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Archive for the ‘performance management’ Category

Let me start by saying that I love goals. If you use them right they can drive really high performance in the right direction, support the business and get the whole organization to outperform your wildest expectations.

But sadly that is not happening a lot.

A goal is the plan for someone to do something to some end. You can set it in a number of way, but if that “to some end” does not  support the business, what’s the point?

So we (well not we, I am to young) came up with cascaded goals. Someone identifies a goal that supports the business and then just cascade it down in the organization.  I wrote about that on Voice of Lumesse, Goal cascading or aligning  some while ago.

Or you get creative and say, why don’t we do it the other way. I expose my goals to my direct reports and they have their individual goals that they align to my goal.

 

In both scenarios we end up with goals for everyone that is connected to their managers goals. We can report on the goals of the management and use the goals of the workforce and the assessment of these goals to see the overall picture.

So what was the difference between a cascaded and an aligned goal?

  • Both are goals
  • Both are connected to you managers goals
  • Both can be reported on from a management perspective
  • Both, supposedly, support the business

 

The big difference is that the cascaded goal is the same for everyone. No innovation. No uniqueness, no personal touch. Just a big boring goal that is same size fits all.

And same size fits all might work on socks, but not very well even there. But it does not work well in performance. It might work if you use it for measuring company EBITDA or customer satisfaction (I wrote about that in the blog post Don’t confuse profit sharing with pay for performance )

So let’s go out there and don’t only set SMART goals (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) let’s make them individual and supporting the business at the same time, and just not cascaded for that was the easy way to go.

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The most widespread performance management process is the failed one I have heard a couple of times. And to be honest, I actually think there is more truth in it than we want to admit

Then I read the “one page talent management” book, and it resonated with me. Keep it simple. If what you add to your process cost more than it gives back, DONT.
But its not the whole truth. If we do a simple process, try to maximize the gain and minimize the pain we are on our way. But the employees are lazy (yepp I am one so I know). They will not enter a performance management system one more time than they have to. (and if we have more than 50 employees we probably need a software system to aid us). So we need a system that actually comes to us, and NO I am not talking a system that spams your inbox.
Look at something like Facebook, its there, people use it, it gives you info, you are master of the info you want. Whenever a friend has a birthday it tells you that. If you like a page you get news from that page when its created. In short, you get the info you want and need when you want and need it.
Can anyone remind me why performance management should be a quarterly process? I want it to appear where I am, when I need it. I want it to aid me, not be an obstacle.
  • “hey, you remember the goal that has a due date next week, right?”
  • “Oh dear, you forgot your goal, do something before you manager sees it”
  • “Your employee has entered some new info on her goal, do you wanna review it?”
  • “Ok, I know its boring, but its time to review all your employees, do you wanna get a nice grid for you to do it in?”
Yepp, remember the paper clip in Word we all hated. Thats the idea, but less obnoxious and more helpful.
This way you will get your employees engaged, not feel that its done in a boring system they have to monitor. The system comes to them when needed, with just the right info they need at that moment in the process.
Make sure you have a successful process, and a software to support it. 

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So you are doing performance management and base bonus payout on that? Good that’s pay for performance. Been around for a while and debated if its good or bad. What is definitely bad is the sub version that is just profit sharing.

The version where you set goals that the employee cant really do much as an individual to reach.

If you goals all are like:

  • Customer survey at least xxxx
  • Profit ebitda at least yyyy
  • Response time of whole group max zzzz
Then you are probably not doing performance management, you are doping profit sharing.
And believe me I have seen that more than once in the last 15 years.
What are the employees to do other than feel that they can’t do much. The last goal is the one they can influence the most, but if the group is 20 people their influence is 5%.

So that means you have goals that are not connected to the employee performance, the employee feel detached, and all you do is profit sharing.

If that is what you wanna do, feel free to do so. But don’t call it performance management, and don’t think it drives employee engagement.

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In part 1 we tried to look at a definition of competencies and what different types there might be.

Now we should look into where can we use these competencies in a Talent Management environment

If we start by saying that any job can be described in competencies, a combination of:
•    Desired knowledge
•    Desired behavior
•    Desired certificates

we are not so far from the truth. As we have already established that we see these 3 as just different aspects of the same thing we are in luck. We might use our competency framework to describe the job, and therefore the position, requirements.

We are here assuming we will use competencies for defining positions not formal training or education which might be another option, but as competencies describes what you know and can use we prefer that before a list of classes you attended.

Once we have that we can assess our employees (that assessment might be done by employee, manager or a combination, also using 360 assessments) on all types of competencies, and produce a gap analysis.

Competency process

Based upon that Gap Analysis we can then try to better our employee. In order to do that we create development activities, and connect them to an identified competency gap.

The development activity might be something we used before, so we go to our activity catalog and search on our competency gap to find activities that we have used before to close that particular gap.
As we might not find one there we also search in our training catalog, and based upon our competency gap we get some suggestion on training we might use.
The employee might also be considered as a successor to another job or position. Same thing applies here. We do gap analysis, identify activities and training, all based upon the competencies.
The employee might do it all by herself in the career planning to get a feeling for how long way it would be to get to the dream job.

Once when the development activities are done we do a new assessment to see if the gaps are now filled.
In next part we will look at how we can add more data to our competencies to actually use them in our Talent Acquisition process

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I want to comment on some observations from this years HRTech. I was not at HRTech so how can I make observations, well a bunch of people from my company was there and I can listen.

