Workplace Dynamics and Prioritizing Self-Care

Workplace Dynamics and Prioritizing Self-Care

Epoch and Rippling hosted a Happy Hour for leaders and innovators in the Employee Experience space to mix and mingle in NYC. 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 Britney Pierini, Global Director, Workplace Experience + Design at Harness, and Kristopher Martinez, Director, Culture, Community & Events at Eventbrite. 

Meet Kris and Britney

Kris has a unique past as a recreation coordinator, which allowed him to discover his passion for bringing people together. He now has over five years of experience in employee experience and is currently the Director of Culture, Community, & Events at Eventbrite. 

Britney shared her journey driven by her desire to connect with people and her dream of a fulfilling tech career. She has over six years of experience in workplace and is currently the Global Director, Workplace Experience + Design at Harness. 

Workplace dynamics and intentionality

Both Kris and Britney emphasized the importance of intentional moments for bringing employees together, especially in the current landscape of hybrid and remote work arrangements. Creating meaningful experiences beyond the confines of traditional office settings is essential for fostering connection and engagement within your team.  Britney believes that simply hosting virtual events isn’t enough, they must be done with intentionality and excellence. They require careful planning and execution to keep employees engaged, and to avoid repetitiveness. By leveraging channels like Slack to generate excitement, FOMO, and foster community engagement, organizations can ensure that virtual events leave a lasting impact on employees. 

Kris highlighted the evolving role of professionals in the employee experience space, positioning themselves as strategic advisors and business partners to organizational leaders. In a rapidly changing work environment, the focus is on partnering with executives to define and execute strategies that align with the organization’s goals and values.  

As organizations grapple with the shift from in-person to hybrid or fully remote work models, panelists emphasized the importance of redefining what belonging and connection mean in this new context. While pre-pandemic norms no longer apply, they highlighted the significance of trial and error in finding effective strategies to foster a sense of community and connection among employees, regardless of their physical location.

Employee buy-in

The panelists explored the intricacies of gaining buy-in and fostering genuine engagement within organizational dynamics. Britney emphasized the importance of building rapport and trust when stepping into a new role, cautioning against sending out employee surveys without first establishing meaningful connections. She advocates for a more empathetic approach, centered on active listening and genuine interest in understanding employees to gain their trust and buy-in. 

KPIs and metrics

Kris shared a unique approach he’s coined as the “two-year-old approach” to finding KPIs. Emphasizing the importance of asking ‘why’ repeatedly leads to diving deep into conversations with leaders and stakeholders, with the aim being to pinpoint the underlying motivations behind certain goals and initiatives, eventually identifying relevant metrics to track progress. They shared that KPIs should be tailored to the specific context of each organization, taking into account factors such as employee engagement scores, business performance, and attrition rates.

Both panelists highlighted the challenges in defining meaningful metrics, particularly in nuanced areas like employee experience and event effectiveness. Despite the complexities involved, they believe it is crucial to set clear goals and be intentional in measurement efforts. Exceptional employee experiences can be quantified through carefully chosen benchmarks, allowing for evaluation not only during but also after events, providing tangible evidence of progress toward organizational goals and objectives.   

Employee events in new work models

Despite the uncertainties of new working models, the panelists pointed to the role of major events as anchors for employee engagement and connection. From end-of-quarter celebrations to milestone recognitions, these events serve as opportunities for teams to come together, celebrate achievements, and reinforce a sense of belonging within the organization. 

Innovative ways were found to foster connection and community in the shift to hybrid work models. Kris leveraged existing infrastructure, for example, with the use of Slack he created location-based and interest-based channels. Through these channels, the global diversity within the company was celebrated, granting regional channels the spotlight to showcase their unique traditions, music, cuisines, hobbies, and more. From pet parents, sports enthusiasts, foodies, and vegans, each community had its moment to shine, offering experiences that united all participants. These virtual gatherings not only bridged geographical divides but also deepened the sense of belonging, proving that even in a digital landscape, the bonds of their organization remain strong. 

To create meaningful experiences, the panelists emphasize working with Learning & Development teams to offer mentorship, skill-building, and career advancement opportunities to foster a culture of continuous learning and growth. By blending learning opportunities with social interactions, companies can enhance employee development in a hybrid workplace. 

Prioritize self-care to support others

It’s easy to dive into supporting others without taking care of yourself first. As Kris noted, it’s crucial to remember the airplane oxygen mask principle: secure your own mask before assisting others. In the realm of employee experience, this rings true - maintaining personal well-being ensures sustainable support for colleagues. 

The role of employee experience professionals is multifaceted, often requiring a delicate balance between being an organization’s cheerleader and facilitating meaningful change. The panelists stressed that the expectation of being a perpetual cheerleader (especially as a team of one) is unrealistic and unsustainable. Reframing their roles as facilitators of positive change and strategic business partners rather than sole cheerleaders will allow employee experience professionals to maintain a healthy mindset and drive impactful initiatives within their organizations. Professionals in this field must prioritize self-care and seek support when needed. 

Navigating the complexities of employee experience can feel lonely and daunting, no one should do it alone. Kris and Britney emphasized the importance of having a community and network to support and bounce ideas off one another in the Employee Experience community. Apply for Epoch’s Employee Experts Community here

Bridging the gap between leadership and employee engagement

A common challenge discussed was the disconnect between leadership initiatives and employee engagement. While top-down support is crucial, genuine participation from executives is equally important. Bridging this gap requires constant effort from both ends - leaders must actively demonstrate commitment, while employees must feel empowered and motivated to engage with company initiatives. 

Leveraging feedback for continuous improvement

Properly leveraging feedback will drive continuous improvement in employee experience initiatives. Panelists discussed the importance of gathering feedback from employees, whether they attend events or not, to gain insights into their perceptions and preferences. By actively listening to employee feedback and adapting initiatives accordingly, organizations can demonstrate responsiveness to employee needs and strengthen their commitment to fostering a positive work environment while improving the experience of their workplace events. 

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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