Assessing Employee Experience in the New Era of Work



What’s the state of your company’s employee experience? In this June 2020 webinar, Kazoo VP of People & Strategy Dania Shaheen and TALENTality Founder Elizabeth Yarbrough talk about how to measure inspiration and alignment in your employees to see if your company is thriving, off-course, doing the bare minimum, or simply surviving. Check out the webinar, then see where your company stands with Kazoo’s Employee Experience Assessment, the Thrive Index.

No time to take notes? No worries. Here’s a timestamped transcript of the webinar:

0:00:07 Dania Shaheen: Really excited to be speaking with you all today about employee experience, especially excited to be talking to you about employee experience with Elizabeth, Elizabeth, just… I’m not gonna embarrass you too much, but I just wanna share a couple of things before we move into the conversation, Elizabeth’s taken her years of business experience and acumen and combined that with an advanced psychology degree to really become this advisor to business leaders who are looking to make some pretty big changes in their companies, and so Elizabeth has this mantra, which I love, which is talent strategy is business strategy, and so I really want you all to kinda keep that in mind as we talk about the employee experience revolution and so on that note, I’m gonna delve into what we’re gonna talk about today. Today, Elizabeth and I are gonna set the stage around the acceleration of our change in workplace and why the employee experience matters even more so today than it ever has. So we’re gonna explain employee experience in a way that you can take back to your teams, take back to your company, and then also give you a way through the Kazoo Thrive Index to measure your company’s employee experience, so that you can think about actionable ways to really develop that within your own companies.

0:01:27 Dania: So without further ado, we’re in the midst of a revolution, I know it feels a little bit bold to talk about a revolution right now, but it feels right, given the pace of change happening today. So we’re in the midst of what we at Kazoo call a shift in organizational principles. With COVID and the pandemic that’s happening, we’re accelerating the way and pace of change in the workplace today. So before the pandemic happened, we had seen a lot of companies start to spend millions and millions of dollars in investment on employee engagement, but everyone’s kind of struggled to create something that feels right. A few companies have hit it out of the park, but it’s not easy to do, and so employees, they’re looking and demanding this experience within the workplace, even in the midst of this significant moment that we’re all going through right now, and so the demand for employee experience, it hasn’t gone away. It’s accelerated, and then by the way, it’s also just gotten a little bit harder to deliver upon because we’re all working remotely, people are going through things themselves within their families, etcetera, and so it’s just gotten a little bit harder to give employees the experience that they’re looking for.

See what the conversation’s all about:
The Employee Experience Revolution: A Manifesto

The Employee Experience Revolution -- a manifesto

Download now

0:02:52 Dania: And so before I go a little bit further, I want to set the stage and talk a little bit about the shift in organizational principles that I was just talking about, so things are changing, and this slide does a great job of kind of highlighting what we were moving from, and then what we’re moving to. And so there’s always been various forms of implied social contract in the agreement between the employees and the businesses they work for, so this slide, as I mentioned, kinda highlights a couple of these. And as I talked about on the previous slide, COVID is accelerating the shift that we’re seeing here. So when I think of myself the past 13 plus years I’ve been in corporate, I’ve seen the slow, steady movement of pension plans starting to go away, and little things here and there, but it’s been a slow movement, and in the midst of this pandemic, all of a sudden, these changes, they’re being accelerated, because even with the rate of unemployment and what we’re seeing today, the demand for these changes from employees, it’s just more prevalent than it’s ever been. And Elizabeth, I’ve gotta ask, for you, are you seeing some of these changes in the companies you work with and consult with?

0:04:11 Elizabeth Yarbrough: Yeah, absolutely, in fact, I was just thinking, looking at the slide again, the first one is about communication and feedback moving from a top-down model to more of a shared model or up down and across, which I love. And so, Dania, you have corporate experience. I’ve always worked with small businesses, and I see the same changes really taking place in the small business community as well, so I was just thinking of this one client that I worked with a couple of years ago, a small company, husband and wife team, they’ve been in business and growing rapidly for about five years or so, they had this 10-year vision that they were working toward, and when they were revisiting it, after they’d grown to a point where they had about 15 or so people on their management team, they decided… When we revisit our vision, our 10-year goals this time around, we are going to… It’s gonna be a collaborative process, so it was really, really cool to watch.

0:05:16 Dania: Very cool.

0:05:20 Elizabeth: ’cause I’ve known this couple for a while, they had gone from “We’re in charge”, I mean, they own the business, “we are the two people deciding where this company is going, more to a model of “Actually, we really want it to be a group effort. We want the input of the whole entire team because we know that we’re not gonna get there without them anyway”, so I am certainly seeing that. And I think it’s a really positive change.

0:05:47 Dania: Agreed. I would say even at the corporate levels, I’m seeing more of this as well, where department leaders are looking to bring in the input of those that report into them, and even another one, I think that’s probably a bit more at some of the larger, more mid-sized companies is where people work too. This one’s been pretty big where you see, you don’t have to physically be in office to be productive and to be part of the workplace, it’s now a little bit of everywhere that you can be working and still being productive and part of what’s going on. So I love that, that’s a great story, Elizabeth. So we’ve set the stage around what’s changing, pace of acceleration, and so before we delve in too deeply on the Thrive index and how to understand how your company kind of fits in that mix, I wanna take a minute and just define employee experience as we move into the conversation, just so we’re all on the same page. Employee Experience is the quality of emotional connection that an employee has with a company. It’s shaped by their interactions with people, policies, processes, and technologies during significant moments in their journey with your company.

