How to Improve Employee Lifetime Value Through Employee Experience

People teams sometimes find it challenging to communicate the value of their work or to be considered true business partners by their executives. That’s why our VP of People & Strategy Maia Josebachvili began writing and speaking on the topic of Employee Lifetime Value (ELTV). In this series, we’ll be sharing how the People team at Greenhouse considers the work that they’re doing in relation to ELTV and share a few tips on how you can think about your own work through this lens.

At Greenhouse, our People department consists of Talent Acquisition, People Operations, Employee Experience, and Talent Management. In this post, Director of Employee Experience Melanie Oberman shares the impact her team’s work can have on ELTV. Check out the previous posts in the series: The Role of Onboarding in Employee Lifetime Value: Part 1 and The Role of Onboarding in Employee Lifetime Value: Part 2.

It’s no secret that investing in a great employee experience (which I’ll abbreviate throughout this post as “EX”) can lead to highly engaged employees. At Greenhouse, we think engagement is measured in each person’s connection, motivation, and commitment to their company.  Our challenge is to build and run effective employee programs AND show the return on that investment.

The data backs us up: Employees who find meaning from their work are more than three times as likely to stay with their organizations. Employees who have meaning don’t just stay longer, they also report higher job satisfaction. So, it’s something we focus a lot of attention on. And it seems to be working.

In Part 1 and Part 2 this series, Greenhouse’s Director of Talent Acquisition and Management, Cheryl Roubian, covered:

  • A quick refresher on ELTV, a framework for demonstrating the value of investing in good people practices

  • How we used ELTV to refine our onboarding metrics and

  • Some of our learnings from that process

In this post, I'll cover:

  • Another quick refresher on ELTV

  • How our Employee Experience (EX) team designs our employee experience to drive engagement

  • How you can start to design and measure employee experience, too!

ELTV Refresher

Remember that ELTV is a tool to illustrate that investing time and resources at various points in an employee’s lifecycle creates measurable and significant returns for the organization. Greenhouse’s VP of Strategy, People, & Marketing Maia Josebachvili, goes in depth on ELTV in her white paper, "How to Understand the ROI of Investing in People."

We don’t calculate ELTV as a hard number at Greenhouse. Instead, we take measurements at various inflection points along the curve and then work to move those points. By demonstrating how much incremental ELTV is created by the movement of the inflection point (illustrated below), we can demonstrate the return on the investment of time and resources.

Inflection points

While the work of our EX Team impacts most of the the inflection points on the curve, the most obvious for us is the “decision to leave.”  By building a meaningful community, we’re pushing the “decision to leave” inflection point out to the right and maybe even a little bit up—this means that the employee potentially contributes additional value to the organization during their tenure.

To do that, our goals are to:

  • Enable our people to build and scale our culture

  • Make sure people are collaborating and communicating effectively

  • Improve day-to-day operations

  • Support our leadership team for maximum productivity

EX metrics

There are three major KPIs we look at to tell us how well we’re accomplishing our goals.

  • Values and Behavior – measured by survey to identify how strongly our employees agree with our culture credo

  • Engagement – measured through our bi-annual engagement survey, where employees answer questions across many dimensions including learning and development, collaboration and communication, alignment and involvement, and enablement

  • Employee tenure – measured by how long employees stay at Greenhouse.

How we’ve built a meaningful community

Just like a UX team designs the user experience, the Greenhouse EX team designs the employee experience. We have a lot of programs, committees, and clubs. Below is a sampling of a few of the ones we’ve seen have the biggest impact.

1. Enabling our people to build and scale our culture

Fun days – These off-site activities include the entire office three to four times per year; recent activities include office field days, Italian cooking class, and “learn how to DJ” class

#GH AfterHours – To encourage friendships across departments, we launched this program. Greenhouse subsidizes after-hours activities that involve people from several departments, including a recent ski trip (see the large picture at the top of this post!)

Clubs and committees – We hire our employees not just for their skills, but for what they can add to our culture—many do that in the form of clubs and committees. These range from the board game club to the Diversity committee.

Business impact: People work together better when they know who they're working with, see that they're real people, and generally feel comfortable around each other. Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, and stay longer—there is actually a business benefit to having fun!

 2. Making sure people are collaborating and communicating effectively

  • All Hands meetings – These happen every month as a way for leadership to share information and for the company to celebrate our new hires, promotions, and anniversaries.
  • Ask Me Anythings (AMAs) –  We use AMAs as a casual way (usually over a beer) for employees to ask our CEO and Co-Founder anything. Literally anything. They take place a couple times a quarter for 30–45 minutes.

  • Managers’ meetings – This is an opportunity to preview and get feedback on some of our all hands content and discuss other topics relevant to our managers.

Business impact: Trust in management and the future of the company is critical to employee engagement. And this happens through regular and transparent communication.

 3. Improving day-to-day operations

  • Day-to-day operations  We use Zendesk to organize all office requests and facilities issues. It helps us to track the issues and deal with them quickly.

  • Office build-out – By understanding the finances and logistics around our office moves, we have been able to realize cost savings.

Business impact: Thoughtful planning in these areas can lead to operational cost savings—specifically, we realized significant savings by modeling out a variety of real estate scenarios (including length of lease term, headcount projections, tenant improvement costs, etc.) before finalizing our decision to move in San Francisco.

 4. Supporting our leadership team for maximum productivity

  • Administrative – Our company couldn’t run without the administrative work that happens. This ranges from VP and executive leadership calendar management and scheduling and travel booking to project management and events support.

  • Company calendar planning This is another essential function—more time than you could ever imagine goes into planning the company calendar (e.g., performance management, all company meetings, fun days, and board meetings).

Business impact: A predictable, well-planned company calendar allows leadership and employees to use their work time most effectively, setting them up to contribute maximum business impact.

How can you get started?

If you are looking to design and measure your employee experience, here are some questions to get you started:

  • How do you track/measure employee engagement?  

  • Does your leadership team understand the value of employee engagement? If not:

    • What’s your average tenure?

    • Are you losing top performers before the two-year mark?

    • Are you getting the productivity that you would expect for your teams?

    • Do your employees feel pride and ownership of your culture/community?

  • How do you describe your work community/environment? Would your staff describe it the same way?

Summing it up

In this post, I shared a little bit on design and metrics, and hopefully got you thinking about how you can create and maximize EX for your company. Please share ideas and questions with me in the comments section below or by tweeting me @melanieoberman—and have fun with it!

Want to learn more about the concept of ELTV and how to apply it at your organization? Download a copy of our ELTV kit by clicking on the link below.

Melanie Oberman

Melanie Oberman is the Director of Employee Experience at Greenhouse. She has a passion for making people and culture a strategic driver of the business, allowing employees to do the best work of their career. Her team focuses on scaling the culture in addition to day-to-day operations, office management, talent management, internal communication, and collaboration. We work to make it easy and fun for every employee to fully contribute and engage in the Greenhouse community.

And, she’s proud to say it's working—we were named #1 Best Place to Work by Glassdoor.

Before Greenhouse, Melanie advised senior executives at a variety of media, tech, and telecommunications companies on diversity & inclusion, communication, talent, and training strategies.

You can find Melanie on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Company Culture