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December 3, 2015

The Seasons of Performance Management

hrseasons

In many regions of the country, folks are enjoying the changing of seasons. Cooler temperatures, colorful leaves (on trees or in piles on the ground), pumpkin carving, cider and donuts, early holiday music (if you’re into that), and other evidence of late autumn abound. At work, there are other markers of fall that may not be so relaxing and enjoyable, including budget planning, open enrollment and benefits review (for HR), and performance appraisals. There may not be much that can be done to make all of these things easier but at least when it comes to performance appraisals, it does not have to be a feared task at the end of the year. Just as regular maintenance to one’s yard, home, or automobile makes the change of seasons less troublesome, ongoing performance management can make the year- end appraisal both simple and more meaningful.

 

As performance management consultants and experts, we have been through every possible challenge associated with performance. Through decades of experience across many industries, we have learned how to coach managers to get the most out of their employees. Performance management should not be something that only occurs at year-end, as a means of planning salary/wage increases. We propose that managers and employees meet monthly or weekly to review performance informally. If such frequency is not practical in your organization, then at least consider checking on performance measurements with the change of seasons. This article provides some suggestions of some actions that can be conducted seasonally as part of a more comprehensive approach to performance management.

Performance Management in Winter

This is the season for most organizations to complete annual performance appraisals for employees. The most impactful thing that can be done during this period is for a manager and his/her employee to sit down for a discussion about performance. It is important that this discussion have a positive tone, which will help keep the employee engaged. Evaluation criteria should be applied consistently and objectively to all employees (ideally, employees with the same role/job should be evaluated on the same criteria). Such criteria should be defined and should have clear distinctions between performance levels, with specific behaviors, characteristics, and measurements in order to avoid bias. New goals should be developed with the employees’ buy-in and should be linked to organizational strategies for alignment.

Performance Management in Spring

As the ground thaws and flowers bloom, it is a good time to renew and revisit the goals that were established as the new year began. Re-calibration may be justified in light of changes to projects and priorities during the first quarter. Managers should meet with employees for a 30-minute discussion about goal progress and about action steps for focus during the coming weeks and months. Even more ideal than a quarterly meeting with the employee would be a monthly or bi-weekly check-in. This should be an informal conversation about goal progress and could focus on quick praise of the employee’s short-term successes.

Performance Management in Summer

As vacations are planned and kids get out of school, this is a good time evaluate budgets and annual initiatives. As should be done whenever the manager and employee meets, goals are reviewed and revised. There should be a plan for addressing PTO/vacation absences to ensure that goals are still

within focus. This is a great time to conduct stay interviews with employees to identify what they like about their jobs and what they need to be more engaged.

Performance Management in Autumn

This a the perfect season for infusing staff with a renewed focus, as normalcy at home is re-established with the kids back in school and eyes turning back to those goals that were aligned with strategies at the beginning of the year. Indeed, this is something that should have been occurring throughout the year. Yet, late third quarter and early fourth quarter are times when there is greater analysis of results in order to effectively plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Managers need to be careful not to give employees the impression that they are a secondary focus, behind that actual planning. As the fourth quarter progresses, plans should include ample time for meaningful discussions about the employees’ performance.

Seasonal performance management is more effective than only an annual appraisal. In fact, the most employee-centric organizations practice employee performance management as something that should occur monthly, weekly, and daily to keep employees engaged. Start where you are and let employees know what you appreciate about them.

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November 5, 2015

Reinventing Performance Management to Drive Business Performance

As the end of the year approaches, HR professionals begin to feel the year end crunch: benefit open enrollment, holiday party planning, and the dreaded performance review season.

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are not alone. In a recent Gallup survey, more than 58 percent of HR executives said their current performance management system was weak in driving high performance; 58 percent also said their current evaluation process was not an effective use of time.

These are disturbing numbers. They beg the question, “How how can we improve and innovate on our current performance systems?”

Traditionally we have evaluated staff members based on output. But as the economy is shifting and more than 70 percent of all jobs are knowledge or service based, it is no longer enough to evaluate employees strictly by their output; we must also evaluate them on non-tangibles such as adaptability and innovation.

The impact of the Idiosyncratic Rater Effect
The challenge that managers face is, “How do we measure these skills without succumbing to the Idiosyncratic Rater Effect?” That’s the idea that a manager’s rating of an employee is a better reflection of his or her own idiosyncrasies than of the employee’s actual skill set.

