MatchManao: The Perfect Match for Corporate Sports

by Andrea Spiegl
MatchManao

New work, digitalization and remote working—with all these changes in today’s working environment, many employers are facing the challenge of putting together functioning teams while at the same time meeting the requirements of the individual worker.

MatchManao supports companies on this front. Since 2016, the founders have been working on a software solution to identify the strengths, skills and needs of potential employees and clients in order to identify the right teams and team compositions—whether from within the company or from their network of freelancers. MatchManao is not only about hard skills, it’s about soft skills, as well as values and personality traits. With MatchManao, it’s about finding the right “match”.

We talked with Alexandra Alex and Vanessa Moll about their matching concept, the changes in today’s working environment and employee benefits.

Developed from daily business

For Alexandra Alex, one of the founders of MatchManao, the idea was born through her work in an agency environment where she regularly had to put together teams for clients and projects. For Alexandra, this task, which many find quite difficult, always came from her gut: “As soon as a client starts talking, for example, you already have a certain copywriter in mind who would fit the project perfectly. However, I couldn’t always access the exact person who I would have needed and had to plan according to internal capacities. My co-founder Urs Merkel and I then looked into how this ‘gut feeling’ could be translated—what is it and how can it be justified. That’s how MatchManao came into being.”

What began with freelancers has developed into a permanent team (a well-matched team, of course). This makes it possible for Alexandra to respond to the strengths and needs of the team members in her everyday work: “We want to build more personal and human business relationships with them.”

Flexibility as a benefit

20 years in the same city, in the same company, in the same job—these days, professional biographies rarely follow this trajectory. On the contrary: flexibility and location-independence are now expected by employees. MatchManao has therefore consciously decided to structure the company in a decentralized way:

“In our opinion, the establishment of a company
should not be subject to local restrictions.”

MatchManao

“In our opinion, the establishment of a company should not be subject to local restrictions”.  Currently MatchManao is operating in Berlin, Munich and Nuremberg. One team member even traveled via Tyrol to New Zealand. This means that the company is not only decentralized, but also works in different time zones.

For the employees, this allows for a flexible lifestyle, but for the employer it also presents some challenges—especially with regard to team cohesion within the company. Alexandra sees obvious tasks for MatchManao here: “Clear communication is critical so that no information is lost or to avoid any imbalance in how informed the team members are. Decision-making is also a challenge via distance and different channels.” Hence, MatchManao decided from the very beginning to work on targeted communication strategies and offer employees additional benefits.

A long-distance relationship that works

Communication becomes the key to successful collaboration when working across multiple locations. At MatchManao, this takes the form of a daily stand-up meeting in the morning where the tasks of the day are discussed. But not only that: “The very first question for us is, and this is the most important one for us: ‘How are you?’—and not as an empty phrase. We really want to know how the person is doing.” Vanessa tries “to talk to everyone once a week on the phone. It’s not primarily about work meetings, but also about creating a basis, a friendship to foster cooperation.”

Through the sports benefit with Urban Sports Club, MatchManao also strengthens cohesion through collective sports: “We meet once a month on site and do sports together, for example, and generally try to promote joint leisure activities.”

The importance of employee benefits and New Work

For MatchManao, the introduction of employee benefits was a natural requirement from the very beginning, as Alexandra reports: “For us, employees are simply the most important thing and that is why we try to do everything we can to make our employees happy. For example, I can’t build a culture of trust, I can’t fulfil my role within the corporation, I can’t work locally or independently when the team just doesn’t fit.” For Vanessa too, the team is central to the idea of New Work. “For us, New Work doesn’t mean creating a hip, beautiful workspace, but one in which everyone can reach their full potential with the people who complement them perfectly.”

“For us, New Work doesn’t mean creating a hip, beautiful workspace, but one in which everyone can reach their full potential with the people who complement them perfectly.”

