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Human Resource (HR) Topics

Performance Reviews Managing People Out
Leadership Team Development Team Culture
Interviewing Metrics

 

Performance Reviews

A lengthy, time consuming process that most managers don't want to spend time doing. School report cards seem to be the same -- lots of words and marks, but little value to the parent. Performance reviews can be many things but they are first and foremost your most influencing and formal opportunity to get the most out of every employee on the team. They provide a venue for many things including -- a chance to have face to face conversations about the Company, the role of the team member and performance, discuss objectives (past, present and upcoming), learn about how management is doing, get ideas about improving the Company, showing that the Company cares about the success of each individual and more. Most employees never receive an impactful performance review in the first 10 years of their employment, going through role after role, job after job without really knowing if they are doing well or how they can improve. This section looks at the performance review process and what the CEO can do, along with HR, to get the most out of the performance review process -- from the very start of the Company More

Managing People Out

Perhaps the hardest aspect of being a leader is to end a team member's employment with the Company, especially if it's a founding employee. In small organizations it is likely someone you have gotten to know, had coffee with, perhaps a business dinner, maybe even teamed up with at a Company event. You want to run a business on a track of excellence, you can't do it with people who can't perform. Some leaders are ruthless, deliberately creating a specific amount of turnover each year to build the best team they can, other leaders are soft and continue to allow under-performers to remain, despite the negative impact on the people around them. Extremes in either case are often damaging to the team overall, the right balance tends to work best. Again and again you hear "should have done that sooner" when under performer's are managed out, so why isn't the lesson learned? A small company CEO should be heavily involved in the process related to managing people out, larger company CEO's tend to get involved only for senior resources. Let's examine how to handle negative performers and expose possible approaches to minimize downsize impact on your organization More

Leadership Team Development

The HR department should carry the objective to professionally develop the leadership team with the same vigor as any other team member. This is especially true when the leadership team is made up largely of founding employees who may have been selected through prior association with the CEO not specifically for their experience in the role. For those founders to succeed in the long term, they need the same level of professional development as any other team member. A critical mistake a CEO makes is to avoid facing the notion that the business has grown beyond the capabilities and experiences of a founder -- they need to be managed into a different role more suitable to their experiences, or managed out (as hard as that might be). The theme remains the same -- under performers generally bring down the performance of the team overall. The HR function should take a leadership role in making sure this does not happen. Let's explore some of the areas the leadership team can often benefit from that HR should focus on More

Team Culture

Team culture -- the way in which the team comes together to define a performance personality -- is very much influenced by the approach taken to implement an HR function. The more cultural development is integrated into the day to day activities of HR -- including formal team events and celebrations, the more a positive culture develops that helps feed that feeling of excellence that should permeate the office environment. Well established companies like McDonalds, Microsoft, Google, GE, etc have cultural ambiance you can pick up on when you enter their facilities -- you want this for your Company. It greatly accelerates the ramp time of new employees, it separates your team from its competitors, it deepens the commitment to success all team members have. This section will explore some key areas of culture that are worth proactively developing and will also discuss a bit about how culture often develops on its own More

Interviewing

It's a skill very few hiring managers actually have, yet they are allowed to build their teams based on their best ability to select quality people without much oversight. The goal of interviewing is many fold but generally fall into a few categories -- does this person have the right skills for the job, will this person fit well into the team, is this the person I can build the next level of my organization around, can I afford this level of person, is this person telling me the truth about their experiences. It's not uncommon to thrash about changing interviewing processes regularly hunting for the one that might work best (and most efficiently). When you come down to it, typically too much time is spent interviewing candidates and that time is spent by people who really don't need to be involved in the process (including the CEO). Keep in mind if you select quality people, you positively impact your business, if you select duds, you're letting down the whole team and are making your business easier to compete with. This area will explore some classic goals for a quality interview, identify some key mistakes typically made and also leave behind some valuable industry references you can pursue to read much, much more on how to become great interviewers More

Metrics

At first glance, it might seem unnecessary to establish performance metrics for HR, but they can be as essential as any other to properly gauge the effectiveness of the programs that are in place. As results change, so should the processes around them. A simple metric to track is staff turnover -- often a ratio of the number of people who leave over the number of people on the team at the end of each measuring period (perhaps by calendar quarter). Unfortunately, this metric naturally shrinks as the team grows, so analyze it in more absolute or relative changing terms to decide if hiring and professional development practices need to be reviewed. Let's look at this and other metrics to see how excellence in HR hits directly on excellence overall More

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