Shelley Jeffcoat (she/her) is the Director Employer Brand/Architect of Values and Culture (Employee Value Proposition) of LexisNexis Risk Solutions. LexisNexis Risk Solutions is a portfolio of brands that span multiple industries providing customers with innovative technologies, information-based analytics and decision tools and data services. LexisNexis Risk Solutions employs 9500 people globally.
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Including You Interview with Shelley Jeffcoat
e040. Employee Experience with Shelley Jeffcoat
[00:00:48] Amy: Hi, welcome back to Including You. I’m your host, Amy C. Waninger, the Inclusion Catalyst. This week my guest is Shelley Jeffcoat. Shelley is the Director of employer brand and architect of Values and [00:01:00] Culture at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. LexisNexis is a portfolio of brands that span multiple industries, providing customers with innovative technologies,
information based analytics, and decision tools and data services. They employ about 9,500 people globally. Shelley, welcome to the show.
[00:01:20] Shelley: Thanks for having me. And so right off, I am so excited to be here. It is LexisNexis Risk Solutions, because LexisNexis is our sister company, so I wanna make sure we give a shout out to the right organization.
Amy: Sorry about that. I’m sorry.
Shelley: No it’s- that’s a part of branding, that we’ve been working on as well. So that kind of bleeds right into everything else that we’re doing. But yeah, I’m excited to be here.
[00:01:41] Amy: I’m excited to have you here. Thank you so much. I wanna start with inclusion, I’m assuming is part, a big part of the values and culture at your organization.
Why is inclusion so important at LexisNexis Risk?
[00:01:58] Shelley: Oh gosh. So our people [00:02:00] are why and how we do things, so when we built out our values and cultures, so it is standard to what a lot of a lot of other organizations do and we all call it EVP or employee value proposition. It was important to not just have buzz, buzzwords, and taglines,
we wanna make sure that we’re reflecting an authentic experience here being included, in being inclusive are really key. We have a global footprint, not only with our employees but also with our customers and our clients. So, there’s no way it would be able to be as successful as we are if we didn’t operate within that model.
And quite frankly, it makes people happy to be here. Happy employees are productive. Those productive employees help us to be as successful as we are financially as well and helps us along the lines of all of our corporate responsibilities and everything that we do for the local communities that we serve.
So being inclusive is much more than just the word. It is actually a part of who we are. We have a wonderful group of talent [00:03:00] across a diaspora of different backgrounds, ages, job levels, the way we think. All of those things are tied up in that bow.
[00:03:09] Amy: It’s interesting because you mentioned a couple of different things.
You mentioned your employee population and being more productive and being more engaged. But you also mentioned this notion of matching the clients that you serve and matching the market. Can you talk a little bit about that and how inclusion in the company has helped grow the company from the inside out?
[00:03:27] Shelley: Yeah. So imagine, imagine going, so for example: back in the day, I was an engineer. It is one of the jobs I had, and at the time I was, again I’m a female woman for those who might be visually impaired. I am af- I’m actually black. I’m Jamaican, so I’m black. I’m wearing a dark black sweater and I have big gold-colored glasses on.
So just for those individuals. So imagine walking in the room where you’re going in to pitch a product or a service, and the folks who are sitting across from you are already questioning your credibility based on your appearance. [00:04:00] Do you understand the problems and issues that we have? Are you speaking even the same language, or do are, or how are we actually connecting?
At the very basic, you have to be able to connect with your clients, so it’s not just about, going in with the next shiny new solution; you have to connect. So for- When we think about the communities that, again, communities where we live, the communities that we serve and our clients, we wanna match that.
You’re gonna have more trust with me, more respect with me as a person who’s gonna provide a solution. And the clients that we serve, we don’t even talk about half of them, because a lot of them are government contact contracts or federal, insurance agencies, aviation industries, we’re touching a large gamut of different perspectives as well.
Taking that off the table where you’re going in and you’re not feeling trusted or respected, or you’re speaking to a community that looks nothing like you, that doesn’t, the way that we might have operated in like the eighties and nineties when we’re doing [00:05:00] business that way, didn’t- doesn’t work now, so why would you consider that concept?
We hire our talent from various pools. So for example, we’re not just looking at, students or college applicants from the same universities, the same location. We’re also not looking for talent within the same age range.
