The other day, I posted a blog about the traffic anarchy experiment
going on in Europe, where seven cities eliminated all traffic signs and the result was a reduction in accidents. My point was that if we focus on accountability and results, people will surprise us.
Well, Best Buy has taken that a step further. In the latest Business Week
magazine, the feature story highlights Best Buy's daring new Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE)
program. As part of the program, they have eliminated all work schedules in their participating areas and have practically eliminated meetings.
If someone wants to come in at 10:00am, fine. If they go to a movie in the afternoon, no problem. The key isn't how many hours they work, or even where they work (most workers are virtual most of the time). It's how well they achieve results.
Sound like chaos? Sound like people will just slack off? Well, once again the results say it all. For the divisions testing this method, voluntary turnover dropped dramatically (-90% for the Dot.Com division, -52% for the Logistics Division, and -75% for the Sourcing Division).
Sure, the turnover rate went down, but what about productivity? That too was greatly improved. The average rise in productivity for the participating divisions was +35% since the ROWE system was introduced in 2005.
Of course, what's important to making this work is to have the right metrics (i.e. customer retention, reduction in turnover, etc.). Many business mistakes happen because the wrong incentives are in place, leading workers to strive to meet a goal that sacrifices quality or is not in the best interest of the company as a whole.
The bottom line is that evidence is growing that we are better served by focusing on results over rules and policies wherever possible, something I've been saying for years. Now I'm glad to see some tangible evidence from those brave enough to try it.
Here's the Business Week article. Be sure to check the sidebar article about how to kill meetings!Smashing The Clock
Labels: accountability, business-results, course, customer, customer-service, people, region-europe, results, service-orientation