Reach - Resources & News for Evolving Organizations

Consultants to Organizations | January 2014


Welcome, 2014!  Many organizations are starting to think about this year's performance evaluations.  Read below for some news on an interesting practice recently discontinued by Microsoft.  If you missed our last edition of Reachplease click here for important information about starting salaries and an intriguing look at Gen Y.

"Stack Ranking"
doesn't stack up


Microsoft recently ended its controversial practice of "stack ranking" employees, no longer requiring managers to grade or rank employees against one another.  This system was used to inform Microsoft's pay-for-performance system, and included a forced distribution requirement that meant that managers had to identify a certain percentage of employees as under-performers.  Though Microsoft has ended this practice, other high-tech firms still champion it as a way of identifying those employees providing the most value to the organization.  We believe pay-for-performance works best when employees are working to their own strengths, not being held against a peer's yardstick.  Growth and development occur most effectively when employees receive individual coaching and training based on their areas of need or, better yet, based on strengthening their assets to best fit the needs of the organization.  What do you think about stack ranking?  We'd love to hear from you!

Don't Fear the Firing!

The feeling of hiring a fantastic new candidate is an amazing one.  On the opposite end of that spectrum is having to fire a current employee, though it doesn't have to be.  If an employee is not performing and attempts to remedy the situation with training, coaching or mentoring have failed, it is often in the best interest of the organization and the employee to terminate.  Make sure your documentation is in order and that you have a plan to convey to the employee at the time of the meeting (i.e., effective date, any severance package, etc.).  Be truthful but compassionate about the reasons for the firing, and do not beat around the bush.  Answer any questions the employee may have and, depending on the response of the employee to the news, help build self-esteem about a future job search.  Not surprisingly, many people will become agitated when hearing this type of news.  It is your responsibility to help keep things on track and to a conclusion.  No one enjoys (or should, in any case) firing employees.  Just remember that the health of the organization often depends on it and avoiding these conversations only creates more intense problems down the road.

Thinking like a woman? Maybe you should!

According to The Athena Doctrine, a new book by Michael D'Antonia and John Gerzema, business people around the world are showing a preference for the traits and characteristics typically associated with being more feminine, including such competencies as being expressive, planning for the future, and being reasonable, flexible, loyal and patient.  Traditional "male" ways of working are losing favor, as empathy, collaboration and vulnerability become more important than being decisive and resilient.  What traits do you and your organization exhibit?


We hope you enjoyed this addition of Reach. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts with us, as well as pass on this eNewsletter to anyone you think might benefit. 


To reaching success,

Paula M. Singer Lorraine Kituri





Paula M. Singer & Lorraine Kituri


The Singer Group, Inc. | 410-561-7561 | |

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