Talent and Performance Development
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Talent and Performance Development
Making sense of performance and talent development systems to create & sustain high performance in organizations. For the BEST of the BEST curated news in performance, change, agile learning, innovation, motivation, social media and careers, SUBSCRIBE to Reveln.com/Tools/
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Employee Engagement: The Strategic Advantage - Talent and Culture

Employee Engagement:  The Strategic Advantage  - Talent and Culture | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

Employee engagement is largely about social connections happening in organizations and aligning work experiences with employees’ cultural needs.


Excerpts from the full article include:


  • Senior leaders must give supervisors (not HR to lead) the responsibility and authority to earn the enthusiasm, energy, and creativity that signal deep employee engagement.

      

  • Supervisors learn how to hold candid dialogues with teams.


________________________
   
What matters most, however, is not the metrics but the resulting dialogue.

________________________


  • They also do regular “pulse checks.” Short, frequent, and anonymous online surveys (as opposed to a long annual survey) give supervisors a better understanding of team dynamics and a sense of how the team believes customers’ experiences can be improved. What matters most, however, is not the metrics but the resulting dialogue.
     
  • Teams rally ‘round the customer. Companies that regularly earn high employee engagement tap that knowledge by asking employees how the company can earn more of their customers’ business and build the ranks of customer promoters.

Article from 2014, including Gallup reference.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Inspiration for how to better connect to your talent comes through employee engagement conversations.  Metrics are tools and aids  to conversations.  If designed well, metrics and qualitative pulse checks can increase strategic thinking, clarity and focus on the way forward, vision, of an organization.  

~  Deb 

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Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

Amazon may be singular ...[or] ...just been quicker in responding to changes that the rest of the work world is now experiencing: data that allows individual performance to be measured continuously, come-and-go relationships between employers and employees, and global competition in which empires rise and fall overnight. Amazon is in the vanguard of where technology wants to take the modern office: more nimble and more productive, but harsher and less forgiving.

... Keith Ketzle, a freckled Texan triathlete with an M.B.A., ...explain[s] how he left his old, lumbering company for a faster, grittier one.  “Conflict brings about innovation,” he said.

      

_____________________

   

To prod employees, Amazon has a powerful lever...Its perpetual flow of real-time, ultra-detailed metrics

_____________________


    
 ...the articles of faith ...describe the way Amazonians should act. In contrast to companies where declarations about their philosophy amount to vague platitudes, Amazon has rules that are part of its daily language and rituals, used in hiring, cited at meetings and quoted in food-truck lines at lunchtime. Some Amazonians say they teach them to their children.


...Employees are to exhibit “ownership” (No. 2), or mastery of every element of their businesses, and “dive deep,” (No. 12) or find the underlying ideas that can fix problems or identify new services before shoppers even ask for them.

    

Compensation is considered competitive — successful midlevel managers can collect the equivalent of an extra salary from grants of a stock that has increased more than tenfold since 2008. But workers are expected to embrace “frugality” (No. 9), from the bare-bones desks to the cellphones and travel expenses that they often pay themselves.  

   

To prod employees, Amazon has a powerful lever: more data than any retail operation in history. Its perpetual flow of real-time, ultradetailed metrics allows the company to measure nearly everything its customers do: what they put in their shopping carts, but do not buy; when readers reach the “abandon point” in a Kindle book; and what they will stream based on previous purchases. It can also tell when engineers are not building pages that load quickly enough, or when a vendor manager does not have enough gardening gloves in stock.
     

“Data creates a lot of clarity around decision-making,” said Sean Boyle, who runs the finance division of Amazon Web Services and was permitted by the company to speak. “Data is incredibly liberating.”


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Are "rank and yank" evaluation methods and ultra-detailed metrics the future of work, a la Amazon, or Frederick Taylor's 20th century scientific management methods on steroids?  Time will tell.  I hope that other companies with a different work ethic will prevail. ~  Deb

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Actions Speak Loudly: Corporate Values that Mean Nothing

Actions Speak Loudly:  Corporate Values that Mean Nothing | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

"What does your company stand for? Go ahead, look around you; check out the published mission or values statement. Take a moment to read it. Now do a gut check.  ... Did you disdainfully roll your eyes?"


