In this episode, Nelly Grellier, communications director & partner at Octo Technology, tells us how the company has changed its organization to meet the expectations of its 400 employees. Are the teams too big? They are divided into tribes according to their interests and expertise. Need for meaning and commitment? Octo redefines its raison d'être around digital transformation. "It's knowing where technology is in its right place, where it serves humanity and where it becomes useless" explains Nelly.
The guest of theCorporate Culture podcast
Nelly studied at TBS Toulouse, formerly called ESC Toulouse. She discovered marketing and communication and graduated in 2005. Barely a year later, she joined Octo Technology as a communication manager. She grew with this company until she became communication director and partner in 2015.
Agile culture at the heart of the company
When Nelly Grellier arrived, Octo Technology had 70 employees. In 7 years of existence, the company is positioned as a precursor in information systems and applications. Its objective: "to transform companies by acting on technology, methodology and understanding of business issues".
Today, the number of employees at Octo Technology has multiplied by 10. The proof of a great success, but also the need to meet new challenges. Since 2004, the company is agile, which means that it is not fixed in its processes and is able to adapt quickly to new trends and unexpected changes, while maintaining "strategic, operational and human continuity". This type of organization "works if there is fulfillment in the employees" explains Nelly Grellier. In 2014, employees asked to work in smaller teams. Octo Technology adopts the tribal management system advocated by the book "Tribal Leadership" by Dave Logan, Halee Fischer-Wright and John King. The company is divided into small groups united around their expertise or common interests.
In 2019, a new crisis presents itself: employees' sensibilities have shifted; they want work that addresses their values and concerns. "As they say: everything is both a miracle and a poison. It's knowing where technology is in its right place, where it serves humanity and where it becomes useless" explains Nelly Grellier.
Start with the "why
The "why" of Simon Sinek's book "Start with the why" will contribute to make Octo Technology the committed company it is today. In 2019, the eco-responsible aspirations carried by the employees integrate the values of the company. The raison d'être has changed:
🔍 "In a complex world with finite resources, we are looking together for new ways to act, we work to design and realize digital products essential to the progress of our customers and the emergence of virtuous eco-systems."
This is what Nelly calls her "epiphany." In Dave Logan's book, "Tribal Leadership," the epiphany is the fifth and final step in the evolutionary process of tribal leadership: "The watchword now is 'team.' There is no longer individual behavior, everyone is working toward the same goal with the same objectives."
Octo Technology connects its "why" to its employees and the world. The company is multiplying initiatives to reduce its environmental footprint and to accompany its customers in their transition to responsible digital. In 2021, it will be BCorp certified.
Employees as a pillar
Since 2011, Octo has measured its corporate culture and the commitment of its teams through the Great Place to Work ranking. In six participations, the company has reached the podium six times. The last one, in 2021, places it on the first step of the companies with 250 to 1000 employees.
Octo's agile culture as well as listening to and trusting its employees are producing results. "In this very competitive world of consulting, there is a high turnover but we are below the market. We like to build loyalty, and we contribute to training with our Octo School program" explains Nelly Grellier.
Octo Technology's history, crises, DNA and Corporate Culture are shared from the first step in the company. "It's not just the first day that it happens. You arrive in a team, you feel what it is to be Octo" testifies Nelly Grellier. Each newcomer follows a one-month training course and is accompanied by a sponsor.
Throughout his experience at Octo Technology, the employee is placed at the center: "The most important people are the consultants: the cornerstone of our model. If they are good, the customers will be happy". In addition to transparency and trust, this commitment is concretized around great principles such as "it is better to ask for forgiveness than for permission". When there is a failure, a "post mortem" is organized: the stakeholders explain the reasons for this failure to the group. The idea is to "put the collective intelligence at the service of all, so as not to do the same thing again" explains Nelly Grellier.
In this logic, an employee who does not fit or does not want to understand Octo's corporate culture is fired. This is always a difficult decision for Nelly Grellier, but a good one for the company, the employees and the person who is fired.