The Conversation Series: Dara Brenner

The Conversation Series: Dara Brenner, Chief Product Officer

Dara Brenner is Chief Product Officer at gr8 People and is responsible for gr8 People’s overall talent platform vision, design, evangelism and execution.

Dara joined gr8 People in 2015 and brings more than 20 years of experience building and leading diverse technology teams in a product management capacity. Most recently, she worked at Automated Data Processing where she served as Vice President of Product Management in ADP’s Innovation Lab. Dara and her team were responsible for re-imagining Human Capital Management (HCM) processes and products through innovative technologies such as search, mobile, social, user experience and analytics.

As part of the Conversation Series, we spoke with gr8 People’s Chief Product Officer, Dara Brenner, to understand the vision of the gr8 People Platform and learn about its unique characteristics. Dara spoke about the importance of building a talent platform focused on ‘purpose’. gr8 People is being touted as one of the exciting and high-profile examples of a global, enterprise, talent acquisition platform based completely in the cloud. Founded by Jayne Kettles and Diane Smith, who also led VirtualEdge prior to the company’s acquisition by ADP. gr8 People is a privately held company.

During the conversation, ‘one-experience, purpose and outcomes’ emerged as Brenner’s top 3 themes for characterizing the product strategy of the company. In this context, her themes mean much more than product roadmap, release schedules and UX, although these are critically important. The company’s platform design and development philosophy delivers on their strategy to build a talent platform that offers customers and users one-environment to provide ‘purposeful’ experiences and intelligent business outcomes.

For gr8 People, these experiences and outcomes are the common thread that make the one-experience platform meaningful for users, while enabling gr8 People to build its own ecosystem offering customers an unfair advantage in how they recruit talent around the world. By defining purpose in broad terms, Brenner views the platform as an ecosystem of individual experiences, each of which contributes to user satisfaction and meaningful business outcomes. This strategy and philosophy is only possible due to the company’s overall vision, global infrastructure, inventive architecture design and deep bench of industry expertise — their gr8 People! — That help provide customers with a range of perspectives, experiences, ideas and capabilities.

The Emergence of One-Experience

When Brenner initially met with the gr8 People executive team she was immediately excited about the vision of ‘one’. She remembers the conversation starting with “talent acquisition professionals deserve more than a few good tools. They deserve a platform for ‘everything’ talent.” Many vendors have acquired recruiting tools and bolted them together. What gr8 People saw was the necessity and value for all of these pieces to work together as one. One that provides a seamless, connected experience for talent acquisition; a platform with all the major components from one provider (CRM, Recruitment Marketing and ATS) supporting the hiring lifecycle, but also the global architecture prowess to extend the ecosystem experience across all digital devices and channels of interaction, for all users around the world.

The benefits of “one-experience” do not end there. Having a consistent platform, UI design and end-user first approach leads to not only better results, but also less effort when it comes to training, managing multiple-vendor upgrades, contracts, support, and also increased operational excellence. This is an extremely important point, as organizations today spend an incredible amount of time and resources on training, upgrades, service, and so on. One-experience is a genuine source of competitive advantage for customers, resulting in increased end-user performance and satisfaction.

Brenner saw gr8 People’s one-experience Platform as the future of talent technology. This type of talent platform had never been built before. A one-experience solution to help companies compete in today’s global, digital world — a world that is complex, fast-changing, and unpredictable. She was all-in!

To Achieve Purpose you need Industry Prowess

Having such a vast amount of knowledge and expertise of an industry makes an enormous difference in recruiting — it helps your customers know you can walk in their shoes. After all, one of the greatest compliments a vendor can receive is that they are impressed with the level of understanding of their customers’ business. We call this the ‘get it’ factor at gr8 People Brenner stated, we know why we are here, we get recruiting, and are very proud of our 25 plus years in the HCM industry. Our ‘purpose’ bodes extremely well for our Platform and customers.

It’s all about Business Outcomes

Our conversation started with Dara Brenner explaining the 3 main themes of the gr8 People platform strategy. She then highlighted that the overall goal of bringing everything into one-experience is the value of intelligent business outcomes. The most effective recruiting enterprises thrive on rich, timely, and actionable information. The insights gained allow organizations to decide where the workforce will go next, how to make better talent decisions faster, and how to drive greater efficiency in operations and processes.

The gr8 People platform helps companies track business outcomes from every interaction, and data point, from source to onboard and everything in between. These insights provide our customers with a powerful and underutilized advantage — the ability to identify the hidden truths of productivity, predictability, conversions and outcomes — just the data they need to drive organizational change and readiness.

Brenner emphasized the importance of architecting a one-experience recruiting continuum to bring a single view of business intelligence and provide teams valuable insights and experiences.

When asked “What’s next?” Brenner reiterated the goal of staying close to their customers and the market. “At gr8 People, the next generation of our product strategy is happening endlessly because we believe the only way to be ready for that next gr8 thing is to have the platform, team and customer community to create it.”