Advertisements

Want More Productive Employees? Research Reveals that Managers Matter Most

Gallup has released compelling evidence that the most important factor for employee engagement and productivity can be summed up in one simple word: managers.

In fact, writes Sam Walker in The Wall Street Journal, after a decade of data from nearly 2 million employees, Gallup has proven that managers don’t just have a small influence on productivity; “they explained a full 70% of the variance. In other words, if it’s a superior team you’re after, hiring the right manager is nearly three-fourths of the battle.”

Good news, maybe, unless your organization has spent the last decade or so making it more difficult for managers to succeed–eliminating managers’ positions, making managers responsible for producing more work (instead of just leading people), cutting back on learning and/or promoting based on people’s expertise instead of their ability to lead team members.

There is so much you can do to address these issues; for example, read Justin Bariso’s piece on how Google identified core people-leading behaviors and then trained managers on how to develop those behaviors.

But I suggest you start by helping managers develop one core competency: the ability to communicate effectively with team members. In fact, out of the 10 attributes Google targets, seven are based on communication skills: is a good coach, empowers people, creates an inclusive team environment, listens and shares information, supports career development by discussing performance, has a clear/vision strategy for the team and collaborates across the company.

Despite the importance of communication, managers are often poorly prepared for their role as key communicator. They may not have the skills, the knowledge or the confidence to communicate effectively. And many managers think of communication as “something else I have to do” rather than an integral part of their job.

What should companies do to set managers up for success? Take these 5 steps:

1. Make sure you clearly articulate communication roles. Be specific about what and how leaders communicate–and what you expect managers to share. Ask your HR manager to include communication into managers’ job descriptions so the expectation is baked into their role.

Of all the skills managers need, effective communication is perhaps the hardest to improve. This is because communication isn’t a single skill. It’s actually a complex set of skills that build upon one another. Through my firm’s work with managers, we’ve identified these skills–25 in total–and organized them into a hierarchy of skill groups, starting with foundational skills and building to more advanced skills.

2. Hold managers accountable for engaging their team members by providing reinforcement in performance management and pay.  You know the problem: Unless communication is part of the formula to give managers raises or bonuses, it won’t be a priority. So make communicating essential to managers’ success.

3. Invest time in making sure managers understand content. Especially if the topic is complex, a 20-minute presentation is not enough to make managers comfortable. To design sessions that give managers the confidence they need to present, try the following:

  • When planning to brief managers, allocate at least 90 minutes for the meeting.
  • If possible, get everyone together face to face. If your office is too distracting, consider taking managers off site.
  • Of course you’ll present content, but presentations should be the shortest part of the meeting. Allow at least 50 percent of the time for questions and dialogue.

4. Create tools to help managers share information. You might consider:

  • A very short PowerPoint presentation. Managers won’t give a detailed presentation, but they will use a short (5-8 slides) PPT to share highlights at staff meetings and during one-on-one discussions.
  • A one-page guide that makes it easy for managers to have everything they need. This guide that contains all essential information: what is changing, when, why and how.
  • FAQs. Compile Frequently Asked Questions in a document that provides the questions employees are likely to ask, along with the answers managers need. The key is to include the toughest questions so managers are ready any time team members approach them with a question.

5. Develop a microsite or a social network group
It’s the perfect place to house resources and build skills. Make it social by including discussion threads, so colleagues can share challenges and solutions. Provide access to on-demand learning that can be accessed quickly when faced with a challenge.

Once you start providing managers with support, ask for feedback to determine which methods have the greatest impact.

By: Alison Davis

Source: Want More Productive Employees? Research Reveals that Managers Matter Most

Advertisements

Why Traditional Employee Feedback Just Won’t Work Anymore

Performance Review Trends: Reviews Are Changing - Why and How to Adapt

Performance reviews are starting to evolve. The time-honored tradition of annually evaluating your employees in terms of productivity, improvement and goal achievement remains a touchstone for millions of businesses, but the way they’re adopting and executing these evaluations is being reformed, thanks to new trends and technologies dictating the new standard.

So how are performance reviews changing, and what should you be doing about it?

Why You Should Care About Performance Review Trends

If your business doesn’t currently offer a standard performance review, or if you feel satisfied with the process you already have, you may wonder why you should care about these developments.

But consider this:

  • Performance reviews have a purpose. According to Emplo, the modern performance review “plays an integral role in the open line of communication between manager and employee, between feedback and silence. It is the chance to offer employees the acknowledgment that they’re looking for, to encourage them to strive for high levels of achievement, and to nip problems in the bud before they grow into thorny roses.”
  • Tech makes things easier and cheaper. Technology makes almost everything easier, faster and less expensive; so why would performance reviews be any different? Incorporating the latest tech can make the process go smoother and cost less time and money.
  • Employees expect modernity. If you don’t adopt the new standards for performance reviews, one of your competitors will. And because employees expect their employers to offer competitive performance reviews and benefits, you may appear inferior because of it.

Rejection of the Traditional Model

According to research by Kansas State University, Eastern Kentucky University and Texas A&M University, pretty much everyone hates to receive negative feedback in the traditional context. Earning a numerical rating in each of several categories at the end of a performance period tends to fill people with resentment and frustration.

On top of that, most supervisors hate filling out the same, tired, formulaic templates for all their employee reviews. They see it as a waste of time, and are eager for a new model that allows them to do the work faster, and in a way that actually appeals to employees.

Project Management Software

Project management software platforms, once relegated to managing and organizing tasks, are now evolving to incorporate more metrics and insights to assist with employee evaluation. For example, Taskworld explains its new feature like this: “Whenever a task is completed, the assigner will have an option to give feedback to its assignees. This ensures that the receiver understands the context of the feedback. It also encourages your team members to give frequent feedback to each other.”



In addition, project management software gives supervisors a transparent, automated tool to evaluate individual employee performance, answering questions like “how many tasks has this person completed?” and “how does this person interact with others?”

Millennial Demands and Oversight

Millennials are also having an effect on how performance reviews are done. As employees, millennials crave feedback more than any other generation. They want their work to be acknowledged, and want to hear how they’re doing, so they can learn, adjust appropriately and continue advancing. This makes them feel more engaged with their work, so if they aren’t able to get it at one company, they may leave for a different opportunity.

Of course, these days, millennials are starting to step into more supervisory and managerial positions. So rather than asking their bosses for more performance reviews, they’re taking their pro-feedback stances and are using them to develop more intricate, engaging reviews for their subordinates.

Real-Time Feedback

Modern technology also affords supervisors ample opportunities to give real-time feedback to their employees. Rather than waiting until the end of the year, or even the end of a project, a quick chat over instant messenger or a concise email thread may be enough to proactively recognize a problem area and suggest a course to correct it. This agile mode of feedback allows for faster changes and more satisfied, informed employees throughout each project.

Is your business ready to keep pace with all these changes? You don’t need to mimic the approach of a different company, but you should at least learn from the new standards and expectations that are starting to develop, and revise your strategy accordingly. Better performance reviews can lead to higher morale, higher efficiency and overall, a better company in which to work.

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar