Employee Experience & Workplace Priorities Panel and Happy Hour in San Francisco

Employee Experience & Workplace Priorities Panel and Happy Hour in San Francisco

Epoch hosted a Happy Hour for leaders and innovators in the Employee Experience space to mix and mingle in San Francisco. The event also featured a fireside chat where Jade Choy, Epoch's CEO and co-founder, has conversations with leaders and innovators in the employee experience and engagement space.

In case you missed it, here are some key learnings and takeaways from our Fireside Chat featuring, Bryan Porcher, Head of Workplace and Real Estate at Next Insurance, Denys Altman, Senior Manager of Employee Experience at Airbnb, and Elisa Tsang, Senior Manager of Global Workplace Programs and Projects at HashiCorp!

What's a positive or ideal workplace experience, and what are you prioritizing?

Denys kicks off the discussion by emphasizing the importance of ensuring that employees feel they truly belong. At Airbnb, they embrace the motto "belong anywhere," which extends to the workplace. He stresses that the concept of an office has radically changed, shifting the focus from individual workspaces to creating vibrant gathering spaces that encourage collaboration. The ultimate goal is to empower talent to perform their best work.

Elisa emphasizes the need to meet employees where they are. With a significant portion of the workforce now remote, it's crucial to make it easy for employees to access the resources they need, regardless of their location. She highlights the importance of creating a welcoming and comfortable workspace and ensuring that new employees receive a warm welcome and introduction to the company.

Bryan advocates for flexibility in the workplace. Next Insurance allows employees within 50 miles to work in the office two days a week and uses the office space as a flexible resource. He also stresses the importance of understanding the needs and concerns of employees who may not be thrilled about returning to the office.

How to foster positive culture for employees

Next Insurance works with a lot of small businesses. One way that Bryan shares Next has been supporting who they work with includes partnering with small businesses that employees love, like food vendors and even tattoo artists, to bring unique experiences into the workplace.

Elisa points out the significance of supporting local. She suggests that events and programming should have clear goals, like building connections and fostering a sense of community beyond employees' roles. Virtual programming plays a vital role in achieving these goals, including micro conversations or even a musical coffee house.

Food also has a large role in fostering culture. Denys mentions recurring pop-ups with local food vendors and Airshare, a branded internal program where employees can share their skills and hobbies, allowing them to connect outside of their job descriptions.

How do you approach change management and demands from leadership?

Denys emphasizes the importance of involving leadership in decision-making, ensuring that they are well-informed through recurring touchpoints and clear communication. He also advocates for transparency with employees, bringing them into the decision-making process and cascade with context.

Elisa suggests giving employees control over small aspects of change, such as naming conference rooms. This involvement helps employees feel invested in the process and more comfortable with change.

How do you justify budgets, and how do you measure success?

Stressing the importance of defining success metrics for cost-benefit comparisons, Elisa underlines the significance of assessing attendance at events and feedback forms. The ultimate objective is to foster a sense of connection and community, with tools such as Epoch simplifying the process of collecting feedback and analyzing data.

Denys mentions annual surveys that encourage workplace flexibility and personal connections. By aligning their initiatives with the survey results, they can track their progress.

Bryan highlights the importance of candid communication with leadership.

How do you raise awareness among employees?

Elisa emphasizes the importance of a central communication platform and using various mediums to engage employees. Hashicorp uses Epoch, to be that centralized place where all employees can see events.

Discussing the use of Slack channels for each office, Denys advocates for two-way communication between employees and the Employee and Workplace Experience team.

Continually considering how to scale, Bryan emphasizes the importance of proactively addressing communication overload. He aims to mitigate excessive "white noise" by streamlining communication channels and using methods like advertising on monitors and table tents to reach employees without overwhelming them.

Exciting new initiatives and programs

Denys expresses enthusiasm for building a gathering strategy that empowers teams to meet in person as needed and improving their tech stack.

Bryan noted that he’s excited to continue creating meaningful moments in a creative way, enhancing the employee experience.

Elisa shares her excitement for automating manual processes, expanding Hashicorp’s offices into India, and exploring different initiatives to continually enhance the workplace experience.

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