A Checklist For Your Performance Management System

Performance management is a much more than correcting negative behavior throughout the year and recapping performance once-per-year with an annual performance review. It is much more.

Performance management includes activities such as joint goal setting, continuous progress review and frequent communication. The idea is to align an individuals core-competencies and goals to an organization’s core-competencies and goals. The idea is to ensure resources like talent are valued and maximized (monitored and respected), as much as resources like technology, equipment and finances are monitored and respected.

Performance management refocuses the lens on the individual, ensuring they have all of the knowledge, resources and motivation to exceed their capabilities and expectations… and because the individual does, so does the team and organization.

Checklist For Your Performance Management System

An effective performance management system will:

  1. Support each employee by being job specific, based on well written job descriptions, key performance indicators and job-related activities.
  2. Hire the right people by using a measurable interview / selection process (a BEI).
  3. Align with your organization’s strategic direction, culture and values.
  4. Be practical and easy to understand and use.
  5. Have the manager and employee work together to set personal and professional goals and behaviors… including measurement criteria. This includes why each goal and behavior is (or is not), important. This includes hard and soft skills.
  6. Create opportunities for clear and regular communication between managers and employees.
  7. Provide training and development opportunities for improving performance and helping employees achieve their work and career goals.
  8. Work with each employee to ensure their 3 top priorities (daily), are reflective of the agreed upon goals and Important Work (with exception of interdepartmental Urgent Work).
  9. Agree in advance how challenges will be managed.
  10. Provide ongoing constructive feedback when improvement is needed as well as positive feedback (praise), for work that exceeds agreed upon expectations.
  11. Train managers on how to manage, mentor, coach employees and how to have difficult conversations.
  12. Ensure there is commitment from management to quickly act on situations that are both positive and negative to support the process, the individual and the team.
  13. Periodically review the performance management process to ensure it is being applied consistently.
  14. Ensure each employee keeps a copy of the performance plan (work plan) so that they can refer to it.
  15. Establish an appeals process.
  16. Designing effective compensation and reward systems looking at the benefit of Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivators.
  17. Perform exit interviews to understand the cause of employee discontentment.

Each should refer to their goals regularly and meet to evaluate progress and make many smaller adjustments throughout the year.

Conclusion

If you are looking to create lasting change  look to how you can motivate your employees. When employees – and leaders are motivated they will do more… do it better… and finish earlier.

Happy communicating, mentoring, motivating… and training.

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Employee Survey? Yes, Just Do It!

Employee surveys used to be complicated and expensive to implement. Not anymore.

Because it was expensive, if a company implemented a survey they would often ask many questions – hoping to gather as much info as they could for their financial investment. With such an investment, writing the questions was often a long, drawn-out and political chore… and responding to them was equally unpleasant.

Times have changed – thankfully.

I just received a 2-question survey from my grocery chain. Did I answer it? Absolutely – without much thought. I didn’t even hesitate at the 10 second commitment.

 PC Plus Survey Final

While my graphic isn’t an employee survey, it is a great example of how surveys can be simplified and encourage participation.

Implementing employee surveys today is much more affordable. And, there are a number of reliable software service providers which provide flexible  branding and result collection options. Thankfully this has made surveys more accessible and organizations are being more targeted with their research.

Today the difficult part remains writing strategic, relevant survey questions. This is where the time and financial investment still needs to be applied which for organizations means getting the assistance of third parties (e.g., BMC). Like with most things, knowing what you want to achieve is your best first step.

What Do You Want To Achieve?

Employee surveys are wonderfully flexible and can be used to measure a variety of things in a workplace. As an example do you want to:

  • Get feedback on a new procedure.
  • Explore creative ideas your sales or front-line employees have.
  • Conduct a management-level 360 review.
  • Help employees be reflective of their behaviour – good and not so good.
  • Get employees ‘in the mood’ for the training you are going to do.
  • Remind employees of the training they’ve had.

While surveys are versatile, be careful to keep your objective simple – and if you can, keep your surveys to one topic.

I recently wrote and launched an pre-training employee survey for a workshop I was hired to design and facilitate. Because the survey results were only seen by me, the employees were very confident to answer honestly.

The results from the pre-training employee survey gave me valuable insight on how to position the professional development training; I was able to customize the training to meet specific needs. During the training workshops I was able to knowingly ‘lean into’ certain areas where I knew they would benefit the most. The results also helped me congratulate them (positive reinforcement works), on behaviour they were doing. It also meant I didn’t bore them by hammering home best practices that they were already doing.

