Fri, Sep 22, 2023
Be a Ferrari – how Holacracy supports innovation and growth at Enreach

Enreach: a company of innovation & growth

The ambition of Enreach is to be the number 1 cloud communications company in Europe. Driven by its purpose to ‘Create Contact Magic’ Enreach scaled in a few years with 17acquisitions of small to medium sized companies. Theorganisation has now around 1200 employees in 15 European countries. In other words: never a dull moment in Enreach. In the company everything centers around innovation and growth.New products are being developed building on the best software of the former acquisitions, and teams are continuously formed and integrated to make that happen. 

Holacracy: be a Ferrari

To support the dynamics and the entrepreneurial spirit in the organisation, Enreach practices Holacracy. This self-organizing method has the potential to encourage ownership and initiative as it distributes work in roles with clear accountabilities. Also it fosters a spirit of ‘be a Ferrari’:  go for it, make small steps, you are invited to act , learn and course-correct when needed.  This can be done by sensing so called ‘tensions’ in the organisation. Tensions reflect the difference between where you are now and want to be, because there are opportunities to grasp, or things can be done better. Everybody is asked to surface these tensions and do proposals to make progress in form of an action, project or a new or adjusted role. In this way a role-based organisationis created, which organically adapts to the business needs. And more importantly the organisation is changed from within by all the role-fillers and not only on the guidance of a few top-managers. The fact that power is distributed has the potential to make people feel that they matter, they can contribute and get out the best, which contributes to a happy work place.

The future of work

In Enreach we believe this self-organizing way of working with distributed roles is ‘the future of work’. As change is here to stay, companies need to find ways to continuously learn, stay adaptive and get the best out of all. The fluid role based organisation helps to quickly adapt to what is needed. An example of a recent change, which probably will stay is the practice of hybrid working. In our view the heart of this change is not about the shift of workplace. 

It is about shifting ‘locus of control’ from the manager to the employee. When your manager is not there at the spot, looking over your shoulder now and then, it is much more up to the individual to plan work, ask for feedback, or report results. We experienced that the Holacracy practice was helpful while working hybrid: the explicit processes, the transparency of business information in tooling, the fluid organisation, and the HR processes supporting the right behavior.

What’s next 

Forming One Enreach is an important strategic goal for Enreach. We learned that Holacracy brings a helpful toolkit to cement new global teams (called circles), clarify overarching goals and roles, and above all stay agile. The One Enreach spirit is stimulated when all can help to shape the organisation, feel engaged around the companies purpose and goals, learn to sense the tensions, and do proposals to make progress. Needless to say, that making this all work throughout the organisation is very hard work. A lengthy onboarding process, coaching of teams on the ground, a coherent set of HR instruments including peer feedback and reward for behavior, are key conditions for success. We are absolutely not there; we are on a journey, implementing and learning every day. But that is in the core of what we need to do: become a true learning organisation. We started 6 years ago and are now even more convinced that the future of work is about being adaptive and learn continuously through distributing work, shifting control, and encouraging entrepreneurial behavior. And moreover to create a culture where people feel they can contribute and get out the best.

Anita Klaver is Enreach CHRO and leads the so-called Talent Lab, which includes accountabilities for HR, culture and the self organisation practice Holacracy. Anita is with the company since early 2017 after a long career with Philips in which she held several global HRBP-roles.

About the author

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Over the past 30 years Rob (co-)founded various tech companies, including one of the leading Dutch hosted voice providers (before hosted voice became the new normal). Today, he works with telcos/CSPs and some of the world’s leading technology providers on innovation and growth, especially in the rapidly changing world of cloud communications and CPaaS. Rob has this crazy belief that the strengths of corporates and innovators should be combined in new ecosystems to create optimal customer experience, new business models and solutions for some of today’s big problems.

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