Tool turns performance reviews into

A Canadian software company wants to re-invent the corporate performance review by replacing what the co-CEO calls “a 50-year-old process” with one that recognizes the social elements of today’s workforce and the value of iterative feedback.

Rypple’s co-CEO, Daniel Debow, said the software, Loops, helps managers turn performance summaries into a “social Web experience” by aggregating bits of recognition, coaching and feedback along the way, while preserving the context in which they are made.

“The world of work has changed … It’s become much more collaborative, much more real time, much more social and they have relationships that matter,” said Debow. Rypple has offices in Toronto and San Francisco.
 

The other part is that Loops lets managers send out a short list of questions every so often—certainly not as long as the usual six-month cycle after the fact, said Debow—to gauge opinions from team members about project status, if it’s a project review), or stakeholder feedback on employees (if it’s a job performance review) on the fly.

The idea, there, is that if there’s improvement or adjustment to be made, then it is captured on an ongoing basis and creates far more flexibility for change than the traditional “batch process” that looks at feedback only after it’s all over, said Debow.

“What you want to do with your performance cycle is help people learn so they get better,” he said. “Doing things in smaller chunks makes a lot more sense.”

Moreover, a tool like this, said Debow, reduces the anxiety and stress of a process that most employees find laborious and lengthy. Debow said performance review software is generally built for the human resources department, and unfortunately not for the managers and employees who’ll be using it.

The idea of using social processes and networking sites in the business is relatively novel and many companies are just getting used to the idea. But, Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.’s principal analyst, Chenxi Wang, released a report earlier in 2011 that suggested IT departments should open their eyes to the concept of social networking in the business.

“A lot of businesses, small and large, are moving away from the more restrictive model of blocking social media to a more liberal access model,” said Wang.

Across departments, employees have the urge to engage and collaborate with stakeholders through social computing, and organizations must recognize this amid fear of privacy and security risks, said Wang.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

–with files from IDG’s Ann Bednarz 



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