The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

Archive for the ‘Compensation & benefits’ Category

Small Talk: Work-life balance high on global agenda

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Singapore – Local employees worry about achieving work-life balance, while workers in China fear overworking to death.

A new Nielsen Global Online Survey revealed 15% of Singaporeans are concerned about their work-life balance. This is slightly ahead of the Asia Pacific average of 12%. But Singaporeans are not the only ones fretting about work.

Employees in China are afraid of overworking to death after a staff member of PricewaterhouseCoopers died. Although her death was attributed to meningitis, blog posts prior to the tragic incident revealed her work pressure was beginning to affect her health.

Based on survey results by Beijing-based recruitment website zhaopin.com, 45% of 5,000 Chinese employees claim they were suffering from work fatigue and high stress levels. Over 70% also said they were overworked, and 40% were prone to flaring up in the office.

Sabrina Zolkifi shares her thoughts on why providing employees with work-life balance is key, as well as why Johnson & Johnson is revamping their global compensation model. She also explores how annoying office quirks can be affecting your work relationships.

Additionally, Sabrina revisits this week’s video interview with Shelly Lazarus, chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Lazarus spoke to Marketing Magazine’s editor Deepa Balji and discusses how smart bosses use work-life balance as a retention strategy.


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Written by Sabrina Zolkifi

June 10, 2011 at 12:07 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

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

AIA case study: Motivating employees without money

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Can something as simple as chicken rice or ice cream raise employee morale? According to Ragi Singh, head of HR for AIA Singapore,  a simple token such as buying chicken rice for employees can do wonders for employee morale during difficult times.

Speaking at the recent Human Resources Insight event on best compensation & benefits practices, Singh talked about his experiences as the head of HR for AIA Singapore, helping employees manage change and uncertainty during the crisis. He also covered pointers on what he thinks fellow HR practitioners can learn on motivating employees without the use of money.

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Written by Human Resources

April 8, 2010 at 11:22 am

Salary increment forecasts for 2010

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In light of the economic downturn, it’s no surprise that employers’ sentiments around salary increments in Singapore have been described as generally “cautious”.
Based on Watson Wyatt’s Pulse Survey of 145 companies conducted in June,  Yvonne Cox who is managing director of Watson Wyatt Singapore talks about how salary increment forecasts have panned out over the course of 2009, the expected salary increment figure for 2010 as well as the variations between industries.

Written by Human Resources

September 16, 2009 at 2:52 pm

You want a pay raise in the downturn?

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The economy may be in the doldrums but if you’ve been doing more than your usual job scope, you’re likely itching for a better pay to commensurate the effort you’ve been putting in. The question is how?

If your company is still mindful of the fragile economic conditions or has gone through budget cuts, you do have to play your cards right without getting backslash from your manager.

Speaking from a boss’ perspective, Roy Magee, regional vice president for AchieveGlobal Greater China & Singapore, gives Human Resources an insight into when’s the best time to approach bosses for the money talk.

Have trouble loading the video? Why not check your company or computer’s firewall settings to make sure that Youtube videos can be streamed on your computer.

Written by Lee Xieli

June 25, 2009 at 4:09 pm

The pay cut preparation guide

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How can you stay afloat when your financial situation is sinking?

How can you stay afloat when your financial situation is sinking?

While a layoff may be our greatest fear in this recession, a pay cut comes close to second. In a survey conducted by Hewitt in April this year, 37% of 53 companies in Singapore say they have implemented a recruitment freeze, and another 33% say they have plans to do so in the May-July period. Although 66% of overall companies  reported no layoffs, the service sector saw 18.2%  looking to retrench staff.

That said, a pay cut, unpaid furlough, or diminished working hours can be a difficult adjustment. In an article on Money Watch, Richard Sine suggests four steps to minimise the effects of a pay cut.

Step One: Get the full story

At the news of a pay cut, it is important to get past the emotions and understand what your employer is actually offering so you can plan ahead. Bosses often don’t make things clear, and it is best for you to review the company’s HR policies or ask the HR department about the possible effects a pay cut has on your benefits. Perks like health insurance, severance packages and bonuses are calculated based on salary and/or work hours, which a pay slash or work reduction may eliminate. It is hence important to fully understand what a pay cut means.

Step Two: Know your rights

Make sure your boss is treating you fairly. There is always a possibility that a manager is using the recession as an excuse to penalise certain workers unfairly or even illegally. If you suspect discrimination, bring it up to the company’s HR department before taking it out of the company.

Step Three: Try to negotiate something in return

Bosses are usually forced to cut your hours or pay because they have little choice. They still want you to remain loyal and productive. Hence, it may be a good time to negotiate for something in return, such as a more flexible work schedule, discounts on company products or services, or allowing you to retain some of the benefits you were set to lose. Approach your boss about this. If it fails, consider banding together with some colleagues for more heft.

Step Four: Adjust your finances

A pay cut may be temporary, but depending on the economy and the company’s fortune, it may be a long time. It is thus important to make adjustments to your finances. Sine provides a list of strategies for consideration:

* Divide all your expenses into “mandatory” and “discretionary.” Then, reduce your discretionary spending and get an idea of how long you can continue paying your mandatory expenses with your reduced salary.

* Increase your savings cushion to prepare for the possibility of a layoff.

* Maintain your access to credit. Make sure you occasionally use each of your credit cards so they don’t get closed due to inactivity. But pay the balance in full!

* To make up for your lost spending power, take advantage of every last benefit your employer offers, such as transit reimbursements, flexible spending accounts for health or childcare, and company-sponsored discounts.

Related article: Penny pinching tips for the unemployed

Written by kaytee

June 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm