Agile teams and employee engagement are the key when Zenuity develops self-driving cars

When Zenuity needed a tool to engage their team, they chose &frankly. It fit seemlessly into the company's decentralized, agile organization.
– &frankly is a really nice and modern platform and we strive to be a modern company, says Anna Willford at Zenuity.

Gothenburg-based Zenuity, which develops and optimizes software for self-driving vehicles, was created in 2017 by the owners of Volvo Cars and Autoliv. The companies jointly took over employees and resources, which meant that Zenuity, instead of slowly growing organically, already had 250 employees from the start. To find out how the employees of the new company felt and to give the teams a basis for improvement, they chose &frankly.

– We wanted feedback from everyone in the organization. We evaluated several tools but we chose &frankly. The flexibility was the deciding factor for us – that we, based on a basic structure, can design how the tool should be used and also make changes to it, says Anna Willford.

Zenuity works in a highly decentralized, agile way. That the organization is agile means that people work in sprints, in Zenuity's case, in six-week cycles towards partial goals and visions. The sixth week an evaluation takes place to see what should and can be improved . Anna Willford is part of the People team. At other companies it would be called HR.

– Titles are not important to us. Everyone contributes their expertise and together we deliver results. We have a very team-focused organization and want the teams to function as well as possible. They should not only get better technically, but also become more cohesive. We want to help teams achieve high performance, she says.

In &frankly, employees regularly answer pulsed questions that are then discussed in the teams in order to create understanding and find areas that could be improved. Every twelfth week, the fourth week of every two six week cycles, the employees' commitment is measured. Then they answer eight questions. The answers are used by the teams during the sixth week, in their so-called retrospect meeting.

– Each team sees its level of engagement and can discuss what they want to work on. And we can also see the levels of engagement at the company in general, says Anna Willford.

Zenuity also aims to give the teams the opportunity to measure how they feel. This is done with a so-called "Team health check" in &frankly. The question pulse has a basic structure, but the teams can choose which questions they want to use, if they want to add their own questions, and which frequency is appropriate. Here you measure how individual members thrive, how the team works together, whether roles and responsibilities are clear, and how you feel about what you deliver. Anna Willford explains that the answers that come in via &frankly are used as a basis for discussion.

– It is the dialogue within each team that is important. The data from &frankly is used to get them started. We encourage everyone to talk to their boss themselves to find solutions. Each team owns its own result, she says.

Since its inception, Zenuity has grown strongly and today has around 600 employees. This means that the different teams have got new members, something that has affected the collaboration because the teams are in different phases of welding together.

– It affects the team's output when it comes to new people. "Team health check" is a way to help them see where they are and how they feel. We want to give them insight into the discussion on how they can get on and become a high-performing team, says Anna Willford.

Occasionally, Zenuity has major meetings for all employees. Here &frankly has played an important role in increasing their quality.

– We send out questions to get feedback on our "All Employee" meetings. That way we know what information they want and what they appreciate. This has boosted the quality of these meetings, she says and also explains that the benefit of &frankly becomes clearer the longer it is used, because new results can then be compared with historical ones.

– When there is data to look back on, the results become much more powerful. You can see trends and developments, what is going on in the organization, and how the actions taken by the teams affected them. This is where &frankly became really useful to us, says Anna Willford.

Employee Engagementagile

Kristofer Sandberg

Kristofer Sandberg

Brand Content Manager. Believe in the power of pen and paper, but having difficulties reading my own notes.

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