Hiring Independent Employees and Retaining Talent with Ivan Jarry at Obvio Health USA

Selecting the right people to join your company is essential to scaling your company. One way to ensure you have a team of empowered people is by hiring independent employees. Today’s guest is Ivan Jarry, CEO at ObvioHealth. Inc Magazine ranked his company # 390 on the 2021 Inc 5000 list. ObvioHealth is a global digital health organization providing real-world digital clinical trials that deliver better data. Ivan talks about the importance of hiring independent employees. We share the keys to having the kind of people who make decisions and overcome challenges. Discover why hiring independent employees matters.

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Ivan Jarry: The Transcript

About: Ivan Jarry, co-founded SPRIM, a global life sciences consultancy in 2001. They have since opened 18 offices worldwide, serving more than 450 clients, amongst them many of the largest multinationals in consumer health and pharma. In 2015, they leveraged that experience to launch SPRIM Ventures, a venture capital company that builds and invests in early-stage healthcare startups to bring innovation efficiently to scale. SPRIM’s Consulting and Ventures teams work synergistically to incubate ideas and translate them into faster, more cost-effective solutions with the potential to improve health and quality of life for millions. Ivan Jarry is a proven leader that develops winning strategies and focuses organizations to achieve positive change based on well-developed customer and operational insights, strong analytical skills, and the capacity to consistently build strong, enduring relationships with partners.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Ivan Jarry: [00:00:00] Hiring for a fast-growing company is, is, is very different. We need to make sure we can find people that are going to thrive in the environment that is not very well defined, where roles and responsibilities are moving and switching very quickly over time. So you need to find people that are very in-depth and then willing to design their own growth paths, whereas in an organization. And not really waiting for instructions and guidelines to come from the top, but really building the foundation from the ground.

Intro: Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?

Gene Hammett: You know, it’s quite difficult to do any kind of hiring today, but when you have a fast-growth company, you want to make sure that you’re very selective in who you hire. And in fact, many companies [00:01:00] want independent employees. So today we look at hiring independent employees. We also look at retaining those talented employees as the company continues to grow. Our special guest today is the co-founder of Obvio Health USA. It is Ivan Jarry, and we have a really interesting conversation around what is an independent employee looks like and, and why is that so necessary as the company continues to grow? Now, I share all this with you because I want you to understand how you can be selective in the hiring process and what exactly that looks like as we look at questions to ask and, and approaches to take, but we also dive into the whole aspect of retaining these talented employees and why that’s so important in today’s world.

So with this episode, you’ll learn how to hire independent employees, but also how to retain the talent. When you think about your own journey as a leader, my hope is that you have a clear path forward. In fact, I really believe that when you have a clear path and know exactly what your next steps are, you’re much more able to make that happen. And so my job is to hold a very unique kind of conversation where I help you figure out the [00:02:00] path forward as. A lot of people focus on the strategy of the business or, you know, what’s next, but I want you to lead more powerfully. I want you to inspire ownership across the organization. Now, if you want these things too, for yourself, then let’s have a conversation about your business and about what’s really going on in your own leadership to create that path. All you have to do is go to GeneHammett.com and go schedule your call. Love to talk to you about what’s going on. This. Isn’t a sales call I’ve been working on this for years to help you figure out exactly what’s next. I find this builds relations. If we decide to work together at some time in the future, that’s a bonus, but I really want to be a gift to you and really make a different impact in your life. The conversation you aren’t having with anyone else, the conversation is necessary for you to grow as a leader. This is what you want to do. Don’t waste this opportunity. I want to help you be that leader. Now here’s the interview with Ivan.

Ivan, how are you?

Ivan Jarry: Very good. Thank you. How are you?

Gene Hammett: I am fantastic. Excited to have you here on the podcast.

Ivan Jarry: I’m excited too.

Gene Hammett: I want to dive in with, let you share with us about your company. Libya. Let me back up. Obvio Health. I got that [00:03:00] right?

Ivan Jarry: Obvio

Gene Hammett: Obvio, why I got that mixed up, but let’s go ahead and let you share with us what the company is and what you do.

