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- Andrea Baltazar, Product Design Leader at Uber
Are you stepping into a new role or looking for a fresh approach to your current job? In the latest Digital Workplace Impact podcast, Uber’s Andrea Baltazar shares her blueprint for an effective first 100 days with any organization.
Now a Product Design Leader, Andrea has moved industries and direction throughout her career. She joins Nancy Goebel and talks through her consistent focus on people, processes and products, an approach she has taken most recently at Uber, the tech company that connects the physical and digital worlds to help make movement happen.
Over the years, Andrea has used her employee experience expertise to step across into the user experience design space, and the discussion uncovers rich insights. Delving into the value of bringing empathy to the workplace, being a lifelong learner, dynamic hybrid working and paying forward your learnings as a mentor, the two also look at how actively listening to user needs can provide an edge in product design.
Brave experimentation and the importance of building partnerships underpin how Andrea lives leadership. So, whether you are a digital workplace leader or employee experience practitioner, if you’re looking for thought-provoking and practical advice – take a listen today.
Show notes, links and resources for this episode:
[00:00:00.550] – Andrea Baltazar
I would say the first thing, especially as a product design leader, is create great partnerships of trust and transparency with your product and engineering partners. I cannot say enough how helpful that has been to me and even been acclimating into any culture that I’ve been, and especially at Uber, because we move fast. If I don’t create those partnerships early and build that trust with that group, then I think I wouldn’t be as at least as successful to this point as I am without it. I would also say a learning that I have from Uber is be open to experimentation. I think that within the UX realm we are sometimes known as folks that might be a little bit more rigid towards experimentation and that could be putting something into the product and actually testing what it’s like in the real life environment. That is an example of an experiment we might want to do as a, quote, AB test and essentially put it into product and test. And sometimes in a fast-moving environment, being open to that is actually key so that we can get results fairly quickly and then pivot. I think the part that’s important is set a plan in place when you do have an organization that experiments essentially pivot if something might have gone wrong with the experiment itself, not having that plan, I think would be a little bit detrimental to the UX user experience.
[00:01:22.850] – Nancy Goebel
I was just delighted to catch up with Andrea Baltazar in this latest episode of Digital Workplace Impact. We met years ago during Andrea’s tenure as both a DWG member and the user experience leader at Wells Fargo. Fast forward to today. Andrea is a product design leader at Uber. She arrived there some six months ago, which gave us a wide range of topics to explore in our time together. Not only did we talk about Andrea’s career trajectory, which I think you’ll find a unique path to becoming a seasoned and successful user experience leader. We talked about how in recent years, Andrea has truly tested her UX muscles by experimenting with different industry verticals, ranging from financial services to high tech. We talked about Andrea’s first six months at Uber, from her onboarding journey, which was fully virtual, to the use of her 100-day blueprint for stepping into any new role. It’s one that centres around people, process and product. As a parenthetical, I would say a challenge to you as a listener is to think about Andrea’s blueprint, whether you are stepping into a new role or you’re looking for a fresh start approach to a long-standing role.
[00:02:57.530] – Nancy Goebel
We also explored what it’s like to be a user experience leader inside of Uber and what it takes to be successful. We exchanged some fresh perspectives about what Andrea sees now for Digital Workplace leaders and their teams sitting in a broader role, you’ll hear some insights about aspiring to become a lifelong learner, paying forward your learnings as a mentor, being empathetic and actively listening to the user needs. You’ll hear about being a student of experimentation, the importance of building partnerships, and in Andrea’s case, that’s not only been with her teams and stakeholders, but also anchored around partnerships with engineers, data scientists and product market experts around the globe. At Uber, whether you are a digital workplace or employee experience practitioner or leader, I think this episode will have some interesting takeaways for you. Reflecting on the conversation, I’ve also curated three interesting DWG resources that are included in the notes section of this episode. First is a blog post entitled Putting Employees at the Centre of Employee Experience. The second is DWG research entitled Digital Workplace Anthropology, which looks at making sense of how humans work digitally. And the third and final is another piece from DWG’s research library that centres around designing connected workplaces for tomorrow.
[00:04:42.430] – Nancy Goebel
As always, digital workplace impact is brought to you by digital workplace group. Happy listening.
