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June 5, 2013

How Do You Measure Productivity?

Filed under: Performance Management — Tags: — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 6:00 am

Productivity is one of the most important aspects to the life of any organization.  Without productive employees an organization will eventually cease to be.  How do you know if your employees are productive?  How is their productivity measured?

In the manufacturing industry, productivity is directly linked to the number of parts produced in a predetermined amount of time.  Anything above or below the number of parts or the amount of time is the measurement for the employee’s performance.  Pretty simple theory, but since we are not all manufacturers of thingamajigs or widgets, we have to be a little more creative.

For service and knowledge jobs, the metrics are more subjective.  There is not a golden number of customers served in a day that makes a customer service representative a great ambassador for the organization, nor, does the number of lines of code make one a great software developer.  This illustrates that it is not always quantity that tells the story of productivity, but quality is a vital part of measuring service and knowledge jobs.

When serving customers, we want employees to give the customer not only quick and efficient service, but we want to create a superb experience that communicates to them who we are and allows us to build further on our relationship with them.  A software developer may be able to write a shorter code that yields a program far superior to the program using longer code.

Effectiveness, reliability, and impact of the employee’s work, may be additional factors an employer wishes to measure for these types of jobs.  To begin to do this and do it well, executives must define their strategy, develop action plans, and communicate to all employees the desired outcomes.   Since many jobs are unique to certain industries, make sure you dwell on your vision carefully, then skillfully target the metrics you wish to capture so you can see productivity at work.

Source:  Knowledge@Wharton, “Productivity in the Modern Office:  A Matter of Impact”


May 9, 2013

Upcoming Webinar Announcement – Free HRCI Certification Credit

Filed under: Performance Management — Paul Hendrycks, VP Sales and Marketing @ 3:07 pm
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Webinar Title: Aligning Performance Management and Compensation Practices

Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 1pm Eastern Time

Register Here.

Session overview

Practically every HR administrator has experienced the difficulty of determining and allocating appropriate employee pay adjustments at annual performance review time. There are so many factors to consider; budget, performance rating, current compensation, peer compensation, current market, survey data, etc. How do you eliminate unproductive guesswork and ensure fair and equitable performance and compensation programs are in place at all levels?

Please join Gene Mandarino, SPHR and Senior HR Consultant to present an informative 60 minute webinar titled “Aligning Performance Management and Compensation Practices.

Please note: This session has been submitted for HRCI credit approval.

During this free, no obligation webinar, designed for all interested HR and compensation leaders/administrators and staff we will address and answer the following learning objectives:

  • List strategies organizations can use to ensure their payroll dollars get funneled to the right people in a fair and equitable way.
  • Gain a better understanding of pay for performance systems.
  • Discuss method for aligning pay to performance.
  • How to ensure performance evaluation systems and pay  should be aligned to maximize productivity.

We hope you will be able to attend this free and informative presentation.

About the Presenter: Gene Mandarino, MAOD, SPHR, Sr. HR Consultant

Gene has over ten years experience in organizational development, compensation and performance improvement consulting. His experience also includes designing and conducting programs on supervisory skills, customer relations, leadership and team problem solving for businesses, municipalities and colleges. Gene holds a master’s degree in organizational development.


April 3, 2013

One Stop Shop for the Recruiting Process

Filed under: Performance Management — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 6:00 am

One of the most important, yet most difficult, activities for a business is finding and keeping the best employees to make their business grow and prosper.  The prospect of finding the right person for the job can be overwhelming.  The US Department of Labor (DOL) has recognized the need for helping employers with this process of recruiting, training, and then retaining a skilled workforce.

The DOL has expanded the CareerOneStop website to include a Business Center page with a suite of online resources to assist employers with this seemingly daunting task.  The site includes tips about how to recruit qualified candidates through local American Job Centers and provides employment projections.  Additionally, the site offers access to local training and educational institutions, a catalog of occupational certifications, and a tool to help employers translate the military training and skills of returning service members into specific civilian occupations.  The CareerOneStop Business Center is available online at:  The website also provides information for job seekers to find education and training providers and to conduct a comprehensive job search.

When recruiting for your organization, it is important to have a solid, non-discriminatory process to funnel out the most qualified applicants.  From job descriptions to interview questions we can help you.


March 27, 2013

Mob Action in Your Workplace?

Filed under: Performance Management — Tags: , — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 6:00 am

We have been focusing on Workplace Bullying this month.  It has been a recurring topic of media reports and lawsuits of late.  In researching the topic, a type of bullying piqued my interest:  mobbing.  This is a practice that is equivalent to group bullying.  It usually occurs when an employee inadvertently annoys a manager and finds himself the target of mob action.  The manager, in a provoked state, then determines the employee must go.   With ease the manager is able to convince a portion of the workforce to turn on the worker.  Indirectly the manager makes it known the worker must go because of their own deeds and that the worker would be more contented elsewhere.  And, the mobbing begins.

