A New Normal (?) for the Employee Performance Review

Facebook has announced, via an internal memo, that Mark Zuckerberg sent to employees earlier this week, they would be paying a $1,000 bonus to every employee to help during the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, Zuckerberg also said the company will pay contractors in full even if they are unable to do their work from home.

In addition, the company said it would give all employees an “exceeds” rating for their first six-month review of 2020. At Facebook, as at other companies, these ratings tie directly to bonuses and, according to reports, could result in all full-time employees earning significant bonuses.

Kudos to Facebook; of course they have the money so can afford to do this. But it’s still affirming to see employers (of all sizes) that are doing what they can from a financial support perspective at this unprecedented time.  

To me however the most interesting aspect of this is the use of the performance review to “get cash in hand” to employees. While getting managers to do 9-Box grids and “performance feedback sessions” is the absolute last thing HR professionals are focusing on right-this-moment, it DOES raise questions for when we come out the other end of this.

Among other things, this maneuver brought to mind:

  • When the performance review is directly tied to compensation (and, apparently the only mechanism for determining bonus level) we now have a company outright acknowledging that ratings can be ‘manipulated’ to give an employee a desired raise or bonus.
  • In HR we have worked diligently over the years to fight manager bias (calibration meetings!). We’ve created convoluted programs and valiantly messaged to employees that everything is “fair.” Now, however, they can say “see! It IS easy to adjust the rating to give me a raise!” (or withhold one….)
  • Will 2020 be the year when no employee – at any company – around the world – has an official/documented performance review?  Who is going to have time for that crap? Companies are in survival mode right now and will be for the remainder of the year.
  • Will the evaluation of job performance shift towards the best-it-could-be out of necessity? Right now we have managers providing continuous, immediate, face-to-face (or camera to camera) feedback. No need for forms, checklists and laborious processes.
  • What creative finagling will HR professionals have to go through to adjust their 2020 performance review process one we hit the end of the year?   

The business exercise of annual (or quarterly or semi-annual) performance reviews is not, nor should it be, what we’re thinking about right now. But we will.

Maybe this really will be the death of the performance review.

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Tips for Your Virtual Happy Hour #workfromhome

We’ve been doing virtual team Happy Hours at Peridus Group since WELL before virtual team Happy Hours became the new normal. Now, with numerous people working from home for the first time, they’re finding ways to socially interact from a safe distance. Replicating the joie de vivre that results when a co-worker says “let’s pop down to the pub after work” is an easy way to maintain one’s sanity and promote a sense of normalcy. 

In the interest of helping our fellow humans, here are a few of our top tips guaranteed to make your HH rock: 

  • Unless you’re doing your home-office/remote-workin’ from your kitchen (and thus with ready access to the refrigerator), make sure to bring the entire bottle of wine (or liquor and mixers) to your home office. That way, when it’s time to pour a fresh one, you don’t even have to step away from the festivities!
  • Put someone in charge of music; assign a walk-in tune to each team member and play it when they enter the chat room. My preferred walk on tune is “SexyBack” by JT.

  • A fun game to play is “let me show you my neighborhood/backyard/favorite restaurant down the street.” Give someone screen sharing capabilities, pull up Google Maps, and take a virtual tour of BFE!

  • Props and costumes add a certain pizzazz to any Happy Hour. We have one team member who occasionally dons a tiara and another that we like to make put on her super-hero cape. Lots of LOLZ!
  • Give new hires a thrill when they realize the invite to “drink alcohol on the clock” comes from the HR lady! (actual quote” “wow! I never worked anywhere where HR planned and coordinated the Happy Hour!”) 
  • Play a game together – live! For our virtual holiday party this past December (eons ago…), I created a holiday trivia quiz (somewhat NSFW) using Kahoot. Everyone downloaded the app and we played together (20 seconds per question!) with the ability to watch the leaderboard while sipping our adult beverage of choice.

