Recent Trends in Human Resource Management

Thursday, September 9, 2010

You May be a Bad Manager

You May be a Bad Manager

One thing most bad managers have in common is they’re not consciously aware that they’re bad managers. And if they are aware of it on some level, they’re probably not willing to admit it to anyone, least of all themselves. That’s because nobody wants to believe they’re the problem.

It’s a common enough phenomenon that isn’t limited to bosses, but applies to people at all levels: executives, managers, employees too. I’m not a shrink, so I’m not sure why that is. But if I had to guess, I’d say it’s probably got something to do with ego, denial, compartmentalization, self-delusion, lack of perspective, that sort of thing.

When it’s happening to us, we put up our defenses. And not only is that bad for business, it’s bad for your management career, as well.

So, even if you’re convinced that you’re the greatest manager on planet Earth and your ability to be introspective knows no bounds, you’d still be wise to check these 7 Signs You May Be a Bad Manager. As for all you employees who’d rather be water-boarded than take a cold hard look at yourself, most of the signs apply to individuals, too.

* Your group is under-performing. Sooner or later, bad management will trickle down and affect the entire organization. Whatever the appropriate metrics are for an organization, poor performance can usually be traced back to a management problem.

* Your manager is turning up the heat. When a good senior manager thinks there may be a problem with a subordinate manager, he’ll inevitably turn up the heat and see what happens. So if you notice your boss putting the screws to you, it’s a sign that something’s up.

* Allies are distancing themselves from you. It’s one thing for your employees to talk behind your back and for your enemies to despise you, but when your work friends and allies start to back away, that’s an indication that you’re damaged goods.

* You’re behaving like more of a jerk than usual. You may be in conscious denial about being a crappy boss, but on some level, you’re probably aware of it. And that takes a toll on you, usually in terms of increased stress and anxiety that you’ll likely take out on others.

* Your decision-making is compromised. One of the most visible signs of poor management is poor decision-making. After all, decisions are actions, actions generate results, and results are highly visible. Pay attention.

* Your personal relationships suck. Dysfunctional managers are also dysfunctional people. Relationships are relationships, period. And while I’m sure that some bad bosses are just wonderful spouses and friends, I seriously doubt it’s very common.

* Your employees are miserable. Come on now. I don’t care how self-absorbed you are, you know if your employees are miserable. Do they stop talking and look guilty when you walk by? Do they invite everyone else but you for drinks after work?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Resume Writing Tips. (continued. 2)

Resume Writing Tips. (continued. 2)

34. No scattered information

Your resume must have a clear focus. If would cause a negative impression if you mentioned that one year you were studying drama, and the next you were working as an accountant. Make sure that all the information you will include will work towards a unified image. Employers like decided people.

35. Make the design flow with white space

Do not jam your resume with text. Sure we said that you should make your resume as short and concise as possible, but that refers to the overall amount of information and not to how much text you can pack in a single sheet of paper. White space between the words, lines and paragraphs can improve the legibility of your resume.

36. Lists all your positions

If you have worked a long time for the same company (over 10 years) it could be a good idea to list all the different positions and roles that you had during this time separately. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each role, so the employer will like to know it.

37. No jargon or slang

It should be common sense, but believe me, it is not. Slang should never be present in a resume. As for technical jargon, do not assume that the employer will know what you are talking about. Even if you are sending your resume to a company in the same segment, the person who will read it for the first time might not have any technical expertise.

38. Careful with sample resume templates

There are many websites that offer free resume templates. While they can help you to get an idea of what you are looking for, do not just copy and paste one of the most used ones. You certainly don’t want to look just like any other candidate, do you?

39. Create an email proof formatting

It is very likely that you will end up sending your resume via email to most companies. Apart from having a Word document ready to go as an attachment, you should also have a text version of your resume that does not look disfigured in the body of the email or in online forms. Attachments might get blocked by spam filters, and many people just prefer having the resume on the body of the email itself.

40. Remove your older work experiences

If you have been working for 20 years or more, there is no need to have 2 pages of your resume listing all your work experiences, starting with the job at the local coffee shop at the age of 17! Most experts agree that the last 15 years of your career are enough.

41. No fancy design details

Do not use a colored background, fancy fonts or images on your resume. Sure, you might think that the little flowers will cheer up the document, but other people might just throw it away at the sight.

42. No pronouns

You resume should not contain the pronouns “I” or “me.” That is how we normally structure sentences, but since your resume is a document about your person, using these pronouns is actually redundant.

43. Don’t forget the basics

The first thing on your resume should be your name. It should be bold and with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed. Secondly, both the name and contact details should be included on all the pages of the resume (if you have more than one).

44. Consider getting professional help

If you are having a hard time to create your resume, or if you are receiving no response whatsoever from companies, you could consider hiring a professional resume writing service. There are both local and online options are available, and usually the investment will be worth the money.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Resume Writing Tips. (continued. 1)

Resume Writing Tips. (continued. 1)

16. One resume for each employer

One of the most common mistakes that people make is to create a standard resume and send it to all the job openings that they can find. Sure it will save you time, but it will also greatly decrease the chances of landing an interview (so in reality it could even represent a waste of time). Tailor your resume for each employer. The same point applies to your cover letters.

17. Identify the problems of the employer

A good starting point to tailor your resume for a specific employer is to identify what possible problems he might have at hand. Try to understand the market of the company you are applying for a job, and identify what kind of difficulties they might be going through. After that illustrate on your resume how you and your skills would help to solve those problems.

18. Avoid age discrimination

It is illegal to discriminate people because of their age, but some employers do these considerations nonetheless. Why risk the trouble? Unless specifically requested, do not include your age on your resume.

19. You don’t need to list all your work experiences

If you have job experiences that you are not proud of, or that are not relevant to the current opportunity, you should just omit them. Mentioning that you used to sell hamburgers when you were 17 is probably not going to help you land that executive position.

20. Go with what you got

If you never had any real working experience, just include your summer jobs or volunteer work. If you don’t have a degree yet, mention the title and the estimated date for completion. As long as those points are relevant to the job in question, it does not matter if they are official or not.

