Author Archives: Fuwad Junaidi

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BELL CURVE

The Bell Curve and Forced Ranking are NOT appraisal systems. The Bell Curve is only a tool used by companies to justify their comparison of employees within the company and their budgetary constraints. Once the rating has been decided the appraisal is just a administrative procedure, since the bell curve has become one of the most used tool and an integral part of Appraisal system its generally termed along with the appraisal system.

It is NOT an appraisal tool because it does not have built-in performance standards and metrics to distinguish an Outstanding, Good, Average, or Poor performance.

I think the bell curve appraisal system is better known as the Forced ranking appraisal systems. It require managers to rank their employees from best to worst, apply the rankings to a bell curve and use the results to determine pay as well as who to fire. Actually I know what forced appraisal method is like…like in there are two extremes a good and a bad..and the manager has to rank his employees accordingly…say an honest employee will be ranked in the top 10% and likewise…

Personally I am completely against the implementation of Bell Curve appraisal system. Three major flaws I see in this system are:

  1. This system is implemented department wise instead of the entire employee database and hence there are chances that the worst in some departments are much better than the average in other departments but still they are forced to leave.
  2. When this system is implemented in a department where the performance has been very good and the company cant afford to fire the lower 10% the bonuses and the raise in salary is quite less compared to other departments and hence sooner or later the firm seems the top 20% leave because they are not happy with their respective packages.
  3. This system alongwith improving the top performers in your company would also attract hyper competitive nature among employees and hence resulting into a dysfunctional working environment in the same department.

    Now for the implementation:

    Its generally based on three levels of performances the top 20 is extraordinary the mid 70% is ordinary but the backbone of the company and the rest 10% are the guys who are worthless and cant be trained and hence are fired if the performance doesnt improve for three consecutive years.

    The appraisal system is done department wise and The respective line managers are supposed to rate employees into these three groups.

The candidate who is not able to come out of the lower 10% for two/three years is then fired.
Will have to agree that the bell curve with a few tweaks can be very fruitful.

Before the implementation of the Bell Curve Appraisal System, You have to ensure the following,

a) Use of objective parameters for the performance appraisal system.

b) Determine the reason for poor performance of the employee if there is any.

c) Let the employee take responsibility for improved and only offer your assistance if needed.

d) Document all the performance related discussions with the employee

Now the following came across to me during a discussion with a friend, she used to work for ABB and hence the practice followed by ABB is just awesome a smart solution to the bell curve appraisal system.
The main business strategy of ABB  is customer focus. It aims to achieve it through TQM, time-based management and supply management. ABB has four business segments in Pakistan comprising about 30 independent business areas. Each business area operates like an independent company with its own strategic plans and budgets. Teamwork is central to the achievement of ABB’s strategy. Traditionally, ABB’s performance appraisal system focused on individual performance and results, and its compensation system rewarded high performers. Although eminently logical, this system of appraisal and compensation discouraged teamwork, which was the prime requirement for a customer-focused strategy. ABB has changed its appraisal and compensation system to foster teamwork. There are nine aspects to the current system: –

Change of nomenclature: The present system is called the developmental appraisal, not performance appraisal. This emphasizes the role of appraisal in promoting individual learning and development.

Planning the job for the following year: This provides role clarity and builds a common understanding between the individual and the team leader.

Counseling for development: Counseling is an integral part of the appraisal system emphasizing openness and disclosure.

Team performance: The individual’s contribution to team performance is of major importance.

Process parameters: Process parameters with emphasis on quality, customer focus and systems form the core of the appraisal.

Training: The appraisal system is used to identify the training needs for individuals and teams.

Focus: The appraisal system has a single focus, namely development of individual and teams.

Client-centered: The developmental appraisal system is exclusively client-oriented. There is no complex web of procedures with perforated sheets and flow charts maintained by the human resource department. The forms remain with the team leaders and team members.

Label-free ratings: There is no overall rating with labels such as ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, and ‘average’.

