Category Archives: October 2014

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Talent Management Challenges for Small Companies

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Is your business just starting out? Check out these talent management tips to promote success and avoid disaster.

Start-ups may experience a number of growing pains as they begin their ambitious ventures, and eventually develop into successful businesses. Below are some of the common mistakes to look out for if you are starting, or current running a small company.

Hiring Right the First Time

Making sure you hire the right person in the first place will save your company money, and, more importantly, time. If someone is placed in an ill-fitting job, they may make mistakes that will cost your company time to fix, and possibly damage relationships with your clients. Having a poor job fit leads to a bad representation of your company, and your employee’s lack of skill will not go unnoticed. In addition to the risk of a bad hire acting unprofessional, there is also the danger of him or her hindering the productivity of your other employees. Be sure to hire right the first time by implementing assessment tests to determine both the business ethics and professional skills that your candidates possess.

Determining Proper Salary

Knowing what to pay a person can make or break a company that’s just starting up. If you pay your employees more than you can afford, your company will collapse unto itself. But if you don’t offer enough incentive, your company won’t be attractive to highly skilled workers, and talented employees may overlook your company in favor of one that pays more. Do your research on the market and industry when determining how much to pay someone, and be attentive to what other companies are offering for similar positions.

Asking an Employee to Leave the Company

Knowing how to fire someone is more than just emotionally draining–there are legality issues surrounding it as well. For example, your employee may have had to receive a number of warnings before you’re able to fire them without repercussions. Make sure you have someone who understands HR law in your country before firing anyone.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Understanding the capacities of employees as a first-time business owner can be one of the biggest challenges you face. If you overwork your employees, or expect too much from them, you could alienate them. Employees could feel so pressured to do a large volume of work that they rush through their tasks and make hasty errors. On the other side of the coin, if you don’t set high enough goals, employees may become complacent and end up wasting time. Strive for a balance between the two extremes, observe your employees and how they work to determine what a realistic expectation for output is in your company.

Finally, realize that the best talent management comes from years of experience, listening to your employees, and being flexible and creative with your solutions. Want some help managing your human capital? Contact us for employee solutions.


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Creative Productivity Practices for the Office

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Keeping potted plants in the office helps productivity!

Offices are wonderful tools of productivity, and excellent places for employees to gather and share thoughts. However, there are times when an office gets dull, lowering productivity levels and hindering work. Combat boredom in the office with some of these creative practices, and encourage employee productivity by keeping them engaged.

Focus on results, instead of time. Different employees are productive at different times of the day. There are those who work best in the morning, while others work better in the evening. Likewise, there are times when employees may need to go home early or arrive a little late. Focusing on the number of hours in the office instead of productivity will create unhappy, pressured employees.

Reward productivity. Provide diverse rewards for output, such as a parking spot for the top performing employee and free lunch once a month to anyone who brings in a new client. Offering rewards for productivity is a great way to keep employees motivated, and can also be a great way to meet measurable goals.

Introduce a little bit of nature. Having potted plants not only livens up an office, but also provides better air quality and up to a 12 percent increase in productivity, according to a study from Washington State University. Let plenty of sunlight into the office to help indoor plants thrive and provide a natural source of light.

Add a lounge. Provide a space in the office where employees can get work done in an environment other than their desks. Sometimes, a change of scenery is needed to help inspire new ideas, and sometimes working in a new space can help employees get away from their daily routines to focus completely on a new project.

The suggestions above are easily implementable in almost any office, and increasing productivity could be as easy as buying a few potted plants! Try one or all of these creative practices and let us know what results you saw in the comments.


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Evaluating Employee Assessments in the Philippines

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Assessments can range anywhere from a free IQ test you can take online to a scientific exam that measures participant answers based on a wealth of research and history. Below is an evaluative breakdown of how the best assessment tools function, as modeled by the ProfileXT exam.

What makes an assessment thorough and reliable?

  • Customizable – All companies, candidates and positions are unique. You shouldn’t be using one generalized test that overlooks the differences between one position and another.
  • Based on solid scientific research – Assessments should be built on a foundation of studies, research and tests. Companies such as Profiles International have been testing their assessments and measuring the results for years, and have an expansive database to promote accurate and effective placement recommendations.
  • Yields measurable results – An assessment should show measurable results, not a generic description such as “will work well in an office.” Look for assessments that pinpoint skills and personality factors, and lays out the results conclusively with indebatable statistics.
  • Goes beyond transparent questions – Most job candidates are intelligent and have taken multiple employment exams. This makes it crucial to find an assessment that doesn’t use questions with obvious “correct” answers. For example, a question like “Should rules be broken when there is good cause?” will reveal more than a question like “Is it okay to use drugs at work?”

