Guest Writer: Dr Peter Gisbey (IAM Fellow).
For one thing, whilst performance management involves a range of interrelated disciplines and competencies, arguably the most important factors affecting performance in the workplace are motivation, ability and environment (Mitchell, 1982; Porter & Lawler, 1968).
For another thing, administrative management is essential in order for a business to run smoothly (IAM, 2018), which in turn support the business in the outworking of its strategies, and the achievements of the relevant corporate goals and intermediate milestones.
Administrative managers can and do add value to all aspects of business activity; they have significant leverage at the operational, tactical, and strategic level because they 'make things happen' for the top management team (TMT) and/or Board of Directors, who are ultimately tasked with governing the business. In short, administrative management is at the heart of all businesses.
Since high-quality administrative management involves the effective deployment of both resources and information within a business, high-quality performance management is simply impossible without high-quality administrative management and vice versa.
...so administrative personnel, especially managerial staff, should strive to demystify the performance appraisal process and make it as meaningful as possible.
As the literature suggests, one of the most important operational functions of performance appraisals concerns providing legal evidence of personnel decisions. Moreover, from a tactical and strategic perspective, performance appraisal systems also help HR personnel evaluate success in hiring high-quality employees. In the absence of rigorous appraisals, organisations cannot reliably assess and reward employees for outstanding performance or discipline employees for unsatisfactory performance. Crucially, performance appraisal can serve to ensure achievement of strategic goals, if it is targeted and done in real time (Blundell, 2018; Monar Consulting, 2012).
Moreover, if performance management systems are augmented by the fostering of growth-orientated mindsets in the relevant workplaces, this helps to embed an empowering culture of 'performance learning' (Taylor, 2017a, 2017b, 2017c).
Effective performance management systems in the 21st century needs to pay even more attention to the individuality of employees and their ever higher expectations...
Nowadays, in developed economies such as that of the UK, it is obvious that effective performance management systems need to be tailored to the 'millennials', and latterly Generation Z workers, who demand much more from the workplace (even in the still apparent 'afterglow' of the global 'credit crunch' of 2008-9).
...and first-rate administrative personnel must strive to ensure that performance management systems remain ultimately focused on the customer.
High-performing administrative staff invariably view other employees within the organisation as 'internal customers', in the discharging of their performance management responsibilities, because of their commitment to quality. As a result, the 'customer-facing' staff in 'front-office' roles will be generally better primed to provide a high-quality service to the external customers of the business, the ever present reason for the existence of the firm in question.
Blundell, A. (2018). Time's up for performance reviews. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018: https://www.mpamag.com/business-strategy/times-up-for-performance-reviews-90488.aspx
IAM (2018). What is administrative management? Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018: http://www.instam.org/about/what-is-administrative-management
Mitchell, T. R. (1982). Motivation: New directions for theory, research, and practice. Academy of Management Review, 7, 80–88
Monar Consulting (2018). Performance Appraisals: Development vs. Administrative. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018: http://www.monarconsulting.com/consulting/2012/03/20/performance-appraisals-development-vs-administrative/
Porter, L. W., & Lawler, E. E. (1968). Managerial attitudes and performance. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.
Taylor, R.C. (2017a). The Growth-Mindset Workplace, Part 1: Permission to Fail. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018: https://www.performancelearningconcepts.com/single-post/2017/06/07/The-Growth-Mindset-Workplace-Part-I-Permission-to-Fail
Taylor, R.C. (2017b). The Growth-Mindset Workplace, Part 2: Embracing a 360 Mindset. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018: https://www.performancelearningconcepts.com/single-post/2017/06/08/Uniquely-Helpful-The-Growth-Mindset-Workplace-Part-II-Embracing-a-360-Mindset
Taylor, R.C. (2017c). The Growth-Mindset Workplace, Part 3: Purposeful Training and Development. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018: https://www.performancelearningconcepts.com/single-post/2017/06/08/The-Growth-Mindset-Workplace-Part-III-Purposeful-Training-and-Development
Mind have published research which showed that men are twice as likely to have mental health problems due to their job.
Mind surveyed 15,000 employees, of which 1,763 were currently experiencing poor mental health. The research breaks down gender differences in what men and women attributed to being the cause of poor mental health. One in three men in comparison to one in seven, considered their job to be a contributing factor to their poor mental health rather than problems outside of work. Whereas women considered both their job and problems outside of work contributing to poor mental health.
Emma Mamo, Head Of Workplace Wellbeing at mind, considers how the "macho" culture men can find themselves working in, may be a contributing factor but concerningly also preventing them from seeking help and support from their employer. Only one in three men felt their workplace had a culture where it was possible to speak about their mental health problems and only one in three men had taken time off for poor mental health.
Emma Mamo says "In the last few years, we've seen employers come on leaps and bounds when it comes to tackling stress and supporting the mental well-being of their staff, including those with a diagnosed mental health problem. However, there is more to do and employers do need to recognise the different approaches they may need to adopt in how they address mental health in the workplace".She goes on to comment that "it is concerning that so many men find themselves unable to speak to their bosses about the impact that work is having on their well-being.... the majority of managers feel confident in supporting employees with mental health problems, but they can only offer extra support if they're aware there is a problem".
Have you had experience of talking to your employer about mental health? Do you feel you would be able to discuss a mental health problem with your manager? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
Are you an employer who wants to evaluate psychosocial risk in their organisation? IQ Verify are able to audit to a psychosocial risk management standard to help evaluate and implement interventions to improve psychological well-being in the workplace.
