Juan Luis Betancourt
Juan is recognized as a thought-leader, speaker, and business executive in the human capital management, HR software, recruiting, and culture space. He is also considered by Malcolm Gladwell as one of the world's most connected Connectors, approaching networking from a place of energy and friendship, not based on short term goals, material or personal gain. Juan practices several spiritual modalities that have helped him live in the NOW, achieve a higher consciousness, and exist (be) in his highest vibration.Follow Follow
Juan Luis Betancourt speaks with host William Tincup about the power of work culture analysis, and how data driven analytics can drastically increase productivity. If you can’t answer the question, “What’s your team culture?” Then, you might be in desperate need of reassessing how you manage your employees.
Highlights on work culture analysis:
Juan Luis Betancourt:
We’re the first company to have visual representations and insights for not only employees, but for hiring. People can actually go work at companies in roles that fits with what they want.
There’s less turnover, more engagement, and every soul in the company will vibrate and resonate higher in their jobs with a tool like this.
We were demoing the chief culture officer of IBM and he goes: “This is the most transformational HR platform of our time.”
We also demo’ed for the most senior culture and leadership manager of Accenture . She now wants to use our tool for going to market for all of Accenture’s clients worldwide.
Listening time: 22 minutes
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Juan Luis Betancourt is the owner and CEO of Humantelligence, the first and only work culture analysis platform that can find and fix social snags in your work environment. They can help facilitate an environment of efficiency, happiness, and sustainability. Check them out!
Welcome to Recruiting Daily’s Use Case Podcast, live from SHRM Talent. A show dedicated to the story that happens or should happen when practitioners purchase technology. We’re pulling back the curtain and asking the hard questions. It’s what we do. It’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup (00:28):
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today, we have Juan on from Humantelligence, and we’ve been learning about the use case that his prospects and customers used for Humantelligence. So, Juan, would you please introduce yourself and Humantelligence?
Juan Luis Betancourt (00:47):
Hi there. Thanks so much. My name is Juan Betancourt, and I am the CEO and founder of Humantelligence, the culture software. We help companies measure, manage, and hire for culture. Several uses of psychometrics throughout an organization from hiring to onboarding, to leadership, culture transformation, career mobility, communication and collaboration for remote work world. So if you can infuse psychometrics into everything you do in your work flows through all your current systems, you can actually get the value that has been missing from psychometrics for the last 50 years.
William Tincup (01:19):
So does it act as an overlay to the systems that they already have?
Juan Luis Betancourt (01:22):
Yeah, so imagine you open up an email, you’re writing an email to somebody, you don’t have time to call a consultant to do the 12-hour workshop. Well, now you just click on that person’s name and up pops how similar they are to you, zero to a hundred. You’re 20% similar. Here are the two biggest differences, and here’s what not to do or to do when you write this email. You go into a calendar invite or Microsoft Teams, it tells you the culture of the meeting. For the first time ever, you’re getting emotional intelligence infused to 10,000 people, like at Coca-Cola, in one day. They gave the assessment link to 10,000 people on a Monday, and on Tuesday, you had 10,000 people across the enterprise understanding each other better, communicating better, collaborating better. It is the most transformative collaboration and culture platform in the world.
William Tincup (02:05):
What I love about that is as you learn about the company’s DNA, you can then put that on the front end to help people in terms of recruiting to figure out who’s going to work out and who is not going to work out.
Juan Luis Betancourt (02:15):
You’ve nailed it, right? So imagine a glass store that actually uses data, not a bunch of people complaining and then the company’s paying people to say they’re cheerleaders. The actual real culture of a company can now be shown on a website with data that is not just for the company, but for every division. Imagine sales, the culture of a sales organization at Coca-Cola is very different than the marketing team, very different than the finance team. We’re the first company to have visual representations and insights for not only employees, but like you just pointed out, for hiring so that people can actually go work at companies in roles that fits with what they want and so there’s less turnover, more engagement, and really every soul of the company will vibrate and resonate higher in their jobs with a tool like this.
William Tincup (02:58):
I love that. So a lot of CEOs and founders have struggled during the pandemic to describe culture to employees and to candidates because at least pre-pandemic culture was the office, or at least seen that way. It was probably never the office, but we kind of used it as a proxy. So obviously you deal with a lot of customers and a lot of founders as well. How do you kind of get them to reframe their mind around what is and isn’t culture?
