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Bay Area Human Resources Services

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Why Formal Performance Reviews are Becoming a Thing of the Past

Do formal performance reviews align with your company culture?  Are managers and employees getting what they need from an annual review?  While some organizations still find the formal review a required part of operations, more and more companies are doing away with the old model and moving towards a constant feedback/coaching model.

Reasons the old way just doesn’t work:

  • Annual performance reviews leave room for complacency. Since this big meeting only happens once a year, employees may not focus much on goals and performance until that HR email comes out announcing that it’s time to begin working on the annual performance review. This is especially true in situations where raises are tied strictly to reviews.
  • Anxiety levels increase leading up to performance reviews. Employees are unsure of what to expect, and the majority of managers are unsure how to deliver the review. In situations where reviews result in ranking or scores that aim to compare employees’ performance to their peers, annual reviews can also create unwanted tension among workers striving to be number one.
  • Another common and human mistake managers make is that they focus on performance that has occurred most recently instead of looking over the entire review period, which can either benefit or hurt the employee.
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, more than a few managers use the annual review as an excuse to keep an ongoing tab of feedback and conveniently wait until that special day to unload it.

Annual reviews handled in these ways do little to solve problems, and it certainly doesn’t help anyone succeed. Make things easier on your employees and yourself by establishing a culture of real-time feedback and coaching.   Addressing issues as soon as they arise will benefit both you and your employee. If issues arise, calmly and clearly state the issue, the impact, and give no more than three examples of when they occurred.  Don’t make the conversation personal – the more objective you can make it, the less likely someone is to become defensive.

Reasons to bring in the new:

  • 1:1 TimeHaving open, candid conversations with your direct reports about what is working, what is not working, and where they want to grow and develop can provide many rewards for both the employee and you as the manager. These conversations build a rapport and allow the two of you to have dedicated time to talk.  This also allows you as the manager to bring up items that potentially need improvement in a timely fashion, not 6 months after they occurred.  You might also be surprised at the feedback you receive from your employee when you open up the conversation and let them tell you their perspective.
  • Transparency and TrustReal time feedback and coaching builds a culture of transparency and trust. When real time feedback occurs frequently it allows employees to feel more connected to the organization in a meaningful way. A transparent culture creates an environment where people can provide honest and helpful feedback and know that it will be used in a positive way.
  • It Helps Managers Too Through continuous feedback and peer coaching, managers gain insight into their own managerial style and skills. Real-Time feedback offers managers the ability to become better leaders.
  • DocumentingHaving some form of documentation of these conversations is also a best practice. It does not have to be formal.  Most HRIS systems offer a feedback tool to document conversations including 1:1 discussions, career development plans, and if necessary, performance improvement plans.

If your company can adopt a proactive approach to performance that includes real time feedback and coaching, it is likely to produce a wealth of benefits for your organization.  Increased trust, dialogue and transparency are just a few.  If your organization ultimately chooses to keep the formal review process, implementing a culture of ongoing feedback and coaching will make that exercise much less painful and easier to complete.

Heather Yates, PHR, CPP – Senior HR Consultant

Disclaimer: Some information contained herein has been abridged from numerous sources and may be protected by various copyright laws. Such information should not be construed as consulting or legal advice. Please contact our office for specific advice and/or referrals.

Bay Area Human Resources Services

Tips for Engaging Remote Employees

According to a recent Gallup poll, the number of U.S. residents who work remotely at least some of the time is now 43%. This number is only expected to increase in the next decade. Yet much of the time, remote employees exist on virtual islands, cut off from the day-to-day routine of business and one step removed from company and team goals. This experience can be isolating for employees — and costly for companies.  Here are six ways to ensure your remote teams are engaged, productive, and effective.

