Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Managing Leave—Annoying for Sure, But Doable

Managing Leave—Annoying for Sure, But Doable

"Never let manager deal with leave requests," says one expert, but that's easier said than done. For every HR manager who doesn't have a leave specialist on staff, here are Bob Gilson's tips for dealing with leave requests.

Gilson, an expert on employee relations, offers his tips on FedSmith.com, where he is a frequent blogger. Here's what he recommends:

1. Learn the Basic Rules

This means your organization's policies for vacation, sick leave or paid time off (PTO) system, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), worker's compensation, and other types of leave. If your employees operate under a union contract, be familiar with leave-related provisions of the contract.

2. Get a Grip on the FMLA

With the new changes to the FMLA, this is especially important. Many of the changes will ultimately be beneficial to employers, but most organizations are in the process of changing their policies and procedures, especially dealing with notice from and to employees.

3. Assemble a Paper or E-File for Reference

Create a folder (paper or online) of leave rules, forms, and so on, and keep it all in one place where you can get to it quickly when employees request leave, recommends Gilson.

4. Set Clear Expectations

Make sure the people you supervise also have copies of your organization's leave rules, says Gilson. Send them a memo emphasizing the important provisions such as the procedures for requesting various types of leave, what forms to use, and what the rules are for calling in during leave or to request time off.

5. Remind Your Staff of Expectations Regularly

It's not enough to tell employees once on the day they are hired about your requirements. Remind people of the rules at staff meetings. Don't discuss any specific employee's situation but do, in a general way, encourage employees to follow the rules, Gilson says.

6. Enforce the Rules

Make sure employees who exhibit any kind of attendance problem get a response from you, says Gilson. Of course, take circumstances into account, but at the same time, let the employee know that you noticed the infraction and that you are prepared to enforce the rules.

7. Require a Written Request

Get your people used to using a form, says Gilson. It's habit-forming and it keeps everybody straight.

8. Track Leave Usage

You need to track usage just for management purposes, but there's also another good reason, Gilson suggests. Only careful tracking will reveal potential abusers. For example, you might find someone with no chronic, documented condition who often requests sick leave on Mondays, Fridays, and days before holidays.

If you suspect abuse, says Gilson, talk to your HR manager. But remember, documentation is the key to resolving attendance and leave problems.

9. Question Inconsistent or Improper Requests

Call employees on it when their leave requests appear inconsistent with their documented conditions, or if vacation leave is requested at the last minute when heavy workloads or deadlines are imminent, says Gilson. It's important to let people know that you are paying attention.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hiring Practices During Recession Hit Economy

Hiring Practices During Recession Hit Economy




During a Recession, hiring practices generally don’t change, but companies are much more careful in evaluating the need for additional staff — be it executive or otherwise. When possible, they tend to look more closely before adding outside hires. In many cases, companies consolidate responsibilities and do more with less staff. Early signals of this are when companies don’t replace positions left vacant by normal attrition. As business trends continue in the manner that they have during the last two quarters of this year, and into 2009, companies feel the pressure to reduce overhead expenses. This could be reduction in facilities (more virtual employees), reduction in workforce, accompanied by increased responsibilities and reduction in compensation packages. Of course, companies still seek the right executive talent to manage “the new order” going forward.

Companies Hiring Right now

Currently, we are seeing some hiring in the public sector, technology, alternative/green energy and life sciences/medical sectors. To a lesser extent, there are some midcap companies in the industrial sector that are continuing to grow as larger concerns exit markets, leaving a void for lower cost, higher value options. Indicators also point to a resurgence in finance & accounting roles across industries.

From Entry-Level to Executive

Right now, it’s tough for both executives and entry-level employees, but particularly challenging for executives to match employment opportunities that exist in better times. Generally speaking, the higher the price tag, the longer the job search. Revenue producers, at all levels, are highly coveted in this business environment. As for entry-level job seekers, there are still opportunities for the determined.

Strategies

Flexibility to the needs of the prospective employer would be advised. What the prospective employee can contribute to the bottom line is the key to success in a job search during these times. The use of one’s business and personal network should be a vital strategy—get the word out. Be aware of current events in the industry or sector being sought—the volatility of business is at a high point. There is no excuse to be unaware with so many communication tools at one’s disposal.

Trends in the Current Employment Markets

Retention of current, valued employees has taken a greater importance. In many companies downsizing has already occurred. As business units operate with leaner teams, every member of the team takes on a more important role in the organization. The loss of top performers is highlighted even more in tough times, as productivity could experience a decline, along with adding the cost of replacement. Some might say that with crisis comes opportunity.


(About the Author: Juan Morales is managing director of the Miami office of Stanton Chase International. The 450-member organization conducts local, regional and international executive search campaigns for many top companies worldwide. Stanton Chase currently has 66 offices in 41 countries. There are 12 offices in North America. For more information, visit www.stantonchase.com)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama's HR Policy For Tough Economic Times

Obama's HR Policy For Tough Economic Times

Barack Obama said "Hire above the job". Hire a person who is overqualified, especially in these times. They will be eternally grateful, and work twice as hard.


But if we analyze it correctly and try to understand its consequences, it comes out to be not a very easy task. A report on the analysis and understanding on the industry behaviors is appended.

In these times hiring someone currently unemployed because of a layoff that is at or slightly above the basic requirements is a good practice because they will not only make a good addition for the organization in the short term but also provide value for future growth. As the organization grows the position may, in fact, expand to meet the actual experience level of the incumbent.


Successful organizations should always hire with growth in mind because it is easier to have the demands of a position grow around an incumbent than to have an incumbent be expected to grow into an expanded position.

So while one should always hire the most suitably qualified for a position, I think to simply hire a significantly over-qualified person would be a mistake. On the other hand, if a person is marginally over-qualified, then all well and good. They likely would be at the top of any "short list" for promotion as soon as economic conditions improve.

In these times hiring an unemployed person that has been laid off also provides an immediate stimulus for the economy, which may hasten growth for the organization. One other thing to consider when hiring, especially in troubled economic times, is that it is easier to hire pre-need than at need because in waiting for the at-need situation it may be very difficult to hire rapidly enough to meet the needs of the organization.

Please feel free to comment and give suggestions.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

ECONOMIC MELTDOWN- THE NEW GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE…………

ECONOMIC MELTDOWN- THE NEW GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE…………

The ripple effects of global credit crisis has hit the world economy hard triggering global credit recession. As the world enters what many see as the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression, several factors begin to interfere with our daily life.

Before understanding the genesis of the recession let us basically know what is recession......

WHAT IS RECESSION AND TRADE CYCLE....?

The downturn of economic activities or a constant fall in demand is termed as recession. As observed the trade cycle boom precedes recession and depression and ultiamately recovery succeds recession.

THE MAJOR GREAT DEPRESSION


The Great Depression of 1929 was a worldwide economic depression that lasted approximately 10 years. On October 24, 1929, “Black Thursday” 12.9 million shares of stock were sold in one day, triple the normal amount prices .This great depression ended under the supervision of U.S President Franklin.D.Roosevelt.

THE CREDIT CRISIS OF 2008......