This means that when a manager conducts the year-end performance appraisal, the rating actually says more about the rater than about the ratee! There have been several published studies in both Personnel Psychology and the Journal of Applied Psychology documenting this effect in employee performance evaluation.

Managers are disturbingly unreliable raters of other people’s performance, says Founder and Chairman Marcus Buckingham of the Marcus Buckingham Company, a leading performance management and employee engagement consulting firm. If we can’t trust this data to help make good business decisions such as who to promote, where to put training resources and how to compensate staff, what do we use?

A new type of evaluation that works
Consulting firm Bersin by Deloitte attempts to answer the question by posing a new form of evaluation that allows the rater to provide his or her opinion on the things that will matter most in making compensation and promotion decisions.

The system requires the manager not to rate the employee’s skill set, but instead answer questions about the manager’s own future action with respect to the employee. The questions summarize the manager’s intent to provide the highest possible compensation increase, the manager’s willingness to work with the employee on another team, the manager’s perception of the employee’s risk for low performance and the manager’s perception of the employee’s potential for promotion. This type of rating system requires the rater to think through the action he or she will take with an employee, rather than giving an unsupported numerical rating.

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March 23, 2015

The Gift of Employee Recognition

Filed under: Performance Management,Total Rewards8:32 am

Employee of the Month

by Megan Mohr, CCP, Compensation Consultant

Know anyone that’s thinking of changing jobs in the not too distant future? You’re not alone. A survey from CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive found that 21% of fulltime employees were looking to change jobs last year. That’s up 4% from the year before – and the highest percentage since 2008.

A major reason employees want to flee is lack of recognition in their workplace. Another study, this one from Bersin & Associates, discovered that employers who had recognition programs to promote employee engagement had lower turnover.

When you consider that the average job tenure for U.S. employees is 4.6 years and only 3.2 years for millennial employees, it may be time for your company to rethink its recognition program. And if your organization doesn’t have one, now’s the time to put one in place. Here are four things to consider when rewarding employees:

  1. Rewards Aren’t Always Monetary
    Even though actions speak louder than words, sometimes employees need both in the form of positive feedback. Whether it’s verbal or written, formal or informal, a few kind words can go a long way to making your employee feel valued. And an employee that feels valued will stick around longer and produce better results.
  2. Start Early
    Don’t wait for an employee’s five-year anniversary to shine a light on them. The sooner you recognize an employee, the sooner you set the standards for work quality and fulfill their need to be appreciated. Try a yearly anniversary recognition – this will keep them engaged with their job and your organization.
  3. Give it Meaning
    Who wants a hollow compliment? Definitely not your employees! Personalize your recognition program so it means something to each individual and makes them feel special. Instead of a more blanket form of recognition, perhaps let each department have input in how they’d like to be recognized.
  4. Get Everyone on Board
    From top to bottom, everyone needs to fully buy in to your company’s recognition program. Make sure that your managers actually have the skills and feel comfortable enough in their roles to work with and recognize their employees. Some training may need to happen before your program can be successful and impactful.

However your organization approaches its recognition program, here are the two the main takeaways: 1) You need to have one in place, and 2) Some thought and care need to be taken before unveiling it to your staff. If done correctly, your recognition program can be the gift that keeps on giving.

If your company needs a hand contending with employee recognition or training, our HR Performance Solutions HR consultants can help. Click here to contact us or to learn more.

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March 9, 2015

Keeping it Simple!

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Performance Management4:46 am

Simple

by Nancy Norman, HR Product Manager

Having worked at HR Performance Solutions for nearly 12 years, I have been “around the block” when it comes to dealing with performance appraisals. After implementing hundreds of performance management systems and training thousands users on performance management best practices, I have one piece of advice that can make all the difference.  Keep it simple!

What do I mean by this? The process should be kept simple enough that it makes it easy for your managers and employees to be successful. Often I hear how difficult it is to get managers to do timely appraisals or to keep track of things throughout the year. Employees often think of appraisals as a bad experience or one that has little or no value.