21. Sell your fish

Remember that you are trying to sell yourself. As long as you don’t go over the edge, all the marketing efforts that you can put in your resume (in its content, design, delivery method and so on) will give you an advantage over the other candidates.

22. Don’t include irrelevant information

Irrelevant information such as political affiliation, religion and sexual preference will not help you. In fact it might even hurt your chances of landing an interview. Just skip it.

23. Use Mr. and Ms. if appropriate

If you have a gender neutral name like Alex or Ryan make sure to include the Mr. or Ms. prefix, so that employers will not get confused about your gender.

24. No lies, please

Seems like a no brainer, but you would be amused to discover the amount of people that lie in their resumes. Even small lies should be avoided. Apart from being wrong, most HR departments do background checks these days, and if you are buster it might ruin your credibility for good.

25. Keep the salary in mind

The image you will create with your resume must match the salary and responsibility level that you are aiming for.

26. Analyze job ads

You will find plenty of useful information on job ads. Analyze no only the ad that you will be applying for, but also those from companies on the same segment or offering related positions. You should be able to identify what profile they are looking for and how the information should be presented.

27. Get someone else to review your resume

Even if you think you resume is looking kinky, it would be a good idea to get a second and third opinion about it. We usually become blind to our own mistakes or way of reasoning, so another people will be in a good position to evaluate the overall quality of your resume and make appropriate suggestions.

28. One or two pages

The ideal length for a resume is a polemic subject. Most employers and recruiting specialists, however, say that it should contain one or two pages at maximum. Just keep in mind that, provided all the necessary information is there, the shorter your resume, the better.

29. Use action verbs

A very common advice to job seekers is to use action verbs. But what are they? Action verbs are basically verbs that will get noticed more easily, and that will clearly communicate what your experience or achievement were. Examples include managed, coached, enforced and planned.

30. Use a good printer

If you are going to use a paper version of your resume, make sure to use a decent printer. Laser printers usually get the job done. Plain white paper is the preferred one as well.

31. No hobbies

Unless you are 100% sure that some of your hobbies will support you candidacy, avoid mentioning them. I know you are proud of your swimming team, but share it with your friends and not with potential employers.

32. Update your resume regularly

It is a good idea to update your resume on a regular basis. Add all the new information that you think is relevant, as well as courses, training programs and other academic qualifications that you might receive along the way. This is the best way to keep track of everything and to make sure that you will not end up sending an obsolete document to the employer.

33. Mention who you worked with

If you have reported or worked with someone that is well known in your industry, it could be a good idea to mention it on the resume. The same thing applies to presidents and CEOs. If you reported to or worked directly with highly ranked executives, add it to the resume.

Please visit again to read more tips. Your comments will be highly appreciated.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Resume Writing Tips.

Resume Writing Tips.

Having a solid and effective resume can greatly improve your chances of landing that dream job. That is beyond discussion. How does one make sure that his resume is top notch and bullet proof, however? There are several websites with tips around the web, but most bring just a handful of them. We wanted to put them all together in a single place, and that is what you will find below: 44 resume writing tips.

1. Know the purpose of your resume

Some people write a resume as if the purpose of the document was to land a job. As a result they end up with a really long and boring piece that makes them look like desperate job hunters. The objective of your resume is to land an interview, and the interview will land you the job (hopefully!).

2. Back up your qualities and strengths

Instead of creating a long (and boring) list with all your qualities (e.g., disciplined, creative, problem solver) try to connect them with real life and work experiences. In other words, you need to back these qualities and strengths up, else it will appear that you are just trying to inflate things.

3. Make sure to use the right keywords

Most companies (even smaller ones) are already using digital databases to search for candidates. This means that the HR department will run search queries based on specific keywords. Guess what, if your resume doesn’t have the keywords related to the job you are applying for, you will be out even before the game starts.

These keywords will usually be nouns. Check the job description and related job ads for a clue on what the employer might be looking for.

4. Use effective titles

Like it or not, employers will usually make a judgment about your resume in 5 seconds. Under this time frame the most important aspect will be the titles that you listed on the resume, so make sure they grab the attention. Try to be as descriptive as possible, giving the employer a good idea about the nature of your past work experiences. For example:

Bad title: Accounting

Good title: Management of A/R and A/P and Recordkeeping

5. Proofread it twice

It would be difficult to emphasize the importance of proofreading your resume. One small typo and your chances of getting hired could slip. Proofreading it once is not enough, so do it twice, three times or as many as necessary.

6. Use bullet points

No employer will have the time (or patience) to read long paragraphs of text. Make sure, therefore, to use bullet points and short sentences to describe your experiences, educational background and professional objectives.

7. Where are you going?

Including professional goals can help you by giving employers an idea of where you are going, and how you want to arrive there. You don’t need to have a special section devoted to your professional objectives, but overall the resume must communicate it. The question of whether or not to highlight your career objectives on the resume is a polemic one among HR managers, so go with your feeling. If you decide to list them, make sure they are not generic.

8. Put the most important information first

This point is valid both to the overall order of your resume, as well as to the individual sections. Most of the times your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your experiences or skills, list the most important ones first.

9. Attention to the typography

First of all make sure that your fonts are big enough. The smaller you should go is 11 points, but 12 is probably safer. Do not use capital letters all over the place, remember that your goal is to communicate a message as fast and as clearly as possible. Arial and Times are good choices.

10. Do not include “no kidding” information

There are many people that like to include statements like “Available for interview” or “References available upon request.” If you are sending a resume to a company, it should be a given that you are available for an interview and that you will provide references if requested. Just avoid items that will make the employer think “no kidding!”

11. Explain the benefits of your skills

Merely stating that you can do something will not catch the attention of the employer. If you manage to explain how it will benefit his company, and to connect it to tangible results, then you will greatly improve your chances.

12. Avoid negativity

Do not include information that might sound negative in the eyes of the employer. This is valid both to your resume and to interviews. You don’t need to include, for instance, things that you hated about your last company.

