Songs, Steps and Stretches: Feeding Your Soul at ServiceNow
No company can escape the fatigue that creeps in during a long meeting. But at enterprise software company ServiceNow, there’s a secret weapon to fight it.
“We have a very successful consultant who is part of our sales organization but is also a yoga master,” explained Christine Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer, VP of AMS solution consulting. “So when we have a long meeting and people are fatigued, we’ll say, ‘Hey Barbara, can you come to the top of the screen?’ And we’ll have a five-minute yoga break for the entire organization.”
Barbara’s stretching prowess is incidental to her job, but ServiceNow takes the time to celebrate it anyway — and she’s not the only one.
“We have people at the company who are hobbyist photographers that carry their cameras around at sales kickoffs, taking pictures because it’s fun for them and others — and we use those pictures in our collages and social content,” Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer said. “It feeds their soul — it’s part of who they are.”
Ultimately, it’s what “Living your best life” means at ServiceNow: Making sure employees feed all parts of their souls. Dedication to this adage is what allows the company’s employees to be comfortable as their authentic selves at work — in a way many of them had never experienced at previous jobs.
“I introduced my daughter to a woman on our solution consulting team in D.C. who came from one of the top consulting firms,” said Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer. “And she told my daughter, ‘I can truly be myself here.’ We assigned her to an innovative new client and showcased her in new-hire training and she’s killing it — just a bundle of contagious energy.”
Incredibly, this passionate salesperson was told to slow her roll and calm down at her previous company — they thought her enthusiasm was almost unprofessional. At ServiceNow, her enthusiasm is recognized as a positive and, when showcased, as magic.
If you’re not fulfilled, how are you going to be able to contribute to your company culture?”
“The culture at this company is to take people’s uniqueness, their superpowers — who they are at their core — and figure out how to raise them up for their benefit and the company’s benefit,” Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer said.
Through dedicated, company-wide well-being days, the efforts of the employee engagement team and a culture that encourages people to engage in what keeps them happy and healthy, ServiceNow strives to help its people live their best lives, in and out of the workplace. This, in turn, makes them more engaged in their jobs.
“If you’re not fulfilled, and you don’t feel empowered to enjoy your life, how are you going to be able to contribute to your company culture?” said Angela Brownlee, senior manager of digital sales. “And that translates to the customer. It’s all interconnected — you’re a direct representation of your company, so you have to take care of yourself and that will reflect in your work.”
Both Brownlee and Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer cited ServiceNow’s well-being days as a way the company enables employees to live their best life. These are days off for the entire company, strategically placed to extend a weekend or give breaks at the most effective times.
“I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate having a Friday off and getting a nice long weekend. Sometimes you just need to unplug and have a four-day work week. I really value the thoughtful intention behind that — quality of life being top of mind brings positivity and increased productivity,” said Brownlee.
“This is different from a vacation day,” Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer added. “You don’t feel pressure to be online, because everyone else is off too. You can get to that project you were planning or take that four-day trip you wanted without feeling guilty.”
On previous well-being days, some of ServiceNow’s employees enjoyed hobbies or took trips, while others got together and played a round of golf. Brownlee’s day was much quieter though.
“My little rescue dog, Sadie, is almost 13 years old, and loves to sleep in late then bask in the sun after breakfast,” Brownlee said. “So instead of waking her up early to go for a walk, like I typically would on a normal work day, Sadie was able to wake at her leisure, then bask in the sun in our backyard while I sipped my morning coffee and soak up some sunshine myself.”
While her friends and family at other jobs began their workdays, Brownlee relaxed comfortably in her yard, appreciating the extra quality time that particular well-being day afforded her and Sadie. With a Friday morning like that, knowing the entire long weekend was still ahead, it’s difficult to imagine that Brownlee wouldn’t feel refreshed come Monday.
The feeding of one’s soul doesn’t stop when the work clock starts, though. In fact, ServiceNow’s employee engagement team is entirely dedicated to making sure its employees have opportunities to share in group activities with coworkers that share their passions. Recently, that included a movement challenge across the sales org.
“The leadership team got the whole organization moving together, tracking everyone’s steps and goals,” Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer said. “And they had an online teams channel called ‘live your best life’ that let us create a community around it — we could see what people were doing to stay healthy.”
At the end of the challenge, leadership proudly displayed the results in a series of slides. Whimsical graphics showed that ServiceNow employees collectively walked nearly the circumference of the earth and burned over a thousand Big Macs worth of calories. “Isn’t that hysterical?” Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer asked. A slide was packed with photos of smiling employees on bicycles or hikes, map screenshots tracking incredible distances, and scenic views.
If an employee enjoys a variety of activities, whether it be physically engaging or more mentally focused, and anything in-between, there are all sorts of options to choose from. ServiceNow has indoor games, book clubs and outdoor events like charity golf tournaments. There are also ways to get involved with the community, including office-wide volunteering efforts and team-specific activities. Individuals are also empowered to apply company-endorsed volunteer hours to their preferred way to give back to the community.
“We recognize there are a number of ways to engage others, therefore we’re always finding creative ways to offer a little bit of everything,” Brownlee said. “When speaking with candidates, it’s always exciting to see what they include on their resume that reflects their own personal interests in addition to software sales. We all can contribute different ideas and efforts which help create a dynamic employee experience.”
As someone passionate about health and wellness herself, Brownlee is ready to sign up for the next well-being event to be announced.
Service Through Software:
- Brownlee: “In a former role at a tech company I worked at previously, I would work with ServiceNow customers — and the conversation was always around how to make things work with ServiceNow, rather than replacing it. Doing everything with the customer in mind, has always been important to me, so being a part of a company with that pillar is very fulfilling”
- Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer: “If you work for a car company and make cars, that’s cool — but maybe not as cool as helping soldiers stay connected to their families through workflow, or connecting patients to their nurses in their hospital rooms and saving lives. Our software does good in the world. That’s what feeds me every day. We make people’s daily lives better and more efficient. It’s beyond what any other software company can do— it’s crazy-sauce.”
Ehrenberger-Stegmeyer has worked at a number of large tech companies in her decades of experience, so she can see the difference ServiceNow’s culture makes in the attitude its employees have towards work.
“Take the example of our very early-in-career consultant. She’s selling just as much software as any more experienced consultant. Not only did we put her in front of customers because we know that’s her strength, we also put her in our new hire boot camp to get them pumped up about their new job and company. Her passion fuels in a force multiplier way, for the entire organization.”
That new hire boot camp is part of ServiceNow’s robust onboarding program. It uses the company’s own software to track every step of the onboarding process, and effective training and mentorship means that new hires can quickly acquire software knowledge and build community. Since that knowledge can be learned, ServiceNow can focus its hiring on motivated people with unique strengths and helping them find their voice in the business.
Life comes first, and then work follows.”
“We affect people’s lives in so many different ways,” Brownlee said. “Our CEO talks about the number of ways we impact businesses today, but how we also work to make an impact on our employees and their experience. ”
“Living your best life” can be seen in a number of ways and places, but each aspect of it serves the same goal. Whether you’re leading a yoga session during a meeting, performing a song about your internship or sitting outside with hot coffee and a happy pet, ServiceNow’s team wants you to feed your soul.