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November 8, 2011

Bonus Weekly Acronym: ROWE

If you are one of our regular blog readers, you know what to expect on Wednesday: Joyce’s Weekly Wednesday Acronym.   This week, I want to share an additional acronym that is gaining quite a bit of press lately – ROWE.

ROWE stands for Results-Only Work Environment.  ROWE is the brainchild of Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler, authors of Why Work Sucks And How to Fix It.  Simply put, in a ROWE organization, employees can do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as their work gets done.

Workplace flexibility, telecommuting, and work/life balance are all terms we have heard before.  If you have implemented any elements into your company to increase flexibility, you have probably also heard complaints from other employees.  “There goes Joe again, leaving to pick up his kids.”  “It must be nice to telecommute – we all know Mary doesn’t do any actual WORK on those days!”

ROWE is different because employees are evaluated based on the results they achieve.  In a SHRM webinar I recently attended on the subject, the question was posed: “ Are there some jobs ROWE wouldn’t work for?”  The authors argue a better question is “Are there some jobs that AREN’T based on results?”

If you still think there is no way ROWE could work for your organization, consider this: ROWE was created while the authors were working for Best Buy.  Yes, one of the largest retailers implemented ROWE several years ago.  In that time, revenue has more than doubled and their employee count has remained steady.  Other retailers who have embraced ROWE include Gap and Banana Republic.

To get more information about ROWE, go to  You’ll find information about the book as well as free resources that are available to help you consider “Going ROWE.”


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