There are immutable practices in corporate America that are just downright ludicrous. This is likely no surprise, but now I’ve said it aloud.
On my (growing) list of infamous practices:
Quarterly Performance Bonuses
Before leaving my corporate job, I remember starting a conversation in our community about quarterly performance bonuses, and simply asking if the administrative costs of:
- creating a system for employees to draft their ‘goals’
- standardized and mandatory training for all employees about how to write their goals
- implementing a three-tiered management review and approval process of the goals
- requiring rewrites or updates
- monitoring and tracking (particularly in light of the fact that the business environment changed so drastically from day to day that you goals yesterday would likely be irrelevant next month, if not next week)
- reviewing goals at end of quarterly cycle to validate that employees were successful
- negotiating and remediating disagreements between bosses and employees re: attainment of goals
- overriding management decisions to withhold segments of quarterly goal payments for non-achievement (of course, we wouldn’t want to demotivate anyone)
…..was worth all the trouble. By the time you finished the process on your Q1 goals, you were more than 6 weeks into Q2 and began the cycle again.
Dan Pink says it best in his Ted talk about motivation.
Names Not Spoken
I’ve noticed this one for over twenty-five years. Once you leave a company, it’s as though you are dead (assuming that you left alive and well). All that talk about ‘being a family’ and ‘we’ll get through this together’ and ‘we really care about you’ is disproved by denying that an employee has ever really worked there by NEVER uttering his/her name again.
Saw a perfect example this morning. Two people managed a program for well over a year. One of them was ….what’s the current euphemism, released….. The other assumed responsibility for the program.
Who does the company thank on Twitter? Who do members of the particular program thank on social media? The one who remains.
We are corporate-ized to never mention the name of someone who left the company. No matter their contribution, their value, their imprint or legacy. It is easier, I guess, for most people to simply put the past in the past and to not re-live painful goodbyes.
For a small percentage of people, this disturbing practice is so obvious, while the majority simply falls in line. My former colleagues used to wonder why I would intentionally speak about others who had left the company, tell a funny story about them, or credit them for whatever they did to lead us to where we were.
I know I’m not alone in making these observations; but sometimes feel alone in writing them down. If we want our companies, our organizations, to be places where employees are engaged and active, innovative and producing, then we must begin to QoL (Question out Loud) unspoken practices.
Anyone want to QoL with me?