Tag Archives: Performance

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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

sleep wellness

The Biggest Sleep Study in History Uncovered this Chilling Fact About Us

Recently I caught a story on Yahoo Finance about the analysis of more than six billion nights of sleep data released from FitBit. We all think about sleep in almost abstract terms–I sleep or I don’t, I’m sleepy or I’m not, etc. But this has a real, tangible effect on how we operate as humans and how we perform at work, at home, and elsewhere. For instance, women get an average of six hours and fifty minutes of sleep per night, but men get six hours and twenty six minutes of sleep, both of them more than 13% less than the recommended eight hour a night target.

While it might be hard to adjust that overall number due to work, life, and family responsibilities (I have four kids under the age of eight, just sayin’!) one thing we can work on is bedtime consistency.

Here’s a snippet from the article:

Bedtime consistency

The biggest finding in Fitbit’s data may be the link between sleep quality and bedtime consistency.

That, Gleichauf explains, “is this idea that your bedtime varies.”

And in America, it really does vary — by an average of 64 minutes. You might go to bed at 11 p.m. on weeknights, but stay up after midnight on the weekends.

The Fitbit data shows that your sleep suffers as a result. If your bedtime varies by two hours over the week, you’ll average half hour of sleep a night less than someone whose bedtime varies by only 30 minutes.

And you’ll pay the price.

By the time your weekly bedtime variation is 2 hours, it’s costing you half an hour of sleep a night.

You know how jet lag works, right? “When you have jet lag, it’s the mismatch between the actual time, in the zone you’re in, and your circadian rhythm,” Gleichauf told me. “You’re not on the right part of that curve to make you fall asleep.” So, at night in your new city, you lie there for hours, unable to fall asleep — and then in the middle of the next day, you’re overcome by exhaustion.

When your bedtime varies over the week, then, you’re creating self-induced jet lag. Gleichauf calls it social jet lag: On Monday, when you have to go back to work (and drag your bedtime backward), you feel crummy and you’re more likely to get sick.

(Dr. Till Roenneberg, professor at the Institute of Medical Psychology at the University of Munich, calculates that every hour of social jetlag increases your risk of being overweight or obese by about 33%.)

“I’m super excited about this data,” Heneghan says. “For the first time ever, we were actually able to show the link between consistency and how long you sleep.” Source

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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?

performance management infographic

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!

power of moments

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.

Performance Management, Culture, and Business Results [New Research]

This summer at Lighthouse we’ve been working our way through a number of research studies, but to be honest one of the ones I’ve been incredibly pumped about is focused on performance management. It’s probably because I get a sense of the discontent around this practice regardless of where I go and who I speak with. It’s incredibly hated at so many companies by HR, management, and the employees.

But there are also companies that are using it as a kind of secret weapon. In the research (the full report will be published in September) I am seeing some very interesting points on how companies plan to approach the practice of performance management, and it’s encouraging me to focus on it not just as managing or reviewing past performance, but enabling great future performance.

Top 10 Research Highlights

  1. We keep hearing it in the news–performance management is shifting/changing/dying. It’s certainly not staying the same. Approximately 60% of employers have made changes (including both minor adjustments and major shifts) to their performance process in the last 24 months. Another 25% are planning to in the near future.
  2. Despite the common discussion, annual goals still rank as the number one way employers manage performance. This is followed by recognition, coaching, and leveraging strengths.
  3. While performance feels like a drag for many employees (anecdotally :-)), the number one reason employers still practice it is to improve individual performance for workers.
  4. Which seems kind of said, because just 4% of employers say that their approach is highly effective and enables greater employee performance.
  5. Nearly one in five companies say that their performance management technology is clunky and difficult to use, which hinders progress in performance management, measurement, and improvement.
  6. At the same time, two-thirds of companies say that their approach improves engagement levels for their workforce. This is very much split by the kind of culture a company has (more on this below).
  7. High-performing companies are 58% less likely to say their approach to performance management is ineffective.
  8. High-performing companies are 20% more likely to say their performance management philosophy improves engagement rather than diminishing it.
  9. Astonishingly, companies with a competitive or controlling culture were more than three times as likely to say their approach to performance management failed to deliver the results and may actually impede employee performance and engagement.
  10. The performance practice spectrum. We’re analyzing the data through the lens of performance management activities on a spectrum. On one end are the old-fashioned, unpleasant activities like forced ranking and annual reviews. On the other end are more positive, engaging practices such as development coaching, peer feedback, and more.

    What we see in the preliminary results is that companies with a more collaborative culture are more likely to practice on the positive end of the spectrum while firms with more controlling cultures are more likely to fall on the negative end. More to come on this as we explore the data!

These highlights, while intriguing, are fairly high level. Look for additional insights in our upcoming white paper and webinar (to be announced) that focus more deeply on culture, what high-performing companies do differently, and other key insights from the research!