Pat Wadors on Reconnecting With Our Humanity

In these difficult times, Pat Wadors, CHRO of Procore, is making a conscious effort to build on the advantages of a value-based corporate culture. In this interview with The HR Digest, she makes a case for the value of employee value proposition (EVP), and explains how the company’s Diversity, Equity and Belonging (DIB) has put Procore on the global map as one of the top companies for underrepresented talent groups.

Diversity Shake Up

Top HR Leaders CHROs Pat Wadors

The HR Digest: What changes are working well for Procore in the fast pacing world?

Pat Wadors: One of my priorities is to build an inclusive culture where everyone can thrive, do their best work, and feel valued. 

At Procore, we’re continuing to build an inclusive culture that’s grounded in diversity and a shared sense of belonging. We want people to feel safe to be themselves and realize their full potential. 

My goal is to help scale and further evolve the culture, which means it’s essential that we put all of our people first. 

What challenges have you come across while working as a CHRO at Procore? How are you planning to manage these challenges?

The role of the Chief Human Resources Officer is changing, evolving, and expanding. The challenge with this is that we don’t know what we don’t know and we’re expected to provide opinions or take the lead on any people-related matters. 

The perception of our role based on the audience can also be challenging. Either we’re meeting that expectation of being the chief of everything else or we’re not. The role is exciting because you get involved in more conversations, but it is humbling because we’re learning along with everyone else.

Some of the challenges include: Do we have the courage to learn faster and take more risks? How do you find the answer in a way that is trusted, reliable and scalable? How do you make a decision with only maybe 60 percent of the data or less and iterate quickly and have more agility? HR is not known for its agility historically and being able to experiment more often is challenging. 

Can you highlight any benefits and perks gaffes that organizations usually make? What are a few mistakes that Procore tracks down for itself and how are you planning to overcome these gaffes?

The ‘mistake’ for an organization would be to add a benefit and/or perk that you don’t plan on keeping “forevermore” —unless it is clearly outlined for a unique purpose in a unique timeframe. Otherwise, employees will inevitably overreact to the takeaway, regardless of the item versus getting excited about adding an incremental benefit.

As for gaffes, I see these as learning moments. For example, historically, Procore wasn’t the best at communicating the value of an employee’s overall benefits and we weren’t yet thinking about how to design for a ‘global’ company —e.g., what can and/or should scale? So we’ve taken that learning and started work on an Employee Value Proposition that has already started to provide a better compass from which to create our overall benefit plan approach globally.

What talent practices do you plan to keep the future of work in shape?

My mantra hasn’t changed since I joined Procore; we are a people-first company. So logically, the foundation of our guiding principles is to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone as we adopt a hybrid work model in 2022. And that foundation will guide our decisions and actions related to our people, to shape our thinking as we evolve toward tomorrow while protecting what has made us successful.  ​

The past few years have really highlighted the need for companies to play a larger role in supporting employee mental and physical health. Employees need the tools to help manage their anxiety, stress, and fear for what the future holds. 

Another important thing we do to support employees at Procore is giving them the knowledge and transparency about what’s happening in the business —what we know and what we don’t know, in addition to a window into what we can and cannot legally share —because, in the absence of information, people often fill the box with negativity. Constant communication and visibility of our leaders are key to creating trust with our teams. 

We build that trust through our culture. Culture is essentially our language —how and what we communicate with one another plays a huge role in how we operate as a company. We have three core values that drive our efforts: openness, ownership, and optimism. They guide us in everything we do —and this is especially true for our diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives. 

We’ve also developed new communications channels to further amplify the voice of our employees, which allows employees to share their unique perspectives and experiences with the company.

Communication should be a dialogue —talking with someone, not speaking at them. The key to getting it right is setting the right level of expectations with our employees. So, how do we gather their input, incorporate what makes sense for the business, and then clearly communicate the goal? By reinforcing that all employees have a right to provide input and share their perspectives but not the right to make the final decision or veto decisions made. 

We’re also focused on meeting our employees where they are, not where we tell them to be. We discovered that work is something we do together —not somewhere we go. To operationalize that philosophy, we’re implementing a hybrid work model that not only allows employees to work in an environment best suited to doing their best work but also leveling the playing field by providing equitable perks and access to tools across the organization.

And finally, the goals of our employee value proposition —essentially our talent strategy, which underpins our corporate strategy —are to (i) hire and scale for the future, (ii) retain and engage our existing talent, and (iii) reinvigorate our talent brand to build a high-performing, healthy company that scales. In operational terms, that means we’re focused on attracting and hiring global top talent, keeping our employees engaged and motivated to continue doing purposeful work, providing clarity on roles/expectations, and creating amazing and equitable experiences in the employee journey.  

