Combining Human Soft Skills + Business Strategy to Increase Business Outcomes with David Meyerowitz

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Combining Human Soft Skills + Business Strategy to Increase Business Outcomes with David Meyerowitz

In this episode we discuss how to add the human touch and soft skills, combining with a well-thought out business strategy to influence positive business outcomes. 

David Meyerowitz is a strategy, business, and finance consultant, and the CEO of Select Strategy, who helps businesses realize greater capital and profit from implementing performance management practices. 

Transcript

Fletcher:

Today on the Hire Talent podcast, recruiting practices by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, we’ve got David Meyerowitz. He’s with Select Strategy, the CEO. And, they’ve got a great data driven performance management consultancy, as well as some great SaaS products, some tools to assist in that exercise.

Fletcher:

So yeah, really happy to have you on today, David. I’d love to hear more about your story. Tell me about your background. How did Select Strategy come about? Or how’d you get involved in this, in this passion?

David:

Great, thanks Fletcher. I’m excited to be participating in this. So, my background is in strategy, business and finance, and consulting with global business advisory firms. And, back in 2001, my wife and I decided to start our own consulting company by combining her organizational psychology background with my strategy business and finance background.

David:

And, we really wanted to bridge the gap between the human and soft skills side of a company, and the business or strategy side, by making sure that the organizational structure, processes and training supported the business strategy and vise versa. We find that too many time strategies are devised, but organizational and HR strategies implementation was missing. So, we wanted to kinda fill that gap.

David:

So, that’s the background, and why we decided to create the firm.

Fletcher:

Oh, nice. It’s really interesting. I didn’t know your wife was an IO psychologist. So, yeah.

David:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

That’s definitely looking to learn more about how you’re bridging the gap there today. So, you guys … So, you’ve been doing this for almost over 18 years now. When did the performance management tool come into play?

David:

So, back in about 2002, one of our clients in the aerospace industry was unhappy with their existing appraisal system. So, they wanted something better, that actually helped them improve employee performance, and was not just about checking off a box. So, they turned to us, and asked if we would develop one of these for them.

David:

And, that’s how it all started, around a real need to make a difference to employee development in a company.

Fletcher:

So, you were some performance management consulting, and having those conversations?

David:

Right.

Fletcher:

And then, at that point, they realized they didn’t have the structure to … A strong of a structure to help implement some of these suggestions?

David:

Exactly.

Fletcher:

Okay.

David:

So, that’s where we stepped in.

Fletcher:

Okay. Cool. So, I guess before we get into … ‘Cause I’m dying to jump into the part, understanding how the soft skills, and the hard data driven outcomes, all come together. And, because I’m, myself, a little bit of a novice when it comes to talking about performance management, I think it’s such an important piece of the post hiring, once you got the right person on board, high quality individual.

Fletcher:

And, performance management strategy, I think, many people are familiar with. So, what are kind of some of the statistics, and results around the implementation of those strategies are out there? What kind of research is there?

David:

Right. So, it’s kind of interesting if one takes a step back, and you think about how underutilized good performance review processes are. Some of the stats say that only about 8% of companies believe their performance review process are highly effective in driving value. It’s quite scary.

Fletcher:

There not a lot faith in whatever strategy they’re using.

David:

Right. Exactly. And then, 87% of recognition programs focus on tenure. [inaudible 00:04:35] employees are saying different. They’re saying, 69% of them said, they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.

David:

And, in some studies, it’s been found that, when they looked at about 530 work units, if people received strength, so strength feedback, it showed 12.5% greater productivity post the intervention, than teams with managers who received no feedback.

David:

So, the statistics are there that supports having good feedback, strong employee evaluation programs that are gonna help the business and drive the bottom like.

Fletcher:

So, if I hear you correctly, just 12 … I mean, any sort of structure feedback has proven to give at least a 12% improvement in production. Just that exercise of providing the feedback to the people in the team. That in itself sort of reinvigorates people. And, I mean, 10% of 20, 50, 100 thousand, 10000 person workforce is huge, huge impact.