To understand the genesis of the current financial meltdown we need to start with the U.S housing market, a $22.5 trillion major economic driver larger in size than US stock market. Ratio of home prices to household incomes were at an all time high and appeared unsustainable as the home prices increased by nearly 85% overall with a per year compound rate of 12% between 2000 and 2005.

The idea that the housing prices would only appreciate caused US banks and mortgage companies to loosen their credit standards and start lending to families with no credit history and only tenous ability to service their mortgage. SUBPRIME lending , which in the us context meant lending to credit histories, grew rapidly during he housing bubble.

The first death knell for sub-prime mortgage holders was the increase in oil and commodity prices, which pushed up inflation and the all important interest rates. Unable to meet the higher payments, sub-prime borrowers began defaulting on their mortgages in large numbers. In various cases home owners walked away from the debt, ultimately resulting in sub-prime crisis.

Though this type of situation was encountered in the past, what makes the current crisis unique is its severity and global reach.

THE CRISIS SPREADS

It took nearly a year of falling home prices and subsequent mortgage defaults to leak into larger economy. $56 billion 'New Century Financial Corporation', one of the largest sub-prime lenders was one of the first banks to fall. Two investment banks, 'Bear Sterns' and 'Lehman Brothers' filed for bankruptcy. After the 158-year old Lehman Brothers failed, the floodgates opened for insolvencies. Most of the investment banks failed as unlike retail banks, they typically do not have capital. When the news spread that banks were in financial difficulties, the loss of confidence caused a run on several institutions, and mainly banks in Europe and USA became insolvent. Not surprisingly the US markets began a long and unchecked downward slide, eventually loosing 40% of its value.

IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIA……

Due to the sub-prime crisis, property prices have appreciated much more rapidly. India has opportunity to learn from America’s mistakes. With the whole American industry in recession it is likely that India's export may take a downward trend affecting the manufacturing sector thus resulting in loss of jobs. We are already feeling the pinch. Many IT professionals may also lose their jobs. The government of India with the assistance of RBI has taken measures to combat the recession effects in India, by cutting CRR rate, repo rate and interest rates.

For India to be unperturbed by the recession, a well functioning disclosure and regulatory environment, an infrastructure that supports clear communication to the investors and high quality audits are to be followed by India thus leading itself on the path of growth and making itself an economic superpower.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Economic Slowdown - An Opportunity

Economic slowdown is bound to pose some major challenges for corporates, but it does provide some interesting opportunities too, especially from an HR perspective.

Post the meltdown, employee expectations with regards to salary hikes during job changes are bound to mellow down. We already have reports that the average salary jumps during job changes are lowering to levels of 20-25%, down from 35-40%. While salary used to be the key factor for job changes, post the downturn, employees are likely to become wiser and take a more long term perspective when changing jobs. One can sense that job security will hold a more premium position, in the list of priorities, than it has done in the past.

Long Term View

Another fact that the downturn has highlighted is the importance of working in a reputed, professional and values based firm. There are organisations that at the very first hint of hard-ship will retrench employees and we already have enough examples of that. However, in the past, since the economy was booming and nearly all sectors were doing extremely well, even a remote thought to downsize hardly arose in the minds of most companies. More importantly it didn’t occur in the minds of the employees or prospective employees. Hence, since the industry was too bullish, job security was never a key deciding factor for employees when they went looking out for a job.

However, the current situation has made retrenchments a real possibility and we have even had few companies showcasing the same. Hence, in future, I reckon employees are going to lay a premium on the management ethos and culture of the organisation before they make a change. Organisations which are deemed to be employee friendly and having a professional management culture will hold an advantage in hiring talent than the companies which are perceived as more cut throat having a hire and fire culture.

Employer Branding is key

The above factor is hugely advantageous to the reputed professional organisations for attracting talent and it also provides an opportunity to the rest to improve their respective employer branding by working on building a professional work culture and show-casing the same through media, industry bodies, academic institutions etc. Indeed, this provides a very exciting proposition to HR professionals across corporate India. As of now employer branding has not really taken off in corporate India but, hitherto, I do see that in the medium to long term, this aspect will gain prominence and will become a key deliverable for HR professionals.

HR taking charge

Not very long ago corporates were running from pillar to post to hire talent. A high percentage time of HR professionals was devoted to recruitment. Steep growth paths of corporates across sectors left hardly any time for management to develop leadership pipeline to sustain and manage future growth levels. However, the current scenario of lower future growth prospects does provide a good opportunity for corporates to reflect and devote more time and focus on building a healthy leadership pipeline, so come the next phase of high growth, the companies have a strong bench strength to manage the growth trajectory. Now is the time when organisations can really put their might behind developing robust talent management processes in their set-ups. The most effective talent management systems are owned by the top, ably facilitated and supported by HR. However, in the initial stages HR must take the ownership to drive the process, prepare coach and hand-hold senior leadership to lead it while HR eventually acting as a facilitator.

Another key focus area for corporates is going to be increasing employee productivity and efficiencies. The current meltdown provides an opportunity for organisations to ‘review the way they work’. In order to improve efficiencies and productivity to better their top-lines and already stretched bottom lines, companies start exploring innovative ways to improve their systems, optimise costs, decrease inventories, reduce cycle times and introduce great value innovative products. The name of the game is ‘innovation’. HR can play a key role in building an environment and culture of innovation within the organisation.

So, one can see quite a few silver linings, leave alone one, in today’s environment consumed by the dark clouds of gloom and doom. The trick is to start working on these opportunities, so when the next steep growth phase comes, you are right in front of the pack to gain competitive advantage.



Ref: Randeep Sisodia

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Suggested HR Strategies to Reduce Effects of the Crisis.

Suggested HR Strategies to Reduce Effects of the Crisis.


Communication.

Dedicate time to positive reasoning. Hold town hall meetings involving staff and management on ways to tackle the challenges of the downturn. Hear the staff out. Take time to listen to the employees for confidence building. During such engagement, declare immunity to cover all staff, in which any staff that offers to critique the organization is insulated from witch-hunting sanctions and victimization. This gives room for sincere invectives and inputs, which may turn the organization around for good. Staff should be encouraged to objectively give their assessment of where the organization was, where it is and where they believe the organization should be and what should be done to survive the recession. After listening to the staff, thank them for valued contributions and promise to work with their inputs. Reiterate the vision and mission statements of the organization. Appeal to staff to do everything possible to actualize the goals and objectives of the organization. They should show more personal and collective commitment, loyalty and dedication to the organization for improved productivity. Seek their support for the strategic action plans. At the same time, strengthen the two ways communication process and dedicate time to feed backs.

Positive team culture.

Stress shared vision, strategies and belief in team culture, improved symbiotic team spirit because of the positive value addition of synergy. HR Managers should at this time radiate and give hope and lift their staff from negativity to positivity. A positive team culture stresses collectivism, and symbiosis. Do well to stress the importance of every team member.

Learning.

Learning is the key that opens the individual employee to knowledge beyond his/her immediate reach. It helps to bring a strong barrier against failures and landmines that may bomb the organization out of existence. It assists the worker to open up to new initiatives, ideas and best practices. Design programmes that put the organization on top of the pack and enable the organization have a competitive edge. Staff may not necessarily be moved from their places of work because of the innovations in as e-learning and intranet services are becoming a way of life. Encourage staff to participate in workshops and conferences to enable them compare notes on experiences and learn from others. Where only a few staff can attend, those who attended should be given an opportunity to share their learning experiences with their colleagues at a forum.

