America Back to Work Ep 6: Katie Marchetti, VC3

With today’s technology, it’s impossible to onboard, shadow, and train new hires in person—so HR departments have to be proactive to make sure new hires are getting what they need to be successful. It’s crucial for the success of your company, too.

Are you creating an onboarding strategy before your new hires start, or are you playing it by ear? Are you committing time and effort to make your new hires feel engrossed in your company culture?

These are just two of the areas Katie Marchetti, vice president of community and operations at VC3 and guest on this week’s episode of America Back to Work, suggests improving upon to create a high-quality onboarding strategy.

Join your host Arnette Heintze and Katie Marchetti, as they discuss onboarding best practices, the biggest trends in talent acquisition, and more on this week’s episode of America Back to Work.

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S2Verify is one of the leading, privately held, pre-employment background screening companies in the United States. 

Arnette Heintze is co-founder and chief strategy officer at S2Verify. Before establishing S2Verify, Arnette spent more than three decades working at the highest levels of federal, state, and local law enforcement. 

He served more than 20 years in the United States Secret Service as a special agent and senior executive where he planned, designed, and implemented security strategies to protect U.S. Presidents, world leaders, events of national significance, and our nation’s most sensitive assets, including financial infrastructure.  

After retiring from the Secret Service, Arnette focused on building the growth and performance of innovative start-ups and SMBs. In 2004, he established Hillard Heintze, a globally recognized strategic security risk management and investigations firm.

In 2009, along with Bill Whitford and Jim Zimbardi, Arnette established S2 Verify with an approach and methodology that delivers fast, accurate, compliant, and affordable background screening insights crucial to better managing insider risks, threats, and vulnerabilities.  

The Magic Ingredients for Onboarding Like a Pro Transcript

Arnette Heintze

Welcome to America Back to Work, brought to you by S2Verify where our purpose is to help you hire with confidence and manage insider risk. I’m your host, Arnette Heintze. Thank you for joining today.

Our guest is the multifaceted multi-national, multi-talented Katie Marchetti. Katie has held enviable le leadership positions in Europe and the United States over her almost 25-year career. She holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee and a master’s in law from King’s College in London. Katie, welcome to the show, and I’m delighted you could join me today. Would you mind sharing a little more about your background and area of expertise with our audience?

Katie Marchetti

Sure. And Arnette, great to be here and thank you so much for including me. Um, about my background, uh, I’m now the, uh, vice President of community and operations at VC three dao, which is, uh, one of those oddly named blockchain entities, which I’m excited to talk about, um, in, in a bit more detail later. And, um, prior to this I was the managing director at a group called Blue Wave based in Nashville, which is essentially a marketplace for pe. So imagine, you know, an Amazon for private equity. Um, prior to that I was with a group called G L g Gerson Laman Group, and primarily in London for 10 years, and then the last year in New York as chief of staff. But I managed the firms, um, kind of helped build it actually from a, a much smaller entity, what it was in 2009 to where it is today. And I managed the credit and macro segments for the Europe, middle East and Africa. Um, and because I’ve been working for so long, there’s even more jobs. I was, I’m a recovering attorney, um, a US securities attorney, uh, and practice in London, um, with Herbert Smith Free Hills. And when I was a baby, baby working person, I was in, um, uh, executive search both in the US and and Europe. So that is probably too much about me.

Arnette Heintze

No, no, that’s, that’s great about you. Thank you, uh, again for sharing that with, with everyone. So I, I just heard you mention how in the early phase of your career you were in the executive search industry, you know, that’s kind of interesting and I think our audience will find it so that, what is, what do you think has changed from back in those early days to now? What has been the most significant change in this area?

Katie Marchetti

Um, it’s a good question because it, it, it’s where, where do you even start? I think it’s, I think it’s changed immensely despite still being based on, you know, human connectivity and, and, um, you know, people interacting with each other to put them in the right place. But, uh, without a doubt, technology. Um, I think that you are now the state of the industry, you connecting with far more people and you’re providing them with far more information. Um, and I think with, with varying degrees of success, I think in a lot of ways it has improved and in a lot of ways it has kind of depersonalized it. So you’re wondering how much you’re kind of spraying and praying and how much you’re actually hitting, um, hitting the, the, the target in the middle. And to further contextualize it, when I was in executive search, we were keeping profiles on paper, so, oh, that makes sound old, but <laugh>, there you

Arnette Heintze

Go. Times have changed. So today, what do you think the most, uh, challenges are with hiring in onboarding personnel today? Going back, you know, over the last 25 years to now when mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you just highlighted how it used to be everything on paper. Well, today paper’s the last thing we want to touch, so

