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The partnership approach

Maybe it is time to reconsider your approach to human resource management. Speaking at a recent NationaLease HR Summit, Dianne Michels of Possibility Partners, a strategic communication consulting firm, talked about the partnership approach, an empowerment culture approach to human resource management.

The partnership approach to HR contains the following tenets:

  • Everyone has value
  • There is mutual trust and respect
  • Leaders care about people not just profits
  • Employees are in alignment with corporate goals and practices rather than just in compliance with them
  • Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, and career paths are evident
  • Salary administration is transparent
  • Leaders have regular, on-going conversations with employees rather than conducting performance reviews

Corporate cultures that empower employees have the following characteristics:

  • Risk taking is encouraged
  • There are no mistakes; rather there are unplanned outcomes
  • People in the organization are always learning
  • Individual input is highly regarded
  • People take ownership for what they do

Michels suggests that while leaders can focus on managing processes they should work on inspiring, rather than just managing, people.

The way to make all this happen is by having regular conversations with employees throughout the year. In fact, leading edge companies are moving away from annual performance reviews toward having monthly or weekly check-ins with staff.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, Adobe calculated that performance reviews for its 11,000 employees took 80,000 hours of the company’s 2,000 managers. This is said to be the equivalent of 40 full-time employees. The company has since done away with these yearly assessments.

Rather than formal yearly performance reviews, Michels suggests having conversations with employees that include questions like:

  • How are you really?
  • Are there any accomplishments to celebrate since we last met?
  • What are you working on currently?
  • Are there any obstacles or problems that are getting in your way? If so, what do we need to do to remove them?
  • What will you focus on between now and when we meet again?
  • What results/acts are each of us going to promise to complete?
  • What is the next step in your career? Are we in alignment? Do we need to make any changes to your career path?

Michels suggests taking these steps will unleash potential in your team members and allow them to better help fulfill your organization’s mission and vision.

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