1. April 2022

Removing Processes and Empowering Employees with PersonioEmpower

Team collaboration strategy

We recently enacted a major, company-wide change to the way that we work. Dubbed PersonioEmpower, this change was designed to align us more closely with the values and operating principles. Because, over time, we recognized the beginnings of a trend that was slowing us down and negatively impacting our people and culture. To reverse this trend, we created PersonioEmpower.

It’s not uncommon for bureaucracy and processes to grow right along with a company, creating unwieldy policies that harm more than help – and Personio is no exception. As we continued to experience hypergrowth, the weight of these policies grew right alongside us. We soon realized that what had made sense for 200 employees no longer worked for a team of over 1,300.

For a company that prides itself on hiring only the best candidates, the unnecessary bureaucracy was antithetical to everything we stand for. After all, if we’re hiring individuals who are talented, smart, and aligned with our values, then why wouldn’t we trust them to exercise that talent, intelligence, and alignment on behalf of Personio?

Introducing PersonioEmpower

So we launched PersonioEmpower, a radical new way to work that cuts through extraneous policies for all Personios. With PersonioEmpower, each employee can make their own travel decisions, sign contracts, purchase software, and more  – to the tune of five figures per month per Personio, increasing with seniority.

Personios enjoying the Dublin office.

That’s a lot of money, we know. But have you ever heard the expression “Put your money where your mouth is”? It means that if you really believe in something, you’ll back it up with action. And that’s exactly what we’re doing with PersonioEmpower: not just telling our employees that we trust them, but actually empowering them to act on that trust in an impactful way. It’s one way that we’re living out our values and operating principles of #Ownership, #BeDiligent, #DrivenByImpact, and #SolutionsOverProblems.

Now, instead of requiring employees to stick to specific travel policies, each Personio will book their travel based on what’s best for the company. Instead of each individual cost needing approval from the cost center owner, employees can make the decision to spend – or not – themselves. Instead of each contract going through multiple approvals, Personios have been granted authority to sign contracts up to €15,000.

We’re also not the only ones who have seen the writing on the wall and taken steps to reduce extra policies. Companies like Hubspot and Netflix have shown that removing decision-making barriers in a culture of strong talent and high trust has a positive impact on team motivation, efficiency, and innovation.

We know that Personio is a company of smart people with good judgment, and we’ve empowered each of them to use that judgment on behalf of the company. Now Personios can make time-sensitive or mission-critical decisions without being held up by multiple reviews or approval processes.

Co-founders Roman and Hanno presenting during an All-Team meeting in Madrid.

The Five Pillars of PersonioEmpower

This isn’t to say that we’ve thrown common sense out the window. Our team of legal experts will continue to review contracts that are above a predefined threshold, or that impact sensitive areas like personally identifiable information, and our teams continue to transparently align on expenditures with their team leads. To provide further direction as our employees make the most of PersonioEmpower, we’ve developed five principles to guide them as we explore this brave, new, empowered world together:

1. Be Empowered

I am trusted and empowered to weigh my options and make fast decisions. 

2. Take Responsibility

I understand that with great empowerment comes great responsibility. I will take responsibility for, and learn from, my mistakes. 

3. Use Good Judgement

I use good judgement, work to continuously improve decision-making skills myself and with my team, and ask for advice when I’m not sure.

4. Be Outcome-Oriented

I ask myself, “Does this decision promote customer happiness, company growth, or team development?”

5. Be Transparent

I am transparent, aligning on decisions that affect other stakeholders and keeping others informed.

We knew going in that mistakes would be made. After all, good judgment is a skill like any other, and skills take time and experience to build. That’s why we enacted not only these pillars, but a six-month testing period. This gave us a specific timeframe in which to test this new way of working, learn from what went well and what could be improved, and implement changes as necessary. As we near the end of this test period, stay tuned for a follow-up on those learnings and improvements!

Meeting room in the Munich office.

The hypergrowth that has slingshotted our team to 1,300 employees and beyond is still going strong. We need more talented people to help us become the leading HR platform in Europe – people who will also help us continue building a culture of trust and empowerment. If you’re aligned with our values and are looking for a role where you can make an impact, look no further. We’re hiring in multiple teams, including Sales, Customer Experience, Product & Engineering, and more!


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