Award season is upon us, and there’s not much better recognition than to receive accolades for your deliberate investment in your people and your culture. Especially as during these last few years, we’ve all really been slogging at it. Just like numerous organisations all over the world, Spotify’s HR team has been regrouping a workforce that’s been physically apart for so long (even as we continue to offer our Work From Anywhere programme).
What we haven’t done is thrown the baby out with the bath water. It’s been imperative to continue building on our existing culture. Our values and strong people-first company culture has never been so important. Balancing being a people-first organisation and prioritising business objectives, has been our guiding light for the innovative HR approach we’ve been practising.
Never putting Spotifiers’ wellbeing, development and growth at risk, no matter how many changes we’ve been facing, have been (and continue to be) vital facets of our distinctive company culture. We believe it’s this approach that’s helped us to gain such positive recognition from the industry with awards such as the #1 top company to grow your career in Sweden from LinkedIn (LinkedIn), being a top-ranked company to work for by Students in Universum’s 2023 Ranking, the Best Employer Brand at the LinkedIn Talent Awards, the most attractive employer in Sweden according to Ranstad’s Employer Brand Research, and our workplace being recognised with the iNFHRA’s 7th Edition Workplace Excellence Award.
Looking back to when I first joined the band, to today, ten years later, I am incredibly proud of the progress my team has made. It’s through their hard work, and each and every band member’s dedication and enthusiasm to be part of this journey, that’s helped us achieve these accolades. It’s particularly emotive to receive these awards within weeks of welcoming many Spotifiers and their families to two of our hub offices for the first of our renowned family events for years. I took so much joy in looking around at the ‘Audio Playground’ events, which offered Spotify employees with family members the chance to bring their kids to work, where they could enjoy live music performances, loads of games, create their own instrument, try out instruments, face painting, DJ lessons. There were activities for all of the age groups, and it really reminded me that the job we do in HR is to try our best to positively impact the future – in fact, something that we strive for in all departments, functions and teams at Spotify in one way or another.
I was reminded once again that our challenging but enormously exciting job is to support, strategise, design, develop, challenge, push back, stretch, invent, disrupt, question, change and drive. Sometimes it’s our job to resist and question the inherent thought structures, organisational theories, and old well-known organisational design. At the same time, our HR approach rests on being informed by theory, research, and data.
A big learning for my team and me over the years is the untrue perception that our profession is something that can be done by anyone who possesses some data and the interest for one or two colours in the HR palette. To do courageous and impactful HR, you need to have a deeper knowledge of what is de facto affected when adjusting an element in your approach, which at first glance may appear to be a smaller and possibly completely standalone parameter. There are so many managers and employees who hear about something fantastic done at another company and question: “Why don’t we do that at our company?” But what works there, will not necessarily work here. In fact, it’s never about making blueprints or cherry-picking from others – it’s always about culture, a long-term vision and a short-term plan. Copying and executing according to the same plan in a completely different workplace, quickly and without real thought, is both irresponsible and careless. You always have to start with your own business, its direction and its ultimate purpose when setting your people strategy.
Being bold, audacious and carving your own path is the way to winning Employer Branding awards, but most importantly, it’s the way to invest in your people. Any organisation that chooses not to invest in their people will stop growing and every organisation that does not add the right people, in the right time, to mix with their homegrown talent and adjust their organisational design accordingly, will find themselves losing their momentum and their competitive advantage.