SELLEO’S MERIT MONEY SYSTEM A 360-DEGREE FEEDBACK SYSTEM WITH MONETARY REWARDS
Selleo’s MMS – a 360-degree feedback system with monetary rewards
We have so far presented 3 elements of the Selleo’s feedback system in the series; the previous articles described the following components:
- 360-degree feedback sessions, where each individual is free to exchange feedback with all the co-workers the person interacts with,
- RevYou – an online service where developers exchange feedback geared towards technical skills development and knowledge sharing, and
- client satisfaction surveys, which provide service delivery teams with the clients’ feedback on the quality of products built as well as the level of service delivered,
This blog post is focused on MMS (Merit Money System) – a system which enables each and every Selleo team member to reward their co-workers with kudos (reward points which convert to bonuses) as a token of appreciation for their colleagues’ efforts, performance, demeanor and other aspects they deem worth rewarding.
In many companies and organizations it is the managers who act as the primary – if not the only – feedback givers; even more often, those managers are also the only agents who evaluate and reward the work of the employees who report to them. We believe there are better ways to manage feedback, evaluation and reward. MMS is an attempt to create an alternative to the more traditional approaches.
Each Selleo co-worker has a pool of 20 kudos (reward points), which they are free to share with their co-workers every week. The few co-workers who are involved in interactions with a number of colleagues have as many as 40 kudos to share. Importantly, each and every co-worker is free to decide who will be rewarded as well as what they grant their kudos for, be it successful sale, smooth collaboration on a project, good demo, assistance, guidance, blog article publication, hiring or training a new colleague, helping with acquiring foreign language skills, event organization, someone’s personal merits, a colleague’s wedding, etc. – to cite just a few comments from the system.
The system is administered via a web service and is based on limited visibility: all the co-workers can see the top three collectors – the colleagues who received the biggest number of kudos – during the previous week, as well as the so-called “hamsters” – those who were particularly reluctant to share their kudos with others.
Besides, everyone can also see the kudos they have received along with the comments attached to them. Everyone can also review all the other submitted comments and thus find out what sort of attitudes, actions or behaviours are rewarded; the co-workers cannot see who such comments were submitted by, nor can they identify the recipient.
Apart from being good fun, this solution is also believed to be a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. The number of kudos a given co-worker collects, has a significant impact on the bonus they receive; the other – less significant factor – being the co-worker’s seniority. Generally speaking, the more appreciation you receive from your colleagues in the form of kudos, the bigger the bonus that eventually lands in your pocket. The system is administered via a simple web application, and was inspired by Jurgen Appelo and his concept of Merit Money. You can find out more about it in his recently published book: “Management 3.0. Workout. Games, Tools & Practices to Engage People, Improve Work, and Delight Clients.”You may review the Merit Money concept itself here.
Towards a more holistic approach – the merits of MMS
It seems that the MMS offers two main advantages from our perspective. Firstly, the conventional evaluation and reward systems administered by managers often encourage competitiveness rather than cooperation. With MMS it is the other way round. The people are often rewarded for collaboration as well as building and maintaining good working relationships with their colleagues. They are thus incentivised to support and help one another rather than compete against one another.
Secondly, if 80% of people perceive their performance to be better than average, chances are high that a large number of employees might feel frustrated that their efforts are undervalued or not rewarded properly; the risk seems much bigger with conventional solutions, where it is usually only the managers / superiors who assess those who report to them and decide on the rewards.
With MMS it is impossible to completely rule out the feeling of disappointment on the part of some co-workers, but the fact that it is a far more holistic solution makes the disappointment less likely to occur. One may in fact feel treated more objectively and/or fairly if the assessment comes from all those they work with rather than just a single individual.
What is more, as MMS is a continuous assessment and reward mechanism, the risk that somebody’s contributions will be disregarded, is also less likely.
Why so much hassle for feedback?
Each and every co-worker is free to gather, analyse and assess the information flowing to them from their daily encounters and interactions, team reviews and regular company updates, 360-degree feedback sessions, technical reviews and comments in RevYou, client questionnaires and other sources. They can then judge the impact their colleagues exert on them, their team and/or the company and choose to reward their co-workers’ contributions accordingly. In doing so they shape their own working environment themselves and – most probably – the future of the company.
Still, most importantly, you are provided with a lot of valuable feedback which enables you to better understand yourself, your weaknesses and strengths as well as the impact of your attitudes, actions and demeanor on other people. With such input at hand you are free to embark on an intriguing quest for self-awareness, professional growth and personal development. And who knows, you may become a better professional, colleague, friend, or simply, a better human being.