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Archive for August 2009

Human Resources magazine: We turn 5!

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Human Resources August 2009

Human Resources August 2009

The latest issue of Human Resources magazine is up on the net!

In our fifth year anniversary issue:

Written by Human Resources

August 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Do you have lousy office culture?

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Is your company culture scarier than a horror flick?

Is your company culture scarier than a horror flick?

How do you know if a company culture has hit rock-bottom and its time for an overhaul?

According to blogger and management consultant Karl Staib at Work Happy Now!, he says there are certain identifying factors that show if a company’s culture has gone south.

Attrition rate: Is your company’s attrition rate higher than your industry standard? While Staib uses the average turnover rate in US (which is 3.2 to 3.6%), it might be more feasible to benchmark your company’s turnover rate to your industry’s. Taking out those who have left due to circumstances such as family and school, anything higher than industry standard might indicate that there’s a problem with your company culture.

Is there rampant gossiping? “A company that doesn’t address issues will have rumors running rampant throughout its organization,” Staib says. However, if there is negative gossiping about the company that is not addressed, this could fuel the imaginations of employees and “make them afraid of what might happen”.

There are no more complaints of the good kind: There is a distinction between good complaints and bad complaints, Staib says. The former usually points out a problem that demands attention. However, when employees have no complaints, it usually means that they’ve stopped caring about the company.

What innovation? When companies use fear to run an organisation, employees simply stop taking risk for the fear of potentially losing revenue. “What occurs in this fear based company is stifled thought. Employees would rather not bring up an idea because they are afraid of rejection,” Staib adds.

Employees aren’t friends: In companies such as Zappos (one of Fortune magazine’s top places to work for and recently bought over by Amazon), employees are encouraged to know their other colleagues outside of work. Managers are also tasked to use 20% of their time to get to know their employees.

“The more friends an employee has at work, the less likely they are to feel unhappy with their job. A strong network of friends makes an employee feel safe and happy. If your employees are all going straight home after work then it’s a sign that they don’t feel connected to the people with whom they work with,” says Staib.

Written by Human Resources

August 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Getting noticed at work

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There are better ways to get noticed at work...

You’ve been sitting in the office for a year, your contribution to the company has been overlooked or undervalued. This plays a toll not just on your self-worth, but it will affect your chances of further career advancement. Especially in a time when the economy is only slightly picking up, “now is not the time to be invisible at work and let your work fall under your boss’ radar”, says Chris Mead, general manager of Hays Singapore.

Mead offers five tips to help make your boss sit up and take notice of you:

1. Make a positive impact

It’s time to get into the frame of mind you had when you first started the job, says Mead. Assume every opportunity is a chance to impress your manager with your good work. It is important people notice your positive impact. Hence, sell yourself at work by the positive results you achieve. In meetings, make sure everyone knows what you’re working on and what the outcomes are.

2. Add value

Businesses are always looking at increasing revenue and cost improvements, so look in that direction to add value. For example, if you work in the construction sector, try demonstrating business development skills.

3. Upgrade your skills

Mead believes you should take every opportunity to volunteer for additional tasks. They will not only improve your own employable skill base, but “make you even more invaluable to your employer”.

4. Made a mistake?

When you’ve made a mistake, don’t panic or try to hide it. Honesty is the key, so go to your manager with the truth and a plan of how you intend to rectify the error.

5. Remember the basics

It’s crucial to arrive for work on time, show enthusiasm, look and act professional, and be organised. Don’t watch the clock, and be prepared to do extra work.

Mead also advises to keep a record of your achievements and the times when you exceed targets and beat deadlines. Also, it will help to get to know people in other departments.

Written by KT

August 20, 2009 at 11:28 am

Posted in Personal career

Engaging the nine-to-five worker

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Disengaged nine-to-five workers will slack off on the job

Disengaged nine-to-five workers will slack off on the job

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an afternoon talk by Right Management. At the forum, Michael Hyter, president and CEO of Novations Group was presented with a question: How do you keep the classic nine-to-five worker engaged?

