該加薪還是給獎金

March 14, 2007

如何激勵員工一直是企業傷透腦筋的問題。為了鼓舞員工,許多企業提供了包含底薪、獎金、股票選擇權,甚至退休計劃與健康保險的薪資組合。然而,究竟哪種組合最具成本優勢,同時又能讓員工為企業付出最大心力呢?

康乃爾大學教授史都曼(Michael C. Sturman)針對薪資對員工激勵的影響進行了一項研究。他將研究鎖定在員工報酬中的底薪、加薪與獎金三個部份。他感興趣的是,以激勵來說,員工拿到多少報酬(總金額),與報酬組合(加薪還是獎金等)之間,究竟有沒有差異?

近 日,史隆管理評論(Sloan Management Review)指出,史都曼的研究顯示,過去的記錄可以預測未來績效最佳的人選。也就是說,一個過去表現卓越的人,未來的表現也不俗。這個結果其實並不令 人意外。不過,研究也發現,薪資組合與薪資總數在員工的心目中一樣重要。

研究指出,員工的薪資多寡與他未來的績效沒有太大的 關聯,除非把市場薪資水平拿來一起比較。員工的薪資若高於市場平均,員工就比較願意改善未來績效,因為員工了解他們的薪資比別人好,會願意多盡一分力以保 住自己的工作;相反地,員工的薪資若低於市場平均,他們未來也比較不願意維持相同的績效,因為他們會覺得公司待他們不公平,相當洩氣。

在加薪方面,史都曼發現,員工大幅加薪與獲取等值的獎金相較,獲得大幅加薪的員工比較願意提升績效,因為加薪代表的是長期的薪資增加。加薪百分之一,相當於支付百分之三獎金的效用。

不 過,史都曼倒是有讓人意外的發現:在加薪方面,若將加薪與績效結合似乎沒什麼效果。換句話說,看員工績效來決定加不加薪,並無法刺激員工表現得更好。可能 原因在於,底薪對員工而言很重要,員工多半有預算規劃(例如根據底薪的多寡決定房貸),因此對於可能危及收入(也就是加薪幅度)的冒險大都比較遲疑,而冒 險的意願多半也是讓員工不斷超越的動力來源。

但是,若將獎金多寡與績效結合在一起,就會顯現正面的效果。因為獎金會被視為額外收入,這會驅使員工冒險,因而讓績效提升。

從企業的角度來看,發放獎金是比加薪來得經濟,因為獎金只限單次,而加薪卻是未來要持續下去;但另一方面,加薪的效益又遠大於獎金,因此,究竟哪一個比較具成本效益?

針對這一點,史都曼做了許多試驗和分析。結果他發現,如果經理人把個人績效與獎金緊密結合,員工績效會提高一六%。這個結果的重點是,在企業的薪資成本沒有增加的情況下,只是重新分配資源,就能提高員工績效。

另一方面,若企業把年度調薪幅度從二%提高到三%,結果會怎麼樣?儘管企業整體的薪資成本大大地增加,績效卻只提高了二.二%。但若加薪時,同時也改變發放獎金的方式,績效提升則可能高達一九%。

儘管史都曼坦承,他的研究仍有許多不足之處,例如,他只鎖定單一企業進行研究,也沒有研究員工的留職率,不過,對於激勵員工的薪資與獎金發放,這項研究仍舊提供了企業寶貴的參考。

source [EMBA雜誌]

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Project Time management online with timeXchange

March 6, 2007

project time management

timeXchange is an online peer-to-peer application that lets users record and report time and expenses, collect and approve team reporting, and protect and control data online. Its important for any worker to keep track of time in order to ensure work schedule and budgets are met. There are many great time management solutions availble, from online solutions, desktop software, to the basic Excel Spreadsheet route but timeXchange has some interesting features that are worth taking a look at.

