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“Innovation has also come to the fore.” With Penny Bauder & Neta Meidav

One of the most unusual elements of this global pandemic is that we’re all experiencing largely the same thing and being affected in much the same way. This actually offers some amazing opportunities to take advantage of. We don’t often get the opportunity for a ‘do-over’ thankfully, but as Winston Churchill is credited with first […]

One of the most unusual elements of this global pandemic is that we’re all experiencing largely the same thing and being affected in much the same way. This actually offers some amazing opportunities to take advantage of. We don’t often get the opportunity for a ‘do-over’ thankfully, but as Winston Churchill is credited with first saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Neta Meidav. Neta is the CEO of Vault Platform. In 2017, inspired by the #MeToo movement and her own experiences with harassment, Neta left her job as a UK climate adviser to found Vault Platform, an app that lets employees securely save and time-stamp evidence of discrimination and misconduct until they are ready to report to HR. She is a recognized authority on the problems of harassment and discrimination in the workplace.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Like many women, I experienced sexual harassment in the workplace firsthand. But it wasn’t until 2018 when women around the world publicly broke their own silence that I was motivated to quit my role as a senior government advisor and spearhead the creation of Vault Platform with my husband.

The solution is a simple proposition for a complex problem. Through our own research and the revelations of #MeToo it was clear that not only were workplace misconduct reporting tools woefully inadequate but organizational culture was broken. Now, in the wake of the #MeToo and TIME’S UP movements, Vault Platform is rapidly defining a new category of HR technology known as “TrustTech”, designed to empower employees through the reporting process and reestablish trust between the employee and employer.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

Aside from launching a product and winning real customers, probably raising $4.3m in seed funding to make it happen. But probably the thing that makes me proudest is when we launch with a customer and hear back from them that the platform is being used. It’s great to hear stories that there was a pent up demand and we’re helping both people and companies bridge the trust gap. It’s amazing to know that our technology is really doing good!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Like everyone else, the Coronavirus pandemic is a pressing concern. We’ve seen that it is resulting in an increased level of discrimination, bullying, and harassment in the workplace. This not just race-related but also extends to those that have tested positive for the virus as well as those with symptoms of sickness.

We actually had a hackathon and added a COVID-19 reporting feature to our enterprise mobile app — Vault Platform. This helps HR teams managing the crisis stay on top of the numbers by enabling employees to report directly via the app when showing symptoms or testing for COVID-19. Essentially, while Vault Platform helps businesses establish a trusted line of communication with employees for misconduct we’ve extended that to COVID-19 reporting, allowing people to use the direct messaging feature to raise concerns or questions, anonymously or in-name.

Businesses can also keep their people up to date with the latest company policies regarding COVID-19 directly via the app, helping preserve and protect workplace culture as many move to a work from home model.

HR teams are on the front line and we know how challenging it is to triage employee queries effectively during this crisis. We’ve actually had an increase in companies asking if we can help them address this specific challenge.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

We’re very fortunate to count some great names among our investors and more on our advisory board, such as Josh Bersin — one of the most recognizable names in HR tech. I think the one that stands out though is Professor Frances Frei of Harvard Business School. Frances is another one of our advisors and perhaps the foremost thought leader on organizational culture and trust, having advised both Uber and WeWork. We recently had Frances as a guest on one of our webinars, talking about the overnight shift to remote working and how organizations can maintain their culture and look after their employees.

Trust is really one of the core aspects we focus on in terms of what we’re building and Frances is very knowledgeable on the ingredients of trust, how to establish them and how to maintain them when leadership is not present. Something that’s super relevant right now.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman in STEM during this pandemic?

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in STEM during this pandemic?

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

In answer to the four questions above:

Like everyone suddenly forced to work from home, I have the same issues — fighting for a wifi signal and children joining me in conference calls uninvited. I don’t think the situational challenges are that great because everyone is in the same boat. We’ve been doing webinars and customer meetings over Zoom and it works. Our team is pretty much set up to work from anywhere as well — one of the benefits of being a SaaS company.

But with large swathes of the global workforce moving to a work-from-home model, the next challenge will be managing a new workplace etiquette to ensure that the vector for workplace discrimination does not shift in parallel with the adoption of digital-first communication.

Workers are already heavily reliant on messaging apps such as Slack and Whatsapp and more still engage with each other on social media. This super-connectedness has blurred the boundaries between working hours and personal time resulting in a majority of people that continue to interact with colleagues when on holiday, off sick, or ‘out of hours’. Sometimes this interaction takes a negative turn.

Just as with any other form of communication, employees should be encouraged to speak up about online interactions and flag hostile behavior as not acceptable in the workplace. Employees that witness discrimination even if they didn’t experience it themselves, should also be encouraged to record details of the incident, including date, time and location.

Most recently, as the lockdowns continue, we’ve all heard about the rise in domestic violence and the challenges of people who don’t live in a safe place. So we’ve been investigating ways of supporting clients who want to protect their employees in this respect too.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place for long periods with your family?

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

It’s already a well-trafficked phrase but “this too shall pass” is one we keep using. History, and current indicators, show us that we will overcome this challenge just as we have all others. Yes, there may be lasting change and long term impact, what we go back to won’t be the same but that’s not a bad thing. We should learn and evolve from this experience.

One of the most unusual elements of this global pandemic is that we’re all experiencing largely the same thing and being affected in much the same way. This actually offers some amazing opportunities to take advantage of. We don’t often get the opportunity for a ‘do-over’ thankfully, but as Winston Churchill is credited with first saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”.

Trust in traditional institutions — media, government, etc. is at an all time low. People are turning to their employers for guidance and that relationship — between employer and employee — is being tested too. But some of the unique opportunities to address the trust gap here are not just through connecting the organization better with its people but also by better connecting people to each other. All our relationships have taken on a new dynamic and we have to embrace the good parts of that.

Innovation has also come to the fore. Look at the companies that have pivoted and those that are suddenly super relevant. Or how humans have come together to overcome a global catastrophe. It’s really inspiring seeing how we are able to deal with such large scale change.

How can our readers follow you online?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/netameidav/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/vaultplatform/

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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