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Millennials are known as the generation of smartphones, over-priced coffee, and a reputation for entitlement and leisureliness. Despite this, the success of millennials is becoming increasingly apparent in the workplace. Look around your office and you’ll probably notice the ages of both employees and managers is decreasing significantly. A survey by office-equipment maker Pitney Bowes found that about 20% of mid-level corporate employees now report to a boss who is younger than they are.


However, in this age of entrepreneurial startups and advancing technology, different work styles and perceptions of those differences can create many challenges. For example, there is a stark difference between millennials and baby boomers. While older workers spend more time in the office within regular work hours, the younger generation often prefers getting their work done whenever, whether at home or from their laptop in a café. These kinds of philosophical differences can have negative effects on productivity. However, there are ways for younger people in authority to handle this gap. Below are a few tips on how to instill authority and respect in the workplace.


Be Mindful


Older employees can certainly be put off by having to report to a younger manager. It’s important to be aware of those feelings and acknowledge them. Don’t assume you have the upper hand due to your higher position. Express an interest in your employee and ask them for their opinions on how you can improve as a leader. They may very well have insights that can benefit you, and they will appreciate your respect for their experience and knowledge.


Give and Take


Give lessons, provide feedback, and offer firm and feasible guidelines for your employees. In return, take feedback as well. Older employees are often more knowledgeable about the company and its history. Take advantage of their deeper well of experience, both in the office and generally in life.


Do Your Job


It can be daunting being a young manager. However, instead of shying away from being an authoritative, strong leader, it’s important to keep your goals in mind and get the job done. Not confronting older employees who aren’t working to their full potential, or letting others take the lead merely to make them more comfortable, will only decrease productivity. You’re the manager for a reason; prove why.


Older employees should implement these tips in the workplace as well. Along with being mindful, providing feedback, and doing their own jobs, it’s important for older employees not to get too bogged down in ego and commit to working with a younger manager. The knowledge and experience of the older generation and fresh perspective and energy of the younger age group can be combined to contribute to the workplace in a positive manner. Getting past age discrimination – from both sides – will help everyone work together and be more productive.


Tasnia Nasar | Contributing Writer

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Third-party outsourcing is growing in popularity among big and small businesses alike. Outsourcing, or “contracting out,” refers to the practice of hiring a third-party to perform tasks typically done by in-house staff. Jobs affected range from customer support to manufacturing. Outsourcing was recognized as a business strategy in the late 1980s, and later became an integral part of international business economics throughout the ‘90s.


The most common tasks businesses choose to outsource usually fall into three categories: repetitive, specialized, and expert tasks. Repetitive tasks include data entry, specialized tasks comprise of jobs like IT support, and jobs such as financial analyst fall under expert tasks. One trait these jobs have in common is that it’s not necessary for them to be done in-house.


Businesses can lower labour and overhead costs substantially by outsourcing tasks such as bookkeeping, graphic design, and customer/technical support. Virtual receptionists can also be outsourced: a remote first point of contact that usually performs the tasks of trained customer support personnel – sometimes around the clock – without having to maintain a receptionist’s office.


You may have the skills in-house to do it all, but while you handle all the minute details on your own, you might not be able to concentrate on expanding the core areas of your business, which can hurt you in the long run. However, there are downsides to outsourcing as well. It all depends on the needs of your business.


PROS


Cost advantages


Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits to outsourcing is the savings. When you have a good outsourcing partner, you can get the job done at a lower cost, usually due to the difference in wages (since most of the work is done overseas where labour costs are much lower).


Increased efficiency


When you outsource certain work, you’re handing it over to someone experienced and with understanding of the job. This leads to an increase in productivity; you’re not just adding these tasks to the bottom of somebody’s to-do list within the office. Access to skilled resources also means faster and better services, depending on your outsourcing partner.


Focus on main goals


Outsourcing certain tasks means everyone in-house is free to focus on building your company and brand, as well as investing in research and development to take the steps necessary to expand.


Save on recruitment/infrastructure costs


Outsourcing cuts the need for investments in infrastructure since the responsibility of business processes falls on the partner. You can also avoid investing in expensive recruiting and training resources for your business.


CONS


Communication issues


A lack of communication between your company and the outsourcing partner may cause delay in the completion of projects or other issues. Different time zones could also contribute to communication problems.


