(last edited on April 29, 2014 at 1:27 am)
Here’s an interesting article about how Best Buy is transitioning their workforce to ROWE, aka Results-Oriented Work Environment. The idea: instead of gauging employee productivity by hours, measure the results. So long as the work is getting done, as measured by metrics like “orders processed per period”, go ahead and watch a movie in the middle of the day, leave early to pick up your kid. The result: higher productivity where it matters (things done, not hours sat), higher job satisfaction, and lower turnover. From the Business Week article:
[…] Thompson, a former General Electric Co. (GE ) guy, was as old school as they come with his starched shirt, booming voice, and ramrod-straight posture. He came of age believing there were three 8-hour days in every 24 hours. He loved working in his office on weekends. At first, he pushed back hard. “I was not supportive,” says Thompson, who was privately terrified about the loss of control. “He didn’t want anything to do with it,” says Achen. “He was all about measurement, and he kept asking me, `How are you going to measure this so you know you’re getting the same productivity out of people?'” That’s where Achen’s performance metrics came in handy. He could measure how many orders per hour his team was processing no matter where they were. He told Thompson he’d reel everyone back to campus the minute he noticed a dip. Within a month, Achen could see that not only was his team’s productivity up, but engagement scores, or measuring job satisfaction and retention, were the highest in the dot-com division’s history. For years, engagement had been a sore spot for Thompson. “I showed J.T. these scores, and his eyes lit up,” says Achen. Thompson rushed to roll out ROWE to his entire department. Voluntary turnover among men dropped from 16.11% to 0. “For years I had been focused on the wrong currency,” says Thompson. “I was always looking to see if people were here. I should have been looking at what they were getting done.”
Very interesting! I’ll have to keep an eye on Best Buy. If the rules of the system are clear, apply to everyone, and everyone accepts them, a lot of good things can happen. This strikes me as being far more sustainable too, if you establish realistic expectations for productivity in the first place instead of trying to squeeze every last drop out of a person and burning them like cordwood. — Via Sean Johnson.