Does a ROWE Increase Employee Productivity?

Does a ROWE work in practice to increase employee productivity? Read on to find out the pros and cons of this approach to company culture...

Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) is an employee performance management approach created by Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler where employees are paid for their output (results) rather than the time spent at work. One of the early stage evangelists of the approach was BestBuy. The approach has also been adopted by GAP and Fairview Health Services, among others. ROWE is focused primarily on delegation and provides managers with the tools to set goals and link these goals to individual contributors. The focus is on goal completion rather than smaller tasks which are not significant for the organization.

ROWE - definition of ROWE

Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler argue that with ROWE teamwork and employee engagement will increase and employees should not feel stressed or overworked. Employees will work when they need to, and timetables and schedules are therefore not required. Employees are not judged on the way they spend their time but on achievement of results.

Specifically employees are responsible for results only and they can work autonomously as long as they are accountable for their goals.

Organizations will be able to attract and retain talented employees who are results-orientated and focused on delivery. They argue that a ROWE workforce is more efficient and productive as the entire workforce is focused on execution and delivery. Also, wasteful processes will be eliminated as employees will have to streamline their work towards their goals.

ROWE - advantages of ROWE

You can find a complete summary here.

But does this approach work in practice?

BestBuy CEO Hubert Joly argues that the system has flaws because it primarily focuses on delegation and the managers should always dictate to the employee how the goals should be completed. But delegation is not always the right leadership approach for a team. Some employees want to feel engaged and motivated by their managers rather than being told exactly what their goals are. According to Hubert Joly the approach reduced employee collaboration as everyone was working from home and on an individual basis.

Eventually BestBuy abandoned ROWE. You can read more here.

At PeopleGoal we believe that ROWE can work only in conjunction with the following management principles:

  • Promotion of employee, team and department collaboration
  • Clear communication of the company's vision to employees
  • Emphasis on employee development points and support through company objectives
  • Bottom up approach when completing goals
  • Employee career aspirations linked to company objectives

ROWE - management principles to use with ROWE

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