How We Grow at Fidel 🌱
Growth can mean a lot of different things depending on who you are. The company you work for, the job you do and your own personal standards all contribute to your concept of growth.
A rule around the Fidel offices is that we all have different ideas about how we want to grow personally, professionally and as a business - and that has to be respected.
Those different conceptions of growth can lead businesses down different paths to reach that next level of development too. Some choose to empower individuals, others prioritise management paths. Simply put, growth is a relative term.
📖 A Little Backstory
Over the past year, the Fidel team has grown a lot - quite literally. Headcount soared to over 60 people, where there had only been around 30 the year before. We had to prioritise building the infrastructure to enable sustainable growth of both the existing team, but also those hopping onboard throughout the year, largely digitally.
We had to decide what ‘growth’ meant to Fidel. In this case, consolidation and organisation. We wanted to build an educational and evaluation framework that would allow a new member to onboard comfortably, set clear professional goals, provide feedback, receive guidance, and thrive in their role. We knew it would be a challenge, all start-ups will know that tight process alignment is a lot easier when you’re a team of 10, compared to achieving it as a team of 60.
In the summer of 2020, we kicked off our first, official performance review process at Fidel. Naturally, it wasn’t perfect, but it was also hugely valuable and helpful across the business. Six months later, we collated feedback for a second time, adjusting the process to be more team-specific, shaping the finer details of the evaluation so that, whether the respondent was a developer, a BDM, a product manager or a copywriter, they could provide useful feedback. In 2021, we have a much stronger direction around how we can nurture positive growth from all Fidel members.
🛬 Our approach
🧘 Personal Growth Tools | We’ve mentioned some of the educational platforms we offer to Fidel members before, but cumulatively, we think they offer a brilliant space for self-improvement and growth. Udemy delivers a range of courses - and industry-recognised certifications - to our members on topics like engineering, marketing, leadership and strategy. Audible for Business offers a host of audio materials on similar subjects so the Fidel team can learn on the go, too. Finally, Headspace is there as an aid to switching off outside of work. Whether that’s sleep aids, meditation guidance or focus playlists, it’s a great way Fidel can support the team in finding a good balance in and outside the office, in their own time and in their own way.
📬 How we collect feedback | We’re firm believers in constructive feedback across the company and see it as a great way to improve awareness and identify potential points of improvement. Of course, it’s also great to identify what we’re great at and what others value in us. You can read a little more on how we listen to each other at Fidel here.
We take a 360° approach with the individual self-evaluating, completing peer feedback and participating in an open discussion with a line manager. The individual returns feedback on the same set of people, too. The exchange and analysis of the feedback with their line manager is a safe space to address professional and personal growth further. For consistency, we ask exactly the same questions to every single participant, via an anonymous submission portal, where privacy is protected.
📈 How we facilitate growth | The aim is to operate a time-efficient and effective process. Therefore, we focus on achieving three, key things: guiding everyone to work in line with Fidel’s values, offering clarity on what an individual is doing well and direction to what they can improve on.
This gives us the chance to evaluate cultural and behavioral verticals, but also acquire actionable items each person can move forward with.
🎁 In Conclusion
It’s known as ‘Kaizen’ in Japan - a business concept in which a company constantly seeks to improve all functions from top to bottom. We try and apply this sort of philosophy ourselves. Regular retro sessions are added at the close of feedback processes to ensure we haven’t missed anything. From a personal growth standpoint, we simply try to make the right tools available to those who need them at Fidel.
As we look forward to 2021, our next step is to introduce more automation into the feedback process and continue to listen to suggestions on new platforms or services that might help individuals get the best out of their work, or themselves.
After all, it’s the people that make the processes, not the other way around.