13. Achievements instead of responsibilities

Resumes that include a long list of “responsibilities included…” are plain boring, and not efficient in selling yourself. Instead of listing responsibilities, therefore, describe your professional achievements.

14. No pictures

Sure, we know that you are good looking, but unless you are applying for a job where the physical traits are very important (e.g., modeling, acting and so on), and unless the employer specifically requested it, you should avoid attaching your picture to the resume.

15. Use numbers

This tip is a complement to the 13th one. If you are going to describe your past professional achievements, it would be a good idea to make them as solid as possible. Numbers are your friends here. Don’t merely mention that you increased the annual revenues of your division, say that you increased them by $100,000, by 78%, and so on.

Please visit again to read more tips. Your comments will be highly appreciated

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Essential Human Resource Management Skills.

Essential Human Resource Management Skills.

When interviewing a potential new hire, it’s standard procedure for a Human Resources professional to assess the candidate as compared to a list of key skills and personal characteristics needed for the job.

Here it goes:

Human Resources Management Key Skill #1: Organization

Human Resources management requires an orderly approach. Organized files, strong time management skills and personal efficiency are key to the Human Resources function. You’re dealing with people’s lives and careers here, and when a manager requests a personnel file or a compensation recommendation that lines up with both the organization and the industry, it won’t do to say, “Hold on. I’ll see if I can find it.”

Human Resources Management Key Skill #2: Multitasking

On any day, an HR professional will deal with an employee’s personal issue one minute, a benefit claim the next and a recruiting strategy for a hard-to-fill job the minute after. Priorities and business needs move fast and change fast, and colleague A who needs something doesn’t much care if you’re already helping colleague B. You need to be able to handle it all, all at once.

Human Resources Management Key Skill #3: Discretion and Business Ethics

Human Resources professionals are the conscience of the company, as well as the keepers of confidential information. As you serve the needs of top management, you also monitor officers’ approaches to employees to ensure proper ethics are observed. You need to be able to push back when they aren’t, to keep the firm on the straight and narrow. Not an easy responsibility! Of course, you always handle appropriately, and never divulge to any unauthorized person, confidential information about anyone in the organization.

Human Resources Management Key Skill #4: Dual Focus

HR professionals need to consider the needs of both employees and management. There are times you must make decisions to protect the individual, and other times when you protect the organization, its culture, and values. These decisions may be misunderstood by some, and you may catch flak because of it, but you know that explaining your choices might compromise confidential information. That’s something you would never do.

Human Resources Management Key Skill #5: Employee Trust

Employees expect Human Resources professionals to advocate for their concerns, yet you must also enforce top management’s policies. The HR professional who can pull off this delicate balancing act wins trust from all concerned.

Human Resources Management Key Skill #6: Fairness

Successful HR professionals demonstrate fairness. This means that communication is clear, that peoples’ voices are heard, that laws and policies are followed, and that privacy and respect is maintained.

Human Resources Management Key Skill #7: Dedication to Continuous Improvement

HR professionals need to help managers coach and develop their employees. The goal is continued improvement and innovation as well as remediation. And looking to their own houses, the HR professional also uses technology and other means to continuously improve the HR function itself.

Human Resources Management Key Skill #8: Strategic Orientation

Forward-thinking HR professionals take a leadership role and influence management’s strategic path. In gauging and filling the labor needs of the company, devising compensation schemes, and bringing on board new skill sets leading to business growth, they provide the proof for the often-heard management comment, “People are our most important asset.”

Human Resources Management Key Skill #9: Team Orientation

Once, companies were organized into hierarchies of workers headed by supervisors. Today, the team is king. HR managers must consequently understand team dynamics and find ways to bring disparate personalities together and make the team work.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Basic Mistakes in HR Management

Basic Mistakes in HR Management

Here are the most common mistakes:

Mistake #1: No policies at All

The no policies approach has its attractions—for example, it provides for great flexibility—but invariably a lack of policies leads to inconsistent treatment of employees, and that in turn creates two major problems:

* First, morale problems are guaranteed when employees realize that other employees are getting better treatment.

* Second, legal problems are sure to follow, because it's going to be difficult to defend against the inevitable charges of discrimination. You're going to take an action against an employee, and the employee will claim that you did it for a discriminatory reason. Your inconsistent treatment will leave you little to fall back on.

Mistake #2: Policies or Practices That Are Unlawful

One might think that this would be rare, but it's surprisingly common for companies to have policies that are unlawful, especially regarding wage and hour issues. Some examples of the typical practices are:

* Asking an employee to answer phones during an unpaid lunch hour. (That should be paid time.)

* Letting employees take work home off the clock, or clock out and then finish up. (You owe the employee for those hours even if you told the employee not to take work home.)

* Offering comp time in private employment. (Generally, comp time systems are not permitted in the private sector.)

* Docking exempt employees' pay in half-day increments. (This practice may endanger the employee's exempt status.)

These infractions seem minor, but the costs mount up when multiple employees are involved—and you will end up paying: Employees are more informed of their rights these days, and if they're not, there is an ever-increasing pack of hungry lawyers out there to inform them.

Mistake #3: Failure to Follow Policies

When you do have policies but don't follow them, you're looking for trouble. Why don't managers and supervisors follow policies? Some of the reasons are they:

* Aren't aware of the policy

* Don't understand why it's important

* Don't understand what to do

* Are too busy (or too lazy) to bother

Management training is a must, as is frequent follow up to be sure managers take it seriously. And don't forget that frontline supervisors are often the ones that make the key decisions about whether and how to enforce policy.

Mistake # 4: No Performance Management System

In smaller companies especially, performance management is often a casual thing. Once again, this is a morale disaster and an invitation to a discrimination lawsuit. In these "tap-on-the-shoulder" workplaces, where out of the blue someone gets a promotion or raise, all the other employees are thinking, That should have been my promotion. Why didn't I get it? I didn't get it because I am [a member of a protected class].

And when you go to defend that lawsuit, you've got little to show. You can't show that others were treated the same way, or that the decision was fair.

