The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

Archive for July 2010

Five tips to motivating employees

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Following the recent announcement of a possible wage increase to triple productivity in Singapore, organisations are now striving to achieve higher productivity levels more so than before. Thus, HR professionals may want to pay more attention to the different ways they can use to boost employees’ motivation levels if they want to attain optimal yield.

In the video, Roger Collantes, former vice president and regional learning and development director for financial giant Citi’s Asia Pacific Global Consumer Group, shares his tips on how organisations can further motivate employees at work.

Also a motivational speaker and leadership coach, Collantes recently wrote his latest book Beyond Survival on teaching professionals how to thrive under the trying circumstances of a global financial crisis. He also spoke at the Human Resources insights event on “Managing a multigenerational workforce” last week.

Written by Jocelyn Lee

July 29, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Bizarre HR: Job ad bans Liverpool fans from applying

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No Liverpool fans allowed

[Click here to view the job ad in full]

My first reaction to the online job ad above was that it seems tongue-in-cheek because of the emoticon 😛 after the line “Must not be a Liverpool fan”. But what if it wasn’t?

So I called Nom Nom Media to find out what happens if a Liverpool fan applies for the job. The person whom I spoke to from Ripplewerkz, a division under the Nom Nom group which is the digital media reseller of Nuffnang, Asia’s blog advertising community, said it’s “definitely something not to be taken seriously”.

He went on to say Nom Nom is a “fun” company to work for so that particular job requirement was written tongue-in-cheek. Further enquiries led to him revealing that the boss of Nom Nom Media is, in fact, a Manchester United fan. My heart soared.

My next question was what happens if a Manchester United fan aka I applied for the job? Would I clinch the job?

The answer was, sadly, no. He said getting the job would still be “based on your personality and job ability”.

I immediately asked my colleagues their views on the job ad and responses were varied. Some said it was hilarious but there would be backlash from rival football club fans who might turn up for the interview in Liverpool jerseys. Some thought it was discriminatory if the requirement wasn’t a joke.

But Yang Huiwen, manager of the sales team for Nom Nom Media in Singapore, says adding that cheeky job requirement is a “natural filter for fun people”. She adds, “It’s nothing discriminatory.”

Besides, her office currently has one Manchester united fan and a Liverpool fan. “They are always at loggerheads so the office joke is we shouldn’t have another Liverpool fan because it will shift the balance,” says Yang. But it doesn’t matter, she adds, because her company welcomes all candidates, regardless of which football club they support, and everyone could watch matches together.

It’s like having a local SME putting the line “Only Singaporeans and PR may apply” in their job ads. That is something common enough because small companies, depending on their business needs, might have a limited hiring quota for foreigners.

In any case, including certain job requirements in a job ad can be useful for the hiring manager because this helps them weed out potential candidates who wouldn’t fit into the corporate culture already instilled within the company.

But what do you think? Have your say in the comment box below.

Written by Lee Xieli

July 22, 2010 at 11:08 am

The top 10 personalities found in meetings

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Which personality do you resemble most during meetings?

By Joanne Rigby

Have you ever felt the frustration of people joining your meeting late and interrupting your presentation? What about getting distracted by the tapping of a keyboard from someone multitasking on a conference call?

Whether online, over the phone or face-to-face, keeping people engaged and productive during a meeting is not an easy task. Even the best planned meetings can be a total loss if the attendees are not given an agenda or know the objective of the meeting prior and during the meeting.

Here are some tips to help you mange the top 10 “unique” personalities we often encounter in meetings.

1. The Multitasker: Admit it, all of us are guilty of multitasking during a meeting. Explaining ground rules and expectations at the beginning of a meeting is a great way to ensure you are setting the right tone for the meeting.

All mobile phones should be switched off when seated at the conference table. Not only is this going to help with keeping everyone focused with the task at hand, but mobile signals cause interference with many speaker phones
commonly used in corporate conference rooms.

Involve the Multitasker in your presentation. This works great when you are having a virtual meeting. Ask the Multitasker to share their desktop so they can demo an application or other relevant materials, which keeps them out of their inbox, chat, or browsing the web.

2. The Mobile Meeter: This personality thinks nothing of conducting or attending meetings in the airport lounge or in a restaurant. What’s worse, some of them take their conference calls from the restroom and forget to mute! The Mobile Meeter needs to have conference details handy in an Outlook Calendar so they can quick-dial into a meeting and have a clear understanding of how to self-mute background noise.

For Mobile Meeters out there, invest in a noise-canceling headset so background noise doesn’t get in the way of your message. This headset will make it seem that you are in a closed-door conference room when actually, you are taking the call while driving with the windows down.

Remind your attendees at the beginning of every meeting to mute their line, and ask that they do when they are not speaking. If you find this doesn’t fix the situation, you can always mute-all as the meeting owner and ask participants to “un-mute” themselves as needed.

3. The Disrupter: Changing the topic, the Disrupter can blow up an agenda and make other meeting participants irritable and cranky. You will know the Disrupter as they often end a sentence with “that said, let me digress to another topic”. So what’s the trick?

Let the Disrupter know about a specific part of the conference that they know something about. Then you can ask them for the opinion, input, thoughts and ideas. No matter how many times the Disrupter interferes, always acknowledge their contribution – and most importantly, the opportunity for questions at a LATER stage.

