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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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Ditching performance reviews for annual conversations that really work

Ditching performance reviews for annual conversations that really work | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

Reimagining performance in organizations results in astounding leaps in focus, growth and productivity.  "There are alternatives, and it might be easier than you think."  This scoop summarizes how it works, from HopeLab. 

   

Excerpted:

     
"Like Adobe, we have also dismantled the traditional performance review and replaced it with ...the Annual Conversation... It's intended to inspire ...generative conversation about performance ...at a deeper level than might occur in regular supervision meetings throughout the year, " says Chris Marcell Murchison, Vice President Staff Development & Culture at HopeLab

 

________________
   
As a result, some staff, including managers, make astounding leaps in focus, growth and productivity.”

________________
   
   
  

Results   “Our staff look forward to their Annual Conversations and the impact on our culture has been profound. Employees report that they feel seen, heard, appreciated, and supported. As a result, some staff, including managers, make astounding leaps in focus, growth and productivity.”

    

How it works:

   

Questions We've created questions to help guide Annual Conversations. …We crowdsource questions from the entire organization and employees can add any questions they like to the basic list.


Examples include, 

"What are you working on when you feel the most purposeful? 

Why is this activity meaningful to you?" 

"What would you attempt to do in the next year if you knew you could not fail? 

    

Location Employees choose a location for the meeting.

    

Time …Typically most last anywhere from two to four hours.  …The manager and employee to decide what works best for them.

    

Non-evaluation The Annual Conversation is not an evaluation of past performance; it's a chance to reflect [and] understand… what's working and what's not, with an eye to setting future goals and enhancing growth and performance. There are no lgrades or performance rankings of any sort.

    

Merit …The Annual Conversation is not coupled to merit or incentive pay. These decisions are made separately and communicated outside the framework of the Annual Conversation.

    

Manager. There is nothing for her to prepare. [Her role is to] focus her attention on her direct report, listen, and ask questions to help deepen reflection.  

As for all Scoops, click on the photo or title to see the full article.

Related change & performance posts by Deb:

            

      

    

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

             

  • Stay in touch with the monthly Best of the Best news, taken from Deb's  9 multi-gold award winning curation streams.  Preview it here, via REVELN Tools.

 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

I'm hopeful in 2015 that more organizations will be able to make the commitment to a multiyear process of letting go of industrial age (inspection oriented, 20th century) performance practices to give practices like the Annual Conversation a try.  It's possible to jump even further away from a manager, individual employee model.  Find out more here.   ~  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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Creativity and Innovation IRONY: Sample Performance Review Phrases

Creativity and Innovation IRONY: Sample Performance Review Phrases | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

From Deb -  copy and paste your creativity and innovation performance review phrases here:

  • Emma’s ability to change direction when required is an asset to the team.
  • Tom is an innovator at heart – his skill at inspiring new ideas is an asset to our team.
      
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:
Consider:
  • Creativity,
  • Innovation,
  • Performance Reviews.  


One of these is not like the others.

Is this the best we can do, capturing stock phrases from a book to get us through the performance review ritual?   There is research on the Innnovation & Institutions curation stream that creativity, displayed to your co-workers, actually makes people squirm.

The photo with this excerpt is ironic because, if you read most of what I Scoop or post on this stream, you'll see that creativity and innovation does not lend itself to be captured by an industrial age vintage practice that pretends to be effective at facilitating performance management.


Major issues:
     

The numbers are dismal for the practice, though we keep trying to fix it (companion ScoopIt on this curation stream).

    
Managers need continuous training deal with wide variation in their feedback and appraisal practices in order to attempt to create consistency in ratings.  
    

Staff largely dread the practice, although they hope for good data and feedback to help them succeed in their work.

    

Overall, the return on investment for this embedded organizational practice is low, to the point that the end of performance reviews is predicted by one of the people who first coined the term, Aubrey Daniels.


Slideshare here:

From Chaos to Creative Performance Development in a VUCA World (Ending Performance Appraisals)

   

~  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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The Pros And Cons Of Forced Rankings: A Manager's Perspective

The Pros And Cons Of Forced Rankings: A Manager's Perspective | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

...on Forbes.com there's been a spirited dialogue around the controversial management technique known as "stacking," or forced ranking. Here's one manager's reasoned, hands-on perspective."


