6 Expert Tips On How To Help Your Managers Succeed

Choosing the right managers is one of the most critical decisions an organization makes. But what makes someone a great manager? While a lot of research have identified qualitative traits of great managers and the different ways they contribute to business success – there is still a lack in understanding of what great managers actually do on a daily basis.

Our most recent panel in the Helping Managers Become Better Managers series was held in Berlin. We welcomed expert speakers from TAM Trainer Akademie (Lorenz Illing, MD), Marley Spoon (Cindy Rubbens, Head of Culture & People Operations) and SoundCloud (Jennifer Beecher, Learning & Development) to discuss the importance of managers in organizations. Below we’ve summarized a few key takeaways:

What behaviors do great managers exhibit?

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5 HR Habits To Ditch This Year

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To close out 2016, we asked HR expert Jason Lauritsen to contribute five posts spotlighting bad habits HR professionals should ditch. Let’s make it a 2017 resolution for HR departments.

Jason pulled no punches and spoke truth to an industry in a state of flux. In order for HR to establish its role within an organization, Jason suggests looking at other departments for innovation and rethinking how to approach classic HR situations.

If you have the time, we highly recommend reading through each guest post because those learnings will prove invaluable going into the new year.

For those in a time crunch, we summarized his work to highlight some particularly important points. Continue reading

The 2017 HR Hitlist #5: Treating Technology as the Solution

jasonheadshot-2The time is upon us for human resources to step up as a practice and lead. Never before has the work of HR been so critical to organizational success. To meet this challenge requires that we break some old habits. This is the fifth in a series of guest posts from thought leader, Jason Lauritsen, called the 2017 HR Hitlist. Each of the five posts will outline one practice or behavior that HR needs to eliminate, and what they should do instead.


“Golf is a hard game. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it throughout my life.”

There have been times when I’ve wanted to be good at golf. During one of these times, I became convinced that a buying a new, state of the art set of golf clubs was the solution. If I got better clubs, surely I’d play better.

So, I saved money and ultimately made the purchase. The clubs were spendy, but they were also beautiful. It felt good to show up at the golf course with these fancy clubs. Just owning them made me feel like a more confident golfer.

But when I played with them, I still sucked.

The new clubs didn’t fix my lack of skill. They also didn’t make up for lack of practice.

Golf clubs are tools. And regardless of how fancy or expensive, they are only as good as the hands that hold them.

HR technology is just like those golf clubs.

The explosion in technology innovation means that we have a virtually endless array of technology products to buy and implement within our organization. There are technologies for every problem you can imagine in HR—from employee engagement to new hire paperwork. Continue reading

The 2017 HR Hitlist #4: Playing Small

jasonheadshot-2The time is upon us for human resources to step up as a practice and lead. Never before has the work of HR been so critical to organizational success. To meet this challenge requires that we break some old habits. This is the fourth in a series of guest posts from thought leader, Jason Lauritsen, called the 2017 HR Hitlist. Each of the five posts will outline one practice or behavior that HR needs to eliminate, and what they should do instead.


“If there’s one thing that’s holding us back in HR more than anything else, it is our collective lack of confidence.”

Within every organization, we have departments built around technical expertise. IT are the experts in technology; finance and accounting in financial systems; and sales in sales process.  

We trust these departments to deliver solutions to business needs that exist within their areas. When the organization faces a technical challenge, we trust the IT team to assess the situation, understand the business needs, and find the right solution. Same for accounting and sales.

But, when it comes to HR, it’s a different story. Why is this?

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A new navigation is coming in Q1

In the past year we’ve improved quite a few navigational elements: User and cycle search, upcoming admin dates, global create, and general speediness. More recently we’ve shifted our attention to the sidebar, and we’re proud to enter a public beta phase now.

The new navigation has been battle-tested internally by our own staff and select alpha clients, and we’re really pleased with it. But we won’t rush it. We plan on phasing out the “old” navigation by the end of Q1, so there’s plenty of time to take a look and give us feedback!

Here’s an overview of what is new and improved:

Dedicated “your content” section

Until now the sidebar was split up strictly by module, showing submenus depending on the user’s role. An individual contributor would see their own review in the Performance Review menu, while a manager also saw their team’s reviews in an additional menu item.