4. The Overbooked: Doesn’t know how to say no to a meeting invite so they attend them all. And the best part is, they are always late! The Overbooked generally greets team gatherings with “Sorry, I had a meeting that ran late … “.

The fact that the Overbooked soul still makes time to attend your meeting even if they have 10 others to attend to, means that they are willing to participate and share their thoughts – so do acknowledge that!

If you know that in the next 15 minutes, your Overbooked attendee needs to rush off, offer to be a Timekeeper and inform the rest of the group accordingly.

5. The Interrupter: When a good idea comes to mind, the Interrupter can’t wait to present and share it with the group. And does it … right at that moment!

Don’t be afraid to create ground rules to control contributions from your attendees. Simply saying ‘no interruptions while others are giving their update’ will suffice. If the Interrupter forgets the rule and steps in anyway, you can say “Hold that thought for a moment, let’s hear the rest of what Linda has to say”.

6. The Socialiser: Outgoing and charismatic, the Socialiser is a skillful and enthusiastic communicator. They are always prompt, always interested in where you live, how many children you have and what you had for lunch. Maintaining personal boundaries is a problem for Socialiser though – so what do you do?

When the conversation goes off on a tangent, let the Socialiser know that it can be taken offline, at a different time.

7. The Maestro: A complete professional, never starts a meeting without establishing a clear agenda. At the end of a meeting clearly recaps the discussion, outlines next steps and identifies action items. Even when the Maestro isn’t running a meeting, their organisational command shines through.

The Maestro’s smooth skills in communicating and dealing with questions can often help manage other personalities like the Disrupter, Interrupter or even, the Socialiser, so offer the Maestro to be the chairperson.

8. The Timekeeper: Is not afraid to say “We’ve used up half of our meeting time and have only covered one item. Can we move on and cover the other nine?”

No matter what is happening in a meeting, the Timekeeper is aware that the meeting has a time limit and tries to motivate the team to complete the meeting at the predicted close. If you know that one of your meeting attendees has the Timekeeper personality traits, allow them to take on the responsibility of keeping track of the agenda and let the group know how much time remains for discussion.

9. The Snacker: People eat all the time during web or conference calls. For those who really need to eat, learning about mute features is a requirement. As the host, encourage your attendees to mute their line when they are not speaking or presenting.

10. The Social Networker: In this day and age, many professionals are Facebooking and Tweeting live from a meeting. If you know that one of your attendees is updating her status when other members of the team are sharing their thoughts, you may want to pass the presenter control to the Social Networker and encourage them to voice their thoughts and ideas instead.

This article by Joanne Rigby, Asia Pacific Marketing Director at PGi, concludes The Art of Great Meetings byline series. The first part of the series “Get them hooked during meetings” can be found here.

Written by Human Resources

July 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Back to school

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Great ideas come from everywhere if you look closely.

HR professionals often find themselves struggling to come up with efficacious training strategies for employees. Let’s face it. It is undeniably hard to come up with the perfect training approach that promises positive results. In order to design one effective learning intervention, HR professionals would look everywhere for ideas to improve their strategies. However, there is one place they have yet looked for inspiration.

How about learning from school teachers or educational institutions that teach kids? You may be surprised at the lessons you can take out of the classrooms.

Essentially, a holistic learning approach is applicable to anyone, whether you’re an adult in an organisation or a seven-year old student in a primary school. At the PERI Holistic Assessment Seminar 2010 held 13 July, it was announced that MOE-trained primary school teachers have to utilise a new learning website to revise their teaching approach in schools.

Speaking at the seminar, Grace Fu, senior minister of state for Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Education, said it is important to develop tasks for students to build their confidence and motivation. Hence, the new teaching method requires primary school teachers to practise a feedback system in assessing their students’ performances.

A holistic approach to teach English, for instance, involves teachers engaging students in role-play and show-and-tell sessions, said Fu. This differs from the conventional one-way assessment in which students receive a grade without interaction and feedback from teachers. Peer and self-assessments would also be used among students in the new learning approach.

Like school teachers, employers ultimately want their employees to gain more confidence and be extra-motivated to work in their organisations. Hence, HR can try applying the new primary school teaching approach into their training programmes to help them achieve those objectives.

Perhaps the trick to attaining success in employee training programmes is going back to the basics.

Written by Jocelyn Lee

July 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm

A peek into the changing workplace

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As organisations learn to adapt to the rapidly-changing business environment, HR practitioners too need to anticipate and overcome the various challenges companies will encounter in the new workplace.

In the short video, Lynda Gratton, a professor of Management Practice from the London Business School, talks about how the nature of the workplace has evolved post-recession and the new work trends companies will face. Be it in terms of demographics, technology or the society in general, Gratton will also touch on the new role HR will need to take on in the fast-changing business environment.

Gratton is ranked the most influential woman thinker in the world in the world today, based on The Thinkers 50, a listing of the world’s top 50 business thinkers. Since early 2008, she has been working closely with Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower in assessing Singapore’s future human capital needs and planning for them.

Written by Jocelyn Lee

July 6, 2010 at 1:17 pm