0:07:00 Dania: And significant moments, those are moments within an employee’s life cycle, everything from hire to retire, and so those are those moments that really kind of shape the employee’s experience, and so companies that create a positive employee experience, they do so with great intention, it takes an expansive and holistic view of the employee experience and work to create those moments for every step of the employee journey, it’s actually kind of similar to when consumer brands work really hard to create these great customer experiences, whether they’re in the store on the website, returning a product, you name it, we can all think of some really great customer brands that do a wonderful job of setting this experience. Employee experience, I would liken it to that as well, but it’s internally-focused, how are you creating that journey for your employees? And so let’s dig in a bit on how this is all changing, but before we do that, I wanna throw out a poll question. Elizabeth and I are curious, prior to COVID, did you notice a shift in your company’s approach to employee experience? And we’ll earmark this over the past one to three years. Let us know yes or no. Elizabeth, what do you think the front runner is gonna be?

Audience poll: In the past 1-3 years, have you noticed a shift in your company’s approach to the employee experience?

0:08:22 Elizabeth: I mean, well… Wow, we already have a bunch of results in there, but they’re fluctuating. I was gonna guess, yes. I’m biased, it’s the world that you and I live in, so it’s hard to do what everyone else thinks, if they don’t live in this world every day, but 65%. That’s pretty big.

0:08:42 Dania: That’s pretty big. No, kind of fluctuates a little bit. But yeah, 65% of folks noticed a shift in companies approach to employee experience, which makes a lot of sense. It’s what we were seeing. Employees were demanding and looking for more out of their workplace, and now we’re just seeing, as we were talking about, just this acceleration of that demand, they want it now, faster and probably remotely. So a whole new level.

0:09:12 Elizabeth: Yeah, whether or not we want remote work, we have it right now.

0:09:17 Dania: I love that. You’re spot on, it didn’t matter if you wanted it, but it’s here.

0:09:22 Elizabeth: You got it. Oh, looks like we’re landing at 73%, so that’s a big Yes. People have noticed a shift.

0:09:31 Dania: That’s right.

0:09:32 Elizabeth: Well, let’s jump into the Thrive index. Are we ready for that?

0:09:36 Dania: We are ready.

Where does your company fall?
Take the Kazoo Thrive Index Assessment

Take assessment

Introducing the Kazoo Thrive Index

0:09:37 Elizabeth: Great. So I’m also really happy to be here today and talking to Dania and everybody. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kazoo for the past few months on this Thrive index that we are gonna be talking about. So we discovered these two really broad areas that are both essential to a positive employee experience, everything else that we’re gonna talk about today really flows out of inspiration and alignment, you can see both of those words on the axes there. So let’s start with defining what both of those. Inspiration is really the desire to achieve at your highest level, so you want to go after something really big. You feel inspired to do something. When people feel inspired at work, they usually find meaning in their work, they feel appreciated and recognized for what they do, they feel psychologically safe, they feel very bought into the company mission and their values, and they’re usually very participative in events and general programs and activities at work. Alignment, on the other hand, is more about productivity, so when I think of alignment, I think of a well-oiled machine. Everything is coordinated and organized, and people are just working toward the same goal, day in and day out, you see a lot of consistency.

0:11:14 Elizabeth: You see goals being met, things getting accomplished, so when a company is aligned, employees feel connected to each other, it’s easy to collaborate even across different departments and teams, communication flows pretty freely, leaders and peers exchange feedback with each other on job performance, and then people also feel equipped to do their job. That’s one of the most important parts of it. You feel equipped because you have the tools that you need, you have the technology in place to do things you need to do, you have the right systems set up to do your job well, and that feels really good. So, inspiration and alignment are the starting point for everything else that we’re about to talk about, but they do… They do feel very nebulous or they can at times, and so on this next slide here, you can see where we’ve already switched to, connection and appreciation, meaningful impact and growth are the, what we call, the Four Pillars of an employee experience. So connection and appreciation are both drivers of inspiration, and then meaningful impact in growth are drivers of alignment. Connection is all about belonging, so people feel connected to each other, their peers or their colleagues, to their manager, to their leadership team, they just feel like they fit in some way and that they have relationships at work.

0:12:57 Elizabeth: Some… This might happen organically every now and then, but in my opinion, it’s usually the result of very proactive and intentional effort to make sure that people feel like they belong.

0:13:09 Dania: I agree.

0:13:12 Elizabeth: Yeah.

0:13:14 Dania: Very intentional.

The four pillars of the employee experience: Appreciation, connection, meaningful impact, and growth

0:13:15 Elizabeth: Yep. Appreciation is what people feel when they’re recognized and rewarded for what they contribute to a company, and that always feels good, right? We wanna be just acknowledged and recognized for our work, people who feel that way generally give more and more kind of go the extra mile, if you will, and are more willing to take on extra projects and tasks and also just stick with a company for a long time, so moving down to alignment and meaningful impact, meaningful impact is the sense that what you’re doing really matters, and it’s important that it matters to yourself, that you feel like the work is meaningful to you, that it’s meaningful to your company and your team, and also to the world at large in some way, it just… Again, it just feels good, and we’re talking about emotional connection, right? And how employees feel at a company, so it just feels good to know that your work has some meaning and some impact in that in some small way, it can be the tiniest way, but in some small way, it is making other people’s lives better, and then finally, growth, this is all about learning opportunities, and I will note here that growth opportunities or career development, whatever you wanna call it, that was the number one, the fastest growing reason that people stuck with their job last year in 2019.

