How to prepare for an interview

August 3rd, 2016 1 comment

How to Prepare for an Interview



The key to a successful interview is preparation. Based on your resume, the interviewer has determined that you meet the qualifications required for the job. The interview will allow you to provide additional details about yourself and give you an opportunity to articulate how you will be a good fit for this position and how you will contribute to the organization.  Although you can never predict the exact questions that an interviewer will ask, you can be prepared when it comes to answering questions that relate to your direct experience, your accomplishments and your resume. Follow these tips:


  • Research the group through all possible sources (i.e. web, professional magazines, libraries or direct contact with a professional working in that area). Specifically you should be familiar with major developments and trends in the field as well as the mission and direction of the organization.
  • Familiarize yourself with the job description; determine your deficits and how you intend to compensate for those.
  • Know who you will be interviewing with and discuss the position with anyone you know who might have insights into the organization. This will target your questions and demonstrate your interest. Be ready for a variety of interviewer styles, some interviewers may be well versed in the process and will guide you smoothly from one question to the next, while others have little experience in the art of interviewing and this could be more challenging.
  • Learn to discuss your values; what sort of environment are you most comfortable working in? Thoughtful responses to these questions show that you have thought about the culture and values of the organization.
  • Familiarize yourself with your resume so that you can talk confidently about your previous work experiences, education and training. You should also be able to discuss skills and accomplishments gained at each employment.
  • Be ready to discuss your strengths and weaknesses. Provide examples from previous employment or volunteer experiences to showcase your skills. The answer should focus on something that is business related but not a critical job task. Talking about what is being done to overcome the weakness is key to answering this question.
  • The interview is a two way street; it is just as important for you to learn whether this might be a good fit for your needs as it is for the organization to learn whether you might be a good fit for their needs.
  • When preparing for an interview, it may be helpful to review the following attributes that are valued by employers.


    • Communicating Effectively
    • Working Well in a Team
    • Problem Solving
    • Using Initiative
    • Being Well Organized
    • Being Adaptable


There are different types of interviews and this will depend on the organization.


Screening Interviews: These are often done over the phone and are used as a way to reduce the applicant pile. First impressions are very important.


On site interviews: These take place at the organization. You usually will meet with several people at this interview. In some instances you may have to present on a topic relevant to your experience and the work you may be doing. You could meet with a  panel of interviewers or meet with a series of people in separate meetings.


What to Expect at the Interview


The interview typically starts before you even get into the room, arrive early so that you can mentally and physically prepare yourself. You can use this time to relax and organize your thoughts. The recruiter begins to evaluate you the minute you are identified and continues to evaluate you in every way. Be firm with your handshake and use good eye contact.


Appearance and Affect


  • You feel how you look, when you look good you feel good.
  • Make sure that you look groomed and neat, your clothes and accessories should be conservative and neutral, rather than overt and distracting. Non verbal actions communicate volumes about you.
  • Use good posture, eye contact and use this time as an opportunity to display enthusiasm, energy and good interpersonal skills.
  • Use a firm voice to demonstrate your confidence and be articulate as it reveals your communication skills. The words you choose will say something about you, as well as your knowledge of the industry. Be prepared to communicate on an informal basis also, it will determine how well you can answer the unexpected under pressure.


       The Balance of Listening and Talking at the Interview


  • Do not be afraid to ask clarifying questions about the interviewer’s questions.
  • Listen well so that you can identify opportunities to link your skills and qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. It is acceptable to take notes.
  • Do not interrupt the interviewer.
  • Take time to formulate your thoughts before answering a tough question and balance talking with listening.
  • Be as clear and concise as you can in your answers.
  • Be honest.


The Interview Questions


  • Tough Questions: Questions can vary and may be categorized under Personal Assessment, Education and Experience, Career ambition and Plans, Company or Organization.


    • Experience questions: These ask you about specific work related experiences that will identify if you have the skill set and experience to match the position.
    • Behavioral/Competency based questions: These usually begin “Tell me about a time when ….    Which in turn offer insight about how you acted in previous situations and this again can predict how you would react or behave in similar future situations.
    • Opinion questions: These ask about your opinion on specific issues or decisions. What would you do if ……………………? 
    • Credential questions: Related usually to your education and certifications.


  • Do at least 65 – 70% of the talking, state your case and be brief and organized in your answers. Consider the STAR Method in framing your answers.


    • Situation: Give an example of a situation you were involved in that resulted in a positive outcome.
    • Task: Describe the tasks involved in that situation
    • Action: Talk about the various actions involved in the situation’s task.
    • Results: What results directly followed because of your action


  • Expect the unexpected. You can often be asked questions that seem to bear no relevance to the position or your experience; these are simply asked to see how you react in certain situations e.g. “What time period would you like to have lived in?” These questions are intended to force you to react under some stress and pressure.


Turning a Negative into a Positive


This question often comes in the format of what are your common weaknesses?

Some common weaknesses are:


  • Lack of urgency
  • Discomfort with public speaking
  • Perfectionism
  • Not always attentive to detail

The key is to demonstrate self awareness about a quality that is not one of your strengths. Talk about what you are doing to improve and/or how you compensate for it. Be ready with a list of three ‘weaknesses’ and the pro-active response.


Sample Interview Questions


  1. Walk us through our resume?
  2. Why are you looking to leave your current employment?
  3. What is your ideal job/supervisor/environment?
  4. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  5. What is your long term career goal? (five years from now)
  6. Why are you interested in this job?
  7. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
  8. What decisions have you been responsible for?
  9. How do you handle conflict (people, situations)? Tell us about a time when you had to handle a difficult supervisor/customer?
  10. Do you prefer working in teams or by yourself? Please give examples of each.
  11. What management style works best for you?
  12. What is your management style?
  13. How do you work under pressure? Please give us an example of a stressful work situation and your involvement with it.
  14. How would you solve a work problem? Please describe a time when you identified and resolved a specific problem?
  15. What are your presentation skills?  Are you comfortable speaking in public?


