Why Businesses Need Worker Support Programmes

What sort of worker are you? Are you everyday completely motivated, completely focused on work goals and completely consistent in your efforts and focus? Do you start work at a set time, and accomplish all tasks with never a thought about personal issues, or life events which may have impacted upon you? If you were unfortunate to suffer the loss of a loved one through divorce or bereavement, would it affect your work performance or would you remain completely focused? Continue reading “Why Businesses Need Worker Support Programmes”

4 Ways to Ensure that Your Employees are Happy to Work for You

Your employees are the most valuable asset to your company and their skills and experience provide the key elements that your business needs to thrive. With so many people looking desperately for jobs, companies can sometimes take advantage of what their employees are willing to do. The costs of hiring and training new staff are often higher than investing in the ones that you already have. Here are four ways that you can keep your employees happy and working at their best for your business. Continue reading “4 Ways to Ensure that Your Employees are Happy to Work for You”

Matching candidates to a business

Every office is made up of a wide array of people of different ages, genders, backgrounds and all sorts of other variations. Diversity is widely welcomed these days, of course, but every successful firm with a clear idea of what it is about will need its whole workforce to buy into the ethos and culture that drives the enterprise onwards. Getting the right people for a particular firm may seem like a hit-and-miss process, with the application and interview system being far from foolproof in ensuring the right sort of people with the correct mindset and commitment are taken on. Continue reading “Matching candidates to a business”

How to better manage your apprentices

Have you decided to hire apprentices for your firm but are unsure of how best to use them? Like any member of staff, apprentices are a vital component of your business’ success and this means you must invest in them as much as you would with any other employee. Apprenticeships can be symbiotic relationships for businesses, offering each party mutual benefits as they grow and develop together. Continue reading “How to better manage your apprentices”

How to manage diversity in the workplace

When one thinks about diversity in the workplace, their thoughts will likely turn towards ethnic minority and gender imbalances seen throughout the public and private sector. But while getting people of different racial and gender backgrounds into an organisation is a fantastic way to increase engagement and happiness, as it will make your company look progressive and compliant with regulations, there is more to diversity than meets the eye. Continue reading “How to manage diversity in the workplace”

Be your best at interview

Make sure you don’t sabotage your chances at the interview stage by following a few simple and well-known tips for creating a good impression which, nonetheless, many people forget. The first basic tip to remember when preparing for an interview is to scout out the location first to ensure you know how to get there. Do the journey at least once and then add on an extra 20 minutes travel time on the day to allow for any traffic jams or other unforeseen problems. Continue reading “Be your best at interview”

Maternity rights and umbrella companies – a guide

Contracting is becoming an increasingly popular way of working for a number of reasons. Many people assume this is primarily because more opportunities are available at a time when employers are less certain of economic conditions and so unwilling to take on full-time salaried workers. However, while this may be true and there are certainly a wealth of options open to contractors, it is the freedom and flexibility afforded by this career path that is most often cited as its major benefit. Continue reading “Maternity rights and umbrella companies – a guide”

How to Become a Commodity Broker

Commodities Futures Broker (CFB) and Stock Brokers, both reside in the financial industry, but when you think of the quantity and possibly quality, Commodities Futures Broker are unique. CFB’s are – in a very specific niche of the futures, commodities and options world. There are close to a million stock brokers, and less than a one-hundred thousand CFB’s. Online trading, truly turned everyone into a “stock-broker”, in that, anyone can buy stock, and operate mutual funds. On the converse, when it comes to the actual trading of commodities, there is no general set rule, or a model with commodity trading. However, if you are looking to become a CFB, there are two key avenues to consider, before stepping into this arena of the financial market. Continue reading “How to Become a Commodity Broker”

Recruitment for Jobs through Social Media

Social Media has gained in popularity in leaps and bounds. Whats fascinating, that today beyond the social networking, professional networking is also increasing in popularity, which has led to the recruitment efforts of HRs through Social Media. In fact, there are openings for people who enjoy indulging in Social Media, like brand managers, community managers, social media strategists, content creators.In fact, due to the importance of Social Media, there have been conferences (e.g. Social Media in Recruitment) which explores the various dimension of this emergent phenomenon.

