How Citrix helped improve quality of life for remote workers

Featuring:

Log in to watch this video

To watch keynotes and sessions, you need to sign up for a free On Demand account.

Forging the path to digital wellness

With the massive shift to remote work, it’s easy to become overwhelmed as the lines between home and work blur. Early on, Citrix identified an opportunity to help both employees and customers maintain harmony between digital technology and their physical and mental health. We’ll explore the company’s wellness initiative from end to end, and learn what obstacles they overcame on the journey.

Video Transcript

Mike Walsh:

All right. Okay. Everybody welcome, hello. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you might be. My name is Mike Walsh, I’m the head of product marketing at SocialChorus. I’m very excited to speak with you today for the next 30 minutes on digital wellness. And we’ll explore what that term means, how Citrix is actually picking different types of initiatives to promote digital wellness throughout their company. And we will be speaking today with Alysia Eve, the director of product marketing at Citrix who has been very involved in their wellness initiative. So welcome Alysia to the conversation today.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, thanks Mike. I’m really excited to talk about our experience here at Citrix as well as answer questions from our audience.

Mike Walsh:

Awesome. Thank you. Well with that we do have about 30 minutes to talk about this topic so I would encourage everybody to jump into the chat window when you have questions, please put them in. We will try to address those as we go through the session and also at the end too. But before we jump into digital wellness, I want to first talk about a little bit of news that we saw yesterday with Citrix and it involves a very cool award that you all won and just wanted to recognize that and congratulate you on for winning one of the top 100 Best Places to Work on Fortune’s list.

So congrats on that, I know it’s a really big win. I’m sure your HR teams and your executives are virtually high-fiving each other on this award, but it’s just such a great jumping off point to our discussion on wellness because, you know, folks you can kind of take a look through what the write-up is there but you’ll see that a lot of it was really based on how you all treated your employees throughout the pandemic and the recognition and the importance that you put on having a transparent conversation with every employee when it came to really tough conversations.

So with that, I just kind of wanted to open it up to you Alysia and see how you all are reacting to the news and congrats again.

Alysia Eve:

No, absolutely yes. And it was purely coincidental this announcement and timing for the conversation today, but it’s definitely a really exciting acknowledgement of the support and empathy that Citrix as an organization and really the management showed employees during what was for most of us, if not all of us are really difficult time. And it’s interesting because at the start of the pandemic in a few forums, I actually mentioned that companies that really invest in their employees during this last difficult year, that that would start becoming a differentiator for organizations.

And I think as you look through this list, not just our entry, but if you look through a lot of these companies the quotes and the conversations are really about how companies went above and beyond to support their employees and how much that meant to us as employees. And so I think that’s exactly what we’re starting to see.

Mike Walsh:

Yes, for sure. It’s okay. Yeah, timing couldn’t have been better for this topic when we were talking about what are some ways that you’ve seen wellness and a focus on employee health pay off? Well, this I think is a great testament to all those efforts and the work you’ve all put in to putting the employees first. So with that, I will stop sharing and I think we’re now back into just speaker mode here so let’s just jump back into the digital wellness conversation. So Alysia I know you’ve been involved with digital wellness for a while now at Citrix, it was kind of not your full-time job but it was a passionate project that you had, tell me why you got started and how well this became a priority at Citrix.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been at Citrix now for just about five years, and I will say that during my time here wellness and well-being has always felt a part of the conversation and a priority for Citrix. And I’m sure that if you talk to our HR team, they’ll talk about how important it has been for the life of the company and how it’s been built into our culture. But my experience specifically was really around the pandemic and right around the height during the summer, what we started to realize both internally and then also in talking with our customers was that well-being was becoming a really big challenge.

And again, that’s something I think we can all relate to at this time, and for us from a Citrix standpoint we’re fortunate enough to have a product with Citrix Workspace that is flexible enough to address a variety of different use cases and both internally for us because we use our own products, but then also externally.

And so from there we assembled a cross-functional team and this team included me from a product marketing standpoint and other product marketing colleagues, but then also members from our HR team, as well as IT, product management, engineering, and the broader marketing organization, and we all came together to start thinking about from a holistic standpoint what well-being means from our standpoint and how we can leverage our technology to help insert well-being into the flow of not only our day from an employee standpoint, but then also how we can translate that into value in different use cases and opportunities for our customers.

And I think a really important part of this just to emphasize is that any of these conversations you definitely need to have somebody in HR a part of them because really what we’re talking about is using technology to personify and represent your well-being strategy, particularly when you’re in a situation where everybody is remote. And so that kicked off an entire initiative that continued until earlier this year when we launched new use cases both internally and externally focused on well-being through Citrix Workspace.

Mike Walsh:

Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. Great. We talked a little bit about some wellness and what you all have done, definitely the pandemic has ushered in more focus on how do we support employees through this challenging time. And just as an aside to it at SocialChorus, one thing that we’ve really focused on and pushed out and promoted at the beginning of this pandemic after we realized that people were working from home more hours, they’re starting to maybe overwork and the blurs between the office in the home have totally shifted, we wanted to avoid burnout that was potentially down the road, and we wanted to preserve space for people to have their time to think and recharge.

And so one of the things that we had done here and still have going every month is a concept called Distancing Days. And so Distancing Days is basically one Friday a month that the company gives back to employees to have personal time to really take that time to recharge. And so you can use that time to go on a hike, spend time with your family, decompress, or if you need to just catch up and get some personal work done, you can do that too. But the key concept here is no pings, no meetings, it’s your time, do what you got to need to come back refreshed and recharged so the next work week.

And that’s of course been a very popular initiative that we’ve put out there and we’re seeing a lot of people actually use the FirstUp platform, that’s our platform internally to actually share photos of what they’re doing on those distancing days, which again encourages some collaboration and fosters core relationships with your co-workers while we’re all working remotely. So maybe something for the audience here, just curious what types of wellness initiatives you might be using during this pandemic, and if you could put them in the chat box that would be great for your fellow attendees to get an idea of how you’re addressing this. So kind of moving the topic along Alysia what were some quick wins from your wellness initiatives that you saw when you first got started.

Alysia Eve:

Now, there were definitely a few right away. And I think the first and foremost that we had was the fact that we had significant amount of executive buy-in and this is where for us, and not only having a product that we can leverage similar to what you’re mentioning with SocialChorus that we can leverage to address these kinds of use cases but also we are in many ways from a Citrix standpoint our own customer, and we’re very similar to many of our customers and so we knew that internally to your point about well-being that there was definitely a struggle that burnout was starting to really become an issue and we also heard it from customers and we still do where in conversations with customers when we start talking about different elements of well-being and the technology available, they’ll volunteer the fact that my team is burnout and we’re really trying to find a way that we can find some balance.

But from an executive standpoint for us every one of our executives knew that this was something that we needed to address and it was also something that we could, leveraging the technology that we had. Second was, and I mentioned that cross-functional team and that was such a key part of the initiative because if you think about the different groups I mentioned, HR, IT, marketing, product marketing, it’s very rare that these kinds of groups come together in a regular basis, let alone be aligned behind a single initiative and the results of that allowed us to really think through a holistic strategy and be really empathetic to the challenges that each one of us was facing and that got represented ultimately both in the use cases that we were able to put forth internally as well as for our customers, but then also some of the like more of the articles and blog posts and whatnot that ended up being a part of the initiative as well.

Again, a lot of that was based on our own experience across all these different groups and it also laid the foundation for us to start thinking about building a process for these different types of themes or topics how do you surface them? How do you know and evaluate when technology can be used to solve one of them? And so this initiative really opened up that opportunity and started down this path of thinking about how we operationalize these kinds of opportunities and challenges.

And then finally, and I think you’re hearing it both in my conversation as well as with you Mike, this is such a topic that’s personal and that so many people are passionate about. And at least for me, and I think for many of us that were part of this initiative, it’s very rare that you get to be a part of a project that has a tangible impact on somebody say both from your colleagues’ standpoint, but also for your customers. And so to be able to get on the ground floor of something like that and see that impact, it really is something special. And it was absolutely a benefit to this project as well as something that kept us going through what was again a very challenging time.

Mike Walsh:

For sure, for sure. Yeah, definitely and we kind of have to adapt to as well when Distancing Days came out that we did have to address it a couple of months later because we were seeing people work more. And so the question was, “Can I actually work on Distancing Day or not?” And we actually had to have that conversation as a company that it is really your time to do what you need to do, there is no expectation on what you do with this time, but just having that conversation on the intent of what a Distancing Day is and what it means for it’s your personal time to recharge that helped everybody kind of come back together and recognize, “Okay, I shouldn’t feel bad if I’m working or if I’m taking time off.” it really is about the individual.

So you kind of discussed a little bit about the role of technology in digital wellness, but I do want to kind of put a focus on that. So technology has helped us a ton when it comes to collaboration and communicating with each other, but it’s also become a source of frustration and always on culture. So what is the role of technology in your eyes when it comes to promoting digital wellness?

Alysia Eve:

No. I think you hit it, right? Technology can play on both ends. And I think there was an article recently in Gallup that personifies this. So this article talks about the fact that in 2020 for the first time that they’ve been tracking employee engagement and well-being actually moved in different directions, usually they move side-by-side. But if you think about it, it’s really not that surprising for many of us, we were shifted completely remote, maybe some of us were used to this and having a little bit more flexibility, but for many of us it was a jarring experience.

And we weren’t just working from home, right? We were parenting, maybe teaching, caregiving all the ins if you will, from home and what we found is that, that natural delineation between work and life, where to be frank there wasn’t much one anyway, but it was completely, completely taken away. There was no more commute where you could get yourself geared up for the day or decompress, everything was happening all at the same time and so what happened was, and you mentioned the burnout, all of us were working and some of us still continue to work all the time and it never feels like it ends.

And what you had was high levels of employee engagement which led to, in some cases, record levels of productivity that were reported by companies, but a degradation of overall well-being. And as you mentioned about technology, if you think about it technology was an enabler and in that scenario because if the pandemic would have happened, let’s say 15 years ago, this conversation would be fundamentally different. We didn’t have the technology and the communication tools that we have today to make that seamless shift and so as a result, technology really was a reason why we did and have gotten into the situation where we all feel like we’re working constantly.

But on the flip side, I also think technology can be part of the solution. When you’re in an environment where you’re either mostly remote or completely remote like many of us, technology is literally delivering the culture of your company and I think that this is an important point because a lot of organizations are now figuring out, well what comes next? Do want to allow people a hybrid structure they have complete choice? Do we want people back in the office when it’s appropriate and when it’s safe? Do we want people who knows they can work wherever they want whenever they want it and it’s all good? But one of the key considerations that I think organizations do need to think through is what is that experience going to look like?

You know, if you’re an organization that spends a lot of time talking about, “Employee experience is super important to us and we provide tools so that you can work anywhere on any device.” so on and so forth, but then the actual experience for remote employee is that everything is constantly crashing, they struggle to use the technology, they’re not able to get regular help and that overall they just feel disengaged because they’re not set up from the start with the right tools and technology that can help bridge that location gap, then what will end up happening over time is that you have trust as well as loyalty that starts to fade and that’s when you start to get into attrition challenges and retention issues which obviously have a pretty significant business impact.