Position Employee Surveys As Save Valuable Opportunities

Employee surveys can have huge benefit.

Be up-front with staff about how important the survey is. When you conduct a survey in the workplace, you are sending a message to employees that you value their suggestions, ideas and creativity. Don’t assume employees know this – be sure you say it. Explain you are genuinely interested in getting their input to improve them and/or the organization. Ask them to be open and honest – and if they might feel at risk in answering (which is normal), make sure the survey is anonymous.

Anonymous surveys often help gain honest feedback.

Employee surveys have the advantage of building employee morale. Employees will see first-hand they have a say in the training they receive, how the business operates, and even some of the policies moving forward; this often leads to increased loyalty and decreased turnover.

For Best Results

Be up-front with staff about how important the survey is to you. If they have one – work with the HR department. Explain to your audience that you are genuinely interested in getting their input. Ask them to be candid in their feedback and assure them that responses are anonymous (suggestion).

Finally, commit to putting the survey results to work. Employees will embrace change that they feel they have contributed to.

Conclusion

Surveys are great. If you are going to use one consider the need for the following three things:

  1. Know what your response deadline is. Whether it is the date you cut-off additional responses or the date you push / encourage your audience to respond by. Manage everyone’s expectations including your own and share your response deadline.
  2. Know who’s responding. If you are doing an employee survey it is often helpful to get a sense of the experience level with the company and/or position of the person responding. Often that can be achieved by adding one question for each.
  3. One advantage of an anonymous survey is that you can get honest and insightful feedback about topics employees might not be comfortable bringing to you in person.

Uncovering challenges employees are experiencing may keep valuable employees from looking work elsewhere – like your competitors – an expensive loss from many different angles.

Happy communicating and survey design.

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Good Business Managers Are Also Good HR Managers

In todays fast paced life it’s easy to dismiss anything that is older that a few months or years… especially from 1988. But, I’ve enjoyed reading and thinking about a summary of a 4-year long study that was published in 1988 called “A Descriptive Model of Managerial Effectiveness” by Fred Luthans, Dianne H. B. Welsh, and Lewis A. Taylor III.

I’m not surprised that in 1988, studies showed that HR activities and soft-skills were given low importance. However, I’m happy to say that Luthans, Welsh, and Taylor III decided to measure how much ‘time’ the managers spent on these low-priority human resource activities. By doing this Luthans, Welsh, and Taylor III identify soft-skill tasks such as socializing/politicking, training and development, staffing (hiring), managing conflict, and motivating/reinforcing employees surprisingly represented over 30% of a managers’ efforts back in the 80’s.

Leadership QualitiesStepping forward to present time, we now know that soft-skills are critical to performance and employee engagement. Current, unrelated studies identify the top 5 leadership qualities can easily be considered soft-skills (assuming technical skill pre-exists). In fact, this slide from one of my leadership training programs demonstrates that of the top 10 qualities, almost all of the most important qualities of great leaders are soft-skills.

I bet that back in the late 80’s the finding of 30% of a managers’ efforts were HR related surprised many people. Unfortunately, I bet that is still a surprised to many leaders / managers… even though I believe that today this number is actually higher than 30%.

My theory is supported by the many leadership scholars including the late Peter Drucker (who continues to be one of the most influential leaders in management philosophy and effectiveness), who clearly identified soft-skills as critical characteristics of top leaders. Also, I think it’s higher because today all of the 4 generations in our workforce expect a more from our professional and personal lives.

Conclusion

Back in the mid-80’s the study authors Luthans, Welsh, and Taylor III were pioneers. As with all great ideas the challenge lies in the adoption… or lack of. In the case of embracing soft-skills, adoption has been slow.

Back in the 80’s and 90’s while the Baby Boomers were the largest population in the workforce, soft-skills were not seen to be important – largely because it was easy to anticipate how each other would react and/or wanted. Why? Because in part, even though consumerism was growing rapidly, options were limited. Today that has changed. Organizations have to consider a global economy and a global workforce who are both highly educated and have skills are easily transferable by industry AND geography.

So, great leaders of today use their learned technical skill as well as their learned soft-skills to engage, motivate and retain talent from all four generations in the workspace. Not only do they need to be good technical experts, they also need to be good HR managers.

Happy communicating.

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Leadership: A Leaders Responsibilities Have Changed: Part 1

Being a leader isn’t glamorous or easy. Changing your leadership style is even more difficult… but the rewards of both are immense.

If you are an individual or a company, your leadership qualities and leadership style are essential if you are going to survive and thrive. Stats show that half the companies in the S&P500 are different from 1999 (Source Sam Ro). Said another way, the world is changing around us and longevity demands our leaders promote responsible change and keep their teams adapting.