ABB has also developed a system of compensation for its managers that promotes team effort. In ABB, a business area, which is roughly equivalent to a strategic business unit (SBU), is judged on certain performance parameters. Based on the performance of the business area, the team members in that particular business area receive a percentage of the basic pay and allowance as lump-sum payment. All members of the same grade receive exactly the same percentage. Performance parameters include both qualitative and quantitative indicators. Quantitative parameters include orders and profits. Qualitative indicators include factors such as on-time delivery. The company classifies individuals into three categories: –

Group A includes those who perform far below expectations with special counseling being provided to such individuals.

Group B consists of ideal performers with performance exceeding the expectations of the organization. They are given non-financial rewards in addition to flat equal increments.

Group C comprises individuals who perform strictly according to expectations. All of them receive exactly the same amount of bonus and increments.

To summarize Bell curve by itself is strict no according to my opinion but a few tweaks and this should be the best solution.

I hope the above clears all doubts on drawbacks and implementation of bell curve appraisal system.

 

 

Employee Recognition

The goal of employee recognition is to show appreciation for an employee’s achievement and to motivate employees to continue good performance and their commitment to the company.A good employee recognition program helps an organization retain key employees and keep job satisfaction at a high level.

What Employee Recognition Is…..

  • Acknowledgment of an employee’s achievement.
  • It may take the form of a monetary reward or a non monetary reward

Why Employee Recognition Is Important because……

  • Helps to attract and retain employees
  • Motivates employees to perform at higher levels
  • Increases employee productivity
  • Increases healthy employee competitiveness
  • Increases company revenues and profitability and improves quality of business  & services
  • Improves safety &Lowers stress
  • Reduces absenteeism & turnover costs

Types of Employee Recognition

  • Years of service
  • Attendance
  • Completion of certifications or degrees
  • Being voted employee of the month, week, year
  • Performance
  • Suggestion program ideas

Recognition Based on Performance

  • Go  beyond what is expected in their job
  • Suggest a new process or idea that saves time or effort or positively affects the department or team

Ways to Recognize Employees

  • Verbal, written or formal praise
  • Opportunities to attend conferences or training sessions
  • Monetary award or bonus pay
  • Recognition luncheon
  • A gift of company logo items or trophies.

The four essential questions in an Interview.

Having spent at least half an hour taking your candidate through the set of specific behavioral or competency related questions and you are satisfied with the responses, you should then ask the five essential questions that will prove invaluable to any hiring manager.
Whilst these specific questions don’t focus at all on a candidate’s past behavior or personal attributes, they will tell you (very quickly) just how serious the person sitting in front of you is about their job search and ultimately about working for your organization.
1: Why are you really sitting in front of me today?
The answer to this question will reveal whether your candidate is running away from something (eg a hostile working environment, bad manager, job they have grown to dislike etc), or whether they are running toward something (eg a better job, a new career direction, or a new challenge through a more senior position etc).
2: What are you ideally looking for in your next position?
This is where you basically ask your candidate to create a wish list for their next role. Get them to talk through it right there in front of you (and remember to write it all down). Ask them to think about everything from:
– What type of manager they want to work for;
– What hours they want to work;
– Whether they want any more flexible working arrangements
– Whether they expect any particular benefits (eg car allowance, parking, mobile phone reimbursement);
or what additional training they may be expecting etc.
Once you have a full understanding of what they’re looking for, you will know whether you are able to meet their wishes.You will also be able to come back to this list at the time you make them an offer and remind them of exactly what they told you they wanted. No last minute or unexpected demands.

3: What salary are you on now?
It’s an unfortunate fact but the majority of people will typically ‘stretch the truth’ slightly in response to this particular question. Candidates will
always inflate their current salary. Fortunately there is a way to prevent this.
a way to phrase the question might be, “If I were to ask for a payslip, what salary will it indicate you are currently on?”. Whilst it might cause the candidate to become fidgety for a minute, or to break eye contact for a second, you are more likely to get a straight answer.
4: How will your manager/organization react when you resign?
Again this might seem like bit of an odd question to ask the first time you meet a candidate, but it will tell you a lot.
If your candidate tells you that the manager would completely understand and respect their decision or perhaps even that they wouldn’t be at all surprised, then you’re OK.
But if the candidate responds by saying their manager will probably offer them more money, there is only one thing for you to do. Send them back to work, suggest they call a meeting with their current employer and to actually ask for a pay rise. If the request isn’t granted, tell them to then come back to you. After all, why should you waste your time going through the entire recruitment process with a great candidate who, when they resign, is offered more money and then turns your offer down? They’ll be happy but you’ll be back to square one.

Salary Negotiation tips for employer

Hiring a prospective employee usually goes through an arduous process of salary negotiations.  It is understandable, of course, that the candidate wants to receive his or her salary according to his experience and skills, and at the same time the candidate does not want to provide an impression that he or she is asking for too much.  These negotiations could either end up with the employer feeling excited to welcome the candidate or as if he lost a prospective employee who would contribute significantly to your company, or worse, accepting the new employee but ended up paying more than you can afford.

Salary negotiations can consume the employer’s mental and physical energy way beyond its importance because, by the time you reach the stage of making an offer, you have spent the time developing a pool of candidates and have interviewed them for weeks.  And after investing significant time and energy in wooing and getting to know your final choice candidate, more often than not they would counter your initial offer letter.

Although these tips to not intend to comprehensively detail how to conduct salary negotiations, but they ensure that your organization would conduct a successful salary negotiation.

  • Negotiation is not a battle between employer and employee

The essence of salary negotiations is that both parties should win.  If either the employer or the candidate feels they have capitulated—having paid more than the employer could afford or less than the employee could receive—both parties lose.

 

  • Identify the most recent salary and benefits your candidate received

There is a reason why other organizations ask for salary on their job applications, so that they would be able to match what the employee’s current employer is giving (and at the same time they would have an idea who they can afford).  You can either ask for the employee’s proof of salary, or you could also ask former employers during reference checking.

 

  • Know your limits in salary negotiations

Your salary offer should have a limit according to how much your current employees in similar positions receive, the economic climate and job searching market, as well as the profitability of your company.

Any other financial benefits can be included in the negotiation – Even if your salary is non-negotiable, superior candidates will negotiate with you in other areas that may be negotiable.  These include benefits,  tuition assistance, paid time off, a signing bonus, stock options, variable bonus pay, commissions, car allowance, paid cell phone, severance packages, and relocation expenses.

 

  • If you cannot afford the candidate, let it go

Even if you are convinced the final candidate has potential positive impact within your organization, you cannot accept him or her in your company if the candidate is asking for too much.  Most organizations have limit, and you will regret violating your limits if you accept an employee that you end up capitulating.

 

  • Indicate if your initial offer is not negotiable, or barely negotiable

Other employers usually provide their candidates with a “base salary,” which subtly suggests that the employee cannot negotiate that amount.  However, they also say how the base salary can increase in time (either according to a time period, or according to performance).

 

How to Improve Teamwork

Effective collaboration is key to helping organizations achieve their goals.

But creating and maintaining strong teams is easier said than done. There’s just too much work to do on a daily basis—deadlines to meet, reports to file, bosses to satisfy. So how can teams boost their performance?

Research on group dynamics shows that teams perform best when their members agree on rules related to goals, roles and norms. Teams that spend time talking out those three things tend to do better. As soon as people get together in any kind of group, they start putting rules together. The highest-performing teams understand the importance of constructing those rules carefully and deliberately.

The three steps to building better teams are:

Commit to the goals, roles and norms for guiding the team’s direction. Do you have a shared vision? Choose specific goals with clear and measurable targets. Take into account the team members’ values. What will inspire them? What’s in it for them?

Roles should be well-defined and should utilize the skills and interests of each person.

It’s also important to establish norms, which are the rules that help you manage communication, decision-making and conflict. Even when we think we understand, we misinterpret others’ intentions and fail to recognize our own assumptions about the way work should be done, the authors say.

Check alignment between the agreements that the team members made and what they are actually doing. Because your team behaviors become habit, it can be really hard to see when things get out of alignment. You have to be a really good observer of your own culture.

