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Social at Spotify – what’s it all about?

HR: Social a.k.a. Employee Engagement

I often get introduced to either new Spotifiers or those outside of Spotify as head of fun! It’s a very nice introduction and I do have (and encourage others to have) a lot of fun at work, but the job title/description is not exactly accurate! Me and my team have more strings to our bow than that.

Let me explain further.

At Spotify, we have a small but incredibly efficient Social team within HR. We’re focussed entirely on social events and initiatives for employees. It could be referred to at other companies as Employee Engagement, Benefits or even Chief Culture Officer work, but even with these more conventional names, it might not be recognisable to you as it’s rare (outside of Silicon Valley) to have full time team members focussed on this alone.

Backstage – Part of our culture

The team has been established at Spotify since May 2013. That was when it was decided that having a full time Spotifier dedicated to bringing employees together was perfectly matched with our culture. It was viewed as one of the employee value propositions that would set us aside the bigger scale companies with more traditional and corporate perks and benefits packages.

It all began very much focussed on bringing people together – hence the name. It was a great way to help us deal with our hyper growth, to help onboard and welcome talent from all around the world (especially in what one might describe as a sometimes pretty introverted city like Stockholm, according to this Brit;)

It was certainly not the only attraction tool we’ve used, but it is a central pillar to our daily life and perks package. And in Sweden, or even outside of the Silicon Valley, it truly is a differentiating factor.

More than just events

Much of our work is event-based. But it’s not just about partying hard, or playing video games all day. We’re a team of three events, marketing and branding experts, but we are also HR professionals. Everything we do always takes into consideration the HR element of our roles and the responsibility that comes with it. Sometimes it’s a hard line to tread but I like to keep in mind the phrase taught by Katarina: if we supply the candy, we need to be the dentist as well!

So, what do we work with? How do we add some structure and focus to a chaotic role?

Well, our mission is this: ‘To help Spotifiers love life at Spotify and the Spotify spirit.’

And what parameters do we work within to achieve this? What are our beliefs that guide us?

1. A stronger sense of belonging

Bringing people together gives them a stronger sense of belonging, so we create many different opportunities for people to socialise and come together in different environment. They bond over hobbies, chat about their days, or even compare differences, highlighting how diverse the Spotify family is. We like to think of the social team as the foundation of bridge building – we help facilitate relationships that will lead to excellent collaboration.

2. Celebrating Spotify’s achievements

Celebrating company achievements creates a sense of pride and belonging for all employees. No matter whether the Spotifier helped develop a new feature, helped get suppliers paid, or wrote the copy for a Spotify campaign – we’re all in this together and we all contribute to the success of the company. We all take pride in our achievements and the Social team helps to make sure we all take the time to celebrate.

3. Family fun at Spotify

Creating fun activities for employees with families creates loyalty and retention, so Spotifier’s family and close friends should get special treatment too. Our ambition is to create a wider Spotify family – a network that can rely on each other and build real and lasting friendships, and we do that with regular events. The kids love them just as much as the grownups 😉

4. Healthy employees at Spotify

Giving people the tools to improve their health increases the productivity of the company and happiness/contentedness of employees. We work with many sports and health activities, making sure there is something for everyone.

And we don’t stop with gym discounts or physical activity. Our sessions also include inspiration, mindfulness, healthy eating, health checks and other social and mental well-being. Each year we also work with special initiatives taking a different slant on health issues.

Social as an element of employer branding

The employer branding experts out there have probably seen this coming from the start, but most of what I’m talking about is an employer branding tactic.

Our social team is one way that we’ve metaphorically bottled the Spotify culture, packaged it up and handed it out to employees, and potential employees. You may have seen our efforts with #LifeAtSpotify – our social media handle that’s used to share pictures from our events. And we do all the above with a Spotify twist. Often this mean it incorporates music and makes music part of everyday life.

We love hanging out with each other and through the variety of diverse events that we offer, there’s something for everyone. And we’re proud to share these moments, which in turn helps us to show off our culture and how daily life at Spotify is enhanced by the events and activities.

That’s the basics of what Social at Spotify is about.

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