Philippines’ Top HR Blog

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3 ways to increase retention in 2019

It costs far more to find and train new employees than to keep those you already have happy and motivated.

Some of the most effective employee retention strategies in 2018 don’t require you to increase salaries or pay out large bonuses.

With smart HR management, it’s possible to hold on to your most valuable employees and develop a strong sense of loyalty that binds the team together for the long run.

However, many companies stubbornly refuse to evolve, paying a steep price for this mistake by having to go through recruitment far more often than necessary.

The following three directions are perceived by industry experts as crucial for employee retention, and should be pursued by all companies regardless of their size or specialization.

Improve with digitalization

Since most HR departments have long been equipped with digital tools that enable capturing data on unprecedented scale, the time has come to take the next step and encourage HR leaders to become better data interpreters, assuming the role of ‘digital managers’.

This may lead to better understanding of needs and expectations of employees, as well as a more objective assessment of each worker’s contributions.

In an atmosphere where objectiveness is the standard, motivation tends to go up and the number of internal disagreements tends to decrease.

Digital managers are also expected to proactively utilize machine learning capacities that have just recently become available.

Take care of employee wellbeing

It’s important for HR managers to understand full context of employee’s lives, including their physical health, family situation and economic circumstances.

This logic is simple – if the company helps the employee resolve their private challenges, the employee will spend less energy worrying and redirect it into his work.

It is a holistic approach that goes beyond basic concern and requires a more involved approach on the part of HR professionals.

Younger employees typically have different things on their minds than middle-aged workers with aging parents, while individual differences also have to be accounted for.

Organizations capable of providing their employees with adequate tools to take control of their lives stand a much better chance of retaining their employees longer.

Invest in continuous learning

We live in an age when learning tools are abundant and easily available. Companies need to learn how to turn this into their advantage by enabling their workers to use top-notch resources to further their expertise.

Many employees value practical knowledge and regard it as their ticket to future success, so they might be more inclined to stay in an environment where they are constantly in touch with new ideas and facts.

Personalized and data-based learning programs are becoming more common, allowing for faster advancing and better targeted curriculums, while the employees should be given a choice how to consume the educational content.

Multimedia learning systems with AI capacity have the potential to improve company culture and attract highly motivated, knowledge-hungry workers to the company.

The labor market remains very dynamic, so key factors for employee retention could gradually change over time.

Companies are forced to evolve their policy on a continual basis, but some directions can be anticipated and therefore streamlined. Taking action now and applying some of the principles laid down in this article can make the difference between emerging as a shining example of progressive employer and losing most of your team leaders in a hurry.


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How to solve 6 common HR challenges with technology

The soft skills of HR employees are valuable, but some challenges remain difficult to overcome without use of advanced technology.

In response to growing demand for high quality HR solutions, there is a whole class of software designed to solve some of the most common issues in human resource management.

Challenge #1: Reducing costs and time needed for IT support

A major trend in the IT support niche is adoption of integrated technologies that are less time consuming and complex to manage than systems where every department needs to take care of its own technology needs.

Company-wide systems for attendance control and time tracking can be deployed with very little additional hardware, while their impact affects practically every team and project.

Challenge #2: Regulatory compliance issues

In many countries, governments demand tight reporting on employee salaries and other statistics related to the workforce.

If those reports were compiled manually, companies would have to dedicate their best people to the task or face the possibility of a costly error.

Modern software tools allow for creation of automated queries that generate custom reports with minimal human involvement, making regulatory compliance a routine task.

Challenge #3: Data availability

Collecting large amounts relevant data about workers is worth very little if the management has to spend a lot of time digging out key bits of information from local databases. Instant and effortless data retrieval is one of the greatest benefits of HR software tools of the latest generation, since all the data is centralized and accessible from anywhere.

It’s even possible to set up automatic updates that reflect recent changes in the status of the selected worker or team.

Challenge #4: Vendor management

It’s very common for a company to use a variety of software products, which may come from different vendors and include incompatible features.

Such incompatibility can be a problem, which is why system integration is an essential need for large companies.

In some cases, this can be avoided by purchasing a suite of software solutions from the same vendor, unifying time and attendance control with payroll management and employee assessment under the same umbrella.

