A Best Place to Work: How we do it

On Wednesday night, I attended a wonderful celebration of BRW‘s Best Places to Work with three fellow RedBallooners. We were most delighted to have made the list for the fifth year in a row, as well as being in the top 10 (number eight).

The employee experience journey at RedBalloon is far from static – it has evolved and expanded every year since 2001. The leadership team are completely committed to the journey – knowing that it is not one single activity that ‘creates engagement’.

While each element of the six pillars of engagement – developed and executed by my colleague, Megan Bromley – is reviewed to ensure focus, freshness and relevance, we also keep trying new things to deepen our connection as a team.

One of the newest innovations in the RedBalloon employee experience is the way the business measures and tracks employee engagement. Having used indexes from Aon Hewitt and internal measurements in the past, the decision was made in 2012 to align how they measure and talk about ‘engagement’ with how the business measures the customer experience – so they can now speak the same language and have greater consistency across the whole business.

In October 2012, RedBalloon implemented the world-renowned Net Promoter System (NPS) at an employee level (eNPS). The Employee Net Promoter Score asks employees ‘On a scale of zero to ten, how likely is it you would recommend RedBalloon as a place to work?’ From these individual scores, an overall percentage is calculated based on the percentage of promoters (those who score 9 or 10) minus detractors (those who score 6 or below).

The highest growth companies operate with an NPS of 50 to 80. The average organisation will coast along at an NPS of only five to 10 — meaning their promoters barely outnumber their detractors.

According to the creators of the tool, eNPS scores can be substantially lower than customer scores because employees are often harsher critics of their own company. So it’s understandable that the employee experience team at RedBalloon are excited to have a current score of 84.

It’s all about the journey, and as we put the FY14 plans to bed, I am very excited for what we are about to undertake.

Five things that have kept RedBalloon on the Best Places to Work list for five years:

1. Our values – we hire and fire based on values

2. We have a purpose – and everyone in the organisation knows what this is and their contribution towards achieving it

3. A commitment to innovating our employee experience – be that our reward and recognition program, learning and development initiatives or our approach to recruitment

4. A willingness to take risks – we’re not afraid to scrap something if it’s not working

5. Our people – you get to come to work as yourself, not your job title.

Naomi Simson has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded, RedBalloon.com.au, including the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year – Industry.


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