The Gap Outlet the second major retailer to adopt the Results Only Work Environment model for their headquarters employees. The ROWE model, created by two former HR “renegades” at Best Buy, essentially means that it doesn’t matter when or where employees work; output is measured instead of hours. Gap Outlet had a ROWE pilot program in 2008 that yielded results: productivity, quality, engagement, and work/life balance scores soared, and turnover decreased by 13 percent.
The fear of adopting an innovative HR strategy like ROWE is that people will not be motivated to work, but that has not been the case. Employees who fit into a ROWE culture and excel in it want to protect it, so employees who don’t fit in find their way out quickly.
This kind of paradigm shift will lead to a more nimble, empowered workforce, and will allow more focus on important initiatives and less on people’s scheduling needs. ROWE also takes the “disciplinarian” pressure off of managers and HR, who can shift from policing to coaching, supportive roles.
ROWE allows a workforce with more diverse experiences to come together in a way that isn’t always possible, and will better include women who organizations invest in only to leave when they start a family.
I think that a ROWE model will force better linkages and stronger networks, as employees are motivated to form relationships to increase their productivity and results. With the minimal financial investment required to implement, Gap Outlet decided it was worth the risk.