Piloting Work.com - Some Early Experiences

Top-imageWill Nourse is CIO at Citizen Schools, a salesforce.com customer. He is also a Salesforce MVP.

Work-at-citizen-schoolsAt Citizen Schools, the non-profit for which I work, we’re placing increased emphasis on performance management, particularly in alignment of, and managing to, business goals.  We’ve found that the system that we currently use for our performance management process doesn’t meet all of our needs, so when I heard that Salesforce.com had bought Rypple.com (now Work.com), I was intrigued and started playing with a trial version. A preliminary investigation looked good, but it wasn’t until Dreamforce 2012 that I became a convert.

If you’ve been to Dreamforce, you know how insanely great salesforce.com is at generating enthusiasm for their product suite and they hit the ground running with Work.com. I left the conference convinced that it’s the product for us, drafted a ‘manifesto’ to our COO and CFO on the plane-ride home and immediately got us signed up for a pilot deployment for the two departments that report to me (Technology and Research & Evaluation).

We’ve been using the product for a couple of months now and I remain impressed both with what’s already there and what looks to be coming down the road.  Below, I’ll briefly outline my impressions:

Goal setting: 

Goal-settingWork.com has a great interface for creating and publishing goals and most importantly, for creating the actions that are going to lead to their achievement. In the interest of transparency, Work.com’s best practice is for goals to be made public, so they are visible to all users, but goals can be private and shared with particular users, if desired. 

One really cool thing about goals is that people can sign on to support them at different levels, from top priority to ‘keep me updated’ – so that rather than having 5 people each with the same individual goal, you’d have 5 people working towards the same goal.  You can also set up organizational goals and have people sign on to support them, documenting their activities. All of my staff have their goals in the system and are updating their progress on a (fairly) regular basis.

Coaching and feedback: 

Work.com also has a really strong coaching model, which can reflect not only formal manager-staff relationships, but also informal mentoring relationships.  For each reciprocal relationship (‘connection’ in Work.com terms), each person can share notes and actions, effectively allowing them to build up a private workspace.  We use it to capture agendas for 1:1 meetings and followup items.  It can also be used for other types of coaching notes. This has been a very effective section for us, improving our ability to give continuous feedback.

Coaching-notes
Feedback can also be given or requested directly within the system, where it is consolidated and available when it comes time to work on reviews. Just imagine, no more combing through your email when searching for feedback!  

BadgeTwo aspects of the system that we’ve not yet had much experience with are the Recognition features and the Performance Summaries. Given the small size of the pilot, giving thanks and badges hasn’t been a real value-add, though I’m sure it will be if we roll it out more broadly.  For Performance Summaries, we're in the middle of our mid-year review cycle and we have been doing them in our current system for compliance purposes, though we’re referencing the goal progress and feedback contained in Work.com.  I am going to ask my teams to mirror the content of their reviews into Work.com at the end of the mid-year process so that folks can have that information when it comes to final review season. 

From a manager’s perspective, Work.com is a great platform that consolidates a lot of information and helps make sure my teams are working in alignment.  It’s still needs to improve overall admin reporting, and updating progress towards goals is a manual process, but I’m hopeful that these issues will be rapidly addressed as the integration of Work.com into Salesforce.com progresses.

 

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