An article in Vanity Fair by Kurt Eichenwald (“Microsoft’s Downfall: Inside The Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled A Tech Giant”) triggered recent discussion.  Forbes subsequently featured posts including

 



These...touched a chord in the business community...generat[ing]  ...close to 400,000 readers and well over 300 reader comments. 


As a manager with MassMutual Financial Group (a well respected Fortune 500 company), I did see some benefits to forced ranking, though in the end I felt these benefits were outweighed by the managerial problems it caused. 


  • The system did force managers to have hard conversations with employees that they might otherwise have avoided.   ... In a forced ranking system, managers – and employees – have no place to hide.  It literally forces performance issues to be addressed; for an organization that wants to tighten or formalize its management processes, I believe the system can have benefits.

  • it caused employee morale problems.  While the system I managed in was intended to help promote closer linkage between job performance and bonus payouts –...it often felt like the cure was worth than the disease.   As a manager, the discussions I had over many years about the fairness of bonus payouts were not nearly as problematic as those I routinely came to have over end-of-year rankings.  






Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This perspective is similar to my own experience in the trenches working with managers and HR / OD clients updating or implementing their performance systems.  

The pros and cons are aptly described.  The size of an organization and it's cultural state determine what a forced ranking system will do, ultimately, to performance overall.  


A comment by Dick Grote, a performance management consultant and well-known author on the topic,  (pro-forced ranking with appropriate conditions) is this:  


  • "Forced ranking, used well, has the power to be the most beneficial management procedure an organization can adopt—for the company and its employees alike."


Forced Ranking or "Vitality Curve" systems may have power for a performance "clean-out."  However, what is the lasting nature of that power?  Is is enough to make a forced ranking system worth the Return on Investment (ROI) with the focus being only individuals?

Another point of view from a comment on this excerpted blog post is that,


  • "Team-oriented organizations provide more flexibility, consistency, and growth than organizations based on individual performance."


~ D

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Let's Abolish Self-Appraisal - Dick Grote's Perspective on the Manager's Role

Let's Abolish Self-Appraisal - Dick Grote's Perspective on the Manager's Role | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

Asking an employee to write a self-appraisal using the company's appraisal form is a ...deceptively attractive technique.


A performance appraisal is a record of a supervisor's opinion of the quality of an employee's work. The review meeting is a discussion, not a negotiation. Asking the individual to write a self-appraisal encourages misunderstanding by both parties.


...individuals are notoriously inaccurate in assessing their own performance, and the poorer the performer, the higher (and more inaccurate) the self-appraisal. 


Research by the consulting firm Lominger, Inc.indicates that "the overall correlation between self-ratings and performance was .00. The most accurate rater by far is the immediate boss."


Further, in their article "Unskilled and Unaware of It," Cornell University researchers Justin Kruger and David Dunning report that those who are incompetent performers are also incapable of assessing the difference between good and bad performance.


As they put it, "When people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, they are left with the mistaken impression that they are doing just fine."

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This issue here is the individual view of appraisal and the accuracy of manager appraisals, as well as end of year reviews tied to salary increases.  One to one links of such processes fragment team and group work.  What do you think?  ~  Deb

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Instead of Performance Appraisal, Encourage Self-Appraisals & Accountability

Instead of Performance Appraisal, Encourage Self-Appraisals & Accountability | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it
For performance management to truly be effective accountability must be present...in the form of ...self-accountability driven by authentic, accurate self-assessment.

[How to] promote adaptive, constructive behavior and performance with the goal...for the employee to recognize his role

The manage ...can reinforce the employee's efforts by offering incremental reinforcement as incremental gains are made.

Self-assessment factors to explore:

Communication contributions 
  • What messages do I send?
  • How do I offer them?
  • What communication skills do I employ?
  • To what extent do I seek and offer feedback during communications?

Perceptual lens 

  • To what extent do my motives, values, interests, attitudes, past experiences, current expectations, etc. color or affect my behavior?
  • How can I gain insights about these factors to behave differently?

Role expectations 

  • What aspects of my role (e.g., tasks, responsibilities, boundaries, parameters, etc.) influence my behavior? What can I do manage these role expectations so that my behavior is more constructive?

