Helping the crew to stay mission-fit
Rocketmakers has extensive experience building software to support wellbeing, but our commitment to wellbeing actually permeates practically every aspect of the company.
It began with Rocketmakers’ founders who were keen to have a company culture which was supportive and understanding from the start. With each new hire, we've paid even more attention to attitude and an eagerness to learn than to qualifications or experience.
This commitment to building a team more interested in producing great software than competing with each other has paid dividends, both in the high quality of Rocketmakers’ output and an extremely low employee turnover rate.
But as the team kept growing, Richard realized that informal structures which worked to provide support in a small team would soon no longer be sufficient. In 2018, Rocketmakers began setting up its initial policies for promoting good mental health and physical wellbeing.
These included a quarterly All Hands meeting, which is open to everyone in the company and gets a surprisingly high turnout each time. Everyone is encouraged to speak frankly about the current environment for mental health within the company, and identify any factors which need changing.
Some of the most important innovations from this time were completely employee led. Notably, an “Ears to Help” channel was set up on the company Slack platform. This allows anyone to speak openly about their own mental health challenges, with an option to remain anonymous. The channel is staffed by volunteers who provide one-to-one support for anyone who asks.
Graphic Designer John Grigg was extremely active in offering support to colleagues and organising daily meditation sessions, and was offered the 'Wellbeing Seat' during the rollout of the new Rocketmakers structure in early 2020. John now acts as a lead advocate for all wellbeing issues. When the first lockdown began last March, he began assembling a document now known as the 'MedKit,' which clearly lays out all support everyone at Rocketmakers may need while working from home.
The sudden shift to 100% remote working also created challenges for the Rocketmakers’ commitment to staff wellbeing. “We’ve spent years creating a supportive and caring work environment in the office,” John explained. “It’s one of the main reasons people are so keen to work here. But keeping that going when everyone is suddenly working from home, when everyone is facing unique and personal challenges - that’s not easy.”
Towards the end of the first lockdown, Richard asked HR consultant Sian Cox to support the team. Despite the global pandemic, demand for Rocketmakers’ services was surging. The team needed to grow and, with everyone scattered across the South West, he wanted to ensure all employees, new or old, were looked after properly.
“Sian is much more than just an HR consultant,” John explained. “She’s also a trained Mental Health First Aider and is extremely knowledgeable and passionate. Having her join the team during the first lockdown brought a lot of things into focus. We have always been very keen on promoting mental health, but Sian has helped us translate that into policies.”
One of Sian’s biggest innovations was to expand the meaning of the term “wellbeing” to also include physical and financial issues. At Sian’s suggestion, Rocketmakers team members can now access a range of services via Perkbox, which include counselling, physical wellbeing support, financial advice.
But despite Sian being an experienced HR consultant who has always focused especially on staff wellbeing, she has never seen anything like the company culture at Rocketmakers before.
“It amazes me how supportive everyone is at Rocketmakers,” she said. “Every work environment has some people who are especially caring, but at Rocketmakers everyone is actively looking for ways to support each other. It is such a refreshing group to work with.”