Phocas received a Human Synergistics award for achieving a ‘constructive’ culture during three years of fast change. Phocas staff are happier, more capable and more collaborative in 2019 from an already strong starting position in 2016. A motivated team also produces great results, so another positive outcome was 55% revenue growth across the company.
How to understand a tech culture?
Myles Glashier, the co-founder and co-CEO, says Phocas is all about the people. "We don’t use gimmicky techniques to boost morale, but we do prioritise feedback and encourage everyone to have a stake in the business, " explains Glashier.
From the outset, the goal was to make Phocas fun and the work fulfilling. So whether a person develops the software or works with customers to solve their data problems, people are encouraged to own these responsibilities.
In 2016, Phocas set an ambitious five-year plan. Key elements of the strategy included investing in a new platform to migrate the data analytics solution and customers to the cloud, extending the American division, innovating the product and building the capability of the global team.
Glashier knew he had a special environment but wanted to learn more about what his people loved about working at Phocas so he could keep the magic alive during the change ahead.
The company took part in the Human Synergistics 2016 culture survey to obtain a baseline measure.
What Phocas learned from the first culture measure?
The 2016 culture measure reminded Phocas management that its people appreciated the open and accessible leadership who listen and take-on new ideas. They also liked the freedom and autonomy at Phocas, as well as the flexibility of work hours. People liked being measured on outcomes versus hours worked. Everyone also appreciated the rewards provided for success.
"However, as everyone also knew about the impending growth plans, they told us they worried about whether our systems and processes could cope with fast growth.They were also worried about the workload and resource challenges, and wanted more opportunity to grow personally and professionally,”explains Glashier.
In three years, Phocas has recruited heavily and grown from 100 to 170 people.The business now has a dedicated ‘people and culture’ team who have introduced more professional growth and development opportunities, developed the leaders and simplified the organisation design further.
Everyone has a clear line of sight to the company strategy and the importance of keeping customers and partners happy, which means constant collaboration.
What is a constructive culture?
Constructive cultures are those in which members are encouraged to interact with others and approach tasks in ways that will help them meet their higher order satisfaction needs such as self-esteem. Constructive norms measured by the Organizational Culture Inventory® include:
- Achievement—Members are expected to set challenging goals, establish plans to reach those goals, and pursue them with enthusiasm.
- Self-Actualizing—Members are expected to enjoy their work, develop themselves, and take on new and interesting activities.
- Humanistic-Encouraging—Members are expected to be supportive, helpful, and open to influence in their dealings with one another.
- Affiliative—Members are expected to be friendly, cooperative, and sensitive to the satisfaction of their work group.
The 2019 re-measure showed Phocas improved in all twelve styles in the circumplex including the four crucial ones outlined above. Phocas had statistically significant changes in the humanistic-encouraging and affiliative styles, which shows the investments made in training, development and coaching worked. The results also reflect the high value placed on internal teamwork and constant collaboration with our customers and partners.
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