Tue, Sep 24, 2013
In our post over on Monster Working, we explained what Jody Thompson thinks is wrong with today’s idea of flexibility in the workplace. Today we’ll look at the strategy the co-creator of the Results-Only Work Environment and co-author of two books on the topic proposed to attendees at the EBN Benefits Forum and Expo in New Orleans on Sunday.
Instead of judging employees by the amount of time they spend “working” in the office or other designated workspace, Thompson favors a culture where “each person is free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done.”
The Results-Only Work Environment
Thompson proposes rewriting the calculation for judging employees to this:
100% Autonomy + 100% Accountability = Results
When this equation gets off balance you have problems, she explained. Too much accountability with too little autonomy leaves workers in much the same place as they are in the traditional workplace — always having to show up and ask permission. Too much autonomy with too little accountability leads to a situation where managers go crazy because they don’t know what people are doing and they aren’t seeing results.
In this Results-Only Work Environment — or ROWE — organizations have to get really clear with their people about what they’re accountable for doing then they have to establish this expectation:
“No results? No job. It’s that simple.”
Of course traditionalists have plenty of objections to such a plan and Thompson has a response for each one.
What Is the Work?
That is the real question, Thompson said. People talk about “remote workers,” but she says the only way that’s possible today is if the employee is working from another planet. If they’re here on Earth, they’re just working.
Companies need to figure out what work they want their employees to be doing and then manage that work not the people. When people know that they won’t have a job if they don’t produce results then they will manage themselves and get things done, Thompson says.
Focusing on results is good for four reasons, says Thompson:
The power of the workforce comes out of doing this, Thompson said. Employees step up to the plate and the manager’s job becomes easier. Then managers get to focus on what matters and turn complacency in the ranks into competence.