Manuel Valdez asks himself two questions every day: Am I prepared to give the best that I have? Am I ready to make someone else’s success my top priority?
“I’m a very value-driven person,” he said. “I believe that for my happiness, the closer I am to my value and purpose, the more happy and productive I’ll be at whatever I’m doing, personally or work-wise.”
Manuel is the Senior Program Manager of Learning and Development Operations on Peloton’s People Experience team, and for good reason: He’s one of the more extroverted team members, and his career has packed his brain with retail experience, people management skills, and training expertise. When Manuel got the chance to pivot from training facilitation to a role in content creation, it felt opportune.
“It’s taking my best and applying that to someone else,” he said of the change, a habit that has become the throughline for everything he does at Peloton, a value that’s come to bleed into his personal life too.
“When I made the pivot to a place in which other people’s success was more important than mine, but it ultimately drove my success—that’s when my energy came from a different place. Instead of having a great sales number, I was more jazzed about five people having great sales numbers. To me, that’s the best place to work. You’re helping other people hit their goals, which in turn helps you hit yours.”
One of Peloton’s five core values is this: Be the best place to work.
It happens when someone fuses their skills into a whole greater than the sum of its parts, when a team member gives their best to someone else, and when people put others’ success before their own.
Not only is it part of Manuel Valdez’s job to protect this core value, we believe Manuel himself is one of the reasons Peloton is the best place to work.
Making Peloton the best place to work
When Manuel joined 1 year ago, the company was in its early stages of a post-pandemic environment, and its future was unknown. “Peloton was on a great trajectory, and it wasn’t all written yet,” he said, but that it was unexplored was part of the draw. “I would be able to apply all of the values that had driven me, all the learnings and skills that I’ve had in my previous careers at previous companies and apply it to a new story and be part of the foundation, the building, bringing those values to life.”
Manuel witnessed Be the Best Place to Work in practice early in his tenure at Peloton when leadership hosted virtual education sessions as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It felt like an organization making good on a promise. “We’re going to make this the best place to work by showing you that not everything that happens to us is great, but there are ways to support you. There are ways we can help you.”
More recently, the value reached him personally, when leadership selected him to participate in training for Peloton’s internal anti-racism program, Activating Allyship. He said being selected to be a part of building the program is an honor.
“I got the message that they are very impressed with the work I’m doing and see me as high potential. Being invited to this pilot is a career development moment for me because I get to be a part of a piloting the program’s content to support the work beyond.”
Culture makes this possible. “It happened because Peloton had trust in me and sent me to that session, got me selected for this. I think that's the epitome of a best place to work because it's bringing experiences to you that you didn’t even know were available and you're supported,” he said. “It’s nice when something unsolicited and unexpected comes your way that just shows that what you do and what you believe is real.”
Remaining the best place to work, even when predicting the future is hard
Like many businesses, Peloton is experiencing post-pandemic change. But being the best place to work doesn’t get knocked down the list of priorities, Manuel said.
“The way that I enact my strengths has adapted. The value itself is still the same. We still need to be the best place to work. I need to instill in people that we are going to focus on their careers. That hasn’t changed. How we as an organization move forward is changing, and we’ll all have new goals and new strategies to go after, but at the end of the day, why we are here has never changed.”
Despite the present changes and future unknowns, “we’re still leaning in on career development,” he said. “We’re still driving people’s growth internally. We’re still working to provide this map to show success.”
Manuel has been here before, exploring new avenues with the business, not being completely sure of what’s coming next. It’s what attracted him to the team 1 year ago. So the work of sustaining this value, of putting our team members first, of making Peloton the best place to work, will continue.
“You need to be there for others first,” Manuel said. “That means give ’em all your time. If you’re there to support somebody, then they need to be your focus. That’s hard. There are a lot of things coming at you. There are a lot of things you have on your mind. You may have only fifteen or thirty minutes with this person, so what’s the impact you want to have?”