Sustainable Change: Workers
April 13, 2022
As mentioned in our previous blog post, we are excited to share some of Plank’s business practices and outcomes from our application for B Corp certification. This week’s post is all about Plank’s employees!
BLOG: Sustainable Change | Governance
The questions in this section of the B Impact Assessment are meant to evaluate Plank’s relationship with its employees and its contributions to the tech workforce. There’s no doubt that the items in this portion have always been a huge priority for us, which is why it’s where we scored the highest!
At Plank, we recognize that our people are a huge driver of our success. Without their talent, we would not be where we are today, and we believe that valuable employees deserve to feel valued. This means more than pizza lunches and free coffee at the office — it means paying employees a living wage, supporting personal and professional growth, and maintaining a safe work environment.
To us, it also means providing employees with the opportunities to set them up for success. For this reason, Plank has introduced the following practices in the workplace:
Promoting a healthy work-life balance
We understand that life happens! Working from home has taught us that leaving to pick up your kids in the afternoon or taking a 30-minute screen break to lie down does not hinder an employee’s ability to get their job done. This is why Plank offers flexible working hours, the ability to work from anywhere, and numerous initiatives to further encourage employees to maintain that healthy work-life balance.
By cultivating and fostering this healthy dynamic, we’ve seen increased productivity, creativity, better physical and mental health, greater loyalty and engagement, and overall happiness.
While work takes up 1/3 of our days Monday to Friday, we believe it should not take up any more than that. A healthy and balanced life is one where people get enough rest and relaxation to be the best version of themselves. As a result, we are committed to asking our team to be deeply engaged for those 40 hours a week, and nothing more.Warren Wilansky | President and Founder
Offering advanced health & wellness initiatives
We have been working on a formal wellness program and package that compiles all of Plank’s existing health & wellness offerings, as well as introducing new ones! Some of the most popular ones amongst employees have been:
- A free weekly private yoga class at Ashtanga (in person or via Zoom)
- A WFH Stipend that sets employees up comfortably and encourages ergonomic purchases!
- Using HeyTaco in Slack as a fun & unique way for our team to show appreciation for each other — you can give and receive tacos, then cash them in for some fun things! Some of our favourites are the Bixi membership and the big one is an Apple Watch! Our team has been pretty competitive with their watches, adding each other to their activity logs & motivating each other to walk, exercise & general movement (you should see us all doing laps around the office when our watch tells us to stand — gotta close the rings!)
- Our Healthcare plan provides access to Lumino Health Virtual Care for all employees and their families — which includes mental health!
- Openly discussing #health-physical and #health-mental in their respective Slack channels, as a way for our team members to share issues, questions, stories, and experiences with zero judgment.
Ongoing learning and professional development
The Plank+ program is meant to help employees improve professionally and improve Plank overall by adding to our team’s knowledge, expertise or reputation. We set aside an annual budget towards the program’s goals that can be used for conferences, education or training materials/courses, working on open source code, official certification, and much more. This is strongly enforced, as all of our employees are required to set at least 3 professional objectives at the start of each year.
With the wonderful recent addition of Luke, our HR/Operations Coordinator, we are thrilled to be able to dig even deeper into employee development and goal achievements!
Creating career opportunities for employees
As stated officially in our newly updated Employee Manual, Plank believes in growing from within. When a new position opens at Plank, current employees will be made aware of the opportunity and allowed to submit their candidacy before it is advertised externally, external candidates may still be considered. Employees are permitted, and encouraged, to apply internally for open positions that they consider to be lateral moves that better align with their career goals and/or positions that would be considered as promotions. Just last year, we are proud to say that we were able to promote over 40% of our employees!
Setting up new hires for success
In recent years, we have developed a more formal onboarding process for all new employees. Not only has this been notably appreciated by new hires, but we have also seen a huge improvement in the output, ease, and rate at which they jump into projects and the team.
Providing mentorship opportunities for junior employees
Plank’s Junior Mentorship Program offers a unique method for junior employees to join Plank, by pairing them with an intermediate or senior level employee. We believe that this is one of the best ways to onboard a potential new junior employee (paying them a living wage, of course!), while also growing the company and letting more senior employees lead, train and develop their own discipline teams. Our 2 most recent mentees have officially “graduated” from the Mentorship Program and are now thriving in their full-time developer roles at Plank. We look forward to taking on new mentees in the future!
Sharing company earnings amongst employees
Plank’s Profit Sharing Plan is intended to recognize an employee’s contribution to the company’s success, as well as to align the employee’s personal objectives with the company’s strategic objectives. 100% of full-time and part-time employees that actively worked in the FY reporting period receive a monetary bonus.
Plank redistributes 1/5th of our profit among our staff, and we have plans to modify our ownership structure to allow employee equity. We also set aside as much learning time, employee career advancement, and peer support as we can.Steve Bissonnette | Managing Partner
Continuous Improvement for a Healthier Workplace
We know that there’s still so much to do when it comes to fostering a healthy work environment, which is why we are continuously challenging ourselves, asking tough questions, and making significant improvements for our people.
The most important element of all of this is to listen to our employees — what they need, how they can be supported, and how they can grow. Then we can really dig into how Plank can make those things happen.