Fletcher:

And, 69, almost 70% of employees are just asking for this to happen?

David:

Yeah. Exactly. If they feel underappreciated, then they’re not gonna work as hard. So, they’re saying, if they were appreciated, and performance evaluations are part of that process. It’s part of making sure that they fairly-

Fletcher:

Feedback, right?

David:

Yeah. Feedback. And, that the evaluations are fairly done, because there’s this concept of equity theory, where people believe … They have to believe that the process is fair. If people don’t believe the process is fair, then it’s kind of demoralizing.

Fletcher:

So, if they feel like their evaluation are being evaluated too subjectively, maybe the evaluation is too informal, that maybe could be a cause of this feeling, I would imagine.

David:

Yeah. Creating consistency across raters. And, consistency is the approach. And, that’s … Even where things are subjective, the people are trained as to what the scales, and how to give the feedback correct.

Fletcher:

Yeah. That’s what I’m really … I wanna get to hear more and more. So, let’s talk about it. So, how do you deal with the subject of nature of so many of the qualities that are being measured or evaluated, right?

Fletcher:

I mean, it’s easy to measure how widgets did you make? How much sales revenue you’ve created. And, I believe you gotta have KPI for those kinds of things, right? You gotta measure those.

Fletcher:

But, things like is a person a team player, and do they have an entrepreneurial spirit, or are they interested in learning. Those are much harder things to measure amongst many other things you could choose, right?

Fletcher:

So, how are you dealing with that?

David:

Okay. So, I think in general, you want a mix of those items. So, you do want some of those … I mean, perception is reality, often. And so, you wanna be able to measure accurately what managers see or feel as their performance of their employees. But then, at the same time, you also want the KPIs, that might be purely objective. And, the KPIs could just be about job family.

David:

So, for example, you might have a sales person, they have a specific dollar sales target as a KPI. Whereas a warehouse manager may have the number of on time deliveries to customers as a percentage of all the deliveries they make as a KPI.

David:

So, the question is whether there’s a measure that will help and employee to focus on a key objective that will make the business more money, or will save the business money. And, is that measure okay behind the long-term interest of the business.

David:

So, any other KPI portion of it, should be customized to meet the key challenges the businesses face. And so typically, follow the SMART principle, which is there should … We all think of that in terms of goals. But, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. And, also trackable. I’d add that extra T in there.

Fletcher:

Trackable, yeah.

David:

Because if you’re not tracking the metric, or it’s too difficult to track, then one should consider whether it’s worth having.

Fletcher:

So, when just speaking with the harder KPIs, the metrics, how many of those would you typically recommend per position? 10? Five? One?

David:

Yeah. So, I would say you can probably boil it down to a handful. It depends on the position. But, I would two to five, is more than what you need. Some many even have two or three.

David:

But, the key thing is a good performance on that KPI, is it core to that person’s job? And, is it going to make a significant impact on the business.

Fletcher:

So, how do you figure that out? How do you know if that KPI is a good one, in terms of is making an impact in the business? I mean-

David:

Right. So, I think this actually comes to a good design of the performance measure system, which is understanding what the business strategy is, and making sure those business objectives are tied back all the way to the employee performance at the KPI level.

David:

So, all those … Is the achievement of that KPI actually going to have the requires outcome on the business strategy?

Fletcher:

You find yourself, and kind of going off a little of a tangent. But, do you find yourself helping your clients with setting and creating their business strategy, or are you typically coming in after that strategy? And, that would like creating a mission, vision, core values, those kind of things, I imagine, as well as target audiences in industry.

David:

Right. So, we do a lot of business strategy work in helping companies device their strategies. But, we also come in, sometimes, after they’ve done it. It just depends on the client relationship.

David:

And then, understanding that strategy, and being able to deliver to it. And also, making some suggestions. We might see something. If we can suggest, maybe during the performance management piece that actually … The client looks and says, “Well, this actually is something worth thinking about how to fix a business strategy.

David:

And so, you can work both ways.

Fletcher:

So, after you’ve measured what you think is in alignment with your strategy, it’s good to revisit that and say, “Is it actually helping us achieve that strategy, or do I need to adjust my strategy, or do I need to adjust my KPI.”