When setting up a new project, you can choose who gets reports. These reports get sent complete with your hours and tasks listed, making them easier to track and analyze data. timeXchange helps out with collecting and approving timesheets which can be then viewed and analyzed and data exported to other applications. Security is a big concern for timeXchange. Encrypted data and reporting are stored on secure servers, and only those with permissions can access it.

Like any new application, this one takes a while to get used to, and there is a ton to set up, but it seems like this could be a strong player in the time management arena. Other online time management applications are TaskAnyone, ProWorkflow, Tick, Zoho Projects and Basecamp.

source [eHub]


Marketing Truths – Don’t Tell the Developers

January 22, 2007

whispering

Marketing is as foreign to most software developers as flying is to fish. We’ve found a list of ten truths of marketing, and we’re secretly sharing them with the developers who hang out here. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone in marketing.

Marketing 101

John Dodds wrote Marketing 101 For Geeks, where he shares 10 observations about marketing that might make sense to geeks and coders.

Here’s John’s list with our comments:

  1. Marketing is not a department. A great way to segue into the conversation – as an engineer, the first visual I always have of a marketing department is the one from Dilbert (Scott Adams draws marketing people as if they are at a perpetual cocktail party).
  2. Marketing is a conversation.* This is hard for developers. Conversation requires two-way communication. That’s a truth. But good marketing pre-empts questions and answers them. Imagine the reader having a conversation with your copy (marketing materials): “I wonder what this is?” “oh.” “I wonder how we could use that?” “oh. cool.” “where can I get it?”
  3. Simplicity does not negate complexity. A clear, easy to understand message is what coders might call “incomplete,” “over-simplifying,” or “simplicistic.” The secret that marketers keep to themselves is that this clear message is what opens the door – making it possible for customers to (eventually) understand and appreciate the power of a product that might be described with greater complexity.
  4. Think what? not how?. As cool as it might be that your search engine uses a trie data structure, what potential customers care about is the fact that you can search a billion documents in a tenth of a second. This secret seems to be the reverse of a simple definition of geek – “someone who cares about how it works more than what it does.”
  5. Think will not can. Featuritis is the condition of having too many features. Even the swiss army knife eventually became too large to slip in your pocket. We have to focus on what users need to do, and not everything that could possibly be done.
  6. Only you RTFM. Think about the obvious ways to use a product. Intuititive user interfaces have affordances. They don’t require people to read the manual. And the manual should be written to help people accomplish their goals- not as a description of the functionality.
  7. Technical support is marketing. Every touch-point with a customer is a marketing opportunity. Remember, we market not just by purchasing ads and putting up booths at conventions. We market by word of mouth.
  8. You’re not marketing to people who hate marketing. Remember the disdain you had when you started reading this list? Well, we’re not marketing to people who hate marketers. People want to know how to solve their own problems. They want to know how they can use our products to help. And they like the people who tell them.
  9. You’re not marketing to people who hate technology products. The people who get our message are the ones who are technology-agnostic (see #4 above). They neither love nor hate the product. But they love solutions.
  10. Marketing Demystifies. Remember the conversation from #2? As the conversation progresses, we enlighten our customers, and eventualy they develop an understanding of what they can do with our product. And from this, they develop a desire to buy our product.

*John’s original point #2 was really an anti-jargon point. We thought the conversational part of his point should be stressed instead.

Conclusion

Don’t let them know, but we’re on our way to understanding how this stuff works.

source [tynerblain]


Great Managers End Censorship

January 22, 2007

In this, the alive and well revolution of blogging and print-on-demand publishing, censorship is something we think of as very dark ages; surely it doesn’t happen anymore!

That may be true in the freedoms of your personal, unshackled life, but how about at work?

The freedom of self-expression is one we say we cherish most of all, for we are sensitive, intelligent, and thoughtful human beings. We know stuff. We represent. We define. We influence. We stand up to be heard, and we should, for we have important opinions which should count. People need to hear us, and we need to hear them, so that the blending of our voices can clarify intentions, and thus smooth out all the rough edges of our challenging world.

