Do the Work of Your Life: Inside the Talent Development Team at DocuSign
We want every person that works at DocuSign to do the work of their life here. What does it mean to “do the work of your life” exactly? It means being able to do meaningful work and succeeding in your role by leveraging the strengths and expertise you came in with, but that’s just the beginning. It also means growing and evolving your skills and making connections in an open and transparent culture in a way that feels authentic to you.
At DocuSign, our robust Talent Development organization builds strategies and programs that support DocuSign employees to do the work of their lives. We sat down with three leaders - JC Clapp, talent development lead, Dawon Hawkins, inclusive talent development director, and Alison Francone, senior director of talent development - to hear how they deliver learning and development opportunities at DocuSign.
How does DocuSign think about the role of learning and development?
Alison Francone: Learning and development, or “talent development” at DocuSign, is the set of strategies and programs that enable employees to do the work of their lives. To that end, we focus our efforts on three pillars:
- Growth: how employees are onboarded, how they’re able to develop their careers, how they grow their skills on the job, through coaching and feedback and through continued education.
- Great Management: how we support people managers to evolve their skills in alignment with our manager expectations and create the conditions in which teams can do the work of their lives.
- Inclusive Culture: the training and enablement programs fosters a culture that leverages the value of our diverse teams, enables all employees (no matter where they work) to contribute to their potential, and increases the sense of belonging.
Given the current talent environment and Great Resignation, how do you support employees?
Alison Francone: Since the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to hybrid work models, our number one focus in 2022 is to double down on culture building programs. This means helping managers to create the right culture for their teams, equipping them to have the right conversations with their employees, and enabling them to find the necessary tools to succeed in this new environment.
Dawon Hawkins: We know that, especially today, doing the work of your life means something different to everyone. We want employees to use and grow their current skills and capabilities, but also contribute to their potential for future growth - whether that’s in their current career, or in a new field that’s exciting to them. Our goal is to give people the ability to learn the knowledge and practice the skills needed to create that opportunity.
In addition to building career skills, we also invest heavily in building interpersonal skills that allow employees at all levels to actively participate in and reinforce our inclusive work environment.
What is DocuSign’s approach to training new people managers?
Alison Francone: New managers with 0-2 years of management experience are encouraged to enroll in our 6-month intensive New Manager Program, where they learn the fundamentals alongside a small cohort of other managers. The program also includes executive coaching and the chance to practice courageous conversations with an avatar!
For all people managers, we offer the Work of Your Life Manager Program that brings managers at all levels and from all parts of the organization together. By design and to create mentorship and networking opportunities, our CEO might be in the same class as a first-time manager. Together, they evolve their skills in alignment with our four expectations of great management, which were distilled from interviews with our most successful DocuSign managers:
- Be an example. Demonstrate professionalism by treating colleagues with respect and dignity, assuming positive intentions and bringing your best game every day. Empower inclusive teams by creating an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work and advocating for your team and team members.
- Deepen our bench. Invest in potential by focusing on long-term talent growth and generously supporting employees with opportunities and resources. Coach honestly, being forthcoming with candid and ongoing feedback.
- Get work done. Frame clear, ambitious goals that will inspire and drive peak performance. Encourage and challenge your team to stay positive, work hard and celebrate their wins.
- Drive collaboration. Connect people and disrupt silos by creating a culture of deep cooperation and sharing networks across DocuSign. Enable trusting, non-hierarchical relationships by engaging with colleagues as equals.
Once a year, managers also have the opportunity to get feedback from their teams on how they are showing up relative to these expectations and develop themselves accordingly.
How does your team support diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs) at DocuSign?
Dawon Hawkins: In addition to growing their careers and being better managers, our employees also want to invest time in growing as people. Our organization is focused on driving an inclusive culture through support like training programs, and ongoing enablement resources so that employees can build their awareness and skills to actively contribute to our culture. Some of the goals of our employees are to be able to create psychological safety for others, to find allies of their identified communities, to support their colleagues and to find support in others.
Here are some of our initiatives at DocuSign to facilitate an inclusive culture:
- DocuSign Together: a global initiative around creating a more inclusive DocuSign. A big piece of this is our allyship workshop, focused around mitigating bias and creating a sense of allyship by taking courageous action to create a more inclusive workplace. All full-time employees participate in these sessions and come away with everyday inclusion guides with practical tactics and strategies to apply these skills in a real way.
- Infuse Inclusion: this is a set of initiatives to mitigate bias throughout our HR processes. For example, in recruiting, we updated our hiring process and interviewing practices to be more inclusive. We have updated our guidance for writing job descriptions to use more inclusive language. In our Inclusive Interviewing training, we identify which biases are most common in the interview process and how to create an environment where the candidate comes away with a positive experience of DocuSign whether or not an offer is made.
- Performance programs: the performance review process is another piece of our inclusive culture. We provide guidance around mitigating bias as part of the review process, using inclusive language regarding employee performance and we promote the use of an inclusive performance feedback guide.
- Diversifying DocuSign: a group of programs and resources to develop our diverse talent from within. This includes our Next Level Leadership program that further develops the leadership capabilities of underrepresented leaders at the director level, our Everyday Inclusion Guide which provides best practices for all employees to support our inclusive culture, and the leadership workshop supporting the employees who volunteer to take on leadership responsibilities within our several Employee Resource Groups
What resources do employees have access to for their professional development and career growth?
JC Clapp: In the last couple of years, our employees have wanted more ways to make connections with their peers to overcome feelings of isolation. More than 20% of our company participates in DocuSign Connections, a one stop platform for making connections at DocuSign, including career mentoring, peer coaching and connecting with our employee resource groups.
We also offer Career Exploration Workshops; catered to our newer employees, these sessions cover topics such as how to seek feedback, how to make an impact, how to expand your professional network, and how to build your personal brand.
Employees can also check out our internal Career Center, which provides transparency on internal career moves, including our career frameworks which spell out what is expected of certain roles in different job families.
To go one step further, we also offer each employee $5,000 per year for Education Assistance, which helps many employees get additional certifications, continue their education or develop important skills. They also have full access to LinkedIn Learning, technical training, and Harvard Business Review content through our DocuSign Learning platform.
Learn more about DocuSign Talent and Career Development.
Interested in doing the work of your life at DocuSign? Check out our openings. We’d love to talk more.