Almost all of us grew up in this system called ‘Hierarchy’ where people are ranked according to relative status or authority. Our parents, teachers and managers in previous jobs are perfect examples of this. At Nmbrs, we work with the opposite system. We have a flat hierarchy, which means we don’t work with managers. The only exception is our Management Team. They are here to think about the bigger picture and make sure the Nmbrs vision is clear to all of us. Besides them, all our teams are manager free. Of course, not working with managers doesn’t mean everything comes at ease or we don’t face any problems.
When candidates, HR professionals or others find out how we work here, they immediately want to know how we deal with growth inside Nmbrs. Because this is usually something that managers are responsible for. If there are no managers, who is responsible? The answer is simple. Everybody! But do we really believe employees can be responsible for their own growth and development? And if so, why can they tell better what they need than a manager? Please let me take you deeper into our way of thinking.
We’re different, not crazy. We like to do things in our very own way. One of those things is responsibility. Since we don’t rely on managers, we are all responsible for the success of the company. This way of working brings enough challenges to Nmbrs as a company but also to our employees who carry a lot of responsibilities. It doesn’t stop at helping Nmbrs to conquer the world, it also contains their growth and development. And because we don’t tell our employees what they need, we empower them to tell us. Instead of personal development plans or standard career paths, we have conversations and discover together what is needed to grow. Like a lot of things in life, there is not one defined path for growth. People don’t go to bed as a junior and wake up being a senior. In between, there are a lot of hurdles they need to endure to grow. Not only as a person but also in their career. Two people with the same experience can be in completely different growth levels or career paths. People are not all the same, so why should their growth and development be? While enjoying that ride, we are here to help them.
We want Nmbrs to mean something for all our employees’ career. At Nmbrs, you can’t climb on the traditional ladder or become a manager. Instead, we believe that growth and development are one of the most important things in this fast-changing world. That’s also the reason why we invest a loth in the growth of our employees.
To stay as innovative in our business as we are now, we always need to be one step ahead. So that not only Nmbrs can grow as a company, but our employees can grow with Nmbrs as well.
Nevertheless, we know there are no jobs for life. But if the day comes when an employee leaves, we want them to be able to go wherever they want, fully prepared and with as much knowledge as possible.
We like to quote the saying “Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you've fed him for a lifetime.” It perfectly shows how we practice growth and development. We don’t preach, but we empower you to become the best version of yourself.
Working at Nmbrs is not just about getting paid at the end of the month. We want to give our colleagues the tools to become the best in their role. If one of the reasons why we have no managers is because we believe our colleagues can make their own decisions, then why aren’t they able to know what’s best for their career?
Of course, it doesn’t mean they are sailing solo. To support them, we want to create a place where they can grow and learn new things. We don’t tell them what’s needed to take the next step or what needs to be done to reach for a higher level. True motivation comes from inside, so we believe that our employees should be the ones to tell us what they need. Whether it’s training to develop soft or hard skills or working together with an expert in their work field. We are open for (well, almost) everything. Together with our coaches, we’ll find a way to make it work.
We love to talk about why we believe in this way of working, but we understand you are curious about how we translate this into actionable outcomes. We will tell you all about it in our future ‘how we do it’ article. To give you an idea, here’s a sneak peek of some things we’ve put in place:
Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to implement a system like this. Almost all of us are used to work with managers or others telling us what to do. You need to be a little bit of a rebel if you already kicked against that kind of hierarchy system. Step by step we’re getting things more into place and we did not implement everything yet the way we want it to. It takes time to create awareness among our colleagues and to make clear what everybody’s responsibilities are. And so, we continue with being rebellious and work every day very hard to make this vision a reality.
Stay tuned! In our upcoming blog, I will describe a few ways of how we put this way of thinking in daily practice.