Tag Archives: #productivity

The Ongoing Conversation Needed with Performance Management

How does the performance management system tie to the needs of the business and how does individual performance get measured at the business dashboard level?

This question provided the big picture challenge addressed at the March 22 NYHRPS Forum facilitated by Dr. Anna Tavis. While previous practice sought to replicate the GE methodology, it is no longer the gold standard for management and leadership. Rather today’s leaders have become fast, lean machines that try something and test it on the go.

Intrigued by the case studies presented by Dr. Tavis, NYHRPS members wanted to continue the dialogue with specific action items that they could take back to their offices. And so, on May 3, NYHRPS Board Member Deb Seidman facilitated a Mastermind Group amongst a small group of members who had participated in the earlier Performance Management discussion. Participants brought case studies that reflected their current work. As a Mastermind group, questions were posed and advice was given, allowing the NYHRPS member to leave with an agenda that they could develop in their own organization.

Cultural Changes at the Grassroots Level will Impact the Success of a New Performance Appraisal System

While a wide range of questions came up during the discussion, case study conversations focused on three specific themes across organizations
• How does a small company take the best of the processes followed in a large enterprise while keeping its entrepreneurial spirit and nimbleness?
• How do you create of a culture of feedback at a grass-roots level?
• How do you create a common line of sight across organizational and personal missions…..so as to improve performance and achieve common goals?

With Forum participants representing both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, Dr. Tavis asked:
• How do employee motivations differ in for-profit vs a non-profit entity?
• If nonprofits are mission driven, what does the concept of top down goal setting look like?
• Is a bottom up approach to goal setting more applicable to the non-profit where grass-roots programs and local area relationships are critical in meeting the organizational objectives?

One group considered what they would do if they were starting a performance system from a clean slate. Lessons learned from previous discussions provided the important anchors for building a new system or revising one in place.
• First and foremost end with a positive impact on the business strategy
• Focus on a simple method to identify good performers
• Create a culture of constructive feedback to accelerate and sustain high performance
• Get buy-in by incorporating the employee perspective
• Include customization for significant groups by division, generations, etc.

Another interesting moment in the conversation focused on finding champions to support those spearheading the organizational changes. Both the General Counsel and the Marketing teams were singled out as strong partners.
The Mastermind meeting structure was a new format for the Forum Committee. It brought nuances to the meeting that can only be discovered when individuals share the specifics of their individual stories in the spirit of trust, confidentiality and peer advisement. The Forum Committee thanks both Anna and Debbie for their contributions in facilitating these programs and to our participants who came prepared to share and to learn.

A recap from the March 22 discussion can be found here.

NYHRPS Break-Through Innovation Series of Forums provides a platform to discuss emerging issues among thought leaders, peers and HR decision makers in intimate settings limited to 15 participants and 2-3 experts.

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Future of Marketing: Collisions and Complexities

The Future of Marketing Summit 2015: Collisions and Complexity #FTMarketing is always a treat to attend. While conference attendance continues to drop these days, the live conferences allow us to share our real time views in more than 140 characters, giving some additional color to the speaker comments.

The conference explored relevance and personalization —objectives that marketers always strive to achieve — regardless of the available technology and in spite of the available technology.

“Content is king. Context is queen and she wears the pants.” 

Big data and the balance of personalized messaging, limited budgets and the creep factor caused by revealing the knowledge of too much individual data, continue to be a dominant subject on everybody’s mind. Ad-blocking is a relevant piece of the conversation as it impacts so many of the content development and customization strategies that we all are exploring.

content and contextWith so much free content available, what motivates someone to share the information that allows us/them to customize their stream of news? The answer lies in the value proposition. The importance of which is not new; the newness is in the never-ending expansion of resources that we can use to meet our needs.

Hence, if I can get the information elsewhere, I will get it wherever it is easiest and most obviously synergistic.

  • Exemplifying this example was Seth Farbman, CMO at Spotify. Consumer access to music at little to no cost delivers huge exposure for the artist. For those artists who do not have the marketing and label support, Spotify sees themselves as an avenue for artist exposure. Their goal is to build music fans. The majority of their users do not pay fees. However, the Spotify service is not free; it is advertising supported. Hence what happens to this business model when users go incognito?

Knowing that “Content is king. Context is queen and she wears the pants.” What can the marketer do to ensure the right experience for the individual customer?  Simultaneously, what can be done to maintain advertising dollar supports? Maintaining a robust exchange of information is paramount.

