How Hub Australia Prioritizes People-First Culture at Scale
Hub offers flexible coworking space solutions designed to help Australian businesses and their employees love where they work.
Whitney is passionate about transforming communities and using business to solve social, economic, and environmental challenges. As HR Training & Impact Lead at Hub Australia, Whitney is accountable for the ongoing learning and development of the Hub team as well as the social and environmental impact initiatives implemented by the business.
Kieran joined Hub Australia as the company’s first HR hire and twenty-first employee. Today, he leads a team of three and oversees HR for over 90 employees. He helps develop, create and implement best practices across all people-centric internal initiatives nationwide.
“Whenever we’re embarking on something new — whether it's developing a new policy or a new structure for development for our staff — Lattice is the first place that I go to figure out if we are on the right track.”
In the last four years, Kieran Mellott has led HR for Hub Australia and helped more than quadruple its employee base. Hub Australia is a premium workspace solutions company offering coworking offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Canberra. With employees in five different states and three different time zones, Kieran and his team have their hands full trying to scale the company’s HR programs, build an employee-centric culture, and help the company double in size over the next two years.
“Our people could work anywhere, but they choose to work at Hub. It's our obligation to them as their HR team to make sure that they get the most out of their time here,” Whitney said, explaining the secret behind how their small-but-mighty HR team keeps up with Hub’s explosive growth. While a happy team leads to happy customers, Kieran and Whitney say this particularly true at Hub, where employees work side-by-side with their customers in the company’s co-working spaces. “If the people who run our communities are unhappy, that will definitely impact our member’s experiences,” explained Kieran.
Like any fast-growing company, Hub Australia’s employee headcount quickly outgrew its HR processes and procedures. While company growth is a good problem to have, Kieran and Whitney quickly realized using Google Docs to track performance reviews and professional development conversations just weren’t going to cut it.
To build a culture-first organization, the Hub HR team knew it was time to invest in the right software. Their list of “must-haves?” A way to support professional development, improve employee engagement, store goals, and empower managers to coach their team members. For Hub’s young team of ambitious employees, Whitney and Kieran needed a new, centralized system in place “to show our employees that we take their futures seriously.”
Lattice ticked all the boxes for the Hub Australia team. While Kieran and Whitney were most excited for employee engagement surveys, performance reviews, cascading goals, and praise, they were also surprised to see their managers loved Lattice’s 1:1 tool.
Initially, Kieran was hesitant to add the 1:1 tool to their Lattice instance as he didn’t want to overwhelm employees. Luckily, Whitney persuaded him to leave it as optional, while “not doing anything to actively promote the tool.” Much to the pair’s surprise, even without an internal push, managers logged over 200 1:1s in just a month. “It just snowballed. People use it as their organization tool and even access it on their phones to add a topic for a meeting so they don't forget it for the following week,” said Kieran.
While Lattice’s seamless, intuitive design was what first attracted Kieran, he admits it was the people-science-backed approach that wowed him. “What was great about Lattice was that there was already science and research done around the methodologies and cadences of particular professional development areas. That was all set up for us. We just needed to slot ourselves into it,” he explained.
Before Lattice, Hub had a #HubLove Slack channel on Slack for employees to recognize their peers doing above and beyond. “While it was being used a lot, that feedback wasn't being captured in any way. If you wanted to refer back to it, you would have to scroll through all the hundreds of responses,” lamented Whitney. With Lattice’s Praise tool, employees could publicly acknowledge their colleagues both within Lattice and Slack. The #HubLove channel could live on and the company could continue to celebrate wins as a team.
Above all else, partnering with Lattice helped Hub’s HR team prove to employees that they were serious about individuals’ careers, engagement, and growth. “Lattice is a tool that’s solely dedicated to our people. I think our team really enjoyed that,” said Kieran. “As a company, Hub is only 10 years old, but the maturity of our business has really accelerated over the past four or five years. While that's not solely because of HR, our resources have played a big part in that, and bringing on systems, like Lattice, has been hugely beneficial to that.”
With one centralized location for all their People Team needs, the Hub team has reaped the benefits of having a record of each of their employee’s journeys with the company. “Before, when managers would leave, all their coaching would walk out the door with them. When the new manager came on, we had no idea what the conversation was up until that point,” explained Whitney. “Now, it’s helpful to have a full set of data for each employee that is always readily available.”
The team has also seen the quality of 1:1 meetings improve. By creating shared agendas, taking notes, tracking action items, Hub managers can treat these meetings as more than just a status check-in. They can spend less time reviewing to-dos and more time discussing career goals and coaching their teams. It’s not just managers – Whitney and Kieran love Lattice’s 1:1 tool too. They can easily share updates and company news with managers, so they can make their teams aware of organizational change in a timely manner. That functionality is priceless in a fast-growing company like Hub, and allows its HR team to rest easy knowing they have help “ensuring the right message comes across at the right time.”
Since adopting Praise, 93% of Hub’s employees have received feedback. Plus, Hub’s HR team noticed that feedback has become more thoughtful and meaningful than it had been in the past. Instead of simply thanking a peer for fetching the team coffee, employees have begun sharing more tangible ways their colleagues embody Hub’s five company values. “People understand our company values a lot more in depth now, which was one of the most surprising benefits of Lattice,” explained Whitney. “Our values are not just buzzwords anymore. People understand what each of them means and how to live and breathe them through their roles.”
Within Lattice, managers no longer have to scroll through Slack to see if their direct reports received recognition. Every Hub manager can view all the praise an employee has received, allowing them to easily refer back to it come performance review time. Hub’s HR team even set up a Lattice alert that pings managers if they haven’t praised a direct report in over 90 days. This friendly reminder helps foster a culture of feedback and recognition while helping employees feel seen and appreciated every step of the way.
With plans to double in size over the next few years, Kieran and Whitney’s team know there’s no shortage of work to be done. Luckily, they know they can rise to the occasion with Lattice’s help. “Whenever we’re embarking on something new — whether it's developing a new policy or a new structure for development for our staff — Lattice is the first place that I go to figure out if we are on the right track.”