0:14:50 Elizabeth: I bet a lot of you already know that, but it’s just really important, especially right now, that has not always been the case, but in this world that we live in, that is something that is very, very important to people, so this includes all types of learning opportunities. It includes feedback, it includes having a manager who’s very supportive of your long-term career goals and any kind of just group effort toward growth is something that feels good and contributes to a company being aligned. So we’re gonna look at these four quadrants on the next slide here to narrow it down even further and start to really build on this framework of inspiration and alignment, we have come up with these four labels, and I’m just gonna describe a really high level view of these right now, and then we will dig into each one on its own, so let’s start on the top left, inspiration without alignment. So these companies, you can see they’re high on inspiration, but lower on alignment, we call these companies off course. So imagine a group of really, really excited people, but they’re all running in different directions, that is a picture of a company that is off course.

0:16:26 Elizabeth: So it’s great that people feel inspired, but without the alignment for people to move forward collaboratively, there are gonna be some problems. Next, the inverse of that. So on the bottom right, we call the bare minimum, which is alignment without inspiration, so a company that falls into that quadrant, it can feel a lot like prioritizing company goals over people’s well-being. You might be a well-oiled machine, but it can be… It can feel stale and boring to work there, you might feel like you’re a cog or a number, you just kinda show up and plow through your list, and there’s no real meaning felt through that. So that’s the bare minimum. We all wanna end up in the top right and thriving. And the good news is, I think we can. It takes some work and intentionality, but I think we can end up there, and then finally, the bottom left would be surviving, so your company is low on inspiration, low on alignment, which causes problems with people feeling connected and appreciated and also finding meaning and growth opportunities, and can be a pretty dangerous place to find yourself, but there are also some very specific ways we’re gonna talk about to move toward thriving.

Audience poll: Have you noticed a shift in your company’s approach to the employee experience since COVID started?

0:17:58 Elizabeth: We’re gonna dig into those a little deeper, but let’s do another poll first. So we asked you earlier about the approach in the past one to three years, how about just the past two months since COVID started? Have you noticed your employee experience change in the past couple of months? It’s funny, Dania, ’cause this… It seems like it could be an obvious answer, but I’ve actually heard mixed feelings from people about their experiences, so I’m curious what people are gonna say.

0:18:40 Dania: Me too, I can tell you for us, at Kazoo, we have the benefit of obviously producing and putting out in market a platform that really hinges and supports the employee experience, and so for us, we find ourselves leveraging our tool even more just because we’ve moved fully remote. And so we wanna make sure we’re still having this really strong culture, and people still feel really connected to the business, and so we find ourselves using our digital tools even more so than we had in the past, because we wanna make sure people feel connected and making sure we keep that consistent. It’s been a big push for us. But yeah, I’m so interested. Ooh, look at this, 95% is what we’re seeing employees saying, or folks saying that the employee experience at their company has changed since the Covid outbreak. Does this surprise you, Elizabeth?

0:19:38 Elizabeth: No, not at all. But I really wanna talk to that 5% and hear about what they’re doing.

0:19:46 Dania: I agree. If anyone in the 5% sticks around to Q and A, would love to hear what’s going on there, because this pandemic and what’s happened here has just been super dramatic, and obviously has had an impact on all of us in so many ways. So yeah, I’m not, I’m also not surprised to see 95% here.

Kazoo’s Employee Experience Assessment: Surviving

0:20:09 Elizabeth: Yep. Cool. Alright, so on the next slide here, you’ll see the four quadrants again, that we’re gonna dig into, and I wanna not forget to mention the assessment that we’re going to, we’re gonna make sure you have the link before you go today, but if you’re… Well, to get a more systematic approach behind deciding where you might fall on this chart, we designed this 21-question employee experience assessment that is very helpful and easy to take. So if you had any doubts about your answer to that poll question, or more importantly, if you wanna start bench-marking where your company is and check back over time and look at areas of improvement, then the assessment is a really helpful tool to be able to do that. On the next slide here, we’re going to… We’re gonna start with surviving. And again, surviving means the employees at a company don’t feel very inspired and they also don’t feel very aligned, and you can read the outcomes that that has on the slide, but I’m just gonna tell you about how it feels.

0:21:36 Elizabeth: So generally, employees working for these companies don’t feel a real sense of connection with each other. They might not feel like they belong there. They might not have any close friends at work. They probably don’t feel very appreciated for the work that they contribute, which generally leaves us feeling pretty unmotivated to do much work at all. They might also have some difficulty identifying why they’re doing what they’re doing, that’s one of my favorite qualities of this.

