Archive for the ‘General HR’ Category

Business Plan

April 15, 2014 Leave a comment

March 29, 2014 Leave a comment


What Are the Benefits of Performance Appraisals to the Organization?
Improving Communication

All too often, employees and managers don’t get along and can’t understand why. Problems that stem from a lack of communication can sometimes be resolved with a performance appraisal. If the appraisal is used as an opportunity to describe the criteria on which performance is judged — using meaningful and relevant examples — then the employee will walk away from the meeting with a better understanding of how to best perform his job. For example, “John, when I say you need to be more customer-focused, what I really want is to see you greet the customers with a smile when they enter the store, and ask how you can help.”

Providing a Career Path

The performance appraisal is the perfect opportunity to address long-term goals that may not be on the everyday to-do list. Not only does this provide the employee with an opportunity to be of greater use to an organization, the employee feels pleased and valued. Lighting the way toward a successful career path inspires loyalty and stability and can improve the bottom line, especially when the employee’s first concern is the health of the business, and subsequently, her career.

Encouraging Good Work and Improvement

Celebrating a job well-done is the easy part of the performance appraisal. Noting areas of improvement is not so easy. Nevertheless, no one is perfect, and the performance appraisal is an ideal time to diplomatically highlight areas that need improvement. Even the most valuable employee could benefit from additional training, while those who are on the cusp of dismissal need the heads-up. Be specific by providing examples and clearly explain what needs to occur to turn things around. Showing an employee that you care enough about them by taking the time to work with them may make even the most hardened employee feel better.

Improving Decision-Making Ability

When a company has detailed information on employee performance, business decisions become easier. Filling open positions with existing staff strengthens the organization and promotes loyalty. Knowing which employees display what strengths improves the speed with which projects can be assigned. Appraisals also provide a framework when making decisions about compensation — and layoffs. If the organization becomes the unfortunate party to a lawsuit, the performance appraisal can refute or support claims. As a result, the effective use of performance appraisals helps an organization operate efficiently and with focus.



External or Internal Recruiting: Who Does it Better?

March 28, 2014 1 comment


It has been debated many times, but the question of whether recruitment is best done with internal or external resources can only be answered at an organizational level, based upon a cost-benefit analysis.


When doing this analysis, consider which method of recruitment scores higher on the following metrics:


  1. Quality of hire
  2. Time to fill
  3. Culture fit
  4. Candidate experience/impact on EVP
  5. Cost

It’s time to take a close inspection of each of these areas.

Quality of Hire

Most internal recruiters, at least in medium- to large-sized companies, rely on Web-based systems to do the initial screening and culling of applicants. They lack incentives, and also lack penalties, for how well they recruit. With external recruiters, there are often no metrics in place at all, other than time to fill. If metrics for quality of hire are clearly tracked and compared between internal and external recruiters, it can help identify the best recruitment model for your business because you will be able to tell who is providing the highest-quality candidates.

Linking recruiter pay to quality of hire is a critical step in ensuring that recruiters make solid recommendations to line managers, who ultimately make the hiring decision. Agency recruiters can be measured based on client feedback and the number of times roles have to be re-filled at no charge to the client, which can happen if the wrong hire is made and if the client organization does not have a formal way to measure its recruitment suppliers on this metric.

If you use a hybrid model, consider measuring and comparing both your internal and external recruiters on the quality of new hires. After implementing such a metric, measure them upon their first placement, at six and 12 weeks, again at six months, and then at regular intervals.

Time to Fill

Jobs can often be filled faster by using agencies (particularly within specialized industries) because they have large applicant pools. Good recruiters will always have warm candidates they keep in touch with.

Often, when external recruiters are pre-screening and presenting candidates, it’s internal recruiting teams that hold the process up. It’s not necessarily their fault, as priorities sometimes change, putting recruitment on hold, or as role requirements are revised, but it speaks to a core challenge facing the recruitment community today.

One key reason recruitment is delayed is that budget for a role has not been approved prior to beginning the search process. As everyone knows, you shouldn’t go to market until you’re certain you need to fill a role and that money is available to do so. It seems that many companies still retain search firms, spend money on advertising positions, and start seeing candidates without a confirmed internal agreement. This has a decidedly negative impact on both the brand and the relationship with any candidates you have engaged if you withdraw from the process.