The recruitment process is notoriously nerve-racking - particularly at senior level where the stakes are high and competition is fierce. Lisa Forrest (Head of Internal Talent Acquisition, at Recruitment Specialists Alexander Mann Solutions) explains to IAM Manager how to get ready for the big day.
The rise of the sophisticated jobseeker, who has high expectations of how an employer brand should engage with them, and who is as adept as researching organisations as rehearsing interview scenarios, has encouraged employers to raise the bar in terms of interview process. However, there are still steps you can take to maximise your chances of success.
You should, of course, prepare for any interview by thoroughly researching the potential employer and forming a clear idea of what you are able to offer them. If you are working with an internal or embedded executive search specialist, they will be able to provide you with useful background - such as interview dynamics and dress code - before you even set foot in the door. If you know anyone who currently works at the company, or has done previously, ask for some frank feedback. It can be valuable to have a first-hand account to complement the exhaustive online fact-finding that you will no-doubt be undertaking.
You're A Star!
Enter the interview armed with a handful of examples of professional achievements, and be ready to discuss these in detail in terms of strategy, perspective, evaluation and the impact on the company's bottom line. Answers to competency based questions can be given structure with the STAR acronyms; outline the Situation, Task, Action and Result.
If you are asked an unexpected question, think it over briefly and answer to the best of your ability - be sure to explain the thinking behind your reply. The capability to be able to challenge, solve or even deflect problems is an essential skill in the workplace, and hirers may try to catch you off-guard to judge how you are likely to behave in stressful situations in the future. Remember to be confident in your capabilities - the fact you have secured an interview indicates that you have impressed with you application so far so take some deep breaths before you go in to help stay cool and shake off any nerves.
According to a recent report by Forbes Magazine, nearly half (46 per cent) of executive hires fail within 18 months. As frightening as this statistic is, the really insightful and helpful number is this; only 11 per cent of these executives fail because of their technical ability or due to the lack of the required skill set. What this says to me is that firms are adept at hiring against a skill set; interviewers are rarely making mistakes in hiring people that can't actually do the job. Where the executive fails in by far the majority of cases it is down to their ability to do the job in that particular environment and culture.
With this in mind, it is essential that you are relaxed and authentic throughout the interview process. Never wear a mask that will inevitably slip later down the line. Technical ability can be taught, but core competencies and charisma cannot - and personality and cultural fit are essential to successful placements. It is also essential that you embrace the interview stage as an investigative opportunity. Use it as a platform to ask pertinent questions - whether that be what the organisation's CSR policy is, or if there will be the opportunity to work internationally further down the line. Remember an interview process is a two-way-street, and it's better if you find out sooner rather than later if this is not the golden opportunity you have been waiting for.
And finally, don't forget the obvious; avoid alcohol and get plenty of rest the night before, be well presented and arrive early - and smile. This could be the beginning of the next step in your management career.
What are your thoughts on preparing for an Interview?
Let us know on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. There are free webinars available for IAM members - you can access them on the IAM portal, or, if you would like to participate in a live Q&A session - keep an eye on our events page.
If you can't keep on top of your inbox and the ping of an email notification brings a tremor of dread, you're not alone. We can suffer from email overload and need to break free.
You walk through the office door with a to-do list in your pocket and a swing in your step. Then you hit your desk, sport your bulging inbox and you're bogged down, overwhelmed and distracted before the working day has even begun. If this sounds familiar then you could be suffering email overload - sending, receiving and processing more emails than you can actually handle.
We all know email has its uses: it's fast, can be saved for later and can reach as many people as is needed in one go - all without leaving your device. But research has shown that the more emails you receive each day, the less you are likely to process effectively. In fact a US study has shown that for every 100 emails a person receives, they will respond to roughly five. With the volume of daily emails ever increasing, dealing with email overload is one of the biggest challenges today's employees face.
But you don't have to just live with thousands of emails cluttering up your inbox. Here are some tips to set you on your way to email freedom and point your colleagues in the right direction too.
A Tidy Inbox Is A Tidy Mind....
Your inbox should not be your only file - yet all too often is. Your email is an online filing cabinet so create folders specific to your roles: you might have action required, project folders, even a file to store information which may be needed "one day" (and once it's filed neatly away, schedule in reading time for this folder once a week). Most email programmes allow you to set rules to filter emails from your boss or different colleagues into their own separate folders before they have a chance to take root in your inbox.
Keep To Schedule
Don't be tempted to check your email every few minutes and turn off notifications. Instead, schedule in specific times during the day to check your emails and stick to them. If you are heavily involved in a task, keep to the two-minute rule - only respond to emails that take less than two minutes to resolve. Save everything else for later.
Be Subject Specific
When you send an email make it clear in the subject header exactly what you want. If you need a response, label your header "Response Required". If you are simply providing the recipient with information use the subject FYI. And be very clear about the subject matter - don't label your emails "quick query" or "just a note". Instead state "two questions regarding budget" or "annual report: please forward".
Keep It Brief
Ensure emails you send to others are brief and to the point. Do not be tempted to include lots of information (your recipient might not even finish reading it) and send separate emails for separate topics. If anyone sends you an email addressing several different issues, separate your replies into different emails. You will soon find others follow your lead and you will quickly be able to tackle each email (or at least know where to file it!).
Email Isn't Everything
If the purpose of your message is the equivalent of a quick chat/quick response item, use an instant messaging system instead. This way, the recipient cannot be tempted to keep and file the information. Or instead of cluttering up others' inboxes with a stream of emails, why not just call a short meeting and then send round a list of action points afterward. Not only does it keep those email boxes a few emails lighter but a quick meeting is, more often than not, just friendlier. Sometimes you can't beat face to face.