Company Spotlight Company Culture
2 min read

Insights from Vend: What Happens When You Empower Employees to Try Anything

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Alexis Croswell

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Culture Amp

People at Vend are best described as being intelligent and passionate. Their culture is open and people can access the information they need to do a good job. Penelope Barton, Chief People Officer and Jordyn Riley, Employee Experience & Development, say that at Vend, they are empowered to try anything in their roles.

Like many SaaS companies, work at Vend moves quickly. They’ve adopted a non-hierarchical structure which empowers their people to make decisions and get things done, fast. People at Vend also have the freedom to try out new ideas, even if they might be considered ‘out there’ by traditional standards.

How the Global People and Culture Team Tries New Things

Riley says, “We can be really creative in the way that we work. We're not paper-pushing stuffy HR teams. We can be the culture team that the company needs us to be. We can do anything.”

Their cheeky ‘sub value’, Just F*cking Do It (JFDI) shows their commitment to empowering people in a very Vend way. It’s immortalized in a cursive LED sign on a conference room wall in Auckland, and it’s one of the People Team’s favorite sayings.

“If you've got an idea JFDI. That's what we say. You hire the right people. You empower them to do it and just move out of their way” says Barton.

When it comes to her own role Barton adds, “We are able to genuinely build a culture plan which is going to have an impact on people. It's going to make their lives better. We've got all this data, we're talking to people and we're able to actually help people grow. We're not pushing policies or guidelines on people. Our team focuses on: how can we make your life better? How can we empower you more? We have the freedom to JFDI. It's pretty special.”

Recently, the idea of bringing yoga into the office was brought up by some Venders (what people at Vend call themselves). Riley says, “A week later our People and Culture Manager, Vanessa, and her partner started doing yoga lessons. We're not held up by trying to get approval from someone who has to get approval from someone else, etc.”

Transparency at Vend

Because of their open culture, no questions or thoughts are truly out of bounds. Barton says, “This is the most transparent place I've ever come into. Someone asked me in front of 60 people about their pay in my first week. I thought, how do I answer this? Is this for real? And it was - that’s just the kind of things people ask here.”

There’s a special energy in the office at Vend, where spontaneous office-wide claps break out when good (or just random) things happen. People care about each other and the retailers that they are helping. Riley says, “There's a buzz, literally there's a hum of activity. People are laughing. People are applauding each other's achievements.” 

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