Posts Tagged "annual review’

Can You Confidently Answer the 4 Basic Performance Management Questions?

by Derek Irvine

4 Question Marks and ConversationsRecognize This! — Wanting to know we’re doing the right things at work is at the heart of performance management – and that’s a good thing.

With the recent news around Accenture and GE replacing their traditional performance review process with more frequent, timely feedback from multiple sources, it seemed Kismet when Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce, had his article “Creating an Effective Peer Review System” appear in Harvard Business Review this week.

Eric shares key elements to create, maintain and support a successful real-time peer review program. Click through for the full article for details on each of the below, including examples from top companies who have applied these lessons. (Quoting below):

  • Reflect on core values. Ensure that the metrics on which people are recognized are aligned with your company’s mission.
  • Embrace new technology. Pick a program that is intuitive, easy to use, fun, interactive, engaging, and fully mobile.
  • Explain and celebrate the launch. Position the program as a change designed to help recognize and celebrate employees, and not a new way to monitor or judge them.
  • Get everyone on board. Managers and leaders need to be early adopters.
  • Encourage frequent, timely recognition. Sooner is better when it comes to promoting desired behavior.
  • Empower managers to track results. Give managers access to detailed, real-time, easily actionable reports on recognition activity, correlated to key business goals.

Performance management is necessary, and even desirable. We all want to know:

  1. Am I doing the right things?
  2. Are my contributions helpful to others?
  3. Should I be focusing elsewhere?
  4. Am I adding value?

Helping employees answer those questions is the essence of performance management. Better yet is how GE frames the discussion in terms of coaching. Per this summary of GE’s new approach:

“There’s an emphasis on coaching throughout, and the tone is unrelentingly positive. The [performance development] app forces users to categorize feedback in one of two forms: To continue doing something, or to consider changing something.”

That’s the power of positive reinforcement through coaching people towards more of what you want to see again and away from detractors.

Are you confident in your own answers to the 4 basic performance management questions above?

What GE, Accenture, Adobe and Microsoft Have in Common

by Lynette Silva

Feedback is a conversationRecognize This! – More and more companies are turning a critical eye on the traditional annual performance review process as the primary means for employee feedback.

This month, Derek Irvine (our chief blogger here on Recognize This!) wrote a couple of posts on Compensation Café about decoupling pay from the performance review process. Drawing from the news about Accenture ending the traditional performance review process, Derek sparked a conversation among readers about why we seem to stick to what we know is a challenged process.

Readers chimed in, with comments seeming to focus on the fear factor as the primary reason for preserving the traditional annual performance review as the primary means for employee feedback. That fear appears to be driven largely by:

  • Legal concerns around how to defend performance terminations without the formal review as proof
  • Perceived inability to defend pay for performance decisions without the easy-to-point-to stack ranking of traditional reviews
  • Concern that managers won’t engage in any feedback exercise with employees without the review mechanism to force the issue

And then Quartz published this news story hit late last week that GE – originator of the “rank and yank” stacked performance review process – is ending the annual review, too. The article confirms these assumptions, pointing out:

“As much as researchers and many employees might applaud the decision, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. There’s a reason reviews have stuck around for so long, and it’s hard to overemphasize how entrenched the annual review has become. It’s the way most were raised as employees, a huge part of their workload, and a comfortable framework to administer and to defend pay, promotion, and firing decisions.”

So why is GE changing their performance management approach? Susan Peters, GE’s head of human resources, says:

“It existed in more or less the same form since I started at the company in 1979. But we think over many years it had become more a ritual than moving the company upwards and forwards… The world isn’t really on an annual cycle anymore for anything. I think some of it to be really honest is millennial based. It’s the way millennials are used to working and getting feedback, which is more frequent, faster, mobile-enabled, so there were multiple drivers that said it’s time to make this big change.”

How does this new approach work at GE? The Quartz story explains:

“The new app is called ‘PD@GE’ for ‘performance development at GE.’ … Employees can give or request feedback at any point through a feature called ‘insights,’ which isn’t limited to their immediate manager, or even their division. Normally, you never get that feedback unless you manage to track someone down the next day, which people rarely do, and only from a direct manager. If you wait for an annual review, any specifics are probably long forgotten… There’s an emphasis on coaching throughout, and the tone is unrelentingly positive. The app forces users to categorize feedback in one of two forms: To continue doing something, or to consider changing something.”

