Work Should Work for People: Same Vision, New Identity

Phil Chambers
Work Should Work for People: Same Vision, New Identity

“Why did you start Peakon?” is a question I’ve been asked many times, by many people. It’s also a question that’s been asked many times to my fellow co-founders, and other members of the early Peakon team too. Over the past 5+ years, we have all responded in our own, slightly different ways.

For me, we started Peakon “because we wanted to build the kind of company we wanted to work for, and we wanted to help other organisations to do the same”. For others, we “wanted to help organisations make better people decisions” or “help everyone in an organisation to reach their full potential”.

We all had our own responses — and I still place a lot of value on the uniquely personal connection we have had to what we’ve been working so hard to achieve.

While Peakon hasn’t spent the last five years trying to put man back on the moon, we have been working on something that I believe is equally important.

However, while our responses were inconsistent, we all knew that they were rooted in the same, shared belief — we just hadn’t been able to articulate exactly what it was yet.

Our Beliefs, Redefined

By now, I imagine everyone has heard the anecdote of the janitor at NASA who — when asked by JFK, “what do you do?” — responded “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

It’s an overused story, but it’s become a cliché for a reason: it exemplifies the power of a singular vision, shared among a group of individuals. It shows how a unified belief can help achieve the seemingly unachievable.

While Peakon hasn’t spent the last five years trying to put man back on the moon, we have been working on something that I believe is equally important.

Our North Star: Work Should Work for People

So, why did we start Peakon? When we sat down and examined our motivations together, we saw the commonality. Since our very first day, every decision we’ve made — whether it’s been about a product development, an internal policy, or a new office location — has been made because we fundamentally believe that Work Should Work for People.

We strongly believe that Work Should Work for All People, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation or physical ability.

Work should work for me, work should work for our Engineering team, our Customer Success Managers, our remote workers. It should work for our contractors and freelancers — and it should work for our customers and every one of their employees too.

Why? Because when you create an environment that works for everyone — and allows every individual to be successful — the inevitable result is an organisation that achieves its goals and succeeds in “putting their own man on the moon”.

Importantly, Work Should Work for People encapsulates many core beliefs that underpin our product and services.

In 1990, Professor William Kahn coined the term “employee engagement” and defined it as an employee’s ability to harness their “full self” at work. He highlighted three conditions that would enable employees to do this: finding meaning in work, feeling safe from negative consequences, and having the mental and physical availability to harness their full selves. In short, working in an environment that worked for them.

We strongly believe that every employee should be provided with that environment. Work Should Work for All People, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation or physical ability. Every employer has the duty to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

Our Message to Employees: Drive the Change You Want to See

A “North Star” provides us with clarity and guidance, but a followup question is waiting in the wings: “How do we get there?”

We’ve always had a very clear philosophy at Peakon. From day one, the insights in our platform have to come directly from employee feedback. We believe that the best way to drive change is from the ground up, and the best people to inform those changes are employees.

If we believe Work Should Work for People, then the best way to realise that belief is to help every employee drive the change they want to see.

Our Identity, Reimagined

Another cliché you’ll be familiar with is “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

The importance of clarifying our vision extends beyond ourselves — to really drive the change that we want to see in the world, we need to proudly display our beliefs and values outside the walls of the Peakon offices.

Peakon is a platform built for trust and actionable insights. Look into the future, and you’ll see workplaces levelling the playing field of influence by giving everyone a voice.

An impactful and well-considered visual identity can express the beliefs of Peakon, and the personality of 200+ Peakon team members, without needing to state them directly.

We spent a lot of time discussing what embodied us internally, as well as with our customer community. We wanted to understand how Peakon was perceived, and what it was that resonated with people. In the end, we agreed that Peakon is:

Trustworthy, Encouraging, Humane.

Peakon is a platform built for trust and actionable insights. Look into the future, and you’ll see workplaces levelling the playing field of influence by giving everyone a voice. We are more than a digital product: our technology amplifies the human connections that make work work for people. And our brand is full of character and embraces human diversity.

Accessible Colours with Peakon Personality

Our new Peakon identity uses a distinct, encouraging and multifaceted colour palette – a palette with a personality, within and outside of our product.

Whenever possible, we strive for maximum accessibility.

Peakon Green and other dark colours (Navy, Purple, Burnt Umber and Grullo) all represent our trustworthiness, while the light hues (Light Cobalt, Periwinkle, Champagne and Sunflower) represent encouragement. Combined, you get our new distinct Peakon look.

Whenever possible, we strive for maximum accessibility, with AAA or AA colour contrast combinations.

Expressive and Diverse Illustrations

Our new illustration style is simple, unpretentious and expressive. Illustrations are composed on the basis of “less is more”, with few lines and details, while capturing the diversity in our own, and our customers’ teams.

Photography with Real People

Our photography style is colourful, optimistic and humane. People play a key role in defining the subject matter of our imagery. Highlighting the humanity helps us communicate our belief that Work Should Work for People in a powerful way.

Familiar Peaks, Bolder than Before

And finally, a new logo. No visual overhaul is complete without one.

Our peaks have been a part of our identity since the very beginning, and we didn’t want to lose them. Now they approach the world with the same boldness that we do, with clarity and confidence in our vision.

When animated, our peaks grow — invoking a sense of development, and achieving potential.

What the Future Holds

I’m now being asked a new question on a frequent basis — by friends, family, customers and colleagues: “What does the future of work look like?”

It’s a big question, and one that’s trickier to answer. We embarked on this project to redefine our vision and identity almost a year ago, and not one of us could foresee it being completed under quarantine from our bedrooms, living rooms and home-offices around the world.

“Many businesses are looking to survive under these new conditions, but the best will be seeking how to succeed.”

If there’s one certainty about the future of work, it’s that change will be the only constant.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already accelerated many emerging trends — collaboration technologies have been rapidly adopted; and “employee wellbeing” has taken on a completely different meaning under lockdown.

Organisations have had to adapt, and will be expected to adapt again and again. Many businesses are looking to survive under these new conditions, but the best will be seeking how to succeed.

If you ask me, there’s only one clear route to success. It comes through believing that Work Should Work for People, and by helping every employee drive the change they want to see.

Author - Phil Chambers