ICYMI: We chatted with Vimeo’s CPO, Crystal Boysen

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· 4 min read

What do you want? It’s a question that HR professionals are increasingly asking their workers with the frustration of Noah in The Notebook. The answer is often far from clear.

Though spending on employee well-being, including mental health benefits, is on the rise, employee engagement dropped last year for the first time in a decade, according to Gallup. It’s a puzzling problem and suggests that, despite HR teams’ best intentions, some might be out of touch with the wants and needs of their people.

To understand how to get back in step, HR Brew chatted with Vimeo’s chief people officer, Crystal Boysen, about how she identifies her organization’s “North Star” mission, chooses which people problems to tackle, and designs daily experiences to help drive culture forward.

This interview was conducted for HR Brew’s October 27 virtual event on the topic of “The New Era for Employee Engagement.” It has been edited and condensed for clarity.

How do you build culture?

Be intentional about that North Star—what do you want people to feel?...So, for me, I want our employees to feel like they can show up as their true, authentic self [and] feel like they have control over when and how they work [in a way] that’s best for them…One of the things that we’re trying [is] to be much more intentional about creating experiences that elicit that emotion and feeling. We really are focusing on…the experiences we want to create to drive culture.

What experiences could drive a feeling of belonging?

We have every single new hire create a quick little “about me” video, and I love it…It’s an opportunity to just share a little bit about you—pictures of your family, your dogs, your cats, your pets, [or] hobbies. The wide variety of things you hear and see and learn about your colleagues that you may not learn otherwise creates a sense of belonging…because you build these connections with folks.

If you’re evaluating a policy or a proposed people tool, how do you figure out if it is a value add?

I think it’s easy to identify problems to solve in the people space—what’s harder is to make sure you’re solving the right problem…I think it’s really important to have great measurements of how you would define success, and then to check in on those on the back end. One of the things we’ve done here is launch a people impact survey, where we put out a survey to all 1,300 global employees. And not only are we asking for our people impact—like, would you recommend our team to a colleague or friend, [or] do you think we put out great work?—we have them provide us feedback on our programs, our products, and our services. We’re due to run it again soon to see if we’re moving the needle [and] delivering that intended impact across the people team.

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I’ve seen you say elsewhere that Vimeo employees are particularly motivated by the chance to develop and learn. How did you discover that, and how has that changed how you approach employee engagement?

[In our] annual engagement survey, “I have opportunities for growth” came back as one of the strongest drivers of engagement for our particular employee base. Then I read through [the] 1,500 comments, and that was a huge theme: “It’s really important to me that Vimeo is a place where I can grow and develop my career.” Our employees [are] just waving their hands saying, “This is important to me. Listen to me.”...Also, when we looked at some of our exit survey data…one of the highest reasons for people leaving us was around feeling like they didn’t have those opportunities for growth and development.

One thing that we hear sometimes is: I know what problem to solve, I know why I need to solve the problem, but how do I figure out the right tool to do it? How do you find the appropriate match for a company?

I don’t know that we always have found the perfect match. I think that’s a quest that we’re still on. Because I think we have an interesting challenge with having too many tools in our tech stack in HR and keeping it tight. For us, it’s about finding the tools and the way to communicate that is very intentional and streamlined.

Interested in watching the full video? Click here.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.