Meet our new Chief People Officer, Katie Hulbert-Powell
Volt’s power lies in its people. So we can bring out the best of them, we’re welcoming Katie Hulbert-Powell – our new Chief People Officer – to the Voltology fold. Here’s what she has to say about her new role…
Katie, what attracted you to Volt?
I’ve helped grow DevOps and data analytics consultancies by building exceptional teams in a really competitive market. You have to get the best talent in; talent is the value of a business.
The difference between a product business like Volt and a consultancy is that, with the latter, you’re dependent – from a culture point of view – on the clients you’re putting your people into. With the former, you can build a much more tangible and congruent idea of what culture is for everyone in the company.
This was part of Volt’s appeal, alongside the fact that it’s the right opportunity, with the right team, and the right kind of goals to strive for. I also firmly believe in the product. There’s huge opportunity in the market, and Volt has the right team to execute on it. I can truly see a future where real-time payments are everywhere.
What do you make of Volt’s culture so far?
I’ve been really impressed with the team. There is an innate excitement about where we’re heading. People are really engaged with what we’re doing.
If you’re building a high-performing team, you need to work with people who understand the difference between success and failure. It’s clear that there’s been a deliberate attempt to build this culture in the organisation. It runs through everything I’ve seen so far.
I think that, overall, we’ve got the ‘wrapping’. We have the brand that sits around our culture, the external marketing to customers, the idea of where we want our products to head, and the type of person we want to bring onboard.
What sits inside this is where I’m going to focus initially. If you do this internal work, and make it solid, then you can achieve what it is that you’re heading towards.
Are you an advocate of hybrid working?
On a personal level, I hugely value working in a hybrid fashion because of the autonomy. But it also means that you can operate other elements of your life more effectively. I wouldn’t work for a business where I didn’t have that flexibility, and I wouldn’t expect other people to.
The days when you’re in the office are enjoyable. We look forward to them, to seeing our colleagues and properly engaging with them. We can use our time at home to focus on the projects we really want to and give our energy to more than just the office.
Tell us about the role of the People & Culture team…
I’m a firm believer that People & Culture isn’t a function that reacts to the business. It should be engaged at a commercial level, and be an enabler for the business. What I’ve learned, from working with engineers, is how to build your People & Culture team as a product for the business to use. As well as being the team’s customer service, we’re the fixers and the people who remove burden from others.
This is exciting when you consider that HR roles used to be largely about terminations and hires. Now there’s huge opportunity for People & Culture to be a multifaceted, operational business function. When it becomes something that people use and come back to again and again, I really feel a sense of achievement.
What do the next six months look like? What do you hope to achieve?
I am a commercial people and talent person; I am not a compliance HR officer. What I’m 100% focused on is building this business for scalability. My first six months will be spent reviewing processes to ensure they’re aligned with our growth trajectory, and on expanding the People & Culture team.
They will also be about the candidate experience – that, from a Voltology point of view, we have a really clear brand, and a clear journey, that candidates can go through. We want to start building our name in the market as an employer that people want to join.