Katie Marchetti

Very true. Yes. Um, you know, I think, I think some of the challenges are dumb telling off the, the technology point to a certain extent. Um, I think, and, and even, even more than just technology and giving people the option to, you know, email versus like walking over to ask someone a question in your first few days in the office. Um, the covid period has, you know, moved everyone to remote or hybrid working. And, and I say everyone cautiously, I think, I think most companies in some way, shape or form have at least a couple of employees that are, that are working in some sort of remote or hybrid model. But, um, and, and to be clear, I don’t think the remote and hybrid working is net negative by any stretch, but it has required more of a shift for companies. And I think, um, the biggest change that I have seen is, you know, you bring someone in the first day, you do, uh, and this has been, you know, more traditional and historical, you bring them in, you put them all in a room, if you have a start class for a couple of hours, you tell them what to wear, what not to wear, you know, give them the employee handbook, and then you basically sit them next to the person that whose role they’re going to, um, uh, to, you know, replicate and train from.

And it was more of a shadowing model. Um, the remote and hybrid working, um, aspect has really changed that. So companies just have to be a little bit more proactive in ensuring that, um, individuals once they start are, um, are able to get the, the technical skills and really absorbed the company culture, um, without relying on, you know, just sit with this person and listen to all their calls and do, do more of the, the ride along. And again, that’s on the technical side. And the other piece is, again, the company culture. It’s, it’s sometimes it is quite difficult on Zoom to really show the differentiation in your, um, your company versus other ones that the, the individual could have worked for.

Arnette Heintze

Yeah. You know, I’d, I’d also like to get your perspective on, on what companies can do differently in, in regards to the onboarding process. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, what, what makes it better for them, what can they do faster at S two verify? One of the technologies that we think our clients are actually benefiting from is called Swift hire, which greatly enhances the onboarding process because it expedites information that we’re gonna obtain for background screening. And, uh, so it can actually help us reduce that time to anywhere from a couple of hours to maybe two days. So any other suggestions that you might have?

Katie Marchetti

I, I think that, you know, technical tools and, um, you know, with, with the, with the tool that you were just referencing, and in addition to some other ones that have cropped up in the last few years have real, have helped immensely, but they force companies to be more thoughtful about what does onboarding involve. If you can’t do, as I said before, the the ride along model, then how are you going to, how are you gonna, you know, properly segment and categorize, you know, onboarding opportunities for your employees to ensure that, you know, within a regional period of time, they’re, they’re hitting the ground running. So, um, two things that I would say companies can do better. The first is more technical, the, and the second is more psychological. And, um, and the first, so as I mentioned, no more shadowing model. The manager needs to spend time in advance of the person coming on to really organize how this employee will have exposure to all the elements of their job.

And, and, and the good news is, it’s, it’s a pain the first time you do it. And then, you know, after you’ve done it once at least for a particular division, then you can, uh, you can just kind of replicate it for all your, your new hires following. And the second piece, um, the more psychological piece is, as I’ve mentioned in your previous question, um, keeping an eye on culture and really ensuring that you make the person feel welcome and that is challenging. It’s challenging in the remote world. It’s challenging on Zoom, but, uh, one, one thing that I’ve seen work quite well, um, you know, not just post covid, but prior when I was with, um, uh, a company that was operating in many different regions, um, and, you know, people in different countries where you wouldn’t have the opportunity to interact face-to-face, ensuring that every individual who’s come on board has an opportunity to interact one-on-one with everyone that they will be meeting with regularly and doing that at the very beginning.

Um, and I noticed that in my last role when we, being the managing director there and kind of having oversight on a quickly growing team, I would notice how loathe some people were to talk in meetings if they didn’t know all the other faces on the little Brady Bunch Zoom board at the top. And what I started realizing is if I can set up one-on-ones, even remotely with everyone that they’re regularly gonna be interacting with, it would naturally elicit more participation in team meetings, which ultimately is, is what you want. That’s why you get people together in the first place. So, and it really does make your company and your entity a bit stickier, um, and it’s not, you know, perfectly exchangeable with any of the other places where that person could be working. So I hope that makes sense.

Arnette Heintze

Yeah, it absolutely makes sense. You know, one of the things I think our labor market here in the US has been blessed with over the last, you know, several years as a, a, a truly high employment rate, you know, and mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, but we’re starting to see signs that maybe it’s, you know, it’s slacking a little bit and we’re seeing more companies announce layoffs and also discussions about how budgets are gonna tighten in 23 and beyond. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So what implications do you think this has for hiring for talent mobility and everything that relates to that?

Katie Marchetti

Yeah, it’s, um, it’s a great question and I think that it is, uh, it’s on the top of everyone’s minds. Um, in my last role, which focused more on the private equity industry, um, we were seeing human capital becoming a bigger and bigger and bigger, uh, portion of time and money focus for PE firms and the companies that they, that they own. So if anyone is struggling with this, you are not alone. Everyone is <laugh>, this is top of mind for everyone. So specifically on the budgetary pressures, um, at the beginning of the pandemic and, um, when we started to see the labor market significantly tighten, I guess not probably six months into the pandemic, uh, we saw everyone go straight for comp. It was, okay, we’re just gonna pay people more. We’re gonna pay them st staying bonuses. You saw some of the investment banks just with some pretty nutty numbers.