A second reason for delaying the process often has to do with how companies operate internally. While a new role may be budgeted, conflicting schedules, agendas, or priorities can mean delays in seeing candidates, or extending the number of interviews or assessments beyond what was originally planned.

Not only does this increase cost and time to fill the role, it also antagonizes candidates and may mean you secure the runner-up instead of your preferred applicant, or worse, you’re left with no suitable candidate at all, forcing you to begin the process anew.

If you’re using agencies that have pre-screened candidates for you, move those candidates through the internal process, make decisions about individual applicants, and follow up quickly. Given the shortage of candidates in the market, this should be a given.

The need for speed in recruitment, to manage costs and to fill roles, especially empty ones, must be balanced with the need to find the best candidate for the role, considering all aspects, including culture fit.

Culture Fit

Internal recruiters will be able to articulate and respond to questions about what it’s really like to work in your company in a way that external parties won’t. External recruiters will never know your business as well as your own staff, try as they may, because they don’t work in the organization on a day-to-day basis, experiencing all its nuances and political challenges. As a result, many organizations think that recruitment can be done better by an in-house team who know and live the corporate culture and understand stakeholders best.

In the model where external recruiters are placed on-site, they work with your teams every day, but they are still removed from the employee experience to a large degree. For them to hire for culture fit is a particularly difficult task.

One way to track success in this area is to measure culture fit, and there are a number of ways to do that. Compare success rates between your internal and external recruiters to see who is making better assessments of culture fit.

Candidate Experience/Impact on EVP

Every time you go to market under your own brand or someone else’s, you send messages about your organization to potential candidates. How you do this could impact the way your firm is perceived by candidates, so understanding the impact of what you do is important.

If you use blind ads through a recruitment firm, you won’t build or add to your own brand recognition. Any external agency efforts to co-brand or represent your business must be handled correctly or the brand can be damaged. For example, if external recruiters don’t respond to candidates, or not quickly enough, people will forever tie that response to your brand, leaving a negative image in their minds about your company.

Pointing would-be employees to agencies through your careers website makes an impression on candidates about your organization, good or bad. Investments in a career website are better realized if you make the effort to engage with candidates directly at some level. This direct communication puts you in control of your candidate pool and is particularly helpful when there are jobs in the pipeline that haven’t been advertised yet.


An important cost consideration is related to the number of recruits. If you don’t hire a lot of people each year, it’s probably not worth having in-house recruitment staff. If you do, it’s worth measuring the cost effectiveness of outsourcing against the cost of having an in-house team and a well-developed career site with a front- and back-end recruitment system.

Using external recruiters can be expensive if you are a small company and do a large number of hires per year. Invest in some sort of recruitment technology, as well as a good recruiter or two on site who know your business, your brand, and your culture.

Whichever method you choose, or if you use both internal and external recruiters, the most important things to remember are that you need great people for your company, you need them now, and you want to spend as little as possible to get them.

Great candidates don’t need your job. Making the process as smooth as possible will go a long way to building relationships with candidates for the long term. Star candidates often have multiple offers, and will move on if you can’t make decisions quickly enough, even if they would rather have worked for your firm.

By delaying the process, cancelling searches, and not replying at all, you are sure to damage your employer brand and your reputation in the market.

Essential Skills to Become a Manager

February 13, 2014 1 comment

ImageEssential Skills to Become a Manager

1. Communication
There’s a lot of communication when you’re a manager. You have to communicate with each of your employees. You have to communicate “sideways” with your co-workers and customers. And you have to communicate upwards with your own manager or executive. You need some substance in the communication, of course — you need to have something worthy of being communicated. But substance isn’t enough — if you know what you’re doing and can’t properly communicate it to anyone else, then you’ll never be a good manager.

2. Listening Skills
This is a part of communication, but I want to single it out because it’s so important. Some managers get so impressed with themselves that they spend much more of their time telling people things than they spend listening. But no matter how high you go in the management hierarchy, you need to be able to listen. It’s the only way you’re really going to find out what’s going on in your organization, and it’s the only way that you’ll ever learn to be a better manager.

