ReBoot the 360

Managing people is a complex endeavor. Given the right combination of people, interpersonal skills, cultural dynamics and motivation, a company can create a happy, productive, engaged workforce. That kind of success doesn’t happen by accident. It takes the right executed approach.

The “360” performance review concept, when first introduced, opened up a new, fresh approach to managing. By polling an employee’s direct reports, peers and even customers, gathering diverse opinions from different perspectives, a company could gain new insight into its people.

After years in practice, though, the 360 review has revealed its flaws. People providing feedback often don’t know enough about an employee’s day-to-day work, challenges and responsibilities. As a result, comments can tend to be personality-based, as opposed to a valuable additional perspective. This feedback can even be damaging and misguided.

Disrupting the 360 Model

The first step in steering the 360 back on course is to get clear on what matters. What’s germane in a 360 review? Here are some fundamentals:

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Calling All CEO’s

Prominent CEOs are standing up against racism, and the country is taking notice. Reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. This support has reinforced a powerful idea: that a company’s values can influence communities and the nation.

I’d like to address my fellow CEOs, and issue a Call to Action: examine your core values and engage your workforce. This is important stuff. Your company values matter in a new and exciting way: they’ve become a key component of your company’s capital. It’s an opportunity to expand awareness of what your organization stands for. Especially now, core values are essential to who you are and what you do. Your identity in the marketplace takes on new meaning.

Ask Questions and Listen

There’s power in what you stand for. CEOs, I urge you to do some soul-searching. Open up the conversation. Get people talking up and down your organization. Ask questions that can lead to growing your core values – and LISTEN to the feedback from your employees. Let your people know that you really want to hear from them. This simple exercise taps into the intellectual wealth of your workforce, and can provide you with guidance on your company’s identity.

Here are some basic questions to get the conversation started:

  • What are the core ethics that you want your employees and coworkers to embrace?
  • What do we want our company culture to look like? What would it feel like in the office, what would you see people doing and what would you hear them saying?
  • How do we want to be perceived by our communities? What roles might we play in community leadership?
  • What are some examples of outreach and service that we can provide?
  • What other questions should we be asking that might be relevant to our business, and to our place in the community?

The goal is to have these conversations throughout your organization. Small teams, large teams, departments and divisions, company-wide meetings: it’s all fair game.

Be Proactive. Every company is different, and the process of discovery will lead you in your own unique direction. Take the lead in finding out what that direction is. Start the conversations and keep them going.

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Part 2: Ignite your Culture – How to Create a People Centered Business

A happy workforce is good for business. That translates to an environment where employees are inspired – where people WANT to make a difference. In this people-centered paradigm, strategists are looking beyond questions like “how can we be profitable?” Instead, they’re asking questions like “how can we be a great place to work?”

Companies that embrace the great-place-to-work model are at a competitive advantage in the war for talent. The best candidates are seeking those companies out. That’s making it more imperative for other aggressive companies to adopt that model as a key business goal.

What steps can a company take to be a great place to work? It starts with understanding key components of workplace satisfaction.

Employee engagement – companies with top-to-bottom engagement are more productive and perform better financially.  Engagement means staff are passionate and positive about what they do, and feel aligned with the company mission and goals.

Transparency – this came up as the #1 factor in a 2013 survey by Tinypulse. Open communication is key. The more employees feel connected with management, coworkers and work teams, the happier and more engaged they are.

Appreciation – being recognized for their work came out #1 in a huge Boston Consulting Group survey of over 200,000 people from around the world.

Other factors like compensation and company stability ranked high also, but focusing on the 3 above guides us to a key understanding: that a culture with open, positive communication can lead directly to a better workplace.

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Part 1: Can you afford “not” to have a people centered approach to Business?

Are we looking at business backward? Success is driven and measured in financial terms, but people are the heart of business. People matter most, and paradigms are changing to reflect that. New business traditions are emerging that value human factors side-by-side with financial ones. Employee satisfaction is as important as profitability.

How can success be viewed in terms of human capital rather than financial capital? Harvard Business Review poses some intriguing questions, and offers illuminating insight, in a new article on talent management.

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Creating teams that can’t fail

remote working

After twenty consecutive quarters of revenue decline, IBM’s marketing lead, Michelle Peluso, recently decided that the solution lies in relocating her remote-working team to one of six regional centers. Abandoning IBM’s long-held support for telecommuting, IBM marketers must now move so they can stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ or leave. This is a policy which didn’t work out well for Yahoo! (or should we say Oath), and will likely fail for IBM marketing.

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Cloning your key staff

alignment

Every entrepreneur has at some point wished they could ‘clone’ their best team members. Faced with mounting challenges, they’ve muttered to themselves something along the lines of: “If only I could find someone else like Jane – she just gets it.”

Not literally clone Jane, but mirroring her performance and approach. The ‘chosen few’ are often just that – few. Owners prize employees who are fully engaged with the culture, committed to the mission, delivering against their goals and sharing the journey. Replicating that approach is key to scaling the business. Continue reading “Cloning your key staff”

A failure of culture and of courage

Failure of courage

Fresh on the heels of harassment claims at Uber, come revelations about widespread sharing and lewd discussion of photos of servicewomen in the US Marines. Different organizations, with similar institutional failings of respect and systemic bias. The Marines have a clear mission, established processes, discipline, levels of transparency unimaginable in the commercial sector, and yet tens of thousands of its staff appear to be engaged in illicit and destructive behavior.

But why?

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Become an HR Rebel with a Cause at HR West 2017

HR rebel with a cause

Let’s be clear – the stories we read about institutionalized discrimination and harassment at high profile companies like Uber, are not just a failing of management, but of HR. Most of us don’t enter the HR field to protect institutions, post-rationalize actions, or build legal cases. We enter it to help people reach their potential. Sometimes we need to speak truth to power. When the time comes, how will you respond when careers, well-being, livelihoods and reputations are on the line?
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Ignite Your Culture – a White Paper about Creating a Culture of Ownership

ownership culture

Many organizations struggle with employee engagement. They seek better performance from their staff while at the same time giving them a sense of purpose. But their efforts fall short and in some cases are demotivating and disenfranchising. In our latest white paper, we examine the path to a creating a high-performance culture. First off, we take a look at the history behind performance reviews – the standard way to assess employee contribution. Spoiler alert – they are broken and being abandoned by many high-profile organizations.

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