And, um, and, and fast forward probably 12 months from then, they were facing still the same amount of turnover and moves. I mean, I, I know that if you’re, this is very industry dependent and level dependent and all that, but, um, that was the first RIP corps that people sought to pull. It was, you know, let’s, let’s just pay people more and then they’ll stay in their seat. And that didn’t necessarily come to bears. So, um, so what we saw employees, at least from, from my side dealing with, you know, a thousand PE firms and all the companies that they own, um, they started to look more at what makes people show up at work, what makes our company a little bit stickier? And, um, and then really leaning into that from a hiring perspective. So, you know, not just talking about, you know, whether you’re, you know, whether you’re offering the most money compared to the other entities that you’re competing with, but also what’s, what’s your U s P, what’s your unique selling point at your company where you can, um, you know, via whoever is doing your recruiting and hiring for you, how can you really articulate that to potential employees?

So, so they stay, you know, one, they come on board, and two, they stay, they stay where they are. Um, and also don’t get blindsided. Keep doing your, you know, your compensation surveys and analyses to ensure that you’re staying competitive. But beyond that, um, yeah, just see, seeing what’s good about the place that you work and leaning into it.

Arnette Heintze

Fabulous, fabulous. So, you know, in the area of talent acquisition, a as we look forward, you know, at 23 and beyond mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you have a sense of any trends that maybe are gonna start shaping and, and, uh, uh, attracting itself to the market? Any new new, uh, nuances that we sh should be keeping an eye on ’em next year?

Katie Marchetti

Um, it’s a great question, and I think that, uh, uh, it, it’s so interesting, and again, you know, we’re always trying to predict what’s happening next, but I do think you saw, you know, after two years of, of, again, remote working and the pressure of the pandemic and all that, you see an extraordinary number of people, um, doing something completely different. So what I think is gonna happen in 2023 is more surprises. I think we will obviously see the, uh, you know, the tightness of the labor market slacking slightly, but I also think you’re gonna see some really cool, innovative things happening. Companies, you know, in terms of talent acquisition, I think companies getting really creative about, Hey, this is why you wanna come, you know, this is why you wanna come to our particular entity versus another one. Um, I think it’s gonna be, I think it’s gonna be unique, but again, the, the tight labor market has allowed people to do something completely different.

And by the way, I’m, I’m a good example of that, <laugh>, I’ve completely shifted, um, from what I’ve traditionally done to, to my new role. And, and I think I’m not alone. I talked to a lot of people this summer who, um, especially at higher levels, who are either moving to do something different or creating their an an entirely new entity. So it’s, it’s something, something to watch. I think people are just gonna be a bit more creative than they’ve ever been in the past. Um, the other thing that I did wanna touch on in terms of talent acquisition is a huge spike in fractional and project-based working. Um, that is something that I think people were a bit wary of up until 2019. I think you saw it in fits and starts here and there, but, um, but I think the, the remote working, the hybrid working, allowing you allowing entities and companies to hire people on the other side of the world to do a particular project that has just, that has grown immensely.

And, um, and again, I think of my, a few former places where I had been in the past where our, uh, you know, our clients were corporates, they were private equity firms, they venture capital firms, they were hedge funds. And we got to be kind of a, you know, we got to kind of survey the industry from behind a curtain with the services that we were providing. And we saw fractional, um, fractional roles growing significantly. And for instance, you know, you, you acquire company, you bring in a fractional C F O to come and, you know, build out the financial department, write the ship, and then pass the reins on to, you know, a, a talented up accounting manager. I think you’re gonna see that more and more and more. And, um, and it, and it benefits companies. You don’t have to hire another expensive F t e with benefits and all, all that. You can carve out a particular project and get, you know, the best possible interim C M O to, to execute the project for you, and then you move on. Yeah. Or you can use it as a tribe before you buy, have someone come in for a project-based role and then bring ’em on if it’s mutually agreeable.

Arnette Heintze

That’s right. You know, one of the hottest trends that I see in the workforce evolving today is an area around professional and educational development. I see so many, um, more groups of workforce, uh, talk about, Hey, we, we want more education. We want to be better trained. Do you think companies are meeting that request today? And if not, what, what would you recommend to companies to be, uh, paying attention to?

