One of the greatest challenges in a small, fast-developing company is to stay friendly to its employees. That is basically what “not being a corporation” means to our staff in Objectivity and also to me as a HR specialist. I, myself, have run away from nationwide organisations with a silo structures and a great number of procedures, instructions, other big and small internal written regulations. These gave the impression of order and, as a result, most people knew exactly what their place in a company structure was. As a result, a lot of us stuck firmly to our own positions, not knowing (and not being interested in) what was going on around the corner. Somewhere in the process, friendly relations between people have vanished.
Our goal in Objectivity is to keep those interpersonal relations intact. How do we do it?
First of all, we care that our employees have ample chance to talk face to face with each other, including with bosses. Before we open a project we meet few times to analyse it and discuss different points of view. It’s the word of mouth organisational culture that arises from the freedom to exchange thoughts. Our staff feel safe to share their opinions; this is true in part because we do not punish mistakes. If a failure happens, instead of looking for a scape goat, we analyse the reasons for the mishap and then concentrate on modifying our ways to avoid accidents in future. This is our approach – focus on finding solutions rather than on apportioning blame.
Beside meetings and discussions, we have implemented a managerial tool called one to one (1-2-1 or 1:1). It’s a regular face to face chat between an employee and his/her boss – which is not recorded anywhere except their calendars and minds. It’s a time exclusively for those two to give each other feedback or, as we call it, feedforward. 1-2-1 serves as a talk about the progress of tasks, possible impediments on the way to success and ways to remove them. It’s a time for a manager to get to know his team members better to care for them by discussing both by professional and career development and the time for the employee to seek guidance, share ideas and address issues. After a year of using 1-2-1s we are sure they bring benefits that no yearly or even quarterly appraisal system can ever give! 1-2-1s keep our teams agile, open, honest and… friendly. Regular, informal chats leave no space for gossip or for stifling problems. They get issues solved quickly and let us stay… friendly.