Posts Tagged ‘employee management’

Creating a Performance Culture

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

What is a Performance Culture?

Performance cultures have great focus on results and accountability and have the following traits:employeeperformance

  1. Accountable, results driven
  2. A focus on people
  3. Long-term orientation
  4. Proactive and decisive
  5. Open and transparent

How do you create a Performance Culture?

Changing a culture is really about changing the behaviors of the people in the organization. Changing behavior is not accomplished through a one-time training class or some special incentive. Instead, it requires a long-term view with regular and frequent support from the top of the organization.

Leadership’s Role is to Provide Clarity & Ensure Accountability

Senior leaders have the greatest impact in terms of creating a performance culture. It starts with the creation of a strategic direction, delivered with great clarity. Employees must get a sense that those leaders are taking the company in the right direction. A second element involves leadership’s focus on people. Part of that focus must be that the leaders are seen as being concerned for the well-being of their employees. In addition, they must be viewed by the ‘rank-and-file’ as being accessible and approachable.  Finally, leaders must model the desired behaviors (and values) every day and with every employee interaction. Their most critical behavior is demonstrating accountability.

Many companies struggle to hold their employees, managers, and leaders accountable for performance. Likely a big reason for this is that people struggle to set clear expectations and have difficult performance conversations. The truth is that there must be consequences for failing to meet expectations and commitments. That is the essence of accountability. Without consequences, there is chaos.

A terrific resource for helping to people better understand and deliver accountability is ‘The Oz Principle.’ The book is dedicated to sharing practical methods on how to improve both individual and organizational accountability. The spirit of the book is that both people and organizations have a choice to either act above or below the accountability line. This thin line separates success from failure.

Below the line lies excuse making, blaming others, confusion, and an attitude of helplessness. Conversely, companies and people that act above the line have a sense of reality, ownership, commitments, and are solutions oriented.

Answer these questions to determine if your organization is operating below the line:

  1. Do our employees tend to ignore or deny problems?
  2. When something needs to be done, do our employees say “It’s not my problem”?
  3. Is there finger pointing behavior in which people seek to shift the blame to others?
  4. Do our employees say “I’m confused, tell me what to do to solve the problem”?
  5. Is there a CYA mentality?
  6. Do employees take a “wait and see, maybe things will get better” approach?

The Role of HR

How can you as an HR professional influence the performance culture? Here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Train on Accountability
    • Train both leaders and their teams on the crucial relationship between accountability and organizational results
    • CAI has an excellent training program called, Becoming the Totally Responsible Person ® (TPR). This program reinforces the importance of personal accountability.
  2. Coach Accountability
    • Ensure that continuous feedback becomes an everyday part of every manager’s job
    • HR needs to assume that managers will need formal training of how to provide performance feedback
  3. Reward Accountability
    • Recognition programs should spotlight those who consistently are highly accountable
    • Reward project teams that deliver on their commitments
  4. Measure Accountability
    • Train managers on how to have difficult conversations with their team members
    • Use metrics, tools and resources to make the process easier
    • Use success factors (profiles) rather than generic job descriptions to clarify expectations

For further information on this topic contact CAI’s Advice & Resolution team today!

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Tom Sheehan brings 20+ years of extensive, broad based strategic, tactical and practical HR experience to CAI’s Advice & Resolution team.  He advises HR and other business leaders on talent management, organizational effectiveness, employee engagement, M&A’s, and employee relations.

The Six Most Common Talent Management Mistakes

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Emotional Intelligence

In today’s post, our HR Business Partner Tom Sheehan shares the top mistakes your business needs to avoid when managing talent.

Talent management encompasses a broad spectrum of talent initiatives including workforce planning, recruiting, onboarding, performance management, development, succession planning, total rewards, and others. The goal of talent management is to create a high-performance, sustainable organization that meets its strategic and operational goals and objectives.

HR leaders play an active role in aligning the organization’s talent with its business objectives. Over the years I’ve seen six common talent management mistakes that reduce organizational performance.

1. Paying Below Market Value for Talent

When the demand for talent is high and the supply is low it can be very difficult to attract ‘A’ players. Often the candidate pool will be filled with those who are unhappy or already out of a job. When you pay below market value for talent, you tend to attract the wrong people, the ‘C’ or worse players. This will force you to make hiring decisions based on some of the most mediocre talent in the marketplace.