Ivan Jarry: Sure Obvio Health is a platform that enables what we call a decentralized clinical trial, which is basically the ability to run a clinical trial without the need to go to a hospital, a site, to do any kind of visit.

Gene Hammett: Love the fact that you are helping us improve our healthcare system. I feel like, are you American? Are you, did you come from Europe?

Ivan Jarry: No, I’m French.

Gene Hammett: Okay. I could hear the accent in there. What do you think as the real breakthrough that we need in our healthier system? I know that’s a big question, but I’m just kind of curious from your perspective.

Ivan Jarry: And I think there’s a, there’s a lot of antiquated processes. And I think in general, the American house care system that was built, you know, was a lot of that liability you know, and risks of. So there’s a lot of coverage and cost as a city to make sure people do not make mistakes and have the proper insurance. So that makes a very cumbersome process and the complicated experience for a patient. So on the clinical trials side, we’re just [00:04:00] trying to digitalize and simplify processes. So it’s easier for participants to, to join.

Gene Hammett: Well, I know we’re not going to go too deep into it because most of the conversations here talk about fast-growth companies and the leadership styles. So let’s just go ahead and jump into that when we were doing some research in the company, not only do we figure out that you guys have grown fast, but you have a different approach to hiring than most companies, how would you describe that approach to hiring?

Ivan Jarry: I mean hiring for a fast-growing company is, is very different. We need to make sure we can find people that are going to thrive in the environment. That is not very well-defined where roles and responsibilities moving and switching very quickly over time. So you need to find people that are very in-depth and then willing to designed their own growth paths within an organization and not really waiting for instructions and guidelines to come from the top, but really building the foundation from the ground up.

Gene Hammett: I totally agree with this. And so the question is, [00:05:00] how do you do that? How do you make sure that you’re hiring people that are able to thrive in that kind of uncertainty?

Ivan Jarry: I think it’s, you know, the experience of the people we hire. I think it is hard sometimes to break the habits of people that have been when you’re working in large corporations. And so we need to see, to make sure that people have a mix of experience that somewhere in their life, they were wearing multiple hats on people that have changed or, you know being faced by a complex change in the organization. And we’re able to thrill to that. And people in general, you know, that you see that are very hands-on and not. To do and then train people to do, and then be able to supervise these people because we, as we grow very fast, we’ll change job and title every six months every year and take higher positions in the company. So we need to make sure we find people with this capability.

Gene Hammett: Ivan, you mentioned that multiple hats. I mean, this is a very entrepreneurial thing. The ability to wear multiple hats and switch back and forth. It does get to be a little difficult as the company grows. What is [00:06:00] the interview questions that allow you to figure out whether someone’s good at wearing multiple hats?

Ivan Jarry: So we ask them their experience there and the willingness, you know, we’d be very transparent about what to expect when they join obvio, because, you know, especially when you grow fast, if you hire the wrong person and that person is fired or leaves after three, six months, you wasted an entire year on that position. So we are very straightforward of explaining, Hey, you may have been the chief or whatever in your organization with five people reporting to you. But tomorrow you will come in and this is nobody reporting to you for the next six months or one year. You’re going to have to build your own team and what you may have not have done for the last 10, 15 years. You will have to do it again. It means you will need to input data in Excel. You will need a formula. You will need to put 60 boxes, whatever it is, but you’ll have to do that at the beginning. And then you learn and then you’ll be able to build your team. So we’ve very straightforward about and some people get scared and that just stops the process.

Gene Hammett: What I’m hearing inside of that is you’d rather scare them away in the [00:07:00] beginning by being transparent and direct with them and really just telling them what it’s going to be like in that first six months, then have someone come in and realize, oh, they made the wrong choice.

Ivan Jarry: And I would say, we still don’t do it enough with this. We do still don’t do it enough. So we still realize this, but we’re not a hundred shirts and we need to hire a lead to find people and still get let’s get somebody through. And we, every time we’ve done that, where we’re not a hundred percent sure the person would be adaptable and not scared of change, you gross we regretted that.