Here’s a thought: what if every time leaders did something counter to their company’s values, their noses grew? Like the famed puppet Pinocchio, ...when a misguided decision was flying in the face of what your company stands for?


Whimsical, yes, but wouldn’t it be effective? The offenders would be immediately called out to account for their actions.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Often truth telling, calling espoused values to consciousness when bossism and "rank and yank"  (forced distribution of performance reviews), poor management skills, and other bossisms  emerge is a risky business, especially in non-profits, known for low investments in leader and manager performance development.


Dilbert actually has done one, if not more "nose growing" comic strips dealing with the misalignment of values and management / leader actions.    

Who's courageous enough to call these out?   Does it happen in your organization?   ~  Deb

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Pay-for-Performance, A trade-off for Trust & Commitment

Pay-for-Performance, A trade-off for Trust & Commitment | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it
Paying your employees more for hitting specific targets may backfire, according to HBS professor Michael Beer .


..."I think there is an implicit negotiation going on between what management wants and expects, and what employees want and expect," observed Beer in his talk to HBS faculty. This implicit negotiation is "embedded" in the context of pay-for-performance, but often goes undiscussed and unacknowledged, he suggested. Misunderstandings about goals are the result. Pay-for-performance may also have a natural life cycle that managers are unaware of, he said.


Financial rewards in a fast-changing business environment could undermine a company's ability to build trust and commitment unless management and employees have an honest discussion of their mutual expectations, they added. This is "very difficult to do."


Related posts by Deb:

A History of Performance Appraisals: Letting Go to Power New Culture


Choices for High Performance Teams, Groups and Psuedo-Teams: Achievement Is How You Say It!

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

In my experience, pay continues as a satisfier, never a motivator. This HBR working knowledge article classic illustrates the nuances as well as the nusances of attempting to reconcile the hierarchy barriers of expectations in pay-for-performance.  Compensate fairly, motivate systemically & holistically. ~  Deb

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Peer Performance Reviews - Reviewed

Peer Performance Reviews - Reviewed | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it
Some companies are doing away with traditional top-down, manager-led performance reviews and relying on the rank-and-file for employee evaluations.


The system provides more valuable information about each worker's performance than a review by just one person would, Mr. Garrity says. That's particularly true at Hearsay Social, because it has very few formal managers, most employees work across multiple teams, and leadership changes from project to project.


___________________

"We are decentralizing as much decision making as we can, so we also need to decentralize reviews..." 

___________________


"We are decentralizing as much decision making as we can, so we also need to decentralize reviews," says Steve Garrity, the chief technology officer.  at Hearsay Social Inc., a San Francisco-based social-media software company with some 90 employees.


But the process, which the firm plans to do twice a year, is also time-consuming and complicated, he says, and it may not work as the employee count grows. 


___________________


...crowdsourced feedback may not provide better data....feedback may gravitate toward positive and negative extremes...

___________________



...Crowdsourced evaluations go a step beyond traditional 360-degree reviews, which are generally more structured and often involve lengthy surveys.   


___________________


 "...Another potential downside is "rating fatigue" and lower quality information..."

___________________


But critics argue that crowdsourced feedback may not provide better data. Like online restaurant or product reviews, feedback may gravitate toward positive and negative extremes, says Tracy Maylett, chief executive of DecisionWise.   ...Another potential downside is "rating fatigue" and lower quality information, he adds.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Assessing the "why" of these processes are key.  For example, the goals of peer review may fit the type of work that happens in  team oriented cultures of a certain size.  360 feedback is also best for newer to mid-level managers, open to development.  ~  D

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David Hain's curator insight, July 16, 2013 4:11 AM

Fascinating experiment - hope it works!

