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Pros and Cons of Internal Development for Succession Planning

Leadership and talent succession is a touchy subject for many organizations. Most have a tenuous grasp on who, where, and how to hire replacements for key players, often with the intent of spending large amounts of money on hiring on senior staff.

The high-demand for skilled leaders has led to a commodity market, where talented individuals often have too many offers to count and bringing any of them into an organization will be costly.

For this and other reasons, organizations are increasingly adopting internal development as their primary succession management strategy, as pushed by influencers like Ram Charan and Stephen Drotter.

If you’re considering doing the same, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of both before adopting a single strategy.

Cost of Hiring vs. Developing Leaders

Hiring a leader for any type of senior position can be exorbitantly expensive. With few leaders on the market, many will find themselves deluged with offers. You’ll have to offer high in terms of compensation, environment, and interest/challenge to get anyone to consider your organization.

Developing leaders internally can be expensive as well. Investing in individual development often means training, mentoring, coaching, assessing results, using assignments to broaden experience, and continuing to follow up to ensure the individual is moving in the right direction.

This can be quite costly but will vary depending on the individual and the role. Internal development also means taking on risk, because if the individual leaves your organization, they aren’t delivering a return on any of that investment.

Culture Fit and Culture Awareness

Some organizations prefer to bring external leaders in to add new insight, new ideas, and new concepts. This can be extremely beneficial in that leaders with insight and experience in outside organizations can have a better view of what you’re doing, what markets are like, and can bring a broader range of experience to your organization. This can pay off.

However, it is also a risk. For example, Ron Johnson was brought onto Apple, where he greatly improved processes and increased profits for the organization. Attempting to do the same thing at JCPenney, he displayed a marked misunderstanding of the organization’s target demographic and their stocks dropped by 51%.

Internal hires are brought up inside your organization. They know how things work, why things are the way they are, and if you’ve handled development correctly, they have a deep understanding of your organization at every level. This can enable application of the Shuari principle of understanding and mastering before making changes to improve.

CEOs like Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, who worked with Microsoft since 1992 are good examples of successful applications of using internal development for leadership pipelines.

However, internal development has its own risks. People could leave. Internal people often don’t have external insight and might miss key flaws or bottlenecks preventing growth. And, internal people are less likely to create needed change.

Development Path

Hiring externally means that every one of your hires will have had the chance to pursue a range of experience and roles in external companies. This can include one or numerous other organizations which means that an external person will almost always have more diverse experience.

Developing leaders internally offers other advantages. Here, you can optimize development and experiences to meet the needs of a role through assignments, training, promotions, leaders, and coaching. You can, in short, design what you believe is the perfect leader based on assessments and job profiling.

Internal development is a valuable strategy that can help you to develop leaders, increase the availability of candidates for roles when positions open, and improve the quality of hires. However, it shouldn’t be a sole strategy. In most cases, both have obvious pros, cons, and limitations, so a mix of the two strategies is likely to deliver the best total results.


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A Guide to Building a Career During Tough Times

This is a guest post from Michael Deane. Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.

The Coronavirus pandemic has flipped our world upside down. In just a couple of weeks, people around the planet have faced social isolation, illness, and even death. The economy took a hit too, and many businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

The changes are taking place fast and hard. Therefore, it is completely natural to feel anxious and scared as you’re watching your career dreams, hopes, and plans coming to a halt.

How does one go about building their career during these tough times? Don’t worry – the following tips should help you get back on the track.

Secure Your Current Job

Network with your coworkers beyond work-related social services. To protect yourself against layoffs and stay visible at work, build strong internal relationships.

Give yourself an edge by investigating your current employer and understanding key company issues. By doing this, you will have a realistic overview of the situation. You may even find opportunities that will help you secure your job, such as key projects that you can support.

Furthermore, try to become a high-potential employee by showing your interest in different things and demonstrating your learning agility.

Providing additional value to the company is something that can make you indispensable.

Network, Network, Network

Networking means connections and opportunities.

Meeting new people allows you to use their skills to your advantage. You will, however, have to give something in return – your money, your knowledge. People with successful careers network a lot. Their goal is to create profitable, long-lasting relationships.

Use the downtime created by the pandemic to reach out to teachers, mentors, college friends, as well as current and previous colleagues. Ask them how they’re holding up during these challenging times, share your situation, and try to help them in any way you can.

Having a web of connections will help you find lots of career choices and opportunities along the way.

Investigate New Industries

Was your industry hit particularly hard by the pandemic? If it was, recovery may take a long time. Consider switching to another industry. Those that grew during the chaos are obviously the best choice.

Start your research by identifying a couple of target companies. Read through their websites. Your ultimate goal should be to learn as much as possible about a particular company. Study their growth plans, financial stability, as well as products and customers.

Thorough research will be of great assistance when it comes to interviews.

Map Your Skills

Besides researching different fields, think about jobs outside your current scope. Jot down the skills you’re using in your current role.

For example public speaking, design, writing, programming, sales, reception, system administration, project management, data analysis, and others.

Once you’ve completed the list, find jobs that overlap with the skills you wrote down. Are excel skills only a small part of your job? Consider moving to a position where they’re more important, such as analyst of Big Data for a marketing company.

Add Remote-Friendly Keywords to Your Resumé

As you already know, telecommuting is at an increase. Many managers expect workers to show that they’re capable of remote working. Therefore, it’s vital to show your experience and aptitude at it.

In your LinkedIn profile, cover letter, and resumé, make sure to mention document-sharing tools you’re familiar with. Moreover, cite your familiarity with video technologies you have used.

