With only one week into the
New Year it’s likely that you are still being conscientious about portion
control and visiting the gym. Your desk
is clean and you have posted a 2009 calendar with timelines and goals. Have you
thought about goals for the way you manage employees?
In case Human Resources goals
have not made it on to the priority list I’ve facilitated the process by
creating them for you. These are not cutting edge, new wave, millennial or earth
shattering in any way. This list focuses on basic management that can have a
positive impact on employees, and business results, every day.
Stop Trying to Replicate Every Best Practice
Best practice is a funny
term. It makes the assumption that what works for Microsoft will produce the
same excellent results for Kraft Foods. If it’s not right for your organization
it will never be a best practice.
Employees are much more
effective when they know how their work contributes to common goals. The
employees of successful organizations understand the direction and targets.
When goals are clear and clearly communicated, initiatives and activities can
be easily evaluated. In a difficult economic climate goals are essential to
avoid decisions, cuts or changes that have a negative business impact. Do you
really want purchasing to find the cheapest item or the best price at a
specific quality level?
Keep Employees Informed
Whether it’s good news or bad
the truth will circulate better than rumors and can minimize disruption and
speculation. When cuts are required announce financial goals that can include
all kinds of steps but never announce, “This is the last layoff.” It’s probably
not. If a new initiative or product is launched make certain that details are
communicated well below top management.
Listen to Employees
Employees are a terrific, and
often underutilized, source of information. The people that carry out the tasks
frequently have ideas on better efficiency, cost savings and new methods.
Employees close to customers and vendors hear needs and wants and can come up
with product or process ideas. Sometimes employees just need to know they can express concerns.
Manage Employee Performance All Year Long
Employees want to know where
they stand. They should be told when they are doing a good job and corrected
when performance falls short or policies and procedures are violated.
Performance management is so spotty in most companies that consistent
implementation would be cutting edge. Yes an annual review discussion is
valuable, particularly in tough times; a culture of ongoing performance
feedback is even more valuable and more likely to have a significant impact on results.
Duh! We don’t try to make
poor decisions, but sometimes our judgment gets clouded by perceived obstacles.
In the HR world we can worry too much about violating employment laws. Early in
my career I remember being told, “Personnel is the department that says no; no
you can’t hire someone, no you can’t fire them and no you can’t say that.” I
received better advice more recently while working with a client on a
downsizing when an attorney said, “You can make any business decision for any
reason as long as it is not an illegal reason.” So fire the employee for poor
performance that can be documented, but don’t fire them because they are 55 or
they just announced they are pregnant.
Now that you’ve skipped
dessert what are your employee management resolutions?