Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Match employees to target customers

Every business interaction is ultimately between two people – an employee and customer, or the employee who designs the customer interface and that customer. Most high-performance business relationships are heavily influenced by emotional compatibility.
Therefore, the employee selection process should begin with carefully selecting employees who will first best match the targeted customers, then the company. Although we lack understanding of the emotional state of the customer at the beginning of an interaction, it is possible to hire for and then match emotional predispositions of employees, e.g. sales, service to particular customers. This entails matching employee human attributes with customer human attributes. After a firm segments their customers by human need, it can then match the emotional attributes of employees to emotional attributes of customers. One of the ways to accomplish this is through applying classic personality typing during employee screening. The firm can then hire ‘‘personalities’’ who best match how the firm delivers its value to a certain segment of customers.

When employee and customer human attributes are not matched, it is stressful to the employee and increases the chance that the customer will not be satisfied. In many cases, management will end up chastising the employee for apparent performance shortcomings when in fact it is simply a mismatch of emotional attributes between employee and customer. Matching can be accomplished by creating customer needs profiles and employee needs profiles for particular customer ‘‘need’’ segments and employee roles respectively. The critical component of matching employee to customer is the first focus on what emotional end state the customer desires; next is hiring employees whose natural ability is to create such an end state. This goes far beyond the conventional job description of roles and tasks. When customer/employee emotional matching is embedded into core hiring practices, not only does customer and employee fulfillment increase but so does employee efficiency and effectiveness.

Ultimately, employees’ ability to fulfill customers is determined by their inherent human characteristics. Below is a comparative table of people with high self-esteem versus low self-esteem illustrating this principle.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Match employee values to business values

In order for a firm to achieve its cultural and value objectives, it is critical to hire employees with a personal value system consistent with the firm’s cultural and value objectives. From the employee’s perspective, if the firm’s culture (value system) is out of sync with the person an employee believes himself or herself to be, the employee will be less effective, less productive, and less committed. In addition, the firm will be creating undue stress and possible emotional damage to its employees as human beings. More specifically, if the firm’s objective is to deliver humane and kind service to its customers, employees who are treated in the same fashion will be more likely to create this environment for customers.

The people who happen to be working as an associate for some business do not go through a miraculous transformation when they walk through the doors of that business. They are the same human being they always were. Employee stress arises when associates are hired because of their personality of wanting to please customers and yet the business has many restrictions that inhibit their ability to please customers. If an associate is empowered to please their customers, they will be a happier and a more content associate.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Leader’s Promise to Employees

I’ll ACKNOWLEDGE you – recognize your worth

I’ll be ACCOMMODATING – change things for your needs

I’ll be ACCOUNTABLE – take ownership of my decisions and their outcome

I’ll be COMMUNICATIVE – openly exchange ideas/information with you

I’ll be CONSIDERATE – think of you first

I’ll be COURAGEOUS – bold and tenacious, even when it’s tough

I’ll be EMPATHETIC – sensitive to your feelings

I’ll be ETHICAL – do what is right

I’ll be FAIR – balance your needs with others

I’ll be FLEXIBLE – open to alternatives

I’ll be GENEROUS – give more than expected

I’ll be HONEST – tell the truth

I’ll have HUMILITY – give credit and avoid self-importance

I’ll be INSPIRING – provide enthusiasm toward a goal

I’ll be LOYAL – always there for you

I’ll be PERSONABLE – easy to be with

I’ll be RESPECTFUL – recognize your dignity as a person

I’ll be SUPPORTIVE – provide help and remove barriers

I’ll be TOLERANT – accept you without judgment and forgive mistakes

I’ll be TRUSTING – believe in you

I’ll be TRUSTWORTHY – do what I say and what needs to be done

Source : Costumers are People, The Human touch. John Mckean 2002

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Human Capital Perspective (Present View)

  1. Human capital expenditures are viewed as a source of value.
  2. The HR function is perceived as a strategic partner.
  3. Top executives are increasingly involved in allocating HR budget.
  4. Human capital metrics focus on results.
  5. Top executives are involved in the design and use of metrics.
  6. The use of ROI has become an important. tool to understand the cause-and-effect relationships.
  7. Human capital measurement focuses on the data needed.
  8. Human capital measurement is based on what is needed in the organization.
  9. HR programs are linked to specific business needs before implementation.
  10. Overall reporting on human capital programs and projects is output focused.

