Eliminate the performance review

A question that came my way about eliminating performance reviews. Good idea? Bad idea? Here’s the question posed, and my response.

“My company has about 1,300 employees, and we are looking at possibly eliminating the annual performance cycle. Has anyone done this? If so, what has been the result, good, or do you think you’ll need to reinstate? We’re thinking of just providing employees with a year-end COLA/CPI adjustment versus merit based increases. I welcome any input.”

Eliminate the anxiety-ridden annual performance review? Yes.
Continue to manage performance throughout the year? Absolute necessity.

If the only reason your organization has performance reviews is to be able to defend compensation decisions then you’re missing a tremendous opportunity to improve communication, performance, productivity and profitability. Once a year reviews, especially if done solely to support a merit increase, have proven ineffective. They tend to wind up being one-sided monologues by the manager or “gotcha” sessions dreaded by the employee.

Your employees need objectives, direction and feedback and that’s the key to year-round performance management. You can read more about this in my article that appeared in Workforce Magazine.

And if you’re a member of SHRM, take a look at this article from HR Magazine for more tips. http://www.shrm.org/publications/hrmagazine/editorialcontent/2009/1009/pages/1009tools.aspx

Comments? Love to hear ’em!
Only the best,

So you think you have it bad?

Does your company have a pee policy?

This is what happens when you pay closer attention to policies than people. I’m sure this wasn’t a pleasant predicament for either the suffering staff or the managers held hostage.

Companies really need to understand the purpose of policies and think through their impact before implementing them.

BEIJING (AP) — Hundreds of Chinese factory workers angry about strictly timed bathroom breaks and fines for starting work late held their Japanese and Chinese managers hostage for a day and a half before police broke up the strike.

About 1,000 workers at Shanghai’s Shinmei Electric Company held the 10 Japanese nationals and eight Chinese managers inside the factory in Shanghai.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/chinese-workers-strike_n_2525171.html?utm_hp_ref=business

Is there a future in HR?

A question came my way from a college sophomore taking a business curriculum and thinking of declaring a major in human resource management. The question posed: is there a future in HRM? Is HR a viable field to major in and build a future around? What’s a normal day in HR like?

Now, part of me is jealous. No way I’d give up all I’ve learned in the past 25 years. Oh, maybe I’d surrender a few of the scars, but what I wouldn’t give to be in her Louboutins. Or maybe Birkenstocks. This is a wonderful time to be entering this field. In the next 50 years (and most likely beyond) the difference more than ever in whether an organization prospers or falls by the wayside will be its people. Technology will not differentiate, the size of your building or facilities will not, and even your product will not. It’s all about the people.

So here are some tips I shared as someone who came to HR after two other careers.

– Be sure to learn about business, not just HR. I spent years as a line manager and knowing what managers go through in trying to do their jobs has always served me well. It enhanced my credibility with the managers with whom I worked. At some point in your career, take a line assignment. Know the business you’re in.

– Spend time as a generalist. Don’t specialize too soon. At some point in your career you will gravitate toward one aspect of HR that intrigues you most. Before that happens, gain exposure to as many of the core HR functions (staffing, compensation, benefits, employee/labor relations, Training/OD, HRIS)  as you can.

– Don’t expect normal workdays. Everyday in HR presents something new and different. And that’s good. If you welcome this, you will never stop learning.

– Oh yeah, never stop learning. Your degree will entitle you to look for a job and in some ways even equip you to hold one. Your true education comes after you graduate.

Okay, I’m way over 140 characters so I may have lost you somewhere in my second bullet, so I’ll stop now. But not until I give you one more piece of advice. Keep networking. It’s how you’ll find your first job, your next job, and your way.

Only the best,

Who says these skills are “soft?”

Why are they called soft skills when it’s so hard to do them right? It seems that whenever you hear someone talking about the importance of soft skills it sounds like they’re apologizing. Hard skills are the ones that get all the respect. Selling. Programming. Statistical analysis. These are hard skills, the ones that are hard to master and require constant upgrading and training to maintain proficiency. Soft skills are, well, soft. Fuzzy. Intangible. Less important.

Well it’s time to turn that notion on it’s head and it starts with the terminology. Soft skills are neither soft nor easy. They are critical and cut across all functions. They are Strategic. To be effective in any of the functions mentioned above you need the Strategic skills of communication, leadership, teamwork, influencing, adaptability, and so many others. The so-called hard skills are what I call Tactical or Functional skills because they are the ones related to success in a specific function. These are narrowly focused and rarely stretch across multiple functions.

I don’t mean to put them down, but I have long maintained that it’s the strategic skills that make people successful and effective in their endeavors. Certainly you need both. I wouldn’t want an accountant who’d never passed math  But in the long run, it’s the strategic skills, the ones that cross functional lines, that prove invaluable.

Just my opinion. Would be interested in yours.
Only the best,