Category Archives: October 2015

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7 Tips for Sharpening Your Communication Skills

Communication skills

The following article is from Ms. Jocelyn Pick and was included in the Profiles Advantage Partner Newsletter for October 2015. Subscribe to receive following newsletters at PeopleDynamics.co (bottom left corner).

In 2015, the way we communicate has virtually no boundaries, especially in the business world. Employees in today’s workforce can make sales, troubleshoot, advise, and conduct nearly any business transaction from any place—to anywhere in the world. 97 percent of employees believe communications impact daily tasks and 95 percent plan to use business communication tools—computers, smartphones, desktop phones, and tablets—over in-person meetings. With a variety of communication channels at our disposal, there is still a possibility for disconnect between people.

George Bernard Shaw once said “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Lack of communication in the workplace causes problems such as frustration, misunderstandings, and poor performance, which usually results in employee turnover. Most work-related problems can be traced back to a breakdown in communication.

How effective managers communicate with employees and how employees communicate with each other is a crucial part of a productive work environment. Just like typing, writing, time management, organization, etc., communication is a skill that must be learned and practiced. So, what can you do to improve your communication skills in the workplace?

1. Be clear and concise

Take time to organize your thoughts and make your deliverables as concise and clear as possible. Your manager and your coworkers do not want to sift through a bunch of words to uncover what it is you are really talking about, or what it is that you want them to do.

2. Don’t forget about digital etiquette

Emails and text messages are notorious platforms for communication mishaps. When creating an email, read over it a few times to make sure the tone is professional, there are no grammatical or spelling errors, and don’t forget the first tip—that your message should be clear and concise. If your request is time-sensitive or there is an issue at hand, schedule a follow-up phone meeting to make sure your message is received as you intended. Never, respond to an email or text message if you are displeased or upset, it is very unprofessional and can come back to bite you, especially if it is in response to a message received. It is important to remember that not everyone has mastered or is aware of digital etiquette.

3. Be aware of your body language

Be aware of the message you are giving with your body language. Body language includes facial expressions, posture, eye movement, and your position in relation to the person with whom you are speaking with.

4. Observe others

Observe how individuals interact with one another. Every company, or department, has its own workplace culture—their way of doing things. This doesn’t mean that your way is wrong necessarily; try and observe how they interact, then figure out how to bring in your own interpersonal style.

5. Don’t Overreact

Being put on the spot is always an uncomfortable situation, so take your time to carefully consider your response. It is okay to say “Let me think about that and I will get back with you.” Once you have thought out your response, you will be able to communicate more effectively.

6. Listen

A vital part of effective communication is listening. Remember, hearing and listening are two very different things. Too many times, we get caught up in trying to get our point across that we hear what the other person is saying but we don’t listen to what they are saying. Make sure you listen to your manager and coworkers, not just hear them.

7. Be personal

Communication doesn’t have to be cold and matter-of-fact. Get to know the people you work with and let them know that you care about them as individuals. Don’t alienate yourself in your office or keep your head down at your desk. Make communicating with other employees a part of your daily routine; then when you do have to discuss an important or touchy subject it won’t be as difficult or awkward.

Effective communication is essential for aproductive work environment. So, the next time you communicate with your boss or a coworker, remember to be clear, concise, aware of your body language, be careful not to overreact, actively listen, and be personable.


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How to Write a Cover Letter

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How to write a cover letter

Cover letters are what help you stand out in a job application. Resumes cover the skills an applicant needs for a job, and cover letters convey the candidate’s fit. Here are a few tips that will show you how to write a cover letter, followed by some examples.

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

  • Explain how you’re going to do well in the job – talk about the company’s pain points and explain how you can help fix them. Start with a problem and position yourself and your skills as the solution.
  • Show them you’re going to do well in the company – fitting into the company culture is an important aspect for new hires. You should display the same values as the company’s core values.
  • Show that you’re likable and have a great personality – being enjoyable to work with is always a strength. Use the cover letter to display your personality and get your recruiters to like you and want to work with you.
  • Tell a story that’s not on your resume – you should not be repeating information they already know from your resume, instead, tell a story or talk about a skill.
  • Use numbers and examples – use your cover letter to give real-life examples of how you excelled at work and used your skills. If you have numbers and metrics to back up your stories, even better.

Cover Letter Examples

What advice do you have on how to write a cover letter? Let us know in the comments below!


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Innovating Dangerously

Bryan McClelland and Mike Grogan in Intramuros - BestofYou_0

Innovating Dangerously with Bryan McClelland of Bambikes

You may be familiar with the phrase “follow your passion to find your purpose.” Much of the business advice we hear flows along those lines, but it’s easier said than done. When you’re young and enjoying yourself, it’s easy to mistake interest for passion. That’s the focus of Bryan McClelland of Bambike, who shares how he found his passion early in life and became a social entrepreneur instead of a sports doctor. Bryan shares different struggles he faced in finding his passion, such as the self doubt and roadblocks.

The interview below goes over his path to innovation and is a valuable lesson if you feel that you may not be in the right profession. The first part of his interview is especially valuable for students who are just beginning to make the steps for their future.

LISTEN TO HIS INTERVIEW HERE

Highlights from Best of You;

  • The positive effects of having a career path that doesn’t feel like work.
  • How Bryan’s success was defined.
  • How we are all part of a larger ecosystem and that no one operates completely independently.
  • The lessons that Bryan got after building their first bamboo bike.
  • What and how it is to launch a completely new venture.
  • The importance of getting feedback and strategic partners.
  • How different Bryan turned out from what he really wanted to be when he was young.
  • How one decision today could totally change the course of your life in the future.
  • Who does Bryan want to punch in the face? It’s not a person but a mentality.
  • The importance of having enough sleep and having a healthy life.

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Best hiring practices for small businesses

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Behavioral Event Interviewing

Founding a startup and managing a small business can be tough when you don’t have the right people behind you, which is why we put together this best hiring practices guide to help you find and hire star players for your company.

1. Define principles

You should have a set guideline for the hiring workflow and screening process in order to streamline the standards among every hire. Make sure you define your company’s principles, what you are looking for in every employee and identify the company culture.

Defining your principles can be as simple as setting a list of guidelines, such as “always question rather than assume.” A good example of company principles can be found here under “The 10 Buffer Values.”

2. Determine need

Before you hire someone, decide if you truly need a new hire. Some companies may hire additional employees simply because they are in a stage of growth, without actually needing any new team members. For example, evaluate if you can combine two positions so that one star player effectively handles two roles (with appropriate compensation, of course).

Ask yourself; does our company need this position?

3. Define the position

Determine exactly what you are looking for before you begin your search. You should be armed with a clear job description, because it’s almost impossible to find the ideal candidate when you don’t know the role he or she will be filling. Your job description should have an outline of responsibilities, qualifications and information about the company. Let readers know what qualities someone should have in order to be successful in that position.

Ideally, the job description should be written by someone who has done the job before and understands the duties. The language should reflect the company culture and should stay away from preferential language.

4. Select the job board

Once you have your job description, select your channels. Research which networks have the highest quality users and take note of which job boards get you the best applications. For example, if you are looking to hire someone in marketing, there are various marketing communities that can reveal who is an industry leader or who is serious about learning more. Invest in those channels that will get you top talent, skip the rest.

5. Hire actively

Go beyond job postings and don’t just wait for applicants to come to you. Identify professionals who would be a good fit for the company and the position, then invite them to apply. By hiring actively rather than passively, you are flipping the onboarding process. Instead of choosing the best out of your applicants, you can target the best professionals you can find, effectively expanding your talent pool.

6. Assess your candidates

In addition to their skills and qualifications, look at how well your candidate will fit into your teams and company. By hiring for personality and job fit, you can gain team members who contribute valuable insight and collaborate well together for success.

7. Interview

Talk to your top candidates about previous work experience and ask them for specific examples of their skills. Here’s a great list of common interview questions you can draw inspiration from.

How do you hire?

Did we miss anything? What are your best hiring practices to get top quality team members? Let us know in the comments below.


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Entrepreneur tips: 5 Interesting reads for small business owners

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Entrepreneur tips: 5 Interesting reads for small business owners

Starting and running a business can be a constant challenge, which means you have to continually learn and improve in order to succeed. These 5 interesting reads for small business owners can help you learn new things about entrepreneur tips on time management, human resources, the psychology and stress and more.

1. I sat down with a millionaire who operates 10 businesses while sailing around the world with his family

This blog post follows an anonymous businessman who used to write for the ISO 9000 quality management systems. (Did you know that Profiles Asia Pacific is a certified ISO 9001:2008 company?) He took the 8 quality management principles required in ISO 9000 and built his own businesses adhering to them.

His 10 businesses include a skateboard and BMX shop, a network of pawnshops, a consulting practice, a musical instruments shop, an Internet sales business, a real estate development and management firm, a firearms shop, a marine products online store, a standup paddleboards shop, and a visual displays store. Yet he has time to sail around the world with his family.

The keys to his success and time management skills are covered in the article, but here’s the summary.