Source : Investing in your company’s human capital : strategies to avoid spending too little—or too much .Jack J. Phillips.2005

Monday, September 1, 2008

Human Capital Perspective (Traditional View)

  1. Human capital expenses are considered costs.
  2. The HR function is perceived as a support staff.
  3. HR is involved in setting the HR budget.
  4. Human capital metrics focus on cost and activities.
  5. Human capital metrics are created and maintained by HR alone.
  6. There is little effort to understand the return on investment in human capital
  7. Human capital measurement focuses on the data at hand
  8. Human capital measurement is based on what GE and IBM are measuring.
  9. HR programs are initiated without a business need connected to them.
  10. Overall reporting on human capital programs and projects is input focused.

Source : Investing in your company’s human capital : strategies to avoid spending too little—or too much .Jack J. Phillips.2005

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What are the components of an effective compensation system?

Compensation is the reward employees receive in exchange for performing organizational tasks. Compensation is direct and indirect wages.
Direct compensation includes wages, salaries and bonuses or commission.
Indirect compensation is paid as medical benefits, housing allowance and such others that are what part of direct compensation.
Design of a compensation program is significant in Personnel Management because of its direct influence on employees’ behavior and performance in the company. The components of an effective compensation system is, if salaries and perquisites are:
Adequate :In line with what is paid in similar companies in the same geographical area. Salaries and perquisites should be similar to what is paid in the other companies for the similar work e.g. people working in the night shifts and doing similar hours and in the same geographical area should be paid equally otherwise they will shift for better salary or facilities.
Equitable: Salaries and perquisites should commensurate with the effort put in not be less than the work and the ability used by the individual for hard work. Salaries should be equal to the work put in.
Balanced: The compensation includes a reasonable combination of direct and indirect benefits.
Cost Effective: Salaries and perquisites should be such that the company can afford to pay or should not exceed the benefits the company gets from the employees. The benefits should not be more than what they get, then only company will be able to make more profit.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What is succession planning. What information is necessary to evaluate the potential of an employee?

Succession Planning :It refers to the plans a company makes to fills most importance executive position .In practice the process involves a fairly complicated and integrated series of steps.

A most comprehensive definition of succession planning is that it is the process of ensuring a suitable supply of success or for current and future senior or key jobs arising in the business strategy, so that the career of individuals can be planned and managed to optimize the organization needs and the individual aspirations.

Succession planning is done in 3 time frames:

Immediate - within one year

Intermediate - one year to 3 years

Long Range - Beyond three years

Organizations gear most by their management succession activities to the immediate future. This is mostly because it is integrated closely with the annual budgets and business plans. However, the real succession plan should be geared towards intermediate and long-range time frames.

Elements of Succession Planning:

As a first step, management staffing plans should be developed. These plans should be prepared on an individual basis for all anticipating needs in the intermediate years ahead and for key position in the intermediate and long-range future. The potential effects by external factors, such as economic forecasts and overall manpower market forecasts should be received and considered. The business plans should be received to determine their effect all-managerial needs. As business plans for both the near and long term are developed, the organizations plans and human resources forecasts should be formed.

The Second Step concerns staffing and development. Staffing includes recruitment, selection and placement of candidates from the outside and inside the organization and development of managerial personnel should be ensured through approaches such as formal training both within the organization and outside, planned job rotation performance planning and appraisal, counseling and coaching.

The third step concerns needing a congenial environment, where people give their best. The organization’s environment should ensure the retention of the most desirable employee.

The Fourth Step consists of doing appraisals. Appraisals and analysis of results achieved should provide an organization with essential feedback on the performance of managers.

The Fifth Step is the S.P exercise in the preparation of management resource statutory consisting of the following:

Personal Data



Skills Career Goals

Career Plans

Potential appraisals are done to know the potential of the employees so that the employees who have more potential become eligible for promotions.

As assessment center is used to assess the potential of management candidates considered are asked to perform realistic tasks under observation of expert appraisers.

Simulated exercises in a typical assessment center includes:

In basket:

The candidate is given a number of reports, names, and notes on incoming phone calls, letters and the material collected in the in-basket of the simulated jobs he is supposed to take over. The candidate is asked to take appropriate actions on each of these materials.

Group Discussion:

A leaderless group discussion is given a topic for discussion and asked to arrive at a group discussion. The raters then evaluate each group member’s personal skills, acceptance by the group, leadership ability and individual inference.

Management Games:

Participants engage in realistic problem solving. E.g., as member of two more companies that are competing in the marketplace. Decisions would have to be made about matters like how to advertise and manufacture and how much inventory to keep in stock.

Individual Presentation:

A participant’s communication skill and persuasiveness evaluated by having the person take an oral presentation on an assigned topic.

Objective Tests:

Papers and pencil tests for personality, mental ability, interests and achievement may be conducted to measure the participant’s sense on factors to be assessed.


are conducted to determine the participant’s current interests, background, past performance and motivation.