While the importance of Linked In has been recognized for a long time for recruitment of new talent in the mid-senior levels, very few recruiters would like to admit that they check the Facebook profiles of the potential candidates. A person’s social interaction not only is an indication of his emotional quotient and with whom he can connect through his social networks, it eventually links up to his professional quotient. Business Schools like Harvard, Yale or other premium schools have networks which can help to identify a member uniquely from these institutions. Thus the potential for actually evaluating the claims of candidature and their association with with niche institutions increases manifold, and hence correctness of professional membership is stamped in the social profile.

Not only for checking a candidates professional aptitude, but also to evaluate a candidature’s fit for a particular profile, a professional Social Media profile is of paramount importance. Its often that recruiters check Linked In for suitable candidates for niche roles. Hence a profile with details which can provide greater insight to the recruiters, can actually create a one-off linkage for the perfect skill specific job with a right candidate.

So why is social media increasing in importance in the recruitment scenario? Actually it has to be recognized that the job portals offer paid services to the recruiters while the social media is free for the basic users. Also the job portals are region specific, social media is more global by its very definition. Job portals target only the active job seekers whereas social media potentially has access to both active and passive job seekers. Hence one may just become inquisitive on seeing an advertisement of an opening which may have a high fit with the candidate, although the latter might not be actively searching for openings at the time.Thus the potential reach to the perfect candidates increases manifold, even if the latter are not actively searching for opportunities.

Also, one can observe social interactions of a potential candidate on social media unlike in job portals. However, social media is difficult to use for the recruitment purpose while job portals are highly user friendly and easy to use, being more targeted for the purpose.  But if offers one benefit that cannot be obtained from job portals. The candidates cannot re-organize their profile for a particular opening, since most have a time stamp, which offers ingenuity to profiles with a truthful mapping of candidature with the openings, although the potential information for evaluation may be low.

So what do you think about the importance of social media and professional recruitment? Do let us know your thoughts on this topic.

BSC – The Balanced Scorecard

The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a framework for strategic management, used to monitor and align performance of an organization or a division of the same. It is a semi-standard yet more or less structured report, supported by some established design methods and tools, that can be used by management executives to keep track of the execution of plans / assignments by the staff within their control and to evaluate the possible consequences arising from the execution of these plans. Introduced by Robert Kaplan (Harvard Business School) and popularized by Bain & Company, the Balanced Scorecard has become one of the most popular frameworks for project monitoring and management and align the same to the vision and mission of the organization, be it an industrial, government, or nonprofit organization.

Ref: Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton, “Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System”, 1996, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 76.

There are 4  major process that needs to be balanced in BSC:

  1. The Learning & Growth process
  2. The Business process
  3. The Customer process
  4. The Financial process

The learning and growth process involves all the plans and programs an organization or a department is undertaking in terms of training and development related to both individual and corporate self-improvement. It extends the concept that in a knowledge based organization,people or the human resource is the most critical resource to organizational development.  This section posits the use of metrics to evaluate performance, progress and development of the human resources of an organization.

The Business Process takes into consideration to develop metrics to measure the performance of the internal processes of an organization. It helps to map development in process efficiencies with incremental changes in internal processes. Process management metrics and workflow management metrics are used in this process to evaluate performance vis-a-vis improvements. Incremental improvements the the processes in terms of meeting targets (say process efficiencies) are measured and how the implementation of plans to meet such targets were conducted, is scrutinized in this process.

The customer process takes into account the philosophy of customer orientation in an organization. In current times, there has been an increasing realization of the importance of customer focus and customer satisfaction in any business. The focus in this process is predominantly Customer Lifetime Value management and in the next stage, harness the Customer’s network value. Incremental improvements in each objectives in terms of meeting targets is measured and how the implementation to meet such targets were planned, is scrutinized in this process.

The financial process is another crucial dimension in the BSC. Although managers using the BSC do not have to rely solely on short-term financial measures as the most important indicators of the division’s performance, financial measures are none the less, extremely relevant and are often recognized as the most critical process by many practitioners. Measures such as financial ratios, total revenue from sales, total cost, cost structure improvements, and indirect sources of revenue are scrutinized against their targets, in this process.

These processes are mapped against each other to check how the organizational vision and mission are being adhered to within a division while implementing ploys and strategies. These help in providing a way to construct a concrete step-by-step path of development for the executives of a division or of an organization.

