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Employee Experience is Product Management

Lina Stern, Head of Employee Experience and Organizational Design at LearnVest, shares how to instill an innovative company culture, the best way to motivate employees, and best practices for navigating a cultural shift after an acquisition.

To build a successful product, there are many things that need to be executed properly. The things that spring to my mind first include user research, design, marketing, and hiring. However, there’s another thing that directly impacts your team’s ability to execute on all the essential capabilities of modern product teams. The thing I’m talking about is employee experience.

The guest on this episode is Lina Stern. She’s the Head of Employee Experience and Organizational Design at LearnVest, a Northwestern Mutual company. In this role, she applies the fundamentals of product management to creating a great employee experience.

I started the interview by asking her how employee experience can impact the bottom line for a product team. According to Lina, employee experience helps companies with four essential functions:

  1. Attract talent
  2. Retain talent
  3. Build the company’s brand
  4. Improve customer experience

I had not considered the extent to which employee experience impacts customer experience. As Lina says, your employees are the connection between your customers and your company. Therefore, if your customers aren’t happy and motivated, it can hurt your customer’s experience.

So how do you keep your employees happy and motivated? While ping pong tables and free beer have become commonplace, Lina says creating a great employee experience requires making sure employees feel valued. “People want to feel valued for the contributions they make to the organization,” she says.

Lina recommends personalizing your approach to employee experience according to the values of the company and what will help each individual employee work most effectively. So, if your developers do their best work at night, Lina says it's ok for them to stroll into the office at 11am.

Lina later shares several great ideas for team-building, fostering a culture of innovation, creating a productive work environment and navigating change after an acquisition.

Here are the highlights...

  • Lina explains how employee experience impacts the bottom line of a business (7:10)
  • Lina describes what she believes truly motivates employees (10:25)
  • How Lina creates an innovative, product-driven culture at LearnVest (13:40)
  • Lina breaks down the impact of work environments and work schedules (16:25)
  • Lina outlines some of her own unique strategies at LearnVest (20:50)
  • Lina’s advice for navigating cultural shifts in the event of an acquisition (24:05)

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