Raising my glass to everyone – stay safe, wash your hands and CHEERS!

Photo by Yutacar on Unsplash

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Carnival of HR – Happy 13th Anniversary Edition!

Thirteen years ago today (2/21/2007) the first Carnival of HR blog post was published. A blogging carnival (which in the pre-Instagram stories and TikTok days was quite the thing!) is a social media ‘gathering’ when a blog owner hosts and invites other bloggers to participate and contribute posts around a common theme – i.e., in this case, human resources. 

The Carnival of HR was started in those nascent days by Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady), who then handed over the reins to Alison Green (@AskAManager) in 2008. Beginning in 2009, Shauna Griffis (@HR_Minion) took over coordinating the bi-weekly Carnival which she did until 2016 when she passed on the Ringleader duties to me. 

Sometimes, as I sit here in 2020, I wonder if blogging is gasping for the last bit of oxygen. Even as the voracious demand for ‘content’ continues, is old-school blogging still relevant? Are people reading online content or is it all about videos and Facebook Live and podcasts? Then I see Feedspot’s Top 100 HR Blogs, Websites and Influencers in 2020 (published 2 days ago) and realize there’s still a massive audience for well-written HR related content. (I’m also pleased to report that Carnival Ringleaders past-and-present – Suzanne, Allison and myself – are all on the list). 

In 2017, to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of the carnival, I wrote The Unofficial (and totally non-scientific) History of HR Blogging to document, as best we could, the evolution of HR blogging. When preparing for this 2020 anniversary I got to thinking about how the story telling and writing of people in our HR/Recruiting community broke ground, provided inspiration and busted through barriers.  

Therefore, before we launch into the submissions from our community bloggers, I’m indulging myself by sharing posts that, in my estimation, were important milestones:  

  • Everything from her first super-secret BlogSpot site/Punk Rock HR/The Cynical Girl (may they all RIP) – Laurie Ruettimann (since 2004).  Laurie paved the way for so many HR professionals by letting them know it’s OK to have a voice, speak their mind and move towards a future where not only can HR be better…but so can work. 
  • No Need to Show Up in the Office – Just Perform – Kris Dunn (12/10/2006). One of the OGs, this was Kris’ first post at the HR Capitalist before he even thought about launching Fistful of Talent; both remain 2 of the top blogs centered on talent management and HR.
  • My Learning from #truLondon – Bill Boorman (11/22/2009). Bill used to write a lot and I miss his musings on various sites. This post, in particular, highlights how gathering a community together can have a far-reaching impact. (He recently shared this post on the 10 year anniversary of #truLondon).  
  • Domestic Abuse. He Abused Me Emotionally & Physically – Jessica Miller-Merrell (4/11/2012) – I remember when Jessica shared this very personal story and how it opened conversations about some very important issues. It was quite a shock at the time for a “professional” blog to delve into such personal matters….but important.
  • The Rules About Hugging at Work – Tim Sackett (5/20/2013). Tim, of course, is the most prolific writer in the HR space and never disappoints. This blog post is HR Famous (see what I did there?) with millions (millions!) of views over the years.
  • #BlackBlogsMatter Challenge – Day 1 – Blogging While Black – Sarah Morgan (2/0/2017). When Sarah kicked off the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge 3 years ago she launched a safe space for meaningful dialogue with all who participated, with conversations that were simultaneously painful, empowering, raw and celebratory. We need this.

BONUS SHOUT OUT

NOW ONWARD! 

For the 2020 anniversary celebration I asked the Carnival of HR Community to submit a post from the past 13 years; not just from within the last few weeks.  So let’s travel through time – shall we? – and read a LOT of stuff that is STILL highly pertinent! 