Great Managers are fully aware that each of the people they manage embody a voice which needs to be heard in the world’s neighborhood we call At Work. Full, open expression enables the ‘everything else’ of essential communication, and it’s no different on the job if the work which is done is to count for something great too.

Having this awareness, Great Managers ensure that they end any hint of censorship, and that when people have something to say they feel they have every freedom to say it. Censorship at work takes the form of self-censorship. For some reason, people feel inhibited and they don’t speak up.

This is a picture of what you, as a Great Manager, must create in your purposeful ban of perceived censorship;

  • Your ‘Open Door’ policy is alive and well. Your workplace is abuzz with all-engaging conversations about everything and anything, and people feel confident that as their manager, you can handle it. There are no limits. Some conversations may be challenging, but they are always entered into with optimism and not with fear or dread.
  • ‘Channels of communication’ simply do not exist in terms of organizational hierarchies; instead, they are defined by working relationships, decision-reaching partnerships, and fluid project team dynamics. People talk to who they need to talk to so their work is best achieved, and they don’t look for an interpreter to accompany them. Everyone values messages where the messenger is the source.
  • Fear of repercussion has been banished, replaced by coaching. The Head Coach in healthy communication practices is you, the Great Manager, with the understanding that mistakes will be made, screw-ups will happen and unfortunate things will be said, but they all can be corrected with practice in a safe environment. Everyone at every level needs practice. No practice, no mastery.
  • ‘A good time to tell you’ is every time and any time. Great managers communicate with everyone in the workplace with remarkable consistency, even when they’re in a bad mood. The temperament of your responsiveness is predictable for people, and ‘predictable’ means pleasantly handled in a level-headed way, no matter when.
  • Constant conversation is part of the culture. People exercise their voice by means of a workplace expectation like The Daily 5 Minutes (a pdf follows). Innovative engagement happens because people converse constantly, and not just when something comes up which needs to be fixed. Conversation is to create synergy, not merely to solve problems in a civilized way.
  • “Put it in writing” isn’t said anymore, except for within the context of a multi-detailed, still-complex project. The spoken word is good enough, for one’s word is one’s honor, and follow-up happens. Email confirmation clutter decreases, idea mind-maps systematically replace progress reports, and your HR department stops asking you for your documentation.

Great Managers understand that having a workplace like this is something they must purposefully and diligently create. They manage catalytic workplace practices that are valued as company best practices; the ideas may not be original, but they have teeth to them, and they aren’t academic or business-speak, they are real. This is the work of great management; it’s your work.

To start, I give my Daily 5 Minutes to you freely: Adopt it and reap the benefits. Release the voices of those you manage from their self-censored silence, then listen well for the contributions they are sure to start offering you.

Related Article: The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers
A Gift from Rosa: A pdf on The Daily Five Minutes, an excerpt from Managing with Aloha

Post Author: Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business. She fervently believes that work can inspire, and that great managers and leaders can change our lives for the better. She writes for Lifehack.org to freely offer her coaching to those of us who aspire to be greater than we are, for she also believes in us. Writing on What Great Managers Do is one of her favorite topics.

source [lifehack.org]


如何有效處理員工抱怨

December 29, 2006

身為企業經理人,處理抱怨是無法避免的工作職責之一,其中有2 個大方向分別是處理抱怨內容以及應付員工發牢騷。由於經理人常被要求去處理並非由他們所造成、或是他們幾乎無力修正的問題,如此左右為難的窘境常令人面臨 失去控制的緊張邊緣。

若讓員工的悲痛與滿肚子牢騷無止境的暢所欲言,經理人很快就會發現工作時間全都被這些烏煙瘴氣的糾紛占滿了,如果不能有效處理這些事情,工作效率勢必被影響。

經理人可以著手的第一步是訂立一個時間界線。談論有效關係的管理專家提供了一個技巧,亦即讓員工學習以下的請求方式:我有件重要的事情想與你商談,將需要4、5分鐘不受打擾的時間,現在方便嗎?

如果員工如此提議,經理人可以選擇馬上暫停手邊的工作,專注地處理這次的討論,或是直接表明現在不是好時間,但是你有責任馬上另外約定一個可以履約的時間。這個方法可以兼顧自己的工作進度以及員工的需求,而且設定了你將處理此一請求的時間配置:5分鐘。

接下來必須注意員工的隱私及事情的機密性。若是遇到員工試圖跨越機密界線,經理人可以回答那並不屬於工作討論範圍,而是屬於人力資源問題等理由,選擇略而不談。

在 與員工建立界線之後,最重要的便是確保抱怨的管道暢通。經理人不必然得同意所有的牢騷,卻必須積極瞭解事情的來龍去脈。這個建議的精髓在於針對抱怨採取行 動之前,必須先全心專注瞭解內容。若是抱怨對象涉及不同的觀點,經理人最好在瞭解兩方的故事之前先暫緩所有動作,平衡觀點絕對是必要常識。

解決抱怨的第一步是要真心信任。許多人失敗的首要理由是恐懼,擔心失去或擔心無法獲得,這樣的阻礙常造成我們無法真心去瞭解別人的觀點。

管 理專家以消防隊員為例,建議經理人可以採納一個處理抱怨的程序:消防隊員在處理火場事件時並不會激動行事,在確定如何進行之前,他們總是會先暫停並且試圖 瞭解目前的處境。經理人也理應以如此態度來面對抱怨事件,立場必須客觀。若允許恐懼影響思考能力及聽力,那麼客觀能力就會遭到危害。

經 理人可以先集中注意力來瞭解抱怨的立場,然後針對所瞭解的內容進行溝通。這個動作可以透過釋義來進行,除了重覆別人的文字之外,還得掌握住內容精髓,並且 使用少數不同、但經精挑細選的文字來改變措辭。光以「我瞭解」來表達,雖然立意良好也具效率,但是無助於溝通你真正瞭解這件事。若能以自己的語言來總結別 人的立場,雖然較費心力,卻能證明自己確實明白,更重要的是藉此建立了互信基礎。

source [工商時報] 2006.12.28


決策錯誤有救 貪污則殺無赦

December 20, 2006

錯誤的決策比貪污更可怕嗎?!前策已決,通常後援仍有望,因為不管多大決策都只在總成果中佔極小份量,所以千萬不要拿來跟貪污比,貪污是會嚴重損害政府或企業的道德和形象。
20、30年前,高希均先生提出一句名言:「錯誤的決策比貪污更可怕」,他嚴厲挑戰政府機構及企業因決策錯誤造成公帑浪費的嚴重性,原意應該是說,在政府與企業的運作中,貪污很可怕,但還有一種事比貪污更可怕,就是「錯誤的決策」。

但 「錯誤的決策比貪污更可怕」這種觀念,在許多外商經營管理中是完全不通。以成立203年的杜邦公司為例,標榜「倫理道德」(et hics)的核心價值觀,倫理道德是比貪污標準更加嚴峻的,如果你在出差旅費申報中偷加一天1、2百美元的旅館費,被抓到鐵定開除,縱然你是明日之星,也 殺無赦──杜邦每年在兩岸三地及世界各地都因這樣類似案件開除不少人。在許多洋公司裡,如果你因決策錯誤讓公司損失巨額金錢,只要講清楚、說明白,還是有 可能被諒解的,搞不好還陞官。

決策涉及流程是可控制的
什麼叫「錯誤的決策」?其實,決策不只有錯誤與正確之分,也有好與壞之別,不可不察。你看過羅馬勇士鬥老虎的戲碼嗎?

