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A Conversation with Medallia’s New VP of Employee Experience

A Conversation with Medallia’s New VP of Employee Experience

Regardless of your industry, the workplace has transformed for the foreseeable future. While I would argue that an employee experience program has always been a need to have, instead of a nice to have, the past few months have made it mission critical. At Medallia, we’ve always believed that employees build the best brands, which is why we are excited to welcome Jennifer Franklin as our new VP of Sales, Employee Experience.

I had the chance to sit down with Jennifer to learn more about her past experience and why she’s so passionate about employee experience.

Welcome to Medallia Jennifer, we couldn’t be more excited to have you join the team! First, tell us a little more about your career in employee experience? 

Hi Val, I’m excited to be at Medallia! For the past 20 years, I’ve worked in the human capital technology industry. I started as an engineer, and quickly realized that I was better suited to be on the other side, working directly with people. I started my career at Ceridian, a human capital management technology company, and have been transforming and building the category of human capital technology at numerous companies, such as Taleo, Achievers and League Inc. Over the past 20 years there has been a common thread at each of the companies I’ve worked at — the individual. I have a passion for helping people live their best lives at work, where they spend so much of their time, and using technology to achieve that. 

Over the last 20 years, what are the biggest challenges that you see human resource leaders face when discussing the importance of employee experience? 

That’s a great question. HR has evolved over time, in terms of the challenges they’ve faced. In the early days, human resource teams often didn’t have a seat at the table and the budget and decision-making power they should have had. People weren’t leveraging employees as their most valuable resource, and it was focused solely on a system of records and tracking employees. Companies now realize that it’s a competition for the minds and the hearts of the individual. How do you attract, engage and retain employees? The role of HR has expanded so considerably over the past 20 years, that they not only have to be responsible for building culture, but also put process and policies in place to protect the organization from the actions of employees. When I first started, many organizations gauged employee health and worth based on service awards. So a large role in my experience has been challenging companies to understand there is a different and better way to measure and assess employee satisfaction.

What did you see and hear that sparked your interest to work at Medallia? 

What Medallia has done in the customer experience space is incredible. Medallia has changed the perception of what is possible by creating an enterprise listening and action ecosystem. With this underlying technology we can extend this idea to the employee population, but with the appropriate structure that meets the needs of employees and human resource leaders. Medallia is incredible at taking passive and active data to get people to provide feedback in the flow of their daily lives, which is where you can really get an understanding of culture and employee satisfaction. 

With the recent switch to widespread remote working, what do you believe is the most important action for employers to take to stay connected with employees?

I would argue that whether you’re working remotely or you’re on the frontlines working in-person still, it’s all about listening and taking action. Because we are spread out and working in widely different environments than we are used to, it’s important for employers to reach out to understand the needs and concerns of employees in the moment. For example, mental health is a huge concern of employers right now as they work toward creating an environment that allows employees to thrive in this new reality. Based on recent Medallia research, during a most critical time in our history, only 50 percent of employees feel employers take action on feedback. 

Once employers start listening, how do they prioritize what actions to take? 

One of the benefits with Medallia that most HR teams haven’t had in the past, is we really focus on getting the feedback to the right people in order to democratize this information. Instead of HR having to distribute this valuable data and feedback, we are better able to make sure it’s in the right hands to take action in real-time. This will enable everyone in an organization to take appropriate action whether you’re an executive or a frontline manager. 

What are the business benefits of an employee experience program?  

If an HR leader can know in real-time what is happening in an organization they become capable of taking action to reduce turnover, increase customer satisfaction and allow human resource teams to draw a correlation between employee experiences and customer experiences. By understanding the relationship between the two you are able to enhance both experiences, and drive revenue and loyalty. 

Lastly, tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m Canadian, and grew up on the east coast of Canada. I spent about seven years living in the U.S. with my husband and my daughter, who are the two funniest people I know. When I lived in California I became fascinated with the wine region so, as a hobby, I decided to study for my first level Sommelier designation which I highly recommend for anyone interested in wine. 

To learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted employee experience, download our special research report.