However, the limitation of the Balanced Scorecard is that it has been severely criticized by scholars  for its inability to link a company’s long-term strategy with its short-term ploy. It has become overused in many organizations, sometime not in the most desirable way, as it was conceived when developed.

industry, government, and nonprofit organizations

How to write a Resume or CV – Tips and Sample

The most important facet while applying for a job is presenting one’s competency through a resume or CV. So how should one present one’s CV so that the first barrier, of getting noticed amidst hundreds of applicants, is successfully crossed. Here are few tips every professional should keep in mind while writing the curriculum vitae. Always remember, the first round while selecting a candidate through the CV is via elimination, while the second round to finalize a hire is through selection via interviews. Continue reading “How to write a Resume or CV – Tips and Sample”

Business Negotiation – Tips to improve Skills

The Art of Negotiation

A ‘negotiation’ is a conversation between two or more parties where the outcome has yet to be decided. Many people enter ‘negotiations’ with a clear and defined outcome in mind and the intention to accept nothing less.  Making demands and negotiating are not interchangeable or even similar and you should be clear which activity you intend undertaking.

Most negotiations are stunted or hindered as both parties seek to gain advantage over the other.  These ‘aggressive’ exchanges often result in the focus becoming personal and subjective rather than impersonal and objective. Properly conducted, a ‘negotiation’ can be a very positive experience for all parties involved and not just during but long after the discussions are completed.

Every negotiation will result in one of 4 outcomes.

The objective of all parties conducting the negotiation would be to arrive at a Win-Win situation for both.

So How to play a Win-Win game?

Be Yourself.

People like to do business with people they can engage with and trust.  Make sure you’re open, honest and be very conscious of your non-verbal communications too. Sitting forward and encroaching could be seen as aggression; sitting back and slouching could be seen as disrespectful and flippant.  Avoid looking disinterested or resting your head on your hands.

Be attentive, sit up straight and maintain friendly, comfortable eye contact.  Use active listening skills such as nodding in agreement, making audible sounds of acknowledgement, gently imitate body language and speech rhythms and ask relevant questions.
If it’s appropriate, share some personal information.  Talking about family or interests could establish a rapport but be careful not to offend or alienate the other party with extreme views.

Never Lie
Don’t overstretch the truth; don’t over exaggerate and never ever lie!  You will be found out at some point and, when you are, all trust will be lost and you will never be in a position to negotiate again.

Be Present
Be present and in the moment, listening to everything that’s said and picking up on subtle verbal and non-verbal clues.  Use questioning to ensure you understand everything and don’t make assumptions. Understand fully your opposite number’s position – what are they proposing; what are they asking for; what do they want and not want; why they want it.

Establish Common Ground
Establish the common ground and then use this commonality to build on.  Where are the shared interests, goals, objectives?  How can you help them whilst also helping yourself?
This also affirms your positive listening skills, demonstrating that you’ve placed the wishes and desires of your opposite at the very centre of the conversation.

Show Respect
Show that you respect your opposite by taking some time to consider their views, desires and perspectives.  Dismiss nothing out of hand and be prepared to explain why you are rejecting something, giving them the opportunity to understand what matters to you.

Make your offer
Now you’re ready to make your offer and this should be based on your expectations but also on the preceding discussions reaffirming that you’ve been listening and that you’re trying to encompass your desires with your opposite’s. This is also the perfect time to discuss where you could negotiate further and what’s non-negotiable but it also helps to explain why some aspects are non-negotiable.  If you can’t move on price because of overheads, say so but explore where you could offset this (perhaps with reciprocal marketing or something mutually beneficial).
The ‘Art of Negotiation’ is quite simply getting a good deal for all parties involved or reaching a consensual agreement for mutual benefit.
Be careful not to compromise too much – this is a business transaction and whilst mutual respect, honesty and flexibility will aid the process, the outcome may be that the deal on offer isn’t for you and you walk away, happy that you’ve explored all options and haven’t betrayed yourself or your organization. That doesn’t mean you don’t respect each other, in fact quite the opposite – you respect yourself as much as you respect them.

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This article was authored by Collin Millar (Twitter @colin_millar), a guest blogger at Business Fundas.Colin is the Chairman of Chartered Management Institute (CMI, Glasgow), an EFQM Business Excellence Practitioner & Accredited Assessor.  Colin Graduated in Management from the Open University Business School and has held several senior positions including Head of Criminal Records Bureau for a Scottish Police Force and Head of Operations for a Scottish based charity.