We are back with our 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 September Webinar featuring Liz Leary, Project Coordinator - Team Anywhere at Atlassian! View the full recording here. Scroll on for notes! 👇
Liz has worked in employee experience for over 6 years, putting her time and effort into improving the work environment. Liz started her career in employee experience at Trello and carries with her the many experiences and lessons that she has learned ever since. Today, Liz is the project coordinator at Atlassian, a software development and collaboration company that provides effective tools and methods to aid in team organization, collaboration, and task completion.
Liz is passionate about helping employees foster bonds at work in a fun and meaningful way. In this webinar, we discussed workplace experience trends, tactics for creating programs from scratch, and advice on how to deal with the upcoming changes in the working environment!
Liz believes in her ability to help people in different ways and help them find connections. She was the first EA (Employee Advocate) at Trello, and she attributes this as a huge reason for her success.
Liz thrives working in employee experience due to her passion for helping people. Fostering and building genuine relationships. Before working in employee experience, Liz says, “I wanted to be a doctor”.
Liz agrees that people want to be back in person. The challenge she says is, “how do we introduce, how to meet people with each other again”. With the fatigue that comes from working from home, Liz strongly believes that in-person is coming back. However, she does realize that a delicate balance is needed, as the future of work is heading towards remote work.
When Liz first joined Trello, her manager created an event called Trello Together. When her manager left, Liz was handed the keys to the event space at Trello. She attributes much of her learnings from being able to organize events like these. Trello Together was a three-day getaway for employees to give them that much-needed time to gather.
When Covid hit, Liz had to pivot. This is where she introduced the idea of Team Time, where managers at the company could bring their team to New York. Eleven teams set out to New York, and these events created a huge buzz. By the end of the three-month duration, a total of 25 teams had come out.
Liz didn't have a metric to show how productive people became. She did however see it within the workspace. She says, “people felt inspired to go back in person and work”. Liz wishes that she took a metric to measure this. All in all, Liz believes that the productivity that you get from those genuine connections and organic conversation is important.
Liz believes in having the right people in the right place in order to plan and execute these events. Event planning itself is its own job. Ideally, Liz emphasizes looking for an employee experience person to handle these tasks, but if no one is available then she recommends sending out a survey to employees. This could be the catalyst behind someone starting their career within the employee experience workspace. She suggests that having these events will allow you to be a much more thoughtful co-worker. As a result, if your team is seen and heard they will work for you.
Liz highly recommends the Trello board. She built a top to bottom Team Time planner with all the tools you would need to access the New York office. The office was a home base for co-workers to meet other co-workers who they normally wouldn't work with. Liz quotes these as “cooler moments”.
Liz utilized the Trello board by having certain activities set out for co-workers. Doing so gave co-workers the freedom to work in schedules however they see fit. Liz put polls on the Trello board to get feedback on what fun programs to run next.
“Covid, that's a challenge,” says Liz. Liz states that the pandemic put fear and stress among co-workers. She made it clear that whoever wanted to attend the events could do so and if they did not want to, that was okay as well. Liz explored a few different ways in approaching the events during the pandemic. One approach she took was to purchase 300 rapid tests, and only allow individuals who tested negative to participate.
Amidst the pandemic, Liz realized that people were deprived of the social interactions that were so frequent pre-pandemic. During a meeting with her manager, they were throwing around ideas. The one that stuck was using VR Oculus headsets to virtually connect with co-workers.
Liz loves surprising her co-workers, so she shipped them out without telling anyone what was being shipped. Funny enough to this surprise, Liz was able to plan another event within this one. They held a virtual opening via Zoom. Liz was able to capture this phenomenal moment, everyone opening their gifts and seeing their live reactions.
Within these gifts, Liz had set up an invitation to TTVR 2021. A VR platform where co-workers were able to virtually be back in the office. Another virtual event that was held was virtual golf.
Liz's inspiration for the cookbook comes from one of Epoch's Employee Experience Roundtables. During the conversation, someone mentioned how a cookbook was received as an amazing gift. Liz acted upon this and sent out a survey for meaningful recipes. Liz along with a co-worker completed the cookbook in about 48 hours with over 150 recipes. The book is called Trello to Table.
“Just start”, Liz emphatically states. If you have an idea, act on it. Reach out if you hear someone who did something you thought was cool. Liz emphasizes that relationships should be meant to nurture, not be meant for selfish reasons.
Liz suggests sending surveys after every event. Knowing that information is crucial to growth. Liz states, “you’re not going to do everything right the first time”. These metrics will help you improve your events.
Liz explains that after her TTVR event, she sent out anonymous surveys and one response she got was, “I hate VR, it makes me dizzy”. Liz took this feedback and during next year's TTVR, she made a trivia game for those who disliked VR. Liz accredits the feedback for how she was able to accommodate certain co-workers at TTVR.
Liz is a huge advocate for not overwhelming employees with hundreds of messages. Liz explains that the best approach for communicating with co-workers is to open a Slack channel. This channel becomes a way of communication between employees, discussing logistics for the event, or just small talk.
Liz’s self-care method is unique. She hops on her treadmill while watching competition shows. Liz doesn’t know why, but it helps calm her. It even led to her applying to the competition show that she watched. She ends with, “If you have a dream go for it”.
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