Going ROWE, Part 3: Rollout to the Staff

 

ROWE logo

 

In this blog series, Fine Point Consulting staff discuss the process, rewards, and challenges of becoming a certified Results-Only Work Environment, an HR management strategy wherein employees are paid for results, rather than the number of hours worked. Certification is expected to be complete sometime this summer (2015). 

This week: initial reactions to ROWE from Fine Point staff, including comments from Chelsea Stanton and Gail Pawlak, and how their opinions about it have or have not changed during training and discussion over the past couple of months.

Once the senior staff agreed that we should take the next steps to becoming a Results-Only Work Environment, it was time to introduce the idea to the full staff. Leah and I did that during one of our weekly staff meetings, presenting the information we had received from the conference, as well as our own personal thoughts about how it might work for Fine Point.

Shortly thereafter, I sent out a Tiny Pulse survey (one of my favorite tools!) to staff to gauge how they were feeling about becoming a ROWE. The anonymous responses were varied. Here’s a sample of what staff had to say:

  • I have mixed feelings about ROWE as of right now. Theoretically speaking, it sounds fantastic. It’s when it gets put into practice that I’m a little worried about. I have a feeling I’ll feel guilty for not doing “work” things for normal business hours. Or that I’ll feel inclined to be more available during more parts of the day. I’ve never had to mesh work-life and personal-life. It’s always been one or the other, not both intertwined.
  • I am thinking ROWE is going to be awesome. I am thinking that this works perfectly with our work ethic and should make things roll much smoother and efficiently.
  • It might take me awhile to get used to the concept. It seems as though some teams are already working the ROWE way, so I’m not clear on when this is all going to really start. Perhaps it’s already in place. I think we need more clarification on workload and the ultimate result.
  • I think it sounds great. I agree that as long as you are achieving your results and making your clients happy you should have the freedom to have a flexible schedule to deal with other things in your life.

The ROWE certification process involves reading Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: The Results-Only Revolution, written by the creators of ROWE, completing a series of exercises along with each chapter, and then taking a test at the end of the training program to make sure we all understand how it works. As we continue through these exercises, staff who had initial concerns about ROWE seem to become more comfortable with the idea, and those who were enthusiastic with the idea from the beginning only get more excited.

“I’ve been a ROWE supporter since it was introduced to us,” says Fine Point’s Chelsea Stanton. “I don’t think the number of hours you’re at work matter as much as getting your work done. That’s what matters.

“The training exercises have been great. During this time I had my tonsils removed and was working from home while I recovered, so I had a first-hand experience with how the ROWE would work. It just reinforced to me that you don’t necessarily have to be in the office to work and be effective.”

Staff member Gail Pawlak says she was a little uncertain about ROWE when it was initially introduced. “Staying in communication with your team is the big issue. I’m a little older than the rest of the staff and had some initial concerns about the ROWE and how it would work. I even had a dream where I was at a water park with my family during a work day and received an urgent call from a client. For some reason I couldn’t find anyone in the office to help the client and I was freaking out! It was really more of a nightmare for me—the idea that I wasn’t serving our clients.”

“I’m feeling much more comfortable with the idea of the ROWE now that we’ve gone through the training and talked about our concerns,” Gail adds. “I have a 45-minute commute to work, so I definitely see, for example, how on days when the weather is bad I could be more productive while working from home.”

One theme that has come up a few times with staff is how the ROWE might affect our work culture. We’re a tight-knit group that genuinely likes seeing one another and working together (how lucky are we?!), and we’d like to keep it that way.

“We still plan on getting together as a group and participating in some fun activities,” says Gail. “Weekly staff meetings will also continue, though they will be optional, depending on the agenda. And if you’re more comfortable with working in the office every day from 9-5, there’s no reason you can’t continue to do that.”

 

Stay tuned for future posts on the ROWE rollout, and be sure to visit Fine Point Consulting for a complete list of the tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.

 

Going ROWE, Part 2: Presenting ROWE to Fine Point’s Senior Team

 

ROWE logo

In this blog series, Fine Point Consulting staff discuss the process, rewards, and challenges of becoming a certified Results-Only Work Environment, an HR management strategy wherein employees are paid for results, rather than the number of hours worked. Certification is expected to be complete sometime this summer (2015). 

This week, Jen Hildahl shares how ROWE was introduced to Fine Point’s senior team—and the questions, concerns, and excitement that came with it.

