Here's how to make employees happy.

Why Justworks Rebranded Our HR Team as Employee Success

Posted December 6, 2016 by Jason Whitman in Justworks Love
Justworks’ VP of Customer and Employee Success Jason Whitman shares our company’s key strategy for employee engagement.

As a company that specializes in HR needs, Justworks knows how important it is for our employees to be engaged and successful.

And as we’ve written about in the past, employee engagement leads to higher retention rates, better productivity, and improved customer success.

With those ideas in mind, Justworks has been awarded a Great Place to Work and our CEO Isaac Oates was named a Glassdoor Highest Rated CEO in 2016.

Below, read the driving philosophy behind our employee success from Justworks’ VP of Customer and Employee Success, Jason Whitman.

Employee Success as a Philosophy

A few years ago, I read a quote from venture capitalist Fred Wilson that stuck with me. I remember staring at the page and reading it multiple times. Then I cut it out of the magazine, taped it to a piece of printer paper, and framed it in a $10 picture frame from Target that I had sitting in my desk. This is the quote:

“You have to start with culture, values, and a commitment to creating a fantastic workplace. You can’t fake these things. They have to come from the top. They are not bullshit. They are everything.” - Fred Wilson

I’ve kept that frame on my desk ever since, even as the paper has yellowed and faded, because that quote has informed my approach to business and customer service. I even read the line in a team all-hands (profanity and all) to let my employees know that to deliver a great customer experience, the employees first need to have a great experience themselves.

Blog - Image - Framed quote

My framed Fred Wilson quote.

So when I joined Justworks, I dedicated myself to bringing that same approach to my new teams. While I obsessed over learning the business and speaking with customers, I also tried to focus inside and commit myself to making the employee experience positive and compelling. An important step was rebranding our HR team as Employee Success.

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You could argue that the name of a department is just window dressing, and what it does and delivers for the business are more important. While that is a fair point, I believe what you call something has meaning.

By rebranding HR as Employee Success, we made a statement that the employee experience will be our priority, the department will transcend traditional, back-office human resources, and we will set goals for the team like any other group at Justworks (and be similarly accountable for our performance to those goals).

Some goals we have set in the past few quarters for Employee Success include:

  • Publishing our source of hire data internally
  • Preparing our campus recruiting plan
  • Launching new benefits (such as our wellness and coaching programs) for employees
  • Making improvements to our new hire onboarding program
  • Kicking off our diversity initiatives
  • Updating our employee handbook to support our people as we scale

As a company focused on handling HR tasks for customers so they can focus on running their businesses, I realize there sometimes can be a fine line for how “out front” our HR issues should be.

My goal has been to tackle them openly and honestly, as we would with a product or marketing question — we have had really thoughtful company all-hands discussions about diversity, mental health, and other topics as a result.

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The Employee Success team has also shared the full, question-by-question results of our quarterly employee happiness survey. That way, there is transparency in where we need to keep improving as a company.

In a growing business, you have to make tough decisions about where and how you invest. Often, the employee experience is not a priority until the company gets larger and a more formal HR or people operations function can develop.

I encourage you (as Fred encouraged me, on paper anyway) to make the employee experience a priority early on. It will give you a strong foundation for the other experiences (customer, partner, shareholder, etc.) that you care about.

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Looking for even more ways to boost employee satisfaction and development? We have an entire resource center on employee happiness, including:

  • Incentive problems that boost employee motivation
  • Employee appreciation ideas on a budget
  • Exercise and health in the workplace

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.