We’re now dropping these role-specific menus, moving to a much cleaner and simpler layout: Independent of role every use immediately sees their own content – objectives, 360s, reviews — in one section:

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New “Team” and “Company” sections

All team- and company-wide content is now located in dedicated “Team” and “Company” pages. These new pages provide immediate insight into what happened in the person’s team and in the company by defaulting to an Activity tab. Both pages are available to all users. Inside these pages, the Activity and Objectives tabs are available to everyone, while additional tabs for reviews and 360s are displayed to managers and HR only. This makes it much easier for managers to think of their team as a whole.

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Clearer access to cycles

Once you select a tab for Reviews, 360s or Objectives, we’re now listing all cycles, rather than diving into the most recent one. This allows users to make a conscious decison what cycle to focus on. New or casual users will find the cycle overview approach much more natural to work with. Experienced SI Power users (who want to keep jumping straight into a cycle) can skip this new screen by using the “Jump to..” shortcut on the top-right of the screen.

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Objective browser repositioned

The Objectives browser becomes far more prominent in the new navigation. When selecting the Objectives tab on either the Team or Company view, non-managers are shown the Objectives browser immediately. Managers and HR default to the cycle list, but can easily toggle the display to “Browse” mode at the top of the screen. This makes objectives of peers and managers much more visible than before, further strengthening our Objectives feature.

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Take it for a ride

We’re inviting admins to either test the feature for their own account, or to enable it for their entire company. Simply enter the beta program on the admin screen, and select your desired option:

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Next steps

To make it very clear, we’re not forcing this upon anyone, it’s every company’s decision when to test and when to enable the new navigation. We want every customer to be able to complete their current reviews, 360s or objectives cycle with no major change to the navigation.

We plan to making the “final” switch in late Q1, so there’s plenty of time to update any training material.

We’d love to hear your feedback!

We’ve conducted plenty of in-depth user tests and we’re happily using the new navigation internally, and now we’d love to hear from you: Do you like the new approach? Are you keen to roll it out to your entire company? Or do you have concerns or reservations? Let us know your thoughts at product@small-improvements.com.

If you want to test the new navigation using another (non-admin) user account? Send us a mail and we’ll enable it for them too.

 

The 2017 HR Hitlist #3: Defending Broken Practices

jasonheadshot-2The time is upon us for human resources to step up as a practice and lead. Never before has the work of HR been so critical to organizational success. To meet this challenge requires that we break some old habits. This is the third in a series of guest posts from thought leader, Jason Lauritsen, called the 2017 HR Hitlist. Each of the five posts will outline one practice or behavior that HR needs to eliminate, and what they should do instead.


 

When I first started railing against the performance appraisal process years ago, my colleagues in HR were the first to defend it.

“We have to do appraisals to protect ourselves legally.”

“We can’t make fair decisions about pay increases without an appraisal.”

“We have to have some record of performance.”

“You can’t assess performance without ratings.”

The ironic thing was that many of these same colleagues actually despised the very process they were defending. It was cumbersome, time consuming, and they knew the information contained in the appraisals was questionable in far too many cases.

While defending it, they had to ignore the truth that performance appraisals are often inflated by managers looking to avoid conflict. Plus, they had been telling managers that appraisals were a legal requirement for so long, they’d forgotten that it’s not actually true.

The process was broken and they knew it. But, they defended it because they felt like they had to.  

There can be no innovation or progress unless we’re open to the possibility of a better way. The black or white, yes or no, approach to HR does not work in a world of perpetual and accelerating change. As a consequence, HR is riddled with ineffective, old management practices born in an age of industrialization that have no place in today’s world of work.  

While it seems that perhaps we’ve made progress towards replacing the traditional performance appraisal process, that’s only the beginning.

How should interviewing and selection change due to the fact that people are really bad at evaluating other people? Or, what happens to compensation when we consider the evidence that financial bonuses are negatively correlated with performance for complex and creative work?   Continue reading

360 Feedback from anyone – Introducing Unsolicited Feedback (BETA)

Do you want to give people a chance to provide 360 feedback even if they were missed in the nomination phase? Or even want to leave it entirely up to people who they give feedback to, skipping the nomination & approval phases entirely?

Starting today, you can empower your team to provide feedback to any individual during a 360 Feedback Cycle with our entirely new feature: Unsolicited Feedback.

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