Why Work Sucks – The interview, part 3

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jun 04

There is a revolutionary approach to work out there: a Results Only Work Environment. It’s changing the time and presence approach for results to, well, results. You can learn about this in The Case for a Results Only Work Environment.

Impressed, I wanted to interview Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, the creators of this approach and authors of “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It.” I’ll be posting one part of this interview through the week, with other articles. A Results Only Work Environment is a culturally different approach to work. I want to take the space to help you understand why this is different.

A Results Only Work Environment itself needs to deliver results to both the company and the employee. No good plan lasts past the first implementation. Then changes reveal from the results – continuous improvement. So I wanted to find out from Cali and Jody the surprise results from the project.

You put work into moving the Best Buy teams into a ROWE. What was the most unexpected outcome?

There were many unexpected outcomes.  In terms of business results, productivity on ROWE teams is up an average of 41%.  We expected productivity to rise a little, but never saw this coming.  We also expected retention to improve, but not at the rates we’re seeing at Best Buy.   ROWE has created productive turnover.  ROWE is a talent magnet – good talent sticks, and people that are just taking up space are performance managed out.  Voluntary turnover rates are down as much as 90% on some teams.  Involuntary turnover rates are up as much as 100% on some teams.

In terms of people’s lives, we always knew ROWE would have a profound effect, but didn’t quite know how far that effect would spread.  ROWE began in a company, but the people in a company have such a wide reach.  ROWE has paved the way for employees to be better parents, better spouses/partners, more active members in their communities, schools, churches, sports leagues, etc.  ROWE is giving people opportunities they never thought they’d have – or at least that they thought they’d have to wait until retirement for.  And once you’re ROWE, you never go back to the old way – you’ve found the life you want (or you’ve regained the life you’ve lost) and you’ll never let it go.

These types of results are important to know before starting a Results Only Work Environment and are good selling points to your management team.

I want to focus on the employee turnover: voluntary turnover is down by as much as 90% and involuntary turnover is up as much as 100% on teams. The premise of a ROWE is that today managers evaluate their employees on time and presence in the office. If time and presence equals results, you can expect that people looking busy will do well and Cubicle Warriors won’t.

A ROWE places results front and center to your evaluation, not time spent in the office. People who do not produce results (and you know who they are on your team) will not do well in this new environment. Why? Because their manager performs on results as well. If you were a manager, would you want to carry someone working long hours in the office but not producing results? I think not.

The upside of results is what should persuade management that this is an experiment worth doing. Cubicle Warriors should embrace it.

What percentage of the people in your department produces the results for your department?