Our clients contact us asking for guidance when they wish to implement leadership development programs. There are usually two needs they have identified:
- Helping senior management become more effective at leading the organization and becoming more strategic, and
- Helping front line supervisors become more adept at managing their teams and learning basic management skills to become more effective.
Regardless of what the need is, we want to learn some information from the client to help guide them to select the best topics and also ensure there is a system in place to reinforce the learning and integrate it into the culture.
Some of the things we ask the client are:
- What are your goals? More concretely, what do you envision the results to look like? You should have some idea of what you want to achieve. We recommend you take the time to write your goals down and what they will look like.
- How do you know what training gaps there are? How have they manifested themselves in how people manage or lead? What has the effect been on employees? Identifying the difference between long-standing issues and recent critical events will ensure you are addressing root causes and not merely symptoms.
- How open is the team to learning? Are they willing to change their approach, even if it is difficult? Work may be needed to ensure people are primed to learn.
- Do the actions of the leadership team model the behaviors you want to see in the supervisors? Do they walk the walk? Without alignment between what leadership says and how they behave the program will fail.
- What systems are in place to hold people accountable and make changes? Is there a robust performance management and coaching system in place? Training is used to set expectations. There has to be a system in place to measure and communicate results.
Training and development programs can be expensive to implement. Determining your goals and defining the outcomes before you embark on working with a partner or sending people to training is critical to ensure you get the best return on investment. Making sure the means to measure behavior change is also needed to determine success or failure.
Also remember that training should not be seen as ‘punishment’. Remedying poor performance may involve additional training, but it should not be seen as a means to enforce discipline or only used if there is something wrong. Training and development is based on taking good people and making them even better.
When we find a client struggling through corrective action, we show them the process to manage performance effectively so that they can make better decisions about performance management outcomes.
- If they have not done so, we facilitate a discussion of what is expected of the role, both in terms of job duties and expected behaviors. This often helps the client focus on the specific performance issues.
- Scan their employee handbook and policies and procedures. Often overlooked, the descriptions of what is acceptable and what is not may be found here. This helps develop a plan to manage performance and hold people accountable.
- Uncover exactly what the performance issues are. Are they related to failing to meet key performance indicators, sales or production goals? Are they violating company policies? Do they behave in ways that are not appropriate for their role?
Once the client has defined the issue, we then assist with preparing corrective action tools that can be used in coaching, corrective action, or if necessary, termination, to ensure the process is firm, fair, and consistent.
Managing poor performance is a challenge. It’s often not pleasant, but if you can save a poor performer by learning to address performance issues clearly and thoughtfully when they arise, you’ll strengthen your business. While it may ultimately require the most drastic action such as termination of employment, in most cases effective performance management leads to performance improvement, which saves time and money on recruitment, training, and maintaining employee morale and productivity.
In our Human Resources consulting practice, one of our favorite euphemisms for performance management issues is when a client tells us that they need our help because an employee “isn’t working out”. Our first response is usually, “well, tell them to go to the gym!” Kidding aside, we understand what the client means, but use this to get the client to think and speak in more specific terms. Simply put, it’s a serious matter to contemplate terminating someone’s employment, and we want to be sure that the client has thought clearly about their rationale for doing so. This is where effective performance management can help.
When clients tell us someone is “not working out”, that can mean one or more of the following:
- The employee is failing to meet production, sales, or other specific goals, or isn’t fulfilling the duties enumerated in their job description.
- The employee has violated company policies such as appearance standards, time and attendance requirements, safety policies, etc.
- The employee does not behave in a way that is appropriate for their role. They may not demonstrate appropriate customer service, teamwork, leadership, or some other trait that is necessary to do the job.
We often find that smaller businesses struggle with addressing performance issues. In many cases they do not act at all, or swing the other way and react disproportionately to the final “straw that broke the camel’s back”…which comes back to haunt them if the former employee takes action against them.
Here are the reasons we’ve uncovered why clients don’t act sooner:
- Conflict avoidant…people don’t like to be confrontational, especially face to face.
- Fearful of legal action…many of our clients are smaller companies and fear that they will inadvertently do the wrong thing that will get them into costly trouble.
- Inability to articulate exactly what the performance problem is…sometimes the client just can’t state clearly what the problem is…especially when it is behavioral based.
- Don’t have a roadmap for the process; clients may not know what to expect or have the tools to start and finish a path of corrective action to improve behavior.