3. A Commitment to the Truth
You’ll find that the higher you are in the management hierarchy, the less likely you are to be in touch with reality. Managers get a lot of brown-nosing, and people tend to sugar-coat the news and tell managers what they want to hear. The only way you’ll get the truth is if you insist on it. Listen to what people tell you, and ask questions to probe for the truth.  Develop information sources outside of the chain of command and regularly listen to those sources as well. Make sure you know the truth — even if it’s not good news.

4. Empathy
This is the softer side of listening and truth. You should be able to understand how people feel, why they feel that way, and what you can do to make them feel differently. Empathy is especially important when you’re dealing with your customers. And whether you think so or not, you’ll always have customers.  Customers are the people who derive benefit from the work you do. If no one derives benefit from your work, then what’s the point of keeping your organization around?

5. Persuasion
Put all four of the preceding skills together, because you’ll need them when you try to persuade someone to do something you want done. You could describe this as “selling” but it’s more general. Whether you’re trying to convince your employees to give you a better effort, your boss to give you a bigger budget, or your customers to agree to something you want to do for them, your persuasion skills will be strained to their limits.

6. Leadership
Leadership is a specialized form of persuasion focused on getting other people to follow you in the direction you want to go. It’s assumed that the leader will march into battle at the head of the army, so be prepared to make the same sacrifices you’re asking your employees to make.

7. Focus
The key to successful leadership is focus. You can’t lead in a hundred different directions at once, so setting an effective leadership direction depends on your decision not to lead in the other directions. Focusing light rays means concentrating the light energy on one spot. Focusing effort means picking the most important thing to do and then concentrating your team’s effort on doing it.

8. Division of Work
This is the ability to break down large tasks into sub-tasks that can be assigned to individual employees. It’s a tricky skill — maybe more an art than a science, almost like cutting a diamond. Ideally you want to figure out how to accomplish a large objective by dividing the work up into manageable chunks. The people working on each chunk should be as autonomous as possible so that the tasks don’t get bogged down in endless discussion and debate. You have to pay careful attention to the interdependencies among the chunks. And you have to carefully assess each employee’s strengths, weaknesses and interests so that you can assign the best set of sub-tasks to each employee.

9. Obstacle Removal
Inevitably, problems will occur. Your ability to solve them is critical to the ongoing success of your organization.  Part of your job is to remove the obstacles that are preventing your employees from doing their best.

10. Heat Absorption
Not all problems can be solved. When upper management complains about certain things that can’t be avoided (e.g., an unavoidable delay in a project deliverable), it’s your job to take the heat. But what’s more important, it’s your job to absorb the heat to keep it from reaching your employees. It’s the manager’s responsibility to meet objectives. If the objectives aren’t being met, then it’s the manager’s responsibility to:

  • Make sure that upper management knows about the problem as early as possible.
  • Take all possible steps to solve the problem with the resources you’ve been given.
  • Suggest alternatives to management that will either solve the problem or minimize it. These other alternatives may propose the use of additional resources beyond the current budget, or they may propose a change in the objective that’s more achievable.
  • Keep the problem from affecting the performance or morale of your employees.

11. Uncertainty Removal
When higher management can’t give you consistent direction in a certain area, it’s up to you to shield your employees from the confusion, remove the apparent uncertainty, and lead your employees in a consistent direction until there’s a good reason to change that direction.

12. Project Management
This is a more advanced skill that formalizes some of attributes 7 – 11. Although both “Management” and “Project Management” contain the word “management,” they aren’t the same thing. Management implies a focus on people, while Project Management implies a focus on the project objective. You can be a Manager and a Project Manager, or you can be a Manager without being a Project Manager. You can also be a Project Manager without being a Manager (in which case you don’t have people reporting to you — you just deal with overseeing the project-specific tasks).

