Interview with Reg Robinson, Managing Principal, Solvera Solutions
Reg Robinson, B. Comm., Managing Principal, Solvera Solutions
bh in Brief
Solvera Solutions is a leader in the delivery of innovative IT and business solutions to the western Canadian market, helping our clients leverage the power of technology to achieve transformational change and growth. From our roots in Regina ten years ago, we have grown steadily. We now have thriving offices in Calgary, Regina and Winnipeg, and more than 200 people across western Canada.
Solvera is one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies and enjoys a very positive reputation as one of Canada’s Best Small and Medium Employers and one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
Reg Robinson is Managing Principal of Solvera Solutions, an IT and business consulting company in Western Canada with a focus on collaboration and team work. As the architect of Solvera’s People Care strategies and chief custodian of the company culture, Reg has instilled his core philosophy of treating people like people across all aspects of the business. The company’s consistent demonstration of concern for the individual has resulted in a highly engaged and talented workforce, strong client relationships and impressive business results.
1. What is your leadership philosophy? Where do people fit in?
To be successful, we believe we need to balance the interests of shareholders, clients and employees, and we are mindful of this balance with every decision we make. Everybody associated with our firm is highly accomplished in their discipline, bringing solid experience, education and wisdom to their roles. In an environment like ours, the most effective approach for our leadership team is to focus on setting a compelling vision for the company and then involve people in creating and implementing the strategy and plan.
2. You have said that Solvera is committed to the highest standards of People Care. What is People Care?
People Care includes all of our efforts directed at ensuring our people succeed in their consulting or other work assignments. We have chosen the term People Care, rather than the more traditional term of Human Resources, so we are reminded to treat our team like adults, with workplace management practices and processes that enable people to achieve their best work rather than having a large list of rules and policies. It would not work in every environment, but this approach is right for us and our people.
3. How does People Care embody the team approach at work?
In a matrix environment like Solvera’s, teamwork is essential. The most effective teams are comprised of people who know and perform their individual roles well, have trust in their colleagues and a respect for their contribution, and have an open, supportive climate that allows people to thrive.
4. What affect has this approach had on your workplace? Does it increase productivity?
When people feel valued and well-supported, they do their best work. Our approach has resulted in our team members receiving very high client ratings and employee engagement rates that are consistently well above 80%.
5. What advice do you have for other leaders? What can they do to strengthen relationships and build productive teams at work?
No matter how large or small an organization, I encourage leaders to organize the work in smaller, cohesive teams and then provide as much autonomy as the work and environment reasonably allow. I encourage adoption of human resources policies that support good employee judgment versus adherence to a rule book that is more focused on compliance to administrative processes.
For example, Solvera does not have a prescriptive sick leave policy. When people are well, their peers and leaders expect them to be at work. When they are ill, we expect them to focus on their recovery and return when they are able. And the result? Sick leave that averages less than half the national average.
Another key is to focus on listening to employees. All of our workplace practices and programs start with an employee input phase. We regularly survey our workforce using third party researchers, invite focus group participation on a wide range of topics and have both open and anonymous continuous feedback loops. This approach would benefit all organizations, as long as the effort is sincere. bh