Simon Grosse is the CEO of Foundation SP.

Foundation SP has just been awarded the UK’s Best Workplace in the Small Business Category (for organisations with between 20 to 40 staff). This is the second year running that they have been given the prestigious award.

We spoke to Simon about Foundation SP’s value-led culture to find out more.

1. Tell me a bit about yourself.

I am the CEO of Foundation SP. We deliver technology solutions to our clients in support of collaboration and engagement. I co-founded FSP five years ago having worked for both big corporations and start-ups. I wanted to do things differently with a people first approach. I am passionate about people becoming the best they can be and loving their work. When I am not working, you’ll find me at Watford Football Club (for my sins), or, spending time with my daughters (who are now adults!) and my identical twin sons who are 8 months old!

2. What’s your top tip for creating a happy and engaged workplace?

There are lots of things that we have done – it’s quite hard picking one so I’ll go with two! The co-creation of values – both creating what the business stands for and integrating that into everything that we do, plus helping people realise their own personal values. This has been very powerful and is the number one reason why people love FSP. Secondly, and a more general point, is constant communication and visibility with everyone. Two-way dialogue using a variety of communication methods means everyone stays connected all the time!

3. Could you give me one example of how people responded to greater trust?

We set up a new office in Barcelona a couple of years ago. We totally trusted and empowered our team from day one to make decisions and take responsibility for their own workplace. We set some basic parameters and guidelines regarding budget a small number of criteria. Subsequently, they have “owned”, taken great pride and total responsibility in moving (twice) to larger offices, decorating and managing expenditure. They feel empowered and are totally trusted to make decisions in the interest of the Company.

4. What have you done to create a culture of trust at your organisation?

Trust is created over time by being open, doing what we say we’re going to do and underpinned by a strong set of values. I would say the big shift for us is focusing on outcomes and the associated key measures, rather than tightly managing people by time or every task. Issuing guidelines, whilst enabling freedom, empowerment and flexibility have been very important to FSP – this has led to people taking accountability for their work.

5. Could you give me an example of what you’ve done to give staff greater freedom and autonomy?

We have implemented a new work management system called KanBan that really helps with how client work is issued and delivered. It gives our employees a high level of control about how they deliver outcomes rather than focusing on tracking time, where people are and what they are doing every minute of the day. There is a high level of transparency with this approach and ensures accountability. We trust our employees to apply their own methods and approach to deliver great outcomes for our clients.

Simon will be speaking at our 2017 Happy Workplaces Conference on 14th June, a day which will be full of new case studies and practical ways that you can create your own happy and engaged workplace.

Have a look at the 10 core principles of the Happy Manifesto and download your free PDF copy, or contact the Happy team for details of our culture change programmes and executive coaching.

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