Insights

Our Qualtrics EX Experts See Opportunity In Times Like These

May 8, 2020 // 12min read

At Qualtrics we don’t think of humans as “resources” - they’re people from start to finish. So instead of a human resources team we have a team that focuses on the people who build, grow, and run Qualtrics. This team is known as the Experience Team.

The Experience Team is present in the lives of the Qualtricians at critical moments - from their experiences in interviewing with us and onboarding, to career milestones, and major life events. So, as they and their families now face the unique challenges presented by the impacts of Covid-19, we went to the Experience Team to discover what they’re observing and learning, and what actions they’re taking to address EX inside of Qualtrics.

Heather Carpenter - Guardian of the Employee Experience at Qualtrics - NAM

I have been impressed with the agility of Qualtrics, not only to pivot its employee experience but also to respond to what our customers need right now. None of us were given instructions on how to navigate this - there’s no real precedent - but without missing a beat we’ve seen everyone from our executive team to our most recent hires pivot on a dime and adapt to the changing landscape.

As an example? Creating a great employee experience for new team members on a good day is expected; creating a good experience for our 1st fully-remote new hire class, with only a few days to make the change, surprises people. We only had a couple of days between our official “mandatory work from home” decision being made by leadership and our next start date. So, we took what felt tenuous and chaotic and - by being proactive in communicating, agile in our response, and creative with our solutions - created a great experience for our newest employees. The experience became the proverbial lemonade out of lemons.

It’s also never been more important to create and maintain a sense of community. It has been inspiring to see how people have fostered that sense of community even though we’re further apart and more isolated than before. For example, it’s easy to show your team you care and to stay connected when you are all working closely together. That doesn’t happen as naturally when we’re all suddenly working remotely. We’ve seen our managers really lean in to ensure they’re still fostering a strong sense of community and taking time to check in on individual employees to make sure they are doing okay given everything going on. Teams are establishing virtual lunches and happy hours and finding fun, creative ways to stay connected and maintain camaraderie. We’ve not only found a way to keep business moving but also to maintain our vibrant #OneTeam culture.

Communication is a huge part of managing our employee experience in such a turbulent time. Change is hard, uncertainty is hard but by consistently communicating with our employees, candidates, customers, and partners we can remove some of that anxiety, open a dialogue about their concerns, and ultimately address them. We have an opportunity here to ensure our employees know that we really care; about them, about their families, about what’s happening in their communities. We are actively focusing on making that clear in our responses and our employee experience.

Mary-Kate Ryan - Guardian of the Employee Experience at Qualtrics - EMEA

I love how quickly everyone has just adapted to the ‘new normal’ of working from our homes even if it might be chaotic. One of our TACOS values is “Scrappy” which means that we are resourceful and we “find a way!” Everyone has been so resourceful and we have just found creative, innovative ways to still do what we planned to do - it’s the new business-as-usual you could say.

I always love how, at Qualtrics, we like doing hard things and things that might seem impossible until they’re done. There isn’t a playbook for what we are going through now, and although it’s tough times for everyone globally, I’m finding solace in, and honestly getting a kick out of, seeing how it’s forced us all to think differently.

In EMEA, early in our 100% remote/WFH experience, we had so many new communities popping up in Slack: team virtual workouts, coffee corners, and happy hours. We hosted the first (of many) virtual pub quizzes, and our resident EMEA DJ, Xavier ‘XO’ Oliel (who often moonlights as our Southern Europe Team Lead of Enterprise Sales), is hosting an online disco for our colleagues and their kids!

We don’t stop when we face a challenge, we pivot and continue to find a way! We work hard, have fun, and achieve amazing results.

That’s my Qualtrics: same as ever!

Jacqui Walker - Guardian of the Employee Experience at Qualtrics - APJ

It is said that you will experience someone's true colours during tough times. As someone relatively new to Qualtrics (I am not quite 3 months in!) with a very short time of 'pre-COVID' context, I've tried to summarise the introductory experience I've had with Qualtrics during the recent period.

