Category Archives: ability

Four Effective Ways to Make Performance Appraisal Easier for Everyone

One day, one of my supervisors came to my office and requested that one of his employees shall be reassigned due to poor performance in his office.  When I called the attention of the employee for his poor performance as verbally reported to me by his supervisor, he reacted: “Is he kidding, Madam?  He always gave me a “Very Satisfactory” performance rating every rating period.”

At the end of the rating period, the employee just simply copies his or her previous performance appraisal forms and submits them to the supervisor for confirmation and signature.

On the other hand, majority of the supervisors are not honest in rating their employees.  The supervisor gives a “Very Satisfactory” rating to the employee even if he or she doesn’t deserve it, as the supervisor is sick of getting arguments from his people when they didn’t get the rating they thought they deserve.

An appraisal is supposed to be informative for you and your employee.  It ought to inform him how he’s doing in relation to performance targets.  It is supposed to identify his strengths and the areas where he needs improvement.  Conducted correctly, it can help you get the performance you need.  But if you rate employees higher than they are worthy of, they begin to think they’re okay and might not be urged to do better.

Here are the four effective ways to make performance appraisal easier for you and your employee:

1.  Make sure to evaluate employees fairly.  Don’t play favoritism in rating employees.  Establish uniform performance standards as your guide.

2.  Stick to facts and shun evaluations of performance based on casual observations. Gather data and keep written records of performance of employees as basis of evaluation.

3.  Keep a better balance between praise  and criticism during your performance evaluation meeting. Commend the employee for the areas where he excels in performance and point out the areas where he needs improvement.

4.  Select one or two goals for the employee to work toward instead of trying to change everything overnight. For the areas where he needs improvement, set two goals for him to achieve for him to improve his performance.

I know you also have your own list in mind and I am glad if you could share it with us by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Five Ways to Manage your Secretary, for you to Operate at Peak Performance

In my previous article, I emphasize that your secretary can make or break you. Your secretary is the extension of your hands and feet in just getting all the things done that you can’t take time “mechanically” to do yourself.

Here are the five ways to manage your secretary, for you to operate at peak performance:

1.  Your secretary must be specially selected by you. He or she must be specially or carefully selected by you to suit your temperament.

However, if you are in government offices, whenever you are assigned to your new office, you usually inherit the secretary of your predecessor.  So, it takes a lot of patience and perseverance to adjust to each other.

2.  Establish warm and friendly relation with your secretary. Although a majority of you are aloof at some people, you must have a harmonious working relationship with your secretary in order to perform effectively.

3.  Keep your secretary informed. As anticipated, he or she will be handling confidential information, it’s important to stress to your secretary the need for a tight lip.  It is quite futile, however, to anticipate him or her to assist in the management of your office without being aware of what they need to know to get the job done.

4.  Know what your secretary is doing. This is one of your basic requirements in using a secretary.

5.  Make your secretary adapt to you. The main requirement of a secretary is that he or she be flexible in adapting his or her work habits to those of the executive.  In other words, a good secretary requires the personality of a chameleon.

I know you have also some ways in your list and I will be glad to read your thoughts by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Four Attributes of an Effective Performance Management System in the Workplace

The year is about to end and it’s time for the preparation of documents for the performance appraisal of each employee for the current year and for each employee’s performance targets  for the ensuing year.

The Human Resources Glossary defines performance management as the process of creating a work environment or setting in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.

Likewise, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management defines performance management as the systematic process by which an agency involves its employees, as individuals and members of a group, in improving organizational effectiveness in the accomplishment of agency mission and goals.

These two definitions are geared towards the attainment of company goals and targets through partnership with the employees.   As managers and leaders, you are encouraged to have an effective performance management system to meet this challenge.

Here are the four attributes of an effective performance management system in the workplace:

1.  Use of Simple Formats.

Not all managers like performance appraisals.  This activity requires a little extra work and competes for their attention to the many other business demands and concerns.  They do not want to waste time interpreting difficult formats.  Simple formats give them more time to discuss work activities of each employee.

2.  Meeting with the Employee at least Once every Two Months or even more Frequently.

Frequent meetings with the employees will enable us to assist them in addressing their performance concerns and needs in order to improve their performance.

In the book, First, Break All the Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman says: “If you meet only once or twice a year, you are forced to drop your criticisms on the employee all at once, like a bomb.  When the employee inevitably recoils, you then have to dredge your memory for examples to support your argument.  But by meeting frequently, you can avoid this battle of wills.  You can introduce areas of poor performance little by little over time, and each time you raise the subject, you can refer to recent, vivid examples.  Your criticisms will be easier to swallow and the conversation more productive.”

A manager is conducting a performance meeting with her employees.
A manager is conducting a performance meeting with her employees.

3.  It is Centered on what the Employee can Achieve in the next six months  or one year.

Although, you assess the past performance in the first few minutes of the meeting, the rest is dedicated to what the employee could be or could do in the next months.

