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thank-you

Thank You

My post title is missing its normal, and grammatically incorrect, double exclamation points ( !! ) for a reason this week.  I had the most amazing experience and just had to share it with you !! (oops, there they are)

In my role at LaRosa’s, I get to do some pretty amazing things as an HR professional.  My job is broad, deep and strategic.  It’s also very hands on.  You see our goal at LaRosa’s is to Reach Out and Make Smiles in all we do with our guests and our Team Members. We started this “radical” new recognition program this year, and this week I was floored by how amazing something so simple can be.

You see, we recognize people on their anniversary whenever they hit a 5-year interval. That may seem like a long timeframe for a business business, but this year alone we’ve recognized a delivery driver who’s been with us 15 years, a server who’s been with us 20 years and even a Shipping Supervisor at our manufacturing plant who’s been with us 40 years !! The tenure at our company is phenomenal.  In fact, I’ve been with the company 7 years this past November and I’m a “newbie” !!

The radical part of our program is that I meet with the Team Member on their shift when they work.  You see we’re open 7 days a week and are open from 11:00am to 11:00pm. Our team members may work weekend nights only – and that’s fantastic !! We used to make all folks who celebrated an anniversary come to a big dinner once a year.  The event was nice, but we made people fit our schedule instead of us meeting theirs. This simple shift has made all the difference in the world !!

This week proved that more than ever !! A person celebrating a 5-year anniversary receives a gift card, a note from our owners and two Smiley faced cookies to thank them for helping us Reach Out and Make Smiles. (We add-on balloons and trays of cookies for folks who hit 10 years or higher.)  I was taking the gift bag out to see Richie for his 5-year anniversary.

When I arrived at our pizzeria, the manager greeted me and I said, “I’m here to see Richie.”  He said, “I know. He’s right over there.”  A young man was standing with his back to me folding small pizza boxes.  I called out his name, but he didn’t acknowledge me or turn around. Then a gentleman standing next to Richie in a flannel shirt, glasses and gray hair pulled into a pony tail that went down to the middle of his back reached out his hand and said, “Hi there.  I’m Richie’s Dad.”  I noticed that Richie was “talking” to himself but wasn’t very coherent.  His Dad gently touched his arm and said, “Richie, someone’s here to see you.” Richie turned around and looked straight through me without really seeing me.  He kept talking.

Richie has profound autism.  I didn’t know that before going out to the store.  Here’s a young man who’s been coming to work for us for 5-years to fold pizza boxes.  I beamed !! “Richie, I wanted to thank you for your time with us at LaRosa’s !! What you do is so great and here’s a little something for you.” I reached into the bag and pulled out the cookies. “Now, these are for you and not for your Dad. (hoping for a laugh – nothing). Please know that you help us Reach Out and Make Smiles.”  His Dad then gently grabbed Richie’s arm and he said, “Tell Steve thank you Richie.”

THANK YOU on speech bubble price labelsHe stopped his chatter, looked at me clearly and quietly said, “Thank You.” He immediately started his chatter again and went back to his boxes because he loves his job !! His Dad broke through one more time and asked Richie to stop for a second and take a picture with me.  We stood together and I put my arm around him.  His Dad said, “Smile !!” Richie had another moment of clarity, smiled, the picture snapped, and back to work he went.

We keep thinking that everything in recognition has to be on a grand scale when that’s just not the case.  HR works incessantly to craft these incredible programs with thousands of dollars and numerous gift levels without ever thinking about getting to people directly.

Try this instead.  Meet people where THEY are and when THEY work !!  Thank them for what THEY do for your company.  It was a lesson we overlooked for too long.  But now, we get to see genuine recognition the way it was always meant to be !!

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You Have Two Options:shg guarantee

  1. Grow your business.
  2. Make excuses.

Our powerful business programs are about helping you and your business master the fundamentals and create positive,
long-term opportunity. No other program(s) offers more value with the immediate impact or greater ROI than ours.

Books, articles and DVD’s can create awareness, but only Coaching can create the level of impacting and sustainable change necessary to grow your business.

Call Us Toll Free 888-998-8744 or use the form below to talk about how we can help you build the best business.

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Do You Teach or Demand ?

