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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?

Translation Proxy: A New Option for Managing Multilingual Websites

Discover how Translation Proxy can benefit your multilingual website and translation & localization strategy with our eBook, Translation Proxy: A New Option for Managing Multilingual Websites.

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Learn more about Lionbridge's Translation Proxy solution by downloading the eBook and explore how it can enhance your multilingual website and translation & localization strategy.

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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)

The Future Of The Performance Review
Transcript of a radio show roundtable involving a variety of experts weighing in on the future of performance reviews. A little awkwardly formatted but quite enlightening. Includes an Donna Morris from Adobe.

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.

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)

Research:The Skills the Nonprofit Sector Requires of its Managers and Leaders
Survey research with large sample of nonprofit sector leaders responding on what is needed in terms of leadership skills for current and prospective leaders in the sector. (2-Jul-2014)

Motorola drops ratings from performance reviews
Motorola moves to eliminate both forced ranking, and employee rating from their performance management system. "So we decided to forget the rating and just link performance to pay more directly. You no longer have a forced bell curve, which can be demoralizing and can create a culture of infighting."

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 Guide to Transactional Email

You know that transactional email is different than bulk (or do you?), but what exactly distinguishes one from the other and why does it matter? Whether you’re a marketer or IT professional, knowing the ins and outs of transactional email is beneficial to finding the email delivery provider that best fits your needs.

In our eBook, A Guide To Transactional Email, we cover everything you need to know about the world of transactional email. You’ll learn best practices, mistakes to watch out for, and get a definitive distinction between bulk and transactional messaging.

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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)

34 Tips & Tricks for Improving Translation Efficiency
With these 34 tips and best practices from experts in the field your next translation project will run smoother and yield higher value.

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Download your free eBook now and be on your way to a faster, better translation process!

Smartling simplifies and accelerates translation and localization for companies reaching a global market. With the first cloud-based enterprise platform for translation management, Smartling helps companies quickly translate and deploy their websites and dynamic Web applications, mobile applications and business documents across the entire corporate digital infrastructure.

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3 Ways LinkedIn Just Made It Easier to Find a Job
If you're unemployed, or know someone who is, I want to tell you about the new, useful ways the LinkedIn Jobs page lets you search for employment. As you likely know, LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site. I'm a longtime fan, so I was eager to see whether its enhancements for job seekers were merely hype or truly helpful. A few weeks back, I reviewed the new Social Jobs app on Facebook and though it had some practical features for job hunters I felt it was too laborious. By contrast, LinkedIn's new features really do make looking for work easier (22-Apr-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.