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performance

Five Ways to Make Performance Reviews Bearable and Valuable

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Five Ways to Make Performance Reviews Bearable and Valuable

As we near the end of the year, forget the turkeys and trees. It's performance evaluation time. From startups to Fortune 500 companies, we all crave feedback. It's the rare (and unfortunate) professional who doesn't care how s/he performs. For the most part, we all want to know: "what can we do better?"

Yet, we dread this time of year. Evaluations take time, energy and always seem to sink to the bottom of the to do list until we get those threatening "now or never" emails from HR. So here are five ways to make it worth your while (and theirs!).

1) Start with a S/O matrix
For each employee you have to review, start with a simple strengths and opportunities matrix. Create a four block and with stream of consciousness writing, quickly bullet point that employee's strengths and opportunities with specific examples of each. And if you can't come up with a specific example, don't include the strength or opportunity!  This helps jumpstart start the process and ensures you're evaluating that employee on actual work rather than just past predjudice.

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HR and Talent Weekly Roundup: Jumpstart Your Culture

exaqueocorevaluesAnother year, a fresh perspective, a renewed chance to think about the role people play in your organization. If you're thinking about rebooting your culture in 2014, stop and pay attention to the pieces we've found this week to help jumpstart that process.

Remember, culture isn't just a list of values on a wall.  I heard from one company on this very snowy day with safety as a core value. Leadership never bothered to communicate to employees on whether offices were open or reminded them to be safe. Huh.

If you want a perspective on how to better your culture, let us know. We offer startup culture audits for clients ($1200.00) and full-scale culture analyses for high-growth companies.

Our first story this week? A video interview...

1) Medallia’s Amy Pressman On Onboarding To Create Corporate Culture from Tech Crunch

"We hire really smart people and really driven people but we want them to realize their full potential and deliver that in performance cand one of the things we want them to do is get comfortable learning all the time taking smart risks and being relaly willing to hold up a mirror when something doesn't go well and being able to say this is what I learned from it. We do a wee

2)  10 Things You'll Want To Remember In 2014 from OPEN Forum

"In the midst of the huge news stories that affected small business owners in 2013, OPEN Forum ran a number of articles that resonated with our readers, whether it was to their desire to be more productive or to be better employers. With all the think pieces and year in reviews rolling out as 2013 comes to a close, it's easy to forget some of the things we've read these last 12 months."

3) How to Engender a Performance Culture from CFO.com

"New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for people trying to drop a few pounds or organize their closets. With 2014 fast approaching, corporations, too, are thinking about what they might do differently in the year ahead.  The Katzenbach Center [found] a stunning 60 percent of survey respondents say culture is even more important to business success than a company’s strategy or operating model."

4)  How Startup Founders Set the Right Company Culture from AlleyWatch.com

"Great cultures don’t just happen. If it’s your startup, you have to make it happen, and it’s worth the effort to start on that first. I assure you that it’s easier to set it right at the start than it is to change it later. Key elements of building the right culture include a written and communicated business plan, defining and practicing company values and measuring your progress."

Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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You're Not As Good of A Manager As You Think

Ask any leader if they think they’re good at managing people. Most will respond “yes” or “I try to be” or “I think so.” No one ever flat-out says no. It could be we’re too afraid to admit what we don’t know. More likely it’s that we really never learned. Unlike the skills it takes to ship code, create a sales plan, or do a financial valuation, people management isn’t a specific, teachable skill. You can shadow a young developer and correct code errors in real-time. There’s often a clear right and wrong. Managing people – not so much.

Sure, if you’ve been working for a few years and managing people for a few more, you’ve learned some tricks along the way. But how do you know they’re the right ones? And how do you know you’re making an impact?

1. Start Talking to Your Employees

We’re so focused on launches, planning, and meeting deadlines, it’s sometimes easy to forget we’re working with human beings. No one takes a job at a startup or high-growth company for the hell of it. We all have some sort of personal growth goals. Make a conscious effort to ask your employees about theirs. Even if you don’t have a formal performance process, you’re still responsible for helping them grow and develop no matter how small or busy you are. Make an effort to do it.