And so I think organizations really need to think through what’s the role of technology? What’s the culture that you want to cultivate remotely in person or both? Because you probably have employees that do both and really prioritize thinking through that experience depending on where the person is working and what location they’re from. So technology has to be a key cornerstone of that strategy and working through that thought process.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah, for sure, for sure. You can’t avoid it. It is how we are connecting and communicating and working with each other, so you have to fold that into your process and into your culture and that’s actually something that executives and customers are asking us, “How can we use SocialChorus to promote culture within our companies?” And some of the ways I know our customers are starting to use them and some best practices that have emerged are really around… People are used to seeing quick short videos right on Instagram or Facebook or on their social channels and in their personal lives.

And so they’re looking for similar things from their leadership team. And so we’re seeing more and more leaders actually produce really quick selfie type videos and publish those on first up and send those directly to their employees and that’s a really easy, fast, inexpensive way to create an authentic experience with your employees, from the leadership to the front line on what’s most important. So we’re seeing that best practice really take off. It’s something that’s fast and easy to do. You just got to make the leap, it doesn’t require a ton of production, in fact, the less production the better we’re seeing. So that’s one way we’re seeing folks drive culture through technology.

Another way that we’re seeing in the best practice that we’re recommending is really around encouraging employees to have a voice through these types of platforms. So the ability to post photos of what they may be doing on their personal time or during some type of work event and to share to create a sense of community. To create shared recognition channels where you can give people shout outs and high fives and comment on that.

And then finally, the ability for folks and employees to provide feedback through comments, through polling, this is a way that we’re seeing folks drive culture and engagement across their organizations wherever they might be. Yeah, great points on kind of culture and technology. You actually had a really great thought experiment there, like what would have happened if this pandemic happened 15, 20 years ago? I mean, that’s kind of like a Black Mirror episode that we don’t need to go into right now, but that’s a pretty cool thought experiment. You talked about the role of choice a little bit, so how does choice play into driving wellness for your employees?

Alysia Eve:

Absolutely, and you actually in talking about how you all are seeing your customers use the product, you actually started hitting on it and choice is one way to think about it. I think another way is personalizing that experience for you and I think that from a technology standpoint, what’s really important is that the employee has the ability to make the decision about the role that they want their organization to play in their well-being or not, right? They might say, “I don’t want any of this.” You have to ultimately give a lot of flexibility to your employees to make that choice for themselves. And the first step in doing that is understanding what your employees are asking for and what they’re looking for from you.

And of course there’s not going to be one size fits all but then it’s deciding what different types of technology or programs, initiatives, and then using technology to surface those, and then your employees and your users can decide which ones they want to engage with, what makes a difference for them and ultimately it’s kind of like a choose your own adventure from a well-being standpoint. And then from there, you can build on that once you have some adoption and usage and understand that, but it also adds a layer of authenticity to the experience that your end users are able to design for themselves. And it really is about how they experience your culture and your well-being culture.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So kind of moving along to how you all are using technology to promote well-being within Citrix, I know you are using SocialChorus, how you going about using SocialChorus within Citrix?

Alysia Eve:

Yeah. Great question. So for us we use SocialChorus as a tool to keep our employees informed and engaged. And just like we were talking about choice and customizability, this is definitely something that we use with SocialChorus so the ability to decide what channels that you want to be a part of and get information from as well as the content and the frequency. And what’s really interesting is that when we were working through our well-being initiative, we worked with a well-being consultant and even got into the different types of communication and ultimately the response that you’re eliciting from that.

So as individuals, we all have preferences, maybe moment to moment about what we want to read about, do you want something that is more funny which is going to elicit a release of dopamine or do we want something that is more emotionally connected which is going to release an oxytocin and our employee communications manager called it high fives and hugs, which I thought was a really clever way of thinking about it. But ultimately it’s about putting well-being in the flow of a person’s day and it’s also when you’re thinking about these different tools including SocialChorus.

It’s about amplifying different kinds of communication. So many tools treat all communication equal, right? Everything gets the same ding or the same buzz, or the same notification, but not all information is equal and this is particularly the case for when you talk about an organization. So investing in tools and a strategy that differentiate between and allow you to differentiate between different types of information and communication, I think that this is a huge area that we’re going to see a lot of focus in over the next year.

Mike Walsh:

100%, if folks who are listening that was definitely one of the highlights in Kim’s keynote earlier this morning when it came to the new smart publisher and the ability to orchestrate and deliver information at the right time, to the right person, the right channel based on the priority of the information and what that receiver actually already has coming to them. So we’re taking into account a lot of what they already have in the pipe and trying to space it out accordingly to what’s going to get the most reads and the most reactions to drive the right behavior.

So much more to come on on the Smart Publisher and new Studio. Tell me a little bit Alysia about some of the things that you’ve learned from some of these initiatives that you guys have kicked off.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah. I mean, we could probably do a whole hour, you know, this a Black Mirror episode plus an hour conversation on this, right? But I think some of the high level, and we talked about this well-being is personal and so through this initiative we learned that you really need to make sure that you give employees and users as much autonomy and ability to customize their experience as possible because it is something that’s personal to each of us. And next, I don’t know that it’s a learning per se, but more of a point of excitement. Again, if we would’ve had this conversation even 18 months ago, well-being, mental health, these were not conversations out in the open yet, they were ones that were reserved for closed doors and outside of the business hours.

And what’s been so exciting is I think so many organizations now realize that the overall well-being as well as the mental health of their employees has literally a direct impact on that employee’s ability to be productive, to be engaged in the organization and so it’s wonderful to see so many conversations around this topic, again, now happening not just at an HR level, but all the way down. And I think that leads into the the third piece. Anytime we’d have this conversation, one of the inevitable comments or question is how do you empower managers to not just manage kind of a KPI driven type of assessment or management style, but one that actually embraces the entire employee and creates that space for them to communicate, be vulnerable and vice versa.

And so I don’t know that I have an answer to that, I know there’s a lot of technology out there that’s starting to think through that. It’s a challenging set of skills to begin with, but then when you move that to an entirely digital realm, it becomes even more so but I think that’s really almost the next frontier. Employee well-being, now we’re talking about it, there’s technology and sophistication with products like SocialChorus that are starting to address it. And then the next is how do you enable your managers to be able to feel confident in the ability to manage the whole employee and not just the part that shows up on email. So I think those are the big points.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah. And that is about human behavior and training and education. It definitely goes well beyond just technology, but definitely managers have a role to play in that as well, all right. Thanks. Well, as we’re kind of nearing the end, I would love for folks if you have questions, please put them in the chat box. We have a couple already that came in, but maybe before we get there, are there a couple of steps, a couple of quick steps that you could recommend folks to take if they want to start this wellness conversation with their company, if they want to get on this journey and make it really a part of the company’s culture and their DNA, what are some initial steps you’d recommend for folks?

Alysia Eve:

I mean, I think it’s really simple and you and I are doing it right now. It’s just having an honest conversation and it has to move beyond HR. It has to move into all the different organizations and lines of business within a company. And then what is your point of view on well-being? How does that relate to your culture? What are the touch points? What role does technology play? These are all open-ended questions I think every organization needs to start thinking through, and then you have a solid foundation in which to build on. But again, just having that conversation and starting to understand what your employees need from an organizational standpoint is the first step.

Mike Walsh:

Yep. Yeah. I heard starting the conversation and then I think earlier you talked too about getting a cross functional team in order because it’s not just one team or department, it’s many people that need to shape what this employee experience looks like when it comes to delivering and addressing the whole self, the whole employee. All right. Well with that, I’ll open up to questions, please put your questions in the chat box. We have a couple that have come in directly so one of these… Alysia is around, I think it’s more for you. How can you introduce technology innovation in a risk averse or change averse culture?

Alysia Eve:

Now that’s a great one. I think that it all again, starts with understanding your employees. And I think an important point and you and I both hit on it is that the well-being solution and strategy for Citrix or SocialChorus, it might not be the same as for another company. So first understanding what your organization and what your employees are looking for from you. What role do they want you to play? And so I think if you start from there, from a place of empathy and understanding and build on those specific and address those specific pain points, that gives you permission to start moving beyond that. But it’s definitely a process and it’s one that should be tailored to your specific workforce and your specific culture.

Mike Walsh:

Right. Right. Let’s see, there’s a question here. I guess like a question for you Alysia, how did you all think about… Did you do some type of survey or how did you get employee input and feedback into creating your wellness initiatives at Citrix?

Alysia Eve:

Absolutely. Well, we do regular surveys. We both do a larger one and then we do quarterly ones as well to understand how employees are feeling so that definitely is a starting point for us. But then through the process, we did interviews both internally, but then also with customers to understand and focus the initiative and the specific use cases and making sure that they were points of value for both our employees as well as our external. So again listening, right? Listening and directly addressing those needs.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah, for sure. Which is why it’s so important to have a cross-functional team so it’s not just from one department on the way down. Another question that’s come in is around how might you be able to get your teams to promote well-being? So well-being could be an initiative and a focus from the top, but how do you actually push that down to the line manager? The team manager who might be facing different characters.

Alysia Eve:

No, absolutely. And you nailed it, right? It’s all about the manager. You know, your direct manager is the reason you stay and your direct managers is the reason you leave. And I think as a manager myself and you as well, you have to empower your managers to model the type of environment that you want and that means sometimes being vulnerable as a manager and showing up as your authentic self and really exemplifying what type of culture you want to create and being an example of sorts.

And that’s the start, is understanding that and from an upper level management standpoint, empowering your managers to do that because once you set that tone as a manager, then your team it gives them permission to also start to bring their own well-being into the workplace. If they feel comfortable it at least creates that space for them to decide and they use a manager to connect with them to help make sure that their well-being is taken care of again, at that level that they’re looking for from you as a manager and an organization.

Mike Walsh:

Right, right. Yeah. At a previous company I was at too, a lot of employee recognition and awards will often go to the employees and the individual contributors out there, but sometimes the managers actually get over overlooked often because they’re kind of playing a background role trying to get their teams to play the storied role and get all the accolades and recognition. So they actually went out and created more of these manager awards too to recognize what a great manager is in the organization. What are the values and the examples of success that that manager shown and I think that was just an easy way of showing appreciation for the role of the manager because it’s one that often can get overlooked as they’re dealing with stuff from the top and stuff from the bottom. But it’s a critical role because that is the role and how work actually gets done within the organization.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Walsh:

All right. Well, I know we are about a couple of minutes over our time here. Alysia, thank you so much for taking time with us. You know, if folks want to learn more of a little bit about Citrix and wellness, where can they go to?

Alysia Eve:

Well, they can go to citrix.com and check out all of our different products, but also we have a whole page in Citrix Fieldwork dedicated to wellness and digital well-being. So check that out.

Mike Walsh:

Okay. All right. Well with that I will let folks go. I know we are going to go to break and we’ll see you in about 30 minutes. Thank you so much Alysia for joining us.

Alysia Eve:

Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Walsh:

All right. Thanks. Bye.

Alysia Eve:

Bye.

 

Expand Transcript

Video Transcript

Mike Walsh:

All right. Okay. Everybody welcome, hello. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you might be. My name is Mike Walsh, I’m the head of product marketing at SocialChorus. I’m very excited to speak with you today for the next 30 minutes on digital wellness. And we’ll explore what that term means, how Citrix is actually picking different types of initiatives to promote digital wellness throughout their company. And we will be speaking today with Alysia Eve, the director of product marketing at Citrix who has been very involved in their wellness initiative. So welcome Alysia to the conversation today.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, thanks Mike. I’m really excited to talk about our experience here at Citrix as well as answer questions from our audience.

Mike Walsh:

Awesome. Thank you. Well with that we do have about 30 minutes to talk about this topic so I would encourage everybody to jump into the chat window when you have questions, please put them in. We will try to address those as we go through the session and also at the end too. But before we jump into digital wellness, I want to first talk about a little bit of news that we saw yesterday with Citrix and it involves a very cool award that you all won and just wanted to recognize that and congratulate you on for winning one of the top 100 Best Places to Work on Fortune’s list.

So congrats on that, I know it’s a really big win. I’m sure your HR teams and your executives are virtually high-fiving each other on this award, but it’s just such a great jumping off point to our discussion on wellness because, you know, folks you can kind of take a look through what the write-up is there but you’ll see that a lot of it was really based on how you all treated your employees throughout the pandemic and the recognition and the importance that you put on having a transparent conversation with every employee when it came to really tough conversations.

So with that, I just kind of wanted to open it up to you Alysia and see how you all are reacting to the news and congrats again.

Alysia Eve:

No, absolutely yes. And it was purely coincidental this announcement and timing for the conversation today, but it’s definitely a really exciting acknowledgement of the support and empathy that Citrix as an organization and really the management showed employees during what was for most of us, if not all of us are really difficult time. And it’s interesting because at the start of the pandemic in a few forums, I actually mentioned that companies that really invest in their employees during this last difficult year, that that would start becoming a differentiator for organizations.

And I think as you look through this list, not just our entry, but if you look through a lot of these companies the quotes and the conversations are really about how companies went above and beyond to support their employees and how much that meant to us as employees. And so I think that’s exactly what we’re starting to see.

Mike Walsh:

Yes, for sure. It’s okay. Yeah, timing couldn’t have been better for this topic when we were talking about what are some ways that you’ve seen wellness and a focus on employee health pay off? Well, this I think is a great testament to all those efforts and the work you’ve all put in to putting the employees first. So with that, I will stop sharing and I think we’re now back into just speaker mode here so let’s just jump back into the digital wellness conversation. So Alysia I know you’ve been involved with digital wellness for a while now at Citrix, it was kind of not your full-time job but it was a passionate project that you had, tell me why you got started and how well this became a priority at Citrix.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been at Citrix now for just about five years, and I will say that during my time here wellness and well-being has always felt a part of the conversation and a priority for Citrix. And I’m sure that if you talk to our HR team, they’ll talk about how important it has been for the life of the company and how it’s been built into our culture. But my experience specifically was really around the pandemic and right around the height during the summer, what we started to realize both internally and then also in talking with our customers was that well-being was becoming a really big challenge.

And again, that’s something I think we can all relate to at this time, and for us from a Citrix standpoint we’re fortunate enough to have a product with Citrix Workspace that is flexible enough to address a variety of different use cases and both internally for us because we use our own products, but then also externally.

And so from there we assembled a cross-functional team and this team included me from a product marketing standpoint and other product marketing colleagues, but then also members from our HR team, as well as IT, product management, engineering, and the broader marketing organization, and we all came together to start thinking about from a holistic standpoint what well-being means from our standpoint and how we can leverage our technology to help insert well-being into the flow of not only our day from an employee standpoint, but then also how we can translate that into value in different use cases and opportunities for our customers.

And I think a really important part of this just to emphasize is that any of these conversations you definitely need to have somebody in HR a part of them because really what we’re talking about is using technology to personify and represent your well-being strategy, particularly when you’re in a situation where everybody is remote. And so that kicked off an entire initiative that continued until earlier this year when we launched new use cases both internally and externally focused on well-being through Citrix Workspace.

Mike Walsh:

Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. Great. We talked a little bit about some wellness and what you all have done, definitely the pandemic has ushered in more focus on how do we support employees through this challenging time. And just as an aside to it at SocialChorus, one thing that we’ve really focused on and pushed out and promoted at the beginning of this pandemic after we realized that people were working from home more hours, they’re starting to maybe overwork and the blurs between the office in the home have totally shifted, we wanted to avoid burnout that was potentially down the road, and we wanted to preserve space for people to have their time to think and recharge.

And so one of the things that we had done here and still have going every month is a concept called Distancing Days. And so Distancing Days is basically one Friday a month that the company gives back to employees to have personal time to really take that time to recharge. And so you can use that time to go on a hike, spend time with your family, decompress, or if you need to just catch up and get some personal work done, you can do that too. But the key concept here is no pings, no meetings, it’s your time, do what you got to need to come back refreshed and recharged so the next work week.

And that’s of course been a very popular initiative that we’ve put out there and we’re seeing a lot of people actually use the FirstUp platform, that’s our platform internally to actually share photos of what they’re doing on those distancing days, which again encourages some collaboration and fosters core relationships with your co-workers while we’re all working remotely. So maybe something for the audience here, just curious what types of wellness initiatives you might be using during this pandemic, and if you could put them in the chat box that would be great for your fellow attendees to get an idea of how you’re addressing this. So kind of moving the topic along Alysia what were some quick wins from your wellness initiatives that you saw when you first got started.

Alysia Eve:

Now, there were definitely a few right away. And I think the first and foremost that we had was the fact that we had significant amount of executive buy-in and this is where for us, and not only having a product that we can leverage similar to what you’re mentioning with SocialChorus that we can leverage to address these kinds of use cases but also we are in many ways from a Citrix standpoint our own customer, and we’re very similar to many of our customers and so we knew that internally to your point about well-being that there was definitely a struggle that burnout was starting to really become an issue and we also heard it from customers and we still do where in conversations with customers when we start talking about different elements of well-being and the technology available, they’ll volunteer the fact that my team is burnout and we’re really trying to find a way that we can find some balance.

But from an executive standpoint for us every one of our executives knew that this was something that we needed to address and it was also something that we could, leveraging the technology that we had. Second was, and I mentioned that cross-functional team and that was such a key part of the initiative because if you think about the different groups I mentioned, HR, IT, marketing, product marketing, it’s very rare that these kinds of groups come together in a regular basis, let alone be aligned behind a single initiative and the results of that allowed us to really think through a holistic strategy and be really empathetic to the challenges that each one of us was facing and that got represented ultimately both in the use cases that we were able to put forth internally as well as for our customers, but then also some of the like more of the articles and blog posts and whatnot that ended up being a part of the initiative as well.

Again, a lot of that was based on our own experience across all these different groups and it also laid the foundation for us to start thinking about building a process for these different types of themes or topics how do you surface them? How do you know and evaluate when technology can be used to solve one of them? And so this initiative really opened up that opportunity and started down this path of thinking about how we operationalize these kinds of opportunities and challenges.

And then finally, and I think you’re hearing it both in my conversation as well as with you Mike, this is such a topic that’s personal and that so many people are passionate about. And at least for me, and I think for many of us that were part of this initiative, it’s very rare that you get to be a part of a project that has a tangible impact on somebody say both from your colleagues’ standpoint, but also for your customers. And so to be able to get on the ground floor of something like that and see that impact, it really is something special. And it was absolutely a benefit to this project as well as something that kept us going through what was again a very challenging time.

Mike Walsh:

For sure, for sure. Yeah, definitely and we kind of have to adapt to as well when Distancing Days came out that we did have to address it a couple of months later because we were seeing people work more. And so the question was, “Can I actually work on Distancing Day or not?” And we actually had to have that conversation as a company that it is really your time to do what you need to do, there is no expectation on what you do with this time, but just having that conversation on the intent of what a Distancing Day is and what it means for it’s your personal time to recharge that helped everybody kind of come back together and recognize, “Okay, I shouldn’t feel bad if I’m working or if I’m taking time off.” it really is about the individual.

So you kind of discussed a little bit about the role of technology in digital wellness, but I do want to kind of put a focus on that. So technology has helped us a ton when it comes to collaboration and communicating with each other, but it’s also become a source of frustration and always on culture. So what is the role of technology in your eyes when it comes to promoting digital wellness?

Alysia Eve:

No. I think you hit it, right? Technology can play on both ends. And I think there was an article recently in Gallup that personifies this. So this article talks about the fact that in 2020 for the first time that they’ve been tracking employee engagement and well-being actually moved in different directions, usually they move side-by-side. But if you think about it, it’s really not that surprising for many of us, we were shifted completely remote, maybe some of us were used to this and having a little bit more flexibility, but for many of us it was a jarring experience.

And we weren’t just working from home, right? We were parenting, maybe teaching, caregiving all the ins if you will, from home and what we found is that, that natural delineation between work and life, where to be frank there wasn’t much one anyway, but it was completely, completely taken away. There was no more commute where you could get yourself geared up for the day or decompress, everything was happening all at the same time and so what happened was, and you mentioned the burnout, all of us were working and some of us still continue to work all the time and it never feels like it ends.

And what you had was high levels of employee engagement which led to, in some cases, record levels of productivity that were reported by companies, but a degradation of overall well-being. And as you mentioned about technology, if you think about it technology was an enabler and in that scenario because if the pandemic would have happened, let’s say 15 years ago, this conversation would be fundamentally different. We didn’t have the technology and the communication tools that we have today to make that seamless shift and so as a result, technology really was a reason why we did and have gotten into the situation where we all feel like we’re working constantly.

But on the flip side, I also think technology can be part of the solution. When you’re in an environment where you’re either mostly remote or completely remote like many of us, technology is literally delivering the culture of your company and I think that this is an important point because a lot of organizations are now figuring out, well what comes next? Do want to allow people a hybrid structure they have complete choice? Do we want people back in the office when it’s appropriate and when it’s safe? Do we want people who knows they can work wherever they want whenever they want it and it’s all good? But one of the key considerations that I think organizations do need to think through is what is that experience going to look like?

You know, if you’re an organization that spends a lot of time talking about, “Employee experience is super important to us and we provide tools so that you can work anywhere on any device.” so on and so forth, but then the actual experience for remote employee is that everything is constantly crashing, they struggle to use the technology, they’re not able to get regular help and that overall they just feel disengaged because they’re not set up from the start with the right tools and technology that can help bridge that location gap, then what will end up happening over time is that you have trust as well as loyalty that starts to fade and that’s when you start to get into attrition challenges and retention issues which obviously have a pretty significant business impact.

