Philippines’ Top HR Blog

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Six Keys to Great Customer Service!

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By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific


The lifetime value of one single customer is much greater than the added value of numerous single transactions. This is especially true in times when business is going badly, because loyal customers are more likely to heed a call for help or be patient through imperfect service. It is also true in our digitized era, where a bad online comment from a customer can go viral within minutes.

If you try and think of it from the customer’s perspective, you can see why it doesn’t take much for him or her to decide that your company isn’t worth their time and money. One bad experience is enough.

Profiles International, the affiliate of Profiles Asia Pacific, found that assessing core personality traits and a standardized set of skill measures provides clear indicators of probably success in a customer-facing role. In 1997, Profiles developed the Customer Service Knowledge Scale, and it has been refining its research ever since.

There are six behaviors that we finally identified in customer-facing employees that will make the biggest difference for your business.

1. Trust. Trusting individuals tend to believe that the motives of others are honorable. Find a good balance of trust that works for your business, you don’t want untrusting and unhelpful employees, but you don’t want naïve employees either!

2. Tact. How you say something to a customer can be just as important as what you say. If customers make mistakes or do not understand something, employees should take extra care to be patient and make them feel at ease.

3. Empathy. Customers need to feel that someone cares about their experience. Even if there is nothing the employees can do to solve an issue, it is important for them to show that they understand how important it is to the customer, and to still try their best to find ways to ease the situation. Frequent and honest communication is a good method to start with.

4. Conformity. The optimal degree of conformity for your customer-facing people depends on your business. The first thing to do is identifying your customer’s objectives and expectations, and then aligning your people with them. For a luxury hotel, for example, it is best to have low-conformity frontline staff that can make quick inventive decisions. But for a company that has to follow strict health and safety guidelines at all costs, it is best to have more conformed staff.

5. Focus. Customer service is about relentless focus. Your customer service employees should always stay focused and thus be quick and attentive, but they should also be able to identify when a customer does not want all of the information you are capable of giving them.

6. Flexibility. Companies that provide the best service think in terms of the customer, and this requires employee willingness and flexibility. However, highly flexible people can become bored of routine decisions, while inflexible people may appreciate routine decisions more than being exposed to important open-ended questions. It is important for you to identify what kind of people your company needs in selected areas, and then match the right people to the right jobs.


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10 Leadership Tips for First Time Managers

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By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific

Our affiliates at Profiles International US have put together a great infographic. It is aimed at first time managers, but you can give these tips to your more seasoned managers as well. Over time habits become ingrained and a fresh reminder of the most important aspects of leadership can only bring positivity!

Let us know if there are any other tips you would add yourself. Or if you’ve had personal experiences with these!
You can Tweet us @ProfilesAsiaP or write us on Facebook.


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In Search of a Quick Fix – Teamworking and Why It Doesn’t Always Work

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By Matylda Rabczenko
Guest Writer, Warwick Business School

Over the past 30 years, teamworking has become a widespread phenomenon, which has since been renowned as the panacea for organizational ailments. Still, recent studies show that teamworking does not guarantee improved performance and managers continue to struggle with creating successful teams.

Oftentimes, this is due to the fact that when searching for a quick fix, supervisors overlook the crucial factors that are largely responsible for forming viable teams– the first one being team type.

The two most popular types of teams include shopfloor teams, which are responsible for producing goods or providing services, and project teams, which produce one-time outputs like a new product or service to be marketed by the company.

When designing a team, the team type should be used as a starting point, whilst other factors such as task design, supervisory behavior, group characteristics, and organizational context should be adjusted accordingly.

To give you a better idea, below you have a couple of examples illustrating how team factors may affect shopfloor and project teams differently.

Contrary to common belief, implementing teamworking is never as simple as putting two or more people together and asking them to complete a task. It requires careful planning and constant monitoring to ensure success. The above should provide you with a basis for what to consider, the rest is up to you!

Have a look at the Profiles Performance Indicator as well, which includes a group report called Team Analysis.


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Hiring Great Sales Employees – Bite Into the Apple Approach!

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Article by Christine Krenek, from Profiles International.


Whether you’re a small retailer or the world’s largest technology company, you need the best-fit sales employees to succeed.
Recruiting and selecting effective sales reps is critical for any sales organization! Take Apple Inc. for example, when you go into Apple stores across the country, you’ll find exceptional customer service.

An article from Forbes discusses how the tech company successfully hires their retail employees and what specific qualities they look for. The article cites that “Apple doesn’t look for exceptional intelligence or technical mastery,” instead here are seven characteristics the company’s hiring managers look for during their extensive interview process:

  • Smile and be friendly
  • Demonstrate passion
  • Don’t worry about not initially knowing the products
  • Speak up and demonstrate confidence
  • Interact with the group and ask for help
  • Show a commitment to the customer
  • Talk with humility

Looking at these qualities, Apple clearly focuses on hiring great “sales attitudes” that fit their organization and values.

All sales organizations and positions are different. For example, over the counter sales positions are very different from on-the-road, door to door sales reps. Different sales positions call for different types of employees. As Philip Shuler, a Senior Strategic Account Manager at Profiles International, says, “It takes a different type of sales person to sell a Bentley than it would to sell a Kia.”

So how do you know if a new sales representative will fit your organization’s needs? The answer is simple: assessments! Sales assessments make sure you hire the right person for the right job position. Pre-screening and skills tests, like the Profiles Sales Assessment™, ensure you hire the best-fit reps for specific sales positions and reduce common problems such as turnover and not meeting revenue goals.

Similar to Apple’s hiring criteria, the Profiles Sales Assessment™ measures seven critical sales behaviors. These behaviors paint a picture of each sales candidate or employee and ensure you select the one who is most likely to be successful for a specific position. These behaviors include: prospecting, call reluctance, closing the sale, self-starting, working with a team, building and maintaining relationships, and compensation preference.

Learn even more by watching a video of Philip Shuler discussing how to “Enhance Sales Recruiting and Staffing”

Do you have any tips on Sales recruitment? Tweet us @ProfilesAsiaP or reach us on Facebook!


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The Jeepney Syndrome – Succession Planning

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By Matylda Rabczenko
Guest Writer, Warwick Business School

If you are heading a company, you are guaranteed, sooner or later, to have to find a replacement for an employee. In one word: succession. According to the encyclopedia of management, succession planning involves “using the supply of labor within the organization for future staffing needs.”

One of the greater issues in this area is… not planning at all! Let’s call this phenomenon ‘the Jeepney Syndrome’. The process spurs thoughts as to what would happen if a Jeepney hit a strategic employee. How would this affect the company? Would there be someone to replace him or her? How efficiently would the role be reassigned to someone new?

Unsurprisingly, this creates feelings of unease and perhaps for this reason many companies fail to identify their most talented employees, who could take up senior roles in cases of unexpected dismissals.

Alternatively, it may be that many are not aware of the fact that succession planning is one of the most important human capital investments for companies operating in today’s rapidly changing and increasingly challenging business environment. The process develops a sustainable ‘strategic-talent pipeline’, which creates a pool of readily available leadership talent that then contributes to the company’s chances of future success and survival.

Here, I will familiarize you with the 4 very basic steps involved in succession planning to create some food for thought, particularly aimed at those considering its application.

Conduct a talent review!

– Identify ‘high risk roles’
– Determine who is likely to leave within the next year
– Decide on whether or not you can fill in their role from within the organization
– If so, support the development of these individuals
– If not, begin to seek candidates form external sources

Define ‘position requirements’!

Seeing as strategic positions require significantly more skills and experience than less senior roles, it is important to create elaborate position requirements. This can be accomplished using competency profiles.

Create appropriate ‘people data’ requirements!

Aside from providing simplistic performance appraisals, as would be the case for regular employees, those considered for strategic positions should be appraised in much more detail. For instance, aside from simplistic performance ratings, you could also require an explanation for the rating, as well as a description of the context.

Last but not least, plan suitable development activities!

Again, considering the specific requirements for the position, it will require unique training and development for the candidates. These are likely to be tailored to the individual candidates’ particular weaknesses in relation to the position requirements, as opposed to general training provided for all employees.

Don’t fall prey to the Jeepney Syndrome. Now you know the basic steps to prepare your succession plans!


Tell us about your experiences of the effectiveness of succession planning. How did YOU implement this practice? Tweet us @ProfilesAsiaP or contact us on Facebook!


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Be a Great Communicator – Unlock the 4 Personalities

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By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific

Communication between employees is a fundamental factor in the success of all organizations. Leaders who do not find effective ways to communicate with their employees are in for some difficult times and will use up a lot more resources than necessary.

Communication can often be ineffective because individuals persist in approaching others with their own style, rather than adapting to the other person’s needs. This can result in excessively long meetings, misunderstandings and resentment. This concept was popularized by its initiator Dr. Tony Alessandra in the late 20th century as the Platinum Rule (a moral principle related to but different from the Golden Rule), which recommended individuals to “treat others in the way they like to be treated.”

The DISC Model Theory which was developed in 1928 by Dr. William Moulton Marston provides a way for us to understand different personality types, and consequently their favored method of work and communication.

By learning to identify personality types and adapt to them, you can unlock the door to great leadership!

No personality is inherently bad for the workplace. In fact, it is poor management and often lack of variety that are detrimental. By understanding and incorporating various personality types in your company you can have people whose traits complement each other, you can better manage interpersonal conflict, and you can learn to train them in just the right way. In consequence you will have a better motivated, more satisfied workforce, with which you to build the best teams!

The DISC Model states that there are 4 types of personalities; Dominant, Influential (or Inductive), Steady and Conscientious (or Compliant).

DOMINANT

How to spot them
Dominant personalities are generally direct, they have an air of inner certainty, they may interrupt, ask focused questions, and have a “tell” style

Strengths
Confident, determined, loves challenges, focused, influences others. On his/her best day, a dominant personality can be competitive, demanding, determined, strong-willed and purposeful.

Weaknesses
Poor listener, can be seen as arrogant, may push too hard, and doesn’t wait for feedback. On his/her worst day, a dominant personality can be aggressive, controlling, driving, overbearing and intolerant.

INFLUENTIAL

How to spot them
Influential personalities are generally sociable, enthusiastic, fast-paced; they smile more and gesticulate more.

Strengths
Quick to build relationships, friendly and sociable, adaptable, imaginative and a skillful presenter. On his/her best day, an influential personality can be dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic and persuasive.

Weaknesses
May lack focus, too casual for some, poor planning, poor follow-up and can lose interest. On his/her worst day, an influential personality can be excitable, frantic, indiscreet, flamboyant and hasty.

STEADY

How to spot them
Steady personalities are generally slow to approach, they may show hesitation, they pause before replying, are slower in speech and have an “ask” style.

Strengths
Builds deep, long-term relationships, natural listener, sincere, warm and present. On his/her best day, a steady personality can be caring, encouraging, sharing, patient and relaxed.

Weaknesses
Slow to adapt, may lack enthusiasm in asking for a decision, avoids rejection and takes difficulties personally. On his/her worst day, a steady personality can be docile, bland, plodding, reliant and stubborn.

CONSCIENTIOUS

How to spot them
Conscientious personalities are generally reserved and business-focused, they show little facial expression, and they ask detailed questions and give considered answers.

Strengths
Knowledgeable and detailed, has an air of competence, asks probing questions and is thorough in follow-up. On his/her best day, a conscientious personality can be cautious, precise, deliberate, questioning and formal.

Weaknesses
Initial interaction may be difficult and stuffy, his/her questions may be seen as critical and insensitive, overlooks others’ feelings and focuses on inconsequential details. On his/her worst day, a conscientious personality can be stuffy, indecisive, suspicious, cold and reserved.

The key to successful communication is tied to one word: FLEX.

The leader who manages to situate him/herself within this framework, and who learns to flex (adjust his style to the needs of his/her employees) will notice a drastic improvement in team dynamics.

So when do you flex? Whenever you notice a lack in communication or cooperation with coworkers, you change your style to fit theirs. You can generally do this by matching their tone of voice and volume, pace, and body language.

But how do you communicate with each personality type? The DISC Profile gives the following tip for each one:

Dominant
“Give them the bottom line, be brief, focus your discussions narrowly, avoid making generalizations, refrain from repeating yourself, and focus on solutions rather than problems.”

Influential
“Share your experiences, allow I-style persons time to ask questions and talk themselves, focus on the positives, avoid overloading them with details, and don’t interrupt them.”

Steady
“Be personal and amiable, express your interest in them and what you expect from them, take time to provide clarification, be polite, and avoid being confrontational, overly aggressive or rude.”

Conscientious
“Focus on facts and details; minimize ‘pep talk’ or emotional language; be patient, persistent and diplomatic.”

Ultimately, be prepared to allow them their shortcomings, but never so that it becomes counterproductive. Learn to find the right balance!


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Induction Crisis (part 2) – Tips for Success!

