FacebookTwitterLinkedin

Performance Management

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 Jul 12, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, HR Consulting, Performance Management, Performance Management Consulting, Supervision | 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...

Read More
People problems rarely “work themselves out”

People problems rarely “work themselves out”

By on Jul 10, 2019 in Best Practices, Blog, HR Consulting, Performance Management, Performance Management Consulting, Supervision | 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....

Read More
Performance review best practices for 2018

Performance review best practices for 2018

By on Jan 30, 2018 in Best Practices, Blog, Coaching, Performance Management, Performance Review | 0 comments

The beginning of the new year is well behind us and we are in the thick of the first quarter.  By now, your finance team has done most of the work determining your financial results for 2017, and many companies are getting ready to launch their annual performance review process. While there has been an ongoing debate about whether to do annual reviews, or replace it with a continuous feedback approach, many organizations still follow the annual review process.  There are many reasons for this: the organization already has the tools in place, managers understand the current process, and employees have come to expect it.  We’re not saying the traditional process is perfect…but it can nonetheless add value if done correctly. Here are some tips to make the process go smoothly and more importantly, have meaning. Focus the review period: instead of requiring reviews be done on the employee’s anniversary, schedule the reviews to occur at one time of the year.  This has many benefits: it makes financial planning for increases easier, ensures better compliance because the organization is focused on doing them, and avoids that feeling managers have that they are ‘always doing reviews’. Make it simple: if you’re a manager with ten reviews to conduct, you don’t need a process that will take hours and hours to complete. Don’t overwhelm them with dozens of factors to rate.  And speaking of ratings, limit the number of ratings that can be given so that the distinctions in performance are meaningfully shown. We recommend three- or five-point rating scales. Add some constraints: some managers can barely write two sentences about someone, others can write a novel.  Don’t make them use a format that requires them to write essays.  And if you are using ratings, you should use a tool like MS Excel so that you can not only control the inputs but make the tabulation of the ratings easier. Collect, review, and use the data: after all the effort of conducting reviews, don’t let them disappear into a personnel file never to be seen again.  Take the time to aggregate and review the ratings, both overall and by rated dimension.  This can give you insight into your bench strength and...

Read More
The four principles of effective time management

The four principles of effective time management

By on Nov 16, 2017 in Blog, Performance Management | 0 comments

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, many managers are under plenty of stress trying to complete multiple tasks in the next month.  Here are four principles of effective time management to help you achieve more with less stress. 1. Important Items versus Urgent Items Many managers spend their workday in a frenzy of activity, but achieve very little.  To make the most of your time, ensure that your understanding of what’s important is not clouded by your sense of urgency. Important items are the proactive or progress tasks that will move you closer to your goals and objectives, help you reach a position fundamentally better than the one you are in now, and have a direct impact on moving the business forward. Urgent items are the reactive and maintenance tasks that do not support your goals and objectives, but still must be completed, occur as a result of everyday interruptions, and leave you in the same position as you were before. 2. When are you most effective? Knowing when you are at your best and planning to use that time of day for your priorities is effective time management.  Whenever possible, tackle important work or activities when you are most alert and energetic because they will seem easier and you will accomplish them faster.  Be sure to schedule less demanding tasks when your energy levels are decreasing. 3. Remain Flexible Avoid scheduling each day to the extent that it is impossible to stay on track.  Consider that interruptions are bound to happen and projects may take longer than anticipated. To allow for the unexpected, leave some open time in your daily plan.  A good rule of thumb is to leave approximately 40% of your day unplanned because certain days of the week can be more hectic and require more time.  Leaving part of your day unplanned can also help ensure that you have time to work on the important tasks that will move you toward your goals. 4. Planning Time Underestimating the time needed to accomplish a task is not uncommon.  To give yourself sufficient time to do things properly, reduce stress, and promote productivity be sure to: Schedule about 10-20% more time than you think the task...

Read More
Time and stress management

Time and stress management

By on Nov 14, 2017 in Blog, Communication, Performance Management | 0 comments

In today’s increasingly busy workplace, many managers find themselves working longer hours in an attempt to meet the demands and pressures of their position.  This has left many managers feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Do you ever feel stressed and frustrated because of: Missed deadlines and commitments? Forgotten details and lost paperwork? Projects not running as planned? Not having enough time for family and friends? Having too much to do in too little time? If you answered yes to even one these questions, you are not alone.  A major cause of stress among managers is the feeling that there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything they need or want to do. Some managers say they choose to work in their free time because it is the only way they can: Have time to focus on important projects. Work without interruptions and distractions. Ensure that important tasks and projects get done. Reduce stress and anxiety during other periods of the week. However, the secret to accomplishing more with less stress isn’t in working more hours – it’s in working smarter.  A key difference between effective and ineffective managers is how they use the hours they have. Time management has long been recognized as one of the keys to ensuring higher productivity and reducing stress by using your time most effectively.  Time management is the personal management of tasks, behaviors, and activities. To ensure effective management of time you must: Work toward professional and personal goals each day. Focus on the important rather than the urgent. Use your most productive time wisely. Allocate sufficient time for the completion of tasks and projects. Take time to plan and prioritize when scheduling your day. Eliminate behaviors that waste time. If you need help improving your workforce strategy, contact us and check out our blog for more helpful...

Read More
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...

Read More