All organizations, even those lauded for their enlightened personnel policies such as Apple and The Container Store, evaluate individual employee performance in order to identify those worthy of promotion and salary increases and those in need improvement. Using a ranking system with a performance appraisal component adds rigor to the process by forcing reluctant managers to address performance issues.
HR professionals should be advocates for such forced rankings and ensure that the system created is fair, properly implemented in order to reinforce cultural change and includes remedial programs to allow poor performers to improve before termination.
4. Broaden perspective.
Western Union, which was founded in 1851 and was one of the 11 stocks in the original Dow Jones Average, dominated its competitors in the late 19th century. Despite this, its management, heady with success, was unable to foresee the potential impact of the telephone. An internal memo from 1876 reads: "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. This device is inherently of no value to us."
The terms "groupthink" or "doublethink," which is the tendency of members of a group to reach consensus to avoid conflict, was first proposed in George Orwell's novel "1984," and subsequently detailed by organizational analyst William Whyte, Jr. Psychologist Irving Janis theorized that the more amiable the sense of group identity, the greater the tendency of a organization to resist outside ideas and censor ideas that conflict with the apparent group opinion.
New employees can bring fresh perspectives, new experiences leading to innovation and breakthrough ideas because they are neither wedded to the old ideas nor to the "way we do things" attitude of established, successful businesses. HR professionals should promote a culture that encourages employees to take risks and gives them the freedom to take creative leaps without fear or judgment.
For example, Josh Linkner, bestselling author on corporate creativity and innovation, frequently cites a software company in Boston that gives each team member two "corporate get-out-of-jail-free" cards each year to foster risk-taking. Extended Stay America, a hotel company with more than 76,000 rooms nationwide, distributes similar cards to its 9,000 employees. The cards allow the holders to experiment and take risks without suffering the repercussions for mistakes associated with them. In fact, at annual reviews, managers question employees if the cards haven’t been used.