Investment banking giant, Goldman Sachs, doesn’t trade in feelings. So when the company set out to rethink how to engage employees, its HR department needed a data-driven approach.
Dr. David Landman is the managing director and global head of talent assessment at Goldman Sachs. In the following Q & A, Landman explains how he developed an innovative, fact-based approach to understand how employees feel. That data helps train managers to give employees the best experience–and get the best results. With experience management software, Landman has helped Goldman Sachs get closer to employees and create tools that help managers inspire their people.
Q: When it comes to boosting the bottom line, improving the employee experience is a surprising strategy. Why did Goldman Sachs decide to go this route?
More than ever, the experience economy trickles down to work. Employee experience means everything in our ability to attract, retain, and develop talent. We also live in an increasingly connected world. Employees want to share and compare their experiences both internally with other employees and outside.
Providing employees with the best experience is critical to our success. It’s our responsibility to give people a fulfilling, high-quality experience in their workplace.
Q: Why is Goldman Sachs choosing to invest in experience management now? What’s changed?
The balance of power is shifting from the employer to the employee. Employees have higher expectations of the experience that they’ll have at work and the fulfillment that work will provide them. If you don’t give that to the employee, they go elsewhere.
Q: You could have used simple survey tools. Why did you decide to use experience management software and why decide to partner with Qualtrics?
In a firm of our size, there’s no way to scale and understand employee experience without technology.
We needed an inviting and easy way for employees to provide feedback. And equally important, we needed to aggregate that data in a consumable, reportable way so that we could provide different groups with usable information.
Also, we’re a very data-driven firm and Qualtrics has given us a lot of data to drive change.
I had been looking at other solutions but when Qualtrics did a demo for us, I was really impressed because it not only met our needs but had a bunch of useful features that I’d never thought of before.
Q: How has experience management software impacted your business in meaningful ways?
It’s improved how we make important decisions about our benefits. We did a study with Qualtrics this year in which we reached out to employees and asked them to provide input about our potential future wellness and benefits initiatives. These offerings impact everyone at the firm, and their families as well. But we were missing a key data element to drive decisions. We partnered with Qualtrics to design a survey that helped us understand what’s most important to Goldman employees when thinking about us as an employer of choice.
In the past, we combined benchmarking data from other firms and a cost-benefit analysis to help make those strategy decisions. Now we could add in the voice of employees and their qualitative and quantitative feedback.
That’s one example this year of how we used Qualtrics for real impact for the business, employees and their families.
Q: Tell me more about how you’ve scaled your employee experience offerings.
At the same time we onboarded Qualtrics, we set up a Center of Excellence for survey design to make it easy for HR people across the company to use Qualtrics. We didn’t want them to just use the tool without the right oversight, so we provide advisory services for people who want to use it – we offer everything from a tip sheet on how to create a survey (survey quality is very important) with examples of best practices to high-touch services where we spend one to two hours with HR leads designing a way to get feedback.
For big initiatives, we partner with the project team to co-design surveys, help people understand how to analyze results, consider what other data you might want to combine, and then, how to market and communicate that data.
Q: What’s your vision moving forward?
Our vision is to–in a very light touch and easy way–have a much better pulse on what our employees are feeling and how they’re experiencing the workplace. And have the analytics to better understand the ebbs and flows of employee experience so we can more quickly intervene.
In a much more ongoing and real-time way, we want to gather insights to help us drive change and improve employee experience. Similarly, we want to give managers a better way to understand what’s happening within their own teams and democratize the data so they can become better leaders.
In the past, managers had to wait too long to get answers. Now, we can very quickly gather data and turn on people’s dashboards so they can explore the data in a way they never could. It’s revolutionary.