[00:04:50.570] – Nancy Goebel
So Andrea, it is just wonderful to have you in the studio today. A good excuse to catch up after a long history together. Of course, I’m excited to learn all about your new role at Uber. At least it’s new for us because it’s been a little while since we’ve connected last. And of course, it’ll be great exposure for those who had a chance to connect with you during your days at Wells Fargo and to hear what you’re up to anew. So, for the benefit of all ears, how did you get started as a user experience leader? And then if you can help us connect it to the work that you’re doing at the present day, that would be fantastic.
[00:05:37.730] – Andrea Baltazar
Sure. Nancy, thanks for having me. It’s always a pleasure to chat with you as well. I transitioned to UX from another career about 13 years ago. I entered the field literally by happenstance because someone took a chance on me. I have a non-traditional UX background, I have a history degree and an MBA and learned user experience entirely on the job. I first became a people manager early in my career as a UX professional and had led teams prior to that in my prior career. Knew early on that UX was the career for me. I love taking data, insights and understanding of user behaviour and integrating them into the designs that I created or my team created. And I was really able to just be both analytical and creative and specifically about being a UX leader. I think anyone can be a leader, you don’t have to have a title to lead effort. And although I knew early on I received a lot of energy through bike coaching, mentoring and helping people with their careers and really helping guide product and design strategy, I knew that that was something that I enjoyed doing. And early on in my career, like I mentioned, I just knew that being a UX leader was something that I gravitated towards how does that translate into my current job?
[00:07:01.910] – Andrea Baltazar
I currently am a product design leader here at Uber. I actually lead three different areas on our earner app. So an earner is anyone who can earn money on our platform drivers, delivery folks, couriers, and specifically in the earner field, I have our earner growth, our earner verticals, and our earner access, vehicle access and sustainability areas.
[00:07:27.920] – Nancy Goebel
That’s quite a scope. And you mentioned that in everything that you’ve been doing since you’ve ventured into the UX arena, there’s been an element of coaching and mentoring in the mix. So one of the fundamental questions that comes to mind for me is, looking at this role that you’ve undertaken, how do you define success at Uber? And then taking a step back, how do you define success for someone who’s a career employee or user experience leader?
[00:08:04.910] – Andrea Baltazar
Let me start with the career employee experience leader. I think that success could look like ensuring that you understand the entire life cycle of an employee as they engage with your company from the moment of application to a job. To acceptance. To resignation. And even beyond. Because we do have folks who boomerang back and go back to the company that they may have been applied to previously. Trying to understand what would make an employee stay. What makes an employee leave. How they experience the company. Would they recommend the company or not? There are just many facets to dig into and understand. And it’s not just related to the digital experience, which I was an expert in during my time at Wells Fargo. It really is trying to understand that whole lifecycle for them. And I think that having that lifecycle and continuing to monitor it as it changes over time would contribute to the success of anyone who makes a career out of focusing on the employee experience.
[00:09:10.190] – Nancy Goebel
And one of the things I’m thinking about an immediate reaction to that is there is a certain sense of trying to understand. To be empathetic. As well as understanding sort of the science and practise behind the user research and all of the testing activities that you undertake in order to achieve the designs for all of the different capabilities you were talking about earlier.
[00:09:40.730] – Andrea Baltazar
You pretty much broadly described user experience. And though I was talking specifically about employee experience, it’s entirely transferable to any type of experience that you might want to design for. And you asked about Uber. How do you define success as a UX leader at Uber? It really is all those elements that you mentioned the empathy, understanding the data, understanding how you might use information and insights that come your way to design experiences for the people that use your product. And that’s literally the definition of success for any of the UX leaders, product design leaders that we have.
[00:10:24.490] – Nancy Goebel
And you mentioned that you are sort of a homegrown employee experience leader versus someone who started at the university level and built their career through their education first. And I’m certainly drawn to that as an approach. And I’m curious to know who has been among your most important mentors and your best go to resources in supporting the transition that you made into this industry and why?
