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Simon Cooper Peering into the depths of .NET

As I discussed in my previous posts, divisions and project teams within Red Gate are allowed a lot of autonomy to manage themselves. It's not just the teams though, there's an awful lot of freedom given to individual employees within the company as well.


How Red Gate treats it's employees is embodied in the phrase 'You will be reasonable with us, and we will be reasonable with you'. As an employee, you are trusted to do your job to the best of you ability. There's no one looking over your shoulder, no one clocking you in and out each day. Everyone is working at the company because they want to, and one of the core ideas of Red Gate is that the company exists to 'let people do the best work of their lives'. Everything is geared towards that.

To help you do your job, office services and the IT department are there. If you need something to help you work better (a third or fourth monitor, footrests, or a new keyboard) then ask people in Information Systems (IS) or Office Services and you will be given it, no questions asked. Everyone has administrator access to their own machines, and you can install whatever you want on it. If there's a particular bit of software you need, then ask IS and they will buy it.

As an example, last year I wanted to replace my main hard drive with an SSD; I had a summer job at school working in a computer repair shop, so knew what to do. I went to IS and asked for 'an SSD, a SATA cable, and a screwdriver'. And I got it there and then, even the screwdriver. Awesome. I screwed it in myself, copied all my main drive files across, and I was good to go. Of course, if you're not happy doing that yourself, then IS will sort it all out for you, no problems.

If you need something that the company doesn't have (say, a book off Amazon, or you need some specifications printing off & bound), then everyone has a expense limit of £100 that you can use without any sign-off needed from your managers. If you need a company credit card for whatever reason, then you can get it.

This freedom extends to working hours and holiday; you're expected to be in the office 11am-3pm each day, but outside those times you can work whenever you want. If you need a half-day holiday on a days notice, or even the same day, then you'll get it, unless there's a good reason you're needed that day. If you need to work from home for a day or so for whatever reason, then you can. If it's reasonable, then it's allowed.

Trust issues?

A lot of trust, and a lot of leeway, is given to all the people in Red Gate. Everyone is expected to work hard, do their jobs to the best of their ability, and there will be a minimum of bureaucratic obstacles that stop you doing your work. What happens if you abuse this trust?

Well, an example is company trip expenses. You're free to expense what you like; food, drink, transport, etc, but if you expenses are not reasonable, then you will never travel with the company again. Simple as that. Everyone knows when they're abusing the system, so simply don't do it. Along with reasonableness, another phrase used is 'Don't be a ***'. If you act like a ***, and abuse any of the trust placed in you, even if you're the best tester, salesperson, dev, or manager in the company, then you won't be a part of the company any more.

From what I know about other companies, employee trust is highly variable between companies, all the way up to CCTV trained on employee's monitors. As a dev, I want to produce well-written & useful code that solves people's problems. Being able to get whatever I need - install whatever tools I need, get time off when I need to, obtain reference books within a day - all let me do my job, and so let Red Gate help other people do their own jobs through the tools we produce.

Plus, I don't think I would like working for a company that doesn't allow admin access to your own machine and blocks Facebook!

Cross posted from Simple Talk.

Posted on Friday, June 24, 2011 5:14 PM Inside Red Gate | Back to top

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