The liberated company: a success story
A model that is promising but not universal
"The liberated company" is an expression popularised in the 2000s by Isaac Getz that refers to an organisation characterised by employees who are respected and treated as fully responsible adults. This liberation of the company is all the rage. A growing number of organisations are following its principles: an end to hierarchy and organisation into autonomous teams.
There is no shortage of success stories, and yet, many businesses face a less rosy reality:
- Blurred business vision
- Acute meetingitis
- Dispersion of efforts and lack of focus
- Many projects started but not seen through to conclusion
- Difficulty separating private life/professional life
Keeping a structure that makes sense
After reading a lot about it, I started to think about my own experience: Protime. Having joined the company almost 3 years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to discover how it operates and understand how it has become and remains a Great Place to Work and reported constant growth since its creation.
Protime does not claim to be a liberated company because there is still a certain hierarchy, even if it is quite a flat one. Our CEO, who is also the company’s founder, is at the helm. He is surrounded by a management committee representing the different departments. Together, they set Protime's vision and goals.
But that doesn’t mean to say that they take these decisions from their ivory tower. All these decisions are reached after consulting the employees. For example, we have just completed an exercise on the vision and mission that has allowed each team to define theirs and escalate their thoughts. You can just imagine the number of visions and missions proposed ... The directors then structured this feedback to share the final result of the exercise with all Protimers.
This hierarchical structure makes sense when the company gives a voice to its more than 200 employees and they have the satisfaction of having their ideas heard. It is useful to have a small committee that centralises the information, takes and then announces the final decisions. That’s why my experience at Protime tells me that it is not necessarily essential to free the company from its hierarchy when it grants freedom to the employee.
A free employee is an engaged employee.
To garner employee engagement, it is important that they feel useful and that their voice is being heard. Above all, they must be aware of the role they play in the company. Working for Protime means being a player in the success of the company and your own personal success. As a Marketeer, I am obviously a member of the Marketing Department. But since I manage several markets, I am also a full member of the Walloon and French teams that bring together consultants such as sales people or managers.
This means that, over and above the tasks directly related to my job, I also participate in interdisciplinary projects such as the Masterplan Wallonia. This project, the brainchild of field staff, aims to help us achieve our regional goals through a structured and considered approach. I therefore have the satisfaction of managing highly strategic projects with a broad margin of autonomy with my colleagues from other departments.
In addition to these business-oriented projects, Protimers contribute to Protime's social responsibility by participating in initiatives such as Sogeha. Every year, we will help this association, which organises holiday camps for underprivileged children.
Organising is the key to success
As I mentioned above, the risk when liberating the company/employees is chiefly the lack of project follow-through or the dispersion of the efforts. It is therefore essential to channel the employees’ creativity and engagement. It’s not a matter of curbing them but of helping them organise their work.
As a Protimer, I never feel lost because our day-to-day life is managed in our collaborative platform Protime 360. All projects are created on it and shared with its members. This allows them to communicate, find information and, above all, keep track of progress. What’s more, this platform allows everyone to work anywhere, any time, without being permanently accountable to their managers. They have a real-time overview of projects being worked on by their team members.
by Sophie Henrion, digital expert
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