Digital music service Spotify is using employee performance management software from Salesforce.com to drive engagement within the company and make giving feedback more social.
Salesforce Rypple - the product that has emerged out of Salesforce.com's acquisition of startup Rypple in December - does away with the notion of periodic reviews. Instead, it provides a social networking milieu that allows co-workers as well as managers to give feedback and recognition for jobs well done in real time, and on an ongoing basis.
The product feeds into Salesforce.com's wider notion of "social enterprise," based on the idea that social media can be used by companies to gain a competitive advantage. Many of Salesforce.com's offerings use techniques borrowed from social networks to boost productivity.
Speaking at the Cloudforce Social Enterprise Tour in London yesterday, Spotify's organisational development manager Johan Persson said Spotify is an inherently social company, due to the way people love to share and discover music together.
The company already has a deal with Facebook whereby users can tell friends what they're listening to and share playlists. Spotify also uses social channels like Facebook and Twitter to connect with customers.
However, Persson said that it was just as important to create a social environment within the company, in order to encourage interactions and collaboration, hence the decision to deploy Salesforce Rypple.
"What really gets me excited is thinking about how we can create interactions and collaboration within our organisation. It shouldn't matter of you're in Sweden or Australia, you should still feel like you can contribute and get feedback on what we're working on," said Persson.
Rypple allows Spotify employees to review their key objectives online, give and receive feedback in real time and thank colleagues publicly for their work. Users can create "badges" denoting special achievements and then post them into Chatter conversation feeds for others to see and comment on.
"Everyone at Spotify - every individual, every team, every department - has a quarterly target, and these are published and shared within the company, so everyone can find, browse, explore, understand what's going on, feel connected to what's happening and reach out if they find something interesting," said Persson.
Monika Fahlbusch, SVP of global employee success at Salesforce.com, said that the advantage of employees stating their objectives publicly is that they hold themselves accountable. She acknowledged concerns that social employment systems could end up replacing human interaction, but claimed that Salesforce Rypple does exactly the opposite.
"Salesforce Rypple is intended to enhance the behaviours we already do. The point is then to sit together and have a quality dialogue," said Fahlbusch.
"A manager can have a quality conversation with her boss, peers or even HR about how everyone's doing from a single platform, and praise employees for achieving their targets," she added. "The virtual high-five is very powerful."