Rypple: Instant feedback

A new Twitter-like service lets you solicit colleagues for praise, or criticism.

Dreading the next annual performance review with your boss? Why not subvert your HR department entirely and ask your colleagues instead? Rypple, a social-media tool created by an eponymous Toronto company, can get you feedback within hours or even minutes. Its simple interface allows you to solicit anonymous feedback on anything from personal hygiene to the quality of your last PowerPoint presentation. There’s also a “kudos” tool, which facilitates positive feedback for jobs well done, accompanied by perky motivational badges. Free Rypple apps are available for the iPhone and BlackBerry – although ironically, the dearth of online feedback suggests their popularity so far is moderate at best. Individuals can use Rypple’s basic services for free online, or they can opt for additional functionality such as beefed-up security and tech support available to organizations for $3 to $7 a month per user.

Rypple users might need a Roman gladiator’s courage to ask colleagues point-blank about their greatest weaknesses. But like its social-networking inspiration, Twitter, Rypple consumes so little intellectual horsepower that even lower primates could enhance their performance using it. The company claims former mining magnate and prominent philanthropist Seymour Schulich, and Rotman School of Management dean Roger Martin as investors. HR professionals contacted by Canadian Business either hadn’t heard of Rypple or didn’t use it, but its services aren’t really for them. Rather, they’re aimed squarely at the “millennials” now swarming the workforce, a cohort for whom the annual performance review is as obsolete as a telephone landline.