Who said HR transformation does not hurt?
The company has changed the entire music industry and is today one of the world’s most attractive employer. We are and have been in hyper growth for the last year or so. Our talent acquisition team recruit more than 1,000 new band members a year and we work hard to maintain our position.
Late 2013, I began the mission to lead the Spotify HR transformation from a startup support to a forward-leaning innovative and digital skilled squad that was needed. It demanded major changes, including rebuilding the team into a one with some seasoned tent poles so we could become a global challenger instead of internal followers. It was in many ways a painful, but necessary, journey. We have gone from being reactive and operative to being tactical, strategic and long-term. We have tailored a global HR team equipped to manage talent development at a company that hires the best in the world. When I look at the team today it’s a striking difference – we are strong and have fun together. Now we are just as prone to change as the rest of the company.
SO proud of this team of HR professionals! They have affected the world a little more than they had imagined. We were a bit naive, being Swedish, and did not fully understand what an impact it would have externally and not just internally. Businesses and politicians around the world have been in touch to find out how we thought, why we’re doing this and what the return of the investment is.
It is no secret and we are happy to export Spotify’s Swedish value driven leadership. When we spread this, we stay true to our core beliefs and drive our Swedishness home. Internally, it means a lot. #LeadOnLeave for our Swedish colleagues did not change a whole lot really, but they were very proud when we decided to do this. Employees in other countries felt and talked about how life-changing this is.
When the individual grows, Spotify grows. That might be a given and this may even sound a cheesy, but think of it: enabling all our employees to stay home during a very important time in their lives, no matter if they are a Mom or a Dad, if they are same sex parents, or adoptive rather than birth parents. To urge our people to invest in this special time and feel safe while doing it is a part of who we are, what we come from and what we stand for – Work/Family Balance.
We also believe in equal pay for equal work so for us to endorse the New York Senator Gillibrand’s Family Act was easy.
Today, at the Human Growth Award the work that started in the summer of 2015 was rewarded with the HR Team of the Year. How grand is that?! The team consisting of Michael Kim, Global HR Business Partner, Tiffany Serra, Compensation and Benefit Manager, & Laurie Benson, HR Generalist, who got the assignment to redefine Paid Family Leave and work out a sincere and innovative solution for paid parental leave.
The LeadOnLead Team thought a lot about how many months we would offer and how the program would be designed. Would an American man who never even had two weeks of vacation even consider to take six months of parental leave? What would be the hurdles and did we have enough of role models internally? Surprisingly enough we could not find one single company to benchmark our thinking with – not even amongst the Swedish giants – so we became our own benchmark and did it our way.
In November 2015 we launched Spotify Global Parental Leave Policy; a six months’ paid leave and one month ease back for all employees, at a press conference in New York together with President Obama’s Senior Advisor, Miss Valerie Jarrett. In the US there is no statutory leave, and companies that allow the mother to be vacant for more than three weeks after giving birth are considered generous. Those giving three months are considered a great employer.
With that said, being first with new HR initiatives does not always mean you are rewarded. I think we all experienced that it’s more common you get criticized when you have a contrarian belief and bet, both internally and externally. To be first to start or stop and drive change is not always welcome. So to get the HR Team of the Year earlier today means the world to us. I know that I have an amazing team. I have seen them create things like the Paid Leave Act and the Equal Pay Process. I have watched the HRBPs have the courage to challenge chosen truths about time consuming admin heavy appraisal talks and instead design our Talent Snapshot as a part of our Performance Development belief build on a Growth Mindset when this was far from the trend it is now. I am in awe for this team and are so happy they got the confirmation amongst some other pretty cool HR Teams. It’s exciting to be a part of Spotify, there are so many opportunities and we are doing so many good things.
So as they say – no pain, no gain. But what holds even more true, development and growth always hurts. If you didn’t feel any pain or weren’t the slightest bit afraid – you did not develop.
The Human Growth’s Award jury @Passion HR:
“Spotify’s HR team is working successfully under extreme growth and constant change. They have fun at work with a great spirit and even though they sit in different parts of the world you can sense they are a tight team, thanks to common and strong values, tremendous pride and conviction that they can contribute to a better world. “