Performance appraisals have come in for some serious criticism recently. And yet the books and articles written which criticise simply advocate performance appraisal by another name – or rather a collection of names. Here's an analysis of the issues.
The firm had been offering modelling of telecommunications systems. It had the necessary software tools. and a well-trained, experienced workforce. But the market was changing. New questions needed huge additional skills – skills in building massively more complex methods. Here's how those skills were achieved.
Commitment matters. If managers can get all staff to be committed, other management and leadership activities become possible. Without committed staff, there’s little the manager can do to achieve goals and the firm will just drift. This paper describes commitment and outlines research that shows what managers can do to achieve commitment. The research shows that there is correlation between the idiosyncratic granting of developmental opportunities and affective commitment in those benefitting.
Staff development is the act of persuading a member of staff to change – to change their skills, knowledge or behaviours – towards that wanted. That persuasion comes by way of training, mentoring or coaching. Staff have existing competencies and behaviours. The difference between what’s needed and what’s available today is what any development must focus on.
Whilst the argument in favour of developing staff is strong, it’s not universally accepted. As this article shows, the argument rests on the various costs and benefits and ultimately on the ability of staff to ‘make the grade’. Both sides of the argument must be considered. To understand what’s needed in your own firm, you need to be able to determine market need for skills and knowledge in each job and jobholder and from the need, determine the capability you’ll put in place. Then plan and execute.
Many managers deliberately mix internal and external recruitment in the hope of selecting the best person for the job from as large a pool as possible. Simply, consider internals first, in isolation. If any internal can do the job – judged by a fixed bar - they go forward with an internals-only contest. Because any one has the ability to excel, a variable bar selection can be used to rank them. Anything else is just wrong, damaging and here’s why.
The nature of work and careers have changed. Despite myth, the average employee tenure is still over eight years. And in that time staff must grow. When it comes to employee career development, you, as manager, have a clear decision to make and that decision depends on the relationship your firm has with the worker. You'd best take a contingency approach: develop your knowledge workers, give opportunity to your foot-soldiers, make alliances with your specialists and hire your contractors when needed.