Business Coaching articles for your new employee onboarding process and systems.

Performance Reviews – Are They A Thing Of The Past? – Part 2

 RE-THINKING PERFORMANCE
The majority of performance-management systems do not work, as they are rooted in models for specializing and continually optimizing discreet work tasks.
Performance-management systems have evolved, however they have not fundamentally changed. A measure of the number of pins produced in a day could become a more sophisticated one, such as a balanced scorecard of key performance indicators (KPIs), which link back to over-arching company goals.
What began as a simple mechanistic principle acquired layers of complexity over decades, as companies tried to adapt industrial-era performance systems, to ever-larger organizations and more complicated work.
What was measured and weighted became increasingly more micro. Many companies struggle to monitor and measure a proliferation of individual employee KPIs – a development which created two kinds of challenges. Firstly, collecting accurate data for 15 – 20 individual indicators can be cumbersome, often generating inaccurate information. (In fact, many organisations ask employees to report these data themselves.) Secondly, a proliferation of indicators, often weighted by impact, produces immaterial KPIs and dilutes the focus of employees. KPIs are regularly encountered which account for less than 5 percent of an overall performance rating.
Nevertheless, Managers attempt to rate employees as well as they can. The ratings are then calibrated against one another and, if necessary, adjusted by distribution guidelines which are typically bell curves. These guidelines assume the vast majority of employees cluster around the mean and meet expectations, whilst smaller numbers over and under-perform. This model typically manifests itself in three, five or seven-point rating scales, which are sometimes numbered and labelled: for instance, “meets expectations,” “exceeds expectations” or “far exceeds expectations.” This logic appeals intuitively (“aren’t the majority of people average by definition?”) and helps companies to distribute their remuneration (“most people get average salaries; over-performers get more, under-performers get less”).
Bell curves however, may not accurately reflect the reality. Research suggests that talent-performance profiles in many areas, such as business, sports, the arts and academe, look more like power-law distributions. Sometimes referred to as Pareto curves, these patterns resemble a hockey stick on a graph. In 2012, a study concluded that the top 5 percent of workers in most companies out-perform average ones by 400 percent.The sample curve emerging from this research would suggest that at most, 10 to 20 percent of employees make an out-size contribution.
Google has said that in part, this research lies behind much of its talent practices, as well as its decision to pay out-size rewards, in order to retain its top performers: remuneration for two employees doing the same work can vary by as much as 500 percent. Google wants to keep its top employees from defecting and believes remuneration can be a “lock-in”; star performers at junior levels in the company can make more than average ones at senior levels. Identifying and nurturing truly distinctive people is a key priority, given their disproportionate impact.
Companies weighing the risks and rewards of paying unevenly in this way should bear in mind the bigger news about power-law distributions: what they mean for the great majority of employees. For those who meet expectations but are not exceptional, attempts to determine who is a bit better or worse yield meaningless information for Managers and do little to improve performance. Getting rid of ratings which demotivate and irritate employees makes sense.
Adobe breaks projects down into ‘sprints’, which are immediately followed by de-briefing sessions. They emphasize principles of collaboration, self organisation, self direction and regular reflection on how to work more effectively. Regular check-ins to assess these principles replace annual appraisals. PWC moved to a scoreless review system, however after negative response by employees, particularly those focused on a Partner track, they re-instituted rankings in their client services practices. Employees do not still receive a single rating every year, they now receive scores on 5 competencies, as well as other development feedback.
The point is that such companies now think that it is a fool’s errand to identify and quantify shades of differential performance among the majority of employees, who do a good job but are not among the few stars. Identifying obvious over-performers and under-performers is important, however conducting annual ratings rituals based on the bell curve, will not develop the workforce overall. Instead, by getting rid of bureaucratic annual-review processes, as well as the behaviors related to them, enables companies to focus on getting much higher levels of performance out of many more employees.
If you would like learn more about how you can create a powerful change in the performance review that will have an impact on recruiting, job matching and employee retention, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.

Performance Reviews – Are They A Thing Of The Past? – Part 1

Over the next few BLOGS, I’m going to share some interesting ideas about employers, employees and the impact of performance reviews.  Like everything else in business, this process has been changing and there are some great ideas for how we can improve communication between company leadership and the people on our teams.  Some ideas of how this can, and should be done, are shared below and in future publications.

