Mobile app developer Metova, Inc., lets team choose co-workers

Power to the people.

It’s a motto that rings true at Franklin-based Metova, which develops tablet and smart phone applications for all the major platforms.

“The tools that have made us successful are empowerment of employees, pushing down accountability and ultimately everyone understands and evaluates decisions based on our company goals,” said president and founder Kevin Ross.

The mobile app developer has 23 people and was featured this year on the Inc. 5000 list of Middle Tennessee’s fastest-growing companies. In 2010, it had $2.8 million in revenue, with a client list that includes heavy hitters like eHarmony and WebMD.

Getting there, Ross said, has involved internal growth and making sure he has the right team of employees.

But finding a great mix is just as much a task for his workers as it is for Ross and the executive team.

Just last month, Metova hired someone to fill a quality assurance role. But the suggestion for a new hire didn’t come from Ross — it came from a developer who had assessed and evaluated the situation before coming forward with a plan.

In addition to the power workers have to hire someone, they also have the power to say no. Twice this year, Ross said, the company has let go of employees that didn’t fit well with the existing team.

“Typically, a decision where someone is not working out comes from the employees on the floor,” Ross said.

The key to that type of employee autonomy is finding people who always keep the company’s motto at bay: Survive. Sustain. Profit.

Part of that, Ross added, is letting employees make suggestions to clients about application needs.

“The customer is the key. They know what value is to them,” Ross said. “That’s why we can’t make the decision for them, but we can present it.”

As for the future, Ross said Metova won’t take on debt — the firm has a line of credit it’s never used — but he is open to potential investors.

Until then, he plans to add six to seven employees a year.

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