As a high-growth software company and the leader in account-based marketing solutions, Terminus has built a business around being data-driven. So to keep up with the needs of their growing workforce, they needed a measurable way to act on employee feedback and operationalize company culture.
“The tech industry is known for its high turnover rates, and when people leave it’s costly and hurts morale. Terminus is different. We’re committed to defying those statistics when it comes to retaining talent,” said Sue Joyce, Vice President of Employee Success for Terminus.
Previously, the Terminus team had used the Employee Net Promoter Score system to collect employee feedback, but found this method ineffective at giving them the insights they needed to truly move the needle on engagement.
Moving beyond surface-level employee feedback
“We used the eNPS system before switching to Emplify, but found that it wasn’t giving us a full in-depth picture of how Terminus was doing,” said Jessica Pachman, Employee Engagement Manager for Terminus. “It showed us very surface-level stuff, like whether or not our employees liked the snacks, or complaints they had about the bathrooms. But those weren’t the insights we needed to create a deeply engaging environment where employees can develop and thrive.”
Jessica spearheaded finding a solution that would address the company’s need for more relevant and actionable employee insights. “The thing that interested me most about Emplify was the personal coaching,” she said. “The platform itself is so robust in terms of the data you get back, so it’s nice to have someone to talk through your results with. There have been a couple of situations where I interpreted the data one way, but while reviewing it with our engagement strategist, I realized the data was saying something different. Having that independent third party helps remove any bias we may have and allows us to focus our time on what actually needs attention.”
Prioritizing employee-manager relationships
One key area of focus that emerged for Terminus organization-wide was feedback. When it comes to employee engagement, this refers to employees’ belief that they’re receiving adequate feedback that helps them understand whether or not they’re meeting expectations, in which areas they’re having the most success, and how they can improve.
On the recommendation of their Emplify strategist, Sue, Jessica, and their team did a “feedback audit” to better understand how employees and managers are giving and receiving feedback within the organization. They talked to many employees throughout the company about one-on-ones with their managers — if they’re having them and how regularly they’re occurring. This helped them better understand the culture of feedback at Terminus, and allowed the team to identify opportunities to strengthen it.
“Many employees expect one-on-ones as a regular part of feedback, so we looked into not only if these meetings are being scheduled, but that they’re actually happening. Regularly canceling one-on-ones can send the wrong message to an employee and make them feel that they’re not a priority,” said Sue.
They’ve also been able to uncover some key differences between what team leaders and managers believed was working well, and what individual contributors felt worked well. Getting feedback from those groups helped the team pinpoint exactly where those leaders can focus.
Operationalizing meaningful work
Another high-impact area of focus for Terminus has been employees’ sense of meaning. When it comes to employee engagement, meaning is a belief that one’s work gives them value and they feel connected to the purpose of their organization. For Terminus, showing employees how their work makes an impact is a top goal.
“We’re helping marketers do their jobs better and helping them solve real business problems to grow their company. There’s an intrinsic value in that and we want our people to see how impactful their work is,” said Sue.
To help employees connect their day-to-day work to the greater meaning and purpose of the organization, the leadership team has begun inviting Terminus customers to come in and share their stories with the team and discuss how the company’s people and products have helped them in impactful ways.
The team has also rolled out a new system of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), to help employees understand what their priorities are and how those priorities help Terminus achieve their larger organization-wide goals.
Creating a culture of feedback and transparency
Since their journey with Emplify began, Terminus has seen an above-average increase in their overall employee engagement score quarter-over-quarter and a notable decrease in turnover. They’ve also seen marked improvements within specific employee groups in which they’ve implemented key engagement initiatives.
Feedback and meaning — the areas Terminus has taken the most focused action on — have seen the greatest improvements so far, proving that the work the team is doing is making a real measurable impact for employees.
In regards to the engagement measurement process itself, employees have responded positively. “The employees appreciate the increased transparency they’re seeing from the leadership team when we share our engagement results and action plans. We’re also hearing they love the six-minute Emplify surveys and the ability to complete them using the mobile app,” said Sue.
The Terminus team continues to prioritize actions that will help them improve overall employee engagement and achieve their goal of maintaining their top workplace culture. “Emplify is affirming where we need to be focused. Instead of patching holes, we can now get down to the most impactful opportunities to improve. We have the evidence to back up the things we’re hearing and feeling,” said Sue.
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*Photo credit: Brian Gassel