David:

You’re right, ’cause I think having a dynamic open mind, and always looking for, always questioning and thinking, we optimize it, is part of being agile. And so, when companies … I think having that learning culture, which is always questioning, and looking for improvement and opportunities, like a continuous process improvement type of a culture, helps companies to succeed, especially in this competitive landscape we are in.

Fletcher:

Yeah. Things are moving so quickly with technology. That’s for sure.

David:

Right.

Fletcher:

You gotta out ahead of it.

Fletcher:

So, identifying a few harder metrics that are aligned with the overall business strategy, definitely gotta have those. Now, how do the softer skills, or the behavioral measurements, how do you fit those into this equation?

David:

So, the soft measurements we typically … There would be specific items that are rated on five or seven points scale. So, we would-

Fletcher:

Seven point scale? Why seven points?

David:

Well, actually we have three possibilities, typically. Five, seven or ten. It’s really a question of preference, and how much granularity you wanna have. Most people, their standard is five, because it gives enough of a differentiator, and it’s simple.

David:

So, we tend to start with that. And then, it’s a question of defining the items that are core to someone’s job. So, for example, if you take a person’s job description, and you look at what are the absolute core elements of their job, people could be rated in those items on a scale from poor to excellent, on that five point Likert scale.

David:

And, that would be a good start to getting a feel for if the person, how they’re doing their job. But then, the other elements. There might some general items that are job specific, but may apply to all the people in the business, across job families.

David:

And so, those things might be things that you want your whole workforce to exhibit. And, it might surround professionalism, or morale, or team work, working across departments. And so, you can create items that really tie into the culture, and what the ethos of the business overall. And so, that’s …

David:

So, I think looking at some of those core cultural aspects as well as items that are in the core job functional areas, is a good way to think about the soft skills, and a mix of those.

Fletcher:

So, I’d have more general soft skills or qualities that are being measured, that are maybe aligned with my core values of the business, the culture of the organization. So, that’s more universal. And then, some more specific ones that maybe … I guess this is where it gets difficult, where we think or believe that those are imperative to achieving, say, those harder KPIs.

Fletcher:

So, like in sales a sales person, maybe it’s emotional intelligence. I mean, that’s a super difficult concept to get around. Right?

David:

Right. Exactly.

Fletcher:

But, maybe the general labor, or the warehouse person, or the mechanic doesn’t need to have as much of that. So, theirs is more mechanical, maybe, amplitude, right? So, a different quality.

David:

Right. Exactly. So, that’s for example, in sales, you might say, the person is excellent at negotiations, it’s particular skill. And, exactly what you’re saying, you might rate that negotiation skill capability.

David:

But then, when you look at a metric, you might say, “Has the salesman achieved their target?” And, that could be the hard KPI. And in fact, they may support each. So, if the person has one item, they’re really good at negotiations, or closing deals, it’s probably gonna translate in the hard KPI as well, ’cause those numbers are probably also good.

Fletcher:

And so, the tricky part is measuring something like, say, negotiations, right? So, say that they are hitting the KPI, right?

David:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

But yet, I’ve seen this in cases where you’ve got organizations that have very successful products, and the salesman can’t fail to save their lives, but they’re also failing a lot of these softer qualities of these skill-sets that maybe they could achieve more, if they were there, maybe, right?

David:

Right, true.

Fletcher:

So, they’ve got like a negotiation, and they’re getting scored poorly on that. How does the rater know how to score that quality? I mean, I find that to be a pretty difficult, sometimes a challenging, thing. I mean, you might think negotiations means one thing, and I might think it means another.

David:

Right. So, I think that’s where the definitions are so important. So, very good descriptive, what that means, with tangible examples, so that the person knows what they’re rating is critical. And then, even explaining what the different points on that five point scale are. So, what does poor mean? What does a score of three actually indicate?

David:

So, that’s where, I think, the description and explanation of those measures is so important, exactly what you’re saying.

