Tag Archives: Performance Management

JC Penney-Color Coding Employees is a Smart Practice

Recent news about JC Penney color cording their employees has garnered some interesting commentary. Here’s a snippet:

JCPenney has split up its associates into categories based on their performance and abilities, according to sources inside the company.

The move has employees worried.

Sources told us that on a broadcast to supervisors and managers in January, JCPenney VP and transformational talent leader Michelle Steitz said they were to categorize their associates into one of three categories:

  • Red — Remove from company
  • Yellow — Coach up or out
  • Green — Go forward

They were also told to “be prepared to make decisions” in the months ahead, according to a JCPenney executive.

“Not only were we supposed to do this with our team members, but as a Store Leader I had to categorize my entire team,” explained a JCPenney store manager.

Many associates don’t know that they’ve been graded and placed into these color categories — m ultiple JCPenney associates we corresponded with were still in the dark about the red/yellow/green system. source

Hint: this is not new

We hear this sort of discussion often, but the terminology usually refers to “A” players, “B” players, and “C” players. The tendency is to see this as a negative practice, but it’s really a way for companies to determine where to spend their limited training and development budgets. The practice also plays a role in succession planning.

Do you spend additional money on a “C” player who is disengaged and actively looking for another job? Would it be better spent on an “A” player who is a superstar performer? Making that determination in itself is another discussion entirely, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with differentiating performance.

I’d also point out that not differentiating employees based on performance is how you create a culture that supports and encourages poor performance. If you don’t treat the “green” employees differently from the “red” employees, the good ones will naturally trend lower with regard to performance. It’s not rocket science.

Check out the video below for more on the topic. I’d love to hear some ideas on how they might have handled this differently or if you think it was the right way to go. Subscribers click through to view.

Check out the video

Want more? Check out the free employee performance management guide!

Employee Performance Management (Free eBook)

Get the Free Employee Performance Management Guide!

So you’ve been thinking about your staff lately. Namely, employee performance management. When you work with people, there is never an easy answer for handling performance issues, negative feedback, etc. It’s just one of the more difficult parts of being a leader.

employee performance management coverBut you aren’t in this alone.

I work with managers every day who are dealing with employee issues surrounding talent. Some are looking for ways to get their staff to improve or leave. Others are working to align their top performers more closely with organizational goals. It’s a complex topic.

So I reached out to a few contributors to help me develop the guide: Employee Performance Management-How to align goals, leverage talent, and avoid an organizational train wreck. 

In this guide you’ll find great conversations on employee performance management, and you’ll learn a thing or two as well. If you’ve been searching for fresh ideas on the topic, you’ve come to the right place. A few concepts covered inside:

  • Do A players really exist? Is it worth our time to segment our employees that way?
  • Can music impact employee performance? How?
  • The one word you must avoid in performance discussions
  • Can you “hire” performance as a shortcut?
  • And more!

Click here to download the free guide

I want to thank the contributors for offering up some great, useful content: Jennifer V. Miller, Robin Schooling, Trish McFarlane, Steve Boese, Sean Conrad, Tim Gardner, Tim Sackett, and Michael Haberman. You can find links to each of their websites within the guide. Whenever I create one of these tools I reach out to the best and brightest in the industry, and these great folks all answered the call. They want to share their own expertise and insight to make your job easier, but just like me, they are continuously learning as well.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Employee Productivity Management

Employee productivity management is normally seen as a manager’s job, and that might be a good thing. Recent research has shown that some managers can achieve up to 10% increases in productivity among their staff.

In the video below I discuss this phenomenon and what it means for HR professionals and business leaders. I also talk about a book that has some crossover between the research on employee productivity management and how it actually played out in another study of manager impact on employee engagement, performance, etc. The third piece I discuss is a philosophy of author/speaker that HR’s last great unexplored frontier is employee productivity and how to get more from our staff. I think that’s a key piece of why engagement has become the hot buzzword in recent years (it sounds cooler than employee productivity management), but they both mean basically the same thing: how can we get more work out of our people for the same amount of money?

If it was an easy answer, we’d have answered it already. The book that I talk about in the video covers some amazing concepts for how to develop a culture of belief that is so strong that it drives employee engagement and profits. I highly encourage you to check it out if that’s something you are interested in.

Check out the video and let me know what you think!

Employee productivity management show notes


So, what do you think? How can HR professionals best impact employee productivity?

Want more? Check out the free employee performance management guide!

Internal Talent Management

How internal talent management keeps you competitive

internal-talent-managementWe need the right people sitting in the right seats.

If you’re familiar with the phrase, then you know it’s all about finding the right talent fit for your organization. This discussion shifts from the external focus to the internal talent management process. The reality is that we don’t always have the right people sitting in the right seats when we decide to get serious about the process.

So… What now?

Well, you have a few options. Continue reading

Flexible Schedule Policy vs. Core Business Hours

flexible work schedule policy

Wishing I was this flexible

I have a lot of things I’m proud of accomplishing at work, but it’s the sum of them and the trust that my leaders and staff place in me that have the most impact on me. Below you’ll learn about one recent example of how I was able to stand up for our staff and keep a misguided manager from implementing a decision that would have had a negative impact on the culture and employees. It’s the little things like this every day that make me glad that I’m in HR.

Recently we had a discussion about moving from our current flexible schedule policy to a core business hours work arrangement. Some of our management team looked at the decision as a way to force everyone to be in the office at least part of the day in order to make sure everyone is staying on task and accomplishing their work. (Click here for the tools I use for work/life flexibility.)

However, I was more than a little bit perturbed by the idea.

See, I have this funny, old-fashioned notion that managers are there to… well, manage. Continue reading

Handling Disrespect at Work-The Respect Effect (Book Review)

How to teach managers and teams about disrespect at work

Recently I received a copy of The Respect Effect to review. This post is less of a book review and more of a discussion about one specific idea I found in the book, but it’s been a good read and I definitely have some good notes for my next manager’s meeting. 

How does Zappos handle issues with disrespect in the workplace?

“If it [the issue of disrespect] cannot be successfully handled within the workgroup, we fire them.”
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com

I’ve been thinking about this ever since I read it a few weeks ago. It’s not only about not tolerating disrespect within the workplace setting. It also presents an idea that warrants some thought. Continue reading

Employee Performance: Manage and Prosper

A performance discussion for those who manage others

I have been thinking a lot about performance management lately-namely, how can managers get it done faster, better, and more effectively? I run into complaints about all areas of performance feedback: how to do it, what to say, how to have time for it, etc.

I get them so often that I’ve put together a quick discussion you can have with your managers to help them do it well. The best part? There is no “I don’t have time for this” excuse, because the lesson takes less than a minute to deliver. Here we go:

30 Second Public Service Message for Managers

Performance feedback is critically important for your people to do their jobs well. It needs to be all these:

  • On time
  • Honest
  • Accurate

Keep The Golden Rule in mind. Address their performance (good or bad) like you would want your own to be addressed.

Bonus tip: if you think there may be a surprise for the employee, call me.

And that, my friends, is the 30 second lesson on performance!

Want more? Check out the free employee performance management guide!