Why Putting Your People First Matters For a Positive Employee Experience

Sheri Kelleher of Incorta talks about how she created a people-first employee experience.

Sheri Kelle­her is Senior Vice Pres­i­dent of Peo­ple Suc­cess at Incor­ta, a data and ana­lyt­ics plat­form that works toward unlock­ing the full poten­tial of data from mul­ti­ple com­plex source sys­tems. Beyond that, Incor­ta has cre­at­ed a brag-wor­thy com­pa­ny cul­ture worth tak­ing a clos­er look at. The com­pa­ny was vot­ed one of the Best Work­places in 2022 by Inc.

The use of sim­ple and to-the-point core com­pa­ny val­ues, a focus on the employ­ee expe­ri­ence, orga­ni­za­tion trans­paren­cy and using employ­ee data (they are a data and ana­lyt­ics plat­form, after all!) to cre­ate a peo­ple-first cul­ture, result­ed in a great employ­ee experience. 

Simplifying Company Values

Busi­ness lead­ers may some­times strug­gle to come up with core com­pa­ny val­ues. The results are often con­vo­lut­ed texts full of buzz­words with­out any mean­ing behind them. When Sheri start­ed at Incor­ta, the com­pa­ny had its own set of val­ues that she says were great, but she real­ly strug­gled to remem­ber the three para­graphs that read more like a sto­ry than any­thing else. She want­ed to sim­pli­fy them down, and what result­ed was a list of core prin­ci­ples: think, act, be, love.

Much of their inspi­ra­tion for their val­ues came from their organization’s cul­ture. When they decid­ed to rethink them, Sheri and her team of Human Resources pro­fes­sion­als sur­veyed oth­er team mem­bers. Approach­ing it in this way helped them deter­mine not only their new val­ue state­ment, but it was also a good way of get­ting the entire com­pa­ny on board. In oth­er words, they lis­tened to their people. 

Sim­pli­fy­ing the com­pa­ny val­ues also made it eas­i­er for every­one to remem­ber exact­ly what they were. Nar­row­ing them down made get­ting employ­ees to ral­ly behind them eas­i­er, and this result­ed in a healthy work­place and com­pa­ny cul­ture — exact­ly what you should aim for when it comes to core values.

Love is one of the more impor­tant val­ues at Incor­ta. They love their peo­ple, com­mu­ni­ty and cus­tomers and what they do with their pas­sion. A focus on love ensures a pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence for their team mem­bers in terms of com­pa­ny cul­ture, which makes Incor­ta a great place to work. 

The Importance of Employee Experience (EX)

Every type of employ­ee in every indus­try goes through some­thing called the employ­ee expe­ri­ence (EX). From new hires to vet­er­an team mem­bers, EX involves every­thing employ­ees learn, see, do and feel when work­ing for a spe­cif­ic orga­ni­za­tion. This employ­ee jour­ney is often referred to as an employ­ee life cycle. Employ­ers and HR lead­ers can improve their EX through some­thing called employ­ee expe­ri­ence man­age­ment. The most impor­tant pri­or­i­ty is to lis­ten to your peo­ple every step of the way. 

You can do so with a focus on employ­ee engage­ment and by cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive employ­ee expe­ri­ence that nat­u­ral­ly results in employ­ee sat­is­fac­tion. Cre­ate a pos­i­tive work envi­ron­ment through healthy com­pa­ny cul­ture, flex­i­bil­i­ty, trans­paren­cy and oppor­tu­ni­ties for career devel­op­ment. Take a note from Incor­ta and allow your team mem­bers to col­lab­o­rate on core val­ues, imple­ment sur­veys to ensure that they’re hap­py and sat­is­fied, and be trans­par­ent when it comes to major com­pa­ny changes.

These mea­sures, com­bined with employ­ee data analy­sis, will result in a bet­ter place to work. 

Do More With Employee Data Analysis

Per­for­mance man­age­ment is a tool that helps man­agers and oth­er lead­ers mon­i­tor their employ­ees’ work. You can use sim­i­lar tools in your employ­ee expe­ri­ence man­age­ment. It’s impor­tant to com­bine this oper­a­tion data with EX data — or data about their per­son­al expe­ri­ence at your com­pa­ny. Using both will result in an employ­ee expe­ri­ence strat­e­gy that is reli­able and help­ful for all.

