Exinity: “We Believe Scrapping Probation Periods Increases Psychological Safety”
An interview with the winner of the Best Employee Wellbeing Strategy award
On the 28th of November, Exinity earned the Best Employee Wellbeing Strategy award for transforming its wellbeing offering to align with its mission statement: Freedom to Succeed. Seeking to attract independent thinkers who appreciate being treated as individuals and trusted to make decisions for themselves, Exinity made a number of changes to its existing strategy. In an interview, Exinity’s VP of Corporate Comms Wendy Murphy has now shared what they did to transform their wellbeing offering.
CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING THE BEST EMPLOYEE WELLBEING STRATEGY AWARD! COULD YOU PLEASE INTRODUCE EXINITY AND YOUR ‘FREEDOM TO SUCCEED’ MISSION STATEMENT?
We’re a global fintech providing a diverse audience of ambitious millennials with the means to gain financial empowerment and independence, which we call the ‘Freedom to Succeed’. But Freedom to Succeed is not just a promise we make to our clients and partners, but to our people too. We want to help them develop a range of skills, take on early responsibility, and enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling career with a fast-growing, dynamic company.
HOW DID YOU TRANSFORM YOUR WELLBEING OFFERING TO ALIGN WITH THIS MISSION STATEMENT?
The key factor for us was the ‘freedom’ element. The industry we operate within is traditionally quite rigid and conservative – we recognised that this was something that we wanted to challenge. We looked at all our benefits and asked ourselves quite honestly whether we felt that they encouraged freedom of choice. We soon realised that we were spending time and money enforcing certain benefits that people had neither asked for nor might necessarily choose! So, we went back to the drawing board, focusing on freedom and flexibility.
Some key elements of this are:
- A refreshingly different Freedom to Unwind annual leave policy giving all colleagues worldwide 40 days’ annual leave. Colleagues can now choose to book a public holiday off or work it, giving them flexibility and the ability to celebrate religious festivals that are important to them. And everyone benefits from the additional days of leave.
- Offered all Senior Leaders (circa 35 people) Freedom to be Yourself sessions with a life coach/counsellor, giving them a safe space to work through their personal pressures.
- Switched the pre-existing perks (parties, snacks, birthday presents) to a Freedom to Choose approach with our FlexBens offering, giving all colleagues a quarterly payment to spend on whatever they believe will benefit them most. From concert tickets to a new bike, from childcare costs to gym membership – they are free to decide what will contribute the most to their overall wellbeing.
WHY DID EXINITY SCRAP PROBATION PERIODS, AND HOW DID THIS DECISION IMPACT WELLBEING AND PRODUCTIVITY?
We decided to scrap our probation periods for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we believed that even the concept of ‘being on probation’ was not treating our colleagues like adults, which doesn’t fit with our company culture. We trust our hiring managers to make the right decisions, and we believe our new starters will want to stay with us.
And we also believed that scrapping them would increase new starters’ psychological safety – something we take really seriously.
In terms of how it increased wellbeing and productivity, I think this is a pretty hard one to measure regarding the new starters who have benefitted from having no probation period. But I can say with confidence that scrapping them has meant less admin for the HR team (prior to this certain benefits weren’t available until probation had finished). By making everyone equal from Day One, we removed a layer of complexity and freed up time for the team to work on more interesting and beneficial projects that would give far more in terms of job satisfaction – and, we believe, improve their overall wellbeing.
WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN DURING THE CREATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF YOUR WELLBEING STRATEGY?
I think the most important lesson we learned was that colleagues will get far more behind something when they feel they are being listened to and treated as individuals. And that explaining why we had chosen to invest in this type of strategy (instead of investing in other projects, or other paths) was crucial for their engagement of it.
FINALLY, ARE THERE ANY EXCITING INITIATIVES YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2024?
Yes! Our values – Learn, Exchange, Advance and Prosper - which combine to give us our LEAP acronym. And with 2024 being a LEAP year, we thought there was no better time than to ramp up our program of Learning & Exchanging, so we’re super excited about that!
Entries for the 2024 Engage Awards will open on the 1st of February.