Recently, we came across an article featuring Kaz Nejatian, the COO of Shopify, discussing how they have elevated the non-manager career path and ditched unnecessary meetings. It’s a great read. We think some of the practices they have adopted can help our operations – and yours.

The Crafter vs. The Manager

In any organization, there are two types of individuals who play crucial roles in its success: the “crafters” and the “managers.” Crafters are those who derive satisfaction from building and creating things. They are the innovators, the problem solvers, the ones who get their hands dirty in the process of creation.

On the other hand, managers are those who oversee operations, manage teams, and ensure that the strategic goals of the organization are being met. They are the organizers, the decision-makers, and the ones who keep the wheels of the organization turning smoothly.

The Value of Crafters in an Organization

Crafters bring unique value to an organization. Their passion for creation and innovation often leads to new ideas and solutions that can drive the organization forward. They have a deep understanding of the product or service, which allows them to identify opportunities for improvement and solve problems effectively. Their hands-on approach also means that they are often intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of the organization, giving them a unique perspective and insight.

The Role of Managers in an Organization

While crafters are focused on creation and innovation, managers play an equally important role in an organization. They are responsible for overseeing operations, managing teams, and ensuring that the organization’s strategic goals are being met. They make important decisions that can impact the direction of the organization and are often responsible for ensuring that all parts of the organization are working together effectively. Without effective management, even the most innovative ideas and solutions can fail to have an impact.

The Traditional Career Path: From Crafter to Manager

Traditionally, a career path involves starting as a crafter and then moving into management. While this can be a viable path for some, it can also lead to challenges. For example, a talented crafter may not necessarily make a good manager, and forcing them into a management role can lead to dissatisfaction and decreased productivity. Furthermore, this approach can create a culture where management is seen as the only path to career advancement, which can discourage crafters and stifle innovation.

Shopify’s Dual-Track Approach

Shopify has taken a different approach to career progression; they’ve implemented a dual-track approach, where individuals can advance in their careers as either crafters or managers. This allows individuals to advance in their areas of expertise and passion, rather than forcing them into roles that may not suit their skills or interests. It also recognizes the unique value that both crafters and managers bring to the organization and ensures that both roles are valued and rewarded.

The Impact of the Dual-Track Approach

The dual-track approach can have a significant impact on employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity. Allowing individuals to advance in their areas of expertise, can lead to increased job satisfaction and motivation. It can also improve retention, as employees are less likely to leave the organization if they feel that they have opportunities for advancement that align with their skills and interests. Furthermore, by ensuring that the right people are in the right roles, it can lead to increased productivity and effectiveness.

Implementing a Dual-Track Approach

Implementing a dual-track approach in an organization can be a complex process. It requires a shift in mindset, from viewing management as the only path to advancement to recognizing the value of both crafters and managers. It may also require changes to HR policies and practices, such as how promotions are awarded and how performance is evaluated. Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of a dual-track approach make it a worthwhile consideration for any organization.

The Future of the Crafter and the Manager

The dual-track approach represents a potential future for the roles of the crafter and the manager in organizations. As more organizations recognize the unique value of both roles and the importance of aligning career paths with individual skills and interests, it is possible that this approach could become more common. This could lead to more satisfied and motivated employees, more effective teams, and ultimately, more successful organizations.

A Dual-Track Approach and Meeting Reduction

Shopify has implemented a dual-track approach to career progression, where employees can advance either as managers or as crafters. This means that employees don’t have to become managers to get promoted or earn more.

At PaymentEvolution, we believe this approach can be beneficial to our clients as well. By allowing employees to advance in their areas of expertise, companies can ensure that their payroll processes are managed by individuals who are passionate about what they do, whether that’s crafting the perfect payroll solution or managing a team to ensure smooth operations.

Rage Against the Meetings

The Problem with Excessive Meetings

Meetings have become a workday staple – for better or worse. Everyone knows those pointless meetings – they can lead to decreased productivity, wasted time, and employee burnout. Instead of facilitating communication and collaboration, too many meetings can become a hindrance, taking time away from actual work and leading to decision fatigue.

Shopify’s Approach to Reducing Meetings

Shopify has taken a novel approach to tackling this issue. They have implemented measures such as cancelling all meetings with more than three people and reinstating “no meeting Wednesdays.” This radical approach was not based on a long-term strategy but was a simple decision made to boost productivity and focus on the craft of building great products.

The Impact of Fewer Meetings

The result of this approach has been a significant boost in productivity. By reducing the number of meetings, Shopify has given its employees more time to focus on their work. This has not only increased the amount of work that gets done but has also allowed employees to delve deeper into their tasks, leading to higher-quality outputs.

Applying Shopify’s Approach to Payroll Management

In the context of payroll management, reducing meetings can have a similar impact. By freeing up time usually spent in meetings, payroll professionals can dedicate more time to improving payroll processes, researching new regulations, and providing better service to employees. This can lead to more accurate and efficient payroll operations, ultimately benefiting the entire organization.

Tools and Strategies for Reducing Meetings

There are several strategies that companies can adopt to reduce their own meetings. One approach is to critically assess the necessity of each meeting. If the same information can be communicated via email or a project management tool, then perhaps a meeting is not needed. Another strategy is to set company-wide policies for meetings, such as limiting the number of attendees or setting strict start and end times to keep meetings focused and efficient.

Maintaining Communication and Collaboration Without Meetings

While reducing meetings can have many benefits, it’s important to ensure that communication and collaboration do not suffer as a result. Fortunately, there are many alternative methods for keeping teams connected. For example, project management tools can provide a platform for team members to collaborate and share updates without the need for a meeting. Regular written updates can also be a useful tool for keeping everyone in the loop.

Conclusion: The Future of Meetings in Payroll Management

The shift towards fewer, more effective meetings could represent the future of payroll management. By reducing unnecessary meetings, payroll teams can focus more on their core tasks, leading to improved efficiency and accuracy. As we move forward, it will be interesting to see how this trend develops and how it impacts the payroll industry as a whole.

Protecting Culture as a Company Scales

As companies grow, it can be challenging to maintain the original culture. Shopify has managed to do this by constantly questioning processes, hiring people who are comfortable with risk, and staying focused on their mission.

For companies managing payroll, this could mean regularly reviewing and updating payroll processes, being open to new and innovative payroll solutions, and staying focused on the goal of providing accurate and timely payments to employees.


The principles and practices adopted by Shopify provide valuable insights that can be applied to payroll management. By valuing the craft of payroll, adopting a dual-track approach to career progression, reducing unnecessary meetings, and protecting company culture, companies can improve their payroll processes and provide better service to their employees. At PaymentEvolution, we are committed to helping our clients implement these principles in their own payroll processes.


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