While the 40-hour workweek may be the standard expectation for most companies, Irv Shapiro, CEO of phone call analytics and automation platform DialogTech, is not interested in tracking hours or how much time his employees spend at their desks. Instead, he believes you should focus on hiring the best people you can find, give them the autonomy to do their jobs, and offer flexible work hours and unlimited vacation. Here's why.
1. You hired smart people you trust.
A stellar business culture is one in which values are aligned with what's actually happening in a company. So, if one of your key values is hiring competent, trustworthy professionals, you're contradicting yourself--measuring their time actually indicates you don't trust them.
2. Activity measurement should be aligned with the deliverable you're providing to your customer.
With the exception of a couple industries--law or consulting, for example--most businesses do not charge their customers by the hour. Rather, they charge for a product or service. Therefore, if you're measuring your employees based on time, you're incentivizing them for the wrong things. Take a lesson from Zappos, which encourages its call center employees to have extended conversations with customers--the exact opposite tack of most companies.
"Why is it that Zappos is so much bigger than everyone else? Because they're able to build trust," Shapiro says. "Why are they able to build trust? Because they incent their agents to have the most meaningful conversations they can have with their customers without measuring the time or the length of those conversations."
3. Flexibility rewards people for being on call 24/7.
With the ubiquity of the smartphone, most companies expect that if an employee receives an important email at night or during the weekend, he or she will respond. Effectively, this means most workers are on-call at all times, especially highly social Millennials, who have the capacity to be connected to anyone--bosses, co-workers and customers alike--any time of the day or night. The quid pro quo: Employers should provide their employees with flexibility.
"So the cable guy's coming. It would be silly for you to have to take a PTO day or make special arrangements so that you could be there when he shows up. Why not just work from home that day? You'll be more efficient," he says.
4. Tracking vacation days doesn't make sense, either.
At DialogTech, someone could take three weeks of vacation one year, five weeks the next, and a week and a half the year following. The choice is theirs because employees understand they're not being paid for hours, but for accomplishing work that helps the business succeed, which is measured by managers and co-workers. In essence, if someone needs to take a half-day off to take his or her car to a mechanic, it's not tracked.
"There's no discussion about 'Is or isn't that a vacation day? Do you need to take half of a vacation day?'" he says. "We're not measuring any of that stuff. What we're measuring is you're helping us succeed by getting your job done."
5. It's a philosophy that appears to actually work.
DialogTech seems to be getting pretty good traction since its inception eight years ago. The company uses information about the ads a customer has seen, customer location and history, as well as the actual words spoken during a call to provide marketing teams with data to create better customer experiences. It has garnered $60 million in venture capital and employs about 150 employees collectively serving more than 5,000 customers. In a typical month the company provides analytics on more than 40 million minutes of phone calls. "We do this for rapidly growing small businesses, and some of the top brands in America," he says.