Leadership focus during the downturn.

1. Transparency.
2. Accountability.
3. Courage to effect necessary changes.
4. Training.
5. Proactive strategy.
6. Sacrifice.
7. Incremental changes.
8. Address issues of insecurity.
9. Credible leadership.
10. Mentoring.
11. Coaching.
12. Nurturing.
13. Sifting down process between the effective staff.
14. Walk-the-talk.

Performance incentives.

. General Motivation techniques: Positive and negative sanctions
. Performance Incentive Bonus (PIB)


Review of organizational structure and procedures.


1. Reduce complex structure to a simple structure.
2. Increased autonomy to improve decision making process.
3. Concentration on core areas.
4. Elimination of tribal, political and racial considerations in the appointments of chief executives and recruitment processes.
5. Review of recruitment policies. It is a well known fact that in most parastatals of government in Nigeria, there are periods of employment freeze, unfreeze, refreeze and retrenchment at the fiat of the executive arm of government.
6. Review financial management procedures to optimize profitability.
7. Improve cost culture and asset utilization.

Redefinition of business value system.

This is a moment to re-examine the organization’s business value system, goals, roadmaps, strategies and practices to align with the anatomy and physiology of the organization. The vision of the organization should be cascaded down the ladder so that there will be a total buy-in; into the new ways of achieving the vision even at these difficult times. A shared vision sets the tone for the conscious will power to achieve the impossible.

Succession planning.

The chief executives of many parastatals of government are removed and replaced at will. The high turnover of the top management is the bane of poor performance of some organizations. It makes planning difficult, truncates strategic plans processes and kills any organization’s initiatives to achieve a well tailored succession plan, which is a Sequa-non for organizational success. There should be a reversal of this unwholesome process.

Attitudinal change.


. Paradigm shift in work culture and values.
. Stop the attitudes of being busy doing the wrong things. The aim is to change from busyness to effectiveness as being busy does not connote effectiveness. Being busy and working hard without focus does not translate to results the organization needs to be effective.

Job rotation.


Temporary postings to areas of unsaturated staff.
Equal opportunities.
Redeployment.


Pre-retirement seminars.

Pre retirement workshop.
Incentives for early retirement (discourages swearing affidavits to cheat on age).

Personal income management.

Almost all staff are now very heavily indebted to the banks with slimmer income. It is often said that the “take home pay of workers no longer take them home”. Staff of various organizations have found themselves in this conundrum in Abuja because of the need to purchase personal houses in other to avoid the cut throat high rents in the FCT.

Engage external consultants to talk to staff on personal income management and the need to prepare for retirement. HR managers should help enforce the one-third rule of loans over which a staff cannot approach the organization for loans so that staff will be able to maintain and cater for their immediate families at this critical time.

Proactive HRM.


1. Application of emotional intelligence strategies.
2. Fair HR practice in the use of the carrot and stick approach.
3. Assessment of the competencies of employees and productivity level. Do not wait for the end of year.
4. In-plant knowledge sharing forum should be enthroned to encourage staff to share their knowledge in an in plant workshop. This will assist the organization to source for and maintain a knowledge pool in the organization.
5. Change management. Change will be effected in bits and not radically so as not to further stress the staff.
6. Review the organization’s customer management processes.
7. Enthrone an integrated research and development processes.

Performance evaluation.Enthrone an effective performance management system.

Performance evaluation should focus on:

1. The organization.
2. Departments.
3. Customer service.
4. Teams’ performance.
5. Processes.
6. Individuals.

. Solutions to challenges rather than sanctions, condemnation and the blame trade.
. Seek to be understood before seeking others’ understanding.
. Expectations should be mutually agreed using basic standard benchmarks.
. Consider individual strengths, experience, priorities, inner motivation (is he a loner, extrovert) and confidence in assigning tasks.
. Acquire the skills to align the staff skills and competency to align with the organizational objectives.
. Monitor performance (don’t wait until the end of the year).
. Reward top performers and ascertain collateral damage if any.
. Investigate and sanction poor performance.
. Watch out for the aftershocks of performance evaluation.

Any of the following models could be used to address the performance challenges that organizations may face during the periods of financial crisis:

. The Balanced Scorecard (Kaplan and Norton provides the theoretical framework for the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) with four perspectives - financial measures, customer knowledge, internal business processes, and learning and growth. The BSC helps the organization to strike a balance between short, medium and long-term objectives. The BSC is a tested tool change processes.
. Ulrich model.


Ref: http://louisbrownogbeifun.com/?p=55

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

3 steps to positive HR with a recession looming



Demand for HR increases with a recession looming


I’ve just done a quick search on Google Trends of what we, the citizens, are saying. Pop a few terms in yourself. What patterns do you see?

Talk of recession rose sharply in January 2008 and has leveled off.


There has been a lot of talk about lay offs but less about job losses. Semantics possibly, but also talk about what management does to us rather than what we experience?


Increasing searches for HR and a steady decline in interest in leadership.


It makes sense that people are more interested in HR when job losses are in the offing. This pattern seems to be more pronounced in India and it is not possible to tell whether India is creating the global trend by force of numbers, or creating the trend by the direction of its attention, or simply the place with the most pronounced pattern.

The role of HR during a recession


Though it is an important concern, I am not particularly interested in whether there is a recession or not. What concerns me is that we cannot create a good future until we can imagine it.

And I am concerned about the role we in HR play in helping people imagine a positive future. People come to us when they are in trouble and feeling negative. People come to us when they cannot see a way forward. The graphs on recession, leadership, HR, hope and strategy show that people are not even looking for hope, strategy and leadership when they are looking for us!

Our key task


The challenge, for us, is that emotion is highly contagious. Natural empathy will allow us to be infected by our clients’ gloom.

But they don’t want us to share their gloomy predictions. They want positive action from us. They want us to advise them and to act effectively on their behalf. This is what concerns them.

1. What are their options and what can the firm do to help them?
2. What could we do with our skill base that we haven’t thought of?


Practical steps to positive HR in gloomy times
So if we are likely to reflect and perpetuate the gloominess of our clients, how can halt this process and restore a positive, forward looking, strategic atmosphere?

Here are three practical suggestions.

1. Make emotional R&R mandatory for the HR team.
Budget part of the day, part of the week, and part of the month for them to recover from toxic emotions and to restore their sense of what is “good and true, better and possible”. Allow frequent “walks in the woods”.

2. Increase your budget for strategic thinking (not tactical response) and engage the organization in thinking through positive futures for all its staff.
After all, a firm that is healthy and thriving should be able to imagine positive futures for all the skill sets used in their industry.

3. Increase your budget for calming down line managers.
Stress causes defensiveness. We try to control what we have and imagination flies out the window. Stressed managers will quickly create a downward spiral.

And because supporting stressed people is extremely hard work, look after yourself.

Why I am positive
The positive news is that people are generally active and focused rather than passive and reactive. People are less interested in abstract concepts like “recession” and much more interested in “what they are going to do”.

For young people, recession is not a bad memory. They weren’t here during the last one. A minor economic downturn is simply an adventure: something to be explored, something to be understood, something to be conquered and something to be enjoyed in the company of fellow travelers.