Security risks


If you decide to outsource things like human resources, payroll, or recruitment, you risk exposing confidential information to a third party.


Shortcomings in expectations


If you don’t choose the right partner, it could result in delays and sub-standard quality in output. Add to that the difficulty of regulating these factors outside an office and it defeats the whole point of outsourcing.


No customer focus


Outsourcing partners may be doing work for multiple organizations, so they may not be completely focused on the requirements of your specific business.


Before approaching a service provider or outsourcing partner, it’s beneficial to consider all aspects of outsourcing, and whether your company is in a position to benefit from its services. Once you’ve analyzed your requirements and are confident you would benefit from outsourcing, you can move on to researching a suitable partner. Consider these six elements when searching: reliability, quality, experience, range of services, good communication, and value for money. Don’t just select one that provides the lowest cost. Choosing a successful vendor will lead to first-rate results and benefit your organization in the long run.


Helen Jacob | Contributing Writer

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For most managers, learning how to effectively lead a team is a daunting task. Understanding what skills everyone brings to the table, and how to use them to the company’s advantage, is a challenge on its own. But oftentimes the most difficult part of management is knowing how to deal with that one employee or manager. The one who always seems to be in the middle of a heated argument, the one whose name is constantly brought up in HR meetings. Here are a few tips on how to manage a toxic employee or manager.


How to handle a toxic employee:


Look Past Their Brilliance


To form an objective opinion on a difficult employee, you need to separate their work performance from their behaviour. Sometimes the most competent worker can have a poor attitude, which eventually affects the rest of the team. This can be destructive to the company’s morale in the long run, so how do you correct the problem? Start by keeping an eye on their team dynamics; jot down feedback from their co-workers; document HR complaints. Make it clear that the employee’s performance is not relevant to the issue, but rather it’s their attitude that’s a problem. Once you stop rationalizing their troubling behaviour because of the value they bring to the organization, you’ll begin to see the full picture more clearly.


Reinforce Accountability for Everyone


There’s only one set of rules for the whole team, and everyone should understand that. If others become aware that certain people get a pass for their bad behaviour, resentment and dysfunction will begin to simmer beneath the surface. Be firm with your team and make your expectations clear. Establish the ground rules for appropriate behaviour, and reinforce the penalties for not adhering to them.


Be Proactive


Observe the individual in action, provide feedback and coach them if necessary; these are your tools for implementing real change. If you create opportunities where you can work with the individual and provide constructive feedback, you can offer advice to improve their behaviour and show them alternative ways to approach a situation. Equally as important, make sure you provide positive feedback to the individual when it’s justified; this well help them see how situations can be handled with a positive approach moving forward.


If There’s No Progress, Go Further


Once you’ve implemented the above steps, you’ll have to assess whether the individual is making progress. Be honest with yourself; if the employee continues to disrupt the work environment, you must take further action. Keep your superiors informed of the entire process, as they need to understand how this employee’s negativity impacts the entire team and overall productivity. You may want to work with your HR specialist as well to develop and implement an escalation program which includes termination for lack of compliance.


How to handle a toxic manager:


Learn to Speak Their Language


Dealing with a difficult boss is not an ideal situation for an employee. But sometimes learning more about your boss – their likes, dislikes, goals and fears – can work in your favour. Observe your boss’s behaviours and preferences; if you speak to your boss’s core interests and match their style of communication, it can be a great way to get them to listen to what you have to say.


Focus on Their Strengths, Help with Their Weaknesses


You can help your boss by emphasizing what they’re already good at. A great way is to help them improve their own performance. If your manager lacks organization, offer to help him or her stay on top of their schedule. If showing up late to meetings is a problem for your boss, take the initiative to start the next one yourself. If you help your boss succeed, you’ll be seen as an asset, and the work you’ve put into making the company better will be appreciated.


Address Your Concerns Directly


Don’t be afraid to speak up, you owe it to yourself and your boss to be honest about how you feel. Although it may be easier to keep quiet or move on to the next opportunity, give your boss a chance to respond. If you approach them respectfully and with the intent of mending the relationship, you may be surprised to see it open a new level of trust and collaboration between you. And at the very least, you can tell yourself that you gave them the opportunity to change.


