What if you could fire your boss?

- Worker Happiness

by Vasco Duarte

Last week I was on Skype with my friend Søren Cosmus because I’d heard that at his company Valtech they use some smart tools to make their work more fun. And they do. To give some examples; they use monthly town hall meetings, have an open door policy and they have a Happiness Index to see how everyone is doing. They use that last one to effectively map the state of mind of the people to see how and what they can improve.

Motivation on three levels

We then talked a bit about the game Moving Motivators (I wrote about it before here and here), which they use on three different levels, something I’ve never heard before. Line managers use it during one-on-one’s with their people to see what gets them going, but the managers also use it before they plan the competency development activities. This way they can make sure to get different competences in one team. Smart thinking if you ask me. Last, but definitely not least, they use it in times of change, just to make sure what motivators they need to work on pro-active, for instance during difficult times. It seems there are some very clever boys and girls working at Valtech.

Wait, what?

Søren pointed out how they disliked some elements of the current bonus system (money in the bank) and are now thinking about how to create a better one. I asked him what they dislike about it and he then quoted, ‘Tell me how you measure me and I tell you how I’ll behave’. Well, that pretty much sums it up. They are now thinking about a new bonus system that doesn’t credit ‘outcome but ‘ways of working’ and that can ‘hit you any time’.

Well, ‘that’s that’ I thought. Enough for an inspiring blog post in my opinion, but I courteously asked him if he had anything else. Well, he had… He told me Valtech had recently been certified as ‘Most Democratic Workplace 2013′ by WorldBlu. ‘Congratulations’, I said, ‘tell me about it’. And he did. All I could say was, ‘Wait, what?’

Choose your boss

As it turns out, at his company they really understand what the role of line management should be: supporting their people. And who can judge a manager like no other? The people he or she manages of course. So three years ago they empowered the workers who now get to choose their boss once a year. If you’re not satisfied with the current one, you just ‘fire’ him and pick someone else! It’s a brilliant system if you ask me, and the best news is that the managers like it as well. Apparently it triggers some of their intrinsic motivators. I can’t think of a bigger challenge, so thumbs up for the managers who dare to put their reputation on the line. I wish there were more of you around.

Photo: Katya Austin (Unsplash)

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