The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

Archive for May 2011

HRTV: Small Talk on managing creative staff

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Singapore – It is no secret creative employees have their own working style, but managers who can help them work together with the more traditional thinkers can reap positive results.

Edvarcl Heng, senior manager of social media at MediaCom, said a traditionalist can “help temper” the highflying ideas of a creative. “Similarly, a creative can create new efficiencies in the organisational work templates.”

He also suggested keeping work routines unpredictable in order to inspire creative staff. There is also the challenge of not bruising egos. Douglas Harding, executive producer at Apostrophe Films, said managers should constantly keep in mind that criticism can affect the employee’s enthusiasm for work.

Sabrina Zolkifi and Lee Xieli discuss in this episode of Small Talk how else managers can do to motivate their creative employees. They also share the two types of toxic managers human resources (HR) professionals must look out for. These are the tyrants and the mediocre managers.

Terry Sheridan, managing director of executive consultant firm Guardian Angel, explained the tyrants are the bullies of the workplace and will use the company’s resources for their own gains. Meanwhile, the mediocre ones will do the bare minimum work and spend time with office politics.

She added employees working under a bad manager will become “ineffective and inefficient”. Sheridan also advised HR to document the negative incidents and complaints against the bad manager so it would make dismissing them an easier process.

“Make sure they are aware of why they’ve lost their job,” she said. “A lot of people are blind to their faults, which is why the performance review is so essential and a core component of an HR manager’s job.”

Additionally, Sabrina and Xieli discuss why HR professionals are in such high demand this year, and what happens when a German insurance firm took its male employees to a spa for some shady reward incentives.


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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

May 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm

HRTV: How to spot toxic managers

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Singapore – Bad managers who manipulate and bully their teams will, not only corrupt an organisation’s culture, but also destroy workplace relationships, causing high employee turnover.

“Every employee under that bad manager will become ineffective and inefficient,” Terry Sheridan, managing director of executive consultant firm Guardian Angel, said. She explained the political and toxic nature of the organisation will cause productivity to suffer as employees will “spend more time watching their backs than actually doing their work”.

Sheridan said bad managers are a poison to the organisation as they bring down the morale of their colleagues and can cause many of them to resign. “People don’t leave just leave jobs, they leave bad managers,” Sheridan said.

According to Sheridan, bad managers fall into two categories – tyrant and mediocre. A tyrant, who believes he is superior to the rest of the organisation, tends to bully and overwork his employees. They would also use the organisation’s resources for their own needs, and a “master of office politics”.

While tyrants are easy to spot, Sheridan said mediocre managers are the harder to recognise as a problem in the company. “Mediocre managers are the tricky ones to find because they are the appeasers and the ingraciators.”

“They’ll use flattery to get what they want, and they’re very clever. They’ve been doing it for a very long time,” Sheridan said. She added these managers do the bare minimum at work, and “prefer to get on well with others than getting the job done”.

Sheridan added both types of managers are inconsistent with their work, and being aware of those inconsistencies can help HR identify leaders who should be dismissed.

Read the full article on our website.


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HRTV: Small Talk on employees censoring online profiles

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Singapore – With half of employees in Singapore concerned their careers may be affected by social networking sites, it is not much of a surprise that many are censoring information they put up.

A survey by Kelly Services has revealed 46% of local professionals believe the personal content found on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can “adversely affect” their job prospects.

“[Employees] need to be careful that they are tapping into the best elements of the Internet when their careers are involved,” Melissa Norman, Kelly Services’ managing director for Singapore and Malaysia, said. With such sites making it easy to put up information, she added there is a “tendency for people to share more than they think”.

In the latest episode of Small Talk, Lee Xieli and Sabrina Zolkifi discuss whether it is right for employees to edit the data they present online, and what HR can do to better utilise such sites in their recruitment process

They also talk about the “brain drain” experienced by Malaysia, and why short term incentives such as resident passes and apprenticeships are ineffective to retain locals and attract overseas talent.

Additionally, Small Talk explores interview blunders which can jeopardise your job opportunities. A recent survey by CareerBuilders.com indentified some of the most unbelievable mistakes, including a man who revealed he was fired from his previous job after beating up his boss.

Other don’ts during an interview include picking your nose or asking the interviewer to leave his own office so the candidate can take a “private” call.


