Introduction to Toss Culture for Newcomers

by Toss

“Get to know Toss culture!”

What does the culture at Toss look like? We would like to introduce the Toss culture through a document that newcomers get to see on their first day at Toss.

Newcomers receive a huge welcome package that says “We’re here to make history.” They start their first day with office supplies like a notebook and pen, as well as other presents specifically selected by the Toss Team.

They also receive an email that contains 30 things newcomers need to know/do starting on their first day. One of the most important tasks is to read documents on the goal, strategy, way of working of Toss, and getting to know the Toss Team.

Among those documents, we would like to share the ‘Introduction to Toss Culture.’

Highly Competent Members in an Environment of Freedom and Responsibility

One of the most important principles the Toss Team discovered in order to survive in the market is pursuing ‘efficiency and flexibility’ at the same time.

Since the beginning of Toss, we discovered through various experiences and lessons that the best way to be both efficient and flexible is to give freedom to high performing and responsible people to encourage participation.

In order to maintain this principle, Toss established principles and a culture that are very different from other organizations. The way Toss works is to maintain these principles.

High-Performance Culture

The culture of Toss is not necessarily for everyone. People who value stability over social impact may not be able to feel happy in the Toss Team.

Our culture is for people who have outstanding capabilities, integrity, and willingness to grow through constant change.

These people value great performance, innovating the market, earning respect from their coworkers, and working with the best colleagues based on mutual respect over having a stable life without new challenges.

The Toss Team wants to work and grow with these kinds of people. High performers produce the most efficient results when they are given freedom, rather than unnecessary rules or processes.

Freedom and Responsibility

Having freedom means that each individual has independence in making the best decisions and executing their decisions to the fullest.

For optimal decision making, the highest level of information sharing is needed. For best execution, high performing and responsible team members are critical. These two are the most important in maintaining our culture of freedom and responsibility.

Also, in order to maintain our culture, we need to make participation possible through complete delegation, and complete delegation is only possible when there is mutual trust between team members.

‘Delegation’ and ‘Trust’

We maintain freedom by bringing the best people to our team and giving them complete delegation on work they are in charge of. No one can go against their decision, regardless of position or experience in the company.

Through this delegation, individuals understand that they have the decision making power over their work, which encourages participation.

In order to retain this culture of freedom, responsibility, and delegation, it is important to build mutual trust. Trust is not given – it is earned. Therefore, it is important to show competence, passion, and have a proactive attitude.

DRI (Directly Responsible Individual)

Complete delegation means that the individual is the final decision maker over that work.

We call that final decision maker the DRI (Directly Responsible Individual). However, making the final decision does not mean that it’s an arbitrary decision. The decision is made based on as much information as possible, and discussions. Therefore, listening carefully is the most important capability of all DRIs.

*The concept of DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) comes from Apple Inc.

So, if the DRI has made a decision based on sufficient listening, others must follow, even if they do not agree. They need to accept the decision, support the decision, and help make that decision right.

If the DRI continues to break trust, teammates can inform the CEO or HR that has the DRI of determining the DRI to solve the issue.

Important Values of Toss among Contradicting Values

To help your understanding, we have prepared a list of values.Both values are important and pursued by the Toss Team, but when they collide, the latter is the more important.

To maintain our culture, The Toss Team gathers people with a great sense of responsibility.

The best players refer to people who are not only high performers, but those who have a high sense of responsibility. Also, they: 

✔️ are self-motivated, ✔️ reflect on themselves, ✔️ have self-discipline, ✔️ try to improve, ✔️ act like leaders, ✔️ do not wait for orders,  ✔️ consider everything part of their work, ✔️ pick up trash on the office floor,  ✔️ and have a sense of ownership.

– from The Rare Responsible Person, Netflix

When a company grows and becomes more complex, companies implement processes based on rules, not trust, in order to reduce confusion. However, an organization with very responsible people allows members to work without confusion, with high levels of freedom. 

The core values most fit for the Toss Team culture, including responsibility, can be found in the list of Toss Team Core Values. The Toss Team bases their recruitment, compensation, and dismissal based on the core values.

The Culture We Pursue 

We try to be a Beta company, not an Alpha company.

[Alpha Company]

  • Forces their employees to work and make progress
  • Controls their activities and clings to rules and orders
  • Hierarchy, Bureaucracy
  • Leadership for the only few
  • Authority comes from position and rank
  • Yearly reviews are good and necessary
  • Individual performance can be assessed
  • The external features of the company is important
  • The bigger, the better

[Beta Company]

  • Motivates people by giving learning opportunities
  • Believes that people can freely work with the given principles
  • Network-like structure, entrepreneurship/unofficial networks
  • Everyone should show leadership
  • Authority comes from ability, experience, attitude, and capability
  • Yearly reviews are a thing of the past
  • Individual performance cannot be assessed
  • Over-average quality and profitability is important
  • Size does not matter

– From “Un-Leadership”, Niels Pflaeging

The biggest benefit of Toss is ‘being able to work with the best collegues,’ because people can learn and grow together, to create an amazing experience. To do this, we want to be smart in our recruitment, dismissal, promotions (to senior positions), and salary negotiations.

Some cases of execution are not possible by individual effort. Therefore, the Toss Team supports our team members so they can fully concentrate on their work, and we constantly try to do more. (If assisting with mortgage loans, laundry, and other chores can help our teammates concentrate, we will consider offering those services.)

We pursue a flat structure, not hierarchy.

1. We pursue a flat culture.

Hierarchy hinders freedom and participation. Differences in influence, such as DRI, may make our culture rigid. In order to complement that weak point, we pursue a flat structure. For example, we use the title ‘-nim(님)’ after names, regardless of age, and do not manage employee dress and appearance.

2. The Toss Team is not a company of Managers, but a company of Makers.

This is because makers are creating value, not managers. The managing role is just a role that listens to various opinions, gathers them, and reaches the best conclusion.

The Team Leader should not give orders to teammates, but support them so they can reach their goal effectively. It is not ‘my team,’ it is ‘a team that I support.’

3. All complaints and suggestions can be taken up to the CEO, and company-wide discussions are held regularly.

Bitebacking often leads to office politics. We have a channel in which all complaints and suggestions can be sent to the CEO directly. Also, town hall meetings (company-wide Q&A sessions) are held weekly.

4. It is important to work for the entire Team, rather than simply doing your job. 

We need to prioritize the entire Team’s goals, not our individual/team goals. We should find and do work that is needed from the perspective of the entire company.

5. Prioritize your team over yourself, and the company over your team.

If decisions against this principle continue to emerge, it is a signal of office politics.

Newcomers joining Toss get to read this document on their first day, and practice our culture daily, strengthening our culture. If you would like to join us and work in a culture like this, please reach out. We will welcome you with open arms.

We are Hiring!“We’re here to make history.”
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