And so I think organizations really need to think through what’s the role of technology? What’s the culture that you want to cultivate remotely in person or both? Because you probably have employees that do both and really prioritize thinking through that experience depending on where the person is working and what location they’re from. So technology has to be a key cornerstone of that strategy and working through that thought process.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah, for sure, for sure. You can’t avoid it. It is how we are connecting and communicating and working with each other, so you have to fold that into your process and into your culture and that’s actually something that executives and customers are asking us, “How can we use SocialChorus to promote culture within our companies?” And some of the ways I know our customers are starting to use them and some best practices that have emerged are really around… People are used to seeing quick short videos right on Instagram or Facebook or on their social channels and in their personal lives.

And so they’re looking for similar things from their leadership team. And so we’re seeing more and more leaders actually produce really quick selfie type videos and publish those on first up and send those directly to their employees and that’s a really easy, fast, inexpensive way to create an authentic experience with your employees, from the leadership to the front line on what’s most important. So we’re seeing that best practice really take off. It’s something that’s fast and easy to do. You just got to make the leap, it doesn’t require a ton of production, in fact, the less production the better we’re seeing. So that’s one way we’re seeing folks drive culture through technology.

Another way that we’re seeing in the best practice that we’re recommending is really around encouraging employees to have a voice through these types of platforms. So the ability to post photos of what they may be doing on their personal time or during some type of work event and to share to create a sense of community. To create shared recognition channels where you can give people shout outs and high fives and comment on that.

And then finally, the ability for folks and employees to provide feedback through comments, through polling, this is a way that we’re seeing folks drive culture and engagement across their organizations wherever they might be. Yeah, great points on kind of culture and technology. You actually had a really great thought experiment there, like what would have happened if this pandemic happened 15, 20 years ago? I mean, that’s kind of like a Black Mirror episode that we don’t need to go into right now, but that’s a pretty cool thought experiment. You talked about the role of choice a little bit, so how does choice play into driving wellness for your employees?

Alysia Eve:

Absolutely, and you actually in talking about how you all are seeing your customers use the product, you actually started hitting on it and choice is one way to think about it. I think another way is personalizing that experience for you and I think that from a technology standpoint, what’s really important is that the employee has the ability to make the decision about the role that they want their organization to play in their well-being or not, right? They might say, “I don’t want any of this.” You have to ultimately give a lot of flexibility to your employees to make that choice for themselves. And the first step in doing that is understanding what your employees are asking for and what they’re looking for from you.

And of course there’s not going to be one size fits all but then it’s deciding what different types of technology or programs, initiatives, and then using technology to surface those, and then your employees and your users can decide which ones they want to engage with, what makes a difference for them and ultimately it’s kind of like a choose your own adventure from a well-being standpoint. And then from there, you can build on that once you have some adoption and usage and understand that, but it also adds a layer of authenticity to the experience that your end users are able to design for themselves. And it really is about how they experience your culture and your well-being culture.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So kind of moving along to how you all are using technology to promote well-being within Citrix, I know you are using SocialChorus, how you going about using SocialChorus within Citrix?

Alysia Eve:

Yeah. Great question. So for us we use SocialChorus as a tool to keep our employees informed and engaged. And just like we were talking about choice and customizability, this is definitely something that we use with SocialChorus so the ability to decide what channels that you want to be a part of and get information from as well as the content and the frequency. And what’s really interesting is that when we were working through our well-being initiative, we worked with a well-being consultant and even got into the different types of communication and ultimately the response that you’re eliciting from that.

So as individuals, we all have preferences, maybe moment to moment about what we want to read about, do you want something that is more funny which is going to elicit a release of dopamine or do we want something that is more emotionally connected which is going to release an oxytocin and our employee communications manager called it high fives and hugs, which I thought was a really clever way of thinking about it. But ultimately it’s about putting well-being in the flow of a person’s day and it’s also when you’re thinking about these different tools including SocialChorus.

It’s about amplifying different kinds of communication. So many tools treat all communication equal, right? Everything gets the same ding or the same buzz, or the same notification, but not all information is equal and this is particularly the case for when you talk about an organization. So investing in tools and a strategy that differentiate between and allow you to differentiate between different types of information and communication, I think that this is a huge area that we’re going to see a lot of focus in over the next year.

Mike Walsh:

100%, if folks who are listening that was definitely one of the highlights in Kim’s keynote earlier this morning when it came to the new smart publisher and the ability to orchestrate and deliver information at the right time, to the right person, the right channel based on the priority of the information and what that receiver actually already has coming to them. So we’re taking into account a lot of what they already have in the pipe and trying to space it out accordingly to what’s going to get the most reads and the most reactions to drive the right behavior.

So much more to come on on the Smart Publisher and new Studio. Tell me a little bit Alysia about some of the things that you’ve learned from some of these initiatives that you guys have kicked off.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah. I mean, we could probably do a whole hour, you know, this a Black Mirror episode plus an hour conversation on this, right? But I think some of the high level, and we talked about this well-being is personal and so through this initiative we learned that you really need to make sure that you give employees and users as much autonomy and ability to customize their experience as possible because it is something that’s personal to each of us. And next, I don’t know that it’s a learning per se, but more of a point of excitement. Again, if we would’ve had this conversation even 18 months ago, well-being, mental health, these were not conversations out in the open yet, they were ones that were reserved for closed doors and outside of the business hours.

And what’s been so exciting is I think so many organizations now realize that the overall well-being as well as the mental health of their employees has literally a direct impact on that employee’s ability to be productive, to be engaged in the organization and so it’s wonderful to see so many conversations around this topic, again, now happening not just at an HR level, but all the way down. And I think that leads into the the third piece. Anytime we’d have this conversation, one of the inevitable comments or question is how do you empower managers to not just manage kind of a KPI driven type of assessment or management style, but one that actually embraces the entire employee and creates that space for them to communicate, be vulnerable and vice versa.

And so I don’t know that I have an answer to that, I know there’s a lot of technology out there that’s starting to think through that. It’s a challenging set of skills to begin with, but then when you move that to an entirely digital realm, it becomes even more so but I think that’s really almost the next frontier. Employee well-being, now we’re talking about it, there’s technology and sophistication with products like SocialChorus that are starting to address it. And then the next is how do you enable your managers to be able to feel confident in the ability to manage the whole employee and not just the part that shows up on email. So I think those are the big points.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah. And that is about human behavior and training and education. It definitely goes well beyond just technology, but definitely managers have a role to play in that as well, all right. Thanks. Well, as we’re kind of nearing the end, I would love for folks if you have questions, please put them in the chat box. We have a couple already that came in, but maybe before we get there, are there a couple of steps, a couple of quick steps that you could recommend folks to take if they want to start this wellness conversation with their company, if they want to get on this journey and make it really a part of the company’s culture and their DNA, what are some initial steps you’d recommend for folks?

Alysia Eve:

I mean, I think it’s really simple and you and I are doing it right now. It’s just having an honest conversation and it has to move beyond HR. It has to move into all the different organizations and lines of business within a company. And then what is your point of view on well-being? How does that relate to your culture? What are the touch points? What role does technology play? These are all open-ended questions I think every organization needs to start thinking through, and then you have a solid foundation in which to build on. But again, just having that conversation and starting to understand what your employees need from an organizational standpoint is the first step.

Mike Walsh:

Yep. Yeah. I heard starting the conversation and then I think earlier you talked too about getting a cross functional team in order because it’s not just one team or department, it’s many people that need to shape what this employee experience looks like when it comes to delivering and addressing the whole self, the whole employee. All right. Well with that, I’ll open up to questions, please put your questions in the chat box. We have a couple that have come in directly so one of these… Alysia is around, I think it’s more for you. How can you introduce technology innovation in a risk averse or change averse culture?

Alysia Eve:

Now that’s a great one. I think that it all again, starts with understanding your employees. And I think an important point and you and I both hit on it is that the well-being solution and strategy for Citrix or SocialChorus, it might not be the same as for another company. So first understanding what your organization and what your employees are looking for from you. What role do they want you to play? And so I think if you start from there, from a place of empathy and understanding and build on those specific and address those specific pain points, that gives you permission to start moving beyond that. But it’s definitely a process and it’s one that should be tailored to your specific workforce and your specific culture.

Mike Walsh:

Right. Right. Let’s see, there’s a question here. I guess like a question for you Alysia, how did you all think about… Did you do some type of survey or how did you get employee input and feedback into creating your wellness initiatives at Citrix?

Alysia Eve:

Absolutely. Well, we do regular surveys. We both do a larger one and then we do quarterly ones as well to understand how employees are feeling so that definitely is a starting point for us. But then through the process, we did interviews both internally, but then also with customers to understand and focus the initiative and the specific use cases and making sure that they were points of value for both our employees as well as our external. So again listening, right? Listening and directly addressing those needs.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah, for sure. Which is why it’s so important to have a cross-functional team so it’s not just from one department on the way down. Another question that’s come in is around how might you be able to get your teams to promote well-being? So well-being could be an initiative and a focus from the top, but how do you actually push that down to the line manager? The team manager who might be facing different characters.

Alysia Eve:

No, absolutely. And you nailed it, right? It’s all about the manager. You know, your direct manager is the reason you stay and your direct managers is the reason you leave. And I think as a manager myself and you as well, you have to empower your managers to model the type of environment that you want and that means sometimes being vulnerable as a manager and showing up as your authentic self and really exemplifying what type of culture you want to create and being an example of sorts.

And that’s the start, is understanding that and from an upper level management standpoint, empowering your managers to do that because once you set that tone as a manager, then your team it gives them permission to also start to bring their own well-being into the workplace. If they feel comfortable it at least creates that space for them to decide and they use a manager to connect with them to help make sure that their well-being is taken care of again, at that level that they’re looking for from you as a manager and an organization.

Mike Walsh:

Right, right. Yeah. At a previous company I was at too, a lot of employee recognition and awards will often go to the employees and the individual contributors out there, but sometimes the managers actually get over overlooked often because they’re kind of playing a background role trying to get their teams to play the storied role and get all the accolades and recognition. So they actually went out and created more of these manager awards too to recognize what a great manager is in the organization. What are the values and the examples of success that that manager shown and I think that was just an easy way of showing appreciation for the role of the manager because it’s one that often can get overlooked as they’re dealing with stuff from the top and stuff from the bottom. But it’s a critical role because that is the role and how work actually gets done within the organization.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Walsh:

All right. Well, I know we are about a couple of minutes over our time here. Alysia, thank you so much for taking time with us. You know, if folks want to learn more of a little bit about Citrix and wellness, where can they go to?

Alysia Eve:

Well, they can go to citrix.com and check out all of our different products, but also we have a whole page in Citrix Fieldwork dedicated to wellness and digital well-being. So check that out.

Mike Walsh:

Okay. All right. Well with that I will let folks go. I know we are going to go to break and we’ll see you in about 30 minutes. Thank you so much Alysia for joining us.

Alysia Eve:

Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Walsh:

All right. Thanks. Bye.

