A leader at one of our schools remarked that when done right, performance reviews can be energizing and uplifting but when done wrong they are demoralizing. It appears that the latter is what is happening in most organizations. David Ulrich, the Rensis Likert Professor of Business at the University of Michigan and the “Godfather of HR” just published an article in the latest issue of Talent Quarterly titled “Resolving the Performance Management Paradox.” He cites that 90% of HR professionals are unhappy with their review system, only 14% of CEOs believe that the review system is working and only 8% of HR executives believe that performance management makes a contribution to the success of the organization. Yet, he also cites a long history of studies that clearly indicate that accountability makes a difference. In fact one study identified that just the presence of a performance review system is the greatest predictor of success for hospitals. What can a leader do?
Ulrich recommends that regardless of the process or forms used, leaders embrace conversations: conversations focused on what he calls “positive accountability,” conversations emphasizing learning and improvement opportunities rather than evaluating what went wrong, and conversations primarily focused on the future rather than the past. He suggests that leaders look for opportunities to engage in “real time” conversations that are ongoing and revolve around work events (projects, semester start or finish, work cycle periods, annual milestones, etc.) Leaders should focus on asking questions to discover how employees can sustain success and prepare for the future and help their people look forward to apply what they have learned and address new opportunities or challenges that arise.
A simple conversational model for leaders to use with their performance review process includes the following three steps:
- Know Yourself – ask about and discuss each person’s strengths, weaknesses, passions and interests.
- Action for Growth – ideas and concrete action to leverage individual strengths and interests to support success and on-going development.
- My Value – dialogue focused on the value that each employee provides to the work unit, institution, students, stakeholders or overall organization.
By focusing less on the process and more on the conversation we can make performance reviews a more uplifting experience.
Posted in Accountability, build organizational talent, communication, higher education, Motivation, performance management, talent management
Tagged accountability, asking questions, assessments, career development, communication, engagement, evaluation, feedback, leadership development, paradox, self reflection, talent management
In many ways, the first week of employment is one of the most critical times for building organizational talent. That’s when you provide an orientation to the new employee’s role, the institution, and the wider context of the work.
An effective onboarding program carries on throughout the first year, Research has shown that onboarding heightens a new employee’s confidence, increases understanding of their role and expectations, and helps them integrate into social networks.
The Society for Human Resource Management suggests that an onboarding program needs to focus on four key areas:
- Compliance: the basic legal and policy requirements of their role.
- Clarification: the roles and expectations for the new positions.
- Culture: introduction to formal and informal organizational norms
- Connection: integrating new employees into the work group.
At Minnesota State, we have an orientation and onboarding toolkit with tips and suggestions for each of the four Cs. You can view it through the Office 365 SharePoint site. Whether or not you’re part of Minnesota State, check out the article below for a useful overview.
Which of the four Cs have you been focusing on? We’d love to hear some of your tips and suggestions for effective onboarding.
Dee Anne Bonebright
Adapted from: Bauer, Tayla N. (2010). Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success. Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
“Talk to me, please!”
The Gallup Q12 poll highlights the fact that people need to know that their manager actively supports their development. Yet research by Gallup indicates that less than 20% of employees get regular feedback from their boss. In fact, over 50% meet less than once a month. That is not enough talking about development!
Roland Smith and Michael Campbell from the Center for Creative Leadership suggest that leaders have an opportunity to turn this around quickly by talking talent with their people – in their words start having regular talent conversations. Sincere and direct dialogue with your people focused on their interests, their job, the work that needs to be done and what support or development they need to be successful.
What I like best about talent conversations is that they are for everyone. Not just people who “need” development and not just under-performers. Talking about what is needed to maintain current and future success demonstrates that you are supporting your people.
At Minnesota State we will be working this year to help our supervisors have talent conversations with their people. The first step is to identify the goal for the conversation for each team member based on their current job-related competency and their own personal development needs or interest in growth. In general you will discover that each person on your team will be interested in one of the following four goals:
- Develop full competence. Focus on acquiring the skills and developing the competences needed to become a solid performer in their current role.
- Explore growth while developing competence. Similar to the first group but also include conversations about future opportunities and how current develop will support growth.
- Maintaining their expertise and staying successful in the future. This group will be interested in deepening their skills, sharing their expertise and staying up-to-date in their current role.
- Accelerating their development. These folks are competent and want to learn new skills and develop competencies needed for bigger roles.
Having a simple and clear goal for your talent conversations will make it easier to dive in and start talking talent!
Picture this scene – you are having coffee with a friend and mention that you had a coaching meeting with one of your staff. What is your friend’s response?
- “That’s too bad. I had to do a coaching last week and it’s my least favorite part of being a supervisor.”