The close – It is your turn to ask questions

When you are asked, “Do you have any questions for me?  You should ask questions that elicit positive responses from the interviewer, your questions should also bring out your interest in and knowledge about the organization and questions that draw on information that you have been told in the interview and may need clarification on. By asking well thought out questions, you show the employer that you are serious about the organization and need more information, it is a two process, the fit has to be right for you and for them.


  • What are the responsibilities of this position?
  • What are the reputations, academic training and tenures of the employees in this department?
  • Do you support professional development? How?
  • What do you see as the biggest challenge that someone would face during the first month on the job?
  • I know that there is a trend toward X in this industry. How do you see this company reacting to such a trend? This shows that you are serious and interested in the position.


How clients should follow up after interviews?


  • Clients should always send a thank you letter following the interview. Ideally a mailed letter is preferable to an email. To be most effective, they should summarize what the client most wants the interviewer to remember about him or her.
  • It is important to debrief after the interview, in reflection you should think about what went well in the interview and what needs further work. What are the pros and cons of the job and any unanswered questions that you may have.
  • If you are aggressively job hunting and doing lots of interviews, this is an effective way for you to continue fine tuning your interview skills and to treat it as a learning experience. It will help you to clarify and think critically about your own job search skills.


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How To Maintain A Positive Attitude

July 3rd, 2016 No comments


How To Maintain A Positive Attitude

  1. Become mindful of your thoughts and let them occur without judgment. As you recognize self-limiting beliefs and feelings, eliminate them by focusing on positive thoughts about the present and future.
  1. “Reflect upon your present blessings,of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Don’t brood over mistakes, carry grudges, or harbor hate.
  1. Worrying is a wasted effort and the breeding ground of doubt. It will lead you to contemplate potential losses rather than effective solutions. The antidote to worry is positive action.
  2. Adversity comes to each of us in time. Expecting rather than dreading this adversity can make challenging periods seem less daunting and will allow you to accept that you possess the strength to conquer each obstacle as you have conquered obstacles in your past.
  1.  Assume that hidden in every setback there is a lesson. Consciously choose to think of the challenges you face in a positive way: as a learning experience, an opportunity to demonstrate your strengths, or the first step on a new path.
  2.  Think about what you desire, not what you fear. Visualize future successes with the belief that you will achieve them, and then take action. When you are working diligently toward a goal, there will not be time to ponder the obstacles.
  3.  When negative thoughts and feelings threaten to overwhelm you, take a “time out” and do something that makes you happy. Letting yourself be swept away in a favorite activity or meditation will inspire well-being.
  4.  Be confident that no matter what adversity you face, you will be strong enough to remain positive and optimistic. Knowing that there is no obstacle you cannot overcome will give you that strength.

Qualities of Manager

June 23rd, 2016 No comments

Qualities of Manager

manager 1


Learn how to choose what to delegate, match employee and delegated assignment, and set the stage for success by both developing your employees and freeing up your time for critical managerial tasks.

Goal Setting:


Learn how to set realistic goals, prioritize tasks, and track milestones to improve performance and morale.
Managing Upward:


Learn insight into developing a mutually rewarding relationship, with skills for communicating and negotiating with your manager, presenting problems or opportunities to your supervisor and accepting responsibility for your proposed actions.
Meeting Management:


Learn about planning and conducting meetings from start to finish; preparation, keeping the meeting on track, and follow-up and dealing with problem behaviors exhibited by meeting participants.
New Manager Transitions:


Learn what it means to be a manager, as well as how to navigate the complex and often stressful transition from individual contributor to a new manager.
Presentation Skills:


Learn about preparing and delivering presentations that command attention, persuade, and inspire, rehearsal techniques, creating and using more effective visuals, understanding your objectives and your audience to create a presentation with impact.
Stress Management:


Learn the difference between positive stress that enhances productivity and negative stress that breeds tension, lowers productivity, and undercuts job satisfaction, strategies for dealing with underlying causes of worry and stress, tactical coping mechanisms for immediate problem management.

Time Management:


Learn how to analyze how you currently spend your time and pinpoint opportunities for improvement, set goals, prioritize tasks, plan your time efficiently using scheduling tools, control time-wasters, and evaluate your schedule once it is underway.
Writing Skills:


Learn how to accomplish your business objectives and extends your influence as a manager, create clearer, more effective written communications, guidelines for preparing memos, letters, emails, and other common business documents.
Career Management:


Learn how to manage your career–including how to identify your business interests, professional values, and skills in order to target your most exciting career possibilities.
Change Management:


Learn how to manage change constructively and navigate the ups and downs that inevitably accompany a change effort.


Learn how to strengthen your coaching skills to facilitate the professional growth of the employees you coach.
Developing Employees:


Learn how to encourage your employees to learn and grow, while maximizing the return on the management time you invest in employee development.

Difficult Interactions:


Learn how to discuss and resolve difficult interactions in the workplace–whether with employees, peers, bosses, or even suppliers and customers.




Feedback Essentials:

Learn when and how to give effective positive or corrective feedback, how to offer feedback upward, and how to receive feedback.
Global Collaboration:


Learn critical skills required to manage a cross-cultural collaboration, including negotiating, building trust, overcoming language barriers, and navigating the geographical and technological challenges of working across continents.



Learn how to identify the particular skill set needed for a job, and then how to research and interview leading candidates until you find the one who best fills your need.
Leading and Motivating:


Learn about the essential tasks of leadership: setting direction, aligning people, and motivating others. Learn how to recognize the skills and characteristics of effective leaders, create an inspiring vision, and energize people to support and work toward your goals.


Performance Appraisal:


Learn how to prepare for, conduct, and follow up on performance evaluations–in ways that link employee performance to your company’s and group’s goals.
Retaining Employees:


Learn strategies for attracting and keeping top performers, how to handle common obstacles to retention such as burnout and work/life imbalance, and how to develop programs that address the diverse needs and interests of your workforce.
Team Leadership:


Learn how to establish a team with the right mix of skills and personalities and create a culture that promotes collaborative work, steps to leading an effective team and includes innovative, easy-to-implement self-evaluation tools.