Alysia Eve:

Bye.

 

Video Transcript

Mike Walsh:

All right. Okay. Everybody welcome, hello. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you might be. My name is Mike Walsh, I’m the head of product marketing at SocialChorus. I’m very excited to speak with you today for the next 30 minutes on digital wellness. And we’ll explore what that term means, how Citrix is actually picking different types of initiatives to promote digital wellness throughout their company. And we will be speaking today with Alysia Eve, the director of product marketing at Citrix who has been very involved in their wellness initiative. So welcome Alysia to the conversation today.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, thanks Mike. I’m really excited to talk about our experience here at Citrix as well as answer questions from our audience.

Mike Walsh:

Awesome. Thank you. Well with that we do have about 30 minutes to talk about this topic so I would encourage everybody to jump into the chat window when you have questions, please put them in. We will try to address those as we go through the session and also at the end too. But before we jump into digital wellness, I want to first talk about a little bit of news that we saw yesterday with Citrix and it involves a very cool award that you all won and just wanted to recognize that and congratulate you on for winning one of the top 100 Best Places to Work on Fortune’s list.

So congrats on that, I know it’s a really big win. I’m sure your HR teams and your executives are virtually high-fiving each other on this award, but it’s just such a great jumping off point to our discussion on wellness because, you know, folks you can kind of take a look through what the write-up is there but you’ll see that a lot of it was really based on how you all treated your employees throughout the pandemic and the recognition and the importance that you put on having a transparent conversation with every employee when it came to really tough conversations.

So with that, I just kind of wanted to open it up to you Alysia and see how you all are reacting to the news and congrats again.

Alysia Eve:

No, absolutely yes. And it was purely coincidental this announcement and timing for the conversation today, but it’s definitely a really exciting acknowledgement of the support and empathy that Citrix as an organization and really the management showed employees during what was for most of us, if not all of us are really difficult time. And it’s interesting because at the start of the pandemic in a few forums, I actually mentioned that companies that really invest in their employees during this last difficult year, that that would start becoming a differentiator for organizations.

And I think as you look through this list, not just our entry, but if you look through a lot of these companies the quotes and the conversations are really about how companies went above and beyond to support their employees and how much that meant to us as employees. And so I think that’s exactly what we’re starting to see.

Mike Walsh:

Yes, for sure. It’s okay. Yeah, timing couldn’t have been better for this topic when we were talking about what are some ways that you’ve seen wellness and a focus on employee health pay off? Well, this I think is a great testament to all those efforts and the work you’ve all put in to putting the employees first. So with that, I will stop sharing and I think we’re now back into just speaker mode here so let’s just jump back into the digital wellness conversation. So Alysia I know you’ve been involved with digital wellness for a while now at Citrix, it was kind of not your full-time job but it was a passionate project that you had, tell me why you got started and how well this became a priority at Citrix.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been at Citrix now for just about five years, and I will say that during my time here wellness and well-being has always felt a part of the conversation and a priority for Citrix. And I’m sure that if you talk to our HR team, they’ll talk about how important it has been for the life of the company and how it’s been built into our culture. But my experience specifically was really around the pandemic and right around the height during the summer, what we started to realize both internally and then also in talking with our customers was that well-being was becoming a really big challenge.

And again, that’s something I think we can all relate to at this time, and for us from a Citrix standpoint we’re fortunate enough to have a product with Citrix Workspace that is flexible enough to address a variety of different use cases and both internally for us because we use our own products, but then also externally.

And so from there we assembled a cross-functional team and this team included me from a product marketing standpoint and other product marketing colleagues, but then also members from our HR team, as well as IT, product management, engineering, and the broader marketing organization, and we all came together to start thinking about from a holistic standpoint what well-being means from our standpoint and how we can leverage our technology to help insert well-being into the flow of not only our day from an employee standpoint, but then also how we can translate that into value in different use cases and opportunities for our customers.

And I think a really important part of this just to emphasize is that any of these conversations you definitely need to have somebody in HR a part of them because really what we’re talking about is using technology to personify and represent your well-being strategy, particularly when you’re in a situation where everybody is remote. And so that kicked off an entire initiative that continued until earlier this year when we launched new use cases both internally and externally focused on well-being through Citrix Workspace.

Mike Walsh:

Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. Great. We talked a little bit about some wellness and what you all have done, definitely the pandemic has ushered in more focus on how do we support employees through this challenging time. And just as an aside to it at SocialChorus, one thing that we’ve really focused on and pushed out and promoted at the beginning of this pandemic after we realized that people were working from home more hours, they’re starting to maybe overwork and the blurs between the office in the home have totally shifted, we wanted to avoid burnout that was potentially down the road, and we wanted to preserve space for people to have their time to think and recharge.

And so one of the things that we had done here and still have going every month is a concept called Distancing Days. And so Distancing Days is basically one Friday a month that the company gives back to employees to have personal time to really take that time to recharge. And so you can use that time to go on a hike, spend time with your family, decompress, or if you need to just catch up and get some personal work done, you can do that too. But the key concept here is no pings, no meetings, it’s your time, do what you got to need to come back refreshed and recharged so the next work week.

And that’s of course been a very popular initiative that we’ve put out there and we’re seeing a lot of people actually use the FirstUp platform, that’s our platform internally to actually share photos of what they’re doing on those distancing days, which again encourages some collaboration and fosters core relationships with your co-workers while we’re all working remotely. So maybe something for the audience here, just curious what types of wellness initiatives you might be using during this pandemic, and if you could put them in the chat box that would be great for your fellow attendees to get an idea of how you’re addressing this. So kind of moving the topic along Alysia what were some quick wins from your wellness initiatives that you saw when you first got started.

Alysia Eve:

Now, there were definitely a few right away. And I think the first and foremost that we had was the fact that we had significant amount of executive buy-in and this is where for us, and not only having a product that we can leverage similar to what you’re mentioning with SocialChorus that we can leverage to address these kinds of use cases but also we are in many ways from a Citrix standpoint our own customer, and we’re very similar to many of our customers and so we knew that internally to your point about well-being that there was definitely a struggle that burnout was starting to really become an issue and we also heard it from customers and we still do where in conversations with customers when we start talking about different elements of well-being and the technology available, they’ll volunteer the fact that my team is burnout and we’re really trying to find a way that we can find some balance.

But from an executive standpoint for us every one of our executives knew that this was something that we needed to address and it was also something that we could, leveraging the technology that we had. Second was, and I mentioned that cross-functional team and that was such a key part of the initiative because if you think about the different groups I mentioned, HR, IT, marketing, product marketing, it’s very rare that these kinds of groups come together in a regular basis, let alone be aligned behind a single initiative and the results of that allowed us to really think through a holistic strategy and be really empathetic to the challenges that each one of us was facing and that got represented ultimately both in the use cases that we were able to put forth internally as well as for our customers, but then also some of the like more of the articles and blog posts and whatnot that ended up being a part of the initiative as well.

Again, a lot of that was based on our own experience across all these different groups and it also laid the foundation for us to start thinking about building a process for these different types of themes or topics how do you surface them? How do you know and evaluate when technology can be used to solve one of them? And so this initiative really opened up that opportunity and started down this path of thinking about how we operationalize these kinds of opportunities and challenges.

And then finally, and I think you’re hearing it both in my conversation as well as with you Mike, this is such a topic that’s personal and that so many people are passionate about. And at least for me, and I think for many of us that were part of this initiative, it’s very rare that you get to be a part of a project that has a tangible impact on somebody say both from your colleagues’ standpoint, but also for your customers. And so to be able to get on the ground floor of something like that and see that impact, it really is something special. And it was absolutely a benefit to this project as well as something that kept us going through what was again a very challenging time.

Mike Walsh:

For sure, for sure. Yeah, definitely and we kind of have to adapt to as well when Distancing Days came out that we did have to address it a couple of months later because we were seeing people work more. And so the question was, “Can I actually work on Distancing Day or not?” And we actually had to have that conversation as a company that it is really your time to do what you need to do, there is no expectation on what you do with this time, but just having that conversation on the intent of what a Distancing Day is and what it means for it’s your personal time to recharge that helped everybody kind of come back together and recognize, “Okay, I shouldn’t feel bad if I’m working or if I’m taking time off.” it really is about the individual.

So you kind of discussed a little bit about the role of technology in digital wellness, but I do want to kind of put a focus on that. So technology has helped us a ton when it comes to collaboration and communicating with each other, but it’s also become a source of frustration and always on culture. So what is the role of technology in your eyes when it comes to promoting digital wellness?

Alysia Eve:

No. I think you hit it, right? Technology can play on both ends. And I think there was an article recently in Gallup that personifies this. So this article talks about the fact that in 2020 for the first time that they’ve been tracking employee engagement and well-being actually moved in different directions, usually they move side-by-side. But if you think about it, it’s really not that surprising for many of us, we were shifted completely remote, maybe some of us were used to this and having a little bit more flexibility, but for many of us it was a jarring experience.

And we weren’t just working from home, right? We were parenting, maybe teaching, caregiving all the ins if you will, from home and what we found is that, that natural delineation between work and life, where to be frank there wasn’t much one anyway, but it was completely, completely taken away. There was no more commute where you could get yourself geared up for the day or decompress, everything was happening all at the same time and so what happened was, and you mentioned the burnout, all of us were working and some of us still continue to work all the time and it never feels like it ends.

And what you had was high levels of employee engagement which led to, in some cases, record levels of productivity that were reported by companies, but a degradation of overall well-being. And as you mentioned about technology, if you think about it technology was an enabler and in that scenario because if the pandemic would have happened, let’s say 15 years ago, this conversation would be fundamentally different. We didn’t have the technology and the communication tools that we have today to make that seamless shift and so as a result, technology really was a reason why we did and have gotten into the situation where we all feel like we’re working constantly.

But on the flip side, I also think technology can be part of the solution. When you’re in an environment where you’re either mostly remote or completely remote like many of us, technology is literally delivering the culture of your company and I think that this is an important point because a lot of organizations are now figuring out, well what comes next? Do want to allow people a hybrid structure they have complete choice? Do we want people back in the office when it’s appropriate and when it’s safe? Do we want people who knows they can work wherever they want whenever they want it and it’s all good? But one of the key considerations that I think organizations do need to think through is what is that experience going to look like?

You know, if you’re an organization that spends a lot of time talking about, “Employee experience is super important to us and we provide tools so that you can work anywhere on any device.” so on and so forth, but then the actual experience for remote employee is that everything is constantly crashing, they struggle to use the technology, they’re not able to get regular help and that overall they just feel disengaged because they’re not set up from the start with the right tools and technology that can help bridge that location gap, then what will end up happening over time is that you have trust as well as loyalty that starts to fade and that’s when you start to get into attrition challenges and retention issues which obviously have a pretty significant business impact.