Through these processes, the participant’s potential is assessed and management development and placement decisions taken. Potential of the existing candidates working with the company can be evaluated by their past performances with the company.

Source : Personnel Management Question & Answer by Amresh Anjan

Friday, July 25, 2008



If you can’t find the talent you want in your own country, there are recruitment firms and Internet Websites that will enable you to look beyond your nation’s borders. Likewise, these same resources can help you people overseas operations with nationals rather than use expatriates to staff them. Whether you use an international headhunter like Korn/Ferry International Inc.

or a Website that specializes in overseas jobs like Overseas Jobs Express (www.overseasjobs.com) which lists entry level to senior executive posts, your description of the job will influence the response you get from talented employees to your job opening. Here is what Peter D. Weddle, publisher of Weddle’s, the newsletter about online recruitment, suggests that you talk about.

Challenging work

Stay away from a list of requirements and responsibilities. Instead, describe the opening from an applicant’s perspective. So talk about the opportunities that the job will offer for the holder to be involved in important and meaningful work. Discuss the corporate mission and the value of that mission and then describe how the job holder will contribute to achievement of the mission.

Personal development

Yes, you will provide opportunities for additional training but that is expected, particularly if the job is in the IT area. The candidate is looking for development beyond that; that is, professional development that comes from an opportunity to be mentored by leaders in the organization and to participate in key decisions that impact the success of the company. Still, do mention if the company will subsidize higher education degrees and support involvement in professional associations.


Demonstrate that there are opportunities for upward mobility in your organization by posting examples on your own Website. This should catch the attention of foreign nationals willing to relocate to build their career. Let those hired to represent your firm abroad know, too, about specific examples of personal advancement within your company, ideally by others recruited abroad.

Collegial relationships

Let executive recruiters know about other superstars on your management team so they can mention them to prospective candidates. On your Website, play up these individuals. Says Weddle, ‘‘Include their picture and a description of their work, in their own words.’’ Update the site regularly with new profiles; you want prospective employees to see that your organization isn’t limited to one or two ‘‘names.’’


If you will be relocating a manager and family, you want to be sure that services are available to help them make the transition – physical and cultural. At the very least help them locate a home, even for the short term, and a local school for any children. Provide training in the language and career placement assistance for the spouse if that is an issue of interest. Depending on the position, mention should also be made about workplace resources like special computer systems, access to technical libraries or data, or information on new research that can make relocation seem worthwhile.


‘‘Competitive salary’’ or ‘‘salary commensurate with skills and experience,’’ says Weddle, will mean little to someone coming from another country, particularly someone whom you truly need on your staff. Don’t try to pay less because you are recruiting from a developing country. It will take little time for a new hire to understand how he or she stands financially to peers. If the pay and benefits aren’t comparable to that of colleagues, you are likely to lose your new hire to another firm quickly. Better to talk about stock options and base plus incentive early in the recruitment process. Certainly include that information in any international Internet postings. As Weddle’s research has found, salary information must appear in the first five lines of a job posting or most candidates will read no further. What about staffing overseas subsidiaries with nationals? The same rule applies. Big distinctions found between expatriate and local national pay, benefits, and bonuses can encourage the brightest local nationals to learn as much as they can from you, then move on.

Source : Recruiting & Retaining People .Florence Stone. 2002

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ten Tips to Maximize Your Performance Appraisal Documentation Skills (part 6 - End)

By Paul Falcone

Rule 10: Follow a few narrative-writing tips that will help you consistently strengthen your overall message.

First, be sure to avoid writing anything that could be interpreted as discriminatory. You may not document or reference anything protected by privacy or employee protection laws. For example, writing ‘‘Michael, you are performing well since you began your new medication to combat depression, and I encourage you to continue’’ could very well violate the protections afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act if the individual is later denied a promotion or terminated for cause.

Similarly, if you reference an individual’s age, ethnicity, sexual or gender orientation, religious beliefs, medical history, or any other categories protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or other state worker protection laws, then your own documentation could be used against you in a court of law.

Similarly, if an employee was on a leave of absence for a significant part of the review period, simply document that ‘‘Michael was on an approved leave of absence from May 10 to August 8’’ and leave it at that. The reason for the leave (pregnancy, workers comp injury, stress leave) is superfluous and should not be included as part of the formal record established by the performance review. It follows that all performance appraisals should be reviewed in advance by your HR or Legal departments before they are shared with your employees to ensure, among other things, that no discriminatory language exists.

