Today’s post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

It’s been a busy couple of months here at The Workforce Institute with lots of great content from our terrific board of advisors. Here’s a look back at the topics we’ve been covering in case you missed anything:

Restoring Trust in the U.S. Federal Government 

This post by board member Neil Reichenberg, Former Executive Director of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA‐HR) looked at the erosion of trust in the U.S. government, the importance of building trust again, and how organizations and individuals can play a role in the process. Neil also wrote later in March about how Public School Employees Continue to Be Negatively Impacted by the Pandemic, and in April about the efforts in Spain To Launch a National Four‐Day Workweek Pilot.

The Business Case for PTO for All 

Workforce Institute board member, bestselling author and managing partner of Workplace Intelligence, Dan Schawbel contributed this piece providing a historical view of paid time off and a convincing argument for why it should be a benefit available to everyone.

Talking Technology with The HR Bartender

I recently had the pleasure of joining longtime Workforce Institute board member and the HR BartenderSharlyn Lauby, on her brand new podcast, The HR Bartender Show, to talk about importance of providing employees with effective technology. If you have a half hour to listen, please tune in HERE (you can take us on a walk or in your car) or if reading is more your style, you can read the transcript HERE.

A Year of COVID-19: Working Through a Global Pandemic 

I wrote this post looking back at a year of working in a pandemic and highlighting some of the great thought leadership our board has provided along the way.

Why You Need An Internal Talent Marketplace – Now

Workforce Institute board member and Skeptical Guy, John Hollon wrote this piece about the upcoming war for talent once the pandemic is behind us and why an internal talent marketplace is a critical tool for every organization.

Freedom to Operate: How Global Labor Strategy is Determining Business Success 

Workforce Institute board member, John Frehse, senior managing director at Ankura Consulting Group, LLC., wrote this piece about the complications of running a global business and how organizations can effectively manage their presences around the world.

Reacting to Difficulty: Resilience in 2021

Our newest board member, author, journalist and speaker Ivonne Vargas Hernández, contributed this piece on the importance of resilience – both personal and professional – during the difficult times we are living in.

The Critical Impact of Leadership in Nursing Today 

Nanne Finis, Chief Nurse Executive at UKG contributed this great piece on the immense challenges nursing leaders have faced over the past year, the valuable lessons learned, and what healthcare organizations must focus on in the days and months ahead to be successful.

A Leap Forward in People Analytics

Workforce Institute board member David Creelman wrote about the ability organizations now have to use advanced technologies to gather and analyze data from a wide variety of public sources such as Indeed and LinkedIn to get a clear picture of their talent strategy and its impact on meaningful measures.

The Case for Re-thinking the Performance Review Process

If there were ever a time to re-think the performance review process, that time is NOW! I wrote this look back at some of the great advice our board members have put forth over the years to make the performance review process more useful and less painful.

Alexandra Levit Talks with Laurie Ruettimann about Expert Hacks for Those Who Want to Be and Employ the Best 

Our own  Alexandra Levit recently chatted with her friend and colleague Laurie Ruettimann, who has spent decades as a human resources and workforce thought leader and has brought her wisdom and candor to the new book Betting on You: Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career. It’s a lively discussion with some great take-aways.

Workplace Flexibility in a Post-COVID World 

The topic on everyone’s minds these days seems to be workplace flexibility: how much is good, how much is too much, what degree will employees have after the pandemic is over and what’s the future of flexibility? In this post, Workforce Institute board member Dennis Miller, AVP of Human Resources and Benefits Administration at The Claremont Colleges, weighs in.

Taking Action with HR Data 

This guest post from UKG’s Teresa Smith and Chas Fields moves beyond the buzzword “HR Analytics” to talk about how data can become a part of your day-to-day HR life and actually improve your department and organization.

 The Future of Work, Post-Pandemic Edition 

In this post, our board members weigh in on how the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work and which of those changes should stay and which should go once we are back to whatever the new normal looks like.

I told you it was a busy two months! I hope you found many of these posts informative, helpful and interesting to read. Don’t forget to subscribe to The Workforce Institute so you never miss a post! See you in May!

Today’s post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

I recently read a statistic that blew my mind: “According to a survey of 48,000 employees, managers and CEOs by the leadership training and research firm, Leadership iQ, only 13 percent of employees and managers, and 6 percent of CEOs, think their organization's performance appraisal system is useful.”

I can’t say I’m surprised by the 13 percent number: when was the last time you heard any employee say, “I’m so excited for my performance review!”? Or any manager say, “My favorite part of being a manager is writing performance reviews each year!”?


But 6 percent of CEOs!?! That’s actually shocking to me, because that’s pretty darn close to zero, and if the vast majority of head decision-makers at companies think performance reviews are useless, why hasn’t anyone done anything to make them more useful?

If there was ever a time to re-think the performance review and figure out how to make it useful, meaningful, helpful – all the “fuls" – now is the time. In the last year, COVID-19 impacted just about every person’s job – whether you were hunkered down at home or had to be there in person. We’re re-thinking so many aspects of work at this time: office space, flexibility, talent acquisition, wellness programs, it just makes sense to re-think performance reviews and performance management as well.

We’ve had some wonderful posts from our board members over the years about how to make performance reviews better – here are just a few: 

The Problem with Making Performance Management Just Another Managerial Task: This post from John Hollon cites research from Gallup that found the performance management process to be “irrevocably broken”, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. John argues that the keys to effective performance management are ongoing conversations, timely recognition, and informal dialogue on a weekly basis.

The Key Ingredient for Effective Performance Management: This post from Dennis Miller notes that corporate research and advisory firm CEB found that only 4 percent of HR managers think their system of assessing employees is effective at measuring performance, while 83 percent say their systems need an overhaul. Dennis outlines some ideas on how to do this most effectively.

Sharlyn Lauby on Managing Performance: This podcast with Sharlyn Lauby focuses on what organizations can do to get performance management right. Sharlyn discusses the issue in the context of her chapter in The Workforce Institute's most recent book, Being Present:  A Practical Guide for Transforming the Employee Experience of Your Frontline Workforce.

Upping Your Employee Feedback Game: Former Workforce Institute executive director, Joyce Maroney, highlights the need for more timely feedback and provides "how-to's" for having those difficult conversations that can often derail a good performance management strategy.

Analytics Moves HR Towards Being a Strategic Partner: In this post, Neil Reichenberg reports on research that looks at where HR professionals are implementing HR analytics programs at their organizations and finds that one of the key areas is the performance review process, noting that the use of analytics can lead to "Increased completion rate of performance evaluations, assisting to switch to a goal-oriented evaluation approach, and facilitating the use of more frequent performance discussions."

Do you think the performance review process at your organization is useful? How could it be better? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Today’s post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

Today is March 16, 2021. Think about where you were a year ago. It had been five days since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and three days since a National Emergency had been declared in the United States.

Most of us were in some kind of mad scramble: endlessly doomscrolling news sites, glued to cable news, scouring the shelves of our emptied local supermarkets for bread and toilet paper, trying to comprehend that our kids may be out of school for a few weeks (which seemed monumental and impossible at the time – ha!), worried about our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, figuring out how to do our jobs from home, learning about a new technology called Zoom, worried about whether or not it was safe to go into work, worried about not getting paid if we didn’t, leaving our houses for the very first time in a face mask and thinking, “this can’t be real life.”

It was chaos.

The tragedy that followed that chaos was far worse than most of us ever could have imagined: Around the world, there have been nearly 120 million cases of COVID-19 (nearly 30 million in the U.S.) and 2.6 million deaths (more than 530,000 in the U.S.). This level of death and devastation was unimaginable to most of us a year ago.

Life still doesn’t look normal. Many of us are still working from home, not travelling, not seeing friends and family the way we used to. Most schools are still not up-and-running normally. Many of us are grieving the loss of loved ones and still worried about the future.