Team Management:


Learn how to diagnose and overcome common problems – such as poor communication and interpersonal conflict – that can impede team progress, learn to take corrective measures to remove team problems and improve team performance.
Virtual Teams:


Learn how to create concrete suggestions for forming virtual teams, including assessing their technology and communication needs, structuring the team to build trust, and keeping the team on track.




Learn about the budget process, different types of budgets, and common budgeting problems–so you can allocate resources wisely to meet your goals.
Business Case Development:


Learn how to create an effective business case, from defining the opportunity and analyzing alternatives to presenting your final recommendations.
Business Plan Development:


Learn the process of preparing an effective plan for a business proposal, applicable to launching a new internal product as well as seeking funding for a new start-up business.


Crisis Management:


Learn a practical, hands-on method for looking at crises–from developing a crises audit to avoid and prepare for crises, to managing an actual crisis, to learning from past events.


Customer Focus:


Learn how to target the right customers and build their long-term loyalty by developing systems for learning about–and responding to–their needs.




Decision Making:


Learn how to identify underlying issues related to a decision, generate and evaluate multiple alternatives, and then communicate and implement your decision.




Learn how to manage diversity to extract maximum value from your employees’ differences — including how to recruit diverse talent, resolve diversity-related conflicts, and communicate with employees and customers from other cultures.


Ethics at Work:


Learn how to identify and execute sound choices based on ethical standards and how building a culture of integrity and cultivating an environment of trust among employees, customers, and other stakeholders lays a foundation for sustained success.


Finance Essentials:


Learn the essential concepts of finance–budgeting, forecasting, and planning, for managers who are not financial managers.


Innovation and Creativity:


Learn how to manage an intellectually diverse work group and their environment to produce more–and better–ideas that encourage innovation when developing products and work processes.


Innovation Implementation:


Learn how to implement an innovation from crafting a vision statement to gaining support and managing resistance and turn an idea into reality.


Marketing Essentials:


Learn the fundamentals that will help you better understand the importance of marketing and how it relates to you, especially for non-marketing managers.




Learn how to become an effective negotiator, the negotiation process: assessing your interests as well as those of the other party, developing opportunities that create value, avoiding common barriers to agreement, and implementing strategies to make the negotiation process run smoothly.


Performance Measurement:


Learn how to review financial and non-financial measures used in all areas of organizational performance, addresses both standalone measures (including ROI, EVA, and BET) and measurement frameworks such as dashboards, quality models, and the Balanced Scorecard, systematic processes for tracking performance of initiatives.


Persuading Others:


Learn the art and science behind successful persuasion, changing others’ attitudes, beliefs, or behavior to create win-win solutions, accomplishing work through others rather than simply issue orders.
Process Improvement:


Learn what business processes are; why improving them is essential; and how to carry out a business process improvement BPI) initiative.


Project Management:


Learn the nuts and bolts of project management, including project planning, budgeting, team-building, execution, and risk analysis, useful tools and techniques such as GANTT and PERT charts, Work Breakdown Structure, and variance analysis.


Strategic Thinking:


Learn how to shape and execute organizational strategy, analyzing opportunities, challenges, and the potential consequences of high-level action plans, addresses identification of broad patterns and trends, creative thinking, analysis of complex information, and prioritization of actions


What is Competence

June 21st, 2016 No comments


 core-competencyCompetencies comprise the knowledge, skills, values and attributes demonstrated through behavior that results in competent and superior performance. Competency describes what superior performers actually do on a job that produces superior results.


Motives: things a person constantly thinks about or wants which result   in action

Traits: physical characteristics and consistent responses to situation or information

Self-concept: a person’s attitudes, values, or self-image

Knowledge: information that a person has in specific content areas

Skills: the ability to perform a certain mental or physical task



  • Threshold competencies
  • Differentiating competencies
  • Behavioral competencies


  • Threshold competencies

               The characteristics required by a jobholder to perform a job effectively are called threshold competencies. E.g. for the position of a typist it is necessary to have primary knowledge about typing, which is a threshold competency.

  • Differentiating competencies

The characteristics, which differentiate superior performers from average performers, come under this category; such characteristics are not found in average performers. E.g. knowledge of formatting is a competency that makes a typist to superior to others in performance, which is a differentiating competency.

  • Behavioral competencies

These refer to competencies that are required by people in terms of behavior. E.g. team working-the competency required by an employee working in a typing group in an office where they may be required to cover up for others as the work grows.

Classification of Competencies

Competencies can broadly be classified into two categories –


  • Basic competencies
Competencies = Basic Competencies + Professional Competencies
  • Professional competencies


Types of Basic Competencies

  1. Intellectual Competencies: Those which determine the intellectual ability of a person.
  2. Motivational Competencies: Those which determine the level of motivation in an individual.
  3. Emotional Competencies: Those which determine an individual’s emotional quotient.
  4. Social Competencies: Those that determine the level of social ability in a person. It has been proved by various scholars that all individuals have competencies. Only the combination and degree of these competencies differ from individual to individual. Hence, organizations have to identify the critical basic competencies required for individual employees to deliver their best in their organization. The importance of mapping the competencies proves critical for organizational success.


Types of professional competencies

Optimizing career prospects: this competence involves the ability to envision future opportunities, and having determined broadly defined goals, to create and make own chances. It represents a form of well – considered opportunism. To undertake optimizing process successfully, a particular set of skills and behavior need to be brought into play.

Career Planning – Plying to your Strength: In career planning of employees, four steps are involved. They are

  • Review how for their work are using their skills and satisfying their needs and interests.
  • Identify the own development needs and what is required for effective performance.
  • Obtain data from the experience of mentors, partners and other work colleagues
  • Anticipate future changes and prepare for job opportunities that might arise.
  • The development of career planning competence should go some way to help individuals to take ownership and management of their own career development

Engaging In personal Development: employers are no longer guarantee life long continuity of employment or upward career progression. Therefore, more attention is to be paid to personal development rather than career development alone. The forms of personal development vary, but the range I s increasing. For this purpose firstly, employee need to have a sufficient self awareness to review and identify their development needs. Secondly they need to be effective learners with a positive attitude towards the learning process. Learning seldom happens in a vacuum; it takes place in a social context and those in the workplace may need to gather around them a supportive network in order to understand personal development activity of a challenging nature.

