Ep 198 – Balancing High Growth with Employee Engagement

For mid-sized companies in particular, growth is getting tougher in the face of new market dynamics: rising consumer expectations, increasing competition, and digital disruption. All of these present a challenge for growing companies when it comes to employee experience and engagement. A 2018 McKinsey study, “Becoming CEO,” reports that talent is a top priority for CEOs. The survey asked newly promoted CEOs what they wished they had done in hindsight when they first assumed the role and 72% said they should have focused more on cultivating, growing, and engaging talent at their organization. The question on my mind has been, if talent is the biggest focus of today’s CEO, how does employee engagement align with this?

This podcast is sponsored by ClearCompany.

Ep 198: Balancing High Growth with Employee Engagement with Chirag Shah (@CornerstoneInc)

Today I’m joined by Chirag Shah, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Growth Markets at Cornerstone OnDemand. Chirag leads the company’s strategy for both the Asia-Pacific & Japan region as well as the global Small & Medium-Sized Business segment, two of Cornerstone’s largest growth investments. Chirag has a very interesting background as an investment banker and now he leads a global team. His work experience involved a number of different projects including helping Cornerstone OnDemand get ready for its IPO.

Hiring and Developing Employees When You’re In Hi-Growth Mode 

As a business increases in size, processes become more established, however, the need and expectation to growth just as quickly along with continuing to innovate is a challenge. Chirag speaks from experience as a member of the Cornerstone On-Demand team but also as a leader of a completely new market segment the team was focused on growing and developing. Chirag says that the biggest challenge is finding and retaining that high-caliber talent and as the business grows, the talent scope and job responsibilities become less broad and more laser-focused.

Chirag says the key is to really get to know your employees and find that balance between personal and professional. You and your team are trying to continuously working to keep and understand the pulse of employee.

Employee Retention Strategies for Companies of All Sizes

Fast-growing companies want to move fast. They can’t afford to continue to keep hiring talent to replace the ones that were lost. Chirag shares great insights how Cornerstone On-Demand has focused on their employee retention and development efforts. One of my favorite examples Chirag shared is “Development Day.” Development Day is  a day where people across the business get to teach other employees about things that they’re interested in. Sometimes those topics could be related to work and sometimes they’re unrelated at work. At a recent development day, he said the company had a we had a beer making class at one of their employees wanted to have a class with employees to teach them how to make beer.


In our employee lifecycle, employee engagement isn’t just a “nice to have.” It’s crucial for company success in a rapidly changing talent marketplace. The competition for talent is intense, and the pressure on HR leaders to keep current employees happy and engaged is just as strong. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to sit down with Chirag and talk about how we can do better in supporting employee initiatives that work for the long-term health of our companies.

Connect with Chirag Shah.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.


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