The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

Archive for April 2009

How to get the job you want

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Just a bit of Friday fun.

When you’re up against several other worthy candidates for the job position, how do you ensure that you secure the job that you’re dying for? This new Pepsi Max ad shows you how to rope in your friends to help increase your chances of securing that job.

Have a good weekend!

Written by Human Resources

April 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Recruitment, Video

When employees tarnish the company image

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Uh oh. Just recently, a video with two Domino’s Pizza employees in the United States was circulated on YouTube where they were filmed putting cheese in nostrils and passing gas on food.

Soon the internet exploded with the news of the video. As the video quickly gained over one million views,  people on social networking site Twitter started talking about it. Public outrage ensued and this became a public relations nightmare for the pizza chain.

While the two staff were identified, promptly  sacked and are now possibly facing jail-time, this is a case where “pranks” (as the two employees had called it) can bring about horrible consequences for the employees. Closer to home, DBS Bank recently got into some negative press when its vice-president for consumer banking group cards,  Josie Lau, openly breached the code of conduct twice by volunteering to be the president of activist group AWARE and the bank had to issue a statement to declare that the organisation did not support her actions.

So what did Domino’s do to manage this crisis?

First, the president of Domino’s, Patrick Doyle, made a YouTube video addressing the two employees’ conduct and apologizing for this behaviour. Then, the company started a Twitter account to respond and address individual questions and criticisms, as well as collect and highlight comments from their supporters.

But the damage is done. According to a survey conducted by HCD Research found that 65% of espondents who would previously visit or order Domino’s Pizza were less likely to do so after viewing the video.

But as HR practitioners, do you have a contingency plan for when employees misbehave or flout the codes of conduct? Is your company prepared to manage a public relations nightmare? What would you have done in Domino’s situation?

Have trouble loading the video? Why not check your company or computer’s firewall settings to make sure that Youtube videos can be streamed on your computer.

Written by Human Resources

April 23, 2009 at 10:27 am

What happened to the welcome committee?

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Written by Human Resources

April 22, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Bad work habits we are guilty of

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Ever had this problem of facing some work to be done and you don’t know how to do it or you just don’t feel like getting started?

It’s called procrastination and it is the “mother of all bad work habits”, says Angeline Teo, principal consultant for d’Oz International. Work procrastination can easily create a domino effect which may affect someone else’s workflow because you leave your work undone and they have to pick up your slack. That’s work inefficiency and it affects the overall organisation’s productivity.

Alarmingly, another top work habit most of us have is disorganisation or desk clutter. A cluttered desk prevents you from accessing documents efficiently and you waste time and effort to obtain new copies. According to Teo, executives spend up to six weeks a year looking for lost files, documents and emails. So if an organisation has 20 managers who have this bad habit and they are paid $100 per hour, add the numbers up and that’s how much your company is losing every year.

In the video below, Teo tells Human Resources more about the bad work habits all of us are guilty of and the potential consequences to our careers and even personal life.

Have trouble loading the video? Why not check your company or computer’s firewall settings to make sure that Youtube videos can be streamed on your computer.

Written by Lee Xieli

April 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Happy anniversary, Dilbert!

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first ever Dilbert comic.

Hard to imagine that it’s been 20 years since Scott Adams started documenting everything that is dysfunctional about work and the office.

It’s easy to see why Dilbert has obtained comic longevity. With large numbers of people spending 40 hours or more each week cooped up in cubicles and “open office spaces”, it’s inevitable that human drama will ensue these people have to work and collaborate together.

Whether it is office politics, incompetent managers, disengaged workers, the Dilbert comic strip pretty much covers it all. And as office workers, the situations in the comic strips is something that we definitely relate to and sympathise with.  Plus, Dilbert comics also put in the idea that somehow, the lives of office workers are interesting enough to document on three-panelled comic strips too.

Plus, it helps that the comics are funny.

But proceed with caution. As one worker in Iowa can attest, putting up Dilbert comics in the office may incite the anger of your upper management (who don’t like being compared to drunken lemurs) and get you fired instead.

So happy anniversary Dilbert!

Written by Human Resources

April 16, 2009 at 11:56 am

Keeping stress levels down and motivation up

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High stress levels in a workplace are never good, more so these days where people are grinding their teeth and pulling up their socks to give bosses no opportunity to “cut costs”. Besides not liking it when colleagues bite our heads off over the smallest issue, high stress levels reduce productivity by a huge notch. From an article in HRZone by Annie Lawler, she provides useful tips on keeping undue stress levels down and motivation up.

1. Communicate openly

Negative mindsets can be developed in trying times. Keeping staff informed is a great way to involve them, and may in turn reduce stress. Open communication helps build rapport amongst the staff and enables them to think of ways to help the company.

2. Ensure additional pressure doesn’t become undue stress

It’s good to be alert and spot signs of undue stress among your staff, providing relevant interventions if the situation requires it. Organising short seminars and workshops for staff on ways to manage stress and maintain a positive attitude is a great way to boost morale. Government funding or grants for these workshops may be an alternative if budget is tight.

3. Maintain a positive work environment

Focus on the positives! Maintaining a positive attitude can work wonders in a workplace, where confidence can be instilled with a simple smile or from the tone of your voice.

4. Actively discourage negative talk and gossip

Encourage staff not to huddle in groups to make negative talk about other staff or the company. Negative thoughts are major stress factors, and can reduce our ability to make effective decisions. Health may also suffer from all the negativity.

5. Continue to celebrate success

Encourage your staff to report small wins and big accomplishments. Congratulating them over a job well done with small and fun treats may be more beneficial than expected. A small appreciation can go a long way in keeping motivation levels up.