[00:10:59.870] – Andrea Baltazar
I’ve been lucky enough in the last several years to have met amazing people in the UX and product design space. My most important mentors have been women UX leaders I met at work day. There was a cohort of us who just gravitated towards each other and we pushed each other, raised each other up, and these women continue to be mentors to me. Post my time at workday, I keep in regular contact with them. They are people I can bounce ideas off, can go to guidance, and we are absolutely transparent with each other. So to be able to create a feedback loop with other leaders that I created great relationships with at one of my previous workplaces has been, I think, the strongest way that I’ve been successful in my career. They have experience being women leaders at other companies. And so it’s always great, especially in a tech world, to have people that have experienced something similar to me and I can go to a sounding border to get advice from.
[00:12:06.100] – Nancy Goebel
Absolutely. And I know you’ve made some really interesting industry pivots in recent years. Of course, when we met once upon a time, that was in financial services, and of course you mentioned Workday and then Uber most recently. And so what’s been the appeal in experimenting with different industry verticals?
[00:12:30.890] – Andrea Baltazar
At first I was hungry to test myself. I had mentioned earlier that I was entirely homegrown as a UX leader, learned entirely on the job as a career transitioner. I just didn’t know if I was any good as a UX leader. I spent a lot of my formative years at Wells Fargo, was there for about six years. I wanted to challenge myself to try new industries and wanted to surround myself with a peer group that could push me to become a better UX leader. So I mentioned the group of mentors that I was lucky enough to work with. I also, interestingly enough, created a group of former direct reports who actually also are sounding words to me. They’re amazing group of designers and researchers who I also keep in touch with. And so knowing that I’ve created this network, knowing that I have been involved in different communities, at different companies, has actually pushed me to become a better UX leader, to learn in different ways. If I am entirely in a homogeneous area where we are all the same, I don’t think I would grow the same way as I did it by switching to different industries, by exposing myself to different ways of working, to different ways of how companies think about UX.
[00:13:52.400] – Andrea Baltazar
So that’s part of the reason as I actually think about my career, I’ve been super intentional about the places I go to and what I focus on, because I want to continue to challenge myself and give myself that exposure so that I can continue to grow.
[00:14:09.890] – Nancy Goebel
And it’s not only a show of ambition but a show of confidence and curiosity all at the same time. Listening to some of what you’ve taken away from these industry shifts and I think it’s really fascinating to sort of deconstruct what you’ve been up to and why we don’t necessarily see step by step career progressions in the digital workplace industry broadly. Many of us are homegrown professionals and in some cases pioneers, because we were building out parts of the digital workplace ecosystem practice when a road map didn’t exist. And I certainly know, just given the history that we’ve shared together, that you’ve been in that area of pioneering and you need that level of tenacity and ambition and curiosity to not only jump start this area but then to take it to the next level. And certainly one of the things that we’re seeing as a challenge is people taking some time to look at the work that they’re doing and pausing to make career decisions. A couple of months ago I had a chance to chat with Mirsad Capric, who was our longtime sponsor at Citi for DWG membership once upon a time, and he’s on a year’s sabbatical and having some amazing adventures and self-discovery.
[00:15:53.100] – Nancy Goebel
And certainly it sounds like, albeit your path has been a different one. It’s been impactful and seemingly rewarding as well along the way. I think it’s important in our career, vertical, broadly speaking, to share stories like this and to learn from each other because there isn’t necessarily a single path to a fulfilling career. And I also think that it’s important for us to be lifelong learners, regardless of the path that we take, because the organizations that we are part of can’t do it all for us. We need to be the masters of our destiny and you’re certainly showing that that’s been the case here as well. And I think it’s important to pause and recognise that, especially knowing that for so many years in the technology arena in particular, that it’s been important for women to be able to find other mentors to help elevate each other in addition to working across teams with people from lots of different backgrounds.
[00:17:02.710] – Andrea Baltazar
That really resonates with me, Nancy, and I think that you hit on something very spot on. Six years focused on employee experience at Wells Fargo. It was a little daunting at the time too, to think how can my work focus on employee experience where I dealt with things like legacy tools like SharePoint or customised tools by engineers, how can that be transferable and how can I actually shift my career so I can focus on other industries? And I think that could be very daunting for folks who might want to consider moving away from employee experience and I certainly have do it. And like you said, it takes focus, it takes understanding how you can take the examples that you’ve created in your career and then transfer them into the industries that you might be interested later on. And I certainly did that by creating case studies that I felt would showcase who I was as a leader, regardless of the tooling or the product that I was focused on during my time at Wells Fargo.
