What Are Managers To Do?
Performance Reviews Stink | Bosses Obsessed With Returning To The Office | Human Leadership?
Quote of the Moment
Nobody’s perfect. There was never a perfect person around. You just have half-angel and half-devil in you.
| Terrence Malick, Days of Heaven
The message from today’s curation is that managers and leaders may have an impossible task.
Performance Reviews Stink
Matthew Boyle offers up good advice in No One Likes Annual Performance Reviews—Here’s How to Get Rid of Them.
Boyle points out,
90% of organizations still do formal annual assessments. This underscores the importance of replacing them with other strategies to better support employees, HR experts say.
He offers six alternatives:
Regular and timely discussions. Marcus Buckingham (who I’ve cited a great deal in this newsletter) believes ‘the ideal frequency for check-ins is every 11 days. Performance happens in the moment.’ In the past 6 years, frequent check-in have risen from 42% to 60%.
Focus on the how, not the what. Why do so many still focus on performance reviews, when only 4% of HR leaders say they accurately assess employee performance? Looking back at what has been done does not treat how people work (their ‘skills, behaviors, and compentencies’), so performance reviews lead managers to look through the wrong lens.
Train managers to have meaningful conversations. ‘A landmark study in 2000 revealed that almost two-thirds of the variance in employee ratings was attributable to individual raters’ idiosyncrasies rather than the employee’s actual performance’, which particularly is bad for people of color.
Consult co-workers. ‘There are pitfalls to avoid, Buckingham says: Some workers might seek to undermine their peers, turning the workplace into a surveillance state. The approach isn’t advisable unless a company has a fairly open and honest culture, says Amy Sung, an HR consultant at workplace adviser Willis Towers Watson, who specializes in performance management.’
Let the employee reflect. Like almost everything else, going toward asynchronous written communications can be liberating, and in this case taking the form of self-reflection by the managee, to be commented on by the manager. This takes some large part out of the review time suck: ‘Deloitte, the professional services giant, once found that ratings consumed almost 2 million hours of its employees’ time annually.’
Look forward, not back. Consider the ‘feed-forward’ approach, which is focused on individual development and learning, instead of feedback on past performance.
Buckingham (as usual, has the last word: ‘If companies want to improve performance, they should ask, what can we do to make people trust us?’
Why Are Bosses Obsessed With Returning To The Office?
Trey Williams is asking the right question:
Is simply picking up where we left off 18 months ago really the best option we have for the future of work? The pandemic disrupted our lives in so many ways and offered us a generational opportunity to change the parts of our lives that simply didn’t work before. And yet, the people in positions of power seemingly have no interest in disrupting the status quo. The greatest innovation to this point has been hybrid work, a tepid attempt to satisfy all parties that just results in everyone still spending their days on Zoom. Meanwhile, workers have shown they’re willing to embrace the hard and fast truth: We might never return to work like it was before.
Williams makes an interesting historical observation:
The shift we’re experiencing shares DNA with what happened to the workforce during and after WWII, when women and Black Americans entered the workforce in droves, flocking to factories to fulfill the demand for supplies, fueling the economy while so many men were away at war.
When victory was declared, returning American soldiers expected to pick things up where they had left off. Many women did leave the workforce after the war, but they’d tasted financial freedom; expecting them—and subsequent generations—to simply return to keeping house and raising the children wasn’t realistic. The face of the workforce literally changed. And in the post-war boom, more jobs were created and in order to continue rapid economic growth, businesses could no longer ignore wide swaths of the population who were willing and eager to work.
Gartner is doing one of the things consulting companies do: they like to name transitions and trends. In this case, they’ve defined ‘the next evolution of leadership’ as ‘human leadership’.
Let’s take a look and see if there is any there, there.
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