Tag Archives: Managerial Effectiveness

Why Do We Ignore the Tip of the Spear?

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I’ve written here before that middle managers are the tip of the spear, organizationally speaking, for everything. Productivity? Check. Change management? Check. Communication? Check. Culture? Check. Engagement? Check. Talent development? Check. Retention/turnover? Check. Everything.

I ran across a good little white paper from Grovo, a workplace learning company, that underscores this point, yet again. Good Manager, Bad Manager:  New research on the modern management deficit and how to train your way out of it, is a quick read and reminds us yet again that training middle management might be the most critical item on your training and development agenda.

“Management isn’t like riding a bike, where you learn it once and you’re set for life.”

This opening statement frames the discussion in this paper which reports that 99% of companies do offer some sort of management training and 93% of middle managers frequently attend it. These statistics notwithstanding, Grove has found that this training is deficient in three key ways:

  • Not comprehensive: 98% of middle managers believe that the managers in the organization need more training
  • Not timely: 87% of middle managers wish they had received more training when they first became a manager
  • Not habitual: 61% of managers report that training is offered only a few times each year and 11% report training being offered only once a year.

Grove has survey data that suggests that 98% of managers believe that key performance metrics would improve if managers were trained to be effective more quickly:

grovo-1

With $15 billion spent by U.S. organizations every year on leadership development, it seems we could really ramp up the ROI on that investment by getting to new leaders faster, with more frequent and engaging training. Looking at it another, way, Michelle McQuaid predicts that better, more capable middle managers can save organizations $360 billion annually in productivity increases.

This report is full of gold as you plan your 2017 training/development activities and budget. I’d encourage you to take a look. Maybe you can capture some of the $360 billion in productivity increases in your organization while you sharpen the tip of your spear.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Development Program, Grovo, Learning/Development, Managerial Effectiveness, Performance, Productivity, Training

Tying Recognition to Values: Who Knew?

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Organizations that believe in driving an intentional culture – whether for engagement purposes, recruitment purposes, performance purposes, innovation purposes, or all of the above – might think it logical to tie their recognition programs directly to their values. But as it turns out, maybe not.

The new SHRM/Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey Winter 2012 Report has some interesting survey data and thought-provoking findings. The survey, sent to 6,000 SHRM members at the manager level or higher, had a response rate of 13% and a margin of error of +/- 3%. So, with 770 randomly selected HR professionals employed at organizations with more than 499 employees across North America, the sample size is large enough for the results to be interesting.

The broad findings are a little surprising – although the survey questions focused entirely on recognition, engagement and core values. (So, for example, the challenges of implementing healthcare reform don’t show up, nor do the issues of perceived talent or skills shortages.) But even within that context, these findings make me scratch my head:

#1  Employee engagement tops the list of HR challenges.

#2  Performance management remains stuck in neutral.

#3  Recognition programs fill the feedback and appreciation gap.

#4  Recognition programs have an observed positive impact on business results.

#5  Recognition aligned with core values leads to more effective managers.

#1  Employee engagement tops the list of HR challenges:  well, I do find that surprising – especially given the rest of the survey data. I might have thought that the issues of performance management done the same way it’s been done for 10-15 years (or not at all) would top the list of HR challenges. But no, employee engagement is at the top of the list. Despite (or maybe because of) the fact that most HR professionals haven’t been able to make the business case for investing in creating higher levels of engagement, it’s at the top of the list.

#2  Performance management remains stuck in neutral:  Performance management is the talent management infrastructure weak link. Most CEOs and other members of the C-Suite report that they know their system is ineffective. And what’s more they know their employees don’t like their current system either. That HR folks are “stuck in neutral” in this regard is perplexing. With the billions of dollars being spent on ineffective, unpopular legacy systems, this would seem ripe for corrective action — not being stuck in neutral.

#3  Recognition programs fill the feedback and appreciation gap:  so investing in new solutions that fill a gap rather than fixing the full system seems shortsighted to me. Don’t get me wrong. I think that there are recognition programs that powerfully engage teams, inspire individuals and create positive momentum for employers and their customers. Some of the new entrants that utilize social technology and are natively mobile are stunning. And worthy of investment. But should we be thinking bigger than filling gaps?

#4  Recognition programs have an observed positive impact on business results:  that’s research-speak for “we can’t quantify it yet but we think it’s real based on anecdotal evidence.”  ‘Nuff said.

#5  Recognition aligned with core values leads to more effective managers:  that’s it! If the data clearly support this finding, then this is the foundation for the business case that HR has been looking for. I’ve long believed that if the middle manager cohort was effectively trained and managed, the incidences of workplace drama and their resulting legal issues – and the resulting time-suck for HR – would be hugely reduced. Managers would be held accountable for managing. And HR could get to the strategic business of workforce planning and talent management leadership.

