2013 – ROFF is a Portuguese firm founded in 1996 and dedicated to the implementation of SAP solutions. Since its early days, the company has grown significantly and currently employs just over 500 people. The nature of their activity, developing and implementing IT solutions for different clients, is based purely on people delivering services to clients. Therefore, their business can only be successful if based on committed and satisfied employees. The company founders are well aware of this and have developed a company culture and a working environment that promotes patterns of high individual engagement.
The workplace innovation leading to a special and enthusiastic work environment is the result of four factors in combination:
An informal management style promoting autonomy and responsibility and a flat and non-hierarchical structure, with no more than three layers and altering project leaders roles;
Internal communication with a focus on listening to the employee voice. The first responsibility managers have is to listen to their employees and understand what their motivations are. Then the company will act, taking the necessary actions to tackle any potential mismatches. There is a suggestion box and each year the three best solutions are awarded a prize. There is open door policy.
A strong sense of belonging despite the fact that employees work in projects at the clients premises and facing the corporate climate of that other company in their daily work. This is due to the fact that managers keep in contact on a regular basis to enquire about how things are progressing and how they are feeling. The celebrating of successes is contributing to a strong team spirit.
Flexible work arrangement. ROFF provides high flexibility in terms of working time and working place, provided that the objectives of the project are achieved and meet the clients requirements.
During the early years the process of creating ROFF’s distinctive work environment was rather spontaneous and unstructured. However in recent years the company has adopted a number of different processes.
Every new employee is offered a ‘boarding plan’ that might include a month training at the ROFF Academy, a tutor, an on-boarding manual etc.
Performance management is formalized with objectives to be defined and competencies to be analyzed. And there is a performance appraisal. This formalization actually implies a change from the recent past and to a certain extent contrasts with the company’s informal nature. And there is some resistance from some managers and employees.
There is much attention paid to training in project management, language and behavioral-type of training.
The introduction of a ‘refer a friend’ recruitment procedure.
In 2011 there was created a program of mini-laboratories ‘ROFF labs’ where employees can conduct experiments and research technological solutions that may lead to new business areas.
Employees take the responsibility given seriously and enjoy the considerable autonomy they have. They like to know that their opinions are appreciated and taken into consideration. They also like to know that their suggestions are analyzed and if of interest are used for the benefit of the company.
The company’s growth and international expansion provide the employees with career opportunities and allows them to work in more and different technical areas which result in clear skill development opportunities.
ROFF managed to gain a top position in the Portugese market and began expanding internationally which allowed the company a continuous growth. This was only possible with a skilled and committed workforce who are mobile and capable to adjust to different environments. The company successfully competes on the tight labor market for consultants with SAP experience; the corporate climate makes her a desirable employer and a great place to work.
There is room to improve the access to information and it seems wise to discuss with all involved the policy to manage high intensive work and realize a good work-life balance.
The author of the ‘Case study: ROFF, Portugal’ is Manuel Ortigão of Eurofound. The full description is attached as pdf. And see the website: www.eurofound.europa.eu .
Theme: Dynamic management and leadership