And so I think organizations really need to think through what’s the role of technology? What’s the culture that you want to cultivate remotely in person or both? Because you probably have employees that do both and really prioritize thinking through that experience depending on where the person is working and what location they’re from. So technology has to be a key cornerstone of that strategy and working through that thought process.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah, for sure, for sure. You can’t avoid it. It is how we are connecting and communicating and working with each other, so you have to fold that into your process and into your culture and that’s actually something that executives and customers are asking us, “How can we use SocialChorus to promote culture within our companies?” And some of the ways I know our customers are starting to use them and some best practices that have emerged are really around… People are used to seeing quick short videos right on Instagram or Facebook or on their social channels and in their personal lives.

And so they’re looking for similar things from their leadership team. And so we’re seeing more and more leaders actually produce really quick selfie type videos and publish those on first up and send those directly to their employees and that’s a really easy, fast, inexpensive way to create an authentic experience with your employees, from the leadership to the front line on what’s most important. So we’re seeing that best practice really take off. It’s something that’s fast and easy to do. You just got to make the leap, it doesn’t require a ton of production, in fact, the less production the better we’re seeing. So that’s one way we’re seeing folks drive culture through technology.

Another way that we’re seeing in the best practice that we’re recommending is really around encouraging employees to have a voice through these types of platforms. So the ability to post photos of what they may be doing on their personal time or during some type of work event and to share to create a sense of community. To create shared recognition channels where you can give people shout outs and high fives and comment on that.

And then finally, the ability for folks and employees to provide feedback through comments, through polling, this is a way that we’re seeing folks drive culture and engagement across their organizations wherever they might be. Yeah, great points on kind of culture and technology. You actually had a really great thought experiment there, like what would have happened if this pandemic happened 15, 20 years ago? I mean, that’s kind of like a Black Mirror episode that we don’t need to go into right now, but that’s a pretty cool thought experiment. You talked about the role of choice a little bit, so how does choice play into driving wellness for your employees?

Alysia Eve:

Absolutely, and you actually in talking about how you all are seeing your customers use the product, you actually started hitting on it and choice is one way to think about it. I think another way is personalizing that experience for you and I think that from a technology standpoint, what’s really important is that the employee has the ability to make the decision about the role that they want their organization to play in their well-being or not, right? They might say, “I don’t want any of this.” You have to ultimately give a lot of flexibility to your employees to make that choice for themselves. And the first step in doing that is understanding what your employees are asking for and what they’re looking for from you.

And of course there’s not going to be one size fits all but then it’s deciding what different types of technology or programs, initiatives, and then using technology to surface those, and then your employees and your users can decide which ones they want to engage with, what makes a difference for them and ultimately it’s kind of like a choose your own adventure from a well-being standpoint. And then from there, you can build on that once you have some adoption and usage and understand that, but it also adds a layer of authenticity to the experience that your end users are able to design for themselves. And it really is about how they experience your culture and your well-being culture.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So kind of moving along to how you all are using technology to promote well-being within Citrix, I know you are using SocialChorus, how you going about using SocialChorus within Citrix?

Alysia Eve:

Yeah. Great question. So for us we use SocialChorus as a tool to keep our employees informed and engaged. And just like we were talking about choice and customizability, this is definitely something that we use with SocialChorus so the ability to decide what channels that you want to be a part of and get information from as well as the content and the frequency. And what’s really interesting is that when we were working through our well-being initiative, we worked with a well-being consultant and even got into the different types of communication and ultimately the response that you’re eliciting from that.

So as individuals, we all have preferences, maybe moment to moment about what we want to read about, do you want something that is more funny which is going to elicit a release of dopamine or do we want something that is more emotionally connected which is going to release an oxytocin and our employee communications manager called it high fives and hugs, which I thought was a really clever way of thinking about it. But ultimately it’s about putting well-being in the flow of a person’s day and it’s also when you’re thinking about these different tools including SocialChorus.

It’s about amplifying different kinds of communication. So many tools treat all communication equal, right? Everything gets the same ding or the same buzz, or the same notification, but not all information is equal and this is particularly the case for when you talk about an organization. So investing in tools and a strategy that differentiate between and allow you to differentiate between different types of information and communication, I think that this is a huge area that we’re going to see a lot of focus in over the next year.

Mike Walsh:

100%, if folks who are listening that was definitely one of the highlights in Kim’s keynote earlier this morning when it came to the new smart publisher and the ability to orchestrate and deliver information at the right time, to the right person, the right channel based on the priority of the information and what that receiver actually already has coming to them. So we’re taking into account a lot of what they already have in the pipe and trying to space it out accordingly to what’s going to get the most reads and the most reactions to drive the right behavior.

So much more to come on on the Smart Publisher and new Studio. Tell me a little bit Alysia about some of the things that you’ve learned from some of these initiatives that you guys have kicked off.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah. I mean, we could probably do a whole hour, you know, this a Black Mirror episode plus an hour conversation on this, right? But I think some of the high level, and we talked about this well-being is personal and so through this initiative we learned that you really need to make sure that you give employees and users as much autonomy and ability to customize their experience as possible because it is something that’s personal to each of us. And next, I don’t know that it’s a learning per se, but more of a point of excitement. Again, if we would’ve had this conversation even 18 months ago, well-being, mental health, these were not conversations out in the open yet, they were ones that were reserved for closed doors and outside of the business hours.

And what’s been so exciting is I think so many organizations now realize that the overall well-being as well as the mental health of their employees has literally a direct impact on that employee’s ability to be productive, to be engaged in the organization and so it’s wonderful to see so many conversations around this topic, again, now happening not just at an HR level, but all the way down. And I think that leads into the the third piece. Anytime we’d have this conversation, one of the inevitable comments or question is how do you empower managers to not just manage kind of a KPI driven type of assessment or management style, but one that actually embraces the entire employee and creates that space for them to communicate, be vulnerable and vice versa.

And so I don’t know that I have an answer to that, I know there’s a lot of technology out there that’s starting to think through that. It’s a challenging set of skills to begin with, but then when you move that to an entirely digital realm, it becomes even more so but I think that’s really almost the next frontier. Employee well-being, now we’re talking about it, there’s technology and sophistication with products like SocialChorus that are starting to address it. And then the next is how do you enable your managers to be able to feel confident in the ability to manage the whole employee and not just the part that shows up on email. So I think those are the big points.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah. And that is about human behavior and training and education. It definitely goes well beyond just technology, but definitely managers have a role to play in that as well, all right. Thanks. Well, as we’re kind of nearing the end, I would love for folks if you have questions, please put them in the chat box. We have a couple already that came in, but maybe before we get there, are there a couple of steps, a couple of quick steps that you could recommend folks to take if they want to start this wellness conversation with their company, if they want to get on this journey and make it really a part of the company’s culture and their DNA, what are some initial steps you’d recommend for folks?

Alysia Eve:

I mean, I think it’s really simple and you and I are doing it right now. It’s just having an honest conversation and it has to move beyond HR. It has to move into all the different organizations and lines of business within a company. And then what is your point of view on well-being? How does that relate to your culture? What are the touch points? What role does technology play? These are all open-ended questions I think every organization needs to start thinking through, and then you have a solid foundation in which to build on. But again, just having that conversation and starting to understand what your employees need from an organizational standpoint is the first step.

Mike Walsh:

Yep. Yeah. I heard starting the conversation and then I think earlier you talked too about getting a cross functional team in order because it’s not just one team or department, it’s many people that need to shape what this employee experience looks like when it comes to delivering and addressing the whole self, the whole employee. All right. Well with that, I’ll open up to questions, please put your questions in the chat box. We have a couple that have come in directly so one of these… Alysia is around, I think it’s more for you. How can you introduce technology innovation in a risk averse or change averse culture?

Alysia Eve:

Now that’s a great one. I think that it all again, starts with understanding your employees. And I think an important point and you and I both hit on it is that the well-being solution and strategy for Citrix or SocialChorus, it might not be the same as for another company. So first understanding what your organization and what your employees are looking for from you. What role do they want you to play? And so I think if you start from there, from a place of empathy and understanding and build on those specific and address those specific pain points, that gives you permission to start moving beyond that. But it’s definitely a process and it’s one that should be tailored to your specific workforce and your specific culture.

Mike Walsh:

Right. Right. Let’s see, there’s a question here. I guess like a question for you Alysia, how did you all think about… Did you do some type of survey or how did you get employee input and feedback into creating your wellness initiatives at Citrix?

Alysia Eve:

Absolutely. Well, we do regular surveys. We both do a larger one and then we do quarterly ones as well to understand how employees are feeling so that definitely is a starting point for us. But then through the process, we did interviews both internally, but then also with customers to understand and focus the initiative and the specific use cases and making sure that they were points of value for both our employees as well as our external. So again listening, right? Listening and directly addressing those needs.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah, for sure. Which is why it’s so important to have a cross-functional team so it’s not just from one department on the way down. Another question that’s come in is around how might you be able to get your teams to promote well-being? So well-being could be an initiative and a focus from the top, but how do you actually push that down to the line manager? The team manager who might be facing different characters.

Alysia Eve:

No, absolutely. And you nailed it, right? It’s all about the manager. You know, your direct manager is the reason you stay and your direct managers is the reason you leave. And I think as a manager myself and you as well, you have to empower your managers to model the type of environment that you want and that means sometimes being vulnerable as a manager and showing up as your authentic self and really exemplifying what type of culture you want to create and being an example of sorts.

And that’s the start, is understanding that and from an upper level management standpoint, empowering your managers to do that because once you set that tone as a manager, then your team it gives them permission to also start to bring their own well-being into the workplace. If they feel comfortable it at least creates that space for them to decide and they use a manager to connect with them to help make sure that their well-being is taken care of again, at that level that they’re looking for from you as a manager and an organization.

Mike Walsh:

Right, right. Yeah. At a previous company I was at too, a lot of employee recognition and awards will often go to the employees and the individual contributors out there, but sometimes the managers actually get over overlooked often because they’re kind of playing a background role trying to get their teams to play the storied role and get all the accolades and recognition. So they actually went out and created more of these manager awards too to recognize what a great manager is in the organization. What are the values and the examples of success that that manager shown and I think that was just an easy way of showing appreciation for the role of the manager because it’s one that often can get overlooked as they’re dealing with stuff from the top and stuff from the bottom. But it’s a critical role because that is the role and how work actually gets done within the organization.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Walsh:

All right. Well, I know we are about a couple of minutes over our time here. Alysia, thank you so much for taking time with us. You know, if folks want to learn more of a little bit about Citrix and wellness, where can they go to?

Alysia Eve:

Well, they can go to citrix.com and check out all of our different products, but also we have a whole page in Citrix Fieldwork dedicated to wellness and digital well-being. So check that out.

Mike Walsh:

Okay. All right. Well with that I will let folks go. I know we are going to go to break and we’ll see you in about 30 minutes. Thank you so much Alysia for joining us.

Alysia Eve:

Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Walsh:

All right. Thanks. Bye.

Alysia Eve:

Bye.

