Yoga Mats for Sale at Target

I remember walking through Target about 10 years ago and seeing a yoga mat for sale. As I continued pushing my red cart, I thought Yoga is officially mainstream. It was no longer for the well traveled; it was now officially accessible for the masses at Target. The same could be said about published lists and competitions for being The Best Place to Work.

I first learned about these competitions while reading Fortune Magazine in the late 90′s. Instantly, I thought this was fantastic. Companies being recognized for their role as employers! Yes! To make matters even better, the data suggested that these Great Places to Work even outperformed their competition. Perhaps treating your employees well yields greater profits. That piece of data alone has probably sustained Fortune’s list over the past 15 years, but what’s interesting to me is how normal these lists now seem.

In the Twin Cities, I’ve noticed at least 3 separate Best Workplace Lists. Feels a little like seeing Yoga Mats for sale at Target. We’ve done a little analysis of the 3 Lists locally and want to add to the knowledge base about the lists and more importantly what separates a workplace from a great workplace.

In terms of the local lists, the biggest difference is how a “small organization” is defined. Whether less than 10, more than 10 or more than 50, the 3 Twin Cities lists differ on that category. One similarity is that each has a 3rd Party to facilitate the Employee Survey (Gilmore Research, Quantum and Workplace Dynamics—all of which have primary offices outside of the Twin Cities)! What I would give to facilitate the survey process for one of these! [...]

Minnesota Best Places to Work Analysis

 The Comparison of top four competitions saluting organizations that set standards for the best qualities within a working team. See the similarities, differences, and maybe event the best fit to apply your company into a competition.  Just remember, the secret for the CEO’s to make a commitment to this! COMPETITIONS Star Tribune – “Top Workplaces” […]

Performance Flaw #6: Not Enough Prep Time

In examining the flaws of traditional performance management, flaw #6 highlights the lack of prep time that spoils the review for everyone. “I’ve got 18 performance reviews to get done and put into the system before the end of the day. If you have a life threatening issue, call my mobile. Otherwise, I will talk to you when I finish this joyful task.”

The clock is ticking and you need to get your portion of the performance reviews complete. Copy and paste the same answers for everyone? Seen that. Check the boxes, but don’t provide any comments? Seen that. Provide a blanket statement or two without concrete examples? Seen that too. I hate to sound cynical, but even the best review systems will render themselves less useful with less time. I’m not suggesting you need to provide a full-day of time into each review, but managers who treat their reviews with importance, get follow up and success from their employees. We, as employees, want to be held accountable. We want to know that someone cares about our performance.

Have you ever worked for someone who can really run a good, productive and fun meeting? Chances are they have some facilitation skills AND they prepare for the meeting. This past year, I worked for a client that was routinely double and triple booked. How can you possibly prepare for a meeting or a review in that environment? You have to say no to the crazy making. You need to track performance throughout the year and mark yourself out near the end of the year to focus on the process. Excellent review systems will force succinct answers, saving you time; however, it can be difficult to say more with less. I challenge you to write your employee reviews this year in less than 300 characters. Use specific examples and consider the best the employee brings and their opportunity to make an even bigger difference next year [...]

Ratings—Kids look, Dad Exceeds Expectations on Occasion!

As performance review season is thrust upon employees and managers this winter, the mumbling about our HR systems galvanizes our employees. If there is one thing most can agree upon, is that we really don’t like our performance review process. Based on my experience, one of the Top 10 Flaws with our performance review systems is the Rating.

In the United States, we grow up with grades. Those grades lead to lists….the A Honor Roll, the B Honor Roll and bumper stickers that say my kid is smarter than yours. Somewhere along the way, performance reviews in our organizations and businesses thought it would be a good idea to roll out ratings for their employees. Instead of A, B, C, D and F, we took our school-based 5 point rating scale and dressed it up. By the way, what happened to E?

Back to my point, at work:

A= Exceeds Expectations
B= Exceeds Expectations on Occasion
C=Meets Expectations
D=Below Expectations
F= Needs Improvement

Can you imagine thousands of employees riding home on their bus, train or car and running into their home with their awe-inspiring rating ready for a prominent spot on their fridge? Look kids, Dad Exceeds Expectations on Occasion! Perhaps an after-market of a bumper sticker series [...]