WOW!!! What made me say that? Check this news item out.
That reminded me of something I read quite some time back, about Ricardo Semler, who runs the most unusual workplace in the world – Semco in Brazil. What is so unusual about it? The fact that employees have complete freedom in every respect. When Semler says ‘complete freedom’, he means it. There’s no fine print.
Employees choose their own work hours. They decide their own pay. They decide in which department and which office of Semco they wish to work from. Employees’ e-mails and internet usage are not monitored. The organisation is highly transperant and employees decide whom they want to work under. Employees rate their bosses and these ratings are known company-wide. The books of accounts of the company are open to the employees. The company gives full support to employees wishing to pursue a passion or higher education. There is a large garden with hammocks in the office premises, where employees can rest when they are tired. This firm does not have anything called Human Resource Management. They haven’t had any major problems so far, which they haven’t been able to deal with.
In Ricardo Semler’s words, “At Semco, we always assume that we are dealing with responsible adults, which we are. And when you start treating employees like adolescents by saying that you can’t come late, you can’t use the bathroom – that’s when you start to bring in the adolescent in people.”
Sounds like something out of a fairytale? It is not. This company is for real. And, it is working. The results speak for themselves. In 2003, Semco’s annual revenue was recorded at $212 million, from $4 million in 1982 and $35 million in 1994. The annual growth rate was recorded at around 40 per cent a year. In the year 2003, the number of employees was 3000, up from 90 in 1982.
Semco was originally into the production of ship parts, but is now into various industries, including pumps, real estate management, management of large-scale properties like hospitals and airports, environment consultancy, Internet and inventory control. Ricardo states that he has not defined any specific industry as the one in which Semco would operate, because this would be restricting the scope of the company. It is ready to spread its wings in whatever field seems promising at any point of time.
Reading about this on the Net prompted me to go for Ricardo Semler’s book ‘The seven-day weekend – changing the way work works’. Our team gifted this book to my ex-boss. :)I am halfway through it, and finding it amazing. Some of their unusual practices made me wonder, “How far is this feasible?,” but it is working for sure. I have seen and worked in organisations that allow freedom to employees, but this….. it is ‘complete freedom’ in the truest sense. My reaction on reading the first few pages was “Can I send my C.V. there?” 😀
Anybody in India listening???