We are excited to announce this month’s People Hero - Sinead Daly, Director of Culture and Experience at Beamery.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Sinead has embraced every aspect of Culture and Experience to create the best work environment for the team at Beamery. Here, Sinead shares how she navigated joining the business mid-pandemic, some of the exciting initiatives she is working on (particularly in the D&I space) and her perspectives on the future of company culture.
Could you tell us about your role at Beamery?
As Director, Culture and Experience, no day is ever the same. I oversee a team centred around culture, engagement, experience and employee advocacy at Beamery. For me, it’s all about building a fair, open and inclusive environment and ways of working, so that our people have a sense of belonging, and are empowered to do their best work. This ambition is reflected in all of the communications, activations and partnerships that we build day-in-day out.
What interested you to start a career in the Culture and Employee Experience space?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve always observed in tech start ups and scale ups is how these companies scale with ethical, sustainable and inclusive practices in mind (something I spoke about in a recent Sifted article). I believe culture sits at the heart of the solution. In the past, I’ve had roles with dedicated focuses on diversity and inclusion - which can sometimes restrict your impact, and drive more transactional behaviours. Moving into the Culture and Experience space, I’m able to design in a really people-centric way and therefore tackle diversity, equity and inclusion, wellbeing and sustainability more holistically. I'm able to ‘weave in’ rather than just add on, and I am able to get my teeth into the very fabric of the way a company operates.
What sort of initiatives have you introduced to manage the disruption caused by Covid?
I joined mid-pandemic...which was fun! The first thing we needed to do was to look after our people’s wellbeing. So, to help our people navigate the last year, we launched some dedicated support in the form of Personal Wellness Days (we get one per quarter), weekly Beamery Cafe’s (including book and movie clubs), a generous contribution towards getting set up remotely, as well as an additional contribution towards working from home utilities. You’ll also see us sharing tips and resources, alongside some meditation and mindfulness sessions as part of our Wednesday Wellness initiative. We ramped up engagement on our slack channels and guidance for parents, especially whilst schools were closed. We’ve also launched Spark Hours which are a way for our team to carve out dedicated time every two weeks to recharge and do deep-focussed work, something we have all struggled with during this time! You can see some highlights of what we’ve been working on in our recent blog.
What exciting projects are you currently working on?
Where to start! We have loads going on, and all of it is super exciting. Myself and Laura (our Culture and Wellbeing Manager) are really excited about reopening our London offices. We recently launched a BE AMazing at Beamery campaign which we’re looking forward to developing further. We are scheduling more great events and inviting speakers to our internal team sessions, focused on deepening our knowledge for diversity and inclusion and our Beamery for Good efforts. We also have plans for a company-wide hackathon, Value Champion Awards, expanding our use of the Ben platform, leveling up our onboarding practices so that we can support our anticipated growth plans and everything in between.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your diversity and inclusion projects?
Sure! Earlier in the year, we launched a partnership with a startup called Fair HQ, so that we could take an evidence-based approach to develop a fair, open and inclusive environment for our people. We’ve also revamped our company values, and now inclusion and collaboration sit at the heart of them. More recently, we’ve run dedicated content through our Women’s Mentorship Cafes and a Pronouns Inclusivity Campaign. As I mentioned earlier, the way we are building culture is holistic. We’re driving inclusion at the centre of our efforts internally, and also externally as we continue to build out our product and support our customers to achieve their own diversity and inclusion goals. We’ve got lots more work to do, and we’re really looking forward to challenging ourselves.
What is the biggest challenge you faced at work over the last 12 months?
Based on the fact that I joined a scaling company in the middle of a global pandemic, I’d have to say building trust. In order for me to prod and poke at what’s really going on in a company's culture I needed to build the right relationships, which is definitely something you can’t accelerate or scale in a purely virtual setting. Aside from that, I would say being able to find innovative and exciting ways to help people connect, for example our Beamery at Home Offsite, was a daunting task - especially given that in the previous year the company had a great in-person event in Portugal. So finding the balance of social connection, inspiration and knowledge sharing whilst navigating global time zones and logistics was a lot. But it’s all been extremely rewarding.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
I’ve had a few cool different experiences setting up live-music festivals, launching the world’s first physical activity accelerator programme and leading Tech Nation’s Upscale programme. However,right now I’d probably have to say my transition into my role at Beamery where I’ve been able to accelerate quickly and visibly see my impact within the company. I actually had a conversation with a friend a few years ago about the kind of role (outside of festivals!) that I would like in the future, but we said it probably wouldn’t already exist - and this new ‘experience’ space is exactly what I said back then - so I’ve made my way here!!
What do you foresee as a major change in how employers approach company culture?
I can see more and more companies starting to think about building ‘talent first’ rather than retrospectively trying to fix their culture after they’ve grown organically. We’ll also see diversity and inclusion, sustainability, wellbeing and ethical practices become at the forefront of people-centric businesses - and culture will really become a competitive advantage for talent.
What are you looking forward to this year—both professionally and personally?
I’m looking forward to the world opening up, and getting to connect with friends that I haven’t been able to see properly over the last year (especially several weddings and parties!). I also love London’s restaurant and bar culture, so I can't wait to get back to exploring new spots. From a professional perspective, I’m looking forward to growing Beamery’s Culture & Experience impact by broadening our scope, including supporting new locations (we’re about to open a new office in Berlin) and bringing in new team members to support our continued growth!
A big thank you to Sinead for taking the time to share her experience, ideas and perspectives. We are so excited to follow your journey at Beamery!