How White & Case Crowdsourced Its Way to a Better Employee Experience
White & Case is a global law firm with 4,800 employees, including more than 2,200 attorneys, across 40 offices in nearly 30 countries. Its diverse workforce represents 110 nationalities, speaking 87 languages, so a successful communication and employee listening strategy is key to ensuring the firm gathers meaningful feedback and is able to tap into its worldwide staff members’ knowledge, insight, and experience.
However, getting that feedback in a timely fashion hasn’t always been easy – until the firm added Dialogue by Perceptyx to its employee listening program. Dialogue allows employees to share opinions and ideas on a specific business question, and then vote on those ideas from their peers in real-time. This lets the company know what approaches or actions are most valued by its employees, leading to more successful decision-making and action planning. It is a faster, more agile way to listen to employees across the globe and has helped White & Case get the information it needs to revamp its culture, act quickly on survey responses, and increase employee engagement.
The Goal: Amplify Employee Voices and Create a Listening Culture
Prior to adding Dialogue to its employee listening strategy, White & Case had not implemented an employee survey in more than two years, and employees weren’t feeling heard. Therefore, the team worked hard to improve its employee voice program with the goal of increasing employee engagement. However, just as the firm was ready to launch its first Dialogue survey, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
White & Case had to move quickly to switch from its planned engagement-focused survey to one focused on the pandemic. They decided to ask three foundational, yes-or-no questions (Do you have the information you need to feel safe about COVID-19? Do you have the support you need to do your role effectively? And, all things considered, is the firm working effectively?) and one open-ended question (What piece of information could we give you that would help you feel comfortable?).
With solid participation from its workforce, the firm averaged an 87% positivity rating across all three metric questions, with even higher rates on effectiveness and support. However, it was the open-ended question that set them up for future success.
“The open field question made it very clear what information people wanted,” said Dave Mowers, global people engagement director for White & Case. “They wanted timely and continuous reporting on the firm’s financial health and their own job security. We thought we were going to have to talk about what we are doing with the office and what’s the legal policy. But what people really wanted to know was, ‘Will you give us the information we need to feel comfortable about our jobs and our offices?’”
Mowers and the executive committee used this feedback to ensure they were providing the information that employees needed to feel reassured. Additionally, they were able to follow up with additional pulse surveys, also leveraging Dialogue, to determine if employees still felt supported and had everything they needed while at home, as well as how they were feeling about transitioning back to the office.
The results were eye-opening because they proved that working from home was, in fact, working – both productivity-wise and for employees’ well-being. For the firm, whose leaders were initially uncomfortable with remote work, it now had a proof of concept and evidence that people were capable of being just as productive at home while also remaining collaborative. For employees, not only did they feel more comfortable as the pandemic continued, but they also got reassurance that the firm was creating a culture of engagement and listening.
“You can talk about building dialogue and employee listening … but feeling it and putting it into action, just changed everything,” Mowers said. “This launched our culture efforts immediately.”
The Result: Increased Transparency and a Better Employee Experience
Adding pulse surveys and acting on the results are helping White & Case increase transparency and transition to a true culture of employee listening. Through Dialogue, White & Case is able to continue growing, learning, and listening. It helps managers lead more open and productive conversations with their teams and develop a sense of transparency throughout the organization.
“All of the things we’ve put in place have been building deeper connections and a better conversation, so getting that out of the survey – having people say we’re doing a good job talking to each other and you’re doing a good job talking to us – was great,” Mowers said. “It was so rewarding for the hard work that our leadership has put in.”
Read the full success story for more on how White & Case revamped its listening strategy to address employee needs and speed its pandemic response, including a now-infamous program known as “Chairgate.”