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Use social media to generate holiday buzz around your brand

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The holidays are noisy, and not just in the bustling-city, crowded-shopping-mall sense of the word. Advertisements and sale signs hang in shop windows, brightly colored billboards and loud commercials scream at consumers to come buy gifts at this store, or that mall. Advertisements assault the senses, with visual ads plastered on almost every flat surface you can find, radio ads that play between songs, and even online ads on websites and in your inboxes. Retail is no joke during the holiday season, as different companies compete to get your attention, and end up drowning each other out with all the noise.

Billboards on Edsa HighwayImage from Rhouell Cariño, Flickr

So how can keep your company’s message from being lost in the holiday noise? By building personal, engaging and useful connections with consumers. You can do this with one of the most interactive marketing tools ever invented; social media.

Social media allows active conversation between a company and its audiences, something that traditional advertising lacked. Within a few minutes, a customer can tweet at a company, receive a response, and form a relationship with the brand. A negative review on Facebook can be commented on by a brand representative and the brand image could be saved. A social media brand manager can monitor what is being said about a company in real time, and respond!

It’s an exciting tool, and one that can be leveraged to make your company heard and felt during the busy holidays. Below are a few tips for using social media to generate holiday buzz about your company.

  • Show your fun side: create a holiday graphic, tell a joke, make your audience smile. Have your copywriter and graphic designer invest some time in a series of image posts for the holidays.
  • Have a competition: Getting fans engaged with a social media contest can earn your brand plenty of organic coverage. Ask your fans what their favorite thing about your brand is, and reward the answers with the most likes or shares.
  • Giveaways: Use the Christmas countdown to reward your fans. Make wishes come true everyday for the 12 days of Christmas and capture the results on your social media sites.
  • Share tips: Useful information is more welcome than hard sales. Make sure to time these tips well to give them the best chance of standing out. Check out the best times to post on different social media platforms.
  • Hashtags: Create a custom hashtag for all your social media campaigns. This will make it easier to track the results and to gain more reach, since anyone can look up the hashtags for all replies.

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4 Holiday Mistakes for Employers to Avoid

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Getting excited for the holiday season? So are your employees! Avoid stepping on any toes and keep the holidays a happy time by avoiding a few common mistakes.

Expecting too much

The holidays are a busy time for everyone, and demanding employees work during their days off just because it’s the “busy season” is going to be detrimental to employee loyalty and morale. Don’t expect your employees to put their work above their families and personal lives, especially if you haven’t shown any respect for their time.

Requiring attendance for non-work related activities

Attending that end-of-year Christmas party wasn’t in the job description they signed up for. It’s a perk that the company offers, but your employees shouldn’t be forced to accept it. It could be compared to asking your employees to work overtime on a project from another department. Whether it’s a holiday party or an event where you’re giving out free gold bars, if it’s after office hours and unrelated to work, your employees should always be given a choice on whether or not to attend.

Getting too personal with your employees

While it is a good idea to treat your employees like human beings, keep in mind that they are your colleagues, not your best friends. Don’t ask to spend Christmas dinner together, and don’t pry into their private lives. Although making a few inquiries is only polite, there is a difference between asking where they plan to spend their holidays and asking how drunk someone plans to get on their holiday vacation.

Not showing enough appreciation

“During the holidays, it’s more important than ever to show your employees you appreciate them and all that they do. Your appreciation is the best gift you can give your team.” – Rick Bell, Keeping Harmony Around the Holidays

Even if your company can’t afford big bonuses or a lavish holiday party, it’s still important to show employees that you care in some way. Send out handwritten cards, get small gifts, give them an extra day off, and so on.

For more tips on marketing, business and human resources, follow our blog!

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Holiday Do’s and Don’ts for Small Businesses

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The holidays are exciting but expensive for small businesses, whether you plan to throw a holiday party or give out the traditional 13th month’s pay. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts to avoid disaster and make the holidays enjoyable for everyone.


Throw your holiday parties in the office, preferably a lunch that won’t cut into employees’ personal time. You could also choose to give them the rest of the day off afterwards as a special surprise.

Add a little extra to holiday bonuses to compensate for any taxes that may be removed.

Give employees and/or coworkers practical gifts, not something extravagantly useless.

Decorate the office! It’s great for morale and makes the office a fun place to work.

Look for creative ways to reward employees, especially if you can’t afford big cash bonuses. Consider giving better job titles, a small raise, or even a parking spot.