Juan Luis Betancourt (03:32):
Yeah. And so, as horrible as COVID has been for the world, COVID’s been great for certain things. One of them is teaching leaders that A) there is not one culture, and B) the thing they have on their T-shirts, coffee mugs, and websites that they think they can set it and forget it for 10 years is crazy, because on March of 2020, every company in the world, large Fortune 500 down to small mom and pops, every culture in the world changed. And if you couldn’t adapt your culture to this new strategy of working remote, of having to meet clients in a distance, being more self-starter, not being so stuck on structure, you would fail.
Juan Luis Betancourt (04:07):
And so it was wonderful for us, because we were beating a dead horse before COVID trying to tell companies, you need to measure your culture. And it does change every year when you do your objectives, your goals, and your strategy. If you don’t change your culture with that at every level of the organization, you will fail. They thought, well, wait a second, we printed 5,000 t-shirts. How can our culture change? They got it through COVID. And so culture is not the physical office. It’s not the benefits you give employees. It’s not a temperament survey asking people if they’re happy or sad. You can have a hundred percent people really happy, because you’re giving the greatest benefits in the world, and the company could be failing, going out of business.
Juan Luis Betancourt (04:41):
Culture is very simple. It’s the same definition that Deloitte, PWC, and Accenture define it as, and these people have a lot of money that they’ve been spending for 50 years. It is the behaviors of your people, the motivators of your people, and the work styles. BMW, very easy to remember. And we’re the first company to build an assessment and platform to measure that quickly at an enterprise level at scale and then take all those outputs and insights and infuse it into all the workflows of a company, so you’re actually getting insights every single day as an employee, as a leader, on how to manage a company, how to manage a team for an intentional strategy and an intentional culture that supports it.
William Tincup (05:19):
So, let’s geek out a little bit on psychometrics. How did you first kind of go down the path of creating the assessment and how did you validate it? And obviously the amount of data that you’re sitting on now, it’s going to be helpful to continue to revalidate it. So tell us a little bit about your journey.
Juan Luis Betancourt (05:37):
Yeah, so when I was an undergrad at Harvard University, I want to major in psychology and I loved learning about people and I was in astrology and I’m a Pisces, so if anybody out there knows what that means. And I was always fascinated trying to find a connection with data to astrology. And people thought I was crazy. Why would you do that? You’re at Harvard. Then I went and worked to Procter & Gamble, went to then Wharton Business School, a pretty good business school, and there, I got to see startups and how they work. And I thought one day I’m going to start a company to scale assessments and get rid of all the problems they have. The whole five-hour workshop, costs $10,000. You do the workshop, it’s really fun for everybody, and then a week later, the value was zero for a company.
Juan Luis Betancourt (06:11):
And then I went to work in software with Siebel Systems, employee 100, one year later, we’re at 12,000 people. Fastest growth in history. I think we went from $8 million to $3 billion in two years. So I saw that software can really transform companies and industries. And with that information, I also became a head hunter for Heidrick & Struggles and Korn Ferry. So I was a partner, youngest partner, at Heidrick. Ran my own search firm for 15 years and became really good at matching people. And I thought, if I can take all this world’s experience and find the world’s best assessment that measures enough things, because just behaviorals is not enough. So just predictive index or Harver or Disc or Clifton Strengths. That’s not enough. That’s just behaviors. We do that plus motivators. Hogan Lominger, some SHL tools, plus work styles. Because you can have two people who have the same Disc or the two people who have the same Hogan, one miserable, one happy, because of what’s the environment? Take energy or giving me energy?
Juan Luis Betancourt (07:04):
So I found the guy who created an assessment 30 years ago, validated it every year. So it’s technically validated on every question every three years with thousands of people. And I bought it from him and I built a software company, a software platform, around that science. And it is EEOC-compliant. You can use it for recruiting. You can use it for employees. We have clients like Coca-Cola, Lyft, Bank of the West, Dollar General. I just won a top HR tech influencer. The only software company under $10 billion on it. There’s no other assessment tools on that list. I think I’m the only Hispanic on the list of a hundred people as well. And it’s definitely not because of this charm, good looks, and my voice. It’s because we have created, like our board member, Ed Ramsey, former CEO of McDonald’s, he said, 17-year CEO of McDonald’s, “There’s not been a greater innovation in HR since the resume” in terms of our product.