This is very interesting. If we want to help our employees achieve their best work, we can no longer kowtow to the fear of lawsuits, pay discussions or poor managerial practices. We must not cater to the lowest common denominator. We must instead look to ways that people best receive and process feedback, both positive and constructive. That’s Eric Mosley’s message in his book The Crowdsourced Performance Review) — we need both the informal and formal, manager-driven and employee-empowered.

Achieving change and refining a deeply embedded if flawed process, is not easy of course. It’s going to take more and more companies not just replacing or revising the traditional review process, but also sharing publicly how they are avoiding or overcoming the perceived fears as GE is now doing.

How are reviews handled in your organization? What are the perceived benefits or detriments to the approach?

Should Performance Reviews Rely on the Sole Critic or the Wisdom of the Crowd?

Recognize This! – A critic offers a limited, if informed, view. Combined with the audience viewpoint, a much more clear picture of performance emerges.

Seth Godin sets the bar high for bloggers with short, pithy posts that drive home an important point. A post a few weeks ago honed in on this point with criticism:

“Last week, I saw an extraordinary play on Broadway. It got the longest standing ovation I’ve ever seen in a theater, and Alan Cumming deserved every minute of it. The New York Times critic, though, didn’t like the show.

“What’s the point of his review, then? Clearly the audience, discerning in their own right, disagreed. Do mainstream critics exist to tell us what to like, to warn us off from the not-so-good, or are they there to punish those that would dare to make a piece of work that doesn’t match the critic’s view of the world? Perhaps the critic is saying, ‘people like me will have an opinion like this,’ but of course, there just aren’t that many people like him.

“Have you noticed just how often the critics disagree with one another? And how often they’re just wrong?

“And yet we not only read them, but we believe them. Worse, we judge ourselves, contrasting our feelings with their words. Worse still, we sometimes think we hear the feared critic’s voice before we even ship our work out the door…”

This look at “expert” vs. “crowdsourced” criticism is equally applicable to the hated traditional annual performance review in which the sole “expert” is the manager delivering criticism and feedback from one point of view only. Lacking from the traditional performance review process is the ability of the crowd to give their standing ovation of the performance of their peers.

Now, we have a solution. Globoforce CEO Eric Mosley outlined this approach in his new book The Crowdsourced Performance Review, and summarized it in a recent article in Personnel Today:

“Social recognition allows every employee to be recognised for their work constantly and immediately by those individuals that see or are affected by the behaviour. This ensures that when it comes to the performance review, the work of previous months is not forgotten as it has been recorded as it happens. As the knowledge is derived from peers who work with the employee every day, the feedback holds more weight and allows for reinforcement through tangible examples. This helps the employee understand how their performance affects their colleagues and how it can be improved to have a greater impact.”

Integrating the wisdom of crowds with the singular critic (or manager) is imperative to getting a true, complete picture of an employee’s performance and contribution.

Does your organization rely on solely the manager for performance evaluation or incorporation of the wisdom of the crowds, too?

Performance Reviews: Where We Went Wrong and How to Get Back on Track

Recognize This! – The failures of the traditional annual review process can be solved through the crowdsourced performance review.

During the last decade, the clamour to end the traditional approach to the performance review has risen to deafening levels. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is Gen Y employees demanding better. Thanks to them, employees of all generations can benefit.

I like particularly how succinctly Eric Mosley, the CEO of Globoforce, makes the argument in his new McGraw-Hill book, The Crowdsourced Performance Review. The traditional, paper-based, annual approach as the sole means of providing detailed feedback to employees served a purpose decades ago. Indeed, it still does serve a valid purpose today. But the many failures of the traditional performance review must be solved through the input of crowdsourced reviews.

Just a few of the failings of the traditional appraisal process and the solutions of the crowdsourced review are:

Failing: The opinion of one person drives the annual review.

Solution: Supplement manager feedback and observation with the wisdom of the crowd – recognition received throughout the year from other employees, peers and colleagues.

Failing: Because the review is given annually, it is too infrequent and pegged to one point in time.

Solution: Give informal, regular ongoing feedback throughout the year that’s referenced during the annual review process. This timely feedback from multiple sources is far more effective at reinforcing desired behaviors and actions so that employees are encouraged to repeat actions and behaviors that  you need again and again.

Failing: Most traditional, annual reviews give feedback on goals achieved, with little focus on behaviors demonstrated.

