BusinessWeek published at great article last week regarding the massive transformation (using transformation in its greatest sense) to drastically change its workforce culture, performance and environment at Best Buy. Best Buy’s strategy is simple in nature. As the article states, "…the official policy for this post-face-time, location-agnostic way of working is that
people are free to work wherever they want, whenever they want, as long
as they get their work done."
"…At most companies,
going AWOL during daylight hours would be grounds for a pink slip. Not
at Best Buy. The nation’s leading electronics retailer has embarked on
a radical–if risky–experiment to transform a culture once known for
killer hours and herd-riding bosses. The endeavor, called ROWE, for
"results-only work environment," seeks to demolish decades-old business
dogma that equates physical presence with productivity. The goal at
Best Buy is to judge performance on output instead of hours."
My take…this program sounds quite progressive and dangerous at the same time. Time will tell which thinking here is correct. I do, though, think only a very few companies could even consider this program as an option. What makes Best Buy’s efforts possible is its embracing of outsourcing and technology to enable process improvement and innovation. Best Buy has been in process of a multi-year HR transformation which included outsourcing its core and some strategic HR functions to Accenture back in 2004 (under a 7-year, $800 million contract). To be successfully, Best Buy must continue to develop a new style
of leadership required to support their flexible workforce and ensure process compliance internally and externally. I applaud the CEO for taking a bold yet ambitious step to accomodate workforce change, and the employees for testing the grass-roots effort and getting enough momentum and courage to present to the CEO.
It should be noted…I am a big fan of Best Buy and if you saw all of the gadgets on my desk (2 Blackberrys, 2 iPods, 1 MP3, 2 cameras, and 2 external storage drives) it would become well apparent!