Leading with Heart

Not only are we leading ourselves, our teams, and our customers through an unprecedented time, Qualtrics is doing it with a level of empathy, compassion, and commitment that I have not experienced before. The care and focus from everyone I've met is evident. I see our team members supporting each other and our customers, and donating to their local communities. Our People Leaders are supporting their teams and our Exec Team in navigating the tough decisions they have to make to ultimately ensure the health of our people, customers, and communities. We are committed to supporting the overall experience of our teams and our customers as we work through the individual, social, and economic challenges we all face. I've been overwhelmed with the commitment and care demonstrated and it’s proof of the amazing people we have across Qualtrics #OneTeam #AllIn.

Moving to a global work from home (WFH) experience

I've seen WFH done at scale, but what Qualtrics has achieved almost overnight is BEYOND impressive! The ability to move to a FULL work-from-home operation is a testament to the agility and reliance of the Q team, operating system, and product. The way in which the teams have continued to raise the bar, drive outcomes, and deliver new products that can be leveraged across our communities is world-class. Not once have I heard “we can't do this.” Everyone has taken an opportunity lens: “How can we make this happen? How do we redesign the onboarding experience to make it even better? How do we better support the experience of our teams, our customers, and our communities?” The passion and commitment are everywhere across Qualtrics and I want to be part of it. #AllIn #CustomerObsessed

Supporting a Learning Environment

We're all experimenting and learning as we go. We own it and are trialling new things and seeing what sticks. Some of it isn't necessarily comfortable, but we're building understanding and empathy of working in a truly dispersed workforce. This means we have to ask questions and reinvent how we do things: onboarding, communicating, connecting, working, designing, delivering, and making work, family, and life all fit into our new reality. There are many challenges yet we are taking it in our strides and continuing to push ourselves, all while our teams continue to learn, experiment, and deliver improvements. Some of it’s messy, some of it is hard, but it’s learning and we accept it head-on. It’s amazing to be part of a team who encourage and push for continuous learning opportunities #Scrappy #CustomerObsessed #Transparent

Qualtrics - I’m in! The opportunities are here, and I’ll be with you pushing towards a better experience for our team!

Shaunda Zilich - Global Talent Brand Leader Qualtrics

One thing I am realizing right now is that people are remembering what we used to know and have somehow lost sight of: the little things. I’ve seen several people say, “instead of just looking at the problems, or how this is damaging things, what if we looked at this as what it will create and empower for the future?” I see a lot of people deciding to count their blessings, put things into perspective of what is important, and lean in to help each other in heroic ways. This is the time we are learning (and remembering) how to be #OneTeam.

At Qualtrics we have always been great at kudos, praise, and connections knowing that everyone is giving it their all but I think this is taking it to a whole different level. Instead of co-workers complimenting each other and just knowing that we care we are actually caring for each other: we are remembering we are human and we are connecting at such a deeper level!

I foresee a lot of people on the other side of this remembering to prioritize family time... a lot of kids are going to look back at this as the time that mom/dad started playing board games with them a couple times a week.

I can see a lot of people taking the ‘thankfulness’ (and proper handwashing) with them for the rest of their lives. As we all know, sometimes we can get caught up in a material world. The current environment has caused an adjustment with many who in their past operated with a sense of entitlement, but are now looking at life for all they do have instead of all they think they should have.

I can see a lot of people continuing to create impact and find a sense of purpose. I truly believe that each of us was created for a purpose. That each of us can have impact. And, on the other side of this, I think we will see many people not "settling" for "just living" but be actively pursuing a thriving existence. Many will look to better others before themselves. How many stories have you been encountering where an ordinary person, or a friend, who was "just doing life," became someone's hero? Every day I get on our Qualtrics Slack channels and I see everyday people doing very heroic things. From buying 100 meals instead of 4 for their family from a local restaurant and donating the rest to those that need meals, to creating desks and giving them to students for free that have nothing to do their school work on, to recording lesson plans for toddlers so other WFH moms and dads have something to keep their babies busy, all the way to using their $1500 experience bonus (annual bucket list gift to employees) to keep a local coffee shop in business!

It might not be the easiest of times. We definitely have hurdles right now that some of us have never seen before but, through my lens, I think we will come out stronger in the end. We are growing stronger as #OneTeam and will someday look back on this as the experience that changed us for the better!

Heather Carpenter // People Operations Business Partner

Jacqui Walker // People Operations Business Partner

Mary-Kate Ryan // People Operations Business Partner

Shaunda Zilich // Global Talent Brand Manager

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