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Just Checking In: 3 Benefits Adobe Got from Eliminating Performance Reviews

performance-evaluationTAKEAWAY TUESDAY Take it away! This is the ninth in a series of posts that will be featured on Fonteva’s blog highlighting important strategies associations can take away from other industries. In today’s sixth-degrees-of-separation world, your members are assessing your association not just in comparison to similar organizations but in relation to the totality of their experiences as consumers. As such, we want to help you stay abreast of key trends and best practices, those takeaways that may benefit your association. It’s hard to find anyone who looks forward to annual performance reviews. Employees usually don’t, and neither do their managers. Yet, in most organizations, they remain firmly in place. In a recent post to LinkedIn, Bob Sutton, a professor at Stanford University and co-author of Scaling Up Excellence: Getting More without Settling for Less, noted, “Management experts have questioned the value of such reviews for decades.” To illustrate that there could be a better way to evaluate employee performance, Sutton shares one of his and co-author Huggy Roa’s favorite examples from their book (an excerpt) about how Adobe “killed one of the most sacred of corporate cows” two years ago by getting rid of traditional performance reviews. The company moved away from this yearly exercise and instead instituted frequent “check-ins” during which managers provide employees targeted coaching and advice. There is no corporate or standardized format or frequency for these check-ins. Managers are simply expected to check in regularly to make sure employees understand what’s expected of them. According to Sutton and Roa, the goal is “to give people information when they need it rather than months after teachable moments have passed.” What about money? Adobe managers make adjustments to employee compensation annually. Further, they now have far more discretion over such decisions than they did before. They have almost complete authority to allocate their budgets amongst their staff members as they see fit. It’s important to note that managers did receive additional training on giving and receiving feedback as part of the new program’s rollout. And so far it seems to be going well. Here of three of the benefits that can be drawn from Sutton and Roa’s summary of the changes made at Adobe.
  1. More time: It was calculated that Adobe’s 2,000 managers had spent approximately 80,000 hours each year preparing annual reviews.
  2. Better communication: According to a recent employee survey, 78 percent of employees indicate that their managers are open to getting feedback from them, which is a sizable improvement from previous surveys.
  3. Less attrition: Voluntary attrition at Adobe has dropped 30 percent since the check-ins were introduced.
Despite these benefits, Sutton acknowledges that “in the end, check-ins may prove worse than traditional reviews.” Still, he says the HR staff at Adobe should be applauded for “summoning the courage to kill this maligned—yet somehow still sacred—practice.” You may be thinking that for your association, getting rid of performance reviews is totally out of the question. Arguably, this would be a drastic step for most organizations. Even so, it’s important to continually evaluate your processes and resist the tendency to keep doing what you’re doing simply because you’ve always done it. Original Article
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Communicating about Change: 4 Lessons from Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show Debut

imgresThe viewing public knew a change was coming, but would they embrace the Tonight Show’s new host? Well, Jimmy Fallon increased the odds in his favor by communicating honestly and openly with his audience about the change. He explained things in detail and didn’t pretend like “nothing” was happening. Times TV critic James Poniewozik made some insightful observations about Fallon’s debut that I’ll reference here as I highlight four lessons that can help organizations communicate more effectively about change. Be specific about what’s changing and staying the same.  Fallon “very deliberately walked the audience through who he was, who his supporting stars were and what kind of show he was going to do. He literally, at one point, pretty much explained how a late-night show works, down to the fact that a host comes out from behind a curtain and tells topical jokes.” Frame to the story to make others comfortable with change. “So each introduction Fallon made was a chance to frame the story, from the beginning, in a way that could make these longtime Tonight viewers—many of them older—comfortable with him, even while he hopefully brought in new ones.” Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. “Fallon was not going to pretend to be Leno, but he could introduce himself as a nice, approachable kid. He spotlighted his adorable parents and said he hoped they were proud of him.” Be genuine and considerate.  “And by the way, I don’t mean any of this to say that Fallon was being calculated or phony—far from it. It was all true. Fallon really does want to show people a good time; I don’t know him personally, but to all appearances he’s a good-hearted guy who takes genuine, contagious joy in his work. … And—most important—he came across humble and considerate, acknowledging that he represented a big change and asking the audience for their attention rather than demanding it.” Think about the last time you had to communicate an important change to your staff or members. Was there anything that you could have done differently – even better? Original Article
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Moms Get Gold at Sochi

imgres-1TAKEAWAY TUESDAY Take it away! This is the seventh in a series of posts that will be featured on Fonteva’s blog highlighting important strategies associations can take away from other industries. In today’s sixth-degrees-of-separation world, your members are assessing your association not just in comparison to similar organizations but in relation to the totality of their experiences as consumers. As such, we want to help you stay abreast of key trends and best practices, those takeaways that may benefit your association. I am a big fan of live sporting events, and I also enjoy watching them from the comfort of my home.  In fact, of my TV consumption, sports probably make up 75 percent. Like many of you, I have thoroughly enjoyed the coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Watching top athletes from around the world compete is exciting, disappointing and inspiring all at the same time. And as any sports fan knows, the competition among corporations to use major sporting events to their best advantage is just as tough. In the months leading up to the Winter Olympics, a particular group of commercials and ads stood out for me. Launched in 2010 in conjunction with the Winter Games in Vancouver, Proctor & Gamble’s “Proud Sponsor of Moms” campaign has been quite successful. The campaign focuses on the role moms have played in helping their Olympians reach their goals. P&G found a way to capitalize on a world-wide event that might not have ordinarily been so closely associated with its brand by identifying a key audience and going for gold. Just before the games in Sochi got underway, P&G released a new ad, Pick Them Up. “As a mom I can relate to those moments of watching my children fall, and being there to pick them up, dust them off and tell them to try again,” Jodi Allen, P&G’s vice president of North American marketing and brand operations, told Huffing Post Blogger Lisa Belkin. “We feel that all moms can relate to this new film because whether your child is an Olympian or not, all moms strive to raise great children.” Yes, they do, and that’s why this approach has resonated with its intended audience. Perhaps, you can identify a similar opportunity for your association to leverage some aspect of a major event. The answer is likely lies in your data. And well, you already know how I feel about that. Original Article