- Feel like they don’t have time to manage performance…too busy…but the problems persist until something must be done about it.
In our next posting, we’ll discuss some ways for you to address performance issues in a firm, fair, and consistent manner. Check back later this week for Part Two!
Organizational Architecture can provide you with short-term contract assistance in your HR department, whether your need is:
HR administration…we can provide professionals well-versed in HR administration to help with new hire orientation, benefits enrollment, workers’ compensation, leave of absence administration, and other tasks.
HR specialist…if your need is for a seasoned specialist, our professionals bring deep experience in
- Training and development
- Employee relations
- and many others…
Project manager…maybe you have a major HR project to implement. We can provide you with experienced HR talent to serve as your project manager to assist in a number of focused areas, such as system implementations, development of specific training and development programs, policy and procedure development, ad-hoc compensation assistance, or any number of other HR activities.
Organizational Architecture can also provide oversight and guidance to the HR contractor, allowing you to focus on other parts of your business.
Contact us to learn more how we can help.
It has been our privilege to work with several public libraries in Ohio, and this month’s success story is about our latest collaboration with the professional association for Ohio’s libraries.
The Ohio Library Council is the forum in which Ohio’s public library community is strengthened through advocacy, education, collaboration, and innovation.
The membership of the OLC is composed of public library systems, library trustees, Friends of the Library groups, library staff members, other library institutions, and library-related commercial vendors.
Earlier this year, OA was contacted by the OLC board of directors to assist with the search for their new Executive Director upon the retirement of the Executive Director who has led the organization for the past seventeen years.
Our project partner was Selection Committee Chair Nicholas Tepe of the Athens County Public Libraries. He said:
We were aware of Organizational Architecture because of the work they had performed for other public libraries, particularly their recruitment projects. Upon the retirement of our Executive Director, we began the process of assessing partners that understood both public libraries and not-for-profit organizations.
We selected OA and the project team of Mark Fiala and Ryan Sheehan to work with us based upon their experience and understanding of the needs of Ohio’s libraries.
We had to ensure that we had our new Executive Director in place by the time our current Executive Director retired. The OA team was quick to start the process of defining the role and expectations, developing a candidate sourcing strategy, and providing guidance on an appropriate compensation package using valid and reliable benchmark compensation data.
OA provided a slate of highly qualified candidates that were exactly what we were looking for and facilitated the screening and selection process for us. Ultimately their work helped us select our new Executive Director. We could not have been more pleased with their help and guidance on this project, the quality of the candidates, and the timeliness of their work.
We’re excited for the opportunity to present at the Northeast Ohio Regional Library System’s upcoming Fiscal Officers and Human Resources Network Meeting. We’ve been asked to discuss Human Capital Management and have a great program that will be interactive, informative, and fun.
The Northeast Ohio Regional Library System [NEO-RLS] is a partially state-funded membership organization that provides continuing education, professional development, emerging technology support, group purchasing and many other benefits and services to all of the academic, school, special and public libraries in 22 counties of Ohio.
The session will be held on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 10.00a at the Westlake Porter Public Library.
OA was privileged to present its workshop Employee Compensation Basics at the Northern Ohio Chapter of IPMA-HR Spring Conference.
The International Public Management Association for Human Resources [IPMA-HR] is the leading public sector human resource organization in the world. Their mission is to enhance public sector performance by providing human resource leadership, advocacy, professional development, and a community of HR professionals for the sharing of resources and ideas.
The conference was held at the Akron-Summit County Public Library Main Branch on May 15, 2019.
This annual conference brings together public sector Human Resources professionals to learn current trends and best practices in an environment that fosters collaboration and networking.
We appreciate the opportunity to be part of the program and to be a sponsor. We are looking forward to next year’s conference.
Are you a Human Resources consultant or contractor?
Are you interested in consulting or contracting engagements?
Organizational Architecture is always looking for talent to assist with consulting engagements or working as onsite HR contractors for our clients.
Our clients have needs for
- Part time HR generalists
- Are analytical, detail-oriented, effective at solving problems, and finding solutions
- Are effective working autonomously
- Possess an understanding current tools and technology and can use them effectively
- Have above average skills using MS Excel
- Have at least 10 years of experience with HR disciplines such as Employee Relations, Compensation, Benefits, Training/Development, Recruitment, Organizational Design, HRIS, or employment law
…we’d love to connect!…please send your current resume or practice summary to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can learn more about your project work and experience.