Posts Tagged "Performance Management’

2 Principles for Effective Performance Management

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – The next generation of performance management will be employee driven and focused on contributions. Social technologies are the tools that make it effective.

Across the landscape of companies redesigning performance reviews, there is a diverse range in the way those systems are designed and implemented. Yet regardless of the specific path chosen, the common thread is to streamline and make the evaluative process more efficient while also increasing validity.

At the same time, the big data revolution in HR has begun to provide a wealth of more information about performance events, in real-time and from different platforms. Performance management processes are beginning to take advantage of that trend, leveraging continuous conversations about performance and development.

As I wrote in a recent post on Compensation Cafe, social technologies and tools are well suited to take advantage of these changes in the performance management space.

Specifically, two features stand out among these next generation performance management approaches:

The first is that performance is largely employee-driven, the organization focused on providing the tools that facilitate goals, conversations, and feedback around performance. These tools help to establish both a cadence and continuous improvement mindset. The data provides insight on both current progress and future direction.

The second is the clear separation between discussions around base pay and merit increases (reflecting one’s core skills and abilities) and variable pay and bonuses (reflecting one’s specific contributions over the year). For the purposes of the latter, a majority of employees fall into a group defined by consistent performance (operationalized as having met at least three-quarters of one’s goals). The simplicity of the approach allows for much more focused and ultimately more developmental conversations.

These features balance the needs of individual employees to grow and meaningfully contribute, with the needs of organizational and compensation decision-makers. These approaches will be employee-driven, data-rich and process-light.

What tools is your organization providing to contribute to performance?

What happens when work becomes a hobby?

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! — In the gig economy, a growing portion of people are working for reasons other than pay. That could mean big shifts for how companies motivate and attract workers in the future.

The gig economy has gotten quite a bit of press recently, as the popularity of technology-enabled platforms has made it easier than ever for people to find and get paid for gigs. The most popular options continue to be ride hailing and online tasks, but the sector is growing to include ad-hoc project work, professional services, and even personal help.

Although the gig economy is still relatively small in comparison to the traditional economy (approximately 8% or so), the dynamics of gig work could end up having a large impact on the ongoing evolution of the employer-employee relationship. Compounding the issue is the rise in automation and machine learning that is spreading from industrial settings to service and knowledge-based jobs.

As I wrote in this post on Compensation Cafe, one of the more striking shifts has been toward a growing segment of workers that participate in the labor market because of reasons other than pay – referred to as “hobbyists.” They seek out opportunities to socialize or have fun, or simply have a desire to do something productive with their time.

The idea of working human is deeply resonant with this approach to gig work – prioritizing a sense of belonging and meaning over pay (although adequate compensation is still vital). There are also implications for the changing landscape of how businesses and HR leaders will need to adapt to this shifting mindset among workers.

Below are some of the biggest implications, summarized from my original post, as some of these changes spread outside of the gig economy:

  • Increasing pressure on organizations to create positive work experiences that can attract and engage these workers, as a solution to high rates of churn and an unpredictable supply of talent over time.

  • Shifting focus away from traditional attractors, such as benefits and employee perks, to leverage more fluid and immediate aspects of their rewards portfolios, such as social recognition.

  • Continuing evolution of performance, balancing the need for one-off gigs with repeat or ongoing work, concurrent with a greater emphasis on continuous performance conversations.

What are some other implications for employees and employers when work becomes less like work and more like a hobby?

Doing Gymnastics at Work

by Traci Pesch

US Women's 2016 Olympics ChampionsRecognize This! – The sport of gymnastics offers several lessons we can apply to make work more human.

My daughter did gymnastics for 6 years. It’s an intense sport for which, unless you’re deeply in it, it is hard to understand the level of commitment necessary. To be a top-level gymnast requires dedication of your entire mind and body, relentless practice of 30-40 hours a week, and mental discipline to engage in 6+ hour meets where you must focus completely for less than 2 minutes of competition on one element and then wait an hour or more for another less than 2 minutes of complete focus on another element.

Gymnastics is a unique sport, but some elements are the same for all sports that offer us lessons for the workplace, too.

“Superstar” is relative.

Yesterday’s superstar is today’s team player. Look at Gabby Douglas. In the 2012 Olympics, she won the gold medal in the individual all-around competition. By 2016, she missed competing for the all-around final despite having the third-highest score. (Two of her teammates took the top spots, and only two competitors from each country are permitted to compete.)

