CategoryEducation and Learning

Performance Reviews Made Simple

This has been a great week for me.

On Tuesday, I had the daunting privilege of speaking at a DisruptHR event. It is the first time I’ve stepped on a speaker’s stage in over a year. I was nervousAF — but I rocked it! Video to come.

On Wednesday, I had the awesome privilege of guest hosting SHRM’s #NextChat on Twitter. Each Wednesday at 3pm EST, this chat covers topics that are front of mind for HR professionals. The guest hosts are HR influencers sharing their advice and best practices along with other Twitter users.

I’ve been a participant in #NextChat for years! To be a guest host was a really cool experience.

This week’s topic was “A Positive Process for Performance Reviews”

On the heels of this, I thought it would be a great time to share some other posts I’ve written about performance:

If you are in a management position with people reporting to you, you will have to provide a performance review at some point. The longer you wait to start the habit, the more difficult the practice will be for you.

Coach your direct reports as close to daily as possible and keep records of all aspects of their performance — both the areas done well and the areas needing improvement. By doing this, it will be much easier to compile an accurate, comprehensive and meaningful review when the time comes.

And that “time” should come formally AT LEAST once per year of employment. Leaving people lingering for years with no specific idea of their standing simply isn’t cool.

Performance reviews are a necessary part of a productive and accountable work environment. Embrace it!

When Good Meetings Go Bad

Once upon a time, I was in an all-day meeting. It started at 8am sharp and was scheduled to go until at least 6pm. Presentation after presentation. Lots of talking and lots of slides. Not a lot of breaks.

Sometime after lunch, I started to lose focus. My mind started to wander. And so did my eyes.

My eyes landed on the phone of the co-worker seated next to me. He was texting. I didn’t want to be obvious in my bored nosiness so I couldn’t see what was said. But I know what came back as the response.

Ta-tas. Puppies. Jugs. Tiggle-bitties … BOOBS!!! Big ol’ boobs!!!!

My co-worker was sexting. In the middle of the meeting. And in my nosy boredom, I’d stumbled on his girlfriend’s booby pics.

It was like a car crash.

I tried to look away — but I couldn’t. I was freaking out — but couldn’t say a word. It was so awkward and uncomfortable — and hilarious!

As it gets more difficult for management to be unreachable for long periods, it becomes more common to see smart phones in our meeting rooms … Inevitably this leads to people emailing about other topics during meetings and texting answers to quick questions from staff. It also leads to loafing behavior like gaming, checking social media, online banking, personal errand and calendar prep, and even sexting.

Have I done these things? Yep. Every single one. More than once.

It is nearly impossible to keep a room full of adults fully focused for a meeting, especially when it lasts all day. I’m not sure it is realistic to expect people to hold it together for that long when we all have so many other things pulling at us in any given moment.

Most employers nowadays don’t care. Attendees at meetings are welcome to bring their smart phones and tablets to meetings so they can multi-task.

Others find it upsetting. Attendees at meetings need to be focused on discussing and resolving the agenda items. And they need to show respect and appreciation for the meeting organizer by being fully present and attentive.

If you fall into the latter group and want attendees to be more focused in your meetings, here are a few tips you can use:

  • Declare the meeting a device free zone.  Instruct attendees to leave their devices outside the meeting or designate a place for them to put their devices while the meeting is in session.
  • Take longer or more frequent breaks. Schedule breaks specifically for device checking. We often don’t give enough time for lunch, restroom and checking/returning messages. Make sure your break schedule allots for this.
  • Call out abusers. If someone is more into their device than the meeting, politely call them out. Emphasis on polite. Suggest they take a break and step out to handle their issues in a way that doesn’t leave hard feelings or tension.
  • Gamify disruptions. At the start of the meeting, ask attendees to place their phones on the table upside-down. Let them know that turning their phones over will result in penalties like having to wear a funny hat or glasses or gloves. Keep a count and give a cool prize at the end of the day for the least distracted attendee.

Love them or hate them or love to hate them, meetings are a necessary part of the world of work. Whatever we can do to make them more effective, bearable and fun is worthwhile effort.

But the next time you’re bored in a meeting, DO NOT attempt to read your co-worker’s texts. There’s no telling what you’ll see.


This Is What I Think About The SHRM Certification

I was on my unscheduled blogging sabbatical when the announcement about the HRCI and SHRM certification split was made, sending shockwaves thru the HR profession and social media.

In case you’ve been out of the loop, here’s some links I found really informative about the change.

– Check out the SHRM Certification website

– Ben Eubanks’s “SHRM to Stop Supporting the PHR, SPHR Certifications”

– Matt Stollak’s “New #SHRM Certification Raises More Questions Than It Answers”

– HR Cloud’s “8 SHRM Certification Questions Answered at SHRM14”

The gist is SHRM has decided to establish an additional HR professional certification of their own which will start in 2015. The HRCI Certification will continue separately. HR pros will be able to obtain both or either and attend HR events to get continuing education credits to maintain certified status for both through 2015. Beyond that is still up unknown.