Mistake # 5: No Goals or Vague Goals

Some times the appraisal system seems to be working, but the appraisals are relatively meaningless because the parties didn't pay enough attention to goal setting back at the beginning of the period.

With no established goals, or with goals that are vague, how could one tell whether an employee's accomplishments during the period were outstanding or poor?

Goals should be measurable and reasonable. They should be agreed to by the appraiser and the appraisee. And there should be a system in place to modify goals if there are significant changes in the work.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Why Job Hoppers Make the Best Employees ?

Why Job Hoppers Make the Best Employees ?

People in their 20s on average change jobs every 18 months. People in their 30s — at least the ones that continue to do well in their careers — change jobs frequently as well, although at a slower pace than the 20 somethings. So if you think job-hopping is bad, change your thinking. Job hoppers are not quitters. In fact, they make better co-workers and better employees and I bet are generally more satisfied with their work life.

Here’s why:

1. Job hoppers have more intellectually rewarding careers.

In almost any job, the learning curve is very steep early on. And then it goes flat. So by the end of two years at the same job, you often have little left to learn. Which makes me wonder what people are doing to keep their brains alive if they stay at the same job for 20 years. It also makes me certain that job hoppers know more.

If you change jobs often, then you’re always challenged with a lot to learn — your learning curve stays high. This is true for office skills, and industry specific knowledge. It also applies to your emotional intelligence. The more you have to navigate corporate hierarchies and deal with office dramas, the more you learn about people and the better you will become at making people comfortable at work. And that’s a great skill to have.

2. Job hoppers have more stable careers.

Corporate America doesn’t provide stability for its employees. The only people who think it does are really old and completely out of touch. There are layoffs and downsizing and just-in-time hiring and contract workers — realities that barely existed a generation ago. The stability you get in your career comes from you. If you’re counting on some company to give you stability, realizing this is scary. But if you believe in yourself and your abilities and treat your career with this understanding, then it’s no problem. You can create career stability — you just have to do it on your own.

The way you do that is through networking. Because you can be sure you’ll need to find many jobs in your lifetime, you want network as efficiently as you can. After all, the most efficient way to find a job is through a network. It’s how most people land jobs. People who work for lots of companies have a larger network than people who stay in one place for long periods of time. Which is why job-hopping creates stability.

3. Job hoppers are higher performers.

If you know you are going to leave your job in the next year, you’re going to be very conscious of your resume — that is, what skills you’re tackling, what you’re achieving, whether you’re becoming an expert in your field. These issues do not generally concern someone who has been in a job for five years and knows he’s going to stay another five years. So job hoppers are always looking to do really well at work, if for no other reason than it helps them get their next job.

You can’t job hop if don’t add value each place you go. That’s why job hoppers are usually overachievers on projects they are involved in; they want something good to put on their resume. So from employers’ perspective, this is a good thing. Companies benefit more from having a strong performer for 18 months than a mediocre employee for 20 years. (And don’t tell me people can’t get up to speed fast enough to contribute. Fix that. It’s an outdated model and won’t attract good employees.)

4. Job hoppers are more loyal.

Loyalty is caring about the people you’re with, right? Job hoppers are generally great team players because that’s all they have. Job hoppers don’t identify with a company’s long-term performance, they identify with their work group’s short-term performance. Job hoppers want their boss to adore them so they get a good reference. Job hoppers want to bond with their co-workers so they can all help each other get jobs later on. And job hoppers want to make sure everyone who comes into contact with them has a good experience with them; it’s not like they have ten years on the job to fix a first impression.

This is why job hoppers care more about their co-workers and will go further to make them happy than long-term employees. And it if you think about it, this makes sense for a company, too: The company isn’t hiring you with any decade-long commitment, so you would be foolish to think you have to give one.

5. Job hoppers are more emotionally mature.

It takes a good deal of self-knowledge to know what you want to do next, and to choose to go get it rather than stay someplace that for the moment seems safe. It takes commitment to personal growth to give up career complacency and embrace a challenging learning curve throughout your career — over and over. And it’s a brave person who can tell someone, “I know I’ve only been working here for a month, but it’s not right for me, so I’m leaving.”

Doubtless you’ll hear that you should stick it out, show some loyalty, give it at least a year or two. But why should you take time out of your life to spend your days doing something you know is not right for you?

It is okay to quit. No career is interesting if it’s not engaging and challenging, and your most important job is to find that — over and over. Do not settle for outdated workplace models that accept complacency and downplay self-knowledge. Sure, the job market is tough nowadays - but that’s no reason to settle.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Employee Engagement is More than just the Current HR 'Buzzword'

Employee engagement can be defined as an employee putting forth extra discretionary effort, as well as the likelihood of the employee being loyal and remaining with the organization over the long haul. Research shows that engaged employees: perform better, put in extra efforts to help get the job done, show a strong level of commitment to the organization, and are more motivated and optimistic about their work goals. Employers with engaged employees tend to experience low employee turnover and more impressive business outcomes.

Employee engagement is more than just the current HR 'buzzword'; it is essential. In order for organizations to meet and surpass organizational objectives, employees must be engaged. Research has proven that wholly engaged employees exhibit,

§ Higher self-motivation.
§ Confidence to express new ideas.
§ Higher productivity.
§ Higher levels of customer approval and service quality.
§ Reliability.
§ Organizational loyalty; less employee turnover.
§ Lower absenteeism.

Focus on employee engagement:

Current studies show that organizations are focusing on the meaning of employee engagement and how to make employees more engaged. Employees feel engaged when they find personal meaning and motivation in their work, receive positive interpersonal support, and operate in an efficient work environment. What brought engagement to the forefront and why is everyone interested in it? Most likely, the tight economy has refocused attention on maximizing employee output and making the most of organizational resources. When organizations focus attention on their people, they are making an investment in their most important resource. You can cut all the costs you want, but if you neglect your people, cutting costs won’t make much of a difference. Engagement is all about getting employees to “give it their all.” Some of the most successful organizations are known for their unique work environments in which employees are motivated to do their very best. These great places to work have been recognized in such lists as Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

The concept of engagement is a natural evolution of past research on high-involvement, empowerment, job motivation, organizational commitment, and trust. All of these research streams focus on the perceptions and attitudes of employees about the work environment. In some ways, there are variations on the same fundamental issue. What predicts employees “giving their all?” Obviously, all organizations want their employees to be engaged in their work.

