I think everyone can agree: it’s easier to work in a healthy atmosphere that’s physically and mentally comfortable. People who feel good in their workplace perform better than their counterparts under pressure or stress.
At Vilmate, we place great emphasis on the team atmosphere, which is one of the secrets of our continuous growth and professional success. I want to tell you our story about what we’ve done to increase the level of happiness (and efficiency!) of our team.
1. We established trusting relationships
It sounds corny, but it works. Of course, provided that the relationships are really trusting, and not just in words. But how can this be achieved?
We always wanted to build friendly, almost family relations in the office. Regular meetings and frank conversations between the manager and employees help us in this.
We aren’t afraid of bringing up a variety of topics. It includes purely professional ones when we ask for feedback from our employees and wonder what worries them. Also, it concerns even more personal ones when the employee can share their non-work problems, ask for help and get it.
In my opinion, it’s equally important to hear in time that an employee needs to change the spectrum. Our employees come to me not only with proposals for process optimization but also with personal problems.
In any case, I need to treat the signals that come to me with attention and warmth. I analyze what I heard and think about how I can help. Sometimes, it can be impossible to satisfy the request. In such a case, I explain the reason or look for a compromise together with the employee.
If you would like to try out our approach, I want to warn you. It’s quite possible that the first attempts to establish contact will be cold, and the employees won’t immediately show frankness. We were lucky not to have such a problem because Vilmate was originally built in a “family” format.
The most common, yet solid advice is to be patient and show that you are on the same side with your subordinates. You need to show that you want to help them and facilitate their workflow.
From the employer’s side, it’s challenging to see small, but very annoying problems. Take them away and see how the productivity and quality of work of employees will increase. All because their working life will become easier and more enjoyable!
2. We opted for transparency
At Vilmate, transparency is one of the main principles of the company. Our customers know perfectly well what’s happening at each stage of work and who is engaged in it.
And this applies not only to our relations with customers. I believe that transparency in relations with employees is equally important. Each member of the team must be aware of the long-term and short-term goals of the company and understand what role they have in achieving these goals.
We ask employees to make plans for themselves. And we don’t arrange strict checks. In Vilmate, this system works great. As an example, I’d like to tell a story that inspires me.
Three years ago, a newcomer came to us without knowledge and experience. He was brought in by one of our employees. We took him on a trial period and created the conditions for him to master the profession. He was very motivated to develop, and now he is rightfully in the position of a strong middle Python developer.
There is another example of an employee who came as a student layout designer. Now, he’s on an open-source league team, a great professional, and an advanced specialist.
I’ve noticed that employees who’re well aware of their contribution to the common cause do their best to achieve the top results! And they also feel happier because they see their value and importance for the project.
3. We encourage personal growth
A leader needs to be always in touch with the team to feel and understand it. And an experienced leader knows in advance who to entrust which tasks. Thus, the workloads are distributed evenly, and everyone can show their strengths, upgrade and complete the task on time. If the connection is lost, these processes will not be built adequately and effectively.
At Vilmate, we strive to create the perfect environment for the personal development of our employees. We aim to create – by default and by design – challenges for them. That allows us to keep ourselves in good shape, not to ossify in the routine, and develop the strengths of each team member.
Equally, it’s vitally important not to be silent about weaknesses. It can be difficult, but I make sure to say which competencies an employee should improve – both professional and personal.
I constantly monitor the state of each employee, their progress and regress. I pay attention to everything – from performance indicators to the mood in which the employee comes to the office.
It’s very important to see in time that someone has approached their peak of development and hit the “ceiling” in their current position. In such cases, we are looking for some different options. It can be a change in activity, taking more responsibility, or getting involved in solving more complex and complex problems. For example, this is how our CTO found himself in his current position. He showed himself as a great team lead on the project, and soon we offered him a promotion.
Similarly, we track employee burnout. It can happen that someone starts to lose motivation and interest in work. The person can become indifferent to the project tasks, complain of stress, and lack rest. In such a case, we’re looking for options to give the employee a new breath.
Relationships within the team also contribute to personal growth. Our communication is built in such a way that anyone who has shown an excellent result will be surely noted by both top managers and colleagues.
We don’t hesitate to give each other well-deserved compliments. As they say, a little sympathy goes a long way. It has a very beneficial effect on the "fighting spirit" of the team. Even the most introverted people get inspired when they receive recognition from colleagues.
4. We eliminated distance as an obstacle to communication
It’s another important Vilmate value that helps us operate successfully and efficiently. Take a closer look at our experience and, if our approach responds to you, try to implement it yourself.
Closed offices, locked doors, and inaccessible top managers. All these are serious obstacles on a way to friendly and open relations between the leader and the team.
Vilmate has no boss cult at all. Employees especially appreciate the company for the absence of bureaucracy. It is normal for us to joke around with our founder, Anton, and to address him informally.
There was even such a funny story. A salesperson from the United States came to visit us, and one of the employees made fun of the newcomer. He said that this salesperson is our founder, and Anton is employed. Many people fell for it and began to communicate with the salesperson more respectfully. But he did not understand where such excessive respect came from.
Such harmless pranks are part of our corporate culture. In general, we treat corporate culture with great attention. We often arrange small team building and corporate events, and not only among teams but also among people with similar interests.
Informal meetings not only help to get to know each other and establish other personal connections. With their help, it’s easy to identify problems or what may become a problem in the future. Having caught any misunderstanding in the team, it’s much easier to deal with it.
In addition, our employees like this attentive approach. They immediately understand that we think about them and care about their mental and psychological comfort.
We’re not trying to appear sinless, flawless, and always right in front of each other. We allow ourselves to be ordinary people. Of course, each of us is a professional, but we give ourselves the right to make mistakes and, if something happens, we come to the rescue, and don’t stand aside.
Because of this, we have a feeling of lightness of communication, which causes a feeling of ease. In such a way, our colleagues understand how they complement each other. And all working problems seem less scary and meaningful. So, the team becomes truly a team and every member receives motivation and support from their colleagues.
Following this plan, we’ve created a healthy team environment at Vilmate. As a result, we’ve increased the efficiency and effectiveness of each team member and saved the resources of our employees. They’ve become even more comfortable in the workplace, the level of happiness has increased, and we don’t have to worry about the loyalty of our team.
Speaking about my personal perks, I received a great bonus. It’s very pleasant to feel that my colleagues come to work with pleasure, work harmoniously and deal with any problem at the starting point.
I hope you find our experience useful and find some tips applicable for your company to make your employees happier and more efficient!
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