Mentioning how you worked remotely is just as important. For example: “I was a leader of a remote team consisting of 10 workers spread across multiple time zones.” 

If you have any relevant soft skills, such as written communication or time management, highlight them too. These will demonstrate that you’re more than capable of being productive as a remote worker.

Brand Yourself

These days, it seems like nothing is as important as branding. Big-name companies spend tons of money to make themselves look like the market’s “big dogs”. Branding creates your image in the marketplace – it’s an ancient business strategy that still works.

To build your career during these challenging times, brand your name and services. Start doing this by creating a social media profile, a blog, or simply by offering awesome services.

Raise Your Standards

Finally, keep in mind that there’s one factor that separates the successful from the non-successful. It’s your standards – they are responsible for how you behave, believe, and think.

In case your standards are high, you will never be pleased with less than you can achieve. Individuals with high standards are typically more successful.

Take a moment to reflect upon your values. Give your best to improve them. By being the best version of yourself, you’ll succeed in building your career even in these trying times.

Building a successful career requires patience, effort, and time even in the best of circumstances. The tips listed above should help you make the best out of the current situation.


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How to build an online learning and development system for your company

From the classroom to the library, learning centers aren’t a new concept. These days, however, learning centers can also be found online. As 94% of employees admit they would stay with an employer longer if they invested in their learning, it makes sense that employers look to step up the standards of their workplace training.

By moving your company’s employee training and development programs online, you can provide a higher quality and more standardized training experience for present and future employees.  Whether you need to provide training to employees, customers, or company partners, making learning resources available online will be a more efficient and cost-effective solution for your business.

Benefits of building an online learning and development system

When compared to traditional learning methods, there are numerous benefits to developing an online learning system for your organization.

One of the key advantages of online learning is that your employees will be able to access the training material anywhere, anytime as long as they have an internet connection. By removing the need to attend a physical location for training courses, you can also reduce business costs by no longer needing to pay for a training venue and other associated costs with classroom-based learning such as travel, catering or printed resources.

Digital learning can also allow employees to learn at their own pace. This self-paced style of learning can positively impact employee performance and productivity by enabling them to effectively balance their workload with their career development.

Providing employees with e-learning opportunities leads to an increased level of job satisfaction. As a result, companies who provide digital learning have a reduced employee turnover rate compared to organizations who do not offer e-learning solutions for their employees.

Moreover, digitizing your employee training resources will ensure all employees have a unified and standardized training experience. This standardized approach will allow employees to have access to the same development opportunities whilst also ensuring that all training provided by your organization is carried out to high standards.

How to build an online learning system for your company:

Moving your employee, customer or partner training online provides you with the opportunity to refresh and optimize your existing training resources and structure. However, digitizing your learning system isn’t as easy as uploading documents to the internet in one swift click. Before you get started, you’ll need a framework for how to effectively build an online learning system for your company.

To help you take your employee, customer or partner training online system, we have outlined 5 key steps to creating an online learning system for your company:

1) Establish learner personas for your online learning system

Before you start building your online training system, you need to understand who will be using the training platform – will it be your employees, your customers or company partners? By defining your learner personas, you will be able to develop a clear understanding of who will use your learning platform, what features they may need, the challenges they may have with e-learning and how to measure the effectiveness of your online training once it’s in use.

A learner persona is a fictional profile of someone that represents your learners. Therefore, your learner persona should include characteristics such as their training goals, job responsibilities, educational background or skill level. If you are setting up a company-wide training platform, you may find you have various learner personas based on your different company departments or employee skill-level. For instance, within your marketing department you may want to have one learner persona that represents junior employees and another learner persona that represents senior, more-experienced members within your marketing team.

2) Plan your learning system content

Once you have determined the users of your online learning system, along with understanding any goals they have or challenges they might face, it’s time to plan the content for your digital training system.

You may want to include a variety of content formats to account for the different learning styles. For example, including some video-based content on your digital training system may prove to be more successful with visual learners. Video learning could also result in increased learner attention and performance.

Start small when planning your content. Choose a subtopic within your employee training program and then create an online course based on that subtopic. For example, you may want to create a Health and Safety learning course for all of your employees. You could create a 30-60 minute course that teaches employees the correct health and safety procedure using a variety of case studies, educational videos, multiple-choice questions with a final test at the end to measure their performance and knowledge of this topic.

The subtopics you create could also feed into a larger learning program, allowing employees to develop their professional knowledge and to progress in their career. You could create a series of training courses based on Sales, with the aim of taking your Sales team members from a junior to a senior level.

3) Build your learning system features

Now that you’ve got a content plan for your online employee learning system, you need to build the platform.

Thankfully, if you’re looking to build an online learning platform, you don’t always have to start from scratch. There’s an array of existing platforms that you can use to host your digital employee learning system. With varying costs and features, you will have to compare each platform to your content plan to determine which platform is most suitable for your company. Alternatively, you could look at building a custom platform that will be designed to suit your exact needs.

When building your learning system, consider the different content types you need. To help your employees get the most out of your company development system, you will likely want to provide them with a variety of courses, exams and reports so that they can test their skills and measure their progression. Consider having personalized features within the individual user area. Having features such as messages, grades and rewards allows learners to better understand their development and could further encourage them to continue with their career development.

4) Planning your distribution strategy

When launching a new product or service, a well thought-out distribution strategy is important for a successful launch. Therefore, to ensure your online learning platform is successful, it’s worthwhile devising a distribution strategy.

