It's Performance Review Time!

performance review stressIt's that dreaded time again, and no we're not talking about taxes or anything, we're talking about employee performance reviews! Right about now, we start to see employees fidget, maybe up the productivity ante, or simply drag their feet on hitting that performance “submit” button. Generally, there's a negative aura encapsulating the tried and true performance reviews, but why? There seems to be a lack of transference as to why we do performance reviews and the good that can only come through these exercises.

Performance Review Is Communication

For example, an unbiased and effective performance review should open conversation and communication flow between you and your employees. During the quarter, things can get hectic, time is limited, and communication can be disjointed. Performance reviews are designed to tear down those barriers, allowing honest opinions, suggestions, and comments to increase employee engagement. We all want to feel like our time is valued or that our needs our met on both ends of the table, whether you're an employer or employee. This review gives both sides a chance to openly discuss how to improve this mutual gratification in the workplace.

Performance Review Stirs Competitive Nature

Deep down, we all (maybe secretly or further down than others) crave some competition. We want to feel valuable or successful in whatever we do. In the workplace, the same stands true. Constructive criticism and praise is key to keeping that positive, competitive flame burning. We all strive to better ourselves, but how can we do that without feedback and potential criticism? Performance reviews are the perfect way to ignite your employees' natural competitive nature. Not only are you helping to align your employees' performance with your vision, but you're creating this drive to surpass prior performance.

Encourage your managers and employees to see performance reviews as a mutually beneficial process. Employees get a chance to air out frustrations or to ring praise towards the organization, and employers and managers can better align performance and goals, while strengthening the relational infrastructure. It's not meant to put anyone in the “hot seat” or create tension, but performance reviews should motivate and encourage employees while unifying the goals and initiative between managers and their employees. Perhaps they should rename performance reviews to pep talks, but then the stress relief market would probably sue us for their lack of sales. Oh well, until next time, HR community!

Recruitment: One Goal, a Million Paths to Get There

recruitment roadmapRecruitment has and will always be a buzzword in HR, but it's also been surrounded with controversy. What controversy, you may ask? Well, throughout our newsfeeds, email subscriptions, and other morning coffee reads, it's always safe to say that we'll see some article on the "5 Best Recruitment Practices" or "Recruiting the Right Way," etc. Clearly, there's controversy as everyone thinks they've struck gold with their latest-and-greatest recruitment breakthrough. People will always talk, and we will always listen…until we tune out due to a lack of statistical or at least "meaningful" evidence. Trust me, we're skeptics too when we read recruitment hot topics, but I think we've hit the recruitment jackpot when we observe the company named Zappos, an Amazon-owned retail business, and their recruitment model. I mean seriously, the jackpot is not proverbial in this sense; HR could be saving their companies a lot of money by infusing their organizations with new recruitment zen.

Recruitment Starts with Employee Engagement

According to Zappos, recruitment starts with employee engagement and appreciation. Zappos seemingly puts their employees first, often offering incentives and creating an environment where an employee feels appreciated and excited to work. They focus organically to create this sense of trust and dedication to the company and the brand. With a loyal workforce, Zappos allows potential new hires to chat with current employees, yielding tremendous amounts of applicants after hearing workplace praises from current employees. For years, Zappos has been listed as one of the "Best Companies to Work For," hands down due to the environment they've created by putting people first. In turn, they've ramped up their social presence and have taken to these mediums to turn up the volume of their happy community to 11 for the world to see. And what do you know, people are responding to it.

Recruitment Works Inside Out

This is the kind of environment we should all try to simulate. By focusing internally, you're ultimately assisting your external perception. In turn, recruitment sort of works itself out. Posting on job boards and using recruitment services are great; don't think we're anti-traditional hiring practice. However, the difference between the major and minor leagues of recruitment is your companies' work environment. Would your employees speak highly of your workplace? Could you rely on them to attract applicants? Do you have a strong, lasting relationship with your workforce? If you’re unsure or answer no to any of these questions, maybe it's time to reevaluate your recruitment strategies, starting internally.

Source: Talent Culture

Telecommuting: Your New Old Workplace Benefit?

As we talked about last week, business is becoming increasingly mobile. Employers and employees are considering options to take business on the go, and one such option that is becoming increasingly desirable is telecommuting. In fact, not only is telecommuting just an option, but increasingly viewed as a benefit.

Telecommuting: Benefiting Staples Employees

Recently, Staples undertook their annual telecommuting survey that showed a whopping 71% of telecommuters listed the mobility of their job as a critical benefit. Even 10% of those surveyed would opt for a pay decrease in order to telecommute. As we can see, telecommuting is highly desirable, but how does a company as a whole fare when employees are offsite?

Telecommuting Makes Employees Happy

As an outcome of telecommuting, employers are noticing significant increases in employee demeanor. Employees are often happier, which has led to a statistical increase in productivity. Which, I am not quite sure why this surprises people, the happier- equals -production notion should be a no-brainer. Much of the workforce is spreading themselves thinner than ever, so as employers there needs to be a shift in flexibility. The age old 9-5 routine simply cannot work for everyone. So, how do employers make this a viable option and how do employees approach this topic with management?

