Managing global employment contracts in hypergrowth

During 2018, we welcomed more than 1000 new Spotifiers, and our hiring continues at a high pace. Our Talent Acquisition team works very hard to make that happen, and the rest of us try to support wherever we can, looking for scalable solutions and efficiency.

Here’s an example: During last year, 285 recruiter hours were spent on writing job offers and employment contracts for candidates. This is a relatively small task compared to the big picture, we had templates to work with and it was going ok. But also, we hire employees in 23 different countries and counting. That’s at least 23 different sets of employment legislation to keep track of and adapt for, adding a significant risk for human error and non-compliant contracts.

The plan: faster, better, and globally consistent

Was this a huge issue? Well, no. It was all quite manageable. But according to the forecast, we will hire even more people next year, and we’ll keep adding new countries too. And even if it’s only 285 hours, that’s 285 hours that could be better used finding and attracting new talent. So we started thinking about how to streamline the process, make it faster and scalable, globally consistent, more efficient and with even better quality. That’s the kind of challenge we like around here.

The answer was: Standardised and automated employment contracts. So we set out to get them in the system.

First, we invested some time in creating one single global template, based on our values and our general legal requirements. We added some minor country-specific adjustments (but only where needed, we were strict about that). Finally, we integrated it with our HR-system (Workday). So today, when we want a job offer and a contract generated, we just tick a box in the HR system. They’re generated in a second, based on the data we’ve already entered into the system in the candidate process, and they’re automatically adapted to role and country. The offer is sent to the candidate by email (e-signatures means we don’t need hard copies)

It took some work, and true collaboration between pretty much all of our HR teams (Talent Acquisition, Compensation & Benefits, Legal, HR Information Systems, HR Business Partners and HR Specialists). But we spent less time than we will save in this year and next. And the solution we have now scales up by itself.   

How it turned out

A few months after the launch, we spend almost no time at all on contracts, they’re coming out like they should and we’re all set with an efficient solution that will scale right up with our hiring. This year, we have at least 250 hours back that we can spend on more complicated and important things. We have contracts that are consistent for all countries, and we have decreased the risk of human error complicating things. With standardized and legally reviewed templates we know that we always comply with local employment law, and when a law changes so do all our contracts without delay. Another benefit is that we don’t have to rely on each recruiter to know the details of the local law in each market. All recruiters can produce compliant and correct contracts for any country just by ticking a box.

Another perk is that this process automatically lead to a bit of a cleanup of contract clutter. Having different contracts in different countries sometimes meant having paragraphs in contracts that were not really necessary, and contracts looking different depending on who wrote them and when. That’s all fixed now because we aligned and cleaned up as we entered it all into the contract engine. This has made our contracts more straight-forward and less complicated, on average the contracts became 2-3 pages shorter and much easier to understand.

More automatization = less admin time  

While we were at it, cleaning up and atomizing in the HR system, we decided to throw in automatization of invitation and promotion letters, that employees and managers can now order themselves in the system instead of going through an HR Specialist.

That’s not just one, but a whole line of admin tasks that have gone away and left room for more fun and challenging tasks. We do believe in fun and challenging!