Performance appraisal

Just the word does people shiver. There are so many things that can be wrong with performance appraisals that you don’t have to dig deep to find them. Just ask the first manager or supervisor or just a regular employee to get a whole story about what is wrong with it in general and with the system in their company specifically. It seems that not many people are happy about their performance appraisal system and the fancy elaborate computerized systems have not improved this much over the years.

The world without performance appraisal

Having worked for a company that did not actually have performance appraisals, I can say that the encouragement of regular discussions about how things are going is more powerful to increase productivity than any performance appraisal system I know.

Salary increases were not determined by the actual performance of the individual but determined by the market. If the market decides on average to raise the compensation for that job, then the individual would get a raise and if the market remained at the same level or even dropped, the individual would not progress, unless they were still young in the position and were growing to the full salary for the position.

It is difficult to capture this system in a simple blog post as I would not give the system behind it enough credit. Feel free to contact me if and when you are curious about this system. I can wholeheartedly recommend it and will be happy to discuss how to introduce the system in your organization.

New Year’s resolutions?

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions made? Lose weight, be more active, balance work/life? Things like that? Great, good for you and we hope you’ll accomplish them all.

Any point where you stop and review what you are doing and re-check your priorities is good. At your office, you should do the same. Take stock of what is on your plate, what is not moving forward and why not. I keep this easy spreadsheet that lists the topics/projects that need to be done. I have a column for what the result needs to be, a column for the status, a column for the obvious next step I should take and most importantly a column for why I am not taking that step,

That last column is crucial. You need to be aware of why it is that you don’t move the project forward. Often it has to do with fears for reactions from others, or resistance that you anticipate. Well here is the thing, unless you move, nothing moves and the project will continue to be stalled and you will continue to have to think about it and have it contribute to your workload and worries.

My recommendation is to make that list, review the columns and develop at least three strategies to take that next step. You’ll be glad you did!

Debate in the workplace; is it healthy?

With the elections for the US president in November 2016 fresh in our memory let’s look at how to deal with debate in the workplace.

Several topics can spark debate, from politics to religion to parenting and sports. What most of the topics that are debated vigorously have in common is that they are usually not work-related. Work related debate can be and often will be healthy. The dynamic tension between various professionals will encourage all to put on their best performance to ensure their part of the issue will be known and be kept in mind when decisions are taken.

angry debate in the workplace

The enthusiastic Monday morning quarterbacking that happens in so many companies can also be healthy as it creates an atmosphere of common interest.

Most other debates have a tendency to turn into an exchange of thoughts that may offend some or all of the participants and seldom lead to a successful change in mind of anyone. Over the course of my career I have not seen anyone after a hot debate about religion changing their mind and their religion, nor have I seen a positive impact from the shouting matches about politics in the workplace.

So is there no place for debate in the workplace? Managing a prohibition on debate in the workplace is hard to imagine, but when tempers get hot it is useful to remind people that no matter what religion, political view, sports team or parenting philosophy you support, you are all here to work on the goals of the company. Anything you do or say that is not helpful to accomplish that goal will limit your usefulness and potentially shorten your career. It is good to know where people come from, it is useful to know each other’s religion so you can avoid potential conflicts. A frank exchange of views and explanation of topics can be useful to understand better why people react the way they do, but that is where the debates and exchanges of views should stop.

The Harvard Business Review has published a great article about it recently, read it HERE