My call to action
My call to action: Add an explicit positive agenda to your HR now.

1. Give your staff resources to recover from negativity.
2. Up the time spent on strategic HR and don’t stop until you have a positive vision for everyone in the company.
3. Work with senior managers. When they are glum, they make everyone else glum, who then make them even more moody!
And make sure you have your quote of “walks in the woods”, positive mentors, simple pleasures and good home life.

Are you looking for a mentor or are you available to mentor an HR Manager trying to implement positive HR?


Ref: http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com/2008/07/24/3-steps-to-positive-hr-with-a-recession-looming/

Reducing Worker Stress During Turbulent Economic Times

Reducing Worker Stress During Turbulent Economic Times

These are stressful times, particularly for those who work in restaurants and hospitality establishments. Customer expectations are up, while tips are down. Yet workers must continue to provide exceptional service, even as staffs are sliced and diced. Here is what you need to know in order to significantly reduce the stress level in your workplace.

People have different ways of handling the shaky economy. Some people run around the organization informing everyone the sky is falling, while others hide behind the bar hoping the pink slips will land in someone else's station. Both of these scenarios do nothing to keep your establishment on course, which is exactly what must occur if you are to weather this economic storm. Here are seven tips on what you can do to reduce employee stress in turbulent economic times:

1. Provide your employees with opportunities to share their immediate concerns. You may be thinking, "But what if I don't have an immediate response to their concern?" That's okay. Let them speak and just listen. The simple act of stating fears out loud is often enough to calm people down so they can be productive again.

2. Keep the lines of communication open. Do not wait for the office grapevine to strangle your company. Instead, be proactive. Let employees know how your organization is doing financially. Seek input on ways to improve revenues and decrease expenses. Empowered employees, who feel like they are making a contribution, are much more productive than those who are waiting around for the ax to fall.

3. Focus on providing value and exceptional service. When the economy gets bumpy, companies tend to react by reducing services. If history repeats itself, there will be plenty of opportunities for customer- focused organizations to pick up new clients who appreciate the attention. By focusing on the positive, you will alleviate the negative thoughts that create a stressful work environment.

4. Give your employees a break. Whenever possible, try to schedule consecutive days off so they have time to rejuvenate their bodies and their minds.

5. Lighten up. The last thing people need in their lives right now is a boss who keeps riding them. Explain what needs to get done and appropriate timelines, provide the resources and allow your employees have some control over their workload.

6. Look for ways to make the rushes go smoother. Can you cross train people so they can help out in a pinch? Is the manager willing and able to fill in when you are down an employee or two?

7. Set the example. Take up meditation, yoga or running to blow off some of the steam that is bound to accumulate during this stressful time and encourage your staff to do the same.By following these tips, you will be able to alleviate stress in your workplace, while maintaining a sense of balance during these crazy times.

Ref: Roberta Chinsky Matuson

About the Author:

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Brookline, Massachusetts based Human Resource Solutions (http://www.yourhrexperts.com) and has been helping companies align their people assets with their business goals. She is considered an expert in generational workforce issues. Roberta publishes a monthly newsletter "HR Matters" http://www.yourhrexperts.com/hrjoin.cgi which is jammed with resources, articles and tips to help companies navigate through sticky and complicated HR workforce issues. She can be reached at 413-582-1840 or Roberta@yourhrexperts.com

Ten Things You Must Do Before You Recruit

Ten Things You Must Do Before You Recruit

Here's what you must do before you jump into recruiting:

1. Learn Federal and State Laws and Regulations.

The hiring process is rife with lawsuit traps. If you don’t know the tricky anti-discrimination laws that apply to the hiring process, your most innocent comments—even if intended to put an applicant at ease—could form the basis for an expensive lawsuit.

2. Study Your Organization’s Rules and Policies.
If you act without reviewing company rules and policies, it’s easy to be inconsistent (always dangerous) or to overstep your bounds, making commitments that you can’t live up to (for example, flying a person 2,000 miles for an interview, only to learn that relocation isn’t authorized).

Familiarize yourself with the following areas:

1. Job posting and internal search requirements
2. Union agreements and rules
3. Application form and résumé management policies
4. Equal opportunity obligations and policies
6. Relocation policies
7. Salary, compensation, and benefits policies
8. Recruiting budget
9. Reference and background checks policy

3. Clarify Your Role.
Each employer has its own way of running the recruiting process. Some are highly centralized, with the HR department doing most of the work. Others, especially in this era of leaner management, have decentralized recruiting, putting the burden on the shoulders of the hiring manager.

Ask these questions:

1. Who places advertisements?
2. Whose budget pays recruiting costs?
3. Who contacts job boards, search firms, and employment agencies?
4. Who does résumé screening, phone screening, and testing?
5. Who arranges for and conducts interviews?
6. Who extends formal offers of employment?
7. Who makes and maintains records?

4. Verify the Job Opening.
Before investing time and money in interviews, make sure that the job opening is “real.” If your organization has a formal process for approving an opening for hire, make sure that all appropriate forms are signed and authorizations are obtained.

If your organization is less formal, at least send a confirming memo to involved parties, outlining your plan.

5. Identify Controls or Constraints.
There can be any number of constraints on your hiring. You’ll just waste time if you set off without knowing what they are. Ask these questions:

1. Who else needs to interview or meet with final candidates?
2. What authority do you have to set salary?
3. Who needs to approve your final choice for hire?
4. How much of a hurry are you in?
5. Do you have authority to relocate?
6. What is the budget for advertising?
7. What is the budget for job board, search firm, or employment agency fees?

6. Picture the Perfect Candidate.
It sounds silly, but the biggest mistake in hiring is starting the recruiting process before you know what you are looking for. When there's no clear picture of the ideal candidate, you don’t know what questions to ask, what answers to listen for, and how to evaluate candidates.

You're also not going to attract the best candidates because they'll sense your fuzzy thinking, and that's a turn-off. Further, vague requirements mean you won't get poor candidates to self-select out of the process.

Don't rely on a job description; do a little digging:

1. What characteristics have helped others excel at this job?
2. What aspects of this job have caused others to fail?
3. What aspects have caused the manager the most heartache?
4. What failure in performance would get the person in this job fired?
5. In what areas did past jobholders need the most improvement?

7. Clarify for Outsiders.
Now you know what you want, but you still have to translate it into language to share outside the company. How will you describe your opening on job boards, advertisements, and notices to others helping with recruiting?

Each job is different, but in general, consider specifying the following things:

1. Number of years’ experience at a specific job
2. Specific duties or types of duties candidates should have performed
3. Specific responsibilities candidates should have had (management, training, bottom line, etc.)
4. Key characteristics or abilities
5. Industry awareness and trends
6. Degrees required
7. Certification or special training required or desirable
8. Computer abilities or software familiarity

8. Gain Agreement.
When you are comfortable with your description of what you are looking for, share it with others involved in the process. Do they agree that you have captured the essential requirements?

9. Check Legalities.
If you are not careful in setting requirements, you may be guilty of inadvertent discrimination. For example, if you set requirements that aren’t really necessary (such as a college degree for a clerical position), then you may illegally exclude a disproportionate number of members of a particular protected group.

