One question that changes depending on who you talk to is where employer branding sits in the organization. For some companies, it belongs to HR. For others, it belongs under marketing. For Qualtrics, however, it’s called People Brand and sits in the People Operations team, which comprises HR, Talent Acquisition, Benefits, and more.
“We use the term ‘people brand’ as a reflection of the fact that we are responsible for individuals across the entire talent life cycle,” says Nicole Parish, the Global Talent Attraction Manager at Qualtrics. It’s a relationship that starts from when someone has never heard about Qualtrics all the way through to the alumni space. In other words, Parish and her team aren’t just responsible for the talent and recruitment portion of someone’s experience, but the relationship management aspects that come with employing (or not employing) them.
This is especially important because Qualtrics is in the experience management business. Their software makes it easy to do surveys, feedback, and polls followed by generating reports, with specialized platforms for design experience, customer experience, employee experience, and more. Needless to say, the People Operations team leans heavily on the data they capture to make decisions about their next steps, which has led to a unique approach in how they make decisions and collect scaling employee stories and employee-generated content.
A key factor in the People Operations teams’ decision-making process is their quarterly employee polls to gauge how the organization is doing. With their own in-house analytics team, each working group can get a snapshot of what employees think and feel about the current state of things, and where they hope the company will go in the future.
“Each area of the People Team has different parts of the employee experience that they look to measure or gain insight on,” Parish says. Benefits, for example, ran an insight survey to figure out what they offer that they need to iterate on and what’s already popular. There are manager engagement scores that go to the leadership and development team to figure out what skills need to be added or improved to make things run more smoothly.
Qualtrics also does a large amount of research in DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) to get an accurate picture of where things are working and where there’s room for improvement to create a more inclusive environment. Their primary objective is to better understand who they are now and who they want to be moving forward.
As a surveying and polling platform, Qualtrics can use its own software to gather employee stories and employee-generated content, which makes things a lot easier when the people brand team is looking to share insight into the employee experience there. Over the last three years, they’ve been able to collect almost 600 stories.
“We believe that a story-led approach is the most transparent way to give people a look into the Qualtrics experience,” Parish says. These stories include everyone—people at all levels, including the CEO. They are organically driven, and start with a simple question: Why did you choose Qualtrics? These stories are published frequently and shared widely, creating organic growth as more employees want to get their experience out there.
They also offer a quick, 20-minute brand ambassador training for anyone who wants to participate to give people an extra bit of confidence sharing their experience and representing Qualtrics to the outside world. “We believe everyone is a brand ambassador, it’s just that some are trained and some aren’t,” Parish says.
Some people are hesitant to get started because of their experience at a larger company where everything needed to be approved by several layers of bureaucracy. Others may have the mentality that they’re simply too busy with their other responsibilities to take the time to represent the brand. Through the program, they teach participants how to be consistent with sharing their experiences and different ways to get started.
At the end of the day, Qualtrics’ unique approach to the employer brand is informed by the software they develop—a data-centric approach that always puts the people first.
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