Businesses are looking for outsourcing providers that can offer a reliable and genuine partnership, as well as increased transparency into business operations.
MEDIA 7: TaskUs has been named as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ by the LA Business Journal and San Antonio Business Journal. Could you please tell us a little bit about TaskUs and its culture?
BRANDY ZIMMERMAN: In 2008, TaskUs began with just seven employees, $20,000 in the capital, and a one-room office in Manila. Now, we are proud to have over 31,500 TaskUs teammates operating in 20 different locations across the United States, the Philippines, India, Mexico, Taiwan, Greece, Ireland, and Colombia. If TaskUs has a heart, the beat says “people.” As the leading outsourcing provider for high-growth companies, TaskUs has a people-first mindset when it comes to wellness, happiness, opportunity, and success inside or outside of the workplace.
At TaskUs, our people are not only employees; they are valuable team members. There is no doubt that our employee-centric culture drives our company’s success. From the beginning, co-founders Bryce Maddock and Jaspar Weir had an innovative vision of what an outsourcing provider could be, with a workplace that truly embodies a dynamic culture that puts people at the heart of our company mission. TaskUs CEO Bryce Maddock leads our international operations with a focus on creating a ridiculously good employee experience, believing that keeping our employees happy empowers us to deliver superior results by attracting and retaining the best talent.
M7: How do you manage to deliver the best next-generation digital outsourcing services to your clients?
BZ: While our industry is vast, TaskUs stands out as a passionate, mission-driven provider with the ability to re-adjust and transform in any given circumstance. Even amidst a global pandemic, we continue to deliver next-generation digital solutions to our clients, helping them protect and scale their businesses. By investing in our own teammates, prioritizing transparency, and keeping ahead of the curve, we continue in our work to support business operations for our extraordinary clients in extraordinary times. Providing ridiculously good service and support for our clients requires a culture of constant motion. At the same time, we recognize the need to step back and allow our teammates to grow and thrive. We invest heavily in improving employee satisfaction and happiness, ensuring that our teammates can connect virtually and express themselves as needed. Managers conduct a weekly one-on-one meeting with their direct reports to facilitate open and frequent communication; we conduct quarterly Employee Satisfaction (eSAT) surveys to monitor feedback, and our Data and Leadership teams comb through thousands of survey responses to identify and implement needed improvements every quarter. TaskUs leadership firmly believes that building a firm employee experience will guarantee exceptional results for our clients.
Outsourcing services are no longer just a one-time transaction. Now more than ever before, we believe businesses are looking for outsourcing providers that can offer a reliable and genuine partnership, as well as increased transparency into business operations. Unlike other business services companies in the outsourcing space, our employees are not just faceless transactions hired to support a distant company. They are members of a closely integrated team that our clients can see and trust. From beautifully and aesthetically decorated offices to flexible remote work programs, to real support for mental health—we pride ourselves on creating a supportive and fulfilling work environment for our teammates all over the world. Integrity in business is directly tied to our company’s success. Finally, TaskUs has the ability to adapt and transform by consistently keeping ahead of the curve. In 2020, TaskUs made the bold decision to move its entire global workforce to remote work in early March—ahead of most other companies across industries. Other outsourcing providers lagged behind, as some of their clients did not agree or believe they could maintain operational factors while working from home. Our clients’ decision to partner with us during the pandemic is tangible evidence of their satisfaction with our services. We also broke barriers with the launch of Cirrus, our new work-from-home platform. Cirrus is a sustainable, cloud-based remote work model that provides support to clients without sacrificing quality, transparency, expertise, security, or skill that has come to define TaskUs.
It’s also a holistic approach to a remote office set-up where our employees enjoy new opportunities and safer working environments. Along with Cirrus, we developed new custom wellness content for our teammates, including one-on-one sessions with licensed healthcare professionals, various skills groups, and outreach activities. TaskUs conducted a longitudinal work-from-home study over the course of six months. We assessed work-from-home conditions, culture, leadership support, equipment needs, and the wellness of our employees. The results showed no major deviations in employee wellness; it also showed increased employee satisfaction with wellness services in a virtual environment. We’ve made it a point to leverage our resources toward global scalability, cultural competence, and the use of technology in aiding the health and wellness of our teammates. The COVID-19 pandemic was a major turning point for everyone at TaskUs. Whether our teammates are working from home or will be transitioning back to an in-office environment, we continue to keep a close pulse on their wellness and satisfaction. By building a ridiculously good employee experience by investing in our teammates, increasing transparency into our business operations, and keeping ahead of the curve, we bolster our inclusion and wellness efforts to deliver exceptional business outcomes for our clients.
It may sound simple, but we need to listen to our employees in order to be a force for change.
M7: Could you please elaborate on the uses of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at TaskUs? What exactly are they, and what purposes do they serve?
