Human Capital Musings!

a peek into the human capital world…

Archive for the tag “performance management”

Do you “manage up” as an employee?


“Managing up” could sound something akin to maneuver, and be a sycophant to the higher ups, and something which is to be abhorred.

Not really. Managing up is an important aspect of a successful career, the art by which one is clear about what makes his boss succeed in his role, which has a direct impact of his own goal accomplished. It is vital for one’s career growth, if looked from the background that unless the boss’s goals are contributed to, there is little that can be accomplished in the team.

To manage up is not about being cozy or a yes-man to the boss. It is about being genuinely concerned about the boss getting to his goals and winning post. To that extent, it means a lot about understanding his mind, knowing his challenges and pressures, how is he working or planning to get his team to win and every thing which has to do with the departmental goals.

An individual who is not concerned about his immediate boss will be working in isolation; Consider the fact that every task of yours, is on one way or other aligned to your higher ups goals, and in turn the company goals, then, there will be a clear appreciation of Managing up.

Devoid of management jargon, managing up is the right way to contribute to the boss’s success and in turn for you to move up the organization’s hierarchy.

If you are reporting to a new boss, spend considerable amount of time knowing him from the workplace perspective. Some pointers to this understanding will be

What is he set to achieve? What are his goals? Getting this insight by formal or informal discussions with his is the only way that you gain a ‘boss perspective’. This is important, and many a times, his world will be so different from your world of work.

Is he an introvert or extrovert? If he is a man of few words, then he may be tremendously focused on tasks to be done, and subsequent discussions. An extrovert may be verbose and would like to hear a lot of views on how things are and how things can be

What is his communication style? If he is a reader, then he will like detailed reports on work, and then he will proffer his views. If he is a listener, then he will call you and team for a discussion, which will be a periodical review of sorts.

Discuss and set mutual expectations time and again. What is his expectation from you – for the year, for the quarter, for the month? And in turn translate that to the micro level expectations from your team. It will help knowing the expectations threadbare, so that you look good with a winning team. And this winning is not by your measure or your bosses, your company’s measure.

Managing up just about getting a peek into the the boss’s world of work, a wonderful perspective that will aid your career, in any organization.

And finally, it is so important for the boss to behave in a way that his co-worker can indeed contribute his mite to his goals, and in turn the organisation’s goals.

Deserve to be managed up, in a word!

 

Reverse mentoring – a less used, but potent employee engagement tool.


In the human resources function, most of us must be clearly able to articulate the values of a good, institutionalized mentoring process – as  a crucial ingredient in the pie that is organization development.

With good leaders acting as mentors, the mentees – mostly team members, reportee or a colleague – get to learn new technology, a new process in the organization structure, a new and innovative way to handle customers or close a sale. An organization that fosters a good mentoring culture and environment attracts talent that prefers to learn by the day, innovate, contribute and grow in the rungs.

With mentoring having been around for a while, and widely accepted at the personal and organizational level, the benefits are there to see for all.

Not the case with the opposite – I am sure there will be a lot of disagreement here – but the fact remains that ‘reverse mentoring’ is more in theory, that in practice.

Let’s look at a simple definition of reverse mentoring…. “a younger or less experienced Executive helps a more senior manager gain insight into areas, such as computers and changing IT technology, changing mindsets & expectations of the younger generation, new business concepts, thinking out of the box etc.” (with the transforming face of the Gen Y employee, you can just re-phrase this definition in a hundred more ways!)

Going back in history, ‘reverse mentoring’ as a concept in practice, had its roots probably in GE, where Jack Welch used it as a great tool to learn about the internet, technology applications, which later went on to bring in humongous changes in the way of work at GE. Those events, were a beginning to a transformation of GE as a technology driven organization, using the power of the internet to integrate the many components of GE – productions, suppliers, sales, marketing, and customers.

That was just the beginning though. However, it has somehow stuck on that ‘reverse mentoring’ is only powerful to understand new technology, innovation, trends in vogue and so on… It is such a wrong and misconceived notion that ‘reverse mentoring’ works only for those ‘cool’ things. Nothing can be far from reality and the real power from ‘reverse mentoring’.

Whilst it could have been true in a context then and earlier, it is far from true now. In fact this view only puts a cap on the immense potential of the concept of ‘reverse mentoring’, when institutionalized as a ‘strategic component’ of OD in any company.

Some of the areas where a well thought out, planned and implemented reverse mentoring program can help are – improving the processes, raking up ethics issues, strategy and strategic direction, better quality, a honest appraisal of leadership styles, impediments to real growth, bringing in an awareness of market reality and so on. The tangible and intangible value-adds could go on and on, as much as what the organization would want to build in the process.