It all seems so subtle, but to the target these are direct hits!  First, coworkers may distance themselves from the target, excluding him from certain office activities.  The harmful gossiping begins, which quickly turns to destructive rumors.  Hearsay and speculation about the target become rampant.  Coworkers refuse to work with or cooperate with him and sabotage projects for which he was responsible.    Negative performance evaluations, clandestine inquiries, and false accusations of misconduct torment the target as the angered manager tries to make a contrived case for dismissal.

Understanding workplace bullying in all its forms will aid in tailoring workplace policies to meet your organization’s needs and hold the appropriate people accountable for keeping your workplace civil and respectful.

To learn more about Workplace Bullying, see HRN Performance Solutions March, 2013, People Pay Performance.

Source:  Janice Harper, “What the Stanford Prison Experiment Can Teach Us About the Workplace.”


February 13, 2013

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

Filed under: Performance Management — Charisse Rockett, PHR, HR Content Manager @ 6:00 am

Even the most punctual employee has been late sometimes.  They overslept, their dogs got out, car wouldn’t start, forgot to set the alarm, didn’t hear the alarm, etc.  You get the picture!  The excuses could just go on and on, which is why CareerBuilder collected in their annual survey some of the most memorable excuses for employee tardiness that employers willingly shared.

The survey noted that 31% said traffic is the most common culprit.  I can accept that, it’s believable!  However, what follows are what CareerBuilder reported as some of the excuses actually offered up for being late to work:

  • Employee dropped her purse into a coin-operated newspaper box and couldn’t retrieve it without change (which was in the purse)
  • Employee accidentally left the apartment with his roommate’s girlfriend’s shoes on and had to go back to change
  • Employee’s angry wife had frozen his truck keys in a glass of water in the freezer
  • Employee’s car wouldn’t start because the breathalyzer showed he was intoxicated
  • Employee drove to her previous employer by mistake

Click here to read the rest!

The point is employers have to weigh each of these excuses/reasons, whatever you wish to call them, and make some sense of its truthfulness.  Things happen that we could never imagine, so when you hear a story like one of these, it’s difficult to process.  However, an employer needs to be cautious and make sure the reason for the tardiness isn’t a legally protected reason, such as protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Family and Medical Leave Act.  It would be unlawful to take a corrective action or give a negative mark on a performance appraisal for an employee with an absence or tardiness that may be legally protected.  Make sure your policies and practices are thorough and up-to-date.  We can help you!  Check out our website  – A Complete Human Resources Compliance Solution!


January 15, 2013

The Million Dollar Question

Filed under: Performance Management — Joyce Marsh, HR Consultant, SPHR @ 10:54 am

Last week we published a whitepaper written by our VP, Michele Lindsay.  If you haven”t read it, you are in for some great thought leadership surrounding the topic of strategic planning.  Michele poses the million dollar question (you will have to read the whitepaper to find out what it is!) and also provides some simple steps on how to tie organizational strategy to individual performance planning.  Something that sounds very basic, but clearly many organizations miss the mark in accomplishing this important objective.

Attention managers!  We”d also like to hear from you about your thoughts on sharing strategic plans with employees – what works and what doesn”t work.  So first, read Michele”s whitepaper (it”s a great tool to start the year off right!) and then take part in our short survey – both links are below.




December 21, 2012

HR Fact Friday: Retaliation or Poor Performance

Filed under: Performance Management — Paul Hendrycks, VP Sales and Marketing @ 10:28 am

A director for student financial aid at a Texas university complained to an outside auditor about nonexempt workers being deprived of their comp time and/or vacation time and offered a range of other concerns. She was fired after making these complaints, which she believed was retaliation. However as you will read, a well documented performance review was a key piece of evidence in the ensuing litigation which; in part ended up carrying the day for the employer.

What happened. “Samantha” spent 17 years in financial aid at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi before heading up the office of financial aid and scholarships at Texas A&M University–Commerce, or TAMUC, in March of 2006. When an outside auditor visited for an annual review in November 2008, she asked whether Samantha had any concerns, which opened the floodgates.

In part, Samantha had a problem with TAMUC’s policy of awarding comp time rather than overtime to nonexempt employees (a practice that’s permitted to public employers) but requiring them to use it all before using their paid vacation, which expired at the end of every year. Other concerns included an alleged failure to “draw down” allotted federal funds and prepare monthly reconciliations for them.

The auditor duly reported all issues up the chain of command, including TAMUC’s president. At no time, however, did either Samantha or the auditor state that the comp time issue violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a claim Samantha later made in court.

She received a positive evaluation and a raise in May 2009. But in September, she was counseled to create a training manual and to spend more time with other subordinates rather than only with her favorite one. In early December, one of the subordinates who complained she’d been shunned also charged that department members were still not being trained and that Samantha tended to “lash out” at people. Management decided to fire her, and she sued.

