Archive for October, 2008

Oct 23rd, 2008 1 Comment

Annual Employee Review Stress

I was having lunch with a friend the other day when he started complaining about the upcoming employee review process at his company.  He was already spending hours filling out the review forms for his direct reports, and this year was going to be more stressful than usual.  Business is down, and expected to remain slow for quite a while, so he’s going to have to lay off several people that actually did a good job this past year.  Needless to say, his own performance is suffering right now and his staff is probably spending too much time, at work and at home, stressing about this situation.

Only an HR person could love the annual performance review ritual.  Everyone else hates it.  Why should good work go unrewarded for up to a year?  And why on earth would anyone put off a reprimand, remedial training suggestions, or regular mentoring until some artificial date in the future?  If there’s a genuine, healthy dialog between boss and worker, as there should be, then issues are addressed as they come up and there’s nothing left to discuss at the "annual review."  If problems are left festering the boss isn’t doing his or her job.  Hard/good work that isn’t rewarded promptly with bonuses or salary adjustments just fosters resentment and causes higher employee turnover.

Anyway, yesterday’s Wall Street Journal has an article written by Dr. Samual Culbert, a consultant, author and professor of management at the UCLA Anderson School of Management in LA.  He says "It destroys morale, kills teamwork and hurts the bottom line. And that’s just for starters. "  The article is entitled "Get rid of the performance review! " and you should read it before subjecting your team to another round of reviews.

Oct 5th, 2008 No Comments

Send e-mail, set reminders, make appointments by phone

Some of my most productive time, that is, when I can really think undisturbed by phones or other people, is when I’m riding my bicycle or driving alone.  Unfortunately, those are also about the only times that I’m unable to capture my half-baked ideas on my business planning napkin, or compose that new blog entry on my computer.  Some people read and send text messages while driving, but that isn’t very healthy.

A new company called Jott ( ) has come up with an easy and clever solution for using the phone to create e-mail, text messages and calendar appointments.  Or as they put it "Turn your words into action."

The Jott service recently came out of beta and the service works as advertised.  In fact, it’s uncanny in its ability to accurately transcribe your messages.  They say they use a combination of computerized text-to-speach, and human operators.  My guess is that computers handle the easy stuff like dates and times, and that real people transcribe the actual messages.
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