Human Resources Needs a Shake-up

Steve Williamson, Dir. Product Development, eRep, Inc.
Monday, May 7, 2018
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Human Resources Needs a Shake-up

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The human resources world is due for a shake-up. The hiring process and performance evaluation procedures we've long held to be sacrosanct are ebbing away and new operational models are emerging.

Employee performance is the ultimate goal, and many factors that feed that effort are changing. Baby boomers are retiring and Millenials are taking over. Social norms are evolving and rightfully becoming more inclusive. Employee engagement, a phrase practically unheard of a decade ago, is now a common discussion point and objective.

Life in the working world is changing but the stodgy human resources practices of yesterday are in dire need of modernization. There can be no more sacred cows.

Annual Performance Evaluations Must Die

They are universally despised by both employees and supervisors yet annual performance evaluations continue to live on. Managers want measurable performance metrics while employees want solid feedback that actually improves their working life. Conducting an evaluation once a year provides neither.

Evaluating an employee's performance once a year is the same as steering a cargo ship by looking out over the bow, turning the rudder, and then waiting 364 days before looking again, hoping the ship doesn't run aground in the meantime.

Some big-name companies like GE and Deloitte have experimented with different evaluation models, with mixed success. Small and agile startups sometimes don't even bother at all. Even the name 'performance evaluation' deserves a re-think because it is inherently reactive and passive in nature, rather than proactive.

A New Way To Think

There is a wise phrase in aviation that admonishes pilots to be proactive:

"Stay ahead of the airplane."

It is a way of setting one's perspective to proactively consider next steps and how to react to them in flight. Management can learn a lot from this philosophy of staying ahead of the airplane in how they address employee performance.

This cuts to the heart of the mindset itself by focusing on fueling employee performance rather than reactively attempting to measure it long after the fact. Employees want to succeed, especially those who are right for their role, and they need three things from their supervisor to find that success:

Purpose — Clarity — Feedback

Employees need a sense of purpose that lets them know that what they do matters and will be appreciated. To achieve their success, they need the clarity of knowing what they are to accomplish without ambiguity. The ingredient that ties purpose and clarity together is proactive feedback from their supervisor at a pace that matches the employee's needs, whether it be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Fueling Performance the eRep Way

Those companies that seek out and embrace new employee performance evaluation models stand the best chance to truly succeed in the HR space. New models like eRep's Performance Fuel application take the latest in social science and psychology research and embrace the proactive, fly-ahead approach to employee performance.

eRep's Performance Fuel uses the formula of Purpose + Clarity + Feedback to give employees what they need to excel in their role while also giving managers the objective metrics they need to measure performance. Employees and supervisors use the built-in collaborative feedback system to establish short-term, attainable objectives. These objectives are set and achieved on a cadence of weekly, bi-weekly or monthly reporting periods.

Because the objectives are singular and realistic, they provide the employee with unambiguous clarity about what they are supposed to achieve. Since the objectives are defined with measurable outcomes, managers get objective performance metrics at a near real-time pace. Since the cadence is relatively short, corrective action can be taken immediately (rather than a year later).

The feedback mechanism in Performance Fuel is designed to be easy to use and highly collaborative yet tailored to the unique needs of each team member. It facilitates constructive communication between each employee and their supervisor in a way that keeps the conversation focused on their objectives. It is via this collaborative system that employees get their sense of purpose for their role.

Disrupting the Traditional HR Model

Organizations that want to set themselves apart must embrace new ways of hiring and empowering their team. Flying ahead of the operational aircraft by taking a performance-first approach is crucial.

Both today's and tomorrow's workforce demand a new level of interaction and collaboration with management. They want purpose and clarity in their work and they want the tools they use to easily and powerfully facilitate it.

Getting rid of outdated and ineffective HR methodologies is no longer optional.

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Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - Dir. Product Development, eRep, Inc.

Steve has a career in information technology, software development, and project management spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (, and when he isn't writing he is an aspiring multi-instrumentalist and composer, a virtual pilot in a home-built flight simulator, and a cyclist.

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