It's 2017 - why are we still in the 80's?

While there were many great things about the 80's and 90's, (music, fringe benefits, opening a crisp new Sydney Morning Herald and circling jobs in the job pages, applying for jobs directly to the employer), I'm wondering whether there are some things better left there, such as...

Interview Questions

The working world has moved forward and stopped asking questions about marriage, kids and personal issues that have no impact on whether the candidate can do the job or not. Yay. But some interviewers are still asking questions such as 'What are your weaknesses?'

To be honest, I think if interviewers are still asking this question they really are stuck in the 80's. Focus on the positives when interviewing people and don't stick to prescriptive questions that formed part of a checklist over 20 years ago. Weaknesses or not - the questions should be focused around competency in the job, not where the candidate is likely to fail.

A good manager allocates tasks among their team based on strengths, and everyone is human, so let's not get bogged down in asking a question for the sake of asking it, and instead come up with some great questions that will really bring out the essence of the person being interviewed.

Performance Reviews

OK, I've been saying this for years - why do companies still have Performance Reviews? I was so pleased to read this the other day:

Multinational management consulting firm Accenture will officially get rid of its performance reviews as part of a “massive revolution” in internal operations. ... Accenture sees annual appraisals as an excessive use of time, money and effort, and is one of the few businesses moving away from them.

Well done Accenture! In most cases, Performance Reviews do not achieve whatever it is that they were designed to achieve - they cause stress, worry, anxiety, they can be subjective, and they only add to creating a negative working environment. Even most Managers dread them as they are known to be time consuming and ineffective. Over the years I have encountered one or two companies where Performance Reviews provide benefit, but this is often the exception and not the rule.

Effective Managers know the importance of regular catch ups with staff - and it is during these sessions that performance should be addressed. Addressing issues as they arise and on a regular basis, in a less formal environment, helps create a more positive and less stressful relationship between the manager and their staff member.

Development Reviews

If performance is addressed during regular catch ups with managers, and the Performance Review is now scrapped (hooray!) then the only thing left is a Development Review. This is something that should be conducted yearly and it would literally just focus on the requirements of the staff member for their development over the next 12 months. What training do they need? Do they want to attend workshops? Do they need to attend something more formal? (Ideally the company has also implemented an internal CPD Program or has secured external consultants to deliver some PD training). 

The focus of the Development Review should be solely on how to help the staff member further develop their skills and knowledge.

After all, companies know that their people are their most important asset. Let's start looking at positive ways in which this can be demonstrated to them. Focus on how to develop them further, challenge them in positive ways, encourage and motivate them, and create a culture where people can be themselves, grow and thrive - because they are being supported in their professional development - and not being asked about their weaknesses (mine is my left elbow by the way - I broke it three years ago and it's still weaker than my right one).