A series of articles that discuss best practices and strategic perspectives in human relationship management


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A series of articles that discuss best practices and strategic perspectives in human relationship management

  1. 1. A series of articles that discuss best practices and strategic perspectives in human relationshipmanagement. Read about best practices that can lead to significant improvements on employeeengagement and maximized return on talent investments. Learn how to lower administration and costover heads in the HR function. These are the insights that drive EmployWise features.SME Challenges: How We Can Start Meeting Them - Part I12345By Nigel CopseyTuesday, 31 January 2012 09:47Meeting SME Challenges From the Beginning.If we seek high performance, low maintenance leaders, the first stage is really getting the right person in placewhether we are promoting or recruiting for such positions. And, in a large percentage of cases, this is all toofrequently where things begin to go wrong.In the nascent stage of their businesses, many entrepreneurs bring in people they know and whose performancethey trust. The only problem with this is the fact that the stock of such people is limited and insufficient tocontinue fuelling growth. But how many entrepreneurs learnt how to recruit/select effectively? In terms ofpromotion, they make the same mistake as many other companies, both large and small — giving the baton to thebest performer, or the person with the greatest knowledge, or the one who has been with the organisation thelongest. When it comes to recruitment, they rely on the same old “favourites” of skills, knowledge, qualificationsand experience, added which is whether they seem O.K. and presented themselves well at interview. Based onthis, they get handed the baton. Now the crucial question. What percentage of the new incumbents drop thatbaton? It is certainly far higher than is helpful to staff morale, customer service, productivity, and attrition, letalone the sanity of the Owner/Manager.I regularly find what companies look for, and what they actually need for high performance in the role, are polesapart.
  2. 2. Understandably, effective leaders are difficult to find but it does help if we know what we should really beseeking in candidates, whether they be internal or external. This strong focus is vital to enable more rightchoices.What should HR and Business Leaders be Looking For?Unfortunately, the CV is not likely to tell us much, even if there are statements about being a manager andresponsible for so many people and whatever processes. I am not saying this is fabricated. It can be quite true butit does not in any way confirm they lead people forward and whose direct reports enjoy working with themtowards great results. They merely had the title but not necessarily behaved as a leader.The word “behaved” was purposely used and emphasised to illustrate a fact: a significant amount of a leader‟ssuccess relies upon behavioural strengths, contributing, in most cases, more than skills, knowledge, qualificationsand experience. What are the Behaviours Leadership Demands? Different kinds of role will require different mixesof strengths and, although the tools can assist us in setting these and measuring them in candidates, the verysimplified and broad brush strokes of what we train interviewers to focus upon for leaders are as follows:A strong need to take charge, set direction, and face (non-technical) challenges. Sees the “big picture”, goal oriented and makesthings happen.If a strategic approach is needed, then an analytical, thinker and planner.Who does not rush into things too quickly, taking a little time to reflect before acting. Can take a degree of pressure anddeadlines.Decisive and independent, leaving detail to others and requires little supervision.Then the “learnt” behaviours:Maturity and judgement.Stability and persistence.Attitudes and beliefs. (We are not judging a person’s beliefs, merely ensuring they will be comfortable adopting the values thecompany upholds.)Self-motivation.Finally: Aptitude and speed of thought.The interview.The interviews need to be pleasant, not a “grilling” of the candidates. Questioning must be in-depth — it is tootempting to accept the first answer given and also to assume what the interviewee means, as opposed to ensuringwe establish what they do mean. True: all this is easier said than done but training and practice, with subsequentreflection and improvement, helps enforce changing of habits and, interestingly, increases success.Editors Note: Nigel Copseys passion is in helping organisations and managers to create an environment in whichpeople get great satisfaction out of producing great results. This Productivity & Performance work has takenplace in the UK and, more recently, in India for which he also has the license to provide and support clients inthe use of The McQuaig System® of psychometric assessment. He assists organisations in becoming morecompetitive by improving their recruiting, engaging, developing and retaining for high performance. Nigelspecialised in the management of change, productivity/performance enhancement, and leadership development.He has lived and worked in the UK, India and Sri Lanka and also undertaken short assignments in various othercountries. Click here to connect with Nigel on LinkedIn. Click here to connect with Nigel on LinkedIn.Photo by: HGN Rocket Science0 Comments and 4 Reactions5 Best Ways to Motivate Employees for Top Performance
  3. 3. 12345By SanatKapurFriday, 27 January 2012 09:00 Most employers are faced with the problem of howto motivate their employees to perform to the best of their abilities. But motivating employees requires morethan just a high salary. Follow these tips to ensure your employees give their best to your organization.1. Lead by ExampleA boss who practices the "Do as I say, not as I do" philosophy can bring the whole team‟s morale down. We haveall heard about the boss who tells people to stay late, but he or she would leave exactly at 5pm. Or the boss whodiscourages employees to surf the net but is found on Facebook at all times. Employees look up to their bosses forguidance, and it is up to the person who is leading to ensure that they accept this responsibility. If you want
  4. 4. employees to follow good work practices, your team leaders, and managers must show them the way by followingthe rules themselves. Good leaders are able to inspire and earn the trust of their employees. If your employeesare looking at the boss and thinking "If he can do it, so can I", their productivity will definitely rise.2. Allow Access for Effective CommunicationOne of the most common mistakes that bosses make is to exude a „touch-me-not‟ aura where they are notaccessible by their own employees. Two way communications is a vital factor in employee motivation. Finding thebalance between being bossy and being too friendly is the key to effective communication. You need to ensurethat employees respect you and your instructions, yet feel comfortable enough to tell you about their work-related problems. A simple way to do this is to have your team leaders check in with their teams in the morningsabout their previous day and their goals for the current day. This casual interaction will help you ensure bossesand employees keep an open channel of communication, and are on the same page about the employee‟s workexpectations. Another effective method includes getting to know employees. Studies show that when youremployees feel cared for, they put extra effort to make their work better.3. Personalise the WorkplaceMake sure you pinpoint each employee‟s personality, strengths and preferences. Asking employees the question,”What do you want out of your work?“ will go a long way in achieving this objective. By learning from youremployees what they like to do and why, you will be able to place them in roles that play well to their strengths.Another good way to do this is to try and fill talent voids in your organization, rather than job titles. This wayyou‟ll be matching their talents, skill sets and what they‟re really good at instead of fitting people into jobdescriptions.When rewarding employees for top performance, ensure that the rewards are matched to thatemployee‟s age and career stage. For example, a worker nearing the end of his career would probably be lessfocused on a promotion than someone who just began climbing the corporate ladder. Personalized rewards arealso one of the best ways of showing your employees that you care, and will motivate employees to strive forexcellence in the workplace.4. Share Great Feedback with EveryoneCommunicate feedback from customers, whether internal or external, directly to your employees. Directfeedback, whether negative or positive, is known to be a powerful motivator. Even if an employee is working tofulfill the needs of other employees within the organization, ensure he is able to receive and provide feedback tothe employee. Positive feedback will help an employee feel like his work is worthwhile, and motivate him orherself. Instead of negative feedback, focus on constructive criticism.Make sure that any negative feedback is notemotionally charged, and has specific pointers that can help an employee improve his work.5. Trust Your EmployeesYou must trust your employees, and give them room to perform. Whatever you do, make sure you do notmicromanage your employees. Micromanagement leads to no communication, no trust, and no employee growth.Employees will resent their managers, leading to low morale in the workplace. Give your employees clearinstructions, and ask for regular progress reports. However, beyond that, you must learn to leave them alone andshow faith in their work. Give feedback, but do not attempt to manage every aspect of their work. Besides,employees who are not micromanaged will learn from their own mistakes, and will have stronger problem solvingskills.Very often, employees prefer not to confront their managers about this problem, and will choose to avoid theissue. Consequently, the employee-manager relationship will breakdown, and the employee will lose interest inhis or her work. Keep checking yourself to ensure that you never micromanage, but instead provide employeeswith the freedom to succeed themselves.Hopefully, these tips will help you in ensuring a happy and motivated workforce that is performing to the best oftheir abilities. What are the other tips that you use in your daily workplace? You can share with us in thecomment section below.Photo by NonoFara0 Comments and 3 ReactionsHow to Write an International Corporate Travel Policy that Works1
  5. 5. 2345By Yu Yu DinThursday, 19 January 2012 10:23Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Jeanne Heydecker, who is an American expat living in India with over 20years working in all possible industries from Nano Tech to Telecommunications. Back in the days she was one ofthe folks who wrote the book on Object Oriented Programming that is now part of our everyday technologies. Sheis an avid advocate for building sustainable businesses that both profit and make social impact. She has organisedtrade shows and corporate travel from Brazil to Burma (now known as Myanmar). Follow her exciting travelexperiences live @jeanneleez or connect with her here on LinkedIn.As the head of marketing for a group of telecom companies, I produce between 15 and twenty large trade showsworldwide every year. One of the largest and most difficult to control expenses is staffing. Over the years I havedeveloped a process that works for the group and may be of use for you as well. As the department head, Ivealways looked at what could possibly happen so that the company is covered in all emergencies. While it maynever happen, it is always good to ensure that your company is covered for all incidents should they occur to yourstaff.Travel Policy TemplateWrite a policy manual that covers all guidelines for employee travel. Here are some of the points you should keepin mind: Detail the entire process, Identify the staff involved (HR, finance, departmental heads, etc.) that arepart of the process, Include templates for all forms to be completed or links to your online service Includeacceptable price ranges and modes for local conveyance, flight classes, and acceptable costs for hotels per stafftitle, e.g. our board members and CEO fly business class, all others economy. We also utilize a sliding scale forper diems - VPs get $45 a day, while sales staff get $40.Don’t Forget Cultural AwarenessThis document should also cover marketing and cultural issues when traveling overseas. A friend contacted meone day and told me that on her trip back from Bangkok, there was a drunk passenger on the plane who wassexually harassing the flight attendant and cracking loud, offensive jokes to his colleague. Guess what? Sherecognized the gent as someone who worked for my company. Many of the people on that plane were comingback from the same trade show, so the possibility is that someone else recognized this person as representing ourcompany - hopefully none of our potential customers. Staff need to understand that their negative actionsoverseas reflect poorly on the brand.Ive been guilty myself of not seeing cultural cues and providing links to cross-cultural web sites can be veryhelpful. At another company I worked for, one of my staff had approached a woman in Qatar to ask directions andher male companion felt insulted. The ensuing argument turned into a physical fight and he was arrested. With afew links about local culture, this may have been avoided.Plan for EmergenciesYou may want to ensure that all staff have the phone number for their Embassy to ensure their rights arepreserved. Beyond this, weve had staff mugged, their luggage stolen and at least one laptop, camera or phoneseems to disappear at each show. Knowing where the closest Embassy is for getting a duplicate passport isimportant. (Our travel agent photocopies all pages of each staff members passport, including all visas, just forthis purpose.) These can be scanned and sent to the Embassy in question should someones passport go missing.Another thing to mention is how the company is liable if an employee gets seriously ill while working overseas.Ensure that each staff member has a health insurance carrier to pay for any catastrophic care that might berequired overseas. Flight insurance may also be well worth the money if you keep tight schedules when traveling,e.g., if you fly the night before an important meeting and the flight gets delayed or cancelled, you have recoursebeyond the airline itself.
  6. 6. Communications, Transport, and HousingBudgeting is fairly straightforward once you have the policy set in place. I can identify the cost per ticket to alocation by checking any travel web site like orbitz.com or makemytrip.com. I can assign costs based on the staffmembers title. Same with per diems and hotels. We also supply local SIM cards for each staff member, with nocapability for international dialing to keep costs down. Email and Skype are used from the hotels for personalcontact with home.My team negotiates with hotels to include breakfast and Wi-Fi as part of the package whenever possible. Thisstretches each staff members per diems, so the only other costs were charged for is local conveyance. All staffare allowed to take taxis to and from the show venue, but we encourage sharing as much as possible. All othertravel, for dinner, sightseeing, etc. is part of their per diem.This process of thinking, "Whats the worst that could happen?" may seem pessimistic, but its actually pragmatic.Planning ahead and protecting the company wherever possible is always a good idea, and fixed ranges for costskeep staff under budget.If you‟d like to know more about the Ingredients of a Good Travel Policy, you can join us at our webinar thisFriday (the 20th) at 3 to 4 pm IST. Click here to register.0 Comments and 0 ReactionsChecklist for An Effective Performance Management System12345By SanatKapurWednesday, 18 January 2012 11:46
  7. 7. The words, “performance management” usually bring out anegative reaction from employees and managers alike. However, a good performance management system is vitalto any organization, and can help you increase both employee productivity and satisfaction. Check out these 10tips that should help you develop an effective system that will result in an enhanced workforce-1. Report RegularlyNever judge based solely on one mistake or one great job done. Make sure all team leaders make regularappraisals of how employees are faring at their work. A good way to do this is for bosses to keep a little notebookwhere they make a note of the employee‟s performance at least once a day. When the time for the periodicalassessment is due, compile all the data and then reward or penalize accordingly.2. Have Regular Appraisal MeetingsInstead of annual appraisal meetings, try having quarterly or at least bi-annual meetings. This way, you canregularly keep track of an employee‟s performance, and suggest improvements if required. Employees would alsoprefer this system, as it is not fair to be basing your review on criticism from a year back. Regular appraisals willalso help you pinpoint exactly what is going wrong, and rectify mistakes before they start happening regularly.Thus, regular meetings are the way to go.3. Have a 360° Feedback SystemFeedback does not only come from managers. It is essential to include feedback from the employee‟s customers,peers, and even employees who report to him or her. This will help you get a more complete picture of theemployee‟s performance, and be objective during the appraisal. Keep in mind that sometimes bosses may bebiased in their view