For some, it is almost a second home and for others, a simple place of passage. Some love it, others loathe it...Ahhhhh...the workplace! With an average of 100,000 hours of our lives spent at work, people are finally beginning to realise the importance of making it a nice and pleasant place to be.
In this article, Amandine Braillard, PayFit's global head of HR explains why PayFit as a company has made employee fulfilment its No.1 priority.
When we talk about fulfilment, we are quite often referring to empowerment, improving the balance between work and private life, streamlining processes, reducing tasks with low added value, improving self-esteem, seeking meaning in one's work as well as more transparent and open communication. Ultimately, it is all of these things that contribute to creating a sense of satisfaction in all of us.
Due to modern technology and the increased use of mobile devices, there is no longer a wall separating our personal lives and our professional ones.
Unfortunately, the invasive nature of modern working practices can lead to employees feeling incapable of escaping the problems that they are experiencing professionally. Modern technology is certainly a contributing factor and has increased the pressure on employees and, in parallel, redefined employer expectations.
However, a different approach exists. One that looks to ensure that employee wellbeing is prioritised; one that addresses employee concerns; and one that looks to clearly distinguish between personal and professional life.
1. Personal development as the cornerstone of the company
The idea of fulfilment is based above all on a vision of a company's growth model. For a long time neglected in favour of business approach, the concept of wellbeing at work has gained considerable interest in recent years.
And with a good reason too! In the context of the talent 'war' that is persistently raging, companies are trying to rethink their operating methods to differentiate themselves from their competitors and retain their employees.
For a number of years, capitalist sentiments dictated the way that businesses were run. Profit was prioritised, and the more human-focused side of business and company ownership was relegated to the sidelines.
Thankfully though, times are changing. Modern and forward-thinking businesses, such as PayFit, are embracing the idea that investing in people is the best way of guaranteeing long-term growth and stability.
We don't believe that our product represents the entirety of our business; instead, we see our business as a group of people involved in a project who are all striving to meet the same common goal.
However, for this message to be more than just an anecdotal, the words we print and espouse must be put into action and, in our opinion, the best way of doing this is through a top-down approach.
At PayFit, the concept of fulfilment comes from the co-founders and the foundations that they have built. Their goal when creating a company wasn't necessarily to maximise profit from the off. For them, creating a project that looked to take on and challenge the more conventional and traditional aspects of running a business was just as attractive.
By building a company culture that looked to fulfil the needs of its staff above everything else, they believed that they could create a place of work where people wanted to be, rather than just merely tolerated being, part of.
"Our decisions and actions are dictated by one elementary thing that is part of our values: kindness."
Firmin Zocchetto, CEO @ PayFit
PayFiters at work.
By improving the daily lives of all employees, we believe that we can help people excel within their roles and be more creative than they would be if they were working in a toxic and pressurised environment.
It is for this reason that we made employee development one of the three pillars of PayFit's growth. This is a key element for the sustainability of our culture and the company as a whole.
We firmly believe that life at work should be an adventure in which people make their own personal journey. To do this, the company must provide each employee with the means to feel happy in both their personal and professional lives.
"We're not talking about 'professional development', it's much broader than that. At PayFit we do not define it. Development must be complete to be truly effective."
Beyond a simple trend, workplace happiness does not only lie in the organisation of a few after-work drinks and the purchasing of a ping-pong table. It must transcend simple material needs to be part of the company's overall vision in a sustainable way.
We strongly believe that working on each and every employee's fulfilment and development will also ensure PayFit's long-term future.
The modern office.
2. How to create a positive work environment
We are aware that a single definition of happiness is not possible. It is very much subjective and takes into account the feelings of individuals. Knowing this, we took the time to define our objectives in terms of employee experience and determine how we wanted to achieve them.
To do this, we decided to focus on three key areas:
- Transparent communication
"If we want to revolutionise HR, we might as well be the best example possible."
At PayFit, the collection of employee feedback involves several elements. For example, we use a tool called Culture Amp that allows us to collect anonymous feedback from employees regarding the company's strengths and weaknesses.
Interviews with managers have also proved a successful way of gathering information and allowed us to take a more in-depth look at people's experiences, career objectives and overall happiness. Through these exchanges, it is possible to identify key areas for improvement for individual employees, specific departments and the company as a whole.