[00:18:05.990] – Nancy Goebel
That’s a great way to think about it. And of course, I’m also feeling like it’s important for us to delve into your experiences at Uber a bit more deeply. It’s an unusual organization and culture unto itself and I’m really curious to hear what has been some of your early stage learnings about the people, the culture and employee experience at Uber and any insights that you think are important for our wider community to be aware of.
[00:18:43.970] – Andrea Baltazar
I would say that the people level. I’ve been here a little over six months and people are all very welcoming and very knowledgeable in our space. When I reflect over the last six months, what really stands out for me is the fact that Uber is very complicated under the hood. You don’t realise the complexity around the business about the markets we operate in and someone coming. Netting you in. Trying to absorb everything is actually difficult because there is a lot going on and we do move fast as a tech company and so I would say that the people themselves have actually helped my onboarding be as smooth as it can be with just the amount of information being thrown at me. Especially with the three different areas I’m responsible for. So the fact that they are able to share with the knowledge that in this virtual hybrid world that we live in now, there is actually hybrid. So we have flexible opportunities to either go into office or stay remote throughout the week. And finding the balance there as a new person coming in and then managing through the hybrid world we live in can be very daunting as well.
[00:19:56.890] – Andrea Baltazar
But the people themselves have made that really easy for me to basically pick up information. They share of their documents, they share of their time and they share of their information. So I really appreciate that we move fast, but we guarantee the grace to people who might need a little bit more time to onboard into different areas. So I’ve always appreciated that about my first maybe 30 days at Uber and the onboarding itself was super smooth. I entirely onboarded, virtually got all of my equipment, I was set up really quick and pretty much started working by week two after completing all of my onboarding activities. And we had a really robust, I think, knowledge system. We had different avenues by which I was able to understand all the different kinds of areas. And primarily my workspace is pretty much the Google suite so entirely in documents decks, design tools like Figma and whiteboard tools like Miro.
[00:20:57.500] – Nancy Goebel
So you shared a little bit about your experience with the people. You talked about it being a fast-moving culture. Is there anything else that helps feed the employee experience that is worth spotlighting about the culture in particular?
[00:21:14.870] – Andrea Baltazar
I think our use of the tools actually help speed we’re entirely on Slack and I recall just comparing and contrasting my time at Wells Fargo. We had Microsoft Team or not actually it wasn’t Team, it was Microsoft Skype and then we primarily use email a lot. So even as I shifted from my time at Wells Fargo to Workday to Calendly and now at Uber, Slack really is a tool that has actually helped me be up to speed on what’s going on within the company, within the teams I directly work with. It’s the primary mode of communication and I actually no longer look at email as much as I probably should. My email is a black hole. And so for me the fact that we were able to have a tool like Slack that could help us facilitate conversation, whether it’s through actually typing up the words or creating huddles in there I think has been valuable to help the employees just keep abreast of each other, especially because we are hybrid. We often have this mix of folks in the office and online or virtual and trying to balance that. I think we have the tools that we need to help make that work.
[00:22:26.680] – Andrea Baltazar
Not to say that it’s perfect, but we do, I think, manage to make it work. And I think teams too have chosen days where we would come in and essentially be magnet days for us. So an example is for the design work, Tuesdays and Thursdays are actually magnet days, they’re entirely flexible if you want to connect with your broader design organization, we have lunches planned, we have events planned and so the fact that we’re able to mix that for our hub areas has actually been welcoming, especially for some of the early in career folks. So this might be their first job or maybe they got a job during the pandemic and this is their first job in person somewhere. I think managing and finding that a way to balance that for early career quotes have been super helpful for them.
[00:23:13.750] – Nancy Goebel
There are a couple of things to unpack and everything that you’ve just said. One thought is your comment about email and one of the things that I’m hearing increasingly is that email is really part of the space where people connect with their partners or external context, just like our exchange preparing for chatting today. Whereas much of the team collaboration and internal communications is happening on the likes of a Slack or Microsoft Teams or on the enterprise social channels as well. So I’m not terribly surprised to hear that shift is happening or has happened in your world. Whereas for both of us who had financial services routes, email was the centre of the world for a long, long time.
