Performance Management Company Blog

Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

Tag: statistics on people and performance

Trust is the Residue of Promises Fulfilled – An Update

My friend Frank Navran once quipped that,

Trust is the residue
of promises fulfilled

and that quote has stayed with me for 20+ years. So, in my work on designing a new team building game that will anchor to trust, Frank and I reconnected and he pipped me over to Barbara Kimmel, who is the Director of Trust Across America. You can click on the link below and pop over to her website.

Trust Across America Logo

Like me, Barbara likes to use statistics and logic to link from these touchy-feely things like “engagement” or “trust” to real issues of organizational results. Some data she shared were of interest to me, so I reproduce some of that data here so you can head over to her blog — this section is called:

The Hard Costs of Low Trust

  • Gallup’s research (2011) places 71% of U.S. workers as either not engaged or actively disengaged. The price tag of disengagement is $350,000,000,000 a year. That approximates the annual combined revenues of Apple, GM and GE.
  • The Washington Post reported that, “the federal government imposed an estimated $216,000,000,000 in regulatory costs on the economy (in 2012), nearly double its previous record.”
  • The six biggest U.S. banks, led by JP Morgan and B of A have piled up $103,000,000,000 in legal costs and fines since the financial crisis (Bloomberg, August of 2013 — which also probably did not pick up a good bit of those recent settlements!)
  • According to The Economist Intelligence Unit (2010), 84% of senior leaders say disengaged employees are considered one of the biggest threats facing their business. (Only 12% reported doing anything about this problem!)

You can read more about this issue and go to her blog by clicking on this text

There are lots more statistics and I refer to bits and pieces of much of the literature and statistical proofs of impact of building trust and involving and engaging people in a wide cross-section of my blog posts about people and performance. Many of the key phrases below link to my blog articles on people and performance. For example, you can read my article on Building Trust clicking here.

This trust gap negatively impacts so much of the workplace. It directly impacts morale and increases employee turnover and decreases engagement. It is an issue of management and leadership. And it is not an issue of adding more extrinsic rewards to generate desired performance or improve results — those actually just work against you and often make the workplace LESS collaborative.

One of the potential tools you can use is the approach of building more collaborative teams and generating more alignment to shared goals and missions. Those kinds of initiatives tend to pull people together and generate improved morale, peer support and intrinsic motivation to improve.

You can see our Slideshare presentation and find out more information about our team building simulation for improving organizational performance results by clicking on the Lost Dutchman icon below:

Slideshare Dutchman icon

And if I can help you frame up or discuss different issues and opportunities around your organization’s performance improvement and trust building, please contact me directly. I actually answer my own phone!

For the FUN of It!

Scott Debrief

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com or at 864-292-8700

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

The Origin of Engagement in the breakdown of Appraisal and Control

Simply put:

We need stop doing such a lousy job
of motivating people in the workplace.

Stats show 85% of employees report their morale declines significantly after spending 6 months on the job (from Sirota Survey Intelligence) and 49% of workers say they constantly have their antennae out for new job opportunities — even when they are happy in their current position. Few feel their current employer is giving them a fair deal in terms of advancement opportunities (Kelly survey).

In a recent Forum Corp. survey, only 8% of employees report that they trust their leaders “to a great extent.”  But in that very same survey, 96% of employees say that it is, “extremely important to have a manager they can trust.”

I expand on a lot of issues of workplace motivation in this two-part post,

Workplace Motivation – “I Quit! Nevermind. Whatever…”
(Part One) (Part Two)

The data is clear. People are not involved and engaged in the workplace and these people, their managers, the customers and the company all pay a price for that un-engagement.

square wheels image

Solutions for this are pretty much everywhere. Improving leadership and its alignment to core values and an expressed mission and vision — one that is real and congruent to their behavior — is a good place to start. Improving teamwork and collaboration in the workplace is another good place to begin to re-engage people.

Here is a short 6-minute video on the engagement network
that frames up some obvious solutions.

Removal of the perceived roadblocks to good performance is basic and straightforward and you can read some of my ideas about managing that here.

There are some thoughts here on sharing praise and managing performance feedback, including a link to my Feedback Analysis Checklist. (Click here to see that blog post) and there is a long, two-part series of articles that get into a lot of ideas and information and statistics on managing performance here.

What we need to do is understand that passion and trust are critical factors in workplace motivation and that our traditional approach of performance appraisal and performance evaluation simply puts the worker and the manager into an adversarial kind of environment. The typical “reward systems” that are installed by HR and supported by the executive team are not working and will not work, serving very often to simply put the people into competition, which more often sub-optimizes the overall group performance a lot more than it motivates the top performers.

Best practices already exist in the organization, but developing the teamwork to help install them throughout the workplace cannot be done with competition as the driving force. The ideas for improvement already exist, but we cannot make improvements if we keep working like this:

Square Wheels One cannot expect improvement words

We need to do things differently
or we will continue to get the same results!

The change needs to be at the interface of the worker and the supervisor. All that other stuff is nice, but it is the manager that needs to change their behavior. We also can build on the natural tendency of people to work together on shared goals and desired outcomes. People are competitive, but teamwork does occur naturally.

We must put the power into the hands of the supervisor, not in the hands of some remote and well-intentioned HR Control Group that has little in common with the workers and supervisors and who do not share the same expectations, desired outcomes and goals, or rewards for good performance. Performance Appraisal and Evaluation — even if you improve it — will not do much to improve workplace performance. Simply because:

  • Fear is the Mindkiller (from the Dune books) — competition produces winners and lots more losers and no one likes to lose.
  • Trust is the residue of promises fulfilled. (Frank Navran)
  • Nobody ever washes a rental car. Ownership and hands-on involvement are critical factors in success.

Get them involved and engaged with you in your workplace improvement efforts and focus HR on human capital improvement, not performance appraisal and so-called incentive motivation.

We cannot become what we want to be

PMC has great tools for facilitating engagement and involvement and for building teams and teamwork, tools that work for supervisors interested in the improvement of workplace performance and motivating people. It is not rocket science — it is straightforward, simple and simply continuous…

For the FUN of It!

square wheels author

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

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People are our Most Important Asset – Seriously? Yes, seriously!

How many companies state that “people are the most important asset” to their organization’s success. Well, I guess years ago, that was a much more common statement in their missions and more of a reality. Today, we do not hear that kind of thing all that much, maybe because of all the cognitive dissonance it creates. But it is STILL true!

Maybe the shift started back during the “Re-Engineering Days” 0f old whereby so many larger organizations were cutting headcount left and right. A LOT of people were leaving the workforce, some of them being older employees seeing handwriting on the wall and taking the severance packages that were being offered. Headcounts were dropping in a wide variety of industries with the goal of improving profitability.

These days, we see lots of statistics that infer that so many people working in so many places may not be feeling like Most Important Assets (MIA) of their companies.

As reported in other blogs of mine and here,  there is really good data to support the reality that people ARE Most Important Assets (but that many are found to be that other MIA: Missing In Action):

This from Gallup (2012) with 1.4 million people and almost 50,000 organizations:  Employee engagement  and involvement affects performance results. Compared with bottom-quartile groups, top-quartile performing engaging organizations have:

  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 25% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
  • 65% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
  • 28% less shrinkage
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% fewer patient safety incidents
  • 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)
  • 10% higher customer metrics
  • 21% higher productivity
  • 22% higher profitability

Stats show 85% of employees report their morale declines significantly after spending 6 months on the job (from Sirota Survey Intelligence), and

49% of workers say they constantly have their antennae out for new job opportunities — even when they are happy in their current position. 

Few feel their current employer is giving them a fair deal in terms of advancement opportunities (Kelly survey). There are all sorts of fairness in compensation issues and many people self-report that they could actually do a good  bit more each day if they wanted to!

There are just so many things we can do to better involve and engage people in workplace improvement, innovation and customer service quality improvement. The challenge is getting our front-line supervisors and managers to better understand the issues and opportunities and to simply choose to do some things differently.

Here are a few little ditties around this theme, with each of these images linked to some other writings about people and performance:

Square Wheels One - brain in your head poem

Square Wheels One - Leading Philosophy

Square Wheels One - Always do what always done border

Wheel Playing haiku wheels image

Square Wheels - Celebration is key to success

We use cartoons like the above as tools for generating discussion and involvement, finding that through discussions of how things are working, we can generate employee engagement and a lot more intrinsic motivation for workplace improvement. For this purpose, we sell a variety of leadership development tools and facilitation skills support packages, in the hopes that supervisors can work more effectively with their people.

See more of our products here at our website on Performance Improvement.

SWs Facilitation Guide $50

For the FUN of It!

square wheels author

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

 

Stress, The Workplace, Statistics and The Future

I have posted up before on the issues of the workplace and demographics and teams and have gotten a number of nice emails on the issues (here and here). For my way of thinking, improving teamwork and collaboration will have a wide variety of positive impacts on people and on performance. I have also shared some thoughts on taking vacation time and similar, noting that I am taking a 5-day cruise shortly with NO access to internet, email, telephone or any such thing and not intending to even check for emergencies!)

Stress. Working. Issues.

egg-under-pressure

I just read a post by Arianna Huffington that got my attention. I link to it here but I summarize many of the key points that it made for me and also add some comments below, since my focus is on the performance improvement side of things. In summary, I found this material of relevance when it comes to issues of workplace performance and opportunities:

An American Psychological Association study asked people to rank their stress level on a scale of 1 (“little or no stress”) to 10 (“a great deal of stress”).

  • Millennials led the stress parade, with a 5.4 average.
  • Boomers registered 4.7,
  • The “Matures” gave themselves a 3.7.

Nearly 40% of Millennials said their stress had increased last year, compared to 33% for Boomers and 29% for Matures

Not surprisingly, WORK is one of the biggest causes of stress, with 76% of Millennials reporting it as a significant stressor, compared to 62% of Boomers and 39% of Matures. Us older people are a little more settled, even though the issues of Social Security and Medicare are not resolved. Things are a lot less settled for anyone under Boomer-Age and the overall job market and opportunities for personal / salary growth are unsettled.

Student loan debt and this bleak job market are contributing to stress — even for the lucky ones who are working — and the picture for the future is bleak and depressing. According to the Economic Policy Institute, between 2000 and 2011 wages adjusted for inflation fell by 11% for high school grads and by 5% for college grads. The report concluded that from 2010 to 2020, while 19,000,000 college grads will be hitting the job market, the economy will add fewer than 7,00,000 jobs requiring a college degree.

Job stress and fear are real. More than one-third of American workers regularly eat lunch at their desks, and a recent study showed that an average of 9.2 vacation days were skipped last year. We talked about these stats and others in my “Vacation” blog. All this overwork and pressure inevitably leads to sleep deprivation, which costs American businesses over $63 billion a year — even though studies show that for each 10 hours of additional time off, productivity increased by 8%.

A Gallup Poll showed that even given the battered economy they’re entering, 80% of Millennials were optimistic about their standard of living getting better. (But then research also shows that 1 of every 3 people is clinically mentally ill at some point in their lives, so these data might simply be merging!)

Too bad that the position of many of our elected leaders here and globally is that Austerity – of all things, which has not once proven to actually improve a country’s economy – is still being pushed as a “solution” to our economic situation. Austerity creates nothing. But it does insulate the richest among us from the trials and tribulations of the younger and less fortunate people in the workplace.

Revisions of the tax code and some government Stimulus are what will help to change the situation and make things better for my children and so many others.

Companies need to improve their workplaces, no question. They need to better involve and engage their people in making it a better place to work and to improve morale and decrease stress. Supervisors need to do more to involve and engage people in their jobs and create more intrinsic motivation for individuals and teamwork among people. That would help with some of the stress.

And our governments need to look for ways to increase the number of jobs, improve education, improve infrastructure and boost overall salaries. Eliminating the minimum wage sure feels like the absolutely wrong thing to do and there seems to be a lot of research to support the more positive impact of increasing it as it will obviously generate even more spending.

Each of us can make a difference each and every day. Let’s get going and pay it forward.

Me. I am looking forward to some beach time soon! Here is my last trip to Barbados:

Barbados Sunset 2 pics

Yeah, baby!

——————  UPDATE  ————–

Some new research shows that Americans are quitting their jobs at the highest rate since 2008. I put a link to the article here, but the basic situation shows that 53% of “job separations” are from people quitting. This may be negative and a statement about working conditions or it may be a positive indicator about how workers feel about the job market and their skills.

Here is another interesting stat: 40% of the American workplace is expected to be self-employed by 2020. (Not sure of the source of that but it is in the article).

See more at http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/americans-are-quitting-their-jobs-at-highest-rate-since-2008/17291

Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/

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Trust is the Residue of Promises Fulfilled.

My good friend Frank Navran told me that 20+ years ago and it was certainly a great way to remember a really important factor in human relations.

Trust is the promises fulfilled.

So hard to build, so easy to damage. Hard to repair.

In the workplace, it is one of the really key factors in engagement and overall morale. If the workers do not trust their manager, and that can happen at any level, it is really hard to do those things that make an organization successful. People will avoid risk, bond together against leadership, etc.

The word “sabotage” comes from the French word for wooden shoe. Those were often found in the machinery during the French industrial revolution (and elsewhere) as managements tried to implement change and process improvement. If you have a valuable employee, why simply generate distrust and antagonism when you can find some way to use the positive energies and enthusiasm for business improvement?

Gallup posted up some research results recently. They asked,

“Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields – from very high, high, average, low, or very low? How about X, where X was randomized across different surveys.

Gallup

Nurses were highest, followed by pharmacists and medical doctors. Healthcare came out pretty good, and we hope that it should. Dentists did well, too.

Not so good? The predictable “Car salespeople.” Okay, that was not unexpected, right?

But how about Members of Congress (54% rated Very Low and Low) and Senators (45% VL and L)? I mean, well…

Car salespeople CAN do things to build trust over time, like fairly representing their products and prices and all that. I would go back to Wendy again and even got my daughter a used car from her.

But what about “our elected representatives?” Is it too late for democracy? CAN they actually do some things to rebuild trust? One would hope.

Interesting, is that line for “Business executives.” They actually rank lower than Bankers. While 50% rate them Average, fully 27% rated them VL or L. (I sure would have liked to see them add in “your supervisor” and “your boss’ boss” but what the heck, there are plenty of other stats out there that indicate that improvements in that are possible…)

Yeah, Trust is the residue of promises fulfilled. And they should and can do some things differently to generate more alignment and congruence in their behavior, which would have significant impacts on the perceptions of their people. We have some really strong and ethical leaders out there (and we did not need former GE CEO Jack Welch embarrassing us on the accuracy of the job numbers just before the election — he did himself and all CEOs a great disfavor, IMHO, for political reasons.)

Trust is Residue butterfly guy blue

We have a great need to re-engage people. When surveys show that engagement has actually dropped from 23% to 14% recently, that is a signal that change is needed. We need to do some dis-un-engagement and engagimentation, we need to so some team building and leadership development. We need to get more people believing in more positive things about the corporations that are critical component of the success of our country (and any country).

I trust that you have found this interesting and that you would find some of our toolkits for involving and engaging people to be of benefit. Click on the icon for access to information:

Square Wheels are simply great tools

 

Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.

Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Scott’s blog on Poems and Quips on Workplace Improvement is here.

Statistics on the US Economy – Crazy Stuff that is Unbelievable

The businessinsider.com website has some shocking statistics on how bad things really are and maybe they will shock YOU out of your lethargy. As they say on the site, “If we do not educate the American people about how deathly ill the U.S. economy has become, then they will just keep falling for the same old lies that our politicians keep telling them.

This is not my normal kind of post, but I saw these statistics and they speak to themes of productivity and performance, to people who should be involved and engaged in workplace improvement. But it is hard to focus on success when you are focused on survival and so many of these statistics are just depressing when it comes to improveing things in America.

I will share some of the statistics below, not wanting to violate anyone’s intellectual property rights for the assembly of this information but also to share some of the numbers to get you to consider the reality of where we are at as a country. I suggest you read the entire list at: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/50-economic-numbers-from-2011-that-are-almost-too-crazy-to-believe#ixzz1h9OpE7PL

The article shares the sources of the numbers. And I hope that you will read them and get motivated to do something differently to help make improvements — this means a lot to all of us.  (My comments are in italics)

 #1: A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty. 

#2: Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be “low income” or impoverished. (This is the average — in some cities, it is much worse. That meal at school may be the only meal that child eats.)

#3: If the number of Americans that “wanted jobs” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11%. (We do not define things the same way, now, so that the numbers look better…)

#4: The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks. (Not that long ago, it was 30 days!)

#5: One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers. (Small businesses like mine are also not doing really well, going down with the rest of the economy. Taxable income is decreasing.)

#6: There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#8: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. By 2011, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million. (See my comments in #5, above)

#10: According to author Paul Osterman, about 20% of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages. (This is for WORKING Americans!!! They work and do not make enough money to get out of poverty. Many many millions have no jobs.)

#12: Back in 1969, 95% of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. In July, only 81.2% of men in that age group had a job. (From 19 in 20 to 4 of 5 — and men are the traditional wage earners in the family, The psychological impact on men is devastating when they cannot provide for their families – combine this with # 10 above and it is truly awful.)

 #13: One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job. (This is why so many Americans are not taking their earned vacation time. They are afraid of leaving their jobs and losing their jobs because they took a vacation.)

#22: New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.

#23: As I have written about previously, 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents. (Well over half of all college graduates went home after graduation, unable to find a good job that would allow them to live on their own.)

But all is not bad. The 1% seem to be doing quite nicely:

 #32: According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America’s biggest companies rose by 36.5% in just one recent 12 month period.

#34: The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined. (From what I remember, none are great philanthropists supporting the people of the country.)

#41: Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps. (They are not on food stamps because they want to be – the level of food “insecurity” is at all time high levels in this country. Families NEED this assistance to buy food, even though the parents are working. Food stamps are not a luxury and this is should be an embarrassment to all Americans who supposedly “lead” this country as our elected politicians.)

 And on and on and on.

Do you think that this can continue without us doing something differently? Does it really seem that cutting government benefits is a logical thing to do with so many people suffering. Doesn’t it seem like our government should be creating jobs and building infrastructure in The United States rather than fighting supposed “wars on terror” in other countries. Do you really think that our stand on social issues like abortion or on drug consumption or any of those other aspects of choices people make will solve any of these problems? Will our spending on the militarization of our police departments, with huge spending for equipment but not much for hiring,  cure any of these problems listed above.

Why not ask for some real change on the part of the elected leaders of this country (and other countries, too!)

This written and produced during my business trip to Mumbai and Bangalore, India, where we are focused on improving business productivity by increasing employee engagement and teamwork.

Read more: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/50-economic-numbers-from-2011-that-are-almost-too-crazy-to-believe#ixzz1h9TY1zVN

We need to make some very basic readjustments to our economy and bring back higher-paid workers, improve management salaries and make this country more fair to all workers. It CAN be done. But we need more innovation, better leadership, more employee involvement and better organizational collaboration.

Scott Debrief

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott atscott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/

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