  • Create multiple, easily managed revenue streams. They don’t have to earn much alone, but together they will add up.
  • Try not to partner, as partnerships mean you will have to share profits and decision-making authority.
  • Study the market. Small markets are a little behind of large ones, so learn where your market is heading and be the first to open shop.
  • Be very careful with who you hire, since your talent will make your company.

Key takeaway

“To be successful in business does not mean changing the world. It means meeting a need (regardless of size) well and dependably over time.”

2. How to Work 40 Hours in 16.7

This post covers the Pomodoro technique and how it can help you manage your time better. The technique basically calls for 25 minutes of dedicated, productive work with a 5 minute break in between. After the first 2 hours, give yourself a 15 minute break. The author uses a kitchen timer or app to track time and eliminates all distractions during those 25 minutes of focused work.

3. The entrepreneur’s guide to handling being overwhelmed

This article talks about how business owners and entrepreneurs can handle the stress and pressure of running a business, better. Here are the key points of the article;

  • Be the boss – run your business instead of letting it run you
  • Create strong systems – map out your workflows
  • Start with necessities – don’t waste time and money upfront on things you don’t need
  • Stay focused – multitasking won’t help you in the long run
  • Remove blocks – identify your roadblocks and take steps to eliminate them
  • Get your daily joy – find something to inspire and delight you each day

4. How Habits and Uncertainty Revealed My Entrepreneurial Calling

This post is a great display of a founder journey and startup origin story. Many entrepreneurial ventures began out of a dissatisfaction with the way things are. It talks about the need to create a company that reflects who you are and is something you’re truly interested in. The story follows multiple career pivots and the value of discovering your “why.”

5. Want a Great Team? Build a Great Culture

This article outlines the value of building a company culture in order to attract your ideal team members. It’s an interesting take on the typical team-centric views that most HR firms believe in. This article suggests that when you start a company, your personality becomes the culture.

Empowering people, being idea-focused, and showing that mission is more important than profits are a few ways to show what your company is about. The author says to “demonstrate that no one may help you, but no one can stop you” and “nothing is more important than user happiness” to create a clear, inspired company culture.


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Public Seminar: Selling Smarter and Better

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Talent Acquisition

On October 15, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. join our Sales Optimizer Series on Selling Smarter and Better. This workshop is ideal for anyone who wants to become a better salesperson.

It’s no secret that the sales industry continues to change and evolve rapidly. This is an exciting and dynamic profession, although it is often underrated and misunderstood. The back-slapping, high pressure, joke-telling sales person has disappeared. In his place is a new generation of sales professionals: highly trained and well groomed, with the characteristics of honesty, trustworthiness, and competence. This one-day workshop will help you learn how to be one of those smart sales professionals!

Participants will learn how to explain and apply concepts of customer focused selling and different productivity techniques to maximize their use of time. You will also learn how to use goal-setting techniques as a way to focus on what they want to accomplish and develop strategies for getting there. Attendees will come away from the seminar with ways to find new clients and network effectively, as well as how to apply different techniques to get the most out of work.

Register here

Course Outline

  • Selling skills
  • The sales cycle
  • Framing success
  • Setting goals with SPIRIT
  • The path to efficiency
  • Customer service
  • Selling more
  • Ten major mistakes
  • Finding new clients
  • Selling price

Investment

A course fee of P4,500 plus VAT includes instruction by an expert facilitator, small group workshops that provide “active learning” which is known to be the most effective method for adult learners, a specialized student workbook, snacks and lunch, and a personalized certificate of participation.

Register here

About the Facilitator

Maria Victoria Estacio holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the Ateneo de Manila University. She earned a Certificate of Authority for Insurance Commission, and is a Registered Financial Planner. She has worked in the field of Sales and Marketing and Operations in the following roles: Assistant Vice President of Sales and Marketing Department with Philam Life, Manager, Bancassurance with Grepalife, Senior Sales Manager with Yapster, and Unit Head of Front End Acquisitions with Citibank, N.A. Ms. Estacio is a recipient of various awards including the Philam Life Annual Fast Start award for both Credit and Group Life (an award that has never been given to Group Life), and the “Exceptional Performance Award” from Ciribank N.A. for participation in the credit card launch in Guam, USA. She also conducts personal financial coaching and training, and has received numerous trainings on strategic management, financial planning, and sales.


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Checking References – Are They Worth the Time?

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Checking references

Checking references is a step often skipped in the recruiting process. After interviewing candidates, narrowing them down to a select few, and discussing possible salary and other specifics, many employers forgo the reference check. They either assume everything the candidate stated would check out fine, or they simply don’t have sufficient time to contact the references.

But the tragic event earlier this year in the United States, in which a former news reporter shot his ex-coworkers who were conducting a live television interview, emphasizes the importance of checking candidates’ references.

Following the shooting, several facts emerged about the shooter’s personal and professional life. These facts showed he was a troubled individual whose behavior was confrontational and even violent. He had a history of disruptive and disconcerting conduct, as reported later by his previous employers.

Without placing blame on employers’ thoroughness, this tragedy nevertheless forces us to question whether hiring managers ever checked the shooter’s references. If so, and if hiring managers heard about the shooter’s volatile behavior, would this man have been hired in the first place? Although hiring decisions are seldom a matter of life or death like this example, the situation highlights the need to check an applicant’s references thoroughly.

Checking references is a helpful and necessary step for making a hiring decision. Here are five reasons why checking references is worth the time:

  1. Validating what the candidate says. Some people may be tempted to do almost anything to land a job, embellishing their credentials or straight-out lying on their resumes. A hiring manager can find out the truth about a candidate by contacting his or her references. Ask references to illuminate anything pertinent from the time of employment (e.g. Did the candidate really work at X company for 10 years?), to positions held (e.g. Was the candidate really the president of operations?), and specific tasks performed (e.g. Did the candidate increase profit margins by 20 percent?).
  1. Shedding light on potential problems. Most candidates don’t have significant personal or professional issues to hide, but hiring managers should still try to find out everything they can about a candidate’s past. Contacting references can shed light on issues that may arise in the future. Even if you don’t find out about any serious problems or foul play—since most companies won’t share this information for fear of being sued by their former employees—you may uncover other facts that could spell trouble. For instance, a reference may clarify that the candidate had trouble working in a team or failed to meet company goals.
  1. Going beyond the workplace. Checking professional references, such as a previous supervisor or HR manager, can validate the candidate’s previous work experience. You can also ask for other forms of references to validate information, such as universities attendance, organizational involvement, and even personal traits. All of these references will help to create a fuller picture of the individual and to figure out whether he or she is a right fit for your company.
  1. Helping make candidate selections. Recruiting top candidates is never easy, but checking references can help the process proceed smoothly. If you have multiple candidates with comparable experience and skills, and they’ve all performed well in interviews, checking their references can further narrow the selection to help you pick the best person for the job. Often, a positive (or negative) reference can make all the difference between two seemingly equal candidates.
  1. Saving time and money. All other benefits aside, it’s always worth checking references to save your company time and money. The cost of recruiting and hiring can spike quickly when you have to replace employees that don’t work out. High turnover rates are costly but can be avoided by finding the right person the first time. Checking reference is an integral part of the recruiting process that can save lots of time and money in the long run.

Checking references can help hiring managers to make better decisions and to hire people who will positively impact the company’s future performance. Do you always check your applicant’s references?

Eric Friedman, Author

eSkill Author EricEric 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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Information session: USC Marshall School of Business

USC Marshall‘s GEMBA and IBEAR programs give a critical boost to managers and mid-career professionals on their way to the top.

On Thursday, October 8 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. you can attend an information session for USC Marshall School of Business. An international MBA degree from USC’s prestigious Marshall School of Business can help take your career success to a new level. Join us for an information session about our Los Angeles-based one-year, full-time accelerated IBEAR MBA for mid-career professionals and our part-time, Shanghai-based Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) for managers from across the globe.

The information session will be held at Fairmont Makati, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue to meet with the admissions team of IBEAR and GEMBA. Learn first-hand about the programs, and available scholarships for well-qualified students.

Please RSVP to Jocelyn Pick, Profiles Asia Pacific at [email protected] by October 6, 2015 or register here.

IBEAR MBA Highlights:

  • Scholarships (IBEAR Global Business Fellow Award) of up to $45,000 available for highly-qualified individuals.
  • Rent subsidies of $9,000/year for single apartments and $15,000/year for family apartments, about 50% subsidy.
  • International Business Consulting Projects (IBCP) is the capstone course of the program. Over a 4-month period, terms of 5-6 participants work with a client to solve one of its important business challenges.
  • A 10-day international business trip is required component of the IBEAR Program; paid for by the program. The 2015 international experiential learning program, “Doing Business in Southeast Asia,” will bring the class to Jakarta and Bangkok (October 8-18).
  • Two 3-day domestic trips to key business cities in the United States each year as part of our experiential learning program, “Doing Business in the United States.” The IBEAR program pays for the cost of travel and hotel.
  • Personalized career development services are accessible to all self-sponsored participants. Given the small class size, the career advisor is able to work closely with each individual participant.

