At the end of 2011, Salesforce.com acquired Rypple, a provider of objective setting, feedback and recognition software. Salesforce.com is a vendor of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and expanded into HR with this acquisition. Last week, they announced their first new product, named “Salesforce Rypple”.
This service is focused on social performance management. What does it mean ? The idea is to imitate the way that people now live their life online and integrate some of those aspects into the (usually dreaded) performance management cycle.
As the official press release states, “Salesforce Rypple allows companies to engage and align every employee — to set goals, manage objectives, and provide feedback and recognition — all from within their employee social network. Designed for users, Salesforce Rypple thoughtfully incorporates badges and other social gaming concepts to keep them engaged.”
For example they offer the opportunity for instant feedback and recognition not just from the manager but from any other employee. The use of Thank You “badges” for recognition is similar to those you would get in games or for using FourSquare. You can ask for help or feedback from others in the organisation at any point in time. There is also a sharing function to allow recognition and feedback to go viral, and a Facebook-like look and feel with a timeline / newsfeed with possibility to add comments. And of course, all of this, being on the cloud, is accessible from any device so that you don’t have to be at work on your computer, in order to access and participate.
Check the video of the announcement a few days ago, it is less than 5 minutes and gives a better idea of the system (basically it is Rypple as before the acquisition, but integrated into Salesforce.com so if you already use this CRM for your sales population for example, they can access Rypple without having to leave Salesforce – great for instant recognition on achieving sales quota or closing a major deal for example).
It sounds like Performance Management is finally entering the 21st century and adapting to how a lot of us, and especially Gen Y, are behaving online. A lot of instant feedback. Transparency. Capitalising on and expanding informal communities. Mobility.
Great ! I love the idea as it totally supports the concept of performance management being a continuous process – not the once-a-year, it-is-such-a-pain exercise that most employees and managers reluctantly go through “because HR wants/needs it”.
Now, I have to say that I also have some questions. The first one is a very “HR” one – I still need an overall performance rating at the end of the year, preferably so that I can produce pay-for-performance results in the form of either salary reviews or incentive payouts (or both). And, while at it, an integration with a training needs analysis / development plan is nice too. I have not tested Rypple so I don’t know how it integrates with some of the more traditional aspects of performance management software, so I’ll keep it at that.
More importantly, I wonder how the system works in the case of constructive feedback. Not everyone is good at giving it. Not everyone is good at receiving it either. And if you throw in “transparency”, ie this can be public, you add a layer of potential embarrassment. Not nice in any situation, but even more when the regional culture emphasises face-saving.
Another cultural aspect may slow the adoption of such a tool in the GCC. The management style at many organisations is still pretty traditional, focused on top-down communication. There is rarely feedback requested from others. A lot of managers don’t meet regularly with their employees, and a lot of employees don’t ask for one-on-ones either. But a system like Rypple requires transparency, more informal relationships, and the willingness (both from manager and from employee) to engage in a more frequent and open exchange. And even the best tool will never work if the intended audience does not adhere to the concept and refuses to use the system as planned.
What do you think ? Have you used Rypple or a similar software ? Is the region ready for the arrival of social performance management ? Please share your thoughts in the comments section !
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