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 ]

Use action learning projects to address current policy or strategy issues

What’s the secret for building enduring client relationships? How do you make these relationships the cornerstone of your company’s reputation in the eyes of employees and investors as well as clients? And how do you avoid being overtaken and marginalized by shifting competitive forces to consistently offer superior value to clients? My answer…consists of five precepts or pillars: Surround yourself with good people. Invest in … [ Read more ]

Educating IT Professionals in Business Strategy

A very successful technique for educating IT professionals in business strategy is to assign them to mentor senior corporate executives. In what turns out to be mutual mentoring, the business professionals learn what the company’s IT systems can do, how to evaluate and use different PC software, navigate the Internet, and how to better understand IT as they’re teaching the IT professionals how rational decision-making … [ Read more ]

Practice the “Law of Three” when assessing applicants

The third time is often the charm-especially when searching for the perfect job candidate. Brian Tracy, author of Hire and Keep the Best People: 21 Practical and Proven Techniques You Can Use Immediately, recommends practicing the “Law of Three” when assessing applicants. To apply this technique, Tracy suggests that you interview at least three candidates for any position, then interview the applicant you like most … [ Read more ]

Support your employees by allowing them to support each other

As Jerome Mattern, chairman of the compensation and benefits committee at the Society for Human Resource Management, explains, “A vacation donation policy is a kind way for employees to engage in social camaraderie.” Such a program allows workers to donate vacation hours to a common “bank,” from which employees who are unable to work due to personal illness or crisis may draw. Employees in need … [ Read more ]

How to prevent the loss of knowledge when people leave the company

How to prevent the loss of knowledge when people leave the company – “Knowledge bounties.” New hires fill a ‘job workbook’ with job descriptions and answers to major questions:
– What are the key components of your job?
– What does it involve, from a knowledge standpoint?
– What do you think you need to learn?

By asking these questions early on, … [ Read more ]

The Best Performance-Management Technique to Use with Senior Executives

Peter Drucker’s thirty-year-old concept of creating a “manager’s letter” probably remains the best performance-management technique to use with senior executives. Each executive writes an annual letter to her superior, spelling out the objectives of her own job and those of the superior’s job as she sees them. She then sets down the performance standards she believes are being applied to her. She lists the goals … [ Read more ]

Layoff Alternatives

Instead of making wholesale layoffs, more companies should try layoff alternatives, such as:

  • Pay cuts
  • Job sharing
  • Sabbaticals
  • Job furloughs

Seek employee input for thoughts on these altenatives and for suggestions for other alternatives.

The Crucible of Training

Recruits are not addressed as “Marines” for nearly three months; they must first pass through the crucible of training. Why is it we, in private enterprise, greet our new employees with “Welcome to the team,” without creating the conditions that make for a meaningful graduation from our own training? We should be saying, instead, “Welcome to the best training program in the industry. In a … [ Read more ]

Leverage Your Learning/Training Spending

Require anyone who spends time in a seminar, conference, or training class to come back and share what they have learned and how they will apply the knowledge. This not only reinforces the learning but also creates a ripple effect in a learning circle. Follow-up within a short time frame to see if the employee has put any of the ideas into practice.