BUT…it does feel like that light at the end of the tunnel is getting ever closer. More than 355 million doses of the vaccine have been administered worldwide, and other aspects of our lives are moving closer to a return to some kind of normalcy. In the U.S., President Biden gave an address last week where he urged us to keep wearing masks and socially distancing and get vaccinated with the hope that come July 4th, we can gather in small groups with our loved ones. I’m really looking forward to that.

Here at The Workforce Institute, the first piece we published about the COVID-19 pandemic was on March 25, 2020, a link to a webinar that the UKG (then Kronos) VP of Global Workspace Solutions Jon Proffitt participated in when companies were just starting to grapple with what business in a pandemic might look like.

Since then, we’ve tried to focus our content on providing you with actionable advice to help you through this time as an employee, manager, organization and human being. Some of those articles include:

COVID-19 Challenges Negative Specialness

This piece from board member Alexandra Levit examined the stress many of us were feeling at the outset of the pandemic, how we were (and are) all in this together, and what organizations could do to create more flexibility for employees.

COVID‐19 Continues to Negatively Impact Government Employees

Board member Neil Reichenberg has written a series of informative and compassionate pieces in the last year focused on the toll the pandemic has taken on frontline, public sector employees many of whom have not had the luxury of working from home but have had to show up to work each and every day in uncertain environments.

How COVID-19 Will Redefine Wellness Programs

Sharlyn Lauby took a look at the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 on health and wellness programs at organizations, focusing on mental and financial wellness, resiliency and embracing flexibility.

Panic in the Supply Chain: How America’s Basements Changed Manufacturing Forever

Board member John Frehse looked at how all that toilet paper-hoarding affected the global supply chain last year and what companies learned from it.

What’s Your COVID- Overhead? Understanding the Pandemic’s Labor Cost

Board member Bob Clements wrote about the profound impact COVID-19 has had on daily operations for so many organizations and the great lengths they have gone to to stay in business.

Why Employers Who Prioritize Safety Will Win the War for Talent

Dan Schawbel wrote about research he conducted with UKG looking at policies, practices and procedures around COVID-19 finding that “Safety is the main ingredient that will forge trust between employers and employees during this crisis and in its’ aftermath.”

Reflections on the Year in Healthcare That Was – and What the Future May Hold

UKG’s Chief Nurse Officer, Nanne Finis, wrote this heartfelt and informative piece about the incredible work done by frontline healthcare workers during the pandemic and why she’s hopeful about many aspects of the future of healthcare.

Embracing Flexibility

Natalie Bickford wrote this insightful piece asking why it’s taken so long for companies to not just allow, but embrace flexibility: “Let’s take this opportunity to create a level playing field for our employees, and celebrate flexibility, rather than begrudgingly allow it.”

Gen Z Mental Health During Quarantine

Board member Dennis Miller wrote this compassion-filled piece about supporting our younger colleagues through this time.

Re-thinking Office Space in a Post-COVID World

I wrote this piece about the impact COVID-19 may have on how organizations and individuals view “the office”, and how offices may be designed or re-designed moving forward.

This is just a sampling of the content we’ve produced over the last year. A big thank you to all of our board members for consistently providing us with your valuable insight, advice and expertise on all things work. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Workforce Institute so you don’t miss a thing.

Today’s post comes to us from the executive director of The Workforce Institute, Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, SPHR.

As we close out the month of October, I wanted to provide you all with a recap of the content we published this month at The Workforce Institute. I love hearing from our board members each month and getting their unique takes on the issues that are impacting the world of work. Every story below is worth a read, so if you missed anything the first time around, please check it out now – it’s perfect reading while you eat all that Halloween candy you’ve got lying around.

That’s it for October! Stay tuned for more great content coming your way in November 2020!

Oh - and if you are looking for some spooky Halloween tunes to play this weekend while you navigate socially distant holiday fun, check out UKG's Halloween Monster Mix on Spotify!

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