Balancing work and Non-work: the concern to balance work and non work is clearly a function of career stage. Being able to define one’s own work priorities and maintain one’s motivation in the absence of externally defined checks on performance become increasingly important. The issue of balancing work and non-work is problematic because of the competing demands of work and personal life. The competence to balance work and nonworking is required by all those in the workplace because the relationship between the two is never static, but ever changing.



Competency Mapping is a process of identifying the key competencies for an organization and/or a job and incorporating those competencies throughout the various processes (i.e. job evaluation, training, recruitment) of the organization.


Models for competency mapping

A competency mapping is a description of skills, traits, experiences and knowledge required for a person to be effective in a job. There are three models in mapping the competencies described as follows:


This model uses the data obtained from existing job descriptions and job analysis. The data pertaining to a class of jobs, for example all sale representatives will be consolidated and key features will be identified to convert them into competency traits. The general features like organizational mission, objectives and culture related competence would be added to build a competency model for a particular type of employee.


There are three steps in this. In the first step, Competencies required for organizational function will be identified. Secondly these competencies will be classified into technical, social, marketing, management, finance and general. In the third step, Combination of competencies will be grouped to draw a particular role like finance manager, technical manager, quality manager like wise.


This is the traditional, time tested and commonly used method. A position that is most important and being performed well will be identified from a class of positions (Jobs). Data will be obtained observing its incumbent while performing the job, discussing with him/ her and other related departments, past records, decisions taken by that person, formal job description etc. the data so obtained will be used to build competency model for that particular position.


The availability of right quality and quantity of management competence is the key factor in business success of organisations. This realization struck many organisations during the current decade and effort made to tone up their managers. A common issue across all the organisations is, managers should be equipped with what kind of competencies. It is also a fact that managers must possess the competencies specific to their organizational need and environment. According to Andrew May there is a competence set that is applicable to all organizations and he illustrated them in his paper titled           “Developing Management Competencies for fast changing organisations”.

These are:

  1. Operations Management
  2. Managing Time effectively such as control of time scheduling and project control
  3. Planning and decision making consisting controlling planning, option evaluation and evaluation of plan performance
  4. Managing change consisting Identifying Improvement opportunities, Formulating change objective and Monitoring and evaluating change
  5. Quality management consisting quality measurement, conditions monitoring and diagnostics and systems control
  6. People Management
  7. Team leadership indicating leadership style, structured team, delegation, counseling and meeting participation
  8. Performance management consists of assessing competencies, job design and review, target setting and review , and motivation of staff
  9. Influencing others like planning process management and negotiating.
  10. Legal issues of employment that includes health and safety, recruitment and employment conditions, and industrial relations
  11. Financial Management
  12. Financial controls that includes Cost Monitoring, Financial Statement Analysis, Results preparation, and financial system awareness.
  13. Financial planning Including Investment appraisal, System development, and managing outsourcing
  14. Information Management
  15. Communication that includes Presenting Information, Selling ideas and behavior interpretation.
  16. Marketing
  17. Marketing consisting of marketing strategies
  18. Behavior competencies
  19. This includes Entrepreneurial, Creative thinking, Management synergy, Logical thinking, and Analytical ability



Compensation of an employee consists of mainly three components, the base wage or salary, incentives and benefits. Base wage or salary forms the basis for calculating or determining the total compensation of an employee.

There are three different concepts of wages: the minimum wage, the fair wage and the living wage. The minimum wage is the least of them all and the living wage, the highest. Minimum wage is the base wage that an employee has to be paid to fulfill his basic needs and provide basic amenities for his family. The fair wage takes into consideration the paying capacity of the employer. The living wage, which is the highest of the three, is aimed at providing a comfortable living for the employee and his family. It includes providing health, educational and social facilities. Traditional wage plans include the piece-wage plan, based on the units produced by the employee and the time-wage plan, based on the total working time of the employee. Modern wage plans include skill-based wage plan, competency based wage plan.


The design of most compensation programs reward employees for carrying out their tasks, duties and responsibilities. The job requirements determine which employees have higher base rates. Employees receive more for doing jobs that require a greater variety of tasks, more knowledge and skills, greater physical effort, or more demanding working conditions. However, some organizations are emphasizing competencies rather than tasks. A number of organizations are paying employees for the competencies they demonstrate rather than just of the specific task performed. Paying for competencies rewards employees to exhibit more versatility and continue to develop their competencies. In knowledge based pay (KBP) or skill based pay (SBP) systems, employees start at a base level of pay and receive increases as they learn to do other jobs or gain other skills and therefore become more valuable to the employer. For example, a power loom operates single color, two color, four color, six color and multicolor weaves. The more colors, the more skill is required of the power loom operator. Under a KBP or SBP system, the operator increases his or her pay as they learn to operate the more complex processes like four colors, six colors and multi color weaves, even though sometimes they may be running only two color weaves.

The success of the competency based pay plans depends on the managerial commitment to a philosophy different from the traditional one in organizations. This approach places far more emphasis on training employees and supervisors. Also, workflow must be adapted to allow workers to move from job to job as needed. When an organization moves to a competency-based system, considerable time must be spent identifying the required competencies for various jobs. Then each block of competencies must be priced using market data. Progression of employees must be possible, and they must be paid appropriately for all their competencies. Any limitations on the number of people who can acquire more competencies should be identified. Training in the appropriate competencies is particularly critical. Also, a competency based system needs to acknowledge or certify employees as they acquire certain competencies, and then to verify the maintenance of those competencies. Hence this type of pay system requires significant investment of management time and commitment.


