The race will officially begin in just a few weeks. If you are on a calendar year increase schedule, you know exactly what I'm talking about -- budget meetings, rollout scheduling, and so on -- typically begins in September. Today you still have the bandwidth to think some deep thoughts. Take some time to be creative. Grab a cool drink, find a quiet place and think this one through.
Your plan design is communication. The design tells managers and employees how to act and what leadership considers important. How can you make a bigger impact this year? Instead of planning superficially, based on the way things have been done in the past, commit to making a bigger impact this year.
For example, people get tired of performance management yadda, yadda, yadda, mainly because their experience of it seems bureaucratic and unattached to the real world. Having a plan designed for impact and then studying where it worked or didn't is a business process, after all, with obvious value. Instead of accepting that performance management will always be unloved, think about how your plan can work better. What has your plan design been communicating that has caused these reactions?
Is it unlinked from real business? Get better educated about the business and make some inroads. Is it too bureaucratic? It's efficient to get everything online, but those applications can be really unwieldy and impersonal. Do some usability tests by sitting people down in front of the screen and having them talk to you about their reactions to what they have to do to input information. You'll learn a lot about how you may be frustrating their efforts and how you can improve things.
You may not be able to fix all of the problems unless you throw out your current approach and start from scratch. But if your performance management program is telling managers and employees to go through the motions, you can improve the impact you are making. The only place to go is up.
Then there's the issue of merit increases. (Major understatement.) Most companies report that their budgets will be quite similar to last year's.
Right there is a statement that communicates. Recognize that the automatic human reaction is, "Why?" Your company has been making a case for this very same budget, just about, for the last five or more years. Why is it happening again? What is this decision actually communicating.
Look around. What have managers and employees made of years of 3% merit budgets? Has it affected how they act? What can you do to have a better impact on what compensation means?
These are difficult issues, but your commitment to making an impact will be noticed.
Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP is founder and Principal of re:Think Consulting. "Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communication" the much-awaited ebook is in prerelease! (Tell everyone to check out www.everythingiscommunication.com or hold on until September for the final, final.) Margaret brings deep expertise in compensation, career development and communications to the dialog at the Café. Before founding re:Think Consulting, she was a Principal with Towers Watson.