Focus on meaningful requirements based on the position’s essential functions. Avoid any mention of age, sex, race, religion, disability, or national origin, or any characteristic protected by your state law (for example, sexual preference, marital status, or public assistance status).

10. Get Real.
Finally, make a reality check. Managers get carried away in dreaming about the “perfect” candidate, and end up describing a superhero who is overqualified for the job.

So, ask one last question: Would the candidate you have described be attracted to—and succeed at—your job?

And that's it. Get these ten preliminaries out of the way, and you are set for a successful search.

Ref: hrdailyadvisor

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is Teamwork Always Productive?

When team work can be counterproductive.......

Key learnings:

Working in teams has its benefits

However, team work is not always the best thing for organizations

High-performing teams are a boon. That is why organisations spend fortunes on team-building activities. Even to suggest that businesses can survive without efficient work teams sounds blasphemous. But are teams always important? Is performing in teams the only approach to smooth organisational functioning? This article looks at when working in teams becomes counterproductive.

Absence of environment

Teams exist within an organisational context; and processes, regulations and infrastructure support team work and encourage it. The presence of certain factors or elements lays the foundation for effective team work. The following factors will have a direct bearing on the outcome of a team effort:

Rigid hierarchy: All organisations have hierarchical structures, only the degree of their flexibility differs. A flexible structure encourages delegation, open communication, participation in decision-making, and ensures that both individuals and teams have some leeway in what they do. A rigid structure would mean centralised decision-making, limited autonomy and strictly streamlined communication. A rigid structure limits the functioning of a team outside of it. Though a team is effective 'internally', its operations in the larger context will be difficult. For instance, if a team needs access to certain information, the management's rigidity will limit information sharing; thus hampering team functioning. Investment in team-building will be futile if the hierarchical structure prevents managements from being generous with permits, approvals and allotments.

Independence: There are individuals who thrive in teams; and for those whose success depends on their level of isolation, the less the interaction at work the better their performance will be. When an organisation is flushed with such individuals, then a largely team-based approach will be counterproductive. As one executive says, "Not everyone wants to be a team member. What this means is that an attempt to force them into a team structure imposed upon them will affect their performance and morale."

Nature of tasks: Some tasks require team work and some can be done by individuals with little intervention from others. Some call for both. If the prevalence of 'individual' tasks is high, forcing individuals into teams is a wasted effort. Furthermore, expecting individuals to function as a team when their jobs are linked remotely will affect individual performance. But how do organisations decide whether a task requires team work or not? Tasks do not need team work when they:

• Require little communication or interaction with others
• Are simple and repetitive-an old style assembly line for instance, where a set of simple yet discrete tasks can be performed by an individual
• When information needed for task completion is available with the individual himself

Autocratic leadership: When autocratic leaders like an idea, they insist on implementing it without analysing implications at different levels of the organisation. So when such leaders are 'convinced' about the need for team work, they will make it mandatory for employees to form and work in teams. This imposition of team work will have adverse consequences. Such teams do not perform as successfully as participative teams. Use of autocratic power to create teams results in:

• Mistrust in the management as information sharing will be limited
• Frustrated team members
• Difficulty in maintaining harmony even when performing simple, repetitive tasks

Stability factor: As dynamic as businesses are, stability is the quality that keeps organisations going. This stability results from streamlined procedures and a good corporate culture. In the absence of either, even a small change in the business environment will provoke a major overhaul within the organisation. Organisations which are shaken constantly by what happens in the market cannot support effective team functioning.

Teams need an ideal environment to perform ideally. When the requisite conditions are absent, asking individuals to form and work in teams will be a bad idea.

Ref: TheManageMentor.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Resources, Tools and Methodologies for Talent Acquisition, Hiring and Recruitment

Resources, Tools and Methodologies for Talent Acquisition, Hiring and Recruitment


Introduction

One needs to have dreams, plans, and strategies to be successful in any venture. This is a basic requirement. If you do not know what you want, where you want to reach and how you want to reach (your mode and plan for success), you certainly cannot reach there. In case you are starting a new venture or you are planning to diversify your existing business, you also need to identify the source for your capital (Financial Backing). You cannot do all these things on your own. You need "extra-ordinarily talented" and Highly Skilled people to help you to reach the goal that you have seen for your organization. For this, you need a jeweler (the talented, matured and exceptionally skilled HR Professional) to identify such DIAMONDS for you. It is one of the key roles of a HR Professional to identify, source, select, HIRE and RETAIN BEST of the talent from the market to work for the organization. If they cannot find talented people from the market then they need to groom the right type of people with the right type of attitude and aptitude. In 21st Century, we are in the era of "war for talent". It is becoming difficult to get right type of people and retain them. Many companies are losing their businesses because they are not able to hire "right type of people"; because they compromised with the "quality of the talent". In this article, we will try to explore and understand different sources to get "Best of the Talents". Any reference of HR Department" in this article, means Team of Talent Acquisition, Hiring and Recruitment.

Different Sources to Get Talented People


As a HR Professional (Chief Talent Acquisition Officer; Hiring Manager or Recruitment Head), one should be aware of all the sources and resources to get best of the talents and they should also be aware of as how to use those resources to the optimum level. You can use either or all of the below mentioned tools to get BEST talents.


1) Existing and "Active" Candidates Data with Company

This is primary, but if properly used, most important source and tool in the hands of HR Department to get right type of people. The HR department gets N number of profiles every day from different sources (including candidates who just drop-in their profiles at the reception. The HR Department needs to maintain and update this data on regular (if possible on daily basis). The details and data should be maintained in such a manner that one should be able to generate a MIS, stating number of profiles in the database, skills of the candidates (including education and experience level) and status of each profile (if short listed or not; if interviewed or not; date of interview; result of the interview; if rejected or selected etc). All these profiles should be considered as "active profiles" for six months from the date they were received in the HR Department of the Company. Any other profile older than six months should be deleted and destroyed. Such profiles are of no use to the company. The HR department should be able to use this data to fill the existing vacant position with a MOST suitable profile.

2) Employee References

In last decade and a-half, all the companies across various industries are facing a BIG challenge to retain the talent in their companies. People are resigning for various reasons. There is another challenge of FAKE profiles (People are faking about their experiences, salaries etc. Many people are just COPYING someone's profile and presenting it as their own, without even knowing what they have mentioned in it). To handle this, it has become apparent to do reference checks. Getting the reference check done in a proper way is very costly.

Considering the above two scenarios and just to counter it, it is important to hire a person through the reference of your existing employee. No one can present, market and brand your company, market the culture and policies of your company then a happy and highly motivated and engaged employee of your organization. Hence, hiring with the reference of your existing employees is an important source and tool to hire and retain Quality Talent.

3) Internal Advertisement (internal Job Posting)

Learning is a continuous process. Many people keep on learning new skills, updating their skills and acquiring higher degrees by way of distance mode of education. There by you might have "multi-skilled" and "multi-talented" people within your organization. Hence, it becomes crucial and important to post your job-requirement, internally for your existing employees. By doing so, you will be able to RETAIN good and talented people.