William Tincup (07:52):
So workflow for those that are listening, because a lot of people will think of assessments in a historical sense that you put it in a place, like in recruiting, you put it in this one spot, the funnel, or you do it in leadership for succession planning or you do it somewhere else. This is continuous.
Juan Luis Betancourt (08:11):
Yes, the whole life cycle of the candidate through employee to even exiting to find outplacement.
William Tincup (08:16):
Right. What would be alumni at that point.
Juan Luis Betancourt (08:18):
William Tincup (08:19):
Yeah. Yeah. I love that. So want to get it into the favorite part of the demo. When you get to show Humantelligence to somebody that’s never seen it before as a prospect or a customer or just somebody you want to show them the software, what’s your favorite part of the demo?
Juan Luis Betancourt (08:37):
That’s a great question. I do a lot of these. I’ve never been asked that. There is the moment where we get beyond the explaining what the assessment measures, because people have an idea of what an assessment is. And we get to the team culture mappings where you can show a team culture and how the customer service department might be very different than the marketing department. We show them the demo where you have all the top performers in a sales organization and the lowest performers, and you clearly see what explains performance.
Juan Luis Betancourt (09:04):
I get to see the light bulb go off in their minds and literally they look at me and they say, “This is unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like this. How come I never heard about you before? Are there any other companies that do what you do? I’ve never seen this.” We literally were demoing the chief culture officer of IBM and he literally looked, after the 20 minutes of demos, just the highlights, he goes, “This is the most transformational HR platform of our time.” And then we also had the most senior practice manager of Accenture, she has like 5,000 people in her group, for culture and leadership. She now wants to use our tool for going to market for all of Accenture’s clients worldwide.
William Tincup (09:45):
That is banan… Well, first of all, it’s validating both on the IBM.
Juan Luis Betancourt (09:49):
Yeah, after long years of work.
William Tincup (09:50):
Right, right, right. It’s just the overnight success. Yeah, right?
Juan Luis Betancourt (09:53):
Right, yeah. And what’s interesting is one thing that’s challenging though for us is when you talk culture, people think it’s surveys like Culture Amp.
William Tincup (10:01):
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
Juan Luis Betancourt (10:01):
William Tincup (10:02):
Tiny Pulse, whatever.
Juan Luis Betancourt (10:03):
Tiny Pulse, right. And so we talk til we’re blue in the face with a deck or just conversationally and people never get it. The only way people understand the power of what we’re doing is when they just see it for five minutes.
William Tincup (10:16):
So you’ve talked about chief culture officer and whether we like it or not, culture’s been associated with HR, I think thrown at the feet of HR. And on some level, who owns culture, not just theoretically, but who owns the software? So who should be actually buying Humantelligence and they’re daily learning what we’re learning in Humantelligence?
Juan Luis Betancourt (10:43):
Great question. Yes, HR has always “owned culture” because nobody else wanted to touch it and there was no data behind it. And so it just kind of sat there and it’s been that whole coffee mug, t-shirt thing and engagement surveys. However, culture is different than management. And if you look at management, it’s not owned by HR. It’s not like HR has these [inaudible 00:11:05] labor people. Okay. We’re going to put the management system in the company. Every leader has to be a great manager. Everyone, every function, management is important. One day, through companies like Humantelligence, culture will supersede every group, just like management. And every leader of every team has to be able to answer the question, “Hey leader, you have 10 employees in any part of the company. What’s your team culture?” Because if they cannot answer the question, what’s your team culture?
Juan Luis Betancourt (11:33):
How are they optimizing performance, collaboration, and aligning culture to strategy and the strengths of the team and the weaknesses. We are now finally getting some innovative clients. We’re still crossing the chasm with a lot of this. We are getting clients to understand that culture is not just an HR thing. And so we have a feature in our platform actually where the main users, it’s not like applicant tracking systems where it’s only ATS employees, the recruiters at a company use it. All employees are using our tool for better collaboration. But leaders specifically all are going to become the stewards of culture throughout a company, because that’s where the rubber hits the road in all success, middle management. I think the unit of success of a company is not going to be management, CEOs, not going to be the individual, it’s going to be teams.