With senior management, CXO’s and HR grappling for innovative ways to engage the work-force (the knowledge workers!), a prudent and thoughtful integration of ‘reverse mentoring’ in the overall scheme of HR/OD plan will be a must do. It will position the employer as a place where knowledge, critical and valuable inputs from the team and every individual are valued!

This is such a powerful ’employer value proposition’ in the clutter and race for real good talent!

To make reverse mentoring work and add real value, senior line management, the HR function, the CEO/CXO level, and even the board must commit to integration of ‘reverse mentoring’ in the overall scheme of things. This is the most vital need, as without this commitment, the organization can never get the real benefits of the process. Trying to implement reverse mentoring in isolation is as good as it not done at all.

Some steps that can make “reverse mentoring’ really work:

1. The HR/OD team works and gets a buy in for institutionalizing reverse mentoring in the overall scheme of things.
2. The team also gets a ‘reverse mentoring’ manual done, so that, when circulated, the manual makes clear what the process is, what the intent is, how everyone in the team, and in turn the organization can benefit.
3. Each individual program is documented as much by the reverse mentors and mentees; this brings in an element of measurement and seriousness to the program.
4. HR creates a mechanism for monitoring the progress or otherwise of the program. This can be spread across various functional areas, by bringing in the line management into the monitoring process.
5. Get the line management’s trust and confidence in each stage.
6. Identify the blocks to the process in the organization, and work on education/confidence building measures as the need may be.
7. Over a period, measure what positive difference the ‘reverse mentoring’ program’ has given the organization.

This is not an exhaustive and a perfect list. At best this can be a broad guideline; each organization must work with commitment on their own program that will work best for them!

‘Reverse mentoring’, if committed to, can be such a powerful ‘talent attraction’ tool, employee engagement tool, and ’employer brand proposition’. Isn’t it? And if yes, are we doing it in our workplaces??

 

Performance management – communication.


Any employee who gives his best in the organisation does so, anticipating a good, transparent and clearly laid down performance management process.

And speaking of performance management, while employers may have the best of practices in place – if the same is not communicated well to the stakeholder, the objective and objectivity of the exercise gets lost in a maze.

The value of  performance communication management for any employer brand is timeless! Jack Welch is quoted to have said this on performance management (ranking): “Ranking has been portrayed as a cruel system.  The cruel system is the one that doesn’t let anyone know where they stand.”

And where they stand can be only clear, when each engaged employee/partner is communicated of how his contribution to the organizational goals and revenues will be measured.

A lot has been said and written about how it is important and crucial to manage performance in an organization, not much emphasis has been laid on the importance of communicating it to the members of the organization – at all levels.

This leads to a lot of confusion, uncertainty, and most of all, shock and surprise when in the middle of the year/end of the year, the employees are measured, reviewed, and  evaluated by a process which they are not even prima facie aware of.

A lot of  times, such a performance management exercise, which is truly objective and equal to all gets perceived to be biased, and partial; the only culprit in this whole event is the absence of a well laid down communication strategy – within the organization to all internal stakeholders.

 

That strategy which will, well in time, at the beginning of the period or year under review, state in writing to each and every employee the measures and attributes by which his/her contribution will be done.

 

Lack of such communication will also have an adverse impact of the really performing lot in the team. Whilst they give in their best, which would have exceeded their division and business objectives, they would see that their not so performing peers also seem to hold the same stature and growth in a ‘patriarchal’ management (perceptions matter a ton).

This can be highly dangerous to the overall health and long term growth of the company. Unless people see a visible difference between where performers will stand – higher – and where non performers will stand – lower or out of the organization – the best of  performers will desert the organization.

Communication, in the right time and in a very transparent manner (with all the measures quantified, sans any scope for bias), will be a decisive differentiator that would enable all concerned to view the process as legitimate and objective. And once this happens, tremendous amount of discipline comes by in the way everyone views the short term and long term goals. And they also know how and where they will grow within, with the kind of work they do in the period under review.

This highlights the critical nature of the performance communication process, and the time and energy the HR team, the SBU heads, and the CEO ought to spend in making this exercise possibly the best communication amongst the employees. If there is one single exercise that would contribute directly to the top line and the bottom line of the organization, it is PERFORMANCE COMMUNICATION.

The best way to do this will be to create a sort of ‘war room’ that takes care of the whole communication process – planning, vetting, implementing at all levels top down, ascertaining feedback on whether everyone had understood their goals right through. And post the actual performance process, a check on whether what happened is as per the communiqué to each of the employee.

