Head of People at KaFe Rocks, Cordelia Morgan-Cooper, last year looked into ways of providing stronger support to employees and further increasing the levels of freedom and autonomy for the workforce. The outcome of this exercise does pave the way for KaFe Rocks to be a trendsetter in how it values its employees, and how it supports them.
Last month, it made headlines after announcing that the Malta-based iGaming affiliates company, together with its brand Time2play, has introduced a policy of unlimited vacation leave and 24/7 mental health support through a partnership with Malta’s Richmond Foundation.
The unlimited leave policy applies in addition to local legislation and offers unlimited leave days on top of the national holidays and minimum leave entitlement.
As for its mental health support policy with the prominent NGO, staff, or Rocketeers as they playfully call themselves, are able to schedule one-to-one sessions with Richmond professionals, for support and guidance. Ms Morgan-Cooper, in an interview with iGamingCapital.mt, shared that Rocketeers are able to schedule a counselling session for support, as and when needed.
Support can be sought for the ‘everyday’ issues, such as tension at home or if the individual is feeling low for whatever reason, as well as more significant life events.
Ms Morgan-Cooper explained the philosophy behind KaFe Rocks’ impressive move. The key is psychological safety, giving Rocketeers the peace of mind that should something crop up in their lives, as what happens to everyone, whether the individual needs some time off they need not worry about their leave balance, and, if the individual needs support and someone to talk to, this is on hand to.
Not bad, huh?
Trust & Accountability
Ultimately, she said, the company is seeking to strike the right balance, where the conditions are met for Rocketeers to thrive. She said that the goal is to provide the right work environment where targets and objectives are met, in line with the KaFe Rocks’ needs and strategic direction, by championing trust and accountability.
“If you have met your targets, or completed a project, and are feeling burnt out, why should a staff member not take a couple of rest days?”
Asked about whether KaFe Rocks is changing their appraisal process to accommodate the unlimited vacation policy, Ms Morgan-Cooper explained that because the company has always been remote-first, elements of trust & accountability have always been central to its ethos.
“This move was not as big a step as it would have been in a traditional 9-5 company. Because we have championed flexibility and an output-focused approach from the outset, the unlimited vacation policy feels like an extension of our culture,” she said.
Indeed, she shared that for Rocketeers, if somebody is an early riser, prefers to start their day at 6am, breeze through four hours of work and then take a long lunch break, this is perfectly acceptable.
“We want to instil trust, we want to be able to trust our Rocketeers that when they need more holidays, they can take them.”
She shared how guidelines have been created on when staff should notify management when they want to take holiday, but qualified that this process has not really changed from when there was limited vacation to now.
“What we anticipate is that for big milestones, maybe weddings or once in a lifetime trips, people may want to take extended breaks, but really, we imagine it will be the odd extra-long weekend.
“Maybe you want to go on a trip you’ve never been able to go on before because you haven’t had the holiday.
“Maybe you’ve finished a project and you’re just feeling super tired and you want to have a few days at home with pets or family, those are the days we think will probably come up more often.”
Ms Morgan-Cooper shared that the company is auditing vacation days taken across the entire business every three months, to avoid people not taking any vacation. As most employers know, this is also a risk, where staff get to the end of the year without having taken much holiday leave at all.
In addition, KaFe Rocks has also updated its parental leave policy and its bereavement policy, awarding staff longer paid leave when the need arises.
“We want to be able to offer Rocketeers a safety net – we are all human, and there are some days where you can’t do your work, or you can’t think straight, or your dog needs to go the vet or you need to pick your daughter up – that’s fine.
“With us being more output focused, the hours that people work is not really important to us anymore. It’s all about you achieving the goals you need, to do your work.
“We are moving away from the traditional model of 40-45 hours a week. It’s all about what can you deliver, and what are you committed to delivering?”
A competitive job market
Beyond the benefits to the KaFe Rocks’ staff complement, incorporating wellbeing and mental health support places the company in pole position to attract the very best within the industry.
Indeed, when asked whether it has seen an uptick in applications to join, Ms Morgan Cooper, with a large grin, promptly replied: “it has been nuts!”
KaFe Rocks has seen hundreds of applications, with most citing their progressive policies as being a significant pull factor.
“This initiative has got the industry talking. Whether they are talking about KaFe Rocks, or the company’s management, we are talking about ways in which we can make people happier and more successful at work. It feels so exciting that we are able to be leading that change at the moment.”
She admitted that there have been quite a few dubious people and nay-sayers within the HR space. “But, I think every company needs to look at their own internal workforce, and look at the values important to them.
“As I mentioned, trust and accountability really are at the core of our business. So, for us, this isn’t radical, because this is the way we’ve always worked.”
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