Epoch Eras: Connect Highlights

Epoch Eras: Connect Highlights

Jade Choy, Epoch co-founder and CEO, and Keith Choy, Epoch co-founder and COO, kicked off their Epoch Eras, a tribute to Taylor Swift’s impactful eras tour, by sharing exclusive clips and takeaways from Epoch Connect 2024. The two-day conference brought together top leaders and innovators to connect, learn, and share knowledge on employee engagement and experience.

In case you missed this one, here are the key takeaways from the discussion. 👇

Connect 2024 Recap

The Connect conference began in 2022, coming out of COVID, with a small group of individuals who turned to Epoch for an opportunity to connect with other people within the space.

This May, Epoch Connect 2024 had 200 attendees who came together to learn, inspire, and connect in San Francisco

The core topics covered at this year’s conference included: 

  • How do we create connection as workplaces are returning back to the office? 
  • How do you scale culture as your organization grows?
  • How to ensure DEI and L&D initiatives are impactful?

Takeaways from Connect 2024

Creating connection in the workplace 

Keynote Dr.Vijay Pendakur, previously head of DEI at Dropbox, VMware, and Zynga, now has his own practice to support companies in understanding employee programs and experience at different stages. He shared how teams can create connection in the workplace as an individual, without having to lead programs. 

As an employer or organization leader, it is possible to make connection happen by ritualizing connection moments: 

  • Five minutes of fame – start with a gratitude ritual at the beginning of meetings
  • ”I see you” nudges on Teams/Slack
  • Have teams ”design silly” into meetings
  • Model sharing about yourself on a team channel
  • Quarterly team building activity, designed for remote teams

Creating value-based behaviors

Dawon Hawkins, Director of Culture and Engagement at Docusign, provided insight on bringing company values to light.

DocuSign is centered on value-based behaviors. Dawon highlighted the need to Identify behaviors that are observable, measurable, and particular to exemplify their values in action. Assessing what it looks like to show up in a meeting, or provide feedback to another person. Ensuring those value-based behaviors are more than just words on a screen, but identifying how they come to life in every aspect of the employee experience. 

There is a focus on enriching the employee experience beyond the work they are doing. Being intentional about recognizing the whole person, so they are more than simply what they contribute, it is also about who they are. Those actions are how their values come to light.

Designing company culture

Max Mullen, Co-Founder of Instacart, spoke about designing company culture. The actionable insights on how to design and implement a culture focused on five dimensions: 

  • Core Values: Identifying unique expectations for behavior within the company.
  • People: Understanding and defining collaborative work dynamics.
  • Ambitions: Pinpointing the overarching goals driving the company.
  • Rewards: Establishing what success looks like within the context of the company.
  • Environment: Crafting a workplace atmosphere that reflects and supports the cultural ethos.

These dimensions are not only relevant when designing company culture, but can be implemented for internal programs as well. 

DEI and L&D programs

Before getting into the exclusive clip of the DEI and L&D panel with Shaina Poulardhai, Head of Global DEIB at NerdWallet, and Bethany Goad, People Experience Product Owner from Genentech, Jade shared an anecdote from Genentech that highlights their employee experience is at the forefront. As Genentech is a biotech company that hired a lot of grad students, they began a shuttle program from main areas in SF to their headquarters. For major tech companies, this has become a common practice to make the commute easier for them. It highlights thinking about the employee experience from end to end, how the employees get to work, and how the company supports that. 

This panel spotlights that DEI and L&D is embedded across the employee lifecycle and how it looks across their organizations.

Shai shared how NerdWallet utilizes disparate impact analysis during performance reviews to review performance ratings across different demographics. By identifying pockets of disparity and inequity, they ensure talent retention and growth, promoting an equitable work environment. Shai’s guiding principle is that "if you build with the person with the most need in mind, everyone up the chain wins." This approach ensures that initiatives benefit everyone, fostering a more inclusive environment.

Leveraging surveys to create connection

Jamie Edwards, Global Workplace Experience Manager, explains how Lattice leverages the Epoch feedback surveys to understand what would create meaningful connections with employees. Jade emphasized that workplace experience is not just the facilities you work in, but the culture as well.

Jamie ran a survey to learn what would drive employees to the office. Through this feedback, she learned what motivated people to come to the office versus what detracts employees from being in person. 

Keith then highlighted the framework of “earning the right” to have employees come into the office. This is done by adding meaning and making an effort so it is worthwhile for them to return to the office. Since coming back into the office can be new and uncomfortable, it is beneficial to think about earning your employees’ commute.

Intentional togetherness

Dr. Molly Sands, Head of Team Anywhere Lab at Atlassian shares a data point on what makes people feel connected in a distributed environment. 

She learned that people are 3x more likely to say that work brings them together (as opposed to spending time in meetings together). This has spurred her to think about how to focus on helping their teams build and solve problems together as a way to become more connected.

What’s next at Epoch?

You can officially save your spot and register for Epoch 2025 to get first-hand experience at this inspiring Employee Experience conference - here!

Jade announced the Epoch Eras Tour, where Epoch will be hosting intimate happy hours, lunch & learns, and a one-day conference in New York City, on November 5th. 

Follow Epoch on LinkedIn for event details!

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