Are our organisations performance communication ready and does HR Communication/performance communication matter?

Feedback to candidates… Do we care more or less?


Just get into the candidate’s shoes or wear his hat.

X Consultant solicited your professional resume for a job which you were not desparate; the person – consultant – who spoke to you assured that this is the best that could happen to you in your career. With an afterthought, you consented. A fortnight later, you call him up. He is busy in a meeting, unwell, or there is no response!

How does it feel? And would you ever go back again, to such a consultant? But day in and day out that is what most of us in the headhunting business do!

And that precisely is the reason that you don’t seem to build the kind of fabulous network that a winning recruiter does and wins too!!

Never be hesitant to get back to a job-seeker, with a feedback that is status quoist or even negative. Remember, the cause is none of your fault!

It is just that there was a mismatch between what the organization sought and what the jobseeker was able to offer on the table (just the interview table!) And how many job-seekers you think will take offense by your honest communication? None at all! In fact, the tendency would be to tell you, “its ok, please let me know when there is another opportunity!”

That sets the chain going! So make this a promise to you!! Never ever keep a candidate in the dark about the status! And here, you do not need to worry about one, who is getting through to the next round or gets the job offer! To him, you will anyway communicate as it is in your interest (and bill)! Take more care of the person, who did not get through with this client!! Tell him, this is what the client felt, this is where things went wrong or just that there was someone better! Or just that the company had nothing to communicate back on his candidature!!

A saner person understands… even if not at that moment you communicate, later when he broods on the matter!!

The successful recruiter will be one who reverts to each of his candidates with a timely feedback!! Scan through or speak to anyone in the recruitment fraternity and they would testify this fact!!

So, to how many of your candidate referrals did you speak today with a honest and timely feedback?? Take a few minutes off, and do it now! Be assured it will be worth the time you spend weighed in gold!!

In HR, communication does have power! or does it??


How many of us think that performance management is just one of those annual HR rituals where a bunch of forms are shoved in across all the employee desks, with a prayer that there be godspeed in the exercise getting completed without any employee issues.

This is just a wish, and reality is far away.

Jack Welch is quoted to have said this on performance management (ranking): “Ranking has been portrayed as a cruel system.  The cruel system is the one that doesn’t let anyone know where they stand.”

And where they stand can be only clear, when each engaged employee/partner is communicated of how his contribution to the organizational goals and revenues will be measured.

A lot has been said and written about how it is important and crucial to manage performance in an organization, not much emphasis has been laid on the importance of communicating it to the members of the organization – at all levels.

This leads to a lot of confusion, uncertainty, and most of all, shock and surprise when in the middle of the year/end of the year, the employees are measured, reviewed, and  evaluated by a process which they are not even prima facie aware of.

A lot of  times, such a performance management exercise, which is truly objective and equal to all gets perceived to be biased, and partial; the only culprit in this whole event is the absence of a well laid down communication strategy – within the organization to all internal stakeholders.

That strategy which will, well in time, at the beginning of the period or year under review, state in writing to each and every employee the measures and attributes by which his/her contribution will be done.

Lack of such communication will also have an adverse impact of the really performing lot in the team. Whilst they give in their best, which would have exceeded their division and business objectives, they would see that their not so performing peers also seem to hold the same stature and growth in a ‘patriarchal’ management (perceptions matter a ton).

This can be highly dangerous to the overall health and long term growth of the company. Unless people see a visible difference between where performers will stand – higher – and where non performers will stand – lower or out of the organization – the best of  performers will desert the organization.

Communication, in the right time and in a very transparent manner (with all the measures quantified, sans any scope for bias), will be a decisive differentiator that would enable all concerned to view the process as legitimate and objective. And once this happens, tremendous amount of discipline comes by in the way everyone views the short term and long term goals. And they also know how and where they will grow within, with the kind of work they do in the period under review.

This highlights the critical nature of the performance communication process, and the time and energy the HR team, the SBU heads, and the CEO ought to spend in making this exercise possibly the best communication amongst the employees. If there is one single exercise that would contribute directly to the top line and the bottom line of the organization, it is PERFORMANCE COMMUNICATION.

The best way to do this will be to create a sort of ‘war room’ that takes care of the whole communication process – planning, vetting, implementing at all levels top down, ascertaining feedback on whether everyone had understood their goals right through. And post the actual performance process, a check on whether what happened is as per the communiqué to each of the employee.

I am confident that those organisations which do not have such a process in place will do so on a war footing!

So, does HR Communication/performance communication matter?

Post Navigation