6. If you have to make cuts

If you have to announce cut-backs, always remain a professional demeanour and treat staff with dignity and respect. If your company allows it, recommend relevant services which can assist them in finding new jobs.

Related posts:  Four cheap ways to keep employees happy

Written by KT

April 15, 2009 at 1:10 pm

What would you do?

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Asking for more?

Are employees asking for more?

Over the weekend, a reporter from one of the Mandarin daily newspapers called me asking for my opinion on the job market.

“Are job seekers becoming less demanding in the current economic downturn?” the reporter asked.

Yes, I said. Based on what we hear from both the sides of HR practitioners and recruitment agencies, job seekers are becoming less demanding compared to when the economy was booming two years ago.  They now are less fussy about details such as hours, workplace locations and do not ask for as big bonuses as they did before. Compensation, while important, is now not the biggest issue on the table anymore.

The reporter went on. “So this guy I spoke to complained about the $1,200 pay a company offered. He said that he had two kids to feed and a four-room HDB flat to pay a mortgage on. And he said that $1,200 offer was not enough. What do you think he should do in his situation?”

Far be it for me to dispense advice to a person whose background I know nothing about.  Plus, the reporter did not mention anything else, such as whether there was additional commission or bonuses involved, or other perks as well.

But as a journalist, I knew the guy on the other line was waiting for me to give a soundbite.

So what did I say? In my opinion of someone who has reported on the HR industry for two and a half years, choosing whether to take up a job depends on several things. While the pay (of $960 after a 20% CPF deduction) may be considered low, choosing whether to accept a job or not also depends on other factors such as:

  • Rate of promotion and career acceleration
  • Variable bonuses, or other commission
  • If it is an industry that is hard to break into
  • The person’s financial situation
  • The person’s long-term career aspiration

What would you do if you were in the person’s shoes? Would you accept a low-paying job, and if so, why would you do it? Or would you hold out for a better-paying job instead, even if it means not having an income?

Written by Human Resources

April 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Personal career

Why training does not guarantee results

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It’s a common scenario. HR practitioners spend precious dollars on training in hopes of achieving specific behaviours, and yet when the training sessions are over,  employees just lapse back into their old habits.

So why is it that training often does not lead to the desired outcomes? The reason is because there is no change in employees’ thinking, says James Irvine, director of Egyii.

In this video, Irvine talks about how our thinking affects our behaviours and what we can do to control our thoughts.

Have trouble loading the video? Why not check your company or computer’s firewall settings to make sure that Youtube videos can be streamed on your computer.

Written by Human Resources

April 9, 2009 at 9:53 am

Posted in Training, Video

10 tenants for the new HR

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Here’s a good read. From KnowHR blog, HR blogger Frank Roche talks about the 10 tenants for the new HR.

1. HR has one job: business success. Anything else is useless and a waste of air. If it doesn’t have to do with business, we’re not doing it.

2. HR isn’t the Complaint Department or your Kindergarten teacher. We’re going to teach people to grow up and stop wasting our time like they’re 5-year-olds who can’t share their toys.

3. We won’t accept mediocrity in HR. Human resources cannot be where people go when they can’t find meaningful employment. We’re going to cowboy up our talent. We want — we demand — the best and the brightest.

4. Nothing is sacred. We’re going to critically think about everything we do. And if we hear people saying “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Well…don’t make me come over there.

5. We’re not in charge of the holiday party anymore. Yeah, that’s right. We aren’t the social secretaries. We have real jobs to do. See #1.

6. Business is gonna want a seat at our table. The time of putting HR at the kid’s table is over. You said, “Our business is about our people.” Now, with way fewer of them, it’s going to be true. Like scary true. Take a number.

7. Rules are for fools. We’re tossing out the rule book. We’re not hall monitors anymore. We’re going to expect grownups to behave like grownups. Or they’re gone. Any questions?

8. We’re going to make pay-for-performance work. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. So forgive us if we insist that the best people make the most money. It’s not a rule — it’s a fact.

9. No more workarounds to make up for weak managers. Please see #1. Our job is to make our company work most efficiently. We won’t be making up policies to make up for bad managers. It’s either up or out.

10. We’re going to put the “human” back in Human Resources. They’re not numbers on a spreadsheet or “human capital” that can be traded like a commodity. They’re people, with fears and hopes and dreams. And for a few hours a day, they come to our place. We’ll make sure that (along with #1) we remind ourselves every day that what we do is about people. Mediocre people = mediocre business. Great people = great business.

If there’s anything we at Human Resources are a strong advocate of, it’s point #5 –  “Business is gonna want a seat at our table.”  That’s why we always strongly advocate smart business strategies that help HR and the business perform its function better.

But it’s not just about knowing what HR needs to become, it’s about how HR can become a better business  partner.

Starting from the April issue, we are also adding a regular column called ‘CEO speaks’ where one of the questions we pose to CEOs include: What must HR do to become a partner to the business?

So what do you think HR practitioners first need to do in order to become a business partner? What obstacles and challenges stand in the way?

Written by Human Resources

April 8, 2009 at 10:47 am

Posted in Leadership

Secrets of top employers

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Best in class

Best in class

With the results of Hewitt Associate’s Best Employers Survey released two days ago, I thought it would be interesting to see what HR policies and initiatives some of these companies have in place that made them a top employer.



Marriott Hotels:

Ritz-Carlton Hotel:

And as employer branding becomes even more important during this downturn, what steps is your company taking to become an employer of choice? Or has your company put aside employer branding to focus on other pressing issues?

Written by Human Resources

April 2, 2009 at 2:22 pm