8 NYC Companies That Put Their People First

Tired of coming in second at work? Here is a glimpse of what it is like to work at companies that put their people first.
Written by Michael Hines
February 7, 2022Updated: February 7, 2022

If you have looked at a job posting recently and wondered what it means for a company to have a “people-first culture,” Angélique de Taddeo, employee experience and culture officer at AB Tasty, has the answer.

“Developing a people-first culture goes beyond having a strong culture,” de Taddeo said. “It means that we also put our employees at the heart of everything we do.”

People-first companies are those that ask their employees what they need to be happier at work and then update their perks and benefits accordingly. They take the time to ask for feedback and then act on it to show team members their opinions drive change. These companies think about what’s best for the people behind the desks in difficult circumstances, such as completely changing work routines due to a pandemic.

AB Tasty is one of several New York tech companies Built In recently spoke with about what it really means to put people first. In addition to offering their insight, all of these companies are hiring now. So if you’re tired of coming in second at work, you’ll definitely want to continue reading.

 

Gill Haus
Chief Information Officer, Chase

What steps has JPMorgan Chase taken to foster a people-first culture?

At JPMorgan Chase, our customers are at the center of everything we do. Chase’s product, data, design and technology teams work very closely to build and design digital products and services that help more than 60 million households make the most of their money. We have a purpose-driven culture that attracts individuals who want to make a tangible impact in our customers’ lives. There aren’t many companies where you can have a direct impact in the lives of tens of millions of consumers every single day.

 

What perks, benefits or other offerings help support a people-first company culture?

Benefits certainly play a role in what motivates people to join a company, but culture is what drives people to stay and grow their careers. At JPMorgan Chase, we work hard to build a collaborative, purpose-driven culture that creates results and empowers employees to bring their best selves to work. As technologists, we like to solve problems big and small, and innovate and problem-solve every single day. It’s my job to remove roadblocks for people so that they can be effective at their job and build incredible experiences for our customers. This includes driving efforts to foster diversity, equity and inclusion, which is a major focus at our company. 

Diverse teams, especially diverse tech teams, are more innovative and productive, helping us to better serve our nearly 59 million digitally active customers. I am energized every single day by the incredible talent and passion of our employees. That’s what attracted me to join the company nearly two years ago and something that I am very proud to be part of.

 

How do you gauge the effectiveness of these efforts and ensure employees feel valued and supported? And what are some ways you’ve adapted your strategy in response?

The firm regularly requests feedback from employees to measure their attitudes on a variety of topics. On my team, I’ve created an open-door policy for myself and my direct reports with the intent of it trickling down throughout our organization. When people see something that’s off, they are empowered to say something so that we can fix it. I regularly invite more junior employees to meetings with the goal of having them participate, ask questions and learn. If you want to grow your career and get the support and resources to perfect your craft, you can absolutely do that at JPMorgan Chase.

 

 

Angélique de Taddeo
Employee Experience & Culture Officer

What steps has AB Tasty taken to foster a people-first culture?

We started by introducing an employee experience and culture manager role. This goes beyond an HR rep who occasionally handles culture-related actions — this is someone who is giving everything they’ve got to keep our company culture real! We collect employees feedback each quarter on relevant topics such as work-life balance, relationships with peers and managers, salaries and more. This feedback informs our employee experience roadmap, where we define the primary topics to address and actions to take based on our company values.

Thanks to this feedback, we’ve made great improvements this past year, which include expanding our team and basing the new roles on real needs shared by our employees; developing a flexible remote work policy tailored to our employees’ needs, our diversity and values, and the cultural specificities of our teams around the world and building a dedicated training program to successfully onboard new members of the sales team.

 

What perks, benefits or other offerings help support a people-first company culture?

Developing a people-first culture goes beyond having a strong culture. It means that we also put our employees at the heart of everything we do. Like many other companies, we provide top-notch health insurance, a major priority for us. We also offer professional and mental health coaching, and employees have complete privacy when accessing these services. The purpose is to offer them extra support and uncover ways to help them grow. 

