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Our Newsletter

The Free Stuff

Why is most communication training misleading?
Why is most communication training misleading?

Why do the same words mean different things to different people?
Why do the same words mean different things to different people?

What is cooperative communication?
What is cooperative communication?

Transformational Leadership:Criticisms, References And More
A more academic paper complete with research references that explains, in depth, the history and ideas behind transformational leadership, but offers some good critiques, too. (15-Jul-2014)

Transformational Leadership Theories
Excellent explanation of various transformational leadership theories, including strengths and weaknesses. (2-Sep-2014)

The Essentials of Manufacturing - Free Kit
The Essentials of Manufacturing, brings together the latest in information, coverage of important developments, and expert commentary to help with your Manufacturing related decisions.

The following kit contents will help you get the most out of your Manufacturing research:
  • To ERP or Not to ERP in the Mid-Market: Simplifying an Important Decision
  • Top 6 Technologies Small and Midsize Manufacturers Can't Afford to Ignore
  • eBook: 10 Minute Guide to Increasing Supply Chain Visibility
  • How to Build a Manufacturing Intelligence Strategy

Request Free!

The Customer Service and Customer Experience Home Page
This mega-portal offers a huge array of customer service and customer experience resources to learn from, and we welcome customer service representatives, call center employees, managers and customers. Read, Learn, Discuss. It's all free.

The Balancing Act: Unilever's Steps to Global Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are core to Unilever's values. Yet the fast-moving goods company behind household brands like Dove, Magnum and Persil believes that gender balance is not just about doing the ssright thingss, it makes great business sense. Over the past three years, ETS, a global function, has put in place a strategy to become a gender-balanced organisation, and they've made great progress in achieving their objective. In fact, with a female population of 46%, they've almost achieved balance. Ahead of the 14th Annual European HR Summit, SSON speaks to Mike Clementi, VP, Human Resources - Global Functions at Unilever to find out more about their diversity and inclusion story.

Sponsored by: SSON

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Should Performance Appraisals Really Be "Fun"

OK, I get that its marketing. Almost anything to grab attention. Still, I was surprised to come across the following ad on Google search results from Halogen Software, a major company that sells automation software for performance reviews.

Performance Appraisal Ad Claiming It Can Be Fun

I am bemused at the idea that somehow, we can make performance appraisals "fun", and then it struck me that the ad is indicative of a completely confused set of priorities about doing performance reviews, and their place within a performance management system.

Things To Keep In Mind About What Performance Reviews Are Really About

  1. It's impossible for any software or technology to significantly improve the value of performance reviews, because quite honestly, the value lies in the CONVERSATIONS that occur in discussing performance, identifying barriers to performance and working together to remove them.
  2. It's not about "fun". I get that almost everybody hates the process, but that's primarily because it's implemented poorly, and focuses on the manager sitting in judgment of the employee. That pits manager vs. employee. When done properly managing performance is about employee engagement, creating meaningful work, reducing conflict, reducing micromanagement, and a lot more. But fun? No, not fun.
  3. Some things will never be fun but are worth doing. Drawing up a will with a lawyer is important but its not fun. It's not meant to be fun. Go to an amusement park, read a good book, or whatever turns your crank for fun. Some things, like managing performance are worth doing because of the PAYOFFS.
  4. In the ad, Halogen talks about making appraisals simple. Well, we've had over-simplification, and ticking off boxes on those dreadful evaluation forms for decades, and THAT is part of the problem. Simple is not always good. Useful is good.andnbsp;
  5. Managing performance is simply good management, but that's not the same as doing just performance reviews, and good management isn't always "fun" or simple. It's about harnessing the power of people to pull in the same direction to meet the goals of the company, while at the same time, helping employees grow and improve. If we've gotten to the point where we have to make these things "fun" or simple, then our companies are in big trouble.

Conclusions On Fun And Reviews

Fun, and making things simple are distractions, much like performance review forms. They talk away from our focus, and look at managing performance as a necessary evil that we have to dress up in fancy dress. We need to teach companies and managers that the payoffs can be phenomenal.

We don't look at making a visit to the lawyer more fun. Or having a prostate exam fun. Or many other things. We do those things and many others because there are strong reasons to INVEST in them. That's what we need to do with performance management.

Righting your ship after job loss, Part II : Jobs
Layoffs abound. Here are some suggestions on how to manage your life if you've experienced a job loss. (29-Apr-2013)

Human Resource Management - Developing Your Project Skills

There are many reasons why managing people in a project environment are different from managing them in a departmental setting. These differences make this aspect of the project manager’s job more complex than his or her departmental equivalent even though they may be responsible for similar numbers of people.
This means that a good project manager requires all of the people skills of a line manger together with an appreciation of the additional issues that exist in the project environment.

You will learn:

  • Why human resource (HR) management is such an essential component of project management.
  • How to identify and document project roles and creating an HR management plan.
  • The importance of improving the overall team environment to enhance project performance.
  • How to assess performance, provide feedback, resolve issues, and manage changes effectively.

Chapter 1 - Project Human Resources Management

Chapter 2 - 9.1 Develop Human Resource Plan

Chapter 3 - 9.2 Acquire Project Team

Chapter 4 - 9.3 Develop Project Team

Chapter 5 - 9.4 Manage Project Team

Chapter 6 - Functions of Human Resource Management

Request Free!

