As we move forward on our mission to be the most trusted source for user experience research in the world, we are fully aware that our success depends almost exclusively on our ability to attract and retain a talented team. In looking back over the past few years, I’ve identified three initiatives that I think have had the biggest impact in helping us achieve this goal. I take no credit for and am grateful for all these initiatives, which were created and implemented by a number of team members throughout the organization. We:
Reinforce Our Core Values
Establishing and integrating our core values into our business processes has turned out to be our strongest recruiting and retention tool. We won’t make a hire unless we see examples of the candidate consistently exhibiting all six of our core values. To reiterate the importance of our values, we share employee core values stories in every company meeting, and we post them prominently in our offices. We’ve discovered that our team is most engaged when they work with people who have diverse backgrounds and talents, but who share the same values such as “build trust” and “figure it out and get it done.”
Leverage What Makes Us Unique
We try to create benefits and systems that are unique to us. Since AnswerLab helps companies understand what customers see, do, think and feel when using digital products, we aim to attract and retain employees who “embrace new technology” (another one of our core values). To reinforce this value, we established a tech benefit, where each year we reimburse every employee for purchases of new technology so that they can keep up to date with the latest gadgets, mobile phones, tablets and apps. Everyone on our team loves to learn, so we also established monthly learning lunches, where internal and external speakers share their knowledge. Finally, our office location is unique—it’s a block from the San Francisco Bay—so why stay locked up in the office? We established “walk and talks” to replace many of our one-on-one meetings.
Look for Triple Impact
We’ve found that our most successful programs have a triple impact— they benefit employees, clients and the company. For example, we started scheduling internal, quarterly “premier client meetings” to discuss how we can better serve our key clients and provide even more value to them. Everyone who touches the client attends. Team members like the chance to get to know each other in a different setting and enjoy taking part in the strategic-planning process. Conversely, clients appreciate the extra thought we put into how to serve them, and the end result is better service and client satisfaction. This creates a cycle of more employee engagement— happy clients equal happy employees, and vice versa.
People generally spend the majority of their waking hours at work. Creating a great place to work is highly satisfying for the whole team and it can have a profound impact on people’s lives.