Second, avoid the term attitude in your formal business communication with your subordinates. ‘‘Attitude’’ is a very subjective judgment that courts will typically dismiss because it is often associated with a mere difference of opinion or a personality conflict. Instead, be sure to describe the objective behaviors that create a negative perception of the employee in others’ eyes. Only behaviors and actions that can be observed and documented belong in work place discussions and

may be presented as evidence in court.

For example, replace an admonition like this:

‘‘As we have discussed throughout the year, you have received many complaints regarding your attitude. You need to demonstrate immediate improvement in this area.’’

with something concrete like this:

‘‘Peggy received a written warning on January 14 for raising her voice in anger and for using profane language directed at a coworker. The disciplinary warning specifically stated that if she ever again lost control of her temper, used profane language in the workplace, or demonstrated behavior that could be perceived as hostile or threatening, further disciplinary action up to and including termination could result.’’

Third, use the phrase ‘‘For example’’ at least three times in an individual performance appraisal. Managers often make sweeping comments about perceptions without documenting the factual circumstances that justify their points of view. You could therefore easily turn a perception statement like ‘‘Your planning and organizational skills are satisfactory, but you sometimes require additional assistance in this area’’ into something more concrete and instructional for the employee by including an example.

Fourth, use the terminology ‘‘needs improvement’’ cautiously in your narrative writing, as it may not convey the message you intend. The examples in our book are structured according to the following two criteria:

Meets/Exceeds Expectations

Needs Improvement

Note, though, that these are categories only for ease of use. In reality, stating that performance or behavior ‘‘needs improvement’’ is not the same as stating that it does not meet company standards or is unsatisfactory. Similarly, documenting that ‘‘Richard has been spoken to regarding excessive absenteeism and tardiness’’ does not convey that his performance was unacceptable. Don’t assume that the employee understood (or a jury would agree) that just because you spoke about performance which needed improvement, it was assumed to be substandard. Instead, clearly document when performance is unacceptable, unsatisfactory, or fails to meet standards.

Fifth, you should document the efforts you’ve made to help the employee meet performance standards throughout the review period. When writing annual performance appraisals, for example, you should include the fact that you gave the employee a copy of the attendance policy, paid for her to attend a workshop on dealing with interpersonal conflict in the work place, or encouraged her to take an accounting course at a local college. Such documentation will serve as evidence that you acted responsibly by attempting to proactively rehabilitate the worker.

Finally, when documenting core competency or technical issues, expand your basic ideas by employing a ‘‘by . . .’’ format, like this:

Regularly places support staff in positions of leadership by appointing them subject matter experts in particular technical areas or by selecting them for workshop/seminar facilitator roles.

Assumes responsibility for areas beyond his immediate control by preparing the monthly income statement, the comparative balance sheet, and overall general ledger maintenance.

Has done very little to maintain and advance his technical knowledge and skills by upgrading his software skills, attending educational workshops, establishing a professional network of peers, or participating

in professional societies.

Masters all phases of the project development life cycle by identifying and documenting requirements, technical processes and procedures, test documentation, and environment and deployment plans.

Successfully negotiates salary offers and preempts counteroffer possibilities by ‘‘pre-closing’’ and proactively engaging finalist candidates in discussions about their future career development.

Ensures that newly learned skills are repeated and enforced by following up with 30, 60, and 90 day quizzes and questionnaires.

Similarly, when documenting future development goals, you could easily strengthen the clarity of your message by applying the ‘‘I expect you to . . . by . . .’’ format. For example, it would be simple to turn a statement like:

‘‘In the upcoming review period, you must improve your client relations skills and better utilize your time.’’

into a more instructional, future-oriented statement by applying the ‘‘I expect you to . . . by . . .’’ structure, which would look like this:

‘‘I expect you to improve your client relations skills by following up with customers within two hours of their initial calls, by meeting them in their offices rather than asking them to come to yours, and by maintaining weekly contact regarding the status of their work order processing.’’

Of course, the examples themselves will easily stand on their own without the ‘‘by’’ predicate. Still, this structure should help to remind you to complete your thoughts and provide appropriate examples for your statements. Selectively added to the annual review at strategic points, it will add critical mass to the statements that you make and justify your perceptions. It will likewise help you clearly outline your performance expectations and how they will be concretely measured.

Clarity in your written message will not only protect your company from potential outside legal challenges; it will help build a shared sense of open communication, a greater sense of partnership, and increased accountability with your workers.

Source : 2600 phrases for effective performance reviews. Paul Falcone. 2005

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ten Tips to Maximize Your Performance Appraisal Documentation Skills (part 5)

By Paul Falcone

Rule 8: Don’t formally document or otherwise discuss the merit (salary) increase during the performance review process.

