New York City Adopts Lactation Accommodation Law

New York City’s new lactation accommodation law is now in effect and imposes new requirements on employers with four or more employees. The new law adds to the obligations that employers already have under New York State’s Labor Law. Under the Labor Law, employers are required to make reasonable efforts to provide a private room or location for employees to express breast milk. The room or location must be well lit, shielded from view and in close proximity to the employee’s work area. The room or location also needs to have a functional lock or, if a lock is not available, a sign advising that the room or location is in use and not available to other employees or the public. Inside the room or location, employers must provide nursing mothers with a chair and small table or other flat surface. New York State law encourages, but does not require, employers to also provide an outlet, clean water supply and access to refrigeration.

New York City’s new law incorporates these requirements but also takes them a step further. First, the lactation room must be a sanitary place, other than a restroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion. Second, the room needs to have an electrical outlet, a chair and a surface upon which employees may place a breast pump and other personal items. Third, the employee must also have nearby access to running water. Fourth, employers need to provide a refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage in reasonable proximity to the employee’s work area. Finally, if the lactation room is also used for other purposes, it must only be used as a lactation room while an employee is using it to express milk, and the employer must give notice to employees that the room gets preference for use as a lactation room. While some of these features are merely suggested under New York State law, New York City now requires them.

The new law also requires employers to adopt written lactation room accommodation policies, which employers must distribute to current employees and new employees upon hiring. The policy must:

  1. State that employees have a right to request a lactation room;
  2. Specify a process by which employees can make an accommodation request;
  3. Require the employer to respond to accommodation requests within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed five business days;
  4. Include a procedure for when two or more individuals need the room;
  5. Provide contact information for any necessary follow up on conflicting needs;
  6. State the employer’s obligation to engage in cooperative dialogue if an employee’s request for a lactation room imposes an undue hardship; and
  7. State that the employer shall provide reasonable break time for employees to express breast milk pursuant to New York State’s Labor Law Section 206-c.

How Employers Are Responding to New York’s New Anti-Sexual Harassment Laws

On April 2018, New York state enacted an anti-sexual harassment law that, among other things:

(1) requires all employers in New York, regardless of size, to implement anti-sexual harassment policies and to conduct annual anti-harassment training that complies with minimum standards set forth in the statute (§201-g of the Labor Law);

(2) bans pre-dispute agreements requiring arbitration of sexual harassment claims “except where inconsistent with federal law” and

(3) requires confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements resolving sexual harassment claims to be at the “complainant’s preference” and sets forth procedural requirements for compliance with the statute’s requirement.

Six months later, the New York State Department of Labor issued guidance, including model documents and Frequently Asked Questions, to assist employers in complying with the new statutory requirements. 

List of Office Holiday Party Do’s and Don’ts

Office Holiday party

The holiday season is fast approaching, and between the rituals of hanging up lights and shopping for gifts, there’s another event to remember: the office holiday party. No matter how much you like your coworkers, the prospect of going to the annual holiday party may strike fear into your heart. Read our ultimate list of do’s and don’ts to ensure you thrive at this year’s event.

Don’t: Decline the Invitation

We get it. Holiday parties have the potential to be awkward affairs (like that time your boss’s boss was heading your way from across the room just as Bob from Accounting launched into another one of his very off-color stories). No matter how tempted you are to ditch the party this year, stop and rethink your actions. The holiday party is an excellent opportunity to network, show your face, and remind everyone that you’re a team player. You owe it to yourself to put in an appearance, even if you only stay for an hour.

Do: Remember that This is a Business Event

No matter how relaxed your office culture, it’s essential to remember that the holiday party is first and foremost a work event. When people are dressed festively, the drinks are flowing, and everyone is having a good time, it may seem like the lines are a bit blurred. Be yourself, but act as though your boss is watching. After all, he or she might be doing just that!

Do: Ask About the Dress Code

Hopefully your party invitation comes with a note about the dress code, but if not, ask around. Offices vary widely in how formal or dressy their holiday events may be, and you don’t want to feel uncomfortably over- or under-dressed. Feel free to be trendy and dress with personality, but err on the side of being slightly more conservative than you would at a friend’s holiday event.

