Tag Archives: Performance Management

How to Make Salary Decisions without Performance Review Ratings [Video]

In the last few years more and more companies have made the decision to move away from the big, annual performance review to more frequent, informal conversations about performance on the job. But the biggest question I’m hearing is “what happens to our compensation decisions?” After all, most of the time those two activities are deeply intertwined, so what’s the deal?

In the short video below I release some of the preliminary findings from a new research study I’ve been running on this topic. The short version: Continue reading

Why You Should Always Discriminate in the Workplace

Discrimination isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I overheard a conversation the other day between two employees at a local restaurant. One of them said:

“I am so sick of our boss. He is always discriminating against me for coming in a few minutes late or not getting my work done as fast as Joe.”

The second employee turned to the first and responded:

“It serves you right. Show up on time. Do better work. It’s not really that hard.”

Because I’m incredibly mature and kindhearted I held my laugh in until I was out of earshot, but it seems like I hear this kind of thing more and more. People feel like all kinds of discrimination are bad/wrong/evil.

Not true.

See, we won’t discriminate against you for your age, gender, etc. Those things are protected (as they well should be). But work performance? I can discriminate against you all day long.

“Discrimination” isn’t a blanket defense for poor work habits. Just an FYI. In the words of the young man who is wise beyond his years: show up on time and do better work. It’s not really that hard.

Share this with a friend or leader that would appreciate it today!

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5 Research-Backed Performance Management Practices of Great Companies [Webinar]

Instead of just hating on performance management processes, why don’t we do something about them? We hear a lot of stories about companies with rainbows and unicorns. Everything is perfect and happy. But the reality is most of us have challenges, and this is a real look at the specific practices we can use to improve outcomes.

New insights our team has uncovered at Lighthouse Research reveal a clear distinction between the performance management and engagement practices used at high-performing firms versus their lower-performing peers. The top-performing companies leverage a mixture of recognition, regular conversations, and other practices to create more engaging workplace experiences for their employees, ultimately driving engagement and performance to new heights.

Lighthouse-research-and-advisoryIn this webcast, we’ll look at the research and what it can teach us about how to improve our approach to performance management. More practically, we’ll examine some case studies and stories of companies that have modified their approach to performance management, reaping a variety of rewards. You will learn:

  • the deep links between engagement, performance management, and business results
  • how to adapt performance management practices to improve outcomes
  • how other firms have made the transition, including lessons learned.

This 60-minute training session will be held on Wednesday, May 9th at 11:00am Central. Sign up for the webinar below (subscribers click through to register.

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The Secret to Great Team Performance May Surprise You [Podcast]

The way we have done business in the past–it’s not going to work in the future. The world is volatile, complex… There’s rapid change. We have to change ourselves. It’s not making a change with tech or tools, it’s about the soft things: thanking people, helping them articulate the mission, helping them with careers. We have to be hard with the business, soft with people. -Adrian Gostick

If this concept inspires you, then this episode of We’re Only Human is going to get you excited about how to drive performance within your organization. I believe so strongly in the ideas in this book that I’ve worked with the publisher to set up a contest to give away a few copies! Here’s how it works:

Want to win a free book? Share this episode link on your LinkedIn feed, tag me and 2 or more of the BEST people you’ve ever worked with, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of the book!

Subscribers, click through to listen in. Continue reading

Moving Beyond Performance Management to Performance Enablement [Infographic]

Earlier this fall I reported on a study we had completed at Lighthouse Research focused on performance management practices that separated high-performing companies (revenue, retention, engagement) from their peers. The infographic below illustrates these points well and offers a great set of takeaways and advice for employers looking to improve their talent management outcomes in the coming year.

The part I’m most intrigued by? Companies that follow a specific set of practices are more likely to not just improve the employee experience around performance and talent management, but also improve engagement and business results, a double shot of positive organizational impact. I’d love to hear your feedback–does this resonate with your own company? Have you seen similar benefits?

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How to Radically Change Your Performance Management Practice [Podcast]

autumn speharIn today’s episode of We’re Only Human, I talk with Autumn Spehar, HR Director at Stout Advisory, about how her company made a radical change in its approach to performance management. We also talk about how it’s working out one year later and the key lessons learned.

Check out the show below:

Show Notes

Performance management is one of the most hated HR systems in existence. Yet virtually every employer has a need to measure performance, set goals, and give feedback. So, what’s the right balance between a system that meets the needs of business leaders and one that meets the needs of the employees?

In today’s discussion with Autumn Spehar of Stout Advisory, Ben delves deep into this question by asking Autumn to describe her company’s transition from annual, paper-based performance management to a technology-enabled approach utilizing continuous feedback, real-time recognition, frequent check-ins, and more. This conversation is more than theory–it’s based on a year of practice in using the system, including the ups and downs that any company might face in this kind of transition.

Listeners to this episode will not only get to hear about Stout’s new outlook on performance, but they will be treated to some insightful commentary about the connections between culture, behavior change, and other elements that some of the “headlines” on performance management seem to miss. If you’re in charge of performance management at your company or you think your system could use a refresh, this is the episode for you!

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Lessons on Creating Powerful Moments of Performance

I’m reading a new book, and it’s pretty amazing. The Power of Moments tells stories and gives examples of how to create amazing moments of value for employees, students, families, etc. Two of the principles from the book can be leveraged for employee reviews and I want to focus on them today.

Assurance + Expectations > Feedback

The first concept is called Assurance + Expectations. Researchers performed a study on students that received graded feedback on their work.

  • In the first group, students received a generic “these comments are feedback.”
  • In the second group, students received “I’m giving you this feedback because I have high expectations and know you can do better.”

After receiving the feedback the students had the opportunity to edit and resubmit their work. A much larger portion of group two resubmitted their work for review. But why?

The concept comes down to Assurance + Expectations. If we provide assurance and give a set of expectations, we can empower individuals to perform at a higher level, provide greater depth, and make the transaction much more of a positive experience. Those individuals in group one didn’t get any positive reinforcement, insight into expectations, etc.

Within the performance process, it’s not enough just to give someone a piece of feedback and move on, especially when it’s critical. We need to provide critical feedback in the context of assurance (you can do great work) and expectations (I expect you to do great work). That relatively minor change shifts the whole context of the conversation from punishing someone for messing up to helping them discover how they can improve.

Backward Integrated Design

The second concept that applies to the performance management process is backward integrated design. This basically means backing out the design process and starting with the outcomes you hope to achieve. For example, many would say the ideal outcome of performance appraisals would be to help employees perform better. But when we look at how they are structured (especially when done once or twice a year), that simply can’t be the case, because we spend our time measuring their old performance, rating it, telling them what they did right or wrong, etc.

Instead we need to think about what actually creates better performance:

  • Recognition
  • Coaching
  • Feedback

By incorporating these elements into the process we can actually improve our chances of hitting the overarching goal of improving employee performance. Our research shows that high-performing companies are much more likely than low performers to use these and other elements in the performance process. You can check out the rest of our findings on the Lighthouse Research website if you’re interested.