So we’re not just looking at if you’re 30 plus, then you must be the expert. So again, that is reflective of what the market is telling. The market is looking at, do you have the right people on the job to provide me the solutions that I need? And then how do you match that? And we’re doing that through our inclusive talent.
[00:05:37] Amy: You also mentioned about inclusion being how people feel about their work. Or feel being at work. What are you doing specifically to help people feel included and connected at work? I know employer brand is part of your job. But I’m curious, like what are the initiatives or the steps that you’ve taken to move the needle on that?
[00:05:56] Shelley: So the first thing that we did when I when I created the- so the values [00:06:00] and culture are the foundation of everything that we do. Everything and I mean from attraction to retire. Okay? So this is not about employer brand like most companies or a lot of companies do, where it’s small B and it’s all social media.
This is literally taking our values and culture and aligning in into the experience. So how we measure performance. Our learning culture through talent development, retention strategies, employee referral programs. We have over 35 employee resource groups. So everything that we do, even as values and culture is embedded into our D&I strategy.
There is no out. So one of the things that is important to us is we reinforce and we reward the behavior. So if we’re saying- and by the way, being inclusive and being diverse, they’re part of our actual value statements. And so now we wanna see that echoed into the way that we work together. How do we connect? How do we collaborate with each other?
So we’ve done a really good job of making sure that [00:07:00] our employee resource groups, they have this language, they understand what it is within the experience. We talk about those strategies, what do we want it to feel like for you when you’re here? The way that we deliver all of our programs and support tools, we have a lot of internal programs that really focus on diverse hiring.
How do you onboard employees? And as you’re coming into the employees and you hire, do you have a good sense of what you’re joining? I make a statement all the time when I think about employer brand, and I always liken it to a dating app, and I’m not on any dating apps, but I’m just telling you this is what I use.
When I think about… Imagine you’re going to the dating app and you’re looking up this organization and you’re swiping and you’re thinking, oh, it looks great, the environment looks great, beautiful pictures, ping pong tables, hybrid work one day a week and I’m in. And then imagine you show up.
Nothing like that. It’s, it’s a, it’s an old dirty building and no one’s there and no one’s connecting and teams don’t talk to each other. That’s what we wanted to [00:08:00] escape. So in order for you to do that, you have to actually align those values and culture and integrate it into your talent strategy.
And that runs all the way again from how you attract, all the way from the way that you exit people through the business.
[00:08:15] Amy: Did I hear you right that you have 35 different employee resource groups?
[00:08:19] Shelley: Yes. 35 employee resource groups!
[00:08:22] Amy: Okay. Help me understand because most companies have half a dozen, maybe eight on the high end. Yes.
I’ve never heard of a company that had 35. Can you talk a little bit about that?
[00:08:36] Shelley: Yeah. Okay. So employee resource groups they fall under our D N I function and that’s how they operate here. And one of the things that we’ve been able to do, so our organization is actually constructed of seven individual brands.
Okay, so when we’re talking about 9,500 employees, we’re also talking about seven individual brands or maybe business units or what people are outside the business would use. [00:09:00] And so you have all of these different culture aspects. We have a lot of acquisitions. We’re global. And so we want, what we wanted to do is to make sure that we create an environment where if you came in and there was a need and there was a group that you could build to support that.
And you- there, there’s a process that employee resource groups go to. You can’t just stand up another ERG, but you have to align back into our diversity and inclusion strategy. And if you could do that and there’s enough traction around that, then yeah, you could start up an employee resource group and a lot of ’em work together.
So for example the Pride Group in Georgia works very well with the Pride Group in London. And those are two separate groups because they have different localized audiences. So breaks itself down that way. We have some areas that we focus on and, again, very similar to what a lot of what might consider gender and equitable and, all of those different areas. But that’s it.
We have 35. It does run surprisingly well. Our employees are [00:10:00] very active. I can tell you that, one of the things that we wanted to do is to make sure that regardless of where you are in the business globally, your time zone, there’s always something that you can get engaged and you can participate and you can do.
Because we’re now operating in hybrid, we still manage our events in that way. So there might be some that are onsite. There might be some that are virtual, but having these many employer resource groups help us to meet your need wherever you are. So it sounds like a lot; we- there’s a lot of concerted efforts that the groups meet every quarter.