Don’t: Talk Business Incessantly

Of course, the one thing that brings all of you together is your shared workplace. When that’s your point of commonality, it can mean that talk automatically turns to the office. Talking business is okay in small doses, but use the holiday party to get to know your colleagues as people. Talk about their families, pets, leisure activities, travel plans, or other more personable topics. This will help you get to know your colleagues better and will help you make a good impression.

Don’t: Drink Excessively

This should go without saying, yet every office holiday party seems to have that one person careening across the room, sloshing their drink. Yes, there may be an open bar. Yes, you should feel free to imbibe and enjoy yourself. Just know your limit, and switch to water after a couple of drinks. You want to be memorable, but not for being “that person.”

Do: Know Who Is Invited

Some offices encourage employees to bring spouses or significant others to the party. Others prefer to keep it just to people who work at the company. Ask about your company’s policy beforehand. Nobody wants to be the only person who invited their partner to a work event (and believe us, your partner won’t feel comfortable either).

Don’t: Forget to Thank Your Host

Just like at any other party, it’s important to thank your host. This means that you should go up to your boss or the most senior person at the party and thank them warmly for hosting the party. (This has the added bonus of making you stand out to the higher ups). Also remember that support staff workers or members of your office events committee likely put in hard hours of work to make the party happen. A sincere “thank you” can go a long way to making them feel like their effort paid off.

Do: Mingle with New People

It’s tempting to hang out with the people you see on a day-to-day basis, but remember to branch out beyond your team. The holiday party brings people from all departments together, so take the time to get to know your colleagues from other parts of the organization. This can be a fantastic networking opportunity.

Do: Have Fun!

At the end of the day, it’s just a party. The whole reason your company throws a holiday party is to celebrate and thank you for your hard work. It’s a chance for you to relax and enjoy the company of your colleagues, so remember to have fun!

 

Marijan Pavisic MS SPHR

Six Stages to Success with the Employee Life-cycle

By Marijan Pavisic

The proven model known as the employee lifecycle (ELC), is a fantastic way to visualize your employee’s and how they engage with you. In this article, we share over 30 links, 4 experts thoughts and plenty of great tips.

So what are the six stages of employee engagement, and how do they all fit together?

I’ll explain this, as well as share interesting links and helpful tools to ensure you maximize your chance of success in building great teams and retaining those within them.

The six stages of the employee life cycle

According to the very well-known Employee Lifecycle (ELC) model, there are six stages of engagement an organisation has with an employee.

These six stages can be illustrated as an ongoing, perpetual lifecycle, as shown abobe in this diagram.

Let’s go into a little more detail about each of these stages, and describe what they mean. We have included links to further reading within each stage, as well as helpful ideas on how to maximise your returns.

The six employee lifecycle stages are;

  • Attraction
  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding
  • Development
  • Retention
  • Separation

Attraction

The first stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee attraction stage.

No matter how great your product or service is, companies who don’t attract and retain great people will fail over time, every time. This is why attracting the right talent is crucial to any company’s growth strategy.

The attraction stage happens before you even have an open position. It’s often referred to, as the “employer brand”, a term coined in the early 1990’s.

The employer brand is “the image of your organisation as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders).

The art and science of employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing your company’s employer brand.

Brett Minchington, MBA, Author of Employer Brand Leadership – A Global Perspective.

Tips to succeed in the employee attraction stage

My three favourite tips when it comes to building a great employer brand and attracting great candidates, are something I have always done myself. These are;

Be well known in your industry

Encourage your managers to attend seminars and conferences, look for speaking opportunities and be a regular contributor to industry magazines or websites. The purpose here is to build your profile within your industry, as a great place to work.

Be known to have a great culture

Your best promoters are your own employees. By having a fantastic company culture, you increase the chances that your existing team will be out telling people how great it is to work with your team.

Another way to do this is share insights into your culture, using your own social media accounts. For example, Australian digital agency, Bam Creative, identified that many candidates follow their Instagram account. So they spend time posting images and comments from what it is like to be part of their team.

