Software just might be the way to manage people in the future, thanks to the rise of social media and cloud computing.
Rypple, a so-called social performance-management platform created by the Toronto software developer of the same name, lets users set and manage goals, provide real-time coaching and feedback, and instantly praise accomplishments. Among its clients is Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook.
Employees using Rypple can set up feedback loops that allow others to give suggestions on improving job performance. Likewise, they can commend a fellow worker by posting a recognition badge for everyone to see. When it’s time to conduct a review with an employee, all of the information a manager needs is there on the screen.
The aim of Rypple co-founder and co-CEO Daniel Debow is to stop distracting people with bureaucracy. Traditional annual performance reviews fail to give the constant feedback that helps employees get better at their jobs, he says.
Mr. Debow joined us earlier to talk about his company and the HR software trend.
Dave M., Globe and Mail: Hi everyone. We'll start in just a moment. If you have a question for Daniel, please leave it now.
Dave M., Globe and Mail: Hi Daniel -- are you there?
Comment From ddebow: Hey there Dave - I'm right here.
Dave M., Globe and Mail: Great. To start with, why don't you tell us about your company. Did you set out to create HR software, or did you fall into it?
Comment From ddebow: We set out to help people get better feedback at work... and to improve on a pretty old, painful process... performance reviews.
Dave M., Globe and Mail: They can indeed be painful. Your system is peer-oriented. Can you tell us how that works?
Comment From ddebow: We had previously been part of founding another human capital software company, Workbrain, so we were generally familiar with the space. And, having built Workbrain to 500+ employees - we knew how painful traditional reviews were... and how much people want useful, fast, safe feedback.
ddebow: Sure. Rypple works by amplifying three key productive behaviors: goal setting & coaching, recognition, and feedback.
ddebow: We adopted a familiar and fun metaphor - social networks - because we realized that people are essentially engaged in a human activity when they seek out feedback, give props to others on their team, or when the want to get aligned around common goals at work.
ddebow: Because it is simple, familiar, and even fun - people are much more likely to use it vs. forms based, traditional HR software.
Dave M., Globe and Mail: So employees can give other employees pats on the back, and everyone can see them?
ddebow: That's one part of it, yes - public recognition. This is powerful in the Rypple context because it is not forgotten and it is public. So - other people learn what great work is by seeing others being recognized for it. It nudges social norms. And, equally important - when recognition is given on Rypple, it becomes part of a person's social profile, their reputation, that others can see. Finally, all the recognition is aggregated to make performance summaries easy. But, as I said, recognition is only one part of Rypple. We also have a model for Social Goals - based on our work with some of the fastest growing companies in the world. Goals in Rypple are open, flexible - and get used through the year to get work done. As a result, it gives everyone more transparency into what's being done. And - makes summaries a snap.
Dave M., Globe and Mail: How did you land Facebook as a client?
ddebow: We first "met" Facebook when their employees started using our service, voluntarily. It spread virally. Then we met them when we hosted workshops in Silicon Valley for progressive HR leaders who wanted to "fix feedback". They felt that existing tools and processes would not be appropriate for real-time, social workforce that they had. Over time, we got to know them and what we were trying to do - and we got to know them. Eventually, they asked us to work with them to re-invent how they did performance reviews... and we used our platform for it. The result was a product called "Loops" - which allows for real time feedback of all sorts.