Leader TrainingLets think back a few years when Blackberry (Research In Motion), was leading the smartphone market. Many Leadership Coaches agree that Blackberry’s leaders had become comfortable that their main core competency (their security protocols), would continue to lead market demand. Then Apple innovated the market and gave mobile users new features like cameras, an ipod, touch screen, useful apps and high-definition for movie watchers and gamers. Almost overnight Blackberry became one of the smallest players in the mobile market.

Apple, a company known for a non-traditional approach to almost everything focused on customer delight, not how to keep doing the same thing and maximize existing revenue. Apple won because their leaders and by extension their employees looked at tomorrow and built a solution for tomorrows customer. Apple leaders gave their employees the freedom to look at what individuals were doing within their lives and explore solutions. By doing this Apple leaders and employees did far more than maximize existing revenue – they created a whole new revenue stream. HOOYAH!

This is a good segue into one of the key things leaders need to do.

Put Your Customer And Employee Needs First

Before you think about maximize existing revenue or cost cutting to increase ROI, are you preparing for what customers will want tomorrow? How can you make life better for them? When you make life better people see value, and when they see value they will buy your stuff.

The world is going to be different tomorrow!

Not only are customer needs changing, employees’ wants and needs are changing… really quickly. So, your leadership qualities and leadership style also has to change if you want to survive.

Great companies run on great employees. Products don’t think or make themselves – and they don’t innovate themselves.

Innovation happens in months not years, and to keep up leaders need their employees to grow, contribute, innovate and collaborate. Todays leaders need to create a vision and instead of telling their team what to do and how to get it done, todays leaders / mangers are successful when they empower their team and remove roadblocks.

Great leaders have learned how to hire and motivate great employees… and stay out of their way.

Conclusion

Customers want great products. Employees want to be proud, contribute and get better/learn.

Doing the same thing and/or just putting in more hours isn’t going to… work; it’s not 1958. So, how do companies attract, motivate and retain promising employees who build great customer solutions? How do companies prepare employees to be tomorrows leaders? The simple answer is to invest in leadership training and leadership development for todays leaders – and tomorrows leaders.

Happy leadership and communication.

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How To Give Constructive Feedback: A Training Summary

Giving constructive feedback is an inspiring and productive way to establish and manage expectations. Not giving constructive feedback also manages expectations but not in a supportive way.

By managing expectations you can decrease stress and improve relationships (professional and personal). And, if you’d like me to manage your expectations with a longer list of concrete benefits, they are:Manage Expectations

  • A calmer work environment
  • Higher productivity
  • Greater job satisfaction / employee engagement
  • Lower turnover
  • Happier customers / clients
  • Fewer escalations / urgent situations

Even during a difficult conversation, constructive feedback (and managing expectations), will help you create a more collaborative atmosphere.

Constructive Feedback TIPS

Here are a few of the constructive feedback tips I share during my Difficult Conversations Training courses:

  1. Be respectful and compassionate.
  2. Express what didn’t go as expected, however don’t dwell on the negative
  3. See difficult conversations as learning opportunities for you and them
  4. Listen
  5. Give feedback sooner rather than later. If you let unacceptable behaviour slide… it sets an expectation that their behaviour is acceptable. If a co-worker misses a deadline and you don’t have a discussion about it, don’t be surprised when they miss another deadline, because they will.

When you show you are confident and supportive, you are able to avoid most defensive behaviour with your audience… you also build trust. Constructive feedback and managing difficult conversations is key to creating and maintaining a collaborative work (and family) environment.

Conclusion

Happy, motivated people are dedicated and their pride in their work is far greater than a pay check. Their pride is connected to things like:

  • The support they receive
  • What they accomplish
  • What they’ve learned
  • Relationships they build / experience

Studies show that as many as 80% of business professionals avoid giving constructive feedback because they were afraid of how the other person would react; they anticipate defensive behaviour. The reality is that when you manage expectations and provide constructive feedback, difficult conversations almost always improve productivity, relationships and so much more… long term.

Once you and your employees know how to give and receive constructive feedback you’ll never look back.

Happy communicating.

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Your Emotions And Actions Affect Employee Engagement

How do you feel? Do you believe your emotions and actions affect employee engagement?

