When I started my career, I worked at a financial services company, and I was recently reminded this week of how we celebrated our tenure anniversaries back then. You had to be at the company at least five years before your tenure was acknowledged, and by your 25th anniversary, you could select a congratulatory gift from a list of items. Most people waited patiently for that special ‘grandfather clock’. Today, many of us work for new organizations, young enterprises, whose founders are the most tenured employees; organizations that are experiencing rapid growth within the workforce, multiplying exponentially every year. So, we should not wait five years to celebrate, take stock and reflect. Here are some of my observations from when I celebrated my six months ‘Spotiversary’ recently.
Drive Your Development
Being a new band member isn’t a rarity at Spotify (23% of Spotifiers have less than one year tenure). One of Spotify’s tenets is growth, and there’s the expectation that each and every one of us is accountable for our continuous development. There’s an impressive amount of opportunities available from The Green House (Spotify’s L&D team and learning platform). All our employees are expected to nurture their curiosity and invest in their development. That investment in development could come not only from participating in a learning program but from the experiences of being part of a new team, project or innovation. Development comes in many different forms.
At Spotify we treat our employees like adults. Information is available and transparency is our currency. This means all band members can take advantage of that fact and dive deep into the data, familiarizing themselves with our products and our strategy.
Social and Civic Engagement
Spotify’s social and civic engagement, as well as our commitment to Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) and sustainability, are intrinsically aligned with our values and our mission. We are not doing this work because it is good PR, we are doing this work because we believe in Spotify’s role to unlock the potential of human creativity. To do so, our Equity and Impact (E&I) team gets to do meaningful work driven by our values. The work we do has long-term and broad impact, work that is sometimes difficult to measure in one or two simple metrics, with milestones and wins and sometimes derailers. Our team’s approach for every project is to ask ourselves “what problem are we trying to solve for,” “who is our customer,” “how are we going to measure impact,” and “are the solutions aligned to Spotify’s mission and values?”. We’re methodical in the way we make decisions. Our goal should always be how we scale globally with thoughtful local implementation plans from civic engagement to climate action.
Distributed First Workforce
Thanks to Spotify’s early decision to be a distributed first workforce, we’ve been able to onboard so many new band members virtually, continuing to deliver on our company goals. We’re all longing for those days when we can be in the same place, however being a global organization means that many teams at Spotify (including the E&I team) expand multiple time zones, locations and cultures on a day-to-day basis. So there will always be some of us on a screen – allowing us the opportunity to expand working asynchronously.
HR is Seated at the Table
At Spotify, HR is seated at the table. In many organizations, HR is not included in the company’s decision making process and therefore their work is transactional and sometimes an afterthought, or a “clean up” function. Having a seat at the table means there is an expectation on Spotify’s HR team to show up with a high level of professionalism. We are building a reputation of excellence by experimenting with new mental models, tools and technology, and sharing our learnings with HR practitioners around the world – in our own Spotify way. We share our viewpoints through blogs (such as this one!), internally through DISCO we give our teams access to data that could inform their work, and our CHRO is an active spokesperson and industry leader (hosting HR Over the Counter and HR’s The Real Deal’s Vodcast) who uses her voice to highlight what is important to the HR practitioners of this century.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, humility is a critical component of our Spotify culture. I am proud, humbled and honored to be part of a company that has invested so much in tools for the HR team and the wider community of HR practitioners. And, because listening is everything, Spotify HR is producing the second season of our Spot On! Podcast – where all voices are represented and inspirational leaders share their wisdom. Hope you join us!
Elizabeth joined the band in March 2021 to lead Equity and Impact, where she’s responsible for Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, Social Impact and Sustainability.
Before Spotify, Elizabeth was Amazon’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Prior to this Elizabeth held roles within Diversity & Inclusion, Learning & Development and Talent Management at MetLife, Marsh and Citigroup. She has an array of experience in managing global and regional organizations working extensively in Europe, Latin America and Asia.
Born and raised in Argentina, Elizabeth is committed to her work in non-profit organizations that support access to developmental opportunities for young underserved talent and teenagers at risk, as a board member of The Opportunity Network, All Stars Project and A Fair Shake for Youth. In 2018, Crain’s NY inducted Elizabeth in the Notable Women in Finance list. In 2019 and 2020, ALPFA has recognized her as one of the Top 50 Latinas in the U.S.