#EX18 Initiative of the Year: Lightspeed Graphics

Samantha Gadd
Samantha Gadd | March 18, 2019
Employee Experience
#EX18 Initiative of the Year: Lightspeed Graphics

“The benefit of entering the awards is that it’s like a disciplined review – it enables you to pause and reflect on the programme with your team on how it’s all working.”

Steve Martin, Lightspeed Graphics

Lightspeed Graphics’ Operations Director, Steve Martin, said they were ‘over the moon’ when they first heard their name announced as winners of the EX Initiative of the Year at the Humankind Employee Experience Awards, EX18, in November.  Because they are a relatively young company (they’re just about to celebrate their 2nd birthday), and they are in a highly competitive industry, winning an award like this means an awful lot.

“It tells us that some of the things we are doing are on the right track.  It’s great for our employees to be a part of that and for us it’s a great story that we can share moving forwards,” said Steve.

Lightspeed Graphics’ mission is to change how people visualise products in the future.  They’re closing the gap between the virtual and the real world by designing cloud-based visualisation platforms, for example in e-commerce, the buyer will have more control over how they view their products, enabling them to make better buying decisions.

Next year, Lightspeed Graphics plan to have a lot of recruitment activity going on, due to their growth, which they intend to leverage this award to their advantage as an added bonus to employer brand.

Taking out this category meant that their Shanghai-based CEO, who is also the financial backer for the organisation, was re-assured that the practices they’re putting in place, here in New Zealand, are getting recognition on a national scale.

Steve became a part of the team very early on in the business and feels privileged to have been able to apply his experiences and utilise these to put together something really positive for the employees.

He said “in a highly competitive industry, organisations need to do something unique to stand out as an employer.  Lightspeed Graphics has always had a learning and development culture, which has been a big attraction to our organisation.”

Focusing on employee well-being

A big focus has been on employee wellness and closing the gap between work and home life and being able to integrate this more seamlessly for employees. Looking into how to remunerate and retain employees, Lightspeed Graphics wanted to put together a benefits package that would stand out.  Rather than just coming up with a standardised package that they think people want, they took it one step further and heard directly from their employees what was important to them.  By looking at the uniqueness of their team and the emerging culture they have, they were keen to understand what’s important in their teams’ lives and their working lives.  From this, three key themes came through that were important; learning and development, health and well-being, and to make contributions – giving back to the industry as well as giving back to the team.

They came up with a flexible menu of ideas to suit their employees’ lifestyles. Supporting them with gym memberships, medical insurance, paying off student loans, Kiwisaver – to help prepare for the future, and public transport contribution – giving back to the community by encouraging employees to use public transport.

Steve said, “the flexible options were well received by the team as it gives them a sense of empowerment around choosing their benefit.  They also have standard parts of the package too, including a fortnightly shoulder, neck and back massage!”

In the developer world, which is a predominantly male environment (although improving as they now have 5 women in the team!), young males are renowned for not looking after their health.  Lightspeed Graphics offer a full medical or optical examination annually.  He said as a company, they care about their employees and want to encourage them to look after themselves and their health to get the best out of their life.  They also supply fruit and snacks to help encourage their employees to eat healthily.

Personalising the work experience

They have a fortnightly technical training session, where they do a ‘show and tell’ – enabling the sharing of knowledge between the team and helping them to better understand each other’s roles.  This also encourages positive reinforcement from the team.  They have introduced flexible hours for start and finish times and are now looking at working from home options.

“It’s important to us to understand the team’s personal development goals,” said Steve. “Our organisation has a great reputation for up-skilling and developing our employees.  We’re keen to invest in them continuing to learn and develop.”

A programme of tailored individual training has been introduced, which Lightspeed Graphics will fund.  They are encouraging employees to set aside two hours a week for this.

Steve said that winning the award will help increase their employer brand.  They’ve taken advantage of the Employee Experience Awards Winner branding package showcasing their achievements on their website and email signatures.

“The benefit of entering the awards is that it’s like a disciplined review – it enables you to pause and reflect on the programme with your team on how it’s all working.  It is so easy to get side-tracked with delivery, so entering the awards helped us to refocus on the importance of employee experience,” said Steve.

“I would thoroughly recommend the awards.  It’s a good opportunity to reflect on what you’re doing and gain feedback and insights on some of the initiatives you are doing with your company.  You can learn about what other companies are doing.  This particular set of awards stands out against others, as it is particularly focussing on employee experience, and this is such a positive trend in employment.  It’s well positioned and focussing on something that’s positive for your employees as well.”


Originally published at humankind.nz