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Erik Darby is the VP of Business Development at BetterUp, forging the path of connectivity between BetterUp and organizations to make the deployment of coaching more seamless and accessible than ever before. Having co-founded two HR-tech solutions, Kanjoya and Motive Software, Darby is passionate about creating tools and systems that help employees be at their best every day.
The BetterUp team was keen to be both a Signature and Venture sponsor at the Workday Rising Europe event in Stockholm. As a Workday partner, we are excited about the road ahead as we create workflows that enhance the ongoing management of both Workday and BetterUp so leaders can support their employees with critical tools and resources at all times.
We sat down with Darby to discuss his top insights from Workday Rising Europe and learn more about what’s on the horizon for his team.
Q&A with Erik Darby, BetterUp’s VP of Business Development
Q: Tell us about Workday Rising Europe. How did it feel to be in Stockholm with HR innovators from around the world?
A: Välkommen! Workday Rising Stockholm was an incredible three-day conference for Workday customers and partners filled with knowledge sharing, hands-on learning, and collaboration around new features, trends, and solutions at the forefront of HR. Attendees and partners alike met to connect with peers, share new ideas, and talk directly with Workday’s customers.
With roughly 5,000 customers in attendance, the energy of the conference was infectious and provided a unique opportunity to broaden the awareness of the value of BetterUp within the Workday ecosystem. As Workday’s only recommended coaching platform, much of the time was spent sharing our story with prospects and meeting with existing customers to discuss the impact BetterUp was making within their organization.
Q: Who did you meet with, and which conversations stuck with you the most?
A: Ultimately, we were there to further establish BetterUp’s presence within Workday’s ecosystem. The majority of my time was spent talking to companies about digital coaching, human transformation, and our partnership with Workday. One of the conversations that really stuck with me was with the CRO of Cloudpay.
Cloudpay is a payroll vendor and partner of Workday, so she was there in a similar capacity — meeting new prospects. She walked over to our booth and simply said, “I recently joined Cloudpay from Visa, and while I’m here at the conference to talk about Cloudpay, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to let all of you know that BetterUp changed my life. I have never come across a solution as impactful as BetterUp. What you’re doing is changing people’s lives, and I just wanted to come say hello and encourage all of you to keep going!” We’ll definitely follow up with Cloudpay, but it’s moments like this that remind me of the significance of our mission and the impact we can make in the world.
Q: What was the most unexpected moment of the event?
A: The HR Technology landscape has thousands of solutions to serve nearly every aspect of the employee lifecycle. While Workday is highly selective of who becomes a vetted partner and can attend their conference (and even more so, who receives a badge, like us!), I’m always amazed at how competitive and crowded this space is for most companies — there are 100+ point solutions that are nearly identical in their offerings around performance management, employee surveys, payroll, benefits, etc. But there’s really only ONE digital coaching provider and human transformation platform.
Historically, if a solution emerges in this space to great commercial success, it becomes replicated and challenged by the larger HCMs. But, with BetterUp, our model, evidence-based methodologies, science-backed foundation, and network of thousands of coaches, it’s incredibly defensible and unique. There’s power in that and a responsibility to continue to aggressively build and grow. What we have can’t be overcome by throwing money at this market or replicated with lines of code… we’ve pioneered the space and grow stronger (data flywheels, innovation by way of customer feedback, research, sales velocity, and more) near daily at this point. It’s these unexpected moments of realization of our role, responsibility, and leadership in this space that feel invigorating.
Q: What are the top three insights about the future of work that you took away from the event?
A: The evolving employee experience continues to be front and center in designing what the future of work looks like. The three resounding themes from the conference were 1) personalization, 2) in the flow of work moments, and 3) catering to the employee experience in a manner that blurs the lines between our professional and personal lives.
An example of this blend is an employee that is sent a push notification on their digital watch because they forgot to clock out of their shift when running an errand (discovered by linking their Google Calendar to Workday). The employee can clock out directly on their watch, and Workday then nudges the employee to see if they would like the Workday system to log out of shifts automatically in the future when it identifies a similar, subsequent event on their calendar. Workday has succeeded in making enterprise software feel like general consumer applications. You see the theme reinforced as they design to operationalize enterprise tasks at every stage of our professional lives in ways that look and feel like consumer applications we use outside of work.
Q: What makes you most excited about BetterUp’s partnership with Workday?
A: Workday recognizes and respects the value of coaching and the role it plays in transforming organizations. I get extremely excited about the many layers of value that this partnership represents — as there are near-endless opportunities where coaching will impact existing workflows around performance management, employee engagement, talent optimization, and more. With bi-directional integrations between BetterUp and Workday, we can help organizations understand their people’s needs in ways like never before and help them transform to achieve greater performance, productivity, capacity, and mental fitness.
Developing the capacity and growth of an organization’s employees requires deep understanding and insights about the individuals themselves and the appropriate interventions. Our integration with Workday helps provide this context. Whether it’s a promotion, organizational changes, life milestones, onboarding, or feedback, the partnership between Workday and BetterUp helps organizations automatically deliver coaching at scale, in the flow of work, when and where they need it most to perform at their peak.