Is Gabby any less of a superstar? Certainly not! Her talent and skill still place her in the highest ranks in the world. And yet the rulebook lessens her. For those still clinging to a forced ranking model of performance valuation, think  about your superstars who are being labeled as less than stellar for no other reason than strict rules on how many “5s” you’re allowed to have.

False valuation models can break the spirit of even your best employees. Working more human requires us to consider how we can equip and encourage all of our people to do the best work of their lives.

Failure is inevitable.

Simone Biles, by every measure, was the standout hit of the Olympics. The strength, power and grace she packs into her tiny frame is astounding. She set a new American record for the most gold medals in women’s gymnastics in a single Olympics (4 medals) and joined an elite global group with a total of 5 medals in a single games. And yet, she wasn’t perfect. In the balance beam final, she wobbled badly enough she had to grab the beam. On this world stage, that’s failure. She missed the mark.

But she still took the bronze. How? Why was her wobbly performance better than other wobbly performances that didn’t medal? First, she incorporated harder elements in her routine. She intentionally set a higher bar. And when she did wobble, she put it behind her quickly and went on to finish strong.

Failure itself is not bad and can often be a sign of trying to shoot high. But we will never know what we can achieve if we don’t try. How much more innovative would our teams be if we lifted the fear of failure, gave them the room to try, support them as the make the attempt, then help them recover quickly, learn and move forward?

The team is only as good as the team.

I get annoyed by the phrase, “A team is only as good as the individuals on it.” It implies that the individual is solely responsible for themselves. Gymnastics teaches something different. The team is only as good as the team performance overall. Gymnasts must find ways to improve their own skills, yes, while also helping their teammates continually improve too.

How can we all train like gymnasts to support each other and make each other better? How can we build more human teams at work designed to elevate the team to success while simultaneously improving the individual?

With the 2016 Paralympics beginning, new inspiration is all around us. What lessons from the Olympics do you see that can be applied as well strive to make work more human?

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?

Feedback Is Critical (but Don’t Say Anything Negative)

by Lynette Silva

Unbalanced beamRecognize This! – Positive feedback has more power than negative criticism for boosting performance.

In an article sure to inspire a good bit of negative “kids today!” comments, the Wall Street Journal recently published an article on a “kinder, softer” approach to performance management and the performance review process. Here’s an excerpt:

“‘Accentuate the positive’ has become a new mantra at workplaces like VMware Inc., Wayfair Inc., and the Boston Consulting Group Inc., where bosses now dole out frequent praise, urge employees to celebrate small victories and focus performance reviews around a particular worker’s strengths—instead of dwelling on why he flubbed a client presentation…

“Now, managers [at BCG] are expected to extol staffers’ strengths during reviews and check-ins, explaining how the person can use his or her talents to tackle aspects of the job that come less naturally. Bosses are advised to mention no more than one or two areas that require development, [BCG Partner Michelle] Russell adds.”

Does that mean we ignore constructive criticism, or – dare I say – negative feedback, when needed? Of course not. Here’s the opinion of three people (an academic, an employee, and an executive), also from the WSJ article:

“Still, companies that ramp up the positivity need to make sure they’re not totally bypassing the evaluation of employees, [Sheila Heen, a lecturer at Harvard Law School and co-author of Thanks for the Feedback] says…

“Caitlin Marcoux, a senior associate at [PricewaterhouseCoopers], says she still gets told when she messed up. But she appreciates the extra dose of appreciation, which she says has helped to build her confidence. Without it, “I’ll be a harsher critic on myself,” she says….

“Yahoo’s [Chairman, Maynard] Webb cautions that overly positive managers run the risk of ignoring problems festering in their workplace, making for a crisis down the line. Overall, though, the evolution isn’t a bad thing—people perform better when they’re encouraged and inspired, he says.”

The real message in this is all about finding the right balance. When discussing performance improvement needs, it seems most logical to focus on those areas needing improvement – your weaknesses. Yet studies show people are far more effective and productive at work when they focus on work that plays to their strengths and not expending too much effort on improving their weaknesses. This doesn’t mean we ignore performance challenges. It does mean we stop trying to fit round pegs into square holes.