Enlisting the help of an outside onlooker could help you see the gaps between what your team members are saying and what they’re doing. Or appoint a team member to play devil’s advocate and ask the tough questions. But first, you must create a psychologically safe space so that team members feel it’s safe to speak their minds.

Two common biases frequently lead to teams getting off track. When a project is successful, teams seldom bother to investigate processes that might have produced negative results under slightly different circumstances. This is called “overvaluing outcomes.” Another common bias is “motivated blindness,” which occurs when team members don’t look for problems because their paychecks depend on a project’s completion.

The solution? Search for evidence that disproves your beliefs to ensure that you are not letting your own interests cloud your judgment, the authors say.

Close the gap between what team members are saying and doing. To bring the team back into alignment with its goals, determine small, specific steps the team can take to get back on track. Carve out time to work on them, and be realistic about the obstacles you might encounter along the way.  Highlight the positive impact the changes will have.

 

Recruiting Trends in 2016

The year 2016 is here with new opportunities and challenges opening in the world of work. It’s the new era of recruiting for us to break through in reinforcing and enhancing the importance of HR in our organizations. I have highlighted some of the recruiting trends in 2016.
1. Social recruiting

2016 is likely to continue the growing trends of social recruiting, not only professional network LinkedIn but also such personal networks as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. 91% recruiters consider social media as an official factor for screening candidates. Both personal and corporate digital footprints need managing well to make you and your company stands out of the crowd in fierce talent war.In addition, software and mobile platforms will play a more important role in recruiting. New functions of ATS/ CRM systems will be developed for both large organizations and SMEs. Mobile recruiting platforms are created for the sake of millennial generations who can hold smart phones 24/7 everywhere they go.

2. Employer branding

Employer branding is not a new term among HR professionals, but it is forecasted to become a long lasting trend or maybe the future of HR in the next decades. Apart from attracting and retaining top-notch talent, a strong employer brand will help the business gain a lot of benefits from high employee engagement and customer satisfaction as well. A successful employer brand needs the key holding of C-level executives, HR and Marketing and the involvement of all stakeholders in the organization. It should be put into a strategy along with company brand and consumer brand in 2016 and the upcoming years.

3. Employee referrals

Never in recent years has relationship been the center of mostly trends as in 2016. Many researches and studies found that referrals have quicker time of hiring, better cultural fit, better performance and longer tenure. In 2016, employee referral programs will need more improvement in leveraging candidate experience and current employee awareness of referral benefits. To have a successful employee referral program, company’s perks need to communicate more effectively to current employees.

4. Anonymised recruiting

Anonymised recruitment process creates more favorable conditions for candidates to reach their dream jobs by hiding non-work related information. It helps to recruit people with right skills more quickly, decrease discrimination in recruitment and boost diversity in organization. With such benefits, anonymised recruiting will become a new wind blowing in 2016. Recruiters worldwide need to take this growing trend into account in the upcoming years.

5. The deeper integration of marketing in recruiting

HR in general and recruiting in particular can’t stand alone in the more and more severe talent shortage across industries. To win the best talent, aligning marketing with recruiting is the inevitable approach in 2016 and the near future. All of above trends need the crucial role of marketing to make a successful hire. Recruiters need to have a marketing mindset to evaluate the needs of recruitment, writing attractive and clear job descriptions, advertise jobs in right talent pools and treat candidates like customers.

6. Data-driven recruiting

The development of high technology allows us to have analytics in every single stage of recruitment process. By analyzing data from tools, software, social media, industry reports and advertisement, recruiters can optimize recruiting more easily than ever. Be sure to track and measure your results of recruitment.

The year 2016 is with new opportunities and challenges opening in the world of work. Despite the panorama picture of global recruiting trends in 2016, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you must adjust your firm’s recruiting activities immediately. It’s the new era of recruiting for us to break through in reinforcing and enhancing the importance of HR in the organization

5 Habits that can improve your productivity every day

As a personal development consultant, I frequently encounter people seeking solutions to increase personal productivity to achieve more in a day. Increased productivity hugely boosts the sense of worthwhile accomplishments at the end of the day, a feeling everyone wishes to experience.