She charged violation of FLSA and of the Texas Whistleblower Act, claiming that managers had treated her very coldly after her complaints to the outside auditor. A judge in federal district court ruled entirely in TAMUC’s favor, and Samantha appealed to the 5th Circuit, which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

What the court said. Because Samantha was simply doing her job by reporting her concerns to the auditor, appellate judges agreed that she had not blown any whistles and that the university had not retaliated against her. Lasater v. TAMUC, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, No. 11-11068 (2012).

Point to remember: To judges, Samantha’s positive evaluation and raise didn’t look at all like retaliation.



November 21, 2012

HR Fact Wednesday: Performance Reviews for High Level Employees? YES!

Filed under: Discipline & Termination,General HR Buzz,Performance Management — Paul Hendrycks, VP Sales and Marketing @ 6:00 am

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday I am posting my usual HR Fact Friday update a bit early this week. Now isn’t that something to be thankful for? Seriously, from all of the staff at HRN Performance Solutions to each of our viewers, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. We are truly grateful for the opportunity we have had for the past 23 years to provide our wonderful clients with cost effective HR solutions and consulting services that improve individual and organizational performance. Thank you.

Now for this week’s HR Fact. Does a company need to conduct and document performance reviews for their high-level executive staff? Of course. Any termination, regardless of position needs to be well considered and have supporting documentation. This is never more important than with executive staff who are the highest paid and also the most likely to seek legal representation. The most relevant documentation for any staff action involving disciplinary action including termination is the performance review.  Discharge or possible termination of a high level staff member where there was little or no evidence of any sort of performance review of that employee is walking on shaky ground and leaving the door wide open for costly litigation. These types of employees, usually the highest paid in your company, can be the most attractive to plaintiff-side employment lawyers anyway, but the failure to have any documented track record of discipline or performance review to support a discharge makes them even more attractive as plaintiffs. Employers need to effectively assess, review and document the performance of their top managers, just as much as they need to do so for other employees. Failure to do so exposes an employer to a potentially-significant risk of liability when a fired executive employee chooses not to depart amicably.


August 8, 2012

Driving Employee Engagement

Filed under: Communication,Engagement,General HR Buzz,Management Practices,Performance Management — Nancy McGee, HR Consultant @ 1:08 pm

Last week I took a look at the findings from a MetLife Benefits Survey showing the link between employee benefits and employee engagement.  Seems to be a very important topic of late – what does it take to engage employees? And how does that engagement drive an organization’s success?   As economies move through different phases (industrial to technological, for example) and different generations move in and out of the workforce (Gen X vs. Baby Boomers, for example), what’s important to workers is bound to change.  I often wonder though if employers over-complicate the idea of employee engagement.

Yesterday I attended an interesting lunch meeting where the keynote speaker was Don MacPherson, founder and CEO of a company called modernsurvey.  modernsurvey conducts and publishes a semi-annual survey:  “Employee Engagement across the U.S. Workforce”.  The findings of the study are compelling, be sure to check it out:

One of the critical ideas that Mr. MacPherson presented was ways in which managers, on a day-to-day basis, can drive engagement in an organization.  The list includes:

  • Personal engagement;
  • Recognition and appreciation on a regular and ongoing basis;
  • Career development;
  • Belief in the future of the organization; and
  • Compensation.

His research shows that belief in the future of the organization is the most important item on that list.  Without current information about vision, strategy, goals – both long-term and short-term – employees are likely to fill in the blanks themselves.  Honest, timely information about what’s happening, and engaging employees in that discussion, is powerful.

Really, how complicated is that?

Let us know what you are doing in your organization to drive employee engagement.


June 12, 2012

Employee Recognition: No One is Special

Filed under: Engagement,Management Practices,Performance Management — Joyce Marsh, HR Consultant, SPHR @ 9:36 am

Have you ever had someone tell you that you’re “one in a million?”  It sounds like such a nice compliment on its surface, and I have no doubt that whoever told you that was sincere.  But, when you stop and realize there are 7 billion people on the planet Earth that means you have 6,999 other people that are just like you.

David McCullough is an English teacher who was asked to give the commencement speech to students graduating from the Wellesley, Massachusetts high school where he teaches.  The speech has gone viral for this phrase: “You’re not special.”

Mr. McCullough’s message is much more than that.  As I watched the speech, I couldn’t help but remember what is arguably one of the most inspirational movie moments of my lifetime.  If you didn’t make the same connection, you can watch it here.  I’ll give you a hint: you may address me as “O Captain, my Captain.”

What messages do you send to your employees?  I know recognition is important.  People want to know that what they’ve done is good.  Deep down, we’re all still looking for approval from somewhere.  But, if you tell everyone they’re special – whether it’s with a stellar performance review or a celebration every time a project is completed – pretty soon, no one is special because everyone is special.

“Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion – and those who will follow them. And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special. Because everyone is.”   – - David McCullough

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