Several standardized tools exist for assessing employee engagement and providing feedback for making changes. These tools tend to have several common goals and characteristics:

Create a simple and focused index of workplace engagement-Many organizations are using very short, simple, and easy to use measures that focus on the fundamentals of a great workplace. Instead of conducting broad culture/climate surveys with 100 or more questions, organizations are opting for a focused approach that measures fundamental qualities of the workplace that likely will be important 10 years from now (e.g., feedback, trust, cooperation).

Allow for benchmarking-Most organizations want to know how they compare to other organizations. Using a standard measure of engagement allows organizations to see how they compare to other companies along a simple set of fundamental work qualities.

Direct action-Engagement measures tend to be very actionable. This means that the organization can alter practices or policies to affect employees’ responses to every item in the measure.

Show relationship to company performance-Without a link to company performance or other critical outcomes, measures of engagement have little value. The whole idea behind engagement is that it leads to enhanced performance. The link to performance outcomes is a necessary underlying assumption of all engagement measures.

Engagement Predicts Organizational Success

Many studies have shown that investments in people (i.e., HR-related practices) have a reliable impact on the performance of organizations. The Bureau of Labor conducted a comprehensive review of more than 100 studies and found that people practices have significant relationships to improvements in productivity, satisfaction, and financial performance. Research has shown that when engagement scores are high, employees are more satisfied, less likely to leave the organization, and more productive.

Each organization is different and there are many factors that affect bottom-line outcomes; however, engagement scores can serve as meaningful predictors of long-term success. Some organizations use engagement scores as lead measures in their HR scorecards. When an organization can show the relationship between engagement scores and bottom-line outcomes, everyone pays attention to the engagement index. Establishing this critical link between people and performance helps HR professionals prove that people-related interventions are a worthwhile investment.

Elements of Engagement

Some researches conclude that personal impact, focused work, and interpersonal harmony comprise engagement. Each of these three components has sub-components that further define the meaning of engagement.

Personal Impact-Employees feel more engaged when they are able to make a unique contribution, experience empowerment, and have opportunities for personal growth. Past research (e.g., Conger and Kanugo, 1988; Thomas and Velthouse, 1990) concurs that issues such as the ability to impact the work environment and making meaningful choices in the workplace are critical components of employee empowerment. Development Dimensions International’s (DDI) research on retaining talent (Bernthal and Wellins, 2000) found that the perception of meaningful work is one of the most influential factors determining employees’ willingness to stay with the organization.

Focused Work-Employees feel more engaged when they have clear direction, performance accountability, and an efficient work environment. Aside from the personal drive and motivation to make a contribution, employees need to understand where to focus their efforts. Without a clear strategy and direction from senior leadership, employees will waste their time on the activities that do not make a difference for the organization’s success. Additionally, even when direction is in place, employees must receive feedback to ensure that they are on track and being held accountable for their progress. In particular, employees need to feel that low performance is not acceptable and that there are consequences for poor performance. Finally, employees want to work in an environment that is efficient in terms of its time, resources, and budget. Employees lose faith in the organization when they see excessive waste. For example, employees become frustrated when they are asked to operate without the necessary resources or waste time in unnecessary meetings.

Interpersonal Harmony-Employees feel more engaged when they work in a safe and cooperative environment. By safety, we mean that employee trust one another and quickly resolve conflicts when they arise. Employees want to be able to rely on each other and focus their attention on the tasks that really matter. Conflict wastes time and energy and needs to be dealt with quickly. Some researches also find that trust and interpersonal harmony is a fundamental underlying principle in the best organizations. Employees also need to cooperate to get the job done. Partnerships across departments and within the work group ensure that employees stay informed and get the support they need to do their jobs.

Making Use of Engagement

Measurement of employee engagement can have many applications in the organization. Earlier, it is mentioned that engagement could serve as a general index of HR effectiveness in an HR scorecard. Also, engagement measures serve as an easy way to benchmark the work climate against other organizations.

Other uses include:

Needs Analysis-The fundamental issues measured in engagement provide a quick index of what leaders and HR need to do to make things better. In addition, items in engagement surveys tend to be very actionable. This means that leaders or others in the organization can take action that will affect the score on a single item.

Evaluation-Many learning and performance interventions are designed to impact some aspect of engagement. When an engagement measure is used as a pre-implementation baseline, the impact of the intervention can be gauged by measuring post-implementation changes in engagement.

Climate Survey-Some organizations like to use engagement measures as simple indexes of the workplace culture. While more extensive surveys are valuable, sometimes it’s easier to focus attention on a few simple and proven factors.

Leader or Department Feedback-Depending on the demographic information collected when the engagement measure is implemented, one can create breakout reports by department or leader. This means departments and leaders can gain a better understanding of how engagement in their groups differs from the rest of the organization. This information can be used to create development plans or plans for larger-scale interventions.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Gautam Ghosh on Organizations 2.0: Job Search and Social Networking

Gautam Ghosh on Organizations 2.0: Job Search and Social Networking

Friday, June 25, 2010

9 Deadly Interview Questions

9 Deadly Interview Questions

Question 1. Tell me about yourself.
This is the first question you could be asked in any interview. This may sound simple but if you are unprepared you could be in big problem. So just prepare yourself for this simple yet difficult question Start with one two lines about yourself, who you are ? a brief 1 line about your family [ this depends on what kind of interview you are going through] and lastly why are you the best suited person for this job. Tell about your achievements but never sound too proud of your achievements, highlight yourself but with decency. Remember the golden rule
“First Impression is the last impression.”

Question 2: What are your greatest strengths?
This question is to judge how you present yourself, are you the person who talks too much, are you arrogant or are you the one who just do what others say and thus never realized your strengths.