Solution: Incorporate how results were achieved, based on your core values, as part of the review. To truly crowdsource the review, encourage all employees to recognize each other throughout the year when they see someone living your values in their daily work.

The cumulative effect of this information gathered throughout the year from multiple sources balances out the single source of more goal-based information from the manager at the annual review.

I’ve only scratched the surface of the failings of the annual performance review. I encourage you to check out The Crowdsourced Performance Review  for more.

What’s your typical experience with the performance review process in your workplace.

Don’t Want to Do an Annual Performance Review? Do This Instead!

Recognize This! – Crowdsourced performance reviews year-round drive much more effective performance while creating powerful, positive cultures of recognition and engagement.

Performance appraisals are top of mind for me lately as we are all eagerly awaiting the release of my CEO’s latest book – The Crowdsourced Performance Review: How Social Recognition Transforms Performance Management.

Let’s face it. Nearly everyone admits the traditional approach for performance appraisals (in place for decades now) doesn’t work for many reasons and from everyone’s perspective. But what should you do about it?

Blessing White recently published an article in Fast Company with this perspective:

“Although performance appraisals appropriately focus on maximum contribution the organization’s side of the engagement model), the greatest performance improvement results when an individual’s personal motivators, interests, and talents are taken into account. Yet rarely do performance appraisals address those elements. … So rather than trying to reengineer your performance appraisal discussion to tap into personal engagement drivers of employees, we suggest that you make sure

  • Your appraisal process drives clarity of priorities and expectations and provides fair and useful performance feedback.
  • Your managers understand that performance feedback should be immediate and year-round (even though they’re being monitored just once a year).
  • You hold your managers accountable for addressing performance problems with clear action steps like performance improvement plans.
  • Encourage and train your managers to talk with their teams the rest of the year–in career coaching conversations, onboarding discussions, and engagement reviews.”

This is precisely the approach that Eric Mosley offers in The Crowdsourced Performance Review. Indeed, this connection is what Jessica Miller-Merrill highlighted as most valuable about the book in her review on her Blogging 4 Jobs site:

“That’s precisely what Eric Mosley, CEO and Co-founder of Globoforce discusses in his new book The Crowd Sourced Performance Review.  The book discusses the current disconnect with the old employee performance review model still being used by managers in the new collaborative and engagement-focused workplace.  What I like most about the book is that Eric provides real-world scenarios and dialogue that happens between employee and manager.  For business leaders and managers who are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with implementing a new process or shift in how we rate and view employee performance more from a collaborative standpoint, I find the dialogue extremely helpful.  Managers can test drive real world scenarios and think through verbiage, conversations, and possible questions from their employees before the sit down and more formal performance review and evaluation meeting.  We know there is almost nothing worse as an employee to have a sit down with your boss and find out they don’t have any insights or answers because they haven’t done the homework upfront.”

The Crowdsourced Performance Review is being released next week and Eric is leading a webinar himself on the book and the key arguments he makes in it. Wednesday, November 14th at 1:00 pm Eastern (10:00 am, Pacific; 18:00 GMT), join him for “How Social Recognition Transforms Traditional Performance Management.”

If you’d like a free copy of the eBook, leave me a comment on this post and I’ll be sure you get it when the book is released next week.


Rules of Engagement: Follow the Map Employees Set for Their Own Engagement

Recognize This! – Direction, training, and feedback are critical to increased engagement.

Thanks to a great article in by Leslie Allen, I came across these interesting results of a recent CIPD study in the UK. (The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development is similar to SHRM in the US. This 2012 research reflects the employee satisfaction and engagement attitudes of nearly 300,000 employees and managers across industries throughout the UK.)

Key findings:

  • 39% are engaged (up 3 percentage points)
  • 3% are completely disengaged (constant from Winter 2011)
  • 58% are neutrally engaged (up 2 percentage points from Winter 2011)

It’s the neutrally engaged I find most interesting. Though 72% of them say they are treated fairly by their boss, 22% are still job hunting. Keep in mind the definition of “neutrally engaged” – doing their job well enough to get along, but not bringing any extra effort, creativity or personal interest to their roles. To them, “it’s just a job” and they are quite satisfied with it, but they’re not going to go the extra distance or draw attention to themselves.

The Path to Engagement

These neutrally engaged employees were quite clear about what it would take for them to give that extra effort that organizations desperately need in today’s constrained economic environment. As Leslie pointed out in his article:

  • 61% don’t have the personal career discussions they would like with their managers
  • 70% are not getting the coaching they need
  • 54% do not get regular performance feedback from their manager.

