Once upon a time

Wonderbly is an award winning independent technology and publishing business, famous for it's personalized children's books.

The story

Wonderbly came to us having built their own internal tool to handle their learning budget. We interview Jess Hayes, their head of people to tell us her story.

The first day with Sunlight

"Training budgets, and learning “perks” are cropping up more and more frequently as a sweet, sweet perk and an exciting contribution to an organisation’s remuneration package. This specific perk is part of the reason I was so interested in the role managing the People function here at Wonderbly."

Having no platform to manage it

"The other unmanageable aspect of the training budget perk was the fact we had no platform, no visibility, no approval process. Our engineering team, bless their little cotton socks, had built an internal tool that, essentially, just posted updates in Slack. The tool required the employees to purchase the benefit themselves and then be reimbursed, or to request their manager’s credit card."

How was it once you implemented Sunlight?

"The team loved it. We had 87% uptake in the first month, and a massively productive approval process, onboarding experience. A 99.9% decrease in admin from the People team, but now we could report, invoice, track, set budgets, reward performance, see team activity, so much more.‘ Finance owe me a bottle of wine,’ I thought. I still think that."
The team loved it. We had 87% uptake in the first month and a 99.9% decrease in admin from the People team.
Jess Hayes
Head of People at Wonderbly

So how was the training budget used when you got there?

"Ah! It was a nightmare when I arrived here. It was a nightmare. The team were running loose on trips to Jamaica, New York, Thailand — spending >£600 of their budget on flights and a night or two accommodation for their two week “training holiday,” and £50 on a meet-up ticket in the destination of their choice."

Finding Sunlight

"I went through to assess the multiple platforms on the market (email me if you are interested!) but, ultimately, I heard about a product in Alpha called Sunlight.is.Skeptical, but excited, I booked a demo and subsequently begged them (like the admin-overloaded mad-woman I had become) to let me be a part of their first intake. They said yes, thank the People-gods."
For my colleagues in the finance team, it's their dream come true.
Lambro Anastasiou
Head of Finance at Wonderbly

Training Budget. To implement, or not implement?

"Categorically: Do it. It’s a great perk, and your team will reap the rewards. But, and this is a BIIIGGGGGG but, do not do it without a lot of practical thought, a platform like Sunlight, and a process that engages the employee to consider their career and place in your team when spending it. It is not a benefit that will take care of itself without these things."