If you document, ‘‘I believe Janet should receive a 5 percent merit increase this year based on her performance’’ or raise this issue verbally during the performance appraisal meeting, expect Janet to focus on salary from that point forward.

Whether she challenges your overall merit increase recommendation or simply spends the next few minutes of the meeting trying to determine how much that 5 percent uplift will impact her biweekly paycheck, the focus will shift away from performance. Since this is a performance review as opposed to a salary review meeting, keep merit increase discussions out of the meeting. They will only weaken your message and lessen your ability to bring about change in the individual’s performance levels over the upcoming review period.

Rule 9: You have the right to add disciplinary language to an annual performance review, turning it, in effect, into a written warning.

When managers confirm ongoing substandard performance issues in an annual appraisal, they often mistakenly believe that they must then wait an additional 30 or 60 days before initiating a formal written warning. In essence, the two steps may be combined to hasten the progressive discipline process.

Occasionally, it may be appropriate to add disciplinary language to the performance review itself, thereby turning the substandard performance appraisal into a formal written warning. Your narrative might look like this:

In addition to documenting that your overall performance for this review period does not meet company expectations, this annual appraisal will also serve as a formal written warning. Failure to demonstrate immediate and sustained improvement may result in further disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

You’ll thereby have established a written record of communicating that the individual’s employment is in serious jeopardy of being lost.

Of course, this suggestion could seem a bit extreme, depending on your company’s policies and past practices, or a collective bargaining agreement may preclude such aggressive actions. Still, depending on the nature of the infraction as well as the employee’s tenure with the company and status as a protected worker, it could certainly be worth pursuing. When in doubt, speak with your HR department or qualified outside counsel, especially if this will be the first time your company will have engaged in this practice of combining annual reviews with formal written warnings.

Rule 10 : .......

Source : 2600 phrases for effective performance reviews. Paul Falcone. 2005

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ten Tips to Maximize Your Performance Appraisal Documentation Skills (part 4)

By Paul Falcone

Rule 7 : Whenever possible, shift the responsibility for evaluating performance back to your employees.

The reason most employees receive their evaluations late is because supervisors don’t have the time to collect the data necessary to write a good review. In addition, since relaying negative news can be confrontational (and we all know that the path of least resistance is avoidance), many supervisors postpone documenting sub par performance for fear of making matters worse with the staff.

You’ll find (much to your surprise!) that many employees will appreciate the opportunity to bring to your attention their perceptions of how they’ve done, what they plan to do, and how you could help. And that automatically puts you in the role of career mentor and coach—not unilateral decision maker and disciplinarian. You’ll also learn that the majority of workers will be harder on themselves than you would have ever been. That should take some of the stress off of you in terms of having to surface negative information. It works this way: About a week before you need to draft your staff appraisals, instruct your direct reports to address their overall performance in three critical areas:

1. Address your overall performance track record for this review period. Specifically address your achievements that have resulted in increased revenues, reduced expenses, or saved time. Why is XYZ Company a better place for your having worked here? How have you had to reinvent your

job in light of our department’s changing needs? And how would you grade yourself in terms of work quality, reliability, interpersonal communication, and technical skills?

2. In what area(s) do you feel you need additional support, structure, or direction? Specifically, where can I, as your supervisor, provide you with additional support in terms of acquiring new skills, strengthening your overall performance, and preparing you for your next move in career progression?

3. What are your performance goals for the next year? What are the measurable outcomes so that we’ll know that you’ll have reached those goals? Once you receive their initial feedback, you could then go on to draft your own staff appraisal. By allowing employees to take the first stab at outlining their goals and achievements, you’ll automatically capture what they feel are their most significant issues. You’ll be reminded of the achievements they’ve made throughout the year, and you’ll be in a much better position to draft a comprehensive and objective annual report.

Expect an ‘‘emotional involvement rate’’ of 20–70–10 in this exercise, as follows:

- 20 percent of your staff will love this exercise and provide you with all the bells and whistles—productivity graphs, cost savings spreadsheets, and copies of letters of recommendation they’ve received from customers throughout the review period. (This is the key target group for the


- 70 percent will do an adequate job in engaging themselves in the self-review process; however, their answers may be somewhat superficial or unsubstantiated.

- 10 percent may refuse to participate: They might argue that it’s your job to evaluate them and not theirs. But then again, that tells you a lot about their motivation and entitlement mentality, doesn’t it? Maybe their own refusal to participate should be incorporated into the narrative of the annual review as evidence of their overall work ethic.