一位勇士被迫從兩扇門中選一門:一門後是美女,另一門後則是猛虎。勇士選定一扇門後,決策就完成了,決策的結果是錯或對,立見分曉。

你看過美國太空船升空的場景嗎?如果太空船在升空前出了些小狀況,有些細節需不需立即改進?要不要延期發射?有待評估,如果你最後決定準時發射,太空船卻爆炸了,那麼這種決策就是好與壞之別了。

好或壞的決策會涉及流程(process),是可控制的,壞決策常有「非壓迫性失誤」(unforced errors),原是可避免的,也有很多現成技術可資應用;彼得杜拉克與許多管理大小師都一直在「誨人不倦」,就是希望避免做了「壞」決定。

至 於錯誤的決策則直指結果(outcome),常屬無法控制,後果已然存在,常難以避免,人生常充滿這種抉擇:我決定唸高職,不唸高中;10年前,我決定進 台電,不進台積電…,隱隱然各自走向不同的命運,只是對錯未能立判罷;或者,你正在掙扎介入一件「很難」被發掘的貪污案…,你是放膽貪小污,快樂一陣子, 或堅守誠信,繼續受苦受難?抉擇是痛苦的,是有好壞之分,也有對錯之別。

「錯誤的決策比貪污更可怕」中的「錯誤」決策其實是指「壞」的決策,「壞」決策的救法很多,是不用太悲觀或覺得太可怕。前策已決,後援仍有望,古今中外皆然,但千萬不要跟貪污比,真的是兩回事。

大 老闆們的重大決策,真的是那麼驚天動地影響未來嗎?柯林斯( Jim Collins)在《基業長青》至《從A到A+》中對決策實務有精闢的見解,他在《財星》(Fortune)雜誌今年6月75週年慶專訪中,分享了他發掘 的決策「秘密」。他說,「最後的總結果,事實上是得自一段時間內、一連串大小的決策及其後的良好執行力。而不管多大的決策都只在總成果中佔有一小份量而 已。」

這一小部份有多小?柯林斯進一步的「定量」描述:「以對總結果的影響而言,一個大決策不會像在總分100中佔去60分,更像是佔有 6分而已。於是,其他許許多多的0.6或0.006一齊加總後,終於形成總成果。」

結果是決策和執行力的總合
在 我30餘年國內外工作及顧問生涯中,深有同感這樣的「秘密」。一大決策後的許多小決策及執行力才是總成果的關鍵,如果傑克威爾許(Jack Welch)說aondor(直率)是商業中最大的骯髒小秘密,,那麼這個6/100的數字及背後意義也是公司決策作業上一個很大的骯髒小秘密了。

畢 竟,現代的決策世界不像蘋果下落,可利用萬有引力推算時間、速度、軌跡與落點,更像樹葉飄然而下,各方作用力齊集,成了一個不斷演化(evolve)的過 程,只是我們還是盡力在規劃落點。在決策上,你可以犯錯嗎?柯林斯說:「在真正的大決策上,你可以犯錯,有時甚至大錯,但仍然可以勝出 (prevail)」,只要5中對4就行了。

決策的英文是decision,拉丁原文是decidere,意即「to cut of f」。聯電副董事長宣明智有鮮明的中文說明,說那是「決斷」,從許多選擇中決定其一,然後斷絕其餘;不再迷戀,勇往直前。拉丁原文的清晰含意,讓你更像羅 馬武士?事實上在這充滿不確定的現代企業環境,這樣的決策常常是成功要素之一。

我常提醒老闆們:你是在做明確 (clarity)的決策,還是在等正確(certainty)的決策?正確的決策需要時間,需要充分資訊,等到那時常已失去市場先機;所以國外許多大公 司的CEOs常說,有70、 80%資訊與把握就出手了,較小的公司50、60%就出手了,這是rea dy、fire、aim,是由ready、aim、adjust、fire轉過來的。

不過,國內有些老闆20、30%就開火,倒是開火太快了,聽說台灣有老闆到了上海,與合夥人坐下來後才問:「我錢都已匯入好,你到底要做什麼?」這個老闆不用資訊太勇猛了。

明 確決策是要講清楚說明白。資訊仍不足但要能做出適時的明快決策,很有決心、夠勇氣,不全來自科學分析。一位老闆說他宣佈決策時,腳有點抖,但不能被發現, 因為如果被發現只有60%的信心,員工們會自動把信心度下降至30%;有些老闆下的決策不是「明確」的決策,因為他一直在等待一個更「正確」的決策,於是 只對部屬提供一個模糊、懸疑的決策;因此,執行力從上到下一路下滑,「好」的決策變成「壞」決策,最後好像又變成了「錯誤」的決策──成了命運捉弄人?