Fletcher:

Yeah. So, it’s really important to have a great definition and put a lot of thought into that. I like that you mentioned having examples. Do you pull like maybe real life examples of people actually on the team, or more hypothetical type examples maybe, or what?

David:

Yeah. So, I think it can be both, depending on what specific item it is. It might be just showing some of the specific types of skills or capability that person should, but being more explicit in describing it in a scenario, or-

Fletcher:

Should you point to somebody on the team? John’s really good at negotiations, and here’s why, as an example. As a further example of that definition. Or do you keep it more general?

David:

We cannot put specific people in, because then it can get a little tricky, when you make someone feel they’re getting into the comparative world. But, definitely using the type of … You could point to generic situations.

Fletcher:

Yeah. Generic one.

David:

Something that’s sanitized. Yeah.

Fletcher:

Okay. So, definitely keep it more generic, and neutral in that sense.

David:

Right.

Fletcher:

So, I was reading a study related to something in measurement and assessment, where they suggested, when you either have a Likert or any kind of scale, multi-unit type of scale, five to a hundred, that … Especially when in this human capacity, that you may wanna use it in the context of compared to others. How do you feel about that? So, you might say, scale one to five, compared to others, how does John compare?

David:

So, what we tend to do is, is a summary of the evaluation, we have a standard measure. So, in other words, we might have if you get a score of 90 to 100, it could be excellent performance. And, you’d have other bands of performance with prescriptions.

David:

So, that becomes almost a comparative measure against a standard yard stick. I know there was a time where forced rankings were very popular. And-

Fletcher:

It’s almost like a bell curve kind of thing, right?

David:

Right. Bell curve thing. Yeah. We aren’t big fans of it, because it does tend to create a competitive, but sometimes an adversely competitive environment internally, where people aren’t pulling together as a team, because they don’t wanna be in the bottom 20%.

Fletcher:

Yeah. Nobody wants to be the worst, right?

David:

Yeah. Right. And then, they get managed out of the business. So, we think that having, looking at it from the perspective of measurements against standards, rather than comparing it to specific other people in the organization, is a better way to go.

David:

And, we’re quite supportive of team building. And so, some of our KPIs that we use are even team based KPIs. So, people on the team get a KPI, based on how the team stands. And, that’s why you kind of encourage to pull together, rather than competing, or try to one up other people, and hold information from them, or stab them in back, that type of thing.

Fletcher:

Yeah. So, the whole team gets a rating. And, the individuals get a rating. That’ll help collaboration as well, ’cause they’re being help accountable to same standards as well, right?

David:

Right. Exactly. Yeah.

Fletcher:

Interesting. What about like rater bias? I mean, how do you deal with that?

David:

So, a couple of things. The first is what you were saying, which we were discussing just now, which was making sure that definitions are clear, so that you can try and eliminate that as much upfront as you can, by having good measure, good descriptions, and good education and training on how to appraise those.

David:

And, on the back-end, reporting. So, a good system is going to have a dynamic reporting engine, with the analytics that shows where you can analyze ratings across different raters, across departments, and you can look for those things that look to anomalies.

David:

So, for example-

Fletcher:

Like I say everybody in my team looks great, or is great, and gets a poor.

David:

Yeah. Exactly. So, some guy rates his people, “They’re the best.” And then, somebody else, similar jobs, and they all rated “terribly.” So, the question is, is that really true? Has one team got all the best performers, and the other doesn’t, or is somebody rating their people too easily, and somebody is rating them too harshly?

David:

And so, that’s were being able to pick those things, those patterns and trends through reporting and analysis is important.

Fletcher:

And so, a good reporting tool will sort of red flag maybe that failure?

David:

Exactly.

Fletcher:

It’ll pick up on that trend. Are you guys using more that of that human language processing? ‘Cause what about the sense of the score? How do you feel about that? Is it just a rating of a scale from one to five, and it’s very well defined what a three or a four is? And then, we stop there? Or do you feel like we need to justify and explain why I gave the person a four?

