The Age of Individuals
In the Taylorist averagarian system of standardization and hierarchies where the system prevails and the average employee is expendable, a 2013 Gallup Study found that 70% of employees felt disengaged from their job. Google and Costco have turned away from this system of Taylorization and have now been named to the list of “Top Places to Work” due to their new philosophy toward the individual. If you hire great people, give them good wages, treat them with dignity, and give them an honest path for a career, great things will happen.
Costco truly believes in finding a good fit. One of Costco’s strategies to finding good fits is by identifying students from local colleges who are already working part-time for them who are a good fit. They hire these people for fulltime work when they graduate. Costco finds this strategy much more beneficial than actively seeking out and hiring graduates from prestigious universities. Costco also gives their employees great benefits and pays them 75% more than Walmart does and has still been profitable every single year since they went public. A lot of Costco’s success has to do with employee loyalty and low employee turnover costs. This is helping them beat Walmart at their own game of low costs and efficiency. Walmart has any extremely high employee turnover costs due to its Taylorization system.
Another interesting case is Zoho Technology Corporation of India who took on the behemoth Microsoft. In the beginning Zoho couldn’t afford to hire the kind of talent that Microsoft could, so Zoho had to look for talent in different ways and in different places. Amazingly, even against all these odds, Zoho quickly became known for creating great stuff with a talent pool that none of their competitors would have hired.
Zoho’s founder and CEO Sridhar Vembu found that there was little or no correlation between grades and perceived quality of diploma and on-the-job performance as computer programmers. This made him wonder why all the Big Boys were wearing blinders and made the narrow pathway of college a pre-condition to be hired in their companies. Zembu decided to cultivate talent himself by creating his own Zoho University where he would not only give raw, unproven kids a shot, but he would even pay them to go to his school. His school was self-paced, had no grades and used feedback based on projects. And guess what? It’s working! Vembu has hired some amazing unknowns from some of the poorest neighborhoods in India from his university program who have gone off to do great things.
Since Vembu doesn’t agree with evaluating people based on averages, Zoho doesn’t have performance reviews. There are no score cards. There are no employee rankings. If a manager has a concern with an employee, they have a one-on-one discussion so the manager can address it and help that employee right then and right there rather than several months later at a nerve-racking performance review.
Zoho pays fair wages and great benefits. It identifies talent and nurtures it. And that talent responds by being fully engaged and extremely productive. Zembu says that if you treat individuals with respect, as individuals, you will get more out of them than what you put into them. These simple common sense strategies based on individuals over the system is how Zoho can compete with the Big Boys while using a talent pool that the Big Boys would never even look at, let alone consider hiring and working with.
So, what are you capable of doing with your people?
Dan Blanchard is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. To learn more about Dan please visit his website at: www.DanBlanchard.net. Thanks.