One item that was a trend for the 3rd year, at least, was social. Well. It has been coming for some time now that we should integrate with social media. All have preached that mantra, not even those who have a clue what social media is, and even less how we should integrate with it.

Is posting a job on Facebook what they mean (that can be done by most system these days, and for the rest AddThis is a solution). Is getting respondents in a 360 from an employee’s LinkedIn Network integrating with social media? I really don’t know, but I do know that I think that it’s time for us to stop up and think about what we want to accomplish and stop shouting “social media” as if it was some kind of war cry.

First thing we need to consider is if we want to utilize an employee’s network on different platforms as part of the job, and if we really should do that. Can we demand that they use their Facebook network in our Talent Management processes? Most people use Facebook for at least a semi personal purpose and may not want to use it for their job.

I think we need to look at how these networks work, and then add functionality that uses the way it works, but not necessarily uses the networks in itself. If we want feedback on goals, let the employee choose who should give feedback, both among users of the system and people outside it. Just make sure you get feedback in a way that is useful to you. The Google+ +1 button is a great tool, but what it does is to endorse a popularity contest, and in performance management we would like to avoid that. Get feedback where the person giving feedback has to use words and really write what they think. Use it in conjunction with some rating from a predefined scale (for easy reporting) but make sure that you when you use it can delete results that are more “hey, I can rate my friend if I give him a good grade he will do the same for me” rates you will get.

As a manager you need to look at the feedback and you need to measure the relevance and accuracy of it.

Can we use the social networks to see who is an influencer in the organization? Sure, but not sure we can use the existing ones. In Facebook people have all kind of friends, in LinkedIn they have a more professional one, but do they want to open it up for their employer? Add functionality into your internal systems for knowledge sharing and you will get a tool that will give you answer to a whole range of questions

  1. Who knows stuff
  2. Who is willing to share
  3. Who gets feedback on what they share
  4. Who is the “go-to guy”

And you will get knowledge sharing. Not bad.

So yes, we need to go social. But first consider what you want to achieve, and then how to go there. Don’t just say “We need to integrate to social networks”, because that integration will probably not get you what you want as these networks has another purpose than you, and your employees might think it is an intrusion into their personal life and the result might be just the opposite than what you wanted.

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Bersin released their High-Impact performance management report part 1 earlier in August. It’s a really good read and although much of what they “uncover” is almost obvious it need to be said and that they can back it up with solid research is really good.

My eyes spotted some items that are worth mentioning and commenting upon:

  1. Even if you have really good intentions you will fail if your managers are not up to the task
  2. Whatever process you use is never as important as that you communicate it and get everyone to understand it.
  3. HR and senior management expect different things from Performance management

They have a lot of other findings and good information, but for now I will focus on these 3.

Managers are not up to the task

So you have realized that a coaching approach is good, but your managers are not good at coaching. The sad truth is that even managers that coach need coaching, and that is part of HR:s responsibilities. If managers are to be able to coach their employees they need help on:

  • What is the goal?
  • How do we reach it?
  • How can be a successful coach

To fix these issues we need to communicate, get buy-in from managers and understanding on not only WHAT we do but also WHY. But most of all, make sure they have been trained in how to coach and that they get access to a coach of their own if they need it.

Communicate your process

If you have a really good process and super software that supports it you will get crap as a result if no one understands:

  • What is the goal?
  • How do we reach it?
  • Why do we do it?

Once again communication is the answer. Communicate why we do performance management. Make sure everyone gets why we do it, and make sure everyone gets something out of it. If you just tell the organization that they need to fill in the fields that are what you will get. Not even with a wizard helping people defining SMART goals you will get anything worthwhile if they don’t get WHY we do it and what the GOAL is. So yes your process is important, but even more important is that the organization understands it.

Different expectations

HR has been saying for ages that they need/deserve a place at the table, and yet they fail to earn it. The senior executives don’t care about how many goals each employee got, or what rating scales we use, they want business improvement. They want to be able to see that the process adds to productivity and that it adds to revenue.  And by setting up goals in January and assess them in April (or god forbid December) is not the way to do that. They need to be able to be fast and to steer the organization much more often when needed. The world outside is changing faster and faster so our Performance Management process need to be able to handle ever changing goals and realities.

Get rid of the quarterly reviews/assessments and have a continuous work around performance, follow up employees when needed and adjust goals when needed. Make sure you always are able to make changes and adjust the course. That way the organization is always working on the right goals, and doing that the chance they see that the goals are relevant is so much bigger, and that in turn might just add to your success.

 

So to summarize

  • Pick a process and communicate it
  • Make sure you give the managers the right tools to implement your process
  • Make sure you deliver to upper level management what they need, not what you as HR think they need

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Just when I was trying to decide what to blog about next Bersin releases their new “High-Impact Performance Management” report. Let me read the report and I will come back to you with the bits and pieces that resonates with me and give some ideas on it.

What I always find exciting about these kind of reports is how they often mix a good view of what successful organizations are doing with some visionary ideas from the analysts. As they are meeting so many successful organization (and probably some less successful ones) they get a good understanding of what works and whats not.

We out on the field who either are practitioners or, as in my case, supplier of software fight hard to get to that data. And that is why I love these reports.

Stacia talked earlier on the need for continuous work in performance management, which I commented upon here:

The one thing we know for sure is that the way we have worked is not the only way to do it, and it sure is not the best way. So if we all with an open mind look at what others are doing we just might end up doing it better than before. That applies not only on performance management, but is especially true there as most of what we do is arrived at by mere hit and miss.

What is your best practice? Anything special you are doing that you feel could benefit the community?

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