Recently I had the opportunity to go camping with my Scouts again.  It’s always a great time that inevitably involves rain !!  I’m used to that and so are the scouts.  It’s truly fascinating to watch the interaction that happens during an outing because the adults aren’t in charge of any facet of what happens.

The scouts plan the outing, plan the meals, pack the gear in the trailer, set-up camp and also plan all of the activities that happen throughout the weekend.  The reason it’s so fascinating to watch is to see which style of leadership the boys choose to employ.  Adults want to step in to fix and correct things, and that’s where I come in to remind the adults that we’re basically on the outing to ensure safety and that the boys carry out their plans.

Here’s a simple example . . .

At EVERY campout we play Euchre !! If you don’t know what Euchre is, it’s basically the card game of kings.  Seriously !!  The boys can’t wait until some down time to get cards out and start playing.  They play each other and relish the chance to take on the adults.  Euchre is not an easy game to learn.  It has some twists that don’t seem logical.  Hence, the nuances of a game.  All great games make you think and react.  We play for hours at a time and set up tournaments.

Euchre Hand

If a scout doesn’t know how to play, you have to teach them.  For people who are seasoned Euchre players, teaching someone is tedious.  You want the new player to “get it” but it takes time and several games to learn.  Once a new player understands the game, they take off !!  They can literally play the game, and enjoy it, for life.

It’s amazing to watch a new scout struggle to learn and understand, but most everyone is understanding.  However, once a scout starts playing for one or two outings, they become extremely frustrated and intolerant of those who don’t know the game’s rules or how to play well.  They completely forget that they just learned how to play Euchre just a few short months ago.

You can take this example to almost every facet of an outing.  The kids either teach each other how to do skills and are patient during the process, or they demand that people just catch on to what they’re supposed to do.  If they don’t do the task well or right, the boys just want to skip working with others and will even avoid them or work around them.

Sound like work ??  Sound like HR ??

I think it’s exactly like the interactions we have at work. In fact, at work the “demand” approach is what is followed the vast majority of the time.  HR needs to recognize this and destroy it.  When I see HR that is built on compliance, discipline, writing people up, “building a case”, and policies that only measure what goes wrong, I see the demand approach in full bloom.  HR isn’t the only department that uses the demand method, but itIS the department that can eliminate it.

Teaching people how to perform and giving them expectations of outcomes and the ability to use their skills is what we should strive for in any workplace !!  When we do it, they’ve learned something they can enjoy and “play” for life.  We have to recognize when Managers and Supervisors fall into the demand mindset and “teach” them as well.  It’s time-consuming and incremental, but worth every single moment.

So, HR, step up !!  Refuse to be like the norm in our field who use the demand system and parameters to feel they’re practicing great HR.  Be a teacher instead !!

And, if you need to learn Euchre, let me know.  I know some pretty good teachers !!

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You Have Two Options:shg guarantee

  1. Grow your business.
  2. Make excuses.

Our powerful business programs are about helping you and your business master the fundamentals and create positive,
long-term opportunity. No other program(s) offers more value with the immediate impact or greater ROI than ours.

Books, articles and DVD’s can create awareness, but only Coaching can create the level of impacting and sustainable change necessary to grow your business.

Call Us Toll Free 888-998-8744 or use the form below to talk about how we can help you build the best business.

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Should Performance Reviews Live Or Die?

Not ones to shy aware from hot topics in HR, the November HR Roundtable in Cincinnati gathered to discuss “Performance Reviews: Live or Die?”

Everyone came in with their own jaded viewpoint toward their personal experiences regarding performance reviews, so Steve gave them three questions to bring the focus in a bit before hitting the main, decisive question.

  1. What makes performance reviews bad?
  2. What makes performance reviews good?
  3. Should performance reviews live or die?

The energy in the room jumped when the small groups leapt into this topic. They were forewarned not to think about this subject in the “traditional” or “typical” way. This was a chance to really dig in to performance reviews. Their answers reflect that this was more a more critical look at things. Take a look :

What makes performance reviews bad?