Telecommuting: An Extension of BYOD

As an employer, thankfully, the products we touched on last week can have you cleaning out office space in no time as communication and accessibility can take place online. Again, options like Trello and UberConference replicate physical communication when time or circumstance don't allow for any. Another idea that has been sweeping the working world is allowing for BYOD (bring your own device). As it stands, about 4 out 5 employees use their personal devices for work-related tasks, so why not take that to the next level? We think it's safe to say that all of us have used our smartphones or tablets to churn out work emails, scope LinkedIn resumes, or follow the news on Twitter. We as people like the familiar, and if we have to choose between our own preferred devices versus a dull work device, we'd be willing to take a wild guess and assume we would all prefer utilizing our own personal gadgets. Not only are we familiar with these systems, but there's a sense of freedom when we break away from corporate control which also leads to greater creativity and ultimately, productivity. Not to mention, this hard drive follows its owner any and everywhere. While there are some issues such as compatibility and privacy, it's worth looking into in order to catch opulent talent, requiring telecommuting.

As old school as some of us are, times they are a-changin', and they're leaving us no choice but to follow the current. The world of HR is constantly changing from virtual recruitment to heightened compliance initiatives. Stay tuned for next week's blog as we continue to keep you up-to-speed on today's HR issues.

Source: HR Morning

More to read: New York Times Forbes

Trust and Berkshire Hathaway: Gullible or Brilliant?

Berkshire Hathaway doesn't have an HR department! How can it possibly function?! Honestly, we don't know. We're not here to speculate on what this mega corporation runs without, but rather what it seems to run on and abundantly: trust. What does this have to do with you, who doesn’t have the helm of a company raking in over 150 billion dollars a year? Maybe, just maybe, it’s the fear of getting burned by trusting the wrong people that’s kneecapping both our hiring and engagement strategies.

Trust and the Hiring Process

We each have our own method, our individual mix of desired characteristics, but how often, as we see in the case of Berkshire Hathaway, do we consciously weigh how much we feel we can trust a candidate? If we do not lay this at the foundation of our hiring process, where does that lead our organizations moving forward? We are hiring people whom we cannot necessarily trust, or at least, people we are not certain we trust. Seems dangerous, doesn’t it?

Trust Engages Employees

While it seems irresponsible to just go around trusting people, the Berkshire Hathaway example suggests that employees not only produce, but engage in the workplace. Studies suggest that the power of trust is rather strong, and honestly, say that you’d rather not be trusted. It’s at least worth the argument that employees, we, will be more loyal and steadfast and productive when we feel trusted. And that trust encourages us to interact and engage more openly. Is trust the silver bullet to retaining that top talent? The curious case of Berkshire Hathaway certainly suggests it might be.

Could it be that the only flaw in our hiring and retaining strategies is our own unwillingness to be burnt by trusting the wrong candidates and employees? Could it be that we don’t need a better strategy to snag that top talent, but a better way to frame our strategy? Likewise, maybe we don’t need a better strategy to retain top talent, but a better way to view that strategy? What do you think? Is Berkshire Hathaway crazy? Are we? Or could trust really be a novel idea once again?

Source: New York Times

The Rules of Disengagement

In today's business world, employee engagement is a constant topic that strikes interest in HR professionals, upper management, and even employees themselves everywhere. Sure, everyone wants the magic bullet to fix DES (disgruntled employee syndrome), but as professionals in our respective fields, shouldn't we be asking how employees reach disengagement before diagnosing a cure? Today, there is so much talk about how engaging your employees increases sales, customer retention, and builds word of mouth notoriety, but the reality of the business world is that many employees are in fact, disengaged. According to a Gallup Poll taken in 2013, 70% of the U.S. workforce is "completely disengaged" in their workplace. If employee engagement is such a hot topic, how can the rate of disengagement be so high? The answer: we are not correcting the problem and its attributing factors.

Motivational Disengagement

By way of nature, many employees work for the paycheck and hard enough to stay away from the firing line. As a company, simply speaking, finances take the cake for important factors when it comes to the employees it hires. Bottom line, the company must save its bottom line. With these primitive mindsets, how can businesses and its employees grow when the prize has nothing to do with growth? Simple: company management must take the first step in understanding the intrinsic values of their employees. Money is not the only motivator in the workplace.

Drawing from personal experiences and published studies, below you'll find some contributing factors to employee disengagement many employers are still missing:

  • A lack of communication between the employer and his or her employees. Working in blind-faith isn't exactly a motivator.
  • Over and over again, employers don't create a community environment in the workplace. If any employee doesn't feel like they belong to a group or provide a valued piece of the puzzle, there is no incentive to work past the self-serving bare minimum.
  • Often, organizations don't provide enough or any feedback. Be it positive or negative, an employee needs to know that their actions matter and in what way they're affecting their workplace.
  • Change and the aversion to it can often disengage employees. We all want to know that our voice matters, but employers need to be ready to implicate suggestions if they want to retain employee morale.
  • We all hear this and "know" this, but it is often not implemented: recognition. We all need recognition for positive work ethic, ingenuous ideas, superb project performance, and we need it often. Nothing disengages an employee faster than being constantly overlooked.
  • While employers need to have control to run an organization, too much control can detach an employee. Instead of choosing an appropriate solution, why not give lead way to your employees to be decision makers?
  • Finally, often upper-management is thought to not be involved. The old saying goes, "lead by example." If you're disengaged, you cannot possibly expect your employees to be engaged and perform.

While many of these disengagement attributes are not aha moments, more often than not they are overlooked or forgotten about altogether. If each disengaged employee costs approximately $2,300 dollars a year, you can do the math and realize how much companies are chipping away at their bottom lines by ignoring simple fixes like the ones above. Through change, one minor ripple can have a tidal wave effect that benefits your business for a lifetime.