Challenge #5: Platform integration

A variety of IT platforms are used for business purposes today, with mobile frameworks gaining traction lately. That’s why HR departments are increasingly updating their solutions to facilitate easy access from any device and any operational system.

Wireless sharing of relevant data can go very smoothly when the system is set up in such a way to support access from mobile phones and laptops, eliminating the need for physical presence in the office in order to participate.

Challenge #6: Data storage security

Loss of data or unauthorized access to confidential information can present a significant threat, motivating the companies to centralize data storage and implement robust defensive measures.

It’s far easier to mount effective defenses and control who can access the employee data when there is only one central database to protect. Security in the cloud is another hot topic at the moment, with top providers guaranteeing the integrity of uploaded information.

Fortunately, modern HR suites feature a range of advanced software tools that can be utilized to simultaneously address multiple challenges from this list.

Exact choice of tools and modes of deployment is unique for each company, but the overall strategy should be similar.

Integrating individual systems (including HR data) into a wider, more flexible framework will certainly return positive results, regardless of the structure of the company and its data collection methods.


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What is a Blended Workforce and How Can It Help My Business?

While hiring has traditionally revolved around long-term contract hires, blended workforces are quickly becoming more popular. These workforces combine individuals with different types of contracts, bringing freelancers, part time workers, and traditional contracts together to create a more flexible and scalable workplace. This trend brings complexity to HR management and payrolling, but offers numerous advantages to businesses of all sizes.

What is a Blended Workforce?

Traditional hiring means hiring everyone with a fixed contract for a set period of time and a set contract. Today, more and more people prefer to work more dynamically, taking on freelance, part-time, and contract roles. The gig economy means that more individuals are able to work on a short-term contract basis, filing short-term needs as they become relevant and then moving on.

Scalable Workforces

One of the biggest challenges in any growing organization is bringing on employees at a rate which matches internal needs to drive value. With traditional hiring, companies are forced to bring on full-time employees often before they are able to fully contribute, simply because demand is too low.

Hiring part-time and freelancers enables you to bring in work on an as-needed basis, so that you can perfectly meet demand without increasing overhead more than needed. This is especially advantageous for businesses with seasonal demand, because you can scale your workforce up and down quickly and easily.

Bringing on Experts  

Most organizations can benefit from technical experts and highly-skilled individuals, but many don’t have the resources to hire and bring them on without creating more overhead than value. Hiring freelancers gives you the opportunity to bring experts and specialists on for short-term projects or a low number of hours per week, so that you can benefit from expertise and specialisms without paying for a full-time employee you can’t make full use of.

Motivated Individuals

Choosing when and how to work gives many people freedom and the ability to keep themselves challenged and motivated without becoming stuck in a static environment, which can benefit you a great deal. The only caveat here is that you must be willing to bring even contract workers on as full members of the organization, so that they feel as though they are part of the organization and are motivated to contribute to organizational goals.

Outsourcing

While outsourcing isn’t always a good option, it can be extremely cost-effective, especially for technical roles such as developers. Outsourcing allows you to reduce the cost of technical work by moving it to another country, where you pay less per hour for labor. However, this can cause some issues in terms of communication and timelines, so you should carefully manage and set up infrastructure to ensure good communication before doing so.

Today, most companies hire as many as 48% of employees through part-time or freelance contracts, giving them room to hire on more people in new and different ways. Organizations benefit from this in numerous ways, creating more opportunities for flexible and scalable workforces, where you can bring employees on in an as-needed function, even when they are very high-level or specialist.

While you will need additional HR structure to support different types of employees and to manage short-term contracts and hires made through agencies or freelance, the payoff is often very high in terms of enabling even a smaller organization to cut costs while ensuring that skilled labor is available where needed.


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3 Useful tools to help your HR department

Any job is easier when you’re equipped with a range of advanced tools, which is why HR departments around the world are rapidly undergoing a digital transformation.

Adoption of IT-based tools allows for more transparent and more effective workforce management, while their costs are negligible compared to the benefits they bring to the table. In fact, there is a global trend towards greater automation and data-based decision-making that was made possible by introduction of highly sophisticated software packages well equipped to assist in essential HR duties.

