Leveraging Data to Cultivate an Engaged Workforce in 2022

By Amalia Martino and Mafe Cobaleda-Yglesias

Amid the Great Resignation, it’s not only hard to hire employees it’s also hard to retain them. According to Visier, one in four people quit their jobs in 2021 – an unprecedented statistic. This Attrition is not only costly from a hiring perspective, but it can also have a negative impact on the happiness of employees left behind. This is because these individuals are faced with increased workload and responsibility at a time when they are likely already feeling burnt out and overwhelmed.

So, why are so many employees choosing to move on?

Changing expectations, demands to return to the office after successful remote work, a desire for higher wages to match the record-breaking inflation figures, increased emphasis on mental wellness, and changes to the family life dynamic and work/life balance are all factors driving the resignations. Remote and hybrid work has become the standard in most industries, according to a recent FlexJobssurvey 58% of employees nationally would look for a new position if not allowed to continue remote work. And many have done so, 39% of college graduates who quit a job in the past 6 months say they did so to increase their ability to work from home.

A Unique Approach

Here at The Vida Agency (TVA) we are changing the way people approach career and life balance. Instead of a mass exodus, the TVA team has doubled in size since the start of the pandemic. This has been achieved through listening, learning, and retooling. The goal has not been to simply hold onto the team, but rather to collaboratively cultivate a culture that enables each member of the team to contribute at a high level. The result is a shared power and an atmosphere where our employees want to remain and thrive.

Our internal research team designed a methodology to gather global team input, a core component of the TVA company values of equity and inclusion. The aim was to get a pulse from our employees through data insights that would enable us to proactively adapt the business to better meet their needs. The service, we coined as “VibeCheck,” yielded a host of actionable qualitative and quantitative data and analytics gathered across the organization enabling actionable next steps for budgeting, remote and hybrid work structures, staff onboarding, retention and more.

The Service was launched to increase employee engagement by identifying key challenges and areas where individuals needed more training and support,alongside exploring remote onboarding needs and challenges. We also sought to inform decisions about how much office space was needed and its ideal location and layout for optimum employee productivity. We didn’t want to just retain team members, we wanted to keep them engaged by actively learning and understanding how to make their daily work life better and more fulfilling.

What We Discovered

The Initial insights taught us much more about employee engagement than we had even hoped. Firstly, we have created a collaborative, listening culture where every individual has been given a voice, regardless of their position. On top of this, we have used the data to create a leadership of empathetic managers that listen to and inspire loyalty in the workforce. Thanks to these changes, we have not only retained existing employees, but our team has also doubled since the start of the pandemic. 

A key focus area for the pulse check was onboarding as we understood the unique challenges of training and supporting new employees remotely. Joining a new company virtually can feel isolating and overwhelming and we wanted to ensure our process made every individual feel comfortable and included – part of our core TVA values. Overall, the results showed that a large percentage of individuals loved or mostly enjoyed the virtual onboarding and felt prepared to take on projects after week one.

Finally,by connecting with the team to understand their comfort and competency with multiple core business platforms, we identified where further training was required to ensure employees can fully utilize the tools we have in place to help them with their roles. Asking the team about their interest in working in an office or co-working space highlighted the need to offer a mix of these hybrid solutions in order to best meet the needs of every individual and maximize whole team engagement.

How We’ve Adapted

Overall, the data insights enabled us to pivot our strategies and approach and to be more nimble amidst the ongoing fluidity of the COVID pandemic. Through the learnings, we have established a successful hybrid work structure, revised our employee support to align with their requirements, and implemented some key tactical changes. All of which has helped TVA to build a satisfied and highly engaged workforce.

Here Are some of our most successful tactics:

  1. Satellite Offices: Thanks to insights that highlighted the desire for a variety of co-working spaces within a short commute, TVA has implemented several satellite offices around Seattle. These are sites where employees can meet to connect, collaborate, and work while minimizing their journey time.
  2. 25/45 Meetings: Keeping meetings to twenty-five-and forty-five-minutes to ensure employees have time for breaks between sessions. The goal is to eliminate feelings of stress or anxiety typically associated with back-to-back meetings. Now, every individual has time to step away from the desk, hydrate, and take a quick pause which helps them to join their next meeting feeling rejuvenated and prepared.
  3. 9:00 am to 5:00 pm schedule: As a company, we have always worked hard to promote a healthy work/life balance but since the pulse check we have adopted core business hours. This encourages employees to switch off outside of this time, be with loved ones, and pursue hobbies.
  4. Motivational Meetings: To increase team engagement and connection, we introduced a weekly Tuesday Motivational Meeting (TMM) whereby individuals are spotlighted to share any information they feel is relevant. This could be updates on a current project or a snippet about their life outside work. The intention is to create a culture of openness which in turn fosters a stronger, supportive working environment where individuals want to stay long term.

The Vida Agency (TVA) is a full-service communications company specializing in the development and execution of award-winning brand campaigns for market segments such as health, transportation, retail, consumer, public policy, and education. TVA services span research, strategy, creative execution, and reporting in support of public agencies and private corporations to collaboratively reach diverse audiences for greater cultural impact. TVA’s Creative campaigns set the standard for equitable communications that authentically connect clients with audiences, resulting in widespread annual industry recognition. TVA’s recent awards include a Northwest Regional Emmy for community Health Plan of Washington’s “Tu eres el centro/You are the center ”campaign and multiple Communicator Awards for the Be Ready. Be Hydrated Campaign. To learn more, please visit. https://thevidaagency.com/. The Vida Agency is proud to be a woman-and minority-owned business. State WMBE: M5F0025227 Federal DBE:D5F0025227

Amalia Martino

When visionary entrepreneur Amalia Martino founded The Vida Agency in 2017, she designed a boutique
creative agency in which every voice is valued, every client achieves strategic and inclusive impact, and every
person is intentionally supported on her or his leadership development journey. With nearly two decades
leading communications and public relations campaigns that transform audience behavior, Amalia
conceptualizes and executes culturally relevant initiatives on behalf of TVA clients. Recognized for her unique
ability to activate and elicit valuable input from a diverse array of communities, she established and models
the inclusive Community Outreach Principles that TVA has become known for. Amalia works hand-in-hand
with clients spanning major market segments including health, transportation, retail, consumer, education,
and the arts to adapt and evolve to the swiftly changing demographics of our Northwest home. A powerful
and authentic public speaker and facilitator, Amalia activates audiences across sectors. She regularly speaks
on building inclusive strategies for marketing and engagement, and shares lessons from The Vida Agency’s
efforts to enable a culture of leadership.
How her colleagues describe Amalia: Visionary. Kind. Badass. Mentor. Yoga Master. Discovers potential.

Mafe Cobaleda-Yglesias

Mafe Cobaleda-Yglesias knows the value of clear coordination and communication to a well-executed
campaign. Leveraging over a decade of experience in project and account management, she serves as a single
point of contact for clients, coordinating a team of TVA experts and vendors to establish a shared vision,
timeline, and expectations for each project. A strong interpersonal and bilingual communicator, Mafe is skilled
at facilitating small and large community conversations and focus groups in both Spanish and English to ensure
that every voice is heard. As the head of language adaptation and translation at TVA, she leads an extended
team of language professionals providing DSHS and/or Court-certified translation and simultaneous
interpretation in more than twenty (20) languages. In every case and language, Mafe delivers content that is
respectful and true to the native language.
How her colleagues describe Mafe: Authentic. Loyal.. Enthusiastic. Hilarious. Positive. Believes in her