If All Else Fails, Prepare for Your Next Move


You’ve exhausted all your resources, and you’re content to move on to another company, so prepare yourself for this change. There’s nothing worse than escaping one toxic work environment and moving to an even worse one, so do your research: Meet your new co-workers for coffee and learn more about the work culture; ask questions about the team you may be joining and what sort of management practices are common. Whether you’re moving internally to another department or joining a new company entirely, it never hurts to be prepared.


Aileen Ormoc | Contributing Writer

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Have you experienced job rejection at some point in your life?  If so, don’t be discouraged.  You’re not alone.  Almost all of us have gone through the process.  It is commonly encountered, yet it can be avoided.  Though causing much disappointment, the reasons behind job rejection are oftentimes beyond your control.  Among these could be: the cancellation of the advertised position due to recession or cost-cutting; the hiring of a more qualified person; or, the hiring of somebody based on “who-he-knows” contrary to the “what-he-knows” process.


On the flip-side, there are also many factors that are within your control.  Below are common ones to take note of, with corresponding tips on how to prevent rejection:


Resumes and Cover Letters


Lengthy, irrelevant resumes – Limit your resume to 2 pages as recruiters only spend 6 seconds when screening.  Ensure that it contains all the essential elements like the keywords indicated in the job posting plus any of your specific achievements that relate to the position being applied for.  It should be error-free, no discrepancies like employment gaps, and with simple but effective format.


Irrelevant cover letters – Customize the cover letter for every job position that you apply for.  Ensure to attach your resume when you send it via email.


Incomplete applications – Read the job ad properly and make sure that you comply with what the employer requires, i.e., video resumes, work samples.


Interviews


Being late – Always come early for an interview.  Arriving late will give the employer an impression of your carelessness and unreliability.  Inform the employer ahead if you cannot be punctual on the day of the interview.


Being unprepared – Conduct a research about the company and the position being applied for before the interview.  Nonetheless, do not forget to mention what you can bring to the table as the company wants to know how they will benefit from you.


Lack of technical knowledge or giving short and non-substantive answers – Respond in more detail to technical questions.  Showcase your core competencies by elaborating your answers.  Do it in a clear, concise, and engaging manner and give specific examples of competencies by using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) technique.


Inability to relate – You should relate your skills to the position being interviewed for or in addressing the company needs.


Lack of enthusiasm – Be energetic; show your interest and excitement about the job and the company.


Asking the wrong questions – Never ask about vacation and other related questions as this will reflect what’s on your mind.


Dressing improperly – Dress professionally and neatly as this reflects the type of personality that you have.  Cover body prints or remove piercings, if any.


If you are not successful in securing a position, don’t despair.  Never make the mistake of perceiving rejection as a sign of failure; rather, view it as a test to your patience and resilience.  Rationalize it by thinking that the firm which rejected you is the wrong company and that you deserve a better one; yet, be cognizant of the stiff competition given the large population of job searchers composed of the unemployed like you, the yearly addition of fresh graduates, and those from recent company layoffs.


Make it a habit to analyze your job application process, what worked and what did not.  Learn from each experience.  Identify your mistakes, make improvements, and move on.  There are plenty of opportunities out there.  Widen your network.  Connect and make yourself visible.  Build your core strengths, be more competitive, focus on other opportunities, and continue to present yourself to the best you can.  Don’t give up!  Sooner than you expect, a better opportunity will come along.


M. L. Galvez-Ver | Contributing Writer

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A key aspect of successful businesses is what sets them apart from their competition. The unique qualities of running a business, such as focusing on steady performance as opposed to operating on survival mode, can make the difference between an innovative company and a struggling one. Businesses running on survival mode are normally unstable and only focus on short term goals. This eventually leads to a difficult work environment. A flourishing business knows how to compete by incorporating the use of non-traditional methods, having a steady focus on what their clients need the most, and a great understanding of how their service or product can positively affect the world. You too can set your business apart from the competition by following the traits of these leading businesses.


The Best Opportunities Are Outside the Box


Instead of competing in cluttered and saturated markets, strong organizations seek out the opportunities that others miss. These leaders are not afraid to test out new methods and create new industries – even if they might fail. Great companies focus on developing new and myriad innovative products that give the user or client a unique experience. They embark on projects that others would deem difficult or unnecessary. Efforts are directed towards developing products and services that change the lives of individuals in great ways. For example, companies like Uber, Skype, Facebook, and Apple have developed game-changing products and services. In addition, great organizations hire the best and unique talent to assist in the creation of new opportunities.


