Sunday, November 27, 2005

Motivating employees with positive feedback

In conversations with your team, and when training line managers, use these tips to make sure performance feedback helps increase employee motivation levels.

1. Be transparent. Make sure people are clear about what excellence in their role looks like - as opposed to acceptable performance - and what they need to do to move up. They need to see which skills are premium at the next level, particularly at transitional stages such as moving from operational
to strategic leadership roles.

2. Use internal feedback. Even in the best employee/manager relationships, direct feedback lacks the weight of colleague opinion. Ask respondents for strengths that have most impact on this person's contribution. What development areas could make the biggest difference?

3. Use external feedback. Assessment centers and psychometric inventories can deliver feedback that's perceived to be objective. An independent third party's feedback is objective and for difficult messages, it avoids embarrassment and offers privacy. Such companies typically offer benchmarking data to help assess the quality of your people against other organizations.

4. And something! Feedback should never be given in terms of "passing or failing" or it will quickly become discredited. Research shows that if nothing is done with an assessment's results, performance will dip. Solutions must be put in place with sustained managerial support. Short-term
fixes, like courses, deliver improvements, but to be sustained they need to be applied to the job.

5. Create an opportunity-rich environment. Organizations are often unimaginative about who might perform projects, so think laterally about how teams could be deployed. Assign projects beyond the usual suspects and give people something new to stretch them within their current role, but protect
them from failure with regular coaching meetings.

Source: "How to discuss performance positively and provide useful feedback" by Lucy McGee, director at global HR consultancy, DDI. Strategic HR Review Vol. 5, Issue 1, Nov/Dec 2005

Blogged on 11:20 PM by Upay



Tuesday, November 15, 2005

KPMG finds dramatic rise in level of CR reporting

The 2005 international survey on corporate responsibility reporting, conducted by KPMG International's Global Sustainability Services and the University of Amsterdam, has found a dramatic rise in the number of top global companies producing CR reports.

The survey, the fourth in a triennial series, found that CR reporting has been on the increase since 1993, with a particularly substantial rise over the last three years.

In 2002, 52 percent of G250 companies issued separate CR reports, an increase of 7 percent since 2002. If the figures for 2005 are adjusted to include those companies that published CR information as part of their annual report, they rise to 64 percent and 41 percent respectively. The type of reports being produced has also undergone significant change, with a shift from environmental, health and safety reports (70 percent of both global and national reports in 2002) to social, environmental and economic sustainability reports (70 percent of G250 reports in 2005).

Japan and the UK are the current leaders in producing separate CR reports (at 80 percent and 71 percent of companies respectively), although Japan has experienced fairly slow growth in this measure since 2002, an increase of only 8 percent (the number of companies producing separate CR reports in the UK has risen by 22 percent since 2002).

Canada and France follow Japan and the UK at some distance, with the number of companies producing CR reports in these countries at 41 percent and 40 percent respectively. The worst performers in this respect were Norway (15 percent) and Belgium (9 percent).

In terms of industry sectors, finance (which has traditionally had much a lower incidence of CR reporting - perhaps unsurprisingly, given its nature) has shown the highest increase in recent years.

While the oil and gas industry has been at the forefront of environmental and sustainability reporting for years, around half of this has been included in these companies' annual reports rather than separately. Still, the total percentage of G250 oil and gas companies providing some form of CR reporting is high at 80 percent, up 22 percent from 2002.

“Economic and ethical considerations” and increased pressure from stakeholders for non-financial information, were found to be the main drivers of the increase in reporting.
The full survey can be downloaded from:

Blogged on 3:24 AM by Upay



Eight key points to ensure CR and sustainability reports are relevant

The varied audience of a prospective CR or sustainability report raises difficulties for companies. How do you respond to all parties in the same document? Analysis of foreign studies and sustainability reports shows the following eight points must be considered to ensure relevance.

1. Commitment of management
Every study stresses the importance of management commitment at the highest level, and of expressing the support and involvement of management in sustainability reporting.

