How to Effectively Manage a Distributed Team
Blog | 10.21.2011

Trust at Work

This is a continuation of our previous blog where we discussed questions about Transparency at work, in the context of Sapience. A related question is Trust at work.

In a trusted relationship, each party relies on each other to fulfull their respective obligations. At work, an employee expects that management will look after his/her professional growth, assign challenging tasks, and provide any learning and mentoring that is required. The company expects each employee to put in his/her best efforts to accomplish set goals, and notify if there is anything impeding the work from being done.

Within this framework of such a trust based environment, there are checks and balances to ensure that the system is not taken advantage of. As a company becomes large, it becomes difficult to ensure that trust is not being misused. That is the reason why you have processes related to Accounts and Purchase, for example, especially since they relate to the sensitive issue of cash. Companies have employee annual reviews and output tracking (engineering metrics, KRAs etc.). The more fact based they are, the less subjective they become. Culture still plays a role – in some companies, these processes are overwhelming and designed with the premise that ’employees cannot be trusted’. In good companies, they are there to ensure basic compliance, but are not overly restrictive.

In IT companies, ‘time’ is a fundamental contributor to output. If an individual and team puts in extra effort, more work gets done. If they don’t put in enough effort, the output suffers. Time/Effort, which is so critical, cannot be easily measured due to the nature of work. even loosely. Even an individual is hard put to know how much time he/she has put in on actual work given flexi time, work from home, late working hours and distractions at work.

Sapience now gives this information – but at a high level that is suitable for companies. The information is valuable to people and the business. Employees can use it to improve their work-life balance. Companies can gain 15-20% in work output, which is transformational to its financials (which in turn benefits every employee). Sapience is a powerful tool for employees and companies. Its deployment can be adapted to your culture by deciding how much visibility to have. You can use the ‘Anonymous’ mode where individual user identity is masked, but team and project level trends are available. Sapience won’t determine or change your culture, your culture will decide how you leverage its gains.