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#BuildingBetter: Trading Tech Burnout for a Culture of Compassion

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Posted in:  Company, People
#buildingbetter: trading tech burnout for a culture of compassion

The world of tech is no stranger to burnout. 

The same curiosity and customer obsession that make the industry so electric can also be a source of stress for employees. How can companies build a culture that energizes and supports rather than exhausts their employees?

By emphasizing mindfulness, compassion, and empathy, which, when woven into everyday actions, create an environment that truly allows employees to do their best work. To see what this looks like in action, we asked three employees to share how they live these values every day. Here’s what they had to say.

On Building Stronger Teams with Ken Jung, Software Development Engineer

What does leading with compassion look like in action?

When I first started at Highspot as an engineer, everything was so new. The tech was new, the category was new, even the coding languages were different from my last job. I would have felt so overwhelmed had it not been for my teammates and my mentor.

They reached out to let me know they were available for anything I needed. That simple act opened the door for me to ask questions. And it set the precedent for the type of culture I would embody at work. Now, I do the same thing for any new folks who join our team.

What’s one thing companies can do to build a supportive culture?

One thing my current manager taught me was to set up Zoom one-on-one calls with new teammembers as they join. That was never something we did at my last job. But here it’s made a huge difference. I’ve actually gotten to know the people on my team — I’m not just logging on, doing my work, and logging off. Instead, I get to have these great conversations, better understand how I can work with new team members, and, honestly, just make friends. Little things like these meetings go a long way to making a community-oriented culture.

Guiding principles help define a culture. Which one of Highspot’s means the most to you and why?

Be a learn it all, not a know it all. When it comes to engineering, there is a lot of learning that happens on the spot so it’s important to be comfortable with being confused. Having this value in place removes the pressure to know the answer to every question. I can just be curious or even confused if something is new to me, which is a good thing because it means I’m always learning.

On Putting People First with Lauren Smith, Sr. HR Business Partner

What does leading with compassion mean to you?

Leading with compassion means seeing employees as people, not just worker bees. I try to bring compassion into everything I do at work. For example, whenever I start a meeting, I try to check in on how things are going outside of work and how that person is doing as an individual. Importantly, I also share my own feelings and personal moments; allowing myself to be vulnerable shows others it’s okay to do the same.

How can companies bring mindfulness into their culture?

As someone in Human Resources, it’s normal for me to ask how people are doing and if there is anything coming up that I can help with. I would recommend that others keep asking those questions to reinforce your support for others — whether you work in HR or not.

Additionally, don’t assume everything has resorted back to normal; we are all in different places mentally and emotionally and when we eventually exit the pandemic, we may be even further removed from normal because of our experiences this past year and a half. Bringing mindfulness to your interactions can help you meet people where they are and greet them with compassion and understanding.

How can readers bring mindfulness into their workdays?

Not having a commute has been great for me — I can meditate before work so I’m in a good headspace before long days of meetings. In a support role, I can’t be fully present for others if I haven’t done the work on myself. I also put post-its on my laptop with reminders where I can easily see them. Today it says, “Stand up for 30 minutes,” because I have a standing desk and I’ve been sitting all day. Little shifts like this give you a chance to put yourself first during a busy day, slow down, and recharge.

On Being Present with Kendra Dale, Sr. Recruiter

What does mindfulness at work mean to you?

Being mindful at work means two things to me. First, it’s being aware of how I’m feeling in the present moment. That can be paying attention to if something is bothering me, if I need a break, or if I am in a good headspace. This attention to myself ensures I’m prepared to support others wholeheartedly and do my work with a clear head.

Second, it’s being present for others. For example, I try to be “in the room” during meetings, especially with Zoom. Before, I would close my laptop; now, I exit out of other programs to give my coworkers my full attention. This shows a level of respect for my team and really sets a precedent for how we will work together.

What are some best practices companies or individuals can use to be more considerate of others?

The most important thing you can do is give others grace to be who they need to be. If someone is having a hard day, acknowledge that and give them the space they need to process it. We need to take a step back and ask each other, “How are you truly?” And you have to mean it — otherwise people won’t answer honestly. You can ask this question in a meeting or, if that doesn’t feel appropriate, in a “coffee chat” — which is one-on-one time teams can use to have open conversations.

Additionally, don’t forget to have compassion for yourself. Be comfortable telling someone, “I’m not ok.” Don’t be ashamed to ask for what you need.

Which Highspot value means the most to you and why?

Collaborate across boundaries. At Highspot, this means you don’t ever have to worry about title or level when you reach out to someone; everyone is willing to listen and help. I can reach out to an exec and know that they’re going to respond thoughtfully. When it comes to building a workplace that puts people first, this type of baseline for interactions across teams is critical.

Burnout No More

Whether you’re working from home or transitioning back into the office, bringing mindfulness, empathy, and compassion into your work will help you — and your team — avoid burnout and achieve success.

Want to experience this culture in action? We’re hiring — explore our open roles.

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