As an introvert, what life lessons made you stronger and helped you lead the workplace?

My journey as an introvert was not easy. It was a difficult journey for me being an introvert and becoming a manager of a distributed workforce. I didn’t spend time with them to truly get to know them. I focused on the work deliverables – not getting to know each employee well. As a result —I experienced a loss of social connection as my coworkers didn’t in turn know me well, and it was awkward for me to socialize in unstructured environments.  Small talk was hard for me.  This created a problem within the team where there was lack of trust and lower engagement as they didn’t really know me. This greatly impacted my joy and their joy.  I wanted this team to be high performing, create a high level of trust and enjoy each other’s company. I needed help.

This challenge prompted me to seek out a career coach and we did a 360 degree review. As a result, I learned that I needed to make an effort to share who I am with them —which is difficult as an introvert,  so they could understand me and not mis-read my lack of communication/ socialization, because in the absence of information, we invent stories…I learned that in the absence of sharing my authentic self I couldn’t be the leader I aspired to be. To be a great leader, I needed to be vulnerable with my awkwardness in social settings, how I needed to ‘recharge my energy’  and basically share my story. I also needed to learn who they were and what they needed from me as their manager. We all get our energy, build relationships in different ways and being aware of that is a key learning for every manager. 

Extroverts get energy from being around people.  They master ‘small talk’, have the ability to socialize with a large group of different people in a short span of time and to brainstorm in the moment.  Introverts get energy when we can be in our own head for a while to recharge. We like smaller groups, time to process, we don’t do small chats naturally, so I had to learn how to extend myself in that way while managing my energy levels. Coming home drained every day was not a solution.  

It all paid off because I’m able to be authentically me: at home and at work. By learning how to do that and finding my true self, I was able to influence the team to be authentic to their styles. This brought us all closer and everybody was happier. We were able to work efficiently and productively together. 

After seeing the result of this, it led me to partner with Susan Cain the author of Quiet, and we launched the Quiet Ambassador program at LinkedIn with introverts and extroverts as a way to educate and challenge the way LinkedIn employees think about different personality types. We wanted to provide an opportunity where employees are able to successfully work together by building confidence, helping them manage their energy throughout the day, feeling empowered to share ideas and feeling like they belong to a community where they can be their authentic selves at the workplace every day.

Can you tell The HR Digest readers more about Procore’s strategies to raise the bar of diversity in the workplace?

One of the things I love the most about working at Procore is how much emphasis there is given towards celebrating people’s differences and unique experiences, both internally at the company and within the construction industry, as a whole. Diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) have long been ingrained into the cultural fabric of Procore. And, in the past year, we have strengthened our internal efforts by adding even more resources and programming for our employees. We have also provided resources and support to drive meaningful action in the construction industry as a whole. 

At Procore, we’re on a journey to build a more diverse and inclusive future that empowers everyone to thrive. We want to build a community of trust, where all voices are heard and we feel safe bringing our authentic selves to work. This means we need to bring our diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives into everyday moments. It’s a collective effort, and together we can ensure Procore builds a more equitable workplace that allows everyone to do their best work. 

We’re also taking steps to create a more diverse and inclusive industry. Through our long-standing Women in Construction initiative, we’re expanding the definition of what construction looks like by supporting organizations that challenge bias and expand a diversified labor pool. We’re also offering our construction management platform, training resources, and educational materials to support nonprofit and educational organizations dedicated to serving underrepresented communities. 

There is still so much work to do. I’m so grateful to be part of the journey that is so passionately focused on making a lasting and systemic impact, where priorities are placed on continuing to listen, learn, and keep the conversation going in a positive direction.

Pat Wadors 2022 HR Leaders CHROs

Pad Wadors,
CHRO, Procore

Pat Wadors has served as the Chief People Officer at Procore Technologies since November 2020. Prior, Wadors served as Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) at ServiceNow from 2017 to 2020. She was responsible for overseeing global employee resources and talent, helping the company scale from 5,000 to 12,000 employees while building programs to support employees and their families. She previously served as SVP, Global Talent Organization at LinkedIn, where she led a global HR organization. Wadors has also held executive positions at Plantronics, Inc. and Yahoo! She currently serves on the boards of Zenefits, Accolade, Inc., and El Camino Hospital.

Photo: Procore


This interview was published in the January 2022 issue of The HR Digest.

Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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