Q&A: POPS Assessment: Measure Your Mastery

Jean Spencer, Senior Manager of Integrated Campaigns at Zenefits.
Jul 1, 2021

How can you tell if your HR team members are A-plus all-stars or just mediocre?

On this episode of POPS!, Zenefits’ Senior Manager of Integrated Campaigns, Jean Spencer, breaks down how to assess the people management policies (or lack thereof) in your company and how to improve them. You’ll hear how to evaluate your own HR practices and find out if you are a master of people operations.

On this Q&A, you’ll hear: 

  • [00:39-01:37] How Zenefits developed the maturity model assessment
  • [01:37-02:44] What does the model tell us about people ops?
  • [02:44-03:10] How can I take the assessment?
  • [03:23-04:35] What should you do with your results?

After you listen:

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POPS Star Bio

Jean’s love for small business runs deep. In 2010, she became an entrepreneur with her invention of touchscreen gloves (Agloves).  She learned first hand (pun intended!) about running and building a business. Her professional career has taken as many leaps and shifts as her latest personal passion for free solo rock climbing. Really!  She cut her teeth in journalism as a political journalist at the Wall Street Journal, and she’s married her love for data and storytelling in a number of marketing roles including her current gig as the head of Integrated Marketing Campaigns at Zenefits.


Jean: How can you really tell if your HR team is made of eight plus all-stars or it’s just running mediocre.

Didi: Welcome to POPS the show that shows you how to shift from human resources, paperwork to people operations, but the new world of work by answering one question at a time

To help us answer your question. Here’s Jean Spencer, Senior Manager of Integrated Campaigns at Zenefits. 

Jean: As a key question. When we’re thinking about its benefits, we gathered a team of Zenefits employees and a customer panel to help us build a model that would provide a score, so to speak for how mature or sophisticated a people team could be.

We asked this panel to weigh in on what was most important in their processes. What defines a strong HR leader or. How they motivate and retain employees and teams and best practices in HR operations at large, ultimately using these insights, we built a self scoring questionnaire that people can take to self assess where their human resource management falls in terms of maturity on a continuum.

The questions in the assessment cover things as granular as how companies run and manage payroll. To things as complex as how quantitative businesses can capture employee wellbeing, we touch on compliance, hiring, onboarding diversity and inclusion systems and processes, employee retention, and much more.

The model gives users a score on a range from one to five, where one is the least sophisticated or as we call it ad hoc. And a five is basically a master of people, operations. At the ad hoc level, that means your processes are really reactive and maybe undefined, there are little plans for HR and little connection between the goals of the company and what HR is doing.

A five is the opposite. This is where companies have people, departments that have a clear and defined impact from their people management to the success of a bit. Administration at this level is often outsourced to technology or fully automated through technology partners. While the people professionals themselves spend more time thinking about harder, more human questions, like how to create great employee experiences that truly get the most out of each worker 

in general, the more sophisticated you become in your people, operations.

The last wasteful, the business becomes at spending money on things like tactical. And the more money they stand to gain as you really start to engage each worker to maximize their potential.

So how do you take this assessment that linked to the assessments provided in the show notes? Once you take your assessment, you’re welcome to reach out to his benefits.

Associate we’ll share with you your score and how it relates to your strengths, gaps, and opportunities based on your results in time. This assessment will all be automated and online. But we were so excited about this assessment and what it could do for HR or people teams. We didn’t want to wait to share it with you wanting to share it now. Companies across America already have given it strong, positive feedback, saying things like the results have changed their strategic direction for people management all up or have influenced their opinions on which technology providers to invest in. 

Now keep in mind, not all companies are the same and not all HR department’s needs are the same.

When you get your score, personalize it a bit. We’ve had customers who rank a three on the maturity model, tell us the questionnaire accurately placed them in the maturity model, but that they didn’t want to, or weren’t in a place to move up the maturity model at that given. That’s totally okay. The model isn’t meant to give you a good or bad score, as much as provide a lens, to see where there could be ways to improve your people operations inside your company in a standard way.

Things like moving from spreadsheets or filing cabinets as a way to manage employee data to a more cloud-based and secure HR technology company, for instance, could be one way you move from a level one to a level. While connecting and automating your HR with your payroll data, for instance, could bump you up from a level two or three to a level three or four.

I’ll share a graphic in the show notes too. That explains each level together, which might be helpful in examining where you’re at. If you don’t want to take the assessment, but if you’re feeling ready to take the assessment, it might solidify where you stand today and where you want to be in the future.

If the model does its job well, and we hope it does, you’ll be given a sense of where you could optimize processes, curb costs, or better invest in your people. If you have any questions about it or people operations platforms in general, you can email me directly [email protected]. I’ll respond to your questions individually. You have 

Didi: a question for our experts. You can always email me at [email protected] or head over to zenefits.com/pops-podcast for more insights on content for this show and our others. Thanks for listening.


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About The People Ops Podcast

Every week, we share the decisions, struggles, and successes for keeping up with an evolving workforce and a changing workplace. No matter if you’ve been in HR or are just getting started, this combination of transformational stories with actionable ideas, as well as context on hot issues, keeps you up-to-date while answering the questions you didn’t even know you had.

Oh, and you know what they say about all work and no play? We tossed in a little levity to keep it real. Lessons, answers, and humor: everywhere you listen to podcasts.

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