Auror Employee Experience Awards

February 12th, 2019

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“Everyone in the team is mission-driven. Our users are part of the journey we go on, so when we win awards like this, they feel like they’ve played their part both internally and externally.”


The team at Auror were super excited to hear that they had won the Best Employee Experience for the Small Organisation Category at Humankind’s Employee Experience Awards.  They had put together a very deliberate people and culture strategy and so to be recognised and invited up onto the stage was “awesome” and showed that their strategy was paying off.

They were thrilled to be recognised in amongst New Zealand’s leading employee experience organisations, obtaining the extra validation that what they had been working on had contributed positively to their employee experience.  Co-founder and Co-CEO at Auror, Phil Thomson, said that the awards were across a broad spectrum of industries and so it was great to be able to compare themselves against a range of different companies.

“We had a fantastic experience with the EX Awards programme. The real value was when we got the interviews and survey results.  They sparked good internal conversations and so we were able to adapt some areas of the company accordingly,” said Thomson.

“A big part of why we entered was to get a good understanding of what else we could be doing to improve our EX, alongside what we’ve already been contributing towards.  Our strategy has been around listening to our team and getting a feel for what they like,” said Kirsti Grant, People and Culture Advisor.

One example of feedback was the challenge of their current office space, now that the team has grown significantly, which can get a little crowded, however they’ve made investments in some areas to assist with this, which can be taken to a new office space in the future.”

As Auror continues to grow, with a new office in Melbourne now too, the challenge is around how they scale their existing EX model.  They have identified that if the strategy around values and EX is done well, it ultimately becomes about the people.  As a smaller organisation, they make incremental changes along their growth journey, for example with recruitment eighteen months ago they had challenges around diversity.  By creating buy in from the team, they then ran job advertisements through Textio to get analysis on how their language was affecting candidates that were applying, spending more time sourcing talent – including at senior levels, which has a flow on effect for the team.  For interviews, they made sure that there was a really diverse panel also.  This then raised awareness of their on-boarding experience as a priority for them.

“Creating a great first impression and a good structure for new team members, especially in the first three to four days, has a massive impact on them.  It’s about getting the basics, the smaller things right,” said Grant.

“It’s making sure they know what time they should be in the office, when their first pay day is, where they should park, and when they do arrive, making sure that they really feel that we have acknowledged them joining the team – from having the hardware ready, to a calendar full of events to help them get to know the business and the people.”

As Auror continues to scale, they try to get better and more deliberate around the on-boarding process each time.  The team has grown significantly in recent times, and so the focus now is on the development of their team members – how they grow their people and provide them with opportunities to further develop.

“The scaling of a company comes to down to the people – we talk about values fit and culture add.  We’ve got a really good set of guiding principles, which the team adhere to and operate with really well, however we want to be careful that we do not create a homogenous group of people.  We want people that will add to our culture.  We understand that throughout each office there will be a difference in culture, but they will all have the same guiding principles, enabling them to work really well together,” said Thomson.

Grant says that employer brand is an important focus – as the team continues to grow, they want to make it easier to recruit, however as their EX continues to strive, so do the team and their customers and the impact they have on their communities.

“The impact we have on our community by having an award-winning team, that has incredible employee experience, translates into the interactions we have with our community of retailers and police.  It has a nice flow on effect. By being focussed on building great EX and translating the impacts of this on our team shows how we can support our customers better.  It helps in our overall vision of empowering a community of crime fighters.”

The benefits of being a part of EX18 was the tangible results Auror received, for example, the report highlighted what the team really likes at Auror and areas they can improve.  The report was able to be used as a tool to collaborate effectively with the team, using the insights as an opportunity to spark further conversations and feedback on how Auror can improve moving forwards.

“Everyone in the team is mission-driven. Our users are part of the journey we go on, so when we win awards like this, they feel like they’ve played their part both internally and externally,” said Thomson.

Crime is a serious topic, but Auror has been clever about how they make this fun for all involved by introducing a superhero theme to make it an enjoyable experience to work at Auror and bring recognition to their users and community that work with them every day.  Making it about superheroes, gives them an interesting and engaging topic to link in with and talk about their values and principles – helping them come to life.

Another tool they have used is 15Five, which helps facilitate more effective one-on-ones between a manager and their team.  Part of this allows you to give a team member a digital high five.

“We’ve been on a journey with the digital high fives!  As the team are so supportive and love celebrating success, there were many high fives being given on a weekly basis and so to help make these more meaningful and considered, as the team has grown, we have asked our team to give just three high fives a week – getting people thinking about why they’re giving their high fives – which are really valued,” said Grant.

Thomson added “the regular weekly check-ins allow you to identify problems before they become an issue.  Writing your feedback down and then having the one-on-ones as follow ups really helps the team to feel valued and listened to.”

Auror is excited about the future and is a great example of how you can overcome employee experience challenges within the workplace.  Using the EX Awards as a base to gain feedback and insights into how their employee experience stacks up is a great way to create conversations that matter in amongst employees.  Using carefully selected tools and a collaborative approach has enabled them to come up with solutions and areas to improve within, based on the teams’ feedback.

“What made the process successful, was the collaboration with the team.  Having someone from Humankind come in to observe the team and how they collaborate was really insightful, which we gained valuable learnings from,” said Grant.

Thomson added “if you’re thinking of entering the EX Awards in 2019, we’d highly recommend it because of the value you get out of it.  The awards evening itself was a great opportunity to meet with other like-minded organisations on the night.  We’ve already organised a meeting with one of the other winners to share and collaborate on our EX ideas.  If organisations are serious about EX, we need to look into sharing ideas and strategies, to create better workplaces throughout the country.”

​Humankind note

As part of our ongoing commitment to providing the best Employee Experiences, helping organisations to help their people love what they do, we will be sharing all six of our winner’s stories from the Humankind Employee Experience Awards 2018!  Watch this space…

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