Nearsoft prend le meilleur des modèles de management

Written by Cassandre Verriest, on 19 March 2020

There is no (yet?) a miracle recipe, a perfect model that would make a company efficient, attractive, and profitable... But we can draw inspiration from the successes of various existing models! Nearsoft chose to adapt, without simply copying, several alternative management models to create a very free and empowering corporate culture. So, how did they do it?

In 2006, Matt Pérez took over Nearsoft and wanted to inject new dynamics into the company by transforming its management culture. Convinced that employee empowerment and well-being are catalysts for engagement, he sought inspiration from various management methods implemented worldwide. Quickly understanding the limitations of each model, he wanted to avoid the risk of a "copy-paste" of practices that work in other companies. Aware that each organization must adapt to the men and women who make it up, he drew from various models the practices he personalized and then adapted to Nearsoft with his collaborators. He implemented a more liberated management style while maintaining a framework and support for employees, the pillars of a successful management transformation.

So, how did they do it?

While aiming to empower employees by eliminating the manager's role, Matt Pérez quickly faced their reactions: granting significant responsibility can inhibit or even paralyze some employees! He had to redirect his approach and define what self-governance would be at Nearsoft.

Therefore, it became necessary to establish not rules but a framework, allowing employees to enjoy this responsible freedom while benefiting from support that reassures them on a daily basis.

Matt Pérez, a true enthusiast of management innovations, researched, met inspiring personalities on the subject, and went to see firsthand how these companies were reinventing their models. In 2011, after numerous trials and adjustments, Nearsoft found its own path and implemented a hybridization of different models to meet its needs.

Matt Pérez retained several characteristics from certain models, eliminated the majority, always with the goal of preserving the freedom and responsibility of employees. Here are some examples:

  • The morning stand-up meetings from the agile method: They provide updates on project progress and the agenda. It's an essential step for employees to gather colleagues' opinions, express their doubts, and raise questions.

  • The weekly tactical meetings, specific to holacracy, focus on operational work. The main goal is to address issues that occurred during the week and remove obstacles to ensure efficient work resumption. A facilitator is present to facilitate discussions and ensure the precise progression of the meeting. It starts with the Inclusion Tour, where participants take turns expressing what caught their attention in the past week. Then comes the checklist review by the facilitator to verify the execution of actions assigned to each role, responding with a simple "check" or "no-check" based on their progress. Next is the Indicators Review, where each person presents the key tracking numbers for their actions, followed by Project News to share important updates on each project. For each of these steps, each role speaks without any reactions allowed from others; those are saved for the exchange time that follows. The agenda is then constructed based on the topics briefly announced by each participant. Again, no debate is allowed. The Triage process then addresses the agenda items, allowing open discussion, identifying and assigning collectively decided actions to the relevant roles. The meeting concludes with the Closing Round, where each person states the main learnings and insights they gained from the meeting.

  • The Salary Review: This practice, increasingly used, is implemented in a very original way at Nearsoft. Raises are initiated by each individual. Once a year, each employee writes a handwritten letter to the company indicating the raise they believe they deserve. Employees gather to designate members, chosen from among the collaborators, of the commission that will rule on the year's raise requests. The commission gives its opinion but makes no final decisions on salary adjustments. It is the employee who, after receiving the commission's opinion, makes the final decision to increase their salary or not. At Nearsoft, 4/5 of employees opt for a salary adjustment based on inflation, and only 1/5 actually requests a raise. Seeking opinions is an excellent way to eliminate maneuvers, bargaining, and complaints about compensation. The employee decides after consulting colleagues and takes on all responsibilities associated with their decision.

  • The Advice Process specific to self-governance: Anyone can decide anything, including the use of the company's money. Provided they have consulted those with expertise in the domain and those who will have to live with the consequences of the decision. However, the goal is not to reach a soft compromise. After careful consideration, the decision-maker chooses what seems best, even if it goes against a colleague's opinion. Obviously, they take responsibility if they decide to implement their decision. Given the completely flattened structure of the company, employees don't need to seek approval from their n+1 or anyone else to make their decision. They all have control.

hese four practices are all inspired by different management models without Nearsoft aiming to adhere to any single one. There is a real desire for customization to implement methods that align with self-management and the desires of the company's employees. In developing and choosing these practices, Matt Pérez did not decide alone. He surveyed many company employees through focus groups to gather their opinions and tested these methods to then personalize them as needed.

For example, Matt thought it was impossible for a sales team to perform without financial motivation. In previous companies where he worked, everyone received enticing bonuses based on their sales. It turns out that it was the employees who chose how salespeople would be compensated. A large majority decided: the salesperson in charge of the sale would receive 50% of the commission while the rest would be distributed among other salespeople.

The desire not to adhere to any model stems from the fact that humans play a predominant role within the company. Self-management became evident at Nearsoft, and the company is much more efficient and attractive than before Matt Pérez arrived. This management transformation aimed to engage employees more and ensure that their work is a source of strong satisfaction in their lives. Challenge achieved!

Matt and his entire team think daily about possible improvements to such a system. According to the annual report from the consulting firm Freedom at Work, 98% of employees feel perfectly well in this company. No major changes are therefore expected for the moment, although incremental innovation is always welcome!