Today’s workforce has different expectations than in the past. Employees that aren’t satisfied with their jobs and work conditions will get up and leave, as we saw in 2021’s Great Resignation when over 47 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs. This level of attrition is detrimental to companies in terms of cost, productivity, and morale.
When I founded HiBob seven years ago with my partners, we thought it would be the generation of transformation in the workplace. I wanted to build something big, and I was interested in looking at a market that was big enough to be disrupted. At the time, most players in the industry were legacy platforms designed and built before the current generation was even born. We took an approach that was very different from the legacy players. Instead of building another system of record that processes payslips for employees or time tracking, we devised an innovative approach called a “system of engagement”.
Our mission was to build a people management platform for everyone in an organization—employees, line managers, C-levels, HR, and finance—to enable them to do their jobs in a modern way. We recognized that the future of work for modern businesses is to put your people first. It’s not just a statement. You have to do what you say.
To succeed in times of plenty and uncertainty, companies need to put their people first. To do this, they need to build a culture that encompasses what I call the three Ts: Trust, Transparency, and Teamwork. These three tenets are essential for building a strong company and retaining your people. Let’s explore these themes along with some real-world examples of how we do what we say at HiBob.
Trust your people
When it comes down to it, everything is based on trust. For instance, you can’t roll out a policy allowing your people to work remotely or hybrid if there’s no trust between your leaders and your people. And forcing your people to come to the office five times a week is like shooting yourself in the foot. This is no longer a valid option. You will find that you won’t be able to retain your best people, and it will be impossible for you to hire the right talent. Job flexibility is not a perk or a nice to have anymore. It’s mandatory. This is the future.
As a CEO or CHRO, you need to set the tone of trust. I can’t control the trust between a manager and an employee in my company, but what I can do is lead by example. It’s a trickle-down effect. You need to show your direct reports that you trust them and expect them to do the same with their direct reports. In this way, you build trust throughout the organization.
Be open and transparent
Transparency goes along with trust. When we have an all-hands meeting at HiBob, I show the same slides and numbers to our 700+ employees that I show to our Board. I trust that our Bobbers will keep them confidential and won’t share them externally.
At HiBob, we believe that transparency is the key to our success. Every employee can access everything in the business by joining different Slack channels and following the product roadmap pipeline. Everything is available and accessible. I want all our people to understand our mission and who our target customers are—what I call the three Ms: mid-size, modern, and multi-national companies—so that they can be more successful in what they do.
There’s also a direct correlation between transparency and office politics. If you are transparent as a company, you eliminate the politics, as everything is out in the open. You gain your people’s trust and increase trust between people.
Put teamwork front and center
The secret to creating a successful company is putting your people first and emphasizing teamwork. Doing this is a journey; you can’t just click a button to make it happen. As a CEO, you must ensure that this is the foundation of your company culture. You must practice it yourself and then give the message to your direct reports, emphasizing the importance of culture and DNA. I’ll give you some examples.
We’ve learned a few things from the pandemic. Working remotely is doable and can be productive, but the ultimate combination is hybrid. It’s great to have the flexibility to work from home without commuting and spend more time with your family and friends. On the other hand, it’s also important to engage with your peers face-to-face. Teamwork and human interaction are the keys to healthy work relationships and we’ve seen that the vast majority of our 3,000 customers are adopting the hybrid combination of two or three days in the office and the other days flexible. Since the pandemic, we’ve continued to provide a flexible environment for our people. They can choose to work from home, work from the office, or even work from anywhere. If employees want to travel for two months to work from another country and still be productive, they can do it. This also involves trust. We believe that putting your people first involves giving them flexibility and ensuring that your organization supports this way of working.
Teamwork also means seeing what your people need and acting on it. With this in mind, we’ve just launched a new parental leave policy at HiBob. After the arrival of a new baby, we give both parents extra leave to spend time with their new family member. We believe that you need to map out and pay attention to the needs of your people and invest in them, and then you need to communicate your efforts company-wide. If you do it and you 100 percent believe in it, people will get it. As Bob Marley said, “You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”
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Show your people that you value them every day
At the end of the day, everything starts with the fact that we are all human. It doesn’t matter if you are the prime minister, the president, the CEO, or an employee. Everyone deserves respect, and you must pay attention to everyone’s wellbeing. People are your number one asset. You can’t scale, you can’t grow, and you can’t make an impact without your people. You must invest in them, create a great work culture that puts them first and find the right digital platform to manage them. You need to show them that you trust them and be transparent with them. You must also pay attention to teamwork and show your people that you understand their daily challenges. This is the recipe for building a strong and successful company and retaining your people.
From Ronni Zehavi
Ronni has over 25 years of experience in multinational, hi-tech companies. Prior to setting up HiBob, he was an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Silicon Valley based Bessemer Venture Partners. He's the strategic advisor and co-founder of Team8 Cyber Security and CEO of Cotendo, a content delivery network which was acquired by Akamai for $300m.