When it comes to announcing your new digital learning platform, personalize your marketing to suit each of your learners. If your employees all work in the same location, you could host a meeting for each department to let employees know about the employee learning platform and how it will benefit them. Similarly, if you have an internal newsletter or intranet for your employees, this would also be a great way to communicate your new platform to employees.

If you have made the digital learning platform so that it’s publically available for customers or company partners, you could market your learning system through social media, blog posts, press releases or paid advertising.

5) Measure the effectiveness of your e-learning system

The work isn’t done once you’ve launched your employee e-learning system. After launch, you should monitor and measure the effectiveness of your employee training platform. By looking at metrics such as site visitors, frequency of visits and course completion reports, you can determine the effectiveness of your online learning system.

You can also ask employees for feedback to gain a deeper understanding of which features they do (or do not) like and potential improvements that could be made. Using reports will also allow you to monitor uptake and performance to determine if any changes are needed.

By continually reviewing and refining your company’s online learning platform, you can make sure you are providing your employees with the best possible learning and development experience.


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Are You Ready for Digitization? An HR Checklist for Small Businesses

Digitization is a word on everyone’s lips. Today, more than ever, organizations are rapidly digitizing, as work-from-home and flex work protocols create a huge need for flexible, digital operations and infrastructure. 68% of organizations are moving to implement digital operational processes, which greatly change how people work. 

While digitization hugely impacts organizations, often offering cost-savings, reduced time investment from employees, and better customer service, it also means big change. Digital transitions are periods of intense change and stress.

Many employees will resist that change, and you may find resistance to be highest at the top. Implementing a successful HR program to ease the digitization process is critical to ensuring that digitization is a success, and that your organization moves through it with your greatest resource – the employees – still in place. 

This HR checklist for small businesses will help you determine if you’re ready to start digitization or if you still have work to do. 

Get Everyone Onboard 

Most small organizations can quickly and easily identify leadership, which consists of founders, managers, and team leads. In some cases, you also want to look at key people such as individuals who are looked up to, top performers, or individuals who otherwise drive their team. The advantage in small businesses is that everyone is close together and you can likely easily identify who will and will not make a difference.

McKinsey & Company identifies having leadership on board as one of the most important aspects of a successful digital transformation. If the people in charge, or the people driving the organization, are hyped about something, everyone else will get behind it too. But, small companies don’t really work that way. Everyone is working side by side, and chances are, you wouldn’t want to keep a big decision secret from everyone until you have time to convert leadership, even if you could. 

Here, it’s a good idea to deliver information to everyone as part of the decision-making process. Depending on the stakeholders and owners, this can take one of several routes, but should normally include: 

  • Reasons for the change 
  • What changes will be made
  • Who will be impacted 
  • How it will affect those people 
  • What jobs (if any) will be made redundant and what opportunities are 
  • What new roles will open up 

Involving your team as part of a decision is a powerful way to get them onboard and engaged, because they are part of the process from the start. That allows you to deliver the value proposition to the employee before the decision is pitched as final, so that everyone can pitch in and be involved.

Most importantly, if everyone knows what’s happening, who’s affected, and what their options are to stay with the company, you’ll reduce issues relating to churn as employees leave the company while anticipating being let go. 

Build a Strong Connection Between Digitization and Goals 

Digitization is often an important and necessary step for the organizations adopting it. No one decides to go through expensive and “traumatic” changes to business processes and solutions for nothing. Every digitization effort you put into place links to a real and tangible business goal. Share these goals and share how new tools help the organization to improve, compete in its market, reduce costs, and improve the employee experience.

Here, it may be a good idea to share projected benefits to reductions in manual data entry, cost reductions, improvements in Co2 footprint, or how digitization might make some jobs easier and more efficient, freeing people up to add value with their time. 

Update Processes to Incorporate Digital 

Any digitization project must include a comprehensive digitization of the organization. The processes people use to work must be updated to not only mention digital but incorporate it completely. Processes must be worked into the tooling, so that most people naturally follow process just by using the tools. 

Deliver Training for New Digital Programs 

Moving to digital tools can be an extreme change for some. HR can support this change by identifying how and where people need training and delivering that training before rollout finishes. Some training programs might include: 

  • Using software 
  • How new digital processes work 
  • How automated processes work 
  • Cybersecurity and password protection 
  • Using new hardware 

People have to know how to use new programs before they can work on them effectively. Teams should have a strong understanding of basic usage of any new software before it’s delivered, with opportunities to improve learning.

It’s also important to ensure that everyone understands what’s going on. Switching from manually approving accounts payable to automating most steps can be confusing to people in charge.

Automating digital document backups can be confusing for people accustomed to making paper copies. Ensuring that everyone is aware of what’s going on and has the tools to understand the technologies in place is critical for driving value with new solutions. 

Create a Digitization Team 

Most organizations will need some time to fully digitize. This can involve identifying processes for digitization, improving those processes, and then automating them.

It can also involve digitizing hundreds of thousands of paper records, creating new storage solutions, identifying bottlenecks and issues resulting from new technical demands, and making changes to prioritization as the organization’s needs become more apparent.

Most small organizations should create a cross-functional digitization team composed of HR, IT, and Operations, with people capable of making decisions, changing implementation, and managing the process. And, if you do have to scan and back up thousands of documents, you need a team in place to manage that as well. 

Involve Key People in Decisions and Developing Change 

Most people are well aware of what they need and how to improve their work. We hire experts to do work because they are experts. Yet, many digitization projects “talk down” to experts, forcing new solutions on them with little to no input.

Involving key people in decisions relating to software options, online storage, cloud tools, VPN, and other solutions can greatly streamline the digitization process, because people are empowered and involved. If people know that they are choosing a solution to improve their work, they are engaged and not just planning to adopt, but eager to do so. 

While this sort of hands on approach to digitization requires that leadership be on board with it, it can greatly improve the whole process. Why? Involving employees is one of the most powerful things you can do to shift mindsets away from “digitization is replacing workers” to “digitization is aiding workers”. 

Digital transformations can greatly change how and where an organization works. Digitization can enable your organization to seamlessly work from home with secure VPN connections and virtual computers.

It can automate print processes, so your organization goes paperless, greatly changing the work of accounts payable and payrolling. It can automate sales processes, integrating sales, finance, and marketing onto a single platform.

Whatever it does, it will bring change, and managing that change is critical to ensuring a successful transition. Remaining open, communicating clear expectations, offering alternatives, delivering training, and building trust in new processes are some of the most important roles of HR during a transition.


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How MBTI Can Help You Hire Smarter

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, frequently shorted to MBTI, is the most common and most popular personality test in the world. With some estimations suggesting 89 of the Fortune 100 companies use MBTI during or after hiring, and somewhere between 2 and 3.5 million assessments administered each year, it would be difficult to refute the cultural significance of the test.

While the validity of using MBTI in hiring is often discussed, much of this discussion revolves around making hiring decisions based on MBTI, “pigeonholing” candidates based on test results, and determining that a candidate might not be suitable for a role based on assessment results. The MBTI foundation maintains these practices are unethical and outside the reach of what MBTI can or should do.

At the same time, MBTI can still provide valuable insight into hiring, people, and their choices. Modern assessments typically use multiple personality tests, IQ tests, and capacity tests to attempt to get a full picture of a candidate before hiring, and MBTI can definitely add value.

What the MBTI Does Not Do

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessments are based on scientific research by Carl Jung and closely align with concepts such as the Big 5 Personality types. However, these assessments are delivered in work settings, without validation, and are sometimes biased because of the intent or perceptions of the persons administering them. Therefore, MBTI is not a foolproof, scientific personality assessment. In fact, such a thing does not really exist because personalities are constantly changing.

MBTI is not fool-proof – People change, candidates can answer based on what they think employers want to hear, and candidates can test multiple times and receive different results. Don’t use the MBTI as a definitive personality map, but rather as a personal reporting tool.

MBTI doesn’t predict performance – While many organizations are prone to using MBTI to determine job performance, MBTI cannot be used in this way. The Myers-Briggs Foundation maintains that all types are equal, and most will excel in the same ways. Motivational and capacity tests looking into knowledge, skill, training, character, interpersonal dynamics, personal life, and company culture are much more adequate for determining performance.

Myers-Briggs should not be used to make hiring decisions. It can be used to inform hiring decisions and to help you in a variety of ways when evaluating and considering candidates.

Understanding Success for the Candidate

While each of the types are equal, they are also different. You shouldn’t use MBTI to decide not to hire someone for a role, for example, not hiring a person for sales because they rank high on introversion, but you can use it to determine what they might need for success in their role.

MBTI can help you determine factors such as:

  • Motivators – Is the candidate motivated by career opportunities? Financial incentives? Social recognition? Personal development? Opportunities?
  • Culture-Fit – Will the candidate fit neatly into the existing culture? Will they bring dynamic and change? Will they clash?
  • Autonomy – How much autonomy does the candidate want or need? Will they excel with a manager who works with everything they do? Will they excel in flat structures? Are they a potential candidate for leadership?
  • Change – Will the candidate adapt well to upcoming change? How much preparation do they need?

Answering these kinds of questions can help you get a better picture of the person you’re hiring, fit them into a better team, and ensure that management and HR have the tools needed to work with them.

Improve Team Placement

Teams should be made up of diverse personalities and therefore diverse MBTI types. Unfortunately, people tend to flock to others of the same type. Myers-Briggs assessments can aid in team placement in two ways:

1) Leadership Fit

What MBTI type is the team manager or scrum leader? Does it work with the candidate’s communication style? NF types communicate in abstracts and make decisions with groups. SP types communicate pragmatic decisions and concrete ideas. While you want some diversity in teams, it’s important that your candidate be able to work with leadership, understand them, and communicate well with them.

2) Team Diversification

Diversity breeds creativity and culture. People tend to flock together and create silos. Purposely hiring to build teams of different personality types can greatly aid in changing that by putting different types of people together, forcing that creativity, and creating balance. Here, team composition frameworks can be of use, and Myers-Briggs will simply complement that.

Making Hiring Decisions

Myers-Briggs is one tool out of dozens and should be just a tiny fraction of your hiring decision. While there are stories of people hiring based on specific personality type or excluding personality types such as those showing introversion, this is likely a mistake. Instead, Myers-Briggs should be combined with data from other hiring assessments to determine personality, to assess how honest the individual likely is on assessments including the MBTI, and to diversify personality types being hired.

This can extend to:

  • Ensuring personality types don’t clash
  • Complimenting strengths and weaknesses across teams
  • Ensuring communication types match up as much as is practical or feasible
  • Developing guidelines for personal motivation and development
  • Creating development guidelines for the individual as they onboard

MBTI assessments are popular, and for good reason. They can make a difference in your hiring processes, most notably by giving you a larger and more informed picture of the candidate. While they won’t make hiring decisions for you, understanding a candidates MBTI can help you to place them, fit them into the right team, and make the right decisions during hiring to ensure everyone benefits.


