How AXON & Madano ‘Stood Up’ for Employee Engagement

What do you do when you’ve got more team members than desks? No, it’s not the punch line to a bad joke – it’s the challenge faced by our senior leadership team in London.

Our teams have grown considerably after a very successful year for both AXON and Madano. Welcoming new hires to our office space, we realized that we needed to make room for our team.

Given the impact of any organizational change, it was crucial that the London staff felt that they had been consulted in the process of reconfiguring our space. We started with arguably the most important element of any office: our desks.

Creating a comfortable working environment is a prerequisite to having a happy and productive team. Choosing the type of desk you work at may seem trivial, but people are very particular about their space!

To ensure that we had everyone’s preferences in mind before the final decision, our leadership team implemented a multi-step process to collect input.

Step 1 – Consider the options. Our situation came down to one question: to hot desk or not to hot desk? Hot desking, also known as non-reservation-based hoteling, is where people are allocated desks on a rotating basis rather than having their own permanent desk. The alternative was smaller standing desks that allow employees to either sit or stand to work.

There are pros and cons to each option, but both presented a solution to the lack of desk space. Engaging with the staff was central to being able to clearly explain the objective, make sure the team understood the options, and how they could have a voice in the process.

Step 2 – Select the right tool. Our leadership team took an integrated communications approach by using Ori, Madano’s employee engagement platform, to complement face-to-face feedback. Ori provides a shared space for people with common goals to collaborate through a structured process. It balances competition and collaboration by gamifying participation and provides insight that allows leadership to understand what their employees truly think.

Step 3 – Start engagement. Using Ori, we asked employees to consider how they would improve the office seating plan. Employees voted for their preferred seating choice, and were encouraged to leave suggestions and comments on proposed changes. During the Ori challenge, staff were given regular updates to make sure everyone was informed at each stage of the process.

Step 4 – Listen and understand. Listening to people’s suggestions and concerns ensured that everyone felt heard. The result? Standing desks were the way to go. We future-proofed the chosen desk solution by going for the most accommodating height range available, whilst still allowing team members to have two monitors on their desk where needed.

Step 5 – Engage, engage, engage (again!). It’s important that you conclude a process by following up with your employees. The team in London has been informed of the result and has been told, well in advance, of when the desk installations will take place and the plans for this period. D-day (that’s Desk Day!) is December 13, when – should you visit the London office – you will find us all merrily lowering and raising our desks as the novelty of having standing desks sinks in.

Asking for input is essential to fostering a feeling of inclusivity and loyalty, but doing this is a brave move. You may not like what you hear, and your employees may pick the most expensive or inconvenient option, but any views with valid rationale should be considered and valued. What you’re investing in managing feedback pays dividends in what you will get back in return.

To learn more about our employee engagement practice at AXON and Madano, get in touch with me at, or with one of our Employee Engagement leads from across our network. For more information on the Ori platform, please contact Gareth Morrell at Madano.