My favorite time of year!

It’s my favorite time of year… Summer! Pool Time! Yeah, those are cool.  But why do I love this time of year the most? Talent Reviews (TR). That special time of year when managers come together and calibrate their teams.

Managers take time to think about where they would place their employees on the 9-box, relative to others at the same level and role. They then defend those placements to their peers. It’s magic.

During annual performance reviews the managers focus on filling out forms (or many forms depending on the team size).  It becomes a chore and they are sometimes working on getting through the paperwork.  Not so during TR meetings.

There is a thoughtful review that occurs when you sit down and plot your team members on a grid.  There is strength in sitting in calibration with your peers and sharing the good and bad of each employee and why they are in a certain box.  You hear managers share stories about their team members’ development and growth.  You also hear about challenges they are having. You see them come together as a leadership team to get better.  The leaders give each other ideas on how they can develop their employees. Magic.

As an HR person, I get to help these conversations.  I can push just a little to get them talking and open them up to feedback.  When you see a leader who is usually more reserved give feedback to their peer on a team member, you do a little happy dance on the inside.   There is  camaraderie in this exercise that you rarely see on a team when they are heads down trying to get a lot of work done.

There are a couple nuances that we help with as HR practitioners.  We help lay the ground rules:

  • The  leaders are in the “trust tree” and everyone should speak openly in the room (but keep it to themselves when they leave).
  • We (politely) ask the senior leader in the room to hold their comments until the team has spoken.
  • We help with the administration of whatever tool you may be using.  Cornerstone is our tool. We have been able to customize quite a bit for our purposes which has been great.

I have a lot of things that I love about my job, but this is my favorite.  Talent is key to the success of the organization and I like being a part of each team members’ growth.

Photo Credit: lennyjpg via Compfight cc