SCI Directors and Managers leverage their insight and expertise to present thought-leadership articles. Directors and Managers will contribute articles to foster innovation and ingenuity in the Human Resource Industry.
Engaging Employees through Performance Evaluation Communication
As a practitioner of labor and employment law, I understand the benefits of engaging employees with both written and verbal feedback to address goals, performance, expectations and behavior. “Put it in writing” is the advice I provide to my clients for addressing both positive and negative performance and behaviors. As an attorney, my goal is train clients to engage employees on an on-going basis so that they will have high performance employees or be in a position to terminate an employee with confidence that they have the documentary evidence necessary to defend a claim of discrimination, retaliation, or wrongful discharge. As a manager, I realize that taking my own advice is not always easy.
Documentation, especially the dreaded “write-up” or “Corrective Action” carries a stigma in many corporate cultures. As managers we must eliminate the stigma and bring our corporate culture to the point where written feedback and performance (and behavior) management is the norm. Even quality employees who consistently perform need feedback. Business is about the bottom line, and managers have a duty to manage employees to serve the bottom line in a way that benefits everyone.
Using standardized forms is one way to manage performance and behavior; however, as the modern workplace has evolved, more creative and engaging forms of performance management have been created. An example of one of these employee engagement/performance management tools is the Performance Management System© by BullseyeEvaluation®. Regardless of the tool you select, engage your employees to improve both individual and company performance!
As General Counsel and Director of Legal Services, Mr. Edwards manages several areas affecting the legal liability of the SCI Companies. Some of his responsibilities include work with our various teams on acquisitions, strategic sales initiatives, litigation management, Client Service Agreement negotiations, vendor contracts, management of SCI’s licensure and compliance and management of our Employment Practices Liability Insurance (“EPLI”) program.
Creating a High Performance Team
A high performance work team is something we all want to have or be a part of. As a manager, you have to understand and guide your group through the developmental phases of a team in order to achieve high performance. Some managers feel if they put a group of people together they will automatically start to function as a team; that is far from the truth. First, the team needs to have a common purpose as well as mutual goals for success. Then, you should select members with competencies that complement the skills and abilities of other members in the group during the recruiting process. Once this is completed, then the real fun begins.
Phase 1: As you assemble this group of people together, the organizational structure also begins to take shape. This phase is called the Forming Phase. Ambiguity is commonplace during this phase because everything is new and everyone is trying to understand their role. Members of the group may have more questions than you have answers about the group’s purpose, structure and leadership.
Phase 2: The next phase of development is the Storming Phase which is characterized by intragroup conflict. At this phase, members have accepted the existence of the team but struggle to relinquish their individuality. A power struggle for leadership of the team can also emerge among members. Although this phase is plagued by conflict, it is necessary when closely monitored as it allows Members the opportunity to work through problems and clarify their role in the organization. Some teams fail because they never get out of the storming phase; even members who once believed in the group goals may be derailed by the lack of team support and unity. Success comes when the members understand their position and know what their contribution to the goals will be.
Phase 3: Gradually, the team moves into a Norming Phase as the hierarchical structure begins to form. Team members become comfortable with each other and start to leverage each other’s strengths. The group develops cohesion with a team mentality in lieu of individual perspective. At times when confronted by an obstacle, members may revert to storming stage behaviors.
Phase 4: Productivity peaks during the Performance Phase as a result of the group’s interdependence and problem solving skills. This phase is characterized by high group morale and intense group loyalty which brings a sense of comfort and confidence to the team. At this stage, the team can improve the efficiency of the processes they deliver and reduce waste.
The question you may ask, does the team stay at this high performance phase from then on? The answer is, it depends! If the purpose and goals change you might need different members with different skills. When there is high turnover in the organization, the team starts back at phase one and has to progress through each phase before getting back to a point of high performance. A good manager needs to think of themselves as a facilitator, constantly taking the pulse of the team and guiding the team through the phases to ensure they reach the high performance level. Good luck and Happy team building!
