It’s amazing what can be created when the freedom to think, share, and try new things is offered. This concept of freedom – and the related ways in which we must work together to support freedom – were part of the focus at the 2019 OTRS Company Event.
The international event brought together more than 100 employees from around the world at Depot 1899 in Frankfurt, Germany. The annual event offered everyone a chance to gather and reflect on the successes of the past year as well as the direction of the upcoming 12 months. Of course, it was also a festive occasion when people from around the world visited, danced, shared a meal and exchanged ideas about both personal and professional topics.
Mission and Vision Tour
The company-wide event was also the conclusion on a year-long tour in which CEO André Mindermann and board member Sabine Riedel visited each and every person in the company to ensure a common understanding of the mission and vision that they have for OTRS Group and to discuss what freedom means to everyone individually.
OTRS Group’s mission statement is:
We give companies the freedom to be successful.
Among other things, this means that companies working with OTRS Group take advantage of the Solution-as-a-Service to embed daily routines in reliable and transparent structures, giving them the space for creativity and value-added projects.
The concept of freedom is applied internally as well, supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of the global organization. To quote the OTRS corporate culture statement, “For us, the foundation [of our corporate culture] is freedom of thought. It influences our actions and directly shapes what we do.”
It proved a practical example of how teams that are given the freedom to work creatively can achieve remarkable results.
Freedom in Action at the Company Event
Following a brief presentation about the exciting achievements of the past year, employees participated in a group-wide exercise.
The large group was broken up into eight teams, each of which represented a division in the company – Marketing, Human Relations, Development, etc. Over the course of several hours, the groups were to develop a roadmap for the launch of a fictional product. The tricky part of the exercise was that no person was working in a group to which they actually belong in their day-to-day role: For instance, if someone generally works on the development team, they may have been assigned to the finance team during the exercise.
Said Sabine Riedel, “The activity was fascinating to watch. While it was certainly designed to practice teamwork and communication, it also highlighted our theme of freedom. There was very little instruction given to teams about HOW they were to complete the assignment: They were only told what the end goal was. I observed many different and unique ways of reaching this goal as I watched the various teams work with the freedom to think outside of their normal day-to-day roles.”
Amazingly, the group of 100 was able to create the timeline in just a few hours with only minor tweaks recommended by those reviewing the end result! It proved a practical example of how teams that are given the freedom to work creatively can achieve remarkable results.
Freedom Actively Lives within OTRS Group
For André Mindermann, the topic of freedom is of extreme importance. In a recent article, he shared, “I believe that people develop optimally when their personal sense of freedom is served. To create the conditions for this, or to support and promote this, should be our goal as a leader.”
So, in what ways does this concept of freedom actively influence work at OTRS Group?
Of course, OTRS is used as a tool to structure digital workflows within the company so that people have the freedom to focus on new ideas, projects that would add value and improvements to the ways in which they work.
For example, OTRS Group has always been a leader in flexible work schedules, offering employees the freedom to blend their work time with their personal time in a way that best fits their lifestyle needs.
Employees are continuously encouraged to embrace and express this freedom in the workplace. For example, OTRS Group has always been a leader in flexible work schedules, offering employees the freedom to blend their work time with their personal time in a way that best fits their lifestyle needs. OTRS Group offers employees a “playground”: This means that employees can use part of their work hours to “spar” with a partner about new ideas and possible projects. And, the leadership team encourages a “Culture of Mistakes,” releasing people from the fear of trying innovative ideas.
Freedom Leads OTRS Group into the Future
The Company Event went by too fast, but luckily we are looking forward to several upcoming projects that also underline our idea of freedom:
- The new release OTRS 8 will be the biggest in our release history. By integrating connectors to social media, OTRS users will have the freedom to use the channel of their choice to get in touch with their customers.
- Another highlight to mention are our CSR activities that will take on an even higher priority in the future. While a lot of people don´t have the time or inspiration for volunteer work in their private lives, they now have the freedom to volunteer during work time. Each employee can spend two work days per year for this while being free to work with their favorite charities or organize a group activity. The next event will be a day working in an animal shelter.
- And, we also experience exciting ideas in terms of “new work” which might give OTRS employees even more freedom to do what they like in the future.
That was just a sneak preview in some upcoming activities underlying our idea of freedom. If you want to learn more about our company culture, feel free to reach out to us. And keep an eye out to see what’s happening at next year’s company event!