If a member of your team is better at writing exciting materials, and less proficient at creating presentations, it makes good sense to funnel more writing projects to him and finding someone else who has PowerPoint running in their blood to create presentations. Penelope Trunk shares a great example of a member of her team who did this quite successfully by outsourcing what she least liked to do to others who are better at it.

And just because I can’t help throwing out research, don’t forget the findings that it takes five positive comments to balance one negative in our psyches. If you want employees to be able to correct one area, be sure to praise them for five areas they do well.

Remember, too, the worst thing you can do is ignore someone. Employees would rather you focused on their weaknesses than ignored them altogether. We all need feedback. We all deserve to know how we’re doing.

How are you typically evaluated – on your strengths or on your areas needing improvement? How do you typically evaluate others? Which approach do you believe to be more effective?


5 Types of Fatigued Employees & How to Help them Re-Engage

Recognize This! – Energy ebbs and flows over time, but we can help employees re-engage when we identify and address key areas of fatigue.

I had the opportunity to present at SHRM in Orlando this week. I was gratified to have a full session at the 7:00 am early-bird spot on Tuesday. I think the title of my session – How to Transform Employee Fatigue into Employee Engagement – may have resonated with SHRM attendees.

As I was able to discuss later at SHRM with John Hollon, editor of TLNT, employee recognition data has become a powerful tool to better understand our employees’ state of mind and ways in which we can influence them more effectively. For those unable to attend, I’d like to share the main points of my presentation in which I discussed the five primary types of “fatigued” employees. I shared a good many statistics, too, primarily from our Workforce Mood Tracker and SHRM/Globoforce surveys. (Full survey reports are available here.)

1) The Uninspired Employee

Symptoms: doesn’t see meaning in their job (or how they fit into the mission of company).  They often lack motivation and drive.

To fully engage, day after day, employees need inspiration. We all need a sense of greater purpose and meaning for what we do beyond the day-to-day tasks. When we recognize others for how they’ve contributed to the bigger picture, we help our colleagues gain that needed deeper meaning. And when we do so in the context of the core values of the organization, we help all employees understand more deeply the company conviction to do business right – achieve needed results, yes, but only when we can do so without violating our core values.

Indeed, 72% of companies (with recognition tied to core values) said employees felt fairly rewarded for performance. And values-based recognition has a profound impact and many factors that drive bottom-line value:

Why values-based recognition matters - bar chart

2) The “Checked Out” Employee

Symptoms: can’t wait to run out the door when 5pm hits or is going through the motions, content to “rack up” years of service without any meaningful motivation

81% of companies celebrate milestone anniversary awards in some sort of Years of Service or Long Service program. And yet, only 15% of employees in these programs say receiving such an award helped them be more engaged. Indeed, 51% say a service award changed nothing.

Why is this? 73% of employees say recognition is far more meaningful when it includes feedback from others – peers and colleagues – as well as their managers. That’s why a much more modern approach to service anniversaries intentionally involves others in the celebration moment.

51% of employees feel nothing from service awards

Image Credit: USA Today

3) The Negative Employee

Symptoms: can be a real “Debbie Downer” and bring down the happiness levels of those around them if their influence is allowed to grow and spread.

The impact of happiness on numerous factors – employee engagement and satisfaction at work as well as physical health, family and others – is well documented. Being recognized at work for demonstrating core values (as discussed in the first example above) is a key contributor to perceptions of personal happiness – at work and at home.

How recognition increases happiness

4) The Fortune Teller Employee

Symptoms – Dreads performance reviews due to poor structure and lack of peer input. He knows the drill and what’s going to happen (the same as last year).

Employees (51%) and managers (45%) alike see the traditional performance review as a failed mechanism, giving an inaccurate appraisal of employee performance. 61% of respondents to a survey said performance reviews rarely or never lead to improved performance.

So what works better? We don’t need to throw out the traditional process entirely, but rather supplement it with the Crowdsourced Performance Review. How does that work in practice? A client of ours in the high-technology industry tells us:

“We actually see recognition as a living, breathing, performance journal, and it’s given us insights into what team members are doing and what they’re not doing…And what’s been really great is the ability that we’ve had to integrate the recognition data into our performance appraisals and into our performance management.”

5) The Under-Appreciated Team

Symptoms – Knows the only recognition they might receive will be at the annual awards event, so why work hard the other 11 months of year when their efforts won’t be remembered?

