As part of Sharesies’ three-year strategy driven by change and significant growth, the wealth development platform turned to Culture Amp to help create a purpose-aligned, high performing culture through employee engagement. Sharesies embeds Culture Amp in its people strategy, relying on accurate data to help them prioritise the right actions and achieve impact.
Sharesies is a wealth development platform with the purpose of creating financial empowerment for everyone. Since launching in 2017, they now provide investors access to Invest, Save, and KiwiSaver all in one place. Over half a million investors use the Sharesies platform in Australia and New Zealand to grow their wealth and gain financial empowerment.
Anna Liumaihetau Darling, General Manager, People Experience at Sharesies joined the company in 2020 when the team was just shy of 50 people. Since then, she has witnessed growth in the size of the team and the product offerings. With people at the heart of the organisation, it was important for Sharesies to ensure they had highly engaged people to create a high performing team as the company scaled.
Underpinning Sharesies’ approach to people are their values - “Always Care” For each other, investors, and ourselves, “Chase remarkable,” which means to make it loveable, be bold, and “In it together,” which means that they value the team and have each other’s back.
Engagement formed an important people metric for Sharesies and it is clearly built into the company’s three year strategy and one of its foundations, creating a “purpose aligned, high performing team.”
As with many organisations undergoing significant change, there was a need to review the structure and size of the team in 2021. The process was highly challenging and presented additional people challenges after layoffs.
Challenge: Undergoing change with data-led, people-centred action
As the company steered through growth, the need for more granular feedback and analysis became an utmost priority.
Anna shared, “Listening to our team, and hearing about their experiences is really important for us so that we can ensure we’re providing the best environment and experiences possible. We needed the feedback to inform us what actions to take that would make the biggest difference for the team.”
The team had previously used Notion and Google Forms, which had limitations in terms of feedback analysis and data. With the expanded team size and the added disruption of remote work during the pandemic, it became difficult to efficiently analyse employee feedback data and take action without a formal platform.
For Anna’s team, it meant that they lacked data to identify and prioritise focus areas.
“[Without real data] we were putting our energy into something believing that it was the right thing to do, when really it may have been a ‘nice to do’ but wasn’t actually going to make a material difference to our team,” Anna explained.
Solution: Create a culture of feedback and transparency
Anna led the team in onboarding Culture Amp in July 2022, which would later be fundamental as the company underwent a significant period of change in February 2023. The platform would allow them to gain feedback at every stage in the employee lifecycle through onboarding, exit, pulse, change, and engagement surveys.
Culture Amp was used in the onboarding stage to provide people with updates when they start, and to get feedback on their onboarding. At the exit stage, those leaving Sharesies can opt for a meeting face to face, in addition to taking an exit survey.
The fortnightly check-in and engagement surveys gave the Sharesies team the opportunity to find out how people were feeling at that point in time. They also provided a channel for employees to share what was happening in their world as well as ask questions of their leadership team. This was a particularly useful loop as Sharesies’ purpose to empower everyone financially meant that employees could get their financial or money question addressed.
A key imperative of the change approach to Sharesies was that it could not be a ‘one and done’ approach.
“We intentionally developed a ‘post-change vibe survey’ to get feedback from the team on what they needed from leadership and be invested in the change process. We levelled up our transparency and became very intentional in how we prioritised our work. We communicated weeks in between our all-org Team Meetings through our ‘In-Betweensies’ newsletter which covered off anything important that week, or would go into a deep dive about a particular topic.”
While Culture Amp has helped Sharesies in multiple ways, the biggest value has been the powerful data analysis that led them to identify and take action on the highest impact areas.
“With Culture Amp, we can really focus our time on the meaningful areas or opportunities that matter the most,” said Anna, adding that the integration with Slack helped gain feedback in people’s flow of work.
Results: Clear data-based actions led to an increase in engagement post-change
Layoffs can be risky to organisations and engagement levels. The impact of layoffs would be multi-fold, including potential breakdowns in workflows and organisational knowledge, and decrease in trust and collaboration.
However, the outcome of Sharesies’ approach in engaging employees through the period of change with Culture Amp was an exception to the rule and an industry anomaly - while Culture Amp’s research revealed that laying off 1% of the workforce, on average, increases turnover by 31%, Sharesies had actually seen an increase in its engagement score after layoffs.
The team, committed to the three year strategy and the metric of a 2% increase YoY in employee engagement and a 90% participation target, managed to exceed expectations, achieving:
- 95% participation rate, 6 months post restructure
- 2% increase in their survey score in 2023
As the team incorporates the stellar results to build overall organisational areas for Sharesies’ next phase with Culture Amp, Anna reflected on the importance of listening, communicating and being transparent.
“Communicate, communicate, communicate, and when you think you’ve communicated enough… communicate again.”
Sharesies’ commitment to really listen to their people and take action from the feedback allowed them to enhance their experience for the team through change and growing pains. By identifying impactful focus areas in response to employee feedback, organisations can cultivate a more enthusiastic, connected and ultimately, a high-performing workforce.
“If you really want to build the best widgets, you want to have the happiest, most engaged widget makers, and you can’t do that by ticking boxes and not taking action.”