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HR Zone Any Answers Digest #5 – Incentives, appraisal best practice, team building


HRZONE Any Answers Digest – Issue 5
Tuesday 16 April 2002

********** THIS WEEK’S TOPICS ***** THIS WEEK’S TOPICS **********
…Incentives for staff suggestions… Appraisal best practice…
Team building for a remote team… Recruiting professionals…
Employee Data
********** THIS WEEK’S TOPICS ***** THIS WEEK’S TOPICS **********

It’s Budget week so we can expect more changes to payroll,
company car rules, and maybe some new incentives for training.
And we will be keeping you up to date with all these. But what
do you think? Gordon Brown keeps talking about how we need to
improve our productivity, but how best could he encourage
training? Have your say in our poll:

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What you asked this fortnight

New questions posted include:

– Has anyone got an example of an incentive scheme for staff
whereby staff are rewarded for their suggestions that bring
benefit to the organisation?
Joanne Williams

– I’m reviewing our appraisal scheme and would like more
information on best practice in terms of managing the scheme and
suggestions on how to capture comprehensive information without
using masses of paper.
Linda Marrow

– We are undertaking a business improvement drive which involves
seeking accreditation. Our main focus is on getting our
communication strategy right. We would like to benchmark
ourselves against what other companies do. Can anyone provide an
Tara Peasey

Do you have a question you need answered? Post it now, free of
charge at

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Featured question: Performance appraisal training for managers ==============================================================

Q – A new appraisal system will be bought in to my company. I
need some ideas on what I need to deliver training wise to enable
managers to go through a productive appraisal with their staff.
What should the training include? Do you know of any useful
sites? Have you delivered training to managers on giving
appraisals – if so, what sort of things did you include?

Question submitted by Lisa Birch

Members’ responses

I was in a similar situation myself at the end of last year and
designed an interactive workshop from the angle of ‘why many
appraisals fail to achieve what they set out to’. It got
participants to look at approaches and subtle behaviours, on the
part of the manager, that impact negatively on appraisals.

Wendy Gannaway


In the organisation where I used to work, managers were so
‘bottom line’ driven that we appealed to their pockets when it
came to selling the benefits of good appraisals. If they didn’t
see a tangible benefit to them from doing the work then we would
never have achieved the improved quality of performance appraisal
we sought. We had quite high staff turnover and so as part of the
training we demonstrated the links between poorly appraised and
managed staff and their likelihood of leaving. We then calculated
the direct costs of staff turnover and made an educated guess at
the less tangible costs… Another ‘carrot’ might be to integrate
performance appraisal and your company’s reward system, i.e. a
manager who was seen to be good at managing their staff including
the all important appraisals would get some sort of bonus.
Difficult I know but worth considering.

Mary-Ann Reynolds


Over the last couple of years working with various levels of
managers involved in managing the performance of their teams I’m
convinced of the benefits of getting the basics right –
accurate, timely, specific feedback
regular 2-way review/updates (1:1’s)
full involvement of the team member
Performance appraisal then simply becomes a summary stage – no
surprises for anyone.

Connall Platts


I bought a few copies of a small, easy to read book which gets
the points over if you don’t have time to run anything formal.
It’s obtainable at all bookshops as part of ‘The Perfect….’
series and is of course, called ‘The Perfect Appraisal’.

Fiona Hodges

To see all the responses to this question in full, go to:

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Any Answers Answered:
This fortnight, new responses have been added to the following

Q – A perennial problem for employers is the shortage of trained
and/or experienced professionals in the labour market. Are there
any innovative approaches to solving this problem?
Tony Robbins

A – It depends on what sector you are in, Tony.
I would say that in something such as consulting, technology,
engineering work with the alumni associates of leading schools or
major employers. If you are a leading employer, set up your own
alumni association.

Create a community that focuses on wider issues within your
sector and then adopt the same CRM strategies you have for
customers for the members.

Develop excellent relations with a number of recruiters by not
just giving out assignments and paying fees but also sharing

If you are in teaching or nursing pray for an increase in pay and
benefits. Hope that above makes sense.
Ian Wood

To see all the responses to this question in full, go to:


Q – Legally, what employee data can be kept on file?

A – My understanding is that all information relevant to
employees roles is legitimate, eg basic personal data,
qualifications, work history etc. Other information of a more
personal nature, eg medical history, criminal records etc, may be
held as long as you have made it explicitly clear to the employee
that you will be recording the data, why you are recording that
specific information and for what you are going to use the
information. Ask yourself for what do you need the information.
If you cannot answer that question, don’t record it !
Tom Hampton

A – I suggest looking at the Data Protection Web site the address
this will give you all the answers you need!
Maureen Scholefield

A – I feel it is not so much what you can legally keep but more
importantly what you can justify. In the training courses I run I
get my delegates to consider questioning all the data fields on
file and all the information they hold in manual files. Time and
time again they respond by saying that some data had a purpose at
some time but they cannot remember what it was. The new act
should be accompanied by a period of challenge, just what is it
for and what legitimate business purpose does it serve, as
previous responses have said, if you can’t answer that then get
Ian Whyteside

To see all the responses to this question in full, go to:

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Copyright (c) 2002 Sift Group Ltd. All rights reserved.
May be reproduced in any medium for non-commercial purposes as
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HR Zone, 100 Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6HZ
Tel:+44 (0)117 915 9600 Fax:+44 (0)117 915 9630 ISSN 1474-2225

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