2020

Why Language Representation Matters in Employee-Employer Relationships – Sabrina Baker |Acacia HR Solutions 

10 Tricky Questions About Ethics and Leadership Answered – Linda Fisher Thornton | Leading in Context 

Fire Away, Stuart: Online vs. Off the Hook (Workplace Consequences of Social Media Activity) – Stuart Rudner | Rudner Law (*** video!**) 

2019

One Sunny Morning – Mark Stelzner | Voice of HR 

Schitt$ Creek = Love and Acceptance – Anthony Paradiso

A Weird Thing That I Love – Wendy Dailey  

Makin’ It – John Baldino | Humareso 

The Most Inclusive HR Influencer List – Micole Garatti 

25 New Ideas to Celebrate Employee Appreciation Week – Achievers

Five Essential Facilitation Tips to Elevate Your Gatherings – Rachel Ben Hamou | PeopleStorming 

2018 

Did HR Blogging “Jump the Shark?” – Mark Fogel 

The Way We Win Matters – Mary Faulkner 

Treating the Multiple Personality Disorder of HR Professionals! – Kurian Prasad 

2017

All I Really Need to Know I Learned from my Visit to the Seniors’ Residence – Melanie Peacock 

You’re Never Too Big to Care About People – Mary Faulkner 

2016

Choosing the Team Size in Scrum – Mark Levison | Agile Pain Relief Consulting

Kids These Days – Lance Haun

2015

Pretty Little Liars: What Transparency Really Means To SHRM. – Robin Schooling |Recruiting Daily (*** personal note: this post, as one might guess, had my phone ringing with calls from SHRM HQ on Duke Street ***)

2014

4 Companies That Rock at Content Marketing and University Recruiting – Melissa Suzuno

Make it Like It Was – John Baldino | Humareso

2013

Unemployed – from Europe to the Arab world, a personal story – Sandrine Bardot 

2012 

Developing Globally Responsible Leaders – Linda Fisher Thornton | Leading in Context 

2011

Finding, and Keeping, Good IT People – John Hunter

2010

Being Honest – Christine Assaf 

Benchmarking in the Trenches – Robin Schooling (*** 10 years later  and I still stand by every sentiment in this post ***)

****

Are you an HR blogger? Interested in participating in the Carnival of HR? Hit me up at robin.schooling@gmail.com.

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The Brave New World of ‘Open Hiring’

Greyston Bakery was founded 38 years ago in Yonkers, NY and per Mike Brady, CEO, the company “was founded on the idea that a profitable business could be the backbone of ethical practice.” 

Greyston Bakery pioneered the practice of Open Hiring ™ with a very simple premise: anyone who wants a job at Greyston’s can get one. People who are interested in working for the bakery sign up on a list and, when there’s an opening, they’re contacted in the order in which they’ve placed their name on the list. There are no interviews, background checks or drug tests. The company’s hiring philosophy is that if an individual is given a job they will do it and both skills and compensation will grow as they continue to work. 

Turnover in similar industries ranges from 30% – 70% while Greyston Bakery reports a turnover rate of just 12%. 

I call that success.

The company has now launched the Greyston Center for Open Hiring providing immersive learning experiences so that other companies can begin to think about their hiring and talent management practices in a new and inclusive way. And some companies are doing so.

After the entire U.S. HR team of the Body Shop visited Greyston’s manufacturing plant last summer they began to move quickly to implement an Open Hiring model. They launched Open Hiring for their seasonal hiring needs (200 seasonal hires) at a Distribution Center and saw dramatic results

“Monthly turnover in the distribution center dropped by 60%. In 2018, the Body Shop’s distribution center saw turnover rates of 38% in November and 43% in December. In 2019, after they began using open hiring, that decreased to 14% in November and 16% in December. The company only had to work with one temp agency instead of three.”

Impact to the business (ka-ching!) but also a profound impact on people’s lives; job seekers who were being left out of the hiring process with other organizations were now securing and maintaining employment.

I like it a lot. The whole thing.

Yet…there are many who don’t.