Offer attractive compensation and benefits

It goes without saying that you need to be at least competitive with compensation; not necessarily pay the most, but don’t pay the least either. Look for opportunities to offer softer benefits as well, such as team lunches, a day off on your birthday, and more.

In this article, Greg Savage, a respected voice across the global recruitment industry and regular keynote speaker, states “Throw out your 1990’s candidate playbook. Invest in social and digital and technology. Train recruiters on skills hunting, not job-board application screening.”

Recruitment

The second stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee recruitment stage.

The recruitment stage is just that; the active phase of finding great talent to join your organisation. This could be the result of an existing role becoming vacant (see the Employee Separation stage below) or a new position being created.

CEO and co-founder Daniel Chait of Greenhouse shares his best recruiting tip;

“Recruiting is more competitive than ever! A winning plan offers a great candidate experience, supports collaborative hiring around a clear scorecard and process, and captures meaningful data allowing you to improve your hiring results over time.”

Four tips to succeed in the recruitment stage

Here are four great tips on how to succeed in recruiting the right talent for your team.

Ask for referrals from your team

Your greatest recruitment filter is often your own existing employees. As members of your industry, it is likely that they may have people they know who could be a perfect fit. Be careful though, to avoid hiring close friends of family of existing employees, as this can make the team dynamic very difficult.

Try different recruitment platforms

Don’t stick to the major recruitment websites or media. Think outside the box; where is it that many of your ideal candidates may be? Is it an industry meet up that you could attend, or is it that they all read this industry magazine you may wish to advertise in?

Be specific in who you are looking for

The worst employment advertisements are the ones that are very vague. Sure, it may be your plan to cast a wider net, however you should be careful to list all your pre-requisites to save both you and the candidates time in applying and assessing.

Involve your existing employees

As well as asking if your current employees know a good candidate, you could also request they help determine the best requirements for the role, and also assist you in reviewing the resumes and qualifications of any potential candidates.

You can also request that someone in a very similar role joins you in the interview process, to assess the candidates fit within the team.

Onboarding

The third stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee onboarding stage.

This is the very critical stage of getting new hires adjusted to the performance aspects of their new job within your company quickly and smoothly. It is the process through which new hires learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organisation.

Research has proven that the degree that managers make new hires feel welcomed into the team and prepared for their new roles, the faster that they will be able to successfully contribute to the organisation’s mission.

Tips to succeed in the Onboarding stage

Here are four great methods to ensure that a new hire on boarding goes smoothly for all concerned.

Have a job description

A job description doesn’t need to be long and academic. I prefer a one single page approach, where we list the most important duties, as well as experience and skills.

Discuss your company values and vision

In the first few days, it is vital that you sit down with the new employee, and take them through your company values and vision and what they all mean. Ask your recruit what the values mean to them, and if they have any questions.

Outline your expectations clearly

Although your role description will carry some of the detail, it is important to lead each employee through the expectations you for them, along with why they are important to the company success.

Follow up regularly

Don’t just complete your first weeks induction and leave it! Schedule a face to face with the new employee after a few weeks, and find out what is going on with them, what challenges they have found integrating with your team, etc.

Development

The fourth stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee development stage. By consistently encouraging professional development amongst your team, you are helping skill your team members up, and help provide them with a future career path.

Tips on improving professional development in your team

We’ve chosen our four top tips for employee development.

Encourage external learning

Many organisations have found great value in providing their employees with opportunities to attend relevant conferences and seminars. This could take the form of sending them at the company cost, or indeed offer all employees a budget for their own initiated event attendance.

Assess their skills and knowledge together

All managers should work with their employees to identify their key skills and areas of expertise, and utilize these to plan and prioritize which areas require further development. Having a trusted manager act as a mentor can go a long way to encouraging openness.

Encourage your employees to be responsible for their own development

You should encourage and support every employee to develop a professional development action plan, that will help them develop their abilities, and increase chances of career advancement. Offer to help them do this together, or provide a template for all of your team to complete their own simple plan.

Reward employees who learn in their own time

Many people are regularly doing informal development outside of normal work hours. When you hear of someone with your team doing this, make a point to find out more about this, and sincerely thank them for their efforts. A little positive praise can go a long way to motivating people.

