How Software Company Atlassian Used Trust and Transparency to Drive Outstanding Business Results

 

Case Studies - Great Place to Work - June 28, 2016

How Software Company Atlassian Used Trust and Transparency to Drive Outstanding Business Results

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“The results from Great Place To Work has given us great insights. Those insights helped us set our agenda around people. Specifically, how we invest in people managers to be better at their jobs and what do we do to drive the key leadership skills for the scale and growth that we're experiencing.” 

Jeff Diana, (former) Head of HR, Atlassian

 

The Challenge

In the highly competitive, fast-paced tech industry, a team’s ability to create unique products that respond to the market’s needs determines a company’s success. That means tech companies need to know how to unleash team potential.

Leaders at Atlassian, a global collaboration software service provider headquartered in Sydney, Australia, wanted to tap into this potential by putting trust and transparency at the core of business operations. They also believed that a high-trust culture is critical to driving innovation and collaboration.

To fuel this high-trust atmosphere, Atlassian took the stance that the more transparency, the better. One of their key principles is “transparency by default,” which enables an open, free flow of information.

The Solution

Atlassian took two key approaches to building a culture of high-trust and achieving a business advantage in the competitive tech space.

Building Trust by Including Employees: Turning Strategic Planning “On Its Head”

Atlassian decided to focus on trust by taking a non-traditional approach to strategic planning. Instead of top leaders dictating company strategy, they now start the planning process by asking Atlassian employees to look into the future, taking their knowledge of the products, the customer, and their employee experience into account.

Atlassians are then asked to “paint the picture” of what they believe success would look like in two years’ time and vote on which ideas should go into the company’s business plan and operating goals.

The company places the destiny of the business in employees’ hands because they trust that they know the customers’ needs best.

Transparency: No Information Off-Limits

 At Atlassian, there’s almost no information that’s off-limits. Leadership believes giving employees all the relevant information on hand helps them make better-informed decisions, faster. 

The company releases all of its business metrics to employees – how top leaders are performing, how the business is doing overall, and even sensitive pre-IPO financial data that was 100% confidential to the public.

The company’s commitment to transparency also extends to customers – they host a public site where users of Atlassian’s products can publicly log bugs and feature requests, and vote on which ones they care about. The company will address these posts, commenting on the priority of the fix, or explaining why the feature can’t be implemented for the time being. 

 

The Results:

 350%

Customer Growth from 2011 to 2016

360%

Employee Growth 347 employees in 2011 to 1,600 in 2016

40%

Revenue Growth from 2014

Committing to building a high-trust culture paid off big.

Atlassian’s trust-based strategic planning approach resulted in a two-year plan that both meets the customers’ needs, and drove tremendous buy-in and motivation from employees across the company. 

Atlassians results from the Great Place to Work Certification Program showed 87% of Atlassians say that management genuinely seeks and responds to suggestions and ideas, and 92% say that people there are willing to give extra to get the job done.

This impact extended to customers, with a 350% increase in customers over the last 5 years. Talk about a return on investment.

 

 

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