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How Knowing Your MBTI Can Help You Nail Your Next Interview

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI is one of the most respected and used personality tests in the world. With estimates showing that between 2 and 3 million people take the test every year, and 89 Fortune 100 companies use it, MBTI is undoubtedly the standard when it comes to personality tests. While any veteran interviewer is likely accustomed to taking MBTI and other assessments. But most never take what they learn home, and certainly never bring it to new interviews.

The thing is, MBTI assessments are used to help recruiters determine who you are. They help recruiters identify strengths and weaknesses, figure out your communication style, and figure out how you like to work. Understanding what recruiters are looking at, what they see when you go through an assessment, and how they are likely to respond that can help you nail interviews, and in more ways than you might think.

How Personality Types Influence Your Interview Performance

Myers-Briggs uses 16 personality types to explain if you are extroverted, introverted, and how you outwardly communicate. Depending on your results, your interview performance could be viewed in different lights.

For example, extroverted persons are expected to be more outgoing, more comfortable in social settings, and have a broader social comfort range. So, taking an MBTI assessment can positively impact your interviewer’s perception of your communication because they understand it.

On your end, understanding your MBTI can help you to notice and account for blind spots. Are you extroverted and outgoing? You might find yourself saying too much and over sharing. Introverted? You might be coming off as shy, cold, or unlikeable.

Data shows that likeability factors track to extroversion and emotional stability, meaning you can work to be extroverted, calm, and stable during interviews to increase likeability and first impressions. While your interviewer is expected to look beyond those first impressions, knowing what those first impressions are will help you immensely.

Understanding Your Strengths

Your MBTI will tell you what your strengths and weaknesses likely are. This can give you much-needed insight into your own personality traits, and from the perspective of HR. Most people don’t think of themselves as “Confident, analytical, and ambitious”, but if you happen to be an INTJ, that’s what MBTI describes your personality type as.

  • How do you recognize these strengths in yourself?
  • How do these strengths benefit the role? The recruiter is aware of how strengths benefit their roles, but it’s always a good idea to discuss it with them. “I’m analytical, which means I’m good at X and Y, demonstrated by my experience in …”
  • Where have you demonstrated those strengths?

MBTI gives an overview of average personality traits, it doesn’t go “Every person of this type has these traits”. This means you can review traits, highlight strengths you do have, discuss them in ways that make sense for the role, and back them up with evidence. Why? You’ll reinforce the positive traits the recruiter is looking at in your assessment results, without really making bold claims that you can’t back up. This will make you look very good for HR.

Discussing Your Weaknesses

Every personality type has its own weaknesses. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with those weaknesses, especially in terms of how they connect to your role. If you’re introverted, most people will assume you’re not a good fit for a sales role. Poor communication skills stand out. Review the “weaknesses” in your MBTI results and learn to talk about them. Figure out how and if they apply to you. Discuss how you account for those weaknesses, what you do to improve, and why those weaknesses might not be “weaknesses”.

What’s a good example of that? If you were to go back to INTJ, you’d see weaknesses like “Judgmental”, “Critical”, “highly independent”, “overly analytical”, “Dislikes rules”, etc. Most of these can be discussed in a positive light, while acknowledging that they are weaknesses and you have to compensate. That conversation might look like:

“I have a tendency to be a perfectionist and that can work against me in teams, because nothing ever feels good enough. Mostly I make that work by getting to know my teammates so that I trust their work, quality of work, and that they’ll deliver. Viewing projects as a collaborative project, even if I get to work by myself sometimes, can help me to excel as well, so it’s something that I’ve tried to embrace more and more since I became aware of it.”

Discussing your weaknesses shows that you’re self-aware, cognizant of how you fit into teams, and willing to take steps to compensate or to improve.

Understanding Why MBTI Says You Might Fit into a Role

Most recruiters will be impressed if you walk into an interview with a strong understanding of your MBTI. This might backfire if you take the assessment and get a different result (MBTI assessments yield the same results 75-90% of the time) but will give you grounds to openly discuss points like:

  • “How does my communication style fit into that of the team”
  • What are the leaders like? Do they compliment my work and communication style? Or clash?
  • These personality traits might not seem like they fit into this role, but actually they do, here’s how I’ve succeeded in the past
  • These personality traits have caused me trouble in the past, how will those fit into this role?

The Myers-Briggs Foundation states that no Type is intrinsically suited or unsuited for a particular role or job. It does offer recommendations for “best-fit” roles for personality types but shares that these are loose structures. No one should ever be denied or given a role because of their MBTI type, and if you feel your recruiter is planning to use it for decision-making, you should discuss that.

At the same time, MBTI can be a valuable way to gauge personality, individual approach, and work or communication personality, which you can discuss and communicate to directly talk about anything your recruiter might be thinking or going over when they look at your Myers-Briggs type.


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Best practices for hiring freelancers

Global digitization brought great benefits to companies around the world by expanding the talent pool available. Online collaboration enables companies to hire skilled professionals, regardless of location.

For companies, working with freelancers has numerous benefits. You can fill skill gaps and specialize in roles you can’t justify a full-time hire with. To ensure smooth freelancer partnerships, you should know how to protect your company and build a stable long-term relationship with them. Here’s what we recommend.

Be specific

Hiring freelancers is almost always about finding the right specialists to fill the knowledge and skill gaps of your own team. That means when you look for freelancers, you look for a well-defined set of skills.

In order to facilitate your search, be as specific as possible in your job description. You need to list down preferred experience, soft and technical skills, level of expertise, expected timelines, budget, and project domain.

Over-communicating is better than under-communicating to filter out under-qualified applicants. Plus, many freelancers will be able to identify projects they can bring useful suggestions to.

Use different platforms to search

There are dozens of freelancer marketplaces where you’ll find hundreds of suitable candidates. However, there are several other niche platforms that may help narrow your search.

If you are looking for freelance software developers, consider visiting GitHub, Stack Overflow, and CodeProject. Developers can share their knowledge and showcase expertise so you can assess some level of skill without even contacting the person.

Quora is a great place to find opinion leaders, managers, and marketing specialists. As for hiring freelance copywriters, have a look at blogs like Moz or Single Grain and contact writers whose articles seem the most engaging and informative.

This approach is a bit more complex and requires more time and effort than using freelancer marketplaces. However, these niche platforms will help you pinpoint your perfect candidate more quickly than sifting through a flood of generalists.

Avoid the price wars

Freelancers are known to have cheaper rates than in-house specialists. However, that does not mean you should opt for the cheapest rate available.

When looking at the freelancers and their rates, try to find the best quality to rate ratio. To assess quality of work, ask for a portfolio or send a paid test task. Experienced freelancers usually have a record of work that they can show to employers.

Use HR assessment tools

Hiring a freelancer is not much different from hiring an employee to join your in-house team. That means you can use HR assessment tools to assess soft and technical skills.

Here’s how to insert it into your hiring flow;

  • Conduct an interview in an online call
  • Send an HR assessment to gauge fit and skill
  • Request a test task
  • Send them through interviews with the team they’ll be working with

These methods create a win-win situation for both parties. For the freelancer, it is a good chance to become part of the company and learn about its mission, goals, and culture. For the employer, it is a great way to see whether a freelancer is reliable, communicative, and has the right soft skills for the job.

Negotiate in advance

To keep things transparent and minimize risks, we recommend negotiating on payment method, reporting, and communication in advance.

When working with freelancers, communication is the cornerstone of project success. Clear communication guarantees that the freelancer understands your requirements and there are no misunderstandings. To achieve that, decide on the most suitable communication channel and set strict deadlines for every task so you know when to expect progress reports.

Choose the most suitable reporting method (i.e. Trello) so you can see at what stage the project is and what work has already been done. And obviously, negotiate on the payment method and the rates to avoid any issues in the future.

All these questions have to be discussed before starting work, as they should be included in your contracts and agreed on in writing.

Don’t forget the documentation

Working with someone you’ve never met can cause a fear of abandonment. After all, there is no 100% guarantee that your freelancer will complete the project after receiving payment. To legally protect yourself from financial loss, secure your project, and protect your data, you should prepare a few documents for your freelancer to sign.

Here are some examples;

  • NDA: A non-disclosure agreement restricts third-parties from accessing your data. That means the information is shared only between you and the freelancer, and if they share it with anyone else, you will be in the full right to legally protect your data.
  •  A working agreement: This one lists the terms and conditions of your collaboration. Such a document may have stated rates, deadlines, type of services, etc. This document is very similar to the one that in-house employees sign.
  • Invoices: Some employers prefer to work by invoices, so a freelancer will need to create one in order to get paid.

The documents that you should prepare for a freelancer will depend on your project type. However, the NDA and the working agreement are the two essential documents that you should have with any freelancer before starting work.

Freelancers can be more experienced and flexible than in-house specialists, and may be able to provide useful suggestions or recommendations to optimize your project. The key to successful client-freelance relationships is a healthy feedback loop, so be ready to give and get feedback, and you could be amazed at how well your projects go.


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The must-have tech tools for distance learning

It’s become fairly common for learning to take place online. Many colleges offer online degree programs to allow students to further their education without the need to attend on-campus lectures. In 2018, approximately 3.25 million students were enrolled in distance education courses.

Despite its rising popularity, distance learning can be difficult for both teachers and students. When you remove the physical learning environment, you need to be able to trust your students to be self-motivated in their learning.

Likewise, your students need to be able to trust that you will provide them with all of the resources and support they need to complete their online learning. Without the assistance of physical interaction, virtual learning tools become more important than ever before.

By utilizing a bank of must-have tech tools, you can ensure your students have everything they need to succeed in their distance learning. Tech tools can be a powerful solution for distance learning by fostering inclusion, encouraging team collaboration and supporting each student’s individual progression.

The must have tech tools for distance learning

There are a multitude of benefits to distance learning for teachers and learners. As a learner, studying online allows you to further your learning anywhere, anytime at a lower cost. Distance learning will also allow you, as a learner, to work to a flexible schedule.

As a teacher, offering distance learning can enable you to reach students from multiple locations, not just the ones who are in close physical proximity. Distance learning will also allow teachers to minimize the financial overheads involved with physical learning centers.

To help your students get the most out of your online learning program, we’ve compiled this list of the must-have tech tools for distance learning.

1) Video conferencing software

The importance of human interaction should not be ignored in distance learning. Video calls and conferences are a powerful tool for enriching your distance learning program. Video call software will allow you to host live, interactive sessions for your students.

Hosting live video calls can help to simulate the in-person learning environment by fostering collaboration between students and the teacher. When compared to audio-conferencing, video conferencing significantly improves the quality of communication which, in turn, can improve performance.

Nowadays, you will find a variety of video conferencing tools to choose from. Each offering varying features, you will find that most video call tools allow you to host webinars to large audience sizes, perfect for virtual lectures.

