The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

Archive for August 2010

Be the boss of your work-life

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Striking a work-life balance is no longer unattainable, especially now that employers are providing more flexible working options for their workers. However, employees must also take responsibility in managing their own mental wellness if they want a successful career. Ellen Kossek, professor for Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University, says employees need to allocate some personal time to themselves instead of devoting all their time in their work.

In the video, Kossek suggests for bosses to convince their employees the work-life schemes put in place are not shams in order to put their minds at ease. This will strengthen the programme’s effectiveness in caring for employees’ well-being.

Also the associate director of the Center for Work, Family Health and Stress, which is part of the US National Institutes of Health National Work, Family and Health Network, Kossek shares some advice in attaining a well-balanced life out of work.

Written by Jocelyn Lee

August 26, 2010 at 4:56 pm

HR to the rescue

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If only there's a help button to press to relieve stress.

It is heading towards the end of August. For some companies, it is nearing the end of a financial year for them. Employees at these companies, especially the accountants and auditors, will most likely be working their guts out while anxiously waiting to receive their long-waited bonus payouts. The ones swamped with work for more than half of the year may simply be burnt out. But for some employees, they could be disillusioned. Then this may be the period for them to contemplate resignations and running off after receiving their bonuses.

Regardless of what is on employees’ minds, most probably face a common issue – stress. During a stressful period, it is no surprise voices are being raised and doors being slammed in offices. The problem is if workplace tension continues building up without a good stress management programme in place, the energy at work will become increasingly negative, hence affecting employees’ work performance. Then it will be just be a matter of time before employees say “I quit!”

No doubt, it is also a stressful period for HR. But for the sake of the long-term benefits companies can reap from retaining talent, HR should definitely intervene in this matter.

There is no better way to find out what’s bothering people than communicating with them. HR professionals can try doubling up as counsellors to speak to stressed-up employees. It does not have to be a formal interview-styled counselling session. HR staff can have a casual tête-à-tête with their colleagues at a coffee shop nearby to thrash out everything bothering them at work.

Another thing that HR can do is airing the stale atmosphere in the workplace. Propose for line managers to take charge and organise morale-boosting activities for their teams. Nothing beats a real morale booster by their boss.

If AIA’s HR head, Ragi Singh, can hand out ice-cream to his employees during work hours to spur his team on like he mentioned at a Human Resources Insight event, I’m sure HR is capable of an even better original creative execution. In fact, the idea does not even need to be creative. As long as it’s a genuine heartfelt gesture on the employer’s part, a sincere pep talk will suffice.

There are many more things HR can do to help their employees in managing their stress levels, instead of just leaving the nasty tension alone. As for the stressed up employees, stop slamming that door, you are just aggravating your mood and affecting others with your negativity.

Written by Jocelyn Lee

August 20, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Embarking on an HR career path

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The road less travelled for HR

By Joanne Chua

While HR professionals could come from various educational backgrounds, the most highly regarded route into the profession would be possessing a bachelor’s degree in HR, personnel or any other related disciplines. Such related qualification offers you the best training for an HR career, and would successfully place you on more hiring shortlists.

Other indirect routes include internal transfers within the organisation. If you are already working in a different department and would like to make the switch to an HR-related position, earning certifications in an HR-related field could help smoothen your transition. Some large organisations would also consider hiring internal resources for new HR positions. Employees with majors in business, sociology, social sciences or psychology could very well find themselves considered, especially for entry level HR positions.

What do employers look out for?

Employers typically look out for relevant market experience, as well as, specific role experience. While there is a higher level of acceptance to hire atypical HR profiles, candidate selection varies according to the different levels of employers’ expectations and open-mindedness.

Large organisations may find it easier to hire non-typical profiles for junior HR positions since they have access to more resources and are therefore better positioned to be able to train such new hires. Smaller companies, on the other hand, may have lesser resources to work with.

Making a transfer

An example of a very contrasting role switch could consist of a high-performing sales professional who wants to move into the HR profession. He or she could face more difficulty in terms of various factors – the most obvious factor being compensation differences. Instead of being rewarded based on a commission scheme, this person could very well find an eventual drop in annual salary since his or her performance is no longer tied to sales targets.

Faced with the realisation that HR roles are regarded as back office support, such professionals looking to make the switch should derive job satisfaction from other factors such as the personable aspects of the role.

That said, a sales professional with an excellent understanding of the business function in a sales environment would make an exceptional HR business partner, focusing on sales roles.

Conversely, a recruitment consultant who is tired of meeting sales targets but is still interested in recruiting could consider moving into the HR profession. An in-house HR role allows them to continue hiring people, but without the stress of having to meet sales goals.

Holding the key traits

But more importantly, budding HR professionals should possess a genuine passion for people development. It is all about soft skills, as well as, having a high level of emotional intelligence. Equally as important would be the ability to build and manage relationships whilst networking with different levels of people within the organisation.

It is also imperative to distinguish between the parameters of judging a right from a wrong, and to customise policies in appropriate circumstances. In addition, a sense of conscientiousness and integrity would help you build your relationships with employees based on trust and faith. It is absolutely important to maintain personal credibility while handling confidential people records.

Another essential would be the ability to deal with downsizing and restructuring, as well as, being able to handle ambiguity.

Having a keen sense of empathy and awareness is also crucial to becoming an effective business partner in an organisation. These qualities would help you develop the interpersonal skills and flexibility in making the toughest decisions and deal with the most difficult staff, whilst continuing to maintain organisational interest within the constitution of individual interests.

To be an effective HR person, it is paramount for you to recognise individuality instead of looking upon employees as a mass.

Joanne Chua is the manager of the HR recruitment division at Robert Walters Singapore.

Written by Human Resources

August 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Recruitment, Training

Ask for a pay raise in style

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It’s always a big boost for the morale whenever you get a pay raise. However, not all employees are lucky to receive one, especially after the hit most companies took in the global financial crisis last year. This might cause resentment when the employee feels a pay increment is way overdue after putting in long hours without complaints during the recession.

Instead of building up unneccesary job dissatisfaction, employees can take the initiative by having a private word with their bosses. But there are a few things to look out for if you want to increase the success rate of getting a pay increment at the first attempt. Kevin Ryan, international speaker and facilitator for Training Edge International, says employees need to strike at the right moment and not when their bosses are too preoccupied with bigger issues at hand.

In the video below, Ryan gives a few suggestions on how you can get the pay raise you deserve at the first try.

Written by Jocelyn Lee

August 10, 2010 at 4:23 pm