 

Expand Transcript

Video Transcript

Mike Walsh:

All right. Okay. Everybody welcome, hello. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you might be. My name is Mike Walsh, I’m the head of product marketing at SocialChorus. I’m very excited to speak with you today for the next 30 minutes on digital wellness. And we’ll explore what that term means, how Citrix is actually picking different types of initiatives to promote digital wellness throughout their company. And we will be speaking today with Alysia Eve, the director of product marketing at Citrix who has been very involved in their wellness initiative. So welcome Alysia to the conversation today.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, thanks Mike. I’m really excited to talk about our experience here at Citrix as well as answer questions from our audience.

Mike Walsh:

Awesome. Thank you. Well with that we do have about 30 minutes to talk about this topic so I would encourage everybody to jump into the chat window when you have questions, please put them in. We will try to address those as we go through the session and also at the end too. But before we jump into digital wellness, I want to first talk about a little bit of news that we saw yesterday with Citrix and it involves a very cool award that you all won and just wanted to recognize that and congratulate you on for winning one of the top 100 Best Places to Work on Fortune’s list.

So congrats on that, I know it’s a really big win. I’m sure your HR teams and your executives are virtually high-fiving each other on this award, but it’s just such a great jumping off point to our discussion on wellness because, you know, folks you can kind of take a look through what the write-up is there but you’ll see that a lot of it was really based on how you all treated your employees throughout the pandemic and the recognition and the importance that you put on having a transparent conversation with every employee when it came to really tough conversations.

So with that, I just kind of wanted to open it up to you Alysia and see how you all are reacting to the news and congrats again.

Alysia Eve:

No, absolutely yes. And it was purely coincidental this announcement and timing for the conversation today, but it’s definitely a really exciting acknowledgement of the support and empathy that Citrix as an organization and really the management showed employees during what was for most of us, if not all of us are really difficult time. And it’s interesting because at the start of the pandemic in a few forums, I actually mentioned that companies that really invest in their employees during this last difficult year, that that would start becoming a differentiator for organizations.

And I think as you look through this list, not just our entry, but if you look through a lot of these companies the quotes and the conversations are really about how companies went above and beyond to support their employees and how much that meant to us as employees. And so I think that’s exactly what we’re starting to see.

Mike Walsh:

Yes, for sure. It’s okay. Yeah, timing couldn’t have been better for this topic when we were talking about what are some ways that you’ve seen wellness and a focus on employee health pay off? Well, this I think is a great testament to all those efforts and the work you’ve all put in to putting the employees first. So with that, I will stop sharing and I think we’re now back into just speaker mode here so let’s just jump back into the digital wellness conversation. So Alysia I know you’ve been involved with digital wellness for a while now at Citrix, it was kind of not your full-time job but it was a passionate project that you had, tell me why you got started and how well this became a priority at Citrix.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve been at Citrix now for just about five years, and I will say that during my time here wellness and well-being has always felt a part of the conversation and a priority for Citrix. And I’m sure that if you talk to our HR team, they’ll talk about how important it has been for the life of the company and how it’s been built into our culture. But my experience specifically was really around the pandemic and right around the height during the summer, what we started to realize both internally and then also in talking with our customers was that well-being was becoming a really big challenge.

And again, that’s something I think we can all relate to at this time, and for us from a Citrix standpoint we’re fortunate enough to have a product with Citrix Workspace that is flexible enough to address a variety of different use cases and both internally for us because we use our own products, but then also externally.

And so from there we assembled a cross-functional team and this team included me from a product marketing standpoint and other product marketing colleagues, but then also members from our HR team, as well as IT, product management, engineering, and the broader marketing organization, and we all came together to start thinking about from a holistic standpoint what well-being means from our standpoint and how we can leverage our technology to help insert well-being into the flow of not only our day from an employee standpoint, but then also how we can translate that into value in different use cases and opportunities for our customers.

And I think a really important part of this just to emphasize is that any of these conversations you definitely need to have somebody in HR a part of them because really what we’re talking about is using technology to personify and represent your well-being strategy, particularly when you’re in a situation where everybody is remote. And so that kicked off an entire initiative that continued until earlier this year when we launched new use cases both internally and externally focused on well-being through Citrix Workspace.

Mike Walsh:

Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. Great. We talked a little bit about some wellness and what you all have done, definitely the pandemic has ushered in more focus on how do we support employees through this challenging time. And just as an aside to it at SocialChorus, one thing that we’ve really focused on and pushed out and promoted at the beginning of this pandemic after we realized that people were working from home more hours, they’re starting to maybe overwork and the blurs between the office in the home have totally shifted, we wanted to avoid burnout that was potentially down the road, and we wanted to preserve space for people to have their time to think and recharge.

And so one of the things that we had done here and still have going every month is a concept called Distancing Days. And so Distancing Days is basically one Friday a month that the company gives back to employees to have personal time to really take that time to recharge. And so you can use that time to go on a hike, spend time with your family, decompress, or if you need to just catch up and get some personal work done, you can do that too. But the key concept here is no pings, no meetings, it’s your time, do what you got to need to come back refreshed and recharged so the next work week.

And that’s of course been a very popular initiative that we’ve put out there and we’re seeing a lot of people actually use the FirstUp platform, that’s our platform internally to actually share photos of what they’re doing on those distancing days, which again encourages some collaboration and fosters core relationships with your co-workers while we’re all working remotely. So maybe something for the audience here, just curious what types of wellness initiatives you might be using during this pandemic, and if you could put them in the chat box that would be great for your fellow attendees to get an idea of how you’re addressing this. So kind of moving the topic along Alysia what were some quick wins from your wellness initiatives that you saw when you first got started.

Alysia Eve:

Now, there were definitely a few right away. And I think the first and foremost that we had was the fact that we had significant amount of executive buy-in and this is where for us, and not only having a product that we can leverage similar to what you’re mentioning with SocialChorus that we can leverage to address these kinds of use cases but also we are in many ways from a Citrix standpoint our own customer, and we’re very similar to many of our customers and so we knew that internally to your point about well-being that there was definitely a struggle that burnout was starting to really become an issue and we also heard it from customers and we still do where in conversations with customers when we start talking about different elements of well-being and the technology available, they’ll volunteer the fact that my team is burnout and we’re really trying to find a way that we can find some balance.

But from an executive standpoint for us every one of our executives knew that this was something that we needed to address and it was also something that we could, leveraging the technology that we had. Second was, and I mentioned that cross-functional team and that was such a key part of the initiative because if you think about the different groups I mentioned, HR, IT, marketing, product marketing, it’s very rare that these kinds of groups come together in a regular basis, let alone be aligned behind a single initiative and the results of that allowed us to really think through a holistic strategy and be really empathetic to the challenges that each one of us was facing and that got represented ultimately both in the use cases that we were able to put forth internally as well as for our customers, but then also some of the like more of the articles and blog posts and whatnot that ended up being a part of the initiative as well.

Again, a lot of that was based on our own experience across all these different groups and it also laid the foundation for us to start thinking about building a process for these different types of themes or topics how do you surface them? How do you know and evaluate when technology can be used to solve one of them? And so this initiative really opened up that opportunity and started down this path of thinking about how we operationalize these kinds of opportunities and challenges.

And then finally, and I think you’re hearing it both in my conversation as well as with you Mike, this is such a topic that’s personal and that so many people are passionate about. And at least for me, and I think for many of us that were part of this initiative, it’s very rare that you get to be a part of a project that has a tangible impact on somebody say both from your colleagues’ standpoint, but also for your customers. And so to be able to get on the ground floor of something like that and see that impact, it really is something special. And it was absolutely a benefit to this project as well as something that kept us going through what was again a very challenging time.

Mike Walsh:

For sure, for sure. Yeah, definitely and we kind of have to adapt to as well when Distancing Days came out that we did have to address it a couple of months later because we were seeing people work more. And so the question was, “Can I actually work on Distancing Day or not?” And we actually had to have that conversation as a company that it is really your time to do what you need to do, there is no expectation on what you do with this time, but just having that conversation on the intent of what a Distancing Day is and what it means for it’s your personal time to recharge that helped everybody kind of come back together and recognize, “Okay, I shouldn’t feel bad if I’m working or if I’m taking time off.” it really is about the individual.

So you kind of discussed a little bit about the role of technology in digital wellness, but I do want to kind of put a focus on that. So technology has helped us a ton when it comes to collaboration and communicating with each other, but it’s also become a source of frustration and always on culture. So what is the role of technology in your eyes when it comes to promoting digital wellness?

Alysia Eve:

No. I think you hit it, right? Technology can play on both ends. And I think there was an article recently in Gallup that personifies this. So this article talks about the fact that in 2020 for the first time that they’ve been tracking employee engagement and well-being actually moved in different directions, usually they move side-by-side. But if you think about it, it’s really not that surprising for many of us, we were shifted completely remote, maybe some of us were used to this and having a little bit more flexibility, but for many of us it was a jarring experience.

And we weren’t just working from home, right? We were parenting, maybe teaching, caregiving all the ins if you will, from home and what we found is that, that natural delineation between work and life, where to be frank there wasn’t much one anyway, but it was completely, completely taken away. There was no more commute where you could get yourself geared up for the day or decompress, everything was happening all at the same time and so what happened was, and you mentioned the burnout, all of us were working and some of us still continue to work all the time and it never feels like it ends.

And what you had was high levels of employee engagement which led to, in some cases, record levels of productivity that were reported by companies, but a degradation of overall well-being. And as you mentioned about technology, if you think about it technology was an enabler and in that scenario because if the pandemic would have happened, let’s say 15 years ago, this conversation would be fundamentally different. We didn’t have the technology and the communication tools that we have today to make that seamless shift and so as a result, technology really was a reason why we did and have gotten into the situation where we all feel like we’re working constantly.

But on the flip side, I also think technology can be part of the solution. When you’re in an environment where you’re either mostly remote or completely remote like many of us, technology is literally delivering the culture of your company and I think that this is an important point because a lot of organizations are now figuring out, well what comes next? Do want to allow people a hybrid structure they have complete choice? Do we want people back in the office when it’s appropriate and when it’s safe? Do we want people who knows they can work wherever they want whenever they want it and it’s all good? But one of the key considerations that I think organizations do need to think through is what is that experience going to look like?

You know, if you’re an organization that spends a lot of time talking about, “Employee experience is super important to us and we provide tools so that you can work anywhere on any device.” so on and so forth, but then the actual experience for remote employee is that everything is constantly crashing, they struggle to use the technology, they’re not able to get regular help and that overall they just feel disengaged because they’re not set up from the start with the right tools and technology that can help bridge that location gap, then what will end up happening over time is that you have trust as well as loyalty that starts to fade and that’s when you start to get into attrition challenges and retention issues which obviously have a pretty significant business impact.

And so I think organizations really need to think through what’s the role of technology? What’s the culture that you want to cultivate remotely in person or both? Because you probably have employees that do both and really prioritize thinking through that experience depending on where the person is working and what location they’re from. So technology has to be a key cornerstone of that strategy and working through that thought process.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah, for sure, for sure. You can’t avoid it. It is how we are connecting and communicating and working with each other, so you have to fold that into your process and into your culture and that’s actually something that executives and customers are asking us, “How can we use SocialChorus to promote culture within our companies?” And some of the ways I know our customers are starting to use them and some best practices that have emerged are really around… People are used to seeing quick short videos right on Instagram or Facebook or on their social channels and in their personal lives.