[00:24:05.460] – Andrea Baltazar
Yes, absolutely. And it was crazy to switch to a world where I no longer look at email, but now that I’m immersed in it, I cannot imagine not being able to quickly message someone, but also know that we build boundaries around that too, right? We don’t expect someone to respond right away. There are rules that you create for yourself or for your team where you have to create the boundaries. So it’s not the instant gratification because sometimes we are working in a virtual world, we’re not always attached to the slack. You should still balance your workday to make sense based on the meetings that you have the heads down work time and still manage slack as well. So it’s still, like I mentioned earlier, not perfect, but working through that and setting the boundaries is super important.
[00:24:52.800] – Nancy Goebel
It’s certainly one of the outgrowths of the pandemic effect. And as you were talking about the onboarding process, clearly the balance of virtual activities as well as the opportunity to connect with people is being balanced in different ways. Now that we’ve moved into more of an endemic world and you talk a little bit about your experiences coming online, maybe we can take a bit more of a step back and bring this to the employee experience arena and talk a little bit about what your 1st 100 days were like as leader responsible for product design and UX at Uber. So what did that look like?
[00:25:40.430] – Andrea Baltazar
I actually have a process that I use for myself when I on board into any company. So I use the same process every time I move to a new company. It’s essentially I separate my first 100 days into people, process and product and what that looks like is I have activities that are focused on each of those higher level topics. And so my first 30 days is really focused on getting to know the people, but in those conversations I focused on getting to know partners, the folks that reported to me, peer groups and other folks like that engineering. And I think for me it’s super important. My 1st 30 days to really get a landscape for the culture. Like we talked about earlier. How people interact. Any concerns or feedback that I might want to receive from partners that work with the design organization the next 30 days after that into the 60 day mark. I actually focus on understanding process a little bit more and what that looks like is essentially attending different meetings. Understanding why the meetings are occurring and essentially where I need to lean in a little bit more or not. So that also has this aspect of managing my time because I was invited to a tonne of meetings when I first joined and the last is understanding the product and still understanding process and my last maybe 40 days of that 100 day mark is understanding the product more, spending a little bit more time, understanding the areas that are under my particular purview.
[00:27:11.100] – Andrea Baltazar
Not to say that I picked up everything that I needed to and within those 100 days, but it gave me a good foundation for myself. And as I mentioned earlier, I typically use this process any new company that I joined, because it’s an easy way to also explain to other people whether it be my manager, my peer group, my direct reports. This is the best way for me to on board and set that boundary for them too as well, so they can understand what I’ll be focused on during that first 100 days.
[00:27:40.670] – Nancy Goebel
And where are you now? What are some of your key focus areas these days?
[00:27:46.850] – Andrea Baltazar
Oh, goodness. I actually just last month went through my first half year planning at Uber. And that’s a process where we essentially reset and understand what the product teams are going to focus on during the second half of the year. And so that was a fascinating process for me to work through because Uber did it slightly different than I’ve experienced it at other companies. And so creating, watching it happen, but also understanding how I might change process or influence process to better help support the design group was also something I learned about that. I think that Uber is still very complicated. I’m still learning different things around our OKRs, how we drive business, how we look at certain markets. And so even as I reflect upon where I was at before, which was enterprise software, and now I’m in the mobility space, I’m still learning a lot. So I’m getting a little bit more of what I mentioned earlier in terms of challenges. Now my challenges are about learning the business, learning how design fits into the business, and then understanding the metrics that we drive and how that affects the user experience metrics or data that we might want to also influence within the product.
[00:29:03.660] – Andrea Baltazar
So I’m in that spot right now where I feel that I’ve survived my first half planning. I’ve created hopefully great partnerships with my product and engineering partners, and now I could really immerse myself in the business, the OKRs and the product itself too.
[00:29:23.750] – Nancy Goebel
And for someone who may not be familiar with OKRs, can you just put that in the context of your role?
