People Are the Foundation of Our Company
The standardization and work reports I wrote about helped us to bring order and efficiency to the firm. But the most valuable part is our team. We would not be where we are without the team. Whenever we solve a problem in cooperation with someone else (eg Vodafone or Microsoft), I remind myself of how I happy I am for all of my colleagues.
I started my business (trade license) at school, so I’ve never been employed. I think it makes me a little handicapped. I did not have the opportunity to eye what normal companies do. At the same time, I do not know much about people. I like going to dive for long hours to technical / process problems and I do not have much time for others. Exchange of experience, discussion of ideas, and other social interactions with others are then “affected” by briefness and I do not always sound the way I aim to. That’s why I’m glad to have my companion in the company, who always solves things for me. 🙂
It was hard to recruit new colleagues from the very beginning. I deliberately avoid the word employee because I do not like it. All of the people in our company are, according to me, my colleagues. I think it better describes the friendly and cooperative environment we have.
I would say we’ve made the following mistakes:
- We were recruiting at the very last minute. We would be already late. When we chose someone, we would get even more delayed as someone has to coach the new colleague – you can not work and coach at the same time.
- We were not choosy. We chose someone for whom IT was not a hobby once – he soon left to do something else. At other times, we chose someone inconsiderate – he forgot half of the tasks or did them wrong. We had to check him and maybe we would be quicker if we did it ourselves.
- The team was not a priority. We did not think so much about how a new colleague fits into the existing team. As a result, the new colleague was not bad, but the collaboration didn´t work anyway.
This period was difficult and it cost us a lot of time and money. But as the saying goes “everything bad is for something good”. Thanks to that we have found out how we do not want the things to go.
We currently have a team that works. We have satisfied customers, satisfied team, the company manages to grow and prosper. I like it and appreciate it because I know it has not always been this way.
I think, apart from the more careful recruitment of new colleagues (they have to fit the team and love working in IT), the following wishes and thoughts play a role:
Keeping the team „as small as possible“
I don´t mean reducing the number of colleagues in our company. Just the opposite is true. We want to maintain the highest possible work efficiency (ie, as a high “number of managed devices” / “number of people” ratio as possible). Fewer people better share information, there are fewer misunderstandings and errors. Everyone is informed about what’s going on in the company and where we are heading. We do get a fracted team (everyone talks to everybody). We have less overhead (we do not have to employ a manager of the manager and we can divide the saved money in between the employees). This contributes to both team and customer satisfaction.
Having a flat hierarchical structure
We want colleagues to respect each other for their knowledge and experience. Not because someone said that the other is the boss. It works and suits us so far. Everyone has his/her responsibilities/tasks – each one as much as he/she asks. 🙂 Colleagues help each other as needed (nobody takes advantage of it – leaving a job he does not want to do to someone else). The fact that we do not have competitive but cooperative rewards may help – each one has its own goals to get rewards, and then there are rewards, depending on how the company is doing as a whole.
Keeping the team satisfied
We want everyone to be happy doing fulfilling work. It’s kind of a vicious circle. When they enjoy their work, they do it well and learn new things quickly. Good work makes good customer satisfaction. When the customers are happy, they praise the colleagues and are willing to pay more. We can, therefore, increase salaries. More money, good team relationships, praise, and customer recognition will then help make the work more enjoyable for the colleagues.
I am in particular thinking of professional/career growth (I saw the great presentation from Jan Vlachynský on Leadership Brno). Because our company grows relatively fast, we get more customers and bigger orders. Everyone is constantly getting to new technologies and facing new challenges. All of us will move to new positions in a year or two. Usually, when a colleague begins to manage his job “with closed eyes”, the time will come to move to a more demanding position. When he learns to cope with new situations, work will not become boring and he will not slip.
Unfortunately, I can not share any specific and unique recommendations/solutions that will ensure your success and a quality team in this article. I am mainly a technician by heart and I am doing all I can in the interpersonal relationships field. All I wanted is to write down my insights and experience.
This article was created, in particular, as a thank-you to my colleagues and as a reminder that I know about their work and that I realize how important their work – they are the company! At the same time, to complete the “know-how” I write about (eg “a miracle cure that came just in time“). Because any system or work improvement I come up with would incomplete without the right people.