40 thousands of thank you
February 2013, the evening is cold. We are at the Selleo headquarters, where our developers and our guests are taking part in Stoos Connect, the event dedicated to the modern management approach. Although it is only a video-conference, it is going to bring about unexpected results — the inception of Merit Money implementation.
Three and a half years later, Michał Czyż is presenting another Selleo Kudos System (SKS in short) iteration. The system is an implementation of the Jurgen Appelo Merit Money system. The idea of the system it to allow people to say ‘thank you’ to their colleagues for something good. For example, ‘Smooth migration on the project;’ ‘Helping with debugging a nasty problem;’ ‘Picking me up late in the evening’ — you decide!
Up to this point, more than 40 thousand thank-you’s have been given out in the system. ‘Thank you’ or kudos, as we call it, is a small gift one colleague gives to another co-worker. Kudos is a form of appreciation or a reward. What do you feel when you receive a gift? You may feel special when someone tells you ‘Good job with this feature!.’ You feel that your job was valuable. No team can function without positive feedback. Kudos make the whole company, particular teams, or any developer ‘tick,’ especially when they stuck with some problem.
What do you feel when you get a gift?
SKS is also a tool that tells you what’s going on in the whole company. When I log in on Monday morning, I can see how many things, I was unaware of, happened last week. The place where it can happen does not have to be limited to the Selleo office only. Many kudos are given out for after-hours activities.
Work-life balance is overrated
Some people may say that you should separate your private and professional life. But to what extend? We spend at least one-third of our lives at work. Should we fool ourselves that work is detached from private life? Working from nine to five and avoiding everything that is related to the job after leaving the office does not guarantee ‘work-life’ balance.
Socializing makes teams stronger
After-hours activities make work time — Monday through Friday — smoother. In creative jobs, productivity is a side-effect of what you do besides work. When team members play board games, go to the pub, run or ride in the mountains, it’s easier to boost their morale when hard times come. And it happens.
Virtual ‘thank you’ and tangible bonus
The idea of Merit Money System is to let people reward colleagues. I won’t tell the numbers how kudos turns into money, instead, I will ask you a simple question: who should calculate the bonus? The manager or the colleagues by an indirect ‘assessment’?
Your manager is not involved in the project development on a daily basis. It is far more likely that team members and other people you meet at work know how you’re progressing or affecting other people in the company.
A distributed system, though not without cons, has more advantages over the centralised system. A manager does not make annual evaluation based on the few events that he somehow remembers. The system just works and ‘lives’ by itself. Do you remember that Selleo employees have given out over 40 thousands thank-you’s?
The healthy culture is the king!
August 2016, the weather is beautiful, and the sun is shining. Before Michał Czyż started his presentation about Merit Money, the conference room had filled with Selleo developers. One thing could be spotted right away: the number of developers had almost doubled since February 2013. They joined the company and became part of the unique culture where they can taste an example of modern management all day long.
Be a kindergarten player!
Selleo Kudos System is only a fraction of the culture where saying ‘good job, man!’ makes the company thrive and attract new talents. The culture that promotes trust, freedom, and honesty makes no room for control-freakiness.
Would you like to join our culture?
In the original version I used kudos and thank-you in the same way. In Selleo Kudos System one receives 20 kudos per week. Each thank-you can be given up to five kudos. This way 40 thousands of thank-you has been given and the total amount of kudos is 93 thousands.