Dawn Ragaas is the VP of people operations at Daasity, winner of OpenComp’s People-first Employers to Watch in 2023 Award in the under 100 employees category. In this interviewer, Dawn breaks down how Daasity maintains a 97% retention rate and shares the one thing that will make or break the candidate experience.
A little about Dawn Raagas
After a brief stint in teaching, Raagas found her way to the world of tech and startups. Over the past 20 years, she’s held HR, operations, and consulting roles at a long list of companies including, CLUTCH Personal Branding, Mav12, Music Therapy Ed, and Patriot Scientific. She also ran her own consulting firm, was a certified health coach, and is a certified neurolinguistic programming practitioner. Raagas joined Daasity in 2019 as a management consultant, quickly moving up to chief of staff, and now her current role as VP of people ops.
Tell us about Daasity.
Daasity is an e-commerce analytics platform built exclusively for consumer product brands. We’re a Series A company founded in 2017, backed by VMG Partners, Serra Ventures, Okapi Venture Capital, Cove Fund, 1855 Capital Ventures, Mooring Ventures, and Exeter Capital Partners.
How do you define employee-centricity?
It’s about putting people first through transparent communication and collaboration, and by encouraging curiosity and allowing for a solutions-focused approach to challenges.
What are the pillars of your employee experience strategy?
We have five:
How do you measure the effectiveness of your employee experience strategy?
We track our employee retention rate, eNPS score, and send out anonymous surveys quarterly. So far, the results show that our strategy is working well. Our employee retention rate is 97%, and we’ve had an eNPS score over 58 for two years in a row.
What do you do to optimize candidate experience?
We’ve developed a full-cycle recruiting process focused on five areas:
- Preparation: This includes a clear job description, interview process expectations, alignment with hiring managers, preselected interview questions for each stage, and interview scorecards.
- Sourcing: We source candidates in multiple ways and make the application process easy — five to seven questions max.
- Screening: We aim to minimize unconscious bias and use an AI tool called SmartRank to help with that goal.
- Selection: The interview process should be clear to the candidate from the beginning, so they know what to expect. We list our process in the job posting and then we outline it again during the initial screening call.
- Hiring: We make sure we have timely, regular communication with candidates, including sequenced emails from offer to day of hire.
We also train managers on effective interviewing techniques beyond “what not to ask.” We go deep into everything from the logistics of the interview to the types of questions that will measure specific character traits, basic communication skills, and interview score cards.
Ultimately, the key to optimizing the candidate experience is clear and timely communication from everyone throughout the process. You can do everything I’ve mentioned above, but if you aren’t responding to candidates in a timely manner, then the experience is likely poor.
How do you approach career pathing?
We view career pathing as a retention tool. We’ve in the process of developing all of our career paths, starting with the largest team in the company. To get a sense of what we need as well as what the team wants, we asked for feedback from both managers and ICs. We then began developing the career path with titles and competencies.
How do you ensure pay equity and pay transparency across the employee lifecycle?
We developed a compensation philosophy and shared it with the entire company. We also explain how salary bands are developed and how we use OpenComp to create them. We also review pay across the company annually and make adjustments as needed.
What’s your approach to Glassdoor reviews?
While I think they’re a valuable recruiting tool, we don’t have a formal approach. We keep an eye on Glassdoor and have asked employees to post a review if they feel compelled to do so, but other than that, we haven’t done much.
What tactics are you testing right now to improve the employee experience?
We’re doing a lot around creating a feedback culture, including pulse surveys, 1:1s, 360 feedback performance reviews, dedicated product questions meetings, training on how to ask for what you need, and regular corporate updates in Slack. We’re also doing regular check-ins with all employees and contractors, where we ask the same questions and then look for any consistencies or areas that need improvement.
To learn more about Daasity: