Quantify how your employees feel about the company management and direction -- daily.
"Traditional management style may help organizations run efficiently, but it won't help to unleash the best gifts of every single person in your organization," asserts Joris Luijke on the Management Innovation eXchange (the MIX).
At the time he wrote the article, Luijke was the VP of Talent for Atlassian, a $102-million software company based in Sydney, Australia. In his post on the MIX, he cites four methods Atlassian uses to encourage employee expression and autonomy. Sure, there are the typical perks (creativity, risk-taking, healthy conflict) that come with empowered employees. But an atmosphere where employees express themselves helps in other ways, too: On a daily basis, Atlassian execs have the means to assess--and even quantify--how the rank and file feel about senior management and the company's overall direction. Here's how:
1. Bottom-up Reviews
The method: Employees go online and review their managers by placing a single dot along the two axes, depicted below. Luijke defines leadership skills as "vision and ability to inspire, engage and motivate" and management skills as the "ability to manage time and resources, plan and provide you with role clarity."
2. Finger On the Pulse
The method: Using an "Mood-App" developed in-house (see below), employees answer one question a day as they walk out of the office. (There are iPads at all exits.) "We are able to measure the swings in moods, engagement and opinions over time and publish this online for everyone in the company to see," observes Luijke. "The Mood-App allows Atlassian to continuously course-correct if engagement levels drop, or if people disagree with certain strategic or tactical decisions, rather then waiting for an annual review."
3. FedEx Days
The method: One day each quarter, employees can work on anything related to Atlassian products. The rub? You have to ship whatever you're working on within 24 hours. Employees then get to present their projects to the entire company.
4. Giving Kudos
The method: Through an internal social network, any employee can send kudos to another. There are no maximums, no restrictions. Recognized employees receive a handwritten 'Kudos-card' and a small gift from human resources (see below). Notes Luijke: This method "constantly reinforces great work and awesome behaviors without needing explicit direction or acknowledgement from the top."