Category Archives: June 2015

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Employee Retention: Communicate to Retain

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Assessment

Employee retention relies heavily on how well an employee can do a job, inter-company relations and how efficient and purposeful the work is. Being competitive and offering great packages helps employee retention, as does rewards, recognition, training programs and a good hiring process. However, many of these things count on good communication skills to succeed.

Below are a few communication strategies to inspire effective communication throughout all organization levels.

Keep Employees Informed

Provide regular and ongoing communication throughout the entire organization. Regular communication gives employees an idea of when to expect feedback or new information, and through which communication channels.

Routine feedback will also help employees gauge their success and adjust their behaviors. Communicate their strengths, weaknesses, goals, responsibilities and options for improvement every few months so employees know whether standards are being met.

Ask for Feedback

Ask for employee input to create a company culture that encourages independent thinking and values employee opinions. Employees have unique insight on the business processes because they interact first hand with your customers and company systems. It’s especially important to request feedback with decisions that affect them, such as new policies.

Find Different Ways to Discover Their Opinions

In addition to asking for feedback at quarterly reviews or meetings, you can also use assessments and surveys to identify turnover in your organization. Host surveys, small group interviews, focus groups, exit interviews and online questionnaires to find out why your best employees stay with you and why some leave. Once you have the information to act on, you can begin taking measures to improve employee retention.

Deliver Relevant Messages to the Right Audiences

There is some information that your entire company would appreciate, such as an internal newsletter of upcoming events and holidays, or a quick email about something important happening in the office (ie. construction, power outage, etc.). However, not all information will be important or helpful to all employees, so consider your message and audience before you try to communicate. Don’t clutter your employees’ inboxes with unnecessary emails, and be sure to only send relevant, important information. If you send unimportant information too often, your employees may begin to ignore even the important messages.

Use the Right Medium

Different employees prefer to communicate in different ways. Consider using different mediums to communicate and if possible meet them where they prefer to discuss. For example, if a employees prefer SMS for quick messages, invest in an unlimited messaging plan. If you work with a freelancer who prefers email over anything else, communicate via email. Establish what communication resources your organization has and identify the best internal audiences to reach with them.


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Avoid These 3 Hiring Mistakes

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where-interviewingFind your top talent quickly and efficiently by avoiding these hiring mistakes that could take months of time and effort to fix.

1. Not involving the department in the interview process.

The department a new employee will be working in has unique insight into the position. The manager will understand how the employee will work, the reporting process, collaboration tools, and overall work culture. The other employees in the department will know how communication works and will be the people that new employee work most closely with.

Allow an employee from the department to meet your potential candidates to gauge whether he or she would be a good fit for the group and the position. You can also ask the employee to show a candidate around or introduce the department and answer some questions.

Make sure to involve some staff members from the department you are hiring for when screening or interviewing candidates. Ask them to give their feedback on how well the candidate would do in the position and add their insight to your own in order to avoid hiring mistakes.

2. Not being thorough with reference checks.

Work references provide a glimpse into what your potential employee is like in the office. Perform detailed reference checks with multiple sources in order to get a clear picture of the candidate before hiring him or her. Be sure to ask the right questions when you contact employee references and pay close attention to both their answers and the way they answer. Some potential questions include;

  • If the candidate was applying for the same position at your company, would you welcome him/her back?
  • What do you feel is the candidate’s greatest potential?
  • Is there anything that might hinder the candidate from being successful in the position?

3. Taking too long to make an offer.

Try to expedite the decision making process to avoid losing a great hire. The longer you make a candidate wait for an answer, the more likely he or she is to take a different job offer. Even if the interview process will take some time, inform your top candidates that they are on your list of finalists and give them a realistic schedule of when to expect your decision. Once you’ve decided to hire a candidate, respect his or her time and inform him or her immediately.


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Leading by Example

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1_print

In addition to being good in principle, leading by example also inspires loyalty and trust in your employees. In order to keep enthusiasm and goodwill among your team members, you need to do more than instruct, you need to lead. Below are a few ways you can lead by example and inspire your employees to succeed.

