[Checkmate] Management: innovating to motivate employees
Octo Technology has seen, after several years of existence, its employees leave the ship. Massive departures due to a loss of identity of the company. Its leader Ludovic Cinquin responded by creating a tribal organization, then by adopting the principles of sociocracy.
Founded in 1993, Octo Technology is a digital implementation consulting firm. It keeps growing year after year until 2008, when the company undergoes a real identity crisis. "We changed our position. We were doing consulting and we decided to do software development," recalls CEO Ludovic Cinquin. This created doubt within the teams. "
During this period, the company was being structured: each consultant would work by sector (banking, retail, industry, etc.). The employees did not recognize themselves in the company," says the manager. What they liked was the peer challenge on technological subjects. "
Finally, this is also the moment when Octo Technology reaches 250 employees, a critical size "beyond which it is difficult to identify with a group", according to Ludovic Cinquin.
Employees to be remotivated
As a result, management is facing a massive loss of employees. Turnover goes from 7 to more than 20%! " We would start each management committee meeting by drawing up a list of those who had resigned and lamenting their departure. We were in a depressive spiral that was affecting our motivation and making us less and less attractive to our employees," says Ludovic Cinquin. We had to get our heads up, especially since we were benefiting from positive indicators, such as sustained activity. "
The leader decides to take matters into his own hands and see what is being done elsewhere. Dave Logan's book Tribal Leadership is a revelation. It passes through the hands of the entire management committee. "This allowed us to live a common experience and to put words on the uneasiness of the company", underlines the CEO. They also participated in several management conferences and began, little by little, to draw a new model for Octo Technology.
Interviewing key stakeholders
The executive is inspired by the model of the liberated company. He is launching a major consultation with his employees, through a survey co-constructed with them. He also made a commitment: to make public all the answers to the 80 questions.
The results confirmed that employees wanted to work on the subjects they liked, independently of any sector. He then proposed to them to review the internal organization with the creation of tribes. " We give them a starting signal: they have one month to propose the team and the project of their choice ", says Ludovic Cinquin.80% of employees have adopted this change. The initiative is also beneficial for recruitment, since the tribes have become active and are themselves looking for new recruits to help them build their project.
A more democratic project
The turnover has decreased to around 10%, a rate in line with the company's current workforce. Octo Technology now has 760 employees. The tribes have been completed by 'mega tribes', i.e. lead teams that bring together several groups. "This has been a tremendous burst of energy, it has re-mobilized people, even the most cynical," says a delighted Ludovic Cinquin.
Since then, the leader has pushed the cursor even further and turned to sociocracy. In this shared governance method, decisions are made by consent and the hierarchical organization of a project is decided exclusively by election. "It allows us to better structure the company: how we define roles, how we formalize problems, how we make decisions ", says the manager who can now ensure the 20% annual growth of Octo Technology with confidence
" We seldom regret trusting our employees! And you have to know that the worst position is not to take any risks. When I sent an email to everyone announcing the new organization, I thought I was heading straight for the wall. But without this approach, I wouldn't have launched a plan that would have been exciting for the whole company. "