What's it like to work at X is Y?

Published 9/6/2021

We believe that when you’re giving the best part of your week to your work, what you get back has to be about more than just a pay cheque. And when your people are your most important differentiator, it makes sense that you prioritise making work a place where people genuinely feel like they can contribute their best.

We know it’s easy to wax lyrical about brand values, to put posters up on the wall or words on your website. But it takes consistent action to create and maintain a generative culture - one where the mission is prioritised over personal power or politics, where hierarchy is flattened, where trust is high, where innovation and learning is encouraged and where the views of all are respected equally. 

At a time when there’s tough competition to win the war on talent, we know we’re armed with more than just a few perks. Here are some of the ways we take action that actually reflects the respect we have for the time, contribution and effort of our people.

We all have a say in growing the team

Before we hire anyone, they have to meet the entire team and the entire team has to agree that they are a fit. We tap into the instinct and intuition of the collective, giving everyone a chance to say their piece about a prospective candidate. If one person says, ‘I'm not sure’ we don’t hire them. If anyone notices anything or perceived any concerns, we talk about them and figure out if it’s terminal or something we can manage. We hire people from a variety of backgrounds, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because we know that diverse perspectives make us better at what we do.

We work hard, but we don’t embrace a culture of constant grind

You have to have a growth mindset to feel comfortable here. You have to be playful but professional, meaning you do good work, but you don’t take yourself too seriously. And you have to care for your fellow team members. Those are three non-negotiables. As Junior Data Visualiser, Stephanie, puts it: “People here are authentic about their work. I’m surrounded by people who are very driven, take pride in the work they do and want to push themselves for the better. Everyone here is very encouraging, very insightful, and it’s a very family-oriented environment.”

We find ways to play and reasons to laugh, so that every day doesn’t feel like hard work. While we’re often working remotely, we make an effort to keep connection through a relaxed atmosphere, injecting fun into the way we engage with each other. We also all get 5.5 weeks off a year - which includes a full month off over Christmas and the New Year to completely depressurise.

As a small team, your contribution matters

As a small and nimble team, we actually see how our efforts impact others. And not just clients, but colleagues too. Collectively, we make each other better people. As part of that, we ensure feedback actually gets acted on. Management Consultant, Rimma says: “I feel safe to say literally anything, and always feel like I’ve been heard. The biggest thing I feel is that, collectively, we are all making a big change in each other's lives, as well as in our clients' businesses. I don’t think I’ve ever been this engaged and excited about a role”. 

Where there’s potential for improvement, you’re empowered to do something about it

We provide the environment, tools and flexibility to ensure our people feel fulfilled and purposeful - and motivated to help others feel the same. It’s important to us to create a culture where people are confident enough to be challenged and feel comfortable to ask for help. As a small team, everyone gets the benefit of direct mentorship from senior team members.

As Steph says: “The more that I try, the more I don’t know, but it’s an opportunity to learn. If you want to push yourself, and be in an environment where you get pushed, while still being loved for where you are at and not judged for what you don’t know, this is the place to be”. 

Rimma agrees: “The environment is very inspiring and empowering and it's from every angle. I feel like I can try new things, experiment and report back. In many companies you can just be stuck in the process and nothing really changes, but here you have the control of your own learning”.

We check in all the time

We schedule regular individual check-ins to review goals, actions and opportunities. We genuinely care about growth and building capability in a professional sense, but importantly, work should also provide a means for fulfilment and contribution outside of the office, too.

As an example, when Steph told us she wanted to create impact through doing pro bono work, we made it happen. “When I applied for this job, I was asked questions about my values, what I wanted to achieve, what I was good at and how I wanted to impact the world - regardless of the role I was applying for. The leadership team isn’t just here to do their job, they genuinely care - and it’s not just what they say, but what they do. They want to support my goals, not just in my career but in life in general, and are very proactive in pushing me and wanting me to do better”, she says.

We’re always working on it

We continuously consider how we can level-up even more in terms of cohesion. We talk individually with staff about what their drivers and motivators are, so they are happy and driven to do more good work. Then, when we need to talk about things to keep the band together, it’s not just about more money. Is it a training course, a new laptop, pro bono work, or some time off? We want to understand what it means to make this an even better place to work, so every two weeks we review, consider opportunities and then make adjustments that make this a more awesome place for everyone.

If X is Y sounds like a place where you think you could do your best work, we’d love to hear from you. We love to connect with smart people, we’d encourage you to get in touch if you think X is Y is a place where you’d like to work, too. 

Two X is Y employees doing a hi-five.

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