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Learning Industry News and Opinion

Strengths-Based Goal Setting

March 6, 2012 12:00 by Ann Pace

(From Gallup Management Journal) -- Whether the economy is good or bad, most organizations are constantly looking for ways to increase productivity. For managers who are looking to do more with less, a key first step is for them to know their employees individually. This helps managers position workers for success, motivate them, and keep them focused on actions that are essential for the continued health of the organization.

But it's difficult for managers to do any of this if they are not attuned to the strengths of the people on their team. And it's just as difficult for workers to use their strengths if their managers don't understand, appreciate, or maximize those strengths.

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Delivering performance reviews that work

February 28, 2012 12:30 by Ann Pace

(From HRReporter.com) -- How well does your organization handle performance reviews?

A formal performance evaluation process is quite commonplace these days, especially in larger organizations. But having a process doesn’t mean the approach is firing on all cylinders.

A new study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found the vast majority of organizations surveyed – 98 per cent – report having a formal performance evaluation process.

But the study highlighted many gaps in how organizations manage performance reviews, especially with respect to how they engage people managers in the process.

For example only 46 per cent of respondents said they require people managers to be trained on the company’s performance evaluation process, although 44 per cent provide voluntary training for people managers.

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Global Employee Satisfaction Continues to Lag in 2011

November 10, 2011 17:00 by Ann Pace

(From PRNewswire) -- Workforces worldwide are reaching their tipping point as employee satisfaction, or engagement, continues to be sluggish and remains at the lowest level since 2008, according to analysis recently released by Aon Hewitt, the global human resource consulting and outsourcing business of Aon Corporation.

At the end of the third quarter, Aon Hewitt analyzed its Employee Engagement Database of more than 5,700 employers, representing five million employees worldwide. The findings reveal an engagement level of 56 percent thus far in 2011, which is the same as 2010, but lower than 2009 (60 percent) and 2008 (57 percent). Traditionally, engagement levels between 65 percent and 100 percent represent a high-performing culture; 45 percent to 65 percent indicate the workforce is indifferent to organizational success or failure; and anything lower than 45 percent represents a serious or destructive range.

According to Aon Hewitt, the largest drop in engagement this year is employees' perception of how companies manage performance. Workers worldwide believe their employers have not provided the appropriate focus or level of management that would lead to increased productivity, nor have they connected individual performance to organizational goals.

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Employee Engagement to What End?

November 3, 2011 15:00 by Ann Pace

(From PRWEB) -- It's hard to justify employee engagement if we confuse the means with the ends. In a recent analysis of survey results from more than 145 organizations and 1.5 million employees conducted by TNS Employee Insights, the end was obvious: the customers. A comparison of High Performing Companies, those who are leaders in their industries and demonstrate sustained financial growth, as compared to other organizations, showed that not only did these organizations tend to have better relationships with their employees, their employees were more focused on customers . The analysis found that a focus on the "ends", or the end user, the customer, went hand in hand with a drive toward constant improvement and innovation.

TNS Employee Insights found the differences between High Performing Companies (HPCs) and other firms is consistent: employees in HPCs are much more dedicated to understanding customer needs and use that understanding to improve how they do their jobs. They are also more likely to say that the firm is making necessary changes to be competitive. Bottom line: employees in HPCs are more market focused - their line of sight is not exclusively internal, but is focused externally on what is happening around them and their company.

In addition, the analysis found that employees in HPCs report a constant drive for improvement, and a focus on future possibilities versus acceptance of what is today. They are far more likely to look for new and better ways to do things, strive to improve performance, and feel the company as a whole has a vision for the future that is inspiring. There is an energy that is tangibly different than non-HPCs.

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New Zealand: Workplace Learning Contributes to Improved Performance

October 27, 2011 12:30 by Ann Pace

(From voxy.co.nz) -- An independent evaluative report released this week into the Learning Representative Programme shows that workplace learning supported by Learning Representatives (Learning Reps) led to improved individual worker and workplace performance.

Established in 2005, the Learning Representative Programme is managed by the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) and funded by the Tertiary Education Commission. Its main purpose is to train workers as Learning Reps to identify, advocate for, and facilitate, workplace learning amongst their peers, with a particular focus on workplace literacy, language and numeracy issues. There are currently 422 registered Learning Reps, employed across 150 workplaces in 94 different organisations across New Zealand.

Heathrose Research Limited was commissioned earlier this year to conduct the evaluation in a joint initiative by NZCTU and Ako Aotearoa - The National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. The research intent was to determine the effectiveness of the Learning Reps programme, and to assess its value to a range of stakeholders, including the Learning Reps themselves, their co-workers engaged in workplace learning initiatives, employers and unions.