On the other hand, you may naturally fear confrontation by allowing employees to initiate the process and have first say. For example, if you feel that one particular employee is a sub par performer, but that individual may think he’s the best thing since sliced bread, then you’re sure to invite conflict, right? Wrong! Remember, you write the actual review. This pre-review draft is not the actual appraisal form that will end up in the employee’s personnel file.

And if it turns out that you both have very different perceptions of the individual’s contributions, it’s okay to disagree. This will provide you a key opportunity to open up the lines of communication regarding reasons for the differences in your perceptions. After all, if you simply roll over the individual in the annual review process like a Sherman Tank with a one sided

diatribe, you’ll only initiate a paper war with a stark rebuttal. Talk first, then write. If you both agree to disagree, then so be it. In the end, you’ll keep control of the entire process, your authority will remain intact, and you’ll initiate a dialog to reach a mutual ground. If the employee follows your review with a rebuttal nonetheless, it will likely be milder and ‘‘less attacking’’ if there have been open discussions before anything was committed to writing.

One final thought: Some employees will request formal feedback on a more regular basis than once per year. (You know who they are.) Consider formally reviewing them twice a year or even possibly once per quarter by shifting the responsibility for data collection and initial review back to them. In essence, they’ll do all the legwork, and you’ll create an environment in which they could motivate themselves. It requires a minimal time investment on your part, and you’ll find that they’ll spread the good news about your enlightened management style with their peers. Objective feedback on a consistent basis is what it’s all about.

Rule 8 : .....

Source : 2600 phrases for effective performance reviews. Paul Falcone. 2005

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ten Tips to Maximize Your Performance Appraisal Documentation Skills (part 3)

By Paul Falcone

Rule 5: It’s okay to give an A.

Do you remember those college professors who never gave A’s? It seemed that no matter how hard you worked or how much extra credit you turned in, they were simply implacable:

An A was little more than a lofty dream.

It shouldn’t work that way in the workplace. Saying thank you for a job well done and recognizing special achievements should be a matter of practice, not a matter of exception. It’s perfectly acceptable to write at the conclusion of an appraisal:

Patty, thank you for your ongoing contributions and continued hard work over the past year. You’ve made our department a better place by your willingness to assume additional responsibilities, your friendly customer service, and by the care you put into everything you do. Keep up the excellent work, and remain a role model for your peers. I’m proud of you and very appreciative of all you’ve done.

Again, your merit pool may only be 2 percent, or maybe you have no merit pool at all this year. The overall score on the review shouldn’t be lowered because you have a smaller merit pool than you’d ideally like to have. What’s important is the written message: Those parting words in the annual review, now made into a formal company record, will have an incredible impact on your employee’s sense of job satisfaction and self-worth. And think what a gift you’ll have given her to

share with family and friends at home as well as perspective employers in years to come.

Of course, you should also be a bit cautious about being too flowery in your accolades and compliments. Should that employee later fall from grace and you terminate the individual for cause, your stellar recommendations from prior years may be enlarged and placed before a jury as evidence of the individual’s worth and work ethic.

Rule 6: Don’t give everyone A’s!

If you routinely give all of your direct reports the highest overall grade rankings, you’re probably doing something wrong. It’s possible to say that at one particular point in your career, every individual member on your team may be the best worker you’ve ever had the joy of supervising. Maybe you’ve got the best line-up of staff members in your entire industry.

Reality, though, is probably not quite as optimistic: Managers who award A’s to everyone on their team often have the problem of distinguishing between genuine superior performance and overall good work. They also often wish to avoid the confrontation that comes with providing more down to earth, albeit realistic performance scores.

The solution is pretty simple: Rank order your staff in terms of who is your most critical contributor versus who probably would make the least difference if she resigned tomorrow. Your superstar would be a 5; your ‘‘least stellar’’ worker, who still performs at a very acceptable level, would be a 3. Your other staff members will probably fall into the 4 category.

Think of it another way: You’re not doing your subordinates any favors if you continuously give them 5s. Agree together on areas for growth and learning and push them to develop their technical skills and formal education by attending discipline-specific workshops and conferences. It’s a more honest appraisal methodology, and a 5 will really be something to strive for.

If you’ve only given 5s in the past but want to give more 4s and 3s this year, simply hold a staff meeting in advance of the performance appraisal meetings and let your subordinates know that you’ll be evaluating everyone differently this year. State that although you’ve typically given higher grades to the group in the past, you want to work on customizing each appraisal this year in terms of objective feedback and development plans. That means the overall scores may be a bit lower, but the value of the entire process, especially the development plan, will increase, and that’s to everyone’s benefit.

Rule 7 : .........

Source : 2600 phrases for effective performance reviews. Paul Falcone. 2005

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ten Tips to Maximize Your Performance Appraisal Documentation Skills (part 2)

By Paul Falcone

Rule 3: Understand how documentation can be used against your company if composed the wrong way.