“Before the ROWE presentation to Fine Point’s senior team, I didn’t know anything about a Results-Only Work Environment. But when Luella and Leah returned from the ROWE conference, they were really excited. They sent us an email telling us they were looking forward to presenting ROWE at our next senior team meeting, which wasn’t for another week or two. At that meeting, Leah came with a ROWE PowerPoint presentation, and the senior team talked about our questions and concerns, and whether it might be something we’d want to try at Fine Point.

“My personal reaction was really positive—it was a relief, actually, to hear that we could have this sort of official policy for the office. I’d just returned from maternity leave and was trying to figure out my new work-life balance. I’d returned in January, which is our busiest month, and I was overwhelmed and feeling guilty about the fact that I couldn’t work as many hours as I had before having a family. I was working from home and on weekends out of necessity, so I was really excited about the potential of a ROWE to formalize this flexibility of work and life for the entire office.

“The senior team did have some initial concerns about ROWE, specifically about how some employees, who are maybe more traditional workers, would react. We’re a very small company, very family-like, so we also worried about what would happen if even a single person didn’t want to become a ROWE, because it has to be all or nothing. But for the more traditional employee, you can still come in to the office from 8-5—a ROWE allows for that. So we talked through our concerns as a team and decided it was something we’d be interested in presenting to the rest of the company.

“I think a ROWE will be great for Fine Point because the idea is that you work wherever and whenever you’re most efficient and productive. Our job is to support our clients, and they typically work from 8-5, so we know there are some limitations—we can’t work only in the middle of the night, for example. But our business is knowledge, and if we can help our clients better understand their financials and be more efficient about it, without the last-minute fire drills and stress, that’s huge for us. It’s our reputation.”

 

Stay tuned for future posts on the ROWE rollout, and be sure to visit Fine Point Consulting for a complete list of the tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.

Software Scoop: GoodHire

GoodHire

In this blog series, Fine Point Consulting reviews accounting, HR, and other software we use in our office or on behalf of our clients. Check it out! You might just learn about a great new tool for your own business.

GoodHire is an FCRA-compliant employment background-screening service that “takes the headache out of running background checks.” Basic criminal background checks can be purchased and run individually for $29.99 each, with options for add-ons and volume pricing available for larger companies.

I’ve used GoodHire for all of my hires here at Fine Point over the past few years. Because we deal with sensitive information on behalf of our clients, it’s really important to me to know that my employees check out. Just because a candidate gives a great interview doesn’t mean that he or she is a trustworthy individual. Background checks provide this peace of mind, and it’s certainly something I recommend to my clients and a service that we could provide for them.

What I like about the software is that it complies with federal Fair Credit Reporting Act laws, and requires the candidate’s consent to do the background check. I provide GoodHire with the candidate’s name, date of birth, social security number, and email, and then they contact that person directly. I don’t have to gather things like social security cards—GoodHire does all of that work for me. The turnaround is also very quick: within a day or two I have the final report.

I chose GoodHire over other options because at the time I was looking for a screening tool, it seemed like other services were still requiring that you send in a physical form, and they were more expensive. GoodHire is completely web-based and provides many add-ons beyond the basic background search, like education and employment verification, should our clients or we ever require them.

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.

 

Going ROWE: The Decision to Become a Results-Only Work Environment

In this blog series, Fine Point Consulting staff discuss the process, rewards, and challenges of becoming a certified Results-Only Work Environment, an HR management strategy wherein employees are paid for results, rather than the number of hours worked. Certification is expected to be complete sometime this summer (2015). 

This week, Leah Roe discusses FPC’s introduction to ROWE and the decision to move forward with certification.

“We were first introduced to the idea of a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) through a podcast featuring Jody Thompson, one of the co-creators of ROWE and co-CEO of the organization that certifies ROWE organizations. We’d been talking internally at Fine Point about moving to a value-pricing model for our services and felt like the ROWE would tie in really nicely with this idea of focusing on outcomes for our clients, rather than hours and minutes.

“When we attended a ROWE conference in Rockford in March, it just solidified our feeling that this was the way to go. We felt like there was finally a structure for the way we had been feeling about work and the way we wanted to work. We’ve always felt that making our clients happy and getting results is far more important than tracking the minutiae of a particular employee’s schedule. With ROWE, employees are responsible for their own measurable results and client satisfaction—when and where the employee chooses to do this is up to them. The ROWE certification gives us the resources and training to help make this methodology work for us.