While 78% of employees say they’d work harder if their efforts were recognized, only 15% of employees have been recognized in the past month. Saying “thank you” in a very specific and, critically, timely way is easy to do and delivers tremendous results – results many organizations are missing out on. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), for example, found:

“Appreciation is one of the most effective motivators in building long-term employee engagement, and at the end of the day, saying ‘Thank you’ is just part of showing you care.”

And for IHG the bottom-line impact is undeniable

  • The difference in operating profit between hotels with highly engaged staff and those without can be as high as 7%
  • 5 percentage point rise in engagement = 70 cents of increased revenue per available room per night
  • This means a 200-bed hotel could make more than $50,000 in additional revenue a year by improving staff engagement.


The Power of Thanks

So what were the take-away lessons for each of these employee types? Social recognition can:

  1. Help an organization recognize and reinforce core values.
  2. Reinvigorate years of service programs.
  3. Reshape behaviors, how what’s desired, and elevate collective happiness.
  4. Reinvent the performance review.
  5. Build a culture of trust and positivity.

What type of employees do you see in your organization? How are you helping them overcome their fatigue and re-engage?

3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Social Recognition * How JetBlue Got Its Lift

Recognize This! – Social recognition has most impact when it touches all employees frequently, wherever and however they work, to drive the data needed to make smart talent and business decisions.

During my career as an employee recognition strategist and consultant, I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with many truly innovative and forward thinking company leaders who want to do right by their employees. These people, and the companies they work for, are deeply invested in the helping their employee engage more fully in their work, thereby delivering a more satisfying experience for their customers and communities.

JetBlue is an excellent example of this attitude and approach. Mike Elliott, JetBlue’s vice president of crew relations, was recently interviewed by Erin Osterhaus for  Software Advice. In the interview, Mike shared three tips to get the most out of social recognition. (Quoting below)

1) Use Social Recognition to Reinforce Great Behavior

“When one of JetBlue’s employees—or as JetBlue calls them, “crewmembers”—receives recognition from a peer or crew leader, other people in their workgroup can see that recognition and add their own comments and congratulations… It’s a win-win. Because employees know that they will be recognized for their efforts—and know what type of behavior merits recognition—they’re inspired to do their best. As a result, JetBlue has been able to maintain a culture of high performance, even while adding new members to its team. In fact, JetBlue won the J.D. Power award for customer satisfaction for the eighth year in a row after implementing the Lift program.”

2) Make Your Program Easily Accessible to Boost Participation and Job Satisfaction

“According to Elliott, the best way to make sure employees actually use the Lift program is to make it easily accessible. In the airline business, that means going mobile. At JetBlue, Elliott notes, crewmembers must be able to receive recognition, redeem monetary rewards (in the form of gift cards) and nominate peers via mobile devices, whether they are on the ground or in the air. Thus, the social recognition program is accessible via smartphones, tablets and computers… Since repeated recognition helps improve and maintain crewmembers’ job satisfaction, keeping employees connected to the Lift program is vital. After all, if they don’t have an opportunity to use the software, how can they congratulate fellow crewmembers for their good work?”

3) Use Your Rewards Program to Identify Influencers

“Through its social recognition software, JetBlue can record and track data for metrics that were previously difficult to quantify, such as stellar employee performance… Now JetBlue is able to continuously collect a pool of valuable behavioral data that gives its leaders insight into who their top performers are. These top performers, known as “Influencers,” are outstanding crewmembers who deliver service above and beyond expectations every day. According to Elliott, many of these employees have been with the company for over a decade, despite the fact that the airline industry can be particularly challenging to work in. Uncovering how Influencers are able to deliver such high-quality service over time is crucial to improving JetBlue’s operations.”

Social, Mobile and Business Relevance through Data – those are the three keys to getting the most out social recognition in terms of driving the bottom-line results every organization needs for success in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

Be sure to read the full article for the complete Lift story at JetBlue.

Video, Radio and the Importance of Expressing Gratitude and Appreciation

Recognize This! – Directly saying “thank you” in a detailed way to others not only improves your own happiness, but in a workplace environment, can also drive deep, positive, long-lasting change.

Today I want to point you to three resources I’m quite proud of or was deeply touched by in the past week.

