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Archive for August 2011

HRTV: Staying effective with social media

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Singapore – HR leaders can utilise technology and social media networks as an internal collaboration tool to become even more effective in their jobs.

Ram Menon, executive vice president for worldwide marketing at TIBCO, said that HR professionals would typically use social media to communicate with third parties such as potential job candidates, vendors and recruiters.

However, Menon suggested that a savvy HR practitioner can use social media to improve internal communications, as well as increase collaboration between different departments. He added that having an effective social media strategy can help connect diverse business divisions in a global company, especially if they are located around the world.

“HR is the primary lifeline through which an organisation communicates its vision, the way in which they hire and retain employees, or career development opportunities,” Menon said.

If adopted properly, social media can streamline the information sent out to different stakeholders without spamming everyone. “Technology eases the flow of communication and filters outs what is irrelevant to you.”

For example, Menon said a healthcare package for eye insurance can be programmed to be disseminated through social media groups to those with eye problems within the organisation. This helps employees manage the information they receive regularly and ensures important data is not lost in the mix.

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Written by Human Resources

August 31, 2011 at 10:31 am

Small Talk on work happiness and longevity

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Singapore – New research has proven that those with a happy and supportive working environment tend to live longer.

Tel Aviv University released a study that showed employees with an encouraging office culture were 2.4 times more likely to live longer in a 20-year study period. Additionally, informal peer relationships were a better indicator of health.

“As we spend most of our daily time with our colleagues, it is thus important for the [work] environment to be collegial and harmonious,” Christina Siaw, chief executive officer of the Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC), said.

The Israel study added most modern day companies do not have supportive environments because of factors such as telecommuting and the lack of face-to-face conversations. It suggested providing areas in the office where people can talk freely and organising informal outings to strengthen relationships.

This week, Small Talk also discusses the changes in the employment pass criteria in Singapore, and how it will affect smaller businesses. Employers in sectors such as retail, and food and beverage are hoping the government will be more lenient with industries that are facing a genuine talent shortage.

Ho Nyok Yong, president of the Singapore Contractors Association, said he hopes a policy that helps retain skilled foreign talent is implemented. He added repatriating workers who have already acquired certain skills or experience in their tenure here will be a “loss to our nation”.

Additionally, Small Talk talks about a lifeguard who was dismissed for refusing to wear a Speedo, and why having a neatly decorated desk can improve your productivity and work relationships. Also, Small Talk discusses retail chain Abercrombie & Fitch’s recruitment campaign in Singapore as it looks for attractive sales staff.

Don’t forget to take part in our weekly poll on our website, and tell us your pet peeves when it comes to personal office decorations.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

August 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm

HRTV: Apple’s Steve Wozniak on thinking differently

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Singapore – According to Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Computer, said in order to inspire innovation, people must be personally motivated to realise their goals.

Speaking at an event organised by NTUC LearningHub earlier this year, Wozniak said “intrinsic rewards” is the key driver to working innovatively. Employers who can harness that emotionally-charged passion in their staff will find that it can be a stronger motivator than offering high wages. Wozniak added that someone who is personally motivated can achieve “extreme” productivity levels without being asked because they like their job.

“Internal passion is when your own head is happy with what you do,” Wozniak said. “It then doesn’t become work – it becomes something fun you want to do.”

He said before starting Apple with Steve Jobs, he had always been interested and passionate for computers, and was willing to keep learning and picking up new skills despite not having any formal training. He said it was this willingness to learn the helped him become a more innovative person as he was forced to figure out the cheapest and fastest way to create something without many resources.

Wozniak defines an innovative person as someone who can think simplistically and come up with a solution, regardless of the task or obstacle. The person does not necessarily have to be book smart or technically skilled, he added. “Academic excellence is important but it’s not everything.”

If parents and leaders can help people find their passion from a young age and nurture that interest, Wozniak believes that businesses can benefit from this source of talent poll.

In the video recorded by Human Resources, Wozniak will share his thoughts on the innovation lessons he has learned throughout his career. He also offers a candid sound bite about Jobs’ management style.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

August 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

HRTV: Outsourcing entire HR division is a “myth”

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Singapore – Although more companies are outsourcing human resources (HR) processes, some are still trapped with the perception that they have to subcontract the entire HR department if they do choose the outsourcing route.

Matthew Beath, chief executive of Talent2 Asia, said it is a “myth” that organisations have to outsource everything, which could mean the end of the HR function. “It’s quite the opposite, as outsourcing usually means a refocusing and repositioning of the HR department.”

Beath added when HR outsource non-strategic functions such as recruitment and payroll, it allows them to focus on more key areas like aligning people strategies to business needs.

Beath said it also gives the HR leader more time to work closer with business leaders and focus on developing staff competencies, sales effectiveness, as well as retention and attraction. He said companies will see significant improvement in costs and productivity when HR has more time to address critical priorities.

“People are concerned about their challenges like engagement and talent shortage, so they are thinking about using outsourcing to help address some of those critical business issues,” Beath said.

While savvy key decision-makers have recognised HR outsourcing as a strategic tool, there are some who remain protective over their administrative processes.

“One of the reasons companies choose to keep it in-house is because they feel they will have better control,” Joy Koh, director of client services at Talent2, said. “However, they may be overlooking certain transactional costs that come with keeping everything internal.”

Within Singapore, 90% of companies are considering outsourcing one or more HR functions, a significant improvement from the outlook five years ago. Other common functions being outsourced include HR advisory services and learning and development programmes.

According to the Talent2 APAC (Asia Pacific) Market Plus Survey, 95% of local respondents reported seeing clear benefits from outsourcing, while 15% are using it as a means to combat the issue of skill shortage.

But Beath said HR should not neglect functions that have been outsourced. He said the HR director should continue building a good relationship with their vendors to make sure both parties can commit to meeting expectations.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

August 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Small Talk on smartphone addiction and respecting employees

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Singapore – While smartphones are helping people stay connected 24/7, the mobile devices may actually be doing more harm than good when it comes to productivity.

A survey from the UK revealed that two-fifths of respondents admitted to using their mobile phones to text, email and take calls when in a face-to-face meeting. Employees who are constantly glued to their mobile devices are also more likely to be distracted by work, even during weekends or when on vacation.

While some may argue the dependency on smartphones helps them stay connected, the survey reported that 36% of employees found the distractions made it harder for them to complete work. Another 22% said they suffered from information overload and more than a fifth are unable to think creatively.

Small Talk this week also discusses why respecting your employees and peers can lead to higher retention rates. A new report by Regus showed 72% of Singaporeans believed a good working environment stemmed from managers showing respect to their employees.

But managers have to be aware of why certain staff will still choose to leave a job. The latest Kelly Global Workplace Index 2011 showed that Singaporeans listed career changes, evolving personal interests and better work-life balance as the top reasons to jump ship.

While on the topic of career progression, Small Talk reports how having good presentation skills can improve your chances of getting a promotion. Employees who show confidence when presenting are more likely to be “visible” to the top level management, said Hazriq Idrus, a corporate trainer with Firefly Horizon.

Additionally, Small Talk explores how an open office concept is actually distracting employees from their work and how more local companies are moving into the suburbs to cut cost.

With office rents skyrocketing in prime areas such as Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place, more companies are heading towards locations such as One@Changi City, Changi Business Park and Mapletree Business City.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

August 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Small Talk on why you shouldn’t work from home

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Singapore – Employees who work from home are more likely to incur higher utility bills and work extra hours than if they were to go into the office.

While telecommuting can help improve work-life balance, Daniel Wee, director of workplace resources company NetApp in Asia Pacific, said telecommuters tend to overwork because of a lack of lunch breaks or official office hours.

Mark Dixon, chief executive officer and founder of services provider Regus, agreed and added that those who work outside the office are potentially less productive.

Furthermore, Wee said those who work from home will also lose out on utilising office supplies such as the printer and fax machines, and could end up incurring higher domestic utility costs. Telecommuters also have fewer chances to interact with their co-workers and engage in creative brainstorms or teambuilding.

This week, Small Talk explores how else mobile employees could disadvantage from flexible working arrangements and why the average Singaporean employee holds up to eight jobs their entire career.

According to global outplacement and talent development firm DBM, a typical employee has at least three career directional changes throughout their lives. Margaret Cermak, director of consulting services at DBM, said those who are constantly job-hopping have to possess certain skills to be effective from day one.

She shared the most important thing a newcomer must do is to ask for help when in doubt. “Never be too proud to approach others for help, or consider it a sign of weakness.”

Besides sharing tips to help professionals hit the ground running with their new job, Small Talk shares why a majority of workers prefer standing to sitting.

Also, find out why only 20% of local female corporate travellers want face-to-face security briefings, and how a group of Chinese employees sobered up after a night of drinking.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

August 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

HRTV: Happy managers boost staff productivity

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Singapore – Organisations that can promote positivity in the workplace will find an increase in staff productivity levels, especially if every employee is moving towards the same objectives.

Aneta Tunariu, consultant and principal lecturer at the University of East London, sat down with HRTV at the recent Innerpositiveness Leadership Conference to discuss how productive working relationships involved optimistic leaders.

“Good working relationships stems from clarity of working towards a common goal,” Tunariu said.

However, the onus is on leaders to set a safe platform from which team members can engage each other and share their views about the project they are working on. Tunariu said, “It is more than just teamwork, it is also about having a forum of open discussion where the task at hand can be approached with curiosity and positivity.”

Tunariu said the key to increasing personal positivity at work was to address each employee’s basic needs such as the desire to belong, to be understood, and to have trust between their peers and managers.

According to Tunariu, when employees feel their personal needs are taken care of, they can interact with their colleagues better and focus on producing results for the company.

“The employee will then have more motivation to effortlessly maximise their skills and join in on [achieving] the common goal,” Tunariu said.

Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

August 3, 2011 at 10:52 am