Abstract

These are Pre Stage or you can say Starting Stage of Best Practices in HR, it will help you in making Best Employer

Safe, Healthy and Happy Workplace

Creating a safe, healthy and happy workplace will ensure that your employees feel homely and stay with your organization for a very long time. Capture their pulse through employee surveys.


Open Book Management Style

Sharing information about contracts, sales, new clients, management objectives, company policies, employee personal data etc. ensures that the employees are as enthusiastic about the business as the management. Through this open book process you can gradually create a culture of participative management and ignite the creative endeavor of your work force.. It involves making people an interested party to your strategic decisions, thus aligning them to your business objectives. Be as open as you can. It helps in building trust & motivates employees. Employee self service portal, Manager on-line etc. are the tools available today to the management to practice this style.

Open Book Management Style

Description:

Sharing information such as contract and financial information with employees so that they understand the decisions that are made and the ramifications of those decisions.

Through this process, employees also learn about the business, which is more than just the creative endeavor. It involves making strategic decisions to bid or pass on contracts that are aligned with business and strategic business models.

Pros:

People understand where the money comes from and goes to; they understand what happens at bonus time and why it does or does not get paid out. People become better informed about the business and feel more inclusive and entrepreneurial about their contribution and impact. Employees move their focus from just their job to looking at the company as a whole.

Cons:

Without constant education employees misunderstand and misinterpret what the numbers mean. For instance, employees may not understand why there may be money in the bank yet the company will not pay out a bonus. The work involved is tremendous and ongoing. Teams become resentful of other teams who are working on more lucrative projects.

Alternatives:

Keep the information only for management level employees or others who have P & L responsibilities and let the people responsible for making games, make games.


Performance linked Bonuses

Paying out bonuses or having any kind of variable compensation plan can be both an incentive and a disillusionment, based on how it is administered and communicated. Bonus must be designed in such a way that people understand that there is no payout unless the company hits a certain level of profitability. Additional criteria could be the team’s success and the individual’s performance. Never pay out bonus without measuring performance, unless it is a statutory obligation.

Bonuses

Description:

Paying our bonuses or having any kind of variable compensation plan can be either an incentive or a distraction, depending on how it is administered and communicated. Bonuses must be designed in such a way that people understand that there is no payout unless the company hits a certain level of profitability. Then, additional criteria can be the team’s success and the individual’s success.

Pros:

It is based on performance (versus profit sharing), criteria is consistent for everyone, it anchors employees to the success (or lack of success) of the company, brings the necessity of profit into their reality, makes people more team focused.

Cons:

If not communicated well, the success of one team and therefore larger payout, can be perceived as not fair. People can feel that they are not in control of the external factors that may impact the bonus in a given year (e.g. the economy).

Alternatives:

Profit sharing, stock options, other non financial-based incentives, a great communication plan for when you do have a bonus plan.


360 Degree Performance Management Feedback System

This system, which solicits feedback from seniors (including the boss), peers and subordinates has been increasingly embraced as the best of all available methods for collecting performance feedback. Gone are the days of working hard to impress only one person, now the opinions of all matter, especially if you are in a leadership role (at any level). Every person in the team is responsible for giving relevant, positive and constructive feedback. Such systems also help in identifying leaders for higher level positions in the organization. Senior managers could use this feed back for self development.

360 Degree Performance Management Feedback System

 Description: This system, which solicits feedback from boss, peers and direct reports if there are any, has been increasingly embraced as the best of all available methods for collecting performance feedback. Gone are the days of working hard to impress only one person, now the opinions of all you touch in the course of your workday matter. The feedback is therefore inclusive and every person on the team is responsible for giving relevant feedback, whether positive or constructive.

Pros: The 360 process allows for multiple points of view to be given on any given individual. It neutralizes what might otherwise be one rater’s bias (either positive or negative) and helps to paint a more comprehensive picture of that individual’s performance. For example, a person may work very hard all year to impress their boss because that boss controls their opportunities for advancement, salary, etc. but meanwhile that person alienates everybody else on the team, feeling that their perceptions of him are not important because they have no bearing on his career. This is certainly not the case with the 360 degree process. Also, because feedback is collected from multiple sources, the process must be formalized to ask consistent and well thought out questions. These questions require a great deal of forethought and must be able to capture relevant information or the integrity of the entire process is compromised.

Cons: The process requires a great deal of forethought into the design and method of collecting data, execution, guarantee of anonymity, training people on how to give feedback, etc. Ideally you need a consultant to help you design and customize a product to your company and culture. If you have the resources internally you could allocate some IT staff to design and support the software, otherwise this can be an added expense on top of the consultant’s fee to design the whole thing for you in the first place. Because our people are generally young, they must be trained to give feedback that is positive as well as constructive and always relevant. No personal slams, no fear of retribution if their identity is revealed somehow, use examples so the person benefits from the context of the comments, use integrity and maturity in the feedback, appreciate the opportunity to help the person to whom you are giving feedback grown to become a better worker as a result of your input. Even positive feedback is something that some people must be taught to give. The whole issue of anonymity is another hurdle in the learning curve around 360. I have taught our people that ideally, their comments wouldn’t even need to be anonymous since if you are giving factual data based on actual examples and their observations reflect the person’s performance and not the individual, and if they are making their comments with honesty and integrity, and in the genuine interest of helping this person to be a better programmer, artist, whatever, then there is no reason to be afraid of saying what there is to be said. Lastly, 360’s take longer since they rely on a number of people to make the time to write and submit the feedback. Then the feedback needs to be collated.

Alternatives: Traditional one-on-one reviews, or no reviews.

