Juan Domínguez
Chief People Officer
View from the Top

Human-Centricity: A Key Retention Differentiator

By Rodrigo Andrade | Thu, 08/11/2022 - 11:57

Q: What characteristics make Clara an “above market” value proposition?

A: At Clara, we focus on people. We serve businesses in Latin America that are often underserved by the mainstream market, helping them develop their own businesses. There is a social component around what we do in Clara. We focus on mid-level financing for medium-sized companies, which are vastly underserved. We provide them with economic and social growth as they focus on growing in Mexico or in another country. At the same time, we offer innovative, digital finance solutions that generate added value.

We offer businesses a series of advantages, such as granting them access to educational platforms, software services and enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools. We tailor our service offering to the unique needs of a client. One of our main products are physical or virtual cards that facilitate payments through the elimination FX costs for our clients


Q: How do Clara’s values work together to create a human-centric culture?

A: We work similarly in and out of our company. We focus on social and economic development with a diverse set of people. We focus on providing a healthy environment with fully remote or hybrid work options, which helps our employees have the flexibility they need to create a work-life balance. We also give our workers the choice of owning a part of the company.

We base our company on the following virtues: simplicity, constant change, authenticity, ownership and clarity. These virtues address the basic needs of human beings, which are: physical health, mental health, a healthy workplace environment, community, economic development and personal development. Every person who works at Clara can take ownership of their training and build their own careers.


Q: How has an emphasis on trust and leadership helped Clara receive the Great Place to Work Certification?

A: First, the company is basically culture-driven because these values were set by the founders even before Clara started operations. This is the only company I know of that has values and culture at the core of how it is led.

Second, our open environment generates trust and honesty, making communication transparent and open. The name of the company speaks for itself. Everybody knows what is happening at all times and we operate under an open environment. We have an all-hands and results meeting every week so everyone knows what is going on.


Q: How is Clara supporting diversity and inclusion?

A: The company is actively working to improve diversity in the workplace. Currently, Claridians come from different socioeconomic contexts, and we are close to reaching gender parity throughout all levels of the organization. To support these initiatives, we established a Women’s Affinity group and a Pride Affinity network to advance and promote their inclusion and career advancement. Furthermore, we invest significantly in creating a safe physical and emotional space for all generations working at Clara.


Q: Clara has grown at an accelerated pace in Latin America. Has this scaling process undermined social cohesiveness or culture transmission?

A: This has been a challenge. At first, we measured culture compatibility during the hiring process but we replaced this approach with of “cultural contribution” model instead; which identifies what each individual employee adds to the Clara’s culture. Our biggest challenge during this scaling process was adapting while maintaining and ensuring congruence within our culture. This is essential, especially when expanding to another country.


Q: What different business skills did you need considering the growth and the scaling of the company?

A: We want people who are ready to start, to grow, and learn. Since Clara serves people through technology there is a learning curve in the technical department, a challenge that demands adaptability and learning agility from potential talent. The goal is to learn collectively so every time somebody brings knowledge, organizational knowledge and know-how multiplies.

Our business is based on the 70:20:10 model, which means that 70 percent of learning comes from the daily experiences on the job, 20 percent from the team and the remaining 10 percent from classes, workshops and learning platforms.


Q: There is a high demand for talent and companies are using different methods to retain their employees. What initiatives is Clara executing to retain its talent?

A: All employees have needs, whether it is to own something, to belong, identify their purpose in their day-to-day activities or the flexibility offered by a hybrid or remote job. We pay competitive salaries, but at the core of our retention strategy is transmitting a sense of belonging and purpose.


Q: What is the “Digital Debt” owed to HR departments amid the digital transformation?

A: Companies around the world have spent significantly on financial systems, customer services and corporate social responsibility (CSR) but there is an eight-year lag in investment in human resources, leaving many companies stuck with manual processes that are highly prone to failure. Incorporating technology in HR will make these professionals more human-oriented by freeing them from the operational activities that take up most of their time.


Q: What talent initiatives/objectives does Clara aim to achieve for 2022-2023?

A: Our workforce grew monthly by 12 percent during the past year so we are concentrating on coverage and efficiency. We are moving from a structure of data engineers, products and user experience, into agile working squads. Our three priorities will be results, geographical expansion and real efficiency to be able to do more with less.


Rodrigo Andrade Rodrigo Andrade Journalist & Industry Analyst