Juan Luis Betancourt (12:17):
Okay, and so we have a company and a platform that lets each team leader, I call it microdosing culture or snacking, where the platform every week for the weekly meeting gives them a 10-minute kind of walks them through, hey, here’s the strategy you have. Here’s your team culture, what you want to be. Here are two things you can talk about in your team meeting today on how your team does or does not support the culture, and it pulls out people’s names based on where they are. And it’s a really neat thing because the leader, all he has to do or she has to do, is read these questions and have a discussion around it. And they can do it weekly, they can do it monthly, but it’s really an ongoing discussion of culture at every team to see the culture supports the strategy of that group.
William Tincup (13:00):
I love this. So let’s ask a couple of recruiting questions. Being able to understand the DNA of what works for those specific teams. So let’s say, you mentioned sales, we’re hiring someone in sales for New York or whatever. And so we have an understanding of what that DNA is. Now, this is going to kind of get into diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity, equality. Do we bring in somebody that’s different from us or do we bring in somebody that’s like us? And I know there’s no perfect answer to that.
Juan Luis Betancourt (13:33):
I love your question. On the extreme, do you clone what works already or do you culture add and do the extreme opposite for diversity of thought? Our platform allows every company and every leader to do either extreme or anywhere in the middle and anything in between. And at any company, you actually want some of both. If you have a Salesforce and you have a thousand employees and there’s 200 that are the superstars, 500 that are average, and about 300 or whatever is left are failing, our tool will tell you why the high performers are performing. And most CEOs or leaders of sales are going to want to just clone those high performers. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. It helps employees where they don’t come in and get fired a year later. It helps employees that come succeed, and it helps the company and everybody. It’s a win, win, win.
Juan Luis Betancourt (14:19):
However, and that’s the same for a cashier register or Walmart, et cetera, there’s certain roles, and unfortunately it usually goes by income. So hourly wage, usually you want to clone what works. You don’t want call center agents all thinking uniquely and being diverse in their thinking and doing different things. You want call center agents to kind of just do exactly what you want them to do. On the other extreme, for any cross-functional team, like Accenture, PWC, Deloitte, the last thing you would ever want to solve complex problems for clients is to have everybody like them partner who picked everybody on the team because they liked them. And that’s a big problem in consulting. You pick people you like working with, but that does not lead to diversity of thought.
Juan Luis Betancourt (14:57):
So for those teams and for like a Coca-Cola at their headquarters where you’re working cross-functionally or where I worked at Procter & Gamble, a lot of cross-functional work, you want to guarantee diversity of thought. Which supersedes diversity of race and religion. Because you can have a team that’s a white person, a black person, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ, all that, and they all think exactly alike. They’re all data driven, they’re all really unique in their thinking, they love people with great ideas, but then where’s the structure, the process, and proven methods? That team is going to fail. And so we allow companies to either clone or do culture add, and it really depends on what the strategy of the company is and what the data shows that our tool also brings to the top.
William Tincup (15:39):
Does it currently, or do you see it in the future, making a recommendation?
Juan Luis Betancourt (15:42):
Yeah, so with AI, in the future we will start making recommendations. We do that today for cloning. If they say, we want to reproduce our sales team. And then for teams that want to guarantee filling in gaps where they don’t have people, it already does that. Now the more complex one is where a team leader, we have a little tool where it takes 10 minutes, they can click some boxes, what the culture, what the strategy is for that team. We want to be a company or a team that’s much more decisive that people work as a belonging group and we use data. They click what they want as the culture that will support their strategy for this year and the system then tells them, okay, well then now when you hire, you need these three extra people or these areas to fill in. So the tool is doing that, but that middle, it does take something from the leader to help bring that solution.
William Tincup (16:35):
And over time, it’s just going to get smarter and smarter?