Work area norms 

  • What beliefs or assumptions exist within my work area or team that impact the way I behave?
  • What latitude do I have, as an individual, in ways that reflect my unique perspective?

Organizational culture 

  • In what kind of organizational setting do I work? 
  • What does the organization (and its leaders) say about the vision, mission, and values we are to uphold and pursue? 
  • How does my behavior compare with these espoused elements?

Ultimately, both managers and employees need to realize the simple fact that people differ in the way they perceive the world.
Photo:   Photo, credit to Konrad Glogowski, Flickr.com CC
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

When you are in it, you can't see it.  Teaching and reinforcing self-assessment can help us grow out of that big blind spot.  

The research photo, credit to Konrad Glogowski on Flickr, provides self-assessment guidance transferable to self-assessment and self-appraisal in performance setting.  


Use such an approach at the beginning of any review cycle.  


Provide easy-to-use supporting tools for data gathering and review.  ~ D

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Letting Go: 6 Steps Beyond Industrial Age Performance Appraisals

Letting Go:  6 Steps Beyond Industrial Age Performance Appraisals | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

"It takes courage, tenacity and teamwork to let go of performance appraisal practices and industrial age thinking.  In our  post 9-11, post financial meltdown, "New Normal,"  business will never be as it was.  Can we let go?"


A1998 article about ending appraisals in favor of the APOP, the Annual Piece of Paper is one way to go.   Using an approach like the APOP or a two box annual conversation method, Meets [or Exceeds], Does not Meet, as mentioned in the video, is a step in the right direction. It is a form of incremental change, very similar to the Adobe Systems “check-ins” featured here in more detail.  Adobe’s 2012 system moved away from individualized ranking and ratings.  


The full post includes a short video that features asking a "beautiful question:      


Why are we doing things the way we’ve been doing them the past 20 years—what if we tried a whole new approach?      Thank you Warren Berger, author of “A Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas (2014)


It also covers why using Pass / Fail evaluation systems can help.


See the video and full post here.


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is my own video and post about performance review systems or appraisals.

The video embodies the D X V X F > R, change model, originally invented by Gleicher and popularized by Kathie Dannemiller.   The video covers assessing readiness, Dissatisfaction, the need to explain why make a change, the Vision, and First Steps to overcome Resistance to Change - along with our our Industrial Age / command and control, Theory X (McGregor) mindsets.  


A new path is emerging, but it is a slow path in business.  ~  Deb 

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, August 19, 2014 12:59 PM

This is my own video and post about performance review systems or appraisals.  It  is embedded within change principles, which is why I've posted it here as well as in the Talent & Performance Development curation news.    The video embodies the D X V X F > R, change model, originally invented by Gleicher and popularized by Kathie Dannemiller.   The video covers assessing readiness, Dissatisfaction, the need to explain why make a change, the Vision, and First Steps to overcome Resistance to Change - along with our our Industrial Age / command and control, Theory X (McGregor) mindsets.  

A new path is emerging, but it is a slow path in business.  ~  Deb 

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Are Annual Performance Reviews Like the Hotel California? You Can Never Leave?

Are Annual Performance Reviews Like the Hotel California?  You Can Never Leave? | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

[The] diosyncratic seasonal events [for] HR .... the annual performance appraisal:

       

  • They are time-consuming, involve too much paperwork
           
  • HR would even do better to drop them altogether and find a better performance-management tool. 
       
  • ...Management consultancy Hay Group found half of public sector workers and one-third of business leaders describe appraisals as a box-ticking exercise. 
      

A recent US poll of 2,677 people (1,800 employees, 645 HR managers, and 232 CEOs) by San Francisco-based rewards-and-recognition consulting firm Achievers revealed 98% of staff find annual performance reviews unnecessary.

    

  • Among the 2,677 respondents, a quarter were HR professionals.

    

Edward Lawler, professor of business at University of Southern California, reacted by declaring: "Performance appraisals are dead." But he also unveiled research showing 93% of companies use annual appraisals, and only 6% have considered dropping them.

   

As always in our ScoopIt news, click on the photo, video or title to see the full Scooped post.

