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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.

To find out more about how technology can improve the HR landscape, click here:

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Written by Human Resources

August 31, 2011 at 10:31 am

Small Talk: Pay rises, perfect leaders, wooing talent

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Singapore – While employees in Singapore and Malaysia can celebrate about their high pay rises this year, leaders are warned to avoid being perfectionists and Facebook shows us the best way to woo talent.

According to recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, four out of five Singaporeans saw a rise in their salaries this year. Some 40% received an increase of between 1% to 5% while a fifth took home an increment of between 6% and 10%.

Malaysians too have good reasons to rejoice. Based on data from the Kelly Employment Outlook and Salary Guide 2011/2012, those working in talent-deprived industries can look forward to a pay rise between 15% and 20%.

This means managers who strive to be perfectionists may be heading off in the wrong direction if they want to prevent good employees from joining their competitors.

Rich Wellins, senior vice president for DDI, says perfectionism is not a good thing because it could mean they are “micro-managers”. Worryingly, he said, “Singaporean leaders rocked the charts on that [trait].”

However, Wellins got one thing right when he said there are certain attributes that leadership programmes cannot fix. “Some leaders do not succeed because of their personality. There is no way to design a programme to take out arrogance.”

Or tactfulness, as a matter of fact, with one CEO in New Zealand recently fired for making sexist comments over national radio.

Alasdair Thompon, head of New Zealand’s Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) commented that female employees received less pay because menstruation and family issues hinder their productivity.

He said, “Who takes the most sick leave? Women do, in general. Why? Because once a month, they have sick problems.”

Thankfully, there are some CEOs who still manage to retain a certain element of charm, especially when hiring top talent.

Small Talk unveils how Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire brainchild behind Facebook, woos potential employees by inviting them on an intimate stroll with him. One lucky interviewee described Zuckerberg’s approach as being taken out for a date.

Written by Human Resources

July 15, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

HRTV: ControlCircle on effective staff engagement

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Singapore – With staff retention a rising concern among companies, the CEO of ControlCircle says implementing cross-function projects and groups is one strategic way to engage employees effectively.

One key engagement strategy technical services company ControlCircle uses to engage its employees is implementing cross-function groups and cooperation whenever appropriate. Carmen Carey, the firm’s CEO, says doing so provides a platform for employees to understand and empathise how other parts of the business work.

“Our intellectual property resides within our people, so we need to make sure that they are fully engaged with the business, and they understand where we are going and their part in achieving, realising that destination.”

ControlCircle also has continual development and training opportunities for its employees, which allows them to take “more pride” in their work.

In addition, Carey believes in recognising and rewarding staff in formal quarterly reviews as it helps to “facilitate a sense of achievement for individuals and teams”.

As a female leader in the tech industry, Carey says women who aim to rise to leadership roles ought to engage their managers and senior executives to be part of their “success journey”. She adds that the individual has to clear about one’s eventual career goal, while staying engaged in the business.


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Written by Human Resources

June 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Don’t let work emails drive you mad

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A study by researchers at Stanford and Boston University found that the way an individual approaches email can affect their stress level and performance on the job. According to them, what really matters is how much time employees spend responding to work emails.

“People who got stressed out had to spend a lot of time reading it and writing,” Stine Grodal, a professor at Boston University’s School of Management and co-author of the study, told CNN. Grodal said employees can reduce their workplace anxiety caused by email overload and improve their productivity if they tweak their work habits.

“This is all real work. It’s OK to spend an hour a day on e-mail — it’s just something that you have to do. But you can reduce some of the time that you spend,” Grodal said.

The typical corporate user sends and receives roughly 110 e-mail messages a day, and nearly one-fifth of those messages are unwanted, according to research firm The Radicati Group.

Grodal suggested that email filtering technology can help cut down the amount of time spent on clearing inboxes. But many people are not comfortable using this tool for work because they are afraid of missing out on an urgent email.

According to Will Schwalbe, co-author with David Shipley of “Send: The Essential Guide to E-mail for Office and Home”, professionals need to fight the pressure of replying to emails too quickly if they want to stop emails from ruling their lives.

“When we answer e-mail too quickly, we set up accelerated expectations and doom ourselves to a lifetime of instant responding,” Schwalbe told CNN.

Schwalbe added that people need to ask themselves honestly. “Is it you who is being compulsive or does your job actually require it?”

Schwalbe suggested using an out-of-office notifier that directs people to reach employees by phone after regular work hours to keep messages from building up.

Grodal agreed. Respondents in her study who adopted this strategy found that co-workers had a strong sense that out-of-hours phone calls were intrusive while email was not. This became an effective filter because calls are considered “weightier impositions”.

“Even if you give out your cell phone number, people will feel like, ‘Ugh, should I really call her?’ They’ll only do it if it’s really urgent or they’ll wait. But you’re still instilling a sense that you’re available,” Grodal told CNN.

But research has shown that the real workplace time wasters are teleconferences and meetings, even though emails do take up a huge chunk of time. Grodal said the “emotional” attachment to emails could be a reason why we are overwhelmed and most distracted by them at work.

But tweaking work habits can help relieve stress or free up time to pursue other tasks, she said.

Find out how the barrage of work emails are affecting employees’ stress level here.

Written by Human Resources

November 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

HR at the top table

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When Angelika Dammann joined SAP in July this year, it was seen as a top move among HR professionals. Not only did she take responsibility for the full range of the global human resources functions, she took a seat on the software company’s executive board.

Dammann, chief human resources officer at SAP AG, was appointed to the SAP executive board on 1 July this year. Also the first female executive board member in the company’s history, she serves as the company’s labour-relations director.