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By Matylda Rabczenko
Guest Writer, Warwick Business School

Last week we discussed the potential damage that induction crisis can cause to your company, which ultimately results in high turnover.

A well thought-out integration process, when applied right from the start, can be the difference between the successful placement of medium- to long-term employees, and wasting a great deal of resources on a failed hire.

Now that you are aware of the key reasons for induction crisis, it is time to point to some tips and solutions!

Don’t wait! Induct promptly!
Induction is most effective if conducted right as the employees join the company; if it is done a couple of weeks after the new employees have began work, it is a waste of time

Train your line managers!
The success of your induction is largely dependent on your line managers, who come into direct contact with the new employees most often. Notably, employees’ job satisfaction is correlated to their relationship with their managers.

Be honest and expect honesty!
As mentioned earlier, induction is a great moment to exchange views on expectations between you and the new recruits. Tell them about the way things really are in order to avoid future confusion.

Show off the company culture!
This is a great opportunity to talk about your company values and how they are applied in day-to-day activities – especially important for all types of firms.

Assign a buddy!
Make the transition period easier for your new employees by assigning them a ‘buddy’, a current employee, who they can turn to with any questions or concerns.

Monitor!
If you own a larger company, it is worth using a stability index to measure employee turnover on a constant basis. A stability index in particular allows you to identify the presence and scale of your induction crisis.

Re-assess your recruitment and selection processes!
Whilst seeking improvements in your inductions, do not turn a blind eye to failures within your recruitment and selection processes – even a great induction will not be able to make up for these.

It is easy to forget that the employment contract is indeterminate – an employee cannot give you tangible labor, he/she only offers the potential to perform labor. Although assessments and interviews supply you with a solid depiction of the extent of this employee potential, whether or not it will be utilized is up to you, the employer.

Similarly to how first impressions shape long-term opinions, inductions can play a fundamental role in shaping long-term employee-employer relations. So if you want to make the most of your employees’ potential, provide them with the first impression that will make them want to deliver.


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Shameless Promotion

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Hello to all our fellow HR professionals.

We would like to take this opportunity to shamelessly promote our content. So we kindly ask you to have a look below and connect with us through our social media platforms!

This way you can always be up-to-date, and you can be notified whenever we have updates for you.

There’s an option for everyone’s preference!


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Induction Crisis (part 1) – The Heel of the Recruitment Achilles

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By Matylda Rabczenko
Guest Writer, Warwick Business School

During the hunt for capable employees, managers often over-invest into recruitment and selection alone, whilst forgetting about the last pillar to successfully obtaining medium to long-term workers: induction.

Simplistically speaking, induction can be considered as a process of integrating new employees into an organization and familiarizing them with the job requirements, but in reality it is more complex than it sounds. According to Rice, et al.’s (1950) 3 stages to become a true employee, ‘induction crisis’ (the first of the three) is the most problematic and bares the greatest number of casualties; the crisis occurs when an employee fails to adjust to the organization and makes the decision to resign.

Decades of studies, beginning in the 1950s, have confirmed a strong link between inadequate induction and high turnover rates amongst new recruits. Usually, the crisis can take place as soon as within the first 6 weeks of employment; some leave immediately, others postpone taking action by a year or more.

Before considering solutions, it is crucial to take into account what drives this HR failure. Here are a few common sources (a detailed description can be found in Skeats’ 1991 book on Successful Induction, which I would recommend as an initial guide!).

False expectations. These can be usually attributed to over-selling the position during the recruitment process, as well as misunderstandings about salaries and promotions. Induction may help in counteracting the overselling and depicting the reality of the job.

Company style. Although the company style is conveyed through advertisements, company websites, etc., the true company style and culture may come as a surprise to some new employees. Induction provides you with a good opportunity to give the new recruit a preview of the way in which people operate within your company.

Demands of the job. It is often not just the company that over-sells the position, but also the employee him/herself. Consequentially, the employee may become overwhelmed by his/her new responsibilities. Similarly, an employer may hire someone who is overqualified for a role and will find it boring. Induction allows you to have an exchange of expectations with the new employee, which may on occasion result in re-assignment to a more suitable role.

Difficulty with colleagues. Clashes with fellow co-workers are especially likely to occur when the new employees are thrown into a workplace environment without previously interacting with one another. In this case, induction can be a great opportunity for your new employees to socialize in a more informal setting.

Keep following our blog for the part 2 discussion including tips for success and conclusions!