2. Corporate values and principles
The sustainability report is a means of describing a company's specific approach, values and culture. Instruments and methods used by organizations for managing their performance in terms of sustainability include charters or codes of conduct, internal regulations, standards, external voluntary initiatives, and management systems.

3. The provision of information on objectives and the resources applied
The reports should encompass the past and future objectives of the company in order to allow precise measurement of its performance. Many of the best sustainability reports set out quantitative and precise objectives.

4. Identifying and ranking CSR risks
An understanding of the sustainability issues linked to the company's activities is essential and forms the basis for the credibility of the reports. Paradoxically, a sustainability report that deals with “sensitive” subjects has enhanced credibility and improves the company's image. For a company simply to acknowledge a problem, even if it has no answer, is a factor in leadership and influences the views of rating agencies, the media, stakeholders and so on.

5. Means of verification introduced
Although the concept of “verification” as it concerns sustainability reports is still poorly defined, it can cover three types of factors: quantitative data, actions taken by the company (circulating a code of conduct, setting up a management system, and so on), and acknowledgement by the company of the impacts of its activities and of the expectations of its stakeholders, notably as regards its choice of indicators and objectives.

6. Results in all three areas of sustainability
The definition of good social and environmental performance is still strongly dependent on cultural background and particular business sector, making it more difficult to select relevant overall social indicators. A company's economic impact is still the area that is least developed in sustainability reports; aspects such as a company's contribution to the economic development of the countries in which it has a presence are only rarely reported, and this is still a challenge for most reports.

7. Views of the stakeholders
One of the first steps for a company to take in preparing the sustainability report is to get to know its stakeholders. Some companies devote several pages to the subject, providing a comprehensive list of identified stakeholders, with a profile of each group, the means of dialogue employed, the main expectations expressed, and key performance indicators corresponding to these expectations.

8. Impact and reaction
A number of methods for consulting stakeholders can be used, such as interviews with experts, stakeholder meetings, or even integrating stakeholders into the organization (by means of a consultative committee, for example).

Adapted from Assessing the French experience with mandatory CR reporting, in the current issue of Corporate Responsibility Management.

Blogged on 3:23 AM by Upay



Sunday, November 13, 2005

Employees cynical about company values

Only a small minority of employees believe that their organization's values are consistent with what it actually rewards, according to a survey from Mercer Human Resources Consulting.

The consultancy interviewed 1,100 UK employees and found that only 35% of respondents thought rewards matched company values, while 58% thought their organization communicated its values clearly.

Fewer than half of respondents (45%) think management behaves in a way that's consistent with organizational values and 48% think there's sufficient contact between managers and employees. Fewer than four in 10 employees (36%) trust senior managers to communicate honestly, down slightly from 39% in 2002.

The survey also found lower levels of trust in the UK than in the US, where it recently carried out a similar survey. In the US, trust was slightly higher with 40% of employees believing that managers' communications were honest.

Dr Patrick Gilbert, head of organizational research and effectiveness at Mercer, said company values provide a touchstone for guiding and evaluating behavior: Values only become meaningful if managers adopt them and lead by example. If these values are ignored by those at the top of the organization, employees can become disaffected and cynical.

Source: Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Blogged on 7:16 PM by Upay



Sunday, November 06, 2005

New survey dispels HR career myths

A survey of more than 1,800 HR professionals, conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, has discovered that HR professionals are happy with their career choice. Key findings include:

* 81% of respondents said they enjoyed their jobs, and would work in HR if they had their time again.
* The average HR director has 20 years' HR experience, has worked in four different organizations and has got to where they are today via five major career steps.
* 83% of respondents have worked outside HR at some stage in their careers.
* Respondents listed personal drive, business/industry awareness and generalist experience as most important when pursuing an HR career.
* 40% of participants feel outsourcing is having a negative impact on HR careers.
* Although two-thirds feel they have access to good development opportunities in their current jobs, less than half think they can achieve their next career move with their current employer.

Jessica Jarvis, CIPD learning, training and development adviser and the report’s author, said: “A profession where the vast majority would pick the same career path is a confident one that is happy with itself.”

Source: “HR: Where is your career heading?”

Blogged on 5:36 AM by Upay