Epoch hosted our first ever Employee Experience Symposium in San Francisco! The day was focused on employee engagement and experience for our new way of work. This event was attended by forward-thinking, industry leaders in the employee experience space.
In case you weren't able to attend Epoch's Symposium, here is a full recap of the top learnings and themes that were discussed during the one-day event!
Panel 1 Discussion: What's Next for Employee Experience? 🎙
⭐️ Adrian Rodriguez, who has been in the space since 2013! He's now at Glassdoor managing company virtual events and their San Francisco office space.
⭐️ Kate McCoubrey Judson has been at Adobe for almost 5 years, reimagining the whole ecosystem of work for a post-pandemic world — including how hybrid teams can excel.
⭐️ Kari Girarde leads community and culture at StockX. Kari loves being the glue that brings teams together, connecting great moments and making work fun. Her passion is for people, creativity, and culture – building community for growing companies.
⭐️ Omar Ramirez brings over a decade of experience across high-growth tech companies (Stripe, Dropbox, Miro and many more). Currently as the founder of Affordances, Omar helps companies strategize and solve problems, all while staying focused on what matters most: the real people behind the scenes.
⭐️ Spencer Blank leads employee events at Fastly! Spence's passions are building community, bridging ideas, and creating engaging experiences that amaze. He also has a background as a classically-trained music director, where he brings that creativity into all the facets of navigating culture and community at the workplace.
1. Humanizing employee experience 😃
- Find the people in your office that want to engage and connect with them to build out employee programs.
- Gather anonymous survey and feedback insights from employees to involve them in guiding future programming.
- Host co-creation sessions to involve employees in building out programs they want to see.
2. Creating an equitable experience for all 💙
- Encourage everyone to dial into a meeting or event from their own laptop (even if they are in the office) to prevent remote employees from feeling left out.
- With a global team, it can be a challenge to host company-wide meetings and events all at once. Instead, have a rotation where an employee from each office or timezone hosts the large event so it creates an equitable experience for all regardless of location.
- When hosting hybrid events, having a strong facilitator is so important to ensure that those who are joining virtually are still involved in the activities and discussions.
3. Leaning into experimentation 📝
- If you are wanting to try out a new event or employee program, test it out with a few smaller teams at the start to gather learnings. You can take those learnings to improve the new programs before introducing it to the entire company.
- Find the champions in your company that have new ideas to approach things like hybrid events or employee programs and empower them to pilot their ideas among small teams.
- With the return to office underway, many teams are reimagining how to create a productive and collaborative workspace for employees. As the first few employees start to come into the office, it's the perfect time to try out the new workplace setup.
Employee Experience Strategy Workshop 📝
Epoch hosted a tactical workshop about employee experience metrics and what's top of mind in the ever-changing workplace environment. The two main goals of this workshop were for attendees to:
- Gain insights into how their peers are thinking and developing their employee experience strategies
- Gather ideas and tactics that they can incorporate into their employee engagement strategy
Top themes when thinking about employee experience strategies:
1. Community & collaboration 👥
- Employee experience is all about fostering a sense of community in the workplace.
- Being able to co-create and collaborate with employees firsthand to build out programs ensures employees feel heard and valued.
- Creating an equitable experience for all employees is crucial to create a sense of belonging for all.
2. Well-being & meaningful 🌻
- Employees' well-being is a top priority to ensure there is balance and wellness programs are impactful and meaningful to everyone.
- As many companies are in the high-growth phase, it's important to stay true to company values and culture norms as your team is scaling.
Top of mind challenges:
1. Culture & co-creation 👩🏻🤝👨🏽
- How do you balance global company culture and local cultural differences?
- How are you involving the employees in co-creating their experience?
- What hybrid experience actually works for remote attendees?
2. Growth & metrics 📊
- How do you scale events at a fast-growth company?
- What are the right questions to ask to pull authentic feedback?
- With survey fatigue and events & engagement not always being top of mind, how can we be sure to hear everyone?
Panel 2 Discussion: Evolving Employee Programs, Culture, L&D & DEI 🎙
💙 Ashley Frabasilio leads employee engagement at Asana. She has seen it all with a background in spearheading culture at high-growth tech companies (and through TWO IPOs!). Ashley is passionate about elevating experiences to make them magical.
💙 Emma Dawson has over a decade of experience leading people development programs across high-growth companies (Dropbox, Affirm, Coinbase and more!). Starting her craft in the UK, Emma is an organizational psychologist, who is passionate about unleashing human potential.
💙 Jeffrey Huang has been spearheading employee programs and events for over a decade. At Salesforce, Jeffrey is the Director of Employee Engagement & Events. He believes in being culture-first, and is a passionate driver of diversity and inclusion.
💙 Shaina Poulard has a track record in building training and inclusion programs across companies like Bird, Meta and more. Shai currently leads Diversity, Inclusion and Employee Experience at Relativity Space. She has a passion for aligning people's skills, company resources, and development opportunities with the needs of the organization. Fun fact: Shai is also in competitive karaoke!
1. Opening up space for discussion 📣
- Normalize discussions surrounding inclusion in the workplace. Ensure employees feel heard and that their voice and opinions matter.
- Create trust with employees by offering social events (e.g. AMAs, coffee chats, etc.) to open the space for discussion for all.
- Offer outlets for employees to share their thoughts and opinions in a safe space. A few options include Slack channels, anonymous feedback surveys, and empathy circles.
2. Creative communication for hybrid events 🗓
- Be intentional when creating hybrid experiences and ensure they're interactive for both the in-person and virtual attendees.
- Making a video or audio recording for event communications is a creative way to get employees excited.
- What matters is that the communication comes from someone employees know which humanizes the interaction.
3. Providing helpful resources & toolkits for employees 🧰
- If there are employees who are passionate about creating certain events, empower them to do so by providing event resources.
- Employees will feel encouraged to share their ideas and run new programs knowing that they have toolkits and guidance to set them up for success.
- A few ways to build out your toolkit are event checklists, company-recommended vendors, event ideas, and budget logistics.
Join Epoch's Employee Experts Slack Community 🌟
Epoch’s online community is a place for individuals in the engagement and culture space to come together and lean on one another for support, share ideas, and build connections. We aim to create a safe and welcoming space where everyone is comfortable to share what is top of mind and are respected and supported in doing so.
If you are interested in joining Epoch's Slack Community to connect with like-minded individuals within the employee engagement space, fill out our application here!