Offline, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I feel about this change, especially since I just took the HRCI test for my SPHR earlier this year. After my SHRM14 Conference wrap-up post, the questions started again. So I’m weighing in.

Do You Really Think HR Needs TWO Certifications?

Sure. Why not? Other professions have more than one! If you don’t believe me, google “Accounting Certifications” or “Marketing Certifications.” HR is not alone in this. In fact, it is arguable that HR has had more than one certification for awhile now when you consider the specialty certifications in Payroll, Recruiting, etc.

Do You Think This Is Just A Ploy By SHRM To Get Money?

SHRM is a business. Businesses like to get money. So do I, for that matter. There’s nothing wrong with getting money! However, I doubt seriously that SHRM spent years developing an exam and all that goes into that as well as forever changed their long-standing connection with the HRCI just for money … But if they did, that’s not my business, I don’t care and I’m not the least bit upset, offended or alarmed.

What’s The Difference Between the SHRM Test and the HRCI Test?

From what I’ve read, the difference will be that the SHRM Test focuses on the ability to practically apply their knowledge of the Body of Competency & Knowledge (BoCK).  The hardest part of the HRCI testing was turning off my 15 years of practitioner brain to study the ideals and memorize the associated vocabulary. The book didn’t match what is done in real life in the majority of instances. Hopefully the SHRM exam will get closer to measuring HR reality. Since it hasn’t started yet, no one truly knows.

Are You Going to Take the SHRM Exam?

According to the SHRM Certification website, I won’t have to. Because I am already certified and in good standing, I only have to provide my HRCI documentation, sign the Code of Ethics and do a tutorial. And it won’t cost me a dime. Free is always in the budget so count me in!

For the record, even if I did have to take some kind of test or pay a fee, I would still do it. Maybe not right away, but eventually. Getting my SPHR has made a difference in my career opportunities. I am a card-carrying, t-shirt wearing, hashtag repping cheerleader for professional certification. When the job market is so competitive and candidacy can be cut short for the most minor things, it’s not wise to leave any room for doubt or question about your qualifications or commitment to your profession.

What Do You Think of the Certification Name?

SHRM named their certification SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP … Womp womp. I am admittedly underwhelmed by the name. Other than “Certified Imperially Awesome Kick-Ass Badass HR Professional”, I don’t have any better suggestions to offer. So unless they decide to change to the CIAKABHRP, I’m going to have to roll with it.


That’s all I got … Any other questions?

Your Development is NOT HR’s Problem

Recently, I was chatting with one of my HR friends about an issue she was having. She manages a small HR department of 4, including herself. Because the team is small, everyone on the team has to be a generalist of sorts. As the leader, she is often pulled into strategy meetings plus she does a lot of training and presenting as well. 2 of the team are fairly new HR practitioners and she often vents to me about feeling guilty that she isn’t able to spend more time with them, working on their learning and development.

We hadn’t talked about it in awhile. She’d stopped mentioning it so I thought the team had turned the corner. I was wrong! Things were worse than ever for her, as one of her team was not making the development strides expected or necessary …

She won’t do anything I suggest to help her development. She keeps saying how busy she is with her everyday duties. She says she doesn’t have time to do the extra things I’m suggesting. I don’t know what to do about it! Her work is fine; she’s not missing deadlines or anything. But I can’t rely on her to take on more; eventually, that’s going to limit her advancement and her earnings. She’s falling behind the rest of the group — and everyone can see it. It’s embarrassing to me. I don’t know what to do.


My advice? Let her fail.

I believe in the importance of development. Once a person is trained and operating optimally in the essential duties of their job, a good manager should be looking for ways to further develop that individual. The ability to cultivate the potential of others is what separates good managers from great ones. Development is what keeps people engaged and enthusiastic about the work and the organization. It is the win-win of the employer-employee relationship.

Yet, while I believe in creating enrichment opportunities, I believe just as firmly that management is not solely responsible for development. The initiative and ambition required for development are not something management can teach. Those are things the individual has to bring with them … Unfortunately, not everyone has those skills or desires. Some people just want to come to work, complete the tasks they’ve been trained for and go home. No more, no less. Some people simply cannot be developed because they are unwilling.

As managers, we have to accept that and adjust accordingly. Not everyone on our teams will want the sage wisdom we have to offer. Not everyone will take our advice on how to improve. Their development is not your problem. Let it go — and invest your time into the people and projects where your insight is welcomed.

This isn’t the same as an employee who isn’t following directives or who isn’t completing their work. Those kinds of issues should not be ignored. They must be addressed through the normal course of coaching and, if necessary, progressive discipline.

But if the person doesn’t want to learn more than the aspects of their current role, don’t push. If the needs of the role grows and changes but the person cannot change with it, eventually he/she will kick in and catch up — or they will have to move on, by their own choice or by yours.

Set the expectation and create the opportunities — but don’t take on the burden of someone else’s development. It’s not your problem.

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