Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.
I was once working in an insurance company and the Head of Credit came to see me.
“I’ve got a poor performer on my hands” he said.
“In what way?” I asked.
“Well” he said “One of my team drifts in around 9am and then is always out of the door by 5pm. Everyone else works much longer hours and gets more done”.
“Okay well we need something specific if you’re going to talk to him about poor performance” I advised the Manager to go away and review how many credit applications each of his team were processing each day, and also how many hours each of them were working. From this I said that we could put together a metric based on applications per hour, and he could then use this as a benchmark for performance levels.
A couple of hours later he came back to me.
He looked pale.
“I don’t understand these results” he said.
We looked through them together.
“Well, it looks like the 3 members of your team who work 8 hour days get through around 16 applications a day, so 2 per hour, and the rest of the team who do 10 hour days, get through 14 in the same time.”
I paused before saying “Working longer hours doesn’t mean they’re more productive”.
I could almost see the top of his head explode right off. To him, it was putting in the hours that counted. Not how much work you get through.
It was a real stretch for him to accept this. Output vs input. Results vs hours of work. It’s a real change of thinking for many older managers. But it’s a change that has to come. As baby boomers retire from the workplace, there are going to be less people to do the same jobs. It’s going to have to be about results, not working hideously long days to prove how loyal you are to the company.
Thinking about metrics or measures that look at results can be a game changer for HR in altering how their managers think about managing.
So go and find a way to blow some minds today!
Angela Atkins is the Chief Executive of APPNZ – The Association of People Professionals. She is passionate about supporting all the people professions (HR, Learning, Payroll and Talent) and is also the best selling author Management Bites and the bites series of books.