Digital Workspace
November 9, 2020

5 Key Takeaways from How to Build a Best-in-Class Digital Workplace

We recently released an eBook, How to Build a Best-in-Class Digital Workplace, in which we interview eight C-Suite leaders from Rocket Mortgage, a leading financial services firm, on how they have built an exceptional employee experience. As COVID has disrupted business as usual, the need for a great employee experience and a robust digital workplace is more pressing than ever before. But what do two often ambiguously defined concepts look like in practice? You’ll get some great words of wisdom from the eBook, but if you’re looking for a short and sweet version, here are a few of our key takeaways.

Takeaway #1: The employee experience isn’t a box that you can check

To really shape the employee experience, you need intentional collaboration, a strategy that everyone agrees on, and a focus on the employee perspective. You need synergy between the digital workplace, the employee experience, and company culture to build a truly cohesive experience for employees. It goes beyond buying a new tech platform. You need to think about how you will integrate with your existing systems, how it will fit into your culture, and more, or your employee experience won’t change.

These decisions usually involve three groups – IT, HR, and Executives, however, the perspective that should be valued above all is the employee perspective. If you think about it from the employee perspective, you realize that the most important priority is solving employee challenges and you’re able to focus on the holistic solution, rather than a specific tool or software.

Takeaway #2: Building a strong employee experience starts with company culture

One key component of building a strong employee experience is buy-in and guidance from the highest levels of executive leadership. Bob Walters, President and COO at Rocket Mortgage, puts it well. He explains why culture is so important: “How do we make decisions [at Rocket Mortgage]? A lot of it comes down to culture. When you know who you are, the decisions are easy.” And Rocket Mortgage isn’t just talk. They have 19 sayings or “ISMs” that define their culture, and they guide daily decisions at the company. You can hear them in conversation and have become part of daily jargon.

Takeaway #3: Taking a human-centered approach will keep you on the right track

Mike Malloy is the Chief Amazement Officer at Rocket Mortgage where he oversees “The Pulse”, the company’s name for HR. He emphasizes a human-centered approach to build a better digital workplace and team member experience in continuing to ask this question of: “How are we working to personalize every interaction?” Mike also led and continues to support Rocket Mortgage shift to remote work. In this transition, he continues to be human-centered by asking the following questions: “How much better can we be? What can we do in this new environment that’s different? How can we listen, and how can we ramp up our communication to humanize this experience?” These are questions that should be on the forefront of HR’s mind when building an exceptional employee experience.

Takeaway #4: When the digital experience is the employee experience, the digital plumbing has to work

IT has a critical role in shaping and supporting the experience of work, especially when that work is happening remotely. Brain Woodring, CIO at Rocket Mortgage, guides the digital strategy of the company, and he sums up his philosophy as an “outside-in” approach. You can see it described below.



Rocket Mortgage strives to be an “outside-in” company not only when it comes to customer experience but also team member experience. He explains, “We think of our internal tools, like Salesforce or Microsoft Teams or Sift, as a product that we roll out to our customers – our team members. You can’t have one set of rules when building for customers, and a different set of rules when building for team members. You have to put the user first.”

Takeaway #5: Building a better employee experience happens slowly, with small pieces you lock into place every day

So, what are some steps that you can take in the next month, the next quarter, and the next year? One, update old-school business processes. Two, establish a shared vocabulary. Traditionally, HR tends to talk about “employee experience” while IT talks about “digital workplace”. Understand other people’s language and start defining a shared vocabulary. Three, focus on the moments that matter. Look for the moments that matter for people in your organization. What are moments that need improvement and attention? Where are people feeling stuck, frustrated, or burned out? If the concept of the employee experience still feels very big or vague, start by focusing on these core moments.


See what learnings you find in the eBook

I highly recommend taking a look at the eBook if you haven't yet! I highlighted some key takeaways here, but we take an even deeper dive in the eBook, and you’ll find a helpful exercise at the very end of it.

How C-Suite Leaders Built an Exceptional Digital Workplace

Everyone wants to build a great employee experience, and the need for a robust digital workplace has been written in neon since COVID disrupted business as usual. But how do you put this into practice? Learn from 8 C-Suite Leaders from Rocket Mortgage, a leading financial services firm, on how they have built an exceptional employee experience.
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The Forge

A monthly collection of the latest Sift content, thought pieces, and resources, we keep you updated on what's going on in the world of work and Sift.

