Monday, July 26, 2010

Should Your Employees Get Recognition for Progress?



I have been working on projects most of my career.  As I think back to the ones I most enjoyed, they were the projects that I had a passion for, had great team members, and feedback was continuous.

As I was reading an article, in May 2010 HR Magazine, entitled,  Raising Engagement, by Adrienne Fox,  I began thinking about the idea of feedback during projects or even just daily work and tasks.  Below is an interesting quote from the article:

"Recognizing progress in meaningful ways represents an engagement lever."  

As I thought back to my own projects, the continuous feedback is exactly the piece that kept me motivated to finish especially when the project was long and difficult.

I think recognizing progress is going to be very critical with the Millenials/GenYers that are entering and have recently entered the workforce.  This generational group has been used to being praised for progress their entire life.  I am not saying this is a bad thing.  I have done it myself as a Mother of a 17-year old.  I think back to his little league baseball games where he received a trophy for almost everything he did on the field.  "Yeah, you got on first base."  Of course, I am thinking, isn't a home run the goal here.   But that recognition going from base to base is motivating and engages the players in the game.  Engagement leads to motivation which is that "fire in the belly" (intrinsic factors) which lead to desired results.  Whether on the baseball field or in an office recognition for progress is important because:

1) It is reassuring that the employee is on the right track
2) It is a way to make adjustments if needed to resources, deadlines, etc.
3) It engages the employee in his work leading to the desired end result

So what does all of this mean to managers and HR professionals.  How can we incorporate "recognition of progress" into the performance management system?  How has your company accomplished this type of recognition?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why HR Professionals Should Use Metrics


I speak and consult a lot on the topic of HR Metrics and it is one topic that I have been passionate about for a long time.  I always begin every one of my discussions with the business case for metrics.  Undoubtedly, I still get the question, "Why should I (HR) be concerned about metrics?"

Here are my top 10 reasons to why HR should be using metrics:

10.  Because Dave Ulrich and Jac Fitz-Enz says so
  9.  Measuring stuff is "in" this year
  8.  My boss is the CFO and he told me to
  7.  I heard, "what measures gets done" at a conference
  6.  I like those scorecards with all the pretty graphs and colors

And now, for my serious reasons....

 5. Performance is king, using this metric with other data is critical to retention, productivity, and engagement
4. Your C-Suite is much more demanding of data from HR post-recession
3. Your people as a competitive advantage depends on measurements leading to improvements and business results
2.  HR has been talking about being strategic, metrics is a tool that allows you to BE strategic
1.  If you are not using metrics you are already behind, companies now are moving from metrics to analytics  (to be predictive)

And here is reason number 1(A):  IF HR DOESN'T OWN HR METRICS SOMEONE ELSE WILL.

I personally prefer to keep HR metrics within HR.  So, if you aren't the number crunching type, then go out find yourself a great statistician, teach them the HR technical stuff if they don't know it and start measuring!!!

What are your reasons for measuring HR?  Perhaps, we can make this a top 20 list!

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to "Performance Manage" the NEW Flexible Workforce?



My business partner, Barbara Hughes and I were discussing last week's blog topic, "Performance Management is a Tool and not a Chore" when she asked me a very good question:

"How will HR professionals design a performance management system with the changing workforce?  Now, that we have more 1099's, project workers, and consultants instead of regular full-time employees.  
This trend was discussed in a recent BusinessWeek article and one that needs consideration around this performance management topic.

My first reaction was that, with the "flexible" workforce, it would be easy to conduct performance management as it will be the truest form of pay for performance.  Either you meet the project deliverables and deliver on-time or you are not renewed, continued or called back.  End of story.

Then I thought, well why should that be different from our "regular" workforce?  I know what you are going to say, we need to use our progressive discipline program and we need to coach and counsel, we need to do X, Y and Z.  But, we don't do that for 1099's or temporary workers.  We are very quick to say, "Next" with that group.

I believe we are going to have to get this dichotomy figured out as we are not going to have less temporary, 1099's and consultants in our workforce; we are going to have more.

How do you think we can handle performance with these two different groups in one workforce?  Should we have two separate systems?  What are your experiences in this situation?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Performance Management is a TOOL and not a CHORE


Many times in my career I have had to revamp performance management systems.  I have blogged on the topic asking if we should just get rid of appraisals altogether.  Last week,  I was chatting with a friend, he said, "I am dreading doing all my appraisals next week."  I had to find out the reasons for all this dread.  He then began his list of reasons why he did not like the process:

1) Nothing is ever done with the information
2) They aren't relevant to his employees jobs
3) They are 8 pages long and it will take all week to do 10 appraisals

WOW, as he kept talking it sounded just like a chore instead of something that could really help this manager out in the long run.

I wanted to know what HR was doing regarding the process.  He let me know this was their brand new and improved process.  YIKES!

I then began to think about another HR VP I spoke to last month.  She said, "I think I am going to change our appraisal form to 3 questions."  Of course that piqued my interest.  I said. "What are you going to ask?

1) Overall all performance rating _____________
2) Reasons for this rating
3) Areas of further development

Well that does take care of KISS.  (keeping it simple).  There has to be a happy medium between the 8 pages and just 3 questions.

Then I began to think of my recent travel experiences and I think you could probably get away with just one question:

1) What have you done to exceed customer expectations in the last year?

I know a lot of service employees who would have a hard time answering that question.  But at the end of the day, isn't that what we need to know at appraisal time.  How we have served our customers and what we need to do to serve them better?

What are your thoughts on appraisals?  Friend or foe?  How would you improve and KISS?