Traditionally, showing your emotions at work was considered unprofessional. Thankfully things are changing and because of this so is the potential for increased employee engagement and productivity. Everyday more research comes out that demonstrates emotions like emotional empathy and compassion are powerful assets… not liabilities.Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.59.57 PM

Organizations Benefit From Employee Engagement

Emotions drive greater employee engagement and a long list of benefits. For example, Gallup research recently published finding that highly engaged employees far outperform employees with low engagement by:

  • 10% on customer ratings
  • 22% in profitability
  • 21% in productivity

Gallup researchers also saw:

  • Significantly lower employee turnover (25% in high-turnover organizations, 65% in low-turnover organizations)
  • 28% less shrinkage
  • 37% less absenteeism
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% fewer quality defects

Gallup Study Reference: http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/163130/employee-engagement-drives-growth.aspx

What Is Employee Engagement?

I believe “Employee engagement is the emotional and professional commitment an employee has to add value to his or her organization, team members, clients/customers, environment and self. Engaged employees intentionally ‘lean into’ this symbiotic relationship.” Bruce Mayhew

How Does Employee Engagement Happen?

Employees may start off as keen or driven… but they remain engaged because the organization and their leaders/mentors create a safe, encouraging space that helps them use and develop their core competencies. One of the primary responsibilities of a leader/mentor is to manage the emotional well-being, energy and motivation of their employees.

Leaders/mentors also remind employees of the company mission, vision and values which helps them stay focused and make productive, smart decisions (which is especially important for Gen Z and Millennials).

Clearly, emotional intelligence (EI), plays a huge part creating the leadership and infrastructure that will support employee engagement. This also means that all levels of an organization are required to teach, support and reward employee engagement (Top down & Bottom up).

Conclusion

Leaders are valuable when they increased productivity, revenue and brand while decreasing or maintaining costs. The best way to do this is to hire and keep the best employees and help them deliver their best work.

Demonstrating emotional intelligence (EI) means recognizing, understanding and managing your emotions, and therefore [positively] impacting, encouraging and empowering the people around you.

How much would you spend on a marketing campaign that would increase your customer ratings by 10%, increase profitability by 22% and lower turnover by 25%-65%? Or, perhaps the question is, “Is this a good time to invest in your leaders/mentors?” 

Happy communicating and employee engagement.

Empathy Reference: Three Kinds of Empathy: Cognitive, Emotional, Compassionate by Daniel Goleman

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A Guide For Business Executives: How To Hire AND Retain Millennials.

How to hire and retain Millennials is a great combination of topics that few business executives are yet exploring – but it’s an approach that makes a big difference to your competitive structure and profitability. Traditionally, employee retention is the only focus.

IF you have the right people in place, then focusing on employee retention is great… otherwise, focusing only on employee retention is like trying to use all-season tires on a racecar. No matter how much you care for them, you’re not going to get the performance you need… and they aren’t going to last.

But when business executives learn to change the way they hire people and combine that with Multigenerational communication and retention, great things happen. In my training workshops I’ve seen first-hand the energy that builds as a team of business executives learn BEI (Behaviour Event Interview), best practices and work together to re-evaluate their hiring and retention strategy. This process begins with changing the way all interviews are conducted and moves onto learning what’s important to Millennials.

Combining hiring best practices & employee retention is very effective.

What Can Business Executives Do To Hire AND Retain Millennials?

Step 1. Change the way all interviews are conducted.

Even if your organization is using personality assessment tools – your success is improving only a small amount. Your interview needs to consistently look for AND measure the core competencies you need within every candidate. Learning to conduct a BEI does that for you.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A BEI system provides a consistent, fair and effective interview system. BEI ALSO uses a reliable assessment tool so that each candidates’ strengths and weaknesses can be scored and measured without bias – for example: Subject Matter Expert, Team Player, Creativity – you can measure them all.

In addition, being able to defend your final decision is becoming increasingly important for all employers. Because of the interview assessment scorecard, BEI (Behaviour Event Interview), provides consistent, quantifiable proof why the successful candidate was chosen. There is even more value that BEI provides and if you’re interested lets connect, because I’m happy to discuss these… and I could go on and on and on.

Step 2. Learn what’s important to Millennials and use BEI to add further insight.

Most Millennials are roughly 20 to 40 years younger than their bosses. The rate of technological and social evolution is staggering. Products and services that were leading edge five years ago are commonplace today; tablets for example.

So it’s no surprise that Millennials (and the newly emerging Gen Z workforce), don’t want to be rewarded the same way their parents… or even older siblings do. Even more challenging – their needs may change year over year.