How to Change the World: Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job
Searching for a job can suck if you constrain yourself to the typical tools such as online jobs boards, trade publications, CraigsList, and networking with only your close friends. In these kinds of times, you need to use all the weapons that you can, and one that many people don't--or at least don't use to the fullest extent, is LinkedIn. Executives from all the Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn. Most have disclosed what they do, where they work now, and where they've worked in the past. Talk about a target-rich environment, and the service is free. Here are ten tips to help use LinkedIn to find a job. (22-Apr-2013)

Customer Service Zone Free Library For Better Customer Service
Customer Service Zone - The place to get help and learn about customer service issues. Learn about difficult customers, and develop your customer service skills.

Angry Customer Videos Funny? Think Again And Imagine The Trauma

There are literally hundreds of videos of angry customers posted on Youtube. Many of them have gone viral, garnering views in the hundreds of thousands, and it's also common for those videos to receive huge numbers of comments numbering in the thousands. Banal comments, perhaps, but comments none the less.

Who knows why. It's different from drivers slowing down when they see an accident, because with these videos, people have to seek them out, and then take the time to tell others how absolutely funny it is to see angry people do things that are threatening, abusive, and even violent.

Angry Customer NOT Funny To Those Present

Next time you tune in to an angry customer video, and want to congratulate the poster of the video, think of this.

In every angry situation you see, there is significant trauma experienced by the customer service representative, AND any other people; bystanders, present. If you've ever witnessed violence, or seen two people arguing where you think violence might occur, recall the feeling of adrenaline pumping through your systems, as the fight or flight response kicks in. Think about the stresses on the body, and the shaking of hands once the event is over, and you experience the aftereffects of the "adrenaline dump." Think about how you talked about the experience, and your horror and fear, even days after the event.

That's what those people in those "funny" videos experience, both the employees, and other customers at the establishment.

Customer Abuse And Violence Far More Common Than You Think

In my seminars helping staff deal with angry and abusive customers, I often ask how many attendees have experienced some form of physical assault, or unwanted physical contact. Typically, I'll get a minimum of forty percent of people having experienced those situations, and the trauma and feeling of lack of security that comes with these events.

Even when the contact is "minor", let's say a grabbing of an arm or shoulder, people report significant emotional reactions, stress, and even trauma.

It's not funny.andnbsp;

Who knows why people think it is. But think about how it feels like for the "victims", and for those present. It's no laughing matter. It's not entertaining. It's nasty.

Do you really want to be a person who revels in the misfortunes and pain of others?

About Bacal & Associates
Want to find out about Bacal andamp; Associates? Here it is.

A Better Way to Find Jobs on LinkedIn
I don't think there's any doubt that LinkedIn is the king of social networking for business. It's a great platform with lots of features and high traffic. But when it comes to using it for career advancement, most people use it poorly. They dutifully establish a profile and create the compulsory network of friends and coworkers with a handful of people from their past and present. Until they lose their job. And then as "everyone" tells them to do, they begin "networking" to find a job. They reach out to their network, letting them know they're in the market for a new position. (27-May-2013)

11 Performance Review/Management Super Tips For Managers And HR

My quick guide to performance management,andnbsp;Making Performance Management and Appraisal VALUABLE: Walking The Path Together contains 86 tips on how to make performance management both effective and how to remove the sense of confrontation and feelings of discomfort.

Here are the first 11 tips from the book, which is available in PDF format from this store, or from amazon in hard copy.

11 Simple, Yet Profound Perspectives To Make Performance Management Work

It's virtually impossible to make a performance management system work across an organization unless it adds and is perceived as adding value to 1) the company, 2) executives and managers, and 3) employees. That's rule ONE.

2. Almost everything that constitutes good management is contained in effective performance management. The best way to be a great manager is to institute a proper means of managing performance! The rest all falls into place.

3. Make it clear to the employee that the forms need to be done but the really important part is the discussion between manager and employee.

4. A lot of anxiety can be eliminated if a) employees understand what process will be used for the performance review discussion, and b) that there will be no surprises during the review meeting.

5. 360 degree feedback is not a replacement for performance management and appraisals. Anonymity and lack of ability to discuss comments with originators makes the value of the feedback process questionable.

6. Technology has emerged as a way to ssstreamliness performance management and appraisals, but it makes it easy to forget that managing performance is about people. Software programs make it easier to do bad things more quickly. Don’t get sucked in to doing only what the software requires.

7. Most experts agree that it is inappropriate to use the results of 360-degree appraisals to determine promotions and pay levels because of a) inaccurate rating systems, and b) limitations of anonymous feedback. If you use 360-degree feedback consider it as a way to provide employees with information about their performance, but not to make any final determinations regarding quality of work.

8. Performance reviews work best when the discussion brings together both parties in a partnership to improve performance. Consider getting input from employees about how YOU can help them perform more effectively, or how they feel you are doing your job.

9. NEVER, ever stop doing performance management because an employee is at the top of his or her pay scale.. Remember, it’s about continuous performance improvement! Shouldn't everyone have a chance to get better regardless of pay scale or current performance level?

10. If you base pay raises on performance appraisal results you set up a situation where you and the employee are not perceived as “on the same side”, because there’s a lot at stake. In many companies you won’t have a choice, so it’s simply a reality that must be recognized. You will need to work extra hard at creating the perception that, salary aside, you are both on the same team.

11. The relationship you build with each employee is by far, the most powerful force in improving performance (or in making performance work). When you talk and act like a partner with the goal of helping the employee, you’ll be amazed at the positive effects this can have.

Stay tuned, we'll have more advice from the book soon.