Attracting Talent: Unique Perks at Canva, Microsoft & Stryker

Posted in Employee Experience


Many companies spent years investing in office perks that became useless with the mass shift to remote and hybrid work.

Away from the sparkle and excitement of the office, the true state of your employee experience is on show.

Without their daily ping pong battles and company barista, are your employees becoming disengaged? Worse still, have some started to question whether your organization and their roles are truly giving them what they need?

Great employee experiences drive high employee engagement. As Gallup says, engagement “is created on a daily basis through work environment and relationships.”

Why does employee experience matter?

Teams with higher engagement deliver a range of better business outcomes including productivity and profitability:

  • The most engaged business units outperform the least engaged by 10% on customer ratings, 21% on productivity, and 22% on profitability.
  • They have 37% lower absenteeism; 65% lower turnover (in high-turnover businesses); 28% lower product shrinkage; 48% fewer safety incidents; and 41% fewer quality defects.

Bad employee experiences create disengagement, which spreads low morale and drives high turnover.

The result? The perfect storm for poor productivity. Low employee engagement spreads like a virus until everyone is sick. And when a business reaches this point, it can be hard to work out how to recover. Some businesses wind up paralyzed, feeling the problem is so big they don’t know where to start.

But there is good news.

Creating strong employee experiences isn’t as difficult as it seems. And a lot of companies are already doing a great job.

Great employee experiences start here

EX isn’t about bandaid solutions like yoga or free breakfasts (although they can be cool, obvs!).

It’s about connection. Relationships. Creating meaningful moments where your people feel embedded, respected and empowered in your business.

These three tech businesses do a great job – and enjoy impressive productivity and performance gains for their efforts.

Canva: Onboarding and beyond

Few companies can boast Canva’s explosive growth trajectory, gaining over 15 million users, 300,000 paying customers, $125 USD funding, and a $3.2B USD valuation in seven years.

And employee experience has been instrumental in their astronomical growth.

Canva has been ranked as Australia’s best place to work by both Great Place to Work and Linkedin (not bad!).

When it comes to employee experience, Canva are true pioneers – and they say onboarding plays an especially vital role. As Linda Lin, Canva’s Team Happiness Coordinator says:

“In the last 12 months we’ve onboarded 280 people globally and almost 200 people just in Sydney. That’s a huge amount of growth and more than 50% of our whole workforce have started within one year. So onboarding is a really, really important part of employee experience at Canva.”

Canva use experience-driven onboarding to deliver WOW experiences to all their new hires, at scale, with total consistency.

From offer to six months’ employment, Canva deliver a high-touch, personalized, onboarding journey that inspires, sparks joy, and empowers new hires to embed fully into the Canva culture.

It’s not just Canva who understand the importance of starting on the right foot. Onboarding isn’t the only element of EX, but it is the first – and first impressions are the most lasting (as the adage goes).

LeasePlan, for example, also recognized onboarding as a lynchpin of EX – they’ve recovered nearly $90,000 AUD in lost productivity from stopping pre-start dropouts with experience-driven onboarding. Plus another $120,000 AUD by accelerating time-to-proficiency in new hires.

Microsoft: Rewriting the working week

Japan has some of the longest working hours in the world.

Nearly a quarter of Japanese companies have employees working 80-hours overtime a month, often unpaid. Twelve percent are working more than 100-hours overtime a month!

Around 35% of Japanese employees don’t take any annual leave. No wonder there is a “karoshi”(death from overwork) epidemic.

This deeply ingrained culture of overtime makes Microsoft Japan’s Work Life Choice Challenge 2019 a brave experiment.

And a successful one! Through August 2019, Microsoft Japan revolutionzed the concept of the regular working week, closing their office every Friday and giving employees paid leave. They also restricted meetings to 30 minutes and encouraged online meetings instead.

The results? Microsoft reported a sales boost of nearly 40% over the period.

The point is, challenge culture and convention. It may be radical, revolutionary, or sound downright outrageous, but experiments are just that, experiments. If they don’t work, so what? But if you don’t try, nothing changes.

Stryker: Taking action

Stryker generated $13.6B USD in 2018 – a net sales increase of 9.3%. Go back a few years – let’s say 2010 – and you’re looking at $7.32B USD. That’s a fabulous success story.

And it directly tracks to employee engagement. Stryker won the Gallup Great Workplace award several times and recently topped the Australian Best Places to Work rankings for medium-sized companies.

A great example of their dedicated to EX is their engagement initiative in their Mahwah plant. 

At 48%, the Mahwah plant had lower engagement scores than the Stryker average (still double-digit percentage points higher than U.S. averages…)

They decided to enlist the help of an HR specialist who found the low scores were stemming from an over reliance on surveys without action (a super common problem). She developed a comprehensive strategy to help teams take meaningful action – not just read responses – to improve engagement.

Working closely with managers, she identified specific actions to help employees feel heard, valued, and empowered. Engagement increased by nearly 20% in Mahwah as a direct result and Stryker wouldn’t be where it is today without taking this granular approach across their 50-odd locations.

How to improve the employee experience

So how can you take these stories from Canva, Microsoft, and Stryker, and apply those learnings to your company? Start in these three areas: employee onboarding, flexible work, and learning from employee feedback.

Improve your onboarding experience

Follow Canva’s lead. If you want to improve employee experience, it all starts with onboarding. First, start by setting clear expectations. This will help them feel more confident in their new role. Second, provide support and resources. We’ve all started a new gig and been confused about who to call or where to go. Don’t let that happen to your new hires. Third, build connections. Onboarding is the perfect time to connect people within and across teams. Finally, gather feedback. Integrate employee experience surveys into the onboarding process so you know if you’re hitting the mark and where you can make improvements.

Switch things up

How can you challenge convention like Microsoft? Enboarder research found 90% of workers said flexible work options are critical when considering future roles and almost one-third wouldn’t even consider a role that doesn’t offer flexibility. Even if it’s not feasible to go so far as offer a four-day work week (although many companies are going there), consider small, yet meaningful ways employees can have more autonomy and control over their work day. It can go a long way to improve employee experience.

Survey and respond

Like Stryker learned, it’s important to not only survey, but also to take action. Taking and responding to employee feedback demonstrates to employees that their opinions are valued and considered by leadership, which helps foster a sense of ownership and investment in your company. Follow up with employees who take the time to respond to your surveys and offer for them to be involved in a task force that will be assigned to address the issue.

Start improving your employee experience

The results speak for themselves: Prioritizing employee experience is good for business.

Start delivering rich, consistent, delightful experiences that put your people first and you’ll experience higher engagement, higher productivity, and ultimately higher profitability too.

Enboarder’s Human Connection Platform helps you engage, inspire, and empower every person you hire. Ready to step up your onboarding and EX game? Schedule your demo today!

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