While exact needs and financial possibilities of every company may vary, the following high-tech tools are so valuable that no serious HR professional should be forced to work without them:

Attendance tracking solution

Tracking when the employees arrive to work and how much time they spend away from their stations allows employers to have a precise picture about typical behavior of the workers.

This tool also simplifies management of planned absences and allows for replacements to be called in on time in case a shortage is on the horizon.

Proactive scheduling that takes into account human resource availability as well as future project needs can be developed to intricate detail with the help of an integrated time and attendance solution.

Finally, data generated through this tool can be analyzed to determine which departments may be chronically understaffed or suffering from too many unplanned absences, with the corresponding personnel moves aiming to fix such imbalances.

Performance assessment software

In order to measure how much each employee is contributing to company objectives, it’s possible to use performance tracking tools optimized for the type of duties that each of the workers is fulfilling.

Those tools are capable of measuring the practical output of each employee, forming a strong foundation for impartial assessment by the management.

Additionally, when the employees are aware that their performance is measured objectively, they will be more motivated to achieve solid results day after day, and less likely to react defensively to constructive criticism.

This allows for gradual and cost-effective improvement of the company output, either through rewarding the most productive workers or by replacing those that fail to pull their weight.

Automated payroll administration

Calculating precise salaries that include overtime, bonuses and all applicable deductions is a time-consuming process that demands undivided attention to avoid mistakes.

For this reason, this is an area where automation achieves amazing results, cutting the time needed to administer the reimbursements for all employees considerably while at the same time ensuring that errors are kept at a minimum.

Apayroll automation tool can greatly reduce the pressure on the HR department and allow its key members to spend more time proactively analyzing the data, rather than merely crunching numbers. On the flip side, a majority of employees will appreciate that their salaries are paid out quicker and reflect the true number of hours accurately, making payroll software a win-win proposition for everyone.

Installation of software packages for HR management is just the first step. To fully take advantage of digital HR, companies need to alter their operating procedures and adopt a more open-minded and data-based attitude.

This is an organic process that takes time and active effort on the part of the top management, while the role of HR managers is to act as  data interpreters’ and align new, tech-based methods with overall workforce management strategy. Only in this way companies can leverage new technology into a tangible recruiting edge and gain a clear competitive advantage in the marketplace.


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Kaizen Leadership Workshop

Please join us on October 16 for a public Kaizen Leadership Workshop. ‘Kaizen Leadership’ is a counter-intuitive yet simple approach to daily management and leadership. It is a practical and proven methodology that any Filipino manager or supervisor can use to master any professional goal, overcome weakness and significantly improve the quality of how they lead their teams. This workshop is ideal for organization managers, executive management, front-line supervision, and organizational change agents.

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Do you fear that your team in the Philippines is performing far below their potential? Is the mindset and behaviors of your staff your greatest source of frustration? Do you sometimes feel that being a micromanager is the only way that you can get things done in your office?

The good news is that there is an alternative solution to creating lasting change in your organization that is far more effective than the autocratic style of management. You do not have to become a micromanager. That solution is training your managers and supervisors to become ‘Kaizen Leaders’.

What makes this Kaizen Leadership so different is its fanatical obsession with application – i.e. learning by doing. Sadly, the majority of management training programs in the Philippines follow the ‘Death by PowerPoint’ methodology. These traditional practices are in most cases a complete waste of time and resources, leading at best to only a few people being positively impacted while the majority quickly forget whatever was ‘learned’ and continue to go back to ‘the way we have always done things’.

This Kaizen Leadership program focuses on transforming the foundational beliefs and mindsets of your managers and supervisors that ultimately leads them to significantly think differently about how they lead their teams and drive high performance in their work.

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About the Facilitator

Mike Grogan is an Irish Leadership trainer, author, and speaker, internationally recognized for his expertise in Lean Kaizen.

For the past 3 years, Mike has been based in the Philippines, where his ability to speak Filipino makes him one of the most in-demand Management trainers and Keynote speakers in the Philippines today.