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Performance reviews are a thing of the past in companies like IBM, Oppenheimer Funds and General Electric. They cite compelling reasons: Widespread evidence shows traditional reviews do not work: They focus on an individual’s previous behavior, rather than helping them to improve in the future; There is an assumption that poor performers will never change.

If companies are concerned about developing and retaining talent, whilst holding employees accountable and helping them to set and reach performance benchmarks, there are alternatives to the traditional annual review.
There are a number of actions:
  1. Determine whether traditional Performance Reviews are achieving company goals. Do they provide accurate assessments of performance? Do they help employees improve and develop? Do the rewards which relate to superior reviews assist in developing and retaining talent?
  2.  Consider an increasingly informal review system. This will involve more regular interaction with employees and should include ways to quickly identify poor performers, so they can be monitored and coached. These reviews can include numerical rankings and assign employees with several numbers four times a year, to provide rolling feedback on different dimensions.
  3. Get support from senior management and re-inforcement from the organisational culture. Before rolling out any new review system, there has to be a clear, consistent message about its validity, particularly from HR.
These issues are not new. They have become increasingly transparent, as roles evolved over the last 15 years. More and more roles need employees with deeper expertise, more independent judgment and better problem-solving skills. Employees shoulder greater responsibilities in their interactions with customers and business partners, as well as pressure to create value in ways which industrial-era, performance-management systems would struggle to identify.
Around the world, nine out of ten companies continue to generate performance scores for employees. Importantly, they also use these as the only basis for salary decisions. The issue which prevents Managers’ dissatisfaction with the process is uncertainty, in terms of how a revamped performance review system ought to look.
Answers are emerging. Netflix no longer measures its employees against annual objectives, because their objectives rapidly change. Google has transformed the way it remunerates high performers at every level.
These changes are new, varied and experimental and patterns are emerging:
  • Companies are re-thinking what constitutes employee performance, by focusing specifically on individuals who are a step function away from average – at either the high or low end of performance – rather than trying to differentiate amongst the majority of employees in the middle.
  • Companies are also collecting more objective performance data, through systems which automate real-time analyses.
  • Performance data is used increasingly less as an instrument for setting remuneration levels. Some companies are now severing the link between evaluation and compensation, at least for the majority of the workforce, whilst linking them more comprehensively at the high and low ends of performance.
  • Better data supports a shift in emphasis from backward-looking evaluations to fact-based performance and development discussions, which are becoming frequent and on an as-necessary basis, rather than annual events.
 How these emerging patterns develop will vary from company to company. The pace of change will also differ. Some companies will use multiple approaches to performance management, holding on to hard-wired targets for sales teams, whilst moving other functions or business units to new approaches.
If you would like learn more about how you can create a powerful change in the performance review that will have an impact on recruiting, job matching and employee retention, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.

4 Main ‘PAINS’ Experienced By A Business Owner

All Business Owners Have PAIN’s.   Which one’s do you have?

 For the past 27+ years I have worked for, with or coached business owners / leaders. I recognize that each and every business is different and unique.  The clients I have served range from the single real estate agent to the Executives of a 2000 FTE  manufacturing firm.  Often, our efforts surround finding ways to increase efficiency, reduce time investment on projects or provide new and timely information have been the focused solutions.   This is apparent that they have PAINs that they would like to have eliminated from their lives.
We have recently began a partnership with Lead Forensics, a new and innovative technology solution that can provide real time solutions to many of the challenges clients have experienced.  Lead Forensics is the software that reveals the identity of your anonymous website traffic, and turns them into actionable sales leads.   This tool, can in real-time help to address those 4 pains.
Those 4 PAIN’s are… TIME, TEAM, MONEY and EXIT
time tredmillTIME – the amount of time being invested in the business has taken the owner ‘out of balance’.  Some of the key indicators of business owners with this pain are…
  • The business owner / leader is working 60+ hours a week
  • They will say things like…”my customers come to my business because of me and what I do”; or “if I wasn’t here, my customers would go somewhere else”
  • the owner is having family relationship troubles with spouse and / or children.
  • Health issues are surfacing with the owner – lack of sleep, anxiety, head aches, etc.
  • So much time is being spent cold-calling for prospective clients, with so few results.
TEAM – as a business grows, the only way to scale and grow consistently is to add employees.  But, because you are a good (add any product/service provider here), doesn’t make the owner a good ‘leader’.  Some of things we will hear when this is the pain is…
  • No matter who they hire, no one seems willing to follow directions
  • The person interviewed seems to be different that the person hired after a few weeks
  • When the owner’s not there, nothing ever gets done
  • No one has the same work-ethic as the owner does
  • The owner struggles to find sales and marketing people that can open doors and build relationships with our prospects.
9881157_sMONEY – this can be looked at as revenue, gross profit, net profit, cash-flow or finding the money to buy equipment, expand your facility or to fund a growth plan.  The things you will hear from the owners/leaders with this pain sound like…
  • There is never enough money in the checking account at the end of the month
  • Although we’re busier than we’ve ever been, the check book doesn’t show it
  • By the time I pay all the bills and my employees, there is nothing left for me.
  • I have opportunities to grow the business, but need money to invest and cant get it from the bank.
  • Marketing and Advertising in today’s marketplace is constantly changing.  We don’t seem to be getting a ROI on our investment.
EXIT – this pain is most common for business owners that are in their 50’s+.  They are seeing the potential of retirement, but have just realized that their biggest asset is their business.  You will hear them say things like…
  • How much is my business worth?
  • Who would be interested in buying my business? and how will I make that happen?
  • I’d like to retire, but who will run the business if I’m not here?
  • How do I convert the business I’ve built into cash for my retirement?
  • Making sure that we have a proven system for generating qualified leads will increase the value of my company… now I just need to figure out how to do that.
Advanced Business Coaching offers the principals, practices, tools and techniques to our clients to address all these PAINs.  We recognize that each of our clients are unique and special.   We customize the potential solutions to meet their particular situation and  their prioritized goals.
Over the next few weeks, we will look into each of these ‘PAINs’ in depth and share some potential solutions that have worked for our clients that asked us to help them overcome and remove these “PAINs’ from their lives.
If you’d like to learn more about ways you can remove one, or all of these PAIN’s from your business, contact Michael Stelter @ Advanced Business Coaching at 262.293.3166.  or you can email Michael at Michael@ABCBizCoach.com

PXT SELECT ™ : MAKING THE VERY HUMAN DECISIONS ABOUT HIRING

PXTSELECTtm-AWB A UNIQUE SELECTION ASSESSMENT THAT FILLS THE GAP BETWEEN THE RESUME AND THE INTERVIEW,

PXT SELECT ™ HELPS ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Get a clear picture of candidate’s thinking style, behaviors, and interests,  giving you a meaningful edge in making the right hiring decision.
  • Start the selection process on the right foot. Explore an expanding library of job functions to which you can compare candidates.
  • Interview with confidence! Ask tailored questions and keep an open ear  for “what to listen for” based on a candidate’s assessment results.
  • Identify ways to enhance performance and maximize an individual’s  contribution to an organization.
  • Match people with positions in which they’ll perform well and enjoy  what they do.
  • Reduce turnover and boost employee engagement, which results in  happier employees!

ONE ASSESSMENT. ACCESS TO A FULL SUITE OF REPORTS

Having the right people in the right jobs is truly powerful. PXT Select™ not only helps you find the right people,  but also helps you shape the overall employee experience. PXT Select’s suite of reports helps you select, on-board, coach, and develop employees to reach their full potential.

EMPOWER YOUR ORGANIZATION WITH PXT SELECT™ REPORTS

  • COMPREHENSIVE SELECTION REPORT – Is the candidate a good fit?   This powerful report helps you make smarter hiring decisions with confidence. Featuring tailored interview questions and tips on “what to listen for” with each candidate, this report gives you a meaningful edge in your hiring process.
  • MULTIPLE POSITIONS REPORT – Which positions might be best for a particular individual? Compare a candidate or employee to multiple jobs in your organization.
  • MULTIPLE CANDIDATES REPORT – Make hiring decisions with ease.  Compare multiple candidates for a single position
  • PERFORMANCE MODEL REPORT – Understand the range of scores and behaviors for the position you’re trying to fill. Learn about the ideal candidate for that role.
  • TEAM REPORT – See how a potential candidate fits an existing team, or address your current team’s dynamics and strengths.
  • MANAGER-EMPLOYEE REPORT – Help managers discover how they can work more effectively with their employees.
  • INDIVIDUAL’S FEEDBACK REPORT – Candidates can learn from PXT Select, too! This narrative report doesn’t reveal scores and is perfectly safe to share with applicants.
  • INDIVIDUAL’S GRAPH – Are you more of a visual person? The graph illustrates a candidate’s results that you can view at a glance.
  • COACHING REPORT – Wish you had coaching advice tailored to each employee? This report gives you exactly that and more!

APLinkedInTo learn more, contact me, your PXT Select™ Authorized Partner.

Michael Stelter
ADVANCED BUSINESS COACHING, INC
W159 N10177 COMANCHE CT.
GERMANTOWN, WI 53022
Michael@ABCBizCoach.com
262.293.3166

 

4 Ways to Motivate Small Business Employees and Boost Your Bottom Line

3D man TeamA team of motivated employees can be the difference between owning and operating a thriving, bustling business and one that’s floundering or has a high turnover rate.

The best ways to motivate employees really comes down to finding ways to keep them engaged and excited about the work they’re doing and the people they are doing it with. Here’s a look at four ways you can do just that.

1. Challenge employees.

People need excitement to stay motivated, says Aleania Orczewska, director of business development at Carte Blanche, a consulting firm that builds company culture, offers management consulting, marketing and business development strategies.

The adage “variety is the spice of life” rings true at the office, says Orczewska. “Many high quality employees leave the best companies because there’s no room for growth.”

Being shortsighted: Don’t assume that employees are only working during normal hours, when they’re at the office or while they’re near your watchful eye. It’s common for diligent, dedicated and driven individuals to read emails at home during their favorite TV show, on the train commuting into work or even at a family gathering. They’ll answer after hours phone calls or be the last one out the door, leaving long after you flicked off the light in your office. And not taking a moment to recognize and acknowledge that — or even worse, come to expect it — can be a sure fire way to stifle a person’s spirit, says Akuamoah.

“If you’re not acknowledging the ideas employees bring to the table or the effort they put in, they’ll stop doing it. That brings down the performance level for the team overall,” she says. “You’re as strong as your weakest link, so don’t let your actions create weakness on the team.”

Disrupt their work/life balance: Emailing at odd hours of the night and early morning on Saturdays can happen during crunch time, but you don’t want that to be the norm. “Everyone needs the opportunity to unplug and recharge without feeling that they’re always ‘on’,” says Akuamoah. Your employee will be much more productive Monday through Friday if they have time to themselves outside of work hours.

Cultivating a cutthroat environment: Creating a team of overtly competitive people who cannot collaborate takes healthy competition to a dangerous level. It almost completely eliminates the aspect of co-worker collaboration that can lead your company to produce the next innovation that changes it all, Orczewska says. Making employees feel insecure about their jobs by constantly referring to the fact that there are thousands of people out there who would want their position will almost always backfire. “Creativity and innovation are lost in the face of anxiety about having a job after their current project,” cautions Orczewska.

That growth isn’t always a higher rung on the corporate ladder. “It’s often the room to grow in their current position,” she says. The opportunity to be challenged, to explore, and to innovate through varied work assignments, projects and responsibilities can keep employees highly motivated.

2. Create a sense of significance.

Don’t forget a reward for a job or challenge well done. You don’t necessarily need a huge, formal reward and recognition program, but you do need to say “thanks.” Orczewska suggests incorporating spontaneous acts of appreciation in management practices to reinforce the cornerstone of your business success. It’s great to celebrate significant events like landing a new major client or meeting a huge deadline. But it’s important to celebrate the small victories, too.

Email a note of thanks, or leave a quick handwritten note on an employee’s desk. Treating a department to pizza or ring a bell if an employee meets a deadline. “The key is saying thank you, not the size of the gesture,” says Orczewska.

Most employees aren’t working hard to please their boss — they’re working hard to do a good job, says Julianna Akuamoah, director of talent and development at the advertising agency, Allen & Gerritsen in Boston. The bonus is when your boss notices and appreciates the effort. “It can provide an extra boost for the employee to keep up the great work.”

3. Ask for their opinion.

Keep employees engaged by asking for (and actually hearing) their opinion on challenging business problems. “That tells employees you trust them with business information and value the differences in your experience,” Akuamoah says. “They’ll feel you appreciate their unique perspective and like a valued member/partner on the team.”

4. Don’t demotivate.

Even the most motivated employees can lose their mojo, especially if a boss’s actions reflect a demoralizing tone. And keeping everyone on the same productive page can be a struggle when bosses and managers fall into some demotivating traps and patterns. Make sure that doesn’t happen at your business by avoiding these basic morale don’ts.

To your success,

Michael Stelter
P.S. To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://abcgrowthacademy.com/guidedtour  We created the ABC GrowthAcademy System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.
If you would like learn more about how you can motivate your employees so that they will help you grow your business, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.