Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Top 10 HR Tips For beating the recession

Top 10 HR Tips For beating the recession

A survey of HR directors and business leaders by recruitment firm The MBS Group has produced what it calls 'Ten tactics for tough times'.

Those involved in the research were all at board or senior management level, within the retail, luxury, and consumer goods sectors. How useful these tactics actually are is open to debate, but they provide a useful barometer of the current thinking taking place in top firms.

Tactics For Tough Times

1. Ride the storm - preparing for difficult times but not currently planning large scale layoffs.

Leaders of consumer, retail, leisure, and luxury industries are wisely shying away from kneejerk staff cuts or talking about culls of more mature staff. This reflects an innovative and creative approach to talent that other sectors would do well to observe.

2. See upside in downturn - the best business leaders see opportunities in turmoil.

Business leaders are focusing on the future, aiming to find new opportunities and disrupt existing markets with innovation, based on consumer insights.

3. Show me the value - rapid response and appropriate price promotion are working for some.

‘Extreme value propositions’ are working well with increasingly cost-conscious consumers. In an effort to grab market share, a race downmarket is developing, to capture consumer spending power with a ‘best-price’ message.

4. Pocket returns in pockets of growth - some sectors are positively booming, such as online, home entertainment and some luxury brands.

Online business continues to defy gravity. The results seem to indicate a ‘digital divide’ between companies who have older business models and those who have successfully incorporated e-commerce and new technology platforms. The latter are now benefiting from this shift in consumer behaviour.

5. Refocus on emerging markets - opportunities in Asia are attracting increased attention and investment whilst Europe and the US flounder.

Many respondents indicated that they are refocusing their businesses on the significant growth opportunities in the Middle East and Asia and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Europe.

6. Keep up with customers - businesses must find a way to match or exceed customers' increasingly agile changes in behaviour.

Customers’ behaviour is changing faster than businesses are able to shift their strategies. Consumer loyalty is not surviving the challenge of great deals and people are defecting to (own) brands that previously they would not have considered.

7. Hang on to talent - attracting the best talent is increasingly vital, but also becoming increasingly difficult.

Business leaders are not planning for the large-scale lay-offs that happened in previous recessions. Instead, they are focusing on whether they have the skills and talent to take them through the downturn. They recognise that it will be increasingly difficult to attract the best new talent into their organisations.

8. Empower your people - business leaders are recognising the value of experience, while also ensuring that their people have the right skills and training in place to survive and prepare for the upturn.

Internally, the focus is on having the right strategies in place to retain the best people, as well as managing under-performers in a tougher way. Incentives are being adapted to reflect these changed priorities.

9. Keep up morale - maintaining workforce morale will be a decisive benefit.

Businesses reported that they are redoubling efforts to demonstrate decisive leadership via more internal communication. For example, several companies are making increasing use of face-to-face communication to increase the CEO’s visibility, to set the right tone and convince employees that their jobs are safe. They recognise the need to avoid the creation of a bunker mentality within their businesses and build employee confidence and trust in their leadership.

10. Engage your staff - keep staff members on your side.

A high proportion of our survey respondents recognised that full employee engagement is needed to be able to shift strategy successfully. A minority of companies cited examples of the impact that this can have.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting Better at Recruiting and Retaining.

Cost effective Hiring and Successful retention in the corporate world is very essential today. For this reason companies are working on the areas of recruitment & retention to get more insights on the same. Some of the key findings are:

. Knowing the generation Y better will improve an organisation's chances of recruiting and retaining them

. But to know them organisations must move beyond perusing documented information.

The better you know your prospective candidates the better the chances of luring them. The logic is that simple. There is already a lot that organisations know about generation Yers. However, if the intention is to recruit more from this generation, the question to ask is, "What more can we learn about them?" The answer is critical to formulating an effective strategy-one that ensures a competitive edge.

This week's mailer will clue in organisations and their recruiters on the characteristics and quirks of generation Yers. This information should help them realign their existing strategy to recruit successfully and retain them.