Mr. Hardin joined SCI Companies in 1994 and has been instrumental in the development of the service delivery model for administrative Human Resources for SCI’s PEO. In September 2007, he resumed the leadership position as Director of Tampa Operations, responsible for the cost effective and efficient delivery of services to customers served out of the Tampa office.
Stop The E-Mails!
Most professionals will acknowledge that efficient use of time is a constant challenge in today’s corporate environment. I recently identified my greatest opportunity for improvement in this area: Email Replies. As a starting point, I spent several weeks logging the quantity of email responses and their corresponding time commitment (Note: Incoming emails were excluded as I can only control what I send). It was, at times, a tedious process but I felt strongly that any and all short-term pain would yield long-term gain.
The results were astounding… I was spending, on average, two hours per day replying to emails! Worse yet, I deemed 80% of such replies were ineffective for a variety of reasons, the most common being the infamous re-reply which typically added another layer of complexity not identified in the original message (we technology folks commonly refer to this as “scope creep”). Furthermore, when replying to a distribution group, the outcome can feel like getting singled out during a game of paint ball.
I arrived at a simple yet effective methodology for governing my email responses: “Only reply when my expertise is absolutely required and my emotions are entirely under control”. After two weeks, I had reduced my email responses by 75%. That translated to nearly one full day per week (and one full week per month) of time to redeploy in a more productive manner! The most immediate results I experienced were an overall reduction in stress and a greater desire to interact with my co-workers.
It’s worth mentioning that reducing the number of email replies is not a “magic bullet” to increased time savings nor may it be an area you need or wish to address however I challenge you to personalize the concept: Find the area in which you spend the most unproductive time and address it immediately. You might just unlock a wealth of time you never realized was available.
Finally, the next time you go to reply to an email, pause and ask yourself, “Is my response necessary and are my intentions honorable?”
As the Director of Client Technology Solutions, Mr. Nazarian leads a team that develops and supports technology solutions for SCI’s PEO Operations. His contributions to the company assist in successfully transitioning new clients to SCI Companies, supporting client retention initiatives through process improvements and developing Human Capital within the organization.
Leadership Tips for HR Pros from a CEO Perspective
HR leaders must serve as change agents to drive human capital performance and compliance with regulations through the use of best practice solutions. So what approaches should individuals take to become world-class leaders in HR? Try advocacy, alignment and development.
Advocate for results that are going to add value to both operational and human capital goals by:
Focusing on business results as the value you want the adoption of your process to create. Value is defined by what is relative to your Clients’ needs and what they are willing to pay in order to meet those needs.
Measuring and benchmarking everything related to that value to ensure that needs are met, perceived to be accomplished or to determine what needs are changing.
Encouraging an environment that allows for situational leadership. Recognize and place value on the strengths of your people and leverage these strengths to foster employee engagement and drive self-directed career progression.
Align organizational and human capital needs in ways that makes sense for everyone involved through:
Compensation that is driven by performance results and competency/development.
Development of corporate strategy that is effective for the specific nature of your business and the unique environment you operate in.
Execution of strategic initiatives that will produce results within 90-days and target goals that can be achieved within one year. This short-term focus maintains appropriate momentum and avoids outdated or unrealistic outcomes.
Foster an environment for organizational development by:
Constantly refining required competencies with company values to best fit human capital and organizational needs.
Develop every position as if it is a professional discipline.
Coach others for success in a way that drives accountability and ownership and eliminates the need to manage.
Perhaps most importantly is to encourage HR professionals to ensure their “batteries” are charged. Employees at all levels in an organization will seek out HR Leadership for direction and guidance; so as HR leaders, every minute is “show time”!
Mr. Hardin is a pioneer in the field of Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO). His thought leadership has helped to establish new business models for the Human Resources (HR) industry, where companies can transform from a functional operations model to a process driven customer focused model. His theories and practices around Human Capital Outsourcing attraction to a Business Enterprise have become nationally recognized. Mr. Hardin founded SCI Companies, the genesis of the SCI brand in 1985 with a vision to offer companies the opportunity to develop their human capital and provide employers solutions to managing their human resources.