05 Mar Invest In People
#1 Invest in HR Evaluations and be ProEmployee
Aside from sales and marketing, the one thing your organization of any size, needs to get right at the big bucket level is taking care of your people. Mega organizations tend to use large-scale HR methodologies that have been tried with a lot of employees, and it takes time to revise practices. Often, in regard to evaluations, large company HR methodologies have been around for a while—sometimes too long.
Times have changed since the days of using MBOs and 360-degree reviews as the only sources at review time. Stack ranking employees is methodology that has gone by the wayside at many organizations because it doesn’t allow for flexibility. It can cause a lot of cat and dog fights amongst managers.
In this market, in order to make a company of any size shine inside and out, you need to be as cutting edge with HR as you are with Sales and Marketing. People are your investment. Get this right from the get go.
#2 Outsource, Resource, and Get Support
If your organization needs HR support, improve this now so that your employees don’t run to your competition who has already figured this out. One of the top reason’s that people change companies is due to their manager. In a recent Forbes article, this number is up and the average timeline an employee stays with an organization is 1.5 years.
If your organization has fallen into a slump, there are several ways to navigate out of it. Hire an HR lead from a company that is known for high employee engagement. Outsource your HR. Get a reputable HR consultant or company to bring your organization up to speed.
Entrepreneur Magazine writes solid advice about outsourcing with definitions of some HR basics. Much of this can be also be used at the small business level without the use of corporate acronyms.
#3 Study Employee Engagement and Understand Your Organization’s Culture
You don’t have to be an HR professional to do this. Strip HR to the basics and you get Taking Care of Your Employees so that they take care of you. Put your Internal Communications team to work with HR. If you have a small company or startup, talk to your people, and do the necessary research and follow through it takes to seed a healthy internal culture.
#4 Update Your Review, Evaluation, and Compensation Processes
A major HR issue that I see again and again is within the employee evaluation process. Specifically, stack ranking employees to fit a curve. This means that you are forced to fit employees into a system that is not working for a lot managers.
Here’s an example for large business. Say Maya is an outstanding employee and she’s due for a merit increase. You are one of 4 directors in the Customer Experience Group of your company. The other 4 Directors all manage individuals that exceed expectations at the same level that Maya is at and, at a meeting to discuss employee achievement, each director makes a case for their top people. The problem is, in order to fall within the organization’s stack ranking system; the 4 directors are allowed to promote only one employee with the highest marks. This means that out of at least 4 excellent employees, only one stellar employee is allowed to receive a four-star mark as recommended by their Director/Manager. In other words the 4 Directors must agree on who this person is.
While going to bat for your people and problem solving and negotiation skills are requirements for any manger in any business, this type of categorizing may cause a cat and dog fight for all involved. Managers that are supposed to work together get caught up in a game. Excellent employees don’t get their due, as 3 out of the 4 candidates or 75% of the deserving employees in this case will be ‘downgraded’ by this system.
Here’s a small business example. Sally is a fantastic operations assistant. She goes beyond her job description in every way. The startup she works for is 18 months old. Her manager wants to give her incentives, however since the business is in startup mode, giving her a merit increase has been pushed out month over month. Sally wants to stay, and her manager wants to give her an increase, but the budget is limited.
Both of these organizations from large to small need to make sure that their employees are appreciated for the level of service they deliver. The bottom line is this. If stellar employees are not recognized for their efforts, they will go to a place where they are more appreciated.
This means (large company) that should your stellar employee leave for a company with better retention techniques, that took you forever to get approved, opened, and filled, it will cost the business more time and money than it would cost to give the employee acknowledgement, appreciation, and a smaller than you may like salary or stock increase.
This means (small business) that the person that hit the ground running, that is your second hand, can easily be off to the next opportunity because you didn’t take the time to give positive acknowledgement, no matter how small. Think about what it takes to get an employee fully off the ground even when they are top of class. Think about investing in that person and your ROI.
The problem is the individuals who are ranked at a lower level than they should be because their managers are forced to ‘downgrade’ their status.
The remedy? Get serious and get creative about attracting the best talent and then make it your priority to keep them. If you need to outsource, get help, or hire ‘up’ to do this, do it! It’s worth your business and your company’s ultimate investment in people.
These magazines shed light on best practices and new ideas that make way for more effective employee evaluations.