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GrantTree is a crazy place to work, compared to most other workplaces.
For one, we have complete transparency, including over salaries, and also including all financial information. That means you get to see the payroll as it goes out every month, the company accounts, and all the metrics for every department in the company. This is awesome if you want to really understand how the company works, and it can also be quite overwhelming since there is so much more information available than in most companies.
We don’t have people managers. There is no one in GrantTree who can order you to do something, or, conversely, tell you not to do something. There are policies and domains to help us work together, and those can restrict what you can do, or require you to take certain steps when you engage in some specific work, but those are open to everyone to interact with via a system we run called Holacracy. What there isn’t is someone who’s responsible for your work and can demand that you do something “because I’m telling you and I’m your boss”.
Another way that we offer this unusual level of trust is that we offer flexible and remote working. Most companies will say they offer this, but then make you jump through hoops to prove that you really need it. With GrantTree, if you wake up one morning and realise you didn’t sleep well, so you need an extra couple hours of rest, so long as you don’t have any meetings scheduled in that time, you can go right ahead. Even if you have a meeting, you might be able to dial into it from home (though it’s usually polite to check with whoever organised the meeting). We care about the work you do, the impact you have on our clients and the company, not the amount of time you sit in a chair in the office. You’re an adult: you don’t need someone to dictate your working hours any more than you need someone to control your toilet breaks.
Why do we do things this way? Because we believe that when people are given the space to be responsible for themselves, to make their own decisions, to speak up for their truth, when that is combined with clear information and a compelling sense of purpose, people don’t just do good work – they flourish, they grow beyond their own expectations and become greater versions of themselves. And ultimately, a business is made of the people who work within it, so if you’re growing, the company grows too, even if that link is not always obvious.
All this makes us a crazy place to work, right now. But we don’t think it’s crazy, we think it’s good business. Our hope is that some time in the not too distant future, every company will work like this. It may even be that spreading this way of working is an essential step to building a sustainable future worth living in.