  • People! – This may seem generic, but the issue that people generally aren’t trained on how to effectively write/give performance reviews, is a fact. It’s also true that employees receiving reviews don’t always know what the parameters are in regards to reviews. The whole topic is all over the board and isn’t even consistent within an organization’s own walls.
  • Annual basis – The idea that you get one hour per year to talk about a person’s performance, career aspirations, development, etc. is pathetic! If the “most important asset” only warrants an hour per year in a work year full of 2,080 hours, you can’t make their review good.
  • Static vs. Fluid – Most reviews are static snapshots because the system that is used (and developed by HR) is not meant to be fluid. If it was more of an ongoing look at a person’s continuing performance, they may be more effective. The question is cultural in nature though because people have to be willing to spend more time with their people intentionally.
  • They focus on what’s wrong – Reviews in general are an annual meeting to discuss what an employee isn’t doing well so goals can be developed to “fix” what’s wrong. This is not a developmental approach, but most organizations feel they’re moving people ahead if they can fix folks. (We’ll cover a different solution later).
  • Linked to pay – When performance reviews are linked to directly to compensation, one of two things happen: (1) The employee only focuses on the end result and misses all of the information prior to the increase being communicated; or, (2) Supervisors spend hours writing pages of reviews and force ranking people to end up giving them a percentage of the percentage they’re allowed to give within their budget.
  • They contain surprises – There are examples where a supervisor never addressed a real, or perceived, issue with their direct report and they use the performance review as the discipline hammer. It’s not cool to do this and that isn’t the intention of a performance review. If the only hope/outcome is to document and discipline folks, then scrap your review system and start addressing your employees when issues arise in a timely fashion!
  • Fear – Gee, this is encouraging! It was noted that many reviews either are fear based, or there is fear of what will happen during the session. Again, how effective is HR if people view your review system this way?
  • We think numbers really define our people –– Is a “4” really a “4,” or is it a “2” disguised as a “4” (using a five-point scale)? Numbers and rankings give reviews the necessary “metric” everyone keeps striving for, but too often they tend to be the most inconsistent aspect of reviews. They are usually open to way too much interpretation.
  • People aren’t honest – This is true for both supervisors and employees. There is the reality that reviews only go “so far” in conversations and that outcomes in missed opportunities to have genuinely open dialogue that could move both parties forward.

What makes performance reviews good?

  • Feedback on specific behaviors – Reviews do provide a forum where people can reflect and discuss specific items that could be either strengths or areas to improve. Having time set aside to have open discussions can lead to improved performance.
  • When they truly “review” performance — If the time together is a look over the past and current performance of someone, they can be very effective. This is also taking more of a fluid approach by looking over a period of time. In order to do this, people should be taking notes between review sessions so that things are always front of mind and easy to recall during your meeting.
  • If both the supervisor and employee are engaged/involved in the process – This makes great sense. When reviews aren’t seen as only top/down, they have the best chance for success. Employees will see that their performance is important to their supervisor and it should lead to more open interactions and feedback that is two-way.
  • Need organizational commitment and ownership – The differentiating factor in this response is “ownership!” Most companies will state they’re committed to a review system, but few consistently own it. When there is participation across all departments, the system has the best chance for success.
  • If they’re consistent – Ahh, the magic bullet! If all HR systems were consistent, we’d see a marked change with how effective they truly can be. It is a great position though because consistency allows for anticipation, engagement and participation on a regular basis
  • If they’re focused on development – Not to jump to the next section too soon, but reviews focused on truly developing staff are much different than the report card system that most use to justify, pigeon hole, and compensate folks. Having a system that looks at how to improve people and, in turn, move the company forward are the best type of performance reviews out there.

Should performance reviews live or die?

  • Hate to say this, but . . . it depends! – When you take the overall pulse from the group, they should die (in their current state). When you get together to “meet with the principal” as the overarching theme or setting of the review, they should die. The key factor in making this happen though is HR. This isn’t someone else’s responsibility. HR needs to be the leader in stepping in to handle this. It really is a great opportunity for us to reconvene and make performance reviews effective.

Others may look at this and determine to stop doing them all together. One thing needs to occur if that is the choice. You need to have effective feedback and development systems. They don’t have to be specifically tied to reviews, but these two components absolutely need to be integral within an organization.

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You Have Two Options:

  1. Grow your business.
  2. Make excuses.

Our powerful business programs are about helping you and your business master the fundamentals and create positive, long-term opportunity. No other program(s) offers more value with the immediate impact or greater ROI than ours or creates the level of impacting and sustainable change necessary to grow your business.

Call Us Toll Free 888-998-8744 or use the contact form to talk about how we can help you realize an opportunity.

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