Bleustein: We start with a new employee orientation that includes the Business Process. I personally spend half a day a month on that, focusing on our culture. Of course, we talk about our one-year to 10-year goals and strategy, too, and the whole thing takes three to five days. We have more than 100 courses at our Leadership Institute on everything from basic literacy to technical skills, and we monitor who has taken which classes so we can see where each person might need training.
American Way: You have a "Performance Effectiveness Process." How does this differ from the standard performance evaluation?
Bleustein: We're connecting what each employee does to the big picture of what the company is trying to achieve short-term and long-term. Rather than talk about personal characteristics, we measure specific behaviors and make clear how we're measuring. It's important in evaluations to be truthful and not to avoid confrontation about poor performance, so we put a major emphasis on that.
I was the guinea pig when we were developing the behavioral review in 1993 and agreed to share what people thought about me. It was a huge "Aha!" for all of us, because we began to understand what made others tick. The specificity we asked for in evaluations helped to coalesce as a team.
We've learned it's important to sepa-rate the performance review from the compensation discussion, which can be distracting otherwise. Everyone's compensation, incidentally, is partly based on an incentive system, but we don't just measure financial performance - we also base it on achieving quality objectives.
American Way: How do you keep everyone informed about important issues?