定罪的法律是最後一道防線,領導人在之前還有原則、信仰和價值觀必須謹守。

「錯誤」決策會比貪污更可怕嗎?絕對不會!貪污 是死罪,無論大小都應該被開除,那是ethics、honesty、integrity的嚴重違反案件。現在,大小貪污案件不斷,令人痛心,不能再給貪污 任何託辭,包括「錯誤的決策比貪污更可怕」這種誤解誤用。許多歪理如:我的是小貪污(比老闆的小多了),是必要之?(為了拉住客戶?為了生病老母?)還 有,你貪污的定義是什麼?我們認為是人情世故?我是無辜的…。

新加坡前總理李光耀曾在英國劍橋大學學法律,他之後在新加 坡推動ICAC(廉政公署),卻執意違背英國傳統法律──英國法律傳統說:直到被定罪前,都是清白的。他說那樣他抓不到人,於是要求:以待罪之身,證明自 己的清白。最後結果是,他成功推動新加坡廉政,後來香港ICAC學他的模式,也成功了。

定罪的法律是最後一道防線,難道 這麼多「領導人」事前抓不住方向,看不清未來,弄不清是非對錯,一定要靜待「最後一道防線」來判定?身為「領導人」難道不知道在最後一道防線之前,還有原 則( principle)、哲學(philosophy)、信仰(believe)、價值觀(v alues),乃至常識法則?如今一道一道都失守,只能靜待最後一道判決?

哈佛大學一位教授說:「今日的倫理道德,是明 日的法律」(Tod ay’s ethics,tomorrow’s law.),只要我們靜觀沈思這10幾、20年來週遭變化,不難在工商界發現很多這種實例。退一步說領導人假使只關心「法律」,也不應只關心條文(然後鑽 漏洞?),更應重視法律的實質內容與精神。「領導人」總要跟「跟隨著」有不同的視界、企業文化──含價值觀的認定與塑造,已成台灣企業經營很重要的一環。 貪污,乃至更嚴苛標準的倫理道德的違反,應該被制止並懲罰,從個人、從小事、小公司做起。

你還是認為錯誤的決策或壞的決策,比貪污更可怕嗎?或許,以純「浪費公帑」的角度來看是對的,但更重要的是如果以個人人格、企業文化、國家文明與經濟發展,甚至決策過程的正常化等諸多角度來看,希望我們以後不要再過度引述這種頻生誤解的話了。

或者,一個更簡單的結論是:「錯誤的決策」與「貪污」是蘋果對芭樂,不能比的,就不要再比了;未來文明世界應該是:決策失誤不要緊張,仍然可以彌補,可能死罪可免,活罪難逃;但,貪污是死罪一條,不管大小,誰也救不了!

(作者為韜略顧問公司總經理)

source [工商時報]


Successful Product Managers – Seven Traits

December 19, 2006

Michael Shrivathsan just posted an excellent article on his experiences of the seven traits of successful product managers. Absolutely awesome article. Thanks Michael!

Michael has a lot more details, but here’s his list:

There you have it. My list of seven traits shared by successful product managers:

  1. Communication Skills
  2. Leading Without Authority
  3. Learning Skills
  4. Business Acumen
  5. Love for Products
  6. Eye for Details
  7. Routine Product Management Skills

Seven Traits of Successful Product Managers

Usually, we like to add our thoughts to other people’s articles. This time, we have to just add this to the “wish we wrote that” list.

source [tyner blain]