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Announcing the 2nd Annual People Pioneers: Honoring the leaders of the people-first revolution

Creating Wellness Benefits that Support Employees’ Whole Selves: Q&A with My Doan Cong, Head of People at ALT

Dec 14, 2022| Reading time: 5.5min

BY Kerrel Brown

Senior Marketing Manager

My Doan Cong is the Head of People at ALT, a fintech platform that’s transforming how the world invests. My also has the distinction of being named a 2nd Annual People Pioneer, honoring her work as a forward-thinking HR leader who has driven impact with people-first strategies.

Read on to learn what it takes to build a people-first People program.

 

ChartHop: What are your responsibilities at ALT?

My Doan Cong: I am the head of people at ALT, so I oversee all things people related from recruiting to the human resources side.

 

CH: After results from an engagement survey indicated that some employees may be feeling burnt out, you followed up with a wellness survey. Can you share more about how the wellness survey differed from the engagement survey and why you felt it was an important next step?  

MDC: A wellness survey is focused on overall health of the employee–mentally, financially, physically, and emotionally. Questions are focused on how they’re feeling, if they feel like they can do their best work, and touch on some health habits.  

I felt it was important to do a wellness survey because what we heard from our engagement survey was that our employees needed more personal attention from us. Engagement surveys tell you how “engaged” people are at work. Wellness surveys tell you if the people who work for you are feeling and doing okay. We felt the second part was more important in light of the responses to the first part.

 

CH: Coming out of that wellness survey, you rolled out an extensive Wellness Program designed to address all aspects of employee well-being, including physical, mental, and financial health. How did you determine what initiatives would be included in the program and which would be excluded? How did you get buy-in from managers and other execs? 

MDC: A lot of the heavy lifting was done by members on my team, Lindsay and Shannon.  They took the survey and basically looked at three different factors:  

  1. What people wanted  
  2. What people were telling us they needed 
  3. Budgets  

What we determined was that based on the data, people wanted more help with physical health (things like nutrition, etc.), but what they were really interested in was financial health. We are of course an alternative investments company and so we really got excited about helping our employees here.

We picked initiatives based on what people needed and based on our mission: transforming investing by unlocking the value of alternative assets. We equal the playing field by giving folks access to data to help them with their alternative assets, and what better place and way to start than right at home with our employees?

 

CH: As a tech company, how has approaching “driving efficiency” through a people-first lens allowed ALT to unlock business resilience in a difficult fundraising environment? What have been some tangible results or outcomes on the business or people?

MDC: We drive efficiency through a people-first lens in that we believe it’s really important to drive efficiency humanely. Efficiency to us is making sure we take care of our people and reward our best performers so they’re motivated and reinvigorated to stay with us for more years to come.

 

CH: What advice do you have for other People leaders who want to emphasize wellness and workforce efficiency? What data do you think is important to track?

MDC: Think about your own wellness when you’re embarking on a journey of spreading wellness. These are difficult times to be in the people space given the macroeconomic climate. And when you think about your own wellness, it’s important to choose spaces that see you and that encourage you to focus on the wellness of your employees.  

Things I would track include:

  1. Self-reported energy levels of employees 
  2. Stress levels  
  3. Engagement 
  4. Confidence in the business 
  5. Sense of belonging 
  6. Events and program ROI to spend

 

CH: You’ve been celebrated as a People leader who is able to make difficult decisions quickly while showing empathy for your people. Can you walk us through your approach?

MDC: I don’t like people to guess what I’m thinking or to have to question “where they stand,” which is too often a reality at different companies. I like to think I’m someone who’s direct, who stops triangulation, and who ideally says and does things with kindness. I think often people forget that if you’re direct with someone, either about performance or their standing, that it’s actually more kind than leaving them in the dark.

 

CH: What does being a people-first People leader mean to you?

MDC: I think it means that I am about the people and for the people. My data is people-driven and my outcomes are people-driven.This is always a factor for me.

More Lessons from the 2nd Annual People Pioneers

Interested in even more lessons learned from senior HR leaders? Check out the full list of 2nd Annual People Pioneers and read more about the people-first initiatives they implemented to drive impact through creating a connected team, growing intentionally and sustainably, implementing wellness benefits, and much more.

 

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