HR HAPPY HOUR: Eric Mosley on The Crowdsourced Performance Review

First, Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane (both bloggers I regularly follow at Steve’s HR Technology blog and Trish’s HR Ringleader blog and both influential in creating the always excellent HRevolution conference) invited Globoforce CEO Eric Mosley to share his ideas on The Crowdsourced Performance Review on their latest “HR Happy Hour” blog radio show. Just one of the important points Eric made in the show was:

“Visibility – that’s an incredible asset companies gain when they run social recognition programs that have a high cadence of frequency of recognition. They’re life-logging the culture of the organization. Lots of little wins get recorded that would have just slipped through the cracks of time. In social recognition, they get recorded. Over time, there’s a portfolio of these little instances of goodwill between people. The company as a resource now has life-logged a lot of the achievements, wins and high performance in the company. This gives a number of different insights. Most important is the insight into high performers they never knew they had in the past. When I talk to our customers who are department heads they are able to quickly see through the graphical interface who on their teams is being recognized. There is nearly always a surprise one or two employees on the team who are helping so many people in the company that just flew under the radar. The crowd is now saying: ‘This person is essential and a good part of why we do great work here.’”

GLOBOFORCE BLOG: The Essential Link between Happiness & Gratitude (terrific video)

I would be remiss if I did not share this very touching video testing out this point: “Psychologists have scientifically proven that the greatest overall contributing factor to overall happiness in your life is the amount of gratitude you show.”

Please, go to the link above and watch the video. The research tested showed a much larger jump in happiness for people who took the time and made the effort to personally and directly express their gratitude to another person. And the person that experienced the biggest jump in happiness was the one who was the least happy at the start of the experiment.

COMPENSTION CAFÉ: A Legal Perspective on the Pitfalls of Employee of the Month Programs

Last week I shared insight from the U.S. National Law Review on how employee of the month programs can do far more damage than employee disengagement and demotivation to actually cause potential discrimination lawsuits or other pejorative actions. I also share ideas on how to fix these often troubled programs and derive much greater business benefit from your employee recognition efforts.

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.

Latest Globoforce/SHRM Report: Driving Stronger Performance through Employee Recognition

Recognize This! – Recognition can impact and even fix many aspects of HR.

As regular readers can imagine, I’m a fan of research. Research from multiple angles and sources can lead us to better decisions and applications. In addition to the external research I make a practice to seek out (from the usual suspects of Towers Watson, Hay Group, Mercer, Deloitte, etc.), I also greatly enjoy the semi-annual research Globoforce conducts with SHRM on the employer/management take on the current state of employee engagement, retention, performance, organization culture and the like.

Our most recent survey just came out. The Spring 2013 Report, Driving Stronger Performance through Employee Recognition, uncovered several interesting findings as featured in the press release about the report:

Crowdsourced feedback and recognition can address the limitations of traditional performance reviews.

Of the companies surveyed, 77 percent conduct performance reviews once a year. Still, employees overwhelmingly feel more frequent reviews by multiple sources would provide more accurate input and create a more effective recognition program. Key findings include:

  • 85 percent of companies are currently using or would considering using social recognition (a system that empowers employees to recognize each other for great work).
  • 78 percent say crowdsourced recognition would be helpful data to incorporate into performance reviews.
  • 74 percent currently use or would consider mapping recognition awards against performance rankings/ratings.

Investment in recognition programs lowers workforce frustration and boosts employee productivity.

Data from the survey shows a connection between employee productivity and satisfaction and a company’s recognition program spend. According to respondents, higher budget allocations result in less frustrated and more productive employees. Employees at companies that invest more than one percent of payroll in a recognition program are:

  • Nearly twice as likely to report increased employee productivity at their company (versus companies that spend less than one percent of payroll on recognition).
  • Nearly 50 percent less likely to say they are often or very frustrated with their work environment (compared to employees at companies that spend less than one percent of payroll on recognition).

Praise coupled with prize is the most powerful motivator.

Praise is a powerful motivator for employees. When that praise is coupled with a prize, employees’ performance is driven even further. SHRM/Globoforce survey findings include:

  • 83 percent say employees are further motivated by recognition that includes a reward than recognition with no associated reward (i.e. “free” recognition).
  • 94 percent of respondents say positive feedback has a greater impact on performance (versus just six percent who say negative feedback is the better motivator)

I encourage you to check out the full report for more details.