So far Mike has consulted for over 100 different companies, written 4 books, trained 1000’s of Managers and as of April 2018, his online inspirational and educational videos to uplift Filipinos have more than 50 million views.


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How to Conduct an HR Audit

No matter what the size of your organization, the end of the fiscal year is an ideal time to set new goals, adjust old ones, and realign the organization to keep everything and everyone on track with targets and objectives. Conducting an HR audit to determine how, why, and where HR processes are contributing or not contributing to these goals will help you to better define what is adding value to HR and what is not. The tools, policies, procedures, and methods used by HR will determine how workers are evaluated and measured, which will in turn contribute to the success of the organization as a whole.

Developing a good strategy for your HR audit will allow you to focus efforts, use practices and tools that make sense, and collect the data that adds or contributes value to your organization.

Conducting an HR Analysis

Conducting a detailed assessment of all existing policies and procedures is an important first-step in any HR audit. This process is easier if your existing processes and policies have defined goals or values listed, such as “Reduce turnover by at least 3% over 12 months”, which will allow you to analyze actual performance against expected performance.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to completely track data to existing policies and procedures, as some data will correlate but won’t be caused by a specific policy. For example, if your organization saw a downturn in turnover over the last 6 months of the 12, but also reached an important milestone or growth spurt, you might not be able to track reduced turnover as a benefit of the policy.

Your audit should cover:

  • Which policies and procedures are in place?
  • What worked in the previous fiscal year? Are there any goals set for those policies or procedures which could valuate the process working?
  • What didn’t work? Are there any goals or data which could show that the process did not work?
  • What has become obsolete? Are there processes related to old software or hiring methods?
  • What is needed or lacking? Processes? Tools?
  • How is the onboarding process working for new employees?
  • Are hiring needs being met?
  • Do employees have access to the HR tools they need?

Record Keeping

Review process efficiency, compliance with federal and state regulation, employee access, etc.

Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment and selection processes must be non-discriminatory, compliant with equal-opportunity policies, current and reflecting organizational goals, validated against current organizational goals, and effective and contributing value.

Workplace Safety/Risk Management

All measures should be compliant with workplace safety and risk management practices/regulations. Check that all policies are needed and adding value, especially if recent equipment or office changes may have made some redundant.

Training and Development

You have to review the accessibility of training and development opportunities, that those available are in-line with organizational goals, and that opportunities contribute directly to those goals. Ensure that current policies are in place for new hire orientation and safety training, development programs are in-line with internal leadership programs, and that all existing development programs are up-to-date. It’s also important to stop to identify training and development needs for the upcoming year so that you can work to build those resources before they are needed.

Employee Relations

Employee investigations must be handled with sensitivity and respect and investigation should be thorough and effective. These factors are difficult to validate, but you can work to do so by interviewing persons who received employee relation support to determine satisfaction and the effectiveness of policies in place.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits policies must be in line with organizational goals, privacy should handled effectively, and employees should be compensated in a way that reflects work practices (I.E. compensating teams in Agile rather than individuals).

Valuate Your Findings

While there are many ways to evaluate your findings, you can ideally do so through a combination of metrics and data (actual data including missed and achieved targets), employee interviews, and discussions with management and leadership teams.

For example, by hosting discussions with HR managers, department heads, and even floor-level employees can help you to determine whether hiring is being met, training requirements and whether they are being met, pending issues, and so on. This type of feedback can be extremely valuable in making decisions regarding

Research New Tools and Processes

During your evaluation and audit, you should review change items inside the organization versus in the world at large. HR evolves at a rapid pace and new trends and developments can rapidly introduce better, faster, and more efficient tools for management and hiring. For example, automation and AI are quickly becoming tools to aid in identifying candidates during the hiring and recruitment process.

An effective HR audit looks into every aspect of HR including recruitment and candidate selection, workplace safety, risk management, training, development, employee relations, and compensation/benefits. Conducting an audit will give you the perspective and data to make needed changes to policies and tools, update processes, and create new ones to meet changing organizational needs.


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Public Speaking: Presentation Survival School

Please join us on October 4 for a public seminar on Public Speaking: Presentation Survival School. In this two-day workshop, participants will master the public speaking skills that will make them a better speaker and presenter.

