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How SoundCloud’s VP People has seen her role evolve

Jack Hershman

Caoimhe Keogan started out as VP People. Over time her role has evolved to include the platform's users too.

Since starting her role at the nine-year-old, Berlin-based music distribution platform, Irish born Caoimhe Keogan’s remit has grown as the company has to encompass more than just SoundCloud’s employees, but its users too.

In discussion with Karen Rivoire, Hot Topics Contributing HR Editor, and former Kantar Millward Brown Chief Human Resources Officer, Keogan explained that her role, the subject of constant evolution, can best be explained by two distinct phases.

When starting, her title was just ‘VP People’. And as expected, it was wholly “people focussed.”

In time, however, this developed to include what many HR leaders and executives from organizations around the world are focussing on today: employee experience, or the way that an employee is made to feel when they interact with an organization.

Known internally as the “Workplace team,” Keogan explains how an entire group of people is dedicated to “The design of the workspace and the physical experience, also the programs supporting experiences at work. Be that food programs, wellness, and wellbeing.” All of it sat under the workplace team.

Another part of the role during this first phase was internal communications, which Keogan felt had to be kept within SoundCloud’s four walls rather than being put in the hands of an external agency.

“Then it evolved to take on community operations too.”

This was the second phase.

“[Community operations] It’s the team that supports the user community on our platform. Customer support for shorthand, but for us, it is about scalable support for our users.”

“On one hand you think of employee experience, and then, on the other hand, I am trying to think about customer experience.”

“At the end of the day, they are both just groups of people. One is smaller, internally… the other is a larger population of people who are interacting with your product and are a part of your community.”

Nonetheless, providing an amazing experience to both is paramount.

To hear more about SoundCloud’s employee experience and how Caoimhe Keogan’s role has evolved to become VP People, Places and Community, watch the full video above.

Moreover, if you’d like to find out the role HR plays in global scaling, see Caoimhe’s full interview here