Think about the long run when giving holiday bonuses. If employees receive large bonuses one year, and small ones the next, it may lower morale. Implement a sustainable holiday giving structure that won’t fluctuate greatly from year to year.


Make holiday party attendance mandatory. A party is a party, and being present is not part of your employees’ job description.

Make your parties or bonuses exclusive. Treat employees equally, and don’t exclude anyone.

Give tiny amounts of cash. If you only have a small budget for your holiday bonuses, spend that money on thoughtful gifts, instead of making employees feel like they are worth a minuscule amount.

Serve alcohol at your parties, unless your company is directly involved in the alcoholic beverages industry. Professional relationships are at risk when one or both parties have too much to drink with each other.

Assume that holiday bonuses are rewards. They are gifts, not something employees earn. This means that employees shouldn’t feel entitled to them, and you should make it clear that a holiday gift is not indicative of performance.

For more tips for business, HR or marketing, follow our blog!

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Marketing Checklist for the Holidays

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The “ber” months are notorious for being the busiest time of the year for businesses. Consumers are searching markets for presents and holiday bonuses, and the price wars rage as “sale” signs hang in every other window. With so much competition, here’s a quick and easy checklist to follow to make sure your marketing team has everything ready for the last crucial stretch of December.


Your website is your online ambassador, and can reach more customers than a localized store. Make sure it represents your brand via its design, images, and content. Update your website with your current inventory, and make sure your online store is fully functional. You don’t want any glitches while you’re making a sale! Finally, make sure your website is mobile responsive, so customers can shop from their phones and tablets.

Social Media

Join the conversation! Your loyal customers and potential customers are online, and if you don’t talk to them, another brand will. Engage your target audience with useful, relevant information that they’re looking for, and keep your brand on their minds when they consider where to buy gifts.


Does your company send out newsletters? If so, get them sent! Make your email newsletters fun and interactive by including links and images, and try playing with QR codes! Email newsletters can be put together by an efficient team of professionals in a few days, but there is also something to be said about flipping through a print newsletter. No matter what format you choose to send your newsletters in, get them to your audience and remind them of your brand as the holidays approach.

Content Marketing

This encompasses blogs, articles, and even guest blogs on your website. Get your audience information that is relevant and useful to them, build trust, and they will be more likely to purchase your products or services.

Print Materials

What print materials will best represent your brand? For retail, there’s nothing like the feel of flipping through a holiday catalog. Wineries can update their rack cards, hotels can send out their newsletters, banks can utilize table tents in their branches, and colleges can display banners. Whatever print marketing materials you may choose, make sure your logo and contact information are present, you use branded colors, there is plenty of white space, your text is easily readable, and include compelling images.

Press Releases

Take advantage of earned media by sending out press releases and making headlines! Identify what is newsworthy about your company this holiday season, and if you don’t have anything yet, create a newsworthy event or deal to get on reporters’ radars.

For more tips on business, HR, and marketing, follow our blog!

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Assessing Career Satisfaction

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Career satisfaction relies on whether your career meets your needs. The points below can help you determine how well your job accommodates your lifestyle and personality in key areas, such as beliefs, income, and interests.

What to Consider About Your Career

  • The money: Does your job pay enough to sustain a good lifestyle? Are you being paid the market rate?
  • Development, training and education: Does your employer offer regular training and education opportunities? Do you have learning and development options available to help you do your job better?
  • Advancement opportunities: Do you have a clear advancement trajectory in the company, or will you get stuck in an entry-level job? Does your company often promote from within when there are job openings? Don’t let your career stagnate at a job with no future.
  • Work environment: Do you work better independently or in teams? Do you like being in an office or in the field? How well does your work environment suit your preferences?
  • Passion: Does what you do align with what you love? Do you believe in what you are doing?
  • Values and company culture: Does the company mission statement and your coworkers’ personal beliefs align with your own? If your morals and integrity are misaligned with the company culture, you’re in an ill-fitting job.
  • Challenges: Are you continually being challenged by your job, or are you getting bored with it? Do you solve problems that help you learn and improve?
  • Personal needs: Does your employer respect your life outside of work, or are you constantly getting late-night calls? Are you expected to work overtime with no pay? Do you feel you have a healthy work-personal life balance?

After reviewing the aspects of your career that were listed above, decide whether you are truly satisfied with your career trajectory, or whether it is time to evaluate other options.

You can use the career wheel below, from Marsha Warner SPHR, to help you score your career satisfaction.

Need more help figuring out what kind of industry and position you are best suited to? Take a look at our solutions page to view time-tested job matching assessment options that will look at your key personality traits, skills and desires to determine your best job fit.