Gail Yeowell Managing Director Smart HR Solutions says;

Managers should set an example, be a role model, provide leadership and inspiration and ensure their people:

  • Know and understand what is expected of them
  • Have the skills and ability to deliver on these expectations
  • Are supported by the Company to develop the capacity to meet these expectations
  • Are given constructive feedback on their performance
  • Have the opportunity to discuss and contribute to individual and team aims and objectives
  • Continuously develop for existing and future roles

Retention

The fifth stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee retention stage. This is where you focus your energies on keeping your top employees, and ensure that they are both happy and challenged in their role within the team.

Your positive company culture has a lot of influence in this area. A bad company culture will inevitably mean that your organisation will suffer from a high employee turnover, and that you will face the costs of having to replace your employees regularly.

Five tips to improve employee retention

Good news is, that with some commonsense and effort, employee retention doesn’t need to be hard to achieve. For example, some tips on ensuring you retain your key people, include;

Hiring the right people to begin with

See the attract and retain section of this article; if you are careful with who you hire to begin with, you stand a better chance of keeping employees in your team.

Build and foster great relationships with your team

This isn’t to mean you should invite them to your home for dinner, more that you should foster an open, honest and respectful relationship with everyone within your team.

Openly communicate your team mission and aspirations

One important element in employee retention is to ensure that they understand and are committed to the same mission and direction as the company. Ensure that you regularly communicate where they belong within the company, and how their role helps you execute your mission.

Seek their feedback and measure morale frequently

If your team is small enough, schedule a weekly face to face meeting, to discuss how they are going, and what problems or issues they are facing.

This is where tools such as employee pulse surveys are important. If you want to measure the overall team morale, and seek constant effective feedback, a tool such as our six question employee surveys makes great sense.

Understand what motivates various team members

There are many different types of personalities out there, and many different elements are important to people. Understanding what drives and motivates your employees means that you can communicate and reward them in different ways, to suit their own personality.

Separation

The sixth and final stage of the employee lifecycle is the employee separation stage.

For most employees, there comes a point where the life cycle does come to an end. Employees may leave due to retirement, new employment, or for family or personal reasons. It’s important that your separation process is just as strategic as your onboarding process.

When a team member leaves, this can in turn affect other members of the team and it’s the manager or HR professionals job to make sure the employee who is exiting, leaves in a way that doesn’t disrupt the entire company.

Tips to succeed in the Separation stage

Here are four great ideas you could adopt, if you are faced with a key employee leaving your organisation unexpectedly.

Dig deep into the reasons behind the resignation

What they first state and what the actual reasons behind a resignation can often be different.

Remember the saying, ‘One door closes and another opens’

Just because you feel a sense of loss at this top performer leaving your team, it doesn’t mean that you may not find an even better employee to replace them.

Ask for honest feedback

A person leaving gives you a fantastic opportunity to glean some honest feedback on what it is like to be an employee at your organisation.

Remind the team that life goes on

Team morale can often be negatively affected by someone leaving your employ. It is worth concentrating on reaffirming your commitment to the team, and that whilst it is disappointing this person is leaving, the team will recover and grow as a result.

In Summary

As it was discovered, the employee lifecycle model is an interesting method to visualize and plan for each stage of an employees interactions with your company. By focusing on doing the best you can in each stage, it is possible to attract and retain a fantastic team.

In summary, the six stages of an employee lifecycle are;

Attraction

Focus on building the right image, to attract the best candidates to your business.

Recruitment

Have a solid recruitment strategy to determine who would be best for your role.

Onboarding

Getting new hires up to speed efficiently is very critical to their success.

Development

Encouraging ongoing professional development within your team creates happier, smarter employees.

Retention

Spend time on ensuring you retain your top talent. A positive company culture is an absolute must.

Separation

Accept that people do leave. Have a great process in place to learn from the experience, and continue a good morale within your team.

All the best in building a great, motivated and productive team!

 

Thank You For Reading !!!!!!!

Workplace Diversity: A Key Factor in the Success of Small Businesses

Workforce Diversity By Marijan Pavisic MS SPHR

Over the course of many years, the notion of “Workplace Diversity” was a concept, a fad, one of many organizational ‘flavor of the month’ programs; and to some, another name for Affirmative Action.  Workplace Diversity was viewed as code words referring to race, ethnicity and gender.   There were expectations and even pressure imposed to consider diversity attributes as a major factor in staffing decisions.  The term ‘quota’ comes to mind in these cases. 

 It is refreshing to say that we have come a long way since those days.  Oh yes, major corporations and large organizations tend to demonstrate their commitment through the appointment of executives to lead their diversity programs.  They create large scale programs, including training, hold corporate sponsored events, and contribute financial and manpower support to the programs of special interest groups. 

 The world of small business is totally different when it comes to workplace diversity.  It’s not a program. It’s a reality; a key factor in survival and the challenges to achieving success.  Small businesses, by virtue of size, the demographics of their customer base, the products and services they offer, realize that true diversity is reflected in the characteristics and attributes of the customers they serve.  More importantly, they understand the value of the diversity of their employees and consider their differences an asset to the business and essential in serving its customers. 

 Small businesses have long understood that diversity encompasses race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, personality, education, and much more.  These factors are generally second nature in the staffing process.   The focus is on hiring the most qualified candidate for the job.  By doing so, they manage to create a diverse staff on the basis of the skills they need to provide quality service to their customers. 

 Commitment to diversity in the workplace is important.  It creates an environment where differences are respected and taken seriously, and where there is openness and the sharing of ideas.  The diversity of experience, thoughts, and various perspectives set the stage for a workforce of dedicated employees whose overall mission is to do the best job they can to satisfy their customers.    

By Marijan Pavisic MS SPHR

NYC Mayor DiBlasio signs package of sexual harassment bills

Sexual Harrasement

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday signed 11 bills that aim to bolster protections against sexual harassment — both for municipal and private employees.

The measures triple the statute of limitations for filing a complaint with city government from one to three years and mandate that city agencies publicly report each complaint received.

Additionally, private firms with 15 or more employees must now provide anti-sexual-harassment training annually, de Blasio said.

“The offhand offensive remark or innuendo, the joke masking as micro-aggression, and the unwanted contact . . . today we are saying that we as a city will no longer let it slide, we will no longer let it stand,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who sponsored one of the bills.

“This is about setting a positive ­example for everyone.”

City Hall recently revealed that municipal workers filed 1,425 complaints of sexual harassment between July 2013 and December 2017, of which 221 were substantiated.

In response to questions from ­reporters, the Mayor’s Office has promised it would reveal how workers were disciplined in the substantiated cases — but it has yet to do so.

De Blasio came under fire last month for questioning whether the reports were legitimate, blaming the 471 at the Department of Education on a “hyper-complaint dynamic” at the agency.

Workplace Diversity: A Key Factor in the Success of Small Businesses

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Over the course of many years, the notion of “Workplace Diversity” was a concept, a fad, one of many organizational ‘flavor of the month’ programs; and to some, another name for Affirmative Action. Workplace Diversity was viewed as code words referring to race, ethnicity and gender. There were expectations and even pressure imposed to consider diversity attributes as a major factor in staffing decisions. The term ‘quota’ comes to mind in these cases.

It is refreshing to say that we have come a long way since those days. Oh yes, major corporations and large organizations tend to demonstrate their commitment through the appointment of executives to lead their diversity programs. They create large scale programs, including training, hold corporate sponsored events, and contribute financial and manpower support to the programs of special interest groups.

The world of small business is totally different when it comes to workplace diversity. It’s not a program. It’s a reality; a key factor in survival and the challenges to achieving success. Small businesses, by virtue of size, the demographics of their customer base, the products and services they offer, realize that true diversity is reflected in the characteristics and attributes of the customers they serve. More importantly, they understand the value of the diversity of their employees and consider their differences an asset to the business and essential in serving its customers.