Defining the 'Y' cadre

Commonly referred to as "Millennials", "Echo Boomers" and "Net Generation", generation Y constitutes those who were born from 1980 to 1999 and grew up in the 1990s and 2000s. A few well-documented and work-relevant characteristics of this generation are:

. They are more ambitious than the previous generation so much that sociologists call them the overachieving, overscheduled generation

. They like changing jobs, and earned the title "job-hoppers"

. They have great expectations from their workplace as, according to research, "they desire to shape their jobs to fit their lives rather than adapt their lives to the workplace". This outlook is a huge challenge to employers.

The above-mentioned characteristics are well-documented. In fact, most organisations have already realigned their recruitment strategies around them. But there are a few other quirks that are not so well documented but can have an equally huge impact on an organisation's strategy. They are:

Trait: Dependence on parents

Being the products of helicopter parenting, generation Yers find it difficult to wean off parents. This generation does not think much of moving back home after college. Less rebellious than their predecessors, most of them even let their parents decide on where they will work and for whom. That this generation job-hops is a well known fact, but what is undocumented is that their job-hopping is driven by the will to learn. Encouraged by their parents' advice to learn and grow from different experiences, the generation is willing to risk job security and fantastic salaries for the thrill of learning something new. Also the fact that they can fall back on their parents makes them greater risk-takers than their predecessors.

Tip: In getting the Yers to make career decisions, give them time to consult their parents. Encourage them to make those phone calls to their parents from the interview room itself.

Trait: In-box management

It might not appear as an advantage, but the fact that Yers choose to start their work day without a 'to-do' list actually makes them better 'prioritisers'. As a behavioural expert comments, "Baby boomers use their in-boxes and in-trays as to-do lists and go by them on a typical work day. However, Gen Y is sold on the idea of an 'empty box'". This means that what they do is not dictated by what comes into their in-box or in-tray but by what they feel is important. This gives them better control in deciding their priorities and also makes them conscious of managing their work activities based on priorities. In short, they do not work on a first-in, first-out basis but on the "most important comes first" basis.

Tip: Allow Yers the leeway to plan their day. Strict scheduling can frustrate them.

Trait: Women power

Yers appreciate gender equality and have little qualms about women surging ahead as earners. Generation Y women feel more empowered, go solo in making career and personal decisions, and feel less insecure at work. Another observation is that women take a back seat voluntarily when they decide to have children.

Tip: Think of flexible work hours and work-at-home options for new mothers.

Trait: Team spirit

Generation Yers thrive as teams. Probably the first generation to value the importance of team power, this generation appreciates how individual efforts at work multiply when combined with team efforts. So oriented are their efforts to work in teams that team-building and bonding initiatives are only reminders of what they already appreciate. Therefore, where they really need help is in developing their leadership potential.

Tip: Divide everyone into work teams. Even a one-employee function or department can be integrated into a large group.

Some of this information is probably already known but not accounted for as yet. However, what is essential is to be aware of these undocumented generational differences. Organisations must interpret this information to use it as a recruitment advantage.

The ManageMentor

Friday, November 14, 2008

Auditing the Human Resources Function

Effectiveness of the Human Resources Function

The purpose of a Human Resources audit is to assess the effectiveness of the Human Resources function and to ensure regulatory compliance. The audit can be conducted by anyone with sufficient Human Resources experience. Having experience working in more than one company is a plus, as it provides the auditor with a broader perspective. There's an advantage to having the audit conducted by an external consultant. Because the external consultant has fewer biases about the organization and has less personal interest in the outcome than an employee of the company, the external consultant may be more objective.

Collect Data

Assess the mission, vision, strategy, and culture of the organization, from whatever written material there is in the company (check with the department or person who handles public, customer, or shareholder relations). Collect existing data such as:
1. Hiring statistics (acceptance rate, hiring rate, hiring projections)
2. Turnover
3. Compensation and benefits philosophy and practice
4. Exit interview summaries
5. Employee complaints (discrimination, harassment, safety, other)
6. Promotion and advancement practices and trends
7. Human Resources budget and expenditures

Where possible, compare the data you collected with market data. This information will provide you with a point of view for the next phase of the audit: the interviews. If, during the interview, discrepancies arise between the data and the interviewee's answer, you can explore the reasons for the discrepancy(s).