4) Jobsites and Job Portals

If the above three sources and methods are used appropriately, efficiently and to the optimum level, hypothetically you do not need to go outside the company to get good people, working for your company. However, that is actually not possible and hence, you also need to look for external sources to get MORE Suitable Talent for your company. There are many Job Sites and Job Portals, available in the market and you need to select the BEST one for your needs. Good Job Portals have huge database of millions and millions of profiles. You can source a "Suitable" Talent from that database. You can also post your job requirements on job-portals just to get more relevant profiles. You should learn how to use all the features of your job-portal for its optimum utilization.

You can also have the HR or Job Site of your company and post your requirements on that site. This will also give appropriate branding and advertisement to your company and will also help you in managing the "Candidate Database".

5) Campus hiring

In case, you like to hire "knowledgeable, talented and properly groomed" freshers then you should opt for Campus Hiring. This will give you Raw Clay and Material that you can mould as per the need and culture of your organization. You need to plan your "Campus Hiring" in a suitable manner to target right type of people. You need to decide, if you like to hire a plain graduate or a graduate with some specific trainings or Management Graduates or Engineering Graduates etc. If you provide right type of atmosphere, culture and processes, chances are that you will be able to retain these freshers, trainees for a long period of time. There are many Business Magazines which publishes lists of BEST institutes in different categories, locally, nationally and internationally.

6) Recruitment Consultancies

Most of the time, even recruitment consultancies also uses various job-portals to source talent for their clients. Hence, it makes more sense, if you buy one login on any of the relevant job-portal (or more than one job portal) and if you learn how to use it properly. You need the help of Recruitment Consultants if you are planning to hire a talent through head-hunting for senior profiles and from different geographical locations; for example, if you are planning to hire someone from international market. Hence, taking the help of Recruitment Consultants to hire talent for you should not be your first choice or option.

7) External (Newspaper) Advertisement

This is one of the VERY costly source to hire talent. External Job-Advertisement on media (Newspaper, Television, Radio etc), helps you in Branding and Publicizing your company but if not targeted properly and managed properly, this is one of the POOR but COSTLY source to get suitable talent. You need to understand and plan properly, what type of people you are looking for, from where you can get those people, which newspaper do they read, how you want to get and manage these profiles and what you will be doing with that database or else, you will not be able to get suitable talent.

8) Social and Professional Networks & Local Communities

There are few professional and social networks, such as LinkedIn, FaceBook, Orkut etc, that you can use to get right type of talent (of the listed networks, LinkedIn is highly recommended). You can also target few NGO's, Training Institutes and Local Communities to hire low-level, low-cost workers for factories and your companies.

9) Head Hunting (Also called as "Body Shopping")


There is this bread or group of talent, which are highly experienced, competent with great leadership skills but very passive in job market. They are very experienced in their domain and industry. Sometimes, they are also the founder member of the organization. Generally these are the people working in the capacity of Senior Managers, General Managers, CFO's, CTO's, CEO's, Vice-Presidents, Directors, and Managing Directors etc in their present roles. They do not post their profiles on jobsites. They do not even read job-sections of newspapers. They do not apply for any jobs opportunity. Only very few of their friends and close associates are in procession of their profiles. They need to be challenged by an opportunity. Such people need to be head-hunted. Generally, recruitment consultancies are EXPECTED to do this job. This is a way to get the talent when you are looking for rare and distinct talent that is when you are looking to fill positions like CFO, CEO etc. Here, numbers are not important but quality is. In a year, you might be able to head-hunt 15-20 people but they will be of high worth and value. Not everyone can be a "Head Hunter", you need to have "special" type of skills to be a "Head Hunter". Every type of sourcing is not called as head-hunting. For a sourcing to be called as "Head-hunting", this should involve "rare profiles"; profiles and skill sets not readily available in the market.

10) Talent-Poaching

This, according to some section in the industry, is considered as unethical mode of sourcing and hiring. For this, you need to understand the business of your company and also should be aware of the competitor companies in your industry. Just target those companies and hire in masses from those companies right from the entry level to senior level. This tactic is usually used to kill the competition. This is like a big fish eating the small fish. People across the globe are discussing and debating to ascertain, if the "Talent Poaching" is ethical or unethical. No doubt, this is one of the easiest ways to source trained and talented people within the industry when you have infrastructure and money.

Distinction between Headhunting and Talent Poaching
Some talent acquisition managers as well as hiring and recruitment professionals are confused and are not able to discriminate between the two. Here are few differences between the two:

1) Headhunting is associated with senior and rare profiles. Talent Poaching is just sweeping and running through talent-wealth of your competitor.

2) Headhunting is planned. Talent Poaching is targeted.

3) In headhunting, the intention is to get the BEST person for your organization but in Talent Poaching, the intention is to kill your competitor and the competition.

4) Headhunting is about getting a person with "Leadership" skills with "Global Exposure". Talent Poaching is about "saving the training cost".

Conclusion

This article is not about "Recruitment Process" or to describe about "Steps involved in Recruitment Process" but just to share the resources and channels to source and identify talent. I have taken care to list all the possible channels. I am sure all the readers will gain from this article.

Ref: Ezine Articles.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Global Economic Recession, Lay-off’s and its Impact on You – Survival of the Fittest

Global Economic Recession, Lay-off’s and its Impact on You – Survival of the Fittest

Introduction

Most of the countries all over the world are going through this phase of economic recession. Many old and big companies have already been brought down on their knees to bite the dust. Many companies as well as countries have become bankrupt or are on the verge of it. Millions and millions of people have lost their jobs. Many people have lost millions and billions of dollars. People in general are scared and fearsome. This is not the first time that the global economy is going through recession and this is also not the last time. There is a pattern involved in it. On an average it is happening after every 8-10 years. This article is an attempt to highlight some of the issues involved and some of the possible solutions.

Dynamics Involved

In our life, there is a special place for money (be it in any currency). Most of the problems that we are facing in our life and day-to-day living are linked with it. Food, shelter, clothes, life-style, education, comforts and etc and etc, each and everything involves money. Money should be revolving; it comes, it goes and it comes back again. It should always change hands or else it is useless. It is this nature of the money that drives the economy of a country, a company or our life. And when you are going through recession, it means no money is coming in. Money is not coming in but yet you need to live and hence there is a need for cost-cutting. But you never know how long the recession will continue and hence more cost cutting. People drive the economy and when there is recession then it is these very people who suffer.

…and then you are laid off. Now what? What will you do? How will you survive? How will you take care of yourself and your family? Earlier there was less money coming in and now there is no money coming in, what will you do?

In such times of global recession when everyone is trying hard to survive and pass through one of the toughest phase of their life, no one thinks about making the profit out of adversity. Everyone is trying to survive and it will be survival of the fittest. Anyone who will be able to pass through this will come out as a stronger entity or person or country. Companies are no exception to this rule. They are also trying hard to survive. With them they are also trying to float and swim through as many people as possible but certainly not all. As a part of cost cutting, some of the employees need to be laid off so that the company and others can survive. Similar things happens in a lift, when it is overloaded; ship, when it is sinking and even airplane, when it is overloaded and etc. Something or someone needs to go out for the rest of them to survive.

But, what is the pattern? Who needs to be laid-off? When? How? There are many such questions that need to be addressed. Let’s move further and discuss.

The Pattern

There is a set process that needs to be followed at the time of laying-off. I am not sure how many companies actually follow it. Let me elaborate.