  • Businesses that are using Virtual Reality (VR) provided a good example of creating customer relevancy. In fact, one of the panelists shared his own story; it involved a dislike for camping activities which ended in the booking of a camping trip after a VR experience. Sounds like the adage: Try it. You’ll like it. Virtual Reality brings us closer to the experience than any copy deck or photo montage could achieve.

Storytelling: A Strategic Business Tool

8591351239_24bcb987df_nAnd, when VR is not possible, we know that a well-delivered story format is a readily affordable tactic to initiating an immersive brand experience. In the panel titled “Shifting the Brand Strategy in the Age of Empowered Consumer”, one message was unanimous: Brands can no longer speak to the customer. Rather, brands must speak with the customer. Be it a consumer or a  B2B transaction, the human being will make a decision and individuals want to buy things that reflect smart decisions and which make them feel like they are adding value to the situation.

When is yes a maybe? Marketers are still figuring this out.

Unraveling what the customer wants will continue to be an ongoing riddle. The true psycho-graphics behind one’s behavior are rarely available on an individual basis and just because someone looks at a website does not mean they want to use or buy the product….a challenge with programmatic marketing.

As marketers, we want to test everything to see how we can better create a dialogue with our customer groups. However, social media is still being challenged to prove the consistency of the measurable impacts that the tactics generate for a campaign.

  • There was an audible chuckle in the audience when Roel de Vries, Global Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Nissan Motor Company spoke to the “hobby-ism of doing things. If I have to sell x million cars, is 10,000 hits good enough to get me there?” And, hence, we must again balance testing opportunities with scale impact and the budget allocation.

The Basic Human Need for Emotional Resonance

As technology continues to alter the way we consume data for our decisions, there was chatter amongst the room for another proven behavior: The continued need for emotional resonance. No matter how technological our society has become, in the end, we are individuals with numerous personas that are all actively in play at any given time.

Reminding us of this basic human nature was the five step ecosystem that individuals use to make decisions. The buzz words have changed over time however the concepts remain intact. The five step ecosystem is: brain photo

  • Notice: Get noticed. Create awareness.
  • Curiosity: Generate interest.
  • Interaction: Offer an array of opportunities for interaction and the query for more information. Engage the customer/prospect in a dialogue that makes the impact of this product in their lives real.
  • Reinforcement: Create on-going reinforcement of the purchase decision.
  • Evangelize: With the ultimate goal of turning the customer into an evangelist your product

Some things do not change; they get modified and fine-tuned to reflect the modern-age tools.

Relevance, personalization and service excellence continue to be the critical success factors in establishing long term relationships.

If you found any of the subjects in this post to be of interest to you, please get in touch and lets continue the conversation.

Thank you to the Marketing Executives Networking Group MENG for my ticket. to this event.

Get Real! Purpose + Calling + Balance

The New York Human Resources People and Strategy Group recently hosted an insightful presentation featuring social entrepreneur Aaron Hurst.

In this interactive and provocative session, Aaron presented his concept of a “Purpose Economy”, in which purpose will replace information as the dominant economic driver. Embedded in this new definition of purpose are the concepts of:
• Choice
• Calling
• Self-awareness

The desire for purpose, calling or self-fulfillment is not new. However in today’s society which allows 24/7 connectivity, availability and choice…… the boundaries between our work and personal lives is often non-existent. The concept of work: life balance has become a concept of work: life integration. The premise of seeing one’s act of labor as fulfilling and satisfying —regardless of the role one plays in the world of work—- provides the consistency that allows us to thrive in everything that we do.

Research has shown significant levels of employee disengagement and frustration. Further studies surmise that the disengaged workforce is less productive, less dependable, and less loyal to the work-team. Infusing the purpose approach into every aspect of our lives becomes critical. The concept starts with an attitude. Individually, we create purpose by choosing how to approach a job vs. only looking at the actual content of the job that we are doing.

Some industry articles attribute this shift in philosophy to the millennial; I think the fundamentals of the purpose concept have been percolating for a very long time. Our aging society, sandwich generations and millennial attitudes have allowed these frustrations to be channeled in a positive direction. As a member of the Boomer generation, I grappled with work: life balance as I entered my parenting years and was an active participant in remote work schedules, freelance contracts and career off-ramps. The Purpose Economy addresses the personal interests and demands of individuals by “allowing us to publicly balance our multiple obligations”.
balancing act photo
How can we combine passion and expertise consistency in our lives –vs. – looking to our volunteer work and hobbies to fill in these gaps? Does each of us have the ability to work with purpose and to live with purpose? Is this a learned activity? Will this increased awareness obligate everyone (the employers, the employees, the clients and the providers) to realize that work: life integration is reasonable and attainable? The answer is a definite YES!