According to Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-CEOs of SAP, her appointment will address the company’s critical need to significantly improve its employee engagement worldwide.

Lee Xieli talks to Dammann about the secret to her success as an HR professional who has earned a seat in the boardroom.

Written by Human Resources

November 4, 2010 at 2:38 pm

HRTV: Stephen Covey on effective time management

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When you’re a leader, there are hundreds of things competing for your attention at work. Many senior executives have confessed they find effective time management a difficult challenge to overcome because they have too many things to complete in a day.

It gets worse when they hold a global portfolio in their company because they now have to manage teams and oversee business operations in different regions.

But a leader is only valuable if he can decide what’s important and not let work overwhelm his personal life.

Dr Stephen R. Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, says you are your own enemy when it comes to setting boundaries between work and play. Instead of attempting to complete every single task, it’s understanding what is important in your personal mission statement that will help you balance work and personal life efficiently. Here’s his take on how you can manage time effectively.

Written by Human Resources

October 20, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Personal career, Video

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

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

Get them hooked during meetings

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Get them hooked during meetings

By Joanne Rigby

All of us have been on a web or phone conference where the host asks “are there any questions” and the sound of a clock ticking is all you can hear after that. What about getting a response like “could you repeat that question please, I was on mute”? Frustrating, isn’t it?

Sensing the tone and voice reactions of your audience in a virtual environment doesn’t always come as easily as face-to-face meetings. Often, the important message that you are trying to get across is missed in the process.

So how can you close the gap? Here are some simple guidelines you can use to gauge your audience’s level of interest and how to keep them engaged.

It’s all about learning the basics

A famous study by Albert Mehrabian concluded that human beings communicate as much as 38% of our message through our voice (tone, pitch, and so on), with as little as 7% through the words we actually say.

When it comes to meetings, always be on the lookout for “what” the other party is saying and most importantly, ‘how’ they say it. If you’re in a web meeting, it’s good to encourage your guests to use their web cams because it will give you more of an insight by looking for cues in their eyes and overall body language. Most importantly, learn to interpret messages from the tone of their voice.

Ways to read your audience and keep them engaged

1.         Listen to their speed and tone – Like body language or facial expressions, tone and speed can tell you a lot about your audiences’ level of engagement. For example, if they reply in:

o          Monotonous and curt says, “Can we please move on and get this done? I’ve got better things to do”.

o          Slow speed and low pitch communicates, “I’m not in the right frame of mind for this meeting and want to be left alone.”

o          An abrupt speed and loud tone say, “I’m frustrated and not open to input!”

o          Muffled with drawn-out speed indicates “Pardon me, I’ve not woken up yet”.

When any of the above happens, try to spice things up with your audience by doing:

o          Ask if there is anything else they would like to discuss apart from what’s on the agenda

o          Give them a task to do and get them to share it with the rest of the attendees once the time is up

o          Regularly ask each attendee for their agreement or feedback verbally

o          Throw a little bit of humour to lighten up the mood

o          Run polls through the web conferencing interface. Make these fun or informative and use them often.

2.         Listen to their voice inflections: Stressing different words in the same sentences gives you clues to your audiences’ moods. For instance, stressing the words “would you” in this sentence makes it sound defensive: “What would you like us to do about it!” But if they stress the words “like us”, it hints that they are curious and want to find out more.

3.         If they’re not talking, get them talking: If you are experiencing the uncomfortable silence during a web meeting, you may want to ditch the PowerPoint and use a digital whiteboard as a substitute. If this happens during a conference call, you may want to pass presenter control to your audience and encourage them to voice their thoughts and ideas instead.

Also, always have back-up activities – such as polling and voting – that require your audience’s participation to illustrate a point. When you create an open, collaborative environment, you’ll be surprised who comes out of their shell.

4.         Identify multi-taskers: We all do it, and we can agree it makes for less productive meetings. Who’s muted and but is actually on the other line with her friends? Who’s in a remote office and not in the conference room with others?

When you know that you have multi-taskers in the group, try to encourage them to own a piece of the meeting like taking the minutes or even moderating the flow of the discussion. During a web meeting, you can also get the multi-taskers to share their desktops so they can demonstrate an application or walk the audience through a presentation. These tricks will definitely work in keeping them away from their inbox, chat, or browsing the web.

At the end of the day, if you are the one running the meeting, always remember to be fun, entertaining and most importantly, yourself. Start the meeting by telling a story or delivering a creative opening to set the right mood and tone. Original examples, especially from your own recent experience, always work well to relate and identify with your attendees. Engaging your attendees with an occasional relevant joke also helps them to loosen up and raise the level of expectancy and anticipation. When you know that your audience is excited, you will feel confident and they will settle in more easily.

With that in mind, good luck!

Joanne Rigby is the Asia Pacific Marketing Director at PGi. She is responsible for driving PGi’s marketing strategies across its full communications offering throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Keep a look out for PGi’s The Art of Great Meetings Part 2 on 10 “unique” meeting personalities you often encounter in meetings and tips to improve your interactions with them.

Written by Human Resources

June 10, 2010 at 11:07 am

Exceptional performance in the workplace

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In order to gain a competitive advantage, organisations need to grow the leadership capabilities of all its employees regardless of whether the employee works in the mailroom or in the boardroom, says Robin Sharma, author of The Leader Who Had No Title.

In this five-minute video, Sharma shares what he views as exceptional performance in the workplace and how you can achieve it.

Written by Human Resources

May 20, 2010 at 10:41 am