Let me explain why this is good. First as your boss, I'm not your friend. I'm not your pal. My sole responsibility is to ensure that I communicate clearly and effectively what needs to be done and make sure it happens. That's it. Does this mean, I'm not compassionate? No, of course not, but what it means is that I am tasked having uncomfortable conversations about things that need to be done and to make it understood. Have I asked people to work nights and weekends? Yes. Several times? Yes. Do I like doing it? No. This is the job. If you want to quit over this. No hard feelings. I make it clear that this is what we have to do. Have I fired people for under performing? Yes. Do I feel bad about it? No. That's my job. I feel bad, when I have to let someone go, because we don't have the money to keep them. When management says, "lose two heads, because we want to cut costs," and they were good employees. I feel bad then.
Working weekends sucks, I agree, but sometimes you have to. If you've never worked for a company that is on the brink of bankruptcy, you really don't understand what it's like to have to lay things on the line. The CEO is being honest about consequences. We honestly, don't know the situation from that blurb. It sounds like he's being an ass, but there maybe an underlying reason for it. (Probably not, but you never know.) Whether you choose to keep going is your choice.
A previous company I worked for, was on the brink of going out of business. Only a few of us knew (out of 200+ employees). We had a shortfall of money and we didn't know if we were going to make payroll that month. They didn't want to tell anyone (in fact I was instructed not to), but I knew, because I knew several of the executives. I pushed my staff, and myself for those three weeks, because I knew that if we didn't bill, the company could quite possibly go under. People say working weekends crosses a line. Knowing that your co-worker (or employee) may get evicted from the country, lost their house, etc., because you didn't do your job for those couple of weeks, I can't do that. That's crossing a line for me.
I can guarantee the following happened:
- your employees made more mistakes during weekend work
- at least a few had deteriorated health / sleep
- your teams morale took a hit
- you accomplished less than you would of had you had your employees come in regular weekly hours
Required weekend work is always a fault of management to properly plan and execute. Always. The few times I had my teams work the weekend I always admitted how I was at fault and how my poor planning would be the subject of a post mortem.
Source: I have been in management and executive positions for 15+ years at startups ranging from super small to rocket ships IPOs.
This is a shitty CEO and an equally shitty HR director imho. You got problems with deadlines/projects?
Do a root cause analysis, find out what is wrong, fix THAT wrong thing. Don't ask Alice to threaten Bob!
I'm cynical enough to assume that the KPI targets, deadlines etc. in this case are deliberately set beyond reasonable expectation to use as leverage when coercing people to work for free. Management in that case is not incompetent, just scum.
That's not crossing a line for you, is it? People on working visas have a set period to find the job and they need to send their applications in advance to stand a better chance of finding one.
It makes for a good story if you were the one who saved the day with 11-th hour heroism, but from an unbiased observer's perspective the management had failed a long time ago.
People often invoke "the company is family" trope to promote loyalty, but imagine that if you got married and then you suddenly found out that your spouse had high six-figure debts or that they were terminally ill. Relationships built on keeping your partner in the dark about things as serious as those are dysfunctional.
People are taking advantage of human kindness, an employee with no significant stake should not be the martyr looking for a sword to fall on.
People forget that there are others not like them. There are plenty of companies that set deadlines and expect you to meet them, even if that means working the weekends when you’re behind. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, lots of people love the money and/or don’t have families. No one is forcing you to work there, so let them be.
The only potentially relevant statement you made (bathroom breaks at Amazon warehouses) is the uncited one. Also coincidentally illegal in every US state I’ve ever been employed in...
Can you come up with a reason workers shouldn't fight back against RevolutApp's demands that wouldn't also apply to the horrible conditions in 1911?
If you reread my comment I specifically said that some people do like it at certain points in their lives. Let them decide if the job is for them...
Would you feel the same way if a company with 100,000 employees made these demands? If hundreds of companies with millions of employees total did so?
I know people who've been on welfare for generations, having never worked a day in their lives.
All right, but in the scenario you describe, you volunteered to work overtime because that's what you felt was best for you, not because of the lingering...opportunity to get fired if you didn't.
