Counselor Best Places to Work: No. 6 – Boundless Network
It sounds simple, but how many organizations actually listen to their employees? Not enough.
Well, count Boundless Network (asi/143717) in the minority of companies that want to listen to their growing ranks of employees – and do so often. The company surveys its employees every quarter to find out what they like about the firm, what’s going right and what could be done better and what the organization needs to do to reach its goals and objectives. “We want to listen to our people and learn from them on a regular basis,” says Jason Black, the founder and CEO of the company. “They’re the ones implementing all of our strategies and they’re on the front lines every day. So we need to know how they feel about the organization.”
In fact, the results of these surveys help to formulate strategies and goals for Boundless Network. Black says that the surveys result in grades for every aspect of the company’s operations – from sales and marketing to technology and customer service. And those grades help to determine where financial resources and personnel efforts are placed in the subsequent quarters. “Our managers’ goals are tied to those specific grades, so they know exactly what their people should be focused on,” Black says.
“We work hard at ensuring that everybody understands our vision for the business and buys into it.”
– Jason Black, Boundless Network
And in a company that’s rapidly increasing its staff levels – from less than 30 two years ago to more than 150 today – creating a culture of listening is vital, Black says. “Especially as we grow, we always want to be a listening organization. You have to know what your people think, and get their ideas on how the company can improve.”
Black believes that this kind of give-and-take between management and employees is what creates a loyal workforce at his company. Every Monday, managers hold team meetings to ensure that goals for the week are understood, and then the teams get back together on Fridays to update each other on how the week went. And senior managers meet periodically – for example, they went on a two-day summer retreat recently to plan ideas and strategy for 2009 – to get on the same strategic page.
“We work hard at ensuring that everybody understands our vision for the business and buys into it,” he says. “People are more highly motivated when they embrace the mission of the company.” – AC