Hire IQ by HackerEarth is a new initiative in which we speak with recruiters, talent acquisition managers, and hiring managers from across the globe, and ask them pertinent questions on the issues that ail the tech recruiting world.
We have Joel Soucy, Employee Experience Specialist at Solink for our next edition in this series. We had an interesting conversation revolving around employee experience and how to maintain a fun and cohesive work culture, especially as teams become more and more remote.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
P.S. If you missed the previous edition of HireIQ where we sat down with Ashutosh Kumar, Director of Data Science, at Epsilon India, you can read it here 🙂
Understanding employee experience at the workplace
HackerEarth: LinkedIn says your designation is an ‘Employee Experience Specialist’. Could you explain this to us a little bit more? How does this form an integral part of your company culture?
Joel: I am focused on engagement and retention. The orientation session for all our new employees is led by me. We let them know what the vibe of the company is, mention some names they should know, Slack channels they should join, etc. I continue to check in with each new employee on a regular basis. We have also scheduled 45-day, 6-month, and 1-year check-ins to make sure all is well.
For those here longer than a year, it’s less of a scheduled check-in and more of impromptu conversations, especially if there are known issues in a certain department or if there is an inner movement for the employee such as a change of department or promotion. I also assist with planning our weekly company-wide meetings, help with training on the product (I’m a former CSM (customer success manager) here at Solink), and various HR admin-related tasks as they come up.
HackerEarth: In times like these, where we are facing such strong market and business upheavals, how do you ensure your team is feeling strong? What tools, resources, or metrics would you use to judge your team’s pulse?
Joel: I think just being a friendly face for someone to approach goes a long way. The inner workings of the company, the product, and the people are something I’m well-versed in. So I can guide employees in the right direction if they’re lost or have questions or concerns. Common trends among job titles, departments, and the overall company are something I keep track of. They help me, without naming names, approach leadership with issues that may need to be addressed.
eNPS (employee net promoter score), participation in company events and meetings, time off, and tenure are all tracked and reviewed.
HackerEarth: Our recent survey shows that many developers think companies can do much more to help them navigate challenging times. Looking at global giants like Twitter, Meta, and Amazon – no one seems to have escaped this recession unscathed. They have all been lamented for the way they have handled things. Why do you think companies do not have a robust internal blueprint to follow during such times?
Joel: While you try to be as prepared as possible, I don’t think it’s in companies—or people for that matter to be truly ready for worst-case scenarios. Has there ever been a successful mass layoff where the media and the world look at it and go “that went great”?
Hundreds or even thousands of people losing their jobs will never be a good thing. However, if a company can learn from its mistakes in hiring and organizational structure and never again be in the news for laying off a portion of its employees, then I would call that a win.
HackerEarth: Canada is known to be a very inclusive country, yet a recent report shows that fewer than half of Canadian companies have laid down DEI policies. What does DEI mean to you as an Employee Experience Specialist? Where do you think this lack is coming from?
Joel: I fully recognize my privilege as a white male. Consequently, I try to focus on continuing to learn, engage, and be open to conversations. I don’t think there are many companies out there that can truly say they’re doing enough for diversity and inclusion, but listening and having a willingness to change need to be a part of the company culture.
HackerEarth: The last few years have been tough on recruiters as well. Apart from running the office fantasy football league, what are the other ways in which you unwind, and protect your mental health?
Joel: Every Solink employee gets $50/month to spend on their health & wellness—gym membership, access to a yoga studio, meditation app, etc. We are a competitive bunch, so fantasy sports and online gaming, while stressful, are also a lot of fun!
Currently, we’re doing the Outbreak Challenge. It is an app that puts us into teams and also, counts our steps. The challenge is running away from zombies.
Lastly, we encourage employees to have open conversations about work/life balance with their manager, or a member of the HR team or use our Employee Assistance Program, Lifeworks. It is a service where you can anonymously speak to a professional regarding stresses in your life such as financial, family, or health worries.
About Joel Soucy: