Newsletter – November 30, 2010

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Performance reviews, training new hires, and more

Hello friends,

I hope you had a great holiday! I enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving activity of parking the kids in front of football on TV and sleeping like crazy.

Here’s our latest batch of management resources:

1. Performance Review Samples

If you’re like many managers, you’ve got your hands full with end-of-year performance evaluations right now — and if you’re like plenty of those same managers, you’ve been putting them off! We have a couple of tools that can make the process easier for you — for starters, here’s a sample performance evaluation form that you can use or adapt … and here are samples of completed evaluations, one for a high performer and one for a struggler.

2. Better New Hire Training

If you’ve ever shown up for your first day at a new job only to discover that no one has prepared for your arrival, you know what a terrible message it sends about an organization’s culture.  So when you have new staff members starting, it’s key to have an organized plan for how to bring them on board, covering everything from what success looks like in the role to basic logistical information. At one organization we know, before any new staff member starts, the new hire’s manager creates a simple training outline laying out what topics will be covered, in what order, during the staff member’s first few weeks. Take a look at the sample here.

3. Fair Process: The Role of Staff Input in Decision-Making

We like to think of ourselves as pretty results-oriented, but we know that it’s a lot harder to get good outcomes if you don’t get the process right.  One of our favorite articles on involving staff in decision-making is “Fair Process: Managing in the Knowledge Economy,” published in the Harvard Business Review. In it, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne argue that staff members are most likely to support outcomes where they feel the decision-making process was fair — meaning they have a chance to be engaged by giving meaningful input and they hear the rationale behind decisions once they’re made — even if the final decision doesn’t go their way. You can read the first two pages here (to read the full article, you must subscribe or purchase it for $8.95).

4. What to Say in Job Rejection Letters

We’re currently hiring for two positions at TMC and, like most employers in this economy, we’ve had to turn away some great people in the process. We’ve been hearing back from some candidates how much they appreciated being kept informed throughout our decision-making, so we thought we’d share some sample job rejection emails that you can use or adapt yourself. While no one likes this part of hiring, the way you handle it can really shape how people view your organization, so it’s important to approach it with thought and care.

5. Book Recommendation: Mindset

If you’re looking for a book for your holiday wish list, consider Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. Dweck writes that people have one of two mindsets: a fixed mindset, which views intelligence and abilities as fundamentally predetermined, or a growth mindset, which views intelligence and abilities as works in progress and fundamentally the result of learning and hard work. According to Dweck, a growth mindset is what leads people to embrace rather than avoid challenges; to persist in the face of setbacks rather than giving up easily; and to accept and learn from criticism rather than ignoring or dismissing it. Mindset has fascinating implications for hiring, managing, and your own approach to challenges — it’s the perfect pre-reading before making those New Year’s resolutions.

(And speaking of books, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for your boss, why not send ours? Managing to Change the World is the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite manager…)

As always, I hope you find these resources useful in your work!  And don’t forget — if there’s a great tool or memo that you’ve created in your organization, or if you’ve come across any helpful resources yourself lately, we’d love to see them.

Best,

Jerry Hauser
CEO
The Management Center

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