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The Art of Layoffs at AT&T

October 13, 2011 13:00 by Ann Pace

(From The Wall Street Journal) -- Clutching his last six performance evaluations, the man in his 40s walked crying into the office of Howard McNally, a former chief operating officer at AT&T. Why, he asked, was he being let go after so many outstanding reviews?

That moment transformed McNally's management style. He began ranking his staff, ensuring that no more than half got cited as outstanding and, never again, would an employee be caught unaware of how he or she stacked up. It was one of many management lessons during his 25-year career at AT&T. As COO during the early 2000s, McNally oversaw thousands of layoffs as the company's traditional landline business shrank and its wireless revenue grew.

McNally joined AT&T after graduating from Harvard Business School in 1979, advancing from a local manager in the company's enterprise business division to COO and co-president of its consumer operations. Since retiring in 2003, McNally has worked as an executive recruiter, and most recently as an adjunct professor at the Hult International Business School. In August, McNally was named CEO of the Hult Global Case Challenge, a New York not-for-profit that holds case study competitions.

FINS spoke with McNally about the role luck has played in his career, how he dealt with overseeing thousands of layoffs, and why you should always treat your colleagues with respect.

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Panel calls for quarterly employee performance reviews

September 22, 2011 12:45 by Ann Pace

(From Federal Times) -- Federal managers should review employees quarterly to create a culture of ongoing, continuous feedback and let poor performers know they need to straighten up, a task force recommended Wednesday.

The Employee Performance Management Workgroup, made up of federal chief human capital officers, Obama administration officials, and representatives of union and management organizations, also said the government must improve how it selects supervisors, and require mandatory training for them on how to manage their employees' performance.

The draft Employee Performance Management Accountability Framework does not recommend any structural changes to the government's personnel systems. The Office of Personnel Management and the Chief Human Capital Officers Council took changes to laws, regulations and labor contracts and pay-for-performance off the table before the working group began.

"None of this stuff is groundbreaking," OPM Deputy Chief of Staff Justin Johnson said. "It's a comprehensive collection of good management practices. We like to call it common sense that isn't yet common practice."

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Yearly Reviews? Try Weekly

September 6, 2011 12:30 by Ann Pace

(From The Wall Street Journal) -- The status-update era is changing the annual performance review.

With many younger workers used to instant feedback—from text messages to Facebook and Twitter updates—annual reviews seem too few and far between. So companies are adopting quarterly, weekly or even daily feedback sessions.

Not surprisingly, Facebook Inc. exemplifies the trend. The social network's 2,000 employees are encouraged to solicit and give small nuggets of feedback regularly, after meetings, presentations and projects. "You don't have to schedule time with someone. It's a 45-second conversation—'How did that go? What could be done better?" says Lori Goler, the Palo Alto, Calif., social-networking company's vice president of human resources. More formal reviews happen twice a year.

For most companies, employee reviews are still an annual rite of passage. Some 51% of companies conduct formal performance reviews annually, while 41% of firms do semi-annual appraisals, according to a 2011 survey of 500 companies by the Corporate Executive Board Co., a research and advisory firm.

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North America Leads the Way in Employee Performance Management Globally

September 1, 2011 13:30 by Ann Pace

(From Business Wire) -- Lumesse, a global leader in integrated talent management solutions, today announced the results of its Performance Management Assessment Tool, which reveals companies in North America as overall global leaders in employee performance management.

Based on assessments by 500 business and HR executives in 44 countries worldwide, the results, available at www.lumesse.com/be-inspired/insight-library/fill-the-form?pid=13957 , highlight the contrasts between North America, Europe and Asia Pacific when it comes to the maturity of employee performance management processes. The report also details five key areas, based on real-world feedback from the best practitioners, where companies can make the most noticeable improvements in performance management. Areas examined included key processes such as the use of cascading goals, the identification of career plans, links between pay and performance, and good use of financial metrics.

North American companies came out on top at every basic performance management practice; other regions had much more variable results. In the UK, for example, 37% of organizations had cascading goals for the majority of employees -- the second highest of all regions -- but the UK proved to be the least effective at providing financial metrics. Meanwhile, Germany, France, Italy, Benelux and Scandinavia were above the global average (32%) in terms of providing career goals and linking these to financial metrics (19%), but still struggled to make a connection between pay and performance -- all falling below the global average (24%).

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Focus on employee engagement to boost work output

August 18, 2011 16:30 by Ann Pace

(From The Economic Times) -- A study has indicated that the performance management process should evaluate and focus on employee engagement in addition to job performance.

Engagement involves high levels of identification with one's work in terms of attention, absorption and feeling integrated in the performance of one's tasks and roles, according to a paper published from the University of Toronto and University of Guelph.

The paper's authors - Professor Alan Saks from the University of Toronto and Professor Jamie Gruman of the University of Guelph - contend performance management should involve an evaluation of employee engagement and that for many companies enhancing employee performance can be best achieved by changing the focus of the performance management process to a focus on the management of employee engagement.

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