BZ: Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) have made a significant impact on how TaskUs employees interact. Led by Co-Founder and CEO Bryce Maddock, the TaskUs executive team launched ERGs as a way to empower employees to fight for what they are passionate about, both in their workplaces and within their communities. ERGs are voluntary, employee-led organizations that provide safe spaces for marginalized identity groups and ally supporters. Women@TaskUs is a critical ERG for both of our US and Mexico offices. With a focus on empowering women, Women@TaskUs offers mentorship and collective efforts to ensure that more women rise through the leadership ranks and are protected from unwanted advancements in the workplace. To make sure nothing else slips through the cracks, TaskUs even created a Confidence Line, where employees can report any suggestions or issues so that appropriate actions can be made. Additionally, Pride@TaskUs in North America and Unicorns@TaskUs in the Philippines were established to address society-wide issues that our LGBTQ teammates are passionate about. With the understanding that discrimination and social isolation continue to affect the LGBTQ community, the management works with our ERGs to create programs and benefits that help employees and charities.
Our Veterans@TaskUs Employee Resource Group (ERG) leads initiatives to increase awareness and support for veteran employees, their families, and local communities. The group also works with our Wellness & Resiliency teams to support our veteran teammates through counseling sessions. TaskUs also actively participates in career events for military groups such as Employment Services for Guard and Reserve (ESGR), Military Spouses Employment Program (MSEP), and the Wounded Warrior Program. It may sound simple, but we need to listen to our employees in order to be a force for change. ERGs have become a voice for the groups they represent, and they advise our TaskUs leaders on what people really need. For example, recent employee feedback led to the creation of a new Self-Identification feature on the TaskUs Human Capital Management System, which allows our employees to enter their own gender identity as they see fit. This feature has been effective in educating TaskUs teams on the usage of pronouns, especially during the pandemic where employee names and titles are seen virtually. TaskUs is proud to cultivate a safe and inclusive environment that empowers every person to express their most authentic selves. Our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiatives were implemented with the aim to build empathetic relationships, foster allyship, and establish industry-leading practices in the form of thought leadership, philanthropy, and community partnerships. As a global organization, TaskUs consistently works toward understanding different cultures and interests and creating programs that inspire our people to produce ridiculously good innovation for the company and its clients.
M7: Could you please share your perspective about the benchmarks of employee wellness and culture strategies?
BZ: We believe a strong culture requires a strong framework. Our solid wellness infrastructure helps cultivate a creative, inclusive environment that encourages every employee to collaborate and thrive, all while celebrating what makes each of us unique. We ensure a truly supportive workplace with an ally leadership model, allowing TaskUs to develop new ways of leading a diverse, global workforce. With resources dedicated to training, mentorship, and frequent opportunities to incorporate employee feedback, TaskUs has ingrained the wellbeing of its people into all company decisions. In 2020, TaskUs formalized D&I initiatives into a global program relying on Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and quarterly Employee Satisfaction (eSAT) surveys, which measure the impact of TaskUs’s efforts with quantifiable data. TaskUs’s Analytics team works to leverage data and assess our D&I and wellness efforts across the globe, ensuring inclusion and parity.
Despite the profound effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) actually increased from 64.06 at the end of 2019 to a global average of 72 for 2020, indicating a dramatic improvement in general employee experience. In addition to conducting pulse surveys and facilitating one-on-one meetings between individual teammates and their leaders, our Wellness & Resiliency Team also created an employee scorecard with specific KPIs in wellbeing, utilization, and effectiveness. With this tool, we have a holistic view of our employee experience, allowing us to make better employee wellbeing decisions across the board. Beyond just numbers and metrics, TaskUs works on cultivating real, healthy relationships at the workplace by finding time for our teammates to bond with their coworkers and connect with their leaders in a meaningful way. TaskUs recently launched the virtual Connect15 program, which gives anybody at TaskUs an opportunity to meet new colleagues, along with a mystery leader from our executive team. The program introduces a surprise element to the bonding experience, as participating employees don’t know which executive they’ll get to meet.
These meetings are short—just 15 minutes long—and done in small groups. Connect15 was launched with the aim of helping our teammates feel more excited about coming to work by encouraging them to connect over casual, friendly discussions. In Q2 2021, we set a goal to have at least 1000 teammates participate in focus group sessions with VPs above. In just a month, we’ve had 97 sessions with 54 leaders and 1084 attendees! In implementing wellness and culture strategies, TaskUs prioritizes employee happiness by cultivating compassion, flexibility, and real human connections at the workplace. We also take into consideration how incredibly diverse our team members are, as we continue to expand our global footprint; our inclusion efforts consistently focus on making sure our teammates feel seen and heard, no matter where they are in the world. Creating a strong framework for wellness and culture by formalizing a global program, TaskUs continues to lead the business services industry in its unparalleled commitment to improving employee experience.
The more you understand your fellow teammates and leaders, the more invested you will be in improving what you’ve already put in place!
M7: What advice would you like to give our readers starting their careers in this industry?
BZ: I joined TaskUs in 2018, but I brought a lot of professional experience from both the outsourcing and staffing industries into my role as VP of People Operations. Most importantly, you have to be willing to put your people first and think of them as more than just your employees. I always enjoy participating in my one-on-one meetings and the Connect15 program—meeting new people, understanding their personal backgrounds, and listening to their stories help me find the strength and motivation needed to continuously improve on our existing programs. The more you understand your fellow teammates and leaders, the more invested you will be in improving what you’ve already put in place!