We believe that it is essential that everyone has the right to share their opinion and that employees feel free to express themselves in an honest and transparent way. It is for this reason that we put a substantial amount of effort into allowing time for employees to speak with their superiors. This can be in the form of weekly one-to-ones, quarterly performance reviews or career lunches.
→ Transparent communication
As a company, we want our communication to be transparent and honest at all times.
This is often easier said than done, but through building solid internal structures and company values, it is possible.
For us, it starts with the onboarding of new employees.
Each new starter receives a welcome breakfast, an introduction to the local and global teams and a cooking class with their fellow new starters. We believe that all these elements combine to allow employees to take ownership of the company's state of mind, image, and values as well as encourage cross-team collaboration from the get-go.
Transparency in the form of providing global visibility on company figures and strategic decisions, regardless of seniority, can also help employees to feel more involved in the company and its progress. We believe that communication of this nature can help harness team spirit and allows employees to share in team accomplishments together.
Another key factor in PayFit’s development is the autonomy granted to employees.
In our search for employee fulfilment, it became apparent that offering autonomy and flexibility with regards to working methods was important.
The company strives to offer everyone the opportunity to find their own way of working. Through this, employees and managers have been able to build mutual respect and trust.
We also encourage freedom around processes. At PayFit, anyone and everyone can create and implement their own processes as long as it is conducive to creating quality results.
By leaving hierarchical codes and structures at the door, employees can feel empowered and through these elements, can contribute to the creation of a trusting and transparent working environment.
Relaxed working atmosphere.
3. Enable employees to grow
Autonomy also means offering employees the opportunity to grow. Training programmes, workshops or career paths are measures that truly reflect a company's desire to advance its employees.
For us, all these elements will empower and encourage employees to take initiatives and challenge the status quo.
→ Career paths
We want our employees to have long and prosperous careers at PayFit. Therefore, it is essential to listen to everyone's aspirations and remind employees that they can express themselves.
We are aware that very few people want to be in the same position for 10 years and employees generally want to develop new skills, venture into new territory, or even change areas of expertise.
The chances are that the vast majority of us will experience this in our careers and, as a result, it is important to support each employee when they express an interest in broadening their horizons.
At PayFit, we want to create real career paths that allow employees to navigate towards their ideal role. We realise that this may not necessarily be within our company; however, we believe that offering this opportunity is an important part of our company's DNA.
"It is essential to listen to employees and allow them to move forward in their professional lives."
We have made several internal developments possible. Whether it be from sales to customer care, acquisition specialist to growth engineer or manager to individual contributor, on every occasion that one of our employees has expressed a desire for change, they have always been supported.
The final transition is always preceded by various interviews, observation, immersion and training periods to ensure the employee's appropriate development.
→ Training and workshops
Offering everyone opportunities to learn a new language and/or discipline is now one of our priorities.
For example, we offer English or French courses for employees in the hope that they will be able to gain confidence and fulfil their potential.
Opportunities such as these are related just as much to personal development as they are professional. Learning a new language or learning to code are life skills that are likely to impact an employee far beyond their professional life at PayFit.
As we've already alluded to, we want to provide fulfilment to employees in a broader sense and it is through schemes such as these that we believe we can positively impact our employees' lives.
"We believe that everyone should be given the same opportunities to develop in their daily work."
4. Guarantee fair and progressive compensation and make employees’ lives easier
As an HR company, we have a responsibility to offer our employees the best overall experience.
It is for this reason that we provide employees with the opportunity to work remotely 20% of the time and offer extremely favourable maternity and paternity absences that go well beyond the statutory minimum.
We also realise that salary is a fundamental part of ensuring overall employee satisfaction. Pay is one of the sure-fire ways of rewarding progress.
While encouragement and congratulations are nice to receive, neither is likely to suffice in the long-term if it's not accompanied by a good salary. By establishing a pay scale, we believe that we can provide competitive salaries that reflect favourably against the market rate.
There is no magic recipe for the development of our employees; however, there are several avenues of reflection around which we can focus. While it is essential to implement various actions, maintaining a spirit of initiative, listening to employees and, above all, questioning our own actions enables us to move forward progressively.
As a company, we never take anything for granted and it is through remaining active and up-to-date with trends that we feel we can maintain our employees' desire to come to work and contribute to the ongoing adventure.