The Harvard Business Review published, “What to Do if Your Team is Too Busy to Take On New Work” (1), an article written by Pinterest’s Global Head of Customer Operations, Dutta Satadip. Dutta laments the annual business planning cycle where every manager pleads for additional resources without analytical justification. Dutta proposes a data-driven three-step process where each person describes their key activities, the amount of weekly time allocated to these activities, and other activities that are outside the sphere of core job functions. The resulting activity allocation map presents opportunities for management to reduce/eliminate less productive workload, thus increasing productivity.
Dutta’s article describes how his teams discovered legacy processes that were now redundant and customer-protocols that required significant employee interaction when easily implemented automation tools would have reduced if not eliminated employee contact. This exercise allowed Dutta’s team to do more with less and achieve the scale necessary to meet customer needs and investor expectations.
What Dutta internally did at Pinterest and Google emulates one of the tools in CollabWork’s FrameWork Application. FrameWork’s patented algorithms objectively rank an employee’s tasks by value while Dutta’s managers utilized both objective and subjective assessments. FrameWork’s determination of the most valuable work gives employees a head-start in meeting their goals and increases their engagement, satisfaction, and professional growth.
Gartner is questioning current management models and wondering if they are still useful. This is great and well overdue. An example is “what is work?” We believe more than ever that the what, why, and how we work either is or has changed, or wants to change and is being held back by traditional thinking.
Seven years ago, we observed “the cloud” and ask ourselves how this will impact the way we work. We started with a clean “napkin” and with a lot of help and support we have reinvented the way we think about work. We started by observing people working and asked, “what is the value of the work?”. To clarify what is work, we boiled it down to a simple model. We considered a provider and consumer of work. We call this work a service. Dentists provide a service. On-demand software developers provide a service. In fact, we believe all work from the CEO to the janitor can be described as a service. Thus, a so-called job produces no work or value. The human “in the job” represents one full-time equivalent (FTE) and typically provides several services. The value of each service is attributed by the customer/consumer. The service provider (worker) manages his or her customer’s experience.
Managing is no longer about distributing work to workers in jobs. Managing is about setting priorities and desired outcomes of their service providers such that their customers attribute the most value.
Patty McCord (https://www.linkedin.com/in/pattymccord/) is a Silicon Valley human resources veteran who worked for iconic Valley startups such as Seagate, Sun Microsystems, Borland, Pure Atria and, most famously, Netflix. Joining Netflix within a year of its founding, Patty assisted CEO and Co-founder Reed Hastings to create a culture of accountability, performance, and success that is documented in Patty’s HR “tome”, Powerful (1). In Chapter 8, Patty eviscerates the annual review as too rigid, time-consuming, costly, and tardy. It demoralizes and penalizes workers for issues that happened months before the annual review, issues that should have been remediated at the time of occurrence. As a consultant after departing Netflix in 2012, Patty’s favorite question about the annual review process is, “Do you have any proof of the value of the review process to your business?” She concludes her musing noting that vanguard companies have “accelerated” the annual review process with GE at the margin, essentially providing real-time feedback to its employees.
FrameWork is the platform of continuous worker/manager input and worker/manager feedback. Think of Framework as a continuous feedback loop. When your subordinates or you and your manager jointly make changes to any process or protocol (engineering, finance, IT, marketing, product management, project management, sales, support, etc), Framework algorithmically measures the value of this new work to ensure it’s higher than your previous process. Timely discussions about outcomes are referenced to the actual work performed and the use of your talent or the talent of each member of your team. The incremental time burden on each worker and manager to input their feedback into Framework is measured in minutes on a desktop or mobile app. FrameWork’s elegant design allows you to control the frequency of the feedback loop. Reviews can be scheduled or initiated by either the employee or the manager any time there is a need to communicate: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly. Your choice.
FrameWork is objective, eliminating memory biases that inherently distort an annual review such as confirmation bias, recency bias, illusory correlation, leveling/sharpening, and mood congruent memory bias. FrameWork avoids loss of productivity due to annual review anxiety imposed on the preparer and recipient. FrameWork’s design increases productivity and engagement for employees and profit margin for the enterprise.