Incentives are not a replacement for leadership

stagecoachWells Fargo did a BIG oops, and everyone knows it.  Now.  Like other highly visible corporate oops, they probably should have known about it well before the world knew. Oh well.

It is inconceivable to me how “thousands of employees” figured out how to game the incentive system by opening accounts without customer approval, in order to reap the incentive rewards of a compensation system.  People don’t just stumble on that and decide to do it independently; there had to be a clandestine network that spread the word on how to boost their earnings.

In my mind, that makes the transgression seriously worse, because it means that there is no leadership, no oversight and no control in a business where customers can be financially devastated. So the organization fired 5,300 workers over several years. I wager that the Compensation staff is under scrutiny too. I wonder how many levels of leadership are being held accountable?  They’ve been firing employees for this action over several years and it’s just now hit the fan? (more…)

A question about job descriptions….out of the mouth of babes

job descriptionsOnce upon a time, there was a young woman studying to become an HR professional. Her professor invited a panel of senior HR professionals from each area of HR to meet with the class: Compensation, Recruiting, Employee Relations, Learning & Development and a senior HR generalist, who called himself an HR Business Partner.

After presentations, the professor opened up the dialogue to questions from the students. The young woman asked the group, “I wrote job descriptions in a summer internship, but I’m still not exactly sure how they are really used in an organization. Can you help me understand?” (more…)

The VA’s Wake-Up Call to Human Resources

vaHere is an excellent wake-up call to anyone in the field of Human Resources. As the investigation into the VA scandal deepens, it appears that, according to the VA’s performance and incentive system, they were doing GREAT!

Fox News reports that [Gina] Farrisee [Assistant Secretary for Human Resources]….

“acknowledged the need to hold VA employees and supervisors accountable, particularly regarding regarding performance, but defended the pay bonuses.

Farrisee acknowledged the need to hold VA employees and supervisors accountable, particularly ‘We must recruit and retain the best talent, many of whom require special skills in health care, information technology, management and benefits delivery,’ Farrisee testified. ‘In particular, VA requires talented senior executives to manage the complex set of facilities and programs that VA is responsible to administer.

‘Performance plans are the foundation of accountability not only for senior executives but for the entire workforce,’ Farrisee’s prepared remarks continued. ‘Senior leadership engagement in managing executive performance plans, including counseling and mid-year assessments, also serves as the model for the general schedule workforce.’

Farrisee, who joined the agency in September, admitted to Miller that not a single member of its senior executive service – a pool of 470 individuals – received less than a fully satisfactory or successful rating. She acknowledged that the VA’s recently exposed problems don’t jibe with an agency rewarding employees for stellar work.

‘Mr. Chairman, if we knew what we knew today at that time, it is unlikely that their performance would have reflected what it reflected at the time the reports were written,’ Farrisee responded.”