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Vincent Chee on Bevel’s inclusive and progressive workplace culture

In an interview with The HR Digest, Vincent Chee, Director of People and Culture at Bevel, shares with us his biggest learnings from the pandemic and more. He also shares his perspectives on The Great Resignation, and the challenges organizations face today in strategizing DE&I initiatives. 

Bevel Vincent Chee

The HR Digest: What are some short- and long-term goals for your position with Bevel?

Vincent Chee: I am working with our COO Roni Gross and Director Naomi Hung to determine Bevel’s timeline within 6-months, 1 year and 2 years. We are a quickly growing firm and expect to grow our HR department before we hit 50 employees. I am focused on employee engagement and retention in order to build a positive employer brand and foster a workplace culture of belonging. My goal is to recruit people that truly believe in our employer brand. 

We are also working towards our onboarding and training initiatives. We are huge advocates of hiring a diverse set of candidates, most of whom do not have a traditional background in PR or within the industries we work in. Our long-term vision is to find employees with unique backgrounds and skill sets that can contribute to the expansive qualities and expertise of the firm. 

Early-stage companies often lean on referral networks, which means the company builds a workforce of people who look and sound a lot like the people who already work there. This is something we are actively trying to avoid by diversifying our recruiting efforts beyond just referrals and partnering directly with universities for virtual panels and information sessions for students and alumni.

The HR Digest: What measure(s) did you take with your team to ensure that Bevel’s global corporate culture would reflect its D&I goals? Can you give a specific example?

Vincent Chee: We aim to focus on internal education and awareness. This will include DE&I training during the new hire onboarding experience, training for colleagues involved with the interview process and microlearning activities to recognize and celebrate observed holidays. Additionally, we have rolled out a series of annual company-wide training to bring awareness to key topics and cultural movements and events. 

Additionally, at Bevel we place a strong emphasis on homegrown talent. We make an effort to find entry level candidates through college panels, diverse student associations, and professional development organizations. We have managed to identify strong potential in young professionals across a variety of diverse professional backgrounds. 

The HR Digest: As Bevel’s Director of People and Culture, how do you place particular emphasis on cognitive diversity, i.e. diverse perspectives, experiences, and contribution, within your sphere of responsibility?

Vincent Chee: There is a niche intersection between cutting-edge technology/finance and strategic communications. Our strategy to hire from outside of the traditional PR/Communications backgrounds is a key part of searching for talent. I am constantly looking beyond specific professional experiences and also asking candidates questions that reveal more about their interests, passions and goals for growth. We are constantly looking for strategists and creative writers who are interested in building brands. When we source talent with diverse perspectives and experiences that is reflected in the work product and the collaborative ideas they contribute as part of a greater team. 

Attributes we look for include: Accountable, hardworking, charming, intellectually curious, and resilient (adaptable), team-oriented, enterprising, authenticity, courage, empathy, growth orientation, grit, high self-esteem and low ego.

The HR Digest: What impact do you think the coronavirus crisis will have on the employer-employee relationship in the long-term?

Vincent Chee: Throughout the pandemic, we have shown that we can be high-performing and motivated individuals who have learned to adapt in remote and hybrid environments. It was this ability to quickly adapt that served as a catalyst for Bevel’s growth. In 2020 we doubled in size, at one point having an employee in each timezone across the U.S. We have shown that we can operate remotely and have sensitivity to that as a firm.  We also placed a heavy emphasis on virtual employee interactions, professional development and mentorship despite being remote. Managers were consistently providing feedback with their direct reports, establishing goals, and encouraging time to set aside one-on-one meetings to think about areas of improvement and growth within the company. The pandemic has shown us that employees now attribute flexibility and supportive work environments with overall job satisfaction, allowing for greater opportunity for a remote-first work environment and the flexibility it provides in the years to come. 

By ensuring that we are cultivating an engaging environment where employees are made to feel respected, supported and celebrated, many companies can avoid falling victim to the Great Resignation. 

The HR Digest: “The Great Resignation” is a major concern for many companies today. Where do you think we should be focusing on to avoid falling victim to this crisis?

Vincent Chee: There were many key learnings we saw from the Great Resignation that reflected on many companies’ leadership failure to meet the needs of their employees. Industry-wide, we should avoid situations that challenge work-life boundaries, flexibility and professional growth for employees. By ensuring that we are cultivating an engaging environment where employees are made to feel respected, supported and celebrated, many companies can avoid falling victim to the Great Resignation. 

Additionally, placing a strong emphasis on professional development can have a huge impact on employee retention. At Bevel, we hold professional training programming to further educate and create a deeper purpose in our work culture that sets our employees across all levels on a clear roadmap to success. 

We are also very purposeful with our mentorship opportunities, pairing up managers with their direct reports and ensuring that they are regularly having check-ins and review periods that helps them establish their professional goals together. 

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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