We are thrilled to announce that Smokeball has been awarded #4 place in the 2021 WRK+ Best Places to Work benchmarking study ahead of more than 150 other companies. The list recognises Australian companies pioneering best-practice in employee engagement through strong people and culture strategies.
“We are delighted to be nominated for such an honour,” says Hunter Steele, CEO, Smokeball. “Our team culture at Smokeball is the most important factor driving our success. We want our staff to feel empowered, supported and rewarded for bringing their whole selves to work and working in a values-based way. The Best Place to Work honour is very special because it is based on a survey of all staff so it’s a very accurate reflection on whether we are the best place to work.”
Smokeball has 70 employees in Australia based in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Since COVID, all employees have been given the option to work from home and provided with ergonomic furniture and hardware to help with the transition, as well as supporting non-traditional hours for better flexibility. This extends to the Smokeball leadership team, where many of our leaders have part-time roles.
Our company culture is open and progressive, and based on team contribution. The success of Smokeball comes from the empowerment of staff to ask questions and provide feedback to all colleagues, which forms part of Smokeball’s core values and behaviours such as ‘Be Frank’, ‘Speak up early, ‘Ask for help’, 'Address issues directly with people', and 'Have the hard conversations'.
Our six core values govern the ways we address and resolve conflict and undesirable situations. We encourage people to speak up, and say how they are feeling, rather than it being taboo in the workplace. With COVID we made our working policies flexible to accommodate work from home on a permanent basis. We also adjusted our workspace to a hot desk environment, allowing senior leaders to sit within different teams and be exposed firsthand to how a team or individual functions. This fosters an environment of open and honest communication that allows staff to reach out to any senior leader and raise any issues they may have.
There are many established systems and opportunities to share information on strategic plans and organisational change that are led by Smokeball employees, rather than management, in both individual and companywide events.
Big and small wins are celebrated through the all-employee Slack channels, 'Product Love' and 'People Love’ that share client success stories and testimonials, so everyone can see the positive impact Smokeball is making in the legal community and 'shout outs' to peers, connecting colleagues’ achievements to the core values.
Smokeball employees are actively encouraged to bring new ideas and make decisions on process, product, service, and culture improvements in both team settings and through annual hackathons and events that share the passions and interests of staff with others.
Every development tribe has an ‘Innovation crew’ and developers will go on a 2-month rotation into the crew. This focus on innovation across all Smokeball products allows the crew to remove the noise of the day-to-day business and behave like a mini start-up, being agile, trying new ideas, taking risks, and coming up with innovative technology that changes the legal practice management industry.
Each staff member has an individual career development plan to help map out exactly where they want to grow, and to identify the skills they need to develop that are supported by a check-in framework to re-evaluate at regular times. Paths to leadership are clearly set out and supported with several different activities.
The Smokeball Bonus Program (SBP) rewards efforts with a regular thirdly bonus, so as Smokeball succeeds, employees share in the success. Living the core values and behaviours are so important, they form part of the thirdly bonus criteria.
All staff have a well-being allowance of $1000 per year, to claim on anything health or wellbeing related, this also includes some well-being apps which was bought into place last year when lockdowns started, and digital well-being became even more important.
Instead of Exit interviews, we conduct ‘Stay Interviews’ to find out why Smokeball employees choose to ‘stay’ with us and what would cause them to leave, to enable better decisions about the workplace and culture including what EAP services to provide and in-office benefits to offer.
Work with one of the best
Smokeball is on the hunt for talented and innovative individuals to join our fast-growing team. Claim your seat on the rocket ship and be part of the booming legal technology industry.
We’re headed to new heights in 2021 and beyond!