    

Related posts by Deb:

    

     

        

       

   

     

          

  • Are you local to SE Michigan?  Find out more about horse-guided leadership development sessions (no fee demos) for individuals by contacting Deb, after reviewing her coaching page here.  
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The song by the Eagles, regarding our long ties to performance reviews:  "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

In this post, it's useful to read the comments, most of which are about still attempting to tweak performance management systems.


A final commenter suggests:

"...The fundamental false assumption is that performance is due to the people when research and case studies show that it is due almost wholly on the system, i.e. the way the work works.

Replacing appraisals with a different approach frees people to do what they really want, deliver better service, reduce costs and increases morale. What more do you want!"

As for who is actually doing this, I've listed links above to help.   ~  Deb 

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A History of Performance Appraisals, Letting Go - REVELN

"...provides a context for performance appraisals, ratings and reviews as very old ideas compared to organizational leadership pioneers and what's next.  Can we change our behaviorist-rooted habits?"


Performance management, defined in the 1970s, is rooted in scientific management. It is possible to acknowledge history, realize its impact on our business systems, and let go to embrace new strategies.


See the full blog post here:

    

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


Related posts also by Deb:

   

     

      

 



Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This presentation is additional context for my MISHRM 2013 presentation on "From Chaos to Creative: Performance Development in a VUCA World" in Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 8th, 2013 | 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM   ~  Deb

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Classic: The Top 50 Problems With Performance Appraisals

Classic:  The Top 50 Problems With Performance Appraisals | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

 In 1996, Frederick Nickols estimated the cost at just under $2,000 per employee. ...includ[ing] manager preparation time, employee time, HR processing time, opportunity costs, and advances in technology, still puts the process cost at over $2,500 per employee per year.

Partial list of the 50 Problems cited.


Most Serious Performance Appraisal Problems


1. Don’t assess actual performance — most of the assessment that managers complete focuses on “the person,” including characterizations of their personal “traits” (i.e. commitment), knowledge (i.e. technical knowledge) or behaviors (i.e. attendance). While these factors may contribute to performance, they are not measures of actual output. If you want to assess the person, call it “person appraisal.” Performance is output quality, volume, dollar value, and responsiveness.


2. Infrequent feedback – At the very minimum, formal feedback needs to be given quarterly, like the GE process.


3. Non-data-based assessment — most assessment criteria are “fuzzy” and subjective.


4. Lack of effectiveness metrics — many accept that the goals of the process are to recognize results, provide feedback to address weaknesses, determine training needs, and to identify poor performers. Unfortunately, rarely do process owners ever measure their processes’ contribution to attaining any of these goals. Instead, the most common measure relating to performance appraisal is the percentage completed.


5.  Lack of accountability – ...One firm attempting to remove a troublesome employee found that the manager had rated the individual the highest within the department and awarded them employee of the year.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The comments on this blog post are also very helpful.  Look at Robert Bacal's contributions in particular, as well as consider the recent, "Beyond Performance Management"book that delves into the "Why" of any system including performance management.  ~  D

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Performance Appraisals, Numbers and Nuance. Behaviors and values matter.

Performance Appraisals, Numbers and Nuance.  Behaviors and values matter. | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

There’s a bogus belief that gets in managers’ way when they evaluate performance - deceptively quantifiable metrics.

... Consider a [...] job that seems to offer a deceptively quantifiable metric: the performance of a translator. How do you measure a translator's performance?


The obvious, easy, and wrong answer: the number of documents translated.    ... it takes no notice of what is genuinely important - the ability to capture nuance.


____________________

...translates each word accurately [or] ...captures what the writer really intended."

____________________


The ability isn't hard to evaluate accurately. Just take a document written in a foreign language and give it to two translators.   Then take their two translations to a native speaker and ask, "Which one got it right?"


The native speaker will read the two documents and then comfortably say, "This one translates each word accurately. But this one - this one captures what the writer really intended."


Photo credit: by WordShore via Flickr.com CC   


Via Charles Tiayon
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Assessment of performance includes clarifying what quality really means.  It isn't necessarily about volume in this example shows.  Would translators approve this measurement of this work?   Probably so.  ~  D

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Performance Review, the Fast Way!

Performance Review, the Fast Way! | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

Humor.  This about sums up many traditional performance appraisal practices by some managers eager to be done with the task.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

No curation comment needed here.  ~  D

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