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Innovation vs. Measurement & Systems: Leadership Is Always The Key

Innovation vs. Measurement & Systems:  Leadership Is Always The Key | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

"Think of “win-lose” structures in incentives.  If you can only win if someone else loses, what are the odds of your developing a working relationship grounded in trust?"

Trust:

Strong leadership can recognize “win-lose” structures or norms and work to eliminate them.  It seems obvious that leadership drives trust, not systems.


_________________________

Without ...systems ...built to allow for ...individual and group failure, risk will always be a negative organizational value. 


_________________________


DIVERSITY:      . . . of people, points of view, ideas, ethics, and beliefs.  Diversity is what drives and powers iteration, constant challenge, testing, playing, and randomness. Strong leadership will drive (or diminish) diversity much more profoundly than will the most deeply embedded systems.  


RISK:     Risk tolerance and the attractiveness of rapid iteration are the hallmarks of innovative organizations.  Without operational systems that are built to allow for and to contextualize individual and group failure, risk will always be a negative organizational value.


...Should you be thinking a little more about how you encourage and foster strong leadership, and a little less about your systems of measurement and evaluation.?  You might be surprised by where this reflection will take you.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is also shared here via Performance and Talent Development because of the theme of leadership above performance systems, and leadership to build an innovation, adaptive culture that trumps traditional measurement practices. ~  D

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, July 5, 2013 8:20 PM

The venture capitalist who wrote this post has a view I share on putting measurement and evaluation within the right context, including a certain tolerance for enough risk-taking to help organizations be adaptive and "anti-fragile." ~  Deb

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Amazon’s Social Rift: Ongoing Rank and Yank and Work / Life Non-Balance, NYT Video

Amazon’s Social Rift: Ongoing Rank and Yank and Work / Life Non-Balance, NYT Video | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it
The recent New York Times article about Amazon inspired an unprecedented online conversation about workplace stress.


This video features highlights of the thousands of comments posted on the web.


_____________________________
   
...[Amazon seeks]  to manage out a certain percentage of its work force annually. The number varies from year to year.


_____________________________



From another New York Time article dated August 17th, 2015, is error about Amazon's performance culture:


An article by Amazon engineer, Nick Ciubotariu, was circulated by Amazon’s public relations department after The Times article was published. Mr. Ciubotariu describes strengths of the workplace, including focus on customers and innovation. He also wrote that “no one” was encouraged to “toil long and late,” and dismissed the concerns expressed by many women at the company, which does not include any women on its top leadership team.

    

His points contradicted the accounts of many former and current colleagues, and some of his assertions were incorrect, including a statement that the company does not cull employees on an annual basis. An Amazon spokesman previously confirmed that the company sought to manage out a certain percentage of its work force annually. The number varies from year to year.

 


Related culture & performance posts by Deb:

      

   
   
   



Photo credit:  Soumit Nandi Flickr Creative Commons

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This brief 30 second video (click on the title or photo or link) is definitely worth a look on what a very large, 21st century profit and high growth minded company with a competitive culture looks like.  Amazon also features a traditional, 20th century, performance "rank and yank" evaluation system. It is more euphemistically called the Vitality Curve, or as stated above, managing out a certain percentage of its work force annually.  

Rank and yank can be a welcome temporary purge to a company that struggling.  Organizations that are stuck in the past, burdened with lower performance staff, or other low performance ills have had some success with the "Vitality Curve. Yet for the company to use it consistently, rather than temporarily speaks volumes on what is important and not important at Amazon.  ~ Deb

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, August 19, 2015 1:08 PM

This brief 30 second video is definitely worth a look on what a very large, 21st century profit and high growth minded company with a competitive culture looks like.  Amazon also features a traditional, 20th century, performance "rank and yank" evaluation system. It is more euphemistically called the Vitality Curve, or as stated above, managing out a certain percentage of its work force annually.  

While "rank and yank" can be a welcome temporary purge to a company that is stuck, burdened with lower performance staff, and so forth, to use it consistently, rather than temporarily speaks volumes on what is important and not important at Amazon.  


