The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

Archive for May 2009

Combating negativity in the workplace

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Turn your negatives into a positive

Turn the negative into a positive

They’re the ones who constantly complain and moan about work. Or the snappy colleagues who shoot down any proposed ideas and spread false rumours around the company.

With mounting workloads an increased pressures, it’s no wonder employees are starting to get stressed and with this stress, it may manifest itself in displays of negative emotions.

If left unchecked, such negative and toxic people and their emotions can affect the morale of co-workers. So what can HR do about these employees?

One suggestion provided by a HR firm Jaluch was to first identify the individuals who are the source of the negativity. Employers should then raise their concerns along with supporting evidence at a fairly formal meeting. This should be followed by a letter stating clear objectives and a timeline for change.

Helen Clarke, managing director of Jaluch adds:  “Self-help books and one-to-one coaching can be effective in reversing negativity and psychometric profiling can help start the process. Communication skills training could also help those whose poor attitude stems from problems with expressing themselves.”

But what if you are suffering from the negative emotions yourself? According to TheWashington Post article , there is little good in trying to tell yourself to be more positive or reason our way out of your negative feelings. “As crazy as it sounds, you must behave as if you are happy, even if you are not. Eventually, your attitude will catch up with your actions and you will start to feel more engaged and motivated.”

Afterall, the article says, happy people thrive on being productive and taking ownership of their jobs.  But to make it relevant for yourself, you should decide on what actions you are going to do every day to ensure that you act the part of the happy employee. “After a while, you just might catch yourself feeling happy, too.”

Other tips for staying positive at work includes eating healthily and exercising as well as associating with positive people to be “infected” by their positivity.

So what tips do you have on not losing your cool and staying positive during this economic downturn?


Written by Human Resources

May 27, 2009 at 10:55 am

Where have all the women gone?

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I got to attend a pledge event on Wednesday, where young business leaders and entrepreneurs gathered to launch a new initiative called “Beat the Recession” which aims to help Singaporeans during these tough economic times. As I sat amid the audience watching the young leaders sign the pledge and huddle together for a group picture, realisation hit me. Why are most of these leaders men?

Don’t get me wrong. I have utmost respect for the male population and in no way undermine their capabilities. After all, many leaders of the world are men and I have no problems with that. But the nagging thought continues to resound in my head.

As mentioned in a previous entry here on The Snitch, women are everywhere. Yet most of the senior-level positions are taken up by men. And just look at the “Beat the Recession” launch itself, where petite Annie Gan from construction firm Jian Huang Group stood alone surrounded by tall men in business suits.

It forces me to question if the glass ceiling actually exists.

My answer immediately came from a Robert Half media conference the next day. The survey focused on females working in the finance and accounting sector and almost half of those polled do not think they will ever reach a senior management position.

Men continue to dominate the top-level positions, and women gradually feel dissatisfied at their lack of career advancement and move on.

Though it may be inaccurate to form an opinion based on my minuscule experience in the working world, I shall attempt to decipher the situation with the little that I know. Yes, I do believe the glass ceiling exists. Gender discrimination is often subtle, especially with groups like Aware rising in prominence and people simply need to hide behind the politically-correct facade. Even though we live in the 21st century, conservative mindsets are still present and it takes time to break those barriers.

Yet even if the glass ceiling does exist, I feel it is futile to simply feel outraged and unjust. Instead, we can draw inspiration from successful women and start being pro-active in our quest to break the glass. The managing director of Robert Half Tim Hird suggested at the media conference that we should fight for what we want, but in a positive way. The first step is to try.

But gun to your head, do you think the glass ceiling exists?

Written by KT

May 22, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Save money with Web 2.0 media

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Employees go wacky over social media

Employees go wacky over social media

Tech-savvy HR professionals are rubbing their hands with glee at the rise of new media tools. For them, it means engaging employees, particularly the Generation Ys, has become dirt cheap.

With most of the companies scrambling to shave as much money off their corporate budgets, VP at Aon Consulting Ken Groh believes using Web 2.0 media and other electronic resources can do precisely that. Not only does it reduce print and postage costs, Web 2.0 media can “supplement traditional communication materials to help speed learning and employee engagement, which enables you to achieve your goals faster”.

According to an Aon Consulting survey of 8,000 employees from both public and private sectors, more workers are finding ways to use social media tools at work for work purposes. Some of the tools which they use to communicate with one another include Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, blogs, podcasts, wikis and instant messaging chats.