The answer to this question should be linked with facts and figures if possible. If you had any previous achievements say you lead a team which did wonderful and thus you are a team leader and all. Highlight yourself, tell your strengths but be sure it is well supported and you just don’t start sayings just to impress. Remember the HR person will grill you if he even finds an iota of doubt in what you are saying. Some points on which you could support your answer could be – honesty, leadership, tech savvy, confident, good communication skills, positive attitude, motivational and inspirational leader etc.

So just prepare yourself for this question, make a mental note of all your achievements.

Question 3: What are your greatest weaknesses?
Now this is the question which could either end your interview or could just get you the job. Don’t mince with words, at the same time just don’t be too blunt. Tell your weakness but also tell what you are doing to over come it. Never say I can not do this. Instead say, I have never done this but I am eager to learn and am sure if our company needs it I will do it.

Note – Never say your company or what would be my position in your company, use our company. Some HR people might ask you why you are saying our before selection then do say – its because I am confident that I am the best person for this vacancy.

Question 4: Tell me about something you did – or failed to do – that you now feel a little ashamed of.
This question is just to see how you react to embarrassing situations. Of course you just can not say “SKIP THIS PLEASE.” So better prepare yourself. Take your time to reply to this one, at first say I am really finding it very hard to find any such situation as I believe the best way to avoid shame is never do such things.

Most of the interviewers just will proceed to another question but if he or she insists to elaborate then give any appropriate reply but be sure it should not sound that you are so regretful that it still has a mental impact on you. Remember
”Life must go on….no matter what”

Question 5: Why are you leaving (or did you leave) this position?
By asking this question, the interviewer just wishes to see how much respect you give to your management, colleagues etc. So never say bad words about any of your earlier employers or management. Remember – Never talk bad about any one even if he or she has been the worst boss.

There can be two situation –
First is when you already have one job – In this situation tell truthfully that you see a bright future or this work profile suits you more than current one or so. Never say – I am joining you because you pay more. If you say so, 99% chances are you would be thrown out of interview.

Secondly when you are a fresher or you don’t have any job
If you have been fired, then tell them why you were fired, what you have learnt from that incident and what are you doing to make sure this would never happen again in life. Don’t hide the facts, companies do check each and every individual so even if you don’t tell them, they know it.

If you are a fresher then you just say I am fresher and you are done with this question

Question 6: Why should I hire you?
The most commonly asked question but the question which is most difficult to answer. Before you enter any interview make sure you have read about the company, job profile and all. As soon as this question is asked, start matching your personality traits with the job requirements. Show how you are the best suited person for this job.
For example – If you are going for a job which involves marketing, then convince the interview that you have a personality which is best suited for this job.

The bottom line is – Match yourself with what the job profile is and thus the interviewer should feel that you are the best person for the job.

Question 7 : Where do you see yourself five years from now?
This question is usually asked to see how much ambitious you are and what is your actual reason for joining the company. If you say I see myself as one of the richest manager in town – forget about the job and leave. You need to show that you are a person with focused aims and you are willing to work to fulfill your dreams. Don’t be over ambitious and say I want to be in board of directors in next 5 years. Of course that is not possible unless lady luck stays with you 24*7 for all 5 years.

During an interview I said – I want to see me at your post and you in top management and believe me, the interviewer had a very good laugh and said that was really clever. I don’t suggest you to say this every time but yes if you feel the person has a jolly nature you can say so

Question 8: Why do you want to work at our company?

This question is asked to check whether you know about the company and work profile or it was just that you got a call from your friend and you walked in the interview.
So do your homework and check annual reports of company, browse website or any relevant data. See the areas where company is growing and match your skills with it. Show the interviewer how you could add to the overall profit of company.

Question 9: What are your hobbies?
This question is asked to judge your personality. I have seen hundreds of resume which say –
Hobbies – reading books, listening songs, browsing internet , sleeping.

For god sake don’t copy it from other’s resume and use it. Write what you actually do. Don’t write I have a hobby of reading books when you could not even name 1 book if asked for. Never be fake, tell them truthfully what you do.

Mention some hobbies which are directly or indirectly linked with job. But make sure you have that hobby. If not then say what you actually do. Different people have different hobbies, so there is nothing to be ashamed off.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Can Money be the prime motivator for employee performance – Always?!?

Can Money be the prime motivator for employee performance – Always?!?

It’s all about money – honey…a thought that goes well within the great HR minds. When asked, how to be more employee centric, how to motivate them, how to cheer them up and have a healthy organization culture, bottom line – how to yield more valuable results out of the bunch of ‘employees’ one has, one answer which is given out easily by most of the Chief People Officers of large employee centric organization are – motivate them with Cash Prizes. Cash Cash Cash – make their life simple to earn some booty and they would be happy. Best employee award – Cash Prize of 50 dollar, best support – cash prize of 25 dollars, you refer someone for your own company – cash prize of 50 dollars and various assortments like this. The theory is Money Power and it is believed that money power drives everything.

That’s on contrary. Why don’t we look at it this way? When the HR managers would want to work less, do little less brainstorming, would feel lazy to be innovative, they would suggest something like a money motivation and organizations would boost about them being the most employee friendly organizations.

Appreciation has many more synonyms in case thought through.

Well one could be stupid enough to say that all. Money is ofcourse a motivation. But everyone cannot be treated the same way. We know that each human psychology would have different aspirations and when an organization is an assortment of many such varieties, a rather intelligent way of employee motivation should be curved out. Money is important for someone who has a need of survival however, there could be a need of knowledge, power, and larger aspirations, professional and linked up personal goals and money can surely not play any significant role there. It could rather backfire.

Every business would have a mission and a vision. When we engage a larger set of population to be a part of that mission and vision, we cannot be temporary rather we got to be firm and permanent in our values, and viewpoints. Money is temporary. With every increase in responsibility there is a money increase. Every additional portfolio there is a compensation attached. Once that compensation has been achieved some other figure is place before you. Isn’t it scenario that there’s no difference between a Man and a Machine. After every performance there’s a service with new oil.