Here’s a special consideration: When employees are terminated for cause and bring wrongful termination actions against prior companies, judges and arbitrators look to the consistency in a company’s written communication in order to justify the termination and determine which party prevails.

This written record is typically found in the form of written warnings and annual performance reviews, laid out side by side on a table as exhibits. But which one is more important in an arbitrator’s eyes: the annual review or the written warning?

Generally speaking, the annual appraisal is given more weight in legal deliberations because it covers an entire year’s work. A written warning, in comparison, could simply be the result of one bad day in the office or a short-term string of thoughtless acts or omissions. Think of it this way: A written warning typically functions to break the chain of positive performance evaluations that’s been documented over a number of years. Still, the annual appraisal is generally viewed as the ‘‘anchor’’ document that evidences the company’s formal communication record with its worker.

In comparison, the written warning serves to reestablish and redirect the company’s written communication record by placing an individual on notice that failure to provide immediate and sustained improvement may result in further disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Disciplinary consequences written this way clearly state that an individual’s position is in serious jeopardy of being lost. It would subsequently be very difficult for plaintiff attorneys to argue that their client (your ex-employee) was denied workplace due process because the individual couldn’t discern—based on your company’s formal communication record—how serious the situation had become.

The question you have to ask, of course, is whether one written warning or multiple warnings will be necessary to justify a termination. That can only be answered on a case by case basis, depending on an individual’s tenure, historical performance record, and protected category status. Remember, however, that you have a lot more discretion to terminate or issue a final written warning for a first-time ‘‘conduct’’ offense (like theft or insubordination) than for a ‘‘performance’’ infraction (like substandard work quality). In the case of performance infractions, you’ll typically be expected to provide workers with all the steps of progressive discipline typically accorded under your company’s policies and past practices, which could include written and final written warnings as well as suspensions, in some cases.

However, if written warnings are subsequently followed by a positive annual performance review showing that the employee has improved and now meets company expectations, then that positive performance evaluation will, in essence, nullify the written warning issued during the review period.

So if you have any remote hesitations about an individual’s ability to make it in your department or company in the upcoming year because of his sub par job performance or inappropriate workplace conduct, document it! You should grade the individual as ‘‘not meeting expectations’’ in the ‘‘Overall Score’’ section at the end of the performance appraisal form. Otherwise, the positive record that you create today will make it harder to terminate the individual tomorrow.

Rule 4: Performance reviews are absolute, not relative.

Too many unsuspecting, yet good-hearted managers feel that they’ve given an employee a real message regarding their substandard performance by assigning them lower grades than everyone else on the team. If the other four employees in your unit received ‘‘exceeds expectations’’ scores (for example, 5 out of 5), and this particular individual received only a ‘‘meets expectations’’ score (for example, 3 out of 5), shouldn’t she realize that she’s performing poorly?

Absolutely not! If the company deems a 3 an acceptable score, then the employee hears that she’s met expectations. In a court of law, that individual employee may state that she realized that she scored lower than everyone else in the department or that she had no idea what scores the others received. In either case, her lawyer’s argument will simply state that she had no idea that her job was in jeopardy because her overall score was acceptable.

The lesson here is simple: If the overall score for the performance period shows that the individual is not meeting company expectations, then your communication record will remain consistent and incontestable in its intent. On the contrary, trying to hang your hat on the ‘‘message’’ that one person received the lowest overall score in the unit is no defense to a wrongful termination charge. A jury most likely would not sustain your logic that the employee had cause to believe that she was heading down the road to termination.

Likewise, most performance appraisal forms have nine or ten individual categories in addition to the ‘‘Overall Score’’ at the end. Substandard scores in individual categories will certainly help your case if you’re forced to defend a termination, but in and of themselves, they may not be an absolute defense. Instead, be sure to give the individual a failing ‘‘Overall Score’’ at the end of the appraisal form to reflect unacceptable performance for the entire review period.

Rule 5: ..........

Source : 2600 phrases for effective performance reviews. Paul Falcone. 2005

Saturday, June 21, 2008


What do we mean by ‘‘employee loyalty?’’

We’re talking about employee commitment tied to an organization, one made from the first day of employment in return for guaranteed employment, with a career ladder for promotion, for those employees who show up on time and give more than a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. During the economic boom, the impact of the past economic downturn, with downsizing after downsizing, likely contributed to the job-hopping that companies experienced among their most talented employees. Past experience had given employees little reason to stay with one employer if a prospective employer had a better offer.

