Tinder logo and comic

What if… Tinder was your Appraisal tool?

I had the pleasure of presenting at SAP’s HR Innovation Day about the Future of Work. We had a lively panel discussion on the role of HR, the wisdom of abolishing performance ratings, diversity and 360-degree feedback, after which Mark Raben (@markraben) from SAP challenged me to blog about the use of Tinder as your HR system. So here goes Mark – this one’s for you!

For those of you who don’t know what Tinder is, it is an online dating app that shows pictures of people that are in your vicinity. You can swipe your decision, so it’s either a go (swipe right) or it’s a no (swipe left). If you both swipe right you can start messaging and meet in person.

How can you apply Tinder to HR? Performance management is a highly debated topic this year: some companies have announced they are abolishing performance management because it takes up too much time and it does not improve employee performance. So when you are ready to bring your performance management process into the 21st century, to a workforce that lives online, here are a few suggestions.

Replace appraisals and put all employees on a Tinder-like app, then send out questions like:
– did this person do a good job?
– would you like to work with this person again?
– would you like to have this person on your team?

Or use the Tinder approach to inquire about employee satisfaction:
– do you like to work for this company?
– do you approve of the CEO ( analogous to Glassdoor)
If the overwhelming majority approves, then don’t spend any time on this topic. Only when they disapprove, get out the detailed employee satisfaction study.

You could even use it for recruitment:
– should we hire this person?
– would this person fit in the team?

You notice a pattern here: if you swipe, you need yes/no questions. You could argue that we are oversimplifying people decisions at the risk of forgoing nuances. But are we really convinced that long answers on performance appraisals give us better insights? Keep in mind that shortly the majority of our workforce will consist of the “thumbs up/thumbs down” generation, that rates products, updates, pictures etc this way all the time. Reshaping performance appraisals to a Tinder approach might resonate with them much better than a long conversation that obscures the facts.

So, have at it – are we ready to use Tinder for HR?

PS: while writing this post I stumbled upon this very fitting comic: