Employee Engagement: The SendGrid Way
Below is an article originally written by Ealga ni Aodha, the Organizational Development Specialist at PowerToFly Partner SendGrid, and published on March 2, 2017. Go to SendGrid's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
If you frequent our blog posts focused on our company, you've probably stumbled across posts on customer engagement and tips and tricks on how you can improve this through your email communications. However, at SendGrid, we are also obsessed with another type of engagement–the engagement of each and everyone one of our employees, affectionately called, "Gridders."
We've been measuring and improving on our employee engagement strategy since 2014–each time iterating on our process to derive more positive impact for our employees. Our last engagement check-in revealed an 11% point increase in engagement in 6 months, outperforming our goal and placing us on par with the top 10% of companies in Culture Amp's New Tech Benchmark. We are proud of the progress we've made, but more so, because we achieved it by staying true to our cultural values.
We define our culture by our 4Hs: Happy, Hungry, Humble and Honest. Honest means that as a company, we value transparency and welcome feedback freely. Staying true to this value, we have a thorough process of gathering employee feedback in a consistent way through surveys, focus groups, and team engagement reviews. This ensures that we have accurate data on how we are doing culturally and that our employees have an avenue to collectively share feedback with their leadership team.
Once we close out the survey, all employees get full access to our quantitative data, with the ability to view company scores, team scores, and assess variances over time. This level of transparency arms our employees with the results so that they can drive improvements within their teams.
Our Hungry kicks in when we seek solutions. We define Hungry as always looking for ways to innovate, improve, and raise the bar to deliver results. To ensure we stay focused on what drives long-term organizational success, and that we're constantly innovating and improving in those areas, we identified 4 enduring measures of success and one of them is employee engagement. This has allowed us to bring focus and dedicate sufficient resources to addressing issues that have surfaced through our feedback process.
Emphasizing employee engagement as part of organizational success clearly communicates that we prioritize improving our employee engagement, recognizing that by increasing the engagement of our Gridders. They will be better equipped to support our customers and deliver great results on their behalf.
In addition to reviewing the survey results in detail, we also prioritize sitting down with employees to listen, learn, and leverage their influence to make sure we turn feedback into action. From there, we set specific goals surrounding improvement in areas that we feel have a direct impact on engagement and report progress on a regular cadence.
If survey results on a particular question that we know impacts engagement is low, we will set a goal to improve that score by a specific percentage, share that goal broadly across the organization, and report results of our actions. Surveying is important, but what's even more critical is acting on the survey results and doing it in ways that are transparent to all. This dedication to solving problems AND leveraging our strengths is what builds a strong culture and a healthy, growing company.
At SendGrid, we describe Humble as always learning from each other and that we focus on the we, not I. As part of our engagement survey, our leaders and managers get rated by their team on their effectiveness. If they have not been performing well against our manager expectations, their ratings will reflect this.
Managers must then host reviews with their team to get direct feedback on what they could do to improve. This includes written action planning and follow-up with the team at regular intervals on progress. Although this can be a humbling process, it shows our Gridders that we care, that we're committed to improving, and that we will stay true to our philosophy on servant leadership. We send a clear message that if our leaders are not supporting their team, they must take action to address any deficiencies and we expect upward movement on their management scores with the next survey.
Our Happy H is demonstrated in many ways. We define Happy as bringing a positive, constructive attitude to everything we do, finding joy in our work, and having a good time. Although we recognize that happiness and engagement are different, engaged employees are without a doubt going to find more joy in their work as they recognize the positive impact their contributions are having on our business and on their careers.
Our leadership team practicing their servant leadership and serving ice cream as a way of saying thank you for the 98% participation in our last engagement survey.
As a team, we all feel happier and are more energized by seeing the progress we can make in areas that impact engagement when we focus our efforts and work together to solve a problem. We also see the direct impact on our overall company performance which encourages us to continue to do that type of focused, hard work. It drives results which energizes us all to continue to go the extra mile to solve problems and achieve our goals. We also believe that our customers are happier because we are happier–and that makes us smile!
Our work on engagement aligns with our 4Hs and focuses on building an amazing culture where each Gridder can thrive and do their best work. We know this drives retention, improved customer satisfaction, and in general makes us a truly great place to work. We know we're not perfect and continue to work on specific areas that we know are pain points for our Gridders. The good news is that we can continue to improve and in the process, will make SendGrid a stronger, better company for all.
Finally, we're hiring and always looking for our next great Gridders! Check out our PowerToFly page to learn more about our culture and view open positions.
