“The reason I joined Experience.com is because of the focus on employee experience this company has,” said Jessica Kriegel, culture transformation expert, renowned speaker and author.
There are two primary sides to experience management: The customer experience and the employee experience. No one understands this better than Experience.com. As an organization that is fully invested in delivering an exceptional employee experience, we couldn’t be more excited to announce we’ve named Jessica Kriegel, renown culture transformation strategist, speaker and author, as our new Chief People and Culture Officer.
To build remarkable employee experiences, an organization needs someone who knows how to build an intentional workplace culture that aligns with the company’s strategic goals. Jessica comes to Experience.com with an abundance of experience building intentional cultures for a number of leading brands. She has written the book on workplace culture, in fact, she has published two books on it: “Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit from Ditching Generational Stereotypes” and “Proving the Value of Soft Skills: Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI.”
We talked to Jessica about her new role, her inspiration as a culture strategist and the initiatives she is most excited about starting.
Chief People and Culture Officer: The role and responsibilities
“As Chief People and Culture Officer, my responsibility is to take care of the people and to craft an intentional culture that allows us, as a company, to execute on our strategy,” said Jessica, “My first task is to listen and learn by doing an organizational assessment to understand what’s working, what’s not working and what our superpower is.”
Jessica’s method to building an intentional culture does not rely on touchy-feely, froufrou tactics. She is data-driven and believes building an effective workplace culture involves a systematic approach that ensures all employees have access to the tools and resources they need to achieve their work goals.
An intentional culture is not about a feeling and it’s not about a vibe. It’s about the specific ways in which we are able to execute. There are measurable data-driven ways to look at culture.
“An intentional culture is not about a feeling and it’s not about a vibe. It’s about the specific ways in which we are able to execute. There are measurable data-driven ways to look at culture — things like access to information, access to tools, organizational structure, and the rewards we have in place. The way we collaborate performance management. A leader’s accountability to their team and to the organization. These are all examples of how we can systemize culture.”
Professor Sumantra Ghoshal: Culture is “the smell” of the place
When asked about the cultural experts who inspire her, Jessica is quick to mention Sumantra Ghoshal who served as a Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School. According to Ghoshal, a company’s culture is “the smell” of the place. Ghoshal’s research revealed two things about company culture: 1.) That it is possible to create a positive company culture — or “smell” — when management embraces values like discipline, trust and support; and 2.) It is possible for a determined management that has inherited a bad culture to convert it to a successful one.
“He talks about how, if you put good people up against a bad culture, the bad culture wins every time. The smell of the place has to be good. It has to be enlivening. It has to be something where people can thrive. So that’s my focus.”
Leveraging data to build employee experiences that drive key strategies
Jessica admits one of the things she is most excited about within her new role is Experience.com’s technology and the platform’s ability to capture real-time feedback from employees. “The reason I took this job is because of the employee experience piece. I think that’s critical.”
She emphasizes how most organizations may send out an employee engagement survey once a year, if that. But once-a-year employee surveys are inadequate at best, by the time you get the feedback and analyze the results, it’s too late to build programs based on actionable data. Jessica’s mission is to implement Experience.com’s solution to gain insights at every step of the employee lifecycle.
“My goal is to identify the areas where we can improve the employee experience throughout the organization. In terms of culture drivers, the things I want to measure include accountability structures for performance management, whether goals are being distributed across the organization, and how performance reviews are conducted,” said Jessica, “Are we giving employees access to the information and tools they need? Do we have succession plans in place? Is employee performance tied to bonus structures? These are the questions I’m asking right now.”
Experience.com CEO Scott Harris is on board with Jessica’s approach and the need to align both employee and customer experiences with strategy.
“Our employee experiences are critical to our business,” said Scott, “We want to align our employee and customer experiences in a way that makes Experience.com the best place to work. It’s our name and it’s our promise.”
Jessica said she has worked with companies in the past who talk about the importance of collaboration, but then design competitive dynamics between employees and teams that work against any truly collaborative processes. She uses this example to show how, when strategy and workplace culture are not aligned, business outcomes suffer. She believes the ideal culture is one that is aligned to specific business strategies.
“We have to create clear alignment between our business strategies and our employee experiences. That’s what building an intentional culture is all about.”