[00:29:31.610] – Andrea Baltazar
Sure. OKRs are a typical construct that companies use to set. They stand for objectives and key results. And for example, if a company has particular goals that they might want to have it’s put into an OKR format. And that helps teams like product teams or design teams understand more broadly for their pillar area that they focus on what we are striving towards. And usually the KRs are achievable but slightly challenging goals that have metrics tied to it. So an example could be for Uber, it could be for the rider side, increasing bookings in the rider app. It could be for the earner side, something like conversion or engagement, converting a writer into a driver. So these are goals or metrics that might be used in a particular product area to help understand how successful we’ve been with achieving that for the business. So that’s an okay, at least in my layman’s way of explaining it.
[00:30:40.690] – Nancy Goebel
That’s great. I appreciate you taking the moment. I’m always conscious that we all tend to use acronyms of different kinds, and so I think it’s important to put those into context. And I think you’ve done that in a really helpful way. And so just taking us in a slightly different direction, I guess, based on where you are in your tenure at Uber, I’m always keen to draw out what other learnings people can take away from your approach and your colleagues and your collective efforts as we speak. And so what is some of the best advice that you can share based on your vantage view inside of product design and user experience at Uber?
[00:31:30.650] – Andrea Baltazar
Sure. It’s also helpful that it’s relatively fresh for me. It’s something that I’m experiencing even live right now. I would say the first thing, especially as a product design leader, is create great partnerships of trust and transparency with your product and engineering partners. I cannot say enough how helpful that has been to me in even acclimating into any culture that I’ve been, and especially at Uber, because we move fast. If I don’t create those partnerships early and build that trust with that group, then I think I wouldn’t be as at least as successful to this point as I am without it. So I would always say that. I would also say a learning that I have from Uber is be open to experimentation. I think that within the US realm we are sometimes known as folks that might be a little bit more rigid towards experimentation and that could be putting something into the product and actually testing what it’s like in the real life environment. That is an example of an experiment. We might want to do it as a, quote, AB test and essentially put it into product and test. And sometimes in a fast moving environment, being open to that is actually key so that we can get results fairly quickly and then pivot.
[00:32:48.190] – Andrea Baltazar
I think the part that’s important is set a plan in place when you do have an organization that experiments to essentially pivot if something might have gone wrong with the experiment itself. Not having that plan, I think would be a little bit just detrimental to the user experience. So be open to experimentation and also have a plan in place for if the experiment goes wrong, where to pivot to afterwards. And I’d say data. Always bring in data. The one thing I’ve learned from Uber is Uber has amazing data scientists. They make me feel stupid and I used to be a math and science scholar. But when you hear data sciences talk about the information that we’re pulling for how people engage with our product and how they transfer that data into insights. It’s a whole different realm when you’re dealing with actual metrics. And I would say partner well with your data scientists and understand how the data that they create and how they provide insights for can actually be leveraged towards your design. So that’s something also, that I’ve been working on here with my designers, is partnering with data science as well as product marketing in order to understand different points of views as we go through our design process.
[00:34:04.910] – Nancy Goebel
And I’m just curious, on a side note, as you’re chatting with the data scientists and the product market experts, how much of a role now is the emotional side that the sentiment playing as part of the work that you’re doing? And the reason I ask is that we’re seeing much more evidence now of empathy playing a role in the wider digital workplace. So if you think about the employee experience as an anchor tenant within the digital workplace, it’s important to be able to see how the two connect.
[00:34:45.650] – Andrea Baltazar
It is absolutely still one of the areas that we focus on as a part of our process and design. And if an organization like Uber is not ready for that, we bring it to it. But Uber does a great job of understanding our riders, understanding our earners, and really putting ourselves in a position where we have that empathy and can understand it. We have slack channels actually dedicated to the empathy side of it, where we understand what might be happening in the real world. We actually also have product operations folks and local market folks that understand in their market, in their country, how our product is being used and get insights that way. And so we actually have a variety of different ways in which we can build up empathy, because that is all about surfacing the information, whether it’s through UXR and actual user research and actual interviews there, or data that we’re pulling directly from feedback that we’re receiving at that market level that is all available to us. And we do push ourselves to do it when we’re having a conversation about a particular product area, if we might want to make a change, we do still advocate for the folks that might use this.
