Do you involve employees in brand strategy?
We're currently repositioning the brand, and we've been bringing employees on and engaging them all along the entire journey. That's been super exciting because it makes them feel part of that transformation. Employees have been top of mind as we've been doing that brand work, so that we really are creating that employer brand that they want to be a part of.
I try to avoid any "ta-das." We hate "ta-das." What we want is: “You've been a part of it, working with us along the journey.” CMOs need to manage that because while not everyone thinks they're an engineer, almost everyone thinks they're a marketer. So, you've got to balance that input, but welcoming it and engaging employees has been another way to ensure they're feeling a part of that mission or purpose.
How can you connect brand with employee experience in a way that moves the needle?
If you make it so high and lofty, it'll never connect. It’s about thoughtful focus on the values that define the way they want to operate their vision for the culture. But it doesn't just work with a few values on a board on a wall. One of the things we do beyond the values is consistently talking about how leaders lead. What are the articulations regarding the way leaders are expected to lead and how that shows up every day?
Almost every meeting starts with a review of both values and how leaders lead as a starting point, then (we ask) what will make this a good meeting. I'm amazed that we've kept that kind of discipline going, but employees are really engaged because it's that constant reminder. As my old boss used to say, “Repetition never hurt a prayer.” That continual reinforcement is important.
How are you boosting retention?
You have to be really creative when thinking about the different environments and the well-being aspects of hybrid work. For me, I've got a formalized skip level where I’m engaging with all levels of the organization on a regular basis. You always want to be available, but I think making sure that that's an intimate part of your calendar and how you spend your time is important. If you think about where you're going to spend your time, make sure you've allocated enough to ensure you're proactively having those everyday conversations that aren't happening every day in the office.
We focus on recharge days every single week. They started out as no-meeting Fridays, which allowed people to have breathing room where they're not on Zoom, they get to step back and think about the business in broader and bigger ways without being in meetings every single day. You should also be thinking your perks and employee benefits. I recently heard that a company offered $20 to $40 in Grubhub credit to get snacks and food that you would have picked up free at the office.
How is the CEO involved in retention efforts?
Every other week, Chris Hylen leads a conversation over coffee where he shares things like: “Here's what we're thinking. Here's what's next. Here's how we're talking about it. I don't have this answered yet, but this is the type of thing we're going to focus in on.” And then we bring in others, outside speakers or different leaders, to give them exposure from across the organization. Those are all things that help instill that sense of we're all part of this purpose and letting employees know what's going on.
How have things changed on the recruiting front?
Speed is super important. We're sprinting pretty fast as a company, so getting that right talent is important. We’re not as focused on people making lateral moves; we’re really focused on people making step-up moves. Then we pair them with an experienced leadership team to be mentors so that they're set up for success.
You're putting them into that challenging opportunity where they're in their position to grow. You want to be able to understand their thinking, those critical thinking skill sets that they have, and how they bring it. That way, you're focused on getting the right candidate, but you're doing it in an expedited way.
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