The New Work Story of Valantic CEC

I meet Patrick Ganzmann, the managing director of Valantic CEC, in virtual space – traveling is difficult due to Corona. A lot has changed for him as well, but he and his IT consultancy valantic CEC have not been left cold.

At the beginning of the year he set himself the goal of avoiding all unnecessary trips by car. Instead, he uses his transport bike for shopping, for example. But also the employees have the right to follow their conscience.

There is no such thing as a travel policy, but the claim “think like an entrepreneur” – in a value-oriented, non-profit maximizing sense.

Owning a company car is not contradictory to having a Bahncard. You can choose to travel by train or by car.

Values and value orientation have been at the center of attention since Patrick 2014, together with his managing directors, asked colleagues how they want to manage their business and their employees in the future. One of the triggers was the integration to the valantic group, which consists of many individual IT development and consulting companies and is managed in the “holding structure” according to holocratic principles.

In this way valantic wants to ensure that companies that are connected to the group retain their potential – the people and what they stand for and also the managing directors, who do not become puppets but participate in consent based decisions.

So the managing directors of valantic CEC asked themselves, does holocracy also fit for us and more profoundly: where do we actually stand as a company? Self-critically they realized that the employees could be more satisfied. Even if that was already ” complaining on a high level” back then. The self-responsibility of the managers also did not quite meet his expectations. When he sat in his management team meeting once again and just expressed the wish, “I’d like you to decide that for yourself,” it clicked: he understood that the structures did not allow for more self-responsibility. Although he always thought, “we are not that hierarchical”.

So he looked around, saw holocracy as not quite fitting, and looked for alternatives.

Actually only two things count

>>> Customer orientation and

>>> Employee orientation

both are of equal importance.

says Sara Guerrero, responsible for recruiting at valantic CEC

Nothing else counts, because everything depends on it. >> On the enthusiasm of the employees for their work. >> on the proximity to the customers. >> on the identification with the customers and their business.

Everyone in the company should be able to think entrepreneurially with the customer in mind. One thing was clear: this requires common values and leadership principles. Not on paper, but lived every single day, in every interaction, in every independent decision.

On this basis, customer teams were then created – portfolios, as they are called at valantic CEC. Each portfolio consists of about 12 employees and one manager. The portfolio has the absolute autonomy in how they serve their customers, which includes, for example, the purchase of resources. So decisions are made right here and with a view to the values.

At valantic CEC, portfolio managers serve the customer and the employee

When I asked him what the role of the manager is in this model and what the managers give up in comparison to classic organizations, he said “nothing, they have much more responsibility”. They are “CEOs” with all the decision-making power, customer responsibility and above all employee responsibility. They themselves decide what they want to delegate, e.g. to the employees who themselves know best what their customer needs or to a coach who helps an employee with a specific question.

The 70 employees at valantic CEC, meet in weekly cross-portfolio meetings, where the main goal is to create transparency about what is currently being worked on. And to provide support where it is needed at the moment. During Corona it was easy for employees whose business was at a standstill to help out in other places. There is no possessive thinking and portfolios are changed at regular intervals to reflect the actual situation.

Then we came to the topic that brought him to my attention. In an SZ article about valantic it was mentioned that the company had only 5% fluctuation over the last 10 years and this in a market where IT experts are in high demand. And one thing was clear to me – the salaries are not the reason for the low fluctuation. Nor are there any individual incentives, but rather a 10% – 20% share in the company’s success.

So I asked: what makes the difference? Why do the employees stay with you, what keeps them in the company? His first answer: our culture. So I had to drill deeper. How does it show, what are the little things that are really different. He had already given me an example in the course of the previous conversation. An employee who had been self-employed for many years before feels comfortable in a permanent position at valantic CEC because he can act and decide independently. And above all he is allowed to make mistakes that are not used against him. Because that is one of the big distinctions: we all make mistakes – but how we deal with them is the decisive difference.

Here are a few wonderful examples of what constitutes culture and thus working at Valentic CEC:

>> you are allowed to make mistakes with your experience – which encourages even experienced employees to try something new

>> as a young person you have the same chances to take on responsibilities, e.g. as portfolio manager

>> once a month the individual portfolios invite in turn to the team breakfast, to which all employees are cordially invited.

>> There is no job title – instead, everyone is asked what title they would like to have on their business card – “What do you want to stand for internally and with our customers?

>> Experts can be specialists who are passionate about their topic, but do not necessarily have to participate in decision-making rounds.

The office, which is carefully designed, also plays an important role. Where many opportunities have been created for meeting and exchanging ideas. Among other things Mannheim’s most beautiful “Rooftop Bar”. And it can happen that Patrick drops by the office on weekends, and there a group of employees sits with their friends and enjoys the beautiful view with a glass of wine or a beer. They like to be here at work and also in private. Paying your share in the fair box allows you to help yourself to a beer or to the wine fridge – filled with quite high-quality wines.

In an interview with Sara Guerrero, who is responsible for the hiring of new employees at valantic CEC, I experienced how an employee at valantic CEC burns for his job and the company. She stands for the values when she is looking for new IT experts, consultants and other experts. The criteria she uses to select new employees are quite simple:

>> The will to work self-determined

>> a tolerant approach to own mistakes and those of others

>> do what you really, really want

There are no predetermined career paths, but the opportunity to become everything you are committed to and further educate yourself.

I was inspired and strengthened in my conviction that there is no such thing as a New Work, but rather that one can find one’s own way on the basis of common values and goals, for more employee and customer satisfaction. And that this model is definitely profitable.

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Nicole Anzinger und Nadja Petranovskaja