“A ROWE is particularly well-suited to Fine Point because we’re an outsourced business anyway. As long as we’re delivering results and keeping them happy, our clients don’t really care when or where we’re working. Fine Point is also a young, energetic company, and I think our employees are going to love the amount of freedom this gives them to live their lives.

“It will be interesting to see how the rollout goes as we move through the certification process. Of course, we have those natural concerns about people working too little or too much with a ROWE, or what would happen if one member of our staff hates it, or how we will go about measuring work capacity if someone has too much work or too little. These are good conversations to have, and the ROWE resources have been really helpful in addressing these “what if” scenarios—they’ve really thought of everything.”

 

Stay tuned for future posts on the ROWE rollout, and be sure to visit Fine Point Consulting for a complete list of the tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.

 

Software Scoop: Greenhouse

Greenhouse Logo

In this blog series, Fine Point Consulting reviews accounting, HR, and other software we use in our office or on behalf of our clients. Check it out! You might just learn about a great new tool for your own business.

Greenhouse is a recruiting optimization platform designed to make companies great at hiring. Their software helps your business find better candidates, conduct more focused interviews, and make data-driven hiring decisions. Fine Point Consulting’s Leah Roe was recently asked to interview a candidate for one of her clients using Greenhouse and has this to say about her experience:

“Greenhouse made it so easy to review and prep for an interview because all of the materials and everything you needed was right there: resume, cover letter, and even the job posting. Having the job posting and the qualities the company was looking for right in front of me helped give me direction for what kinds of questions to ask.

“The software also provided the interview schedule for each candidate, so I could see, for example, that the candidate had a “cultural fit” interview scheduled right after mine, so I knew I didn’t need to spend much time on assessing them on if they would be a good fit with the company. Instead, I could focus my attention on the candidate’s skill level and really keep my interview on track.

“The candidate scorecard function in Greenhouse is amazing. After the interview, the scorecard provides a format for giving structured, written feedback on a candidate, rather than simply a general impression. It really helps you think through why the candidate would or would not be a good fit with the company, and provides useful, data-based information for the hiring manager when it’s time to make a decision—all in one platform.

The bottom line: “I thought Greenhouse was great. The software was clean and organized, and it really streamlined the hiring process. I think it could be useful for companies of any size, particularly those that plan on making a number of hires and/or have multiple interviews scheduled for each candidate.”

Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.

TEDTalks: The Puzzle of Motivation

Have you read any books by Daniel Pink? He’s authored several titles on reshaping work, employee behavior, and the new workplace, including Drive, To Sell is Human, and Free Agent Nation. I’d recommend his work for your business bookshelf.

Pink’s 2009 TEDTalk, “The Puzzle of Motivation,” really got me thinking about my own employees in terms of engagement and getting the best, most creative work out of each of my employees. We are, after all, a knowledge firm: our brains are what keep us in business. So I want those brains to be creative, motivated, and happy.

You should definitely view the entire TEDTalk, but I’d summarize Pink’s key points as follows:

  • There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. Science knows is that external motivators don’t work, and they often do harm.
  • Extrinsic rewards like higher pay work well only for those tasks that are easy, where there are a simple set of rules and a straightforward solution.
  • Most of today’s problems are not simple and straightforward. Solutions to today’s problems are found on the periphery, and you need creative, open minds to find those solutions.
  • Business needs a new operating system for employee motivation that focuses on INTRINSIC rewards to find creative solutions. This new system revolves an employee’s:
    • Autonomy
    • Mastery
    • Purpose

Pink concludes by focusing on autonomy, noting that management works great if you want your employees to comply, but it’s autonomy that will result in true engagement and creativity. He cites several companies that have moved to a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), where employees have no schedules; they just have to get their work done. Research indicates that ROWEs result in higher worker productivity, engagement, and satisfaction.

I’m excited to announce that Fine Point Consulting is in training to be a ROWE. It will take a few months, and I’m sure there are things we’re going to have to “untrain” ourselves to do. Our clients will continue to be our first priority, and it’s our belief that our new autonomy, mastery, and sense of purpose will allow us to serve them even better.

We plan to blog about our ROWE rollout, so stay tuned. It should be an interesting ride.