2022-05-24

Why we choose to listen and the impact it's having

Paysend has been a great learning experience in my career. It is the first remote-first organisation I’ve been a part of, and it hasn’t always been easy. It comes with some exciting challenges and lessons, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

We have employees spread out across five continents and over 33 countries. All of them are working hard to find ways to delight our customers and create money for the future. However, getting everyone aligned to that hasn’t been as simple as flipping a switch. 

It all started with what we call “the monthly voice”, an all-hands style town hall. It’s here where our leaders have come together and shared important initiatives, strategic directions, and more. However, as the company grew (from roughly 230 to over 500 in 2021!) it was hard for us to understand the needs of all our employees, Paysenders, and listen to their feedback. We had tried some basic pulse surveys via google forms, but participation wasn’t great, we couldn’t capture enough insight, and overall we had feedback that it was hard to see what impact it all had.

With all of this feedback, we decided to build a fit for purpose employee listening strategy at the start of the year. We partnered with Culture Amp to ensure we could bring this strategy to life by utilising their platform to enable all Paysenders to share their voice at multiple points across their lifecycle and key “moments that matter.”

To kick off this journey, we started with a full-scale engagement survey that was fit for purpose for Paysend. With proper communication from the entire leadership team at both the monthly voice and during their respective department all-hands, we launched this survey in February with a total participation rate of 75%. 

The insights we gathered from this survey helped us learn about ourselves as a leadership team and as managers. Most importantly, it helped us understand the needs and feedback from our incredible Paysenders. Overall, at the company level, we found that our engagement score was healthy and competitive compared to external benchmarks but most importantly, we had data to showcase our strengths. 

We were proud to see how closely our strengths aligned with our employee value proposition and other initiatives we led in 2021. First, it was clear that Paysenders felt confident that they knew what they needed to do to succeed in their roles. Second, Paysenders felt that they understand how their work contributes to the goals of Paysend. These strengths are critical in a remote-first setting, where it can be challenging to make the relevant people, resources, and context readily available to enable this. Finally, Paysenders feel that they have the autonomy to approach and solve challenging problems effectively. All of these strengths are needed for us to unlock the high-performance culture we are designing; however, there are areas we are keen to develop as well. 

Therefore, our areas of development and focus are derived solely from the feedback our Paysenders have shared with us. First, our remote-first strategy has caused challenges, particularly with collaborating cross-functionally. This doesn’t come as a surprise as we have been on a journey to address this, which started with establishing OKRs and sharing them openly in our monthly voices. We have begun to restructure certain parts of our organisation with this feedback to enable better collaboration and connection to our mission. 

Next, we received feedback based on our total reward strategy. Again was not a surprise for us as we were already redesigning this but hadn’t had a chance to launch it before the survey. Since then however we have created a total reward strategy that enables us to ensure we pay a competitively base salary by role, everyone receives flexible benefits (4% on top of total base salary), everyone receives equity (amount dependent on our internal job banding), and there is a performance bonus scheme. This strategy has now been officially launched across Paysend, and we are constantly exploring new ways to make this more meaningful for our Paysenders.

Survey results and dashboards were also shared with all departments to enable their managers to understand the needs of their team. As a result, over 90% have created and implemented action plans for their teams. Overall, I think we are all excited to see the impact we will be able to have, as well as the deltas we will measure as we continue to gather insights. A similar approach has enabled us to level up our hiring process, onboarding, performance development, and offboarding. Stay tuned for more insights as we learn and grow from our employee listening strategy.

By Alex Nicolaus, Chief People & Culture Officer at Paysend