So here's the scene. You're preparing for an annual review with one of your key admin people. You know the first thought in her mind will be "how much of a raise am I going to get this year?" Your thinking "She's been with me for another year, but I can't afford to keep giving raises just for anniversaries." So you lock yourself in your office and review the year in your mind. What did she do well and where did she fall short of your expectations. Since her main role is in admin support, you start there.
"Well, she tends to come in late. The other staff members complain about her and she had a run in with the inside sales manager. On the other hand, she does a great job tracking our inbound calls and really bailed us out when we had the supplier audit earlier this month." You've now spent an hour or more thinking this through and the issue isn't any clearer than before.
Now if you apply a Management by Statistics program to the scene, things would be much easier to handle. You'd be able to measure and manage production in all areas of the distribution organization and pinpoint the difference between success and failure as it's happening, not afterward. And since many employees believe they are exchanging their time for a paycheck, this simple practice would help you reward "up-stats" and penalize "down-stats" with objective data tied directly to production.
I know that may sound a bit revolutionary to some, yet the truth is everyone tends to be happier in an organziation or area that's producing. How's it work?
1. Determine measurements of production that lead to success
2. Convert production measures to stats
3. Capture and report stats weekly (applies to everyone in the company)
4. Graph the stats weekly
5. Review the stats weekly
When you do this week to week, you'll find the review process a much easier experience. And if you reward increased production, you set the stage for additional increases in the coming weeks and years. The best place to start is with the next employee up for a review. Work out the stats in their area and start tracking and improving each one. After a while you'll have the entire company driving up production as a team and you'll reap the rewards for years to come.
Indeed. Managers, supervisors and staff all gain from the practice because it puts each individual more "at cause" over his or her area. If for example, I see my activity is falling below target, I feel more pressure to get my ethics in and do whatever's necessary to get to that target or perhaps above it before the week is up.
It's also useful in keeping everyone in a forward thinking mindset. Some years ago a good friend of mine at Arrow's Capstone division said he looks at the clock at the end of the day and wonders how many of his competitors are kicking back on their calls for the day. Knowing that, he would rally up and make a wave of calls to generate the right kind of activity. Point being; if you follow the stat method, you won't be prone to back off from doing key actions for simply because it's after 5 p.m. or the holiday is here. You'll know these things are coming up, so you'll be self-motivated to plan ahead and act accordingly.
Tvotapka, How could anyone argue with such well-reasoned and well-articulated idea? I'll try, though. You have expressed the position of the supervisor/employer who is after all in a position to take the time to plan how to assess the employee but this carefully planned assessment program may run into the employee's own plan. How should an employee approach the annual review? What does the employer know about how the employee feels? You didn't raise this in your analysis but it is critical to managing -- not manipulating -- the relationship. Any thoughts?
Perhaps the best way is for supervisors to have more frequent talks/reviews with their employees, even if it is only for a couple minutes each time. The annual review could include looking at how the employee handled reacting to/improving the statistics during the year.
Good point! In fact, that is one of the benefits of the system. It puts in ethics and objectivity. See when any employee comes into the scene as a new hire or promotion, the assumption is he or she shares the idea that production is good for the group. It certainly is the basis for good morale. And in the ideal scene, the supervisor - at the time of the appointment - review the individual's "hat pack," which is a write up of the post including its purposes, procedures and statistics. Every individual in the organization is responsible for his or her own stat and condition. So when the system is used standardly, you're putting your people in control over their own areas of influence. If I'm working for a distributor or manufacturer, I know how my stats are tracking week to week, month to month. If they're up, they're up, and the graphs will show that. Not just mine, but the areas I influence beyond my post.
If the stats are down, and down chronically, I'd be hard-pressed to justify a bump up in salary simply because I showed up for work. And in that case, I would want to use the review as an opportunity to identify what may be causing the condition, apply corrective measures based on each trend, and complete them in the right order. If not, then I'm simply assigning the responsibility for the survival of the group or department to someone else. And that's the first step toward a dwindling spiral.
By the way, when this system is put in, I've seen morale and production increase very quickly no matter what size the organization is. People get motivated to "keep their stats up" and end up coming up with creative ways and ideas to reach or exceed individual targets and goals. And that's the kind of self-determinism you want from your group.
One point I should add on the stat tracking. It should be done weekly. Departments should have brief "week ending" meetings with staff at which point, each individual reports his stats (literally showing his graphs), states the condition he's applying and then submits to his senior a written battle plan for the week. Why weekly? It provides you with 52 opportunities to make course corrections as you're traveling down the road. If I'm cruising down an interstate and I suddenly realize I've missed an exit, I'd hate to drive on another 100 miles without making a necessary correction. And that's the risk you take with monthly or quarterly tracking.
This is good. What sweetens the deal even more is recognition and a bit of competition amongst team members. I know that I would try a little hard to get 'Tech of the Month' etc if it were made public. My guess is with enough of those under your belt, you'd start to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Who wouldn't enjoy that limelight?
Now you're tracking! Managers get the objective data they need, employees get a little boost in the pants and everything is visible. No secrets makes for better communication and agreement within the group. When we've implemented this in firms we deal with, there's usually a gamesmanship that comes out of the practice.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.