Remote Work Realities and the New Workplace

Remote Work Realities and the New Workplace

Epoch and Rippling hosted a Happy Hour for leaders and innovators in the Employee Experience space to mix and mingle in Oakland. The event also featured a fireside chat where Jade Choy, Epoch's CEO and co-founder, had 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 Nathan Manuel, Global Director, People - Workplace & Employee Experience at PagerDuty. Scroll on for notes! 👇

Meet Nathan 

Nathan has numerous years of experience in the workplace and EX space. Since 2021, Nathan has led as the Global Director of People - Workplace & Employee Experience at PagerDuty. He has a burning passion for EX and loves to innovate and be creative with his approach to workplace design.

Navigating the shift from workplace design to remote work realities

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the landscape of Employee Experience to undergo a long-lasting transformation. Nathan felt that what was once primarily focused on physical workspace design has now expanded to encompass a broad spectrum of approaches, considering various methods of work models, and the evolving needs of employees. This evolution has caused Nathan to rethink traditional notions of work and reimagine how he supports the workforce in this new era.

The traditional understanding of Employee Experience revolved around designing unique workspaces tailored to specific companies. However, the onset of the pandemic caused a shift in focus towards ensuring employee safety and well-being in the workplace. 

PagerDuty’s experience shows big changes in how people work and where they work. The rise of remote work posed challenges for their traditional office-centric models, office demand, and corporate real estate portfolios. Nathan emphasizes the importance of flexibility and efficiency in this environment as the landscape is constantly changing. 

Collaboration at PagerDuty

Nathan loves collaborative partnerships between his teams with others at PagerDuty to effectively navigate through change. He closely collaborates with the Internal Communications team to ensure consistent messaging and alignment with company values, particularly regarding hybrid work policies and talent acquisition strategies. Nathan also believes it is valuable to collaborate with Learning & Development teams to facilitate the implementation of innovative learning programs like Pager Duty Pop-Ups. Through Pager Duty Pop-Ups, his core team will attend locations with no offices and book a workspace such as a hotel or conference room for the day. Employees are invited to work in person at the pop-up and meet their colleagues who live nearby. To give employees a personalized and memorable experience, his team will send out customized invitations and curate their content for each employee group. Nathan is able to foster employee engagement and connectivity across locations with this initiative. 

Cultivating community and connection

Nathan believes employee programs and events play a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community and connection within an organization. PagerDuty runs numerous programs including company kickoffs, revenue kickoffs, volunteer initiatives, and wellness programs. These programs offer employees opportunities to engage, collaborate, and bond, beyond their day-to-day responsibilities. Nathan ensures that these experiences and activities are meaningful, to strengthen morale, build camaraderie, and nurture a positive work environment. While large-scale initiatives often garner attention, it's also the small wins and niche communities that can have a profound impact on employee satisfaction and retention. Whether it's a meditation group, a photography club, or a specialized interest network on Slack, these efforts provide employees with outlets for self-expression, personal growth, and social connection. By recognizing and supporting these initiatives, Nathan demonstrates his commitment to fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace where every voice is valued and celebrated.

KPI’s and metrics

Nathan uses a variety of KPIs to measure the success of employee experience initiatives. While some metrics may seem unconventional, they offer valuable insights into engagement and organizational effectiveness. For example, Nathan measures the frequency of interactions between team members and the number of new connections made at the event to gauge the effectiveness of his EX programs. Another KPI Nathan uses is measuring the efficiency of the sales cycles, and the duration from hiring to code publication which provides tangible insights into the impact employee experience initiatives have on core business processes. Lastly, while uncommon, Nathan utilizes revenue per full-time equivalent (FTE) as a measure to assess productivity and efficiency. However, Nathan says it’s crucial to acknowledge its limitations, particularly in non-revenue generating roles, to prevent unneeded stress and demotivation among employees. 

Tips and tricks

Nathan closes off the discussion with a few tips and tricks he believes are important in the realm of workplace experience. He highlights the importance of connecting with employees on a personal level. By having genuine interactions you will be able to build meaningful relationships, know what employees want, and create a sense of belonging and importance with each individual on your team.

It is also valuable to listen and use feedback mechanisms to create a culture of trust and to capture diverse perspectives. He uses anonymous feedback mechanisms, such as surveys and comment boxes, to provide a safe space for his employees to share their thoughts. Organizations must embrace this constructive criticism and leverage it as a catalyst for continuous improvement and innovation to meet the needs of employees. 

HR professionals must strive for bold initiatives that drive meaningful change in the organization. Nathan emphasizes the importance of pushing boundaries and experimenting with pilot programs to effectively meet evolving employee needs and to keep activities engaging. 

Finally, he portrays the significance of bridging the gap between frontline employees and executive leadership with communication channels and feedback mechanisms, to elevate employee voices and champion open communication. HR professionals will then be able to shape the organizational culture, creating a more inclusive and collaborative environment, from top to bottom. 

How Epoch can help

Use Epoch to plan your employee events and programs, then track analytics on how the events went! Epoch is an employee engagement platform used by people teams at Reddit, Asana, and more. Epoch supports any internal event that needs email, Slack announcements and reminders, calendaring, and reporting. On top of impactful engagement and feedback analytics, Epoch provides a simple way to communicate and promote events to your workforce, helping events reach employees where they prefer to receive messages.

Teams using Epoch have seen positive impacts in event engagement while reducing time spent managing and promoting events by over 70%. Udemy used Epoch to scale its inclusive culture, driving 89% participation, and Modus Create successfully scaled a global events program across 15 time zones.

Increase productivity and connection among employees through company culture with Epoch. Curious to learn more? Book a demo today!

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