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Determining Job Fit

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What is Job Fit?

“Based on identifying innate personality traits, abilities, and behaviors, assessing for job fit determines if a person CAN do a job, HOW they will do a job, and if they will ENJOY the position…Job fit outlines the unique job-related qualities that make a person productive.”

Aoife Gorey, Profiles International

Job fit, as its name implies, refers to how well an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, needs, experience, and interests fit the requirements of a position and work environment. Job fit can either be a positive match, or a negative one, depending on how well the employee and organization align.

How do you determine job fit?

Employers can gauge how successful a candidate will be with the use of job fit assessments and testing, behavioral and competency interviews, and situational and background analysis. These examinations will help determine a few of the following key indicators of job fit.

Skills and experience: Does your candidate have the work experience and life skills necessary to excel in the position?

Needs: What does your candidate need from his or her professional life? Leadership, recognition, challenge, education? Identify what needs your candidate is looking to fulfill in a job, and whether the position will satisfy a significant number of them.

Cultural fit: How well will a candidate fit into the company culture? Is she or he comfortable with the dress code, the flow of information, the leadership structure, and the time management? For example, someone who prefers a flexible lunch schedule may not be happy sticking with a set lunch hour.

Training: Does your candidate have the proper training and qualifications to excel at his or her job? If not, will your company be able to provide it, whether via seminars or on-the-job experience?

Personal values: Are your candidate’s personal values congruent with the company, customers and colleagues in your business? Employee morals must be harmonious with their work environment and surrounding individuals.

Essentials: Finally, it’s important to look at the logistics of a job and a candidate. How close does your candidate live to the office? What will his or her commute be like, and is the pay enough to provide your candidate with a good quality of life?

Want to learn more about job fit? Visit our solutions page for job matching tools that will help get the best candidates in positions to succeed.

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The ASEAN Integration:Expand Your Talent Base Across Borders in 3 Steps

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The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) shall be the goal of regional economic integration by 2015. AEC envisages the following key characteristics: (a) a single market and production base, (b) a highly competitive economic region, (c) a region of equitable economic development, and (d) a region fully integrated into the global economy.

-ASEAN Economic Community, Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Since the early turn of the century, ASEAN member nations have been collaborating and cooperating to enhance opportunities between ASEAN countries. The goal of the integration is to enable all member states to move forward unified in three fields; economic, socio-cultural, and political security. According to Anticipating ASEAN Economic Community 2015 by Dr. Paryano, the vision of ASEAN leaders is to transform our region into a highly prosperous and competitive region by 2020. This includes a growth in job opportunities, reduction in poverty, and free movement of goods, services, investment and skilled labor.

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What is the ASEAN Integration?

The three Initiatives for the ASEAN Integration (IAI) include human resources development and capacity building, recognition of professional qualifications, and integrating industries across the region to promote regional sourcing. Essentially, as a result of the AEC, the ASEAN region will enjoy a free trade of goods, services, investment, skilled labor, and a freer flow of capital.

What does the ASEAN Integration mean for HR?

Human resources is a priority for the member nations of the ASEAN Integration. HR development and capacity building plays a key role in the ASEAN Integration goals, and we can expect to see breakthroughs in professional qualifications, development of financial policies, enhanced communication infrastructure and connectivity, development of intra-ASEAN electronic transactions, and industry integration to promote regional sourcing.

This means that local applicant pools will expand into regional pools, as it becomes easier for any member ASEAN country to hire employees from another. It also means that your own employees have a higher chance of being hired by another company. Both your employee hiring opportunities and your competition as employers will increase.

How can I benefit from ASEAN 2015?

Your business has an exciting new opportunity to quickly, easily, and effectively hire talent from other ASEAN countries. HR leaders should be gearing up to recruit and onboard great talent that was previously out of reach due to country borders. Many of the barriers that made hiring talent from another ASEAN country difficult will be demolished.

What are the risks of ASEAN 2015 to my company?

Economic advancement relies on human resources. Unless people have equal access to education, training and capacity building, the Philippines may be deprived of a large pool of creative thinkers and entrepreneurs.

-Civil Service Commission Chairman Francisco Duque III

A company is built on the backs of its employees, meaning your most valuable business asset is your human capital. However, because the work pool has diversified, the number of other companies trying to hire one of your own top performers has increased.

Replacing an employee, especially a newly hired one, costs money, time and productivity. In fact, replacing a single employee could cost up to 150 percent of his or her annual salary.

How can I equip my company for the ASEAN Integration?

