Setting the standard for a people-first employer

In this interview with Maurice Alexander, Head of Workplace Services in Honduras, we dive into what makes working at PartnerHero in Honduras special. Maurice has been with PartnerHero since the very beginning, he joined in May of 2014 (our first week as a company!), so he has seen how the offices and culture have evolved over time. His main take-away: things move quickly at PartnerHero but one thing remains constant: the people-first culture that ties into everything we do from the standing desks to the gender neutral bathrooms.

Maurice, PartnerHero has become a magnet employer in Honduras. What makes working at PartnerHero Honduras special?

PartnerHero has a different approach to office culture in Honduras compared to other companies. Most companies have a really traditional mindset for example: everyone should work in a cubicle, management needs to be sealed in designated areas, executives should have their own offices. PartnerHero has turned that on its head. 

PartnerHero is really the first company in Honduras to question that orthodoxy. In our offices we’ve created a lot of open, inclusive spaces that make it easy to collaborate. We've thought carefully about the benefits we offer and have chosen to do things our way. One example is that our health plans cover domestic partners, regardless of the sexuality of the associate. At the end of the day, our offices and benefits reflect who we are as a company and culture. I don’t have a dedicated office and neither do other directors. We want to work next to associates, to be approachable and reachable. 

Can you describe our Honduras offices?

Our goal is to create an environment for employees that allows them to focus on their work and not on something like their chair being uncomfortable, so we've made sure our offices and work setups are super comfortable and flexible to allow for individual needs. We built our Tegucigalpa office from scratch which allowed us to prioritize things that matter to us like having non gender-specific bathrooms (each bathroom is an individual room that is not designated by gender). We also built in plenty of spaces for associates to wind down and relax including a library and a kitchen where associates can grab snacks and prepare meals. 

We’ve paid special attention to ergonomics. In San Pedro Sula we have standing desks and high-top work stations. We know that each body and person is different and may have different needs when it comes to their work set-up. If we have an associate with a special medical need we can get supplies specifically for them so they can work comfortably. 

Security is a top priority for us so we have biometric security checks at all of the entrances and can accommodate special set-up considerations for each of our partners. We know that our partners have different requirements for security and privacy and have built in the flexibility to comply with their needs. One of our partners that handles especially sensitive customer data requested a private location. We made a special place for them and added additional security features like controlled access and privacy screens but also made sure to design the space so it felt like a true home for our associates. 

We set up our spaces to allow for employees to be happy, comfortable and productive. That is our ultimate goal. 

Can you tell me about a meaningful personal experience you’ve had working at PartnerHero?

Gosh, I have so many amazing memories from over the years. But one thing that really stands out to me is emblematic of how the culture at PartnerHero is different from other companies in Honduras. 

I had been working at PartnerHero for about two years. In those early days, I wore many hats - I was in charge of everything from hiring to IT. As PartnerHero grew and we brought in more specialized roles I started getting nervous. My past experience working in Honduras trained me to think that I was being replaced and that I would soon be fired. But PartnerHero is different. By bringing in more specialized roles, I was able to hone my focus on the parts of my job that I really loved and excelled at while getting the support I needed to grow. I watched as PartnerHero matured from being ultra scrappy to just being a regular amount of scrappy. It’s taken me a while to get used to working for a company that truly invests in people. After 7 years I can say my transformation is complete and now I’m just really passionate about building that trust and culture with new associates. 

At PartnerHero the default answer is never “let’s fire you.” It's “how can we support you?” It might sound obvious to people coming from outside of Honduras but for me and many others here in Honduras, it is truly unique. 

What are people in Honduras known for?

We are hard workers, that’s for sure. We also take an incredible amount of pride in our work. Because of some of the cultural things I mentioned above, many workplaces in Honduras don’t provide regular feedback to employees - feedback can often be seen as a threatening thing in this country. That’s something that the PartnerHero recruiting team really focuses on in the hiring process: finding candidates who are more open to giving and receiving feedback. 

Are there any special traditions in the Honduras offices? 

On national holidays we do small lunch and dinner events where people can come to the office, enjoy some food and just hang out with each other. We also let associates pick the names of all our conference rooms in a very democratic process. 

The main tradition is simply having a strong sense of community, of your voice being heard and your needs taken care of. While we do have fun parties and a great office set up, nothing can replace having a truly inclusive culture. It’s the thing I’m most proud of.