Tag: employee performance

Could More Accurate Performance Reviews Have Prevented Maj. Hasan from Committing the Fort Hood Shootings?

Probably not.  But the reports may help Major Nidal Malik Hasan avoid the death penalty.  According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune (8/26/13) by Molly Hennessy-Fiske, the Army psychiatrist convicted of killing 13 and wounding 30, had recently received a “glowing” performance evaluation (full report) from his immediate supervisors.  They wrote that Hasan “has unlimited potential” and that “he will certainly develop into a superb Soldier, scholar and Army physician”.  And, they go on to state, “Hasan is a bright and thoughtful officer who has contributed a great deal”, and his “unique insights into the dimensions of Islam to include belief, culture and moral reasoning are of great potential interest and strategic importance to the U.S. Army.”  Hasan’s reviews could very well have been accurate.  Why?

Performance reviews are not intended to be psychological profiles but rather evaluations of job performance against agreed upon objectives.  And, within that context, Hasan may indeed have been a solid performer.  Supporting comments by his rater cite specific examples of his initiative in co-leading and co-chairing projects, and other remarks indicate that Hasan completed the requirement of the degree program “on time and with above-average scholastic performance”.  On the whole, while any review can be inflated in its appraisal, one has to give the benefit of doubt that the rater gave careful consideration and time to completing this one part of the U.S. Army’s performance management process.

Bear in mind that Annual Employee Evaluations are only one part of an effective performance management program, the others being:  1) Setting and Clarifying Expectations, 2) Giving and Receiving Feedback, and 3) Coaching.  Hasan may actually have been a soldier who “Meets Expectations”.  To the extent that the resulting documentation is accurate, his job performance records may help to persuade the jury of 13 officers that convicted him to spare his life.  For that to happen, only one juror has to agree.

The HR Experts for Small Business

The HR Experts for Small Business

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This Week’s HRI “Lightbulb”  – When the Boss is a Screamer

Employees tend to:

  • Quit their jobs at higher rates
  • Become less competent in performing tasks
  • Experience a decrease in working memory
  • Avoid resolving conflicts, allowing them to escalate
  • Bring less creativity to their jobs
  • Speed up their work on simple, familiar tasks

When you do get angry though, be sure to point out how the problem hurts other employees and/or the company rather than yourself.

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This Week’s HRI “Lightbulb”  – Sleeping on the Job

Maybe it only happens to a few of us at work; the 15 minute “beauty sleep” after lunch.  I suspect it happens to many more.  And, quite possibly even a longer nap may be even better.  Recent studies have found that a simple 26-minute nap can boost employee performance by as much as 34% and alertness by 54%.  See this list of well-known companies which have recognized the importance of a well-rested workforce.  We at HRInsights say, “Sleep Hard!  Work Hard!

HRInsights Weekly Lightbulb 11/4

This Week’s HRI “Lightbulb”  – Tattoos in the Workplace

I hear a bunch about tattoos in the workplace; are they appropriate?  If you think they aren’t, I can guarantee that you will not find the best people for those open positions.  I do not have a tattoo, thank you.  However, there is a new social code of conduct out there folks!  And, I think it is refreshing to focus on someone’s true capabilities, which we all know are more than skin deep.

HRInsights’ Weekly Lightbulb 10/21

This Week’s HRI “Lightbulb”  – Feedback

Ever ask for feedback?  It’s not human nature, but try it out with another employee who works for you or who you don’t know that well.  You may actually learn something important.  Go on!  Try it once every couple of weeks.  I don’t have the scads of research in front of me, but just asking for feedback also builds employee loyalty (in addition to them doing a more committed job).

Netflix Nixes its Vacay Policy: Read Between the Lines…

Earlier this week, I read a truly fascinating article about the corporate culture over at Netflix, specifically their unconventional vacation policy.  Being a hyper-successful company easily outstripping it’s competition, I was intrigued by the details.  Netflix has completely eliminated their vacation policy:

Salaried employees can take as much time off as they’d like, whenever they want to take it. Nobody – not employees themselves, not managers – tracks vacation days.

My first skim of the article had me disbelieving that any such policy (or lack thereof) could result in anything less than chaos and a routinely empty office – especially on the days surrounding every minor holiday and 4-day weekend.  My second, more thorough, read had me officially convinced of their reasoning.

Bringing Work to the BeachBased on my own professional experiences, I think the vacation policy Netflix follows, while exceptionally bold, is also relatively  sensible considering how individuals work in a modern world.  Managers at any and all levels should be most interested in work being accomplished efficiently, creatively and on-deadline and less interested in where specifically that work gets done.  As I sit here on my couch at 10:53 pm, I am acutely aware of working outside the confines of the office.  The freedom to work whenever and wherever gives an employee a higher level of responsibility and more opportunity to prove his or her dedication to and passion for the company.  Contrary to popular belief, it actually sets a higher standard for employee performance.  Working only nine-to-five is a practice that is becoming more obsolete and can (sometimes) indicate a disengaged employee.  Without overtime pay for salaried employees and with the advent of telecommuting, employers can proactively seek out individuals who can be held accountable for deliverables, regardless of time and place.

One of the primary principles I learned in college is that communication technology, from the telegraph to the iPhone, reconstructs time and space for society.  People easily connect across continents and the final barrier to communication really exists only in time zones (and this may be deconstructed as time travel becomes possible).  It’s imperative that employers adjust workplace norms to reflect this high-degree of flexibility.  As Netflix aptly points out,

We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine to five day policy, we don’t need a vacation policy.

I encourage you to re-evaluate your own policies to determine if they match with where your employees fit along the spectrum.  Not every company can adopt such a liberal policy, nor should they.  Each company and employee is unique for a reason.  But maybe it’s time to address your employees needs and provide them with the freedom to choose their own responsibility.  At the end of the day, you may find more engaged and productive employees, leading to more innovation and more growth within your organization.