We’ve invested in setting up comfortable home offices for our employees, with each team member receiving a budget to help them set up their office and cover utilities. This was an instant success. And as for being a people-first company, we always want to recognize and highlight the great work and attitudes of our employees. Our managers are trained on this and nominate members of their teams at quarterly meetings. It’s not just top-down: We also encourage everyone to cast nominations for employee of the month and give internal “briqs” currency to each other.

 

How do you gauge the effectiveness of these efforts and ensure employees feel valued and supported? 

There are two metrics we follow closely: our turnover rate and a bimonthly mood barometer. Since we have a strong feedback culture, we conduct these mood temperature checks every two weeks and every single piece of feedback is taken into account and turned into an action plan. For example, we’re currently building a strong training program for all employees — with a substantial budget. We not only want employees to succeed professionally but also to improve their personal skills. 

Even though AB Tasty is no longer a startup, we’re proud that we have been able to remain agile and act quickly in response to our team’s needs. In our company, people feel safe to openly share their thoughts because they know they won’t be judged and that their voices will be heard.

 

 

Jim Turbek
Director, Recruiting

What steps has Box taken to foster a people-first culture?

Box’s culture is rooted in belonging and inclusivity. I’ve always been impressed by how we “walk the walk,” giving multiple opportunities for employees to create meaningful connections through community service, participating in employee resource community meetings and events, or formal and informal mentorship. We believe that every employee should act from within their role to champion belonging and make our community better. 

We recently held our global impact day, an annual companywide day of service. The recruiting team partnered with organizations that provide training to underrepresented talent to host an interviewing workshop. Our team spent time coaching individuals on how to interview and answering questions to help guide them in their job search. I love when we are able to share knowledge to help people jump start their careers. 

 

What perks, benefits or other offerings help support a people-first company culture?

Companies have had to shift their thinking since the move to remote work from snacks and in-office perks to supporting the whole employee and recognizing that they want to make an impact while balancing work and life. We’ve instituted “fresh air Fridays,” companywide days off to help tackle burnout, and we’re excited to continue these into 2022. In addition to that our benefits go above and traditional offerings, like our mental health and fertility benefits. Finally, because we’ve had to push back our office reopening date, Box gave employees a one-time stipend to use on things that will help our productivity.

 

How do you gauge the effectiveness of these efforts and ensure employees feel valued and supported? 

We run an annual experience survey that gives everyone an opportunity to voice their feedback on how their team and the whole company are doing across key areas. But beyond that, it’s all about empowering people managers to lead with empathy to help create an open, transparent culture. That means being vulnerable as a leader and giving people the space to do the same. When there’s a high-degree of trust, you can get high-quality feedback and ideas on how to continue to support employees beyond their day-to-day. 

 

 

Keren Rubin
VP, People Operations

What steps has Augury taken to foster a people-first culture?

One of our values is “enjoy it.” Our leaders really care and we lead by example. We don’t only help people grow professionally. We support the team through personal challenges, always offering a listening ear and providing support where we can. This trickles down and the behavior is contagious. Our biggest success is when we see employees become friends, spending time together hiking, traveling or biking and truly supporting one another through life events.

When the town of an employee was hit by a tornado, the team came together and launched a GoFundMe campaign and Augury matched the sum that was contributed. From small events to big milestones, we are a part of our employees’ daily lives.

 

What perks, benefits or other offerings help support a people-first company culture?

We believe the best perk is the people we work with, and we focus on that during the hiring process and in performance conversations. We don’t only assess people on domain expertise, but also on how they treat their peers and stakeholders, whether they’re good listeners, team players and more. At the company level, we want to enable a sustainable mode of work and make sure that everyone can have time to be with their loved ones. We offer a work-from-home stipend, implement a four-day work week every other week, have flex PTO and offer paid parental leave. 

We care a lot about not only employees’ physical health but also their mental well-being. We offer online and in-person mindfulness sessions and hosted several workshops during “Mental Health Month” to promote inclusion and encourage conversations around mental health. 

Also, we invest in people’s growth. Our performance conversations focus on the upside, helping people become great in their roles, and we train our managers on it. We also offer LinkedIn Learning to foster and encourage employee development and growth.

 

How do you gauge the effectiveness of these efforts and ensure employees feel valued and supported? 

