There aren’t many places to hide at Macadamian’s offices in Gatineau. All the rooms, from the meeting areas to the managers’ offices, have either glass doors or walls.
© Mark Holleron
Macadamian director Virginie Bastien and CEO Frederic Boulanger.
This is on purpose – a sign of how much the software company’s co-founder and CEO Fred Boulanger wants his employees to be transparent with him and each other.
“As long as it is in a way that is compassionate and constructive, saying what you really think will make us a better business,” says Mr. Boulanger as he reclines in a chair in the Almond Room, one of Macadamian’s nut-themed meeting areas.
Mr. Boulanger cites the example of an employee who disagrees with the direction that a particular conference call or meeting is taking.
At more top-down organizations, he says, that person might be discouraged from speaking their mind and might allow whatever they were thinking about to nag at them as they went about their day.
That’s not how he runs things at Macadamian, he says.
“When things are not going the way you think they should be going – there’s a little voice there telling you that it should be different – I’m asking them to actually voice that concern and ask those questions,” he says.
This makes for more productive employees and makes the company better by allowing the best ideas to rise to the top, says Mr. Boulanger.
“Maybe what they’re going to say will actually change the course of the conversation,” he adds.
Other elements of the office serve similar purposes.
The ceilings in the area where employees work are higher than most offices because, Mr. Boulanger says, the management doesn’t want staff to feel that there’s a cap on their creativity.
Meanwhile, a green barrier sits in the middle of the office with random sentences, drawings and other ideas all over it. Pieces of paper hang from walls of offices, with new ideas written all over them in marker.
It may be different but Mr. Boulanger doesn’t see a problem with how they do things.
“What you’ve been told since you were a kid doesn’t apply,” he says.
CLIENTS: BlackBerry, Samsung, Sysco, Telus.