Commentary: Hold on for a second. I haven’t just talked about being selective in the hiring process and he said we still don’t do it enough. Now, when you think about your own hiring process, Are you really selective? Would you say that you’re improving that process over time? Well, this is one area where I want you to think this is a huge area for improvement. I was working with a client the other day and they told me that they had a segment of their workforce. The sales team specifically that has a high turnover rate. And we’ve been looking at how to actually improve that process for them and talking about it and strategizing it’s all about improving. So what are [00:08:00] you doing to improve your hiring process? Making it more selective where you need to. And really invite the right people on the journey with you. Now, back to Ivan,

Gene Hammett: I hear this quite a bit on the show when people are hiring people that rather slow down how that right person then hire someone that might be a fit for right now, but won’t be a fit for the culture long-term, you’ve been talking about kind of their perspectives as far as wearing multiple hats and their ability to change and accept, change quite a bit. Do you care about culture fit or? Is that important to, to the organization?

Ivan Jarry: Is very important and even more nowadays because we’re not in the same office, you know I would say 80% of the people we’ve recruited was during COVID. And so it’s people we’ve never met. We had an event in September and you know, like 60, 70% of the organization came together, but the other 30 I never meet. So it’s important to be able to have a culture and the, how you communicate and make people feel part of that culture in a virtual environment, something very [00:09:00] challenging. So I think it’s even more important where the moment that people are at home isolated than it would work.

Gene Hammett: The usage of, of culture inside of the hiring process is, is one of the mistakes. I think a lot of companies will look back and say, you know what, we didn’t do that as well as we could have you guys evolve the process of hiring to make sure that you have a culture fit.

Ivan Jarry: So we do. And I think, you know, there was a principal I had a first loss and he said, look when you hire somebody, ask yourself the question. We’d like to go for dinner or lunch with that person and it’s important to see, to make sure that you always people that while they need to be different coming from different background, that there’s some kind of connection that would work and make that you’re happy to work with that. And that’s very important. So we trying to push that, making sure that we are excited to have that person joining the company and we’re looking forward to working with them. So not just a skill set that looks perfect on paper, there needs to be that that less material component of fit when you interview them, we try also to to have more people interview, even if they’re not [00:10:00] functionally related but I did these four or five people so we can assess better the candidate and also for the candidate to have different soundbites, a different vision of the company. So he or she could make a better-informed decision of whether they want to join the company or not.

Gene Hammett: I liked the detail that you guys put into that before we move on to the next part of this interview, I want to ask you, and you may not have one of these, but do you have a favorite interview question that you could share with us?

Ivan Jarry: I don’t, I don’t have a guideline, so it’s very conversational. So sometimes we don’t need all the numbers and I, I, you know, all the, all the, of the topics, sorry. HR is a more formal process of interviewing people for me. It’s very much of the conversation and we hire very different people from, you know, data science, you clean up two people in finance. So the questions change a lot, but again, for me, at the end as you know, data, have you, that, was it an enjoyable moment to do that interview is that person, and I’ve seen it at the end of the day. That’s kind of my role to make sure that that person is a cultural feat that will work well with the rest of the organization.

Gene Hammett: I do like that question in there was, [00:11:00] was it an enjoyable moment because not everything is enjoyable. If it feels too difficult or forced to get probably is, is a difficult, you know, down the road. So I appreciate you sharing that detail with us. Ivan, you have talked about hiring independent people. That’s only part of the solution. Once they come on board, how do you ensure that people are truly independent? We use other words in our work is about empowerment or something like that. Is, is that similar for you?

Ivan Jarry: So, yeah, so I think. I meet with every single new employee on the first two weeks of them joining the companies. Cause I may not have interviewed all of them, and in, and I have a 15 to 30-minute call with every single of them. And I mentioned, and I’ll reassess and look, your voice is important. As we building this lead, the new platform that changed the way people have found a clinical trials for the last 15 years, it’s important that we are listening to the voices of everyone in the company, from their background. I’ve mentioned to them and always say my [00:12:00] virtual door is always open to listening and that it’s very important that in every meeting they voiced their concern, that they express their opinion, that they skip us ideas, whether it’s within their field and responsibility or completely outside of that. So I try to reinforce it the Bronx, and then I know.

