Life @ PointClickCare: Kareen Clattenburg
As VP of Total Rewards & People Strategy at PointClickCare, Kareen has a lot of responsibilities to the organization. Overseeing benefits, compensation, wellness, investments, and recognition are just the tip of the iceberg. Kareen is also responsible for creating and maintaining an effective and seamless integration of HR roadmaps, goal setting, and KPI measures. As she says, “My true responsibility is to create meaningful programs and initiatives in each of these areas to enhance and impact our employees experience.”
The art of HR
It may surprise readers to know that Kareen didn’t initially study HR, she actually went to art school hoping to being an interior designer. She tells us that her journey to HR master was really in pursuit of a different dream – owning a home. “As soon as I graduated, I set my sights on purchasing a house. Being a recent grad, and a freelance artist at that, the bank obviously laughed me out the door. But this experience changed the course of my life because they told me if I was serious about it then I could go get a temp job for six months and then come back.” Kareen then landed a job at a large telco company in Halifax where she lived and ended up staying on past her contract. After joining the HR team permanently, the rest is history.
HR is about people
Kareen has built an impressive career in HR and is still as fascinated by the function as she was when she started. When we asked her what has kept her on this path, she told us she has always admired how HR is more than just a function, it is able to strategically partner with the business. “HR is more than just human resources; it can help to develop solutions for specific business needs. I think that’s something that wasn’t necessarily done when I first started but it has evolved over the years. The best part about HR is that it can be that person that at the table who has an unbiased opinion. It is a representation of the people, and I am extremely proud to do that every day.”
Working with people and meeting their requests and demands can be difficult at times. But there is one thing that Kareen is constantly telling her team to help them get through tough times. “I am always telling them that you can’t control other people’s actions; you can only control your own reactions. This reminder is incredibly important in HR because a lot of times employees or leaders come to us with their frustrations or disappointments, and I think it’s always important to remember to be the best version of yourself.”
Joining the PointClickCare team
Throughout her career, Kareen has worked in many different settings that awarded her with interesting and diverse career experiences before settling into PointClickCare. “I was approached by PointClickCare about three years ago and to be honest with you, I had never heard of it before that, but I researched it and after I did, I knew this was the place I wanted to be.” Kareen was attracted to the type of leaders she saw at PointClickCare and the vision Mike and Dave had for the organization.
Kareen credits her success since joining PointClickCare to her incredible team and the relationships she has built along the way. “My team and the relationships that I’ve built across the business have inspired me. I feel so lucky to have a group of people around me that not only motivate me, but also provide me with support.” For example, “When I joined PointClickCare the Total Rewards team didn’t exist yet, and I got to take part in building that brand new team. I’m so proud of all the work that we’ve done and I feel grateful to have the support of others in creating these programs. It’s really a team effort.”
Creating meaningful programs
In her time here Kareen has made many contributions to the organization. By putting people first, and thinking creatively, Kareen was able to develop meaningful programs that had a positive impact on the organization. When we asked her what her biggest accomplishments were, she said two initiatives came to mind. “The first one I am extremely proud of is our recognition program, iCare, which we launched about a year after I started. Our team took what was in place and created a platform to showcase all the great accomplishments of our employees. It gave people a chance to recognize each other and it has been amazing to witness. The second is the more recent launch of the PointClickCare Wellness program, We Care. The We Care program is committed to supporting your mental wellness and improving the employee experience for all around the four pillars, physical, financial, emotional, and social. We have had an incredible reaction to this program and I feel honoured to be part of creating expressive and impactful programs for our colleagues.”
For Kareen, some of the most important characteristics for a leader to possess are empathy and curiosity. “I believe leaders need to be empathetic in order to be effective and they also need to be open, communicative, and constantly seeking to understand that which they don’t. One of the things that I encourage in my team is constructive challenging, which is what I like to call respectfully poking holes in things. I find that you learn more by asking questions.”
Kareen also mentioned that leaders need to be creative and innovative in order to achieve lasting results. “I think this is where my art background comes in, because to create change you need to be able to think outside the box. Saying this is the way we’ve always done things, or this is the way you know other companies do it, that’s not a good enough reason. I think the best leaders push the envelope and try to imagine not just what is going to work for right now, but what is going to take us into the future.”
As a successful female in the industry, Kareen has some sage advice for other prospective female leaders on the importance of staying true to yourself. “Don’t be afraid to use your voice and share your opinion. It’s important that you be courageous, but I think it’s also imperative that you be your authentic self. There’s a lot of misperceptions around women having to be forceful or strong in order to succeed. I don’t necessarily think that’s true; I think you can be soft, gentle, and emotional and those traits can be your strengths. In many ways, our emotions are what make us successful, they drive us and show our passions and compassion for others, and because of that, they are our superpower.”
August 19, 2021