1) Freezing the recruitment. No new hiring.
2) Fresh graduates or those who are new to the market will find it difficult to get a job. More so, if they are not from A-grade institutes.
3) Last in, First Out. Among the employees who are already inside the company and are employed, the person who has joined recently will be the first one to go out. To be more precise, all those who are on their probation will be shown the door.
4) Average performers or difficult employee will also be shown the door. Performance records of last three years will be re-examined and reanalyzed and those with average or below average performance will be shown the door.
5) Outsourcing to increase. Most of the routine functions will be outsourced and those departments will be closed.

What more to expect?

1) Training and Development programs to freeze. No more expenditures on company sponsored training and development programs.
2) Perks, benefits and retention allowances to be withdrawn. The company will freeze all perks and benefits that has been extended to its senior employees.
3) Bonuses and incentives to be stopped. For the time being the companies will stop all the bonuses and incentives that are due to its employees.
4) Specialists are out and generalists are in. At the time when economy was booming, companies might have hired different people for different role within a function / department or most likely they have hired more than one person for a role, all these arrangements will go away and only those people who are willing to do the work of more than one person or those who can do multiple roles will stay in.

This is the basic process that is followed in many companies at the time of such economic crisis. What does it means to the people in general and what they should be doing? There is something to be learned from every crisis and this one is no different. Let’s discuss further.

Learning’s

It is not important to know what is happening across the world but it is important to know what is happening in your company. It is also important to keep an eye on the market situation and keep yourself updated with the latest. If you are the one who has been laid-off, then you must be the one falling in any of the above mentioned scenarios. I think you also need to take the blame of your current situation. However, there is no need to get panic. Hold your emotions and look around.

If you are the one who has been laid-off then you must do the following:

1) Time with family. Remember when you were working and working for 12-15 hours a day, how difficult it was for you to find some time for your family. Now is your time to be with your family. Spend some time with them. Strengthen your bond with them.

2) Improve your skills and personality. No one is perfect and there is a scope for improvement in everyone of us. Use this time to work on your areas of improvement and weaknesses. Sharpen your skills.

3) Work on your professional and personal network. Networking is very important for the growth of an individual. Use this time to build and strengthen your professional and personal network, so that whenever the market situation improves, you get the benefit of it.

4) Heading back to schools, colleges and institutes. This is also a good time for you to share your knowledge and experiences with new generation and to pass on your intellectual legacy to them. Get associated with some colleges and institutes to do so. There is a possibility that you might get paid for it, which in turn might give you the required financial support.

These are some of the ways you can spend your time during this phase.

Good time and bad time will always be there but when we pass through the good phase of our life we forget to prepare for the bad time. We get carried away. We do not plan for our future and difficult times lying ahead and crisis and adversities are part and parcel of our life that we cannot run-away from. Recession of one such crisis and we need to prepare our selves for all such adversities. We can do it in a following way:

1) Save generously and invest wisely. In such crisis, nothing but only your savings in the bank can save you. More the savings that you might have lesser will be your pain.
It is also important for you to invest wisely. The higher the risk the higher will be the gain and more higher will be the loss. Hence, one needs to think about it.

2) Both husband and wife should be working. In some conservative families, even in this 21st century, only males are allowed to work. But I think if both husband and wife works that also lessens the pain. If one person looses the job, the other will have and hence the money will still come in.

3) Keep updating your existing skills all the time and acquiring new skills. Don’t take anything for guaranteed. Learn and relearn. Keep the sword of your skills sharpen, all the time. Learn new things and that can help in your professional growth.

4) Have a hobby that can also be transformed into a profession. We all should have some hobbies. To do things in our spare time that we are passionate about. Painting, dancing, music, writing, acting and etc are some hobbies that can also be transformed as a profession, if required.

Now, these are few things that might help you to overcome any type of economic recession or crisis in your life.

Conclusion

I hope that the points discussed in this article will be of some use to the readers. We are in a situation where no one can actually help and there is no point in blaming the God or the circumstances for our situation. You cannot also blame the Government of your country or the company you was working for this situation. It is just a tough time and the fittest will survive, others will get washed away with the time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Accountability for Talent Management

Accountability for Talent Management

New research finds talent-management processes are in place, but underused. Plans don't translate to reality because too few organizations hold managers or executives accountable or to compensation packages to drive the strategy.

First, the good news from a new study from Hewitt Associates and the Human Capital Institute: Most companies now have a talent-management strategy in place.

The bad news? Very few of those companies are executing that strategy successfully.

So says the newly released research that identified lack of accountability for talent management as a key reason companies have difficulty executing talent-management practices. In short, plans on paper don't translate to reality in the workplace when it comes to developing and retaining talent.

"Most organizations have the fundamentals in place," says Bob Campbell, leader of Hewitt's North American Talent Management practice in the Norwalk, Conn., office. "The question is where do we go from here?

"What we saw emerging as a key issue," he says, "is developing manager capability to carry out the practices in place. Despite the distractions, it has never been more important than in these challenging times that managers have a steady hand on the tiller to coach employees and guide brighter future prospects.

"The research, entitled The State of Talent Management: Today's Challenges, Tomorrow's Opportunities, included input from 700 senior-level talent leaders across a wide spectrum of companies.

Among the findings:

a) 92 percent of business leaders recognize superior talent as providing a vital competitive advantage.

b) Only 7 percent of organizations consistently hold managers accountable for developing their direct reports through performance- management processes.

c) Just 17 percent of respondents indicate their workforce strategy is consistently aligned with their business strategy across the organization.

d) Only 10 percent of companies consistently measure the effectiveness of talent-management programs.

The survey largely confirms the challenges that have long vexed many HR professionals, says Carl Robinson, managing principal of Advanced Leadership Consulting in Seattle.


"Even though many companies say that people are their most important asset, they often don't build in the systems and processes to develop their people," Robinson says. "While the findings here are common sense, I think they are useful. The reality is that talent management is so low on the priority list that surveys like this can remind senior executives to pay attention."

In his work with corporate leaders and companies, Robinson has found several repeating themes as to why talent-management processes are not adhered to and strategies are not executed.

Among them:

a) Not enough time.

b) Compensation systems that do not incent managers to develop people.

c) CEOs rarely model behavior consistent with talent-management strategies.

d) Inadequate funding for talent-management execution.

"The reality is that organizations have to build accountability for talent management into managers' and executives' compensation packages," Robinson said. "It has to be part of the compensation review and people need to dinged for not developing their people effectively.

"The companies Hewitt and HCI, a Washington-based membership organization focuses on talent research and strategies, found that made significant strides in managing talent have effectively institutionalized specific talent-management programs, such as conducting talent reviews, performing succession planning and improving manager ability to further develop employees, according to the researchers.

For HR leaders aiming to beef up execution of talent-management strategies, Campbell of Hewitt suggests focusing on three steps.

1. Determine the most critical areas of the business to support. Ask what aspects of talent management are most closely aligned with the company's top business priorities.

2. Position HR to be the internal experts on talent management. Present the HR department as a professional consulting team, equipped to provide guidance to managers and insights to company leaders.

3. Measure the results. Use predictive analytics and metrics to determine if talent-management initiatives are being implemented and are effective.

Katherine Jones, president of San Mateo, Calif.-based Independent Consulting Services who worked on the research with HCI, said talent-management measurement is essential particularly in "times of belt-tightening."