Conduct Interviews

The purpose of the interview is to collect input from the internal customer on their Human Resources needs and how those needs are being met. Begin the interview with top management. Next conduct interviews with a sample of subordinate managers including first line management. The topics to discuss during the interview include:

  1. Perceptions of the company and its goals
  2. Strengths and weaknesses of top management
  3. Employee perceptions of the company and top management
  4. Relations with subordinates
  5. Support of career goals for self and employees
  6. Major Human Resources issues
  7. Which Human Resources functions work well
  8. Which Human Resources functions need improvement

Conduct the Regulatory Compliance Audit

The following areas should be audited as part of the regulatory compliance audit:

  1. Personnel files and recordkeeping (contain only job related information)
  2. Pay equity
  3. Job descriptions (ADA compliance)
  4. Legal postings
  5. Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action
  6. Forms (applications, internal forms, etc.)
  7. Workers' Compensation
  8. Fair Labor Standards Act
  9. Family and Medical Leave Act
  10. Legal reporting

Summarize the Results

Consolidate the information you collected. Compare the results with market surveys. Determine which practices are good/popular/effective/competitive. Determine which practices need improvement. Recommend specific improvements referring to the results of both the Effectiveness audit and the Regulatory compliance audit. Justify the recommendations. Determine how to measure whether the improvements are successful.

Obtain Approval from senior Management

Present the preliminary results and recommendations to senior management individually. Point out how these recommendations will support their needs. Obtain their support, then present the final results and recommendations to the senior management staff for final approval.

Implement the Program

Consider implementing the program in part of the organization as a pilot program. Monitor and measure success and seek to continuously improve processes. Be prepared to modify the program if an organizational change requires it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Effective Organizations

Effective Organizations(Organization Development)

The trend toward reducing the number of management levels in organizations is being driven by the need of organizations to increase the speed and accuracy of communication. Traditional organizations, with their many levels of management, process information slowly. Plus the information gets filtered along the way, often for political reasons which can conflict with the overall good of the organization.

Processing information quickly and accurately, then acting upon what is learned, is critical for the success of an organization. Another key item is selecting relevant information for measuring organizational performance relative to organizational goals. This can be challenging in light of today's information rich environment. (Selecting the wrong metrics, those which pull the focus of the organization away from what is most important for its ultimate success, will harm an organization). After selecting the appropriate metrics, organizational performance can be further enhanced by linking the performance results to individual or team incentives.

Performance Management is a process that can facilitate the flow of information in an organization. Performance Management includes the following:

  1. A flow-down of goals beginning with the organization's strategic plan, to the annual organizational goals, to the President's or CEO's individual performance goals, on down to all employees in the organization. Thus each member of the organization can ultimately tie their individual performance goals to the organizational goals .

  2. A formal feedback system in which individual performance results can ultimately flow back and influence the organization's strategic plan. Feedback must occur frequently.

  3. A mutual (between the employee and manager) establishment of duties and responsibilities and criteria for measuring success. Also, performance results are mutually determined. The mutuality is what encourages the feedback.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Employee-Manager Trust Strengthens Work Relationships

With more than 135,000 employees working in some 80 countries worldwide, Procter & Gamble, creator of brands such as Tide, Folgers, Pringles, Charmin and Crest, has isolated the manager-employee relationship as a critical component of effective performance management.

"It's the No. 1 reason why people leave a company," said Keith Lawrence, director of human resources, beauty, health and well-being at Procter & Gamble Co. "It's such an important relationship. It determines the work an individual is assigned, their future assignments, promotions, compensation, as well as the basic love, care and feeding that we get each day."

In order to enable effective manager-employee relationships, Lawrence said the process must begin with a manager's fundamental belief that a high-quality relationship with every one of his or her employees is important.

Positive manager-employee relationships actually start when an employee joins the manager's team or attends the company on-boarding program. On-boarding can help the two get to know each other, identify their strengths and establish how they can work together.

To set the right tone at this stage, Lawrence said the manager should have clear work plans and objectives for what will be accomplished in the first assignment.

Ongoing, continuous feedback - including not only what needs improvement, but recognition of what is going well - will help reinforce the employee's contribution and build a basic feeling of trust, respect and a sense of teamwork.

"We have a lot of systems to give feedback on an ongoing basis, but the most effective way to give feedback is to tailor it to the individual employee," he explained. "Some employees like to get written feedback, some like to get it in person, others like to hear all the good stuff, and you have to soft pedal the issues. It's important for the manager to know every one of their employees and deliver feedback as they like it delivered."

