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@Work 2014: Day 3 – Culture Coming to Life

April 11, 2014, Emily He - Day 3 at Saba@Work 2014

Even after Wednesday night’s awesome customer appreciation party at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, the chairs were filled for Thursday morning’s final general session. And I have to say, this was definitely one that made you want to get up and dance! And I did!

Saba’s own Joe Majors started the session off with a story of how he has been living Jenn Lim’s philosophy of merging one’s passion and one’s work together; it’s known as Saba-tage. For 8 years, Joe and his band of fellow musicians/ Saba coworkers have been using Saba to rehearse year-round, melding their musical talents and talent management software into one awesome cover band. So cool!  

After Joe shared about his own musical talents (which he showcased at the close of the session), he welcomed a local Guitar Center band called “Doc Ellis Orchestra” to the stage. Comprised of employees from local stores, these people are truly living out their motto: “to sell the greatest feeling on earth—” they certainly had all of us Feelin’ Alright this morning. 

I’ve been continually amazed by the past few days of @Work. And now that we’ve all gotten to see the @Work brand come to life, I want to share more about what our mission behind @Work has been, and what it represents to us at Saba: 

1)   We appreciate every customer relationship and are always @Work, doing everything we can to ensure that they’re happy, satisfied and growing as businesses;

2)   The @Work brand also represents how Saba employees feel about the work they do and their excitement around the future of the Company

3)   @Work allows us to elevate the conversation, beyond just the workplace, thus enabling organizations to be inspired and to collaborate towards improved business outcomes.

Our keynote speakers from this week helped personify each of these objectives of the @Work brand:

-       Amar Dhaliwal spoke with us about the need to adapt our workplace for the future, and how important it is to start from the inside out when making this change

-       Jenn Lim inspired us with the operational system and culture she built through her happiness movement.

-       Shawn Farschchi spoke candidly about his mission to transform Saba’s internal culture, and the progress he has made in the 12 months since he joined the organization.

-       Josh Bersin left us with some incredible statistics and advice on making an organization a meaningful, irresistible (and in some cases musical) place to work.

Among the many highlights of the week, one of my favorite sessions has always been the customer panel. Yesterday, we were joined by Chris Salles, eLearning Director at Guitar Center, Tina Busch, Global Learning and Development Director at Kimberly-Clark, and Rob Lauber, VP of Yum! University for Yum Brands. Every one of these organizations is using Saba to address the critical Learning and talent management challenges unique to each of their industries.

As a 12,000 person retail-based Company, Chris is acutely focused on creating a culture at Guitar Center that facilitates formal and Social Learning opportunities for the front and back office. Using the Social aspects of Saba’s platform has allowed Guitar Center to foster the creation of brand advocates from within—a pivotal step in helping them bring their Company motto – selling the world’s greatest feeling – to fruition. 

Kimberly-Clark has experienced significant culture change across the past decade. By adopting Saba Cloud, they have been able to create new experiences for employees, earning them a reputation as a global organization with stellar employee engagement.  

At Yum Brands, Rob Lauber leads a highly productive global workforce, connecting more than 1.5 million employees in over 130 locations around the world as they open and support their restaurants. Rob has established a corporate culture that is “hungry” to learn and to constantly recognize employees at all levels—fitting to a Company that works to feed the world. 


We heard that the one thing missing from the customer panel last year was a Q&A portion. So, using the Mobile app (that folks went crazy on this week), we collected questions from the audience. While the questions alone are a blog post in themselves, one in particular, struck me:

What gets you up in the morning? 

Our panelists offered the following answers, respectively:

-       “Making sure we that have the right experts on hand to sell the best feeling on earth.” – Chris Salles

-       “[Knowing that] we need to do more, better, faster.” – Tina Busch

-       “[Finding ways to] stay relevant –making sure everything we do for stakeholders is relevant and where we are going, strategic.” – Rob Lauber

This week has been inspiring and full of ideas around the transformative and critical role that talent management plays in catalyzing and improving employee engagement. I’m eager to continue this discussion in the days, weeks, and months to come.

I thought you might also want to see two great summary videos created by Peter Olguin from Deloitte from Day 1 & 2 and Day 3 & 4. If you weren't able to attend this year, I hope they give you a sense of the program and great amount of fun we had together.

Last, but not least, I want to tell you that @Work 2015 is now officially less than a year away! Join us March 30 – April 2, 2015 at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.10151951_780718975273451_2518883141252681066_n

Thanks again to our valued customers, partners, industry analysts, financial analysts, media and Saba employees for making this a fun, impactful and memorable conference. 

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