Here are three tips to keep it simple and find greater success:

  1. Culture: Create a culture that expects both managers and employees to manage performance throughout the year. When managing performance is the expectation and foregone conclusion, it’ll become a natural part of their daily routine. “Everybody’s doing it.”
  2. Tools: Implement tools that are simple and easy to understand. Sometimes the biggest hurdle is an application that’s difficult to understand and use. If the problem is training, you can fix that.  If the problem is the tool, you can fix that as well.
  3. Process: Well meaning, but misguided decision making sometimes results in an over-complicated appraisal process. It can be hard enough to get employees and managers to do one appraisal a year, let alone monthly or quarterly. If the nature of your business is such that it demands this level of feedback, then make sure your employees understand why and help them to buy into the process. If you’re able to meet the needs of your business and your employees with a simpler process, you might want to scale back.

Ultimately, ask yourself why you do appraisals and what do you expect for your return on investment? Does your business culture, its tools you use and the processes you have defined support the “why”? Are you getting the results you need and expect? If not, don’t be afraid to mix it up.

And if you need help, HR Performance Solutions is here to review your system setup and make recommendations. Our HR consultants are here to help get your organization where it needs to be.

 

 

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July 31, 2014

HR Neutrality – Does One-Size-Fit-All?

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Performance Management1:12 pm

As HR professionals, we are always trying to make sure everyone is treated the same – that no one feels slighted or left out; that everyone is treated equally.  In certain instances that is a really good idea, especially if it keeps you out of legal trouble, (e.g. male/female, old/young, black/white).  But, are our HR practices becoming a one-size-fits-all?

Let’s take a step back.  Examining our motive for treating all employees the same should give us some insight as to whether this is a constructive practice.  Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly:

  • Am I afraid of a claim of discrimination or retaliation?
  • Am I trying to avoid conflict by applying policies the same way to all employees?
  • Am I ignoring an underlying employee performance issue that needs to be addressed?
  • Is treating all employees the same taking the easy way out? 

If you answered, “Yes” to any of these questions, you may be practicing HR neutrality.  Obviously, some policies must be applied the same way to all employees, like no smoking in the office.  But, must our top performers be treated the same as our mediocre or low performers?  No, but we must treat them fairly.  In fact, our treating employees fairly sometimes mean we treat them differently.  How?  A high performing employee doesn’t want to be treated the same as one they view as a slacker.  They want to be treated differently, because they deserve it.  There is nothing illegal about treating a high performer better than you treat your employee that is not meeting your expectations.  So next time you encounter a situation that previously the one-size-fits-all HR neutrality has been applied to, examine your motive for doing so, use empathy by putting yourself in your employee’s shoes, and always keep the human in Human Resources.  Oh yes, and you must deal head-on with the perceived slacker; they may just need clearer expectations, but you won’t know if you don’t ask!

 

Source:  Sackett, Tim.  “HR Neutrality:  Everybody Seems to Hate It – Except, of Course, HR.”  Available here.

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July 24, 2014

Setting Expectations for Success

Have you ever tried to put a 500-piece puzzle together using only 386 pieces?  That is what it can feel like to an employee who has not be given straightforward expectations to accomplish their goals.  An important part of performance management is to set clear expectations for employees so there is no question as to how their work should get done.

When employees feel their goals and your expectations are undefined or ambiguous, they become frustrated, productivity declines, and you risk losing them.  To keep them committed to you as their manager and to the organization, you cannot leave anything to chance.  By including employees in the goal-setting process and then developing action plans with timelines, your expectations are clear and you are setting them up to succeed; the rest is up to them.

Learn more about HR Performance Solutions Performance Pro and manage your employees performance with ease.  Start your 30 day FREE trial today!

 

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May 1, 2014

If I Pay You – Will You Quit?

Filed under: Incentive Pay,Performance Management3:10 pm

What would you do if your boss gave you a monetary incentive to quit your job?  I don’t mean a severance payment for a layoff or reduction in the workforce, but rather he simply paid you to quit.  It is a very interesting thought.  This is the type of incentive Amazon is offering its employees, and here is why.

Gaining the trust and loyalty of an employee is not something that happens overnight, and sometimes for various reasons the bond never really happens and employees become disillusioned.  When an employee is disengaged from their work, companies pay dearly in productivity, morale, and absenteeism.  Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, introduced a new program to employees called “Pay to Quit.”  Here is what he said about it:

“Pay to Quit is pretty simple.  Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit.  The first year the offer is made, it’s for $2,000.  Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000.  . . . The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want.  In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don’t want to be isn’t healthy for the employee or the company.”

