How to Maximize Performance Review Results

Monday, February 24th, 2014

performance reviewAnnual performance reviews are stressful for both managers and employees. If approached the wrong way, these meetings can be awkward and uncomfortable. Here are five tips to maximize performance review results.

  1. Focus on the positive: Mention the good things your employees do every day, and praise them for their hard work. Even if their work ethic is lacking, emphasize positive things they can do in to improve performance. Encourage your employees to be excited about the future and engaged in the workplace.
  2. Focus on results: As a manager, you must always focus on improving results. It’s important to make clear suggestions and give specific examples of your expectations. Always make sure your employees understand these expectations and offer your help as they may need it.
  3. Involve employees in setting goals:  Take your employees’ opinions into account when setting goals and allow them to contribute their input in decision making. Make these goals achievable and realistic and have a concrete plan to accomplish them.
  4. Don’t micromanage:  Trust your employees to do their jobs. There is a reason why you hired them, and their expertise is critical to your workplace productivity. Don’t waste your time or theirs planning every detail of a project—let them get the work done to make your job easier.
  5. Truly evaluate performance:  Never attack an employee’s demeanor or personality. All criticism should be constructive and job-related. By then end of the performance review, both of you should have something to take away that will help improve productivity.

SourcePointe provides HR outsourcing and workplace solutions including  training,  performance development systems, team building, HR policy review and development, compensation studies and more.

Stressed about Stress?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

relieving stress in the workplaceDecrease your employees’ stress and subsequently your own.

Stress in the workplace takes its toll on employers and employees alike. While some stress can enhance a person’s ability to manage demanding situations and motivate project completion, too much can result in physical harm or mismanagement of the stress-induced energy.

The stress response itself is neutral; what is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another. It is an individual’s perception and cognitive appraisal that determines what is stressful to him or her, so it is important to remember that each of your employees will be stressed by different stimuli and will respond with various behaviors. Pay attention to special needs for specific employees and adjust your management style to incite the least amount of stress possible.

With this in mind, here are a few organizational techniques for treating stress in the workplace.

Provide sufficient support for change

When enacting new policies, be sure to extend grace and understanding. Employees will adjust to the stress of change better if they can count on management for guidance and console throughout the process.

Provide a sense of control through participation

Stressful situations tend to be those in which individuals feel they lack any sense of control. Ask employees to provide feedback on how to best implement and facilitate a solution for dealing with the stress. This immediately allows your workers to feel they have a handle on things while simultaneously allowing you to appear supportive and sensitive to their needs.

Clearly define employee roles

Confusion instigates stress. Take the time to clearly dictate your specific expectations for employee responsibilities.

Eliminate work overload and work underload

Expecting too much of an employee in too little a time frame obviously generates stress, but expecting too little of an employee can be equally stressful. Workers may feel undervalued and assume management doesn’t believe they can handle additional or more challenging assignments. No matter the specifics, job dissatisfaction is stressful. Your employees should feel busy, not burdened.

Provide opportunities for social support

Open communication is a key eliminator of stress in the workplace. Encourage your workers to come to you with concerns and make them feel they have a voice in the office that will be heard.  It may be helpful to have a psychologist or therapist on staff to deal with employee stress management.

You can also encourage employees to manage their stress on an individual level by exercising, balancing their diet and participating in relaxation training.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Why is employee job satisfaction important to you? How do you ensure your workers love what they do?

Many managers make the mistake of overlooking employee job satisfaction when assessing how to make their company as productive and profitable as possible. The key insight to remember is: satisfied employees are more productive and productive employees are more satisfied.

Keeping your workers satisfied reduces company costs by lowering rates of turnover, absenteeism, tardiness and theft. Satisfied employees enjoy their jobs and this reflects in their interaction with customers. There is a positive correlation between employee satisfaction and both customer satisfaction and loyalty. Dissatisfied workers are more likely to unionize, abuse company resources and withdraw.

Here are a few recommendations for increasing your employee job satisfaction.

Change it up

Focus on the intrinsic parts of your employees’ jobs. You want work to be challenging and interesting. Allow employees to rotate various tasks around the office. Minor alterations to routine keep workers’ interest stimulated and the sharing of responsibility gives an impression of equity that also increases job satisfaction.

Knowledge enlargement

Constantly provide your workers with the opportunity to learn new things on the job. Schedule enjoyable and beneficial seminars, plan exciting staff retreats and have resource materials available for employees looking to acquire new information or skills.

Listen & Engage

Perceived Organizational Support (POS) is the degree to which employees believe the organization values their contribution and cares about their well-being. Involve employees in decision-making, regularly offer support and voice appreciation for noticeable effort.  Allow for employee feedback to eliminate conflict or poor working conditions. Engaged employees are passionate about their work and company because they feel directly responsible for company success and failure. Increasing POS subsequently increases job satisfaction and productivity.

Adapted from a lecture by Karl Kuhnert, professor in psychology and program chair of the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Georgia


Tips on How to Conduct a Successful Interview

Friday, June 28th, 2013

A View from the Other Side of the Desk

As an interviewer, what should you be thinking and asking?

Conducting a professional and beneficial interview as an employer is equally as stressful and important as making it through one as an interviewee. Here are a few insights to consider when deciding who makes the cut for your company’s A-Team.

Punctuality & Preparedness

Promptness is an indicator of reliability; both are desirable traits in an employee. Though unforeseen circumstances may arise, potential candidates should exhibit a notable effort in keeping you informed if the agreed-upon meeting time becomes an issue. Following their timely arrival, ask applicants a simple question about the company. Expect them to know who your organization is and what it does, as well as how this fits in with their employment plans.

Objectivity & Responsibility

Remember this is an interview, not a test. Do not purposefully attempt to trip up your contenders with tricky questions and “right or wrong” answers. Instead, plan objective inquiries with structure that invite the interviewees to reveal their thought processes and priorities.  You are not required to evaluate a person’s individual worth, but rather his or her worth and fit for the company.  Also, remember to ask about specific past responsibilities, and more importantly the accomplishments that accompanied those responsibilities. Responsibilities alone do not differentiate you from others; successes do.


As the person in charge of hiring, you will be held liable for any rising stars or falling duds. With that in mind, be sure to ask yourself a few questions following each interview.

  • Would I want accountability for this individual’s performance?
  • Would I want to work with this person?
  • Were there any obvious red flags with this person?

Interview Questions

According the U.S law and professional business practice, which of these questions would be considered appropriate or inappropriate for you to ask a candidate during an interview?

  1. Can I call you by your first name?
  2. Could you attach a picture of yourself to your resume?
  3. Are you a citizen of U.S.?
  4. What languages can you speak/write?
  5. What is your reaction to entertaining clients in the evening?
  6. Who is planning on babysitting your kids?
  7. Will you need to have religious holidays off?
  8. What kind of discharge did you receive from service?
  9. Are you married or do you live with someone?
  10. Where do your parents come from?
  11. Have you ever been arrested?

Answers: 1. Appropriate 2. Inappropriate 3. Appropriate 4. Appropriate 5. Appropriate, only if this could be considered a job requirement 6. Inappropriate 7. Appropriate 8. Inappropriate 9. Inappropriate 10. Inappropriate 11. Inappropriate, but you can ask if the candidate has ever been convicted.


Adapted from a lecture by Karl Kuhnert, professor in psychology and program chair of the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Georgia