No Career Overlap

Let’s examine flaw number eight of the traditional performance management. Number eight highlights the lack of career development inherent within review systems.

A couple months ago, I sat down with a new employee to work on their performance goals for the year. As we looked at her draft goals, there was some confusion about what was an organization goal and what was a career goal. I explained, an organization goal is about pushing the organization to perform; the career goal is something you keep—a skill, an enhanced competency or a certification of sorts based on the individual interests.Many review systems don’t overlap with the person’s career. Smaller organizations are more limited by this than big companies where a department of people exists to train and build skill. In small organizations, a year is like a dog-year. We age prematurely as there is so much work to do and very little thought given to our future or career. In my on-going desire to gain discretionary effort from my team and my client teams, individual motivation needs to be galvanized [...]

Performance Management Flaw – Forgetting 10 Months of the Year

In our series that examines the flaws of traditional performance management, flaw number 7 highlights the Golden Gate Bridge Effect of the review cycle.

I have heard this explained a number of ways over the years. Recency. Organizational Amnesia. A phenomenon of performance reviews is that we remember those things that happened within the very recent past.

If you look at a Suspension Bridge like the Golden Gate from the perspective of the water, you get the normal workflow for traditional performance reviews. From the left, the first tower illustrates the beginning of the year—time to set goals. Then begins the drop-off—the point at which no one looks at performance. Do we not care about performance from February to November? 10 months of the year. Of course not, we just don’t care about the Performance Review system. The primary reason for that, in my opinion, is because the system doesn’t tell us how we are progressing as an organization or individuals. What if your performance review gave you updates on organization performance? [...]

An Overused Word Starring in your 3:00 p.m. Meeting — Alignment

If you make a living as a consultant, a solopreneur, a legal or tax advisor, or spend a portion of your day on a laptop at a coffee shop or sitting on conference calls, chances are that you use the word Alignment too frequently.

Alignment. Sounds easy. The reality is alignment doesn’t come in words, it comes in tools, systems, and communication. And it is far from easy to achieve.

A few years ago, I received a referral from a client. A nice compliment, right. So, the setting is mid-December and the prospective new client called and said we need some serious help with our performance review system. I was instantly flattered for the call and the referral. The predicament they found themselves in stemmed from a lack of alignment in their Performance Review system. They used ratings and tied their ratings to bonus payouts. For many packaged review and HR Information Systems, this is quite common [...]

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 [...]