In Islam, improved productivity is generally referred to as ‘barakah’, something akin to a lost treasure these days. Everyone seeks it but no one knows where to find it. People are continually complaining that there is no barakah in time, money, business, society and so on. Here I would like to share five tips that have greatly improved my productivity and increased barakah in my life.

  1. Wake up early / Arrive early

There is a hadith of Prophet Muhammad (sas): ‘Allah (swt) has made the early hours blessed for my Ummah.’ (Ahmed)

I find this a most profound hadith on the subject of increasing productivity. Waking up early is a critical first step towards achieving the blessings of Allah (swt) and remaining energized throughout the day.

I suggest waking up 30-45 minutes before Fajr, offer Tahajjud prayers and use that time for getting a head start on the day. If this is too difficult, then at least wake up for Fajr and stay up. These early hours of the day are filled with barakah, as stated by Allah (swt). I also recommend going to work early because you can get so much more done in those early hours as compared to the rest of the day.

  1. Plan your day and keep your goals in sight

According to David Allen in Getting Things Done, ‘Your day should not be started unless it is finished on a paper.’ In other words, you need to know exactly what you plan to accomplish in the coming 24 hrs. Most people start their day like a ship without radar. Also, although it is easy to get impressed by someone who is very busy moving from one task to another or who has a hectic schedule, productivity is not judged by how busy someone looks. Why? Because speed is irrelevant if the direction is wrong.

Before starting a journey, you need to know the destination. Unless the destination is decided, the direction cannot be set. The same applies to your coming day, week, month, year, and even your life. Use the early hours to reflect upon what do you want to achieve in the coming day in the form of a to-do list. Once you’ve concluded a to-do list for the day, move towards executing the list point by point. A pocket size note-book and your to-do list should always be with you. (Strategic Time Management workshop discusses the detailed module of planning and developing to-do lists.)

  1. Prioritize your activities

The third key to productivity is to prioritize your tasks and activities for the day. It is observed that in an undisciplined or mismanaged society, people generally tackle whatever task comes their way without considering the importance of priority. One of the ways to impair productivity is to spend excessive time on a task that is not of priority. Thousands of people attending Timelenders’ workshops complain finding themselves in confusion over prioritizing their day’s activities.

Not having a proper prioritization framework also puts people under unnecessary stress. For instance, one of the productivity destroying strategies that people use for prioritization is prioritizing tasks according to ease or difficulty. In a recent workshop at a large manufacturing plant, an engineer in the maintenance department prioritized a task that was relatively easier to perform and left out the task that required more thinking and reflection. In reality, in terms of importance, the later task was more important and had greater impact on the performance of the department and on the overall production of the plant. So, this guy ended up spending more time on relatively easier but less important tasks leaving out the more important, focused driven tasks.

Tasks need to be prioritized according to the significance of the goals and visions they eventually fulfill. Urgency is another factor and many people tend to overlap these two words failing to realize that they are totally different variables. (For details, please see the chapter on prioritization in the Strategic Time Management workshop manual.)

  1. Don’t play with Allah’s time

When I talk about prioritization, it doesn’t only refer to the tasks performed at the work place, but everything that you do in a day. So, from the start of your day to its end, you should not compromise on the activities that our Creator has ordered us to perform. Your schedule should be blocked for prayer timings and these blocks should be non-negotiable except in case of extreme exigency that may result in huge loss. Our Creator has asked us to offer 5 prayers in a day and if you calculate the total time required for these prayers in congregation, it is not more than an hour or so. That still leaves you with 23 hours in a day.

I am mentioning this specifically because it is a common observation that even if people do go for prayers, they rush through it whereby compromising their connection with Allah (swt) and crippling the entire purpose behind Allah’s orders. I consider five daily prayers as regular barakah fillers of my day. People who consciously remember Allah (swt) during an ultra hectic day invariably enjoy great accomplishments.

  1. Minimize distractions

This is easier said than done because today’s world is full of distractions. If you work from your computer, there’s always the temptation to browse on social media, surf the Internet, and check email, among many other things. However, if you wish to focus and get serious work done, close your Internet browser and turn off your phone while working. Inform your colleagues that you are busy and do not wish to be disturbed for the next two or three hours. If possible, work with your door closed and use a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door so your colleagues know not to bother you.