Fair Evaluation System for Employees

Develop an evaluation system that clearly links individual performance to corporate business goals and priorities. Each employee should have well defined reporting relationships. Self rating as a part of evaluation process empowers employees. Evaluation becomes fairer if it is based on the records of periodic counseling & achievements of the employee, tracked over the year. For higher objectivity, besides the immediate boss, each employee should be screened by the next higher level (often called a Reviewer). Cross – functional feedback, if obtained by the immediate boss from another manager (for whom this employee’s work is also important), will add to the fairness of the system. Relative ratings of all subordinates reporting to the same manager is another tool for fairness of evaluation. Normalization of evaluation is yet another dimension of improving fairness.

Knowledge Sharing

Adopt a systematic approach to ensure that knowledge management supports strategy. Store knowledge in databases to provide greater access to information posted either by the company or the employees on the knowledge portals of the company. When an employee returns after attending any competencies or skills development program, sharing essential knowledge with others could be made mandatory. Innovative ideas(implemented at the work place) are good to be posted on these knowledge sharing platforms. However, what to store & how to maintain a Knowledge base requires deep thinking to avoid clutter.

Highlight performers

Create profiles of top performers and make these visible though company intranet, display boards etc. It will encourage others to put in their best, thereby creating a competitive environment within the company. If a systems approach is followed to shortlist high performers, you can surely avoid disgruntlements.

Open house discussions and feedback mechanism

Ideas rule the world. Great organizations recognize, nurture and execute great ideas. Employees are the biggest source of ideas. The only thing that can stop great ideas flooding your organization is the lack of an appropriate mechanism to capture ideas. Open house discussions, employee-management meets, suggestion boxes and ideas capture tools such as Critical Incidents diaries are the building blocks that can help the Managers to identify & develop talent.

Reward Ceremonies

Merely recognizing talent does not work, you need to couple it with ceremonies where recognition is broadcast. Looking at the Dollar Check is often less significant than listening to the thunderous applause by colleagues in a public forum.

Mandatory meetings with producers and department managers

Description: Make regularly scheduled, mandatory meeting times with producers and other department managers to discuss individuals and their performance, training needs, succession planning possibilities, etc.

Pros: As the HR person, to avoid surprises, you know what hiring or firing is being considered – this allows you to proactively plan for succession planning, allows HR to coordinate resources, coach managers through HR issues, etc.

Cons: People hate meetings; HR is often thought of as bureaucratic; department managers and producers can become overly reliant on HR; managers dump their problems on HR and expect HR to just clean up their mess versus actively working through the issue to resolution.

Alternatives: Using email and good follow up.

Recruiting – The Process

Description: It is a well known pet peeve of HR managers that hiring managers try to begin the hiring process for a candidate with only a vague idea of what exactly they are looking for. Even when job descriptions are available for them to refer to, they must be reminded to use the job description as a reference tool. Otherwise they are wasting everybody’s time – HR, the candidates’ and their own. Hiring managers must review what it is that they’re looking for. Each year, requirements and criteria change. Post all jobs on company web site so that everyone knows about it and can apply or refer the vacancy to somebody else who might be qualified. Once you have a candidate, conduct behavioral and technical tests first, then do a telephone screening, then bring them in for a face-to-face interview.

Pros: The advantage of testing people first is that there are no surprises later around their technical competence. It makes the recruiting process tighter and more quantifiable and having a consistent process makes recruiting consistent across all departments.

Cons: Small studios can’t always do something that extensive and labor intensive, some people get left out of the process, some people who are not technically stellar get eliminated from the recruiting process who might otherwise be great additions from a cultural work ethic perspective. The team can feel resentful if they are not all involved in the selection of a future team member.

Alternatives: Some sort of hybrid solution between a lengthy, comprehensive process and no process.

Hiring Temporary Workers

Description: Due to the nature of our business and the long production cycle which requires head count flexibility, the hiring of temporary workers is seen as the most creative, cost effective method to increase efficiencies around the ebb and flow of the production cycle.

Pros: Temporary workers can be a win / win situation. They come in when you need them, their work (ideally) is based on specific deliverables, they may be paid a premium in exchange for their short term work schedule but they do not become eligible for benefits and therefore do not contribute to claims experience.

Cons: Often the “temporary” workers end up in the building for what ends up being months. They fall under the headcount radar and are not perceived to be costing the company money, therefore budgets can be misrepresented. Also, temporary workers are denied benefits, training and other perks under this status when actually they should probably be considered for a more full time position after a certain number of months (six was the suggestion) or be deemed no longer temporary. It is not considered ethical to deny them benefits and other perks as temp workers after a certain period of time has passed and they are clearly no longer temporary.

Alternatives: Tighter administration around the term “temporary”. 

Keeping it legal

Description: Put together a list of organizations you can turn to for legal advice in the everchanging world of HR. References should at least include membership in a national human resource organization (like Society for Resource Management and the Human Resource Planning Society), and links to your national, state or provincial government.

Pros: Keeping up to date, and having on hand resources adds tremendous value to a HR department. The cost for joining a National Association is about two hours with a lawyer that can easily be recouped by avoiding the first legal crisis.

Cons: Joining national HR organizations is expensive and can tax a smaller developers funds. Also keeping up with the flow of information and ever-changing laws is overwhelming.

Alternatives: Outsourcing to either a lawyer or professional HR firm.

Delight Employees with the Unexpected

The last but not least way is to occasionally delight your employees with unexpected things that may come in the form of a reward, a gift or a well-done certificate. Reward not only the top performers but also a few others who are in need of motivation to exhibit their potential

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