"In the past, many company had no way to assess where there top talent was," Jones says. "Today, in the current economic environment, it becomes incumbent for a company to look closely at the talent they have now what they will need in a year or two years.
"When dealing with turbulent times you can't have a slash-and-burn mentality," she says. "You have to know who your top talent is and keep those people."

Ref: Scott Westcott

Friday, January 2, 2009

Corporate Peter Pan - Recruitment & Retention.

Corporate Peter Pan - Recruitment & Retention.

Most times recruiting managers are battling self-created problems like an ill-fitted recruit.......

Internal talent movement and succession planning are surely better recruiting options considering the cost and fit factor. Internally placed employees are more likely to fit better as compared to an external recruit and therefore the time taken to get to work would be considerably less. Despite the advantages, experts say that these recruiting options may fail to deliver if measures to ascertain their workability are not adhered to.


One size fits all

The beliefs that a star salesman would make an excellent manager and a finance wizard would be an effective finance head have no takers now. Earlier people got carried away by past performances and based promotions on the performance of an individual in a particular job. However, the tales of failed leadership and managerial feat are famous when a junior executive was promoted to the managerial level only on the basis of his performance in his previous job. Most times in such cases the appraiser fails to take into account the difference in job profiles of the two jobs and therefore makes his decision with a short-sighted perspective. This logic has failed enough times to let managers know that the only time a person has performed equally well in two jobs is when the job profiles of the two jobs and the competency and skill level required to execute it are the same. It is very rare to see the same performance output from a worker who gets promoted to the next level without additional inputs in the form of training.


This belief is echoed in the Peter Principle, stated by Dr. Lawrence Peter. According to this principle, a person would continue to rise in the organizational hierarchy unless he reaches a natural level of incompetence. The principle clearly states that every time a person gets promoted to a job that is one step higher in hierarchy, the individual will in all probability fail to deliver the same level of performance as he did in his previous role. The relevance of Peter Principle becomes obvious every time a manger makes a wrong decision and promotes his "go-getter" to a position that does not need a "go-getter" but needs somebody who can manage a bunch of "go-getters"! Thus, with Peter Principle at work every time, leaders and managers need to craft their decisions carefully.


Intuition and bias

Another pitfall in the process of right recruiting is intuition and its evil twin bias. These factors together can play havoc with the science behind recruiting and result in decisions that may be far from logic. Recruiting managers justify this by saying that it is humanly impossible to gauge every little nuance of human behavior and make inference on its basis. Hence, in such times it is the intuitive powers that come to rescue and help them make decisions. While it is not completely wrong to use intuition in the process of decision- making, it certainly is unfair to make decisions only n the basis of intuition. Similarly, we all have certain mindsets and beliefs (halo/horn effect). We associate a smart looking candidate with professionalism, skill and panache. However, this may not always be true. In fact many times looks can be sadly deceptive and can disappoint beyond reconciliation.


Besides the halo and horn effect (the practice of making a decision on the basis of a single good/bad incident), experts believe that casualness in the interview process too can lead to bad decision- making. A study on the conduct of recruiting managers in the interview process revealed that, many times the decisions tend to be based on insignificant aspects. These include the way the candidate talks, his family background, his interests and other unrelated attributes. While these attribute are worth learning, they certainly do not make an impressive decision -making pre-requisite. Hence, recruiting managers should get more professional and focus more on job-specific competencies and skills if they want their "peg" to fit in well.


The funnel effect

As a guide to scale skills and competencies needed for different jobs in different hierarchical levels, experts recommend the "funnel effect". The funnel effect underscores the changing skills and competency levels as one rises up the hierarchy . The rise is depicted by an inverted funnel, that also represents the fact that as one climbs up the hierarchy the skills and competencies get more specific .

Recruiting is a scientific process. Hence taking a mundane approach to it can ruin the entire exercise and result in some very damaging recruiting decisions. When recruiting managers sit across the interview table they have to be aware and alert of the pitfalls in recruiting and use their providence to overcome them.


Ref: TheManageMentor

Four Key Questions Candidates Should Ask Potential Employers

Four Key Questions Candidates Should Ask Potential Employers

Employer-employee compatibility must be a two-way street for an appointment to be successful over the long-term. To gauge compatibility, candidates should ask potential employers four critical questions during a selection process.

A significantly shrinking talent pool worldwide means that competition is often stiff for organizations trying to identify and retain peak performers. Organizations often invest in testing and assessment programs to ensure that new hires and internal promotions have the right "fit" with the company culture. However, candidates do not always think about whether a company culture is compatible with their own values and professional needs. Employer-employee compatibility must be a two-way street for an appointment to be successful over the long term.

As such, during the selection process candidates should ask potential employers, managers, and peers the following four critical questions:

1. How does this organization listen to employee feedback?

Unfortunately many organizations treat employees as nothing more than numbers -- and subservient numbers at that. Consequently, the answer to this question will reveal whether the organization values the wisdom and contributions of its talent pool, engages the employees, and/or instills a sense of company ownership.

2. How does your employee performance evaluation process work?

It may surprise you to learn that many companies do not have a `systematic employee appraisal process in place. Therefore, the answer to this question will reveal whether the organization is structured and consistent in its performance expectations. By understanding how your work will be appraised helps to identify clear expectations, which directly feeds the notion of job security, which is a crucial factor to all employees.

3. What opportunities are there for development?

Human resource is a concept that does not always have a succinct definition of renewable. By asking this question you are delving into the culture to understand if employees are viewed as investments or merely as replaceable resources. The answer to this question will help you determine if this company will provide you with the necessary tools to progress along your desired career path.

4. How does this organization reward talent?

Believe it or not, some companies reward employees who simply maintain the status quo and penalize employees who show initiative and talent. For example, we know of an episode whereby an employee took much time to provide unsolicited but constructive feedback on a piece of marketing material that was full of factual and grammatical errors. Instead of appreciating the employee's efforts in trying to spare the company considerable embarrassment and potential business, the organization largely reacted defensively and stopped including this employee in key interactions. Therefore, this is a potentially challenging question to an interviewer who is also a manager at the hiring company. You will also be able to ascertain how prevalent recognition is within the organization's culture, for example does recognition occur on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. The answer will reveal whether the organization is organized and committed about employee retention and professional development, as well as how it goes about it.

It is also important to note a fifth question for possible consideration: Can employees be themselves at this organization? Sometimes organizations demand that employees conform to management's skewed - or even downright counterproductive - definition of an "ideal employee." With this in mind, the answer to this pointed question will help to reveal management's expectations for employee behavior - that is, whether employees are encouraged to act as company "drones" versus act as individuals with unique personalities and perspectives to be shared and strategically leveraged.

Again, issues with skill set and lack of fit with the company culture are among the top reasons organizations disqualify candidates. Likewise, lack of recognition, advancement and fit with a candidate's value system are among the top reasons why candidates disqualify employers. For this reason, we encourage candidates to conduct due diligence on companies just like employers do with applicants during the recruitment phase.Come to think of it, all organizations should contemplate the four questions above if increasing morale, productivity and profitability are top priorities. A shrinking talent pool means that the onus is now often on companies to convince talented individuals why their time, devotion and energies should be invested in their organization versus their competitors.

Ref: Jim Houran and Whitney Harper