Nine-to-fivers are workers who are not really looking for development. They want to feel comfortable at their jobs, and they want to go home on time. However, they are not necessarily bad at their jobs. In fact, they are capable, and they sustain the business pretty well.

Having engaged employees is crucial, as the economic downturn has repeatedly shown us. According to a Hay Group survey, companies that have remained focused on employee engagement have succeeded in maintaining or increasing motivation levels. These motivation levels are critical to deliver superior financial results and employee performance.

Productivity is dealt a blow when employees are no longer interested in their work, causing the morale of other employees to slump. These disengaged employees are also likely to jump ship to a company with better prospects.

Hyter believes we are all wired to be engaged when opportunities present themselves. Nine-to-fivers are usually under-stimulated, but it is possible to keep them engaged, especially when you show them a clearer perspective on the outcome.

He feels we should spend less time simply judging them, but instead encourage and motivate them. The key is to look at what interests them, and what their passions are. Focus less on changing them. Instead, work on developing them to achieve more, says Hyter.

Written by KT

August 18, 2009 at 11:13 am

How to cure negative employees

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Negativity can be infectious and have a draining effect on the morale in the workplace. Is there any way you can manage or even change the attitudes of negative employees?

Alan Fairweather, associate consultant of d’Oz International, believes so. In the video interview, Fairweather has a few suggestions for managers who find themselves having to deal with employees who relish seeing the glass half full.

Written by Lee Xieli

August 18, 2009 at 9:00 am

I’d have to say no

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Dont fall to the bait of saying yes to every request that comes your way.

Don't fall to the bait of saying yes to every request that comes your way.

Many of us want to be liked. Maybe that’s why saying ‘no’ seems difficult in everyday situations. To the ear of a boss, colleague or customer, a ‘no’ may be insulting and even offensive. Every ‘yes’, no matter how trivial, takes up available time and energy. While a flat ‘no’ can damage relationships and stunt your career, some limits have to be set to prevent you winding up overloaded and overstressed.

Alec Mackenzie and Pat Nickerson, authors of The Time Trap, offers a five-step approach to get your ‘no’ across gently but firmly.

1. If there is a situation where you must decline a request, don’t say ‘no’ outright. The moment requesters feel denied or resisted, they stop listening and start building counter-arguments.

2. Instead, highlight that there might be a possible risk in the task or request. For example, open with a statement like, “I believe there may be a potential risk involved.” This way, the requester is curious and not defensive.

3. Let requesters see the risks graphically. For example, start sketching the risks on a pad of paper if you are both in the same room. This places their focus on the page and not on your face. They might also want the sketch for themselves for when they have to make their case to their own higher-ups.

4. Avoid mentioning any problem or inconvenience to yourself or your team. Your requester will expect you to manage your work risks in private.

5. Be prepared to illustrate workable options for every risk you list.

Written by KT

August 11, 2009 at 11:45 am

Posted in Personal career

Building effective teams with Lego

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Playing with Lego bricks can foster teamwork in employees which would translate into better decision making and effective communication in the workplace.

Other than possessing the necessary skills and creativity, a successful employee has to be able to work well in a team, says LegoLand’s creative director Tim Burnell. And it is an attribute which is specifically tested for in any recruitment exercise LegoLand conducts.

There are altogether three model building – individual skills, team skills and creative freeform building skills – tests, followed by an interview during a recruitment session for model makers. It is in the second round where Burnell would quietly observe the candidates’ ability to communicate with each other. “As team members, they try to recreate this model [a large 30cm-tall Lego man]. It’s not necessarily to rebuild it but to see how they work together as a team.”

In the video, Burnell explains why teambuilding with Lego bricks would allow HR to understand how employees connect and adapt to each other’s working styles in order to complete any given tasks.

Written by Lee Xieli

August 5, 2009 at 11:13 am