eBay: Creating a Marketplace for Engaged Workers
Posted on February 8th, 2016
Written by: WorkplaceDynamics
Innovations in Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
eBay, the company synonymous with e-commerce, continues to innovate, and not just with the data it manages and the transactions it oversees. It’s innovating how it attracts and engages employees. Look no further than Austin, Texas as an example.
The company, headquartered in San Jose, California, has about 20,000 employees worldwide. Yet even in its smaller locations like Austin, which has about 400 employees, a deep investment in employee engagement is helping the company stay focused.
An engaged workforce is the key to retaining top talent
As a business, eBay is no youngster, recently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Part retailer, part technology powerhouse, it continues to transform how people shop and do business worldwide. As a workplace, eBay leadership understands employees are the foundation of its success. The company recently announced expanded family leave benefits for new mothers and fathers as well as employees who are caring for sick family members.
Leadership believes an engaged workforce is key to employee retention in a competitive environment, said Zachary Jacobson, General Manager. He’s part of the Austin team that has been a perennial winner on the Top Workplaces list. In 2015, it ranked No. 26 among mid-size organizations (150 to 499 employees) in the Austin area.
A talent war in the local job market creates competition for good employees, and eBay competes for all levels of talent, Jacobson says. On top of that, the recent split of PayPal from eBay has added another sense of importance to the efforts. Given the strong competition for top talent and the perceived threat of layoffs, eBay wants to ensure it nurtures as strong a workplace culture as possible to retain employees.
Success is a “we” thing at eBay
Among its leadership principles, Jacobson said:
- Success is a “we” thing at eBay.
- Employees should engage directly to build the culture.
- Employees will want to do what they love to do.
To support those principles, eBay’s leadership in Austin decided to create—and support—four different committees from which employees could choose to get involved:
- Branding: build the eBay brand as a leading corporate citizen in central Texas
- Social innovation: connect with coworkers to support and partner with charitable causes
- Engagement: drive employee loyalty
- Communications: improve company communication
Employees could choose whether or not to get involved with a committee. Leadership provided the resources, support, and mentors; the rest was up to the employees, including an action plan and monthly review meetings. “We empowered our employees to do great things and to apply their passion to something meaningful,” Jacobson said.
An investment in employee engagement speaks volumes
The Austin team recently measured employee engagement through the WorkplaceDynamics survey, and the results did not disappoint. In anonymous comments, Austin’s employees repeatedly said they felt appreciated, motivated, and supported.
“The leadership is awesome and there’s peace of mind knowing people stand 100% behind you, whether it’s a manager or a teammate,” one employee said. “eBay encourages me to be the best I can be. I love eBay and I love what we do,” another commented.
Leadership’s efforts are showing results. Workplace positivity among eBay’s Austin employees measured 12 percent higher than the benchmark for the information technology industry.
“Never before have I worked for a company that takes employee engagement so seriously,” Jacobson said. “We want to promote the eBay brand as being a great place to work in and around Austin, Texas.”