Designing A Safe Space For Employees With 100 Shapes
In our latest series, we delve into the profound impact a thriving company culture has on overall business success and, how a culture of continuous learning and innovation creates a dynamic atmosphere that empowers individuals to contribute meaningfully, with the award-winning digital product and service designer studio 100 Shapes.
Feature with HYER
Ali Randell, Chief of Happiness
100 Shapes is an award-winning digital product and service designer studio. Part creative agency, part technology company. "We’re a collection of creatives who have come together to tackle the world of work. We believe that work should feel energising. For some, that means productivity. For others, it means manageable. Our job is to deliver new capabilities for our clients while meeting the needs of its users. "
We sat down with 100 Shapes to understand how they have created a culture of excellence.
How would you describe the culture you're aspiring to build?
We aim to create a safe space for our employees. Within any creative industry, there needs to be flexibility and freedom to create. This can not happen without mistakes and learning and therefore we want to foster a culture where experimenting and trying new things are not only encouraged but actively supported.
We also recognise the different journeys all of our teams have had getting to 100 Shapes, the good, the bad and the ugly. We take time to understand their different outlooks on work-life and culture and we strive to create a culture where we recognise these differences.
“We are committed to fostering a workplace that supports and champions individuality and embraces all differences. Being a shaper should mean bringing your authentic selves to work while making the most of your career"
We’re committed to creating inclusive workplaces. We encourage our team to be bold, daring, make mistakes, go with their gut and see where it leads. We celebrate and welcome different approaches and viewpoints. Diversity drives innovation. We are building a culture where difference is our secret to success.
How do you want each team member to feel about their work?
Proud of the work they deliver and create
Excited about new opportunities and the future (theirs and 100 Shapes’)
Challenged and inspired with freedom to create
Impactful. They know they have made a difference
Appreciated and valued. For the skill set and as a kick-ass member of the Shapers team
What type of person would thrive inside 100 Shapes?
Someone who is their own champion and thrives with autonomous and agile working.
Someone who encourages and respects different opinions and POV’s
Someone who makes the most of the freedom to shape their role and use 100 Shapes to support their growth at 100 Shapes and beyond
What makes 100 Shapes a special place to work?
A number of things: Our working environment fosters collaboration, open communication, and mutual respect among team members. 100 Shapes values diverse perspectives and encourages everyone to contribute can create a sense of belonging and satisfaction among employees. We offer a lot of opportunities for employees to learn and grow within their roles. Our team has the freedom to shape their role and career, with us cheering them on. Such opportunities not only enhance skills but also boost motivation and job satisfaction. We give our team the freedom to express their creativity and experimenting with new ideas can be incredibly motivating. When our employees have the space to innovate and explore different design solutions, they are more likely to feel engaged and excited about their work.
We are big on health feedback habits, radical candour, and psychological safety. Regular feedback, recognition of achievements, and acknowledgment of contributions can make employees feel valued and motivated. When their efforts are acknowledged, it boosts their morale and encourages them to continue delivering high-quality work.
We respect the different preferences and lifestyles of our team and encourage them to find the right working balance for them. A healthy work-life balance is essential for employee well-being and job satisfaction. We promote flexible work arrangements or other initiatives to support work-life balance and contribute to a happier and more motivated workforce.
We aim to have a clear Mission, Vision and Values. When our employees can see the direct impact of their work on the end-users or clients, it gives them a sense of purpose. Knowing that their work is making a positive difference can significantly enhance their job satisfaction.
Innovative Projects: Engaging, challenging, and innovative projects keep our team excited and motivated. Working on projects that push the boundaries of design and technology can be both intellectually stimulating and personally fulfilling.
We prioritise the physical and mental well-being of our employees. We have a wellness budget, mental health support, and initiatives to promote a healthy lifestyle and contribute to a happier and more productive workforce. Our leadership team values employee input, listens to concerns, and supports professional development to foster a positive work environment. When employees feel that their voices are heard, they are more likely to be engaged and satisfied. We take time to recognise our team achievements, milestones, and project completions through celebrations, team-building activities, or rewards can create a sense of camaraderie and happiness among employees.