Every HR person thus needs to be a student of psychology. Motivation is a human psychology. How does a man get motivated, feel energetic, feel kicked – the answer is not an easy one. It rather needs a lot of study and observation. From an academic point of view, motivation is a stimulating factor of one’s personal desire. Every human being wants to be taken care of. That is something which is an internal desire that cannot be openly shared. The world is changing, making the pace of business very very fast. Making people go places, learn new things; get exposed to many things around. Some are matured enough to handle things, some are not. Aspirations are always pushed by money and hence, many fall off-track, many stay put maturely and follow their goal in life. Again, every person would have set a different goal from the other one. It’s a complex world and a complex word that motivates your people, get them to be happy and work more. But how?

There are a lot of things, but one single desire or aspiration within every human heart is that ‘someone takes care of me nicely’; ‘someone treats me well’. This is a psychological desire. This desire is there professionally as well as personally. You cannot lure everyone with Money. Some people firmly believe that work is worship and money comes as a by-product. Some only work for money. Both cannot be treated the same. Too much money floating around works to disillusion people as well. One tends to put their own self interest in forefront than the organization mission and vision. They only work for money and get lured easily too by a competition.

So are we really motivating our employees rather de-motivating them is a standard question to be asked to the HR leaders who adopt this policy. This money making strategy could be picked up by a rival organization and could be seen as a talent acquisition technique. Money at times can kill the spirit also. It makes a person self centered, tends to break the thought process of team spirit, collective effort, collaborative approach and make each one for themselves. There remains no cooperation, no sharing of knowledge and there remains huge differences of opinion – all in all a huge instigation of an un-healthy atmosphere. Therefore, for motivating employees, and as a part of being employee friendly, lure them with money, is not a concept to fly long. Such organizations are very short term centric rather storing intellectual property, cherished leadership and organization essence as a part of their long term goal.

In this world of globalization, people tend to work harder than before, because they want recognition, fame, larger portfolio and status. So when they work hard, an organization is bound to give them more money. The market is bound to recognize them and try to pull them with good money. But when on job, the employee does not really care about the money too much. They do not calculate per hour, per day salary. They count those good words said about them. They feel proud when their team calls them the Best Boss!!, they feel good when they get pat on their back from their own bosses and clients. Money hits a roof-top, there’s a glass ceiling but psychological boosting has no end unless your health has given up.

It is frustrating to keep paying hefty monies to people all the time even for a management of a company. Trust me it pinches even if you are a highly profitable organization. Your finances cannot always be busy in paying variables and juggling with those numbers. Even a finance person needs a break!!
Some organizations give a larger than life campus as work environment – just to make you feel that you are attached with a large, gigantic brand.
Some organizations give free healthy food – just to let you enjoy and keep your taste buds lively and active.
Some people always need food rather good food for good thoughts.
Some organizations give free crèche facility – they don’t want you to be disturbed about your little one being away for nine hours of the day from you.
Some organizations sends you flowers and chocolates at home on your birthday and not just give you a leave on your birthday and anniversaries – just to make you feel that they feel even if you are not around.

Well! They cost money too but in a subtle or wiser way.

The CEO of Google Inc. said “The goal is to strip away everything that gets in our employees’ way. We provide a standard package of fringe benefits, but on top of that are first-class dining facilities, gyms, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, carwashes, dry cleaning, commuting buses – just about anything a hardworking employee might want. Let’s face it: programmers want to program, they don’t want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both.” He added, “Benefits Philosophy: We strive to be innovative and unique in all services we provide both to customers and employees, including our benefits and perks offerings. We realize and celebrate that our employees have diverse needs, and that this diversity requires flexible and individually directed support. Our priority is to offer a customizable program that can be tailored to the specific needs of each individual, whether they enjoy ice climbing in Alaska, want to retire by age 40, or plan to adopt 3 children”. He has written this in the official website of Google in 2009 and the employee benefits that he offers has proactively being described or listed down there. So if I go and visit that website and read the entire stuff, wouldn’t I be foolish to not apply for a job there. But an organization giving cash prizes away quarter by quarter is also spending time, effort and money, trying to motivate their employees at least, cannot write or publicize such benefits on their official website. Not that they do not want to disclose, but because of the fact that they are not sure whether their growth is guaranteed by this kind of benefits or not.

Google kind of organizations are also spending money giving all those benefits that they are declaring. Rather much more than those organizations that tend to give cash prizes to their employees when they think they should give them some award. But the retention policy of Google is well thought through and it is visible. They have not done a shoddy job of it. They tend to give benefits beyond the basic monotonous rules.

Motivating a human is not easy a task, more so when another human is trying to do so. One rather thinks through, study, observe, research well before they at least make an attempt. We tend to do things always the easy way, effortlessly, straight jacketed. It’s tough to continue such shortcuts for longer period and its difficult to do a thorough job, just like it is difficult to motivate employees only by money.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Building an Employer Brand

Building an Employer Brand

In the present job markets, where companies compete for attracting the best of the talent, employer brand, sometimes, becomes more relevant when compared to various critical factors like job profile and the compensation package.

Employer brand is the image of an organization as a great place to work in the minds of its current employees and key stakeholders. It is the development of such an organizational culture which fosters a sense of belongingness with the company and encourages the employees to share organization's goals for success. In short, it is the value of the company in external marketplace. The goal of employer branding is to create loyal customers; the customers here being the employees.

An employer brand represents the core values of an organization. Companies that are considered good employers have a strong identity and an image in the marketplace. Building such a brand requires a lot of introspection by the company, and answering the questions, "what kind of company we are, and want to become?" and "how do we live up to the expectations of our stakeholders?".

What makes an employer a brand?
Simon Barrow, who is president of a successful consulting firm in London that specializes in employer branding services describes four elements that work together to make an employer brand. The first element is the Employment Package which is the offer that an employee gets including job responsibilities, financial compensation, work/life balance, the employee's role in organization and professional development. Next comes the Culture and Environment which includes the physical working environment, the size of the organization, and the organization's approach to work. Then there is Integrity. Delivering what has been initially committed always counts. The consequence of a lack of integrity is seen in the form of high attrition rates. And finally Management Performance that plays as a vital role in the Employer Branding process.