A Structural and Entrepreneurial Balance


This is not an easy balance to achieve as most businesses either have a structured or entrepreneurial strategy. However, successful businesses such as Facebook and Google have mastered this tactic.  These companies operate on a structured basis while maintaining a flexible entrepreneurial mindset. They ensure that they meet all the organization’s performance goals while encouraging innovation, new ways of thinking and action towards projects. To accomplish this, it is essential to have a leading team that is open to celebrating uniqueness and differences, while maintaining trust in its employees. It’s important to note that success comes from a diverse team who can find success in a variety of ways – not just one. This often leads to breakthroughs in companies as they end up discovering innovative solutions that others miss.


Avoid Distractions at All Costs


There are many distractions that a business can face. Businesses have a hard time staying focused especially when the economy is unpredictable. Essentially, being strategic does not only revolve around focusing on your competition, but it also means being openly aware of change and crisis that can potentially occur. Businesses that are strategically wired can foresee changes in how the marketplace flows and its regressions. Surprises may arise when competition grows unexpectedly (e.g. the rise of the iPhone and Android OS, and the plummet of Blackberry and Nokia). It’s crucial to have a leadership that has a 360-degree view of market changes and strikes when opportunity arises.


K. Nwankwo | Contributing Writer

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Recruiting metrics are used to gather and analyze information to improve a business’ hiring process. Recruiters and stakeholders must remain aware of evolving trends to successfully manage turnover.


Sourcing Quality Hires


Recruiting managers are deployed to proactively leverage the sourcing channels used to hire quality recruits. Some of the most common sourcing channels include referrals, recruitment agencies, resume search, social media shares, notifications, career sites, and other job boards. To ensure recruiter efficiency, metrics and activities reported in a timely manner can identify potential problems and opportunities for improvement.


Pipeline Development


A key business goal is to develop a pipeline of quality candidates, which hiring managers can call upon when positions have to be filled. This facilitates easy tracking and monitoring of leads, while also managing traditional metrics, such as the Interview-to-Offer Ratio (the number of interviews to the number of offers extended) and Offer-to-Acceptance Ratio (the number of actual hires versus the hiring goal).


New Growth Attrition Rates


In some cases, more time is spent on replacing employees instead of growing the team. Some businesses experience higher turnover rates in particular industries, which can result in high vacancy rates. Lower turnover is a main indicator of the effectiveness of the recruitment process. It demonstrates that real value is being contributed to the growth and success of the business.


Performance Dashboards


To benchmark performance success, dashboards create a snapshot of key performance indicators for further examination and analysis. For instance, the amount of revenue generated is a clear indication of whether a growing organization should hire. They also act as a tool to measure productivity.


Candidate Satisfaction


Satisfaction ratings can provide essential feedback from new hires and employees who are seeking opportunities for internal mobility. From the candidate’s perspective, feedback from the interview process through post-recruitment surveys can influence the company’s recruitment strategy. The surveys can identify gaps in the recruitment process and provide critical information for the improvement of recruitment campaigns.


In the information age, many businesses have implemented software tools, such as the Human Resource Information Systems, which aid in facilitating easy review of pertinent human resources functions. Most importantly, this system software encompasses metrics for monitoring and tracking recruiting data. Success factors can be achieved when a business efficiently and effectively understands the benefits derived from making investments in the Human Resource Information System.


L. Chadee | Contributing Writer

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Employee selection is one of HR’s strategic roles and key performance indicators. It involves manpower forecasting, staffing and retention activities. By planning, recruiters collaborate with hiring managers in predicting and anticipating the demand for personnel. This is a pro-active approach to ensure there is adequate supply of highly qualified candidates suited to fill in current and future vacancies. Human resources and requisitioning department heads identify and justify the need for new hires. Consequently they define job specifics, set parameters and allocate budget. As an executory body, HR is well-trained in this field. To achieve their goals they employ appropriate selection systems as well as standardized policies and procedures that are necessary for delivering the best prospects.


Below are some employee selection strategies, most admired firms adapt to ensure success in hiring the best candidates.