How do you see a vibrant company culture influencing 100 Shapes overall success?
A thriving company culture impacts every area of the business. When our culture is strong our people thrive, it creates an environment where our team is engaged, happy, motivated and overall aligned with our values and goals. A thriving culture has a direct benefit to so many areas of our company’s success:
Employee Engagement and productivity: When our team feels a sense of purpose and belonging they are more excited about their work, their productivity is increased and their general performance is better.
Talent Attraction and retention: It's 2023, people want to work for companies with healthy workplace cultures and for companies that value, appreciate and care about their employees happiness and wellbeing. Good culture attracts good talent and it retains existing team members too. In terms of the financial health of a business, we all know that retaining your team is cheaper than hiring and replacing.
A thriving culture fosters collaboration and teamwork: When your team shares knowledge, passions and generally supports each other it means they are all working together towards a common goal. Making better and more thought through decisions, navigating changes and hurdles together and celebrating wins together.
Client relationships: Your team's experience will influence their attitude and behaviours and this will shine through when they are working and liaising with new and current clients. This can also boost business not just because it's a good representation of the business but because we already know that happy employees work better, meaning your clients will get the very best we can deliver.
It's normal for companies to go through some changes, as it grows and adapts to changing markets and company growth. Change is a lot easier when you have a strong sense of culture, purpose and togetherness.
Positive Reputation and Brand Image: A thriving culture contributes to a positive reputation both internally and externally. This positive image attracts customers, partners, investors, and other stakeholders, creating valuable business opportunities.
Employee Health and Well-being: A culture that prioritises well-being leads to healthier and happier employees. This, in turn, reduces absenteeism and boosts overall morale.
Financial Performance: Ultimately, all the above factors translate into improved financial performance. Engaged and motivated employees, along with enhanced innovation and customer satisfaction, contribute to increased revenue and profitability.
In summary, a thriving company culture is not just a "nice-to-have" but a strategic asset that has a profound impact on various aspects of a business. It influences employee behaviours, interactions, and overall work environment, which then ripple out to positively affect the company's bottom line and long-term success.
Is there a concept you are working on that could create meaningful change in your company's culture?
More recently we have been redefining our Mission, Vision and Values. This also means we have started reviewing our EVP and wellbeing strategies too.
We have invested in a new method of tracking and actioning employee feedback and engagement. Employee Engagement is one of 100 Shapes 23/24 KPIs.
We have taken a step back from the more traditional employee handbook and have created a EX HUB, this holds all need-to-know policies, processes and information, but goes one step further and highlights how we work, why we do what we do, how we communicate, D&I, Learning & Development, Benefits …. It is more of a bespoke approach meaning we understand our employees are unique and are on different employee journeys so we wanted to create something that can cater to all of our teams needs
We are a small team but we want to build these foundations now so they can become standard practice in the way that we work and will grow and change when we do. A lot of our initiatives will need nurturing and shaping and the company grows and changes.
Founders, Michele & Paolo Memoli
How do you embrace employee feedback?
Employee engagement is a big priority of ours at 100 Shapes. We recently created a guidance around this which outlined how we use this information and how valuable this is.
We have many opportunities for feedback, daily check ins, weekly team meeting (were we cover things like energy levels, focus, gratitude, stresses), 121’s with your Line Manager, 121’s with the EX director, Employee Engagement platform, adhoc surveys (onboarding and exit interviews), Quarterly weather checks (hit the pause button and reflect on the last quarter). We make it a habit of collating feedback at least every quarter, being transparent and sharing this with the whole team, and then setting actions for areas of improvement for the business and the leadership team. We just had a Q1 All Eyes Team meeting and I presented a whole deck on employee engagement and feedback.