Strategic Human Capital Insights

The “Effortless Organization” Takes A Lot of Effort: Part 1

Posted by Joanne Flynn


Does your organization have a structure that has both a hierarchy and matrix structure? To clarify:

  • Hierarchy - A hierarchy structure is the traditional organizational structure broken down into functions. A manager heads up the function with employees reporting to the manager. It is depicted in the typical organization chart format.

  • Matrix - A matrix structure is a fluid ‘structure’ that is typically described by the following statement: “This is the org chart, but here is how the organization really works.” It is depicted by an ‘organigram’© that is a spaghetti chart of interlinked solid and dotted lines. The solid lines represent the traditional organization chart. The dotted lines represent the fluid matrix interactions.


If your answer to the above question is yes, then you are like many other organizations. As the nature of work has changed over the years, the matrix organization has evolved to become today’s new normal. In a matrix organization, your people need to be responsive to a functional boss but also accountable and responsive to the many others in the matrix with whom they are linked, represented by the organigram’s dotted lines.

In the matrix organization, the rules of engagement are gray and cloudy, and the skills that are needed are both the knowledge skills and, just as importantly, the soft skills. In the matrix organization, when things are working correctly, getting the work done looks effortless. However, effortless takes a lot of effort. But when things go wrong in the matrix, they go very wrong. To make the matrix work effortlessly, employees need to know what is expected of them (covered in our next blog) and the skills they need to make the matrix work.

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Topics: Human Capital, Human Resources, Human Asset Management, Performance Management

Training & Development: How Do You ‘Make It Stick’?

Posted by Joanne Flynn


This is a guest blog post written by Rodney Nelson, Vice President of Client Operations for the Arizona Manufacturing Extension Partnership.


A Multi-Faceted Process Flowchart Approach


For the past four years, I have been supporting local Arizona manufacturing businesses providing them with a wide range of organizational development and training services. What I have found is that these businesses are looking for training they believe will help their teams and companies work more efficiently. Whether a company is choosing to do a single or numerous training and development sessions, the chance of that training sticking past the first two weeks is very slim.


How Can You ‘Make It Stick’? 

The “it” could be any type of change where employees are learning a new skill and are expected to use that skill going forward. Yes, we have all heard the saying, “you need management buy-in” but, unfortunately, that is not enough. Management’s expectations need to be documented all the way down the chain of command and we need to hold both the workers and supervisors accountable.

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Topics: Human Capital, Human Resources, Human Asset Management, Performance Management

The 7 Next Steps to Complete After Your Performance Reviews

Posted by Joanne Flynn


How to Keep Your Human Capital Continuous Improvement Process
© Continuous


Now that your performance review process is over, and the forms are all filed away, the important part of the job awaits! Reviews should not be done for the sake of reviews and end up in the HR department. The review process should be the first step in the many steps of the ongoing employee development process.

So, What Comes Next?
In a robust human capital continuous improvement process, it’s time to make sure that employee performance and capacity stays aligned with: 

  • Strategic goals and initiatives of the organization
  • Skills and knowledge needed to stay relevant with the evolving business skills and tools for today and tomorrow

1. Create Individual Employee Development Plans
It’s time to data-mine the rich information in the Performance Reviews and identify the gaps in knowledge, skills and tools. From that information, create an on-going monthly / quarterly development plan for each employee. In today’s changing world, skills are eroding faster than before and new knowledge and skills are required to help employees stay current and relevant to the job demands and optimize the many business tools available. Development plans are the mechanism to ensure that employee skills and knowledge stay aligned with organizational goals.

Here are some skills to evaluate:

  • Technical Knowledge and Skills
  • Business Tools Knowledge and Skills
  • Professional Skills (communication, critical thinking, effective presentations, etc.)
  • Leadership Skills (at all levels)
  • Customer Experience / Culture Skills
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Topics: Human Capital, Human Resources, Human Asset Management, Performance Management

Is it Time to Review Your Performance Review?

Posted by Joanne Flynn


Like everything else in business today that is undergoing constant growth and change, the strategic review of the Performance Review process is not exempt. Too often, outdated, irrelevant performance review forms, which drive the performance review process, are kept in place without question.  However, this form should be in a state of constant review, since strategically-aligned performance is critical to any high-growth organization.

As often as your strategy is reviewed, that’s how often your performance review form should be reviewed, as well.  Why?  The accompanying job description will likely be evolving and / or completely changing.  And, as new skills are required to perform a task, these new skills and competencies must be reevaluated, as well.

A Typical Example 

A paper-intensive and manual ordering process has been replaced by a software application that virtually eliminates paper from the process.  This will allow orders to bypass the customer service department and move directly into the fulfillment department.  Only exceptional cases will now be handled by the customer service department.  The clerical function of routinely double checking for correct orders and sales tax has been replaced by software.  Four things will happen:

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Topics: Human Capital, Human Resources, Human Asset Management, Performance Management

Why You Should Integrate Job Descriptions Into Your Performance Review

Posted by Joanne Flynn


As you prepare for a robust performance review discussion with your employee, you will likely encounter at least one of the following situations:

  • That’s not my job
    The employee who should be doing more tasks but has conveniently reshaped their job to include the functions they enjoy doing and eliminate the functions they don’t like or don’t know how to do
  • It takes two people to do one person’s job
    The employee who has the knowledge and skills to perform the tasks and responsibilities of the full job description but doesn’t have the confidence to do those tasks and responsibilities at 100%, on their own, without constant reinforcement from the manager or other employees.
  • The helicopter manager syndrome
    The employee who can perform their tasks and responsibilities when the manager hovers over them, but the minute the manager stops hovering, the caliber of the work slips again. This employee can do the job, but either can’t or won’t sustain peak performance on their own.