Also posted in Talent and Performance Development.  ~ Deb

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Wirearchies = Adaptive, Two Way Flow of Power, Knowledge, with a Focus on Results

Wirearchies = Adaptive, Two Way Flow of Power, Knowledge, with a Focus on Results | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

Harold Jarche features Chee Chin Liew’s presentation on moving from hierarchies to teams at BASF.  It shows how IT Services used their technology platforms to enhance networking, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration.  


It features an approach to “building flows of information into pertinent, useful and just-in-time knowledge” so that...  knowledge can flow in order to foster trust and credibility.

      

______________________________

    

In complex environments, weak hierarchies and strong networks are the best organizing principle.   ...It means giving up control. 

   

_______________________________
       
Creating this two-way flow of dialogue, practice, expertise, and interest, can be the foundation of a 
wirearchy.

In complex environments, weak hierarchies and strong networks are the best organizing principle.


....many companies today have strong networks...coupled with strong central control. Becoming a wirearchy requires new organizational structures that incorporate communities, networks, and cooperative behaviours. It means giving up control. The job of those in leaderships roles is to help the network make better decisions. 



Related tools & posts by Deb:


See the companion post about Holacracy, here.

           

  • Stay in touch with Best of the Best news, taken from Deb's  NINE multi-gold award winning curation streams from @Deb Nystrom, REVELN delivered once a month via email, available for free here, via REVELN Tools.
        

          

      

 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Harold Jarche highlights several useful models featuring two way information flow through power and authority. which helps build, if the culture allows it, adaptability into knowledge work.  


As quoted in the article, much of this work has been "routinized and standardized with the ongoing marriages of business processes and integrated enterprise information systems."  This makes for a fragile system susceptible to disruption.  

Building robust, two-way flows is essential to enable adaptability to the realities of continuous change and learning organizations ready to embrace disruption.  ~  D

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Helen Teague's curator insight, March 6, 2014 1:46 PM

well worth the reading time.

InflatableCostumes's curator insight, March 7, 2014 7:26 AM

 Manufacturers of Custom Shaped Cold Air Inflatables including Giant Character shapes and  Product Replicas also Rooftop Balloons specializing in custom inflatables for advertising, manufactured in Hyderabad city, India - http://www.inflatablecostumes.com

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, August 17, 2014 2:23 PM

I just featured the called out quote above about complexity (over complicated, bureaucratic), and less hierarchy, more communication via networks in my most recent post about letting go of industrial age thinking via the command and control nature of performance appraisals.  

Wirearchy and holacracy (think Zappos) are alternatives that embrace networked learning.  One is arguably a set of principles, the latter is an organization design approach that deemphasizes management.

~  Deb

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Performance Management Reinvented: Five Factors for Success

White Paper:  Performance Management: Five Factors for Success By Russ Silva, EVP Enterprise Solutions, LSA Global.


Related posts by Deb:
     

Curing ONE of the Seven Deadly Diseases of Management, Performance Appraisals

       


A History of Performance Appraisals: Letting Go to Power New Culture

       


Choices for High Performance Teams, Groups and Psuedo-Teams: Achievement Is How You Say It!

   

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Pros:  Correctly identifies the wide-spread corporate cultural problems of boss-ism.  


Cons:  Has a Taylor-esque (Industrial Age) management and staff flavor of thinkers and doers.    


Silva covers a lot of ground in a few pages and gets to the nuggets of talent and performance development problems in performance management.  ~  Deb

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SuccessFactors Reviews

SuccessFactors Reviews | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

SuccessFactors, an HR software firm has been purchased by software giant SAP in 2013.  Via the Glassdoor reviews, it doesn't seem the merger is going so well in 2013 internally, though externally, all seems fine.   This "things are fine" stste is being reported via bloggers attending Success Factors presentations at conference, with non-disclosure agreements in tow.
 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

In a companion ScoopIt, SAP has not "messed up" Success Factors  (an HR system automation company)...at least, not yet.  This series of employer reviews on Glassdoor by new and current SuccessFactors employees (now working for SAP) is a cause for pause.     