13. Administrative and Financial Skills
Most managers have a budget, and you’ll have to be able to set the budget and then manage to it. You’ll also have to deal with hiring, firing, rewarding good employee performance, dealing with unacceptable performance from some employees, and generally making sure that your employees have the environment and tools they need to do their work.  It’s ironic that this is skill number 13 (an unlucky number in some cultures), because a lot of managers hate this part of the job the most.  But if you’re good at budgeting, you’ll find it much easier to do the things you want to do.  And hiring and dealing with employees on a day-to-day basis is one of the key skills to give you the best, happiest and most productive employees.

This article explains some of the things you’ll need to learn before you become a successful manager.  You can probably become a manager without having all of these skills, but you’ll need all of them to be really successful and to get promoted to higher levels of management.

For every one of these skills, there are various levels of performance. No one expects a new manager to be superior at every one of these skills, but you should be aware of all of them, and you should do everything you can to learn more about each skill. Some of that learning will come through education (like reading the articles on this web site — you might want to subscribe). But much of the learning will come through experience — trial and error.

Just learn as much as you can about each skill, take nothing for granted, and focus on doing the very best that you can do. Learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them. And ask for feedback — in many cases you won’t know what you could do better unless someone tells you.


Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

January 5, 2014 Leave a comment

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is used widely to try to classify personally traits based on Carl Jung’s work on psychological typology. Many psychologists do not agree that the MBTI provides a reliable assessment of personality. Nevertheless, the Myers-Briggs personality test is taken by around two million people per year through 10,000 private companies, 2,500 colleges, and 200 government agencies in the United States.[1] The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator tries to classify people into one of 16 personality types. The MBTI test uses four traits which have two complementary aspects to arrive at the 16 classifications.

According to Myers-Briggs, a person who turns to others to increase energy is an Extrovert (E), whereas those who turn inward are Introverts (I). Those who acquire information in a creative way are Intuitive (N), whereas those who take in information pragmatically are Sensing (S). People who make decisions seeking harmony areFeeling (F), but those seeking objective truth are classified as Thinking (T). Persons preferring to act and get closure are Judging (J), whereas those who stay open and adapt are Perceiving (P). Using these categories, a person who is extroverted, intuitive, feeling and judging would be classified as an ENFJ personality. The following chart has summarizes the characteristics of the 16 personality types.

Type Characteristics
INFP Idealistic, curious and loyal. Seeks to understand others, but can be less accepting of those who threaten core values.
INFJ Insightful and oriented toward the future. Conscientious, but can be firmly decisive to accomplish vision.
INTJ Hold self and others to high standards. Individualistic and visionary, but with a tendency toward skepticism.
INTP Rational, contemplative problem solver. Great tendency to be critical.
ISTP Tolerant and candid. Spends a lot of time silently observing, and provides solutions quickly.
ISTJ Steadfast and hard-working with a practical outlook. Strong need for order and organization.
ISFJ Careful and considerate. Remembers small details about people and objects, and can be very thorough.
ISFP Avoids conflicts and quietly friendly. Open-minded and sympathetic, but prefers to work without others.
ESFP Likes group interaction. Matches common sense with flexibility. Loves people and life, but can be too materialistic.
ESFJ Outgoing and loyal. Follows through on projects, but seeks affirmation and appreciation.
ESTJ Decisive and efficient. Uses systematic approach to problems, and can be forceful in implementing decisions.
ESTP Bold and tactical, with great energy for solving problems. Has difficulty focusing on concepts and theories.
ENTP Clever and entrepreneurial. Dislikes routine. Has difficulty committing to long-term interests.
ENTJ Assumes leadership roles and solves organizational problems. Can be aggressive when putting ideas forward.
ENFJ Goal-oriented and caring. Highly empathetic and very sensitive to criticism.
ENFP Charismatic, imaginative and warm. Needs a lot of affirmation from others, but can also be very supportive.


What is Research

December 29, 2013 Leave a comment




Research refers to a search for knowledge. Research is an art of scientific investigation.

 “A careful investigation or inquiry specially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge”.




