Being asked to lend an employee to an urgent cross-company effort isn’t always easy in the short-term, but long-term benefits like knowledge sharing make it a win-win situation
For outsiders (and new employees), Wix’s structure, which is made of companies and guilds, can be a bit hard to understand at first. Every company within Wix is a team that works together on the same product line. They focus on business and user needs, strive for product leadership, allocate resources to deliver products and work with minimal dependencies. Guilds, however, are horizontal groups that maintain professional quality across companies. They enable alignment and knowledge sharing, provide guidelines to ensure product quality and promote professional development. They’re also responsible to lead and coordinate cross-company projects.
Sometimes some of these projects require “all hands on deck”, and team leaders are asked to temporarily lend an employee for other companies or teams within the guild. Contributing to cross-company efforts can definitely speed up high-priority projects, but team leaders may find themselves hesitant to let go of a good employee for reasons ranging from heavy workloads and tougher-to-meet deadlines, to management dilemmas within the team.
On the other hand, short term hardship can turn out to be highly beneficial for everybody: the employee, both teams and of course for the company. More often than not, team members who return to their original team after spending time with another one, bring with them a treasure trove of knowledge, work methodologies and personal connections.
Short-term Pain vs. Long-term Gain
Roi Ashkenazi who was heading the Velocity Infra group (and most recently started as the R&D Lead of the International Growth Company), says that when he was asked to lend Andrei Kutsovskiy - the newest employee in his team - in order to help another team tasked with a strategic engineering project, it wasn’t all that easy for him.
“Andrei was about to finish a project and letting him go to another team was going to cause a delay. I had to make a decision that’ll hurt us in the short-term but that’ll hopefully be beneficial for us in the long-term”.
What made you agree?
“I thought that this was a great opportunity for Andrei not only to help them with their problems but also to learn about new work methodologies and technologies and then to bring his new knowledge back to our team and to share it with us. On top of that, I knew that he would feel satisfaction knowing that he contributed to something critical for Wix and realizing that his team acknowledges his skills. To sum it up, it can be seen as a hard decision to make, but when you think of it, it’s actually a pretty easy one”.
From Andrei’s perspective, this move made perfect sense beforehand, and turned out to be a win-win-win situation in retrospect. “When Roi asked me if I’d like to join the project for a few months I didn’t hesitate. What they were doing – basically moving computations done on the user’s browser to the server side in order to speed up website load times – sounded challenging and really cool because of the scale we were dealing with, and I had all the tech knowledge needed to help them with their mission”.
What was it like?
“It wasn’t very hard to leave my team for a while because I had started at Wix only a couple of months earlier and never met my team members outside of Zoom frames, so socially it was okay. The great thing that happened was that I really learned a lot from this experience. It was like moving into a whole new job for a few months and I got to know people from a part of Wix that I would have never known. While I was there, I was acquainted with very high scale technologies and ideas I didn’t think of before. Work methodologies that I’ve learned there now help on a daily basis and we can get to the point where everything works fine by using what I’ve learned, without unnecessary trial and error. At the end of the day, this experience left me with insights, knowledge, understanding and friends and I think that it’s a great thing for employees, teams and for Wix in general”.
Roi says that he will continue to help out with cross-company projects that may demand a short-term sacrifice on his end. “By default I say yes to such requests. I think that we must always try to elevate ourselves above our daily routines, see the bigger picture and think more about the future and the greater good. It’s an attitude that I took with me to the new role I just started”.