Small businesses have long understood that diversity encompasses race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, personality, education, and much more. These factors are generally second nature in the staffing process. The focus is on hiring the most qualified candidate for the job. By doing so, they manage to create a diverse staff on the basis of the skills they need to provide quality service to their customers.

Commitment to diversity in the workplace is important. It creates an environment where differences are respected and taken seriously, and where there is openness and the sharing of ideas. The diversity of experience, thoughts, and various perspectives set the stage for a workforce of dedicated employees whose overall mission is to do the best job they can to satisfy their customers.

By Marijan Pavisic MS SPHR

Employees name 4 biggest workplace distractions: Here’s how to help them

officespace

It’s not surprising that a recent survey found 69% of full-time employees get distracted at work. The more interesting finding is that 70% of workers think their managers could help them focus better through training. 

Udemy conducted a survey of 1,000 full-time office workers in the U.S. to find what was causing the distractions, how employees cope with them and what employers can do to help workers regain their focus.

Biggest distractions

Fifty-four percent of employees believe they are underperforming due to workplace distractions. Here’s what topped the list:

  • Talkative co-workers (80%)
  • Office noise (70%)
  • Meetings (60%), and
  • Social media (56%).

The majority of workers who said social media was the biggest distraction admitted that its use wasn’t work-related, but they couldn’t get through the day without checking personal accounts. One-third of millennial employees are on their phones for up to two hours during the workday.

A lot of workers are aware these distractions affect their productivity and try to combat them on their own.

Forty-three percent of employees shut their cell phones off during work. Thirty percent listen to music to block out conversations and other noises. And when workers know they’re distracted and won’t be able to focus, 26% use that time to complete simpler tasks.

What employees need to focus

Distractions not only impact productivity, but also have a long-term impact on careers.

Twenty-two percent of workers think distractions can prevent them from reaching their full potential and advancing in their careers, while 34% said distractions simply make them like their job less.

Employees had some ideas of what would make them more inclined to focus at work:

  • Trying new things (54%)
  • Being encouraged to learn new skills (42%)
  • Knowing the path for professional advancement (35%), and
  • Participating in workplace trainings (22%).

The survey also found some more tangible things employers can do to cut down on distractions. Here are the top suggestions:

  • Allow flexible schedules/telecommuting (40%)
  • Have designated spaces for quiet work and teamwork (38%)
  • Provide time management training (37%)
  • Define office norms for noise levels, conversations, etc. (31%), and
  • Have regular “no meetings” days.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY OF 360 REVIEWS

360-review

Want to make people happy? Make people sad? Care to create an uproar in your organization that rivals in ferocity any change you’ve ever introduced in your history? Want to stir up all of the dormant fear balls hidden just below the surface in your organization? I know; you think I’m talking about laying off half your staff. Right?

Wrong. I am talking about organizations that do a poor job of introducing and implementing 360 degree, or multirater, feedback. Indeed, I’m also talking about organizations that do a good job of introducing 360 degree feedback. Nothing raises hackles as fiercely as a change in performance feedback methods, especially when they affect compensation decisions.

Implemented with care and training to enable people to better serve customers and develop their own careers, 360 degree feedback is a positive addition to your performance management system. Started haphazardly, because it’s the current flavor in organizations, or because “everyone” else is doing it, 360 feedback will create a disaster from which you will require months and possibly years, to recover.

360 degree feedback is a method and a tool that provides each employee the opportunity to receive performance feedback from his or her supervisor and four to eight peers, reporting staff members, coworkers and customers. Most 360 degree feedback tools are also responded to by each individual in a self assessment.

360 degree feedback allows each individual to understand how his effectiveness as an employee, coworker, or staff member is viewed by others. The most effective 360 degree feedback processes provide feedback that is based on behaviors that other employees can see.

The feedback provides insight about the skills and behaviors desired in the organization to accomplish the mission, vision, and goals and live the values. The feedback is firmly planted in behaviors needed to exceed customer expectations.

People who are chosen as raters, usually choices shared by the organization and employee, generally interact routinely with the person receiving feedback.