5 full-time work-from-home roles that pay seriously well
We—we being the internet in general, as well as PowerToFly specifically—often talk about remote work as this glorious thing: you can find professional fulfillment, friendly co-workers, and career growth potential from the comfort of your own home. All while collecting a check!
But where should you look if you want that check to be as big as possible?
Start with this guide to the best high-paying remote jobs. These career choices (and the example companies hiring for them) don't skimp out on paying remote workers well, and you'll still get all the work-from-home flexibility you're looking for. I've linked to specific job posts for each category below, but also look through the 300+ remote jobs on PowerToFly's always-updated remote job board for more.
As you apply and interview, keep these work-from-home interview questions in mind. If you find yourself with a salary offer that's good, but not quite as good as it could be, reference these salary negotiation tips for remote workers to advocate for what you deserve. And when you get the job with a great salary, make sure your home office is set up for success. And then send me a note to tell me how you're doing!
1. Senior Software EngineerBusiness woman using laptop
Why You Can Do It Remotely: Like most heads-down-and-create work, developing software and programming are best done with minimal distractions. You'll collaborate with your team for check-ins and bug fixes, but you'll be able to focus on your project work from a home office.
Average Annual Salary: $131,875
2. User Experience Researcher ManagerYoung adult woman working with laptop at mobile app
Who It's Good For: Proven researchers who know how to understand the behaviors and motivations of customers through feedback and observation, who have experience synthesizing insights into a brand story, and who have managed teams.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Senior Research Operations Program Manager at Zapier.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: As UX researcher Lindsey Redinger explains in her helpful Medium post, remote research allows companies to reach users all over the world, not just within driving distance to their headquarters, and can be cheaper for companies and easier for participants.
Average Annual Salary: $105,810
3. Senior Product DesignerFemale graphic designer smiling at desk in office
Who It's Good For: Creatives with technical chops who like the challenges of evolving and improving the production of current products, leading designers, and collaborating with other parts of the business.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Senior Product Designer at SeatGeek.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: While design teams definitely need to share lots of feedback, there's technology out there to make that easy. The Help Scout design team has shared their favorite tools and tricks to collaborate remotely, which includes recording daily videos of new designs to explain features and ideas in a way a photo file just can't express. (They're also hiring! Check out open Help Scout jobs here).
Average Annual Salary: $107,555
4. Senior Security AnalystDeveloping Concentrated programmer reading computer codes Development Website design and coding technologies.
Who It's Good For: Thoughtful, vigilant thinkers who enjoy identifying and fixing gaps in a company's security posture, including through ethnical hacking (hacking a company's system before outsiders can, and addressing the weak points found) and incident response (containing the negative effects of a system breach or attack).
Sound Like You? Check Out: Data Protection Security Analyst at Deloitte.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: Not all security analyst positions are remote-friendly; sometimes they require working with very sensitive data that can be compromised if taken off-site or accessed from a VPN. But with the right data processing policies—like using a privacy filter over your laptop, only using secured wifi, and encrypting your data, all suggested by WebARX security's all-remote team—remote work as a security analyst is definitely possible.
Average Annual Salary: $108,463
5. Technical Project ManagerA strong wifi connection makes for a strong relationship
Who It's Good For: Tech-friendly jack-of-all-trades with a sweet spot for spreadsheets and other organization tools.
Sound Like You? Check Out: Technical Project Manager at Avaaz.
Why You Can Do It Remotely: Project management can sometimes be like herding cats, but you don't need to be in the same room as your feline team members in order to direct them around. With collaborative software (and a highly organized home office, like PM pro Patrice Embry recommends), you can PM the most complicated of projects from wherever you're located.
Average Annual Salary: $95,129
Other high-paying remote-friendly jobs include certain roles in healthcare (like nurse practitioners and psychologists, who can check in with patients via video conferencing and phone calls), app developers for both iOS and Android products, actuaries and tax accountants, and data scientists.
And remember that even jobs that don't seem remote-friendly at first, could possibly be done from home or on the road. If you find a well-paying, exciting job that doesn't offer remote work immediately, it might be worth negotiating a more flexible schedule with a 1-2 day work-from-home option. Both you and the company can see what remote work actually looks like in action, and if it goes well, you can make a pitch to transition to remote work full time.
Other resources you may want to check out in your quest for meaningful, well-paid remote work:
Today we celebrate our partnership with Braintree! Check out this video to see highlights from our recent networking event.
If you missed the event, fear not! Stay connected by following Braintree on PowerToFly and email us at Hi@PowerToFly.com for future events near you.
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A Q&A with Netskope's Senior Engineering Manager May Yan
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