We have an annual employee engagement survey and we always reach out individually to get a sense on how people are feeling. We listen and adjust our strategy when needed. Our surveys aren’t just for show. We take action to make improvements based on the results and feedback. We even hired a consultancy to speak with our employees and help us dive deeper into how we can better support everyone. We pride ourselves on our culture and people and we want to continue to foster that as we grow.

 

 

Nadine Maschika
VP, Employee Experience & Operations

What steps has Tapestry taken to foster a people-first culture?

Our purpose — “stretch what’s possible” — drives how we operate, creating an inclusive working environment where our people can grow, progress and stretch what’s possible for themselves. We’re filling over 80 percent of leadership roles internally, demonstrating our commitment to career progression, development and mobility. We establish strong management behaviors and skills to lead others through our global development program, “The Common Thread,” in addition to an emerging leader program to advance the careers of our global mid-level leaders. 

Putting people first also means having strong personal connections. Though most of our corporate employees have been working remotely since March 2020, we constantly provide opportunities to connect, be it through our companywide “Live From Hudson Yards” town halls, our “Tapestry Unscripted” speaker series or virtual holiday events. We will soon shift to a hybrid model and have created a comprehensive hybrid working tool kit to help highlight the mindset, behaviors and skills necessary to succeed in this new way of working.

 

What perks, benefits or other offerings help support a people-first company culture?

For us, a people-centered approach takes into account the whole person, and well-being is a key priority at Tapestry. We’ve created blocks of meeting-free time every Tuesday and Thursday and have flex Fridays year-round to help employees better manage their work and personal time. We also offer a wide variety of programs, such as our “Priority: You” speaker series that features inspiring leaders sharing strategies and practical tips for employee wellness. A very popular employee perk is Headspace. I myself meditate daily on Headspace and am glad we can bring the benefits of mindfulness to our teams. 

We are also very proud of our four employee resource groups (ERGs). In the working parents and caregivers group, employees have access to a wealth of resources and the opportunity to connect on shared experiences. Based on input from this ERG, we recently implemented new caregiver benefits, including back-up child care. Listening to what our employees truly need and aligning our offerings with that is key for us in putting our people first.

 

How do you gauge the effectiveness of these efforts and ensure employees feel valued and supported? 

Employee listening is a core component of our people-centered approach, and we frequently survey our employees to understand how they feel and what ideas they have for making our culture stronger. We hold each leader accountable for understanding their individual team results and creating targeted action plans with their team members to ensure that we address the right topics and incorporate a wide range of perspectives. When we identify opportunities across larger teams and functions in the organization, we of course also assess the need for any companywide initiatives. 

We also leverage other sources, like our ERGs, to ensure that our vision aligns with reality. Many of our leaders host regular skip-level meetings or coffee chats to connect with employees directly and listen to a wide range of viewpoints and experiences. At Tapestry, we believe that having a diversity of perspectives enriches our organization, makes all of us better and allows us to truly put people first.

 

 

Emoke Starr
VP of People

What steps has Onna taken to foster a people-first culture?

Navigating between in-office, remote and hybrid working is a complex exercise and requires the voices of everyone at the company to get it right. We are currently in the process of reimagining every single aspect of working and we are doing so by actively listening to our employees and empowering them to lead the way. 

We have created “tiger teams” formed of employees across every department, each tasked with driving different work streams that define their ideal digital-first company. Each work stream is tied to specific outcomes, such as effective asynchronous work, defining culture and ways of engagement in a digital-first Onna, and finding strategies for virtual hiring and onboarding. All proposals are based on the entire company’s input, and unless there is a legal or otherwise strong reason not to, we plan to turn our employees’ proposals into policy.

 

What perks, benefits or other offerings help support a people-first company culture?

Before we get to perks and benefits, it’s important to highlight that supporting a people-first culture starts with truly putting people first. Each strategic conversation among the executive team, each planning session and each forward-looking agenda considers our people. Decision-making conversations always involve an assessment of if/how/when/in what manner Onners will be impacted and how we can make sure Onners are set up for success. 

Beyond that, some of our most valuable benefits include career and skills development. We have a learning and development department exclusively focused on Onner growth and offer a yearly development stipend that Onners can spend on their own career development. Other benefits include company-sponsored family events, generous parental leave, flexible work schedules, companywide well-being days off, company-sponsored volunteer events, diversity-focused employee resource groups, fitness and wellness subsidies, and more. 

