How we spurred growth and customer satisfaction by letting go of control 

Jessica Nuboer

At Effectory, we, like thousands of companies out there, have gone through a variety of developments and structural changes throughout the years. Starting out as a small team of entrepreneurs and growing to what now is now Europe’s largest employee feedback provider, has proven to us that “eating your own dog food,’ really is the best way we can provide quality service to our clients. We do this, by gathering our own employee feedback and listening to our colleagues.

How we spurred growth and customer satisfaction by letting go of control

From a traditional hierarchy to democratically self-managed teams

Starting out, we experienced a traditional structure: with upper and mid- management for our teams of specialist. But as time progressed, a change was needed. Clients were happy with our services, but a spark was missing. That spark, was the desire for freedom within an employee’s role and self-management for teams.

Faced with this, Effectory’s Founders & Directors, Arne Barends and Guido Heezen brought this to the entire company. Through the feedback provided, the teams at Effectory experienced a radical change, they dismantled themselves completely. We rebuilt in such a way to provide the best quality service to our customers, while spurring innovation, and encouraging engagement and commitment. But this wasn’t without its challenges.

Letting go of the reigns

“We really needed to learn to sit back, and let it happen,” says Effectory Founder & Director Arne Barends. Eventually, by letting go of the control on teams, teams would discover how to successfully overcome their problems, and develop much more rapidly than before. “I really believe that teams can make wise decisions, if you give them all the information. Provide them with framework, they will come up with very, very good solutions.”

However, even without management, there is still a need for performance review. To suite this democratic and flat structure, we developed a way for continuous feedback based on an employee’s specific goals. “It’s a feedback system that is heavily based on trust” says Barends.  Feedback is provided by peers, who give clear examples of points of appreciation, and tips for improvement. The results are clear, qualitative and actionable feedback. It stimulates growth within a team setting, in a functional role, as well as on a personal level.

“Instead of controlling your people, you just throw everything out in the open.”

The best employers have a secret success

“There is something of a secret success when we look at the best employers amongst our customers,” describes Barends. “They have a few things that they all have in common. They are mission driven, so they’re working for a higher purpose, not just to earn money. They have a very accessible board of directors. They trust employees, and they are based on transparency.”

Watch our story about how we took the leap from a traditional hierarchy to a completely flat and demographic organisational structure – giving up the control of management, and handing over responsibility to teams themselves.

About Effectory

Based in Amsterdam, Effectory is Europe’s largest independent employee survey provider, with over 20 years of experience in helping organisations become sustainably successful. We believe the key to sustainable success, is through gathering and listening to employee feedback. To facilitate this, we offer a variety of feedback tools which enable companies to learn from their employees and improve from within. In 2016, Effectory conducted over 600 employee surveys globally, with +1.5 million respondents in over 40 languages. Effectory is mission-driven, and we pride ourselves in having engaged, passionate employees with a very open, honest and trusting working culture.