  • By putting in place effective recruitment initiatives, organizations will be able to serve job openings at any given time. Sources and availabilities of talents possessing the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) necessary to perform the most critical and technical tasks, will vary depending on Top Management’s support and how a particular company adjusts to changing technological trends. Great hiring entails significant operating expenses and for some, sizable investments in infrastructure.

  • Create an employment brand. Do you provide competitive compensation and benefits package? Is your company in the top echelon of corporations? Have you been operating for over a decade or more? Do you take care of your employees? These are just some of the many questions applicants consider before joining any organization. If your answer is yes to all questions then there’s a big probability that you will be able to find the perfect match. Make your company the employer of choice. This way, you will be able to attract topnotch individuals to come and join your firm. As a result, you will have a pool of well-qualified candidates to select from as well as more negotiating power to ensure that you’ll take in the cream of the crop that best suits your budget.

  • In Canada, the job market is very competitive as it has a huge blend of talents, coming from a variety of cultural backgrounds, and skills sets. Therefore, HR must have more options expanding and improving its selection schemes, so that it can provide better impact to the organization. Efforts must be made to exhaust and optimize all recruitment channels and sources by deploying computerized screening and electronic database management systems like Taleo.

  • A candidate may have all the skills and experience required to be successful on the job, but a recruiter must confirm that they have the proper references. Conducting a comprehensive background investigation validates the credibility of a recruit. Through this process, a company can certify their credentials. Resumes are unfortunately often manipulated. As a consequence, feedback from employers matters more and more. Be vigilant in doing reference checks, it should be a direct supervisor of the candidate that you are speaking to since colleagues can be friends with an overly emotional attachment to the prospect.

  • In some countries, checking the candidate’s background is not limited to just authenticating work performance, attitude or contributions with past employers. It extends to knowing how the person relates to the community. This may require them to undergo drug testing, or other tests to comprehensively assess their character before placement.

  • Do not limit yourself to interviewing candidates using only the “generic” interview questions. Take time to develop a unique and well-structured one to assess competencies to a greater extent. Most applicants, because they’ve been applying to so many jobs, are used to answering the standard questions, and many simply say the answers hiring managers want to hear. To really target the person that’s right for the job, perform an extensive screening. For example, if you are looking for a sales personnel, give him actual sales simulation exercises, and see how he’ll be able to use his expertise in actual scenarios.


The list could go on and on, but one thing is for sure, there is always risk attached to hiring. Even if you have selected “the best of the best”, organizational fitness still matters. Install an on-the-job trial to be sure that you’ll only choose the right fit before fully offering the job. If your first choice fails, try the second one. That’s why it’s always necessary to have a backup. Try to have at least three shortlisted candidates on your list for any position.

Adapting best practices in your process will surely influence the company’s bottom line in a meaningful way. Remember, through effective selection, organizations will have repeat customers, increased revenue, a more engaged workforce, sustained job performance, lower turnover, and much more.


M G Beltran | Contributing Writer

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Beyond having the right product and service, another vital aspect every organization should look into is “Finding the Right Fit”. Hiring someone whose character the business must have in order to succeed. Failure to do so will cost your company time, dollars, and effort. However, given proper tools, training and direction your new recruit will  become your premium capital investment. So, don’t take recruitment for granted, remember, your employees are your most valuable asset. Now, the challenge is how to hire right, the first time. Although the world has become extremely technologically-driven, it still needs Human Resources to be successful.


Let me share a three-part checklist that will surely yield better results in getting the perfect match…


Establish the need to hire.
A proactive and strategic human resources always refer to the plantilla to ensure that the company has the right quantity and quality of people  able  to keep the business running. In cases of manpower requisition, HR in collaboration with the Hiring Manager must be able to answer the two (2) key questions before initiating  recruitment:

  1. Is the vacancy created due to internal movement such as resignation,  maternity/paternity leave, demotion or de-hiring?
  2. If none of the foregoing was the reason, is it an additional headcount due to business expansion?


Remember, hiring is an overhead expense. Thus, ROI shall always be taken into consideration. Also, it is a must to review your existing workforce, you might have a potentially qualified internal candidate who has the eligibility or whose promotion is long overdue. Review employee profile/records or announce/advertise vacancies via intranet or bulletin boards. You can also check if there is an underutilized personnel that can occupy/fill up open position.  If and only if you have fully exhausted your internal resources that you should proceed on searching for external candidate.