Katie Marchetti

Um, it’s a great question, and it’s so company specific. It’s hard to, it’s hard to give kind of a, a view of all industries as a whole. Um, I will say that, you know, professional development, you see the more traditional form of it, you know, especially with the bigger corporates, is tuition reimbursement and kind of outsourcing those, those opportunities. You know, go learn a different language so you can work in a different region. You know, all these things that, um, that I think, you know, smaller and mid-size companies there, that’s quite difficult. It’s an expensive thing to, um, to provide to all, you know, 50 of your employees, for example. So, um, what I have, what I have seen is very effective, and it’s probably maybe a more, um, a less traditional interpretation of the professional development and educational side other than, you know, again, tuition reimbursement and things like that is when people come into role in your firm that you articulate all the skills that you were hoping to, you know, teach them that they’re going to learn during their tenure.

And as importantly, showing them a very clear view of their career trajectory at the firm, saying, on average, you know, this role takes six to 18 months to master the skill, then you move to this rule and then this one, da, da, da, da. And then by the time you’ve, you know, moved through the company, you will have built out all these different aspects of your CV and, you know, telling people, Hey, just do a great job and we’re gonna, you know, we’ll keep paying you and all that jazz, that doesn’t resonate anymore. And I think that this, especially the younger generations, they are really ambitious and they want to know, you know, where is my path? Where am I going next? And they, I think they can see through BS oftentimes. So you’ve gotta be, you’ve gotta ensure that you have, uh, you know, a clear view yourself as to what they’re gonna come out of your, your company with.

Arnette Heintze

Yep, yep, yep. Now, in terms of your current position, could you talk about the advantages of the decentralized autonomous organization structure that, uh, you know, for VC collaboration mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what are some of the problems with the traditional VC networks and what are you trying to solve?

Katie Marchetti

Yeah. Um, so the, the idea, it’s web three and blockchain is rife with all of these, um, uh, words and acronyms and things like that that are specific to them. And so, but at at heart, I think a lot of it is quite simple. So the decentralized autonomous organization, or otherwise known as a Dow is, is kind of a, a hot a buzzword. Um, now and at base, um, what that is, is a community. So you’ve got us, for example, we have almost 180 people, um, as part of our Dow community. And they’re constantly chatting on Discord and WhatsApp and everybody’s interacting, uh, fairly constantly. But, um, what that, what the DAO is com composed of are primarily venture capital firms. So you’ll have one person as part of the community that represents a, a full venture capital firm behind them. We also have founders of companies.

We’ve invested in limited partners, some corporate partners as well. Um, and they are, and we’re all trying to solve exactly what every other VC firm is. So optimizing deal flow, diligence and portfolio support. And I think the unique aspect of the DAO is that we are able to do all of this very quickly. We’re able to solve problems, um, almost immediately because of the robust nature of the network. And, um, and we have, you know, pre-vetted deal flows, so we’ll, we’ll have opportunities for investment bubble up from our various members. And then, um, not only would we invest in it as a fund, but, um, but we also have co-invest opportunities for other LPs. Um, and touching on our earlier chat of the challenges of remote working, we are also in 24 different countries all over the world. Wow. So thank God for communication mediums where it doesn’t have to be in real time because coordinating time zones is, is kind of a pain. But, uh, and, and as, as a side complication, we invest, um, exclusively in web three, but I think we’d need another three hours to pick through all those nuances,

Arnette Heintze

<laugh>. Well, great. Well, Katie, thank you. You know, as we close out our session today, one of the things that I, I’d like to ask all of our guests is, you know, given the work that we do at S two verify, if we were to run an S two verify background check on you mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what would be the most surprising discovery?

Katie Marchetti

Ooh, that is, um, that’s a fun question. I think, uh, I think one of maybe a, a more unique thing about me is that I’m an Italian citizen with a Southern accent who says, y’all <laugh> <laugh>. And, uh, I, I, I really, I pride, I pride myself on, on, you know, how, how I grew up and, and you know, what I’ve come to achieve. But I, I’d say the other thing that I would mention is in my career I was, um, I’ve also had three daughters along the way, and I feel like, um, working moms need every shout out that they can get, cuz it’s hard. But I, I was happy to be, uh, happy to have generous maternity leave in the uk. So there were three little babies that came enters first in that, in, in that CV time. 

Arnette Heintze

All right, Katie, thank you so much for all of your insights today. I know our audience will appreciate your perspective. Please tell us where we can find more information about you and how to follow you and gaze you. Is there any suggestions you have on that?

Katie Marchetti

Yeah, we’re, uh, so our, our entity is called VC3DAO.xyz. That’s our website. And, uh, and I’m on Twitter at Katie Marchetti. Great. So I can circulate afterwards as well.

Arnette Heintze

Wonderful. Thanks again Katie, and thank you to all of you listening, watching, or reading. Please tune in to our next episode after the New Year, where I will be chatting with seasoned education industry leader and now CEO of cybersecurity awareness training company NINJIO, Shaun McAlmont.

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