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Business visions: Holocracy, Self Management and People Caring

Alice Manzoni , HR & Wellbeing Specialist by Trainect has met Matteo Sola, HR Learning & Development Leader at Iliad to talk about organizational vision , new business paradigms and models, trends and impacts on corporate organisations .


Matteo is an expert in Digital & Agile HR as well as being a partner and collaborator in various companies, among which we mention Kopernicana, but also Talent Garden, a company for which he worked for many years as People & Culture Manager and Scientific Coordinator.


Have you ever heard of Corporate Wellness? And if so, within which contexts?


Matteo tells us that Corporate Wellness, or Organizational Well-being, is a very current theme and that it is gradually acquiring ever greater importance , as indeed is happening in this period to Well-being in general, which is becoming more and more central in companies and which is acquiring different facets.


"The interesting thing" - continues Matteo - "is to notice how, in addition to recovering centrality and importance, the theme of Well-being is becoming increasingly concrete and sophisticated. A few years ago we were talking above all about some specific and if we want even a little reductive activities, such as Welfare or some small initiatives such as bringing mindfulness into the company. All single and independent actions, without a real overall strategy or clear objectives to guide the choices."


Matteo explains to us that of the set of activities and strategies that we call Corporate Wellness , a fundamental character can be identified, common to all actions in this field: the theme of the centrality of people and consequently of the Caring of the people themselves ( People Caring & Development indeed).


But in practice, how do you put people at the center without it just becoming a slogan? What does it really mean? Matthew asks.

"The difference with a few years ago is precisely in this implementation, as the ever-increasing examples allow us to glimpse a concrete articulation of these values, with activities, services but above all skills that companies bring into play."

Who should be the primary vehicle for a wellness-related corporate culture and why? The CEO, the HR, the management, the independent employee, the company as an organization or perhaps a specific figure such as the Chief Happiness Officer?


To answer this question Matteo starts from the macro concept of sustainability , which is also increasingly central within the organization: sustainability of the business, of the environmental impact. But also sustainability in human terms: as the construction of a working environment and care for a workforce that results in low turnover and a positive corporate climate . Therefore, let there be a series of elements that do not scare people away, but rather can act as an attraction for new talents .

Placing ourselves from this point of view, it is clear that from the organizational side, as a vehicle of a culture linked to well-being, HR is called into question first and foremost but not only . If we look at the research on why people leave companies, among the main reasons we find a bad relationship with their manager , ineffective team management, non-positive relationships with colleagues around them for various reasons.

Therefore, Matteo explains to us, it cannot all be on the shoulders of HR because it is quite clear that there is a very broad responsibility also on the part of management, in all areas of the company.

"The activation of solutions related to well-being must necessarily come hand in hand with a cultural, mindset and skills change and this very often means giving the manager the tools to understand how to truly put the person at the centre."

Once management has been involved, the next step could be to involve the people themselves: giving them the tools to better manage their work, manage their psycho-physical balance, self-organise and manage physical activities, psychological support, remote engagement initiatives. That is, all those activities and all those services that can lead the person to become increasingly autonomous and give them back part of the responsibility and, consequently, centrality (Self Management and People Care).


For this reason, Matteo concludes, another figure involved could be the Innovation Manager , the figure in charge of facilitating Digital Transformation, precisely to give 360-degree support on all areas of impact .


In your experience, what are the main and most common obstacles to the development of a culture aimed at the well-being of its people and why?


Matteo explains to us that the main obstacle, as always when we talk about change and organizational development in a context with a mainly hierarchical and top-down structure, as most companies still have today, is the lack of support from the head of the organization ; if that is missing it is likely that the process will not even start.


Subsequently, it can be very complex to make people understand the real relevance of certain topics. Proactive management is needed in promoting the activities or solutions themselves . Therefore, even if there is an obstacle from top management, it is practically impossible for the project to start.


Furthermore, there may be an obstacle in terms of scarce economic resources, time, people or skills and this also represents an impediment. Especially when things don't go well: the first thing that is always cut are the resources allocated to people.

"Even in this case it is clear that the change in mindset must be preliminary to any change. Otherwise we risk doing things only when the situation is optimal, but it would be extremely limiting because very often it is precisely when companies are in difficulty that trigger that spark that ignites the will for change."

The last obstacle to the development of a culture linked to well-being that Matteo identifies is the resistance or in some cases the inadequacy of a certain part of HR still stuck in obsolete skills of their role , linked to administrative, managerial and not very strategic tasks and of vision. Often HRs have good ideas, but don't yet have the tools to put them to work.