The ProfileXT assessment is a multi-purpose, total person employee assessment used for pre-employment screening, selection, development, training, managing, and succession planning. This employee assessment measures how well an individual fits specific jobs in your organization, and the results can be used during the training or succession planning stages. This assessment is customizable, and peak job performance models can be developed by company, position, manager or geography.

There are three main uses for ProfileXT.

  1. For self-development: To understand personal strengths and weaknesses in order to build on strengths and overcome weaknesses.
  2. For employment: The results of this test are evaluated on different scales based on what a company is looking for. A “success profile” for the job in question is compiled based on high-performance employees, so each job description is matched with an ideal set of results for evaluation.
  3. For career planning or succession planning: This exam follows a bell curve, meaning that the middle range indicates the highest concentration of scores. High scores are not necessarily good, and low scores are not necessarily bad.

ProfileXT is customizable based on the position you are trying to fill, it’s based on solid research and years of experience, yields measurable results and asks questions that reveal important psychological traits of a candidate. Keep this checklist and example in mind when selecting the assessment tool for your succession planning or onboarding needs, and remember that it’s better to wait for the right candidate than hire a bad fit.


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Web-Based Assessments and RecruitmentHow Web Technology Can Lead to HR Success

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The recruiting game is constantly changing, and knowing how to best use new and emerging technologies is the key these days to winning the game. Web and mobile technologies are great resources that can transform the recruiting process, especially when it comes to pre-employment assessments and interview screening. Replacing outdated assessment methods with web-based technologies can help you take your recruiting game to the next level.

Here are a few examples of how recruiters can apply web technologies to pre-employment testing, to improve their recruiting process:

  • Mobile testing. Mobile websites and apps are among the most game-changing technologies in the HR and recruiting world. By tapping into mobile resources, recruiters and candidates have access to information on the go, anywhere and anytime. This also applies to pre-employment testing. Mobile-based assessment applications offer candidates the convenience of completing tests on their smartphones whenever they want, while allowing recruiters to get the results faster.
  • Simulation testing. Through simulation testing, recruiters can test candidates in real work environments that simulate anything from the MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PPT, Outlook) to web browsers and email providers. These tests can help recruiters assess how candidates work in real life: how they respond to problems and the extent of their knowledge of certain software. These tests are especially helpful when you’re hiring for positions that require specific skills that can be tested in a simulation, such as a customer service call center representative or a web designer.
  • Multitasking testing. Multitasking has increasingly become a necessity in the workplace. Most employees now wear many different hats and have to constantly switch gears to accomplish tasks as they arise. However, multitasking effectively takes skill. Testing a candidate’s ability to multitask without losing focus or sacrificing quality is crucial to finding the right person for your position. Recruiters can supply a multitasking scenario through a web-based assessment platform and evaluate how candidates manage it.
  • Video interviewing. Web technologies have made it easier than ever to conduct remote interviews with candidates. Skype, Google Plus Hangout, and FaceTime are just a few of the platforms recruiters can use to conduct effective interviews with candidates that live in a different city. It can also save time for all candidates if you have a video interview before asking them to come in person. In a preliminary video interview, recruiters can quickly assess candidates without spending too much time or having to set up a meeting space.

These web-based assessments provide a lot of benefits for recruiters, which make investing in the technology very worthwhile, such as:

  • Saving time and money. Assessing candidates remotely via web-based testing and interviews saves a significant amount of time and money. Pre-employment assessments help recruiters find the best candidates so there’s less time spent training them, since you know they come with all the necessary skills for the job. This saves money in terms of man-hours both before and after hiring.
  • Reduced turnover rates. When you find the right candidate for your position, you know it, and most of the time he or she knows it too. This means that once hired, candidates are more likely to stay at the job since they know what it really entails after having gone through simulation testing, for instance. HR managers also benefit of course, because a reduced turnover rate means fewer open positions and less time having to recruit for them.
  • Identify top talent. Every recruiter knows that their goal is not just to find candidates to fill jobs, but rather to find the best candidate to fill the right job. Identifying top talent is tricky, but pre-employment assessments can help recruiters find the candidates who truly excel in the skills that are needed for the job. Going beyond just reviewing a resume and conducting an interview, these web-based tests give recruiters almost instant access to the candidate’s actual skills and how they would apply them to the position.
  • Discover both hard and soft skills. A resume and a cover letter can only tell recruiters so much about a candidate. Through assessment testing and video interview screening, recruiters can learn more about a candidate, especially when it comes to soft skills like overall attitude, communication skills, leadership, work ethic, and multitasking abilities. These soft skills are vital for success in the workplace, and pre-employment assessments can help recruiters find them.

