“People never forget the way you make them feel.”

Diane Adams and Richard Byrd are creating a people-first culture at Sprinklr

Since it was founded in 2009 by CEO Ragy Thomas, Sprinklr has become a leading social suite for the enterprise. In addition to enabling client companies to engage with their customers across all social media channels and to optimize customers’ experiences, Sprinklr grew to have a presence in ten countries and to work with some of the world’s most iconic brands. Today Sprinklr’s social media management platform reaches 3 billion consumers across 350 million sources and 26 social channels. That’s part of the reason why more than 1,500 industry leaders—such as Nike, Visa, McDonalds, Verizon, and Microsoft—have opted for Sprinklr technology and services.

Diane Adams Sprinklr
Diane Adams, Sprinklr Photo by Brasco Marketing

During this period of global growth, Thomas also recognized the need to optimize Sprinklr’s employees’ experiences to ensure that they can function at their best both personally and professionally. To achieve that goal, Diane Adams, chief culture and talent officer, and Richard Byrd, vice president of culture transformation, joined the company.

An emphasis on people and culture is a differentiator for any company,” Adams says. “It’s especially important in an industry like technology, where there’s so much competition for talent. ”

To get started, Adams met face-to-face with Sprinklr leaders around the world. One of their common concerns was the need for more frequent and clearer communication. This was addressed by aggressively implementing more venues more often to give employees opportunities to actively question leaders and engage on a wide range of issues.

Companywide town hall meetings are now held twice each month. Within a single quarter, attendance grew from 300 to more than 1,000—about 80 percent of the company. Byrd points out that such rapid growth indicates how quickly employees have become comfortable with sharing their thoughts and asking difficult questions.

“After expressing their opinions, employees have also seen the company act on their input,” he says. “This has led to even greater engagement, improved role clarity, and more trust on all sides.”

The town hall meetings also uncovered issues that previously might not have been considered significant. For example, awarding employment anniversary jackets had been discontinued after an employee’s third year with the company. But they were so popular, the practice was reinstated. “Relatively small things like a company jacket carry a lot of weight,” Byrd says.

A new Employee Delight Assurance Program has also been implemented. Leaders hold one-on-one monthly meetings with members of their teams to discuss their overall happiness score, including their recommendations for improvements. These are summarized for leadership and executive review for further action.

After one quarter of this employee-leadership collaborative partnership, employee happiness scores showed a distinct positive trend and attrition decreased by 5 percent.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into strengthening our communication cadence,” Adams explains. “There’s been a definite correlation between improved clarity about the company’s direction and recognition among employees of a caring culture.”

The Sprinklr2Grow Learning Plan is another element of the transforming culture. After completing a strength assessment, employees help create a customized plan for their professional development. This positive approach of building on individuals’ strengths is in sharp contrast to most companies’ strategy of focusing on improving specific weaknesses and deficits.

Photo by Brasco Marketing

Prior to Sprinklr, Adams and Byrd worked together to create and transform cultures at healthcare solutions provider Allscripts and data analytics software company Qlik. These experiences gave them the insights needed to identify the subtlest details that contribute to successful transformations. For example, a great deal of thought went into deciding whether to call individuals in the company part of a “team” or a “family.” Family was chosen because of its connotation of care and respect for each other—but that choice wasn’t made before addressing some people’s understanding of the word to mean “always being nice to each other.” Byrd points out that healthy families can still have conversations that are honest, straightforward, and address difficult issues.

To help guide behavior within the new culture, Adams and Byrd are emphasizing Sprinklr’s core values and how they fit into evolving business phases. The values reinforce behaviors such as learning from failure; humility; accountability; persistence; and genuine caring. They have even been incorporated to help change the company’s recruitment process. Teams consisting of representatives from the culture and talent department, business partners, and CEO Thomas screen for talent and abilities, as well as for matches to the culture. The process involves a minimum of six interviewers, and the CEO and CHRO interview every recommended people-leader hire.

“We use behavioral questions that reflect our core values,” Adams says. “They’re all part of living and modeling the Sprinklr Way—the cultural roadmap of our way of living, being and working—that was defined by myself, CEO Thomas, and the executive team.”

“This is some of the most difficult work in internal communications,” Byrd adds. “But when it’s done right, it pays some of the highest ROI in terms of productivity, quality, and alignment to company objectives.”

Acknowledging and rewarding accomplishments are part of the path to successful implementation, according to the Sprinklr team.

“After a company has been in growth mode, it’s especially important to celebrate tangible wins and to highlight what individuals have done to make them possible,” Adams says. “Part of creating a people-first culture is making sure we’re not so busy getting our jobs done that we don’t stop to show much we appreciate all the hard work.

Byrd agrees. “It’s important to underscore the importance of treating people well since they never forget how you make them feel.”

Photos by Brasco Marketing


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