!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Results-Oriented Management at Best Buy

Friday, December 08, 2006

Results-Oriented Management at Best Buy

There is a striking story by Michelle Conlin in the December 11 issue of Business Week that details Best Buy's experience with giving real meaning to the concept of "results-oriented management."

Best Buy's term for what they're creating is actually a "results-only work environment" — ROWE for short. Departments that have adopted the ROWE approach do not require employees to report to company offices on an unchanging daily schedule. Instead, employees have specified responsibilities and are tracked on whether they're achieving agreed results, such as getting orders entered in timely fashion.

The benefits of the ROWE include:
  • Greater employee engagement, which feeds directly into productivity.

  • Jettisoning of time-wasting activities.

  • Greater scope for achieving one's individual preferred work/life balance.

  • More intensive use of electronic technology, with resulting efficiency gains.

  • Savings on real estate costs because of reduced need for office space. (This is one of the sources of funding Best Buy is tapping for its campaign of "tailoring stores to local markets and training employees to turn customer feedback into new business ideas.")
Conlin summarizes the best practices suggested by Best Buy's experience:
  • Measurement of impacts — Key indicators are productivity, quality, employee engagement, and turnover.

  • Tailoring — In lieu of work rules that managers attempt to apply broadly, managers and employees reach individual agreements on schedules and deliverables.

  • Measurement of results — Having agreed goals and success criteria enables managers and employees to start from a premise of trust combined with accountability.

  • Education — Training is essential to make sure both managers and employees understand the details of the company's results-oriented business processes.

  • Get-togethers — Both in-person and videoconference gatherings help maintain team identification and commitment. (Note that time-eating meetings and office-based distractions are reduced under ROWE arrangements.)
Best Buy's results from ROWE have been positive. For example, Best Buy finds that "productivity is up an average 35% in departments that have switched to ROWE." Employee engagement has also risen substantially.


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