And so they’re looking for similar things from their leadership team. And so we’re seeing more and more leaders actually produce really quick selfie type videos and publish those on first up and send those directly to their employees and that’s a really easy, fast, inexpensive way to create an authentic experience with your employees, from the leadership to the front line on what’s most important. So we’re seeing that best practice really take off. It’s something that’s fast and easy to do. You just got to make the leap, it doesn’t require a ton of production, in fact, the less production the better we’re seeing. So that’s one way we’re seeing folks drive culture through technology.

Another way that we’re seeing in the best practice that we’re recommending is really around encouraging employees to have a voice through these types of platforms. So the ability to post photos of what they may be doing on their personal time or during some type of work event and to share to create a sense of community. To create shared recognition channels where you can give people shout outs and high fives and comment on that.

And then finally, the ability for folks and employees to provide feedback through comments, through polling, this is a way that we’re seeing folks drive culture and engagement across their organizations wherever they might be. Yeah, great points on kind of culture and technology. You actually had a really great thought experiment there, like what would have happened if this pandemic happened 15, 20 years ago? I mean, that’s kind of like a Black Mirror episode that we don’t need to go into right now, but that’s a pretty cool thought experiment. You talked about the role of choice a little bit, so how does choice play into driving wellness for your employees?

Alysia Eve:

Absolutely, and you actually in talking about how you all are seeing your customers use the product, you actually started hitting on it and choice is one way to think about it. I think another way is personalizing that experience for you and I think that from a technology standpoint, what’s really important is that the employee has the ability to make the decision about the role that they want their organization to play in their well-being or not, right? They might say, “I don’t want any of this.” You have to ultimately give a lot of flexibility to your employees to make that choice for themselves. And the first step in doing that is understanding what your employees are asking for and what they’re looking for from you.

And of course there’s not going to be one size fits all but then it’s deciding what different types of technology or programs, initiatives, and then using technology to surface those, and then your employees and your users can decide which ones they want to engage with, what makes a difference for them and ultimately it’s kind of like a choose your own adventure from a well-being standpoint. And then from there, you can build on that once you have some adoption and usage and understand that, but it also adds a layer of authenticity to the experience that your end users are able to design for themselves. And it really is about how they experience your culture and your well-being culture.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So kind of moving along to how you all are using technology to promote well-being within Citrix, I know you are using SocialChorus, how you going about using SocialChorus within Citrix?

Alysia Eve:

Yeah. Great question. So for us we use SocialChorus as a tool to keep our employees informed and engaged. And just like we were talking about choice and customizability, this is definitely something that we use with SocialChorus so the ability to decide what channels that you want to be a part of and get information from as well as the content and the frequency. And what’s really interesting is that when we were working through our well-being initiative, we worked with a well-being consultant and even got into the different types of communication and ultimately the response that you’re eliciting from that.

So as individuals, we all have preferences, maybe moment to moment about what we want to read about, do you want something that is more funny which is going to elicit a release of dopamine or do we want something that is more emotionally connected which is going to release an oxytocin and our employee communications manager called it high fives and hugs, which I thought was a really clever way of thinking about it. But ultimately it’s about putting well-being in the flow of a person’s day and it’s also when you’re thinking about these different tools including SocialChorus.

It’s about amplifying different kinds of communication. So many tools treat all communication equal, right? Everything gets the same ding or the same buzz, or the same notification, but not all information is equal and this is particularly the case for when you talk about an organization. So investing in tools and a strategy that differentiate between and allow you to differentiate between different types of information and communication, I think that this is a huge area that we’re going to see a lot of focus in over the next year.

Mike Walsh:

100%, if folks who are listening that was definitely one of the highlights in Kim’s keynote earlier this morning when it came to the new smart publisher and the ability to orchestrate and deliver information at the right time, to the right person, the right channel based on the priority of the information and what that receiver actually already has coming to them. So we’re taking into account a lot of what they already have in the pipe and trying to space it out accordingly to what’s going to get the most reads and the most reactions to drive the right behavior.

So much more to come on on the Smart Publisher and new Studio. Tell me a little bit Alysia about some of the things that you’ve learned from some of these initiatives that you guys have kicked off.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah. I mean, we could probably do a whole hour, you know, this a Black Mirror episode plus an hour conversation on this, right? But I think some of the high level, and we talked about this well-being is personal and so through this initiative we learned that you really need to make sure that you give employees and users as much autonomy and ability to customize their experience as possible because it is something that’s personal to each of us. And next, I don’t know that it’s a learning per se, but more of a point of excitement. Again, if we would’ve had this conversation even 18 months ago, well-being, mental health, these were not conversations out in the open yet, they were ones that were reserved for closed doors and outside of the business hours.

And what’s been so exciting is I think so many organizations now realize that the overall well-being as well as the mental health of their employees has literally a direct impact on that employee’s ability to be productive, to be engaged in the organization and so it’s wonderful to see so many conversations around this topic, again, now happening not just at an HR level, but all the way down. And I think that leads into the the third piece. Anytime we’d have this conversation, one of the inevitable comments or question is how do you empower managers to not just manage kind of a KPI driven type of assessment or management style, but one that actually embraces the entire employee and creates that space for them to communicate, be vulnerable and vice versa.

And so I don’t know that I have an answer to that, I know there’s a lot of technology out there that’s starting to think through that. It’s a challenging set of skills to begin with, but then when you move that to an entirely digital realm, it becomes even more so but I think that’s really almost the next frontier. Employee well-being, now we’re talking about it, there’s technology and sophistication with products like SocialChorus that are starting to address it. And then the next is how do you enable your managers to be able to feel confident in the ability to manage the whole employee and not just the part that shows up on email. So I think those are the big points.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah. And that is about human behavior and training and education. It definitely goes well beyond just technology, but definitely managers have a role to play in that as well, all right. Thanks. Well, as we’re kind of nearing the end, I would love for folks if you have questions, please put them in the chat box. We have a couple already that came in, but maybe before we get there, are there a couple of steps, a couple of quick steps that you could recommend folks to take if they want to start this wellness conversation with their company, if they want to get on this journey and make it really a part of the company’s culture and their DNA, what are some initial steps you’d recommend for folks?

Alysia Eve:

I mean, I think it’s really simple and you and I are doing it right now. It’s just having an honest conversation and it has to move beyond HR. It has to move into all the different organizations and lines of business within a company. And then what is your point of view on well-being? How does that relate to your culture? What are the touch points? What role does technology play? These are all open-ended questions I think every organization needs to start thinking through, and then you have a solid foundation in which to build on. But again, just having that conversation and starting to understand what your employees need from an organizational standpoint is the first step.

Mike Walsh:

Yep. Yeah. I heard starting the conversation and then I think earlier you talked too about getting a cross functional team in order because it’s not just one team or department, it’s many people that need to shape what this employee experience looks like when it comes to delivering and addressing the whole self, the whole employee. All right. Well with that, I’ll open up to questions, please put your questions in the chat box. We have a couple that have come in directly so one of these… Alysia is around, I think it’s more for you. How can you introduce technology innovation in a risk averse or change averse culture?

Alysia Eve:

Now that’s a great one. I think that it all again, starts with understanding your employees. And I think an important point and you and I both hit on it is that the well-being solution and strategy for Citrix or SocialChorus, it might not be the same as for another company. So first understanding what your organization and what your employees are looking for from you. What role do they want you to play? And so I think if you start from there, from a place of empathy and understanding and build on those specific and address those specific pain points, that gives you permission to start moving beyond that. But it’s definitely a process and it’s one that should be tailored to your specific workforce and your specific culture.

Mike Walsh:

Right. Right. Let’s see, there’s a question here. I guess like a question for you Alysia, how did you all think about… Did you do some type of survey or how did you get employee input and feedback into creating your wellness initiatives at Citrix?

Alysia Eve:

Absolutely. Well, we do regular surveys. We both do a larger one and then we do quarterly ones as well to understand how employees are feeling so that definitely is a starting point for us. But then through the process, we did interviews both internally, but then also with customers to understand and focus the initiative and the specific use cases and making sure that they were points of value for both our employees as well as our external. So again listening, right? Listening and directly addressing those needs.

Mike Walsh:

Yeah, for sure. Which is why it’s so important to have a cross-functional team so it’s not just from one department on the way down. Another question that’s come in is around how might you be able to get your teams to promote well-being? So well-being could be an initiative and a focus from the top, but how do you actually push that down to the line manager? The team manager who might be facing different characters.

Alysia Eve:

No, absolutely. And you nailed it, right? It’s all about the manager. You know, your direct manager is the reason you stay and your direct managers is the reason you leave. And I think as a manager myself and you as well, you have to empower your managers to model the type of environment that you want and that means sometimes being vulnerable as a manager and showing up as your authentic self and really exemplifying what type of culture you want to create and being an example of sorts.

And that’s the start, is understanding that and from an upper level management standpoint, empowering your managers to do that because once you set that tone as a manager, then your team it gives them permission to also start to bring their own well-being into the workplace. If they feel comfortable it at least creates that space for them to decide and they use a manager to connect with them to help make sure that their well-being is taken care of again, at that level that they’re looking for from you as a manager and an organization.

Mike Walsh:

Right, right. Yeah. At a previous company I was at too, a lot of employee recognition and awards will often go to the employees and the individual contributors out there, but sometimes the managers actually get over overlooked often because they’re kind of playing a background role trying to get their teams to play the storied role and get all the accolades and recognition. So they actually went out and created more of these manager awards too to recognize what a great manager is in the organization. What are the values and the examples of success that that manager shown and I think that was just an easy way of showing appreciation for the role of the manager because it’s one that often can get overlooked as they’re dealing with stuff from the top and stuff from the bottom. But it’s a critical role because that is the role and how work actually gets done within the organization.

Alysia Eve:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Walsh:

All right. Well, I know we are about a couple of minutes over our time here. Alysia, thank you so much for taking time with us. You know, if folks want to learn more of a little bit about Citrix and wellness, where can they go to?

Alysia Eve:

Well, they can go to citrix.com and check out all of our different products, but also we have a whole page in Citrix Fieldwork dedicated to wellness and digital well-being. So check that out.

Mike Walsh:

Okay. All right. Well with that I will let folks go. I know we are going to go to break and we’ll see you in about 30 minutes. Thank you so much Alysia for joining us.

Alysia Eve:

Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Walsh:

All right. Thanks. Bye.

Alysia Eve:

Bye.

 

Want to catch up on our full 2 days of thought-leading sessions?

Attune On Demand

Want to catch up on our full 2 days of thought-leading sessions?

Attune On Demand

Want to catch up on our full 2 days of thought-leading sessions?

© 2021 SocialChorus, All Rights Reserved.