Performance management reviews are different every time. They use a 16 box performance vs potential grid. (See a traditional 9 box description from SHRM .) They don't force rank. Three times per year the leadership team discusses employees and where they are on the grid. They said approximately 10% of their staff are in the lowest quartile of the 16 quadrants at any point in time. They improve or they are put on a path to success somewhere else.
They have what I’d call a “crossroads conversation” with those low potential/low performing folks and offer to give them some severance in lieu of putting them on a performance improvement plan. This allows them to spend more of their time investing in helping their top performers excel. And, they believe they’re ruining people’s lives if they allow them to flounder. (BTW, I agree.)
If managers don't give good feedback, they take away supervisory responsibility. They want to play to people’s strengths, so they try to create multiple career paths to advance – some that don’t require supervision. Management isn’t the only way up at Motley Fool.
Like I said, the atmosphere was one of controlled chaos and there were lots of options for people to chose from to do their work. I saw treadmill desks, bike desks and standing desks. I didn’t see anyone using the bike desk or treadmill desk, but lots of people were using the standing desks. I’ve been looking for an adjustable, standing desk option for ASHA, so I honed right in on this. They use the Varidesk.com ($275-$350). We saw a quiet work room, a mommy room, a massage room, a reading/nap room and a cool game room. There was comfortable seating scattered around throughout the office. Oh, and how could I forget to mention this, there are no offices with walls. It’s all open space.
I really liked the rolling white boards they had throughout the office (pictured above.) I could see us using those at ASHA. They could replace some of the flip charts I tend to drag around and become a sort of cubicle door for folks that want to work uninterrupted for a while.
Values and People Practices
Their advice about culture -- be intentional and model it from the top. Motley Fool's Core Values -- Be Foolish and...
They have pictures of every staff member on a wall across from their board room to serve as a reminder that the board is making real decisions that effect real people. This prompted me to think about collecting pictures of our members with brief bios and printing them on cards. We could give one to each staff member to remind us who we’re working for.
Twice a year, they do an engagement survey. They’re using an app called Culture Amp which I plan to check out. They said they ask a lot of Gallup questions, but they do it themselves.
Sam suggested thinking about what you want to fight and what you would be better off embracing. For example, they decided to embrace March Madness. They offer a bracketology class and everyone fills out their brackets, then they watch the games together.
They seemed to have a few folks to facilitate learning on their people team. They mentioned just in time learning, but said they had a curriculum built for onboarding. They respond to requests and rely on internal resources as much as possible. They look for someone outside if they don’t have expertise in house. They mentioned looking at their high performing mangers to key in on what they do well, so they can figure out how to pass it down.
The HR documentation type folks, which they described as compliance and benefits (Totally not how I would define benefits, but I understand.) report to finance not to the people team. Training, compensation, performance management, and recruiting folks are on the people team.
They value staff being in their physical environment, but 15% of their staff work remotely. They have lots of flexibility, but no set telework schedules. They said they don't hire people to work remotely, but they have made arrangements to keep some high performers. Remote workers cannot have any direct reports.
I didn’t learn much about how they compensate people. They mentioned a profit sharing type plan and being able to buy and sell shares. They also mentioned a bonus program with variable tiers (e.g., 5% and 10%), but said they all meet or miss the eligibility requirement together. They want people who invest and understand the ups and downs their customers feel, so they give all new employees $1,000 in their investment account.
They said they want Fools for life and they want it to be a long life. They employ a full time wellness person. Generally, if Motley Fool pays for it, it should be healthy, but I think I saw a cake. I liked their well-stocked kitchen area. I’d be totally into an unlimited supply of Fage plain Greek yogurt.
So, there you have it in probably my longest blog post ever. This probably goes without saying at this point, but I highly recommend taking the tour. Thanks to Kay for recommending it and thanks to my LAHRF
colleagues for joining me.