2. Ask Your Team for Feedback

If you ask your team casually “how are things?” or “how am I doing?” you’ll get canned responses. Instead, ask them regularly what you can do better as a leader and encourage them as a team to work together to give you some specifics. Sure, you’re swamped, and small, growing companies don’t have time for coddling. But if your behaviors are getting in the way of getting work done, and you’re not making a conscious effort to develop your team, what happens when the company grows? You need talent you’ve developed whom you can trust to pass it on. You don’t grow a company through an “I’m in charge so I can behave how I want” mentality.

3. Set Performance Goals That Aren't Skills-Based

As you think about what you want to accomplish as a leader in the coming year, are all your goals performance-based? Probably...read more of the post over on Tech Cocktail.

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This post originally appeared on TechCocktail written by Susan LaMotte, the founder of exaqueo. A workforce consultancy, exaqueo helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

 

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Talent and HR News Roundup: Supporting Your Employees Edition

Last week we talked about the oft-overlooked yet major necessity in startup and high-growth companies: employee feedback. This week, we're taking that a step further. Feedback is just the baseline requirement with your employees. You also owe them some support, coaching and development along the way.  That's not to say they shouldn't take ownership of their own careers and development. They should. But you need to show them how.  Supporting your employees is part of your job even if your company is three people. This week we've rounded up some advice for you as managers and some links to pass along to your team. Feedback is the beginning, follow-through, learning, growth and development is another.

For your team:

1) Four Ways to Advance Your Career at a Startup at The Daily Muse

"At a start-up, there’s always way more to do than people to get it done. So, think about the types of people your company would hire if the company was twice the size, choose an area that you’d like to learn about, and suggest a project to the founders. For example, if your company has talked about building out a sales team in the future and you’d love to get exposure in that area, offer to test out the viability of sales as a customer acquisition strategy. As long as you’re still performing in your core role, your manager will probably be happy to have the extra help—and you’ll have the chance to build out a new skill set."

2) Why Your Boss Still Hasn't Promoted You at The Fast Track

"Do you take feedback well, or get huffy and pout or gripe about any criticism? You’ve got to develop thicker skin the higher you go on the career ladder, so an inability to accept feedback professionally could be sending the message you’re immature and not ready to play with the big kids."

For you:

3) Managing with Empathy at Medium

"As you might imagine, the work days at Obama for America (the president’s 2012 reëlection campaign) were long, with good reason. But it takes its toll on people over time. My colleague Lauren Peterson came up with the idea of guaranteeing folks two nights each week that, no matter what, they’d be out the door by 8 p.m. We quickly adopted this on my team and referred to it as “time to do human things”. A few people asked me if they could come in at noon instead. That let them pay bills, buy groceries or just get some much needed sleep. The “in by noon” option quickly became the more popular choice."

4) How to Write a Love Letter to Your Future Startup Employee at Tech Cocktail

"... explain how you will show employees how your startup values their talent, work ethic, and dedication. Consider the following questions for inspiration writing this section: What about the employee’s work ethic do you appreciate? Why do you value your talents? These questions will help you explain to your future employee why they will be an asset to the company and how you will reward them for their hard work and dedication."

 

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exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Talent and HR News Roundup: Supporting Your Employees Edition

Last week we talked about the oft-overlooked yet major necessity in startup and high-growth companies: employee feedback. This week, we're taking that a step further. Feedback is just the baseline requirement with your employees. You also owe them some support, coaching and development along the way.  That's not to say they shouldn't take ownership of their own careers and development. They should. But you need to show them how.  Supporting your employees is part of your job even if your company is three people. This week we've rounded up some advice for you as managers and some links to pass along to your team. Feedback is the beginning, follow-through, learning, growth and development is another.

For your team:

1) Four Ways to Advance Your Career at a Startup at The Daily Muse

"At a start-up, there’s always way more to do than people to get it done. So, think about the types of people your company would hire if the company was twice the size, choose an area that you’d like to learn about, and suggest a project to the founders. For example, if your company has talked about building out a sales team in the future and you’d love to get exposure in that area, offer to test out the viability of sales as a customer acquisition strategy. As long as you’re still performing in your core role, your manager will probably be happy to have the extra help—and you’ll have the chance to build out a new skill set."

