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Tag Archives: Performance Management

August 31, 2017

The annual review is dead. Long live continuous feedback.


42% of employees want and expect feedback every week. Yep, every week.

The question is, can current processes for performance reviews and forced ratings deliver and meet such expectations?

In most cases, the answer is probably not. Recent Fosway Group research shows that only 44% of respondents believe their performance management process is ready for the modern workforce. This means the majority believe there is work to be done.

The good news is we are seeing change. Companies are attempting to resolve this disconnect.  Mercer’s 2017 Global report reveals that 88% of companies not only made changes to their performance management process in 2016, they expect more to follow. Could the driver for this be the knowledge that organizations who provide in-the-moment coaching create a strengths-based culture which results in higher quality work along with employees who are more engaged and stay longer?

Whatever the reason is, I’m happy to see companies moving in this new direction.

One key change is an appetite for continuous feedback, which is now prevalent in the workplace with 81% reporting that they already have an “anytime feedback” tool in place. Granted, constant feedback isn’t always practical or feasible; but the simple truth is that most employees appear to want regular feedback. Real-time, continuous feedback encourages collaboration, gives development discussions more meaning and provides a process for giving and requesting targeted feedback.

The Mercer report highlights another interesting statistic – 97% of employees say they want to be rewarded and recognized for a wide range of contributions and not for financial or activity metrics alone. How do you achieve this without broadening and redefining the employee review? One way might be to capture real-time feedback that is linked to specific goals and competencies or projects from multiple sources and then tie it directly to the performance review. Again, giving employees what they want – when you can. And with access to continual assessment 24/7 via mobile phones, this is made even easier.

If it is true that the traditional annual review is dying, if not dead, then how or what you replace it with is hugely significant. More often than not, companies are still using or relying on these performance reviews to calculate employee benefits or bonuses and just rate overall value each employee’s contribution brings to the organization.

In large organizations, such calculations are a big deal.

And it will fall to HR to respond. How well HR responds may be determined by the technology at their disposal and if the team possesses the skills to utilize such technology. Best-in-class organizations that use the latest, most innovative HR technology for performance conversations, not only empower their workforce to grow, they give managers the tools required to award pay and promotions.

Want to learn more about what technology is available? Click here for a free demo!

August 17, 2017

5 Things You Need to Know About Managing Talent Today


Even if you have never seen Fight Club you will no doubt be familiar with these now infamous and iconic lines:

The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about Fight Club.

The second rule of Fight Club is YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB.

Sometimes, I think HR can be a bit like that. Okay, so we do not pulverise each other, but it can feel like you are working in a vacuum, isolated both from the rest of your organization, but also, and importantly, from other people in HR. There is a myth that HR is something that happens behind closed doors and is only spoken about when a problem arises. Perhaps someone in finance has watched Fight Club one too many times, and then all of a sudden it’s all about HR.

But in the normal run of things, the day to day business of managing talent, this is what intrigues me.

What are your HR peers focusing on? How are other HR departments handling the ever evolving world of the modern worker whose expectations and experiences with HR is rapidly being reshaped by technology at a rate that is both thrilling and equal parts exhausting and infuriating?

Which is why when we do get some insights into the world of HR, we tend to inhale the information as though it was a last meal.

The Fosway Group and SumTotal’s Transforming Talent in the Modern Workforce research and Mercer’s Talent Trends 2017 Global Study have both recently completed large comprehensive studies on the modern workforce and what the findings reveal is that, not surprisingly, HR is feeling the heat of the modern worker and their collected expectations.

#1 Performance management and appraisals show the most progress

88% of company’s made changes to their performance management processes in 2016, with more to follow. However, only 44% reported that their performance management process was ready for the modern work force, which means most do not feel ready.

#2 Learning & Development is not ready for the impact of technology

Again, only 42% believe they are ready to provide ‘very advanced’ learning. What does this mean for L&D professionals, and how can HR address this poor showing?

#3 Career development is not developed

Only 1 in 10 said their approach is very advanced, with 69% saying they have work to do to be ‘ready.’ I am slightly surprised by just how low this number is, and do have to wonder why it is so abysmal? Are we not listening to our talent, who repeatedly express a desire to have the opportunity to advance in their careers and see it as a deciding factor when choosing an employer?

#4 Not promoting from within

Harnessing talent internally is still one of the least advanced elements of the talent agenda. Again, I am disappointed that companies are not seeing the incredible opportunity that is at their disposal, particularly since we all know there is a massive skills shortage and soon we will see companies fighting over talent.

