An Educational Failure #2

Since the second week of my internship, I’ve been working on an Intern Project tasked at “Reimagining the NBU performance management process”. When we first started out, our Project Lead gave us a tutorial of the current process. Due to the process’ recent implementation, we were unable to make changes to multiple sections of the process. As a group, we spent the first few weeks researching journals and articles on employee engagement and ongoing feedback for employees. At the midway point of the presentation, we presented our solutions to Laura Byars, the Executive Sponsor and Vice-President of Human Performance at BCBSM.

Having restrictions on our ability to affect the performance management process, we had gone in favor of small, incremental changes and additions to the current process. We recommended reminders for feedbacks given through calendar notifications and emails, as well as seminars and newsletters detailing the importance of frequent feedback. We also proposed an increased focus in employee ownership in professional development during both intern and new hire orientations.

With a large amount of research and studies backing our suggestions, we were confident, despite the minimalistic nature of our solution. As we presented our solution to Laura, she maintained a pensive gaze. Putting it nicely, she tore us apart.

The solution we proposed was uninspired with very little creativity and ingenuity involved. Notifications, while technically feasible, would be more of a pain and nuisance to employees than a boon due to the nature of Microsoft Outlook. No incentive was provided to read the newsletters, neutralizing the desired purpose. Laura provided us with an abundance of small and large critiques, which we would spend the entire next day debating.

Needless to say, we were all disheartened and frustrated. Our Project Lead had emphasized that changing the current structure was infeasible, yet Laura was disappointed that our solution had a minimal impact and lacked innovation. With this new revelation, our intern group had less than four weeks left until our main presentation. Three weeks until the final draft of our presentation, which really meant two weeks to research, develop, and finalize our solution in order to allow for time to create the video.

At the same time, we honestly needed the shock. Our solution, while realistic and certainly doable, was unimaginative and unoriginal. More importantly, it likely would have failed to inspire the employees and leadership needed to truly improve the performance management process. Having done more market research and discussion, we’re quickly reaching a better and more effective solution.


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