- “How did it go? I’ve been coaching one of my staff and it’s really great to see how they’re growing in their job. I wish I had more time to devote to coaching.”
Depending on the organizational context, either response is possible. For some supervisors, coaching is something that only occurs when an employee is headed down a wrong path and needs correction. For others, coaching is a normal part of their development interactions with each of their employees.
If you’ve participated in our Art of Supervision course, you learned about both kinds of coaching. Todd shared useful process from that course here: Do you have two minutes?
Supervisory coaching starts with providing feedback for all employees that is:
- related to a specific event or action
- tailored to the individual
Along with ongoing feedback, supervisory coaching includes helping employees create and implement development plans. In some cases, you might sponsor an employee for additional training and learning opportunities. Besides helping employees succeed in their current positions, coaching may also involve helping people grow into new roles.
Think back over the past couple of months. Which kinds of coaching have you done? What coaching activities have been on hold, and how can you make time for them? Including coaching as an intentional part of supervision can be one of the most rewarding and productive parts of your role.
Dee Anne Bonebright
This week I had a chance to go bike riding with Anita and Todd. It would be accurate to say that I was nervous. If you have been reading our blog for a while you know that Todd is a serious biker (for example, view here). Anita also bikes for fun and exercise. On the other hand, I’m lucky to get on a bike once a month.
As it turned out, we had a good time. Stopping to take a few selfies was fun too. I saw them glance over occasionally to be sure I was keeping up, but they included me in the group and we all kept pace. It made me want to do more biking this summer.
Back in high school, I was invited to ride with a couple of friends. I showed up with my three-speed Schwinn, and they arrived in full bike gear with the latest lightweight bikes. I found out later that one of them was training for an Iron Man competition. I felt completely outclassed and made the first available excuse to let them go on without me.
When I told that story to Todd, he said: “You don’t invite someone for a social ride and then show up for hard core biking.” Clearly he knows how to be inclusive of people who have different skill levels and help them enjoy his sport.
As leaders, we are often in this situation. Building organizational talent means making space for people to experiment and learn, even when we could do it quicker (and maybe better) by ourselves. Sometimes we have to slow down so other people can keep pace. Showing up for hard core biking can make new team members or those who are still learning feel intimidated, and they may check out – just like I did in high school.
What do you do to help less experienced colleagues become involved in your work?
In one month high divers from around the world will be competing at the summer Olympics in Rio. If I was one of those divers I would hope that the leaders in Rio have done the work needed to build deep pools, even though these Olympics are facing budget, political, economic, environmental and workplace challenges.
Our organizations also need deep pools of talent to be successful when facing a future of changing demographics, fluid governmental demands, volatile customer expectations and a diminishing workforce. Creating individual development plans (IDPs) and continually developing your own people helps leaders fill their talent pools and keep their people engaged with the organization.
Paula Asinof, a leadership consultant, provides tips on how to use IDPs to fill your talent pool in her article, IDPs: Talent Development’s Superglue, in the January 2016 TD magazine.
- Start with a gap analysis and ask each employee:
- where are your talents now?
- what talents need to be developed or do you want to develop?
- Craft only one to three goals based on the answers (see previous post on SIMple Goals)
- Utilize a wide range of development opportunities:
- on-the-job experience
- development-focused work assignmnets
- interim assignments
- temporary assignmnets
- Focus on outcomes and provide regular check-ins
Overall the IDPs you develop with your people need to be simple, clear and realistic. It isn’t the Olympics but a deep talent pool can help you win during challenging times.
During June we shared some thoughts and ideas about customer service. For July we’ll be looking at the next leadership competency – Building Organizational Talent.
I see a strong connection between these two competencies. As leaders, the employees that we supervise can be viewed as customers, in the sense that they are looking to us for guidance, work direction, and help with professional development. We are also in a unique position to serve the organization itself by hiring strong team members, helping them to succeed, and in some cases, helping them to move through the pipeline and become leaders themselves.
Many years ago I talked to a leader who managed quite a few entry-level positions. She had high turnover in her unit, and she told me that she viewed it as success rather than a source of frustration. Her goal was to introduce people to the workplace, give them foundational skills, and then help them move on to other positions within the organization. Over time, she built a large network of professional colleagues who got their start in her unit.
Here are some other behaviors that are identified with building organizational talent. I hope you’ll join us in a conversation about how to implement them.
- Makes sound hiring decisions.
- Provides a strong orientation.
- Sets clear expectations.
- Provides ongoing feedback; effectively coaches both good and bad performance.
- Partners with each employee in conducting meaningful performance evaluations.
- Helps each individual develop professionally.
- Holds each individual accountable for performance.
- Takes responsibility for their own professional development.
Dee Anne Bonebright