The purpose of the 360 degree feedback is to assist each individual to understand his or her strengths and weaknesses, and to contribute insights into aspects of his or her work needing professional development. Debates of all kinds are raging in the world of organizations about how to:

  • select the feedback tool and process,
  • select the raters,
  • use the feedback,
  • review the feedback, and
  • manage and integrate the process into a larger performance management system.

 

Now that you know what 360 degree feedback is, learn about the good side of 360 degree feedback.

 

Organizations that are happy with the 360 degree component of their performance management systems identify these positive features of the process. These features will manifest themselves in well-managed, well-integrated 360 degree feedback processes.

 

  • Improved Feedback From More Sources: Provides well-rounded feedback from peers, reporting staff, coworkers, and supervisors. This can be a definite improvement over feedback from a single individual. 360 feedback can also save managers’ time in that they can spend less energy providing feedback as more people participate in the process. Coworker perception is important and the process helps people understand how other employees view their work.

 

  • Team Development:Helps team members learn to work more effectively together. (Teams know more about how team members are performing than their supervisor.) Multirater feedback makes team members more accountable to each other as they share the knowledge that they will provide input on each members’ performance. A well-planned process can improve communication and team development.

 

  • Personal and Organizational Performance Development:360 degree feedback is one of the best methods for understanding personal and organizational developmental needs.

 

  • Responsibility for Career Development:For many reasons, organizations are no longer responsible for developing the careers of their employees, if they ever were. Multirater feedback can provide excellent information to an individual about what she needs to do to enhance her career.

    Additionally, many employees feel 360 degree feedback is more accurate, more reflective of their performance, and more validating than prior feedback from the supervisor alone. This makes the information more useful for both career and personal development.

 

  • Reduced Discrimination Risk:When feedback comes from a number of individuals in various job functions, discrimination because of race, age, gender, and so on, is reduced. The “horns and halo” effect, in which a supervisor rates performance based on her most recent interactions with the employee, is also minimized.

 

  • Improved Customer Service:Especially in feedback processes that involve the internal or external customer, each person receives valuable feedback about the quality of his product or services. This feedback should enable the individual to improve the quality, reliability, promptness, and comprehensiveness of these products and services.

 

  • Training Needs Assessment:360 degree feedback provides comprehensive information about organization training needs and thus allows planning for classes, cross-functional responsibilities, and cross-training.

 

 

A 360 degree feedback system does have a good side. However, 360 degree feedback also has a bad side and even, an ugly side.

 

For every good point I just made about 360 degree feedback systems, detractors and people who have had bad experiences with such systems, can offer the down side. The down side is important because it gives you a roadmap of the things to avoid when you implement a 360 feedback process.

Following are potential problems with 360 degree feedback processes and a recommended solution for each.

  • Exceptional Expectations for the Process:360 degree feedback is not the same as a performance management system. It is merely a part of the feedback and development that a performance management system offers within an organization.

    Additionally, proponents may lead participants to expect too much from this feedback system in their efforts to obtain organizational support for implementation. Make sure the 360 feedback is integrated into a complete performance management system.

 

  • Design Process Downfalls:Often, a 360 degree feedback process arrives as a recommendation from the HR department or is shepherded in by an executive who learned about the process at a seminar or in a book. Just as an organization implements any planned change, the implementation of 360 degree feedback should follow effective change management guidelines. A cross-section of the people who will have to live with and utilize the process should explore and develop the process for your organization.

 

  • Failure to Connect the Process:For a 360 feedback process to work, it must be connected with the overall strategic aims of your organization. If you have identified competencies or have comprehensive job descriptions, give people feedback on their performance of the expected competencies and job duties.

    The system will fail if it is an add-on rather than a supporter of your organization’s fundamental direction and requirements. It must function as a measure of your accomplishment of your organization’s big and long term picture.

  • Insufficient Information:Since 360 degree feedback processes are currently usually anonymous, people receiving feedback have no recourse if they want to further understand the feedback. They have no one to ask for clarification of unclear comments or more information about particular ratings and their basis.

    For this reason and for the points listed in the several bullet points following this one, developing 360 process coaches is important. Supervisors, HR staff people, interested managers and others are taught to assist people to understand their feedback. They are trained to help people develop action plans based upon the feedback.

