4/22/12

I Feel I Am Performing Better Than The Rest of My Team – What Should I Do?

First of all, watch your colleagues, try to understand their work and try to notice their skills. Also, try to get involved in what they do to get the feel of their work. All this to make sure you are really performing better. Maybe their tasks are different and more difficult and your impression may not be that correct.

Then, if you convince yourself that you are really performing better, put your thinking cap on and make a list of things you want: you want more tasks, more responsibilities, some tasks changed, more money or another position in the team or in another team – get prepared. After you have the list, talk to your manager in an honest and open manner telling him that you feel you perform better than the rest of your team and you want some changes. Be open and tell him what changes you feel would motivate you. Be prepared with ideas and arguments, not just demands. Simply showing a list of demands won’t take you anywhere. Maybe your manager has been too busy to notice all your daily activities and doesn’t know the status of your work as well as you do. Giving clear arguments and examples will support your cause.

Also, offer to help your manager with some of his tasks if you feel you are up to the challenge – ask for small tasks at first and them get involved in more important ones to prove yourself.

Then, if changes don’t come quickly, don’t be disappointed. Maybe the company can’t offer you more that what you have at the moment. Try to learn more, try to get involved in as much as possible, keep all your options open and changes will come for sure in the end.

4/8/12

My Manager Told Me We're Going to Have Regular Meetings From Now on. Is It Bad?

First of all, nothing is bad until you are told firmly that something is bad. Don't ever panic until you have reasons to do so.

Regular meetings with your manager may mean:

- Your manager has a communication target from his/her manager to achieve. This means that your manager was told to organize more meetings with his/her direct reports to improve communication in the team;

- Regular meetings are organized when there is a new project to be done and the meetings are used to communicate milestones, resource information, project steps, action status, problems to be solved along the way. Regular meetings can make sure the project is delivered on time because the team which is part of the project has an organized environment to communicate, share ideas, issues and solutions;

- Your manager wants to involve you in new projects or wants to entrust you with some new tasks for you to be able to prove your skills. Probably you have asked for new tasks or they have noticed you have some skills that can be put to good use;

- There is something in your performance to be improved or your manager has noticed that there is something that you are not satisfied with and you need to communicate more often. Again, don't panic! You will probably talk about how things can be improved and what ideas and requests you may have.

Regular meetings are good news. They mean there's place for discussion, sharing of ideas and improvement. So, your manager wants to organize regular meetings with you? Great! then prepare some ideas and thoughts of your own that you would like to discuss and maybe implement. Take advantage of the opportunity and be open-minded.

Take care,
Geo

4/3/12

Again…What Does HR Do Every Day?

From the outside HR people look very very busy, but nobody really knows what they do. I see a lot of forum questions from people asking themselves what does this department really do and what are they paid for since the results of their work are not that visible. They don’t produce anything concrete, but they never have time when you want to go meet them. They always schedule you for another day or ask you to send them an email. So what do they do? Is it that difficult to hire someone?
Well, in a lot of companies HR is actually undersized. They say the optimum ratio is 1 HR person to 100 employees, but sometimes due to extensive local bureaucracy that is not enough. You can’t really see what HR people do because they have so many things to do that they have no time to presents reports of their work to the people. Here are just a few ideas of what HR does in each area. Most of the times there is one specialist covering more than one area which makes it really difficult, challenging and necessary for them to be always open to specialize in something new.
Recruitment people – discuss job openings with managers, post ads, read hundreds of CVs (don’t imagine it’s that easy – to hire one good professional sometimes you have to go through hundreds of worthless CVs that waste your time), schedule interviews, make phone interviews, test candidate skills (sometimes HR people need to speak 2-3 languages to be able to test them by themselves – help from outside is not always available and they have to manage), participate in face to face interviews (which drain all your energy by the end of the day), make presentations, promote the company, participate in job events, prepare tons of recruiting reports, answer hundreds of silly questions from candidates etc. etc.;
Payroll people – spend their time entering employee data into the payroll system: new joiners, contract changes, leavers, timesheets, vacation hours, sickness leaves, bonuses, night shifts, overtime, week-end shifts, salaries, additional employee benefits; when the payroll is done they prepare payments for salaries and additional documents for local authorities;
Training people – spend their time analyzing competencies that need to be developed in employees on each position, discuss training needs with managers, prepare internal trainings, prepare training plan for internal and external trainings, present the internal trainings to selected employees, contact external companies and sometimes negotiate training offers, organize external trainings – make sure external trainers have all the necessary logistics to do a good job, gather training feedback from participants, prepare training reports;
Administration people – prepare huge amount of employee related paperwork – contracts, contract changes, certificates, prepare access cards, order computers and users&emails sometimes, manage lockers and protection equipment sometimes, manage employee assets, manage additional employee benefits like transportation (are sometimes involved in finding and negotiating a contract with a transportation company), manage taxi or transportation vouchers, prepare reports of HR indicators (attrition, sickness leave, joiners, leavers, etc);
Communication people – manage the internal communications towards the employees, manage external communications for external partners and media, manage the internal suggestion system, manage internal display boards, prepare newsletters with important information for the employees, are sometimes involved in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) campaigns, manage sometimes employee satisfaction surveys and actions.
What else do HR people do: are involved in internal and external audits, are involved in the risk management system, prepare files for work permits for the Immigration authorities, prepare employee motivation programs within budget, prepare huge amount of work policies and work instructions necessary for the good flow of information or for company certifications, need to be always up to date with local and international labor regulations (otherwise high fines can be paid by the company), give advice to managers, are involved in the succession planning system…
So, do you still wonder what HR people do?

4/2/12

Why Should You Find Out Company Details Before the Interview?

As a recruiter I strongly advice you to do it. Even if the company has a website too large for you to digest in a few hours. Try to select from it only main information that you can impress them with: company main activities, company values, location/s, achievements and awards during past years. Try to spend at least one hour reading about them, remember as much as you can, even write down some information that you consider important.

If you go there for a position in a specific field try to find out information about that field:
-          HR: find out about current company headcount and distribution across the country/globe, training programs, employee benefits, CSR campaigns, anything connected to HR and if they don’t ask you try to ask 1-2 questions connected to the field just to show them you care about their company, you tried to find out more and you want to know more;
-          Finance: remember some financial related information – company income, company financial issues, problems they have and maybe some solutions you see, read articles, show them you are interested;
-          Technical: find out about their Research & Development department, their divisions, technical details of their products and services;

Why is it important to know as much as you can about the company?
-          They are likely to ask and if you have no idea your application will look very bad – you have no idea what they do, you didn’t try to find out, you prove that you don’t really care about the company, so why should they care about hiring you?
-          If you know, you will convince them of your motivation – you want to work for their company, you know what they do, you really want this job and not another one in another company.

Where can you find out information about a company:
-          their website;
-          people on social networks who work for that company;
-          internet articles;
-          forums;
-          job fares where you can meet recruiters;
-          even the person scheduling you for the interview can direct you to a source of information about their company.

What not to do: don’t ask stupid questions at the interview just to show how much you read about the company. Ask real questions, ask for information that you can’t find and are really interested in. I had someone at the interview asking me about the company values. I was really annoyed since they are on our website and also displayed on the walls in the hall where the candidate waited before the interview.

Take care and good luck with the job applications.
Geo