We know that our people are our best and most important asset, so while perks and benefits are most definitely part of our package, they are also just one of many ways in which we put Onners first.

 

How do you gauge the effectiveness of these efforts and ensure employees feel valued and supported? 

Participation and engagement are really effective measures. If people believe their voice is being heard and that when they participate it makes a difference, they will continue showing up. I really think it’s that simple. With that perspective, I believe our role as a leadership team is to create a platform for our employees that empowers them to impact change. So far, in the instances in which we’ve done this, we have seen it lead to much better and more thoughtful outcomes than any other method I’ve encountered to date.

 

 

Limor Shuker
Global Employee Experience Manager

What steps has Riskified taken to foster a people-first culture?

From its founding, Riskified has recognized that employees are its most important asset. To ensure that we foster a people-first culture, we have a monthly, companywide meeting called “team updates” where employees are able to share their ideas, thoughts and needs with leadership.

Every month we hold global onboarding sessions for our employees where new hires gain a deeper understanding of Riskified’s purpose, culture and values. This initiative helps connect all new employees no matter what team they are on or level they are at. It also opens the door for employees around the globe to connect and lays the foundation for cross-border collaboration.

 

What perks, benefits or other offerings help support a people-first company culture?

Riskified implemented a “global recharge program” consisting of two weekends each year where the entire company collectively takes off Friday and Monday, with employees encouraged to shut their computer off and recharge to avoid burnout. As we’ve slowly started going back into the office, we’ve started conducting our usual in-office activities online, such as yoga, happy hours and cooking classes. It’s important for us to give employees time away from their day-to-day responsibilities to connect with all members of the business. At Riskified, we also see our employees’ family as our extended family and often send them gifts during the holidays or on special occasions such as a wedding or the birth of a child.

 

How do you gauge the effectiveness of these efforts and ensure employees feel valued and supported? 

We conduct yearly engagement surveys and department-specific surveys to gather employee feedback. We look at this data to understand how we can improve working conditions at Riskified and what we can improve upon as a company. During team updates we set aside time for a live Q&A with our employees and CEO, which creates a culture of authenticity and transparency with our leadership team while making all our employees feel valued, supported and heard.

 

 

Lyndsay McShane
Director, People Ops

What steps has DISQO taken to foster a people-first culture?

DISQO’s employee population is growing at a rapid pace and it’s important we continue to lead with a people-first mindset, particularly given the ever-changing nature of the pandemic. It’s necessary to recognize the ways in which our organization is constantly evolving and be comfortable with change. What worked six months ago might not be relevant today or even six months from now.

For example, we’ve kept our offices closed since the start of the pandemic so employees weren’t faced with the dilemma of having to re-enter the workplace or stay home only to have the conditions change again. Our approach involves flexibility and choice, so when we do reopen, we’ll entrust our employees to do what is best for them, their families and for DISQO.

 

What perks, benefits or other offerings help support a people-first company culture?

2022 brings exciting changes to our perks and benefits portfolio with an emphasis on comprehensive employee wellness. At DISQO, it’s more than just health or physical fitness. We’re adding programs that focus on our employees’ financial, social and mental wellbeing and education. For example, we’ve recently introduced the Calm app — we offer our employees a full subscription — and regularly host live sessions as well as self-led wellness opportunities for our teams to take advantage of.

 

How do you gauge the effectiveness of these efforts and ensure employees feel valued and supported? 

Feedback is a gift and we very much value hearing from our employees! Quarterly engagement surveys have been key to gauging what’s working and helping us discover areas where we need to pivot and improve. We’re really proud of the fact that DISQO has been trending with an Employee Net Promoter Score of 93 out of 100. As we scale and become an even more distributed workforce, we aim to maintain these high marks.

It’s one thing to ask the questions and even more important to take action and be transparent with employees about the results. We believe in sharing the survey outcomes in a timely way, no matter the score, with a continuous focus on making DISQO the best place our employees have ever worked.

 

Jobs from companies in this blog

NYC startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in NYC
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Benefits at NYC Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Women in NYC Tech