Not using your own products, like Success Factors for their own HR, would be one sign that the merger is more about selling and less about quality and alignment with company values, for which they do tout quite a few via company slogans about transparency and "don't leave our wounded behind."  

A sample of different 2013 current employee reviews includes:  

  • "Hypocrite culture," 
   
  • "The company has grown so fast," 
   
  • "This is a culture of lies, fear and manipulation," 


and,


  • "Telling workers to get out if they raise issues which they feel should be addressed is not rational."


                                                                                  - Deb



 

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Crowdsource Your Performance Reviews

Crowdsource Your Performance Reviews | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

HR has lost confidence in the traditional review process. 


Forty-five (45%) percent of human resources (HR) leaders don't think annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal for employees' work. And 42% don't think employees are rewarded fairly for their job performance.



HR has lost confidence in the traditional review process. Most people know that employees dread annual reviews, but when nearly half of HR professionals agree, it's clear we need a new approach to how employee performance is measured and evaluated.


______________________

A group of independently deciding individuals is more likely to make better decisions and more accurate observations than those of an individual.

______________________



...managers criticize the inflexibility and infrequency of a formal, forced process. It's an industry awakening to a system that is no longer effective on its own for the way companies and people are managed today.


For example, managers are tasked with using only their own observations and analysis to appraise employees, yet many don't have the tools to record pertinent events as they happen.


...Enter the wisdom of crowds — or crowdsourcing. A group of independently deciding individuals is more likely to make better decisions and more accurate observations than those of an individual.


Crowdsourcing, by leveraging social recognition data, is a better way for managers to collect, evaluate and share information on employee performance. In many leading organizations, it is already redefining performance management and transforming all of HR.


Why?


Recognition is something that comes naturally —...co-workers and peers can identify and reward desired behaviors and cultural attributes through unsolicited recognition, as they happen.


And unlike 360 degree reviews, which require ...provid[ing] a formal, forced review of an individual, crowdsourcing is inspired peer-to-peer performance feedback.


This stream of recognition...often appears in internal social newsfeeds, provides timely, measurable insights into your talent, top influencers and performers.



Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Note:  The suggestions in this piece work when the org. culture supports it - e.g. giving, learning, supportive, NOT competitive.   Crowdsourcing has downsides too, like becoming a popularity contest.


This is piece that reflects "pull" vs. "push" trends in performance work.  ~  Deb

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BPIWorld.com's curator insight, October 8, 2014 8:15 AM

This is exactly the coaching process created and deployed by Best Practice Institute and its new product, skillrater.com

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FINALLY, Scrapping Performance Appraisals for What Motivates!

FINALLY, Scrapping Performance Appraisals for What Motivates! | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it
Something big is going on. More and more companies have decided to radically change their performance appraisal process.



...Adobe, Juniper, Kelly Services, and a variety of other companies ...have decided to do away with traditional performance ratings and dramatically change the annual appraisal process.

Excerpts


The new keys to success:


  • Develop a “feedback-rich” culture and set of tools (often online, sometimes formal, often informal) that encourages all employees to give each other feedback. 
    
  • Talk about performance regularly and let employees create their own goals on a regular basis. 
  
  • [Ensure] managers provide ongoing feedback and teach them how to have honest conversations.
   
  • Assume that employees already know something about their own performance, and [help them] them self-assess. ...That starts the dialogue about expectations and the match between their self-assessment and that of the organization.

Related posts by Deb:

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

It's time for performance management to fade and for positive talent development systems to move forward.  As an example of this, Skillrater.com has arrived on the scene, integrated into social media and positive feedback practices.  More news and scoops to follow.  ~  Deb

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, May 6, 2013 11:15 AM

IS this slow moving change finally taking hold?!  From a Chris Lee article on problematic appraisal in the 90's ot Coen's & Jenkins "Abolishing Appraisals" book in 2002, finally the death bell may be ringing.


More than a decade later, there is hope for corporations abandoning this deeply flawed corporate millstone in exchange for a healthier, feedback rich and goal/challenge driven culture.   ~  Deb