Transitioning jobs! It’s always a calculated risk. Irrespective of whomever is going to be your new employer and what ever your new role is going to be. When I say risk, I mean, not knowing what you don’t know about the new place, the people and the organization’s future. It’s usually at the 90 days mark, when you start to feel….“Aha, this was a great decision” OR “Oh…. &%$#, this is messed up”.
But, there are organizations that have the secret recipe figured out, which makes every new employee feel, “Why didn’t I start working here 10 years back?”. That’s exactly what I feel right now! Today marks my 90th day at Intuit and I will say one thing, “I am in LOVE, absolutely in love”. With Google as my ex-employer, my expectations from my new employer was not average and I had Google as the comparison, if you know what I mean. But, over the last 90 days, Intuit has drawn me closer and closer with its inspirational practices, aspirational goals and motivational leadership to go beyond saying, “I think I made a great career decision” to saying “I am in Love”.
When I think about why I am in love and why I will probably end up retiring at Intuit, 5 things come to my mind out of the 50 things that I am inspired about!
1. Employee clarity on organization’s future and direction: Now, this is a big challenge for most of the companies. Organizational leaders share some kind of strategy powerpoint slides with all employees during their quarterly meetings and if I have to be brutally honest, the retention rate of that knowledge is pretty close to ZERO among the employees. Organizations struggle to figure out a way to keep the workforce engaged on the larger direction, strategy and annual roadmap. Because, it’s not as simple as sending a powerpoint slide but its about linking every employee’s work to the larger organizational strategy and keeping that connection alive, every single day. Intuit has this fully figured out, thanks to Intuit’s “alignment triangle” methodology. Over the last 90 days, I have interviewed, 100+ employees at all levels, from front line call center agents to senior VPs. The clarity and calibration employees have on where the organization is headed is “super impressive”, along with a connection of how the work that they do is connected and impacts the larger vision.
2. Tenure (even in the bay area): Google, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Salesforce, Amazon, Box and Linkedin, all these companies share walls with one another in the bay area and are at “talent war”, raising the standards against each other on compensation, benefits and growth opportunities. Employee retention is a challenge for a lot of these top brands. With that said, get ready to be amazed when you ask the tenure of the managers and senior leaders at Intuit in the bay area; “8 years”, “21 years”, “16 years”, “14 years”, “10 years”, “19 years”. There is so much more to those responses beyond just, “money & benefits”. Intuit is indeed a best kept secret in the bay area. The tenure of these employees send out a very strong and a special message about the culture at Intuit, people focus, leadership and an energizing mission. It’s not a surprise to see Intuit in Fortune’s best employer list for 15 years.
3. Customer engagement and focus: Intuit has experienced tremendous growth over the last 5 years and the future looks even better! One of my observations and hypothesis behind this magic growth is, Intuit’s ability to engage with the customers and a customer backed approach in every aspect of product and services that it offers. You walk in to an Intuit’s office on any given day, I guarantee you that you will bump in to a few customers who are on site, working with Intuit’s employees in help designing products and experiences. Customers are a part of Intuit’s team and not just consumers of Intuit’s products. “Follow me home” (not literally “follow”) is an integrated concept within Intuit’s culture for leaders and engineers to engage with customers on a daily basis. With this level of engagement with customers, It’s not a surprise that Intuit’s products are the most preferred in the segments that it competes in.
4. Open for change & challenge: As the new guy, I tried to “shut up” as much as possible in the first 3-4 weeks without advocating for change and be more of an observer, learn the culture & people, immerse myself etc. Given my personality and my nature, I couldn’t ‘shut up’ for a long time and jumped in heads down in to positively challenging and ‘advocating’ mode. I was expecting a, “Just relax, man” response. But, what I got instead was, “Make it happen” & “Go for it”. After talking to other new leaders at Intuit, I realized, this experience was not unique to me. In fact, Intuit has a standard practice to have new folks positively challenge the existing processes by having them formally share the opportunities they have observed on 45th day and 90th days to senior executives. I had my 90 day observation review with senior leaders earlier this week and I poked at some very sensitive topics that a 90 day old employee might not feel comfortable opening up in a non-Intuit environment, irrespective of the seniority. This level of openness to change and challenging existing practices positively is a sign of an organization that is always thinking ahead of the industry and preparing for the future.
Contribution to the economy and the community: This is the most inspiring part of my 90 days. I have been a customer service guy for 2 decades now and have lead customer service operations all over the country as well as other locations globally. But, I have never correlated the customer service work that I do with improving economies and helping communities. For example, when we think about a new call center location, the question is, “Whats the best location that meets our customer expectations and also help local economy and the community and how do we strike a balance between both?”. This is new to me! I am used to only being asked the first part of the question and rarely the second part. Community events are scheduled as one day events at most companies where employees get together and do some sort of a community activity. At Intuit, doing business and helping communities are not two different things. Its integrated in the the way we do business. This has helped me personally to have a whole new meaning to the customer service work that I do and not just run a call center operations that answers phone calls. “We care and give back” is Intuit’s community contribution mantra that every employee strives for EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Overall, Intuit is a best kept secret in the bay area as well as globally. The Intuit awesomeness goes beyond the 5 points that I have mentioned above. And, there is only one way for you to feel the magic. Walk in to an Intuit office, talk to a few Intuit employees, I GUARANTEE YOU GOOSEBUMPS!!!!!