 

  • Focus on Negatives and Weaknesses:At least one book, First Break All the Rules: What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, advises that great managers focus on employee strengths, not weaknesses. The authors said, “People don’t change that much. Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough.”

 

  • Rater Inexperience and Ineffectiveness:In addition to the insufficient training organizations provide both people receiving feedback and people providing feedback, there are numerous ways raters go wrong. They may inflate ratings to make an employee look good. They may deflate ratings to make an individual look bad. They may informally band together to make the system artificially inflate everyone’s performance. Checks and balances must prevent these pitfalls.

 

 

  • Paperwork/Computer Data Entry Overload:Need I say much more here? Traditional evaluations required two people and one form. Multirater feedback ups the sheer number of people participating in the process and the consequent organization time invested.

 

There are minuses with the 360 degree feedback processes. As with any performance feedback process, it can provide you with a profoundly supportive, organization-affirming method for promoting employee growth and development. Or, in the worst cases, it saps morale, destroys motivation, enables disenfranchised employees to go for the jugular or plot and scheme revenge scenarios.

360 feedback can increase positive, powerful problem solving for customers or set people off on journeys to identify the guilty – the feedback provider who rated their performance less than perfect.

Which scenario will your organization choose? It’s all in the details. Think profoundly before you move forward; learn from the mistakes of others; assess your organization’s readiness. Apply effective change management strategies to planning and implementation. Do the right things right and you will add a powerful tool to your performance management and enhancement toolkit.

 

By Marijan Pavisic MS SPHR

How to Assess Performance With a 360 Review and What is 360 Review

360 Review

What is 360 Review?

A 360 review is a professional feedback opportunity that enables a group of coworkers to provide feedback on an employee’s performance. The feedback is generally asked for by the manager to whom the employee reports. Coworkers who participate in the 360 review usually include the boss, several peers, reporting staff, and functional managers with whom the employee works regularly.

Hence, the name of the feedback opportunity comes from the fact that performance feedback is solicited from all directions in the organization

The 360 review differs from an employee appraisal which traditionally provides the employee with the opinion of his or her performance as viewed by the manager. These employee appraisals tend to focus on the progress the employee achieved on job goals. The manager may seek feedback from other employees, especially managers, about the employee’s performance, but it’s not part of the formal system.

In contrast, the 360 review focuses more directly on the skills and contributions that an employee makes. The goal of the feedback is to provide a balanced view to an employee of how others view his or her contribution and performance in areas such as leadership, teamwork, interpersonal communication, management, contribution, work habits, interpersonal interaction, accountability, vision and more, depending on the employee’s job. The review allows coworkers to assess the employee’s impact on furthering goal accomplishment and positive customer results as observed by team members.

 

How Does 360 Review Feedback Work?

Organizations use a variety of methods to seek 360 feedback about employees. Some are more common than others and all depend on the culture and climate of the organization.

In most organizations that ask for 360 feedback, the manager asks for and receives the feedback. The manager then analyzes the feedback looking for patterns of behavior to note. The manager searches for both positive and constructive feedback. The goal is to provide the employee with the key and important points without overwhelming him or her with too much data.

Often the manager has sought feedback in response to specific questions so the feedback is easier to organize and share. Some organizations use instruments that are tallied electronically and that give employees a score in each area assessed. Some processes are completely online. Others still rely on open ended questions.

Organizations also hire external consultants to administer the surveys, usually when managers are receiving a 360 review. The consultants then analyze and share the data with the manager and with the manager and staff in some cases. In the best of these circumstances, the manager and staff join together to plan improvements for both the manager and for the department.

In more progressive organizations, that have built a climate of trust, employees provide 360 feedback directly to each other. But, you must always take care that the feedback must be as descriptive as possible so that the employee has something tangible to improve. When sharing is open, make sure also that you solicit frequent employee feedback about how the process is working and affecting employees.

In any case, how you introduce, monitor, and evaluate the effectiveness of the 360 review process is critical to its success or failure.

NEXT ARTICLE WILL BE ABOUT THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY OF 360 REVIEWS

Thank You For Reading

Marijan Pavisic MS SPHR

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