Most video call tools, such as Zoom and Google Meet, will allow you to record your video sessions. This presents a great opportunity to use pre-recorded video calls for future use. These pre-recorded sessions can be provided to lesson attendees for recapping at a later date, or they can be used to deliver pre-recorded lessons to new students.

2) Whiteboarding applications

Not everyone learns best by listening to a teacher. According to the VARK learning styles model devised by Fleming, people prefer to learn in one of four ways: visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinesthetic. While video conferences can be great for auditory learners, they may not be the best learning format for visual or kinesthetic learners.

Whiteboarding applications are a great way to engage visual learners. Research conducted in a classroom-based setting found that the use of interactive whiteboards increased learner engagement and participation.

Based on these findings, it could be beneficial to consider incorporating virtual whiteboard tools into your online learning program. Virtual whiteboards are useful for collaborative exercises, brainstorming or visual demonstrating aspects of teaching, such as calculations or diagrams.

If you want to simulate classroom learning, Limnu is an online whiteboard application that is representative of a real whiteboard.

The advantage of an online whiteboard compared to a real whiteboard is that you can save your annotations, use it for collaboration, share it with other people and use it alongside video conferencing. By combining whiteboarding applications with video conferencing, you can ensure your distance learning program appeals to a wider range of students.

3) Online survey tools

When providing distance learning courses, it’s important that you understand your students perceptions of your course. With online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or JotForm, you can get course feedback from your students. By collecting course feedback, you can develop a deeper understanding of the aspects of your course that did or did not work for your students.

JotForm offers a template of an e-learning feedback form that can be used to gain insights into how your online course is perceived by students. You can then use this information to make changes to your course structure and improve student satisfaction levels.

You can also use online survey tools to engage students in learning by creating polls for students to interact with, or by using surveys to understand student learning styles, habits and interests.

4) Cloud-based storage

When taking your learning online, it’s important to consider how you’re going to share resources with your students. As a result, you’re going to need a cloud-based storage solution such as Dropbox. This will allow you to store course materials, resources, printouts and worksheets for students to access as and when they need them. You can even organize course materials into folders to help students find the resources they need based on topic or lesson.

Creating a hub of resources can be advantageous for distance learning by providing students with resources they can use to complement their learning. Students with learning disabilities benefit from having more control over their web-based learning, therefore providing students with a hub of learning resources could increase accessibility as they are able to choose which learning resources works best for them.

5) Learning management platform

Finally, if you want your students to succeed in your distance learning program, you may want to set up a learning management platform.

A learning management platform streamlines all of the tech tools and content that teachers and students need for a connected learning experience. Digital learning management platforms can help simplify the process of distance learning by providing one solution of integrated products for online learning.

LearnED, a learning management system, is an online platform for e-learning. With a learning management platform, your students will be able to access course material in one place and submit assignments online. As a teacher, you will be able to host course material on the platform, see performance reports and understand how each of your students are performing.

Learn more about the LearnED and available courses here.


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Career Guidance and Assessments in the Philippines

The Philippines have been developing at an incredibly fast pace in recent years, scoring well in the Human Development Index and uncovering new and exciting job opportunities for its residents. The country has a high employment rate of 95.5% and has a very well-developed Information Technology sector.

With this in mind, it is logical to assume that young people (i.e. students) and unemployed people have access to a wide variety of possible jobs. At the same time, when presented with such a choice, it might be hard to reasonably assess oneself and choose a position that corresponds to their certain set of interests, skills, and personal traits.

This is where career guidance and assessment services step in to help people navigate through possible options and choose the most suitable one.

The role and benefits of career guidance and assessment

One should not underestimate the benefits that career guidance services bring:

  • Evaluation of strengths and weaknesses
  • Identification of interests
  • Matching of interests and possible career options
  • Identification of the most suitable careers
  • Analysis of one’s personality and advice on career choice

Career guidance is especially relevant for young people who do not have real-life working experience and often have absolutely no idea about what they will do in the future.

Thus, it is important to provide assessment services in order to help people find the best career options and strengthen both the community and the country’s economy.

The Secondary School Career Guidance and Counseling Act

In 2019, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Secondary School Career Guidance and Counseling Act that is valid for public and private high schools across the country.

The act is aimed at helping students make wiser and more accurate decisions regarding their future careers. To achieve that, the career guidance and counseling program was institutionalized in schools.

The act also imposed the establishment of a National Secondary Schools Career Guidance and Counseling Program (CGCP) to providing high-quality guidance and counseling services to students.

Such a decision standardizes and organizes the career guidance process and places emphasis on its significance. The recognition of the role of such services is great as it proves the government cares about the country residents and is ready to help them make a balanced decision that will lead to satisfaction with the future career.

Assessment Options

The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator is one of the world’s most popular methods to assess one’s personality and identify how exactly one makes decisions and perceives the surroundings and people. It analyses whether a person is an introvert or extrovert, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving, and more to help students understand themselves and their strengths better.

The Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation instruments help people improve their personal relationships by understanding their needs and how those influence their communication and behaviors. It focuses on how you behave around others and how you want others to behave around you in order to provide students a clear emotionally intelligent roadmap for collaboration.

The EQ-i analyzes emotional intelligence. This comprehensive assessment tests five distinct aspects of emotional and social functioning, and then breaks those down further into 15 subscales. Students and career counselors can use these results to learn about leadership potential, team building, and student development, among other things.

The importance of career guidance services in the Philippines

As stated above, career guidance and counseling services bring immense benefits to students. However, if we speak about the Philippines, there are other factors that double the importance of such services in the country.