Outcomes of Competency Based Pay System

The benefits of the competency based pay system can be analyzed under two categories

(i) Organization related outcomes and

(ii) Employee related outcomes, which are discussed below.

Organization Related Outcomes

  1. Greater work flexibility
  2. Increased work effectiveness
  3. Fewer bottlenecks of work flow
  4. Increased worker output per hour
  5. More career enhancement opportunities
  6. Increased internal supply of work force
  7. Undisturbed work flow
  8. Enhanced organizational learning

Employee Related Outcomes

  1. Enhanced employee understanding of the organizational “big picture”
  2. Greater employee self management capabilities
  3. Greater employee commitment
  4. Greater employee self enhancement
  5. Improved employee satisfaction
  6. Increased employee motivation
  7. Increased employee participation in training activities
  8. Increased individual learning
  9. Better and equipped work force
  10. Employee can withstand change in a better way
  11. With increased skill sets, employee feels confident.


Pay Openness

Another equity issue concerns the degree of openness or secrecy that organizations allow regarding their pay systems. Pay information kept secret in closed-systems includes how much others make, what raises others have received and even what pay grades and ranges exist in the organization.

A growing number of organizations are opening up their pay systems to some degree by informing employees of compensation policies, providing a general description of the compensation system, and indicating where an individual’s pay is within a pay grade. Such information allows employees to make more accurate equity comparisons. The crucial element in an open pay system is that managers be able to explain satisfactorily the pay differences that exist.

External Equity

If an employer does not provide compensation that employees view as equitable in relation to the compensation provided to employees performing similar jobs in other organizations, that organization is likely to experience higher turnover. Other drawbacks include greater difficulty in recruiting qualified and high-demand individuals. Also, by not being competitive the employers are more likely to attract and retain individuals with less knowledge, skills, and abilities, resulting in lower overall organizational performance. Organizations track external equity by using pay surveys.

Strategic HRM

June 21st, 2016 No comments

Strategic HRM

Strategic HRM

  • Strategic human resource management may be described as the linking of human resource strategy with strategic goals and objectives in order to improve business performance and foster an organizational culture of innovation and flexibility.
  • Strategic management deals with both ends and means. As ‘end’, it gives a vision of how things are likely to shape up. As ‘mean’, it shows the path of the vision’s realization in practice.
  • Strategic management is therefore, visionary management which is concerned with creating and conceptualizing ideas about the future of the organization. It is also empirical management, in that it decides how in practice it is going to get there, bearing in mind that organizations function in an environment of change and adaptation.


SHRM is the pattern of planned human resources deployments and activities intended to enable an organization to achieve its goals.



  1. Identifying and analyzing external opportunities and threats that may be crucial to the company’s success
  2. Provides a clear business strategy and vision for the future
  3. To recruit, retain and motivate people
  4. To develop and retain of highly competent people
  5. To meet the expectations of the customers effectively



  • Strategic human resource management is designed to help companies best meet the needs of their employees while promoting company goals. Human resource management deals with any aspects of a business that affects employees, such as hiring and firing, pay, benefits, training, and administration. Human resources may also provide work incentives, safety procedure information, and sick or vacation days.

About strategy

Strategy is basically a “military” term. However, it is not in this sense that it has implications for human resource management.

It was Peter Drucker who pointed out the importance of strategic decisions in 1955 in his book, The Practice of Management, in which he defined strategic decision as “all decisions on business objectives and on the means to reach them”.

  • A strategy is a pattern or a plan that integrates an organisation’s major goals, policies and action sequences in a coherent linear of decisions. A well-formulated strategy helps allocate an organisation’s resources optimally into a unique and viable matrix based on relative internal competencies, shortcomings, anticipated changes in the environment, and contingent moves by intelligent opponents


  • A Vision is a statement about what your organization wants to become. It should resonate with all members of the organization and help them feel proud, excited, and part of something much bigger than themselves.

Vision should stretch the organizations capabilities and image of    itself. It gives shape and direction to the organizations future.

  • Mission or purpose is a precise description of what an organization does.
  • Core values

Values are traits or qualities that are considered worthwhile; they represent an individual’s highest priorities and deeply held driving forces.

Scope of SHRM

The range of activities and themes encompassed by SHRM is complex and goes beyond the responsibilities of personnel or HR managers into all aspects of managing people and focuses on ‘management decisions and behaviors used, consciously or unconsciously to control, influence and motivate those who work for the organisation; in other words its human resource’ (Purcell, 2001). Mabey, Solomon and Storey (1998) have studied the subject from four distinct perspectives:

  • The social and economic context of SHRM, including factors in the internal (corporate) and external environment that influence the development and implementation of HR strategies;
  • The co-relation between SHRM and business performance, emphasizing the measurement of performance
  • Management style and the development of new forms of organisation
  • The relationship between SHRM and the development of organizational capability, particularly knowledge management.


Aspects of SHRM


  • Strategic human resource management (SHRM) includes;
  1. All those activities affecting the behavior of individuals in their efforts to formulate and implement the strategic needs of business.
  2. The pattern of planned human resource deployment and activities intended to enable the organisation to achieve its goals.
  3. That part of the management process that specializes in the management of human capital. It emphasizes that employees are the primary resource for gaining sustainable competitive advantage, that human resource activities need to be integrated with corporate strategy, and that human resource specialists help management meet both efficiency and equity objectives.


Features of SHRM


Features of strategic human resource management could be inferred as mentioned below:

  • Organizational level – Because strategies involve decisions about key goals, major policies and the allocation of resources, they tend to be formulated at the top;
  • Focus – Strategies are business-driven and focus on ‘organizational effectiveness’; people are seen primarily as resources to be managed towards the achievement of strategic business goals; and
  • Framework – Strategies by their very nature provide a unifying framework that is broad, contingency-based and integrative. They incorporate a full complement of the HR goals and activities designed specifically to fit extant environments and be mutually reinforcing and synergistic.



June 6th, 2016 No comments
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Compensation and Benefit

May 27th, 2016 No comments



Key Compensation Components

Compensation has become a far more complicated issue than just deciding how much to pay your employees. In addition to salary, employers must consider many other components — 401(k) plans, stock options, bonuses and vacation — that have become part of compensation packages today.

Employees also have greater expectations of what should be included in their compensation packages, and they may demand specific benefits that can be costly for small businesses.

Costly or not, building a fair and attractive compensation packages is critical for attracting and retaining employees. When setting up your compensation package, consider the following components:

Salary and wages. This is usually the single largest component of a compensation package and, not surprisingly, the most common point of comparison used by employees and potential employees. Salary should be tied to a person’s skills and experience. Subsequent increases need to be based on an employee’s performance, value and contribution to an organization.

Check salary surveys and want ads, and scout out competitors to see if they are underpaying or overpaying their staff. Paying too much is an unnecessary drain on your resources, but paying too little will make it difficult to find and keep the best people.

Bonuses. Employee bonuses, which are usually paid in a single lump at the end of the year, are one way of providing performance incentives. Profit-sharing plans are a more formal way of doing this, but they’re not as effective for rewarding individual performance and compensating employees for meeting their goals.

Long-term incentives. Stock options or stock grants not only provide long-term incentives to employees, but they can also help retain valuable team members through your organization’s crucial start-up phase.

Health insurance. Employer-sponsored health insurance is fairly standard among medium-size companies. And it’s a benefit that has great value to employees. An employer-sponsored plan saves employees money and gives them peace of mind in knowing that they won’t be denied coverage, even if they have existing health problems.

If you think you can’t afford it, think again. Providing insurance to your employees sends the message that you care about their health and the health of their families. To minimize costs, consider having employees pick up part of the tab. Employees who have coverage through a spouse may want to opt out of a plan, particularly if there’s a cost associated with it.

Life and/or disability insurance. This is also a benefit that usually costs less when it’s purchased by an employer rather than an individual.

Retirement plans. 401(k) plans have become popular because they are relatively easy to administer and are less expensive than traditional pension plans. Many employees like these plans because they maintain some control over the amount of their contribution and how the money is invested. Most small companies try to put some kind of savings or 401(k) plan in place, even if they don’t contribute money to them.

Time off and flexible schedules. This includes holidays, vacations, sick days and personal days. An employer unable to offer competitive salaries may close part of the gap by offering more time off or flexible work hours. Some employers make no distinction between sick, vacation and personal days and allow employees a set number of days off each year to be used at their discretion. This prevents employees from abusing sick days and keeps employees from feeling that they need to lie when a child is ill or a personal emergency arises.

Miscellaneous compensation. Other forms of compensation to consider include employee assistance programs, which can provide everything from psychological counseling to legal assistance; discounts on company products; use of a company cars; and any other incentives that motivate employees and give your company a competitive advantage.

Compensation package of a top executive

The total compensation package of a top executive will generally have some Combination of the following components: base salary, short-term bonus based on Performance over the past twelve months, long-term bonus based on performance over the past 3-5 years, stock options (qualified and/or non-qualified), restricted stock, stock purchase and profit sharing. Everything in addition to base salary is not typical of what the average worker receives, and each item should be examined in dividable. On op of the above there will also be a pension, all the usual insurance (health, dental, disability, life) and special fringe benefits ranging from tax preparation to country club membership. Any practicing economist who has ever dealt with the compensation package of a highly paid executive will have an understanding of the complexities involved in valuation, compared to a normal wage earner.


Employee Benefits:

Benefit Plan Costs

Health Care Plans

Dental Care Plans

Retirement Plans

Flexible Benefit Plans

Disability Benefit Plans

Group Life & AD&D Insurance Plans

Benefits for Part-Time Employees

Domestic Partner Benefits

Employee Policies and Programs:

Paid-Time Off (PTO)

Alternative Work Schedules
(including Telecommuting)

Recruiting and Hiring

Hiring Bonuses

Referral Bonuses

Retention Bonuses

Severance Practices

Workplace Environment

Career Planning & Professional Development

Military Leave Policy

Benefit Plan Costs

  • Benefit Costs as Percent of Payroll
    • Medical, Dental, Vision, Disability, Life, AD&D Plans
    • Retirement Plans
  • Benefits Costs as a Monthly Amount Per Employee
    • Medical, Dental, Vision, Disability, Life, AD&D Plans
    • Retirement Plans

Health Care Plans (PPO, HMO, POS)

  • Monthly Premiums
    • Premium Cost
    • Percent of Premiums Paid by Company
  • Deductibles
    • Percent of Plans with Deductibles
    • Annual Deductible Amounts
  • Coinsurance
    • Percent of Expense Covered by Plan
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximums (OOP)
    • Percent of Plans with OOP Maximums
    • Annual OOP Amounts
  • Lifetime Reimbursement Limits
    • Percent of Plans with Lifetime Limits
  • Office Visit and Prescription Co-Payments
  • Domestic Partner Medical Benefits

HSA Qualified Health Plans

  • Impact on Other Healthcare Options
  • Monthly Premium Costs
  • Percent of Premiums Paid by Company
  • Annual Deductibles
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximums (OOP)
  • Lifetime Reimbursement Limits
  • Prescription Expense Coverage
  • Company Contributions

Dental Care Plans

  • Types of Dental Plans Offered
  • Timing of Employee Eligibility to Enroll
  • Expenses Covered
  • Costs of Monthly Premiums
  • Percent of Monthly Premium Paid by Company
  • Deductibles and Co-Insurance
  • Out-of-Pocket (OOP) Maximums
  • Orthodontic Expense Coverage
  • Orthodontic Reimbursement Limits

Retirement Plans

  • Types of Retirement Plans Available to Employees
    • Defined Benefit Plan
    • 401(k)
    • Simple-IRA
    • Profit Sharing Plan
    • ESOP
    • SEP-IRA
    • Salary Reduction SEP
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • When do Employee Contributions Fully Vest
  • Retirement Plan Costs
    • as a Percentage of Payroll
    • per Employee
  • 401(k) Matching Policy

Flexible Benefit Plans

  • Premium Conversion/Premium Only Plan (POP)
  • Unreimbursed Medical Expenses (UME)
  • Dependent Child Care Expenses (DCC)
  • Dependent Adult Care Expenses (DAC)
  • Adoption Assistance Expenses (AAE)
  • Cafeteria Plan
  • Transportation Benefit Plan

Disability Benefit Plans (Short- and Long-Term)

  • Who Pays the Premium
  • Eligibility for Disability Benefits
  • Waiting Periods
  • Duration of Plans
  • Setting Amount of Disability Benefits
  • Disability Payouts

Group Life & AD&D Insurance Plans

  • Group Life Plans
    • Benefit Amounts
    • Cost Coverage
    • Supplemental Life Insurance
  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
    • Benefit Amounts

Benefits for Part-Time Employees

  • Benefits Available
  • Work Requirements for Eligibility
  • Covering the Costs

Domestic Partner Benefits

  • Domestic Partner Healthcare Benefits: Coverage
  • Eligibility Requirements

Employee Policies and Programs covered:

Paid-Time Off Policies

  • Number of Days Paid Time Off Provided by Type of Day:
    • Holidays
    • Floating Holidays
    • Sick Days
    • Vacation Days
    • Personal Days
    • Annual Leave Pool
    • Other Paid Time Off
  • Number of Days Paid Time Off Provided by Type of Model:
    • Traditional Model with Specified Sick Leave
    • Traditional Model without Specified Sick Leave
    • Annual Leave Model
  • Treatment of Unused Paid-Time Off:
    • Unused Vacation Days
    • Unused Sick Days
    • Unused Annual Leave Days
    • Time Limits on the Use of Carried-Over Paid Time Off
    • Accrual of Paid Time Off
    • Upon Termination

Alternative Work Schedules

  • Types of Alternative Work Schedules Offered:
    • Telecommuting
    • Flexible Work Hours
    • Compressed Work Weeks
    • Job Sharing
    • Part-time Professional Employment
  • Eligibility
  • Productivity of Employees in Alternative Work Schedules
  • Methods Used to Monitor Productivity
  • Tools/Assistance Provided to Telecommuting Employees
  • Requirements for Telecommuting Employees

Recruiting and Hiring

  • Recruiting Budgets
  • Recruiting Sources
  • Job Posting Websites
  • Recruiting Tools
  • Interviewing Applicants
  • Pre-Employment Testing
  • Pre-Employment Screening

Referral Bonuses

  • Referral Bonus Eligibility by Employee Type and Level
  • Referral Bonuses Awarded by Type of New Hire
  • Referral Bonus Payments by Type of Hire
  • Amount of Referral Bonus
  • Timing of Referral Bonus Payouts

Hiring Bonuses

  • Hiring Bonus Eligibility by Employee Type and Level
  • Calculating Hiring Bonuses
  • Hiring Bonus Amounts by Employee Type and Level
  • Timing of Hiring Bonus Payouts
  • Hiring Bonus Forfeiture and Repayment Policies


Retention Bonuses

  • Retention Bonus Eligibility by Employee Type and Level
  • Calculating Retention Bonuses
  • Retention Bonus Amounts by Employee Type and Level
  • Payment of Retention Bonuses

Severance Practices

  • Severance Practices by Company Size
  • Calculation of Severance
  • Severance Pay Amounts
  • Placement Services Offered
  • Release Agreements
  • Trends in Severance Amounts

Workplace Environment

  • Dress Codes
  • Work Space Allocation
  • Company Sponsored Events and Activities

Career Planning and Professional Development Programs

  • Career Planning Programs
    • Conference Attendance
    • Professional Memberships
    • Tuition Reimbursement
    • Trade Journal Subscriptions
    • Technical Career Ladders
    • Job Rotation / Cross Training
    • Management Succession Planning
    • Formal Mentoring
  • Tuition Reimbursement
    • Course Requirements to Receive Tuition Reimbursement
    • Conditions of Tuition Reimbursement
  • Professional Development Programs
    • Management or Supervisory Skills
    • Leadership Development
    • Project Management
    • Interpersonal Communication
    • Team Building
    • Conflict Management
  • Training Budgets

Military Leave Policy

Military Leave Policy

Competency Mapping & Assessments

May 18th, 2016 No comments

Competency Mapping & Assessments

competencyIt is a process designed to consistently measure and assess staff performance as it relates to the expectations of the organization.

A competency map is made up of four areas of competence attributes:

  1. Personal Attributes – The characteristics which enable the employee to attract others to well reasoned and logical points of view, to effectively communicate, and to relate to others. These include:
  • Insight and Judgment
  • Integrity and Ethics
  • Continuous Personal Improvement
  • Commitment and Performance Stability
  • Interpersonal Orientation
  • Project Management Skills
  • Innovative/Creative Thinking
  • Presenting/Speaking
  • Business Writing
  • Professional Demeanor
  1. Leadership Qualities – The skills that allow the employee to assume a position of influence by assembling and leveraging a variety of resources that address problems and opportunities throughout the organization. These include:
  • Strategic Thinking and Planning
  • Facilitating
  • Negotiating and Persuading
  • Teamwork
  • Coaching and Empowerment
  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Cross-Functional Perspective
  1. Broad Business Perspective – The body of knowledge that encompasses an understanding of the organization and its industry. These include:
  • The Organization and Industry Knowledge
  • Internal and External Consulting
  • Business Relationships/Partnerships
  • Current and Emerging Management Practices
  • Best Practices
  • Risk Management
  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Strategic Alliances
  • Management Accounting
  • Organizational Systems and Processes


  1. Functional Expertise – The traditional technical skills that the employee should possess and which form the basis for their unique ability to understand an organization from a perspective that others cannot. For eg. A finance professional should have knowledge in the following:
  • Financial Analysis
  • Treasury Management
  • Cost Management
  • Human Resources
  • Taxation
  • Information Technology
  • Control Environment
  • Financial and Statutory Reporting and Accounting Principles
  • Internal Audit
  • Budgeting, Forecasting and Business Planning

Once a competency map has been developed and validated, it can be used as a tool to manage, evaluate, and develop employee performance; recruit and select individuals that possess the skills required in the position; and compensate individuals based on their demonstrated performance.