Have you implemented—or have you thought about implementing—any web-based assessment testing and interviewing in your recruiting process? Which pre-employment assessment practices have worked best for you?

About 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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Hiring Full-Time vs. Freelance

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Image from Damarque.com

The question of whether to hire a full-time employee or independent contractor is prevalent in today’s evolving workforce. Full-time employees are familiar and can be more reliable, yet hiring freelancers can inject new ideas into your brand and company. With this relatively new choice available to employers, it’s important to choose your talent based on what your company needs. Below are some differences between freelancers vs. full-time employees to help determine which will be best for your company.

Training: As with any new hire, both full-time and freelance employees must be briefed on company standards. An experienced freelancer will require less company training in their craft, but may need more instruction about brand standards. Likewise, a full-time employee immersed in a company will know company culture and standards, but may need training and guidance in skills.

Speed: If you need a project finished quickly, hire a freelancer and skip the search, training and processing that is needed before regularizing a full-time employee. Freelancers are used to working under pressure, need superior time management skills, and are willing to jump straight into a project.

Cost: Freelancers cover their own overhead, putting their operating costs squarely on their own shoulders. Full-time employees, in addition to being paid a salary, should be provided with all the software, hardware, and office space they need to work. Companies must also shoulder some of the taxes of full-time employees, offer benefits and provide paid vacation leave.

Succession planning: A company needs business-loyal full-time employees to succeed. All companies must have key people in management who are trained in every aspect of the business and understand how different levels of the company operate. Freelancers can support a company, but are not wholly devoted to one single company.

Skill and creativity: Freelancers have the advantage of working in multiple fields and gaining knowledge and ideas across different industries. This multi-company approach inspires creativity and teaches skills that are hard to get in one position. However, full-time employees have the opportunity to learn the intimate details of how a single company works. If you want in-depth skill in your industry and particular business, a full-time employee will be on-site and is able to devote all office hours to learning.

The Bottom Line

Full-Time Employees are more likely to remain with a single company for years. They receive a salary and benefits. Full-time employees are typically more costly, because in exchange for their time, a company must provide support such as hardware, software, stipends, office space, government contributions and paid leave. However, full-time employees are usually only employed by one company at a time, and can be trained to fill a higher position, eventually landing in management.

Freelance Employees, also known as independent contractors, are fast, efficient, and cost-effective. Freelancers aren’t typically entitled to the same benefits as regular employees, such as healthcare or paid leave. They also provide their own equipment, such as any laptops, software or office space they need to work. Freelancers are flexible, and usually hired on a project basis to get a job done with minimal supervision.

Regardless of whom you hire, make sure they are a good fit for your company and the position by utilizing employment assessments such as interviews and relevant assessments. Consult with the people who will be working directly with your new hire to see which type of employee might fit better, and make sure you have an effective orientation program in place for both full-time and freelance employees. Visit http://profilesasiapacific.com/to view various onboarding tools and services to aid your search.


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Coaching: A Leadership Skill

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Coach, Role Model, Counselor, Supporter, Guide…do these words ring a bell? Being a coach involves being a role model, sometimes a counselor or supporter, and always a guide. Coaching is based on a partnership that involves giving both support and challenging opportunities to employees. Knowing how and when to coach is an essential skill that can benefit both you and your organization. This one-day workshop will help you become a better coach in all senses of the word. The seminar will be held on October 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at unit 502 OMM Citra Bldg., San Miguel Ave.,
Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

In Coaching: A Leadership Skill, participants will learn how to use coaching to develop their team, develop coaching skills that help improve individual performance, demonstrate the behaviors and practices of an effective coach, recognize employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and learn to give valuable feedback.

Course Outline

  1. Defining Coaching: The first part of the morning will be spent exploring what coaching means (in general and to participants), reviewing coaching skills, and evaluating the pre-assignment.
  2. Interpersonal Communication Skills: Communicating well is a key aspect of successful coaching. During this session, participants will explore different communication skills and create an action plan.
  3. Self-Disclosure: Joe Luft and Harry Ingraham developed the Johari windows concept, a way of looking at our self-awareness and our ability to ask feedback of others. This session will look at the window and examine how we can use it when coaching.
  4. Critical Coaching Skills: Participants will examine important coaching skills in small groups, including helping, mentoring, teaching, and challenging skills.
  5. More on Communication: This lecturette will examine two powerful, simple coaching tools: asking questions and listening.
  6. Learning Styles and Principles: We learn in three different ways: by seeing, by hearing, and by doing. In a large group discussion, participants will identify ways to incorporate these methods into coaching.
  7. Benefits/Consequences: During this session, we will examine a tool that coaches can use to help gain buy-in for change from employees.
  8. Skills Involved in Coaching: Participants will work in small groups to complete a mix-and-match exercise that will familiarize them with key coaching skills.
  9. The Coaching Model: This session will explore a four-step coaching model that can be applied to any situation.
  10. Feedback: An essential component of coaching. You will discuss types of feedback and offer some tips in lecture format during this session.
  11. Coaching Problems: To wrap up the workshop, participants will examine case studies and offer solutions.
  12. Workshop Wrap-Up: At the end of the day, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

