Andy Yen is the Founder and CEO of Proton Technologies AG. The Swiss-based Proton Technologies is building a suite of security software solutions including ProtonMail, the world’s largest secure email; and ProtonVPN, a security-focused VPN service that enables Internet access without surveillance.
Andy was a researcher at CERN from 2009 to 2015, where ProtonMail’s founding team met. He has a PhD in Physics from Harvard and a degree in Economics from Caltech. He is a longtime advocate of privacy rights and has spoken at TED, SXSW, and the Asian Investigative Journalism Conference about online privacy issues.
Our ability to create a forward-thinking workplace and a better world hinges on our ability to have open and honest discussion to share our knowledge and ideas. Fortunately, there are companies like Proton Technologies and people like Andy Yen who are delivering the means to do so.
Helping to ensure the privacy of our words survive in the digital age is the reason Andy and his team get up every day passionately motivated to go to work. Discover how creating spaces where we can speak honestly gives us power.
How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?
Andy Yen: Inside our company, one thing that’s helped us a lot is having a rather flat hierarchy. Everybody can contribute ideas no matter what their level is in the organization.
The open sharing of knowledge and ideas helps us be more innovative and allows us to change and adapt more quickly.
We have a culture where anybody who wants to talk to the upper management can. This allows everyone to have a sense that their voice matters. It also allows ideas to come from any corner of the organization. Even ideas for one department can come from a different department. This open sharing of knowledge and ideas helps us be more innovative and allows us to change and adapt more quickly.
What does it take to get an employee’s full attention and best performance?
Andy: You need to have an efficient workforce to be competitive. For getting the best performance and full attention, it’s getting the right fit for people.
Getting the best performance and full attention means getting the right fit for people.
There’s always a job description, but it’s very rare when someone is 100% a perfect fit down to the last detail. Everybody has their individual quirks, habits, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s important to tailor people’s duties to leverage their strengths and weaknesses. This requires management to be more flexible and tentative at the beginning. When you get people into a role where they fit, you see that the results become dramatically better.
Note: This is a preview of the full interview. The complete interview was selected by Apress for publication and continues in The Future of the Workplace.