We recently released an eBook, How to Build a Best-in-Class Digital Workplace, in which we interview eight C-Suite leaders from Rocket Mortgage, a leading financial services firm, on how they have built an exceptional employee experience. As COVID has disrupted business as usual, the need for a great employee experience and a robust digital workplace is more pressing than ever before. But what do two often ambiguously defined concepts look like in practice? You’ll get some great words of wisdom from the eBook, but if you’re looking for a short and sweet version, here are a few of our key takeaways.

Takeaway #1: The employee experience isn’t a box that you can check

To really shape the employee experience, you need intentional collaboration, a strategy that everyone agrees on, and a focus on the employee perspective. You need synergy between the digital workplace, the employee experience, and company culture to build a truly cohesive experience for employees. It goes beyond buying a new tech platform. You need to think about how you will integrate with your existing systems, how it will fit into your culture, and more, or your employee experience won’t change.

These decisions usually involve three groups – IT, HR, and Executives, however, the perspective that should be valued above all is the employee perspective. If you think about it from the employee perspective, you realize that the most important priority is solving employee challenges and you’re able to focus on the holistic solution, rather than a specific tool or software.

Takeaway #2: Building a strong employee experience starts with company culture

One key component of building a strong employee experience is buy-in and guidance from the highest levels of executive leadership. Bob Walters, President and COO at Rocket Mortgage, puts it well. He explains why culture is so important: “How do we make decisions [at Rocket Mortgage]? A lot of it comes down to culture. When you know who you are, the decisions are easy.” And Rocket Mortgage isn’t just talk. They have 19 sayings or “ISMs” that define their culture, and they guide daily decisions at the company. You can hear them in conversation and have become part of daily jargon.

Takeaway #3: Taking a human-centered approach will keep you on the right track

Mike Malloy is the Chief Amazement Officer at Rocket Mortgage where he oversees “The Pulse”, the company’s name for HR. He emphasizes a human-centered approach to build a better digital workplace and team member experience in continuing to ask this question of: “How are we working to personalize every interaction?” Mike also led and continues to support Rocket Mortgage shift to remote work. In this transition, he continues to be human-centered by asking the following questions: “How much better can we be? What can we do in this new environment that’s different? How can we listen, and how can we ramp up our communication to humanize this experience?” These are questions that should be on the forefront of HR’s mind when building an exceptional employee experience.

Takeaway #4: When the digital experience is the employee experience, the digital plumbing has to work

IT has a critical role in shaping and supporting the experience of work, especially when that work is happening remotely. Brain Woodring, CIO at Rocket Mortgage, guides the digital strategy of the company, and he sums up his philosophy as an “outside-in” approach. You can see it described below.



Rocket Mortgage strives to be an “outside-in” company not only when it comes to customer experience but also team member experience. He explains, “We think of our internal tools, like Salesforce or Microsoft Teams or Sift, as a product that we roll out to our customers – our team members. You can’t have one set of rules when building for customers, and a different set of rules when building for team members. You have to put the user first.”

Takeaway #5: Building a better employee experience happens slowly, with small pieces you lock into place every day

So, what are some steps that you can take in the next month, the next quarter, and the next year? One, update old-school business processes. Two, establish a shared vocabulary. Traditionally, HR tends to talk about “employee experience” while IT talks about “digital workplace”. Understand other people’s language and start defining a shared vocabulary. Three, focus on the moments that matter. Look for the moments that matter for people in your organization. What are moments that need improvement and attention? Where are people feeling stuck, frustrated, or burned out? If the concept of the employee experience still feels very big or vague, start by focusing on these core moments.


See what learnings you find in the eBook

I highly recommend taking a look at the eBook if you haven't yet! I highlighted some key takeaways here, but we take an even deeper dive in the eBook, and you’ll find a helpful exercise at the very end of it.

Get Our Newsletter

The Forge

A monthly collection of the latest Sift content, thought pieces, and resources, we keep you updated on what's going on in the world of work and Sift.