ArticleJuly 9, 2019 · 2 min read time
When an organization aims to maintain a hierarchy-free environment and operate completely without middle management, progressive solutions are in order to effectively support the well-being and competence development of the employees. We created the Kamu support model to meet that need at Nitor.
Kamu is an employee that supports peer colleagues by coaching, mentoring, sparring, and listening. The idea is to help the colleague balance work and other aspects of life and to provide support in professional and personal development. Kamu is not a superior but is responsible for providing continuous support for their colleague.
Nitor’s data driven People Operations conducted a study on how the employees of Nitor perceive the Kamu model that has now been around for roughly two years. We wanted to find out what its benefits are.
Here are the key benefits of the Kamu model:
1. Based on the results, Kamu meetings promotes psychological safety in two different ways. First, building successful Kamu relationships and thus having a strong community of trustworthy peers, creates a safer working environment. The second factor is the possibility to discuss both personal and professional issues with a peer, which employees find psychologically safer than discussing them with a superior.
2. Kamu has potentially a significant role in helping find meaningful goals and also meet those goals. Based on this research, setting goals and following up on them is the most beneficial outcome of Kamu meetings.
3. The employees recognize the significance of the Kamu meetings for maintaining the flat organizational hierarchy. Kamus help carry the social burden of management by taking on the role of listener and supporter. However, annual supervisor face-to-face meetings are still considered important and irreplaceable. The employees see the support divided between a Kamu and a superior as a wholesome solution.
4. The motivation to work as a Kamu is based on benevolence. When we asked about the benefits of the system for Kamus, the most common answer by far was that they get satisfaction out of helping colleagues.
In order for the Kamu system to really have an impact, the organizational culture should be such where supporting colleagues is intrinsically motivated. According to the study, Kamu model should also be properly supported by allocating time and providing education for Kamu meetings. To get the full advantage of Kamu model, peer support needs to be high priority for individuals and the organization as a whole.
We are now starting to help implement Kamu model in other organizations.
Would this be possible in your organization?
Read the whole study with more findings here: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:amk-201905159973