The new people teams: How Medallia is creating a transformative workplace for all employees

Informal team meeting in coworking space

4 mins, 58 secs read time

With more and more companies making the transition from HR departments to People Teams, the “people” function is becoming more focused on the programs and practices needed to drive employee development, progress, and long-term success.

We’re excited to highlight a handful of these people-centric organizations and their People Teams in this blog series, “The New People Teams.” (Click here for a previous post highlighting Bonobos, here for a previous post on Flatiron Health, and here for a previous post on Rapid7).

Adding to this list of great companies is Greenhouse customer Medallia. Besides paving the way in the operational customer experience management (OCEM) software industry, it’s also one of several modern companies leading the People revolution through its internal initiatives and efforts.

We recently chatted with Medallia’s Diversity & Inclusion Manager Lauren Jackman to learn how Medallia is growing its People function and finding its place in the organization. Here’s what she had to say:

1) When was Medallia established? How many employees does the company have, and how many are on the People Team?

Medallia was established in 2001. We have about 940 Medallians globally, with our largest offices in Palo Alto, NYC, London, and Buenos Aires. We have 54 Medallians on the People & Culture Team.

2) Did Medallia always have a People Team, or did it morph from an original HR Department? If the former, how did your founders know that a People Team is what they wanted?

As soon as we started to really build out the team, we knew it would be People & Culture. Our founders toured companies with strong cultures to get a sense of what’s out there and what they wanted to build. They recognize the value a strong company culture creates, and they wanted that to be an area of focus for our team.

3) How is the People Team constructed?

Our People & Culture organization includes several different groups: Talent Acquisition, Growth and Development, Experience and Rewards, Operations, and our HR Business Partner Team.

While we’re all focused on a different part of the employee experience, we work closely together. For example, our Operations Team is currently partnering closely with Talent Acquisition and Growth & Development (the team that runs our cultural Onboarding program), to streamline our entire new hire experience, from offer acceptance through those critical first few weeks.

4) What has the Medallia People Team achieved so far?

The People & Culture Team has been instrumental in helping Medallia grow, from 261 Medallians in 2012 to over 900 today. We aim to support the entire candidate and employee experience, from the first interview to the exit interview. At all stages, we want people to feel valued for who they are, and for them to have an opportunity to learn and grow.

As we’ve grown, we’ve also put in place processes and systems to help us scale, and we’ve been careful to try to do this in a way that increases flow and reduces friction for Medallians. We use our own tool (Medallia) to continuously gather candidate and employee feedback, and we use their comments to relentlessly improve the way we operate. For example, we recently learned that our leave process felt cumbersome and complicated, so we held a series of focus groups with Medallians who’d recently been on leave, and some who would soon be going on leave. We’ve streamlined the process based on their comments and have been getting really positive feedback on the changes.

We’ve also scaled Medallia’s cultural onboarding program to maintain an amazing new hire experience through explosive growth (you can read more about that here). This has been critical in helping us retain and continue to positively evolve our company culture. We’ve created leadership trainings, team building sessions, and unconscious bias workshops to help support Medallians’ continued growth and foster an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive. We’ve also created some fun videos that help bring our awesome culture to life. Whenever a candidate mentions one of them, we know we’ve had an impact!

5) What does the People Team still want to achieve?

Our vision is to create a transformative workplace. We’d love to further anticipate Medallians’ needs and better understand how to reach out with the needed information, support, or resources, before they even need to ask. One way we’ve been doing this recently is by creating drip campaigns using tools like MailChimp. This helps people get the right information at the right time, rather than being overloaded with too many details at once.

We also want Medallia alums to look back on their time with us and think, I grew faster there than I even thought was possible. Of course, this means providing Medallians with lots of opportunities to learn and stretch themselves, along with a safe environment to take risks and try new things. To help make this a reality, we’ll be continuing to expand our leadership development opportunities, focusing on experiential programs that enable Medallians to apply concepts right away and support one another as they learn and grow.

And finally, we continue to have massive hiring goals, particularly around engineering and sales. The People & Culture Team will be integral in growing those teams and making sure they’re set up for success. Ultimately, we want to build an employer brand that’s rooted in great experiences.

6) How does the People Team view its role in the overall organization, and how is the Team viewed by executives and other departments?

We are partners. We’re all invested in achieving Medallia’s vision of creating a world where companies are loved by their customers and employees. This means we agree that the experiences people have matter. We collaborate with all areas of the business to create meaningful experiences for Medallians and our customers, and to be responsive when something goes wrong.

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