This kind of attitude is a classic indicator of a poor manager. If you think you (a) only have one responsibility and (b) that it's just making sure things happen, then you need to take a hard look at some actual good managers and ask yourself "What makes them effective?"
Good management is about evaluating competing demands and constraints, and then finding a solution. Telling people that the only way to make something work is have them work weekends is just passing the buck downwards for your failures to either deliver what you promised or manage expectations upwards.
I don't think it's a coincidence that the same companies who find their way into a cash crunch also find themselves requiring overtime from their employees to try and fix it. Both are signs of poor planning, poor management, and not treating your employees well.
In the end it's the chicken and the egg scenario. Did your bad decisions force you to treat your employees like shit or was treating your employees like shit part of the charter to begin with and it's just now catching up to you?
Either way, requiring overtime is a red flag whose appearance instantly tells me it's time to look for a new job. Whether the company is doing well or not. I work to live, not the other way around.
Apparently in USA ~50% survive year 5 of businesses. I see similar numbers for UK.
eg https://www.researchgate.net/post/Most_Start-up_Businesses_F... for USA
>Again, all I'm asking is if the startup is very clear about expectations going into the role is that ok? //
Absolutely! The truth will set you free.
I'd be curious as to what work laws in UK says.
If projects are behind, re-group, re-train, re-focus. Waving the whip and telling people "work on the weekends" was never my style (to instruct or to receive).
I was involved with a company once (larger than this one) where something very similar this happened.
They threatened layoffs. What happened was that the team became immediately LESS productive. Effectively instant burnout. If not from the hours than from the loss of morale.
One of the biggest "mistakes" is they told everyone when the layoffs would happen so all the top performers had better jobs lined up for that next Monday. The really high performers phoned it in just enough to not be fired early and took their severance package when they were inevitably laid off.
Personally, I tried not to phone it in. But I actually lobbied to be laid off (there was a significant group of people that wanted to keep me). I built up my vacation time (in the US it becomes due to you as cash when you leave) and got a month severance on top of it plus a 20% raise. And I timed my start date for a week after getting laid off just to have some rest. I was a key player on the product team... the other key players left too and that entire product died a couple months later.
It takes a while for people to realize that workers will stretch or compress their work to meet the schedule. If you expect them to work weekends they will just do the same amount of work just over 7 days instead of 5. Conversely, some studies have shown a four day week has no negative effect on productivity.
Thinking to meet KPIs you throw more hours at it is a sign of a "leader" who hasn't figured that out yet. Maybe by their 5th startup they'll get it.
Edit: As an aside. I too have asked my team to work weekends occasionally (I'm a CTO not CEO but same premise). It always goes like this:
> I'm really sorry to have to do this but we really need you to put in some extra time on the weekend to meet the deadline next week. Pick a couple days next month to take off and we'll let you take them off without using your PTO. Thank you, I really appreciate it! As a company we'll try to make sure this doesn't happen very often.
EDIT: just read a wiki on Nikolay. It all makes sense - his dad is a high up in Putin's enterprise machine (Gazprom - russian gas related entity) = part of the corruption machine. Not surprised that the son has such morals and how he treats other people is probably coming from his dad.
Regular folks are just lowlife slaves and peasants that exist to enrich him and his business (this is the way an average russian oligarch thinks).
haha they stopped flagging "certain" suspicious financial activity for a period of time. Its a well known fact that russian politicians and oligarchs launder their money through European banks... How "convenient" that they stopped flagging certain transactions..
Did his Dad or his Dad's buddies have to funnel some money through Europe?
Widening Russia Money Laundering Scandal Hits European Banks
..."Revolut suspended the use of “a more advanced sanctions screening system”....
Having said that, I can't bring myself to be too bothered about this tweet. At least the expectation is clear: hit your KPI goal or else.
If you were to find yourself behind, you could either work harder, lobby to change the goal, lobby for more resources, pivot your strategy, or start looking for a new job. This guy is being a dick by threatening weekend work or the dole to push people to hit their numbers, but there are worse management sins.
Yep. Unless the employees are slacking off in their work week (I have no reason to think this is the case) this seems true by definition.