A great presenter has two notable qualities: appropriate skills and personal confidence. Confidence comes from knowing what you want to say and being comfortable with your communication skills.

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This workshop will help you teach participants how to:

  • Establish rapport with your audience
  • Learn techniques to reduce nervousness and fear
  • Understand your strengths as a presenter and how to appeal to different types of people
  • Recognize how visual aids can create impact and attention
  • Develop techniques to create a professional presence
  • Learn some different ways to prepare and organize information
  • Prepare, practice, and deliver a short presentation

Course Outline

You will spend the first part of the day getting to know the other participants and discussing what will take place during the workshop. Students will also have an opportunity to identify their personal learning objectives.

Communication

To begin, participants will explore key communication skills, including how to start and end a conversation.

Stop! Check Your Mouth!

Next, participants will learn about characteristics that can make or break the audience’s impression of a speaker, including volume, clichés, slang, diction, jargon, and tact (or lack thereof).

What’s Your Type? How About Mine?

During this session, participants will explore their personality type and what it means for them as a speaker.

Positive Self-Talk

In this session, participants will learn how to build their self-confidence – a key skill for any public speaker.

Trust

This session will explore the idea of rapport and how it can help build relationships.

Maximizing the Most of Meetings

Meetings are a central part of communication and cooperation within any organization. This session will give participants some ways to successfully prepare for and present at any meeting.

Body Language

During this session, participants will learn some ways to make sure their body language is sending the right message.

Sticky Situations

This session will give participants some tools to deal with uncomfortable situations.

I Can Just Send an Email, Right? 

Next, participants will explore the value of oral presentations.

Overcoming Nervousness

To conclude the first day, we will look at some suggestions for handling nervousness.

The Five S of a Good Presentation

To begin the second day, participants will learn about the five S’s of a good presentation: significance, scenario, solutions, sequelae, and suggestions.

Start Writing!

This session will focus on the nuts and bolts of creating your presentation.

Audience Profile

Next, participants will look at the value of audience profiles.

Your Speaking Voice

This session will look at the eight key parts of a presenter’s message.

Add Punch to Your Presentation

There are many types of visual aids. We will provide an overview of, and tips for, the most common visuals during this session.

Your Presentation

To wrap things up, participants will prepare and present a short presentation. Participants will evaluate each other and provide constructive feedback.

Workshop Wrap-Up

At the end of the workshop, students will have an opportunity to ask questions and fill out an action plan.

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The investment fee for this course is P8,500 plus VAT.

About the Facilitator

Ms. Blesilda “Baebee” Reynoso holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and Literature. She is a Creative Communications and Personality Enhancement Consultant specializing in training programs on Communication Skills, Learning Strategies, Team Building and Corporate Image.

As an artist-educator, Ms. Baebee also conducts lectures in Humanities and Art Appreciation for students and teachers. She also conceptualizes and organizes heritage tours, art conventions, seminars, and exhibitions. She is also an author/consultant for publishing houses.


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Want to be a good manager? Don’t stop learning

Today’s world of fast-paced innovation and change often necessitate rapid changes, adaptability, and agility. This is evident in changes to technology and software inside many organizations, but often overlooked when it comes to the most important resource in any company, people. As a leader inside an organization, it is crucial that you be able to adapt and move forward at the same pace as the organization and the world around you, adopting a mindset of continuous learning and innovation.

As a manager and leader, your role involves not only guiding your team or teams but also setting a good example, bringing new ideas and concepts to the team, and using every resource to build on the productivity and value of the people you are leading. Continuous learning is an important strategy for your, your team’s, and your organization’s success.

More than Just a Degree

While degrees are valuable and essential in most business management environments, they often aren’t enough to set you apart. Nearly half of all millennials have a minimum of a bachelor degree, which is often centered around information which is subject to change. Good management involves understanding new processes, leadership methods, and tools as they come in, mastering software and tools made available to you by the organization, and hopefully having at least a basic understanding of the technical work being completed by your team. This can require a significant amount of learning, including familiarizing yourself with the technical requirements and capabilities of graphic design, coding, and other technical skills if you don’t have that already.