0:22:11 Elizabeth: Not because it’s a good thing, but because I think it matters so much for… I mean, I know personally, I always wanna know, Why am I doing this? Why does it matter? Why am I spending my time on this? So that’s usually a feeling of employees at surviving companies. And then as a result, as you can see, the companies usually get negative employee feedback, there’s low retention, so you see a lot of employee turnover, which makes it really difficult to hire new people. And then these companies are also probably not progressing toward their goals in a very productive way. So a company can end up in this surviving quadrant for lots of different reasons, we all may dip in and out of there at times, there could be a big change that is just difficult to navigate, like right now, we’re in a crisis and it’s a difficult time to navigate it. There could be something internally that happens that’s really hard to change, it could be a long-standing pattern of poor habits that are built, but Dania is gonna tell us about some very specific actionable ways to start to climb out of this picture that I’ve just painted and head more toward a place where we’re thriving.

What to do if your company scores “surviving”

0:23:40 Dania: Yeah, it wouldn’t be a good webinar unless we gave you all some actionable advice, and this was very big for Elizabeth and I because as we cover these topics, we also wanna give you things that you all can take back to the workplace, act upon. Obviously, the assessment is a great way to go to benchmark and understand where you sit, but we also wanna give you some actionable advice when you think about your company and where you might fall within these four quadrants. So if surviving sounds like your workplace today, which Elizabeth mentioned. It just may be, right. We’re going through a lot of change right now. Don’t despair, right. There are some tips to help you drive to a thriving quadrant. So I’m gonna highlight a couple here on this slide that really stand out in light of the current pandemic and everything going on, the first is be transparent. Again, in those surviving companies, that’s low alignment, low inspiration. And so what you wanna do is make sure that all levels of leadership, as well as individuals within the company, are empowered to speak openly and to speak clearly about what you’re looking to achieve, so it’s really important.

0:24:57 Dania: Especially when you think of your people managers and your leadership team that they’re very clear on what it is you’re looking to do in the short term, the midterm, and even the longer term. I know no one has a crystal ball right now, so that’s okay, you don’t need to necessarily predict everything for your employees, but let them know what you’re doing, how you’re evaluating what’s going on around you, it’s really important that transparency comes through. Another one that I really like here, just given everything going on, is defining those company goals that goes hand-in-hand with transparency. So a really great talk track when your leadership and when your people managers are thinking about, well, what do I share? What am I transparent about? A great place to start are your company goals, where are you headed in the short term, the next… And you can define short, mid and long-term as your company wishes, but where are you headed shorter term, mid-term, and what are those company goals, and then how are you tracking how you hit those goals and when you hit those goals? It’s a really important one that just goes hand-in-hand with transparency. And then the other one I’d leverage here and talk about a little bit, and the two go hand-in-hand, is leveraging technology and boosting your communication.

0:26:15 Dania: So make sure that you’ve taken inventory of all the technology you have at your fingertips within a company. I know a lot of businesses are now realizing that they had different aspects to some technology subscriptions, things like that, that they didn’t even know they had. Make sure you’ve got an inventory of those tools and you’re using those to communicate to your employees and your various teams, just making sure that they’re aware of what’s going on around them, and making sure you’re over-communicating at this point. I had a great leader tell me at one point, the average person needs to hear something about seven times before it can really stick, so at this point, I would encourage everyone to make sure that they’re communicating more than they may necessarily feel comfortable.

0:27:02 Elizabeth: Great, thank you.

0:27:03 Dania: Thank you. Next quadrant.

Kazoo’s Employee Experience Assessment: Off-Course

0:27:07 Elizabeth: Next quadrant, off-course. And remember, everybody, if you think of any questions as we’re talking, then jot those down, ’cause we’re gonna have a Q and A at the end. So, off course, remember I mentioned earlier, that describes a company where people feel very excited to be doing what they’re doing, but they’re not on the same page, they might be moving in different directions. Another analogy… Because we talk about having the right people in the right seats a lot. This would be like having the right people, but they’re all on a different bus, they’re just… Things are not as well organized and connected as it takes to make progress on your goals. So you can read those bullet points for the outcomes that those types of things result in, but I’ll just kinda describe it. An off course company, usually people are happy, they might feel like they have close friends at work, they might be very friendly with peers and even their managers, they might feel appreciated, which are all great things. So again, they feel inspired. But the day-to-day work is not aligned with the overall business mission and direction, and people notice, it’s really hard not to feel frustrated and feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.

0:28:40 Elizabeth: If you want to do a good job, but feel like you’re not able to because you don’t have the right tools, the right systems in place, the right communication processes in place to really be able to make things happen. So unfortunately, without a clear organizational path forward, employees at companies like this might just, again, feel like they’re spinning their wheels and eventually burn out because they’re so excited to be a part of the team, but they’re not getting that energy back, and so that often leads to burn out, and the burnout is what can lead to the weak bonds, the inconsistent standards, and ultimately high employee turnover. So what do we do about this, Dania? What do we recommend for companies who are off course?

What to do if your company scores “off-course”

0:29:36 Dania: This is great actionable advice that we’ve got here, by the way, Elizabeth. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely worked at those companies where I’ve been so inspired, and then I look at my career a little bit later and I’m like, “Why do I feel so burnt out? Why do I wanna leave? Why am I job hunting?” Right, and you’re tired, you were so inspired, but you don’t necessarily understand what impact your work has. And so some really great targets and advice that we would offer you all is, again, mimicking a little bit of that surviving, which is setting clear goals. Because again, these companies that fall in this quadrant, they’re struggling to drive that alignment, so making sure you are setting goals, you’re being intentional about what you’re sharing with the company around what goals, perhaps the CEO has, the leadership team has, the department leaders, the people managers, and what goals you would encourage your own team to have when it comes to development, and just making sure those are clear and they have actionable points of achievement as well, and you’re tracking those and talking to those. Leveraging technology is another really big one.