[00:36:00.580] – Andrea Baltazar
We think about different aspects, whether it’s accessibility related, whether it is emotional, whether it is safety concerns. These are all things that are actually top of mind for us. And specifically within the design org. At Uber, we actually have a safety team just dedicated entirely to safety. We have a product equity that is dedicated to equity within product, really understanding inclusion and how we build that into the product ourselves and how people experience it. So these are things that are super top of mind to us and we do our best to ensure that empathy is there as we go through our design process and we share it with our partners as well.
[00:36:39.290] – Nancy Goebel
And as much as Uber is a complex, fast moving and global organization, what I hear from the conversation is that it’s also hyper local and hyper user centric.
[00:36:56.450] – Andrea Baltazar
That is correct.
[00:36:57.640] – Nancy Goebel
So what have we missed? Andrea, was there anything that you were hoping I’d ask that I didn’t?
[00:37:04.970] – Andrea Baltazar
I’m actually surprised you didn’t ask me how I’ve experienced the digital workplace at this company or any company that I’ve been in since I was actually a designer in that space.
[00:37:16.070] – Nancy Goebel
Go for it. Answer the question.
[00:37:18.530] – Andrea Baltazar
Great. It’s interesting because as someone who has spent a good portion of her career focused on employee experience in digital workplace, as I transitioned from company to company, I realised that I didn’t see the intranet in the same way. How I saw my work was about access to information versus maybe the old way of thinking about the intranet where you have a home page and you have information on there that you’re surfacing to your employees. We certainly had an initiative focused on that at Wells Fargo. How I saw digital workplace was how do I get the tools that I need to do in my job? How do I get the information that I need so that I can do my job well? And that actually became really search was the primary way that facilitated all that I needed to find it, because we are massive under the hood. Even when I think about Workday, there’s just so much information. So how do I get that information quickly? As someone who no longer focused on digital workplace, what I saw is that I heavily relied on searching as a way to get the information that I needed.
[00:38:27.540] – Andrea Baltazar
So I was super fascinated by that myself as I moved away from the internet/ digital workplace realm.
[00:38:35.030] – Nancy Goebel
So, having said all of that, what are your parting reflections or advice for digital workplace leaders and practitioners listening to this episode?
[00:38:50.630] – Andrea Baltazar
Be open to experimentation. Find avenues to ensure that you’re capturing data and insights. These have a UX research practice and listen to these experts to, as we talked about earlier, help build empathy and understanding of what the employees are experiencing as they interact with both the physical and digital touch points that you have available to them.
[00:39:13.670] – Nancy Goebel
That’s certainly some sage advice. And of course, I know for those who are a bit more specialised in employee experience, you have some parting reflections or advice for them as well.
[00:39:26.470] – Andrea Baltazar
I would really echo what I said, really know the employee journeys as they experience it within your company. Building that empathy is super helpful to understanding how your work impacts employees at that deep level. As employees, we really experience our workplaces based on the different touch points that we provide to them. And so I think understanding that emotional aspects would be super helpful to embolden you to even think of with more empathy and bring that into your work. Regardless of whether you’re in design, you’re a product manager or you’re an engineer, I think Fathy is super important whenever you’re working in the employee experience world.
[00:40:07.790] – Nancy Goebel
Almost feels like the all roads lead home kind of conversation, and I think that’s a great way to put a little bow around this conversation. Last call. Have we missed anything, Andrea?
[00:40:23.090] – Andrea Baltazar
I don’t think that we have.
[00:40:24.610] – Nancy Goebel
Thank you, Nancy. This has just been a wonderful conversation. I’m inspired by some of the bold changes you’ve made in your career since the days we met long ago. I’m inspired by the focus that you’ve had in the first 100 days looking at this approach that you’ve taken around people, process and product. And I’m sure that’s a model for others to follow, whether it’s A, stepping into a new role in industry or B, if you want to take a fresh look and jumpstart what you’re doing. I think it has applicability there and of course, to keep off on the importance of not only surrounding yourself with the right mentors, but then paying that forward, as you have shown through this conversation and your tenured career. And you’ve been very generous with your sharing and your insights and it’s just been delightful. So a big thank you, Andrea, for coming into the studio today.
[00:41:32.570] – Andrea Baltazar
Thank you for having me. Nancy and I always appreciate a chat with you.
[00:41:37.070] – Nancy Goebel
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