Springest was the first company in the Netherlands that inroduced the Holacracy principle—an organization that runs without managers, only a set of values. And Ruben Timmerman, Founder of Springest, shared with us how this organization keeps their employees happy.
Q: Tell us about some of the great things you do in your workplace that keep employees engaged and energized.
A: At Springest, we work with Holacracy. This is an agile management method in which traditional top-down management is replaced by a structure that enables all employees to have more authority without the organization spinning into uncontrollable chaos.
Transparency about who is responsible for what roles and activities and who is working on which project at all times is essential in this structure. To enable the highest level of transparency throughout our organization, we use several online tools, like TINYpulse, Asana, Slack, and our own 'internal Facebook' called Sputr. We ensure everybody knows what's going on and everybody gets the chance to give feedback.
All activities and the people initiating and undertaking them are extremely visible in our organization. We ensure everybody stays involved in the things that are going on, and we give everyone a stage to present what they are up to. An example is our Friday Town Hall Meeting. Every week, people can present one of the things they have accomplished recently during this meeting. Everyone gets recognized for what they do, and this keeps employees engaged.
As for the energizing part and being fit: we make sure everyone gets a healthy lunch every day, and every other week, we even have our own cook coming in to make us all a healthy, fresh meal. We play some ping-pong with each other in the office too.
Q: Tell us a little bit about what your company does and why employee recognition is so important to you.
A: Springest is an education comparison website. Our goal is to make it easier for everyone to find the best-fitting learning opportunities to get ahead in their professional and personal lives. We do so by offering them a platform where you can find and compare all the courses and educational programs you can possibly think of in the Netherlands, Germany, and the UK.
At the moment we are very focused on helping companies enhance the access to learning opportunities for their employees with a software tool filled with our comprehensive data. We help people and companies get ahead, learn, and grow. This is also what we aim for with Springest—moving forward, growing—and we can only enable this if the employees grow and learn in our organization too.
Employee recognition plays an important role in the learning process. It helps to reflect and get inspired by one another to get ahead. Also, dealing with setbacks and disappointments that may also occur along the line becomes easier when you feel positively recognized as an employee and as a colleague.
Q: What kind of improvements/changes have you seen in your culture after using TINYpulse?
A: When we first started, with the tool we already had a culture in which people were giving each other feedback and kudos on a regular basis. Some of our employees did not manage to find or take the time to complete the questions in the beginning.
Once we began to spread the outcome of the TINYpulses more openly, people became more interested in participating because they noticed the valuable feedback their colleagues were giving. TINYpulse was adding to our culture of transparency and recognition by creating a moment in the week where people take a minute or two to reflect—both on how they envision working here and how they look at the team.
TINYpulse creates a moment of positive reflection on your colleagues and honest consideration of how the organization is doing. This enhances the engagement when basic but active involvement is already there.
Q: What is one of the best/funniest Cheers for Peers sent out by your team?
A: The best and funniest cheers last year must have been the Oprah-style cheers for everyone by one of our team members, Ewout Meijer, to all of us, after a period of hard work and some struggle: "Cheers for everybody! Oprah style! We had a lot of wins recently because everyone put in their best effort to turn the tide. Great work guys!"
Also a nice one to remember is this one, from one of our employees to myself as the founder: "For creating this awesome company, and never letting go of the idea that everybody should have fulfilment in their jobs."
Q: What’s an outdated recognition tactic you keep seeing?
A: Recognition is always a good idea. How you do this is not the most important thing. The most outdated tactic would therefore have to be the one that does not exist: a culture where companies forget to recognize their employees and team members forget to applaud each other for their accomplishments.
Using a user-friendly tool like TINYpulse does make it a whole lot easier to introduce a recognition tactic to your company, of course! So cheers for you guys by team Springest!