A consulting firm that takes trust and transparency to the extreme

Written by Cassandre Verriest, on 19 February 2020

The question of values is always thorny in a company... Futurice defines the notion of values as the beliefs and behaviors of members of a company when "no one is watching." In this company, trust and transparency are the keywords of management: how does Futurice concretize its values ​​on a daily basis?

For Futurice, trust and transparency go hand in hand: within the company, a team where trust reigns is a team that succeeds and tends to naturally become transparent, both in its decision-making and in everyone's salary.

The end of expense reports

But the company does not leave everything to chance and has developed a framework that facilitates the development of trust among peers. For example, all employees, from their first day, are granted a company business debit card with which they can spend without having to give an account. However, all expenses are accessible and viewable by all employees in order to promote total transparency of information.

No abuse has ever been recorded; there has even been a 25% decrease in travel expenses for their consultants in Finland, which they attribute to a very strong sense of belonging: the employee spends according to their needs and acts as if the company's money were their own. This debit card, a sign of the trust that Futurice has in its employees, has thus had a double beneficial effect: reducing costs and developing a strong sense of belonging to the company.

A collective social media strategy

The company goes even further and gives access codes to its employees for the company's social networks: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Everyone can share, without control, the posts, articles, and videos they deem relevant. Futurice thus cultivates its image as a liberated company and shares relevant content that has earned it several buzzes on Instagram and has gathered more than 15,000 followers on LinkedIn; a record for a consulting firm in the country! A more than positive practice, therefore!

However, faced with the increasing mass of content published by its employees, they designated a team responsible for collecting all the ideas of the employees in order to sort and choose the most relevant content. This team of 5 people rotates every 3 months and carries out this mission in addition to their daily work. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute and choose the most relevant content. This new team is also elected by a show of hands on the last Friday evening of the period. It is an opportunity to bring together all employees and to concretize on a daily basis the trust that the company offers to its employees.

Building transparency

If trust quickly emerged as a value in Futurice's managerial culture, transparency was the result of a long construction process. In 2009, the company had 50 employees, the result of rapid growth. However, the quality of the decisions made deteriorated enormously without the management team being able to explain it. In an attempt to correct the situation, the management team tried to implement several practices drawn from books or external advisors: it only made things worse. Until one day, through dialogue, the management understood that the decisions that seemed unwise to them were indeed wise from the employees' point of view, for one simple reason: the management team had all the necessary information to have an overview and make informed decisions, which was not the case for the employees. The need to bring transparency to the company was glaring, and that's what they did.

Since this revelation, every employee has access to all the company's data: files, discussions, meetings have been made accessible to everyone. Everyone can participate in the meeting of their choice, and the meetings are commented on live on the company's internal network. One might wonder how they manage to handle and navigate through these streams of information, but that's another question...

And it doesn't stop there! All employees also have access to the company's financial data. Everything is shared: the company's figures, website, training, accounting, as well as all budgets and expenses. This openness to information has radically transformed the quality of decision-making by employees. Not only were the decisions made judicious and constructive, but they also allowed Futurice to thrive since eleven years later, the company has more than 400 employees. This major realization of transparency has also created a very strong sense of belonging among employees, and the company enjoys very strong employee engagement on a daily basis.

Our interlocutor finally concludes her explanations with a sentence: "If trust allows transparency, the reverse is also true: transparency nurtures and creates trust." That says it all!