Bryant Alexander of Uber on better employee experiences, scaling organizational change

4 min read
Bryant Alexander
  •  May 9, 2022
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Career development is a critical part of the employee experience, particularly as The Great Resignation has created a significant inflection point for companies and workers alike. For Bryant Alexander, Program Manager for Talent Acquisition Enablement at Uber, the focus has always been to create career development frameworks for individuals and organizations that look to foster skills and competencies that bridge the intersection of personal and professional development. 

The most recent manifestation of Bryant’s efforts is the company values session he created for Uber was in conjunction with the company changing its mission and values towards the end of 2021.

Below, we asked Bryant about the future of employee experiences, the blind spots that currently exist, and the ways he’s transformed how we think about career development frameworks for good.

Scaling organizational change is a massive endeavor. Where did you begin?

With any big change to an organization on the scale of Uber, implementing values will look different in each line of business. I work with the Talent Acquisition organization which is composed of recruiters, sourcers, and coordinators. What made this workshop a success was that it enabled employees to take time out of the hectic workday to not only connect with Uber’s new values but to also create synergy between personal and professional values. As a result, employees are able to take more pride in the work they do while also implementing/identifying Uber values when speaking with potential candidates.

What challenges did you face as you began to build out these efforts?

When beginning this project, challenges faced were that my team was relatively new and this would be the first showcase of the many learning and development offerings that were to follow. We wanted this session to be something innovative to what Uber Talent Acquisition may not have been accustomed to. With Talent Acquisition having over 500+ employees globally, I wanted to make this workshop as inclusive and engaging as possible. More more importantly, I kept in mind the four C’s of learning:

  • Critical thinking
  • Community
  • Communication
  • Connection 

Can you tell us more about the workshop and its goals?

A big highlight of the workshop that showcased the 4 C’s was zooming out of company values and looking inward to ensure that participants understand their own values by providing them with a list of 30+ values and giving them a total of 4 minutes to bring that list down to 3. Although this may seem like too much in such a short amount of time, I found participants enjoy the reflection accompanied with soft music as they tried to decipher through the list. Once this part of the exercise was done I would ask individuals to respond via chat or verbally articulating the 3 values they picked and how they live the selected values on a daily basis. An important note to point out is usually the values that learners select are all connected. 

Once the personal values have been solidified, we’re able to move to the company values section where the facilitator displays the company values with definitions to give participants to read and understand them. The facilitator should also share their 3 values and the company value that resonates with them to create rapport and trust. 

You’ll find that participants will quickly start seeing how they may connect with the values but to encourage conversation be sure to ask the questions: 

  • Which company value do you connect with the most? 
  • Why/how does this value connect with you? 
  • How do you plan on incorporating this value in your work? 

This should be an exercise where individuals reflect using a virtual whiteboard or Google Doc for about 3 minutes. After that 3 minutes, if in person put participants into pairs but if virtual put individuals into breakout rooms for about 8 minutes to talk through the 3 aforementioned questions. The goal of the breakout rooms is connected directly to the 4 Cs because participants are able to come together and talk about the values that resonate with them and how they plan to implement them into their prospective roles.

What does impact and success look like for you in these sessions?

In putting this value session together I think the key thing to keep in mind is that as a facilitator you are a guide for the learner. Since this is a somewhat vulnerable session you need to validate people’s experiences if they share and call out that the engagement is about their personal and professional development. I would also say the best way to design a values session using the 4 Cs as a theoretical framework is because it enables participants to create something bigger and better than they can on their own. Most importantly, company values serve as the 1 of the top two reasons individuals join a company so keep in mind the intersection between personal and professional development for today’s employee. 

“This work inspires me because at my core I’m an educator and I truly enjoy helping individuals understand that there is more than one path to their career destination.”

Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration actually comes from the work I do outside of Uber. I have a career consulting business, Beyond Conventional Altruism Solutions, with the mission to build sustainable career paths for individuals and within companies. I’m able to do this through one-on-one coaching with managers and direct reports on how to have constructive conversations on career development.

Additionally, I facilitate workshops within organizations and externally on professional branding interviewing, salary negotiation, and how to create sustainable career development frameworks. This work inspires me because at my core I’m an educator and I truly enjoy helping individuals understand that there is more than one path to their career destination. 

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