Past Tuesday Takeaways

Fantasy Football Equals Engagement Florist Transworld Delivery Finds Value in Membership Paper and Pixels for PR: Follow Beyonce’s Example High-Tech Higher Ed: The IT Team As First Responders Three New Ways of Working Together: Perspectives from Mabel’s Labels, Zappos and Morning Star
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Fantasy Football Equals Engagement

imgres-1TAKEAWAY THURSDAY Take it away! This is the sixth in a series of posts that will be featured on Fonteva’s blog highlighting important strategies associations can take away from other industries. In today’s sixth-degrees-of-separation world, your members are assessing your association not just in comparison to similar organizations but in relation to the totality of their experiences as consumers. As such, we want to help you stay abreast of key trends and best practices, those takeaways that may benefit your association. As you go through your busy day, playing games may be the last thing on your mind.  Yet, gamification continues to be an important trend. According to Gartner, by year-end 2014, an estimated 70 percent of the world’s 2,000 largest companies will deploy at least one gamification application. Last year, I wrote about this trend with some skepticism. I wasn’t convinced that gamification would be useful to associations in engaging their members: “You don’t need a game when you’re delivering significant benefits for achievement.” While I still believe this is the case, I am also open to new approaches to gamification that help association staffs and their members be more engaged with one another. I recently came across an excellent example of the former. In a December blog post, Frank Humada, general manager for MultiView, shared the company’s success with using gamification internally with employees. “After hearing some employees discuss their Fantasy Football success over a weekend, the idea to use this concept at MultiView made too much sense to not act on it,” he writes. The basic concept for fantasy sports involves people becoming general managers for teams of professional athletes for a given sport. You draft your players and earn points from a few categories of statistics from their games. In MultiView’s case, 40 operations staff employees become GMs of a team of sales reps. They received points if their sales reps hit more than 120 minutes each day, for sales under and over $1,500, and even earned points if their drafted sales team was the top team of the day. Some employees even worked late to ensure that they that they would hit their targets for the day. Fantasy Football turned out to be a great way to motivate staff and build a bridge between the company’s operations staff and sales team: “The operations staff began communicating with more people on the sales floor than they did before, while also engaging in friendly competition with opponents in their departments for a playoff spot.” Based on the success of this effort, Humada plans to “continue to utilize gamification across the company, or even outside of work. You can make anything more engaging, so why wait? Implement today, or run the risk of missing out on increased productivity and interest.” Perhaps, there’s an appropriate way for your association to deploy gamification. There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to get people engaged and motivated. Original Article
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Marketing to Go: 3 Important Considerations for Mobile Content Marketing

imgresIf find yourself reaching for your mobile device more and more when you need information or want to communicate online, you’re not alone. The use of mobile devices is widespread for both professional and personal activities. In a recent post to the company’s blog, Readz CEO Bart De Pelsmaeker notes that “nearly half of Facebook’s active users access the network only from mobile devices.” This trend or preference towards mobile devices has given rise to the latest iteration of content marketing, mobile content marketing. De Pelsmaeker defines mobile content marketing as “the creation of mobile optimized content to attract and engage existing and potential customers.” The platform may have changed, but the goals are the same: recruiting and retaining customers. Like other organizations are doing, associations might want to consider if mobile content marketing has place in their strategic plans for engaging existing customers and prospects. However, be forewarned. Mobile content marketing requires more than using existing content and enabling it for mobile devices. Some associations made this mistake when first implementing social media. Simply reposting content from your association’s web site to social media may not be enough to attract your members and prospects. Instead, De Pelsmaeker says three considerations are most important if your organization wants to be effective at mobile content marketing:
  1. Great content.  “Writing excellent content that meets users’ needs is the foundation of content marketing, whether it’s targeted to mobile users or not. Steer your content strategy towards relevant information that users want.”
  2. Speed. “If people are using mobile devices with a limited data plan, the length of time content takes to download hits them in the pocket. That means if content loads slowly, they really have to want it to stick around. Slow page load is a big turnoff for both web and mobile users, so optimize your content so it loads quickly.”
  3. Usability. “This is about how easy it is for mobile device users to complete desired actions when interacting with your content. Common mobile usability errors include menus that stretch into an inaccessible area or are not completely visible because they are really setup for desktop users, pop-ups or social media sharing buttons that block the main content, long forms that are cumbersome to fill in.”
In general, he recommends that organizations take a “mobile first” approach, which means starting content creation with the mobile interface and then broadening it out for other users. This approach certainly resonates with us at Fonteva. This trend towards increased use of mobile devices seemed inevitable and was foremost in our minds when we developed Fonteva For Associations, which is completely mobile for association staff and members. Original Article  
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