A Case Study Best Buy

By Diane Newman

May. 7, 2008

A study published in the Harvard Management Update of 88 managers and executives in 20 companies in the U.S. and Canada found that companies that allowed employees to craft nontraditional workloads and schedules yielded significant payoffs.

    There was a higher retention of high performers, greater productivity and efficiency, improved team functioning, and deeper cross-training and development within the group. A program implemented by Best Buy known as ROWE (Results Oriented Work Environment), confirms the findings.

    To address low morale and the level of stress in its corporate offices, Best Buy allowed employees to work when and where they like, as long as they get the job done. Since employees have stopped counting the number of hours they work, they are more productive.

    With the first experimental group of 300 employees, turnover in the first three months of employment fell from 14 percent to 0 percent; job satisfaction rose 10 percent; and team performance scores rose 13 percent.

    Some employees who were contemplating leaving said they no longer had the desire to leave, and many employees said the program was “changing their lives.”

    Best Buy recognized that the new approach was not just about helping employees; it was about staying competitive. The five-year-old plan now covers 60 percent of the employees at Best Buy’s corporate headquarters near Minneapolis.

    By all accounts, it’s working. Employee productivity has increased an average of 35 percent in departments covered by the program.

    Best Buy is poised to test the program in select retail stores

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