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Performance Management

Evaluating the performance appraisal system for salary planning

Evaluating the performance appraisal system for salary planning

By on Oct 5, 2017 in Blog, Performance Management, Reward and Recognition | 0 comments

In our last post, we recognized that October often marks the beginning of salary budget planning for the next year and shared merit increase expectations for 2018.  We also mentioned that many organizations are moving away from the traditional performance appraisal process to better reward employee performance.  One way to change your performance review system is to focus on having a conversation with your employees about performance.  Some benefits of a conversational review are: Employees’ performance is measured against their achievements, goals, and objectives.  This allows for detailed documenting of performance which can be used to accurately reward the employee. Employers can learn what employees need to succeed.  Together they can discuss what needs to change in the future and managers can help their employees perform to the best of their ability. Employees are given an evaluation beyond just a number.  This is more valuable for improving performance and allows for honesty between the manager and the employee. Employees focus on accomplishing goals when pay is based on goal achievement.  So, if you do edit your performance appraisal system, it is also a good idea to review and update your merit increase practices.  For example, if performance conversations become a regular practice every quarter, it might make sense to adjust merit rewards to a quarterly schedule.  Another potential way to revise merit practices is to offer variable compensation.  Variable pay as a percent of salary can reward performance at every job level and connects compensation to corporate, department, and team goal achievement. If your company is thinking about adjusting their performance review system to increase employee engagement and improve productivity or revise their merit increase system, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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How conflict can be a positive influence in the workplace

How conflict can be a positive influence in the workplace

By on Aug 31, 2017 in Blog, Performance Management, Supervision | 0 comments

In the past, we’ve discussed various causes of workplace conflict as well as the importance of resolving conflict [see here and here].  But how do we go about addressing conflict when it occurs?  The first critical step to handling conflict is understanding that it can be a positive influence in the workplace and should not always be seen as a problem.  Instead, conflict can be viewed as an opportunity, for example, consider the following: Conflict leads to changes and improvements Conflict provides an opportunity to re-evaluate a situation, and forces us to look for new solutions – whether it’s in the way a team works together, how a service is delivered, or the way a product is used.  While it can seem like an unpleasant process to those involved, conflict leads to a better way once it has been recognized and resolved effectively. Conflict can be a sign that someone’s needs are not being met Conflict can be a symptom of someone’s dissatisfaction in the workplace.  If employee dissatisfaction is high, productivity, performance, and profitability will suffer.  The key to resolving conflict here is to identify what needs are not being met and find out why.  For example, employees may be looking for performance feedback—which management isn’t currently providing.  By diagnosing dissatisfaction, employers can move to increase worker satisfaction and benefit from dramatically improved business results. Conflict can result in amazing ideas Encouraging positive conflict is often a great way to innovate.  For instance, appointing a “devil’s advocate” when brainstorming is a well-known way of forcing participants to think about different sides of an idea and innovating further.  In the day-to-day workplace, as well as in a brainstorming session, conflict can work well in this way as long as it’s handled effectively. While conflict can be a destructive force, it can also be constructive if it is used as inspiration in a respectful and compassionate manner.  By being able to utilize conflict positively when it does happen, your business will create a healthy and innovative workplace environment. If you need assistance with conflict management or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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Common causes of workplace conflict

Common causes of workplace conflict

By on Aug 29, 2017 in Blog, Communication, Performance Management | 0 comments

Conflicts in the workplace can be uncomfortable for everyone and lead to a negative office environment.  Fortunately, understanding a few reasons conflict arises can help prevent the problems and encourage employees and managers to overcome these difficulties.  Some of the common causes of workplace conflict may be: Personality differences.  Employees come from different backgrounds and experiences, which play a role in shaping their personalities.  When employees fail to understand or accept the differences in each other’s personalities, problems arise in the workplace.  For example, an employee may possess a straightforward personality that results in him speaking whatever is on his mind, even if the timing is inappropriate.  This employee may offend a co-worker that does not possess the same type of personality.  The co-worker may feel as if the employee is rude or disrespectful, leading to conflict. Clashing values.  Like personalities, the values of employees differ within the workplace.  A difference in values is sometimes seen when a generational gap is present.  For instance, young workers may possess different workplace values than older workers.  The difference in values is not necessarily the cause of employee conflict in the workplace, but the failure to accept the differences is.  When employees fail to accept the differences, co-workers may insult each other’s character and experiences.  As a result, the conflict intensifies until the right solution is offered and accepted. Poor communication.  Poor communication is often one of the main causes of conflict between employees in the workplace.  This can happen because of a difference in communication styles or a failure to communicate.  For example, a manager might reassign an employee’s task to the employee’s co-worker, but fail to communicate the reassignment to the employee.  This could cause the employee to feel slighted, which can transform into animosity among the two employees and the manager.  Failing to communicate may cause employees to make incorrect assumptions and believe workplace gossip.  Poor communication not only causes conflict but decreases productivity and employee morale. Competition.  Unhealthy workplace competition may be another cause of employee conflict.  Some industries foster competitive environments more than others.  For instance, if salary is linked to employee production, a workplace may experience strong competition between employees.  Competition that is not properly managed...

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Revisiting benefits to promote employee retention and lower turnover rates

Revisiting benefits to promote employee retention and lower turnover rates

By on Aug 2, 2017 in Blog, Employee Benefits, Performance Management | 0 comments

In Part 1, we shared numerous reasons employees might decide to leave your company. As we know, it can be very costly to handle high turnover rates and repeatedly onboard new employees. Establishing and maintaining an employee retention strategy can help you keep your best talent. Employee job satisfaction and engagement factors should be considered the key ingredients of employee retention efforts. Here a few contributors to job satisfaction: Job security. Employees want to know they are going to continue to have their job. If they feel their position is threatened they may start to look elsewhere. Keeping an open dialogue and addressing job security fears as they arise will help your workers feel secure. Job opportunities. The opportunity for advancement is extremely appealing to employees of all levels. People like to feel they are working to better themselves and that there are options for them to grow at a company. If employees do not find areas to grow at your company, they may move to other businesses to find those choices. Taking the time to evaluate and recognize hard work and accomplishments tells employees that they are valued at your company. Even just a simple “thank you for your work” at the end of a meeting, week, or particularly challenging task helps employees feel recognized and increases their job satisfaction. Compensation and benefits. Offering competitive and fair pay drives employees to stay with your company. Additionally, traditional benefits packages [healthcare, retirement savings, leave, and financial planning] are also important to most employees. We understand that it is not always cost effective to increase employees’ compensation or benefits packages, sometimes it is simply not in the budget. However, there are other strategic benefits you can offer that promote work-life balance which is becoming increasingly important to employees. Here are some: Wellness initiatives can help increase work productivity and decrease health care costs and unplanned absences. Helping with student debt repayment or education assistance can help retain employees of younger generations as they come to dominate the workforce Flexible work practices such as telecommuting, remote working, and flexible hours can often be implement with little to no added costs and are a huge benefit for workers. Lastly, spending time explaining...

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People problems rarely “work themselves out” …so how do you address them?

People problems rarely “work themselves out” …so how do you address them?

By on Jun 7, 2017 in Blog, HR Consulting, Performance Management, Performance Management Consulting | 0 comments

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. Do you have questions about effective performance review systems?  If you need assistance with this or other human resource needs, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

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People problems rarely “work themselves out”

People problems rarely “work themselves out”

By on Jun 5, 2017 in Blog, HR Consulting, Performance Management, Performance Management Consulting | 0 comments

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....

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