In order to ensure your company is the most competitive it can be, and prevent your best employees from jumping ship in favor of greener pastures, make sure you offer industry competitive compensation, more benefits, and better learning opportunities. Keep your best employees and attract new talent from across the region with these three essential steps.

1. Streamline Efficiency

Strengthen and professionalize your business processes. Make it easy and enjoyable for your qualified employees to get hired and do their work.

Your initial application process is an indicator to what the company culture is like, so make sure your candidates aren’t put off by tedious or repetitive tasks and a lack of information. It’s easy to recognize whether a company invests in its HR by the quality of entry tests, training, and the respect with which applicants are treated. For example, does an applicant have to wait for hours in a reception area before their interview?

Likewise, current employees shouldn’t be bogged down with logistics that aren’t part of their job. If you hire someone for a marketing position, they shouldn’t have to pour over financial and legal documents.

2. Focus on Job Fit

Make sure you have the right people in the right positions. You can evaluate job fit using assessments that look beyond previous experience and qualifications, and instead focuses on core competencies, such as the skills, personalities and strengths and weaknesses of each individual employee.

Understanding each job candidate as an individual will help HR match the best candidate to the job. It’s both easier and cheaper to hire the right person the first time, instead of hiring an underqualified employee, experiencing impaired job performance, and having to rehire and train someone else.

Here are a few questions that can help determine how well your employees match their jobs;

  • Are your employees happy with their jobs?
  • Are they in the position best suited to their unique set of skills and abilities?
  • Do your employees feel challenged in their jobs?
  • Can they overcome professional challenges and improve their skills while doing so?
  • Is every hire the best fit to both their position and to the company culture?

3. Prioritize Growth

Support your employees’ ambition for improvement and increased responsibility. Recognize exceptional employees and train them to move up (and sometimes across departments) in the company, showing that growth and achievement is rewarded.

– Profiles Asia Pacific, Keys to Successful Organizations: How to Retain Talent

Ensure your employees have adequate access to trainings and seminars, and that they continually grow as professionals. Offer relevant training programs with an emphasis on skilled educators and professional growth. Your training programs should always implement project evaluation to identify the most valuable components of the training, as well as find any faults. When employees see that a company invests in them, they will work harder and invest themselves back into the company.

Overall, the ASEAN Integration is an exciting development that will enable all companies within the ASEAN member nations to trade skills, services and goods freely, and will expand the pool of qualified and desirable job candidates. Prioritizing growth, focusing on job fit, and streamlining efficient processes will encourage employee loyalty and attract valuable candidates to your company.

About the Author

Jocelyn Pick, President of Profiles Asia Pacific and People Dynamics

Jocelyn Pick earned a BS and MS in Statistics from the University of the Philippines, MBA and MSBA from the University of Southern California, and is currently completing her doctorate at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Ms. Pick has been in the human resources industry for more than a decade, gaining experience in performance management, job-matching assessments, team-building programs, career and succession planning, organizational development, leadership and consulting. In addition to being a trainer and program designer, Ms. Pick is active in professional associations throughout the Philippines. She is an officer of PMAP, ImPhil and ODPM, and has assisted multiple HR firms spanning various industries. Ms. Pick has worked with leaders, local officials, and educators, gaining an extensive network of national and international HR and educational practitioners.

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Critical Thinking Development Workshop

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In today’s society, many people experience information overload. We are bombarded with messages to believe various ideas, purchase things, support causes, and lead our lifestyle in a particular way. How do you know what to believe? How do you separate the truth from the myths?

The answer lies in critical thinking skills. The ability to clearly reason through problems and to present arguments in a logical, compelling way has become a key skill for survival in today’s world. This two-day workshop is recommended for professionals who want to enhance their thinking processes to achieve better results in business, and individuals who desire to develop critical thinking and problem solving as a core competency. It will combine practical tools and hands-on experience with critical thinking and problem solving.

Participants will learn to define critical and non-critical thinking, identify personal critical thinking style(s), including areas of strength and improvement, describe other thinking styles such as left/right brain thinking and whole-brain thinking, work through the critical thinking process to build or analyze arguments, develop and evaluate explanations, improve key critical thinking skills, use analytical thought systems and creative thinking techniques, and prepare and present powerful arguments.

