Tech Culture Club: Pendo’s Kelli Dragovich Declares Death To Pantyhose

Raleigh-based unicorn Pendo has been through a year-plus of massive growth. The product experience software company more than doubled its employee headcount since 15 months ago, leaping from 450 to around 1,000 employees. (We got a sneak peak into Pendo’s new headquarters in February).

This week’s Tech Culture Club guest, Pendo Chief People Officer Kelli Dragovich, spoke with host Melissa Phillippi on the HR implications of such a team expansion, how to effectively maintain a culture as a company scales rapidly, and more. Special thanks to our show sponsor, Vaco!

Here are some highlights from the episode:

  • Dragovich and Phillippi coined the phrase “death to pantyhose” to describe a larger overall shift in how people view workplace culture. According to Dragovich, now more than ever, people value quality of life and happiness over money, and they are leaving jobs and taking less pay for better culture and stronger company missions. This means employees are no longer accepting of a culture that doesn’t allow them to bring their full selves to work—and they are ditching the often restrictive and traditionalist pantyhose that has plagued working women for decades. (16:57)
  • How does Pendo, which was lauded as a Best Place to Work by the Triangle Business Journal in 2021, reach a balance in terms of attracting and keeping high-performing and well-liked employees? As Phillippi says, it is common to have a “brilliant jerk” or a “lovable slacker.” But the best company cultures thrive when you have those star employees who perform well and match the friendly and supportive culture you are looking to build. Dragovich sheds light on how Pendo looks at compensation planning and performance-based raises. (26:58)
  • Dragovich shares Pendo’s demographics for women and people of color at the company-wide and leadership levels. The one metric Pendo is especially looking to improve is the director-and-above level for people of color, and this requires them to be more intentional about their management pipelines. As Dragovich says, it is no longer enough to just have white women on executive teams as “diversity”. (35:00)

Listen to the full show with Phillippi and Dragovich below, and make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. And thanks again to our sponsor, Vaco!

About Suzanne Blake 362 Articles
Suzanne profiles startups and innovation for GrepBeat. Before working at GrepBeat, Suzanne attended UNC Chapel Hill, obtaining a degree in journalism and political science. Previously, she wrote for CNBC, QSR Magazine, FSR Magazine and The Daily Tar Heel.