In every company there should be something that sticks the things together – the identity, that you can feel and taste while browsing the office rooms, listening to the talks at the kitchen, calling the customer support or talking to a manager. The big problem for the employers now is that we are not willing to work for the salary only – we need something more. We have all heard about the research that show that money don’t work when you require some intellectual, creative work. Of course, your employees should be paid good, so they don’t think of money on the first place. Then the company culture, mission understanding and all that stuff comes.
It is a very hard task for every manager – they want people not only to “sit 8 hours in the office”, but be creative, be initiative, energetic, a super-star. How to create that atmosphere so your employees are that good? I think that the IT guts are definitely motivated by default. You can’t be a good programmer if you don’t like it, don’t spent your spare time on coding your crazy pet projects. You are just living that way. The same is for the good PM – you are obsessed by your work – projects are not just your work, they are part of your life (may be I am the only mad in that way, I should take that into consideration).
So, the task for the employer becomes even easier – you should just not kill the motivation your employees have! It seems easier from the first glance, but think more a bit…
My boss is an idiot
Have you heard that? I bet, many times. The surprise is that many managers think that their subordinates are idiots too. That they are just waiting for the moment to stop working and procrastinate, when their manager is not looking at them. That if they loose the control no one will work. It is even more surprising in the IT companies, when the teams are begging “give, give us the challenging task!!”. managers are afraid to let their teams making their own decision – giving them more freedom. They think that if they stop controlling the teams people will stop working at all! But wait, why I am not seeing the whip in your hands? You don’t have it? But why they are still working?
Let them go – you will be surprised how much they can do without a punishment waiting for them if they don’t work.
May be I am crazy, but even cards that track my time – when I enter the office and when I leave – make me crazy! I start thinking how to overcome that, even if I don’t need to do that. I start thinking WHY they need to do that. Am I working badly? Do they need me to sit 8 hours? Is it more important that the result? I am coming to office and make my best here – I am not thinking about the hours, I am not thinking about the awards – I love what I am doing. If they need to track the hours – may be they have problems with other people, who are shoving the poor results and it was the only way to make them do something?
Here we come to the problem 2.
Unfortunately, IT guys are smart
They are thinking all the time. They see what you are hiding. If you are not talking to them – they can create a conspiracy theory, that can scare any FBI agent, while having their afternoon tea on the kitchen.
I am not kidding you. When you create some rule for them – their first reaction is – how to find the way to overcome it. So do you want them to spend their time on coding or on inventing the ideal plan to overcome the rules? I haven’t found the better way with my teams that be honest. You are in the same boat.
Finally I come closer to the company philosophy topic. I worked mostly in the out-coursing companies. We develop the applications for our customers – we don’t own the products we create. I am going to uncover the unpleasant true here, please don’t read, if you are not ready ^_^
Usually, in every company I worked, employees are receiving the message from the top management, “company philosophy”: we are developing the great product which bring the real value to our customers. “Our designs are unique, our code is gorgeous and we are the real experts at the any field.” Great! But why are you pushing me to “optimize” my time, so we can be more profitable? Why the designer should not polish the design, because PM says “we are ran of time. our sales managers sold this budget!”. We want to be gorgeous and profitable at the same time. Employees feel the dissonance at first, then they join the play – make the things at the level “our client will except that” and continue speaking about the “adorable results”.
That thing make me mad. It is like the great conspiracy among all these people – I can’t say “we do the quality that you pay for”, I should say “we do the best quality” even if I know it is not true. As everyone remembers the title of the book “Quality is free”, but a few people read it to find out what is behind that phrase.
So, I am for the consistency in the slogans which you send to your employees through the company philosophy and culture. It is rather easy to define, what values you want your employees to share – just imagine several cases and think, how your employees should behave in these cases.
It seems that I am not the business person at all.
You would tell me that this is great, but where is the profit? We can’t just spent the time and money on the comfortable environment for our developers, we are to make money from this business. The case it that you can get more from the high-productive employees! You will not need to hire more – the existing ones can produce more! The strong team that has their own opinion and their own ideas. Of course, you won’t be able to come back to the authoritarian management, but you would be able to have a bit rest – as the team will share the responsibility with you. I don’t see the other way to keep your super-star developers.