Friday, April 29, 2011

Should Performance Reviews Be Fired?

"Performance reviews." The words strike fear and dread in the hearts of employees everywhere.

Their angst is understandable. Performance reviews typically are not done often enough and all too often are done poorly. A good performance review gives employees constructive, unbiased feedback on their work. A bad one demonstrates supervisor bias and undermines employee confidence and motivation.

The balance does not seem to have tipped yet in favor of the good ones. David Insler, a senior vice president at New York-based Sibson Consulting, estimates that only about 35% to 40% of companies do performance reviews well.

Frequency is clearly one of the issues. At most places, says  Peter Cappelli, head of Wharton's Center for Human Resources, reviews occur annually. "If you wait a year to tell employees how they are doing, they are almost always surprised and unhappy if the results are not positive. Humans are hard-wired to focus on the negative," Cappelli notes. "So 'balanced' feedback always leaves us concentrating on the bad parts" of the reviews.

But he and others point to rapid changes in both the workplace and the workforce that are altering how performance is evaluated. For example, because more and more companies -- from software and engineering to advertising, accounting and consulting -- are heavily project-oriented, reviews are often done when projects are completed or at set points along the way. The annual review then becomes a no-surprises summary at the end of the year used primarily to share information about raises, bonuses and other compensation.

As for the workforce, the latest influx of employees includes a generation of millennials (those born between the late 1970s and early 1990s) who are accustomed to constant and instant feedback -- from parents, text messaging friends or social media sites. They want the same from their employers. As Daniel Pink, a workplace expert and author, noted in a recent article in The Telegraph titled "Think Tank: Fix the Workplace, Not the Workers," millennials have "lived [their] whole lives on a landscape lush with feedback." Yet when they enter the workforce, they find themselves "in a veritable feedback desert.... It's hard to get better at something if you receive feedback on your performance just once a year."

Read the full story:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It is back to being an employee’s market. How to manage a global diversified workforce is a great challenge for HR professionals

Donna Morris, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Adobe Systems Incorporated shares her views on the current trends in the IT and related industries

Please tell us something about the employment trends in the industry?
The trend is back to being an employee’s market. So, when we saw the impact of the North American recession back in 2008-2009, clearly that was a period of time that if an employer had an opportunity, he might have an ample supply of talent. But it’s not the same case now. Also, our bar for talent is always very high. So even at that point in time we might have thought that there are a lot more people in the market by virtue of the recession, it was always challenging for us to find the right individuals. I think the shift for all companies is ensuring that they have the opportunity to really articulate their employment brand, making sure that you put your best foot forward in really articulating what it is that you are looking for in terms of skills and capabilities and really creating an experience where people not only look to you to come and work but look to you to come and grow their career.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

HR role vital in keeping employee engagement high

Today organisations have become lean. That is due to the market conditions and new business processes coming into play. We find the new organisational set up has led to leaving some of the executives over worked. The Pareto principle seems to still stick around - ‘the vital few and trivial many is' plaguing organisations even now.
This means that only 20 per cent of the work force in a company is fully and actively engaged and the rest are in different levels of engagement. Employee engagement remains an area that throws up new challenges to managers. Why does this happen, should be the question every manager must analyse and implement solutions that can bring a turnaround in the mind set of those employees who are not actively engaged.
The reasons for teams and people in them not delivering their best can be many. These reasons may also vary from time to time. So it is necessary that the HR manager monitors teams and individuals by interacting with each team's manager. HR plays a very crucial role in keeping the employees engaged. A survey has revealed that only a meagre four percent of HR senior managers concentrate on employee engagement. But on the other hand 90 per cent of these managers were highly concerned about employee retention. The fact of the matter is that both employee engagement and retention are closely related. And this relationship has an impact on the top revenues and the bottom-line.
Disengaged employees are a disgruntled lot and can become a drag on those who are going full swing at their work.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011


OTTAWA, April 20 /CNW/ - Ninety-seven per cent of organizations in a Conference Board of Canada survey have an employee rewards and recognition program in place. Yet, fewer than half of the survey respondents believe their employees are satisfied with the organization's rewards and recognition practices.
This Conference Board of Canada study, Making it Meaningful: Recognizing and Rewarding Employees in Canadian Organizations, found that the average annual amount spent on recognition is $175 per employee. Public sector organizations average $123 in expenditure per employee; those in the private sector spend $208 on average.
The survey was completed by 166 primarily medium- and large-sized organizations across Canada. Respondents represent a cross-section of public and private sector organizations and include all major industry categories.
"Recognition from a manager carries meaning and motivation for employees, whether or not it is accompanied by a reward," said Karla Thorpe, Associate Director, Compensation and Industrial Relations. "Organizations should keep in mind that recognition is personal, in that what motivates one employee is different from what motivates another."
"Organizations that take into account the preferences of their employees will see a greater impact from their investment in rewards and recognition programs."
Responding organizations spend, on average, 0.26 per cent of base pay on rewards and recognition programs. This level of expenditure indicates that maximizing the investment should be top of mind for managers of these programs.
Rewards and recognition programs can be used to increase employee engagement and to create a positive work environment. However, organizations often struggle with how to effectively use their rewards and recognition program to connect with employees.
Read the full story:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Want to Keep Your Employees? Give Them Growth Opportunities

Employers interested in improving their worker retention rate should take note: Employees have very different reasons for staying at a job than they do for leaving one.

