Last year award-winning Canadian employer Alida piloted a 4-day work week and while most of their employees loved the balance and flexibility, some felt it didn’t work for them.
True to their roots in research they surveyed their employees and poured over the data. The result was Alida Empowered, a new benefits program that best suits the needs of all employees.
Alida Empowered includes no internal meetings on any Friday, Fridays off during the summer months, and unlimited vacation.
Techtalent.ca sat down with Tanya Jarrett, Alida’s new Chief People Officer, to learn more about this new approach that gives all their employees the support they need to be their best selves in and outside of the workplace.
What motivated you to join Alida, and what do you hope to achieve in your role as Chief People Officer?
TJ: I was already familiar with and interested in Vision Critical (Alida’s former name) personally and the company has a fantastic reputation. After learning more about Alida’s mission and vision, and meeting the team in person, I felt it would be a great fit. Our culture is built on a foundation of trust and is vibrant in so many unique ways across our global community. At Alida, you feel truly connected to the culture – it’s tangible and it comes to life in all that we do. Everyone I’ve met so far is exceptionally passionate about their work – the energy is great.
I feel very fortunate that I get to do the work that I love alongside such a fantastic team. My top priorities are centered around driving our business forward. We are building the necessary frameworks that will enable us to find, develop and nurture the best and brightest talent, deliver a world-class employee experience, and foster a culture of belonging where diversity is sought out and celebrated.
As the new CPO of Alida, what is your philosophy/approach to creating a more inclusive workplace culture, and ensuring all employees feel valued and supported?
TJ: It is so important to create a culture of inclusiveness and belonging that draws people in, and where they feel connected to our culture rather than feel they must conform to it.
I believe it’s a combination of mindfulness and the simplest of actions that can make such a big difference. As an example, reminding team members to consider different time zones across our global organization before booking a meeting. If someone is in a completely different region, to the extent possible, try to avoid setting up a meeting during a time when they are likely about to sit down for dinner, or spend time with their families as they wind down for the evening. It should feel fair and balanced and we should ideally take turns being flexible.
Recognizing others and expressing gratitude is also very impactful – if someone does something that helped you or made your day better in any way, shout them out and let them know publicly that you appreciate them and wherever possible, pay it forward! It doesn’t cost us a thing and only takes a couple of mins to do!
What role do you see technology playing in advancing DE&I efforts, and how is Alida leveraging technology to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
TJ: As a child of Canadian immigrants, my lived experience showed me that how we see or identify ourselves is so important. Leveraging technology can help with this. For example, I share my pronouns on my Zoom profile in an effort to show others that it’s okay to put yourself out there. It may sound like a small thing, but these micro behaviors can help us move towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Even the fact that we can now so quickly and easily connect with any of our teammates across the globe on-screen with the click of a button is incredible. We also leverage technology to not only help us proactively find and connect with diverse and underrepresented candidates but also hold ourselves accountable to our commitments.
Your business – and your customers – is centered on community. Tell us a little about what that means.
TJ: During the pandemic, and now with widespread economic challenges, it’s never been more important to develop close relationships with customers. This is just as important with small local businesses as it is with large brands with a global presence. Alida’s community of customers are doing this by connecting with highly engaged, verified customers to gain reliable data and insights that build long-term customer trust and loyalty.
Customer experience continues to be a top priority for business leaders, but measuring and responding to consumer sentiments using traditional customer experience methods just don’t cut it anymore. Today, through customer communities, you can test and validate business strategies more quickly, see a high response rate from customers, watch them engage more, and ultimately see real-time results of which you can quickly respond.
The result is a happy, loyal customer base driving profitable business growth.
What’s the difference between an insight community and those found on social networks?
TJ: An insight community, like those fostered by Alida’s customers, is a private online community where a brand’s customers come together to provide feedback and insights on the organization and its products. While social media communities, on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, are open and uncontrolled, an insight community offers a more controlled and structured approach to gathering insights from a targeted audience.
Insight community members are carefully selected and invited to participate based on their demographics, interests, or previous interactions with an organization. This way, you can obtain more targeted and relevant feedback from a representative sample of your audience. The community is often moderated, and we encourage members to engage in structured activities, such as surveys, discussions, or polls, to provide valuable insights.
How are businesses using communities to grow?
TJ: We’ve seen some pretty exciting activity with consumer and business-to-business brands, as well as healthcare companies.
Alida customer, SunLife, is using two separate communities to better understand the needs of both clients and brokers on the front lines. Since they can ask questions and get feedback quickly, they are evolving their digital capabilities and offerings that improve connectivity for their employer clients. They now have a clear differentiator from the competition, are seen as innovative by their clients and are taking the risk out of decision-making.
Improving the patient experience, as well as that of their loved ones, is a priority in healthcare. Duke Health’s goals were to incorporate the patient voice in new digital services, ensure patients feel valued and understood, and streamline and scale patient research. Through building a community using Alida’s platform, they are now nimble in interacting with patients and provider and can test and interate quickly with input from patients every step of the way. Not only did they save $200k in gathering insights, they see rising survey response rates and receive patient insights in record time.
You recently launched Alida Empowered to your employees. How did that come about, and what is the employee response so far?
TJ: During the Summer of 2022, we piloted a 4-day work week at Alida. We learned that our employees loved the balance and flexibility but some also felt it didn’t work for them.
While we received positive feedback with employees feeling happier and more empowered, the program wasn’t right for everyone. Some felt unnecessary pressure to finish their work in less time, and others were hindered by other external commitments.
After pouring over the data and talking to employees, we implemented what we call Alida Empowered, a new benefits program that best suits the needs of all employees. Alida Empowered includes no internal meetings on any Friday, Fridays off during the summer months, and unlimited vacation. This new approach gives all our employees the support they need to be their best selves in and outside of the workplace.
The sentiment from our employees has so far been very positive.
What advice would you give other businesses to keep their staff energized, productive, and healthy?
TJ: Company culture is not about finding a one size fits all answer. It’s really about finding what works best for your employees.
Give your employees an open and honest space to share their views. Everyone has a unique perspective they bring to the table and when you give all these ideas room to grow and interact with one another, magic happens.
To create a winning culture, you must design it from the lens of the people it is going to impact. So invite your employees into that process and embrace the beautiful collaboration that comes with it.