0:30:46 Dania: Again, what digital tools do you have around you and making sure you’re using those to hold yourself and your teams accountable to their goal setting, what’s going on, and driving that alignment within the business, especially shared documents, things like that, where you can quickly update people on what’s going on. And then the other bullet three and bullet four just really go hand-in hand, which is growth opportunities and professional development. For those that are struggling with alignment, it’s so important that as an employee, your individuals and employees understand where do they go next? What does next look like? How does that fit into the bigger company picture? It’s so key for employees these days to really feel connected to what’s going on around them, and even though that inspiration is really, really high, they wanna feel aligned, they wanna make sure that their work, the work they’re so inspired to do fits into the growth and the change within the business. So again, would really, really kind of push you all to make sure you’ve got those growth opportunities and you’re investing in individual’s professional development.

0:31:56 Elizabeth: Yeah, that is some really good advice. I have been with companies like that, and it’s tricky ’cause you wanna do a good job, but you feel like you just can’t.

0:32:09 Dania: Yeah, it is so tricky. It’s this weird little in-between. I’m sure you’ve consulted a few companies on this as well, it can be difficult to drive that alignment, especially with high inspiration, ’cause folks are so excited to do what they’re doing, they just don’t necessarily know how it aligns to the bigger picture or what’s going on?

Kazoo’s Employee Experience Assessment: Bare Minimum

0:32:30 Elizabeth: Well, speaking of alignment, let’s look at the bare minimum. These are the companies that are really high on that alignment scale, but lower than they really need to be, lower than the ideal on the inspiration scale. So these are the companies that have all their ducks in a row, it’s a well-oiled machine, people are just coming in doing their thing day in and day out, but again, don’t feel super excited about what they’re doing, don’t feel like it’s very meaningful to them or to anybody else. So the good thing is, expectations are clearly defined generally, they have the systems and the processes in place to really drive success, employees might have a clear sense of the impact on their work in company and can identify those clear trajectories that we were just saying are not always present in the off course companies. But without the personal connection and appreciation for the effort, then again, employees just don’t always feel the desire, they don’t have that innate desire to give their best selves, to go the extra mile, to show up and participate, to really be engaged. We don’t talk about employee engagement as much as we used to a couple of years ago, now that we’re talking about this more holistic employee experience, but I would use that word here that employees at bare minimum companies, they might be productive, but they might not be engaged because they’re not feeling that inspiration.

0:34:26 Elizabeth: And so you can see these outcomes here, companies might be moving right along, meeting some goals, but they probably can’t attract the top talent that they want to be at their company, because we’ve talked about how we all want to be inspired. They probably have higher than average absenteeism, which can, kind of has a widespread effect on morale, and it can also be really expensive, but it happens because if you don’t really like what you’re doing every day, then you might wake up and think, I just need a day off, I need a little time off. It can be exhausting to feel like you’re kind of a faceless number at your company. And then we talked about engagement already, but I think we all know what low engagement leads to, it leads to lower productivity and there’s also some real business costs associated with that as well, so we also have some advice for these companies because we want everyone to get to thriving.

What to do if your company scores “bare minimum”

0:35:46 Dania: We do. And I know everyone must be reacting to bullet number one right now and say, are goals the cornerstone of all the actionable advice? What I’ll say here, even though your company’s got a lot of alignment, and so people might understand why they’re moving in the direction that they’re moving, setting those clear goals and the achievement of those clear goals and clear communication of those wins, that drives inspiration. There is something that is so bonding and bring folks together in such a great way when they get to come together around something that they’re doing, their department’s doing, their company’s doing, and they get to say, “Hey, we’ve completed this. We knew that we set this goal and we did this.” And that’s very inspiring. It brings folks together in just such a great way, so I know everyone kind of went, “Uh, another goal bullet.” But this one’s really about the achievement and communication of those goals, so that even when they’re not a win, even when you’re talking about how to do it better for next time, you’re having those discussions, you’re bringing folks together, and they’re having that shared experience and that shared time together. Another great point on this slide is just communicating to build connection.

0:37:00 Dania: Elizabeth touched on this a little bit. There were a lot of recognition programs a couple of years ago that were kind of the thing to have within your company and within your business, and now the conversation is pivoted a little bit around just more holistic employee engagement, so it’s not just about maybe a recognition platform, although that’s a great place to start, especially if you find yourself in this bucket here, which is just about communicating, making sure that even top down across peer levels, bottoms up, that you are communicating to build that connection. And we talked about this, Elizabeth and I mentioned this briefly at the beginning of this webinar. But that kind of communication, that level of connection, it is intentional, you have to be mindful about building that within a company. Just having the conversation isn’t enough, you’ll want to make sure that you’re having very purpose-filled conversations to build those connections, and then making sure you’re bringing people together. Again, we talked about goals being a great way to do that, whether it’s a goal that’s a win or a goal that maybe didn’t pan out so well, bringing folks together to talk about those, sharing those successes, and even sharing those failures and talking about how to improve for next time.