Course Outline

  • Understanding critical thinking
  • Where do other types of thinking fit in? (including whole-brain and left and right brain)
  • Pitfalls to reasoned decision making
  • The critical thinking process
  • A critical thinker’s skill set
  • Creating explanations
  • Dealing with assumptions
  • Common sense
  • Critical and creative thought systems
  • Plenty of hands-on case studies

The course will be facilitated by Dr. Dr. Maria Vida G. Caparas, who holds a Master’s Degree and Ph.D., Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology. She is an Accredited Trainer of the Philippine Government with invaluable experiences in Organizational Development as a Human Resource, Training and OD practitioner. Shewas a Trainer Delegate of DFA-Foreign Service Institute in Italy and Singapore in 1999-2000. Dr. Caparas is a recipient of various national awards and also a professor in prestigious universities. She also wrote three books on Psychology/HR Management titled Psychological Assessment: Theory and Practice, Uses of Psychological Tests, and Human Resource Management.

The workshop fee is PHP6,500 and includes small group workshops, snacks and lunch, a specialized student workbook, a personalized certificate of participation, a free eBook on thinking skills, and a free Profiles Critical Thinking, Logic, Comprehension and Perception Assessment (CTA) – this assessment provides raw scores and percentile ranking for each of the areas measured. The areas include; Evaluative, analytic and inferential reasoning; deductive and inductive reasoning; logical reasoning, and reasoning and comprehension.

To learn more or register, please visit

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How to Manage Productive Teams

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Image from “The Office”

There is no magic key to unlocking team productivity. Great team cohesiveness comes from hard work, communication, and a dedicated leader. According to the Harvard Business Review, Gallup has found good managers motivate employees with a compelling mission and vision, drive outcomes despite of adversity and resistance, “create a culture of clear accountability,” and make decisions based on “productivity, not politics.” Managers play pivotal roles in a team’s success, and below are some traits of successful leaders with productive teams.

They know their team members. Managers who know their team members’ strengths and weaknesses understand how to assign the best role for each member. Always play to a team member’s strengths, and help them improve their weaknesses. They may also have hobbies or special skills that could apply to their job.

They encourage continual growth. The best managers care about the growth of their teams, and encourage the development of strengths and management of weaknesses. Team members value managers who are concerned with their self-improvement, and teams get better as a unit as each member grows.

They keep learning. Managers are leaders, and should lead their teams to becoming better and more skilled. The continuous learning of team members is important, and a role model in the endeavor will help guide and refine the process. Managers have to be one-step ahead of their teams; if your employees are taking an intro to statistics class, you should be taking the advanced statistics class.

They think about their employees’ futures. Great managers plan for the futures of their teams as a whole, and for team members as individuals. Train your dedicated, talented employees for advancement within the company. Having a pool of skilled individuals to draw from within your company will safeguard against havoc when someone leaves unexpectedly, and creates opportunities for advancement within a company.

To summarize, in order to manage productive teams, you must understand the strengths, weaknesses, futures and potential of your team members and encourage continual learning and development.

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Understanding Assessment Tools for Greater Business ResultsTraining on Test and Measurement Design

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Do you work in the field of HR and/or education? Are you a teacher, professor, guidance counselor or mentor at work? Our seminar-workshop could provide you with the vital knowledge, abilities and skills that are needed to carry out an in-depth evaluation of educational and psychological tests and understand how to interpret the results. The two-day seminar will help participants develop an appreciation of psychological testing and its importance, understand of the basic concepts of reliability, validity and test construction, and be able to interpret scores.

Course Outline

  • Brief History of Psychological Measurement
  • Importance of Psychological Testing
  • Characteristics of Psychological Instruments
  • Purposes of Test and Measurement
  • Types of Tests
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • Application of Psychological Measurement in Educational, Personnel and Clinical Testing
  • Ethics in Psychological Testing
  • Steps in Test Construction
  • Choosing the test Format
  • Validity and Reliability
  • Scoring and Interpretation

The course will be facilitated by Dr. Dr. Maria Vida G. Caparas, who holds a Master’s Degree and Ph.D., Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology. She is an Accredited Trainer of the Philippine Government with invaluable experiences in Organizational Development as a Human Resource, Training and OD practitioner. Shewas a Trainer Delegate of DFA-Foreign Service Institute in Italy and Singapore in 1999-2000. Dr. Caparas is a recipient of various national awards and also a professor in prestigious universities. She also wrote three books on Psychology/HR Management titled Psychological Assessment: Theory and Practice, Uses of Psychological Tests, and Human Resource Management.

The workshop fee is PHP6,500 plus tax, and includes small group workshops that provide “active learning,” snacks and lunch, a specialized student workbook and a personalized certificate of participation.

For more information or to register, please visit

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