Equinix Talent Agenda ’16: More Communication, More Speed, More Agility

Larry McAlister
Equinix Talent Agenda ’16: More Communication, More Speed, More Agility


Vice President of Global Talent Management Larry McAlister and some of the Equinix executive team show off new branded t-shirts at our Q1 company meeting.

Equinix is moving fast and it’s making news.

Our new data centers (The Big Five, DA7, TY5, SP3) and acquisitions of data center providers (Bit-isle, Telecity) have grabbed headlines in the last year and given us some noteworthy new numbers. Here are a few of them: We now host more than 6,300 customers in our 145 data centers in 40 global markets.

But there are other numbers related to our growth that interest me as Vice President of Global Talent Management: 1,800 and 17.

  • 1,800 is the number of new people we’ve hired in the last two years, not including those we’ve added through acquisitions.
  • 17 is the number of years that Equinix has followed a traditional annual performance review.

Now – in our 18th year – we’re making changes that we hope will help us keep pace with the growth in our workforce and changes in the business, so we can stay as agile as the global interconnection we’re enabling.

Introducing Quarterly Conversations

The most notable change is a switch from annual performance evaluations to quarterly conversations. It’s a simple step, but we think it strengthens the relationship between managers and employees, helps build a high-performance growth environment, gives us more opportunities to reinforce our culture during this time of rapid growth at Equinix and provides more flexibility to respond to customer needs.

Other benefits include more frequent opportunities for feedback from employees about customer needs – this enables the company to more quickly course-correct and respond.

It also establishes regular intervals to consider big-picture goals, which is critical.

And for our employees, the feedback makes them aware of what they need to do to be successful and reinforces the company’s interest in growing their careers

We’re optimistic about this switch to quarterly conversations, but we also want to be sure that more talk translates to better results. So how are we measuring whether quarterly conversations are having the desired impact?

The Classic GROW Model

The quarterly conversations themselves provide critical tools for tracking whether these discussions are paying off. An “Equinized” version of the classic GROW model* guides employees and managers through the conversation:

  • Goal – What personal goals did you set that positively impact the team and/or business goals? What goals did you set that align with our culture and values?
  • Reality – What progress have you made toward achieving those goals? What has been the impact?
  • Options – What can you start doing to be even more effective? What could you stop doing to achieve your goals? What actions should you continue to achieve your goals? Where would you like to grow in your skills?
  • Way forward – What actions do you need to take to support your goals? What support do you need?

The GROW approach ensures that a balanced discussion on business and personal objectives and the progress toward achieving them are included in every quarterly conversation. It establishes a consistent process of assessment and alignment, including planning measurable ways to reach company and individual milestones. These results are then assessed by the organization to determine how employees have demonstrated impact and values, which helps determine their future growth.

Equinix Pulse Surveys

Finally, we’re measuring progress through bi-annual “Equinix Pulse” surveys. The surveys determine if managers and employees are, in fact, engaging in quarterly conversations, and how the employee is demonstrating and experiencing our culture and values as our company grows. The surveys also assess the employee’s connection to the organization through alignment to goals, communications and engagement. And connections, like results, always matter at Equinix.

Learn more about Equinix’s recent growth and our commitment to interconnection.

*The Grow Model was introduced by Sir John Whitmore in his book, “Coaching for Performance.”


Larry McAlister
Larry McAlister Former Vice President, Global Talent Management