This should be music to employers’ ears because “corporate communicators and HR” can now align their internal communication strategies and educational material using these social media preferences. No doubt, it’ll be much appreciated by employees who have increasingly shorter attention span nowadays and need information regurgitated in a fast and efficient manner.

“Since Web 2.0 media is electronic, it can provide access to your intranet or HR portal to create a more integrated and cost-efficient way to communicate with employees, including benefits enrolment and wellness education campaigns.”

And there are some companies that have been embracing social media for quite a while now. They include Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan I. Schwartz who blogs, IBM which has its own social network for 30,000 employees called Beehive and British Telecom which uses wikis for global team projects.

While respondents who are comfortable using social media tools both at home and at work are still mostly those under age 29 (Generation Y or millennials), the rest of the generations are slowly catching up. The survey has found a “higher usage of Web 2.0 media at work than at home among employees over age 28”. So employers, you can rest assured that your  older employees would be equally attuned to any internal campaign which uses social media tools.

As the power of social media grows in the workplace, companies will find that the bond between the employer and employees who can now actively participate in online dialogues stronger than ever.

(Via Sparxoo)

Written by Lee Xieli

May 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Closing the gender gap

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“The higher up the ranks you look, the fewer female leaders you will see.”

These are the words of Dr. Ann Howard, chief scientist at DDI. While it may seem less apparent these days, a global forecast report has shown that there are in fact half as many women in executive-level positions than in first-level management. Men make up larger proportions of high-potential leaders, and organisations provide increasingly less support for women as they climb up the management ladder. How can organisations strike balance in this gender scale? In Female Leaders: A Rocky Climb to the Top, Howard suggests ways organisations can close the gender gap in executive leadership roles.

Formalise succession planning

Succession planning should begin at the bottom of the hierarchy, where high-potential individuals are identified to accelerate their talent. Organisations with a formal succession plan usually put in efforts to evaluate leaders’ capabilities objectively and work on development needs. Organisations without a plan rely on individual managers’ recommendations, which may fall victim to favoritism.

Recognise performance equally

Organisations should set up objective performance management methods and use them to help determine recognition, rewards, and advancement. Salary programmes should also be carefully monitored for unwarranted gender differences. If organisations want to keep talented women, they need to ensure their methods are objective and no gender is overlooked.

Democratise development

When an organisation’s approach to development is more strategic and programmatic, the opportunity to make sure that men and women are treated equally is greater. Organisations need to assure that high-potential women have equal access to accelerated development experiences, making them equally qualified (in terms of experiences) for promotions that arise.

Provide women with mentors

Men more often have better access to mentors. Mentoring can help encourage women to be more proactive about seeking new positions.

Equalise and enhance transition support

Organisations should provide more support for leadership transitions for both men and women. Though this is crucially important to leaders in general, women are more likely to be left in the lurch and thus have more difficulty with transitions.

Written by KT

May 14, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Leadership

Be a better manager

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Paying due recognition to employees for their good work can only accelerate business results, says Chester Elton, co-author of The Invisible Employee.  Employee recognition is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a business ‘must-have’. In the video, Elton shares with Human Resources on five simple ways to become a better manager.

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

May 14, 2009 at 10:13 am

Termination with a heart

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Termination does not have to be violent

An economic downturn is fraught with the perils of retrenchment and job losses. With companies downsizing and restructuring, change is inevitable and often detrimental. While retrenchment stirs up fear and anxiety in employees, managers responsible for delivering the notice may also be traumatised. Is there such a thing as a successful termination? Sattar Bawany, head of transition coaching practice with DBM Asia Pacific, believes so and recommends the following process to ensure a more successful termination.

Prepare the materials

If the termination is performance-related, prepare a written documentation. If it is due to job elimination, explain the rationale. You should prepare all severance information in writing – notification letter, salary continuation/severance period, benefits, outplacement counselling and other information.

Prepare the message

Write out the script you will use during the meeting and the information you need to convey to the remaining employees. It will also be good to list some factual reasons for the termination, keeping everything short and straight-forward.

Arrange the next steps

If necessary, schedule additional meetings for the employee with HR and outplacement. Review what should be done with personal belongings, and specify when the employee says goodbye and leaves the organisation.

Prepare yourself emotionally

Remember that the termination is a business decision and not your personal responsibility. Acknowledge your anxiety and be sensitive to your feelings throughout the process. Also, be prepared to talk about your feelings with the HR professionals or outplacement consultants. To avoid rumours and gossip, do not discuss your plans with colleagues and friends.

