days of an in-house printing studio!
  3. Be prepared to fail. Failure happens everywhere, but in tech, we have no idea of the future so it means we fail fast and we fail hard, but we learn! We are all about progress not perfection, so brush up your resilience skills you are going to need them (but believe me, it’s more fun….!)

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