TalentRocket Q&A: Laurie from Spotify

Earlier in 2016, TalentRocket visited Spotify’s London offices for a little “fireside” chat with HR Manager Laurie Benson. We waxed lyrical about all things company culture, and learned more about Spotify’s unique approach to workplace happiness and the policies they employ to maintain a fun and collaborative office environment.

In the tech industry’s recent history of disruptive innovation, you’d be hard pressed to find a company that’s changed the game quite like Spotify.

With over 75 million users globally and over 20 billion hours of music streamed last year, Spotify has introduced a new model for media consumption that’s proven wickedly popular, shaping the music industry of today. For users, it’s unlocked a vast catalogue of material and enabled the discovery and virality of new artists. It’s safe to say, streaming is the new standard.

But what is it like to work at Spotify? Naturally, it can be classed among the biggest brand names in consumer tech, but it’s also famous for it’s open and socratic culture, channelling its Swedish origins.

As a culture recruitment platform, we at TalentRocket were keen to learn more about Spotify’s cultural values, and how these translate to both their policies and workplace environment to ultimately create a fantastic place to work.

What is a day in the life at Spotify really like?

The Office

Perched above W1’s Argyll Street, a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus and Liberty department store, Spotify’s offices are a cool mix of classy and quirky. It’s uniquely off the wall, with furnishings and knick-knacks that speak to their sense of fun and vibrancy; picture neon signs, murals, and polaroid photo pinboards.

The office has countless spacious breakouts, corners and common areas, one of which hosts the stage of Spotify’s “Live from London” original EPs. Friday afternoons will often feature a visit from the industry’s hottest new talent, as well as a drink or two on the house. To sum it up in millennial speak, these offices are chill, and really evoke a sense of the casual conduct and openness the company is known for.

Much to their inimitable trendiness, Spotify’s meeting rooms are named after London’s most iconic haunts and nightclubs; ours paid tribute to King’s Cross’s famous gig venue, ‘Scala’. We sat down with HR Manager Laurie to discuss Spotify’s core values and how they’re upheld.

Perks & Recreation- ‘Holm is where the heart is

Central to Spotify’s corporate value system is a set of qualities that hark back to their Swedish origins. Sweden is famously democratic, and Spotify seeks to channel that same openness and equality across the business.

Most notably, onboarding is a little different over at Spotify. New recruits are sent to Global HQ in Stockholm for a three day introduction to the company, including an all important education in the company’s unique ways of working.

Spotify’s company culture is upheld across the business in everything from office design to hiring decisions. Five pillars constitute their corporate mantra, to be Sincere, Collaborative, Passionate, Innovative and Playful.

However ephemeral, these values establish much about how Spotify operates, both as a technological innovator disrupting the music industry and a company that seeks to attract and retain great talent.

And Spotify are always keeping tabs to make sure their staff feel fulfilled by their work.

A unique feature of Spotify’s corporate culture with a playful touch is their “Passion Tour”, The passion tour was done to share the Company Mission and Vision and to get feedback from employees about what the Spotify values should be.

Employees are asked to feed back on the state of office culture on an annual basis, and are encouraged to propose new events and ways to have fun as part of the Company’s social focus! Moreover, it creates a sense of inclusion and cheer that’s an ace for morale.

Family first: Spotify’s parental leave policy

Recently, Spotify have launched a new benefits scheme that not only epitomizes their value system, but signifies a major paradigm shift in work/life balance.

The pinnacle of Spotify’s unique corporate culture, is a newly introduced parental leave policy that has attracted praise and recognition. Launched across all their global offices in November 2015, all new parents are afforded 6 months of paid leave, that can be taken all at once, or 3 separate allotments, within the first 3 years after the birth or adoption of their child.

The core inspiration for the policy stems from Spotify’s Swedish roots, where shared leave policies between parents are commonplace and testament to their precedence for work/life balance. Spotify want all of their employees to benefit from the culture that bore them, and the global rollout is as much a statement of national pride as it is a bold take on employee benefits. Most notably, it speaks to their focus on diversity and inclusion that the leave policy allows both mum and dad to play an equal part in parenting. Furthermore, the mandate is inclusive of the living and relationship situations of all parents.

The policy has had a massive impact in the US, where there is presently no statutory entitlement for parental leave and is given at the discretion of the employer.

It’s a radical take, and an enticing one. And it sets them apart from competing employers in unprecedented ways. Undeniably, the policy is great for talent attraction and retention, however Spotify doesn’t mention it in job adverts or even at offer stage, as they don’t want it to become a reason for someone to join. Rather than just a perk, it’s a statement as to what the company feels is important for its employees.

The ultimate goal is that the parental leave benefit stands as just one policy within a broader cultural framework that promotes and encourages diversity within Spotify.

Gender Blinding

Technology is a tough sector to build a diverse and inclusive workforce, but Spotify doesn’t take this mission lightly. Testament to their dedication to diversity, the company “gender blind” all job adverts and train their staff to recognize the perils of unconscious bias.

Diversity

As may be apparent, achieving and acknowledging diversity in the workplace is of the utmost importance for Spotify. The company have implemented a number of company wide directives to establish a firm guarantee of inclusivity and equal opportunity.

Among these initiatives, Spotify USA have introduced new treatments to their standard health insurance policy. Employees are covered for elective procedures such as IVF and egg-freezing. Offering this level of care details more than just an added benefit; it’s a statement of Spotify’s dedication to diverse livelihoods, encouraging applicants of all backgrounds to join their company.

Beyond policy and office perks, Spotify goes the distance to show how much it values its employees. Ultimately, they acknowledge that talent has contributed to, and carries on the success of the company. In opening their doors to diversity and nurturing their staff with benefits, they create an atmosphere that encourages pride and productivity. An ethos like theirs will attract and retain the best talent.

At TalentRocket, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to discover work that will fulfill them; that’s why we only partner with companies that put culture first.

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