Insights from Evan Pierce, VP of People & Culture for the Boston Celtics
HR and people leaders constantly strive to enhance their strategies and practices to create a positive and impactful workplace culture. In an interview with Jason Lavender, CEO and Co-Founder of Electives, Evan Pierce, the VP of People & Culture for the Boston Celtics, shared his thoughts on driving employee development, fostering connection among teams and harnessing the power of data to make informed decisions.
During the interview, Evan and Jason discussed the following:
- Why HR can be a competitive advantage.
- The importance of continuous learning and its impact on organizational success.
- Innovative approaches to foster connection and collaboration in the workplace.
- Ways to leverage data for decision-making and measuring employee satisfaction.
- Practical examples from the Celtics organization.
Create a competitive advantage by understanding the business.
The compliance and the administrative functions of HR are “table stakes,” according to Evan. The “next level” comes from understanding the business and “how it works and how it flows.” When HR and people leaders understand their company’s leaders, how they operate and how they work with their teams, it allows HR to support those leaders and drive more significant initiatives. Evan specializes in navigating complex business environments and delivering on business outcomes. He said his success is “due to deeply understanding the business.”
Understanding and supporting the culture isn’t enough, stated Evan. HR needs “a deep understanding of the business.” And with that understanding, they can impact the culture, including everything in the employee life cycle.
Design a culture of continuous learning to facilitate employee growth and development.
Evan emphasized the significance of building a culture of continuous learning within organizations. To do this, he encourages HR leaders to step back and identify the problems they are trying to solve. Perhaps it’s growing new markets, expanding a product or embracing AI. Whatever it may be, HR needs to “understand what’s going on in the business and connect those steps to potential solutions… which is developing people.” This knowledge and this ability to “connect the dots” supports the business case for investing in employee development.
According to Evan, a culture of caring can also contribute to employee growth and development. “If you care about someone, you’re going to want to see them successful. You’re going to pour yourself into helping them develop. And that’s not giving them all the answers. That’s coaching them to the right outcomes.”
Design intentional moments to foster connection and collaboration in the workplace.
Evan shared some initiatives implemented at the Celtics to foster employee connection. One example is "Play on the Parquet," when employees gather in the morning to play basketball and interact outside their daily work routines. “It’s just fun,” proclaimed Evan. This initiative creates opportunities for employees to get to know each other on a personal level, strengthening relationships and fostering a sense of camaraderie.
The Celtics just moved to a new office, and they now host all-hands meetings in person four times a year. During these face-to-face meetings, people “disconnect to refresh on what’s happening in the business, and have a little fun, too. “
Harness the power of data to measure, tell your story and action around it.
“Every HR leader has come into new experiences and said, ‘What’s going on here? Let me make sense of that,’ said Evan.
Evan discussed the progression of utilizing data in HR, from understanding the data to developing key performance indicators (KPIs) and eventually leveraging predictive analytics. But, he cautioned, you need to know what problem you’re trying to solve before you dig too deeply into the numbers.
Evan highlighted the importance of measuring outcomes and experiences rather than collecting data for the sake of collecting data. Evan shared his fascination with measuring employee happiness and customer satisfaction and the potential correlation between the two. He envisions a future where organizations can connect those metrics and analyze the business impact and action around it. “I would love to get to that point where one day you can connect them and tell a story: Here’s the business impact that we’re either influencing, driving or enabling.”
Transform your HR practices to create a thriving culture.
Revolutionizing HR practices requires a strategic approach to employee development, fostering connection among peers and harnessing the power of data. Evan's insights provide valuable guidance for HR leaders seeking to create a positive and impactful workplace culture. By prioritizing continuous learning, designing intentional moments for connection and leveraging data-driven decision-making, HR leaders can elevate their organizations and drive success. Let Evan's experiences inspire you to reimagine your HR strategies and make a lasting impact on your organization's growth and employee satisfaction.
About Evan Pierce
Evan Pierce is a results-driven leader with a passion for driving business growth and unlocking the potential of organizations. With a diverse background spanning industries such as information technology, software development, manufacturing, sports, and entertainment, Evan has established himself as a trusted advisor and culture champion. His impressive track record includes working with Fortune 10 companies and iconic brands, making him a valuable asset to any organization.
Currently serving as VP of People & Culture at the Boston Celtics. In this newly created role, he is responsible for driving the people strategy for the organization and fostering a culture that enables everyone to do their best work.
Before joining the Celtics, Evan held senior leadership roles at renowned companies such as Apple and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. As a Senior People Business Partner at Apple, he supported the global finance team and played a crucial role in aligning people, processes and technology to drive tangible business outcomes. At Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Evan served as a Senior HR Business Partner, leading the people direction of Global IT during a significant growth period and enabling a $1 billion business transformation.
Evan's leadership extends beyond his professional roles. He is an active Boston CHRO Governing Body member, contributing to shaping topics and agendas. Additionally, Evan is a member of the Human Resource Leadership Forum (HRLF), highlighting his commitment to staying at the forefront of HR trends and practices.
With a focus on continuous learning, strategic planning and leveraging data-driven insights, Evan empowers teams to achieve their full potential and exceed expectations. His expertise in conflict resolution, organizational design, HR strategy, and leadership development makes him a well-rounded people leader who can drive positive organizational change.
Invest in personal growth. Motivate your employees.
When you invest in the growth of your people, you get a competitive edge. Electives personal development programs build skills and knowledge while creating a culture of continuous learning.
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