Driving Change and Adoption starts with me
Driving change and adoption for an entire company is a big task, and one that a former President likened to steering an ocean liner — turn the wheel slowly, a degree or two north so to speak, and years from now we’ll be in a very different place than where we once were. So how do I drive change and adoption at Dropbox?
In this post, I’ll share how my team and I shipped Dropbox’s new hiring philosophy, The Dropbox Way, to the entire company/the world, and my five top tips on how to deliver and implement an effective change management strategy.
First things first, start with assessment of the current state and determine what needs to be changed from the perspectives of the most important stakeholders. Last year, the Talent Acquisition (TA) team led a series of focus groups to better understand the state of hiring at Dropbox. I was able to sit in on many of these discussions, and one of the opening questions was, “If you could describe hiring at Dropbox in one word, what would it be?” I’ll never forget when a C suite leader said, “Complicated.” Ouch. I spent several weeks getting more clarity on our processes to better understand the situation. I met with leaders and asked tough questions. I sat in other teams’ meetings and observed. I set up deep dives with my directs and their directs. I came away with a much clearer understanding of what needed to change and why.
Next, I partnered with Mel Rosenwasser, our Chief People Officer, to advocate for these changes with other leaders and to align these changes strategically with the needs of the business. This is important because there will always be other priorities that can feel more urgent. The most important change initiatives to prioritize are the ones that align to the need of the business, rather than an individual or team. At the moment, one of our company’s most important strategic initiatives is about driving Dropbox’s cultural evolution to high impact culture. Yvonne Salamini, our VP of Talent and Organizational Development, says that “high impact culture is about being laser focused on ownership and accountability for results, and delivering the right outcomes for our business, every day. One of the most important ways the Talent Acquisition team can contribute actively to our culture shift is by using hiring as a lever to bring in the best, most talented individuals to help achieve our company goals. Hence, our hiring philosophy, The Dropbox Way!
Change at this scale for a company of this size is not easy, and transitions can be challenging to navigate. In order for behaviors to shift and adoption to take root, the change (and the “why” behind it) needs to be communicated thoughtfully, frequently, and transparently. Present the changes in easy to understand terms and always bring it back to the “why” of why these changes matter — why now and why will it impact our business. Then think about the most frequently referenced communication channels at your company and how you can leverage them. Utilize educational tools and employee training to help reinforce these changes and drive adoption. Go on a roadshow and evangelize the change with leaders who will help to drive a top-down approach to understanding the change and how it will impact individuals and teams.
Change also doesn’t happen overnight, and so I recommend staggering out the change strategically over time and in bit sized pieces. With our new hiring philosophy, The Dropbox Way, the TA team has a number of initiatives, also called change levers, which will be introduced, measured, and iterated on over a two year horizon. This ensures that change is executed in a way that reduces churn and confusion, and gives employees time to respond and to adopt the changes gradually.
And lastly, once the ship is in motion and the wheel has been turned, utilize success metrics to determine if the change that is being delivered is on or off course. If and when said ship is off-course, your metrics are like a compass; use your compass, analyze results, and iterate incrementally to steer your ship back in the right direction.
Shipping (see what I did there?) Dropbox’s new hiring philosophy was a big change and huge undertaking but one that I’m thrilled to introduce to both our candidates and our employees. Don’t forget to check out The Dropbox Way on our Jobs page. We’re looking for high impact talent to design a more enlightened way of working for our customers. We hope you’ll come aboard!