GEMBA Highlights:

  • Uniquely transformative and real-world oriented curriculum
  • Exceptional diversity in the student body – nationalities, locations, industry backgrounds
  • The most powerful alumni association in the region
  • 20-month program, based in Shanghai, but with three international modules, two in Los Angeles and one in Southeast Asia
  • Average student age 38, so highly experienced and globalized, and uniquely diverse cohort (30% fly in from outside China, typically ten or so nationalities)
  • Graduates earn the prestigious USC Marshall MBA degree, because USC Marshall faculty lead all modules
  • Reasonable commute from S.E. Asia, and financial support for lodging expenses in Shanghai

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7 Reasons to Invest in Strategic HR

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Strategic HR

Strategic HR is more than just the common clerical and legal duties that many HR departments are in charge of. Many companies fail to understand that HR plays a large role for your workforce talent throughout the employee lifecycle. While it’s true that HR is responsible for onboarding top talent, making sure the paperwork is in order, and ensuring compliance in company policies, they often fall out of the picture once an employee is hired and oriented.

Below are a few reasons that strategic HR remains valuable to all companies and employees no matter what stage they are in. The 7 articles demonstrate why strategic HR is important and valuable to company growth.

1. HR outsourcing: a sophisticated, innovative future?

From the article: Kemsley warns that providers will have to become more flexible and cope with a more “hybridised” model of outsourcing: “The challenge is to have flexible models and increasingly tailored provision to meet organisations’ needs but remain cost competitive.”

He concludes that “outsourcing will continue to be a very important strategic tool in balancing quality and cost effectiveness in resourcing”, but urges organisations to really think through how it will provide the benefits they want “to avoid the random, knee-jerk reaction to outsourcing we saw 10 years ago”.

2. 5 strategies for employers in a competitive job market

From the article: Get strategic about recruiting

I think we can all agree that it has become increasingly difficult to find qualified workers — and this challenge spans from white-collar to blue-collar segments of the economy. As a result, employers need to hone their recruiting process to ensure they are finding and attracting top talent with a focus on quality over quantity of applicants.

Read more

3. HR departments failing to adapt to changing business demands: Report

From the article: “The bottom line is that despite diverse deficiencies, progress is possible,” said Nathalie Bression, Hackett Group Global HR Executive Advisory Practice Leader, in a statement. “We suggest that for 2015, HR organizations start by improving strategic workforce planning, focusing on critical roles and enhancing their ability to make data-driven decisions. They should prioritize talent management, and improve their ability to develop leadership skills within their company. A close look at the HR skills set is required, to assess where HR organizations need to add capabilities in key areas such as business acumen, strategic thinking, and change management. HR organizations should create a long-term technology strategy. And they should improve data and systems integration to enable evidence-based workforce decisions.”

Read more

4. Strategic human resources is key to organizational success

From the article: Strategic human resources is about harnessing human potential

In the past, I advocated for people and things, developed programs, and made decisions that did not have a return on investment. They were nice to have ‘feel-good’ programs that seemed to make sense for employees and morale.

They were allegedly in the best interest of employees, but not necessarily the organization as a whole. If an organization becomes uncompetitive, unprofitable, and ineffective because employees see their relationship with their employer as a provider of perquisites, then the organization will likely go out of business.

Read more

5. Workforce Planning: The War Room Of HR

From the article: Whether you are in the Philippines, elsewhere in Southeast Asia or in countries around the world, multinational corporations should follow several workforce planning best practices:

  • Make workforce planning and strategic business planning parallel processes
  • Ensure your leadership values data-driven decision-making and promotes a culture of objective transparency
  • Invest in a sophisticated data engine with analytical tools to generate meaningful workforce information
  • Combine internal, external, structured and social data to produce deep insights into talent availability and shortfalls
  • Hire HR specialists who are adept at data modelling, interpretation and forecasting

What’s going on in your War Room? Workforce planning is the most strategic people management activity to take place within an organization. In an electric business environment, the battle for talent will be won and lost even before the players take to the field. What’s your plan?

Read more

6. The Importance of an HR Policies & Practices Strategy

From the article: Whatever your approach, the key to success is to devote the time and resources it takes to develop a policies and practices strategy for your business before the need arises. It’s an investment that can pay large dividends in increased productivity and minimized litigation. And it’s an essential component of your comprehensive people strategy.

Read more

7. Why Is It Important for HR Management to Be a Strategic Business Partner?

From the article: The value HR management brings to strategic planning is paramount in attaining organization-wide goals. Implementing strategic plans is nearly impossible without the input of human resources and employee involvement. Recognizing the value of HR management is a critical step in developing business strategy, and it takes human resources management’s forward-thinking principles and business acumen to put those plans into action.

Read more


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