Semco’s huge growth spurt
Semco is a company made large by Ricardo Semler. Among the activities of the company are Industrial Machine Construction, Semco Ventures (High Tech and Internet Services) and SemcoHR (Human Resources). Annual sales rose by $ 4 million from Ricardo Semler in 1982 to $ 35 million in 1994, with an annual growth that is always over 25 percent and sometimes even 40 percent. The company had 3,000 employees in 2003, compared with 90 in 1982 ‘…’ As of 2003, Semco had annual sales of $ 212 million. In 2010, the company had more than 5000 employees. ” In addition, during the Brazilian hyperinflation, Ricardo Semler also prevented Semco’s bankruptcy in 1990.
Implemented reforms in Semco
Among other things, De Baak mentions some basic features of Semler’s work morale that enables Semco’s incredible growth: employee democracy (all decisions are taken jointly), extremely flat organization (mainly executives and service professionalls), all transparent (all financial data are insightgful for all for anyone and people can determine their own slaries), clear-cut units of no more than 25-150 fte (where everyone knows each other), a flexible salary (besides a fixed component an additional variable profit part), job swap (so every employee can develop itself and to learn the jobs of the others) and finally to make leaders unnecessary (eventually Semler himself gave up his role as CEO).
The key to Semler’s success: people
‘We looked at it and we said, let’s entrust everything to these people, let’s give these people a business where we take out all school issues.. this is when you have to be there, you’re going to go to meetings, this is what you say, this is what you do not say .. and so the question we asked was how can we help people? People are the only thing we have.'(Semler’s Presentation 2014 at TED Global).