Although this is an era of smart phones and smart gadgets, these have only decreased the overall productivity of people. The idea of smart phone was to help people increase their productivity but research has established that rather than using these excellent tools to increase productivity, most people waste time on social media and useless games. They lose hours on end and then complain that 24 hours are not enough in a day. This is a sign of low achievers with mediocre management skills and reckless, undisciplined behavior.

Every office has people who love to discuss the previous night’s television program or political talk show. They start their discussion even before attempting the important things on their table. Avoid letting these average achievers spoil your day and hold you back. Set principles and abide by them religiously. Minimizing your distractions is entirely your own responsibility and is directly proportionate with taking your productivity to amazing levels.

Employee Appreciation Day

This Friday, March 6, is Employee Appreciation Day.

I’m willing to wager that somewhere in your desk drawer, in a nearby filing cabinet, or perhaps in a box at home, there is a note from a boss, supervisor, or manager who recognized you for your efforts. The message may not have been long, but it was authentic and spoke specifically to your contributions to the success of the organization.

Why did you keep it? Because we all want to be recognized for doing our best. And when people take time to acknowledge it in such a personal way, it has an amazing impact.

 

Here are some quick ideas on what to say to the valuable employee:

  • Mention how their efforts have enabled the team or organization to better succeed.
  • Highlight an instance where they went “above and beyond” in their service to customers or coworkers.
  • Talk about how their work has inspired others and be specific about what others did because of that inspiration.
  • Write about how you have seen them grow professionally. Mention a skill they now have that was not there when they came to the organization.
  • List some of the qualities they possess that makes them a positive presence within the organization.
  • Share positive comments you have heard others say about them.
  • Look back at some goals they said they had when they came to the company, and congratulate them on being so committed.

Self Discipline : (2)The Discipline of Daily Goal-Setting

Focus and concentration are the essential qualities for success.

a)Start by asking, “What do I really want to do with my life?” Ask this question over and over again until you get a clear answer.

b) Imagine that you had ten million dollars cash, but only ten years to live. What would you immediately do differently in your life?

c) Imagine that you have no limitations. That you could wave a magic wand and have all the time and money, all the education and experience, all the contacts you needed to achieve any goal. What would you do then?

d) Buy a spiral notebook and write in it every day .Begin by writing out ten goals in the present, positive and personal tense.

e) Every day before you start of rewrite your top ten goals in the present tense, as though you had already achieved them and you were reporting on this success to someone else. Rewrite your goals without looking back to the previous page. Rewrite them from memory. Watch how they grow,develop and change over time as you rewrite them each day. Many people have said that the discipline of daily goal setting has transformed their life and far faster than they had even imagined.

Self-Discipline.(1)Clear Thinking

The Discipline of Clear Thinking:

  • Take time to think though the critical issues and problems in your life. Put aside long, unbroken chunks of time, thirty, sixty and then ninety minutes.
  • Sit quietly for 30-60 minutes to think. Practice solitude on a regular basis. “Go into the silence.”
  • Whenever you practice solitude for more than thirty minutes, you activate your super conscious mind and trigger your intuition. You get it right from the “still, small, silent voice within.”
  • To think better, take a pad of paper and write down every detail of the problem situation you are facing. Sometimes, the right thing to do immerges as you write down the details.
  • Aristotle once said that wisdom (The ability to make good decisions) is a combination of experience plus reflection. The more time that you take to think about your experiences, the more vital lessons you will gain from them.
  • Go for a walk or exercise for 30-60 minutes. Very often when you are exercising, you will get insights or ideas that help you to think better and make better decisions.
  • Talk your situation over with someone else who you like and trust, and who is not emotionally in­volved. Very often, a different perspective can totally change your viewpoint.
  • Always ask, “What are my assumptions?” What is it that you are assuming to be true about the situation?
  • What if your assumptions were wrong? What if you were preceded on the basis of false information?

 

Always be open to the possibility that you could be completely wrong in your current course of action. Be open to doing something completely different.

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