That’s the management because I’m in most of the meetings, you know, follow the guidelines and are, you know, open and listening to everyone in the room and try to make sure that, you know, everybody applied that rule.

Gene Hammett: You know I think a lot of leaders would say that they’re open to this kind of feedback and I’m kind of poking at you a little bit, but how would we see across your organization to make sure that people are sharing their voices and expressing those opinions, even if they are different from, from yours, even.

Ivan Jarry: Sure so we’ve opened channel. I see that people like to chat and have regrets. So we’ve opened on teams now, list channel, whether it’s on product development or the news and the competitors where people can just throw out there, you know, articles, opinions, and news, and this is not monitored in any way. So it allows, you know, everybody in [00:13:00] the organization to, Hey, look, this is what I’ve seen is a great idea. This is a new UX from whatever app this is, you know, whatever it is we opened those forums so that people can, can communicate there. We are implementing it, it’s not ready yet. Next year is going to be the first time we do 360 reviews. I’m still allowing our employees to review their managers and also give opinions on the way. We motivated management. And then we are implementing those sessions. We part again, because of COVID where at least we are going to try two, three times a year to have everybody are coming. And then we have a lot of subjects to know the culture and the company, what can be improved, where this forum in smaller groups, where people can express their opinion and come back with what are the two, three key findings that we should implement immediately the company or in mid-term or in long-term to make sure that, you know, everybody’s voice is heard.

Gene Hammett: One of the things I hear quite often from leaders like yourself is they want to, for people to share their ideas, right? So, and especially those that are on the front lines, doing the research [00:14:00] and, and talking with customers and talking with partners and, you know, a lot of founders don’t have ability to receive those ideas. How are you ensuring that everyone across the organization is receiving the, those ideas and doing something with them appropriately?

Ivan Jarry: I tried to force a lot of meetings between people in the organization that do not have the same background and knowledge, you know, with what we’re building. For example, we try to pay attention that we don’t have too many people coming from the CRO IT industry because they have a tendency to copy the way. Don. So we’ve brought people from different backgrounds and industries working together. So the downside is a longer learning curve, no language, and understanding thing, but then it forced people to rethink the processes and the way things are done, because you have to explain it to somebody that comes from the outside that has a different view and experience and can bring that. So that’s a way for me to foster innovation in the company is making sure we have people that come from very different backgrounds, very different experiences, working together to find solutions in some of the [00:15:00] software that we deploy.

Gene Hammett: I want to turn the spotlight on you for a second. I haven’t, you’ve had some successful runs of, of different companies over the years, and you’ve created this company that’s grown really fast. Can you remember kind of a shift in your own leadership principles that, that we could learn from?

Ivan Jarry: I think that you know, the trust in employees in general, so spending less time reviewing and supervising what people are doing, you know, and more time on the creative side to try to see how they can on their own, you know, provide ideas and strategies for growth. I’ve been a shift it’s, it’s a change in age also when you were like 25 years old and you manage 20 years. You don’t have to be a little more on top of them. I think a shift of being able now to have people that are more seasoned in the company and where, you know, I feel that I’m more selecting from a bunch of ideas and direction that comes from there versus extracting and being able to be on top of people all day long to try to get something out of them is it’s been a fantastic shift.

[00:16:00] and I have the chance today in the organization to have people that are great ideas. Fantastic background. So for us, it’s more of a, of being able to pick the right idea and the most important idea, you know was in a bunch of very good way.