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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

May 20, 2011 at 11:59 am

HRTV: Engage employees like the Americans

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Singapore – Companies in Asia should adopt the “partnership” engagement strategies many US and European organisations use if they want to see lower employee turnover rates this year.

Rolf Bezemer, managing director for Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia for technology services provider Lumesse, called the employee engagement process in US and Europe a “partnership”. He said the partnership involves having both sides constantly communicate and express their requirements and expectations of each other frequently.

Bezemer added companies in the region have to focus on bridging the gap between managers and their staff, instead of keeping a distance because of corporate hierarchical fears. “Employee engagement is simple,” he said. “It starts with identifying them on an individual level.”

A recent survey by Aon Hewitt concludes that the formula for success for firms lies in having a “performance-driven culture, clear vision and convincing employee promises, efficient and effective people practices, strong organisational alignment and accountability in the company”.

Chief of all, Aon Hewitt said the key to success lies in engaging employees effectively to win their commitment and allegiance.

Recently, together with The Business Times and CATS Recruit of The Straits Times, Aon Hewitt recognised Ritz-Carlton Millennia Singapore and McDonald’s Restaurants as “outstanding” employers, with high employee engagement levels.

Bezemer added that developing young talent remains a key priority for companies so it is just as important to engage the younger workforce early in their career. Besides coaching them in the daily job requirements, leaders have to engage younger employees in “open and consistent” discussions. This will help them understand the staff’s needs and aspirations, and help develop them professionally, as well as individually.


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HRTV: Small Talk on leadership lessons from GE

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Singapore – Now that the dust around the general elections (GE) is beginning to settle, Small Talk takes a look at the leadership lessons companies can take away.

William Rothwell, a professor who teaches human resources (HR) management and development issues at Pennsylvania State University, said when picking new leaders, organisations need successors who are open-minded. He added it is important they can fill in the gaps of the current leadership, and are able to deliver fresh perspectives.

Sabrina Zolkifi hosts this week’s episode of Small Talk and discusses what else local leaders can learn from the elections, as well as why you should teach your employees the same way you would primary school children.

Mary Sue Rogers, general manager for IBM’s global human resources (HR) for learning and recruitment, said when planning a learning programme, HR should develop one with a learning style familiar to its employees.

“Go back to primary and secondary school, and see how the teachers are teaching your future employees,” she said.

Small Talk also explores how Singaporeans’ favourite language Singlish can affect career prospects and what HR can do about it.


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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

May 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm

HRTV: Growing a financial talent’s portfolio

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Singapore – Human resources (HR) leaders are urged to give their financial professionals more opportunities to handle big accounts and deals to help develop their potential.

George McFerran, head of Asia Pacific for eFinancialCareers, said while providing training programmes are important, allowing talent to take on more responsibility will help them grow professionally.

Besides giving employees career advancement opportunities, McFerran said HR has a role in ensuring they have healthy working relationships with their managers as well. “People like to be managed effectively and the manager’s relationship [with the employee] is crucial to retaining talent,” he said.

Companies have to look into creating an environment where their employees feel supported and motivated, as that would foster loyalty and potentially help keep them from getting poached by competitors. However, McFerran said while non-monetary benefits can go along way in keeping top talent, HR cannot forget the importance of offering competitive remuneration packages.

McFerran also shared with HRTV the recruitment challenges he believes the finance industry will face over the next few years, and what HR can do to manage them.


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HRTV: Small Talk reveals their ideal work spouses

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Singapore – The line between professional and personal lives are blurring with two third of employees having a work spouse who influences their decisions both inside and outside the office.

According to a survey by Captivate Network, nearly a quarter of work spouses maintain constant contact with each other even during weekends. The relationship is so close that it can affect decisions on where to eat and what type of clothes to buy.

This episode of Small Talk discusses the advantages and dangers of having a work spouse, as well as Lee Xieli’s own experience on having one. She also explores the secrets behind running a successful family business with Sabrina Zolkifi.

Melvin Tan, managing director of the Cyclect Group, said recruitment and succession planning issues can be thorny in a family-run organisation. “It’s trickier because [family members] will always think they can overwrite HR when it comes to policies and rules.”

Although Tan has relatives heading several divisions within Cyclect, he said a conscious decision was made to ensure there is only one family member in any management team. He added it was to avoid any preferential treatment or conflicts of interest that could affect the overall business.

Sabrina also shares her experience visiting Changi Prison for the recently concluded Yellow Ribbon Culinary Competition.


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