Paying disgruntled, unhappy, and disengaged employees to leave is in itself a protection to the company and to the rest of their workforce.  This may seem like a risky move on Amazon’s part, but really it is an experimental strategy to address employee engagement and to give employees the opportunity to better themselves and do what makes them happy!

 

Source:  www.tlnt.com

 

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March 28, 2014

Did You Know . . . Compease is Now in the Cloud?

HRN has released a new, completely updated, CLOUD-BASED version of our popular Compease salary administration application!  Compease, a unique and innovative compensation administration system provides customized, market-driven compensation and salary grade information for every position in an organization based on level of responsibility, job title, geographic location, company size, and industry.

Even more thrilling is, if you currently use Performance Pro and Compease the new sophisticated technology will integrate the two! This integration will reduce duplication, saves time, and makes updating reports easier than ever! Give us a call and speak with one of our experts to understand how Performance Pro and Compease integration can strengthen and support your business. You might be surprised at how seamless it is.

If you don’t currently enjoy Performance Pro and Compease, what are you waiting for?  Contact us now at (800) 897-3308 or comp@hrnonline.com.

 

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March 14, 2014

Did You Know . . . HRN Offers CEO Review for Credit Unions?

Did you know with CEO Review you are able to strategically align the CEO’s performance with credit union goals and priorities?

Program benefits of CEO Review include:
• Provides up-to-date CEO salary and bonus market data on an annual basis
• Establishes a fair and defensible approach to determining merit and incentive pay
• Compares peer data on key financial growth measures
• Personalized implementation by credit union experts
• Affordable and easy to execute

HRN Performance Solutions has over 20 years of experience providing credit unions with talent management. HRN consultants work with Board members to develop a CEO performance plan that reflects the goals of the credit union. HRN can also provide “peer-to-peer” market salary information for comparable sized and regionally located financial institutions.

CEO Review consists of a four part process that aligns goals with performance and compensation.

Part I – Performance Objectives
A critical part of the CEO performance review is that performance objectives are developed from the credit union’s mission/vision statements, the strategic business plan, and the plan year budget. These objectives are quantifiable and observable indicators that bridge the philosophy of the credit union’s mission with measurable results.

Part II – Compensation Plan
An integral component of the CEO evaluation process is aligning compensation to outcomes. HRN develops a CEO compensation plan unique to your credit union using current “peer-to-peer” salary data that is tied to comparably sized and regionally located financial institutions.

Part III – Special Projects
The Special Projects section incorporates key, non-measurable aspects of the annual strategic plan and budget. Individual Board members evaluate results for each of the key points and submit their evaluations to the Chairman.

Part IV – Board Assessment
The Board Assessment is designed to provide feedback to the CEO from each Board member about his/her perception of the CEO’s effectiveness as a decision maker, manager, and credit union leader. Each Board member completes an anonymous online assessment form. Data from each Board member is compiled onto one form and shared with the CEO during the review.

 

Contact HRN for additional information:  www.hrnonline.com/ceoreview.asp
Call:  (800) 897-3308 OR Email:  comp@hrnonline.com

 

 

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February 26, 2014

Reduce the Cost of Turnover with Effective Performance Appraisals

The cost of turnover can be crippling for most organizations.  In a study by Center for American Progress (CAP), it was found that when replacing a mid-level employee it costs about 20% of their salary.  With the cost of replacing employees being so high it behooves management to take actions to reduce turnover.  One of those ways is to have an effective performance appraisal.

Employees often fear their annual appraisal.  Why is that?  More frequently than not, an employee will only receive feedback during their annual appraisal.  This lack of communication can cause a breakdown between a manager and their employee.  It is important to provide feedback to employees throughout the year.  Maynard Webb, author of Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship says, “When it comes to retaining talent, one tactic I’ve often found crucial is implementing informal weekly and formal quarterly check-ins.”  He explains that by doing this you are able to avoid disconnects within an organization and between managers and employees. Feedback is critical when attempting to get employees to buy into an organization’s culture.

Performance appraisals can be used as the perfect conduit to facilitate ongoing feedback between a manager and an employee.  When managers continually check-in with employees they will have the opportunity to provide and ask for feedback.  Increased feedback will lead to increased employee “buy in” which leads to increased employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.

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