Every business, every department, and every individual occasionally hits a brick wall. Sometimes it’s due to company policy and culture, other times it’s outside the workplace, such as the economy or new technology, regardless,  when we come to a brick wall we have two choices—give up while blankly staring at the bricks or find a way to climb over the wall.

Annual employee performance reviews

The way most annual reviews are conducted is destructive. “Performance appraisals are one of the most frequently criticized talent management practices. The criticisms range from their being an enormous waste of time to their having a destructive impact on the relationship between managers and their subordinates.” Forbes: Performance Appraisals are dead long live performance management. 

The idea of a once-per-year review of an employee’s competencies is outdated and frankly ridiculous in this fast changing business climate. Even when change was slower waiting a year to review an employee’s work was difficult. Keeping track of what was reviewed previously and progress made every 12 months is in the least daunting. And when this system is tied to wages it’s easy for it to turn into a negative event. It should be no surprise that this system dates to the early 1900’s. LinkedIn-History of performance reviews.  It’s time for a change.

The employee review should be on-going, based on objective criteria, and forged with activities. Once-per-year doesn’t work. It should be a monthly, weekly, and daily commitment to improvement. Employee reviews are an ongoing process.

Talent shortage

Some industries are facing severe shortages of talent, for example, the trucking industry isn’t only short more than 100,000 drivers but faces a critical shortage of technicians and mechanics. Need a job? The Trucking Industry is Short 150,000 Drivers. Our schools are experiencing a shortage of teachers as fewer students than ever consider a career in teaching and those who do, stay less than five years in the profession. How the teacher shortage could turn into a crisis. There are plenty of other examples.

As the boomer generation retires and younger generations aren’t blindly loyal to an organization but more aware of their needs, the talent shortage will continue. Old methods of recruiting and retention will not be enough. Recruiting via social media and website jobs boards will be essential to keep up, while offering training, flex-schedules, and segmented benefits may be key to recruiting and retaining the talent of tomorrow. HR’s number one challenge recruiting and retention.

Employee engagement

Unfortunately, the employee expectations of management in America is too often based on, “They should be happy to have a job” it may not be uttered aloud but when the attitude is that “they” should “just” do their work, and don’t need training or shared expectations, the attitude is exposed. Training isn’t coddling. It’s one of the most productive ways to engage, and therefore retain, employees. When management doesn’t support HR in ongoing training they lose a valuable tool to retain talent. It handcuffs human resources. Creating a culture of engagement includes benefits beyond the norm such as, wellness programs, community involvement, and charitable volunteer opportunities. It includes leadership development and HR training for management teams. Asking your employees what they need is an excellent place to begin. Do you know what’s important to your employees?

Tear down those walls!

The best HR teams take on the challenge of tearing down the walls by promoting modern human resources initiatives to upper management and by developing activities that serve the workforce—by putting the human back in HR. Does your HR team bang its head against these three brick walls? If not, how did they meet the challenge?