Human Resources Professionals: How to Stay on Your Toes

The HR Department of any company is an integral part of the company’s success. As such, HR professionals have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. And while the “Ability to Think on Your Feet” may not be part of your written job description, it’s among the most important aspects of any HR professional’s position.

So what does staying on your toes mean, and how do you do it? It’s not as hard as you may think. Here are a few tips for keeping up to date on what’s going on in the world of HR and the company you work for:

  1. Get a grasp on general business fundamentals and practices, particularly those in the field of the company you work for. While you may be in the HR department, you should know the ins and outs of the company and industry you work in. You need to know how it works, from the bottom to the top, in order to do your job more effectively.
  2. Become an HR specialist instead of a generalist. Unfortunately, HR generalist candidates far outweigh the number of HR generalist roles. A specialist, on the other hand, has a uniquely different set of skills to help set her apart from the pack.
    1. If you wish to remain an HR generalist, make sure you know how to sell yourself and what you are going to bring to the table.
  3. Be the ultimate role model for your company. As an HR professional, chances are you’ll be training and hiring staff, and implementing company procedures. Be the company culture you wish to see from the staff working in the company.
  4. Keep on top of everything happening in the world of HR. HR is ever-changing; new ideas begin to manifest into everyday practices while old ideas are shoved under the rug. As an HR professional, you need to be up to date on the new standards.
  5. Invest your time in your company and industry. This kind of goes along with #1, but is a little deeper. Stay on top of industry trends while keeping your eye on what’s going on in the company. You’re not going to be able to effectively sell your company if the information you have is a couple years old.

Human Resources is so pivotal in the success of a company because the department has so many tasks and profiles integrated into one group. As an HR professional, you’ll see your position, respect and company grow exponentially when you’re able to stay on your toes.

Keeping it Professional: How to Deal with Employees Who Don’t Care for Each Other

The pretty picture of a synergistic staff that always gets along, hangs out together after work and creates major profits for the company with smiles on every face isn’t always the truth. Not all people get along like that and, unfortunately, friction can really bring down the morale and productivity of your office.

Sometimes people just don’t get along. Most of the time, it’s due to clashes in personalities. Unfortunately, this can wreak havoc on the other members of your team if it’s not nipped in the bud. It’s not always that easy for managers, though. Working through a situation such as this requires an objective look at what’s going on and a plan to make it work in everyone’s favor.

So what do you do when you have two or more employees who legitimately don’t get along? Here’s where to start.

  1. Resist the urge to listen to the gossip you’re probably going to hear before you are actually made aware of the situation. Chances are the rivalry is going to start and be well underway before one of the involved employees (or another member of your staff) let’s you know that things aren’t quite working. You need to be objective, which means going to the source(s).
  2. Listen to both sides. Call each employee into your office separately to explain both sides of the story; then have them both together so that you can be a mediator while they get their frustrations out.
  3. Find the root of the issue. Is it work-related or is it more personal? If it’s work-related, you can definitely help. If one employee feels the other is stealing their thunder, so to speak, you can help to dissolve the issue by reassigning tasks. Once you get down to what the real issue is, it’s easier to find a solution that will bolster productivity instead of drain it.
  4. Bring out the handbook. While you should know the handbook inside and out, let’s face it, it’s written down for a reason. Check out the “conflict resolution” section if it has one. This will allow you to come up with a solution that follows company policy.
  5. Document the incident. Nobody likes being written up, and this doesn’t have to be a disciplinary action; however, you NEED to document cases of conflict, including actions taken to discourage the behavior.
  6. Contact HR. HR managers and staff are there for this type of instance (among many, many others). If you can’t figure out a solution, HR is there to help you find the right answer to this serious problem.
  7. Make the decision whether or not these two employees should work together. Unfortunately, this could mean one has to go if you have a small company. In most cases though, reorganizing your teams or schedules can allow each employee to work without having to come in direct contact with each other.
  8. Be the leader/lead by example. Treat both employees (and your entire staff) with honesty and respect. This helps build morale among all team members, including the two that aren’t getting along. Open the door for open communication and see problems solved faster.

Nobody said management was easy and, in the case of feuding team members, it can be one of the most difficult jobs out there. How you handle these kinds of scenarios will either boost or destroy company morale.

Increasing Company Morale and Employee Loyalty

As a CEO, business owner or manager, you’ve heard about boosting morale and keeping employees happy. You may think you’ve got a great grasp on it; you’re wages are competitive, you offer a great benefits package, so what else is there? Turns out, quite a lot.

Accenture, a Dublin-based investment holding company with interest in providing management consulting and outsourcing services, conducted a study in 2007 (http://newsroom.accenture.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=4485) regarding satisfaction in the current organization among middle managers. Surprisingly, 23 percent of respondents were looking for a new job; 25 percent of those said this was due to lack of advancement opportunities at their current job. In addition, 22 percent of those looking for a new position in another organization stated better working conditions at the other job. Yes, this study is several years old at this point, but it still rings true. Your employees need to be happy at work; unfortunately, great pay and good benefits aren’t going to cut it.

Show Your Employees How Much They Mean

Offer incentives or regular praise for jobs done right. Employees need to feel that their work is appreciated, or they’ll find a place that will appreciate their work. While you can get creative, simply taking the time to appreciate employees’ work will go long distances. In addition, let your employees know they’re more than just numbers; take time to try and get to know them. Mark birthdays on a calendar or other special days.

