Zendesk announced today it has appointed Caroline Jessen as its Chief People and Diversity Officer. Jessen has over 20 years experience leading people teams in Europe and globally, at Cisco and IBM. In her two years at Zendesk as the lead of its people partners function, she has played a vital role in honing the company’s focus on people as the foundation of its strategy. Jessen will oversee Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, People Operations, Total Rewards, Talent & Organizational Development, Workforce & Workplace Strategy, and Talent Acquisition. She is based in San Francisco where she moved to, from France, seven years ago with her husband and their two teenage daughters.
Jessen explains what excites her about Zendesk and how, as its Chief People and Diversity Officer, she will foster a culture of innovation, collaboration, and inclusion.
You’ve been at Zendesk for two years now. What excites you about the company?
Zendesk has a product 100,000+ customers love. We can take advantage of our unique differentiators – especially as AI becomes mission critical to delivering great customer and employee experiences – to expand our business. As our business expands, there will be even more opportunities for our employees to grow and be part of building something amazing.
Earlier this year, CEO Tom Eggemeier talked about increasing focus on employee experience (EX) and doubling down on Zendesk’s commitment to being “customer first”. How do you and your team play a role?
Businesses currently face unique challenges while navigating onboarding and retaining talent with tighter budgets and fewer resources. I’m passionate about employee experience, and as we continue evolving our own approach, I’m looking forward to working with our customers and giving guidance as they build out their own EX programs. As a key partner, Zendesk can help companies create efficient employee processes, boost employee satisfaction, and deliver measurable results.
It’s a more dynamic time than ever as companies balance sustainable business growth and increasing employee expectations. How do you design and develop a modern people organization that addresses the unique needs of employees today?
It really has been a challenging last few years with the pandemic and other critical social issues unfolding in ways that impact every employee in one way or another. But I have been amazed by the resilience, agility and empathy our teams have demonstrated.
People truly are the foundation of our strategy, so our focus must be on talent management and development opportunities, deepening and strengthening company culture and refining processes that allow for feedback and recognition, making Zendesk a place where employees can grow their skills and their career.
But more critically, and particularly in a time when there are emotionally complex world events occurring, our employees’ well-being and sense of belonging are of the utmost importance. We want to continue to create open and transparent communication channels to foster dialogue and engage with them so we understand their experience and how we can positively influence and nurture that experience every day.
How will you keep diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) at the center of everything Zendesk does?
We value the unique perspectives and contributions of all, and seek to create a community of belonging. We strive to embed DEIB in everything we do across all of our critical people processes and practices, from hiring, to compensation and to development. Finally we support our Employee Resource Groups offering employees a safe and supportive space to engage in dialogue, share experiences, and build professional and personal connections.
To learn more about Zendesk leadership, visit our management page.