  • Make a firm commitment to your team and purpose. Remind yourself why you started the journey and took on the role you’re in.
  • Before you ask someone to do something, think about whether you would be willing to do it yourself. For example, if you change office hours, follow the same schedule you put your employees on.
  • Examine your own behavior and make sure you aren’t mirroring any behaviors you critique others for. For example, if you don’t tolerate interruptions at meetings, you should hold yourself to the same standard.
  • Establish a standard of excellence. Set high expectations and hold both yourself and your team members to it. Showcase your work and display the high quality of results you expect.
  • Remember to take the same leniency with yourself that your team members are allowed. If you want your team to take full lunch breaks to relax, you should take them too so that your team doesn’t feel the need to mirror your dedication.
  • Deliver on your promises. Focus on results and make sure what you say will get done gets done. If you tell your team member you will provide a set of data, deliver that data.
  • If needed, bring in a team of experts who can get a job done. This shows your team that you aren’t too proud to ask for help, and that results are the end goal.
  • Be transparent. Treat people well and be honest about their work. If they ask questions, answer truthfully and, if needed, explain your motivations. Your transparency will inspire transparency from your people, and will enhance your teams’ ability to develop authentic working relationships.
  • Develop relationships. Value your team members and develop listening and communication skills that will foster trust and healthy working relationships.
  • Accept responsibility for any mistakes instead of blaming others. Being responsible helps showcase your credibility and reliability, whereas blame makes people defensive and hinders growth.
  • Cooperate with others. Your team can produce higher quality product and work more efficiently when collaborating, so show your value in teamwork by working well with others.
  • Invest in learning and development for both yourself and your team members. Demonstrate your commitment to professional improvement and provide resources for your team members to do the same.

Leading by example is the best way to show your team that you will also do what you expect from them. It will make them more likely and willing to help you achieve your goal. Overall, leading by example makes you a leader people want to follow. Tell us what other ways you can lead by example in the comments below.


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Don’t forget to sign up for Personal Mastery!

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Personal mastery

Register for our public seminar on Personal Mastery, a workshop that goes through a concrete way of improving individuals. Personal Mastery will encourage you to embrace the qualities of a team player and make you a member every team wants to have. This two-day workshop will teach you how to effectively manage your energy, reframe your self-image, and use proper approaches for influencing people. The workshop is aimed at anybody who wants to get a full understanding of their strengths and weaknesses to leverage personal growth and maximize their skills with the right attitude.

Register Now

This workshop will help teach participants how to:

  • Strengthen your organization by further strengthening participants as individuals and as team members
  • Help your organization achieve its goals while being proactive to the their own development needs
  • Be more motivated and positive, thus a more conducive environment for greater productivity
  • Have better appreciation of their work and strengthen their relationships with one another
  • Foster greater focus, energy and enthusiasm in working towards their organizations goals
  • Rediscover; re-program their self-image to maximize oneself for optimized personal and working lives
  • Muster greater control over their ‘self’ (mind, body and spirit)
  • Learn the following techniques: affirmation ,visualization, ‘imagineering’ and mental editing

Course Outline

MENDING THE MIND: Maximize Yourself & Life

Power of the (God given) mind: Conscious and Subconscious
Levels of Thoughts/Mental Diet
Develop a Positive Self-Concept/Healthy Self-Image Reprogramming

MINDING THE BODY

Mind-Body Connection
Stress and Relaxation (Laugh, Play, Rest/Sleep)
Breathing Exercises and Stretching
‘9 Joints’ Exercises

NURTURING THE SPIRIT

Peace of Mind Square
Managing Anger
Money Matters
Lengthen the LOVE Line

KNOWING YOUR PATH : Discover your Gifts

CONNECTING WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION : Perform & Behave

Are you aligned with your organizations goals?
What makes a healthy relationship with your organization?
How can you help promote a culture of Performance?
17 Qualities of a Team Player (by John Maxwell)

ACHIEVING BALANCE : Making it in the Work World (without much regret)

About the Facilitator

Ms. Elvira Ramos-Balinang has more than 20 years of consulting experience in Training and Organizational Development for various private and government organizations. She is expert in handling several projects in the areas of Management and Human Relations Training, Values Enhancement, Self-Esteem/Self-Image Building, Change Process, Poverty Alleviation, and LGU Empowerment. Ms. Bi also specializes in curriculum development, conceptualization of frameworks and OD interventions.

For a course fee of P8,500 + VAT, participants will receive instruction by an expert facilitator, specialized student workbook and course materials, personalized certificates of completion, AM/PM snacks and lunch.

Register Now


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How to Have Healthy Employees

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Healthy employees mean less unexpected sick days, higher productivity, and a more dependable workforce. When you take care of your employees, they are more likely to be happier and take care of your customers with greater care. Below are a few ideas of what you can do to encourage healthy employees.

Cater healthy lunches

Cater lunch for employees once a week or month to model a healthy meal. Your lunches can consist of simple dishes like turkey sandwiches and fresh mixed salad, or it could be hearty dishes like a tuna casserole or stew. Whatever you serve, make sure it’s a well-balanced meal with plenty of nutrients. Provide copies of the recipes for employees who want to recreate one of the healthy dishes at home.

Use incentives

Use incentives to encourage healthy employees and better habits. For example, instead of a small cash bonus for hitting a quota, provide a gym membership or gift basket of healthy snacks and vitamins. You can also offer small incentives and bonuses for little things, like a vitamin coupon for being on time for a meeting.

Instate a health program

If your office isn’t large enough to have a gym of its own for employees to use, try to instate a program wherein employees can enroll and gain benefits. You could have a nutritionist consult with employees interested in forming healthier diets, or host a yoga class once a month.

Allow flexible schedules

Flexible schedules allow employees to work during the time period they are most productive. This means that if an employee works best in the evening, they can come in later and get more sleep to boost their workday. Flexible schedules also allow employees time to prepare healthy meals during the day, and take morning walks.

Keep workspaces sanitized

Make sure your office spaces are regularly sanitized to avoid the spread of germs. Provide a well-stocked bathroom where employees can wash their hands and perform other hygienic tasks. You could also provide hand sanitize, alcohol or other cleaning supplies for when an employee wants to clean their workspaces.

Encourage physical activity

Physical activity may be difficult for some desk jobs, but there are ways you can achieve it. For example, you could have a few meetings outdoors, or have walking meetings when the topics can be discussed casually. Your office can also invest in standing desks, which allow employees to stretch their legs and stand up while working.

Healthy employees lead to happy employees, which lead to well-tended customers and a reliable system. Invest in any of these easy ways to encourage healthy habits today.


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How to Write a Job Description

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Pen and paper

A job description summarizes the important functions of a position and the requirements or qualifications needed to succeed. It is a tool used by both HR and division managers to clarify a role that is filled and the duties under that role. Job descriptions can be used as a guide for succession planning, learning and development, performance reviews and salary administration. For the employee, a well-written job description is a roadmap that can be used to navigate a new position. They can look at a job description and understand exactly what is expected.

One of the keys to successfully filling an open position is writing a job description that will both convey everything a potential candidate needs to know about the company and position, as well as attract quality applicants. Below are a few things to keep in mind to help you write a job description that is customized, compelling and effective.

Accuracy

A job description needs to accurately convey the responsibilities and duties of the position. This means that you should have a clear picture of what the job entails, and translate the action items into the job description. Do not over or undersell a position, which could cause dissatisfaction once a new hire realizes the job description wasn’t accurate. For example, don’t say an employee will be visiting stores when he or she will mainly be working on data entry at a desk. Likewise, don’t say an employee will only perform data entry when the job requires multiple store visits a week. Different jobs attract different people, and an accurate job description will help attract people whose behaviors suit the position.

Job description accuracy also relates to the qualifications, abilities, knowledge and skills needed to fill a position successfully. Be clear about what will be expected of them, and list out both crucial and preferred skills so your potential candidates know whether they are qualified for a job. Accuracy is vital here because if you ask for unnecessary skills, you could deter perfectly qualified candidates. If you ask for too little skills, you will get underqualified candidates.

Clarity

Make sure your job descriptions are clear pictures of the position. Begin by analyzing the job, and then summarize it so candidates understand exactly what the job entails. Define what, why and how an employee will do said job. This means clarifying the individual duties and tasks, the purpose and overarching goals the job contributes to, and what methods, tools and techniques are necessary to do the job.

