While we maintained a laser focus on our clients, consumers, and external factors, we found ourselves expanding our focus to include our employees as well. We relied on our strong culture and purpose to guide us through this new normal, resulting in four main areas of focus:
1) Employee wellbeing
2) Financial inclusion enablers
3) Culture of Choice
4) Create meaningful connections
Experian was no different than every other company in the fact that our ways of working had to adjust. Through listening surveys, Experian heard employees loud and clear – they like remote working. However, we must respect the need for innovation and continuous growth in the business during a tough economy. Will there be enough collaboration to be innovative and create products across business units? How do you ensure employees feel connected and become part of the culture? What is the “connective tissue” to bind employees (new and existing) across geographic locations and business units?
Experian honors and believes face-to-face relationships are key to our business success. As a growth business with knowledge-based employees our talent is a key component to our success. We recognized that the talent market was changing, and the great recession was occurring. We had to continue to attract and retain highly skilled, diverse, technical talent to drive innovation and growth. We have worked hard to make sure employees understand our purpose and culture. In a remote environment, we do not want to lose our connections or ability to build new ones. The challenge is how do we establish the right balance between connection and flexibility?
Solution – Scope & Innovation
Employee wellbeing: Focus on wellbeing to support a hybrid workforce. Experian’s Global Executive Chief Financial Officer brings his whole self to work and unguardedly shares his personal stories pertaining to mental health and wellbeing. He continues to sponsor mental and behavioral health initiatives. Over the past couple of years, Experian has implemented several new resources, including:
- Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) program - Experian has created an internal network of over 400 employees who have been trained to be mental health emergency points of contact. Employees in need can find a MHFA from the directory, review a summary of MHFA’s experience/passions and connect with them. Also, MHFA are trained to listen for and identify possible mental health needs throughout their connections with others and encourage them to seek professional support if deemed necessary. MHFA are not expected to diagnosis, but to be an easily accessible resource in times of need.
- Global Wellbeing Hub - this one stop shop was created during the pandemic to support our employees by providing access to the complete suite of wellbeing resources in an accessible manner. Employees in different regions can quickly understand what wellbeing services are available to them. Services can include telemedicine, video counselling and employee assistance programs.
- Your Mind Matters Week– In alignment with World Mental Health Day, sponsored by our ASPIRE employee resource group and in active partnership with our global CFO, all employees are encouraged to discuss and share ideas about mental health and wellbeing. Throughout the countries we operate in, we produce mental health communications, and organize events and webinars on a wide range of wellbeing related topics throughout the month of October.
Financial inclusion enablers: Focus on financial inclusion/wellbeing to support a hybrid workforce. Financial wellbeing and inclusion for our consumers and the community is a priority and let’s face it, credit is confusing. Experian’s purpose of creating a better tomorrow for consumers extends to its employees too. Experian resources and products are highly promoted to employees to enable them to have a positive financial wellbeing during and post pandemic, especially during tough economic times. A variety of resources are promoted such as:
- Experian Boost - a free product to ensure your paid bills are included in your credit score
- Experian Go - educates people on credit and helps them build a positive credit score
- Experian IdentityWorks - provides its own fraud detection and protection for free to employees
- “Ask Experian” and Consumer Education Resource - available to employees for education and to get their questions answered
- Internal Credit Education Ambassador Program - educates Experian employees, raises awareness about the positive role of credit, credit reporting and Experian's many consumer services
- Experian Hardship Fund - helps employees facing financial hardship after a natural disaster or an unforeseen personal hardship, primarily through donations from employees and Experian support
- Experian offers insurance products from a network of top-rated insurance companies
Culture of Choice: Employees were given a choice of home or office work location base. Experian fulfilled the employees’ choice and now 75% of their US workforce is home-based, a significant shift from 24% prior.
- Caring for and respecting employees as individuals is foundational to Experian. Offering flexible working arrangements is not new but the extent is. Employees and applicants were thrilled to be given a choice and have it honored on a permanent basis, especially as we exit the pandemic, and many companies are announcing their return to office requirements.
- Many found home based working benefited their mental wellbeing increasing their self-care and family time. We provide resources whether employees choose to work primarily from home or the office.
Create meaningful connections: In order to drive business results, we had to find a way to keep our employees connected to each other and the culture in a remote environment. Below are the initiatives we executed:
- With a dispersed workforce, it is valuable to have a single video conference, IM, and email platform. Experian provided interactive trainings. Video is encouraged and leaders led by example by doing informal, at home videos during the pandemic to make us laugh.
- In-person interaction can be an encouraging time in the offices when it matters.
- Experian hosts and advertises the valuable times to be in the office, such as Town Halls, volunteering activities, ERG events, celebrations, and workshops such as Hackathons.
- Employees in the same geographic areas are setting up TEAMS channels to connect and gather. Email distribution lists of employees within a 50-mile radius are available. Anyone can find colleagues close to them and set up lunch, happy hour, volunteer events, which helps drive a ONE Experian culture and mindset.
- Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are connections for employee’s personal and professional goals.
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is genuinely integrated in everything – hiring, inclusion education and bias. Our Belief is that more diversity leads to groundbreaking innovation and business results.
Results & Impact
Our business has continued to grow and thrive throughout the pandemic and beyond. Our flexible work approach along with encouraging diversity and innovation are keys to our success. Here are a few metrics to demonstrate our success.
- Experian is a high-performance organization with FY21 7% and FY22 13% revenue growth and meeting maximum bonus potential in FY21 and FY22. Net promotor scores increased.
- The “Great Resignation” has not terribly impacted Experian. Since the choice announcement and implementation of the additional wellbeing programs, regretted attrition reduced from 14% to 11%.
- Diversity has increased from 28% to 45% in under-represented ethnicities. Black representation increased from 6.3% to 8.8%. The percentage of women in the workforce remained constant at 49%. Establishing new relationships with diversity organizations, and better advertising of the company purpose of creating a better tomorrow through financial inclusion and wellbeing has attracted more applicants. Plus, with location no longer a requirement it allows for a more diverse slate of candidates.
- Listening surveys show 95% of employees feel Experian’s flexible work arrangements enable them to work productively; 92% collaborate effectively. 80% feel connected to Experian’s culture; 87% are connected to purpose.
- Employee collaboration has sparked product ideas and remarkable innovations, such as Experian Go and Experian Boost. These products are especially helpful to members of diverse backgrounds and lowincome households.
- The Mental Health First-Aiders program is a demonstration of how employees come together to personally support one another.
- Awards - Great Places to Work; Fortune Top 100 Companies to Work For (4 years); Fortune Best lists for Parents, Millennials; HRC Corporate Equality Index; AnitaB.org Top Leader for tech women; Gold Award in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index 2021/2022; ‘Best Wellbeing Program’ at IoIC Awards 2022
Overall, Experian is proud of its Power of You culture and supporting employees’ wellbeing and flexible work. It’s proven to be successful for business growth, driving innovation and maintaining a caring culture. Providing a choice and wellbeing resources has increased engagement and expanded talent pools. Looking ahead to 2023, collaboration and connection will be pillars. Experian wants to improve the 80% culture connection. Purposeful events, and organic gatherings will be encouraged. Plans are underway for an inperson event to bring new hires together.