Trust Works

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Katrina Yuen, FMYI’s Director of HR, explains our commitment to workplace flexibility during her speech about FMYI’s trusting culture at the When Work Works Awards Ceremony in Portland, Oregon, on June 6th, 2016:

FMYI is a collaboration software company headquartered in North Portland. We were founded 12 years ago and hired our first employee a year later. We had a paid time off policy that was a little better than usual but nothing out of the ordinary. We wanted to do right by our employees. We wanted to set policies that we would want working somewhere else. We wanted to treat people the way we would want to be treated. So we just kept going on our way. 

We implemented a generous maternity plan even though as a small company we weren’t regulated by any of the FMLA laws. And then we started to have people ask us questions like, “Can I follow my husband who has to move to another state?” “My girlfriend wants to finish her schooling in Ashland.” And we said, yes! Why not? 

We have created this software product so that people can work efficiently and productively from all over the place. Yes! We can do this! So we just evolved to becoming a flexible company without labeling ourselves as such quite yet. And it just kept going. 

Our family at FMYI started to grow families of their own. Our founder brought his little daughter to the office and let her sit in a little swing for about 4 months. You know what? It worked.

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Fast forward to 2011, when we were introduced to Family Forward Oregon and they said, “Why don’t you apply for this award? Are you a flexible company?” We said, “Sure. What’s it called? The Alfred P. Sloan…very long name award.” 

And guess what? We won. 

And then we went to this awards ceremony, similar to what it is today and we heard from a woman named Renee Spears from Rose City Mortgage. She came up and spoke about an unlimited time off policy and we thought, “Huh. We can do that too. Why don’t we do that too?” As Andrea mentioned, we kept winning. Thank you! And we learned from the other recipients about cool things they were doing. 

We were inspired by your movement and by all of you and we became an organization for workplace flexibility. Not just for families but for yourselves. We have single employees who need time off because they’re sick, have pets, need to travel. 

Our unlimited time off policy has driven our culture now of trust. So much of our work revolves around trusting each other. We trust our employees are going to get the job done for FMYI. We want to pay you! So we need you to work hard for us but we trust that they’re going to take the time that they need to care for themselves, sick kids, to coach their kids at baseball, to take care of their parents, to take care of their dogs! We have a lot of dog owners at the moment. 

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There’s so much trust and communication. Like I said, we use our tool quite a lot. We have a lot of employees who work remotely and we found that they were the best employees and we need to retain them and we’re going to make it work. It’s still working but it’s a work in progress. We’re not done. We’re still trying to figure out what the next thing is. And we hope that you all and other companies will join us in being flexible, trust your employees, and be leaders in this movement. Thank you.