Depth

In addition to being clear and accurate, a job description must also be detailed. The voice of a job description is a key point in attracting the right candidates. Make sure your job description has a compelling personality to it and conveys the company culture.

A job description should also go as far as to describe personal requirements expected from the employee, include job title, who the employee will report to and any educational requirements. Include desired experience, specialized skills, benefits and a salary range for your potential job candidates to evaluate.

Compliance

Once you have a job description drafted, have it looked over by an employment lawyer or HR consultant. Job descriptions are typically regarded as a legal document that can be referred to in disputes or arguments. Make sure you eliminate references to race, religion, age, sex, national origin or mental disability to avoid discrimination.

Revisions

Jobs change and evolve constantly, and when it happens you should evaluate whether it’s time to revise a job description. A job description you used to hire a brand manager two years ago may not be accurate when hiring a brand manager today. Work with the employee who knows the position best (whether he or she is a current employee, or leaving the company) to formulate the most accurate job description for his or her current role.

Job descriptions are an important part of the recruitment and retention process. It’s a concrete list of responsibilities, capabilities and expectations that provides a clear roadmap for employees and managers moving forward. It’s an important step towards finding the right person for both company fit and job capabilities. Write a job description that is accurate and compelling in order to attract top talent.


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3 Smart Ways to Recruit Top Talent

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underperforming

Businesses grow and thrive because of the teams working towards success. From management to customer service, any organization would benefit from having the best employees available. Below are three smart ways to recruit top talent to keep your business going strong.

1. Discover top talent early

Although there are outstanding job candidates out there, companies can also gain their top talent by selecting high potential employees then training them to fill a key role in the organization. By hiring for company fit and then training for technical skills, you can build a qualified team with aligning beliefs and behaviors.

Offer internships and recruit from college campuses to find the best high potential candidates. Offer internships to both students and professionals who want to learn more about your company, a certain industry, or just how business works in general. It doesn’t matter whether your interns are fresh out of college or preparing for their second careers. Internships can help you discover your high potential employees before they become top talent.

2. Leverage your network

Use your network to recruit top talent. Find candidates from both personal and professional networks, such as industry contacts, association memberships, social media and trade groups. This can be a proactive or reactive strategy. Reach out to interested candidates in your network when trying to fill a specific position, offer details and get some feedback on how well they would fit. You can also reach out to someone who has impressed you, whom you want to bring on board even without any open positions. Use your network to meet your future top employees and win them to your organization.

3. Start an employee referral program

One of the best ways to find qualified candidates are through current employees. Your employees understand the company culture and could gauge how well a job candidate (whom your employee knows personally) would fit into the company and position.

An employee referral program could offer rewards as incentive to bring in top talent to the company. For example, the employee who referred a job candidate could get a bonus when that candidate is hired, and then another when the candidate has worked with the company for one full year.


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Talent Management Advice from 5 Experts in HR

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Building better teams

The talent management advice below was taken from various online sources. Find the original articles by following the links after the tip.

1. If you’re an HR leader, nothing will make you look better than a talented HR team.

Hire people who are at least your equal or preferable a little bit better. Too many B and C players will ruin your department and your leadership reptuation. – Paul Sohn, 30 Powerful Tips to Be an Outstanding HR Professional

2. Successful people don’t have all the answers; they’re the ones who ask the best questions.

The better the questions, the better the answers. And in my experience, asking the right questions—the really good questions—takes work. Like everything else, asking good questions takes experience because finding the right questions, the ones that elicit really insightful and strong answers, comes from a lot of trial and error. – Dan Oswald, Ask the Right Questions—Find the Right Answers

3. HR is a creature of, and serves, the business strategy.

It’s important for HR people to know what that strategy is and what makes the business tick so the approach to HR can be tailored accordingly. Never think of HR in isolation, because if HR professionals think of themselves as ‘just HR,’ that’s what the rest of the organization will think, too. – Bob Brady, The 9 Essential Skills of Human Resources Management – How Many Do You Have?