2) Why Your Boss Still Hasn't Promoted You at The Fast Track

"Do you take feedback well, or get huffy and pout or gripe about any criticism? You’ve got to develop thicker skin the higher you go on the career ladder, so an inability to accept feedback professionally could be sending the message you’re immature and not ready to play with the big kids."

For you:

3) Managing with Empathy at Medium

"As you might imagine, the work days at Obama for America (the president’s 2012 reëlection campaign) were long, with good reason. But it takes its toll on people over time. My colleague Lauren Peterson came up with the idea of guaranteeing folks two nights each week that, no matter what, they’d be out the door by 8 p.m. We quickly adopted this on my team and referred to it as “time to do human things”. A few people asked me if they could come in at noon instead. That let them pay bills, buy groceries or just get some much needed sleep. The “in by noon” option quickly became the more popular choice."

4) How to Write a Love Letter to Your Future Startup Employee at Tech Cocktail

"... explain how you will show employees how your startup values their talent, work ethic, and dedication. Consider the following questions for inspiration writing this section: What about the employee’s work ethic do you appreciate? Why do you value your talents? These questions will help you explain to your future employee why they will be an asset to the company and how you will reward them for their hard work and dedication."

 

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exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Talent and HR News Roundup: Supporting Your Employees Edition

Last week we talked about the oft-overlooked yet major necessity in startup and high-growth companies: employee feedback. This week, we're taking that a step further. Feedback is just the baseline requirement with your employees. You also owe them some support, coaching and development along the way.  That's not to say they shouldn't take ownership of their own careers and development. They should. But you need to show them how.  Supporting your employees is part of your job even if your company is three people. This week we've rounded up some advice for you as managers and some links to pass along to your team. Feedback is the beginning, follow-through, learning, growth and development is another.

For your team:

1) Four Ways to Advance Your Career at a Startup at The Daily Muse

"At a start-up, there’s always way more to do than people to get it done. So, think about the types of people your company would hire if the company was twice the size, choose an area that you’d like to learn about, and suggest a project to the founders. For example, if your company has talked about building out a sales team in the future and you’d love to get exposure in that area, offer to test out the viability of sales as a customer acquisition strategy. As long as you’re still performing in your core role, your manager will probably be happy to have the extra help—and you’ll have the chance to build out a new skill set."

2) Why Your Boss Still Hasn't Promoted You at The Fast Track

"Do you take feedback well, or get huffy and pout or gripe about any criticism? You’ve got to develop thicker skin the higher you go on the career ladder, so an inability to accept feedback professionally could be sending the message you’re immature and not ready to play with the big kids."

For you:

3) Managing with Empathy at Medium

"As you might imagine, the work days at Obama for America (the president’s 2012 reëlection campaign) were long, with good reason. But it takes its toll on people over time. My colleague Lauren Peterson came up with the idea of guaranteeing folks two nights each week that, no matter what, they’d be out the door by 8 p.m. We quickly adopted this on my team and referred to it as “time to do human things”. A few people asked me if they could come in at noon instead. That let them pay bills, buy groceries or just get some much needed sleep. The “in by noon” option quickly became the more popular choice."

4) How to Write a Love Letter to Your Future Startup Employee at Tech Cocktail

"... explain how you will show employees how your startup values their talent, work ethic, and dedication. Consider the following questions for inspiration writing this section: What about the employee’s work ethic do you appreciate? Why do you value your talents? These questions will help you explain to your future employee why they will be an asset to the company and how you will reward them for their hard work and dedication."

 

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exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Performance That Matters

I'm back on HRExaminer this week. It's education, performance, frogs, Long John Silver's and taking a long-lens look all in one post. Jackpot, right? In all seriousness, the best thinking often comes well outside my area of expertise. In this case, it's a special education, middle school science teacher that really got me thinking. Hop on over to HRExaminer to get the story.

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