Swantje started off her career in recruiting at a start-up in the e-commerce and fashion industry. When she joined Appinio, she not only grew the company’s team size by 150% but also built an HR department from scratch. The past year, her focus has been on setting up operational processes and HR policies in six countries and enabling the team to further grow internationally. Everyone who has been onboarded by her knows that she is obsessed with K-Pop and K-Dramas and does not get tired of looking for an additional fan in the team.
Tell us, Swantje: What exactly is Appinio?
Appinio is a global market research platform based in Hamburg. Our main objective is to help companies of all kinds to understand their different target audiences better, thanks to a unique and revolutionary methodology that delivers significant results in a matter of minutes. We provide information from over 90 markets and deliver the results directly to our dashboard in real time.
More than 700 companies, including VW, Unilever, Cap Gemini, and Danone, already work with us. Appinio was founded in 2014 by Jonathan Kurfess (CEO) and Kai Granaß (CTO), and, in March 2020, our CEO was included in the Forbes “30 under 30” ranking in Europe. We currently have 20 employees in Spain.
We understand that Appinio’s main objective is to improve decision making in companies through market research studies, do these studies play a role in the well-being of employees in organisations?
Of course – that is the beauty of market research studies; you can get insights on almost everything. We have done studies on trends and changes in the workforce like what drives employees, what motivates them, what kind of environment makes them thrive?
The labor market and the way we work is changing, very drastically in the past few years – it’s an exciting time and I believe a chance for many employers to break out of old habits and embrace new ways of working.
How do you manage to take care of the working environment and maintain an adequate cohesion and commitment of your team?
Firstly, cudos goes out to our team on this one. We have an incredible team of enthusiastic, highly motivated and committed people who are doing an exceptional job in building and further growing our business. I believe what makes this team special is that we all share a passion for our jobs and Appinio – we genuinely want to build up the product and a vibe like that is contagious to anyone who joins.
As a company, we focus a lot on making sure everyone understands our goals and the vision we have for Appinio. On top of that, everyone is very friendly and is being encouraged to connect with the fellow Appinioneers – it is very common for us to have random coffee chats with the team to support that feeling of connection and being part of a group even though we are scattered all over the world.
Have you ever encountered difficulties in attracting and retaining talent at Appinio? If so, what measures have you taken to remedy the situation?
We have definitely run into some challenges when it comes to hiring due to a very competitive labor market for one thing and us being very picky as well 😉 With an incredible group of people like we have, we tend to be very protective and want to make sure that anyone who joins will pass that vibe test. That is why we are actually getting in touch with a lot of potential candidates through referrals of our current team members – we like to say that awesome people know other awesome people so why not just ask the people we already know are amazing.
Finally, we would love to hear some examples of how you take care of your employees’ well-being.
One of our values actually is to show that we care – that means that everyone at the company cares about our employees/colleagues, their well-being and their development. We communicate very openly and honestly about ideas, areas of improvement or just random thoughts we have. I believe that our leadership and HR team are incredibly close to the employees and like to support everyone in a very individual way. Lending an open ear is the number one thing we focus on.
Other than that, we encourage our team members to take responsibility for themselves – we offer a particularly high level of flexibility to empower everyone to shape their days and the way they work in whichever manner makes sense for them. For example, we enable our employees to work from anywhere they want and offer a paid time off policy with no hard cap that allows the team to take a break whenever they feel they need it.