Interview with Ioana Ababei, Learning & Development Specialist, Bynder
Bynder is a leading Digital Asset Management SaaS provider. It helps clients including Spotify, Puma, Canon, and Five Guys to organize, manage, and deliver digital assets (images, logos, photos, and so on) at scale.
We spoke to Ioana Ababei, L&D specialist and Bynder’s well-being manager, about how the company is leveraging Quan to support its employees. What is particularly interesting about this case is how their approach has evolved. In the beginning, Bynder was looking for a way to support managers and teams in their remote work through the pandemic. But eventually, this evolved into a fully-fledged well-being program that is a competitive differentiator in terms of supporting their teams and retaining talent.
Welcome Ioana! Perhaps you can first introduce us to Bynder and your role in the company?
Sure! We are a very diverse company in all sorts of ways. For example, we have diverse teams — product, development, marketing, sales, and so on. We are also diverse in terms of geography and nationality, with locations in the Netherlands, UK, and US, Spain, Dubai, and Australia, plus 48 nationalities among 600 people. This comes with a lot of fun but an extra layer of challenges with addressing everybody’s needs and supporting everybody.
One of our company values is Bynder Love. This means showing love and care to our customers, products and services, but also one another, and to support employees to grow. As an L&D specialist I manage our well-being program, of which Quan is a key part.
Can you talk us through why Bynder originally wanted to work with Quan?
Like many companies, during the pandemic we were finding it challenging to work remotely. Team leads and people managers in particular were struggling to support people through this uncharted territory, without an objective way to understand how people were feeling. Our managers were overwhelmed by the situation and knew they needed to do something but didn’t have the tools to approach it. This was the original trigger to start a pilot with Quan — to help our team leads and people managers better understand their teams and how they were coping.
Was well-being a factor in terms of wanting to do the pilot?
In the beginning not so much. While the concept of well-being was certainly attractive, the main trigger was the challenges around remote work. But as we have progressed with Quan and fine-tuned our thinking, well-being has become a focus in and of itself, to the point we now have a vision around it, with a dedicated program and resources and so on.
We will get back to the evolution of the well-being program in a minute, but first, can you talk us through the rollout and your approach. Were there any challenges or advice you can give?
Yes, absolutely. Our goal is to help our teams solve real problems, not provide solutions to problems they don’t have. So right from the start, we wanted to make this strictly optional, particularly because there was a little skepticism from some managers as to whether it would be truly useful or not.
In the pilot phase we started with four teams whose team leads asked to try the solution because they felt it may be able to help them. It is worth noting that these teams were also quite diverse — some were customer-facing teams, and some were engineering. But they all had challenges in working remotely that they needed an objective way to fix.
We have always maintained a strict opt-in approach. Through internal word-of-mouth, this program has snowballed to now cover one third of the company. So in terms of advice, this no pressure approach has worked well for us in terms of getting buy-in from the people who stand to benefit most.
Great! And what kinds of results have you been seeing, in terms of spotting risks to well-being and managing them? Anything surprising?
Yes, there have been a number of noticeable results across a range of teams. On a general level, a number of managers have changed their approach to one-on-one meetings, asking more specific questions about how their reports are doing. Rather than the general “how are you?”, “yes, I’m fine” kind of flow, Quan is providing the team leads with a vocabulary to use in these conversations to make them more personalized and beneficial.
Rather than the general “how are you?”, “yes, I’m fine” kind of flow, Quan is providing the team leads with a vocabulary to use in these conversations to make them more personalized and beneficial.
The insights have also been used by teams across the board to improve ways of working. One specific example is how Quan helped a support team during the Covid lockdown period to unearth and address a very specific unhealthy working behavior. Sleep was scoring extremely low – it turned out that the majority of the team were working longer hours and often logging in to work just before sleep, which interfered with their sleep rhythms. Once that was identified as a potential for improvement, the team set some guidelines around work and the team members’ sleep significantly improved in the next cycle.
Back to the well-being program — many readers will be interested in the fact that Bynder has this in place. Can you tell us a little more about its goals, and where Quan fits in?
Yes, first it would be good to note that for us well-being is not about letting people know they can go to a yoga class or do something similar. People already know this. What is much more difficult, but also more valuable, is giving people the tools and the environment to talk about their challenges and issues, and just as importantly, ways to overcome them and maintain a healthy balance.
What is much more difficult, but also more valuable, is giving people the tools and the environment to talk about their challenges and issues, and just as importantly, ways to overcome them and maintain a healthy balance.
This is a big part of our culture and what we offer as an employer. And we want to be proactive in managing this — we don’t get to a point where burnout or employee turnover is high before we do something. Our well-being program is how we take a coherent approach to this topic.
Quan is the key solution when it comes to assessment and the topic in the company. It gives us insights into our levels of well-being, particularly at the team level, and it encourages teams to talk about it internally. And this helps become an example to other teams, making the well-being topic a part of our culture and company. So well-being assessment and awareness are all about Quan.
Separately to Quan we offer individual coaching and counseling services to employees. We also want to create a strong work-personal life balance, so we offer unlimited days off, and volunteering days off, where employees can work for a cause of their choice.
Thanks Ioana, and last question: do you have any parting advice for other companies?
The world we live in is very complex and overloaded with information, and many of us, including our colleagues and employees, have personal challenges and responsibilities that we are not aware of. For many people it is too much for our emotional and nervous system to handle, and even if we can’t see it, we need to support our employees to cope with this. For these reasons, looking after the well-being of our teams is a really important topic.