‘At our company, we believe in a social agreement’ – CEO at zoon.ru Ilya Mutovin

‘At our company, we believe in a social agreement’ – CEO at zoon.ru Ilya Mutovin

How does the level of employee well-being affect the success of the company? And what can help to fight burnout? Ilya Mutovin, CEO at zoon.ru service spoke about this in an interview with w2 conference Moscow.

Ilya has a degree in MSc Management from the British Leeds University Business School. In 2011, he founded the referral service zoon.ru. Today this platform brings in more than 1 billion rubles in revenue. 13 million people use it every month.

The expert is also interested in biohacking and maintains a blog on Instagram with an audience of more than 300,000 people.

Read more about the methods of working with personnel at zoon.ru and the impact of psychological safety on the productivity of the team in the interview below.

The interviewer: w2 conference Moscow (W2CM)

The respondent: Ilya Mutovin (I.M.)

W2CM: What was your first experience in staff motivation and what success have you achieved?

I.M.: The very first experience involved Moscow book trading house. At the time, I studied at the Higher School of Economics, and together with Ekaterina Tkachenko we made a project to motivate the store's merchandisers. As far as I remember, we came up with a good story that the motivation of the group depended on the overall results and no one in the team wanted to work with lazy managers. As a result, the system simply forced them out by itself, and at the same time there was no need to spend money on control systems, supervisors, etc.

Then I worked with incentive programs at Strategika, a strategic consulting firm, ProfMedia, and now at my company, Zoon.

W2CM: As a founder of your own business, how would you assess the impact of employee well-being on the company's success?

I.M.: There is no doubt that it has the most direct influence. An offended, burned out, tired employee will bring nothing to the company except expenses and demotivate the rest of the team.

W2CM: What are the methods of working with personnel at zoon.ru? What effect does this have on business development?

I.M.: At our company, we believe in a social agreement – for our part, we do everything to make you comfortable, and in return, you do your job really well. Of course, we also have KPIs, especially in the commercial department, and other indicators that we often focus on. But first of all, we choose people according to their values, the combination of which leads to their desire to do their job in a proper way.

W2CM: How can psychological safety affect employee performance?

I.M.: According to Google research (Project Aristotle), psychological safety, that is the ability to show your vulnerability, take risks without the fear of negative consequences for yourself personally is the key to the success of any team. We spend a lot of time and energy on teaching people to communicate and work in teams. Thus, we invite strong coaches – now there is a program of Conscious Management by Sasha Murzov and Zhenya Karabanova. We also conduct internal lectures and seminars, create personal development plans, etc.

W2CM: How can you increase the level of psychological safety in the team?

I.M.: There is no simple answer. This is just like answering the question of how can you communicate normally?

Basically, it is clear that you shouldn’t take everything to your personal account, just calmly react to the situation, etc. But such advice does not help. It seems that you need to understand well why the brain works this way, what triggers automatic reactions, etc. I will tell you about this at w2 conference Moscow.

W2CM: What methods of combating professional burnout do you use for yourself personally?

I.M.: My top-3:

  1. Don't do what you don't want to do.
  2. Sleep for 9 hours.
  3. Meditate, experiencing a feeling of gratitude to yourself and everything around.

W2CM: What will you tell about at w2 conference Moscow and who will benefit from this information?

I.M.: I'll tell you about working with psychological safety from the perspective of employee and manager. There are different methods of influencing the situation with analysis and correction.

The information will be useful to everyone who generally works in teams in any position.


Ilya will speak on April 28 at w2 conference Moscow. As part of his presentation, the expert will talk about ways to combat a low level of psychological safety, share the secrets of renewing internal resources and explain how to avoid the Monday syndrome.

Event program and details >>>

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