Money & Business

Two Ideas Associations Can Borrow From the Corporate World

By / Aug 6, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Take a look at a couple of companies that are getting rid of performance reviews and rewarding hackers who can identify security concerns and how these ideas could prove fruitful for associations.

Whether it’s membership, online learning, or marketing, associations can take a cue from for-profit organizations in any number of areas.

While they may not have the same staff resources or budgets as for-profits, associations can still match up in dexterity and capability. Here are a couple of recent examples of corporate ingenuity that might spark ideas for associations:

Wave goodbye to annual performance reviews and rankings. Last month, consulting firm Accenture announced it will be eliminating yearly reviews and employee rankings beginning in September.

Why? According to Accenture, the amount of time and resources that were being spent on the reviews wasn’t yielding the desired goal: to boost employee performance.

“The process is too heavy, too costly for the outcome,” the company’s CEO, Pierre Nanterme, told The Washington Post. “And the outcome is not great.”

Accenture will instead focus on more timely, fluid feedback on an ongoing basis. It’s also the latest in a string of organizations—Deloitte, Adobe, Microsoft—to eliminate or modify review processes.

Earlier this year, for example, Deloitte announced it was streamlining its performance review process into four questions to “clearly highlight differences among individuals and reliably measure performance.”

“In effect, we are asking our team leaders what they would do with each team member rather than what they think of that individual,” Deloitte’s director of leader development, Ashley Goodall, and author Marcus Buckingham, wrote in the Harvard Business Review.

Associations Now’s Mark Athitakis was quick to point out a “catch,” however, in Deloitte’s new premise: Distilling a review into fewer questions does not eliminate the need for continual conversation between managers and employees. “If you really want to understand your staffers and turn them into effective, promotable, leadership-minded teammates, you have to talk to them,” Athitakis wrote.

Microsoft, meanwhile, made the shift to implementing more growth and development programs to encourage staff potential after discarding its much-criticized bell-curve-based employee rating system a couple of years ago.

The stacking system was considered by critics to be destructive to staff morale and collaboration as well as a barrier to innovation.

Incentivize hackers. What if you could find a way to reward people for detecting potential weaknesses in your various software systems or website? That’s exactly what United Airlines is doing as part of its new “bug bounty” program.

The program allows individuals to detect and report security issues affecting the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of customer or company information, and then it rewards them in “bounties” for identifying those bugs.

“We are committed to protecting our customers’ privacy and the personal data we receive from them—the first of its kind in the airline industry,” United said in a statement on its website. “We believe that this program will further bolster our security and allow us to continue to provide excellent service.”

The top prize for bug detectors? One million frequent flyer miles.

While most associations may not be able to come up with that kind of giveaway, finding a way to reward people for identifying potential security or data breaches could help deflect situations like cyberattacks.

Have you seen any other ideas from corporate counterparts that associations can learn from or implement? Please share in the comments.

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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