4. Provide opportunities for growth and development.

Ensure that managers and direct reports are having quarterly conversations about career goals and the knowledge and skills that need to be developed for advancement. Instead of formalized training programs, maximize informal learning, mentorships, job rotations, and other developmental experiences. – Kevin Kruse, How to Create an Engaged Workforce

5. Mine your network for thought leadership and learn

From a knowledge perspective, who you know can also help you expand what you know. Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn can serve as supplements to the traditional lunchtime professional seminar, in terms of both meeting new contacts and spreading information. Well-curated groups on both networks enable a constant, fluid exchange of professional information. This will also help you quickly synthesize any trends or broader issues as you get access to more people and information.

Just as you’d go to professional lunches with colleagues to identify problem spots and share experiences, (and they may be pitifully or productive in your locale) discussion groups on social networks can provide an active forum to table real-world problems, and help you discover methods, solutions or resources you might not otherwise find. – Bob Calamai, 5 Tips for New HR Professionals


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The Death of the 40-Hour Workweek

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40 hour work week

We all know that working overtime is a reality in today’s business world—for many reasons, such as having too many tasks that need to get resolved and not enough time; peer pressure from seeing your colleagues stay late so you don’t want to be the one that leaves first; and the fear of being perceived as not being involved enough in the job. If the boss always works late, the employees often feel that they need to follow suit. Although it may seem harmless to stay another hour after the regular schedule, overtime abuse can in fact lead to less productivity overall due to fatigue or even exhaustion, and the inability to concentrate after many hours of work.

The organizational culture of many companies praises employees who work late and marginalizes those who don’t. Workers who leave work at the end of the normal workday may also miss valuable information from informal meetings that occur after hours. Taking a look across multiple industries, you can see that overtime is a big part of Corporate America, and avoiding it is not as easy as just saying “no overtime.” I know when I pack up at five or six at night there is still a lot of work to be done, and sometimes I end up working late into the night to get a head start on the next day.

HR can’t simply say “no more overtime,” because there will always be deadlines, clients who need immediate attention, and business objectives that have to be accomplished. Having too much work isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a company, but managing employee burnout and overtime can turn into a tricky situation. This phenomenon will never go away, and most employees, depending on their industry, will sometimes—or often—feel like they need to stay late, come in early, and work overtime. I’ve devised three suggestions that will help HR manage some of the extra workload temporarily. The best thing you can do is to try to make sure that the workload matches the number of employees you have, but unfortunately that’s not always possible.

Hire Temporary Contract Workers

Some companies might not be able to hire full-time people who’ll need benefits, office space, etc., but most can find the leeway in their budgets to hire temporary contract workers. Applying a cost-benefit analysis on these workers will show your higher-ups that it costs less to hire contract workers than to have to replace full-time staffers who are burnt out by constant overtime. While some industries consider overtime as part of the job, there are several out there that don’t. When you’re a salaried employee, it’s hard to see the benefit in working 60-80 hour workweeks. Hiring temporary relief will give these salaried employees a much-needed break.

Offer Perks That Make Up for Extra Time Spent in the Office

If employees are constantly in the office late, offer up some perks that will help them manage their personal life. This could include providing snacks or meals, laundry services, free booze in the office after hours (this is becoming extremely popular), a gym on site, as well as anything else that’ll help them feel more at home even though they’re in the office. Small things that don’t cost a lot of money can sometimes go far in the mindset of a salaried employee who’s working long hours.

Offer Unlimited Vacation Policies

Did your workplace just complete a major project? Allow your employees to take some necessary “R and R” and grant them as many vacation days as they need to do so. This will allow them to recharge without having to worry about having a cap on the number of vacation days spent. Most employees who work 60-80 hour workweeks deserve to spend time with their family after a long session of nonstop work, and some may want to get out for a week or two at a time. Offering up an unlimited vacation policy (which doesn’t mean that vacation days are really unlimited, rather that your company can be flexible about the number of days off as long as the work gets done) could go a long way toward providing some type of work-life balance in your office.

Eric Friedman, Author

Eric Friedman

Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of online skills testing for pre-employment assessment and benchmarking. Eric has degrees in Psychology and Business, and a fascination with matching people with roles they’re best at, and that they enjoy.

A company built on exceptional talent from Internet technology, test development, and iterative product development, eSkill leads as an independent assessment company helping HR departments with relevant and accurate job-based tests.

To learn more about Eric and eSkill, visit the company website at www.eskill.com, or contact him on LinkedIn.


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