0:38:15 Dania: And then, of course, the always popular bringing in recognition and rewards, again, really great thing to do if you’ve got a company that’s got a lot of alignment, but is really looking for that inspiration, something that empowers peer-to-peer recognition, top down, bottoms up, you name it. But really integrating recognition and rewards into your workplace. And so now the best box…

Kazoo’s Employee Experience Assessment: Thriving

0:38:40 Elizabeth: Yay. We are finally at thriving. Whoo. So thriving organizations are crushing it when it comes to employee experience, and… We’re gonna sound like a broken record now. But they’re doing so because they’re really working toward it, they are being proactive, they’re being intentional, they’re showing up to webinars like this to learn what’s new and to be reminded of what’s important and get feedback and ideas from other people who also really care about employee experience, so I’ll say… This is the last time I’ll say it, just one more time, but getting to thriving is not… It’s not somewhere you get and you stay and you’re like, “Yay, we’re here, we don’t have to think about this anymore,” it’s a great place to be, and it does feel good, work can actually feel easier than it feels in any of the other quadrants, it can feel more fun.

0:39:43 Elizabeth: But if you’re a leader, especially an HR leader, then it is still so important to just continually be working for more and more improvement here. So let’s talk more about how it feels like, to work for a thriving company, so inspiration and alignment are both high. These companies… So leadership is usually really, really connected to employees from all over the company. In turn, employees are very connected to company values, they are collaborating, they’re communicating really easily with each other, even across different teams, maybe in different departments, there is frequent feedback exchanged, which always improves performance.

0:40:43 Elizabeth: And again, people feel appreciated because they’re getting recognition for the work that they’re contributing to the company, and all of this really just snowballs, when people feel good, so they do a really good job. And they get recognition for that. And then they feel good again, and then they get recognition for that again, because they’re doing such a good job, so it really… Things have a way of compounding and really building over time when there’s a focused effort on creating a thriving workplace. So if you feel like you work in a thriving company, then you should be very proud of that, and also we will, or Dania will point out some areas to pay close attention to just to make sure that you are being diligent about that continual improvement.

What to do if your company scores “thriving”

0:41:43 Dania: Yeah, believe it or not, you don’t get to rest on your laurels even when you find yourself at thriving, and I think for many of us, again, we’ve all experienced this first-hand with the pandemic and everything that’s gone on around us where maybe your company wasn’t thriving but you weren’t quite prepared for the quick shift to remote work or everything that kind of came with that. And so to stay at thriving and to really make sure your company can kind of keep its top corner box, we’ve got some actionable advice here for you, but again, really intentional to kind of continue to develop yourselves within that thriving quadrant. And so for us, it’s really about adapting to change early, so making sure you’re staying on top of your people, their trends, what’s going on, surveys are always a really great way to do this, understanding the pulse of your employees, what’s happening there, finding program efficiencies, just making sure that you’re not resting on your laurels.

0:42:43 Dania: You might have implemented something pretty cutting edge last year, but trends have changed, times have changed, what employees want is continuing to accelerate, and so making sure you’re finding that opportunity to bring programs, bring various things together, and you’re monitoring the engagement of your employees on these various systems, platforms, you name it, whatever you’ve got out there for individuals to feel connected and to really kind of harness and develop your employee experience that you’re making sure you’re keeping a pulse on their engagement. And moreover, that you’re not neglecting your talent pipeline. Just because somebody is satisfied one year and they’re doing well, it doesn’t mean you get to take them for granted, and it doesn’t mean you get to take a department or you name it for granted, it’s really again about that continual development, improvement, coaching. You’re really looking to make sure that you keep people in that thriving quadrant and keeping them engaged. And so on that note, as we’ve gone through these four quadrants, we have to ask, where do you think your company lands on the Kazoo Thrive Index? Elizabeth, where do you think our folks are gonna say that most of them land?

Audience poll: Where do you think your company lands on the Kazoo Thrive Index?

0:44:00 Elizabeth: I was just thinking, for this one, I have no idea, but the last two, I felt pretty… I kinda had some expectations for the poll answers, but I don’t know.

0:44:13 Dania: I don’t know. I think maybe given just the pace of change, we might see more people saying they feel like they’re surviving, but hopefully not… It’d be interesting if we saw a lot of thriving, but my guess is we’ll see most people spread out between surviving off course and bare minimum.

0:44:32 Elizabeth: Yep, that sounds like a good guess during such a strange crisis these days. Again, I wanna hear from people, anyone who says thriving, I will want to hear what they’re doing right now.

0:44:46 Dania: Yes. So…

0:44:51 Elizabeth: Pretty spread. Lots of thriving so far. That’s great. Wonderful, that’s great. It’s interesting that at least right now, it looks like it’s fluctuating that there’s more people either at the best or the worst end of the scale and less in the middle, but it looks like that’s changing.

0:45:11 Dania: That is changing. I agree, it’s kind of interesting, people are either at the best or the worst.

0:45:20 Elizabeth: Okay.

0:45:21 Dania: And it continues to move.

0:45:22 Elizabeth: Yeah, so surviving off course, thriving are kinda neck and neck with a big gap between those three and bare minimum. Well, that is very interesting. It looks like alignments. A lot of companies are really getting alignment right, except for the one third who feel like they aren’t surviving.