Employees themselves are laying out a clear path to engage them:

  1. Tell me where I’m going in my career.
  2. Give me the training I need to get there.
  3. Tell me how I’m doing along way so I can stay on course.

You can’t say fairer than that. Annual performance review and career discussions simply do not meet employee needs in the modern workplace. Frequent, timely social performance management far better suits today’s interconnected age.

How engaged are you in your work? What would you need to help you engage more?

Going beyond the 360 Review with True Crowdsourced Feedback

Recognize This! – 360° reviews are an improvement on traditional annual employee appraisals, but don’t go far enough.

Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of the traditional annual performance appraisal, for many reasons, not least of which are:

1)      They’re annual, which is far too infrequent to change behaviors or redirect efforts for best results.

2)      They usually reflect the opinion, perception and feedback of just one person.

3)      They engender fear and trepidation among both the manager giving the appraisal and the employee receiving it.

Traditional 360° Reviews Not the Answer

For at least two or three decades, a solution many HR pros have turned to is the 360° review – a formal process to solicit feedback from multiple people. On the surface, this solves the problem, but dig a bit deeper and these challenges still remain with traditional 360° reviews:

1)      Feedback is given by a pre-selected group who have been asked (or required) to provide their comments and is often anonymous, which leads to any number of problems such as those Seth Godin mentioned recently in his blog.

2)      People don’t know how to interpret the feedback they are given from these multiple sources, which are often wildly divergent, as explained in this Envisia blog post.

3)      They’re still annual, disconnecting the feedback from the events.

If annual reviews from the boss don’t work and 360° reviews still have their problems as well, then what’s the answer?

Crowdsourcing through Strategic, Social Recognition

Instead, empower all employees through strategic, social recognition to give their positive feedback on what matters to you – how well your employees demonstrate your company values while achieving your strategic objectives. The benefits of this approach:

1)      It’s frequent, timely and very specific positive feedback that clearly associates the reason for recognition in the employees’ minds so they will want to repeat those behaviors/actions again and again.

2)      It’s from multiple sources across the organization, alleviating the burden of one point of feedback and the associated fear.

3)      Vastly increased data points on recognition given also reveals areas of weakness or potential opportunity for growth in areas yet to be recognized. Easy integration with other forms of appraisal and feedback provide a more full and complete picture for real-time and long-term talent management.

What is your preferred form of employee appraisal and feedback?

Feedback – Are We Even Sure What It Is?

Recognize This! – Feedback is useless unless it is frequent, timely and gathered from multiple sources.

Feedback. How often should we give it? Who should give it? When should it be given? What format to deliver it should be used?

All of these are good questions, but are we all in agreement on what feedback is?

Steve Roesler, author of the All Things Workplace blog, recently answered this question by telling us where the term originated:

“Feedback started as a term used to describe the signals sent from a rocket back to earth in order to determine the accuracy of the rocket’s course. By tracking speed and trajectory, ground crews could determine when and where to make corrections.

“At some point in time, the term Feedback was incorporated into business language as a way to talk about performance. And, as in rocket flight, it has been determined that the best way for a person to stay “on course” is to assess where one stands at any given moment in relation to the task or goal at hand.

“Here’s the really important point: The chances of impacting performance increase with frequency and timeliness of feedback. That implies the need for ongoing ‘How are we doing?’ conversations. It’s our best chance at knowing whether we’re on track or not.”

I couldn’t agree more. And that’s the key failing of the annual performance review process (or even the bi-annual approach). It’s simply too infrequent to provide the course correction needed.

That’s why it’s critical to integrate social recognition into your performance management programs. As Mary Ann Masarech, employee engagement practice leader with BlessingWhite, said in a recent webinar with me:

“The powerful thing about recognition is that it reminds people of what matters most. This is a key part of engagement – to redirect employee effort and attention to the top priorities of the organization. Regular recognition throughout the year is a reminder of what you need employees to keep doing.”

Regular, frequent, consistent recognition – from multiple sources (not just the direct manager) – gives the ongoing, real-time feedback employees at all levels need to stay on course.

From management’s perspective, the dramatic increase in amount of feedback better informs talent management systems, especially when viewed as comparative Talent Maps across the organization.

Do you have a structure for giving frequent feedback to keep employees on course, or are you relying on a system that may be letting them wander away from your goals?