The course fee is PHP3,500 + VAT, and includes instruction by an expert facilitator, snacks and lunch, a specialized student workbook, and a personalized certificate of participation.

Register online and view other classes!


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What Indispensable Employees Are Made Of

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Identifying employees that will become indispensable to your company is an important skill for any manager to have. But how do you spot the employees who will become invaluable? Below are some of the most valuable characteristics to look for in employees, and why they’re important.

  • Opportunism – Change and crisis provide opportunity. It’s usually hard to see past the immediate danger, but invaluable employees see the potential in any situation.
  • Adaptability – Positions are always changing, and the best employees are always developing their skills to do whatever job comes their way. They learn quickly and efficiently.
  • Follow-through – Even if someone is the genius of this century, if he or she doesn’t actually get stuff done, that’s an ineffective employee.
  • Respect – Good employees respect people in any position, and their ideas. Employees who treat everyone with respect are more likely to build valuable networks and maintain existing relationships.
  • Responsibility – Employees are the backbone of a company. Their work supports the company as a whole, so employees must be responsible for all their actions, getting the job done, and being accurate in doing the best work they can.
  • Positivity – Negativity in the workplace saps energy and positive outlook. Good employees know how to turn negatives into positives, and turn weaknesses into strengths. They are also skilled at problem-solving in negative situations.

Find employees who exhibit the characteristics above, and you’ll be well on your way to finding a valuable team member who will enhance your company culture, productivity and efficiency.


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Encourage Your Way to Motivated Employees

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Most managers have methods of dealing with poor employees, but the best managers should also have strategies to encourage their top performers, in order to guide their workforce. Ignoring employees may confuse them; your best employees won’t know they are doing well and your poor employees won’t know they need to change. Punishing or criticizing poor employees may also ineffective because although employees know they did something wrong, they may not have been told how to improve. Praising your best performers offers guidance for all employees, because they see what they should be doing, and what standard of work is rewarded in your company.

In 1925, Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock measured different types of feedback given to fourth- and sixth-grade students in a math class. She divided the classes into four groups; one was praised, another was criticized, the third was ignored, and the fourth was used as the control group.

At the end of only five days, the group that was praised for their work showed a 71 percent improvement in their work. The group that was criticized showed a 19 percent improvement, and the group that was ignored only a 5 percent improvement. The experiment showed that praise works better than criticism, and ignoring wasn’t as effective as either praise or criticism.

Generally, it isn’t advisable to give false praise, but managers should learn to give praise when an employee does well. Managers should also prioritize praise over criticism, and always give some form of feedback to avoid confusion and offer guidance. They may start to see the results pretty quickly!


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Make Quicker Team Decisions

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The ability to make fast team decisions is a competitive advantage that shouldn’t be undervalued. In order to develop teams that can make good decisions, regardless of conflict, leaders need to understand a few universal truths in group decision-making.

Conflict gets results – Nothing drives innovation like competition. It makes people work faster, smarter, and harder. False compliance and half-hearted agreement won’t get your team to the best decisions, it will only encourage the first suggestions made. Typically, when a team is in debate mode, they are more likely to bring up their strongest arguments and best evidence. Don’t let your team miss out on valuable insight by agreeing to the first suggestion someone makes.

Accountability and support – Give each key decision an identified decision-maker, and reinforce that decision. Giving individuals accountability encourages them to make what they feel is the best decision possible, and once an incontestable decision is made your team can move forward.

Time is essential – Your competition is constantly moving forward, and you should be too. Once you have all the information you need to make an informed decision, it’s time to make it. Don’t hide behind a desire for more studies or experiments that take time and may not reveal useful or relevant information. The longer you take to make a decision, which is step one of any business initiative, the more time your entire process will take.

Once your teams begin to work together closely enough that arguments are productive, decision-makers are held accountable, and time is valued, your teams will be leagues closer to making fast, efficient decisions.


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