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The Classy Employee Experience: A Continued Investment in Our People

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Published December 16, 2021 Reading Time: 5 minutes

An excellent employee experience offers a community where people feel connected and motivated to succeed.

Classy’s vision is to create an environment that unites the best interest of its community, financial partners, customers, and team members. One of the ways we do this is by creating a team experience where everyone is truly invested in their work. For Classy, our work means helping nonprofits become as successful as they can in raising money for their missions. To give team members a personal investment in our customers’ success, Classy recently announced that 100% of employees will be offered equity in the company. Spearheading this employee experience vision into 2022, is Ann Catrina-Kligman, Classy’s new Vice President of People.

If we don’t have a sense of belonging, we don’t feel the connection. Offering equity to 100% of employees truly signifies to all employees that they are a critical part of the organization, regardless of which level they sit at.

Ann Catrina-Kligman

What Providing Equity Means for Classy Employees & Customers

The ability for all employees to own equity gives everyone a stake in Classy’s growth. At the same time, it shows that Classy has a stake in each employee’s growth and reminds them why the work they do matters. We want everyone to feel ownership and pride for the work they accomplish at Classy.

Ultimately, employee ownership shows that Classy trusts, cares about, and invests in its people at the highest level. When our people are motivated to succeed, we are in the best position to serve our nonprofit customers through excellent service, new ideas, and insights that continue to keep our fundraising platform innovative. By making each employee feel aligned to company success, we create a community of 300 individuals ready to help any customer today and in the future achieve their goals with Classy.

Classy’s Investment in Employees

Classy has fostered a community of impact, which makes employee ownership in the company’s success that much more rewarding. Let’s look at a few of the ways Classy has invested in becoming an impactful community that employees want to be a part of.

  • Classy became B Corp certified in December of 2020. This declared a passion and social responsibility to focus on all stakeholders, including employees.
  • Classy reincorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation in April of 2021. This further emphasized its commitment to all stakeholders.
  • CEO Chris Himes shared that Classy will offer equity to all employees in October of 2021. Now, all employees of any level have stock options. He shared, “As Classy thrives, it must pass on more benefits to the employees who are responsible for its success.”
  • To continue to elevate its investment in its employees, Classy welcomed Ann Catrina-Kligman in November of 2021 to lead the employee experience as the VP of People.
Ann Catrina-Kligman

Meet Ann, Leading Classy Into 2022 and Beyond

Ann brings a breadth of experiences innovating and reimagining work by building and delivering employee-centered experiences that make it easier to communicate and collaborate while fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging. Classy’s employee-owned model is a foundational element of her strategy.

Classy stood out to me right away because the company’s impact and doing good for the world were woven throughout every conversation. Employees care about the work they do and the communities in which they live and operate, and that’s important to me.

Ann Catrina-Kligman

Ann has a long history in the technology space as a former leader on the Human Resources teams at Zendesk and Salesforce. Her experience sets the stage for the next step in her journey to support Classy and its giving platform for nonprofits.

Get to know Ann. We asked her to answer some timely questions to better understand her vision for Classy and its culture.

Q: What have you learned about leading people through the pandemic?

A: Navigating unprecedented change in real-time taught me that having a growth mindset is no longer a nice-to-have. We’re all navigating changes that haven’t stopped. The most recent example that comes to mind is going into a long Thanksgiving weekend with hopes for safer gatherings with family and friends. We returned the following Monday to a new COVID-19 variant.

The minute we think we know something, the world will shift. The key to strong leadership in times like these is adapting to constant change. It’s all about flexibility and proper work-life integration. I believe in giving talented individuals the autonomy to choose what they do and how they do it in a way that results in value for all.

In the same vein, it’s undeniable that there’s an extreme focus on connection and wellbeing. You can argue they are at the core of each element I mentioned. Leaders need to focus on benefits beyond medical and dental to retain valuable employees. We need to ensure they feel seen and appreciated by their workplace.

In my prior roles and now at Classy, my goal is to create an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work. I want people to do the best work of their lives while staying connected to those close to them outside of the office. Ownership in the company is one of many ways this can come to light.

Q: What is your vision for the employees of Classy and our internal community of talent?

A: I’m most excited to deliver an employee experience that helps people feel a sense of belonging and focus that drives them to a fulfilled career. My plan is in no way going to be dependent or static on the state of the world because the one constant right now is change. I’m prepared to bring people together regardless of location or time zone.

There’s a lot I’m looking at to digitize the employee experience. Without our headquarters as a physical home base, we have the chance to build an experience irrespective of physical space.

We will continue to ensure that every employee feels a sense of belonging and connection to the company’s trajectory. We can organize a few meaningful moments during the year that fuel all day-to-day activities that happen online. I see these moments as dedicated time for planning, reflecting, and celebrating together.

I need to note that without a diverse and inclusive workplace, none of this is possible. I’m passionate about prioritizing this in the employee experience at Classy. Every employee can be true to their unique identity, and embrace shared perspectives and connections at the same time.

Q: How will employee ownership bring value to current and new employees?

A: Not only do we care about our employees at Classy, but we consider them stakeholders in our success. Not only are they doing work that matters, but they are beneficiaries of the impact made by our organization. That’s exactly what providing equity to 100% of employees means to us. Every employee is reminded of that when they see our success benefit their futures.

Leaders looking to implement an employee-owned model can better attract and retain diverse talent by demonstrating their impact. Organizations need to exemplify their values in every conversation, interaction, and business decision. Splashing values and an appealing mission statement through a website doesn’t cut it.

There must be authenticity in these promises to pull in amazing talent. Communicating what you stand for showcases how every employee plays a critical role. The sentiment must carry on beyond the first 30, 60, or 90 days on the job.

At Classy, we are successful when our customers are successful. That success is directly correlated to our employees’ growth. Our employee-owned model helps us celebrate that together beyond in-office perks. It includes true ownership, influence, and impact on the future of Classy.

Living Out a Connected Employee Experience

By investing in our people and offering every employee equity in the company, we believe we will help our customers become more successful. And, as a result, have even more impact on the communities we serve.

If you’d like to be part of the Classy community, take a look at our available career opportunities. Or, explore our Impact Report to learn more about how we realize our mission to mobilize and empower the world for good through an employee-first approach.

You can look forward to hearing more from Ann and our Classy people team here on the blog and over on LinkedIn.

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