towards a particular employee, so it‟s always better to have feedback from different sources.4.Be ObjectiveNever let a performance appraisal be subject to someone‟s personal opinion. Be very careful when consideringfeedback from peers and managers, as they tend to be biased even when they don‟t mean to be. Employees alsotend to feel victimized when the reports contain personal feedback. Try and base your feedback on concreteresults. And whatever you do, never make a personal criticism against an employee.5. Give Clear TargetsVery often, employees fail to reach your expectations only because their goals are not clearly outlined. Make sureall your employees have clearly outlined goals whose success can be measured easily. Achieving or not achieving aclear target is one of the clearest indicators of an employee‟s performance. In addition, if the targets are definedbeforehand, this indicator is objective and not subject to people‟s personal opinions.6. Give Constructive CriticismMake it a policy to never criticize an employee without telling him exactly what his mistake is, and what he could
  8. 8. do to fix it. Criticism without suggestions will only anger an employee. Even if your criticisms have merit,employees will tend to feel victimized by them if they are not accompanied by constructive advice on how theemployee can improve.7. ListenPerformance appraisals should never be a one-way communication. Your employee must have the chance to gethis viewpoint across as well. This is especially true if you are criticizing the employee. When giving negativefeedback, it is vital that you give the recipient the chance to explain themselves. Also, an employee will tend tobe much more committed to a target if he was involved in its creation.8. RewardGive people a reason to achieve their targets. Without an adequate rewards system, most employees don‟t seethe need to achieve their potential at work. And remember, rewards come in forms other than money. Whilemonetary rewards are usually a powerful motivator, ensure that you also give recognition in other ways. Forexample, taking your team out to lunch to celebrate a success can also be a great motivator, which will also servethe purpose of building unity in the team. Remember, the message your rewards sends out is as important as thevalue of your reward.9. Create A Performance Development PlanIf you do find that an employee‟s work is substandard, schedule a performance development meeting. Try andestablish a comfortable rapport with the employee, and ensure he or she is not feeling victimized. During thismeeting, after adequate discussion from both sides, create an effective performance development plan. Bothemployee and manager should work together to understand what went wrong, how the employee could improveon his strengths and agree upon a clear set of goals.10. Ask The Right QuestionsInstead of only considering what you would like the employee do, ask questions such as “What things have madeyour job difficult in this period?” “Is there anything we can do to make your work environment more productive?”and “Do you think your talent would be better utilized somewhere else?” These are the questions that will helpyou understand if the employee would be better suited to another role, or if the company itself is at faultanywhere. Besides, any employee would be glad to work in an organization where his opinions are valued.1 Comment and 4 Reactions9 Simple Ways to Manage Your Creatives12345By Yu Yu DinThursday, 05 January 2012 11:55
  9. 9. Creatives are the most misunderstood lot in the corporate world. They dont act like your normal managers with MBA trainings, neither do they appear disciplined. Ive heard people call them everything from prima donnas to they have issues to down right useless. But without your creatives, you wont have innovation, you wont have awesome content, and you certainly wont have solutions that came from outside the proverbial box. Creatives behave differently because theyre creatives - they cant help it. Its a talent that they bring to the table. You need them to give you that extra bit of competitiveness. Once you can harness the power of your creatives or the creative team, you can do wonders to your corporate image as an organisation, market your products better, and communicate with your stakeholders and really connect to them. Here are a couple of pointers Ive learned from my experience managing creatives for the past decade.1. Know each of your creatives individually. Each creative person behaves differently. They have different motivations, different drives. Some like learning and the produce the best work when theyre learning something. Some cant produce great work unless they know the bigger picture. Some like getting things done - its like a confidence booster or another motivational factor that drives them. So if youre a manager or a team leader, get to know your people individually - once you know those buttons youll know what they need to help them achieve.2. Give them space but set ground rules. Some creatives make it look easy and simple. For example, the first Volkswagen ad that appeared in 1960 seems like a no brainer but it took a lot of thought and effort to really get it right. But when they did get it right, it was revolutionary. If you want revolutionary ideas, ideas the disrupt the norm, give your creatives some space. No use hounding after them to produce like mules. Give them some space. On the other hand, set some ground rules before setting them off into the wild. Give them deadlines. Give them guidelines. A lot of managers just ask, "This is what we should do so get it done." The creative process isnt as simple as that. Let them know what youre trying to achieve, what your company stands for, and what you want your brand to do. Give them a project brief if you can so they have it right in front of them, digest the project better, and give you what you want exactly.
