Sunday, February 12, 2012

Share the Love

Agile encourages self-organizing teams and emphasizes team performance. This is at odds with the traditional employee performance review and the individual recognition system common in most organizations. Phillip Rosedal founder of Linden Labs (creators of second life) approached this problem with an innovative system that he setup at their offices. The system allowed team members to send each other short “Thank you” messages of appreciation in recognition of a job well done. The office also had large monitors that continuously displayed these messages of recognition while making everybody aware of what others were working on (information radiators). Rosedale also introduced employee driven bonuses, where each team member got a certain amount per year that he could allocate to other deserving team members. The idea is that people closest to the team know best who the peak performers are.

Rosdale has expanded on these concepts to create The Love Machine. This is a commercial product were companies setup thresholds for rewards and then team members send each other love messages showing their appreciation to others for a job well done. Each message received counts towards points that team members accumulate and later redeem for gift certificates.

I've heard that LivingSocial and Yelp use this system but besides that, I don’t know how widely companies are adopting the Love Machine or how effective it truly is. What do you think? Is your team ready to share the love?