Shane Driggers is the senior vice president of global talent acquisition at ServiceNow, the cloud-based platform delivering digital workflows.
The Capgemini Research Institute spoke to Shane to hear how ServiceNow’s ways of working have evolved during the pandemic and how you build trusted employee relationships and drive talent strategy.
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Talent and hybrid working in a virtual environment
In terms of ServiceNow’s approach to talent and ways of working during the past 18 months, what are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of all that we have accomplished so far in talent recruitment during such a challenging time. ServiceNow is a hyper-growth company. We focus on growth by being very intentional in our talent acquisition strategy and bringing in the right talent at the right time. We don’t focus on just the skills and the experience of potential new talent; we also carefully consider how they are going to enhance our culture. In 2020, we digitally onboarded 3,000 people and expect to add another 4,500+ by the end of 2021. To do this successfully, we had to quickly scale our talent acquisition practices and adapt how we attract talent and engage that talent through the selection process, and how we effectively onboard talent digitally into ServiceNow.
Can you tell us more about how you onboarded 3,000 new employees during the pandemic?
In 2021, we successfully executed our second consecutive virtual internship program for 467 interns, leveraging our own cloud-based Now Platform, which allowed us to digitize the various workflows within our internship program. This year we had a 99% satisfaction score with the program and 98% of participants shared that they felt a strong sense of belonging and purpose. We had very similar feedback from our interns in 2020 as well.
We took the learnings from the internship experience and applied them to scale Ramp Up, our onboarding program for all new hires globally. The 3,000 new people we hired in 2020 along with the over 2,500 new hires we’ve added so far in 2021 have all gone through this enhanced digital onboarding experience. To build an effective virtual onboarding program, we examined key questions, such as: What does it feel like to be a part of a digital cohort? How can we create a sense of community within the cohort? How can we introduce them to the ServiceNow culture virtually?
The onboarding program is not overly prescriptive, it is self-paced. New hires can go through at their own pace, and it will nudge them with reminders on whether they are falling behind, if they are on track to complete certain exercises, or if things need to be done by a certain deadline. The program also curates content and suggests colleagues that the employee should meet with during their first 30 days. We are constantly thinking about how to improve the onboarding program with gamification to make it more engaging and fun.
What do you envision for ServiceNow’s future ways of working?
We think about return to work and the future of work as two separate but connected aspects. Largely, from our quarterly surveys, we see that employees do want to be socially together when it is safe to do so. They also want to have choice and flexibility when it comes to where they work. Right now, we are talking about a future of work in the post-COVID world that provides this flexibility to the employee. In the future, we see our workplaces becoming more of a destination to do work – to get together, to socialize, to whiteboard. It will be a place for colleagues to gather and do those exercises that are hugely important to do in-person.
Driving productivity and nurturing well-being and trust
What impact has remote working had on productivity?
We have proven that we can be productive in a remote environment. Just take product engineering for example. The number of new products that have been released during the COVID-19 pandemic is a higher volume than pre-pandemic, and this innovation has taken place entirely in a virtual setting. Our business results in FY 2020 – where we saw 32% year-over-year growth in subscription revenues – also support how effective we have been in this new setting.
Certainly, there is a fine line here. Directionally, in terms of productivity, many teams – such as our HR organization – are highly productive. However, our days are also getting longer. Our ongoing challenge is to strike the right blend of work/life balance so that we put our employees’ well-being first and avoid the kind of burn-out we are beginning to see across industries.
How is ServiceNow addressing the issue of employee fatigue and well-being?
We have different techniques to improve the well-being of our employees and we are always exploring the ways we can make the most impact. For example, we offered a perk allowance to all employees in 2020 to purchase items that improved their well-being and helped them to balance work and life. Employees could purchase exercise equipment or laptops for their children’s distance learning or use the allowance to hire tutors while schools were closed. We also offered “Half-day Fridays” from the first week of June through the first week of September to allow our employees a way to carve out much-needed time to recharge and as they transition into the weekend.
Could you share an example of how ServiceNow instills trust between employees and managers in a remote setting?
We take the approach of ultimate transparency. We actively seek employee’s feedback through our periodic check-in surveys and twice-yearly employee voice surveys. At the company-wide level, we openly share results to highlight where we are strong and where we have opportunities to improve. To close the look, we engage our leadership and people managers to identify and work directly with their teams on taking meaningful and timely action.
The future of work: finding and engaging tomorrow’s talent
As organizational boundaries dissolve when it comes to place of work, how might that impact the talent pool and acquisition strategies at ServiceNow?
It is a game changer for us in a positive way. We opened our aperture and we looked nationally for certain roles. It provided us with the flexibility to hire in locations that we would not have traditionally hired from before and allowed us to hire the best talent irrespective of where they sit in the country or in the world. This applies for both experienced and early-in-career talent. For example, we are more open to hiring outside of the software industry. We are finding a lot of value in bringing in people from other industries. Their unique knowledge and diverse experience have helped us to build better products for our customers.
Can you tell us how your hybrid model impacts your efforts to hire underrepresented minority talent?
By introducing a more flexible location strategy, we can expand our search for a more diverse talent pool. For instance, we have been able to recruit university talent more effectively at historically Black colleges and universities throughout the US because we no longer have the barrier of bringing on talent near one of our main corporate offices. My HR team continues to look at the data to understand what talent pools are available in specific locations and in some of the locations in which we have not traditionally hired talent, the data shows strong representation of underrepresented minorities. Now we can tap into these talent pools.
What concrete actions is ServiceNow taking to increase gender diversity?
Gender representation is an important focus area for us. We regularly measure our representation of women across the company, including in leadership and technical positions. In 2020, women comprised 29.2% of the ServiceNow global workforce and 27.6% of global leadership roles. Across technical positions, the share of women was 22.9% globally. We have invested significantly in our learning and development programs to support retention of women employees and their career development in terms of their ability to be promoted and move up or even move vertically across the organization. For example, we offer a “Power of 10” leadership program for women in director positions and above, with more than 60% participation. The program brings groups of 10 women together from across the company to network, learn, and share experiences.
Pay equity is also an important focus area for us. In the US, where ServiceNow has pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity, we have achieved pay parity for women and under-represented groups. Globally, where pay data is available by gender, we are within one penny of pay equity for women around the world.