I come on those calls because I’m constantly trying to drive in our values and culture and make sure we’re all aligned, we’re saying the same thing. And then those groups will make their plans and they’re run by employees. They love what they do. This is part of, what makes it a great place to work for us.
[00:10:52] Amy: I think that’s just incredible that you are running that many. I just can’t imagine the commitment and the negotiations that had to happen to make that happen. Yes. Let’s just [00:11:00] say that.
But what have you seen in terms of results? Clearly, you’re getting a lot behind this. What’s this doing for you?
Are you measuring, reduced turnover? Are you measuring employee engagement? Yes. How, what, where are the numbers? Trending because of all this work.
[00:11:13] Shelley: Yeah. So a little bit all over the all over the board. So without giving out our numbers When I take a look, some of the things that I think about is, do people, some of the traditional metrics around, employee referral, for example.
What does that number look like? How many, what is the percentage of hires that were sourced in that manner? And I’m not looking at that from a, because I don’t work for talent acquisition, I’m not looking at it from a, okay, now we need to create a different campaign perspective. I’m looking at that as a way of measuring how people feel about the business they’ve worked for because if you’re not happy about where you are, you’re not gonna tell your friends and family to come here.
That’s just fact. So I look at it from that perspective. But we use traditional employee engagement metrics. We. Our EOS survey. We also [00:12:00] have- we use a couple of external culture services.
So for example, or reporting wise, comparably we use because it’s confidential and every quarter our employees will go in and give their feedback and we can tell really quickly how people are feeling based on even the number of responses. Cuz you’re not able to drill deeper or if we look at our EOS scores or NPSs just the standard things.
But we’re also looking at retention and attrition. One thing about attrition, is it a number that we can live with? Is this a number that I, this is a number that I can digest. Is it comfortable? Is it 10 between 10 and 12%? If it’s trending in, in, in different ways, what does that mean?
What is it telling us within the business? And then in my function for EVP, because I work. So closely with our HR leaders, talent development, d e i, talent acquisition corporate com marketing. I’m probably missing somebody. Legal. I work with all of these employee experience and because I work with all of these senior leaders, then I’m able to tap into some of the data [00:13:00] points that we’re getting back from what’s happening within the business and taking pulse surveys and things of that nature.
Very similar. I think the one thing. Organizations can do very well is just ask the question and it’s not a matter of asking the question to the same group. Don’t keep going to your ERG leaders to ask them how they think things are going. Don’t keep going back, if you’re in talent development.
Don’t keep throwing out surveys to, manager capabilities, survey surveys or leadership effectiveness surveys. Don’t keep going to the same group for the same- what you end up getting is the same response. Try to get a different target group each time and that will give you a better perspective of what’s happening in the business.
[00:13:38] Amy: Yeah. It’s interesting to me whenever I talk to data companies, because I know they’re gonna have a good data answer based on, people from data companies are always like, oh, it’s in the data, it’s in the data. And then I’ll talk to people, from companies that are not as data-focused, and they’re like it’s just, it just feels different than it used to here.
And it’s always interesting to see how the answers always correlate to the kind of business.
[00:13:58] Shelley: Yes, absolutely. I’m, I do a [00:14:00] mix of both because I also have my ear to the ground and I tend to, I talk to, About I’ll just ping someone off the bat and just, it’s not a formal medium.
I’m just saying, Hey, how are things going and how is it work? How are we working for you? How is hybrid working for you? And I’ll get some anecdotal data that way. But it’s just, you gotta ask the question. I think a lot of companies are afraid to ask the question. We hide the response, we hide the data, and then you don’t end up solving anything.
[00:14:27] Amy: Yeah, I agree. And a lot of the clients that I work with, I encourage them, get some baseline data if you’ve never measured before. Yes. At least measure once. Because you’re, you will, you’re likely, first of all, you’re likely to find some really good news in there that you’re not expecting.
Yes. And second, you might find something that is so unexpected, that you don’t wanna waste your time trying to solve a problem you don’t even have.
[00:14:50] Shelley: That’s right. And sometimes there’s good news. I that is another thing. When I joined the organization three years ago, I joined in 2019 and I was hired to build this function.