David:

So, I think that’s all … Like a good appraisal should have quantitative components, which are measuring some of the subjective elements we’re talking about, like team work, and KPIs, which are the hard measures. But then, it should also have the descriptive elements, which are being able to explain what those number mean, and they’ve been given.

David:

And, that also helps the person to improve. And, it gives color to the whole thing, because without that feedback, those number become sterile. So, I think it’s important to be able to back up what’s in the quantitative with qualitative descriptions of where people should improve, what their strengths are, and then where their opportunities for growth are.

Fletcher:

And, how do you get managers to provide meaningful qualitative feedback, in relation to this? I mean, I guess sometimes the challenge is sometimes they don’t provide enough, or they don’t put much time into it, right?

David:

Exactly. So, I think some of that is around the training, making sure that people are given the skills, ’cause most people, unfortunately, as we know are promoted based on functional expertise, but some actually on their managerial expertise.

David:

And so suddenly, they were good at a certain job, and they’re given a promotion, they have to manage people. So, being able to provide them with tool, whether it’s training, which we do for our clients.

David:

The other thing we do is we have a set of guidelines and ways for people to improve those skills. So, we have one on how set goals, jointly set goals, with employees, how do give feedback constructively, in a step by step approach that’s written from organizational psychology perspective, that helps people do those things they haven’t been typically trained to do.

Fletcher:

Oh, I see. Yeah. That really requires a lot of conscious effort on the appraiser, the rater, the supervisors. They have to take that piece seriously, I would imagine, in that training, I guess, right?

David:

Right.

Fletcher:

The lack of it could be the reason why they don’t do it better.

David:

Yeah. And, I think this also often starts at the top, which is the company or the organization needs to see performance management as really critical, or a core element of the fabric of the organization. And, if that message comes from the top, then people take it seriously. And, they feel as people are your biggest investment and assets. How can we help them improve?

Fletcher:

Yeah. That’s definitely important. So, the C-Suite has to walk this talk, and really help reinforce the priority level of this type of initiative.

David:

Right. Yeah. Absolutely.

Fletcher:

So, interesting. Okay. What about from an HR standpoint? How do HR people deal with maybe a C-Suite who thinks this important, but isn’t walking that talk or not reinforcing it the way they should?

David:

Right. So, I think part of it is through like the discussion we had earlier about metrics, and how better performing organizations that take performance management seriously, what impact this has on the business metrics, and productivity, and profitability, trying to help them to see that this isn’t just a question of making people feel good, but it’s actually a question of good business decisions and choices.

Fletcher:

So, maybe as an HR person or maybe a leader in the organization but not in the C-Suite, coming with a business case, showing the actual number of potential improvements, and gross effect, as well as the net effect, ’cause that could be dollars, or maybe in productivity, or in other things as well, right?

David:

Yeah, exactly.

Fletcher:

So, okay. Yeah. And, that makes a lot of sense. So, helping do that homework, prior to coming and saying, “This is something we need to do because it’s good for our organization.” But, coming with some evidence, some projections, and some metrics about why or how exactly it could be good for the organization.

David:

Right. Exactly. Because one of the measures often where organizations don’t take this stuff seriously is they often suffer from high labor turnover. And, that’s really expensive for the business.

David:

And, the fact that a good system is really going lower their turnover, ’cause people are gonna more satisfied, they have better career progression, and that type of thing. So-

Fletcher:

What kind metrics have you seen in the performance management world for companies that have proven to do a good job of implementing a performance management strategy, at least from a retention level. I mean, we talked a little bit about the overall impact. But, what kind of numbers have you seen there?

David:

So, one of the studies of the studies I’d seen was about 65000. They found that turnover rates were 14.9% lower than for employees who didn’t receive feedback. So, in other words, they received feedback, they were less likely to leave.

David:

And, the other one is around recognition programs. Having good, solid recognition programs where they’ve been effective in improving employee engagement, and therefore … And also, having about a 31% lower voluntary turnover.

Fletcher:

Oh, wow.

David:

So, there are some-

Fletcher:

I mean, 15% is a lot. 31% is like this huge potential.

David:

Right, yeah.