  • Utilize online communication tools — Use online communication tools such as chat apps, video conferencing tools or project management tools to foster communication. These can be used for group meetings, news and announcements where you can speak in real time and visually see someone. Regular one-on-one meetings can also be used utilizing the online communication tools.
  • Virtual Team Building – Build time into group meetings for small talk, such as spending a few minutes at the beginning of each meeting discussing personal updates. Have a virtual happy hour or coffee break and use this designated time to discuss personal and /or professional topics. Gift cards can be sent ahead of time to encourage the remote employee to grab a cup of coffee for the discussion. Allow and encourage the team to set aside a short time during the day to engage in online games against each other to help create rapport.
  • Regular meetings – Schedule in person meetups for teams or the whole company once or twice a year, or quarterly. During the scheduled meet ups do activities that help foster the culture of the company. i.e. company picnics, company retreats, group hiking, or charity events.
  • Culture Building – Ship remote workers things that reflect the same aesthetic and culture elements such as posters, t-shirts or branded items for their desks. Create or refine company values that boost company culture and include the entire team. Make sure values are well-documented so that a remote employee would understand the feel of the company culture when reading.
  • Rotational Leadership – This allows each team member to lead the team – whether it’s simply heading up the weekly phone call, planning a monthly team building activity or organizing an educational event.
  • Recognition – Although remote employees have proven their productivity rivals that of their in-house counterparts, they don’t always receive recognition for that work. Make it a point to recognize remote workers for the contributions they’re making to your business. Utilize the communication channels referenced above to announce remote employees’ accomplishments and encourage the rest of the team to do the same. Make recognition very visible so other members of the organization are aware of the valuable contributions remote employees are making on a regular basis.

Remote work is expected to grow in popularity in the coming years. While it has many benefits, communication can always be a challenge. With the right tools and procedures in place, though, you’ll empower your team with the support they need to feel included and collaborate across the miles.

Meredith Delia – HR Consultant

Disclaimer: Some information contained herein has been abridged from numerous sources and may be protected by various copyright laws. Such information should not be construed as consulting or legal advice. Please contact our office for specific advice and/or referrals.

Bay Area Human Resources Services

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SharedHR’s blog addresses important HR topics. We cover everything from compliance to workplace advice.

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When is it Time to Leave a PEO?

Author: Saul Macias, MBA, PHR

When you were smaller, partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) made sense. It shifted some tasks and liabilities off your shoulders and allowed you to afford to offer good health benefits to your employees. Most of all, outsourcing your human resources, benefits, and payroll gave you space to concentrate on growing your business.

Though co-employment had a role in the growth of your organization, many employers arrive at a point where it is appropriate to exit. Here are some key considerations as you decide whether to initiate that transition away from your PEO:

Benefits: Lots has changed in the world of benefits in the past couple of years. Offering benefits in-house would give you the autonomy to design, choose and manage your health and retirement benefits. The desire for greater flexibility in employee benefits can be a key driver to part ways from a PEO. (A lack of knowledge in this area, however, can often delay a PEO exit).

Service: As you grow, your business and your employees’ needs become more complex. In the midst of that complexity, you may find that your PEO lacks the expertise to drive and support your HR, benefits and payroll to meet your unique and evolving needs. Furthermore, a lack of onsite support or expertise to help you cover a multi-state or international expansion can be most challenging under a PEO model.

Cost /Scale: The average employer in a PEO has 15 employees. According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), the average HR professional supervises approximately 70 employees. Somewhere between 70 and 100 employees the economics may merit managing your benefits, payroll and HR in-house. But what will it take to build a team that can handle this role?

Co-employment: Under a PEO, one key area of managing your employees is done by a different company whose culture and identity could be very different from yours.

Once you have decided to exit, how do you make it happen?

PEO Transition:  Working with an experienced partner like ABD can help you analyze and manage the critical transition away from your PEO. Our team of multi-disciplined experts can help you plan, select the best technology platform, build the required work flows, and transition into your new program while keeping daily operations running smoothly. We can also help you hire an internal team or uncover new options that offer more flexibility than a PEO, but still allow you to outsource some or all of your human resources function. Contact us today to explore the possibilities.

Disclaimer: Some information contained herein has been abridged from numerous sources and may be protected by various copyright laws. Such information should not be construed as consulting or legal advice. Please contact our office for specific advice and/or referrals.

Bay Area Human Resources Services