The level of personalization and trust in this manager-employee relationship is so relevant; it can take only one incident to damage it. Saying one thing and doing another, offering inaccurate information or not fulfilling commitments related to advancement or new opportunities for growth and development are a few critical but common manager mistakes.

"Fundamentally, all relationships boil down to trust," Lawrence said. "The worst thing a manager can do is make a commitment and either not deliver on it or not be honest, candid and complete with their employee. It's very hard to rebuild trust. Stephen Covey would say you need seven deposits in the emotional bank to account for one incident like that. In the trust fund, it's beyond that. A manager can really blow a relationship when they're not trustworthy or when they lack integrity."

Procter & Gamble uses its annual employee survey to measure how well managers are building and sustaining employee relationships. The survey has several relationship-based questions for which answers are monitored, benchmarked and tied to manager - particularly senior managers' - bonuses.

"That puts teeth behind the importance of this," Lawrence said. "We also have a wide range of tools and training available to managers and employees to help their relationship building. For example, we have a relationship-building tool kit that has an array of different exercises and approaches that both employee and manager can use to help them strengthen their respective relationship.

"Last, we're leaning toward what we call strength-based relationships, and the analogy here is in a marriage, you learn to appreciate and play to each other's strengths as opposed to trying to fix the parts you don't like. The same is true here. We're trying to focus on what are the strengths that each employee and manager has and how can they respectively play to those over time and build and strengthen one another."

Kellye Whitney

Ten Things Great Bosses Know...

Ten Things Great Bosses Know...

1. The Most Important Thing Bosses Do Is Help OTHERS Succeed:

This sounds simple, but bosses got promoted because of their personal achievements. Now, they have to shift the focus from themselves to the growth of those who report to them. In other words, it's not about YOU, boss. It's about the troops. If they do well, you should, too.

2. Managers Cannot Treat Everyone The Same:

Great bosses learn how to customize their approach to each person. Yes, they hold true to core values, but don't assume that they have to act in identical ways with each staffer. They manage people as the complex individuals they are. And that's a real skill.

3. IQ Gets Bosses Only So Far; EQ Takes Them to The Next Level:

I'm talking about emotional intelligence: the ability to be self-aware, self-managing, socially aware and adept at managing relationships. This means knowing how to read the emotions of others as well as our own, to know how to power up or power down in synch with a situation, to build trust through expertise, integrity and empathy.

4. People Fall In Love With Ideas & Solutions Of Their Own Creation:

It's faster and easier to tell people what to do; but when people come up with their own ideas, they are much more invested in them. Anyone who's ever assigned stories knows this one. Journalists love the project they come up with more than the one that's given them. When we put our personal stamp on something, we care more about it. This applies in work assignments, negotiation and conflict resolution.

5. Coaching Is A Critical Skill:

Bosses who "fix" the work of others don't help them grow. Fixing may be faster, but has short-term impact. Coaching takes more time but the results last. Fixing is about the product, coaching is about the person. With good coaching, the person and the product improve.

6. Staffers Must See You, Not Your Evil Twin:

What's the difference between visionary and delusional, a roll-up-my-sleeves helper and a micromanager, or between confidence and arrogance? It's often in the the way the leader communicates and the staff perceives her. Leaders can't assume their employees can read their minds. It's hard work to make your intentions clear.

7. Conflict Doesn't Get Better If It Is Ignored:

The best bosses build cultures where conflict may be inevitable among smart, creative people, but it is handled extremely well. Differences are aired, values are clear, people are held accountable, and bullies don't win.

8. Intrinsic Motivation Is The Most Powerful:

The best work gets done when people motivate themselves. That's intrinsic motivation: Internal engines like competence, choice, meaningfulness and progress. Or the joy of working with a team, or achieving something solo. Great bosses know what drives each person they lead.

9. Managing Change Is A Constant Responsibility:

Change can make people very uncomfortable, but leaders must move people in new directions, toward new opportunities. Today's newsrooms are undergoing massive changes of culture, workflow, skill sets, formats and technology. Great leaders build bridges to the future.

10. Leaders Inspire Others:

There's meaning, honor and dignity in every form of honest work. Don't fear that you will look corny by sharing a vision, a passion, or a dream. The best bosses make us feel better about ourselves, our work and our goals. Dare to inspire.