Right now, I bet you and your employees are deep in it as we race toward December 1, December 15, December 25, January 1. Deadlines are looming bigger and darker. Financials are being calculated this way and that. Performance judgments are being made, reconsidered, discussed and resolved. Compensation increases and awards are being estimated, priced out, adjusted as your pile of dollars, otherwise known as your end-of-the-year budget, shrinks smaller and smaller.
Yes, this is the time of year for growing, seething pressure as the clock ticks down. Judgments and decisions can be no fun to make, especially when they affect individuals that we care about, but that's just about all that's left to do before the end of the year. And that leads to tension, and often drama, before we call it quits on 2016.
Here's the point. Emotions have been running high -- and conversation has been increasing judgmental -- in the world outside your company over the last few months. These feelings can easily have leaked in through your air vents, let alone been carried in on cellular phones and such.
As a result, your managers and employees could find talking together a bit more difficult this year during the traditional December rush on ticklish subjects -- like what I think of your contribution in 2016, for example. Difficulties may not be building up in your neighborhood or company but just in case you're missing the cues, use this article as the little nudge you need to go out and take the temperature of things.
If words seem harsher or resentment seems more apparent than you are used to, pay attention, since it will help to get out in front of things. Send reminders to managers about how to handle especially difficult conversations and/or employees whose bluntness might be uncomfortable. Consider giving managers discussion guides that they can follow to prompt a good discussion during performance management and compensation conversations. Encourage a company-wide communications refresh on the Values that your company works by and so on. You know who to check in with. You can tell whether feelings are running especially high and, most importantly, you will understand what's best for your group -- or, at least, whose advice to get.
And if you find that nothing is going awry, give thanks that you have one less thing to worry about before you hit the road once every thing you've committed to do in 2016 has been put to bed.
Margaret O'Hanlon, CCP collaborated with Ann Bares and Dan Walter to create the DIY guide to compensation leadership, Everything You Do (in Compensation) Is Communications @ https://gumroad.com/l/everythingiscommunication. Margaret is founder and Principal of re:Think Consulting. She brings deep expertise in compensation, communications and leadership to topics like the CEO Pay Ratio, performance management and compensation implementation discussions at the Café. Margaret is a Board member of the Bay Area Compensation Association (BACA). Before founding re:Think Consulting, she was a Principal at Willis Towers Watson.