HR managers found themselves occupied with filling one vacancy after another. It was hard to keep employees because many chose to ‘‘go solo;’’ that is, become independent and work on a contractual or freelance basis. Called ‘‘contingent workers,’’ these individuals were used to fill workforce gaps. During boom years, many IT experts chose to become consultants and work on contract. During our economic downturn, contingent workers can save employers money, working only during peak job periods or otherwise doing short-term assignments. In the beginning, one thought only about contingent work in relationship to clerical tasks. Temp agencies provided administrative assistance when an assistant was out sick, on maternity leave, or on vacation. But today, contingent work is that and much more.

Assignments vary. Attorneys, business executives, HR professionals, software engineers, accountants, hotel workers, nurses and other medical professionals, and technical support staff – all can be contingentworkers.

The boom period also prompted companies to study their existing personnel to determine if they could take on more responsibility. It was felt an effective way to fill a vacancy, particularly since experienced workers would bring some loyalty to the company, along with past experience in the company, with them to the job. This led to creation of employee skills inventories.

Source : Recruiting & Retaining People .Florence Stone. 2002

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ten Tips to Maximize Your Performance Appraisal Documentation Skills (part 1)

By Paul Falcone

Rule 1: There should be very few surprises in the annual review.

This is a ‘‘total recall’’ document reflecting twelve months of work. If something totally new needs to be surfaced now, you probably didn’t do a thorough enough job communicating with the employee throughout the review period.

So sharing performance concerns for the first time during the performance appraisal should be the exception, not the rule. Still, sometimes it may be necessary to do so, even though that may appear to ‘‘blind side’’ the employee. Nothing is more de-motivating than finding out that your overall performance didn’t meet company expectations when you thought you were doing fine. Typical complaints sound like this:

‘‘I can’t believe my boss. She gave me an overall review score of 2 out of 5, meaning that I didn’t meet expectations. It would have been nice if she’d told me some time over the past year that I needed to improve

in a particular area. She’s always so nicey-nice and perky to your face, and then she stabs you in the back on the annual review. Well, I have a pending meeting with the division president to discuss my supervisor’s

shortcomings, and this review she gave me will be the first item of discussion.’’

To avoid such lose-lose situations, whenever you’re faced with documenting new issues for the first time in an annual review, acknowledge in writing that the matter hasn’t been formally brought to the employee’s attention beforehand. For example, ‘‘I recognize that we haven’t formally discussed . . . , but I felt it appropriate to bring this issue to your attention during this annual performance review because. . . .’’

Assuming you have a compelling reason to include brand new information in a document that covers an entire year’s performance, this open and honest approach will make your documentation appear to be more objective and evenhanded. More importantly, the employee may perceive the entire matter as ultimately fairer because the disclaimer at least acknowledges that this is new terrain.

Rule 2: Review the employee’s prior year performance review(s) before attempting to draft a new appraisal.

Performance reviews aren’t meant to be conducted in a vacuum. They only make sense if they logically follow the prior year’s performance appraisal notes. Therefore, look to prior reviews for areas of particular strengths, weaknesses, or areas for development.

Which areas have improved?

Which areas have remained stagnant and in need of further development?

What’s the overall performance trend when comparing this year to last year?

Rule 3 : .........

Source : 2600 phrases for effective performance reviews. Paul Falcone. 2005

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


There are three components of the Performance Management Cycle:

1. Goal setting and planning

2. Ongoing feedback and coaching

3. Appraisal and reward

The annual performance appraisal clearly speaks to the third issue, but appraisal and reward can’t be accomplished in a vacuum. That third stage is the culmination resulting from ongoing efforts in the first two stages. The performance management cycle is a continuum leading to a particular resolution in the final (third) step, but all three stages are intrinsically linked to the end result—the performance appraisal and associated merit increase (reward).

Annual performance appraisals are not meant to be a paper chase—a mandatory exercise that creates a snapshot of your impressions as a supervisor about a subordinate’s work. Instead, they should be a collaborative effort that builds on open communication and constant feedback. Thus, investing in goal setting should be a two-way communication: Employees who have advanced input into their own career development will typically buy in to the suggestions much more readily than when those goals are imposed from above. And remember, no matter how ‘‘perfectly written’’ these goals are on the actual performance appraisal form, they’ll be useless without ongoing communication throughout the review period.

So keep a copy of each of your staff member’s annual reviews in your desk, and make sure they do the same. Develop a habit of reviewing the status of performance achievement and skills development on a quarterly basis. You’ll find that your business relationships will be focused, you’ll never again feel like you’re flying blind, and your subordinates will have less of a need for ongoing supervision.

Source : 2600 phrases for effective performance reviews. Paul Falcone. 2005