The bottom line here is this: Hiring Manager with the assistance of HR may opt promote or distribute duties within the department/organization. It saves the company time and money at the same time increase motivation of employees.


Conduct Job Analysis.
Envisioning what you want or defining labour needs in clearer  terms. This tool is not only used in recruitment, it could also be a realistic basis for   training, wage and salary administration, job re-engineering, health and safety.


The output of job analysis is job description (JD). A well-crafted JD shall be the foundation in designing a competency-based recruitment strategy. It clearly defines major scope and responsibilities of the job as well as relationship with other jobs/departments. It also emphasizes working conditions and hazards, most especially for high-risk profession. A ideal JD is always up to date, with specific title and detailed duties. It has the reporting structure, challenges and opportunities, qualification, knowledge, education and personal characteristics.


From JD, HR can develop job specifications, this is statement of minimum acceptable qualities of a position. The success measure is always the value of the person hired to execute the tasks.


Map out your Recruitment Platform.
The goal is to have a systematic hiring process that will aid HR and Hiring Managers in attracting the best candidates for the job. The bottom line is: the more qualified candidates you have, the more likely you are to locate the most suitable person to fill the job. Utilizing the details in the JD, HR together with Hiring Manager and approval of top management,  create job specifications, salary range and timeline. To increase employee morale, it is necessary to advertise the position internally prior to exploring other sources.  Internal placement is a great way of motivating employees to perform at their fullest potential. If no one will be selected from within the organization, reasons must be clearly explained and communicated or it might lead to grievance. If lack of skills is the cause, HR may recommend training so that person will be prepared should the same position arise again. One of the advantages of internal placement is culture fit, which is the number one consideration in hiring. A candidate can be fully qualified based on KSA but the risk is how the person can mesh well with the culture. When an internal candidate is offered the new position, transition timeline with the current supervisor should be planned.


HR can now proceed to external sourcing when no one qualifies. The commonly employed sources are social media (LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook), on-line job sites, newspaper ads, job fairs, and campus recruitment (colleges/universities). Conducting career talks to top graduating students is another strategy to invite top graduates to join the company. For high-profile positions, HR are trained on how to court passive candidates or they can use manpower agencies or head hunters who are likewise equipped with tools and expertise in recruiting.


Effective and Efficient Screening and Selection.

Due to scarcity of jobs, there is an influx of active candidates. To simplify HR’s job, setting of criteria/parameters and preparing structured interview questions, will help in separating the desirable to average. It is like designing a Hiring Scorecard.  In constructing interview questions, equal employment opportunity and conformance with legal and labour standards should be taken into consideration.


HR performs the following in screening and selecting candidates:

  1. Resume paper screening enables HR to easily identify which one to process by matching information to the job checklist.
  2. Phone interviews will be conducted for candidates who meets at least 3 out of the 5 items. Only those whose rating is 8 and above in the phone screening will be invited for face-to-face in-depth interview. Again, based on point system, HR should present the short-listed candidates to Hiring Manager who will make an initial impression.
  3. Don’t forget to verify sterling credentials of at least top 3 candidates through professional reference checking. Some industries even require credit history such as banks, insurance companies and the like. When the report is ready together with all the other documents used in screening, HR will present again to Hiring Manager for the final decision. The closing will happen at job offer. For some companies, a non-compete and confidentiality of information agreements are presented during the job offer. These documents are needed to protect the company’s products, clients and trade secrets.


On Boarding is Important.
Make sure candidates are well inducted about the company’s mission, vision and core values before endorsing him/her to his/her assigned department. Be sure to provide the initial tools he/she needs to become successful on the job. It is ideal if a company can invest in a “First 100 Days Development Plan”. Keeping in mind that workforce must embrace the company’s philosophy and business principles, because this is when employee engagement begins.


In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recruitment, it should always be tailored and catered to the type of business. As a tip, don’t embark on a search without answering 5W’s and 1 H. Why/Who/When/Where to get the best talents and what recruitment techniques are helpful and how effective is the hiring process. Stop hiring the wrong people, it is possible!


DBPC | Staff Writer

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Laid off when you least expected it? Passed over for that promotion you were counting on? Maybe your small business failed? In today’s climate, between an ongoing global pandemic and burgeoning social and political unrest, we must still remember that the only place we should keep moving is forward. It’s not the end of the world, and the most difficult times can be learning experiences.


