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Getting the vibe right: creating meaningful conversations at work

A company is only as strong as its people.

Over the last two years, the way we work, both logistically and culturally, has shifted dramatically. The pandemic was the first time that we onboarded employees remotely on a large scale, and through that process we learned the value of creating space (whether it be virtual or in person) for real talk: talk that helps us understand each other’s ambitions and opinions on a deeper level.

In order to create this ‘real talk,’ people need to be heard, and that’s exactly what we’re striving for at xDesign. Officevibe is an online engagement solution that gives our employees, both in the office and remote, a clear voice in a way that suits them.

Every month, we encourage all team members to answer ‘pulse surveys:’ 20 quick-fire questions answered anonymously, designed to solicit feedback on individual employee’s experiences at work, from thoughts on how their team operates, to what they need in order to grow and develop. This real-time feedback gives us the chance to assess our processes on an organisational and individual level, allowing us to tackle any potential roadblocks and create the vibe that helps our people work their best.

Making meaningful changes

Crucial to the success and effectiveness of these surveys is that people feel comfortable answering honestly, so we can make changes that actually make a meaningful difference, no matter how small. Company values can be found in every aspect of a business, even the seemingly small day-to-day things, and it’s important for teams to experience these values on every level to get the most out of their jobs. One area that we frequently investigate through our surveys is employee recognition: recently, our team expressed a clear interest in finding a way to celebrate each other’s achievements more easily, regularly and publicly. It brought light to just how passionate our team is about showing appreciation for one another, congratulating one another, and celebrating each other’s successes.

That’s when we brought in tacos; a simple yet effective way for our team to show appreciation for each other, as often as they want. People can send and receive virtual tacos to give thanks and celebrate each other wherever necessary. Why tacos, you ask? Who doesn’t love tacos? Not only do our team feel empowered and motivated when their achievements and hard work is recognised, but they get to celebrate their colleagues and pay it forward through monthly donations, to charities of their choosing, using their banked tacos. It’s something that’s become a huge hit in the company, and people can’t wait to give theirs away; it’s a fantastic way to support each other while also supporting causes close to each of our hearts.

During the pandemic, attention on both physical and mental wellness shot to the forefront of people’s minds. Our pulse surveys helped us to understand how our team was feeling, and people were keen to implement more wellness-focused initiatives. Given the way that our teams worked during the pandemic, we worked to implement a solution that would help promote the physical and mental health of our people that they could turn to in their own space, and in their own time.

That’s when we introduced YuLife, a wellbeing app that encourages healthy habits. Users can earn points based on their step counts, or by taking quests to do activities like exercise or meditate. The points can then be cashed in for rewards, such as vouchers for leading brands, or free trials to subscription services. The best part (from our point of view) is that the app works entirely on an interactive basis; the more healthy habits you adopt, the more rewards you get. Our team was able to use it as much or as little as they wanted, all on their terms.

And YuLife is so much more than just a rewards system: the employee assistance programme (EAP) provides access to a mental and emotional support service, including a 24/7 live chat with a clinician, as well as short-term counselling, and life coaching. Making these resources available to our team gives them support in areas relevant to their individual wellness, because different people have different wellness priorities.

Working better together

Giving our team a platform to voice their views has helped us to create meaningful changes that improve employee recognition, enhance employee wellness, and even encourage professional development. And most recently, the surveys have highlighted the importance of values and culture when it comes to employee engagement. We were able to use the platform to ask our people what’s important to them when it comes to core values and principles. From our point of view, it’s absolutely crucial for the culture of a business to come from its people, which is exactly why we used Officevibe to identify what’s most important to our teams and work. Having this meaningful conversation is how we’ve been able to effectively construct values and guiding principles that represent everyone in the business.

Moreover, there’s tangible evidence of the success of these conversations and the initiatives they help us shape. The consistency of this process allows our people team to closely monitor employee engagement, both in specific areas, and in an overall sense. Month on month, our employee engagement scores have increased, and exceed industry averages, proving that investing in your people really pays off.

A healthy company culture isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario, and it certainly isn’t a one-step process; it’s an evolution. Having regular, individual feedback helps us to capture thoughts in real-time, and make regular, meaningful improvements across multiple areas.

It’s great to see our people team growing to help drive these changes, and create an environment that helps our employees to thrive. With more improvements in the works, we’re very excited for the future of xDesign.

To become a part of the team, check out our latest vacancies.