Do you want to find out how to bring Wellbeing into your company? Sign up to our HR Community, you will find all the resources, contents, events, webinars and much more to learn how to take care of your people. Schedule a free call with our HR and Wellbeing Specialist, Alice Manzoni !



The role of HR, therefore, will become increasingly strategic, increasingly attentive and co-responsible for business decisions. Is this probably a change that goes hand in hand with the increasingly widespread trend of People Caring?


People are increasingly aware of what is best for them, what they want to feel good at work and what they have the right to obtain: this is a discussion which, as Matteo explains, intersects with the current debate on the alleged wave of Major Resignations , a phenomenon that will certainly need to be studied in more depth to understand its real reasons and above all its dimensions. What is certain, however, is that the pandemic has shaken the context and the people, revealing the inadequacy of some organizational structures.


"Because - continues Matteo - many people stopped to reflect on their role and working position for the first time, to discover at times that it did not correspond to their aspirations, some from an economic point of view, some aspirational. This is why they are exploring other avenues."


It seems that people are starting to have expectations and ask for different things, have demands (in a positive sense), no longer take it for granted that work is synonymous with effort and sacrifice (an idea generated by a certain vision of the world that does not necessarily have to be the only one). The new generations tend to no longer accept these conditions and even in previous generations there is a change in expectations.


Matteo believes that this situation will force organizations to give a different scale to priorities and to put a series of people's prerogatives back at the centre.

"It is no longer sufficient to think of doing business by keeping personnel costs low because this way it is easier to achieve a positive balance. In the medium and long term, this solution will not allow us to make the leap in quality and have a brand and a strong and attractive company."

On your Linkedin profile, among the experiences and activities you deal with, you can read: “Holacracy and Self Management” in Kopernicana. What can you tell us about these new organizational models that we are starting to hear about? And how do they connect with what has been said so far?


"Self Management - Matteo explains to us - is a topic that until recently was very niche, but which is now growing and becoming more and more interesting for companies. Fundamentally by Self Management we mean the ability of people or teams to self-organize and, therefore, to increasingly ignore the managerial figure traditionally understood. "


The most famous model for implementing Self Management on a large scale is Holacracy, an organizational system invented by Brian Robertson, who built a type of organization that completely dispenses with the figure of the manager and redistributes everything according to this vision of responsibility expanded.


"As a first step - Matteo explains to us - obviously we are not going to immediately abolish the management line but we are trying to enable people with tools and methodologies that make them actually become protagonists, increasingly responsible and, therefore, increasingly capable of decide and shape the organization as they feel the need based on a common goal."

"The great transformation is this: putting the strategy and the capacity for impact back into the hands of people, starting from a strong culture and an underlying objective that unites people and the company."

On Linkedin you do a lot of dissemination on the topics of Agile & HR, OKR and Digital Transformation. What question would you like to be asked, but are never asked? Or, what is a topic you would like to cover that goes beyond those mentioned?

"I would like to talk more about development in a broad sense, because a lot of my energies today are focused on how to make people grow in the company, and above all in contexts where in terms of numbers they are starting to be large, but in terms of structure they are it's very lean, agile and not very hierarchical."

From a business and operational point of view, Matteo tells us, it is a very positive situation but it has a counterpart: if, as often happens, people consider their career in a traditional way (the climb towards managerial roles and the management of a ever-increasing number of people), this type of organization cannot and no longer wants to provide this growth methodology.


This means that we have to invent new paths and new tools: we have to stop talking about linear careers, start searching and experimenting to find the alternative. For this reason Matteo finds the ability of an organization to be able to promote initiatives that have an impact on people's well-being from the point of view of growth and that go beyond traditional professional schemes to be central.


In your opinion, what does Corporate Wellness mean and what are its essential elements?

"Corporate Wellness is the strategy, the model that we create in the company to support a 360-degree People Caring approach, which enables people in all aspects that are relevant to them within the experience of work. What is inside this strategy must change from company to company."

Thank you very much Matteo, for the experience and advice you wanted to share with us.


See you soon!




Trainect is the Wellness platform that helps you improve and monitor the psycho-physical well-being of employees in an engaging and easy-to-use way, increasing employee engagement and consequently productivity.


If you want to delve deeper into the topic of Corporate Wellness and understand how to implement it in your company, book a free consultation with our HR and Wellbeing Specialist, here .

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