4.  The Employee is asked to Record his or her Accomplishments and the Lessons Learned

This will make the employee feel that his or her work is important to the company.  The employee shall record his or her goals, accomplishments, lessons and skills learned and breakthroughs.  This makes the employee responsible and accountable to his or her own performance.

This record will enable you to identify which area in the employee’s performance needs improvement.

If applied, these attributes will make performance management system in the company effective.

If you have more attributes to add, please do so by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

As a Leader, How do you Boost your Capability to Implement the Business Plan?

In less than two months, the year will end and it’s time to prepare the business plan for the ensuing year. A business plan is prepared by the leaders or the management team of the business entity.  Whether well articulated or not, a business plan aims to improve the products and services of the company.

But, what usually happens is that the employees don’t know about the plans  or doesn’t fully understand the details of the business plan.  So, the year ends with the unimplemented business plan and this same plan is again used in the subsequent year.

Employees, who have been in the company for a long time, have their practices.  Younger ones are often inexperienced or  deficient in  business outlook which could give them insight.  New hires often bring old routines developed in a previous work culture.  To improve productivity and optimize company’s performance, the company must have a shared, well understood plan .

To boost  the capability to implement the business plan,  do these ways:

1.  Distribute the business plan. Employees must know and understand the plan.  They must be helped and coached and then held accountable for attaining the necessary skills to lead others in implementing the plan.

2. Conduct a planning session for shared understanding among the managers and employees of the company. It is necessary that the leader shall clearly discuss with the employees what roles they are to play in the plan and the criteria for solving cross-functional conflicts.

There is a need to measure performance against the plan and the planning process as a whole, for the organization to most likely  benefit from a shared understanding across the leadership team.

Once your plan is out there, encourage questions.  Each question a chance to address the issues that build and uphold inefficiencies. Seek indirect feedback, like a suggestion box or whatever methods to show employees that you value their perceptions.

A planning session conducted by a management team.
A planning session conducted by a management team.

3. Set Performance targets of employees towards the execution of the plan. Align work activities of the employees with the business plan.

If you see some employees struggling to comprehend what needs to be done, or that they lack the know how to do it well, there is an opportunity for follow up or coaching.

Conclusions:

All businesses have plans to be flourishing.  Leaders can boost their capability to implement the business plan by distributing the plan, conducting a planning session and setting performance targets of employees towards the execution of the plan.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

5 Tips On How the Secretary Shall Handle the Mail and Paperwork with Efficiency

My previous article talks on the importance of the secretary to the executive.  Realizing this significance, I find it appropriate to list down these tips on how the secretary shall handle the mail and paperwork with efficiency.

1. Opens and Sorts  Incoming Mail

The secretary shall read diligently all incoming mail. Mail, such as routinary reports and other documents which do not require decision,  shall be immediately endorsed to offices concerned.

Mail received and endorsed shall be accurately recorded by the secretary and signed by the endorsee or his or her receiving clerk.  This is to facilitate tracing of documents.

Mail which need the decision or approval by the executive shall be placed under the “IN” basket items.

2.  Handles and analyzes  “IN” basket items

Items that could not be handled with confidence could be carefully organized, prioritized, and brought to the executive with a recommendation or a note or a previous communication on the issue which serves as a guide to the executive on the action to be taken on the item.

This requires that the secretary shall keep himself or herself abreast of the happenings in the office.  He or she shall keep a journal of the daily office activities, which he or she or the executive could glance from time to time.

3.  Handles routine inquiries

The secretary shall equip himself or herself all the basic data in the office which the clients shall initially need.  For example, he or she shall have ready data on the prices of products and services, number and location of branches, the contact information for each branch and other basic data.

He or she shall act with courtesy and politeness in dealing with clients and employees.

4. Reviews communications, reports and other documents which require signature of the executive

The secretary shall make a review and preliminary correction of the communications before bringing them to the executive.  He or she shall check the grammatical errors and whether the subject and body of the letter or memorandum jibe with each other.

A secretary reviews a paper before bringing to the executive.
A secretary reviews a paper before bringing to the executive.

So it is important that the secretary shall be focused on his or her job and has a good command of the English language.  There are many English books which the secretary may use for his or her review of the vocabulary and grammar.  One good book to use as reference is English for Business by Stewart, Lanham and Zimmer.

He or she shall meticulously review reports and other documents before bringing them to the executive for signature or approval.  He or she shall see to it that all other signatures are complete and in order.

5. Serves as confidential journalist and caretaker of most critical secrets in the corporate body

This one is added by my good friend and former classmate, Steve Hermosisima. Steve is a  Licensed TourGuide/Conductor atOldTown TrolleyTours in the USA.

It is necessary that the secretary is discreet, cautious, trustworthy and loyal to the company.

If these tips are followed, the busy executive shall be relieved of the paperwork and effectively perform his or her planning and decision-making function.

If you have any other tips to include in this list, I shall be very glad if you write them down by leaving your comments below this article.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes