Teacher Evaluations

Wall Street Journal: Businesses Shower Employees with Love, Not Sanctions and Punishments

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According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, American business is taking a new approach to its employees: Show them appreciation, support, and encouragement. The title of the article is: “You’re Awesome: Firms Scrap Negative Feedback.”

 

Stack-ranking of employees from best to worst is out. Punitive evaluations are so yesterday. People do their best when they are appreciated.

 

So this is what American business is doing! Would someone please tell Arne Duncan, Andrew Cuomo, Rick Scott, Scott Walker, Mike Pence, and members of Congress?

 

 

The article, written by Rachel Feintszeig, begins this way:

 

 
If you don’t have anything nice to say, management has a tip: Try harder.

 

Fearing they’ll crush employees’ confidence and erode performance, employers are asking managers to ease up on harsh feedback. “Accentuate the positive” has become a new mantra at workplaces like VMware Inc., Wayfair Inc., and the Boston Consulting Group Inc., where bosses now dole out frequent praise, urge employees to celebrate small victories and focus performance reviews around a particular worker’s strengths—instead of dwelling on why he flubbed a client presentation.

 

The shift may annoy leaders who rose in a tough-love era in business, but executives say hard-edge tactics simply do more harm than good these days.

 

When employees’ flaws are laid bare, “there’s that mental ‘ugh’ and shrug of, ‘This is who I am,’ ” says Michelle Russell, a partner at BCG.

 

Bit by bit, the consulting firm has changed the way managers evaluate employee performance. For years, those discussions focused largely on employee missteps and where they needed to improve.

 

“We would bring them in and beat them down a bit,” says Ms. Russell. After the reviews, she observed some employees left the company as their confidence and performance slipped; others seemed rattled days or weeks later.

 

Now, managers are expected to extol staffers’ strengths during reviews and check-ins, explaining how the person can use his or her talents to tackle aspects of the job that come less naturally.

 

Bosses are advised to mention no more than one or two areas that require development, Ms. Russell adds…..

 

The rising popularity of tools like Gallup’s StrengthsFinder, which is designed to measure a person’s talents in any of 34 areas, suggests how many more companies are taking a positive tack. About 600,000 people used the tool each year from 2001 through 2012, says Leticia McCadden, a spokeswoman for Gallup.

 

Since 2012, the number of users has jumped to 1.6 million a year. As of last year, StrengthsFinder was used by 467 members of the Fortune 500.

 

Facebook, one of the best-known users of StrengthsFinder, has crafted a new management style attuned to the needs of 20- and 30-somethings that comprise most of its staff….

 

VMware has borrowed techniques from marriage counselors, such as increasing the ratio of positive to negative comments in the workplace and encouraging employees to celebrate their wins.

 

“You’re really trying to get them in the moment where they’re reliving the joy they felt,” says Jessica Amortegui, a former VMware talent development executive.

 

 

 

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