In a global study from consulting firm BlessingWhite, employees revealed they stick with a job because they like the work they do. However, they often leave to advance their career.

The work environment is the top reason employees gave for staying in a job, with 30 percent saying, “I like the work that I do.” Career opportunities were cited by only 17 percent of respondents as a reason to stay at the job.

However, when asked why they would leave a job, career opportunity was the top reason given. More than a quarter of respondents (26 percent) pointed to a lack of growth opportunities.

"Business leaders are right to be concerned about retention of top talent," said Christopher Rice, CEO of BlessingWhite, a global consulting firm. "And while raises may encourage some workers to stick around, our findings suggest that employees -- especially high performers -- will remain in jobs that challenge them, utilize their expertise, and provide meaning."

In general, employees reported their decision to stay had mostly to do with being happy with their employer.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Trust and the sprint space community.(Case study)

Has a friend or family member ever asked you about your job? How about a colleague or even someone you've never met before? If you've ever worked a day in your life, the answer is likely "yes." Now answer this: Do you remember what story you told? And did you think about the impact you might be having on that person's perception of your company's brand?

The Edelman Trust Barometer, a survey released in February of 4,475 "influencers" across the globe (defined as college-educated people with household incomes in the top quartile for their country, per age group, who report significant media consumption and engagement in business news and public policy), notes that trust in businesses has fallen by more than 20 percent in the past year. At the same time, Edelman ranks conversations with company employees as the third-highest credible source of information about an organization, and suggests that people need to hear details about a company three to five times to find them to be reliable.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Declining Health of U.S. Workers Is Driving Up Employer Costs

The unhealthy behaviors of the U.S. workforce cost employers an average of $670 per employee annually, according to the March 2011 Thomson Reuters Workforce Wellness Index.

The index gauges six behavioral risk factors to track the collective health of working Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance―and the costs associated with less-than-optimal health.

An index score of 100 represents the ideal state where there are no behavioral risk factors present in the population and, therefore, no health care costs attributed to health risks. From 2005 to 2009, the index declined 2 percent from 86.4 to 84.4.

This decline in overall population health―as measured by body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and tobacco and alcohol use―contributes to rising health care costs for U.S. employers.

For instance, a Duke University study (published in the Archives of Internal Medicine) found a correlation between a worker's BMI, which is used to measure obesity, and the amount of money spent on workers’ compensation claims for that worker—with costs approaching $51,000 for obese workers vs. $7,500 for workers with normal or average weight.

In 2009, about 14 percent of direct health care costs for the employed, privately insured population were associated with these six behavioral risk factors, according to Thomson Reuters’ analysis. That amounts to $670 per employee, with $400 of the overall cost attributed to high BMI. Elevated blood glucose was the second most significant factor, accounting for nearly $150 per employee per year.

"This analysis shows that employers striving to reduce health care costs would be wise to address the behavioral risk prevalence of their workforce," said Dr. Raymond Fabius, chief medical officer at Thomson Reuters. “When employers, insurers and others take a close look at how their beneficiaries compare with national norms, they can begin to identify and target specific problem areas.”

Got to for the full story

Flexible jobs = happy workers?

When John Parry, CEO at Solix, Inc., arrives at work at around 7 a.m., the office parking lot already has some 80 cars, a testament to his employees' desire to beat rush hour by shifting their work hours earlier than the typical 9-to-5.

But none of those workers had to apply for a flexible work arrangement or win supervisory approval for a schedule change.

"We don't really care when people come in," explains Parry. "We trust Solix staff with million-dollar funding decisions, so we should trust them to work flexibly."

The Parsippany, N.J.-based process outsourcer is among a growing wave of employers that have discovered how workplaces that accommodate employees' desires for flexibility enjoy superior business results, higher productivity and greater retention.

While it's no magic bullet and comes with sacrifices from both sides, more offices across the country are offering flexible working arrangements to increase retention, productivity and morale.

Read more

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

In most US states, job markets show signs of life

Employment steadily improved in most U.S. states in March, and jobless rates dipped in states that had posted record highs just a few months ago, according to government data released on Tuesday.

Unemployment rates fell in 34 states in March from February. Only seven states saw rates rise, while rates in nine states and the District of Columbia were unchanged, a Labor Department report showed.

Compared with a year ago, jobless rates fell in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

Nevada again notched the highest rate, marking at least 10 months in a row when it has registered the worst unemployment conditions. But it continued to back off its record 14.5 percent jobless rate hit in December, dropping to 13.2 percent in March.

California, with an unemployment rate of 12 percent, and Florida, at 11.1 percent, followed, though those March rates also showed declines…

Read the full story

Is your company hiring now or planning to add new workers in 2011? Let us know in the comments.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Magic of Employee Engagement

Who doesn't like to fly Southwest Airlines? Huge numbers of people are just nuts about Southwest, true blue fans. So much that Southwest Airlines is now the largest carrier of passengers in the largest market in the world. Profitable since its inception in 1972, its stock ticker symbol LUV, says it all. Not only are customers made to feel welcome and appreciated at Southwest Airlines, but so are their bags. The Southwest Difference just oozes out of every employee. Southwest Airlines built their business on a culture of engagement. Southwest engages and energizes employees who in turn naturally engage and energize customers. Southwest makes flying fun.
We frequently hear leaders state that their employees are their most valuable resource. And that is a statement most everyone can agree on. What is not so straightforward, however, is how to access the full value that employees can bring to the organization, and its customers. How to fully engage those most valuable resources and leverage them for the good of all concerned remains a mystery to most.
An engaged employee is one who is fully involved in and enthusiastic about his or her work and will naturally act in a way that furthers the organization's interests. We like to say engaged employees are tuned into and turned on by their work. Engaged employees are naturally more productive, quality oriented, team centered, customer focused, safety conscious, and take more ownership for their performance and for business outcomes. As we effectively engage employees, we tap into a resource that is darned near infinite.....our People Power.
Read the rest on the Quality Coach Blog

When Average Isn’t Good Enough

It’s tough to admit that you’re average, especially when comparative measures show your nearby competition is better than you. That, however, was the bitter tonic that Adventist Midwest Health had to swallow three years ago. Executives at the Hindsdale, IL-based four-hospital system serving the western suburbs of Chicago knew they were in the middle of the pack, or worse, on key metrics, including employee engagement and patient satisfaction.
“We made a decision that we didn’t want to be average. We wanted to be a world-class organization. We set a rather aggressive goal to be at the 90th percentile on all of our metrics by 2012,” says Don Russell, vice president of human resources at Adventist Midwest, explaining the health system’s decision to become an “employer of choice.”
Employee engagement was one of the first areas Adventist Midwest addressed, Russell says, because if employee engagement scores are low, other scores—especially patient satisfaction—will be, too.
Read the complete article here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Employee Engagement Norms Bulletin 2011


Loyalty and Engagement - Connecting Human Capital to the Bottom Line

Our 2010/2011 Employee Engagement Norms report is now available.
As an HR professional you work in the world of human capital - recruiting it, nurturing it, guiding it, managing it. And if your organization is like most, you are often called upon to connect those efforts to more traditional forms of capital, showing how your organization's HR investment contributes to its bottom line. At Insightlink, through both our proprietary 4Cs model of Commitment, Culture, Communications and Compensation and our ongoing research into employee loyalty, engagement and satisfaction, we can provide a measurement-based framework for understanding and increasing your organization's return on its human capital investment.
It's easy to see why making this connection between human capital and an organization's performance is so important. There is significant evidence that, as employee job satisfaction and engagement increase, so too does an organization's financial performance, as a direct result of higher employee productivity, improved employee retention and greater customer satisfaction.
This report summarizes the findings of our most recent employee engagement norms study. It's a snapshop of the current drivers of engagement and satisfaction among U.S. and Canadian employees. To collect this data, Insightlink conducts an independent annual survey of randomly selected employees in North America.
Visit to request a complimentary copy of the complete report.

Want Engaged Customers? Then Engage Your Employees!

In today’s challenging economy, companies must deliver a compelling and differentiated customer experience if they are to survive and thrive. Indeed, most companies understand they need to actively engage their customers to build loyalty, deepen relationships, and gain access to insights that inspire future actions.
As the pace of business has slowed over the last several years, companies have redoubled efforts to engage their customers—to keep the ones they have and bring in new ones. To achieve these goals, however, employees must first be engaged—committed, enthusiastic, and motivated to provide the interactions and experiences that keep customers close. As many as 83 percent of managers consider employee engagement to be a critical factor in attracting and retaining customers, according to research by the American Society for Training and Development.
Unfortunately, just as companies are driving to engage their customers, they also have taken cost-cutting measures that have had a chilling effect on employee morale. A Towers and Perrin report indicates that 72 percent of companies have reduced their workforces in response to the recession. It’s not surprising that the number of “actively disengaged” workers has risen to as much as 24 percent in companies where layoffs have occurred, according to Watson Wyatt’s Employee Engagement Index. One of the biggest concerns for employers is the number of workers intending to change jobs when the economy improves.
So what can these companies do? Despite the turmoil and uncertainty in the current environment, there are steps employers can take to re-engage employees and simultaneously rise to the challenge of engaging customers in a way that will help them retain market share and grow business.
Read the full story at:

Get Your Employees Out and Walking

Computers, e-mail, the Internet and smart phones have revolutionized the way America does business. Compared to manual typewriters and carbon paper, or pneumatic tubes that delivered handwritten messages between floors in air-propelled capsules, today’s workplace is a technological marvel.

But that technological progress has come with a price. Today’s workforce is far more sedentary than the workforce of generations past. Instead of walking down the hall to confer with a colleague, we send an e-mail or text message. Instead of walking to the reference shelf to look up an obscure fact or figure, we use the Internet.

This has produced a heavier and less healthy workforce. The combination of reduced exercise and increased weight often translates into higher health care costs and lower productivity.

America’s obesity epidemic has roots that extend far beyond our jobs, but in the workplace, owners and managers can make a difference and help turn the tide. It's as simple as putting one foot in front of the other.

Read the complete article on SHRM

Monday, April 11, 2011

Top 6 Rules Of Employee Engagement

Apr 06, 2011 -
Everyone talks about customer engagement, but what about employee engagement?
As a small business owner, this may be the last topic on your mind. Instead, you are focused on attracting new customers, retaining current ones and simply making ends meet. While these points are important, so is creating an environment which breeds motivated and enthusiastic employees.
“If you have satisfied employees, they will treat your customers better; then your customers will come back and refer you to others,” says Jack Zenger, author of The Extraordinary Leader and co-founder of Zenger Folkman, a consulting and leadership firm based in Orem, Utah. “We’ve done several studies on this topic and always found that when you improve employee engagement, you improve customer satisfaction—which then turns into increased revenue.”
Not sure how to engage your employees? Try following these rules:
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Human resources can build employee satisfaction

Finding and hiring the right employees, keeping them motivated and safe, and, when necessary, professionally and legally ending the working relationship are the keys to successful human resources management.
Let's take a look at hiring, firing, and everything in between, as employee satisfaction is the ultimate outcome of a well-run HR program
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Employees Value Sustainability, Survey Shows

Atlanta, GA, April 4, 2011 -- A new study on workplace values shows American workers seek employment with organizations that are both financially successful and mindful and focus on sustainability.
A survey conducted by Harris Interactive National Quorum on behalf of carpet maker Interface revealed that that 63% of full-time workers believe a company's impact on the environment is vital when evaluating a new workplace, and 61% say the same about the company's profit margin, according to a press release.
Meanwhile, an even greater majority -- 71% -- value a commitment to sustainability, defined in this study as "environmental protection," as an important or very important criteria.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

How To Tear Down The Walls To Business Innovation

Posted by Holly Green

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave his famous speech in which he implored Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!”

I’m going to paraphrase his history-altering quote and urge today’s business leaders to tear down these walls!

Which walls?

The ones that get in the way of cross-communication within organizations and prevent innovation from taking place. Unlike the Berlin Wall, you can’t see these walls because they’re invisible. But they exist, and they represent major impediments to creating meaningful innovation, especially in large companies.

Just look at the way most organizations are physically set up. Accounting in one area, marketing in another, management on the top floor with the nicest offices and best views out the window. Employees rarely interact with other departments unless they need something to get their jobs done.

In addition, many leaders and managers hesitate to share information with other departments, believing that controlling the data puts them in a position of power. In situations where team or departmental goals don’t align with organizational goals, they can actually get rewarded for withholding information.

So the invisible walls go up, communication goes down, and the ability to innovate goes out the door.

How do you tear down these walls?

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Friday, April 1, 2011

How an attorney general’s office taps inexpensive videos to boost engagement

Like many government agencies in today’s economic environment, Washington State’s Attorney General’s Office is experiencing budgeting issues. Sarah Lane, the office’s communications consultant, is using social media combined with traditional communications to try to keep employee morale up during this climate.
At her session, Lane shared her communications goals:
  • Keep employees engaged, connected and informed.
  • Help employees accept change and transition.
  • Recognize employee achievement.
  • Maintain high employee morale and satisfaction.
Part of the way the state accomplishes these goals is through what Lane calls “HOT communications,” HOT stands for honest, open and two-way. Lane believes that a key part of engaging employees is keeping them informed of issues the office is facing, such as budget cuts and hiring freezes.
One such vehicle is the attorney general’s blog, Monday Minute with Rob, available on the employee intranet.
Read the full story: