Episode 48: Navigating Work-Life Changes with Adam and Helen Harmetz of Mind the Beet

Adam Harmetz hsHelen Harmetz hs
Adam and Helen Harmetz11/10/2021

In this episode of #shifthappens, AvePoint Chief Brand Officer Dux Raymond Sy sat down with Adam and Helen Harmetz, who write candidly about life changes on their blog, Mind the Beet. The guests are Microsoft veterans with plenty of advice for readers at a crossroads or looking to take their opportunities to the next level.

Adam and Helen started the blog during the pandemic to help them feel more in control and foster new hobbies. The blog is a combination of life lessons and life learnings individually, as a couple, and from personal and work perspectives. Adam loves writing, and the pandemic made him realize that writing was a unique hobby for him. Helen realized that the blog was more about them, and the blog is for people who are trying to figure out what it means to be a grown-up. Being vulnerable and open about their struggles and successes is a crucial part of the blog, and it's for people who are ready to take responsibility for themselves and others. Although the blog is not super focused, they want to cast a wide net and connect with people who know them well or want to get to know them. Sharing their life hacks and parenting experiences have impacted people they work with and their team members, and they found that being more transparent and open with their team was needed during the pandemic. The blog aims to connect with people on a personal level while giving good advice.

Adam and Helen discussed the benefits of being vulnerable and organized in their writing and content creation process. They talk about the importance of striking the right tone and getting their point across to their audience. The speakers compare their content creation process to a paired programming extreme programming model, where they take turns writing and quality-checking each other's work. They also discuss the challenges of creating content that is relatable, usable, and not too preachy, bossy, fluffy, concise, or real.

The discussion then shifted to the topic of Viva, an employee experience platform that aims to create a category of tools and services to put employees at the center. The speakers note that the pandemic has accelerated the transformation of businesses, and that Viva can help bring in human elements to day-to-day work, making work more productive and human. The speakers also highlight the importance of understanding the deep business objectives and goals of customers, and how technology can partner with business processes to help them.

The conversation then turned to the accelerated digital transformation that has taken place in many organizations due to the pandemic. Adam and Helen point out that this has also brought about cultural transformation, as organizations have had to adapt to new ways of working and communicating. However, they view this as a positive opportunity to use technology to make cultural transformations that were previously only thought about.

One area of opportunity they highlight is upskilling, particularly in tech and healthcare industries. There is a high demand for new types of workers, and large employers are recognizing this and investing in upskilling their workforce. The speakers point out that Viva, an employee engagement platform, can play a role in providing educational opportunities and contextual learning, removing the need for context switching.

The speakers also touch upon the challenges in certain industries where there is a shortage of workers, such as retail and shipping, and the need for new professionals and experts to fill these roles. They note that providing educational opportunities can be an employee engagement strategy for employers, and that Viva can help with this by providing a one-stop-shop for learning and tracking progress. Overall, the speakers believe that the merging of technology and business values, along with a focus on upskilling and career mobility, will be a generational trend in B2B SaaS.

Adam and Helen then delved into how managers can navigate the changing landscape. They highlight the importance of rethinking traditional work models and embracing the idea of a hybrid workplace. They suggest that managers should focus on what they need from employees in terms of achieving business goals and success, and work backwards from there to figure out what the employee needs. They also stress the importance of enabling flexibility and being open to remote work or flexible hours if it allows employees to achieve their goals.

Adam brings up the idea of risk-taking and adventure as a theme that tends to emerge after pandemics recede. He suggests that managers should be thinking about how to create a sense of adventure and challenge within their teams, while also funding efforts to promote innovation. Overall, they emphasize the need for managers to be adaptable and willing to adjust to the changing work landscape, as well as the importance of supporting employees in achieving their goals in whatever way works best for them.

For those starting their careers or not yet in leadership positions, Adam and Helen suggest that people should focus on finding what brings them joy and passion, rather than just climbing the career ladder. This involves spending time early in one's career honing skills and making decisions about what tasks bring joy and what tasks do not. They also recommend that people work for companies that invest in training and allow time for learning and growth. Employees should create a plan for personal growth and make their company work for them, not the other way around.

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