Why Some Companies Are Scared To Go ROWE

Many companies are beginning to see the benefits of enacting a results-only policy, but there are still some that are either confused about the concept, or simply afraid of what ROWE might reveal about their employees and how they manage them.

The most important aspect of a Results-Only Work Environment is the emphasis on personal responsibility. In traditional workplaces, the focus might be on how often someone’s in the office, or how many billable hours they submit to their clients. But being in the office and sending out statements doesn’t have anything to do with the actual work being done. The focus should be on the results of their work.

Managers in traditional workplaces assume that if they don’t physically see their employees planted in their seats for a solid 8 hours, then they’re probably not doing their jobs. In a ROWE company, everyone is trusted to get their work done wherever, however, and whenever they need to. They’re judged solely on the work they do and the results they get, nothing more.

Fearing that their employees can’t be trusted, business owners and managers have put in place an extensive system of rules and regulations to police them. Keep in mind, these people have been hired by the same company and management that doesn’t trust them to do their jobs without being surveilled. What does this say about the people they’ve hired? And perhaps more importantly, what does this say about the company doing the hiring?

What it all boils down to is this: Good employees want the freedom to do their jobs and meet their deadlines without having to play office politics. After all, they were hired for the work they can do, not how long they can sit at a desk. As Liz Ryan recently wrote in Bloomberg Businessweek:

If we value talent, we’ll start dismantling the lumbering Godzilla of controls and policies that hampers creativity in virtually every organization, and we’ll start trusting ourselves to hire people we trust. Then our jobs will get easier and the energy at work will improve dramatically.

Indeed. It’s time companies start treating their people with the same trust and respect they give their clients and customers. We give Ripplers the freedom to kick ass by allowing them to decide where and when to work. The whole concept of a results-only environment might be a little intimidating to bosses used to the traditional management mentality of keeping people productive by keeping an eye on them. But if you can’t trust your people to use their own judgement, then you’ve probably hired the wrong people.

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