Building a brand is typically a twofold process. One is for prospective employees and the other for the current set of employees. While building brand for prospective employees, initiatives are targeted at building a repute in potential recruits about the company as a preferred place to work. On the other hand, while building brand internally, the company has to live up to its standards and incorporate a culture of respect and trust for employees.

Growing Significance
It is said that an unsatisfied customer tells ten people about his experience while an unsatisfied employee tells a hundred. Employer branding reflects the work culture in an organization. It has become more critical in today's times, as most professionals are looking at a stable career and establishing a long-term relationship with the company. Research shows that employees of industrial brands feel a much greater sense of pride, attachment and trust towards their employer. They are also significantly more likely to recommend their company to others and claim it treats employees well. Through right branding, the company can recruit the best talent and reinforce its positioning amongst its employees. It helps build trust and reliability. A good employer brand makes it easy to attract good talent and curb attrition. The strength of an organization's brand has a significant impact on the performance of its employees. Working with one of the largest or most innovative companies in a specific industry acts as a motivator too.

But as one moves higher in his career, brand name becomes of little significance as job role takes over. Brand name is the most important factor but at entry level only. When one is a fresher and embarks on one's career, the brand of a company matters. It helps in reflecting a stronger resume. With career growth, one places importance on things that are more meaningful to one's sense of purpose. According to Gautam Sinha, CEO, TVA Infotech, for employees who have spent three-four years in the industry, brand is high on the list. It is easier to sell the company if it is a reputed brand. For those who have spent five years in any industry, it's the job role that's important and for those with 10 year behind them, the job role becomes the most critical factor.

It is also being argued that in most cases, companies treat employer branding as a mere short-cut for attracting the talent. Instead of self-analysis, the HR departments tie up with ad agencies to conjure up an image that may be attractive to their target market, even if not their own. While some argue that organizations like Google with strong employer brand hardly spend money in building the brand; instead they focus on living the brand. Sasken, for example, has a stated 'People First' policy to emphasize that employees are the focus. Fedex has a core philosophy of 'people - service - profit' to indicate what comes first. Bill Marriott of Marriott Hotels does not tire of repeating the founder's belief "Take care of the associates, and they'll take good care of the guests, and the guests will come back." These organizations reveal a high degree of trust in the management of the organization. Managements must understand that the core value offering of the organization is to engage employees towards being productive and responsive to customers. In the end, it is believed that if the company takes care of people, people will take care of the company.


Monday, May 31, 2010

Training - Performance Consultant

IF not us, WHO? If not now, WHEN?

When the global economy is slowing crawling back to its original form, this situation offers a tremendous opportunity to those in training & development to rise up to this occasion. Management today seeks out those people who can partner them to install the performance required by organizations to win back the lost ground.
We must evolve from training to performance perspective. Performance consulting is the process by which we can work with the management to identify and achieve performance excellence linked to business goals.

Role of Performance Consultant

Following points can describe the role of a Performance Consultant
1. Focus: Identify and address performance needs of people
2. Output: Provide services to assist in changing or improving performance
3. Accountability: Held accountable for establishing and maintaining partnership with business leaders.
4. Measures: The results of training and non training actions are measured for performance change & cost benefit.
5. Assessment: Assessments are completed to determine performance gaps and reasons for these gaps.
6. Relationship to organizational goals: The function is viewed as producing measurable results like cost savings, increase in productivity etc.

Skills required for being a successful Performane Consultant

Four key areas of skill and knowledge is required by performance consultants to be successful

1. Business Knowledge
2. Knowledge of Human Performance Technology
3. Partnering skills
4. Consulting skills

Performance consultants are business people who specialize in Human performance.

How Performance Consulting moves beyond training

• Identify the primary forces, outside the control of the organization that will challenge the organizations ability to meet its business goals.
• Discuss the strategies and actions being taken by competitors and the implications of those actions for the organization.
• Skillfully use the business language- the language which is spoken throughout the organization.

Performance Consultant is a role and not a job. Its is distinguished from the role of a traiditional trainer by its focus on what people must do rather than on what they must learn

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hiring Talent - Finding the Best Professionals is Sometimes Best Done by Professionals

Hiring Talent - Finding the Best Professionals is Sometimes Best Done by Professionals

When it comes to hiring talent for your business, you need to make sure that you are able to go out and find the best resources available. If you aren't prepared to do this, it is often a good idea to let the professionals help you find the best professionals for your company. Talent hiring services will help to determine which people are most qualified, what skills they possess, and get a serious implication of what they have to offer without affecting your company or making you feel like you're obligated to hire them because they are good at what they do. In order for your company to succeed, you have to have the best of the best on staff. If you can't find them on your own, let talent recruiters do it for you.

The goal, of course, is not to hire some drone that can show off the perfect resume and do nothing but focus on work and accomplishing goals all day. A person who is too uptight and professional might actually be a bad thing. Therefore, when you are hiring talent, you should consider looking at their aptitude for the job as well as their attitude about the position that you have to offer. If people are very tense, stale, and don't give off a balanced personality, you might want to keep looking. You already have a team in place within your business. No matter how professional it is, there is a sense of togetherness there.

When you hire an outsider to come into the company, it is always helpful if they are able to get along with the existing team, which is why attitude even matters when it comes to hiring talent. They need to fit the mold that you have created and be able to mesh with the team that is in place so that they don't create a lot of controversy or uncomfortable situations in the workplace. Figure out things like how people work with teams, what motivates their work habits and other personality-related issues to get a sense of which applicants will fit well.

Hiring talent is a stressful enough process as it is. By taking the time to learn about how to find the best in people's qualifications as well as their attitudes, you will have a much better chance of finding the best employees for your business. If you're not able to step back and find this perfect employee, consider working with outside performance management services that can help you recruit the right person.