One of the first statements I read about Nmbrs, during my recruitment process was “We are different, not crazy.” It’s catchy and left me wondering – How is Nmbrs different?
I must say that after being at Nmbrs for almost a year, I’m still amazed at how we do things differently than other companies, in many areas, but especially when it comes to employees.
I have put together, as an employee and as an HR professional, a set of ways in which I found Nmbrs to be different. Still, it does not mean we are better or worse than others, just different!
I would say this is the major flag of Nmbrs, which defines our culture. We don't have direct managers. We only have a C-level management position that helps with the strategy and vision of the company. Apart from that, no managers at all!
It might sound crazy, but in the end, we manage the company differently. Every obligation and responsibility that would fall upon a manager falls on every single employee. From recruitment to performance reviews, feedback and recognition. Nmbrs trusts employees to be able to make their own decisions and work together to come up with the best solutions.
How does it work then? For example, when it comes to recruitment, we don’t have a Hiring Manager, but instead a Hiring Team for every job vacancy, composed of people from the teams that will work side-by-side with the candidate. They are the ones who make the interviews and the hiring decision. Of course, our recruitment team supports them in the process. Another example is the Performance reviews. It’s not a Top-Down process but rather a 360º one, where everyone is responsible for reviewing their colleagues. You can find more information about our No Managers Structure here and more examples of how it works at a practical level. And I assure you, it works!
Part of our office in Amsterdam
At Nmbrs, everyone’s opinion is an essential part of our company’s decision-making process, and every single one of us defines the future of Nmbrs.
Being so, employees team up if they want to implement a process revision, organize something, or simply, give an idea for improvement! For this, we have created different Committees throughout Nmbrs with their purpose and roles. People from different areas can be part of those, from a software developer to a marketing specialist. For the performance review process already mentioned, we have the 360 Review Committee, which is composed of a software developer, a product owner and a process & data analyst. Together (with the sponsorship of our C-Level) they set up the entire process, maintain and improve it once there is a new review period coming up. We also have, for example, a Salary Committee, responsible for creating a Salary Structure for Nmbrs.
We are empowered but we always remember: with great power comes great responsibility!
How can Nmbrs help employees trust the organisation? The transparency we have is what allows us to commit and keep going forward because we know what’s going on, information is clear, it gives us structure and we understand where the decisions are coming from.
That’s why we have almost everything you can imagine written down. We have the “Nmbrs Book”, where people can find any information about processes or guidelines, for example. Anyone is responsible for maintaining these pages. I find this especially important since in some companies, rules are not written down, which gives space to ambiguity in the same type of situations.
Transparency has also been especially important during pandemic times, in which companies need to make difficult decisions while keeping employees on board. Our Management Team shares weekly notes with changes or company-wide decisions and they also share a monthly business report, with all the financial and commercial figures.
I can assure you, as far as my experience is valid, this level of transparency is not present often in companies.
At Nmbrs, everyone is responsible for giving feedback, receiving it and, ultimately, acting upon it.
Addressing each other is a crucial element when you are working in a No Managers structure. But it shouldn’t be the case only in this scenario. Feedback is bliss (if given correctly!) since it’s one of the pillars that will allow any person to grow and go forward!
However, in our day-to-day lives, I feel we are not encouraged enough to provide it. Thoughts like “It’s not my business” or “I’m not an expert on that” usually pops into our minds. I was at Nmbrs for about a month when we had our team dynamics, to discuss the way we work together. I expressed to my team I didn’t feel as comfortable as I should to give feedback on this, since I was new in the company. The reply I got was: “Please, do not put yourself on the bench”. It didn’t matter that I was in Nmbrs for only one month, my opinion was not only already valid but valued as well.
We also have in place a First-Year Feedback process, in which every new employee receives feedback from their peers, who work closely with them. These feedback sessions are distributed across the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th months at Nmbrs. Who better than the people who work with me to provide me with feedback? Again, no managers needed for that! After my first year, it’s my responsibility and everyone’s, to make feedback a proactive practice. Nmbrs, as a company, tries to promote it, but it still needs to come directly from everyone.
Could you feel the focus on People in all the previous points? That’s what Nmbrs is all about! We aim to provide the best possible employee experience for all employees.
I noticed Nmbrs was different from the first moment. I have never been treated in such a transparent, human and warm manner by any other company during the hiring process. The contacts I had by email never felt like standard messages. I could also feel that Nmbrs went through my profile and was genuinely interested in me, as an individual. The moment I started working in Nmbrs, I felt the same. You can check out the article I wrote about my onboarding process at Nmbrs here, to further understand how I was received within the organisation.
It is part of Nmbrs culture to look after your colleagues. If someone falls ill, we send something nice to their home. We also have regular individual and team moments with coffee breaks and weekly company meetings. People need to feel supported now more than ever!
I must say I feel unique at Nmbrs. I work for a company with a clear HR culture focused on People, where I have the freedom – but also the responsibility – to make the company better.
The word “traditional” does not and will not define us. We are not better or worse than other companies. We are just different. And for me, it works!