An Attitude of Continuous Learning

Self-help expert W. Clement Stone recommends studying and/or reading anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours per day to foster a mental attitude of continuous learning and adaption. Continuing to challenge the brain with new information and input, to think, and practice memorization and learning techniques works to keep your thinking skills sharp, which will also aid your performance in the workplace.

Fostering Adaptability

Continuing to learn works to foster neural and synaptic plasticity in the brain. This means that the brain is more adaptable, more open to change, and more easily takes on new ideas and tasks. Continuous learning will put you in a mindset where you can approach new ideas with natural and intuitive creativity and flexibility, where new tools and ways of working are challenging and interesting, and where you can quickly change how or where you work to be productive. This will pay off as you move into the workplace where changing software, multicultural environments, flex work, and even remote workers are all becoming the norm.

Today’s workplaces are diverse, often multilingual, and may even span multiple offices in several countries. Learning will help you to develop adaptability, to move more easily between cultures, and to add value in any environment which you are in.

Staying Relevant

Modern technology and software change extremely rapidly. Keeping up requires constantly learning and doing new things. Trends and automation are continuing to replace certain skillsets, while creating a demand for others. Evaluating your work environment and the skills likely to change and adapt based on technological and business trends will give you a good idea of what you should be learning and why to stay relevant. This also applies when your current role is phased out or you move to another company, which may value new and different things.

For example, automation is a massive change coming to nearly every industry, and one that will become a significant economic force by 2020. Learning how it will affect your time and priorities and determining what will be necessary as your job moves forward into this new environment will help you to set priorities for learning so that your skills continue to remain relevant and valuable inside your organization.

Increased Confidence

Constantly learning will make you feel accomplished, more able to take on new ideas and things, and therefore more confident, even in emergency situations. While this won’t happen immediately, you will see it over time.

People are the most valuable resource in any organization, and as a manager, your leadership and guidance influence that. Learning and continuing to grow yourself will help you to be a better manager, not only by improving your skillset and helping you to develop and move forward while potentially inspiring others in your team to do the same. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that not all learning needs to be job related. Reading, learning crafts and hobbies, studying how processes work inside your organization, and nearly any other type of learning will foster the cognitive benefits of adaptability and agility, helping you to fit more easily into multicultural environments, to understand and change with your organization and the world, and to continue to adapt.


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Competency-Based Training: Addressing Performance Gaps

Please join us September 27 to 28 for a public seminar on Competency-Based Training: Addressing Performance Gaps. Performance gaps need to be addressed before it hurts the team and impact organization’s credibility. Addressing and correcting a performance problem is one of the most important and difficult tasks.

It is important to assess and consider contributing factors whenever addressing performance issues. A clear description of the gap helps to appropriately level the set expectations for the future. In this workshop, you will learn how to analyze performance gaps and how best to address it to help your employees perform better!

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Course Outline

Day 1

  • What is Training Needs Analysis (TNA)?
  • The Rationale for Conducting TNA
  • Objectives and Outcomes of a TNA
  • Aligning Organization Mission and Vision with Learning and Development Efforts
  • Scope of TNA: What should a TNA cover?
  • Identification of Needs at the Individual, Occupation and Organizational Level
  • Determining the Need for a TNA
  • The Model for Identifying Training Needs
  • Individual and Organizational Competencies
  • TNA into organizational processes and business models
  • Aligning the training needs analysis to the strategic objectives of the organization
  • Planning, preparing, adjusting and reviewing the training needs analysis procedure/process

Day 2

  • What techniques to use for specific situations – face to face, questionnaires, individual, groups and other investigation tools
  • Designing and Validation of the Survey and interview Tools
  • TNA Implementation and Sampling Techniques
  • Collating the Data Gathered
  • Data Analysis
  • TNA Report Preparation
  • Communicating the Results
  • Making a Persuasive Training Needs Presentation

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The investment fee for this course is P8,500 plus VAT.

About the Facilitator

Ms. Leonida G. Reyes is a Dynamic professional with more than 15years of rich experience spearheading the whole cycle of Human Resources Management and Development. Currently associated with the Philippine-Australia Human Resource Organizational Development Facility (PAHRODF) and presently engaged in organizational interventions and outsourced Human Resource Management with private corporations and Civil Society Organizations.

She has worked for Smart Communications where she gained a wealth of experience in Change Management, Culture-Building, Management and Leadership Development, Team Effectiveness, Instructional Development, and Facilitation of Learning among other behaviorally-anchored skills training for more than 11 years.

She has handled senior positions in Management and Development with diverse industries from Aviation, Systems Integration, Land Transportation, Shipping, Supply Chain Solutions / Logistics, Overseas Manpower Deployment, Manufacturing, Retail, Business Process Outsourcing, and Management Consulting.

An active member of the People Management Association of the Philippines, Organizational Development Philippine Network, Philippine Society of Training and Development, HR Philippines, and Society for Human Resource Management, U.S.A.


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How to Eliminate Bias in The Workplace

This is a guest post from Johanna Cider. Johanna is a freelance writer from Wellington, New Zealand with a special interest in business, travel and lifestyle topics, as well as experience producing written content for various sites and blogs. Visit Johanna’s Tumblr page to see more of her published work.

With issues of racial discrimination and unequal pay hot topics in the corporate world, the question of how to eliminate bias in the workplace is on every HR professional’s lips.

Discrimination can be overt, but more often, it’s underhand or even unconscious in nature. The human impulse, after all, is to categorize – but when that impulse encroaches into unjust classification according to gender, race, age, or ability, problems arise. Here’s what you can do to help curb bias in your place of work.

Catalogue all possible biases

It’s impossible to prevent biases on the office floor if you haven’t yet identified the many forms that workplace prejudice can take. From affinity bias (the tendency to like another person because they’re similar to you) to the halo effect (the tendency to base your entire opinion of a person on just one of their traits), the first step is to know exactly what bias struggles you are dealing with.

After you’ve done that, undertake a sweep-review of the current employee group. What are the statistical breakdowns for the number of women employed versus men? What’s the racial split? Where are problems likely to arise regarding discrimination? Asking your employees for their feedback directly is the most sure-fire way to flag manifest or latent workplace bias issues, and ensures that communication lines are kept open.

Broaden your candidate criteria

Interviewer bias is a major cause for concern when it comes to work-related discrimination. For example, top-quality candidates may be turned away because they don’t fit with the “culture” of the office – an assumption that may stem from ageism, classism, and aesthetic biases.

For example, if you’re recruiting someone new for an office filled with keen runners, and you decide that the candidate – although suited perfectly for the job – doesn’t quite fit that character bill, then it’s not them that’s the problem, but you. The most assured route to a diverse workforce is broad interviewing criteria, so if your workplace is falling short of this criterion, it may be time to review your policy.

Image Source: Unsplash

Review the office setup

Workplace dynamics can be shaped by things as seemingly insignificant as the feng shui of the office. If particular workers are distanced from others because of their desk placement, they may feel lonely or left out socially, too.

Don’t be afraid of criticism or suggestions for improvement from your own team – create an office or HQ environment amenable to interpersonal communication. If you can’t arrange an open-plan office, ensure there are collaborative spaces on the office floor which allow employees to engage in open dialogue with each other during break time.

Have a check-and-balance system in place

If you’re in charge of final decisions regarding employee appointment and issues of workplace bias, the best thing you can do is realize your own limitations. If you don’t already, always check your practices and policies with an objective party.

Educate

So, you’ve educated yourself and other HR personnel around the topic of workplace bias; now it’s time to truly bring about change on the office floor.

Lead an annual or biennial training day around bias best practices for the whole office (including CEOs and other execs). Don’t shy away from showing the relevance of such programs. Bring in as many global examples as you need – especially to prove to employees who are stubbornly set in their ways – that addressing unconscious discrimination begins at work.

Image Source: Unsplash

Encourage connection

Successful team-building efforts contribute immensely to the elimination of bias in the workplace. Often employees just need to break past the initial barrier with their fellow workers to abolish the stereotypical moulds they may have been fitting others into. Cultivate a sense of togetherness by establishing regular happy-hour drinks for staff each week, or perhaps by setting up a biweekly skill-swapping session between departments.


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