The following charts from the report show the “observed” connection between values-based recognition systems and managerial effectiveness in “acknowledging and appreciating” employees:

SHRM Globoforce Fig 8

SHRM Globoforce Fig 13

*Note:  the red circles on the charts are mine.

The finding that managers do a better job of effectively acknowledging and appreciating employees when recognition programs are directly tied to core values seems to stack up. But it also appears that managers do a better job of effectively acknowledging and appreciating employees simply by being given a recognition program to use. Either way works for me. And either way clearly works for employers and their employees.

But I’ll go out on a limb with the observable improvement in managerial effectiveness and agree that tying recognition programs to values is a winner. In fact, I’ll go so far as to opine that tying talent management in its entirety to organizational values will provide quantifiable improvement, not just observed improvement.

Interesting findings in this report. If you haven’t looked at some of the innovative new solutions in the recognition space maybe you should.

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Filed under Achievers, Annual Performance Reviews, Business Case, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Globoforce, Managerial Effectiveness, Rewards & Recognition, Talent Management

Is HR Still in a Bad Mood?

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This was a popular post from last year at this time and I’m wondering if HR is still in a bad mood…

Results from The Fifth Annual Talent Management Study by Knowledge Infusion and Human Resource Executive® were published recently in HR Executive by Mike Brennan and some of the findings were surprising.

I didn’t find it surprising that 63% of the respondents report that they have trouble filling jobs and that they can’t find the right candidates. That’s been reported frequently.

It also doesn’t surprise me that more organizations than not will be increasing their investments in Learning/Development, Performance/Goal Management and Workforce Analytics/Planning services and technology. That’s obvious.

What really does surprise me is that 58% of HR executives believe that peer leaders in their organizations “do not buy into talent management.”

Lordy, I hope this isn’t the furniture conversation. And I’m willing to believe it isn’t because 83% of the respondents also believe that “many of our managers do not know how to manage people.” Additionally, 65% of the respondents believe that “many of our HR generalists/business partners are not equipped to consult with the organization on talent.”

Ouch. Either the HR respondents to this survey were all in a colossally bad mood, or they’re starting to look clear-eyed at their organizations and re-calibrate their challenges.

It’s clear that many organizations need to look at legacy systems and programs in the talent management arena (can you say annual performance review system?) and, according to this survey, they are. But focusing on leadership understanding and managerial effectiveness in talent management might be a strong first step.

It’s a great day for HR if the results of this survey mean a new focus on talent management effectiveness – at the top, in the middle, and most importantly, in HR.

But if it was just a systemic bad mood, we’re sunk. Because, in the words of one of my favorite movie characters in one of my favorite movies, “we have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them.”

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Filed under American President, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Credibility, HR Executive Magazine, HR Technology, Knowledge Infusion, Managerial Effectiveness, Talent Management

Is HR in a Bad Mood?

Results from The Fifth Annual Talent Management Study by Knowledge Infusion and Human Resource Executive® were published recently in HR Executive by Mike Brennan and some of the findings were surprising.

I didn’t find it surprising that 63% of the respondents report that they have trouble filling jobs and that they can’t find the right candidates. That’s been reported frequently.

It also doesn’t surprise me that more organizations than not will be increasing their investments in Learning/Development, Performance/Goal Management and Workforce Analytics/Planning services and technology. That’s obvious.

What really does surprise me is that 58% of HR executives believe that peer leaders in their organizations “do not buy into talent management.”

Lordy, I hope this isn’t the furniture conversation. And I’m willing to believe it isn’t because 83% of the respondents also believe that “many of our managers do not know how to manage people.” Additionally, 65% of the respondents believe that “many of our HR generalists/business partners are not equipped to consult with the organization on talent.”

Ouch. Either the HR respondents to this survey were all in a colossally bad mood, or they’re starting to look clear-eyed at their organizations and re-calibrate their challenges.

It’s clear that many organizations need to look at legacy systems and programs in the talent management arena (can you say annual performance review system?) and, according to this survey, they are. But focusing on leadership understanding and managerial effectiveness in talent management might be a strong first step.

It’s a great day for HR if the results of this survey mean a new focus on talent management effectiveness – at the top, in the middle, and most importantly, in HR.

But if it was just a systemic bad mood, we’re sunk. Because, in the words of one of my favorite movie characters in one of my favorite movies, “we have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them.”

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Filed under American President, China Gorman, HR, HR Credibility, HR Executive Magazine, HR Technology, Knowledge Infusion, Managerial Effectiveness, Talent Management