Reasonable KPI's are good, and people should be able to work as much or as little (within reason) to meet those targets. The problem is ownership always wants more.
And KPIs are actually benchmark indicators [hence the name], not explicit targets. Sure, you can try to make goals, even have certain contractual rights or obligations pegged to them, and CEOs can even communicate these to employees, but demanding to meet those goals, to place these goals above personal well-being is a very short sighted strategy.
They were using hiring process for free unpaid work to reach those sweet KPIs... much worse.
Each applicant was expected to bring 200 new paying customers to go to the next phase. Any problem yet?
They were using hiring process for unpaid work.
It's worth remembering that the only reason employees get these concessions is because unions and governments forced companies to do so under threat of (sometimes direct) violence, and that part of the "disruptive" philosophy of modern startup culture is an attempt to undermine and roll back these gains in labor rights under the pretense of free-market efficiency.
This man along other industrialists started to lobby for 8 hours a day and they got exactly that.
The whole applicant's-must-book-sales-for-free schtick was so trashy they pulled it  once it came to light.
>are significantly below targets
>and still do not work on weekends to catch up.
The CEO addresses it specifically to the middle management (POs/TLs) and not line employees.
Given that, the vocal outrage, and the calls on Twitter for the line employees to unionize are both unproductive, and also misleading. Way to discredit your position.
We really shouldn't encourage this type of work ethic in any way or on any step of the ladder.
Obviously the pressure from the CEO is meant to trickle down to the line employees.
Edit: Oh SNAP! :) Ok now I read it, a parallel HN discussion:
Opinions my own.
Main thread here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19309597
As with any such managers, the deadlines are set by their own optimistic guesswork, not by the people actually doing the job (and knowing how to do the job).
Did I mention I workED for that manager?
This guy was only talking about people significantly behind on their projects, for what it is worth.
Of course they can be behind because they are wasting time or because the project requires too many man hours.
What difference does that make? If people are behind they're behind. There should be a discussion, not an "work overtime" response. I want to think I'm valued and not just blamed if things aren't going smoothly.
A failure of management either way. Hire the right people, get them to do the right job, give them reasonable targets based on reasonable estimates of velocity and the work required to bring the project to completion, create positive incentives to work instead of casually threatening the employees. You know, manage the employees.
If I worked there and knew I wouldn't meet my "KPIs" because of inept management and learned that they'd hold my bonus hostage even if I was a "great contributor", why would I want to work at all, let alone on weekends?
But this is a start-up with unpaid overtime. There is a purpose to deliberately creating unreasonable estimates, and it's to get people to work for free. Based on what I read it seems par for the course, unfortunately.
Of course I think you mean to say "the idea of a 7 day work week is stupid"
You swap a bright pink/orange card for a bright lime green
I do not believe that the US approach—in many sectors, but particularly in finance—of putting your career before your family life is a good use of the unknown and limited time we have on this planet.
That said, I am an entrepreneur, and the buck stops with me, so if I need to work weekends than I will juggle that obligation while still being there for my son.
Part of my reason for this approach is based on what my father once told me, that in life you'll juggle a lot of important balls, your career ball, your family ball, your health ball etc. The gist was, life is a juggling act, but his final word on it was something along the lines of, "Your family ball is made of glass, and if you drop it, it could shatter so much that you will never be able to piece it together again."
Obviously what is happening in an employee's life will have an impact on their work life. Saying things like, "if you miss your KPIs than you're fired" isn't going to motivate your staff, especially the ones who need to up their performance. Firing people who don't perform creates a situation where staff members will live under fear and that doesn't usually create great customer experiences.
And this leads to another point, if you are a good leader, you should never be in a position where you need to remind people that they need to work weekends if they are behind or they will get fired. He’s the CEO, the buck stops with him. If he communicated the problem they are solving, the company’s mission, and put in the right culture, hired the right people, you don’t need to say such things.
