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The Vilmate Experience: How to Build a Happy and Effective Team

Anna Kumbatova

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I think everyone will agree: it is easier to work in a healthy atmosphere, physically and mentally comfortable.  People who feel good in their workplace perform better than their counterparts who are 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 what we have done to increase the level of happiness (and efficiency!) of our team.

1. Established trusting relationships 

 It sounds corny, but it works - provided that the relationships are truly trusting, and not just in words.  How can this be achieved?

We have 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 are not afraid of bringing up a variety of topics.  Even purely professional ones, when we ask for feedback from our employees and ask what worries them.  And more personal ones, when the employee can share their non-work problems, ask for help and get it.

In my opinion, it is equally important to hear in time that an employee needs to change the spectrum.

Our employees come to me not only with a proposal for process optimization but also with very intimate 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.  And if it is impossible to satisfy the request in any way, I must explain the reason or, together with the employee, look for a compromise.

 If you’d like to try our experience, I want to warn you: it is quite possible that the first attempts to establish contact will be cold and the employees did not immediately show frankness.  We didn't have such a problem, Vilmate was originally built in a “family” format.  Be patient, show that you are on the one side and want to help and facilitate their workflow.

From the employer's side, it is challenging to see small, but very annoying problems.  Take them away and see how the productivity and quality of work of employees have increased, as their working life has become easier and more enjoyable! 

2. We opted for transparency

 At Vilmate, transparency is one of the main principles of the company.  And this applies not only to our relations with customers when they know perfectly well what is happening at each stage of work, who is engaged in it.

I believe that transparency in relations with employees is equally important.  Each 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 would like to tell a story that inspires me.

3 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, conditions were created for mastering the profession.  He was very motivated to develop, and now he is rightfully in the position of a strong mid-range Python developer.

There is another example of an employee who came as a student layout designer, and now he is on an open-source league team, a great professional, and an advanced specialist.

 I have noticed that employees who are well aware of how effective all teams are on their contributions do their best not to let their colleagues down and give their best!  And they also feel happier, because they see their value and importance for the project.

3. Encouraging personal growth

A leader needs to be always in touch with his team, to feel and understand it.  An experienced leader knows in advance what tasks to entrust to whom so that everyone can complete the task, can show his/her strengths, upgrade and eventually complete the task.  If the connection is lost, these processes will not be built adequately and effectively.

At Vilmate, we strive to develop our employees, as well as, voluntarily and involuntarily, we create a kind of challenge 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 is 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, his progress and regression, I pay attention to everything - from his performance indicators to the mood with which the employee comes to the office.

We need to see in time that we have approached our peak of development and have hit the “ceiling” in our current position.  In such cases, we are looking for options with a change in activity, or we propose to take more responsibility or to get involved in the solution of more complex and complex problems.  For example, this is how our CTO ended up in his current position.  He showed himself as a team lead on the project, and soon we offered him a promotion.

Similarly, we track employee burnout.  If someone starts to lose motivation and interest in work, becomes indifferent to the tasks of the project, complains of stress, and lacks rest, we are looking for options for how to give the employee a new breath.

Relationships within the team also contribute to personality.  Our communication is structured in such a way that anyone who has shown an excellent result will be surely noted by both top managers and colleagues.  We do not hesitate to give each other well-deserved compliments, and this has a very beneficial effect on the "fighting spirit" of the team.  Even the most withdrawn and introverted people are inspired and flourish when they hear pleasant words addressed to them and receive recognition and respect from colleagues.

4. Removed remote working

This is 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 an inaccessible top manager are serious obstacles to friendly and open relations between the leader and the team.

Vilmate has no boss cult at all, and employees especially appreciate the company for the absence of bureaucracy.  It is normal for us to joke around with our founder, Anton, to address him informally.

There was even such a funny story.  A sales department from the United States came to visit us, and one of the employees made fun of the newcomer: he said that this sales department is our founder, and Anton is employed.  Many believed, began to very respectfully communicate with the salesperson, but he did not understand where such excessive respect came from.

Such harmless pranks are part of our corporate culture.  In general, we treat this culture with great attention. We often arrange small team building and corporate events, and not only among teams but also simply choose people with similar interests.

Informal meetings not only help to get to know each other and establish other personal connections.  With their help, it is easy to identify problems or what may become a problem in the future.  Having caught any misunderstanding in the team, it is 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 are 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 do not stand aside.

Because of this, we have a feeling of light communication, which causes a feeling of ease, understanding of how our employees complement each other. All working problems seem less scary and meaningful.  The team becomes a team and receives motivation and support from each other.

Following this plan, we have created a healthy team environment at Vilmate.  As a result, we have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of each team member and saved the resources of our employees.  They have become even more comfortable in the workplace, the level of happiness has increased, and we do not have to worry about the loyalty of our team.

I received a bonus: it is very pleasant to feel that my colleagues come to work with pleasure, work harmoniously and deal with any problem at the starting point.

Thanks for reading the article.  I hope you find our experience useful, which can be implemented in your company to make your employees happier and more efficient!

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