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Your Future at Your Job May Depend on the Box You’re In

It’s not like your boss wants to put you in a box, but talent management professionals might. According to Enterprise Investor, there’s a widely used nine-box employee rating system many of us have never even heard of. The amount of effort a company puts into developing an employee — say, you — may well depend on the box they’re assigned to.

The nine-box grid has two axes. The vertical axis rates an employee’s potential. The horizontal axis describes the employee’s current performance.

Where-Do-You-Fit-on-Your-Organizations-Nine-Box-GridII

Figuring out the box management thinks you belong in can help you see where you need improvement and understand what, if anything, may be holding you back at the company. Obviously, if you’re in the lower left corner, it’s time to look for another more suitable job.

Most employees are in one of seven boxes.

  1. Low Potential, Average Performance: The person in this box is a reliable, all-around employee who should be encouraged to specialize. The goal for this person is retention, not growth.
  2. Low Potential, High Performance: This is probably a specialist or expert in some area, and that’s where that person will remain. They can be helpful in the development or training of others. Keep this person engaged so they’ll stay with the company and continue developing their expertise.
  3. Average Potential, Low Performance: This person may represent an opportunity. Try re-evaluating whether or not the current position is a good fit, and see if more training or coaching shakes something loose.
  4. Average Potential, Average Performance: This may seem like a medium rank, but it’s actually the box for the solid employee who keeps the company running and should be nurtured, motivated, and rewarded.
  5. Average Potential, High Performance: This person is currently valuable to the company and needs to be kept engaged so they don’t leave. Stretching this employee’s skills and challenging them may be productive.
  6. High Potential, Low Performance: This box means someone with potential is in the wrong job, on a dysfunctional team, or under an ineffective manager. Figure out and fix the problem.
  7. High Potential, Average Performance: This person’s future deserves cultivation with assignments that stretch the employee, coaching, and skills development. This person needs to be engaged for retention; after all, they may be a company leader someday.

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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When Superstar Employees Don’t Get Along with Everyone Else

Mega-star employees come along every now and then. It’s great to have employees who over-perform. Unfortunately, though, sometimes the winning chemistry such a person enjoys with customers doesn’t extend to coworkers. In cases like this, an outstanding employee — while being an excellent source of income — can actually be toxic to the company.

HC Online spoke to HR expert Steve Rowe about how to deal with an employee like this. According to Rowe, “These people are often performing really well, but smashing everyone else in the process.” The trick is opening a dialog between management and the employee that doesn’t make things worse.

The first thing that’s needed is the buy-in of management that needs to be convinced that the long-term damage to company morale is at least as important as the results the employee is producing.

Next, the superstar has to be made aware of what they’re doing, and this is delicate. While the company wants to correct the problematic behavior, it doesn’t want to negatively affect their performance, or worse, cause an important asset to quit.

Rowe suggests a few strategies to try, beginning with a simple, honest conversation with the employee, where they are made aware of the problem. If that doesn’t produce results, another, less-diplomatic option is to assess a financial penalty for interacting badly with others.

Maybe the best solution is to make behavior an element of performance reviews. If what’s expected of all employees is made clear and concise on a company-wide basis, it’s easier to reward constructive behavior and manage issues as they come up.

Even when a company finds the problem can’t be solved overnight, both the value of the superstar employee and the importance of maintaining a positive work environment make taking the time to get it right more than worthwhile.

Dora Wang

Dora is an employee engagement reporter for TINYpulse. When she's not busy digging into and covering the latest workplace trends, she's wrangling with her three (yes, three) cats and rooting for the Seahawks.

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Court Says Returning to Work After Family Leave Sometimes Not Guaranteed

The purpose of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is to offer employees who need time off from work for family or medical needs the assurance that their jobs will be there when they return, along with their insurance. Now a court has said that this may not be true if an FMLA medical leave is based on mental illness.

The ruling comes from the U.S Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. The court ruled that a company can fire an on-leave employee for poor performance even when it was a result of the illness that caused the employee to take the medical leave. The court also said that the employee isn’t entitled to come back to work if the company can prove that they’d already planned to fire the employee prior to the medical leave.

The case being argued concerned Cheryl Gabriel, a medical assistant for Colorado Mountain Medical (CMM), who — sometimes arriving at CMM immediately after working 24-hour shifts at a second job — began experiencing anxiety attacks in 2012. After two weeks of FMLA leave in December 2012, she returned to work in January 2013. She said she told others she’d acquired a gun and felt suicidal. In February 2013, CMM told Gabriel her work was unsatisfactory and directed her to take a medical leave. CMM fired her, blaming her performance, her refusal to stop working 24-hour shifts at her other job, and her gun.

The court ruled:

The issue, however, is not whether Ms. Gabriel was mentally fit for work, but instead whether CMM’s decision to terminate her employment was based on her taking FMLA leave. Even if Ms. Gabriel had recovered from her mental-health problems, the FMLA does not prohibit CMM from terminating her for the work deficiencies that resulted from those problems.

The requirement for a company to prove they’d intended to fire an employee prior to the taking of an FLMA leave will hopefully prevent companies from using a family or medical leave as a pretext for termination.

Naomi Thalenberg

Naomi is a reporter for TINYpulse, living and breathing everything employee engagement. She does this by always keeping her workstation fully stocked with dark chocolates.

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What Happens When Companies Eliminate Annual Performance Reviews?

iStock_000079030297_SmallGood news for the haters of performance reviews: many businesses are deciding it’s time to do away with performance reviews and ratings systems altogether. Recently, companies like Accenture and Deloitte have made headlines for deciding to move away from annual performance reviews and ratings.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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My Boss Is an App

MyBossisanApp_By_TINYpulse.png

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by an anonymous source. 

In my job, I take all my orders from an app that lives in my iPhone.

I’m an on-demand worker, and my app-boss is the most annoying and mentally taxing supervisor I’ve ever had. But worse, I fear that my app-boss is a preview of how corporations might run workplaces in the future.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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WHY ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REVIEWS ARE BECOMING OBSOLETE

Optimized-iStock_000058332370_SmallThe annual employee review is dying, or at least severely wounded.

The most recent blow came in July when consulting giant Accenture announced it would stop requiring its 330,000 employees to undergo annual reviews. Prior to that, companies like Adobe, Deloitte, and Gap announced they would end the practice.

Neal McNamara

Neal has spent a decade working as a newspaper reporter, which is one of the worst jobs in America job according to some career websites, but he actually likes it a lot.

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The Performance Review Trend You Need to Jump On Now

Optimized-iStock_000046958894_Small.jpgAs everyone who works in a traditional work environment knows, the vast majority of companies evaluate employee performance using a yearly review. However, some big-name organizations are choosing to nix the annual review, starting a trend of finding a new, more effective way to assess their workers. It seems these companies are paying attention to the statistics.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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