Annual Appraisals: It’s time to move on!

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To martyr yourself to caution/ is not going to help at all / because there’ll be no safety in numbers / when the right one walks out of the door

[Lost for Words, Pink Floyd]

Every year, around March-April there is a flurry of mails from HR reminding people to complete their appraisal inputs. Team members are exhorted to fill in their self ratings by the deadline, and then managers are hounded by HR to complete their ratings of their teams. A few days later all the managers are invited to a day-long meeting to do the dreaded ‘curve fitting’- since the logic goes that ratings of individuals on teams no matter how good or small should fit a normal distribution. (Those meetings can sometimes turn violent too when the fitting doesn’t go too well) Weeks later the ratings are communicated to the employees and that’s when the resignations start. A popular joke goes that moving companies record their maximum revenue for the year in the weeks right after annual appraisals are completed in companies.

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Happiness: the ‘new’ productivity driver

_kwench_happiness_driver_blogPostThe latest topic of interest at B-schools interestingly has little to do with finance or advanced operations management and has more to do with the ‘well-being’ of the workforce in companies. ‘Human Flourishing’ or ‘Subjective Well-being’ as some of the Prof’s put it, but ‘Happiness’ to most of us.

Research is now showing that contrary to the popular belief – ‘pressure drives productivity’, it is happiness at the workplace that makes good business sense. Happy employees, it turns out, tend to be healthier, more creative at finding solutions to problems and generally more productive.
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SaaS and Cloud Computing: driving HR Transformation

_Cloud_HR_Cloud Com.put.ing (noun; jargon)

The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server…*

Cloud computing, a pervasive term in the world of technology these days, involves the sharing of resources to achieve economies of scale and maximizing the effectiveness of the shared resources.

The term ‘moving to the cloud’ refers to an organization moving away from the traditional capex model (buy the dedicated hardware and depreciate it over a period of time) to the opex model (use a shared cloud infrastructure and pay as you use it)*. Whether as NaaS (Network as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) or the most popular SaaS (Software as a Service), cloud computing is transforming the technology landscape in ways that can be best described as ‘disruptive’ and HR functions are no different. Irrespective of scale and size of the organization, HR teams across the world are leveraging the flexibility and scalability offered by SaaS solutions to become globally competitive and deliver clear business impact.
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“Kwench is clearly the darling of HR teams…”

Media_‘kwench was recently featured on SME Mentor (Moneycontrol.com) for its offerings that are helping HR teams in India transform their engagement strategy.

Some quotes from top executives at out clients featured in the article.

“Employees use the platform not only to give and receive awards but also for peer-to-peer recognition and to congratulate winners. The portal helps breaks down departmental and geographic boundaries and builds a community,” explains Vivek Punekar, Chief Human Resources Officer, HCL Infosystems Ltd, and a client of Kwench.
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Notes to the CEO: Transform your employee engagement strategy [Infographic]

_Kwench_Blog_NotesToTheCEO_30Apr2013_Thumbnail_You have tried everything – hiked salaries, given huge bonus payouts, taken the whole company on an all expenses paid trip, there’s free food in the refrigerator and even a yoga teacher who comes in every Friday to help the team relax.

And yet, you don’t see it. There is simply no energy. Products aren’t getting shipped on time or with the quality you expect. Your customers are slowly but surely taking their business elsewhere. The business plan you submitted to the board looks more like like a fairy tale now.

This scenario, every leader’s nightmare, unfortunately is playing out in thousands of corporates every single day in varying degrees. The chasm between what most companies do for engaging their workforce and what is expected is growing.

And you can blame it on the gizmos (if you don’t want to face reality).
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Social Intranets: Your key to a “Knowledge-Creating Company”

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By 2016, 50 percent of large organizations will have internal Facebook-like social networks, and that 30 percent of these will be considered as essential as email and telephones are today. (Gartner Research)

Social networking sites are increasingly becoming the primary means of communication among people outside of their workplace. It should therefore come as no surprise that organizations are increasingly considering the option of deploying similar solutions internally to improve communication and collaboration among their employees. But the biggest hurdle senior management faces is in pinning down the ROI of a paradigm shift from emails, phones and traditional “secure” knowledge repositories to social intranets and real time collaboration platforms.

The problem is – most of them are looking for answers in the wrong place.
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The benefits of Non-Monetary Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Peer-Peer-Recognition

“The deepest human need, is to be appreciated” – Willam James, Psychologist

In my previous post on what motivates people at the workplace, one of the major takeaways was how people have a need to feel appreciated by their peers. But does peer to peer recognition really have such a big impact? The short answer is a big resounding Yes!

But why is it so important, especially now?

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Motivation at work: 3 fascinating insights

A young man in a bank burns the midnight oil for more than two weeks, making detailed financial spreadsheets for a M&A deal that his boss had asked him to work on. He spends long hours, completes a detailed presentation and then sends it to the boss the day before it was due.

The boss writes back “Nice presentation, but the merger is cancelled.”
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Boosting your employee engagement mindset

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It is an open secret that engaged employees are the key to success in today’s highly competitive market place. Engaged employees are far more productive, less likely to churn and tend be far more aware of market reality and deliver results. On the other hand research into human psychology has proven time and again that human beings are inherently anxious to be engaged at work and want to make a difference. Considering these facts, one wonders where the disconnect is.

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