Because of our rapid growth at ServiceNow—we had 16,000 employees in 2021 and now we have more than 22,000—my challenge is to scale and grow the global workforce, built on a foundation of flexibility and empathy, and to leverage technology to support our people and our customers.
To accomplish this, we need to prioritize organizational alignment with a culture, business strategy and talent strategy that work together in a cohesive way. We’ve done this in four ways:
1. A Commitment that Starts with Our ‘People Pact’
Alignment starts with our “People Pact.” It’s our commitment that if you come to ServiceNow, you’ll have the opportunity to live your best life, do your best work and fulfill our purpose together. It ties to our greater North Star—to make work better for everyone—and is woven into everything we do as we continue to scale and grow.
We built the People Pact because we needed our employees to understand how our strategy and culture come together. As our team designed the pact, we asked a series of questions. How are we bringing people into the culture? How are we getting people to feel connected to the company? We held focus groups and conducted research. We wanted this commitment to be more than an employee value proposition. Now, beyond sharing and talking about the People Pact, we need to show our employees how it comes to life.
To make these ideas concrete, we encourage people to share stories about living the People Pact during global meetings and events, such as moving to an important new role or working on a big project. Then we listen. Our communications team measures us on those talks with pulse-survey questions after every meeting. That feedback tells us where we can do better, and it helps us refine our strategy. We constantly iterate so employees understand our People Pact and how they can help shape our culture and company.
2. A Commitment to Values and Voices
With so much going on in the world, we also need a framework to align on how we engage as a company and decide which issues to address. Taking care of our employees is always my anchor. We have to respect other people’s views and choose the course that ties back to our values, purpose, strategy and culture.
We ask ourselves: Is this a ServiceNow critical issue? What’s the impact on our people? Is it in line with our values? Then, if we are going to speak out, who is the right person to talk about it? What should we say? That process helps us be transparent with our people and true to who we are as a company. When there are questions about why a certain decision was made, we have open and honest conversations with our people. These conversations show vulnerability at the leadership level. We don’t always get it right, but we show there was a rationale for making the choice and why we believed it was the right thing to do.
We hire for character, and everyone wants a good outcome. The question is, how do you get the best out of listening to all those opinions and points of view and then figure out a way forward? That can be hard, even at the most senior level. I see it as my job to listen first, then help find the alignment and see all sides of an issue.
3. A Talent Strategy that Is the Business Strategy
We work hard to develop alignment on our business strategy too, of course. We believe that the talent strategy is the business strategy, and that inclusion and diversity need to be woven into everything we do. Diversity boosts innovation. We need to ensure that all voices are heard and everyone has a seat at the table. We want all our people, including underrepresented groups, to feel engaged, which fosters a deep sense of belonging.
We also have to live up to our commitments. It’s obvious when companies don’t do that—they’ll say one thing but do another. A former boss once said to me, “You get nine points for doing and one point for talking.” Pre-COVID, that alignment was more operationally focused. Now the “how” of what you are doing matters just as much as the “what.” The ROI to operating this way is real. Your organization will differentiate itself because you’re doing things for the right reasons, which builds trust. Your business and people will benefit.
4. A Focus on Communication and Technology
To make messages stick requires relentless communication. Our CEO often says, “Anything worth communicating is almost always under-communicated.” It’s not the job of your employees to get what you are saying. It’s your job as the leader to make sure everyone understands. Sometimes you can get a little fatigued from repeating messages, but you’ve got to keep it up. Technology can also be an important tool for reinforcing messages, building alignment and driving change. I’m lucky to be in a place where I have great access to data and insights. I see how much faster we can move and how much more relevant our work can be for our people, because I know what they want and need.