Here’s how to pick yourself up when faced with career (and personal) adversity and look to the future with renewed enthusiasm and confidence.


Take a Moment


Take some time to acknowledge this major life change or disappointment. It can be quite a jolt to your routine when you don’t have to wake up in the morning to get dressed for work. Breathe and take it one day at a time – it’s perfectly fine to mourn the loss of a good thing, especially if you loved what you were doing. Activities like long walks, listening to music, and meditating in the morning to relax are great opportunities to take stock, and can help you reboot your system. It’s crucial to purge yourself of the negativity and despair that can come with being laid off before you start job hunting, for example. Wipe that slate clean!


Look at the Bright Side


Remember that it wasn’t all bad, even if you didn’t get that promotion. Make a note of some of the positive experiences at your past (or current) job, or lessons learned from a failed startup venture. How can you use that to your advantage moving forward? Perhaps your organizational skills were instrumental in the success of a project, or maybe there’s still a great idea in your failed business. “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told Business Insider. “Literally billions of dollars of failures. You might remember Pets.com or Kosmo.com. It was like getting a root canal with no anesthesia. None of those things are fun. But they also don’t matter.”


Spruce Up Your Skill-set


Treat as a learning opportunity and write out a list of things that you think you could have known or done better. This could include freshening up your social media skills or updating your knowledge of your industry’s best practices. You can go back to school for short-term courses, watch webinars in your area of expertise, start a blog, or do some volunteering (which looks great on your resume). The learning process never stops, and with the rapidly-changing job market, it will do you good to stay on top of the latest trends. You never know when your next opportunity – a new job, or another promotion – might come along. Be ready.


Move on Confidently


With your new knowledge and insight, it’s time for the hard work to begin. You’re wiser and more experienced, so position yourself in the professional world accordingly. Focus on your strengths. Remember to put things into perspective – layoffs aren’t personal, or you may get that promotion next time. Failure is the stepping stone to greatness, and things don’t always work out as planned. As Sir Winston Churchill famously said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”


Baisakhi Roy | Contributing Writer

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Everyone who has ever worked on a team will agree that the key ingredient to a successful team is collaboration, yet few have a thorough understanding of what this entails. Collaboration is a team’s ability to interact efficiently and work towards achieving a common goal. However, numerous studies show that without openness, any opportunity for collaboration will be lost, and the team will fail.


What’s the best way to create a sense of openness within your team? Consider the following tips:


Open Communication is Key


Open communication is not limited to your organizational hierarchy or a set team meeting. Team members should have access to opportunities and resources to communicate whenever and wherever it’s necessary. One way to create an open communication dynamic is for yourself and your team to familiarize yourselves with Tuckman’s Team Development Model. Assess what stage your team is at, and proceed from there.


Actively Listen to Team Members


While many of us hear what others are saying, we rarely truly listen. By encouraging team members to listen to one another and acknowledge understanding of their peers’ ideas, you’re facilitating improved productivity in all relevant processes. If your company employs remote workers, always make them feel as if they are in the room with the rest of your team to help encourage effective participation.


Establish Transparency Across All Operations


Transparency in your business practices is one of the shortest paths towards creating an open and supportive workplace. Before team members can trust one another, they need to be able to trust that the company’s mission, vision, and values are in line with their own. Not only will this improve collaboration within your team, but it also encourages accountability for every action taken.


Turn Failures into Learning Opportunities


The largest setback for many a team is the fear of failure, which often stems from leaders who focus on the here and now rather than the big picture. Remember, there is no innovation without risk. The simplest way to get this message across is to openly encourage risk-taking within your team. Although not all risks lead to rewards, allowing your team members to implement their own personal touch in company operations promotes trust and flexibility in the workplace.


Plan Regular Team-Building Exercises


At the end of the day, a team is a group of human beings who must feel comfortable to step outside of their respective comfort zones to share their ideas with others. In addition to open group discussions, members should be encouraged to grow closer through informal activities, such as lunch outings, to help promote mutual support and trust.


Openness inspires creativity. As Steve Jobs once said, the larger your “bag of experiences,” the more diverse the connections you can make between the ideas set before you. Creating a sense of openness within your team is not only beneficial for the team’s overall performance, but also for each team member’s individual growth and development.


Diana Spektor | Contributing Writer

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