 

What do all these employees have in common?  They are all busy doing work but, when measured against the the job description benchmark, they all fall short of ideal performance. 

In a recent meeting with managers, we were discussing the elements of conducting a successful performance review meeting and the following questions came up:

  • How do we hold an employee accountable for increased performance?

  • What if the employee thinks they are doing a great job and doesn’t agree with us?

  • How do we keep the conversation from going around in circles and not achieving consensus or agreement on performance standards?


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Topics: Human Resources, Human Asset Management, Performance Management

Joanne Flynn Joins CEO Solutions Alliance to Deliver Comprehensive Solutions to C-Suite Executives

Posted by Joanne Flynn


We are delighted to announce that Joanne Flynn, Founder and Managing Director of Phoenix Strategic Performance, is now also a Principal with CEO Solutions Alliance, providing real solutions to CEO’s. 

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Topics: Phoenix Strategic Performance, Human Asset Management, Performance Management

Make Your Company a Continuous Employee Improvement Organization

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Take the Job Description, Performance Review and Development Plan Challenge

It’s Performance Review time for many organizations. However, with the rate of change accelerating and the rate of skills / knowledge obsolescence increasing faster than ever, can you really only review performance once or twice per year?  As managers, how can you even justify that ancient practice?  Today, continuous performance improvement has replaced the time-honored, annual Performance Review process so employees continue to be appreciating human assets that are always aligned with corporate strategy and goals.  It may seem like an onerous, time-consuming process, but is it really?  When viewed through the lens of great management best practices, let’s shift the performance review paradigm to a continuous improvement paradigm where we treat our employees, our human assets, the same way we look at continuous improvement for processes.  Why would we continuously improve processes and not continuously improve people? 

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Topics: Organizational Alignment & Effectiveness, Human Asset Management, Performance Management

How Job Descriptions Can 'Bullet Proof' Your Organization

Posted by Joanne Flynn


Take Up the Job Description Challenge
Can a simple and often overlooked job description really ‘bullet proof’ your organization? If job descriptions are used strategically to align the organizational goals and results with the individual efforts of the employees, they should. In order to do this, you need to review the following Job Description Checklist to assess:

Job Description Checklist

  • Are your current job descriptions really as robust and strategically focused as they need to be?
  • Do your employees and you have a clear understanding of their jobs and their accountability at a detailed level?
  • Does your organization have a robust and honest employee assessment process driven by the detailed job description? The assessment process should be completely aligned to the job description and used accordingly.  If not, what are you assessing employees against?
  • Is your organization committed to manage and monitor the job description, assessment and employee development process to ensure all efforts are aligned, optimal and focused on strategic initiatives?
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Topics: Human Asset Management, Performance Management

Why Ignoring the ‘Busyness Challenge’ Could Ruin Your Vacation

Posted by Joanne Flynn

As managers, facing the vacation season always proves challenging. When the first person approaches you with the request to take off a day or two for a long weekend, or another employee is planning a one or two-week family vacation, the stress of ‘how is the work going to get done’ begins. 

Have you ever asked yourself one or more of the following questions:

  • How did the plan you had to provide backup for everyone on your team not get executed?  Where did the time go?
  • How are you going to get the right people trained up with the right set of skills and competencies to get the job done right
  • How can you tell some employees that they will need to reschedule their vacations due to a lack of backup
  • What is going to happen to employee morale
  • What is your boss going to think of your planning skills
  • How did this happen again? 
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Topics: Human Asset Management, Performance Management

Job Descriptions: The Anchor of Human Asset Management Strategy

Posted by Joanne Flynn


Job descriptions are the unsung hero driving the Performance Management process. If the performance management process is fundamental to your Human Asset Management Strategy (HAMS), then job descriptions are the mighty little, obscure engine driving the whole process.

How important are job descriptions in HAMS, and how can those often forgotten job descriptions be so important? Because if they are only used as HR tools for job branding and compensation, then they are misnamed. If that’s the case, they should be called job categories. Here’s what job descriptions should really be doing for your organization.

First, determine the function in your organization that is responsible for utilizing job descriptions.

What is the real, dynamic driving force behind our friend, the job description? To analyze this, we start with where job descriptions are parked. Job descriptions can live in HR, but that should only be their part-time home. Job descriptions should and be relevant to every functional group in every organization and be used by the functional group, full time! ! Job descriptions are the foundation to determine what a job does, how an organization works, how it grows, if it can grow / compete, and / or if it will stagnate. Most importantly, job descriptions must not only live in the operating functions, job descriptions need to be relevant and referenced continuously. As a consultant, I have frequently heard these answers to the question, “Can I see your job descriptions?”:


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Topics: Human Asset Management, Performance Management

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