Commentary: Now hold on for another moment here, Ivan, just talked about, you know, his shift to trust in people you’re hiring independent people, you’re hiring smart, talented people that really deserve your trust. And here’s my request of you. A lot of people think trust is earned well in leadership. I think you have to go first. You have to have the courage to trust people first, you have to have those kinds of conditions set the container for trust. And that is very important. If you think about your own journey as a leader. Now, if you’re waiting to build trust over time, you know, that is one approach, but leaders go, first leaders are truly courageous and are willing to trust first. Now you want to make sure that you are not getting out of line with people as far as accountability, and you want to make sure that people are not misusing that. That is also leadership but trust first back to Ivan.

Gene Hammett: When you think about [00:17:00] leading a group of independent people, sometimes there’s a, there’s a dark side to this. There are a lot of different opinions. There’s a lot, of healthy discussions around the direction of, of a strategy, or are we on the right path? How do you able to lead people through those kinds of confrontations?

Ivan Jarry: So we try to beginning to involve. But then at the end, it’s not a democracy. And at one moment, it’s okay. We don’t have time for further discussion. And that’s what I decided in general. I try not to do that too much. And I tried to have as much consensus as possible, but when there’s no consensus, you know, this is the role of a leader to say, okay, the decision we taking, this is why I understand why not everybody’s aligned or try and give the bigger picture. And so that people understand respect to decision. So consensus as much as possible. And when not at tangible than you know, we need to make a quick decision and explain the why and move on.

Gene Hammett: I want to wrap up today’s interview. Ivan with just a chance to let you share what have we not talked about that you feel like is important in growing a fast company, fast company.

Ivan Jarry: Yeah. [00:18:00] retaining people, you know it’s, it’s good to hire and find the right people, but how you retain them. And as some say, we’re still thinking about, especially when you grow. It’s highly dependent on the people you have in your organization. It takes time to find them to train them and in an environment today where, you know, they get like 20 offers a day. So LinkedIn retaining them as key. And for that, as you saying, the part is obviously, you know, you pay them the, how, the culture of the company, how you value them. But for me is a key element in today’s world is how you’re able to retain your employees because the cost of losing damage is so high. That it’s a mistake. We should not do.

Gene Hammett: One last question, as this comes to an end, retaining is a very important aspect in today’s world. The great resignation is one of the big topics in business and kind of curious besides money. What are the things that you think is most important in retaining your people?

Ivan Jarry: What I’ve heard is people feeling of being valued. You know, their voice is being heard, the respect as human beings we’ll listen to them. And that’s, that’s big, which is [00:19:00] sad because it means that in many other places, this is not the case, but I’ve heard, you know, people are working very hard to hear and say, this is the place I prefer it. And I said, but why is that? That’s a, you work 80 hours a week and, you know, and with so much to do when it’s not so organized and we grow all the time. And I said, yeah, because, you know, look, this decision that we took it because of what I said in that meeting. And that’s what people value that they’re being heard. And they all being taught that growth and success.

Gene Hammett: Love it. Ivan thanks for being here and sharing your wisdom.

Ivan Jarry: Thank you very much for having me.

Gene Hammett: I want to take a moment and reflect back on what I’ve heard inside this interview. Just so that you listening in can really have a summary of this hiring independent people is a part of any business. I think it’s not just fast-growth companies, but fast-growth companies have a lot of uncertainty and they have to have people that are self-starters and able to overcome challenges by themselves. Because if we had to tell them what to do, we could always find someone cheaper to do it. That comes from Seth Godin, who has been on my podcast before. And it really is a powerful move because we’re not here to do. What to do next, because that becomes a self-evidence [00:20:00] cycle. We’re here to create space for them to think for themselves and have that voice that Ivan was talking about. I really appreciate all of the details around this and abortion retaining that top talent is necessary. You’ve got to make sure you take time, to let people feel heard. And it really is, you know, one of the cheapest things you can do is to listen to someone. And really look, take their ideas seriously and be completely present with that.

If you’re curious about your own steps as a leader or how you engage your team at the highest level, how you lead more powerfully, how you inspire ownership, make sure you check out my website, GeneHammett.com. I’d love to talk to you about what your next step is. Just go to schedule your call. I’d love to help you figure out how to be the leader that your team deserves.

When you think of leadership and you think of growth, think of Growth Think Tank as always lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.




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