0:45:50 Dania: Yep, which is great. I think sometimes with the drive to some more remote workplaces or just everything going on, it can drive some of that transparency and some of the need to kind of strip away some noise that can happen within a company and really focus on what’s crucial to deliver, so it’s great to see companies being able to kind of pivot and drive some of that alignment.

0:46:18 Elizabeth: I agree.

0:46:19 Dania: But it looks like ultimately, we do have a front runner and 31% clocking in at surviving.

0:46:27 Elizabeth: Wow.

0:46:28 Dania: Yeah, runners up at 27% of people off-course and thriving, and then 15% at bare minimum. Very cool. It’s great to see.

0:46:44 Elizabeth: Yeah.

0:46:48 Dania: So it was wonderful that you all kinda chimed in on that poll question, and as Elizabeth mentioned, we do wanna hear from you, we’re gonna have some time to take questions, but before we move into questions, we do wanna encourage you all to take the assessment. The only way to really find out where you are is to go through, take that assessment, it’s a handful of questions, let us know what you score, it’ll be interesting to hear from some of you and see where you fall. Elizabeth, I know you had such a big hand in helping with this, anything you’d say as you encourage people to move to the assessment.

Learn your score:
Take the Kazoo Thrive Index Assessment

Take assessment

0:47:27 Elizabeth: Just say, it’s easy. And I would really encourage you to, even though we just did a poll and you have a hunch as to where you might fall on the spectrums, I really encourage you to use this systematic approach and to start to benchmark it most importantly. So take the assessment, it won’t take very long at all, and then take it again in three months or six months, and use it as a way to measure the action steps that you put in place to improve your experience.

0:48:05 Dania: That’s great advice. And so I think with about 10 minutes left, we can open it up for some questions.

Audience Q&A

0:48:15 Speaker 3: Excellent, thank you both for a really engaging presentation. I was thinking to myself as I was watching you go through the quadrants, I was like, “Oh, this is a great little visual narrative that you guys have there for people to figure out where they are.” Just a reminder to everybody in the audience. We’ve got a couple of questions already plugged in and ready to go, but if you take a look at the Q&A box directly below the webcast video player, just as I mentioned, please put your questions in there and we will ask them of our presenters, but I do wanna give voice to the people who’ve already put questions in. So Jessica wants to know if your organization is in need of both inspiration and alignment, which should be tackled first, what’s our priority there?

0:49:18 Dania: Ooh, that’s a good one.

0:49:20 Elizabeth: Yeah.

0:49:22 Dania: Do you wanna take it first?

0:49:24 Elizabeth: Sure, yeah, I’m gonna scroll up actually on my slides to the advice to see it so that I don’t miss anything, so I would hate to see either be neglected. I think that there are really small but high impact things you could do to address both at the same time. So we talked about defining goals so many times, and Dania said it was gonna be the last time, but pick one, I would go with goals because it can actually impact both areas, it can make people feel more inspired to meet those goals if they feel like they’re part of a team, part of something bigger than themselves, and then it’s obviously very aligning to have everyone on the same page. So if nothing else, then initiating a conversation, almost a reset, I love to use the word reset in my work, it’s not something that you wanna… You can overuse it, so it’s not something that you wanna be doing every six weeks, but if it’s appropriate to say, “Hey, team, we need a reset, let’s all get on the same page,” then I think that’s an easy thing. You can do it tomorrow, and it has a huge impact on both.

0:50:50 Dania: Yeah, I agree. I love the term reset as well. I think that’s a great way to talk about it, especially when you think about goals. And yeah, as Elizabeth mentioned, we talked about them almost every step of the way, that’s always a really quick quick win, especially if you’re intentional and you say, “Hey, yes, we are going to reset where we’re moving, make sure everyone’s aligned.” And then the only thing I’d add to that is making sure you’re celebrating or debriefing right, again, not every goal is a win, and that’s okay, but making sure you are taking the time to talk about these goals, talk about attainment of the goals, celebrate those, whether it’s through a recognition platform, or however you choose to set that up on the back end, but making sure you set those goals and then you’re celebrating those wins, talking about where those misses might have happened, and I think that can be a really nice quick way to drive inspiration and alignment, I totally agree with Elizabeth there.

0:51:48 Elizabeth: I’ll add one more thing, because sometimes defining goals can feel very daunting if it’s not something that already exists, if your company doesn’t have a habit of meeting goals or even setting goals already, and if you work in a big company that can just feel very, very intimidating so a couple of things, one, this might sound a little funny, but one of your goals can be to define your goals with your team. [chuckle]

0:52:20 Dania: I love that.

0:52:22 Elizabeth: Kind of meta, but you have to break it down into small attainable steps and so it’s possible to say, “We’re gonna take 30 days, we need however many meetings or times together, and we’re really gonna hash out these three things that we want to accomplish in the next quarter.” Let’s make it as simple as possible. I know Kazoo has some really good resources on their website for goal setting as well, we could spend an entire webinar talking about goal setting, so that’s something you need help with then there’s some great stuff to find online there.

0:53:01 Dania: Yeah. Absolutely, that’s a really great point. Goal setting can be a great quick win, but yeah, you have to be intentional about those goals and be clear, communicate to your teams, we’re gonna take 30 days, we’re going to take the next month or two months to set those goals and to talk about them and to understand what they are, so that transparency is really key there.