Incor­ta makes great use of sur­veys when it comes to study­ing its orga­ni­za­tion­al cul­ture. When Sheri began, she launched a sur­vey to gauge where the com­pa­ny was at, so that she could deter­mine whether or not employ­ees were sat­is­fied. They had just brought on a new CEO and head of HR as well, so there were many changes to take into account. 

While the results of the sur­vey were great, she want­ed to dig deep­er to improve the employ­ee expe­ri­ence even more. She got some clar­i­ty about what her peo­ple want­ed, which includ­ed trans­paren­cy and more estab­lished roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties. The com­pa­ny shift­ed and sent out a new sur­vey. The results were even bet­ter, but Sheri want­ed to improve even more. 

Based on the results of the sur­veys, the biggest thing that need­ed work was more trans­paren­cy about changes. Mak­ing sure that your employ­ees are aware of — and a part of — changes that go on in the com­pa­ny is called HR change man­age­ment, and the EX data showed that Incor­ta lacked a prop­er strat­e­gy. The only way Sheri could have known that, was through the use of employ­ee data and actu­al­ly lis­ten­ing to her peo­ple. It’s proof that ask­ing for feed­back from your teams is essential.

How Managers Can Focus on Organizational Excellence

Orga­ni­za­tion­al excel­lence works to estab­lish frame­works and sys­tems that are meant to inspire, moti­vate and engage employ­ees to improve the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion as well as their own. When there is a focus on good employ­ee expe­ri­ence, your peo­ple are more apt to be pas­sion­ate about what they do, and these sen­ti­ments are bound to spill over to their inter­ac­tions with cus­tomers. In oth­er words, when your team mem­bers care about their jobs, they care more about the peo­ple who use the prod­ucts or ser­vices your com­pa­ny provides. 

Man­agers can bring a focus to orga­ni­za­tion­al excel­lence through effec­tive lis­ten­ing, trans­paren­cy and ample feed­back. You also need to cre­ate real­is­tic goals and keep peo­ple account­able — from new employ­ees to estab­lished team mem­bers and all the way up to exec­u­tives. Every­one must be on the same page, and there must be an envi­ron­ment of employ­er and employ­ee trust. 

Cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive phys­i­cal envi­ron­ment in the office as well as a sus­tain­able dig­i­tal employ­ee expe­ri­ence if some or all of your team is remote can go a long way too. A strong employ­ee expe­ri­ence will set your team up for suc­cess in the long run. Don’t under­es­ti­mate the pow­er of a good expe­ri­ence vs a neg­a­tive expe­ri­ence. Remem­ber the sig­nif­i­cant impact a pos­i­tive EX can have across the board. 

Can You Keep Your Top People? Identify Them First

No mat­ter what indus­try you work in, there will be times when you slow down on hir­ing. As that pipeline shrinks, keep­ing your peo­ple — espe­cial­ly your top per­form­ers — is even more essen­tial. You first need to iden­ti­fy your top peo­ple to ensure that they are sat­is­fied. Then you can move on to putting in mea­sures to keep them happy. 

Con­sid­er imple­ment­ing quar­ter­ly check-ins that include career devel­op­ment goals, ques­tions about per­for­mance and what they would change about their work­ing envi­ron­ment if they could. Along­side that, gath­er your exec­u­tive team and deter­mine who your top per­form­ers are. Make it a point to get to know those peo­ple and see what makes them tick. 

Offer flex­i­ble work­ing sched­ules if they need it and ask them where they want to go with­in the com­pa­ny. By rec­og­niz­ing their tal­ent and skills, you show that you’re pay­ing atten­tion and are there to help them move along in their career. If you can offer com­pet­i­tive advan­tages like pay increas­es, all the bet­ter. And if you can’t, make sure that your top peo­ple have every­thing else they may need to flour­ish and thrive. 

By sim­pli­fy­ing com­pa­ny val­ues, focus­ing on your employ­ee expe­ri­ence, using real-time EX data and rec­og­niz­ing your top per­form­ers, you can cre­ate an amaz­ing place to work. And when you have that, both your employ­ees and cus­tomers will ben­e­fit. And what’s more brag-wor­thy than that?

Give your peo­ple the pow­er of choice and save a ton of admin­is­tra­tive headaches by con­sol­i­dat­ing exist­ing ven­dors and pro­grams into a sim­ple, auto­mat­ed plat­form. Con­tact us at Fringe​.us