ALEX COHEN, host:
If you do still have a job, you may also have an annual performance review. But for many younger tech-savvy workers, they want a lot of feedback and they want it now. A Web site called Rypple features an online tool that helps individuals get quick, semi-anonymous feedback from people they trust. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
WENDY KAUFMAN: When Daniel Debow, one of Rypple's founders, began working on the project, he held focus groups about office feedback. And over and over again, workers in their 20s would begin to cry.
Mr. DANIEL DEBOW (Founder, Rypple): They told us, they said, I was so depressed at my job because no one was telling me how I was doing. I worked...
KAUFMAN: They said the lack of feedback made them feel like no one cared about them and it didn't help them improve their performance. Debow's solution attempts to address that, giving individuals an easy way to get feedback online in almost real time.
Mr. DEBOW: You go to rypple.com and then you have your login. And then for me, I have at list all the questions that I've asked.
KAUFMAN: Daniel Portillo, the senior director of personnel at Mozilla, has created a free Rypple account. Once on the company's Web site, he types his questions into a simple form then he enters the emails of people he wants feedback from. So, for example, he asked his staff, what's it like to work for me?
Mr. DANIEL PORTILLO (Senior Director of Personnel, Mozilla): It was a lot of positive feedback, but the negative was very focused as well. And so, I thought it was really helpful because sometimes my communication is not terribly clear, and that was pointed out.
KAUFMAN: He wasn't that surprised by the feedback. It's kind of what he expected. Mozilla employees who are using Rypple, he says, are taking it seriously.
Mr. PORTILLO: It's impossible to develop if you're not getting constructive criticism. And everything that I've seen so far has been direct but not malicious.
KAUFMAN: Rypple, which is spelled with a Y and not an I, says about 50 percent of those asked for feedback provided. They get a short simple email with a link to an online form. It takes just a minute or two to complete and then, says Rypple CEO Debow, the feedback is sent to just one person, the one who asked for it.
Mr. DEBOW: It's not becoming part of your permanent performance record. It's not going to show up in your annual review.
KAUFMAN: The responses come from Rypple, not the individual who wrote it. So, while you know who you asked for feedback, you don't know who replied and who said what. Talent management consultant Josh Bersin suggests this privacy screen may encourage people to be more honest and direct in giving feedback. And, he says, it avoids a common problem in the workplace.
Mr. JOHN BERSIN (Talent Management Consultant): Frankly, it's just difficult to have difficult conversations. And if I have to tell you, you didn't do a good job on something, it's easier for me to just not say it, and that's unfortunately what happens in a lot of situations. The feedback doesn't take place at all.
KAUFMAN: Rypple, which is currently being tested in beta form, is planned for broader release in the next few months. Wendy Kaufman, NPR News.
COHEN: Stay with us on Day to Day from NPR News.