Competency Mapping & Assessments consists of six steps:
Specification Determination – Positions to be mapped are identified. A preliminary project plan is developed during this step to ensure that all the key stakeholders are involved in the process and that the appropriate activities and communication plans are established to support the development of the maps.

Data Collection – Information is gathered to identify the attributes and competencies required for each position. Data is collected to determine the skills, abilities, and personal traits required for success in the position being mapped. This data can be collected through one-on-one interviews with job content experts and their managers, focus groups with incumbents and managers and internal and external customer interviews.
Competency Development – All information gathered in the data collection phase is analyzed. Attributes and competencies are identified and behavioral descriptions are created for each. In addition, optimal areas of performance are identified according to organizational and market requirements. The result of this step is a first draft of the competency map.

Validation – The map is then reviewed to ensure it meets the current and future needs of the organization. Competencies, attributes, and their corresponding descriptions are evaluated for how accurately they describe performance requirements and to ensure they are aligned with and support the organisation’s objectives.
Implementation – After the maps have been validated and finalized, they are presented to the team with an action plan for the implementation and use of the maps. Gaps in competency levels, if any, are identified and appropriate training and learning action plans are evolved for developing those lacking competencies in the employees.

Use of the Tool

The Tool will continually evolve. As needs change and new concepts and practices emerge, the model can be updated to reflect the constantly changing world in which we live and work. The models can be personalized for individual or corporate use. Different attributes may be selected or omitted by the employee based on his or her role in the particular organization. Upon review of the various models, you will find that the first two competency categories (personal attributes, leadership qualities) as well as part of the third competency category (broad business perspective) are common to almost all employees. The competencies within the fourth competency category, functional expertise, vary based on the functional area in which the employee works.

The Tool is to be used by Employees:

  • to take charge of their careers by focusing attention on skills needed to remain relevant, competitive and forward thinking,
  • to design a personalized career development plan that ensures that they reach their highest professional standing and economic potential,
  • as a guide for selecting educational programs.

The Tool is to be used by Employers:

  • to assist in identifying qualities and competencies that are relevant to their organization,
  • in conjunction with the self-assessment tool, to identify gaps between employee competencies and employer needs,
  • to design employee career development plans aligned to corporate needs,
  • as a guide for selecting educational programs to close the gaps between competencies and needs.

Personal improvement and Leadership content

May 1st, 2016 No comments

Personal improvement and Leadership content


Personal Excellence

I wanted to introduce you to an exciting tool that I have been using that can help you and your employees become more engaged, better performers, and more motivated every day.


The challenges of providing training and development tools to an entire workforce are the same in any organization.  They’re expensive, difficult to implement, and time consuming, to say the least.


Personal Excellence App that provides personal improvement and leadership content for your own personal development in just 3-5 minutes each day.  You sculpt out your own delivery format with your areas of interest and preferred learning styles that align with effective learning methods that work for you. Think of the App as a motivation and reinforcement tool. You will receive daily reminders to check your content on your smartphone or device.


Provide the Personal Excellence App to all of your employees with your own internal branding and messaging.  Provide motivational content (from our library or your own) to your organization to help your employees build alignment, skills, and wellness daily in both a personal and professional capacity. The best part is that the Personal Excellence App can be customized and personalized for your organization or key departments within your organization cost effectively.


With over 20,000 pieces of uplifting and motivational content, you can not only ensure your employees (or clients) have access to training concepts and messaging that will have an impact on them on a daily basis, but you can use this tool to send them your own content to help them grow within the organization. The app is an ideal tool to align with your current internal training programs and ensure continued improvement and development.


Find out more about this App and how you can customize it to best suit the needs of your organization: Personal Excellence App Info


If you have any questions, I would be happy to share more of my experiences with the Personal Excellence App.

Personal Excellence1

Exit Interview Techniques

May 1st, 2016 2 comments

Exit InterviewAn Exit Interview is generally a one to one dialogue/discussion between the departing employee and his H.O.D./or H.R./ Senior Management Official of the Company, held before the employee actually leaves the Organisation.

At a fundamental level, the ‘EXIT INTERVIEW’ will bring forth revelations, some times un-expected, and basic reasons about, why an employee intends to leave.

At a broader level, it would provide valuable insights & up-front evaluation about the operations & work practices prevailing in the Company.


  1. It allows an un-inhibited feedback, which generally would not be forth coming if the employee was not to leave.
  2. Can be used as an effective means of leveraging a resignation – feedback would throw up areas of improvement, which the organization needs to look at.
  3. Can sometimes offer glimpse into your competitors strategies and work practices in other companies – which can be used as ‘bench mark’
  4. Lastly – as a Retention tool – it may throw-up possibilities of retaining the employee.

Method of Application

At the heart of the process, shall be a structured Questionnaire aimed at eliciting specific responses. These responses shall be analyzed by H.R. after which two/three crucial & key indicators would be zeroed on in each case. At the end of the quarter, a presentation on the vital common issues emerging out of all the responses shall be done and possible plan of action drawn up to rework on the valid issues.

  1. How long have you been associated with the Organisation?
  2. What was the nature of your job & was it satisfying?
  3. What has been your major contribution to the Organisation?
  4. Did you have ample scope to carry out your ideas in your area of work? Were you respected as an individual?
  5. What are the three positive elements/strengths you saw in the Organisation?
  6. What according to you are the areas of improvement in your work area?
  7. What are the two most crucial reasons for you to quit?
  8. How does your new job assignment compare with that in company name, in terms of job-role and compensation?
  9. What Changes would you like to see happening in Company name, if you were to consider joining us in future?
  10. Would you like to re-join the organization? Why? Why not?