1. To gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it. (exploratory or formulative research studies)

2. To describe accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group. (descriptive research)

3. To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something else. (studies with this object known as diagnostic research)

4. To test a hypothesis of a causal relationship between variables. (such studies are known as hypothesis testing research)




It is imperative that a marketer has to have a broad understanding of the various types of research, in general. There are eleven types of research depending on whether it is primarily “fundamental” or “applied” in nature. They are as follows:


1. Applied research, also known as decisional research, use existing knowledge as an aid to the solution of some given problem or set of problems.


2. Fundamental research, frequently called basic or pure research, seeks to extend the boundaries of knowledge in a given area with no necessary immediate application to existing problems.


3. Futuristic research: Futures research is the systematic study of possible future conditions. It includes analysis of how those conditions might change as a result of the implementation of policies and actions, and the consequences of these policies and actions.


4. Descriptive research includes surveys and fact-finding enquiries of different kinds. It tries to discover answers to the questions who, what, when and sometimes how. Here the researcher attempts to describe or define a subject, often by creating a profile of a group of problems, people, or events. The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists at present


5. Explanatory research: Explanatory research goes beyond description and attempts to explain the reasons for the phenomenon that the descriptive research only observed. The research would use theories or at least hypothesis to account for the forces that caused a certain phenomenon to occur.


6. Predictive research: If we can provide a plausible explanation for an event after it has occurred, it is desirable to be able to predict when and in what situations the event will occur. This research is just as rooted in theory as explanation. This research calls for a high order of inference making. In business research, prediction is found in studies conducted to evaluate specific courses of action or to forecast current and future values.


7. Analytical research: The researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyse these to make a critical evaluation of the material.


8. Quantitative research: Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity.


9. Qualitative research: It is concerned with qualitative phenomenon (i.e.) phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. This type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires, using in depth interviews for the purpose. Other techniques of such research are word association test, sentence completion test, story completion tests and similar other projective techniques. Attitude or opinion research i.e., research designed to find out how people feel or what the think about a particular subject or institution is also qualitative research.


10. Conceptual research: Conceptual research is that related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones.


11. Empirical research: It is appropriate when proof is sought that certain variables affect other variables in some way. Evidence gathered through experiments or empirical studies is today considered to be the most powerful support possible for a give hypothesis.




Several authors have attempted to enumerate the steps involved in the research process, however, inconclusive. Nevertheless, the research process broadly consists of the following steps and predominantly follows a sequential order


1. Problem formulation

2. Development of an approach to the problem

3. Research Design

4. Selection of Data collection techniques

5. Sampling techniques

6. Fieldwork or Data Collection

7. Analysis and interpretation

8. Report preparation and presentation


The above mentioned steps may be placed in three groups as follows:


First there is initiating or planning of a study, which comprises the initial four steps in our model: determining (1) problem formulation, (2) development of an approach to the problem (3) Research design (4) selection of data collection techniques (5) sampling techniques.


Second, there is (6) fieldwork or data collection


Third, there is (7) analysis and interpretation of the data and (8) report preparation and presentation.




The starting point of any research is to formulate the problem and mention the objectives before specifying any variables or measures. This involved defining the problem in clear terms.

Problem definition involves stating the general problem and identifying the specific components of the research problem. Components of the research problem include (1) the decision maker and the objectives (2) the environment of the problem (3) alternative courses of action (4) a set of consequences that relate to courses of action and the occurrence of events not under the control

of the decision maker and (5) a state of doubt as to which course of action is best. Here, the first two components of the research problem are discussed whereas others are not well within the scope, though, not beyond.

Problem formulation is perceived as most important of all the other steps, because of the fact that a clearly and accurately identified problem would lead to effective conduct of the other steps involved in the research process. Moreover, this is the most challenging task as the result yields information that directly addresses the management issue, though, the end result is for the

management to understand the information fully and take action based on it. From this we understand, that the correctness of the result depends on how well the research takes on, at the starting point.

Problem formulation refers to translating the management problem into a research problem. It involves stating the general problem and identifying the specific components of research problem. This step and the findings that emerge would help define the management decision problem and research problem.

Research problem cannot exist in isolation as it is an outcome of management decision problem.

