Commuication Summaries on Friday

Send out a Friday email with “good news” from the week, highlighting the achievements of each of your team members. If he/she is willing, go even further and have the CEO speak to the team every Friday on hot topics, concerns, achievements.

Encouraging Mentoring

At McKinsey mentoring is regarded as a vital part of the development culture but is still not as common as it should be. To encourage it, several McKinsey offices now ask all associates at regular intervals which partners they view as mentors. Although a small number of partners were named by as many as a dozen associates, most partners were surprised to find that fewer … [ Read more ]

Safeguarding Knowledge

Retirement represents the loss of a worker with the skills needed to perform a specific job. It may also represent the loss of crucial knowledge whose value to the organization extends far beyond the worker’s individual position.

Freightliner, a large truck manufacturer based in Portland, Oregon, has anticipated this dual risk. It set about assessing the extent and severity of the risk, focusing on employees who … [ Read more ]

Common Tactics to Increase Overall Workforce Performance

  • Providing clear minimum targets and acceptable levels of performance.
  • Defining top performer profiles including extraordinary results and behaviors.
  • Removing obstacles and constraints to performance (such as poor systems or processes).
  • Improving the visibility of individual performance and results (such as employee dashboards).
  • Creating transparency of performance relative to peers (such as league tables).
  • Using top performers to coach and spread leading practices.
  • Aligning talent management levers to motivate and develop performance.


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Optimizing Deployment of HR Assets

Separate jobs into three or four buckets based on their impact (low, moderate or high) on a handful of high-level corporate objectives such as revenue growth. Combine this with rating employees — A player, B player or C player, for example — based on their job performance. This dual-rating system can provide valuable insights into human capital deployment and compensation. For example, it can help … [ Read more ]

Having Teams Make Hiring Decisions

Rather than the typical scenario, in which a supervisor decides whom to hire, the employees who will be the new worker’s peers make the choice. Hiring managers tend to select applicants who think like them, but that often fails to create the best group chemistry. “The hiring teams do a much better job of picking people and you’ve got people surrounding that new person who … [ Read more ]

Make it Harder to Apply

If you look at most applications on Monster.com or Craigslist, the instructions are very simple: “Send a cover letter and resume to (email address).”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. However, an issue that can come up in a tough job market is that you’ll have a tough time separating the wheat from the chafe.

Let’s say 500 people apply for the position you posted. … [ Read more ]

Using New Employees to Learn About Your Organization

In order to take full advantage of the latent practical knowledge of staff and conduct a revision of company processes, after 3 weeks every new employee is encouraged to single out all the idiosyncrasies that the company has as well as question practices and procedures. Using the simple questions below (or more sector specific questions), management encourages communication and discovers new ways of looking at … [ Read more ]

Making Onboarding Work

When bringing a new employee onto your team, the experience of current employees can be extremely valuable, particularly those who themselves were recently the new kid on the block. Ask your current employees what they wish they had known sooner. Brainstorm a list of buzzwords and acronyms. And ask current employees what their plans are to help the newcomer get on board and up to … [ Read more ]

Focus On The…Negative

When you start a business, it’s difficult to know what to look for in a good hire. “I learned the hard way that the last thing you want to do is hire people who aren’t 100 percent sure that they want to work for you or 100 percent clear on what they’re getting themselves into,” says Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist. To make sure potential … [ Read more ]

Everyone sucks at interviewing so don’t interview

I don’t claim to be good at hiring, but I do have a particular style that I learned from some advisors. I never actually interview people. Ever.

I think of hiring as mutual courting. The only way to court in a work setting is to spend time working together. Whenever I’m thinking of hiring someone, whether entry-level or senior, we do a project … [ Read more ]

Make Your Employees’ Dreams Come True

One easy, fun and impactful system you can put in place is called the “101 Dream Goals.” Give each employee thirty minutes and have them write as many things they can think of that:

* They’d like to buy
* They’d like to do
* They want to learn
* They want to try for the first time
* Personal goals they want to … [ Read more ]

Let the Employees do the Rewarding

In a hierarchy, the lion’s share of recognition and recompense goes to those who hold the biggest titles. The real heroes are left unsung.

Linden Lab’s Remedy: The community—not some select group of corporate overlords—does the rewarding. …It does this through a software tool, called the Rewarder.

Each quarter, every associate is given an equal share of a portion of Linden’s net proft—recently, about one thousand … [ Read more ]

The Love Machine

Philip Rosedale, Linden Lab’s charismatic founder and chairman, took one long night to build a simple but potent tool for community building. He calls it the “Love Machine.” It’s a Web page that lets any of Linden’s roughly three hundred associates zap a quick-hit message of appreciation to a colleague.

Say a coder beats a do-or-die deadline for patching a troublesome bug that’s infected Second Life’s … [ Read more ]

Replace Annual Performance Reviews with Monthly Ones

Henry Chidgey, who once ran several railroad and diamond companies, advocates monthly performance reviews. These reviews need not and should not be complex; they work best when kept extremely simple. Maximum accountability is the main goal.

Here’s how the process works. The day before meeting, your coworker brings you a list of five or six key objectives, detailing her progress on each. During the … [ Read more ]

Pay Employees to Quit

During the first month of training, Zappos offers new employees $2,000 to quit, plus their time worked. It sounds expensive, but in the long term, it’s not. We want people to be here because they are passionate about customer service and because they like our culture. We don’t want people who are just here for a paycheck. Those people generally end up leaving six or … [ Read more ]

Tracking Employee Skills with a “Passport”

Have employees start their careers by completing a “passport” profile that accompanies them as they move between projects and assignments. As each project is finished, a manager signs off on what the employee accomplished and what skills were updated or acquired. Job responsibilities are defined and competencies clearly indicated for each role, making it much easier to determine specific training and education needs. Succession planning … [ Read more ]

Track What Employees Actually Do

We did a simple thing that in retrospect was brilliant: We wrote a program that asks every engineer what they did every week. It sends them e-mail on Monday, and concatenates the e-mails together in a document that everyone can read. And it then sends that out to everyone and shames those who did not answer by putting them on the top of the list. … [ Read more ]

Deploy a Redeployment Pool

Intel monitors changing skill requirements and institutes a redeployment program when it becomes necessary to downsize a business. Under this program, managers effectively lay off people, and the head count of the business unit is moved off the payroll. These excised people enter a redeployment pool under the auspices of human resources. Once in the pool, employees generally have four to six months, and can … [ Read more ]

Use Downsizing as a Last Resort: Some Alternatives

  • Rely on attrition to right size.
  • Use redeployment and make layoffs a last resort. Hewlett Packard used this strategy extensively throughout the 1980s as it faced intensified competition. Employees were given three months to find a job in HP and were helped to do so. If they could not find an equivalent level job, they were offered a lower level job. If they preferred

[ Read more ]