#5 Hiring is misfiring

Less than 1 in 4 believe their talent pool approach is ‘ready.’ Without sounding like I am on repeat, this too is a figure that is less than satisfactory. What are we not doing that we should be doing?

Are you surprised by the results? Or are you nodding your head in agreement?

What would you say are the roadblocks facing HR? Well, if your answer includes any of the following – company culture, lack of organizational urgency around talent management and time constraints- you’d be right. When asked, these were the items that popped up the most.

But I’m curious now to see and hear what HR is doing to combat these concerns and improve the numbers. I’m also encouraged by customers I have the privilege of speaking with who are taking steps to right some of these wrongs.

Perhaps now that such areas of concern have been highlighted, we might see a greater redirection of focus or efforts. But we still need greater buy-in from CEOs and others who can impact company culture and shift the emphasis to greater awareness around managing talent today.

If HR is to win and succeed in managing a workforce that is itself evolving and facing new challenges, we must have more open discourse. Otherwise, much like Fight Club’s protagonist, HR will become embroiled in a war with itself.

February 7, 2014

Why not mentor?

Regardless of which team you rooted for during last weekend’s Super Bowl, hopefully you have heard, and loved, the message that came from Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson.

“Why not us?”

Throughout the year he mentally prepared his team for the big game using a quote – “you have the ability so why not you?” – which he borrowed from his late father and mentor.  This “why not us” battle cry inspired his team. It reminded them of their strengths and abilities. It helped them persevere and win.

Watching Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ story unfold I thought about the impact role models and mentors have on our lives.  For many of us, it starts with our parents and guardians, who shape and mold us into good, productive adults based on their experiences and life lessons.

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January 21, 2014

Dreading your performance review? You’re not alone.

It’s the time of year again. HR just announced the kick-off for the annual performance review process. Managers and employees alike relentlessly complain about having to go through what they consider a tedious and unrewarding process, and without fail, they procrastinate to the very last minute to complete the task.

I, too, have dreaded this time of year. I’ve expressed my frustrations about the performance review process and I have been one of the people who put off my own self-evaluation and waited too long to get through my employees performance reviews.

However, over the years my attitude has changed. It was one event in particular a few years back when I suddenly realized that these dreaded performance reviews and goal evaluations have some really powerful results. Let me take you back…

Like many people in management, I was working with a small team and doing a lot of heavy lifting on my own.  Right after the performance review process had been completed, the group expanded. Responsibilities shifted and I had to change the way I worked and managed. The new team was a mix of people and personalities — some of whom I had worked with for a long time, some of whom were very experienced, but newer to the group, and others who were completely new to the team, industry and business environment. One day, as I sat in a team meeting discussing everyone’s work activities,  I was asked what I was working on and how people could help and get more involved. With the performance appraisals fresh on my mind, I suddenly realized I didn’t know enough (if anything!) about the competency levels of my team. It became painfully clear to me in that moment that I had no idea how to delegate certain work, who to collaborate with on projects, or even what we needed to plan for with the next set of goals, because I didn’t know my team’s strengths and weaknesses. 

I voiced this concern and we spent the rest of the day talking openly about what our core competencies were as a team, where people felt they had strengths, what goals they had and what they wanted to achieve in their careers. That was the day I stopped looking up the organizational ladder for guidance and support and started looking to my team to understand their point of view and ensure we were all on the same page. 

From that point on, the performance process was easy. My team members and I knew what we set out to achieve and we jointly maintained our goals with ongoing discussions. We managed updates in the system, and were able to quickly adjust our goals and objectives as the company shifted priorities. We invested time developing desired skills in real-time through work assignments and peer collaboration. We no longer made annual performance reviews about the technology or the process. It completely evolved and it became something we did often. We communicated and worked together to set and keep OUR goals and OUR career development aligned.

Looking back, I realize that, ultimately, employees want to feel they are part of something bigger, have a shared sense of purpose, and responsibility. And when you’re a manager of people, your priority should be to engage those people – coach and develop them, involve them in achieving the goals of the organization – from revenue targets, process improvements and innovation initiatives. We all know engaged employees perform better, in fact according to Gallup Business Journal, business with engaged employees outperformed others by and 21% in productivity. If you take the time to leverage your performance process as a tool to engage your people, you may find the same results.