How do I love thee? Let me count the trees.

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29 Aug 2022 Clock 6 min

Grow is a software application which integrates with business communication platforms such as Slack, MS Teams, Outlook and others to foster team spirit; encourage reflection and provide constructive continuous feedback. It cultivates a culture of personal, professional and organisational growth in a most unique manner: by reforesting our increasingly denuded planet.

The Constant Gardener

Armed with my favourite fix of almond-milk cafe latte from Kauai after the morning’s workout, I boot up my laptop at my home office and log on to save the world.

I head to the Grow channel in Slack and follow the prompts to reflect on the kind of day I had yesterday. Was I in the zone? Did I feel unproductive? Connected? Meh? I give it a gold medal emoji. I love my team and our clients, and I’m happy to be here.

My colleague Sakhe pops up on my screen, and I let him know he made me feel like we are a #dynamicduo. Shihaam has been teaching me about the finance department to upskill my interactions in my customer-facing role, so I send her a shout-out for making me feel like we’re a dream team. Sakhe and I plant a tree in Honduras.

Continuous feedback in action

Celeste was the perfect fit for our Partner Manager role and has been taking such good care of our partners that she received a compliment for being top-shelf. We plant a tree in Madagascar.

I set an intention for the week to look at incorporating my social work studies into the workplace, and Natalie let me know she would love to have a chat with me to learn how to support me in this dream. Alex encouraged me, saying that my social work studies are “clearly improving my interpersonal skills and ability to speak candidly with customers which upholds our value of authenticity”. Natalie and I plant a tree in Nepal. I plant an extra tree in Kenya.

By reflecting on my day and giving feedback to my colleagues, in under a minute I have planted a few trees and started today on the front foot. With this feeling of connection and gratitude, I log into my CRM and phone line and find out how to help South African businesses reach their potential with the best VoIP solution on the market.

Growing full-steam ahead

One of the not-so-secret secrets to how Voys is the best VoIP provider is that our clients are happy because we are happy. As anyone in HR will tell you, happy employees create happy customers. And a truly novel means of making one happy is to plant real-life baby trees by sowing seeds of upliftment even though I live in a big city.

Grow is a continuous feedback tool that creates opportunities to give meaningful feedback that uplifts, identifies blind spots and facilitates growth. We have an innate inclination to take a microscopic view of everything we do wrong and identify faults and flaws in others in our solutions-focused wiring to survive. As such, even the most well-meaning of constructive criticisms can easily be misconstrued as a veiled form of disapproval. 

Which is why constructive praise is the superpower that can elevate companies and people to even greater heights. This is the fundamental insight which powers Grow: instead of critiquing one another, Grow creates an environment where the estimable act of publicly appreciating a colleague results in a tree being planted.

Inside Earth’s green lung

Grow is a powerful tool to:

Connect colleagues

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – Brené Brown

Create a feedback culture 

”Continuous feedback is a human resource strategy that seeks to encourage and empower the exchange of feedback on a regular basis… It drives employee growth, provides real-time insights, improves employee engagement, and facilitates stronger relationships.” – Catherine Tansey

Help the planet 

On average 328,767 trees are planted daily. That is 13,699 trees every hour. Which amounts to 12 new trees every time you breathe.

Healthy competition means better feedback and more trees.

Growing from strength to strength

Like trees, people thrive when they are able to grow, and Grow actively works to smash the archaic pots of industrial era thinking. Instead of feedback being only relevant in the narrow context of remuneration, Grow fosters an environment where people can stretch their roots to exorcise the hierarchical conditioning they were exposed to. They can extend the limits of their world by connecting with others in a meaningful way and discover the universe within themselves by tapping into their potential.

As the roots of a tree strengthen each other and the organism they support unseen and underground, Grow provides a platform for us at Voys to slide into each others’ DMs and connect; to uplift and support each other in our personal and professional development. The fruits of this strengthened network are reaped by our clients and customers, whose relationships with us, together with the quality of service we provide, are exponentially enhanced. 

The world at our fingertips

By removing the distorted lenses of perception and seeing through those shown us by our peers, we are able to look at the bigger picture of this Pangaea of life and heed the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities to protect the earth for the sake of present inhabitants and future generations. 

To realise their goals, Grow partners with Eden Reforestation Projects, an NGO founded in 2004 that works in developing countries to rebuild natural landscapes destroyed by deforestation. 

Reforesting the planet one sapling at a time

By nurturing the development of our colleagues, our company has enabled Grow to plant 201, 584 trees. Every year these trees will filter 11,950 kilolitres of water; clean 20 tons of pollution and remove 83 tons of carbon.  Voys is ranked #8 on Grow’s global leadership board, having planted 5,733 trees altogether. Individuals are given rankings, making the abstract concept of growth a fun game in which we all get to know each other better. And plant tons of trees. It’s like Farmville IRL that improves your relationship with the company you work for and the company you keep. Yes please.

Raising Superheroes

Eden Projects works with local communities to restore forests on a global scale, thereby creating jobs, protecting ecosystems and helping mitigate climate change. They utilise an ‘employ to plant’ methodology and bottom up approach, creating sustainable development by employing indigenous workers at the grassroots level to rewild their environments. To date, 14,800+ employees have been empowered with fair wages through this initiative.

By engaging with Grow, we are assisting with removing people from extreme poverty by being the paid planters, producers and protectors of our planet. The ripple effect sees them feeding their families, sending their children to schools, starting micro-enterprises, and contributing as proud, productive members of society. Grow helps us take care of our global habitat by taking care of each other.

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