In this Talent Tales episode I had the honor to interview Laura Winegardner, Employee Experience Manager at cleverbridge. Laura’s creative superpower is “infusing the big picture with nitty-gritty details”. She has the ability to dream really big but is also able to think through every little detail that goes into making that big picture a reality.
Laura’s background in interior design is what continues to keep her interested in human-centered design methods. In her current job, she applies the method to the employee experience.
Early on in her career at cleverbridge as an Office Manager, Laura realized the importance of bringing together Facilities, Marketing, IT, and HR to create a seamless employee experience and space that fits the needs of employees. In her next role in Marketing, she took those learnings and applied them to bringing the cleverbridge brand to life for the company’s clients and prospects. That is also where she learned the art of storytelling which she is now able to leverage in her current role as Employee Experience Manager. The impetus for creating this new role was that employees provided a lot of feedback but there was no place to analyze what really would make an impact on engagement.
It quickly became clear, that collaborating across functions in the growing organization was key to providing a seamless employee experience. Initially, collaboration was organic but as the organization grew to 350 employees, a more structured collaboration effort was needed.
One of the ways this happened initially was by aligning each other’s efforts during monthly meetings. The next step was to create a unified communication plan sharing all the efforts around employee experience and also providing a joint forum for employees to ask questions of the entire team. Next, the team created a shared vision for the employee experience. Then, each team created their mission around how they impact the employee experience.
Laura then submitted her team’s employee experience collaboration journey as a challenge she wanted to get additional ideas on during a hr.hackathon. From the ideas that were generated during the event, she used several as inspiration for next steps in her employee experience journey. For example, she realized the criticality around leadership alignment at the Executive level and is now collaborating to create a people-first culture and connecting it to client experience. cleverbridge customers are now defined as “clients, prospects, and employees”. Another idea that resonated with her was to engage employees in establishing metrics that they would like to measure success by (in alignment with cleverbridge’s newly established OKR framework). A related idea was to leverage data and use it to bust siloes and support decision making.
Here are some of Laura’s tips for how to get started with employee experience design:
Enlist Executives as advocates.
Start by finding Executive champions who can help pave the way for culture change.
Leverage data to measure impact.
Identify the key data points that matter and use them to show impact of the employee experience.
Especially in smaller organizations, resources are scarce. Identify employee experience priorities that will also have a business impact.