Upend the HR Process
Excerpt from "Secrets of the Best Places to Work," by Lee Lusardi Connor, Special Projects Editor, SOLVE Magazine
“In most companies, everything goes through HR first,” says Matt Rizai, cofounder and CEO of Workiva, an Ames, Iowa-based company that makes a cloud-based software solution for managing business data. “You want to promote somebody? ‘Go to HR.’ Have a suggestion about a sick-day policy? ‘Go to HR.’”
Workiva has instead set out to manage its people from the grassroots up. The company has a human asset management (HAM) advisory group made up of internally nominated employees from all levels, who meet frequently with the staff. The goal is for employees to take ownership of the company culture. Recent actions taken as a result of employee suggestions include a sustainability initiative, an expanded parental leave policy and a bikes-at-work program.
Rizai says HAM helps create a sense of community among the company’s 1,300 employees in 16 cities. “No one is ‘remote,’” he says. “Whether you’re in Ames or in Scottsdale, Arizona, you are Workiva.”
HAM is also a key factor in retaining young, tech-oriented employees, who make up two-thirds of Workiva’s workforce. “Millennials want to collaborate and get feedback fast, because technology has always done that for them,” Rizai says. “Our HAM practice is interactive and dynamic, and when people in a company communicate and engage, great things happen.”
In 2016, Workiva won a silver Stevie Award for Employer of the Year Among Large Tech Companies and was ranked #55 on Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Women.
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