The management decision problem may be, for example, to know whether keeping Saturday a working day would increase productivity. The associated research problem for the above example may be the impact of keeping Saturday a working day on employee morale. The task of the researcher is to investigate on employee morale. Hence, it is understood that the researcher is

perhaps, a scientific means, to solve the management problem the decision maker faces.




Problem formulation starts with a sound information seeking process by the researcher. The decision maker is the provider of information pertaining to the problem at the beginning of the research process (problem formulation) as well as the user of the information that germinates at the end of the research process. Given the importance of accurate problem formulation, the research should take enough care to ensure that information seeking process  should be well within the ethical boundaries of a true research. The researcher may use different types of information at the problem formulation stage. They are:


1. Subjective information termed as those based on the decision maker‟s past experiences, expertise, assumptions, feelings or judgments without any systematic gathering of facts. Such information is usually readily available.


2. Secondary information are those collected and interpreted at least once for some specific situation other than the current one. Availability of this type of information is normally high.


3. Primary information refers to first hand information derived through a formalised research process for a specific, current problem situation.

In order to have better understanding on problem formulation, the researcher may tend to categorise the information collected into four types. The categorisation of the information is done based on the quality and complexity of the information collected. They are:


1. Facts are some piece of information with very high quality information and a higher degree of accuracy and reliability. They could be absolutely observable and verifiable. They are not complicated and are easy to understand and use.

2. Estimates are information whose degree of quality is based on the representativeness of the fact sources and the statistical procedures used to create them. They are more complex than facts due to the statistical procedures involved in deriving them and the likelihood of errors.


3. Predictions are lower quality information due to perceived risk and uncertainty of future conditions. They have greater complexity and are difficult to understand and use for decision-making as they are forecasted estimates or projections into the future.


4. Relationships are information whose quality is dependent on the precision of the researcher‟s statements of the interrelationship between sets of variables. They have the highest degree of complexity as they involve any number of relationships paths with several variables being analysed simultaneously.




The outputs of the approach development process should include the following components:

(i)                 Objective/theoretical framework

(ii)               analytical model

(iii)              Research questions

(iv)            hypothesis.


 Each of these components is discussed below:


(i) Objective/theoretical framework: Every research should have a theoretical framework and objective evidence. The theoretical framework is a conceptual scheme containing:


a set of concepts and definitions


a set of statements that describes the situations on which the theory can be applied


a set of relational statements divided into: axioms and theorems

The theoretical evidence is very much imperative in research as it leads to identification of variables that should be investigated. They also lead to formulating the operational definition of the marketing problem. An operational definition is a set of procedures that describe the activities one should perform in order to establish empirically the existence or degree of existence of a concept.

Operationalising the concept gives more understanding on the meanings of the concepts specified and explication of the testing procedures that provide criteria for the empirical application of the concepts. Operational definition would specify a procedure that involves say, for example, a weighing machine that measures the weight of a person or an object.


(ii) Analytical model: An analytical model could be referred to as a likeness of something. It consists of symbols referred to a set of variables and their interrelationships represented in logical arrangements designed to represent, in whole or in part, some real system or process.

It is a representation of reality making explicit the significant relationships among the aspects. It enables the formulation of empirically testable propositions regarding the nature of these relationships. An empirical model refers to  research that uses data derived from actual observation or experimentation.


(iii) Research Questions: Research questions are refined statements of the specific components of the problem. It refers to a statement that ascertains the phenomenon to be studied. The research questions should be raised in an unambiguous manner and hence, would help the researcher in becoming resourceful in identifying the components of the problem. The formulation of the questions should be strongly guided by the problem definition, theoretical

framework and the analytical model. The knowledge gained by the researcher from his/her interaction with the decision maker should be borne in mind as they sometimes form the basis of research questions.

The researcher should exercise extreme caution while formulation research questions as they are the forerunner for developing hypothesis. Any flaw in the research questions may lead to flawed hypothesis. The following questions may be asked while developing research questions:


a) Do I know the area of investigation and its literature?

b) What are the research questions pertinent to the area of investigation?

c) What are the areas that are not explored by the previous researchers?

d) Would my study lead to greater understanding on the area of study?

e) Are enough number of literatures available in this topic area?

f) Is my study a new one thus contributing to the society or has it been done before?