IMHO a good ‘Culture’ would have the following values:
1. Spartan Wall – We win the battle for our customers by protecting/taking care of each other.
2. Obsessive Customer Empathy – We are our customers’ biggest advocate.
3. Unfiltered Brutal Truth – Feelings, rank, politics NEVER have priority over truth and what’s right.
4. Proactive Problem Solving – When we hit problems, we do not put our hands up, we find a solution.
5. Laser Focus – We only keep to the problem and the mission.
6. One Destination, Autonomously – While we work loosely together, we all have the same mission and we are all in it together.
I bet you all the money in the word Nikolay Storonsky—the CEO of Revolut—doesn’t actually understand that a CEO’s job is to create the environment to find, motivate and retain people who are focused on the problem the company is solving, believe in the company’s mission, and are a fit for the company’s culture. IMHO venture success is the result of building an organisation that does this.
I wish Revolut all the luck in the world but the fish rots from the head!
Why are you stereotyping work ethics among western countries? That's clearly wrong because most of them have the same structure. Believe it or not the worst work environments exist in "poor" countries like India, or Pakistan, or even Balcan countries like Romania. White collars are suffering there that's why their only dream is moving to USA or Germany.
If people are behind the expected performance due to incompetence, wasted time or poor self-management, then this is reasonable.
We are all adults here.
Insisting that your employees work weekends for months on end is obviously unacceptable. Asking your employees to work occasional overtime in certain circumstances hardly seems monstrous to me.
You can ask for a new version of the theory of relativity from the janitor by the end of the week, but if she fails to deliver I would not put the blame on her.
If it is employee laziness or incompetence, the employees should be retrained, demoted or fired. Grinding them on weekends is only likely to make the productivity drain worse and if they are creating bad work outputs, you’re accelerating the compounding growth of their mistakes.
I like what was said in Peopleware about this, “You can kick someone to make him sit up in his chair, but you can’t kick someone to make him work.”
Despite all of the above, 99% of the time this sort of issue stems from toxic & incompetent management. Is your CEO using Twitter to bark workload policy at you? Well, then you know who the problem is.
Also, do you think that (given, again, the general tone) that the management would evaluate a low-performing employee in a fair and objective way?
Even asking people to work on weekend without compensation it's illegal in many countries.
Let's very deliberately not do what China is doing.
Some winning that is.
If that's what winning looks like, don't sign me up.
Hold on. A firefighter is on call in the in the firehouse during their shift. The aren't (except in emergencies) working straight 24 hour shifts. I see them at the grocery store a lot during the day. How many teams of software developers are gaming, shopping and sleeping during their shifts?
most patrol officers work 5 consecutive 8-hour shifts followed by two days off, though emergency callouts are part of the job.
I don't know any morticians but I assume that is the same. Doctors are in a different category all together, and I'll bet their shifts and culture surrounding their hours are responsible for many, many deaths.
Tech workers are merely making their CEO and some shareholders rich. They should only be working those long hours if it's going to benefit them, and they like the tradeoff.
I'm not implying that it's OK to overwork Doctors / Firemen / Policemen: simply stating that there's real good in the world they do, whereas most tech companies are net loss for humanity, and not worth the work.
That's what an employment contract is for.
If you want me to work on weekends, put that in the contract.
I can then negotiate an appropriate wage.
If it's not in the contract, get lost.
Alternatively propose a new contract so we can re-negotiate my compensation.
If we negotiated for 160 hours of my time / month, then that's what you're getting.
And if you can't wrap your head around that, you are not qualified to run a company and probably shouldn't be trusted with any kind of business transaction at all.
I know it'll probably take you half a year to fill my position, while I'll happily be working somewhere else within the week.
Though from what I gleamed of your personality from your comments, it's likely you wouldn't have managed to get me on board in the first place.
Also did you ever consider that some of your employees/contractors may be running their own companies/business when they're not working at yours?
Do you really think they value your business above theirs?
And even if they don't, do you think they value your company above their family/friends/life?
Do you think your attitude even has a chance of inspiring different priorities? I highly doubt it.
Your company sounds like a terrible place to work.
"What is the definition of 'Toxic Employer', Alex?"
Just because you're a founder doesn't mean you're a slave owner. Those days are thankfully over in large parts of the world.