Aaron shared four recommendations with the audience that can be viewed as opportunities for both the individual as well as the collective employer/work environment to support purpose-oriented activities. They are:

1. Develop individual self-awareness. As an employer, strive to assist your employees in building their self-awareness.
• Those who demonstrate calling in their daily lives see their actions as being bigger than them. They are motivated by the ability to impact others in positive ways. They are confident in their actions being consistent with their driving emotions.

2. Tailor your work to reflect the purpose(s) that motivate you. As an employer, allow the employee to tailor their work to boost their own sense of purpose.
• Doing this involves the deepening of relationships, defining opportunities for growth and maximizing the impact that someone can make in a situation.

3. Connect your personal purpose with your organizational purpose. As an employer, allow your employees to understand the impact of their labor on the bigger picture.
• People who behave from a position of purpose or calling see their efforts as providing positive growth. The power of continuous learning is important to all of us.

4. Celebrate and connect with others who share your approach to life. As an employer, create opportunities where individuals who share a common perspective can learn and grow together (This does not mean that they work together, Rather that they serve as motivators for each other.)
• I note that this example was given within the context of bringing people together who tested with similar purpose profiles. People with different functionalities and backgrounds were able to gain a new perspective on subjects that they had no understanding— when the sharing was made with someone else who shared a similar purpose-perspective. As a marketer, this reiterates the importance of the emotional connections that we create within all aspects of our lives.

May the spirit of purpose guide us successfully into a fulfilling 2015!great miinds quote

How Do I Trust Thee in the Workplace: Let Me Count Five Ways

How Do I Trust You?
For many, the answer could not be simpler: I trust you or I do not trust you. Who cares how you define it?

I propose that the answer is not quite so simple:
• Trust is a cornerstone of creating change
• Trust requires a relationship between two or more people; Not all relationships are created equal
• Trust implies that even when you, yourself, are uncertain of something….the other party (parties) will help you to uncover the issues and direct you to a solution
• Trust involves a leap of faith; it is easier to speak about trust than to “do trust”
Hence, just like we have various types of power, types of love and types of communication….we have numerous types of trust in the business setting. The person that you trust to run your medical office is not necessarily the same person that you trust to decorate your home, edit your son’s college application or help you with your retirement planning.

Here are FIVE KEY questions to understand trust in a professional working environment:

1. Do you have Professional Trust?
Professional trust in the business setting is often a function of dependability.
• Will you deliver what you promised/exceed the expectations of what you promised?
• Are you a team player?

2. Do you have Rules-Based Trust?
This refers to the trust that people have in the rules of society. For example: people politely form lines when walking up stairs; they avoid eye contact on crowded buses and they superficially begin most conversations with the expression:” How’ya doing?”

In previous work environments, rules based trust said that if we work very hard and demonstrate loyalty to one employer, our efforts will be recognized in status, salary and security. In today’s environment, those rules have changed. Hard work is a function of one’s personal drive to achieve and those achievements are portable into other situations, employment or entrepreneurship.

3. Do you have Situational Trust?
This reflects personal experience and is assumed to carry forward to the current situation. It applies to both workplace and non-workplace forms of trust.
• We trust our management team to provide guidance and support to us in meeting our objectives;
• We trust our educational systems to engage us in learning that will be valued in the marketplace;
• We expect that those we work with will be supportive of our personal efforts and responsible in the delivery of their own individual responsibilities.

4. Do you have Medical Trust?
I sit in the endodontic chair having root canal and trust that his expertise and his steady hand will get me through the procedure

5. Do you Trust Your Instincts?
This is another one of the trusts that have both workplace and non-workplace applications.
• You must have a level of trust in yourself so as to be able to trust another
• There was an Oprah magazine article that said something like “take advice as advice”. Everyone gives you their two cents, but you have to follow your gut.

Summary:
Trust is a special relationship that exists between two or more people. The power of trust is significant as it is the cornerstone of change, as well as the cornerstone of on-going working relationships. Not all trust is created equal. However, every form of trust deserves to be treated as the valuable asset that it represents.

How do I Trust Thee in the Workplace…Let Me Count Five Ways!

