A great place to work?

Author: Loïc Didelot | Date: 10/21/2022

It is 2022, and we have grown from 60 employees by the end of 2019 to over 100 employees. We achieved a good profit in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and Mixvoip was always reasonable in terms of expenses – so far, we never paid any dividends to our shareholders, for example. Therefore, I thought, why not accelerate our growth and hire more people?

To attract new employees, our marketing department came up with the idea to participate in Great Place to Work 2021. This idea found quite some fans inside the company, and I was also very enthusiastic about it. I was incredibly proud when we received an award during the official ceremony in the presence of the health minister.

Credit: Great Place to Work®

To participate or not to participate, that is the question

Now, over one year later, it’s time to take a step back and look at these past months. People kept asking me if we wanted to participate at Great Place to Work again, and my answer was clearly “NO!”. Then, of course, they always want to know why I’m against it. So let me try to explain why the participation was a mistake and why we should not repeat it. I am strongly attached to Mixvoip, even after 14 years, and I honestly think that our company is the best place to work, but “great”, “good” and “best” are very subjective words.

The biggest problem with the award is the image that it casts on the company and the message it sends to current and future employees. I think most people read “BEST PLACE” or “GREAT PLACE”, and somehow, they stop before the words “TO WORK”. We do not have something like a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO), table football, or a fancy lounge. But don’t I think that people deserve happiness? Of course, they do! They must spend so many hours at work, so we have to ensure that when they get home, they know they have done something useful and meaningful. This will give them the feeling of having accomplished something.

Motivation is the key

A lot of people spend money on the gym and coaches who will make them sweat. People are happy when someone challenges them. Someone who gives them interesting and challenging projects and just makes sure that they never get bored. For me, the main factor to being a great place to work is access to decision-makers and the possibility to participate in decisions. With someone like a Chief Happiness Officer, you are putting a filter between the employees and the company. You delegate the hassle of listening to employees to someone without influence, so it makes no sense to communicate problems or ideas.

Everyone has the right to give their opinion. But if you want to get involved in important matters, your ideas must lead to actions. Often, people complain that no one is listening to them even though they have good ideas. If you are willing to work on your idea and break it down into tasks, action points, and milestones, then you will find many open ears. At Mixvoip, you can launch new projects and make an impact on our strategy, but you must work for it and learn how to present yourself. On top of this, we have, of course, standard extras like flexible work time, up to two days per week in home office, free coffee, fruit, tea, beer, and alcohol-free beer.

If you want to start new projects, innovate, have an impact on strategy and products, and most importantly, if you want to work hard, only then is Mixvoip the BEST place to work. That leads us to the problem with the “great place to work program”. They focus on perks, flexibility, harmony, balance, and zero questions are about work, although ‘work’ makes up half of the work-life balance.

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