Anticipate employee reactions

Try practise dealing with anticipated reactions like anger, shock or denial. The preparation will benefit both yourself and the employee as it provides structure to keep you focused during a difficult meeting.

Termination is never easy, but it can be made better. A successful termination is possible if you are well-prepared, says Bawany.

Written by KT

May 13, 2009 at 10:38 am

Brand your company

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Even in bad economic times, companies should not let up on employer branding as it is a good way to reach out to the new influx of talent in the market right now. But budgets are tight and it’s unlikely you would be able to convince your company to give you a large sum of money to brand your company.

So what are some ways HR practitioners can brand their company for cheap? Wilson Chew, CEO and group principal consultant for StrategiCom sits down with Human Resources and gives us a couple of ideas for employer branding on a small budget.

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

May 13, 2009 at 9:52 am

Posted in Recruitment, Video

Make your employees rock stars

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Intels latest marketing campaign

Intel's latest marketing campaign

I attended a forum catered to the logistics and supply chain industry where a panel of industry practitioners lamented about the challenges they face in recruiting young and women talent. The problem, the panelists complained, was that the industry has always been considered to be “unsexy”.

But does it have to be that way?

Enter Intel.

Wanting to brand itself more than just a processor company, Intel just recently launched a new marketing campaign called “Sponsors of Tomorrow”. Soon to roll out across 30 countries, the campaign compares the company’s engineers with the likes of Mick Jagger, Bono and other legendary rock stars.

According to an article by FastCompany, the advertising agency that created this campaign was inspired by Intel’s forward-looking culture:

When Intel decided to retool its largest advertising push in years, the chipmaker wanted to make a familiar statement: “our products make everyday life possible.” But Santa Clara-based advertising firm Venables Bell & Partners found this slogan a bit trite.

Venables Bell discovered that virtually every technology company presents itself as necessary for the here-and-now. The new Intel campaign, launching Monday in the U.S., instead hinges on the notion that Intel makes the future possible. Taglined “Sponsors of Tomorrow,” Venables Bell’s multi-platform strategy casts Intel as a technology-focused innovator that celebrates technophile culture and highlights the company’s engineering achievements rather than the products derived from them.

Venables Bell found an interesting culture at Intel; rather than working on solutions to today’s problems, most R&D was focused on projects two or three years away from hitting the market. This forward-thinking atmosphere, coupled with a reverence among engineers for the breakthroughs that came before them, spawned the “Sponsors of Tomorrow” theme.

In one television ad, a middle-aged man donning his company ID enters the break room to raucous fanfare and swooning reminiscent of a red carpet moment with the Beatles circa 1964. As the man winks to his admirers and signs autographs, the screen graphic reads “Ajay Bhatt, co-inventor of U.S.B.” followed by “Our rock stars aren’t like your rock stars.”

So here’s my question: Where do your employees fit in with your marketing and advertising collateral?

Branding your employees is nothing new when organisations such as FedEx and Singapore Airlines have been doing it for ages.

But when you consider it, the cost of a plane or a truck or other physical infrastructure costs a lot more than an employee’s entire year salary. However, your expensive Airbus 380 airplane isn’t going to give your business the advantage when placed side-by-side with your competitor’s Airbus 380. On the other hand,  your well-trained customer service employee who goes the extra mile for the customer? Yeap, she’s the person who will help your company gain the sales from.

So maybe HR needs to start thinking about working with the marketing department to come up with campaigns that brand employees instead. Not only do employees (like these Intel engineers) gain from the job branding, but you differentiate your company and product as well. From these messages, we now know that Intel isn’t just a chip manufacturer, they’re the company that has the people who are providing the solutions for tomorrow’s technology.

So for the logistics people that are complaining about the less than glamorous factor of the industry, maybe they might want to learn a little from Intel’s new direction.

And you know what’s my favourite part about the new Intel ads? The last two seconds where employees are the ones signing the Intel jingle.

Written by Human Resources

May 7, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Revealing salary increment forecast for Q2

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With most industries adversely affected by the current economic slowdown in 2009, will there even be salary increments for us this year? If there are, how much should we be expecting?

Samir Bedi, practice lead of rewards for Hewitt Associates, reveals his prediction for the salary increment projections in Q2 in the video below. But before that, Bedi helps Human Resources retrace the salary increment figures  since the downturn began till the end of first quarter this year.

He also gave an insight to some of the measures compensation and benefits practitioners across various industries in Singapore will be implementing as the economy tightens up.

Nothing like knowing the salary increment projections for the second quarter of the year to keep you motivated at work, eh?

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

May 5, 2009 at 4:39 pm