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Thoughts from Rho's CEO: Results, Relationships, and Impact

Posted by Brook White on Thu, Aug 08, 2013 @ 10:39 AM

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Russ Helms, Rho CEOThe following article comes from Rho’s CEO Russ Helms who would like to share some thoughts on topics that he sees as important to Rho and our business.

At Rho, we use the phrase “Results, Relationships, and Impact” to describe the essence of our expectations for all Rho employees.  We expect positive Results, Relationships, and Impact from all of our employees, regardless of their role, title, or where they work in the company.   We use these expectations as the basis for evaluating and rewarding employees. 

Results

Each of our employees is responsible for producing results.  This is true in many companies. What sets Rho apart is that how we do it matters.  

Relationships

Each of us is responsible for developing positive relationships.   We are each expected to build solid, professional relationships with our colleagues.  We are all expected to build professional relationships with our clients.  We are all expected to build relationships with others in our industry and with the community.

Impact

Each of us is responsible for having a positive impact.  We are expected to have a positive impact on the people around us—teammates and colleagues—making each other’s jobs and lives better.  We are expected to have a positive impact on our clients, uplifting them with most interactions.  And we are each expected to have a positive impact on the industry and community.

So where did Results, Relationship, Impact come from? Many people are familiar with Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE). The gist of ROWE is that it doesn’t matter how you do your work, when you do your work, or where you do your work, just that you produce results. There’s a lot to like in the concept, and I find myself drawn to it. But it doesn’t quite capture what’s important at Rho.

At its core, this concept helps us be less concerned about the typical trappings of corporate life and more concerned that each employee produces results that further Rho’s Core Purpose: to improve health, extend life, and enhance the quality of life via corporate and research excellence. It reminds us that regardless of where or when an employee completes her work, producing results that are valuable to Rho as a company, to our customers, and to her co-workers is important. Because it is results that matter, decisions about alternative work schedules and telecommuting are up to the individual employee in coordination with her project leaders and teammates based on the requirements of the job and the demands of the projects. It is not a one-size fits all approach.

What this concept lacks, however, is the understanding that there are some aspects of how work gets done that matter a great deal at Rho. We care how employees treat our customers. We care how co-workers treat each other. We care about performing quality work in an ethical way. Results-only cannot mean results at any cost. That would be in clear violation of the core ideology that drives our work. That is where relationships and impact come in. Results matter, but we do not tolerate behavior that generates results at the expense of building relationships and having a positive impact.

Central to the expectations of Relationships and Impact is a commitment to building a civilized work place. We do not tolerate jerks, bullies, or Eeyores. We avoid hiring individuals that exhibit this behavior, we do not reward those who produce results through this behavior and, in extreme cases, we dismiss employees who choose to continue this behavior.

We want to empower each of our employees to handle this behavior. My co-CEO and I meet with every new hire during the first month and describe these expectations, emphasizing that it is OK and expected that everyone confront colleagues about behavior that is hurtful or negative. We have recently conducted peer-to-peer feedback training for all employees to provide them with tools to help them engage co-workers in constructive conversations about their behavior. That can be hard, so when issues can’t be resolved between co-workers, all leaders within the company are expected to provide the support needed to resolve these problems.

It has been about three years since we began communicating these expectations to our employees and nearly four years since we began talking about and using these expectations at the senior leadership level. I have been pleased with the results I have seen so far in making Rho a better and happier company for our employees, our clients, and our community.