This blog originally appeared 01/2014 via #EQlist: What Every Entrepreneur Needs to Ask to be Successful goo.gl/d4XFwV

Is there a formula to asking Brilliant Questions?

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first fifty-five minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

Not surprisingly, Einstein makes a good point. And, so I set out to ask others what they think of that observation. In turn, practicing the philosophy first hand. The dialogue was great. The conversations produced a list of seven common themes. And so, with a number of qualitative research projects on my plate, I set out to be uber-deliberate in using these themes in the formulation of the questions that I would be taking into the field. Correlating the brilliant question criteria to my own facilitation guides did indeed have a positive impact!  Here are the seven themes:

What qualities make a question brilliant?

1. Inspiration to see things in a new light

For example: Five plus five equals ten; what other numbers can be used to get me to ten?

  1. Generates thoughtful willingness to challenge the norm

Referencing Storm Sandy remains a tangible reference point. What would happen if a critical piece of this process were no longer available?

  1. Creates ownership of the solution

Tell me: What do you suggest we do here?

  1. Provides clarity of purpose

In explaining what someone does, they are forced to account for how the dots connect.

  1. Encourages new solutions

Probe: What are the frustrations in doing it this way? Can that be done in any other way?”

  1. Asks for an evaluation of limited resources

If you had the power to change it, what are the consequences of choosing A over B?

  1. Open ended enough to solicit the “how, why and what do you think about this” yet tight enough to provide direction to the thought process

Imagine yourself painting a picture. Now imagine yourself painting a picture of the golf course where you played last week-:)

Image

Look Elsewhere for Answers

In addition to the quest for consistently developing brilliant questions to ask, it always astonishes me when the “ah-ha moments come from where you least expect.

I was recently contracted to interview people that could help us learn more about employee overtime as a source of income in today’s economic environment. While speaking to individuals across industries, it was time to dig deeper within a particular function within a particular industry. Employees, HR executives, department managers all provided lots of interesting insights. It was the conversation with a professional in a completely unrelated industry to the one that I was researching….that the “ah-ha” moment came into place. My facilitation guide took on a new twist and each time I presented the “ah-ha” question to my interviewees…they lit up in the same way that I did with the implications presented. This was empowering. And, it was fun for all involved.

When in doubt, provide praise

In the exploration phase of a project looking to uncover breakdowns between functional departments, I was presented with an opinion that I did not quite know what to do with. “Great point. No-one else has mentioned that”, I said.  “Tell me more.” And the flood-gates opened!

Do you find yourself asking questions that lead you to great answers?

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” (said the same man).

Leveraging Today’s Workforce for a Competitive Advantage

Traditional employment models and traditional retirement models are changing daily as 10,000 Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 celebrate a 65th birthday — previously coined “retirement age”.  The aging of the workforce presents employers with challenges related to compensation, retirement, work preferences, knowledge transfer, and so much more. This environment demands a methodical and holistic strategy for managing a multi-generational workforce.

This article will summarize the @Fedcap hosted #SolutionSeries  with a guest panel that included Dick Cattani of the Compass Group, Dr. Kathleen Christensen of the Working Longer Program of the Alfred P Sloan Foundation and Sandra Timmermann, Founder of the MetLife Mature Market Institute.  The discussion focused on today’s changing workplace demographics.

One of the first things to acknowledge within this transformational change is the wide variety of nomenclature that is used to address the individuals that sit smack in the center of this demographic shift.  During the 45 minute panel discussion, reference was made to:

  • The Baby Boomers
  • High Potential Late Career Individuals
  • Older Workers
  • Aging Americans
  • Those preparing to Age Gracefully
  • Seniors
  • Transitioning Employees
  • And, a few more phrases!

So what are some of the impacts that this aging workforce is creating in the marketplace:

Our longer life expectancies have created a 30 year retirement after a 40 year career. Uh-oh!

Perhaps the word retirement needs to be redefined to reflect a life stage that occurs much, much later in one’s lifetime. Employers need to start thinking about a longer working period during which individuals are looking for a balanced life that includes continued work, play, volunteerism and more.

The objective is for work: life balance, not workplace separation or a career conclusion.  In fact, just the other day my friend Judy, who recently made a retirement agreement with her corporate employer defined retirement as “the ability to work on my terms” – no change to her work ethics or to the  ferocious vigor that she pursues in her work – but, “on her terms”!

The time is ripe for new models of worker engagement.

A diverse workforce needs to include the aging American work patterns.