  10. 10. 3. Give them targets and goals. You cant have creativity for its sake you need goals and targets. Afterall you need to profit from their creativity right? Tell them what the point of what theyre doing really is.4. Value their opinions. Its a real shame that most managers Ive come across really dont care what creatives are telling them. If someone tells you that your brand colors represent feminehygine product colors you should really pay attention. Unless of course youre trying to market that product. Creatives know instinctively what colors, what words, and what ways you represent your service or product will work best. At the same time, creatives are shy - so ask them what they think and dont cut them off in the process. Truly value their opinions and evaluate them. If youre not going to do what they suggest, at least have some respect and tell them why. If you dont do that youre the one who would look like you dont know what youre doing and you can stick to a decision. Theres nothing worse than a manager or any sort of leader who cant make decisions.5. Allow them to nap or even play around the office. Ive let my writers nap in the office after lunch. As a result they produced better pieces faster. Sleeping is such an important activity for your brain and the creative process is ALL brains. Thats why companies like Google have office places that encourage people to play. Making work fun will keep your employees satisfied, theyll wake up and look forward to being in the office more. I have my trusty slinky on my desk at all times. The creative brain needs simulation. Having a fish tank also helps -- studies find that watching fish reduces stress. So if you have a high stress office, get a fish tank. There was a company that even counted them as fengshui consultants!6. Stop monitoring their break time. There are some offices in India where you need to log your breaktime in the registry - that gets just get people angry, dissatisfied, and start hating the place they work in. I know of one office that started it did and all their senior managers resigned within two weeks. All of them were highly creative and talented people who wouldve taken the organisation to the next level. If youre monitoring your employees break time, its time to end it. If you really really need to monitor the comings and goings of your employees, put a biometric security system or a card reader. There are some corporate which are going to have RFI tags on name badges - thats just downright a violation of privacy and people are going to hate you for it. If you dont trust your people enough - theres a huge underlying cultural issues going on and you need to get to the root cause of that not apply draconian methods to manage people.7. Help your staff to be confident in their abilities. Ive found that a lot of creatives question their abilities and are not so confident. (Of course theres a lot of cocky creatives out there, too.) Offer your prespective on why theyre best at what they do and why theyre valuable to you, to the team, and to the organisation as a whole. They need to feel assured that theyre the right person for the job. Once you can tackle that As for cocky creatives - challenge them - give them challenges they can tackle. Tell them, if youre so great, just go do it. It is important to let them know that you believe in their abilities as a creative person.8. Have a Simple IT Policy for Internet Usage. If you put up walls around your staffs Internet usage - they will find a way to break them. Its a waste of your resources and their time. Youd rather have them stimulated by other things they read and see online and spark ideas instead of wasting their creativity on thinking of ways on how to hack your IT policy. Stop blocking every social media site there is. I heard about a
  11. 11. startup that heavily relied on social media outreach that blocked Facebook. They were shooting themselves in the foot. Again, trust them to use their time wisely in the office and they will value and honor that trust. Besides, young professionals value having their Facebook access at workmore than their salaries. You shouldnt be dictating what browser they use or limit the cloud tools that they can use either. It limits their way of discovering new cool things that they can use later on to help the team or the organisation. An organisation I was interviewed once said that they could only use IE in the office - I said, "The most slow and insecure browser? And you want to be leading in the digital world" Needless to say, theyre still struggling.9. Have a creative to manage your team. I hate to say this but in my experience MBAs make horrible managers for creatives. Unless theyre creatives themselves who happen to have an MBA. Creatives tend to come from a liberal arts background and having an MBA as a boss creates an unnessary gap. A lot of MBAs also look down on creatives with a flare of, "I have an MBA and you just graduated with a regular degree." The feelings mutual from the creatives as well. They think, "What do you know about being creative - you cant do anything close to what we do because youre so process driven." It creates more challenges than what you need to get great results for the organisation. Read this Harvard Business Review article on Weird Rules of Creativity. What have been your experience with working with creatives? How do you best manage them? Photo by RHiNO NEAL. 1 Comment and 7 Reactions