Fletcher:

What’s the different between a recognition program, and performance appraisal, performance management strategy? Yeah.

David:

Right. So, the recognition program, I think would go further, in that it’s not just about the feedback. It’s about potentially tying actual performance to rewards, whether it’s increases, or whether profit pull. Some of our clients have certain profit pulls or bonuses that depending on how the company has performed in a certain year. They may allocate-

Fletcher:

Yeah. Like a profit share program?

David:

Exactly. X% to the pull. And then, people get a share in that pool depending on how they’ve done in their evaluations, which are kind of tied back to all these things we’ve been talking about. So, having something that’s kind of well thought out, formalized, and that’s turn on consistent equitable basis.

Fletcher:

Do non monetary forms of recognition work as well, or?

David:

Sure. Yeah. So, absolutely. So, even kind of small things, right? Welcoming things like pizza lunches. Other companies have-

Fletcher:

Your team meets its goal, you guys get pizza lunch, right?

David:

Exactly. But, it’s all built to celebrate success. So, people feel good about themselves. And, the other thing that’s been proven is self monitors. In other words, people who monitor their own performance do better than people who don’t.

David:

So, being able to see your goal, that you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s dollar value, and how you’re doing against that goal, and monitoring that on your own, does wonders for people’s performance.

Fletcher:

Yeah. That’s an interesting one. I’m glad you brought that up. I had an experience in a life past life, in a large service company, and … No. Didn’t naturally measure the result. But, we started sharing the numbers with people. And, all of a sudden, it became really competitive, and the numbers started going up. And, the team as a whole started to outperform other teams across the country.

Fletcher:

And, that was a really amazing outcome. I wish I would’ve had a way to more tangibly measure that outcome. I guess said like, “Hey! When we implemented this process, this is where we were at,” and maybe how we compared to other teams, and maybe … I don’t know. Within three or five years later, where we ranked, right?

David:

Exactly. Yeah. That’s a great anecdote. It’s good to hear.

Fletcher:

Yeah. I know. That just reminded me of that experience. So, this is a really favorite question of mine, one that I have formulated opinion about it. I’ll hold it back. How often should you be doing this stuff?

David:

Right. So, we typically advice our clients to do manager to employee, in other words downward, reviews and self appraisals, which are also good, where an employee appraises themselves, once or maybe twice a year. But, that’s a dynamic goal management piece, which is making sure people are actually achieving their goals and supporting them. That should be more frequent. That should be potentially done quarterly.

Fletcher:

So, goal management being maybe some of those KPIs?

David:

It could be KPIs, or it could be any joint goals that you’ve come across, or you’ve devised with your employees. So, for example, there are two types of goals. There’s the learning goal, which is you’re talking about negotiation skills earlier. It could be a salesman wanting to improve their negotiation skills. It could be a learning goal. The performance goal could be a certain sales target.

David:

So, you might have both of those types of goals in the review process. But, you really wanna be touching base with employees, and saying, “How are doing with these goals? What the plan? Are you discovering obstacles to achieving them? Have you set that training for negotiation skills? When are you going?”

David:

So, that becomes really practical, because the problem with-

Fletcher:

Yeah. And, that’s the smart part, right? Learning goal is hard to measure. So, when are gonna take the class? Which class are you gonna take? Right?

David:

Exactly. And, what’s the time-frame? Because too often your review process, the formalized review, should get a goal, and then a year goes by, and the people sit down, and they say, “Did you achieve those goals we created last year?” And, the person says, “I actually got so busy, I just couldn’t get to it.”

David:

And so, it goes back on the review. And, that doesn’t help anyone. So, actually helping people to achieve their goals during the year is really important.

Fletcher:

And again, why that SMART goal structure is so important.

David:

Exactly.

Fletcher:

So, setting it up as a SMART goal to begin with, and touching in frequently on that then?

David:

Exactly. And then, other pieces, feedback should really be given regularly, even between those goal management meetings, to help employees develop, because performance management is as much about the process as it is about any system. The systems are there to help facilitate. But, you really … That where people learn, is with feedback.

David:

And so, you want that to become part of the culture too.

Fletcher:

Okay. Interesting. How long should it take to do performance feedback, formalized performance feedback? Like mostly what we’ve talking about, for each individual on the team? So, about 10 people, [inaudible 00:38:51], right?

David:

Right. So, I would say, when you’re doing the actual review itself, depending on what the position is, it can vary. It’s such a … More of a simple structure compared to someone with …

Fletcher:

Or maybe a better question, how many items? How many things should we be measuring? I guess that’s a better way to look at it.

David:

Yeah. You’re right.

Fletcher:

If you do 50, that would seem like maybe that’s just unreasonable, right?

David:

Exactly.

Fletcher:

So, what’s the right number? Or the kind of happy range, I guess.

David:

Happy range, yeah. So, I would say, we’re talking about general items, which kind of cross job families, and are specific to organizations, in a culture. I would say, maybe 10 items. 15 at the most. Core functions, core competencies, that type of thing, you’re probably looking at around 10, five to 10 key elements. And then, metrics, say two to three.

David:

And then, you’ve got you’re qualitative pieces, which are the part that gives it a bit of explanation and description. And then, the formalized goals.

David:

So, I want to day if you spend about … That’s the numbers. I would say, time-wise, you could do … If you kind of keeping good notes, and you’ve been … Because you’re thinking about your employees performance all the time, I mean, that’s part of the thing, you should be thinking about them and thinking about how to help them improve.

David:

This is really the actual … That part of the process is more kind of closure. So, I would say an hour. You can do a solid review with someone if you’re keeping notes through the system, which it allows you to do, and you’re on top of this way of thinking.

Fletcher:

And, that’s really an hour really well spent then.

David:

Well spent. Yeah.

Fletcher:

Because if shortcut it, then maybe you don’t get the same impact, or maybe you can have an adverse impact, right?

David:

Right.

Fletcher:

To the exercise.

David:

Yeah. And, in many ways, it’s so important to employees. So, you don’t wanna shortcut it, because this is their way of knowing, are they on the right track? And so, if a manager wants to have a responsibility, if you wanna be a good manager to think about your employees and really have their interest at heart, when you do this.

Fletcher:

Yeah. And, that’s definitely critical. And so, going back to the number of times that you do this, you said one to two times a year. I’ve heard as often as once a quarter. Is that too much? Or you’re suggesting that you’re using other forms of evaluation in between the formal evaluations to reinforce the effort, and to build that connection and feedback loop with the key member?

David:

Yeah. I’m thinking … I mean, what we found is if you make it too frequent it becomes a burden. And then, people almost go into automation mode. And so, I would say once a quarter is too much.

David:

But rather, have those informal types, and kind of goal management meetings, which can be formalized, but they a different, simpler structure. Often we try and have the employee drive those, because it’s their that they wanna achieve. And so, we pass the burden back to the employee, who are then asked to think about some questions, and meet with their manager.

David:

So-

Fletcher:

And, reach out and schedule that-

David:

Reach out and … Right. And so, we want people to take ownership over their career and their development. And, we find this to be more effective, both in helping people grow, but also not overburdening the managers with a lot of extra admin and paperwork.

Fletcher:

Yeah. So, that one to two times a year. And then, the more informal ones monthly and quarterly. Definitely you feel like it’s more of that happy medium where you get the best results overall.

David:

Right. Yeah.

Fletcher:

How about remembering to do it? I mean, a year is a long time.

David:

Right. So, the system that we have, that we’ve developed, actually has reminders. So, it tell you …It comes in your email, reminds you to do the appraisal, and-

Fletcher:

The font gets bigger and bigger the more you ignore it, right?

David:

Yeah. And, the color goes redder and redder. Exactly. And then, HR also has those things. So, they can follow up and nag people. They have access to that information.

Fletcher:

So, the system is pinging the manager, as well as HR, to be aware of the, “Hey! This is supposed to be happening.”

David:

Yeah.

Fletcher:

Do you do them all at the same time? You got 10 people on your team, do you do it once a year in July? Or do you do it more staggered? So, you’re doing each person, maybe, more on their own cadence? How does something … Start date or something maybe?