(iv) Hypothesis: Hypothesis could be termed as tentative answers to a research problem. The structure of a hypothesis involves conjectural statements relating to two or more variables.

They are deduced from theories, directly from observation, intuitively, or from a combination of these. Hypothesis deduced from any of the means would have four common characteristics. They should be clear, value-free, specific and amenable to empirical testing.

Hypothesis could be viewed as statements that indicate the direction of the relationship or recognition of differences in groups. However, the researcher may not be able to frame hypotheses in all situations. It may be because that a particular investigation does not warrant a hypothesis or sufficient information may not be available to develop the hypotheses.

Stress and the Leadership Factor

December 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Stress and the Leadership Factor

Could leaders whoImage neglect their own emotional health be partly responsible for increasing stress in the workplace?

How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World, says the nature of work today continues to ratchet up stress levels in today’s organizations.

“It’s much harder to live a balanced life now because of business uncertainty, the speed of everything, there’s more scrutiny and distrust in the workplace, competition is greater and the world is interconnected,” 

“All these winds of change are affecting the stress of employees and their leaders, and if employees are stressed, it’s going to influence their opinions and perceptions of their workplace, their bosses and colleagues, and the amount of work they have to do and how they’re balancing work and family,”

The obsessive focus on short-term results has led to unhealthy workplaces led by emotionally unhealthy people, he says. In such an environment, even the best-designed health-and-wellness programs won’t be effective. “If leaders are really stressed out and not taking responsibility for their own health, then how do you expect them to have the energy to help their employees do the same?”

Stress is the No. 1 workforce risk issue, as for what’s causing workplace stress, there’s a big gap between employees and HR on this issue. Most of the survey participants on the employer side were part of companies’ HR departments.

The HR respondents ranked the top three causes of workplace stress as a lack of work/life balance, inadequate staffing and technologies (such as smartphones) that expand employee availability during non-work hours. However, inadequate staffing is the No. 1 cause of workplace stress, followed by low pay or no pay increases, and unclear or conflicting job expectations.

The difference concerning pay was pretty interesting. “It’s symptomatic of an economy that continues to struggle and the suppression of salaries, and that’s starting to show up in terms of people having a hard time managing their budgets.”

While pay was an important factor, so too was inadequate staffing, she says.

“It’s ‘I have more work to do, I need to know what is important, so there’s this lack of clarity around what you need from me, I’ve got more to do, so tell me what’s important so I can be more successful.’

As for HR’s perceptions of the chief causes of workplace stress, she says it may have something to do with what HR has control over.

HR can only go so far in terms of pay raises and staffing levels — that’s dictated by the organization, not HR. They tend to have more influence over things like work/life balance, expectations for employees and technology availability during work hours.”

There is a problem between the disproportionality between top-executive pay and employee pay and that’s been a long-time problem, Having said that, a lot of employee complaints are related to their boss. Leaders at every level of the company create the organizational culture, and these leaders are either healthy or unhealthy in their approach.

Employers cited technology such as smartphones that potentially blur the lines between work and home life, but employees ranked that concern as No.10 on the biggest causes of workplace stress.

“Over the years, many of us have learned to set parameters around the use of technology,

Maintaining a balance between family life and work can be especially difficult for leaders these days, given technology’s reach.

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“For these folks, putting a plan into action can be the hardest thing — we all tend to spout off about the things we should be doing for ourselves, but actually following through is very difficult for professionals — for anyone, in fact,”

Leaders are often better able to handle high amounts of stress than others simply because they’ve had to learn to cope with it in order to attain their positions in the first place. However, stress coupled with a precipitating event — divorce, death in the family, etc. — can render them incapacitated.

“It’s getting them to take a step back and think about how they feel about what’s going on in their lives, what’s it like for their family members and colleagues to be around them?” We spend so much time at work that our colleagues are almost like our secondary families, and if we’re always stressed out, then how can we connect with these people?”

“It’s techniques for teaching their people about leveraging social networks, paying attention to stress triggers and managing their sleeping, eating and exercise routines,”

Managers can alter their own practices to lessen stress on their direct reports, such as changing the way they conduct one-on-one meetings.