Lack of involvement from the parents’ side

It is common that parents are the biggest influences when it comes to the career choices made by their children. And this problem is relevant to the Philippines as well.

As the Development Asia outlined, it is necessary to enhance the involvement of parents in the career counseling process and involve them as early as possible so they have enough time to discuss the possible career options with the children.

An important note here: career guidance services should not provide over-complicated information but rather speak in a clear manner that can be understood by anyone. As well, it would be a good idea to provide relevant role models to the students as this can facilitate their decision.

Lack of knowledge about the possible governmental aid

One of the biggest constraints that prevent students from choosing the desired university and hence, occupation, is a poor financial situation. There are many events in the Philippines that might impact one’s financial status: failure of a family business, socioeconomic issues, even extreme and unprecedented weather conditions. All that may seriously affect whether one can afford the desired college.

The financial issue is closely interlinked with another one – a lack of knowledge about the possible governmental financial aid. In the recent survey, only 14% of the respondents were aware of the financial aid program and that means, 86% of the people do not even know the government can help them. Hence, career guidance and counseling services should also inform both the students and their parents about the possible financial aid options, thus, eliminating the bottlenecks in the career selection process.

Summary

The availability of career counseling and guidance services in the Philippines is a great indicator of the country’s development process. It showcases that the government is genuinely interested in providing young people with all the tools and information necessary to make a wise and data-driven choice regarding the career that will bring tangible benefits in the future.


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Best HR automation tools: a quick review

Human resource management involves many processes, from resume screening to actual hiring. While some of these processes demand human involvement, others can be easily automated or performed by a machine.

The automation of certain HR processes eliminates mundane tasks and helps HR specialists focus on establishing a long-term relationship with candidates and employees. This, in turn, can bring immense benefits to a company, such as increased retention rate and employee loyalty.

In this article, we will go over some HR automation tools that help specialists deal with their everyday tasks in a faster and more efficient manner.

Company branding

One of the first things for every company to do is to brand itself among potential and current employees.

Company branding plays an important role in the recruitment process. If the candidate can see the company’s expertise from the content that it posts, and if the company is among the first in search results, chances are high a candidate will be interested.

Unfortunately, many companies do not have enough time or desire to build a strong personal brand. Use automation tools to enhance your branding and reach the candidates more efficiently.

Try: TalentLyft

TalentLyft positions itself as a recruitment marketing tool. It offers the following features:

  • SEO optimization
  • Content marketing management
  • Creation of team pages and blog
  • Employer branding
  • Creation of a career site

All of those features are designed to help companies better brand themselves and get candidates interested. With the help of such a tool, you can focus on the actual message that you want to pass to the candidates and leave the mundane tasks to a smarter system.

Candidate search

Sourcing candidates is one of the most important, yet tiresome, tasks of any HR specialist. With thousands of resumes, it may seem impossible to find the right fit for the right position.

That’s where artificial intelligence steps in and saves the day. Due to its ability to process large volumes of data (quickly), AI-powered tools can immediately process and analyze massive sets of data and extract the exact CV that will match your position.

Try: Google Hire

With Google making such huge strides in AI and machine learning, their hiring software is an excellent AI-based tool for recruiting.

Google Hire uses AI to find the right candidates more quickly and reliably, saving your HRMs time. In addition, the tool lets you synchronize your Gmail, Google Calendar, and other services for better management of administrative tasks.

Candidate assessment

Once you find a great candidate, you’ll want to check their skills and knowledge.

Candidate assessment is an integral part of the recruitment process. It lets HR specialists assign the tasks to the right people, speed up onboarding, and reach business goals faster.

Assessments also help gauge an individual’s level of emotional intelligence, which is an incredibly important skill for any employee to have.

While personal assessment may seem like something that should be performed by a manager, automation tools significantly accelerate the assessment process and help HR specialists analyze the results.

Try: Profiles Asia Pacific

Profiles Asia Pacific tool helps organizations better assess their employees, develop their full potential, and make data-based decisions regarding task assignment and employee management.

The tool contains numerous skill tests, EQ assessments, and other products that will become a valuable asset for any HR specialist who wishes to learn more about candidates and employees.

Management of expenses

HR specialists know everything about the employees’ perks but they also have to manage them. Benefits, vacations, insurances, and all similar expenses demand careful tracking.

In order for all this data to be organized and kept in order, an HR specialist needs a system that would centralize the data, keep the track of the workflows and make corresponding updates.

Try: Orange HRM

Orange HRM is a comprehensive tool that helps HR specialists better organize their day-to-day operations, including expense management.

Some of their features include:

  • Expense tracker
  • Travel tracker
  • Benefits tracker
  • Disciplinary tracker

With the help of this tool, HR specialists can always learn about the current state of expenses for a certain employee and can rest assured nothing was missed.

Management of daily operations

As said above, HR management includes many operations. Some of them happen on a daily basis, and it’s quite easy to lose sight of them.

Time tracking, performance reviews, communication, and feedback – all these processes demand attention and cannot be ignored. Tools that keep all of these talent management aspects in one dashboard are increasingly valuable for keeping everything organized and avoid letting things slip through the cracks.

Try: Zoho People

Zoho People states it’s a “360-degree HR automation solution” and, judging by its features, we can agree with that!

The tool takes full care of all administrative HR tasks and centralizes them. An HR specialist can access any employee’s profile at any time and see the current status of all related operations, like tracked time or provided feedback.

Summary

HR automation tools are great for middle to large companies with lots of processes going on. In this case, tools and automation can save time and resources, allowing your HR specialists to focus on more specific and complex tasks.


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