2. Maintaining a Long, Arduous Hiring Process

The purpose of a hiring and interviewing process is to identify the top potential prospects for a position. It should not be an endurance contest for the candidates. When the total hiring process lasts 2 months from start to finish, the organization will struggle to hire good talent. A good hiring process should last no longer than 3 – 4 weeks, any longer and good candidates will leave the process. Good talent will decide to stay where they are, they will find other opportunities to pursue and they will take other jobs. Make it a priority to keep your hiring process down to 3 – 4 weeks or less to insure you don’t lose the best talent.

3. Hiring Based on Interviewing Skills

Unfortunately, the majority of hiring today is based on the interviewing skills of the candidate and the personal chemistry developed during the interview process. The hiring manager often allows the personal chemistry with the candidate to influence and possibly drive the hiring decision. There are many individuals out there who are ‘professional interviewers.’ They can eloquently answer any question, explain why they got downsized and make it look like it was a promotion. Keep in mind, they are so good at interviewing for a reason, they have had lots of practice at it.

4. Lack of Defined Career Paths

When the goal is to hire top talent, it is imperative to map out the potential career path available, even if the path is dependent upon many variables. As long as the possibility exists, the position will hold a much higher chance of attracting the caliber of talent desired. This is not only important for hiring but also for keeping existing top performers from getting dissatisfied and happy with their career growth with your organization.

5. Not Interviewing When Empty Seats are Filled

It is often normal for organizations to stop all recruiting once their current open positions are filled. Not a good idea. With a low unemployment rate, there is a shortage of good talent. If you wait for the next opening to arise, you will slow future hiring to a crawl. Never stop interviewing for those positions which are most mission-critical or those with frequent turnover.

6. Tolerating Low Performers

GE made a practice each year of letting the bottom 5 -10% of the performers go in every division. The idea was to replace them with “A” players, thus continually creating an influx of strong new talent. It might feel good to have an organization where everyone is happy and there is no goal pressure. However, allowing poor performers to miss performance targets year after year has tremendous consequences.  It conditions the company and the employees to accept and tolerate unacceptable performance and drowns the organization in a sea of mediocrity. Poor performance management and lack of employee accountability can degrade your talent level in a hurry.

Should you have any further questions regarding how to manage your talent, please call our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Performance Appraisals – Eight Steps to a Better Process

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Performance appraisals have been in use for more than 50 years as a standardized method for evaluating an employee’s job performance.  Most performance appraisals are conducted annually, but if job performance isn’t evaluated throughout the year as it happens, employers miss the opportunity to get the most productivity and best quality efforts from their employees.

Avoid common errors during employee performance appraisals.Below are eight steps to a better performance appraisal process.

#1 – Make Performance Appraisals an Ongoing Process

Employee management is an everyday process.  Rather than wait for an annual performance review, managers should provide both constructive criticism and praise to their employees throughout the year and use the annual performance appraisal to summarize the prior year’s performance.

#2 – Be Prepared

Forms and paperwork should be completed on time, and any solicited feedback from management and peers should be compiled and entered. Take the time to review the employee’s self-assessment prior to the appraisal meeting and be prepared to offer feedback.

#3 – Focus on the Entire Year

In summarizing the employee’s accomplishments throughout the prior year, try not to focus too much on only one or two events, or recent projects. Offer criticisms and praise that are general and that span the entire evaluation period.

#4 – Be Interactive

The performance appraisal must be interactive in order for the employee and the manager to arrive at the same conclusions at the end of the review. Employees may be nervous or apprehensive when entering a meeting about their performance, and the manager should strive to put them at ease.

#5 – Employees are Individuals

Employees should not be compared to other employees in their performance appraisal. Each employee must be evaluated according to his/her job description and performance in his/her job.

#6 – Solicit Feedback from Others

As a manager, you will want to request input from other managers, team members, and stakeholders with whom your employee interacts. The more information you have regarding how others in the organization view an employee, the better your position will be to help him/her be successful.

#7 – Performance Levels Dictate Merit Increase Levels

Giving two different employees very different performance appraisals and awarding them identical increases sends a message that performance does not matter.

#8 – Listen to Your Employees

The performance appraisal is an opportunity to provide feedback to an employee and also to gain valuable insight from the employee’s perspective. It is an important time to listen to your employees – one on one – and get their viewpoints on their performance and the organization as a whole.

For additional information on the performance appraisal process, contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Geograph