I wasn’t [00:15:00] here before. Nobody knew what it was, but they knew they needed to have it. So, I came in having worked at another large organization, but I did things very differently this time because I learned some lessons. Okay,. So, take your lessons with you. That’s lesson number one. Take your lessons with you.
And when I came here I realized that there was that aversion to data, but there was an aversion to even ask the question because people thought the answers were gonna be, they never asked the question, so they were setting up the hopes of this is never gonna work and people aren’t gonna- we’re never gonna get on board with this, and all of those things.
And yet when we asked the question, things were way better than they thought. So you could build on that. So some of that is, is I think it’s a mind shift change when you talk to people about what we did, it is a full-on culture transformation that happened and we launched our EVP in March of 2020.
I don’t know if folks remember what March in 2020 happened, ‘cause there was some other things that were happening around the world at that time. So, imagine, we made [00:16:00] that decision and it was strategic. We were already talking about who we are. As an organization, here’s our chance to really message that out externally.
And then really, I wanted to get our employees behind it. So how do you get to a place where you have seven different- because we have one employer brand function, but there’s seven unique positions. There’s seven EVPs happening internally. That’s how it’s, that’s how it’s functioning.
But it all ties back to, what it is that you want the employees to experience at the end of the. So, we can use those terms belonging and inclusive. We can look at data all day long, but if you haven’t set that foundation in place, it means nothing.
[00:16:42] Amy: Absolutely. And Shelly, I’m curious with what you’ve done so far and Probably during the most challenging time to do it. Yeah. Because you came in right as Covid as the world shut down.
And then, in the following months, we had the murder of George Floyd. We had This [00:17:00] whole, Groundswell around, a, an awakening to racism in our-
At least in this country that I think was long overdue. It seems to have subsided a little too quickly for my taste in terms of people like committing and following through on their commitments. But it’s been a tumultuous couple of years. And it sounds like you’ve accomplished a lot in that time.
What are you looking for next year or, in the near future that you’d still like to do?
[00:17:25] Shelley: So, where we are- So, thank you for that. Yeah. It was tough, and I don’t mean to make it sound like it was easy, y’all. It was one of the most challenging jobs ever because imagine that I am the face of our culture.
And I’m having to show up in a boardroom in a conference room on calls and putting on that mask. Not the medical mask, but putting on that mask. Still having to show up and to say, “This is still a great place to be despite what’s happening outside of my doorstep.”
I think what made it work so well though is because we [00:18:00] had a level of, and I still do have a level of trust and commitment from our C-Suite leaders, and they were modeling the behavior that we wanted to see in our employees. So the support was there and that kind of, I think, I’m very fortunate that kind of support helped me a lot.
So going forward next year what I’m thinking about is as I’m shifting the function more, more to be aligned with employee experience, is how do you then make sure that the EVP itself is operationalized within talent development, specifically talent development, and in our D&I strategies.
How do you make sure- so what does that look like? How do you make sure that the HR community is actively taking part of the culture? How do you, obviously that’s important because they are, I call them influencers, so HR, influencing the way that the business operates from a people’s strategy perspective.
Right. From a D&I perspective, when we talk about targeted hiring. So, for example, we’re, sales is a, obviously a RevGen function for us. So how do you [00:19:00] make sure that the culture within sales itself, building a sales community, and again, this is not about small B. This is not s small B branding where you’re making pretty stuff.
Okay? This is how do you build a strategy around creating an environment that fosters, being inclusive just to touch on that word and what does that look like and how do you reward the behaviors around that? So that’s what we’re moving into. Just trying to take the EVP further.
We, employer brand for me is essentially over. We’ve built the brand, we have our taglines. We have all of the external facing. Who, what our values and cultures are and our se sense of purpose. Now it’s just digging a couple layers. And shifting that into the actual employee experience and that’s where we’re moving to next.
[00:19:42] Amy: That is very cool. And I wish you every success in the work that you’re doing and in the bridges that you’re building across your organizations I just think it’s fabulous, the work you’re doing. Thank you so much.
[00:19:52] Shelley: Why thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:20:43] Amy: That’s it for this week’s episode of Including You. Join me next week when my guest will be Brittani Brown.