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Improve Your Recruitment in the Philippines

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By Yvonne Manzi
Social Media Officer, Profiles Asia Pacific

For your company to be successful in the Philippines, it is important that you do not simply apply general international recruitment practices. Across regions the differences can be more defined than you think, and failing to recognize and appropriately respond to them can lead to severe problems.

A 2012 Kelly OCG report outlines 5 ways in which you can improve your recruitment in the Asia-Pacific region.

Know what motivates.
Today it is widely accepted that to motivate employees to achieve their best results, companies need to give them more than just great salaries. Across regions, there are significant differences that are influenced by culture and values, which must be taken into account. What matters in HR is not why these issues arise, but how to respond appropriately. It is therefore of utmost importance for HR professionals to recognize the motivational trends in the region, and devise ways to address them.

In the Philippines, as in other countries in Asia-Pacific, the basis for employee motivation is the value they perceive they have. Applying Western-style opportunity+responsibility motivational methods is acceptable but limited; you must also practically show your employees that they have real worth. In general terms, this can be shown in two ways: through the right job title, and through corporate reputation. If the employee has an important job title, and he/she works for a company that is socially responsible, influential and that gives back to the community, the results will be more impressive. First, the employee will feel more valued and thus be motivated to perform better, and second, the clients will respond more positively because these cultural trends are ingrained in their mindsets as well.

Beware the pressures of a growing market.
In Asia-Pacific, a region with already limited skilled labor, talent search and retention is becoming increasingly difficult. The market is quickly growing both within specific countries and within other developing regions. This means that there are more and more opportunities for candidates all-around, and there are more incentives being offered to candidates by competing companies and recruiters. This means that it becoming even more critical for organizations to find the right long-term candidates who they will keep and develop for a long time.

Recruiters and HR professionals must make sure they have a number of skills in order to remain competitive in the Philippines. They must have:
a) an understanding of upcoming skills shortages
b) access to global candidate networks
c) strategies for developing and engaging existing employees
d) long-term strategies for increasing the inflow of talent

Dig deeper to measure candidate quality.
As I mentioned earlier, in emerging markets there is a shortage of highly skilled staff. 83% of responding companies blame this on hiring issues in Asia-Pacific, compared with percentages in the 70s for the Americas and EMEA. The complicating factors are low unemployment rates, largely given because of the aforementioned growth which affects most sectors.

According to the Kelly OCG report, this means that “it is common to find organizations seeking candidates without the ideal previous experience, but with the fundamentals to be able to learn as they go”. It is therefore important for your company to determine how effective the interview and screening process is. The skills that need to be measured are:
a) aptitude for learning
b) team-work and leadership
c) communication
d) problem-solving and strategic insight
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to ensure this is to integrate assessment solutions in the hiring process.

Think flexibility.
The Kelly OCG report states that “contingent and temporary labor has grown almost everywhere in the past decade, yet it has grown exceptionally quickly in the Asia-Pacific market”. Promotion of this type of labor can indeed create insecurity in the lower end of the market, but the report explains that for those with high-level and in-demand skills, the situation is a win-win one. The candidates will be more inclined to participate because this will provide for improved work-life balance, they will be able to choose their favored projects, and it is especially beneficial for women who may want to remain or re-enter the job market while they have a family.

So, how to do this? According to the report, the steps are 3:
a) Determine what the success factors are for specific roles. They may not necessarily require permanency to reach the same results. Especially with the aid of internal networks and the right technology.
b) Focus on collaboration. Give managers the responsibility, but then allow them the freedom to delegate and re organize the work on their terms. They will be more able to target the strengths of particular individuals.
c) Engage specialists rather than generalists. This will increase the quality and productivity of work, and reduce job dissatisfaction.

Improve your “candidate experience”.
The candidate experience is the process the potential employee has to undergo when applying for a position within your company. Just like a customer, the candidate should also receive a positive experience. This means that it needs to be tailor-made for the candidate, and appropriately targeted and marketed.

The basic elements that are indicated by the report are 5:

1) The brand experience
2) The reputational experience
3) The technological experience
4) The human experience
5) The process experience

(See side figure for explanation)

If successfully done, what will this lead to?

There are 3 positive outcomes:
a) A desirable yet unsuccessful candidate will be more inclined to reapply to future opportunities
b) The successful candidate will be more engaged from the start
c) You will be perceived more positively in the recruitment market, and this will increase your inflow of applicants

These guidelines should provide you with some very valuable insight!


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