The solution is to treat each person (no matter what generation they’re from), as an individual and ask him or her what’s important. Lets say you’re doing quarterly or semi-annual reviews (which is another best practice when working with Millennials). This is a perfect time to have a discussion about their personal and professional needs – as well as your corporate needs. Ask them if they feel:

  • Respected
  • Mentored
  • Inspired
  • Stimulated
  • Happy

Do they want to be rewarded with:

  • Vacation
  • Salary
  • Workplace Flexibility
  • Bonus Potential
  • Additional Work Responsibilities (As an opportunity to develop / grow)

Conclusion:

A BEI system that I’ve taught to many business executives and teams empowers everyone within the organization to conduct successful interviews. Learning how to hire and retain Millennials provides an organization with a consistent – reliable approach to hiring the right people for the work – turning your job opportunity into a career move for the right candidate.

It is expensive for employers to hire and train new employees. Hiring and retaining the right person makes good business sense.

Happy communicating, harmony and email reading. 

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How Millennials Impact Employee Engagement

An employee engagement opportunity is upon us and we have two options:

  1. Take advantage of this opportunity to increase corporate profitability, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and employee loyalty.
  2. Hold onto our old ways and try to force… basically a square peg in a round hole?Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 1.22.28 PM

For organizations to be successful, one important part of the equation is to find and keep individuals who consistently give maximum contribution. Employees from all generations including Millennials will perform “consistently wellif they “Feel” consistently motivated and appreciated. Force is not an option; force will only make your workforce quit – or if they can’t quit… they will stay and check-out which is worse. This is worse because you are still paying them, their productivity drops and they will likely develop (and share), attitudes that negatively impact everyone else.

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 1.17.39 PM

Background:

For years employee motivation has been straight forward – Baby Boomers have worked with other Boomers… people who have all similar work/life values and approaches. For the most part they value hard work, paying your dues, good salaries, hierarchy and time in the office. Even when Generation Xers (roughly 2/3 the population size of Boomers), showed up things remained OK. Why? Because while Gen Xer values and approaches are different from Boomers (and Gen X did push certain employee engagement boundaries), they are also a very resourceful population and quickly figured out how to work in a Boomer dominated world.

Now Millennials are entering the workforce… and this is the opportunity… or the threat.  Millennials or Generation Y are ambitions, well educated and have always been encouraged by their Baby Boomer and Generation X parents to strive for more, be creative, learn and not settle… especially if it goes against what they think they want (and we’ve told them they can have anything). Millennials are also roughly the same population size of Boomers. And according to Time Magazine, by 2025 three out of four workers worldwide will be Millennials. 

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 1.18.43 PM

http://business.time.com/2012/03/29/millennials-vs-baby-boomers-who-would-you-rather-hire/

How To Positively Impact Employee Engagement?

The expanding Millennial workplace population share similar values and approaches, but each of them are on their own unique path to success. Therefore a group Employee Engagement Survey isn’t going to work. Employee engagement is not one size fits all anymore. We have to:

  1. Meet our employees demographic profile
  2. Respect their communication style
  3. Meet their individual, unique needs that to satisfy their unique path to success.

Improved employee engagement, productivity and group success means consciously taking advantage of (and mentoring/rewarding), the natural strengths of each team member. When we understand communication styles and values we are able to:

  • Accommodate different approaches to work, recognition and problem solving
  • Better align team members expectations and supervisor requirements
  • Improve individual and group creativity and productivity

It’s only when their employer consistently meets their values and personal goals, these Millennials will consistently demonstrate employee engagement and employee loyalty.

This process doesn’t mean tones of work – in fact in the long run it can mean less work and cost vs. training and retraining employees that get frustrated and quit. To have your employees want to consistently give maximum contribution, managers need to have one-on-one conversations… treating them as individuals and consistently addressing their personal and professional goals (including Gen X and Boomers).

For Millennials this means consistently addressing employee engagement goals that are important to them including travel, flexibility, continuous learning, self-expression and knowing how their work impacts the bigger picture.

Additional Benefits

When your team members understand their own and each others communication, mentoring and reward preferences, they can then focus on where they can add the most value based on talent, interest and individual / corporate need. The result is greater employee engagement, better team dynamics and productivity, greater employee loyalty resulting in lower turnover, and fewer conflicts to resolve.

Employee engagement; Develop Your Human Capital to Boost Growth and Efficiency.

Conclusion

Every workforce is fluid so employee engagement is something we have to work on every day – it will be part of daily meetings, feedback sessions, planning, project management, brainstorming sessions, and compensation and performance reviews – everything.Bruce Mayhew on Global TV

Addressing the needs of your multigenerational workforce will catapult employee engagement and performance in a way that will lead to individual and corporate success.

Happy communicating.

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Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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