Time Off is a Must

We all love vacation time, from entry level to executive. Vacations help recharge batteries, explore passions and get much-needed time with family or friends. While vacation time may be an obvious entry on this list, it’s certainly not the only.

Partner with Local Companies for Discounts or Special Days

Speak with the owners of local restaurants, parks, retailers and attractions to inquire about getting a discount program for your employee base. If this isn’t possible, why not see if you can get a discount for one day and treat your employees to a day at the park, a company picnic or a brought-in lunch or dinner.

Get Involved

While not everyone can go on vacation at the same time, everyone wants to get out of the office every once in a while. Entrepreneur.com mentions a company that offers a few paid hours per month to participate in community service or volunteering for charitable organizations.

Conclusion

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or time implementing employee appreciation tactics. The key is to make your employees feel appreciated. You’ll boost morale and company loyalty – and that is invaluable to your bottom line.

Keeping Your Organization Efficient All Summer Long

As an employer, you’re all too aware of the summer vacation season. This is the time of year when your employees – from entry level to executive – start using up their vacation days to spend time with family and get away. It’s not a bad thing, it’s highly beneficial to your employees and you, the employer, because time off means your employees are recharging their batteries and are probably in better spirits than those that don’t receive vacation time. However, extended vacations can leave you with more than a handful of summer vacancies. A staffing firm can help you fill those vacancies with dedicated, experienced and qualified individuals.

A detailed Vacation Policy can help you lay out the rules for employees, reducing conflict and hassles when it comes time for vacation season. Holiday weeks, such as the recent Memorial Day weekend, Independence Day, Labor Day weekend and even the winter holidays are common vacation times for many individuals. Alternating year-to-year for holiday weeks such as these can help you remain fair to all employees.

Of course, you don’t want to leave yourself completely short-staffed with your regular team. Unfortunately, playing the role of the “bad guy,” AKA manager, means that you may have to deny vacation times so that multiple employees aren’t gone at the same time. However, planning ahead for the summer vacation season can allow you to get a head start on temporary employees to fill positions for a few weeks.

Before vacations start, know what a temporary employee is going to have on her plate before she gets there. If he’s going to be working on major projects or filling the shoes of a major player on your team, know exactly what’s going on with that position. Interview a staffing agency – if you don’t already have a relationship with one – to get a jumpstart on filling those vacation vacancies.

Beyond Work Experience: 4 Qualities Smart Companies Look For In Potential Employees

In today’s competitive job market; more and more people are sacrificing their happiness to find a way to put food on the table.  Many job seekers feel that a ‘less than ideal’ job is better than no job and send their resumes to every company with a job listing.

However, simply applying to every job that you are qualified for may not be the best way to go about a job search.  Employers are putting a much higher emphasis on “fit” in interviews and looking at factors that go well beyond benchmarks on a resume.  Identifying qualified candidates who fit in with their company culture can help them avoid hiring mistakes and ensure that they hire the right person, not just the right resume.

Conversely, being a perfect fit for a company’s culture can be a great way for a candidate to stand out from the herd or overcome potential deficiencies in other areas of their resume or portfolio.

Values

In many companies – especially smaller ones – bringing on a new employee can feel like adding a member to the family.  Knowing that he or she will get along with their co-workers is extremely important.  Companies – big and small – are building a more open, friendly, and identifiable culture. Very rarely will interviewers want the absolute best candidate IF that candidate is hard to be around.  Skills can be honed, but values and behavior is much more difficult to change.

Attitude

To borrow an old sports adage, “Hard work beats talent, if talent doesn’t work hard”.  Maybe it’s trite, but that doesn’t make it less true.  Employers want to know that you take pride in your work and are, not only willing to learn, but eager to grow as a professional.  Generally, companies don’t want to hire a “full-book” so to speak, they want to know you are not coming into the the interview (or job) with a know-it-all mentality.  No one truly knows it all, so don’t even bother pretending.

Vision/Ambition

This is often a place that employers separate the wheat from the chaff when vetting candidates.  They typically don’t want someone who views the position as ‘just a job’ or ‘just a stepping stone’.  Employers want someone who is interested and invested in the company itself.  Just don’t let your ambition get too far beyond the scope of the position you are being interviewed for.

Environment

Different companies have vastly different work environments ranging from open and collaborative to cubicle laden and shut off.  Not everyone can thrive in every environment and employers are fully aware of it.   For instance, some personality types are easily distracted in a fun, loud, and creative office, while others feed off of it.  If a candidate has experience and has excelled in a similar environment to what the employer offers, they may get a leg up in an interview.

The amount of weight put into these aspects of fit will certainly differ from employer to employer.  When searching for a job, doing a little bit of research, choosing companies with clearly laid out culture, and crafting a resume to match that culture can be the difference between an applicant and new hire.

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Brian Beltz writes and coordinates outreach for the Law Offices of Kyle T. Green, a small Arizona law firm. He has been involved in both sides of the hiring process in companies both large and small.

This post was originally seen on the Simply Hired Blog.
Read more on the Simply Hired Blog: http://blog.simplyhired.com/2013/08/beyond-work-experience-4-qualities-smart-companies-look-for-in-potential-employees.html#ixzz2dqgqyJIP