MatchManao

Sustainable employee benefits with Urban Sports Club

The company also attaches great importance to finding the right match when choosing employee benefits. The corporate culture includes a certain amount of physical awareness: a conscious attitude towards oneself and one’s own body. Naturally, sports play a role here. The choice of offering sports as a corporate health benefit was therefore clear, and the right partner was decided on through a vote: “We actually let our employees decide between the providers and the decision was then clearly made in favor of Urban Sports Club.”

Half of the team already uses the offer and complains smilingly about sore muscles from training. To help with this, the monthly massages are an added bonus everyone enjoys. And thanks to one employee’s initiative, a group has also been formed that regularly goes bouldering together—a great way to strengthen team spirit.

Location-independent company sports for location-independent teams

The decentralized team structure at MatchManao was not an obstacle in the implementation of the company’s sports offer: with Urban Sports Club, members can use the service across Europe. The MatchManao team makes use of the offer throughout Germany, even on business trips, something Vanessa particularly enjoys: “In my previous job I was also on the road a lot, but I only had my gym contract in my hometown. If you have to pay €10 or €15 every time you want to go somewhere else to exercise, you think twice. Urban Sports Club just makes it a lot easier. Now I don’t even go to the gym anymore and instead enjoy all the other activities you can do with Urban Sports Club—and I take care of myself more consciously.”

For Vanessa, Urban Sports Club has been a great help. Particularly in her first days at MatchManao, it helped her find her way into the team faster, discover commonalities and acclimate more quickly. Sports bind the team together, confirms Alexandra: “It welds you together when you break a sweat together!”

Generation Y and the future of the working environment

The labor market will continue to change and make new demands in the future. Vanessa currently sees the “war for talent” as one of the greatest challenges. At the same time, many workers are becoming more aware of health, sports, nutrition and sustainability. Companies should be involved and adapt to the interests of their employees. “People always say that Generation Y is so selfish, but I think they’ve just developed a tremendous awareness of themselves. There are simply great challenges: Urban Sports Club contributes a lot to the world in terms of sports and we contribute in the form of finding the right teams and dealing with belonging topics.”

“People always say that Generation Y is so selfish, but I think they’ve just developed a tremendous awareness of themselves. There are simply great challenges: Urban Sports Club contributes a lot to the world in terms of sports and we contribute in the form of finding the right teams and dealing with belonging topics.”

MatchManao

Alexandra sees growing diversity as another challenge for employers. Thus, concentrating on the individual employee needs is of the utmost importance: “As team leader, I have to know what the employee wants and can do and how he or she wants to work. The working world will continue to change in the future. People will no longer start working for a company because they pay a lot of money, but because they have the right values.”

Future and corporate goals of MatchManao

MatchManao is working towards a self-managed organization, moving away from traditional hierarchies and towards decision-making processes that rely on real competence in a respective area. “Every employee is equal and equally important to us. We try to pay close attention to each other. We try to create an awareness of nutrition and sustainability.” However, the biggest milestone will be the upcoming rollout of the new MatchManao product in March/April. “Our ultimate goal is to create a more personalized business world; we want to find a new way of doing business so that people can work together in a cohesive way”.

MatchManao is currently entering closed beta with their new product. If you want to test it in advance or want to be informed about the live run, simply write an email to [email protected].

Achieving goals with corporate benefits

Vanessa attests that benefits such as company sports play a very important role in the implementation of these corporate goals. Knowing that support comes from the C-level, being able to pursue your interests at any time and feeling supported allows you to go take more satisfaction from your work. In the end, satisfied employees are also more willing to go the extra mile for the company and remain loyal, even in difficult phases.

Alexandra is convinced that success means supporting your employees in what they enjoy doing. The fact that offering company sports has tax advantages for the company is a great bonus. “Our accounting department has already commented on how easy it is with Urban Sports Club: it is really simple. Plus, it makes the employee feel better: as an employer, I simply can’t deny that.”


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