Employer Branding at Indeed: Employee engagement is key

Greg Reilly, UConn

Job-search firm Indeed employs some 5,300 people worldwide — and executives say they want to hear from every member of the contingent.

In a panel discussion Wednesday night at the University of Connecticut’s downtown campus, four of the Stamford-based company’s HR executives outlined their organization’s efforts to engage employees. They said they are making progress on a number of initiatives to allow workers to effectively give and receive feedback.

“They want more consistent and constructive real-time feedback, and they want to know how they’re doing and how they can improve,” said Ruth Thomas, senior employee development specialist. “We are working towards creating a culture of continuous feedback.”

The panelists said surveys represent one of their most important tools for gauging employee sentiments. To accelerate HR innovation, the company has been holding five-day “design sprints” to develop new programs.

A survey launching Monday would include questions on whether employees would recommend Indeed as a place to work, endorse their managers and the extent to which they had opportunities to learn and grow.

“We want things to be simple and easy to digest,” said Allison Cargile, senior employee development specialist.

To encourage diversity and inclusion, the company runs a number of programs, including groups that focus on the interests and goals of demographics such as women coders and Latino technologists. To connect workers in different parts of the world, it schedules video conferences throughout the day.

“There’s a commitment to really make sure we’re global and including everyone’s opinions,” said Andrea Gomez, senior manager of instructional design.

It’s Not All About Free Food—What Really Matters When It Comes to Employee Engagement

The precipitous growth of Indeed’s headcount in recent years points to how its HR initiatives have helped to build the company’s reputation as a desirable workplace. In July, the company announced it would add 500 positions in the coming years to its downtown base.

The company employs about 750 at 1177 Broad St. Now occupying six floors, it moved in 2011, with about 50 employees, to a half-floor at its current address. The firm plans to take two more levels in the building for its growing ranks.

While praising the company for its engagement initiatives, panel moderator Greg Reilly, an associate professor specializing in HR management in UConn’s business school, pondered the role of the company’s perks.

“Those of us who are not in hip Silicon Valley-like companies, sometimes we look at this situation and say ‘Come on, ping pong tables and free food?’ It’s still work,’” Reilly said.

Recruiter Erin McDermott said employees appreciate the benefits, but they care more about the company’s principles.

“The top-down management ideals are founded on allowing employees to be autonomous,” she said. “That’s more important, I think, to people than the ping pong tables and free food.”


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