“Businesses are not thinking about an older workforce except for graceful exits” said Dr. Kathleen Christensen. “Business has spent a lot of time recently creating a diverse workforce” said Dick Cattani, and the definition of diversity did not include the aging workforce.

Hearsay conversations revealed mixed findings on those corporations that are putting formal programs in place to respond to the aging worker trend.

Employers are fast realizing that the aging worker population presents a complex employee profile.  

Our lifecycles include Adult 2.0

Timmermann referenced a new lifecycle stage called Adult 2.0. Others have referenced this period as our Encore years, our Second Act or Life Reimagined. For Timmerman, the 21st century creation of Adult 2.0 is similar to the recognition of the adolescent life stage during the 1930’s; it is a unique period of time filled with change, growth, exploration and experimentation.

With the creation of adult 2.0, we move through life in five stages: childhood, adolescence, adulthood, adulthood 2.0 and old age.

Employers will want to take another look at this new generation of 2.0 adults and remember that most are Boomers who influenced so many aspects of society as they moved through the last several decades. Whether these trailblazers continue to work or become agents of change in their communities, they will define what it means to live and to contribute in this new stage of life, now and for future generations.

Look around – for many — 2.0 includes many re-incarnations of their identity, incorporating new talents, hobbies and relaxed attitudes!

Millennial and Boomers have more in common than first appears! Think Work: Life Balance 

When talking to the win-win that flex-scheduling can provide, imagine the impact on a millennial, born after 1980, whose flex schedule allows them more time with their young children. Simultaneously imagine the Baby Boomer, born between 1946 and 1964, whose flexible schedule allows them more time to pursue their hobbies, their volunteer interests or their family caregiver commitments.

Scheduled in a complimentary fashion, the millennial employee, the boomer employer and the employer have all received flexibility which meets their needs. Everyone wins. Everyone feels better and everyone believes that they have achieved some sense of control in their work: life balance.

Flexible Work Schedules are Strategic Tools for Developing Human Capital 

The panelists acknowledged that numerous studies have shown the positive impact on productivity, employee engagement and employee satisfaction levels when flexible working schedules are employed.  To do this necessitates a culture of respect and trust and will evolve through a new style of win-win negotiation in the workplace. “Companies should not view flex-schedules as an employee accommodation or an employee perk, but rather as a strategic business tool that they use to strengthen their employee capital “, said Dr. Christensen.

Boomer Weaknesses and Millennial Strengths often Mirror Each Other 

Example #1:  Strategic thinking, the ability to lead through a crisis, and a brain-bank of Best Practices are traits most likely achieved only through the tenure and experience of someone aged 50 plus. Technological literacy and the use of social media channels may (or may not) be easier for the millennial.

Put together correctly, the productivity outputs of this duo can be multiplicative.

Panelists referenced the creation of mixed-age teams that have been empirically tested in Europe and the results showed that the inter-generational teams proved most productive and gratified for all participants.

Example #2: Boomers and millennials want to do good work and they want to be recognized for same. Careers take on many variations of a bell curve; for many Baby Boomers in traditional corporate backgrounds, they spent the decades of their 30-50 years climbing the corporate ladder and playing the political games. In the traditional workforce the millennial are now entering the heat of their ladder-climbing career stage.

Team efforts which allow for coaching, mentoring and knowledge transference can benefit both employer and employee alike.

Companies have a bias against the older worker  

In an AARP survey of registered NYC voters over the age of 50, one third said that they or someone they know has experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Myths, stereotypes and biases are common.

Companies have a bias against the older worker. Wikipedia defines a company as “an association or collection of individuals, people or “warm-bodies” …. Company members share a common purpose and unite in order to focus their various talents and organize their collectively available skills or resources to achieve specific, declared goals……”

We change companies by changing the individuals who make decisions for companies. 

  • What is your business doing to recruit, engage and retain talented employees at different career stages?
  • How does your business use a multi-generational approach to creating work teams across the organization?

Repeat: We change companies by changing the individuals who make decisions for companies.  

Healthy, well-educated, enthusiastic people of all ages want to have a seat at the table. It is one’s attitude, not one’s age that defines one’s abilities to make a difference!

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The FedCap Solution Series gathers employers’ nonprofits, advocates and other thought-leaders to analyze the barriers between Americans and economic independence – and to develop informed and actionable plans to break through those barriers. The Fedcap Solution Series is designed to trigger discussions and frame the questions that ultimately lead to the right solutions