[Webinar] Fiorella Montero Strassburger at Modus Create 🌎

[Webinar] Fiorella Montero Strassburger at Modus Create 🌎

We have started a NEW Webinar Series – Experts on Employee Experience! 🎉 It is a monthly webinar series where Jade Choy, Epoch's CEO, 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 April Webinar featuring Fiorella Montero Strassburger at Modus Create! ⬇️ View the full recording here. Scroll on for notes! 👇

Meet Fio! 👋

Fio is an Employee Engagement Manager at Modus Create. Modus Create is a tech company that has a global employee base.

Fio creates and manages global employee programs across 14+ time zones and 50+ countries for Modus Create! 🌎 In this webinar, she shared her experience, tips, and insights on how to make engagement a success for a global team!

Fio is based in beautiful Costa Rica and enjoys spending her time reading and playing with her dog. 💙

Webinar Topics 🎙

How did you get into Employee Engagement? What interested you?

Fio first started her journey in HR and Recruitment 9 years ago. From this she knew she wanted to work with people, but not specifically in HR. Through HR she started doing Employee Engagement (EE) because she liked it and it wasn't a “thing” quite yet.

As the company grew from 100 to 500 employees, she also started growing in both HR and EE. It did get to a point where Fio wasn't able to handle both at the same time with the 17 timezones to manage, a lot of people, constant slack messages, and being a remote company. In the end, the role was divided into two positions and she got into EE!

EE is so broad and everyone interprets it a little differently. What made you think that this deserves to be its own role @ Modus?

Fio found that there were many good ideas that she thought of with her team, that she unfortunately couldn't develop due to not having enough time as she was still doing HR. She also believes that it is extremely important to have that role in a company, in order to be able to develop their ideas, especially within Modus Create.

What does Employee Engagement look like right now at Modus Create?

Fio emphasized that it is important to make sure that people know each other in the company. Especially, co-founders and managers should also get to know employees as well! This is the biggest part of engagement for Fio, making sure that individuals know other individuals at Modus.

By getting to know employees on a closer level, you also get to know what they want and what events could work for them. Fio explained that any company can host events, but sometimes you won't always know if you're attendees are feeling engaged and included. If you take the time to know everyone beforehand (in an EE role), then you can thoroughly understand what they actually want and deliver engaging events for your team.

What have you been seeing in terms of the best way in connecting your employees? Especially because Modus is so global and has been remote even before COVID.

Modus Create has been remote since the first day it launched, which was in 2011. One thing that has worked for Fio, was getting to know each and every one of her employees from their employment agent report. Fio also conducted 1:1's, used Donut to pair people up and used Zoom for their Breakout Sessions every month with many activities. All of these best practices have assisted her in getting to know her employees on a more personal level.

Modus Create has a great culture of sharing ideas and always wanting to see what more they can do. How do you take in all that feedback and ideas? How do you empower employees to run some things on their own?

By not being afraid to try anything, is key! Fio explained how she would receive ideas and be unsure about them, but was willing to give them a try. This empowered Modus' employees to always speak up to share feedback and ideas. If ideas didn't work then she would provide feedback about how and why it didn't, and also make sure to include other ideas that she came up with based off of their ideas. Fio believes that the main takeaway is to atleast give all ideas a try, without shutting them down!

A current example of this at Modus Create is they are trying to reactivate their Book Club! Overall, they noticed that people weren't reading the book so they decided to  approach the Book Club in a different way. Instead of getting everyone to read the same book, Fio allowed attendees to read a book of their choice and present their readings.

What has worked well and what events are people still excited about?

There are several events at Modus Create that people are still very excited about every time they occur! Specifically, the Breakout Sessions that happen once a month are very popular with employees! This event involves splitting up employees 3 - 4 different breakout rooms, where different activities take place. An example an activity is where each employee showcases something in their desk that means something to them. The activities are simple yet engaging for employees!

Something else that has worked well at Modus Create is having events take place at different times of the month on different days and with different people! That way regardless of timezone, there is always an event for someone to attend.

How do you amplify events to employees with everyone being in different time zones?

  1. Fio amplifies events to employees by using Epoch as it offers various features like sending surveys, reminders and calendar invites!
  2. Employees also often interact and communicate through Slack regarding events.
  3. Modus Create's design team also creates flyers which highlight the event in general and why they should attend the event as a way to promote them.

How do you measure these program’s success? What is your mindset into it and how do you tangibly track it over time?

Fio shared that Epoch is a huge help as it has assisted a lot within sending surveys, tracking if employees attend and gathering feedback so she knows how employees feel about each event or initiative. 

Sending out Engagement Surveys every month and having a larger one every six months is also a huge help as they ask questions such “How are you?”, “How are you feeling about Modus Create?”, “How are you feeling about your workload?” etc. 

Fio also personally sends out questions to employees asking “Did you take a break today?”, “Were you able to stand up from your desk today”, etc. This ensures that employees recognize she is supporting their work-life balance and how they work. Overall, Fio believes that it is extremely important as it pushes them to work better and they’ll also feel supported. 

How do you approach EE, especially with your scale right now?

In the past, Fio would have to send out the surveys and retrieve all of their metrics herself, so everything was very manual. However, now she is able to just create an event, and everything else happens so she doesn’t have to track, due to Epoch! Also having people support her really helps, whether that is a team working below her or employee engagement advocates within the employees.

Looking at your current programs and initiatives (in terms of cadence and volume), is it too much, too little? How does that look at Modus and for you?

Modus has many events every month, but they aren't always for everybody. So it’s important to remember not to get discouraged if you see only two attendees in an event. One of Modus' larger events is ‘Country Presentations’. Each month a different country is featured and employees who live there come together to create the event. Modus is a global team and employees love to get to learn about different countries around the world that their team members live in.

An event that’s for everyone is the ‘Breakout Sessions’ which happens every month. Then, Modus' All Hands also happens every two months. Different kinds of Wellness events (yoga and stretching events) are always happening, every month. Modus also has an exciting Webinar with a coach on soft skills, or any chosen topic that people can vote on!

What is your mindset when you’re thinking about EE, I’m sure you get tired, some days you don’t want to show up and be that facilitator.

Fio expresses that as the cheerleader and the person that is always excited and enthusiastic, it can take a toll on you. You are the one responsible for making sure that your team is happy, but who is looking out for you and making sure that you’re happy? It depends on the company and leadership, but for Fio, she tries to take time off and she mentions that she’s able to do this because of Epoch!

She doesn’t just take a day off, but in larger fractions like a whole week. Before, she wasn’t able to do this because events don’t happen if she’s not there. But now with Epoch, she can make them happen and doesn't need to be there. Also, attending the events that she actually wants to attend. If there is an event that she doesn’t need to attend because she is aware of everything that is taking place, she won’t. She simply welcomes everyone.

Getting outside helps and taking time off are the main things that has worked. Because sometimes you just don’t feel like it, and you realistically have to fake being excited and happy. Taking time off has helped her to recharge and have the energy and make sure she knows why she’s doing this, for people. Individuals often reach out to her saying an event boosted their day, which makes her day and helps her when she’s not having a good day. 

In terms of resources that you turn to, to get inspiration. Where do you turn to? 

Fio explains how she turns to Epoch and finds good ideas there! She has certain blogs that she goes through to see what works and what doesn’t or what she wants to try. She also mostly goes to the employees and they share their ideas and they plan events together. She mentions how ideas give her ideas, so going directly to other people definitely works for her!

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