David:

Yeah, exactly. So, typically I think it depends. I think both … Companies use it with high [inaudible 00:44:55] is the one option which you were talking about. And then, the other one is focal point, or specific calendar based.

David:

Both can work. I think it’s a function of how many employees does someone have. So, if you’ve got a handful, no big deal. If they’ve got 50, a lot, then it becomes a bit of a burden to do it all at one point.

David:

And so, I think they act as a function of the operation. Sometimes people will have a calendar focal point dates, because they want it to be part of a specific bonus. And so, they want everyone to be reviewed over the same period. And so, that’s a factor.

David:

So, I don’t think there’s any right or wrong here. I think the main thing is it’s gotta fit the organization, the culture, and it’s gotta be equitable to everyone. So, it’s done in, again, that consistency fair basis.

Fletcher:

Yeah. Excellent. So, wow! I think we’re covering a lot here. So, I think my final question is … I just wanna give, well, three major takeaways. And then, I wanna let everybody know how they can get a hold of you, to learn about what you do. Just three things that we could do tomorrow to improve the performance of a team, or performance evaluation strategy. Smaller things, big things. What would they be?

David:

Yeah. First, there’s hire us. Seriously, I think-

Fletcher:

Hire David.

David:

There you go. And then, all your problems are solved.

David:

I think the first is being empathetic. So, understanding what drives people. Listening to them, and showing people that you genuinely care. There’s this expression that I’ve heard and really like, I use often, which is, people don’t care what you know, unless they know that you care.

David:

And, I think that’s critical. People have to know that you actually … You’re there for them, if you want them to develop.

Fletcher:

You gotta put yourself in their shoes.

David:

Exactly right. Yeah. And, the second is jointly developing goals with each of your team members, to help them grow. And, goals should include both the learning goals we spoke about, as well as the performance goals. And, we should track these goals with your team, and see how they’re doing, and how you can help them achieve them if they’re having trouble, or they’re going off point.

David:

And then thirdly, I think giving regular, well-intentioned, genuine feedback to employees. Acting as a mentor to them, instead of a judge. And, at the same, asking for feedback from employees to see how you can be improving. So, always being open, and open minded, and learning how to do better.

David:

So, I think those are just some of the three key things I would say that-

Fletcher:

Doing it from a place of empathy, and understanding … Thinking about it from the employee’s perspective. Creating joint goals that both performance KPI based, and learning based, as well, again, bringing that empathy back in, but more regular human to human, well-intentioned feedback that’s maybe less formal on a regular basis to reinforce everything.

Fletcher:

Three really kind of simple thing that you could do. And, that makes a lot of sense. The empathetic part, I really like that piece a lot. I think that will change a lot of people’s perspective if they saw it from the other folk’s, at least the way they provide the feedback, and the way they set goals, right?

Fletcher:

So, that’s [crosstalk 00:49:08]

David:

Exactly. That was a good summary. It was good. Yeah.

Fletcher:

Awesome. Well, so David, it’s been a pleasure. Can you please tell us how to get a hold of you. Tell us the best ways to contact you, in case anyone wants to know more.

David:

Sure. So, a couple of options. People can go to our website, which is www.selectstrategy.com. And, click on the Contact Us page, and there’s information to fill out there. There’s also contact numbers.

David:

If they wanna reach me directly, they can. My direct like is 6177397474. Or they can email me at davidm@selectstrategy.com. That’s strategy, singular.

Fletcher:

Awesome. David, this has been absolutely fascinating conversation. I love it, how this … get the right people on the bus. And then, if you can help guide them to success, then so many great things can happen, and just create such a great community around the organization, and the mission. And, I think this is really important, and something that I don’t focus on enough. And, I’m so happy that you were able to come and share these thoughts with us today.

David:

Thanks Fletcher. Actually, I’m really glad you reached out. And, I know that the work that you do in Hiring is so critical and so importantly into the performance management element of it as well. So, it’s really pleased that you thought of doing this.

Fletcher:

Cool. Thank you.

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