0:53:23 Elizabeth: Yeah.

0:53:26 Speaker 3: Great, so a couple more excellent questions rolling in here, one I’m gonna just take care of kind of on my own, DJ was asking to show the web address for the survey on the screen again, we did reply in the chat, so you can see it directly there also. These slides are available for download, so you can find the webcast or you can find a link there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you were hearing from Kazoo and maybe getting a link to that survey as well. So anyways, lots of ways to find it there and we do want everybody to take that, to find out where they fall in the quadrant. Another one comes in from Meredith, and she wants to know what are some survey topics that would do a good job of capturing employee experience across the organization?

0:54:20 Elizabeth: It’s a really good question. Excuse me… First of all, I like to keep surveys simple, I wouldn’t send out a 50-question survey, especially not right now, those can be appropriate sometimes, but people are exhausted right now, so I wouldn’t do that right now. Personally and Dania I’m curious to hear what you like to use, but I really like to use Gallups, it’s called the Q12. It’s 12 questions and they’re scientifically backed to be their testing researched drivers of engagement, so that’s a really good one. You can just Google Gallup Q12 and it’s a great 12-questions survey to send out to people. And also use that as a benchmark.

0:55:11 Dania: Yeah. Gallup’s a great one for us, I’ve used a variety of tools here at Kazoo, we do use our own tool to put the pulse survey questions out there, and so what we choose to survey our employees on… We look at a couple of key themes. We have… It’s actually very similar to the Gallup survey, a couple, and I believe it’s eight in total key questions where we look to understand an employee’s connection to the work that they’re doing, the overall company vision, their peers, and then a couple ancillary in between to really just understand where folks are feeling dialed into what the business is doing, what’s going on around them, how satisfied are they feeling with their work, as well as their own career progression. So a lot of some of the key themes you saw it within this presentation, so we’ll put that out, but as Elizabeth mentioned, we do keep it pretty simple, it’s really a small handful of questions, we’re very intentional about when we send the survey out. We personally have built up our muscle where we do send it out about midway through every quarter, and we do that because we are actually very passionate about acting on the advice that comes out of the survey, so we wanna make sure we ask a couple of good high level questions, and we use that to facilitate discussion amongst the departments, making sure that folks are being able to share with us where they’re feeling disconnected at the department and at the people manager level.

0:56:46 Speaker 3: Wonderful. Yeah, I think that there’s some really great comments here, another one I wanna make sure we get to is from Andre from the Bahamas. Andre wants to know if you’re a mid-sized company with more of a top-down management system, what’s the best way to influence change towards functioning in the thriving quadrant?

0:57:10 Elizabeth: Another good question, Dania, I’m curious since you have so much corporate experience, and I generally work with really small businesses, what do you think?

0:57:20 Dania: I think for those that are mid-sized and have top-down management, it’s about understanding and making sure you as a practitioner, as someone who’s champion, being a champion for employee experience, that you’ve got the right lens when you talk to management about what needs to be pursued or what you need to work on. So my suggestion would be to understand the goals and what that management level is looking to drive within the business that year, and really making the case for employee experience to be part of that. And so I actually think, and I know this slide deck will come your way, take some of that actionable advice and maybe perhaps where you fall on the assessment and use that as leverage to have the conversation and talk to your management level about employee experience and some of the real tangible benefits that can come out of it, you can unlock discretionary energy, productivity, there’s a whole new level that comes out of employees that are really feeling engaged, connected and that are part of that thriving part of the quadrant. So that would be my advice to you is really understanding the lens at management levels, looking at when they’re looking at the employee base and then making the case, building the case using their lens for that employee experience and what that should look like. Elizabeth anything you’d add on there?

0:58:36 Elizabeth: I think you just about covered it, that’s really good.

0:58:44 Dania: Awesome.

0:58:48 Speaker 3: Excellent, well, I do thank both you for your time today, I just looked at the clock, and seen we’re one minute over, so you got… Everybody got a bonus of 60 extra seconds, just so you know, we did capture all the Q&A, so I will make sure that our presenters get to see it even if we didn’t get to your question. So once again, I wanna thank everybody for attending the webcast today, and a reminder to all of you, if you’re looking for… This webcast has been approved for HRCI Insurance credit. So if you’re wondering where those credits are and how to get them, just give us about 24 hours and then check out the… Go to and click on the My HRCI Dashboard, and then click on Learning, and then click on Download Transcript, and you’ll get all the codes you need to get credit for your recertification. And I also want to, while you’re there, remind everybody to check out the free content and all of that great stuff that we’ve got, ’cause there’s lots more to learn about, as well as our certification courses and our events. So once more I’m gonna thank our presenters as well, as the good people at Kazoo, and I’d also like to thank you the webcast viewer for spending an hour with us. We’ll see you next time.

Improving the employee experience with technology

We hope this webinar helped you understand the importance of the employee experience at your company, and gave you some ideas about where to start. And if you need a little more help, well, that’s where we come in.

At Kazoo, we’re passionate about bringing together all the tools you need to make work work better for everyone. That’s why the Kazoo Employee Experience Platform brings goals, performance management, recognition, rewards, surveys, and more into one simple, easy-to-use platform.

If you’re ready to align, connect, and engage your workplace, check out our Kazoo overview. Or, schedule a personalized demo today.

Learn More