“One-on-ones with leaders tend to be the most stressful parts of the week for employees, Getting leaders to face their problems requires courage on the part of HR.

“HR can bolster their argument by citing the demonstrated links between healthy corporate cultures and the bottom line. “They can also be the models and champions of physical and emotional health themselves. They can build healthy organizations within HR.”

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Three Things Bill Gates Has Learned From Warren Buffett

December 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Last month, I went to Omaha for the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. It’s always a lot of fun, and not just because of the ping-pong matches an

d the newspaper-throwing contest I have with Warren Buffett. It’s also fun because I get to learn from Warren and gain insight into how he t

Here are three things I’ve learned from Warren over the years:hinks.

1. It’s not just about investing.

The first thing people learn from Warren, of course, is how to think about investing. That’s natural, given his amazing track record. Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people


stop, and they miss out on the fact that he has a whole framework for business thinking that is very powerful. For example, he talks about looking for a company’s moat—its competitive advantage—and whether the moat is shrinking or growing. He says a shareholder has to act as if he owns the entire business, looking at the future profit stream and deciding what it’s worth. And you have to be willing to ignore the market rather than follow it, because you want to take advantage of the market’s mistakes—the companies that have been underpriced.

I have to admit, when I first met Warren, the fact that he had this framework was a real surprise to me. I met him at a dinner my mother had put together. On my way there, I thought, “Why would I want to meet this guy who picks stocks?” I thought he just used various market-related things—like volume, or how the price had changed over time—to make his decisions. But when we started talking that day, he didn’t ask me about any of those things. Instead he started asking big questions about the fundamentals of our business. “Why can’t IBM do what Microsoft does? Why has Microsoft been so profitable?” That’s when I realized he thought about business in a much more profound way than I’d given him credit for.

2. Use your platform.

A lot of business leaders write letters to their shareholders, but Warren is justly famous for his. Partly that’s because his natural good humor shines through. Partly it’s because people think it will help them invest better (and they’re right). But it’s also because he’s been willing to speak frankly and criticize things like stock options and financial derivatives. He’s not afraid to take positions, like his stand on raising taxes on the rich, that run counter to his self-interest. Warren inspired me to start writing my own annual letter about the foundation’s work. I still have a ways to go before mine is as good as Warren’s, but it’s been helpful to sit down once a year and explain the results we’re seeing, both good and bad.

3. Know how valuable your time is.

No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time. There are only 24 hours in everyone’s day. Warren has a keen sense of this. He doesn’t let his calendar get filled up with useless meetings. On the other hand, he’s very generous with his time for the people he trusts. He gives his close advisers at Berkshire his phone number, and they can just call him up and he’ll answer the phone.

Although Warren makes a point of meeting with dozens of university classes every year, not many people get to ask him for advice on a regular basis. I feel very lucky in that regard: The dialogue has been invaluable to me, and not only at Microsoft. When Melinda and I started our foundation, I turned to him for advice. We talked a lot about the idea that philanthropy could be just as impactful in its own way as software had been. It turns out that Warren’s brilliant way of looking at the world is just as useful in attacking poverty and disease as it is in building a business. He’s one of a kind.

This article has been written by Bill Gates and has been posted on his Linkedin page. Bill Gates is  the Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Current Trends in Human Resource Management

December 21, 2013 1 comment

Originally posted on Human Resources Management:


The world of work is rapidly changing. As a part of organization, Human Resource Management (HRM) must be prepared to deal with effects of changing world of work. For the HR people it means understanding the implications of globalization, work-force diversity, changing skill requirements, corporate downsizing, continuous improvement initiatives, re-engineering, the contingent work force, decentralized work sites and employee involvement.  Let us consider each of them one by one.

1. Globalization and its implications

Business today doesn’t have national boundaries – it reaches around the world. The rise of multinational corporations places new requirements on human resource managers. The HR department needs to ensure  that the appropriate mix of employees in terms of knowledge, skills and cultural adaptability is available to handle global assignments.  In order to meet this goal, the organizations must train individuals to meet the challenges of globalization. The employees must have working knowledge of the language…

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