“You never want a serious crisis go to waste, it’s an opportunity to do things you could not do before”
In his presentation at DOXAcon 2022, Guidant Financial’s Head of People, Cory Sanford, quoted former U.S. Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, in the latter’s response during the Great Recession in 2009. This very statement probably influenced the Idaho-based business financing firm’s decision on March 16, 2020.
At the height of COVID-19, Guidant Financial, made the step towards the future and leveraged a byproduct of the pandemic: distance. While half of the world mourned the loss of physical contact, Guidant embraced it and decided to go fully remote.
Everything seemed to coincide for the then 17-year-old Guidant. In the beginning of 2020, the team focused on leaning into the employee experience by injecting more flexibility via the creation of more remote work opportunities.
Though the partnership with DOXA isn’t Guidant’s first dive into offshoring, past collaborations weren’t translating into results. The growing demand for flexibility, a better approach to offshoring; and ultimately, the pandemic was what led to the beginning of a borderless strategy.
Going Beyond 6 Feet Apart
With breaking away from the brick-and-mortar work model came an inevitable challenge—connection. While COVID-19 protocols only required individuals to be at least 6 feet apart, Guidant team members were working in distances farther than that.
“We knew that as we headed into a fully remote experience, we had to take a step back and say, ‘We probably need to have some principles that are guiding how we think about remote work,” Cory shares.
To address the issue, he singles out the establishment of a robust work culture through the team’s connection to the various strands of Guidant’s DNA.
“Culture is connection. That is connection to the purpose—the purpose of the company, the direction of the company, and the clients of the company. And if you feel a connection to that purpose, that’s a key element of connection,” he further explains.
He also points out critical touchpoints members of an organization need to feel connected to for the success of a remote work culture.
“Do people feel connected to the leaders of the organization, the values of the organization, their direct supervisors, and to each other.”
Awareness of the issue at hand was the first step but knowing all of these was not enough. They needed intentional solutions—those tailored to ensure that the premium placed on employee experience was palpable.
A Renaissance Of Communication
One strong pillar that builds the DOXA foundation is helping lift communities. This means building ‘long-lasting, win-win relationships’ to ensure healthy working relations with the clients and the community.
An altruistic belief, along with other employee-centric ones like putting people first, growing together, and supporting the well-being of the person, ties in perfectly with Guidant’s need to establish strong bonds between its members and various organizational variables while thriving within the digital landscape. This is square one for the partnership’s offshoring strategy.
“People in the workforce generally want to be valued when at work and make an impact. We wanted to embrace this as an experiment, ‘Join us in this journey. We’re going to test a lot of things, we’re going to learn together,” Cory explains as he talked about the beginning of their new offshoring journey.
Guidant already had creative means to ensure connection was established. They had granular activities like regular supervisor one-on-ones, and company-wide efforts like an established remote code of conduct that ensured the efficiency of each remote member.
DOXA’s role was to build on these by utilizing their expertise in managing a diverse talent pool. Cory cites the offshoring firm’s input in knowing how to navigate through certain cultural nuances as instrumental in streamlining the dissemination of information to their offshore teams.
“What DOXA did that I really appreciated is they helped us understand what the expectations of our team in the Philippines were in our relationship,” he shares. He continued by giving specific examples, “So when I’d say, ‘I want to ask all our [offshore team members] some feedback, what do I need to be thinking? They’d say, ‘Yes, please do ask for team feedback. Just make sure you use words like ‘stakeholder’, instead of supervisor. So that guided and coached us to get the right feedback from the team.”
He also brought into light the need to respect national holidays, bringing home his point of team members wanting to be valued. “DOXA also came to us and said, ‘We understand that there are some challenges around holidays—US holidays and Philippine holidays—how do you want to approach that? And they gave us some options. [With those] we were able to say, ‘We believe that we need to embrace the diversity of our team, and we want our [offshore] team to celebrate all of their holidays.”
Through DOXA, Guidant also realized the value of fully integrating their offshore teams into every fiber of their company’s DNA.
“With our Philippine team, before DOXA, we started off about as separate from us as you can imagine. They weren’t invited to meetings; they weren’t included in [Microsoft] Teams channels or communications; there was very little opportunity for interaction or advancement,” Cory shares. “We didn’t develop or coach them. We swung that pendulum as far as we could take it with DOXA’s help.”
Riding The Virtual Wave
This is life as we know it now, a digital landscape that spins in a quick manner, and those who are slow to adapt are often left behind. In our world today, people value the balance between work and life, and they seek opportunities that allow them that. As an employer, it’s a must to take the extra mile to consider what will ensure the team’s welfare.
As Guidant responded to the need for flexibility, it reaped its rewards in the form of positive responses from its employees in the US, and especially those based in the Philippines. They saw a 15% employee turnover rate with DOXA team members, and a rise in their Net Promoter Score and Annual team advancements among others.
Not everyone will have the courage to take the risk of going completely remote like what Guidant did. Some still do adhere to traditional work values, and nothing is wrong with that. What everyone can take a risk on is to reach out for a lifeline when operational tasks and costs are getting out of hand, and offshoring is one of those.