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Radically Simple Performance Reviews

by John Courtney on March 10, 2017

There is an endless cycle of debate over how to do employee performance reviews. Should you set cascading goals; perform reviews yearly, quarterly or on a project basis; assign scores; collect feedback from managers, colleagues or direct-reports?

There is no shortage of opinions out there and they all have ideas for adding complexity to your review process. So when the largest professional services company in the world decides they are going to simplify their reviews, it qualifies as radical.

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First, Take Back Your Company's Time

by John Courtney on February 24, 2017

At PerformYard we serve mid-size organizations (50-500) that are tired of their homegrown performance review system. Their old process is often a combination of paper forms, clunky excel docs and maybe an under-supported feature from their payroll provider.

Before our customers come onboard their performance reviews are-

Costly: with weeks of HR’s time and many hours of managers’ time spent facilitating the movement of forms and tracking down the right information.

Hated: with outdated ideas and cumbersome busy work that makes managers and employees frustrated and uncomfortable.

Unhelpful: with no system for efficiently collecting and managing the data, performance reviews are a huge initiative every year that has little to show for itself.

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Deliver Criticism Employees Appreciate

by John Courtney on January 24, 2017

Criticism is a fundamental and necessary part of growth. If we want to grow as an individual or as an organization we can not do that without feedback, particularly feedback on what isn’t working.

We all understand this and want to grow, and managers understand it and 98% want employees to be open and receptive to criticism. And yet it remains very difficult to both give and receive criticism.

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HR In 2017: Love The Problem, Not The Solution

by John Courtney on January 12, 2017

At the beginning of each new year we see a lot of articles appearing about the hot new trends in HR. The spirit of a fresh start that comes with each January 1st gets us all thinking about the twelve months ahead and what they might hold. At PerformYard we read through 35 of the top articles on HR trends in 2017 and jotted down some of the highlights.

  • Coaching is replacing performance management
  • Engagement Targets are now Experience Goals
  • Data will allow us to predict the future
  • Ping pong tables are out
  • Work is the new fun game with gamification
  • Virtual reality is going to be huge, it’s just not clear how
  • Your whole company might start working from their favorite Caribbean islands
  • Gen Z just graduated college and are here to give millennials a taste of their own medicine

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Accountability vs Growth: Choose a side (or don't)

by John Courtney on December 13, 2016

There is a revolution happening in Performance Management. It is easy to see at corporate leaders like Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte, Accenture, GAP, and General Electric, but the revolution is happening everywhere.

It is not about new HR strategies, in fact it is not even being driven by HR. The revolution is being driven by employees. The traditional end-of-year performance review has not fit with modern company and employee goals for many years now and employees are demanding a change.

A Deloitte manager described their old review process as “an investment of 1.8 million hours across the firm that didn’t fit our business needs anymore.”

Accountability vs Growth

Performance management can go one of two ways. You are either putting structure in place to force accountability (Jack Welch asking the bottom 10% to leave) or you are creating an environment that helps employees grow. If you have a once-a-year process that emphasizes financial rewards and punishments, whether you want to or not you are focusing on holding people accountable for past behavior rather than improving current and future performance.

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HR and the "Future of Work"

by John Courtney on November 29, 2016

Google has a famous HR department, they call themselves People Operations or Pops for short. The reason so much is written about Pops is they are driving meaningful change in the way Google manages their most important resource, people. One well known example was when the company increased maternity leave to five paid months. The shift in policy had no net impact on the bottom line because it dramatically reduced the recruitment costs of replacing the mothers who were leaving Google. Even more importantly it allowed Google to retain the top talent the company had worked so hard to attract in the first place.


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Our blog is chock full of insights for HR professionals on performance management best practices, achieving goals, boosting productivity, and increasing engagement. 

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