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5 companies pioneering Employee Experience

I’m often asked: “Where does this employee experience thing actually work? Where is this practice of human-centred design in use?”.  Of course I’m tempted to pull out the obvious players such as Facebook, Amazon, Netlflix or Google (the now cliched FANG abbreviation, coined by Wall Street).

But there are hundreds of other companies, some very well known (Nike, Adobe, Slack, L’oreal, Unileaver, Whirlpool, GE for instance) and some lesser known but rapidly growing in fame and reach (Box, ETSY, Digital Ocean, Deliveroo, Overdrive, Zappos and Zoopla, to name just a few).

I’m going to pull from both lists to chat about what they’re all doing to help marry the company’s vision and objectives with the programmes, policies, systems and tools that help their people (employees) achieve their personal goals while supporting the company’s objectives.  

My top 5 pioneers of employee experience design (for this week at least) are:

ETSY –  “Etsy is a learning organization guided by research and analytics. We engage employees through multiple channels of communication to surface feedback and insights about our collective challenges and successes. Culture Amp helps us collect important, anonymous feedback from our employees about their experience and sentiment at work.”  Brian Christman (former SVP People & Workplace)

Box – “Employee resource groups (ERGs) at Box are employee-led affinity groups based on a person’s identity. As of publication, Box has the following seven groups – Box Women’s Network, Women in Tech (specific to women in technical roles), Pride (an LGBTQ group), Black Excellence Network, Latinx, Veterans at Box, and Families with Special Needs.

In the current climate, I think there’s a desire to homogenize people, or question the need for separate spaces. However, it’s so important for people to have safe spaces. All of the groups are open to allies, but they will sometimes have closed meetings if necessary,” says Megan Dalessio (Diversity and Inclusion Lead)

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Digital Ocean – When it comes to creating an engagement survey plan, Drew Hendrickson (Manager, People Operations at Digital Ocean) says, “I think one of the most important parts of the process is understanding why you really care about engagement. For us, it drives people’s experience of working here, it drives retention, our ability to hire, attract and refer candidates.” The goal for Digital Ocean’s survey plan is to measure engagement with the same rigour they approach other business measures.

Vend – Jordyn Riley (Employee Experience & Development at Vend) says, “Engagement is a number that’s talked about all through Vend. At executive meetings it’s a number that people ask about and dive into. It’s also a number that goes to our board as well. It’s one of those numbers that they talk about right at the top.”

Wikimedia – As described by CultureAmp: “The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia, Wikidata, MediaWiki, and other open source, free knowledge websites. Their work supports the efforts of more than 70,000 volunteer editors and nearly 150 affiliates (chapter and user groups) around the world. Together, their commitment is to build a world in which everyone can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. It’s no small order. The Talent and Culture team at the Wikimedia Foundation works to create a culture in which their people can thrive and honor this commitment.” 

This is a small sampling of inspired communities of smart and engaged, committed and passionate human beings that are making our world more colourful, safer, exciting and informative.  I borrowed them all from the Culture Amp customer site, because I think the Culture Amp employee engagement, experience and effectiveness platform offers a mind-blowing level of actionable insight and analytical detail for organisations.

Anyone who engages with a human analytics tool of this quality to uncover the empirical evidence behind the magic of a wonderful company is doing something right. These are all organisations that care deeply about the culture, organisational mission and the people who are making that happen.

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