The topic was being discussed in an HR-themed Facebook Group the other day and there were minds being blown left-and-right. To paraphrase the gist of some of the comments:

  • “hiring without interviews? How can this possibly work?” <because, apparently, interviews have proven to be somarvelously effective>
  • “I would NEVER hire *certain* felons”
  • “no references? Getting references is critical!” <because talking to Joe’s pastor really gives you a lot of insight into how he’ll perform as an employee>
  • “I don’t want someone in a retail store touching me if they haven’t had a background check” (OK Karen) 
  • “negligent hiring!!” <what HR pros like to say when they have no other substantive argument>

What this online discussion demonstrated to me, sadly, was the utter inability of numerous HR professionals to move towards innovation. “Why can’t we find people?” they ask. “How come our turnover is so high? Maybe I should I do some more employee appreciation events” they ponder.

Rather, the tendency is to move into self-preservation mode. Preserve the interviews. Protect the 10-step selection decision process. Defend the decades-long ways of doing things.  

Very rarely though, even when supplied with data, do they seem willing to consider “maybe our process is shit and we should up-end it completely.”

That would be brave.

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OnBoarding The Newest Member of the Team

Eddy von Schooling

We’re dog people in the Schooling household. Oh sure, we’ve had cats over the years (RIP Liza, Cleo and Sasha) but as far as we’re concerned there’s nothing like the unconditional love that emanates from a canine companion. 

At one stage we had four dogs at once (found, rescued, inherited…so how could we say “no?”) but sadly in 2018 we lost Libby (sweet girl) and Marley (good boy) and thus down-sized to just two. For the last 15 months or so, Frank Lapidus and Mr. Crumples have had the run of the house. 

And then, as I knew was inevitable, we felt the tug. After a visit a few weeks ago to a Rescue, Rehome, Repeat of South Louisiana adoption event, Eddy von Schooling came to his forever home. Y’all – I totally forgot how exhausting a puppy can be! 

At 12 weeks old he didn’t bring a lot of experience with him which is a good thing/bad thing. In the negative column, of course, he needs to be potty-trained. On the plus side of the scorecard however he doesn’t have a whole lot of bad habits to ‘unlearn.’  

So we’re going through family member onboarding and it’s eerily similar to the employee onboarding experience; minus a paycheck of course. Little Eddy needs to quickly (and smoothly) adjust to both the performance and social aspects of his new job life so, as always, I’m focusing on the 4 C’s

Compliance – Eddy’s been learning the basic rules, policies and expectations of the Schooling organization. After completing his paperwork (shots, neutering visit, registration and micro-chipping) he was ready to become a productive member of the family. 

Clarification – We’re sort of sitting in this step now as Eddy gets clarity on both his role and his responsibilities. There’s regular feedback, both affirming and correcting: ranging from “who’s a good boy!!!?!” to “no!” At this stage his introductory period is going well but we shall see how he does when it’s time for the formal 30-day performance evaluation. Will he score a “1” or a “5?” “Needs Improvement” or “Kicking Ass?” 

Culture – Within moments of Eddy arriving on Day 1 we did the tour and explained how things work around here. We clarified our family values and, through examples and in-person demonstrations, clearly linked those values to expected behaviors. This included things such as “here’s when and where you eat” and “no; we do NOT drag the kitchen rug around the house.”

Connection – Obviously, in order for Eddy to succeed in his new gig he’s going to have to develop meaningful and productive relationships with the rest of the team. I’ve assigned Frank Lapidus as his mentor (he’s a whole lot more responsible than Mr. Crumples) and we spend lots of time together so the boys can all navigate the complexities of the social landscape. I think it’s working because there’s face-licking and group snuggles happening and I’m hopeful that one day the toy-sharing will improve. 

I have a good feeling about this. We made a smart and well-informed selection decision (hired well!) have a well-defined onboarding plan, are well-equipped for ongoing performance management and offer a stellar rewards (treats!) and recognition program. 

I just wonder when Eddy’s gonna hit me up for a compensation review……

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