A manager’s recent move within his company highlights the process it has in place for employee advancement, especially for those looking for a new challenge.
As the new Vice President for Strategic Growth & Transformation at Qlik, Gavin O’Leary is happy to be a little out of his comfort zone. Originally from Ireland with a background in Computer Applications and Computer Science, O’Leary was working at SAP before he arrived at Qlik, a data analytics company based in King of Prussia. He began as Vice President of Customer Success Operations and Adoption Science and, after gaining considerable experience in that role, was ready once again for the next phase of his career.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I’m very ambitious and competitive, and I felt after 18 to 24 months I had learned a huge amount and wanted to take that next step,” O’Leary said. “That’s when I started talking to my network internally to see what the opportunities look like.”
Qlik uses its software to help companies turn raw data into outcomes via their Active Intelligence by optimizing data pipelines and accelerating business value. Also, Qlik uses its products internally to help it draw the right conclusions about the market and its customers.
Qlik’s tools also help support its employees in terms of their career development within the company.
“One of the best things about Qlik is all the opportunities that are out there,” said O’Leary. “Anyone who is past that first 12 months in their role and is comfortable is then able to branch out and take on the next challenge. Maybe they move into something a little bit out of their comfort zone, but they are learning as much as possible, and that keeps the knowledge in-house and keeps everyone progressing.”
A key tool at Qlik to help people identify and follow up on their career targets and goals is called Qlik Conversations. When someone is new to the organization, the individual’s information is logged onto that platform to set up and track the right level of performance touchpoints on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.
According to O’Leary, that platform involves a conversation.
“Let’s say I have someone working with me,” he said. “I will provide my feedback and guidance within the tool, and they can answer as well. It’s to make sure we are hitting the right goals and keeping ourselves honest and as transparent as possible, but also to be very true to the objectives that the individual has for their career growth.”
For Qlik, it’s a perfect example of leveraging data for the good of the organization.
“Using this platform is something I worked quite heavily on in my first position before I took the next challenge in moving to my current role,” said O’Leary. “I did it with my managerand with my team to make sure they were aware of the growth opportunities for me and for them too. We eventually identified an opportunity for me where I could use my knowledge of Software as a Service (SaaS) and the core Qlik understanding I had gained.”
According to O’Leary, all internal teams are urged to have those conversations with their management team, their internal network, and cross-functional teams. By doing this, an employee will hopefully gain an understanding of the business as a whole, not just their own particular area, which can open up new opportunities.
Qlik offers many programs to help employees grow in their current roles or to prepare for their next one. For example, they can partner with a mentor, sign up for one-on-one career coaching, take courses through Qlik’s expansive Learning Management Systems, or earn professional certifications from elite schools like Stanford, Yale, MIT, Duke, Wharton, and more through its Business School program.
O’Leary notes that the emphasis on career development is one of the reasons Qlik achieves high scores when they look at their “Moodtracker” results, another analytical tool used internally to survey employee fulfillment and satisfaction.
With about 180 jobs available, consistent double-digit growth, and an all-time-low rate of employee attrition, O’Leary believes it is a very exciting time to be a part of Qlik.
“For anyone who is motivated and excited about giving themselves a challenge — that next opportunity — there are tons of them to be had right now,” he said. “We are urging people to reach out and use their network to find out about them.
“We know from our pre- and post-sales data and our net customer retention data that we are doing the right thing for the right customers, and we want more people to help us execute our mission. I’m willing to have as many conversations as possible with others if that means we will bring them in to help us on this journey.”