Nexthink CEO Pedro Bados on expanding to the United States and remote work

In 2004, CEO Pedro Bados cofounded Nexthink, the digital employee experience company that helps IT teams create seamless work environments. Ladders spoke with Bados about his upcoming move to the US, the company’s current expansion, and how the company culture varies from other tech companies.

Employee experience technology is a pretty crowded space. How does Nexthink stand out against industry competition?

“So the employee experience space is very crowded, as you said, and that’s why Nexthink is really focused on digital employee experience. All the things that you can do to improve the employee experience in a company…there are many, right? I mean, you can work on benefits, you can work on the offices, you can work in general on the culture.

The things that we are really focused on is really the digital part…making sure that people that have a great experience when it comes to the computers, the applications, all the digital interactions that they are having with the company.

The reason why we do that is because research is showing that the number one reason why people are leaving companies or having a bad employee experience is that they don’t feel productive. They feel that they are stuck and they don’t get the job done. Obviously many of these people work with computers and applications. So having a great experience, even on the phones and video conferencing tools, it’s really key for employee experience and we focus on that and we do it pretty well.”

“Well, there is a whole transformation in the workforce today. So the fight of talent…it’s real. With automation or artificial intelligence, the jobs, they tend to be more creative. So companies, they pay more attention to their employees because I would say the more repetitive jobs and the jobs, which are… They don’t really bring added value, they are replaced by automation and other systems so employees are more and more important. High-qualified employees, they could become independent and they could become freelancers and they could create their own companies. So companies need to retain them. And that’s why employee experience and talent acquisition, and all these things, are so important. So this is one big trend.

Another big trend is that people don’t need to come to the office anymore to get their job done. So how do we offer a great experience to remote workers? For remote workers, the digital experience is really the window to their office, to their company, right? Because they really spend the day in front of the computer and mobile phone getting the job done. So the experience is really digital in many cases. So these are two key trends for us.”

How do you think Nexthink plays into the future of work?

“The future of work is also about much more collaboration. What we think at Nexthink is it used to be the management or HR defining what are the rules, right? What is, I don’t know, the application or the offices or really kind of the policies. What we see is that now it’s much more about the collaboration between employees and HR or employees and IT. So as a matter of fact, if you can capture more intelligence from your employees through…it could be surveys, it could be engagement campaigns, it could be something like Nexthink is doing today, for example…then you can have a much more effective strategy about what you need to make a better experience for your employees.

In the past in marketing or even in newspapers, right? I mean you put articles out there or you put products out there and then you were hoping that that was the right article or the right product. And right now you can almost see it in real-time if people like it or not like it, because you can monitor how many, and they can even give you ideas. So that the same thing is going to come to companies in which employees, they’re much more engaged with their management and much more engaged with their IT so they can give feedback about how they can improve their life at work. And it’s very important that the companies, they have ways to really capture all this feedback from employees and make it real. So this is another thing that we are seeing as well in the future of work.”

What are you most excited for at Nexthink right now?

“Well, right now I’m really excited about many things. One is really obviously about…we do have phenomenal growth. So obviously we are capturing many big companies that they really believe in employee experience and digital employee experience. So very excited about the quality of the customers.

Very excited about the US opportunity. I’m in the process right now to move with my family to the US…to Boston. So I’m excited about that, personally and professionally. I think it’s that it’s a great opportunity.

And we are actually excited about how we can make a technology which is really impacting people. Because sometimes when you do a technology startup you don’t really see…if it’s like an infrastructure product or something like that…you don’t really see the impact. While Nexthink you can really see you are making sure IT departments and employees…they get together, they improve, they reduce the downtime and that’s very, very fulfilling. So I’m excited about many things.”

What has surprised you most since taking over the role of CEO in 2007?

“The role of the CEO in a fast-growing company, it’s a different job every two or three years. It’s a never-ending learning experience, and that’s why sometimes there are some CEOs that step out after a few years and some stay. I think you have to reinvent yourself every two or three years. From zero to 10 million is completely different and 10 to 50 and 50 to 100 or 100 to 500…very different problems and very different companies. So that surprised me a lot. And I’m enjoying it, so I’m positively surprised, I would say.”

What kind of skills do you look for in employees?

“We believe a lot in our values. So we have four values, which are a positive attitude, one team, get things done, and growth mindset. We look for people who really share these values. So they have to be hungry. They need to have this ability to learn and to have a growth mindset. They have to have passion.

And depending on which role, sometimes you have a healthy mix of experience…some people they come with all their experiences scaling a company and also maybe a bit younger people that they don’t come with this experience but they have a lot of passion and energy and things like that. What is important at the end is that it’s really close to our values and our culture and also having this diversity…not only in gender, right? Diversity in culture, diversity in experiences. It’s also very important.”

How would you describe the company’s culture?

“I would say just to be direct and transparent from the first moment. Something we really value a lot is people that are very genuine. They show what they are with strengths and weaknesses and then they show passion about their job and something that we also like a lot is people that really want to be the best in the world in what they do. But in general, we value transparency, people that are genuine and natural…we like that.”

What advice would you give to someone interviewing at Nexthink?

“When you look at a company like Nexthink, what is very great is the huge amount of diversity in cultures. If you look at our management team, you will see people from North Africa, from Spain, from Switzerland, from the U.S., from Ireland…so that’s only the management team, which is seven people. So if you go to one level below, you can see 20 nationalities and then you go to the entire company there are 34 nationalities.

There is no one nationality, which is like 50% of the company. Normally when you go to a U.S. company, most of the people are U.S. without the foreigners, but most of here is really like 15%, I don’t know, French, 10% Italians.

So it’s just really international. I think that gives us different points of view. Also, being very global, everybody feels at home because we don’t have a culture very tied to a country, and I think that’s powerful.”

Is there anything else you want people to know about Nexthink?

“Well first of all, if some of our customers are reading, I’d really like to thank them publicly because obviously any company needs, especially a fast-growing startup, you need these early customers that really bet on you and they support you.

But also that we are hiring massively in the U.S., so if people are reading this interview and this article, and they feel that they can contribute today to our mission, I’m more than happy to take their calls and to see if there is a possibility to work at Nexthink.”