At EMPAUA we value transparency a lot, and that is why we would like to share some insights with our community today on how we try to learn as an organisation in order to create a work environment that is satisfying on many different levels. Twice a year, we send around the so-called Satisfaction Survey – an anonymous feedback form – with the objective of finding out how satisfied the PAUA people are in their jobs. By doing that, we get an overview of the overall feelings, concerns, and motivation drivers at EMPAUA.
The results are then presented to the whole company and internal projects are derived from them if needed. We also always take the results of previous surveys into account to make sure that the development is going in the right direction and to take a closer look at trends over time.
The most important topics are taken into account when determining the company goals, which in turn serve as a basis for the objectives and key results (OKRs) that each team is defining and working towards. That way, it means every team member is contributing to addressing the issues that the survey uncovers.
Success factors for a high satisfaction level
So what are the categories that we have identified as success factors when it comes to achieving a high satisfaction level? Basically, everything comes down to our core values: Community, Collaboration, Transparency, and Self-Management. Our team is our greatest asset, and we are dedicated to ensuring they are happy and healthy. We make it a point to foster connection and open, authentic relationships with each other, by showing appreciation, and helping each other grow by giving constructive feedback.
We are committed to mutual support, reliability, and proactive communication. We value autonomy and are empowered to make decisions within our roles, organise our workload and prioritise efficiently. To keep growing, both personally and professionally is important to us, and we regularly set new goals to ensure our development.
Of course, this is the ideal we aspire to – and we will not pretend that it is possible to live up to it in every category at every point in time. But we are doing our very best to get better every day!
Example: efficient meetings
Let’s look at an example: We decided to measure how efficient people felt our meetings were and included a question in this regard in the last survey. The result was 7.6, and we really wanted that number to be higher.
Following Holacracy fundamentals, each of our teams has a Facilitator (who guides each team meeting and makes sure the meeting process is followed) and a Secretary (who captures all output during a meeting) – they are the key roles for meetings to be quick and efficient.
We decided to hold additional training sessions for the people currently filling those roles. After that, we had experienced team members shadow the meetings to give feedback directly afterwards, and also held regular catchup calls with all Facilitators and Secretaries so they had a platform to ask questions and share best practices between the teams. Our efforts made a difference: In the first survey of 2021 (January) the perceived efficiency had risen to 8.1. We hope to be able to increase this number even further in the months to come.
Example: Relationships within the team
There are also some areas we have always been rather good at and are proud that we continue to keep the level high, like this one:
We perceive this to be one of our most outstanding characteristics. We live the holacratic concept of wholeness – we don’t have to put on a work mask when we open our laptops or come to the office to only show our socially acceptable side, but bring our authentic selves to work. We can share our happiest moments, but we also don’t have to pretend everything is ok when it is not.
Every meeting starts with a check-in round, where everyone can share what’s on their mind. We also regularly listen to each other in our Partner Relations Meetings, where we don’t just share what’s going on in our lives but also solve conflicts in a mediated way and show appreciation for each other.
Since the pandemic started, the People & Culture team has also been organising regular one to one calls with every individual to open up a safe space to reflect on feelings and needs in these challenging times, and is coming up with company-wide formats to face the most pressing issues that are discovered in these calls. The most recent initiative is the introduction of a mental health-related role which serves as a point of contact for anyone who finds themselves in a challenging situation.
The big picture
Needless to say, there will always be areas where we can (and will!) improve, but we would like to share the two most important questions and their most recent results with you:
We think these graphs show that we do commit to living up to our values as much as possible and that in general, people enjoy working at EMPAUA and feel valued in this company. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved and the strong community that we have built together!
Written by Sophie Rödl, Mental Health & Culture.