Don’t be the same – be better!

When you come into Spotify as a new team member, like I did in March this year, it’s easy to spot how investments in social and employee experiences have played a vital part in creating a strong and healthy culture across the company. As we’ve shared in this blog earlier, bringing people together has been one successful way of evolving the culture together with our employees, something that is crucial in times of hyper-growth like Spotify’s. Creating those unique wow-factor workplace experiences that unify us employees around our shared purpose and company values.

But at Spotify we don’t settle for “great enough”, we want to evolve and be at the helm of our own success and destiny. By joining as the Head of Culture the company obviously wanted to take a couple of more leaps in merging some important and well-defined teams into a Culture team. Building on what’s already good and make it even greater.

Setting up the new Culture Team

The different parts were in place, but as we all know it is not just about collecting the dots, it’s also about connecting them in a relevant and useful way. So we set out to work in a more strategic and systematic way than ever before, not adding any roles or people – but building on strength and synergies. 

Our People Experience team is the crew behind all our social experiences, celebrations, and family fun events. They also create the recreation spaces in our offices, and everything else that embodies our values and Employer Value Proposition (EVP) internally. In the new Culture Team, they now work shoulder to shoulder with the Campus Recruitment & Diversity Hiring team, who identify and attract students, recent graduates and other newly-skilled to pipeline the right diverse new talent into the organization. This, in combination with a more distinctive Employer Branding team to tell our story in an authentic way, allows us to make our EVP and our internal and external communication come together to match our business needs. 

Our to-do list right now

So how will this make us get all the way to awesome? Well, we’ve identified some focus areas that we are going after. 

1. Really understand the business needs

Culture and Employer Branding success demands a thorough understanding of what’s cooking in the business. Our job is to support and enable the business by attracting, engaging, and retaining the right people and whatever we do must have a clear objective and an ROI for the business. So we’re working in many different ways to get a deeper understanding of, and cooperation with, the business. Because no successful Culture team is an island

We’ve also improved our collaboration with HR colleagues outside our Culture team, aligning our team strategy and goals with their focus areas and the overall People Strategy. That helps us make sure we prioritize the projects that will move needles and make things happen, not just in attraction and recruiting but also within engaging and retaining people. 

2. Stress test our Values

Our values are informed and influenced by every member of the Spotify band. The values are our anchor, keeping us steady as the culture evolves with every new band member. And they’re always with us, embedded in key processes through the employee lifecycle.  So there is constant upkeep of our values. But what took us here might not take us there, so every once in a while it’s necessary to do a more focused check-in on the company values, what they mean and how they affect our day-to-day, and which of them are top of mind. This is on our agenda right now. 

3. Revisit the Employer Value Proposition

The EVP reflects who we are and how we define ourselves as an employer. It’s the essence of our values as a company, what we believe in and how we behave. 

We want to strengthen our employer brand and set the right expectations by making sure we are mirroring our culture as it is today (not a couple of years ago). So we are updating the way we describe, manifest, and communicate our EVP. We want to bring it to life with a strong visual identity and tonality and sing in tune to both existing and potential employees. Because an EVP that is slightly out of sync may still be able to attract talent, but will they stay and grow with you once they find out that the company culture is something different than what you communicated?

Where do we go from here?

We all know that complacency is the enemy of great (or at least my boss keeps telling me so). And the work that the team and I have set out for ourselves is not an easy task. We are recognized for our Employer Branding work and for investing in our People Experience, still with this new team and the new formation of it – we are harnessing things we were missing before. 

Disruption in the form of new constellations is sometimes much more effective than trying to reinvent everything. In the end, it’s about supporting the business. And now we’re all set to continue improving how we do that.