Juan Luis Betancourt (16:37):
Yes, and with time it’ll get smarter and with enough data, eventually every company in the world will use this. The whole category is going to be called culture as a service. It doesn’t even exist today. People don’t know to look on Google, let me go look for culture as a service product or an agile culture management product. They’re not thinking that way. But one day it will be that way. And everyone will know that a tool like this works, and so we’ll have data from every industry, and we’ll be able to tell companies, look, if you do manufacturing for consumer product goods in the Northeast, here are the cultures of the top three performing companies. We won’t tell you which is which, but you should want to know what works. And maybe you say, I don’t want to do that. I want to do it differently. But for the first time we’re exposing data around something that was all around temperament surveys, if people are happy or sad. It’s crazy to me.
William Tincup (17:25):
You have the little mood ring.
Juan Luis Betancourt (17:26):
The little mood ring, like, okay, great.
William Tincup (17:28):
Smiley face.Is that smiley face because you just felt like hitting the smiley face or is there any intent?
Juan Luis Betancourt (17:35):
Literally. So Microsoft and Apple, you couldn’t find two companies with different culture and their products, their stores, and they both had stores. They both do an engagement survey every year, and I just laugh so hard. You basically have, I’m not sure if it was Perceptics or if it’s Glint or if it’s Culture Amp, whatever it is or Qualtrics, but they have the same engagement survey and it shows that 70% of the employees are super engaged, super happy, 20%, it’s a job, and 10% are not happy at all. They thought they’d get more free product or whatever it is or they hate their boss. And they have the exact same results, enterprise-wide, literally the same results with completely different companies. So it just shows you these engagement surveys, it’s a lot of energy, a lot of work, but it’s not really leading to do we have the right people to deliver on our strategy? We do that.
William Tincup (18:20):
I love that. So a couple last things. One is buying questions. Things that you love hearing from practitioners where you can just tell they get it. Or maybe you can just tell that they want something like this. They want culture as a service. They’ve always wanted it. They didn’t know that it was out there. What are the questions or some of the things that kind of you love hearing from practitioners?
Juan Luis Betancourt (18:45):
Yeah, there’s two really important ones. One, is your tool validated? Is it real science? Or is like CORU who raised a hundred million dollars, went out of business a year later, because basically it really didn’t predict anything because hiring on grit does not work actually. And so that’s not a validated science. That sounds really cool, and it’s really simple and fun, and they have all the latest VC firms. So is your tool validated with science? And so any practitioner out there, whether they know about these tools or not, should ask the question and get the technical validation manual from the company. If that tool is validated. That’s the first one, and it’s important. The second one that I know that they get it is can employees take it every year? And it’s brilliant, because those people realize that humans vibrate like energy and you’re not born static and you can never change.
Juan Luis Betancourt (19:37):
LeBron James wasn’t born with a right hand and a left hand. He was born being very right-handed, just like someone could be born psychometrically being very decisive, but great leaders and great employees learn how to be the other side, just like great actors learn how to be drama to comedy. And so like that, every employee should flex and you should know your strengths and your weaknesses and develop those weaknesses like a left hand in basketball or a left foot in soccer.
Juan Luis Betancourt (20:01):
And so the leaders and the practitioners that ask me, can they take it every year, because we know our employees change, and we know that the vibration of a molecule called a soul changes in terms of the behaviors of that soul when they work with a new team. Six months later, their behaviors change. Even people’s motivators or values change when they work with the team. We’re the first company to show that with data, and of course work styles change. Now, do they change drastically from 40 to 50? No, but between 20 and 30, a lot. You leave a job at 30 where you work for 10 years at a company and you go to a new company at 32, you’re going to see major changes depending on how different that company is. So, that question is one of the most insightful questions that real practitioners understand the humans at their company.
William Tincup (20:45):
It’s really wonderful, because not only do they change or can they change, but they want the frequency, they want to understand kind of a finger on the pulse how it’s changing. So they can understand that BMW and what to do and how it impacts them.
Juan Luis Betancourt (20:58):
Yes, and by the way, a leader who knows that also knows that they can then guide their company division by division, team by team through all the changes in strategy. So whether it’s COVID this decade or a new competitor that makes you have to change all your products from being 10 million to 1 million, different frequency of selling, more volume, your people need to be able to change for that. And so adaptability and being agile as humans, not just management style, but culturally, is the future of culture.
William Tincup (21:26):
Drops mic, walks off stage. Juan, thank you so much for coming on the Use Case Podcast. It’s been a pleasure and thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case podcast. Until next time.
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William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.
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