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“An employee who feels appreciated will always deliver more than what is expected” Dr Vijay Sangam

What is employee engagement?

Employee Engagement is a measurable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization which profoundly influences their willingness to learn and perform at work – Scarlett Surveys.

Employee Engagement is the extent to which employee commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organization. Engagement can be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organization as a whole.

10 C‘s of Employee Engagement:

Engagement strategy includes four critical elements and they are Recognition, Motivation, Relationship building and finally Valued input. The last step is very critical, the input should be productive and positive. Negative inputs should be moderated into something positive and add value.

Recognise the performance:

1. Employees who are fully engaged in their work are often enthusiastic about the      jobs they perform
2. Employees realize how much their work impacts the organization overall, and they are excited about seeing the fruits
of their labour
3. A key strategy involves here is to add another element to employees’ job functions is through recognition
4. The way to create enthusiasm about even the most mundane tasks is through challenging employees to improve new processes for performing their      job functions and rewarding employees whose suggestions for improvement save the company money and resources

Motivate the employee

 Workplace motivation comes from nonmonetary recognition, such as promotion, advancement or assigning more complex duties to employees who demonstrate expertise.
 Employees who receive recognition for their expertise are often motivated to perform at even higher levels.
 Employer strategy for improving engagement includes creating opportunities for leadership roles for deserving employees whose performance exceeds the company expectations.

 

Build Relationships

o Workplace relationships are too often complicated by lack of confidence and trust in leadership
o Rebuilding employee trust and confidence in the company’s leadership team is an infallible strategy for improving employee engagement
o Encouraging the leadership team to establish a connection with all of the company’s employees can have measurable effects on employee engagement
o Building an employer-employee relationship on trust and confidence involves creating an interest in the daily
challenges employees face.

Valuable Input

 Employee engagement is directly tied to employees’ sense of value and the ability to give feedback about working
conditions and their workplace relationships, particularly those involving employee-supervisor interaction
 Therefore, an effective strategy includes developing an employee opinion survey or enabling another method for
employees to voice their opinions and concerns
 The most important component of an employee opinion survey is an action plan, which can be another factor in the
employee engagement strategy

Research Reveals:

1. The most striking finding is the gaps in operating incomes between companies with highly engaged employees and
companies whose employees have low-engagement scores
2. High-engagement companies improved while low-engagement companies declined in operating income during the study period
3. Furthermore, those not engaged generated less revenue than their engaged counterparts
4. Engaged employees also outperformed the not engaged and actively disengaged employees in other divisions

“You can’t lead without influence, and you can’t have influence if you’re not a leader.”

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Source: https://businessesgrow.com/2018/01/30/increase-creativity/

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
― Albert Einstein

What is Creativity?

Process:

Creative people work hard to improve ideas and solutions by refining their work, making alterations to their creations. The creative person thinks that there is always room for improvement. Contrary to the mythology surrounding creativity, very few works of creative excellence are produced with a single stroke of brilliance or in a frenzy of rapid activity.

Attitude:

Creativity is also interlinked with attitude.
1. The mindset to accept new things and changes.
2. The willingness to play with new ideas, the habit of enjoying the good.
3. A creative person always views things from different angles and identifies other possible ways of doing things.

Ability:

‘Creativity’ in simple words means, the ability to imagine or do something new. It is the ability to generate ideas by combining, changing and reapplying existing ideas. Some creative ideas are brilliant and amazing while some creative ideas are simple and good. Everyone has good creative ability. Children are very creative and the creativity of the adults are suppressed due to education but can be still reawakened.

Three Types of Creativity:
1. Expertise, in other words, is Knowledge, technical skills, procedural and intellectual
2. An inner passion to solve the problem at hand leads to solutions which are creative
3. How flexible and imaginative one is to approach problems is defined as Creative Thinking.

Four Stages of Creativity:

1.Copying: Our first skills will start by copying those around us. Copying itself allows us to reverse engineer the creative process. Though we know the solution we are copying, the approach with which we arrive at a solution is definitely described our personal style.
2.Mixing: Once we have copied from the sources, we begin to put the key elements together. Mixing is done in a raw state and elements that are copied are easily identified.
3.Amalgamation: The difference between mixing and amalgamation is the easy recognition of the underlying parts. Mixed copied styles are easy to sort out, but amalgamated styles are subtle. It is likely that only experts could tease out the components beneath and this is not a true creation and original work is faded.
4.Creation: The concrete argument and true creation develop when an artist develops something new and novel. It is not just mixing and rearranging things but developing a new form that has not seen before. Previous 3 stages trigger an individual to be creative on his own in this stage.

Ten tips to Creative thinking:

1. Challenge current approaches to your work. Think new unimaginable possibilities
2. Challenge existing beliefs and assumptions. Ask yourself, your friends and your direct reports whether your current views about how things are done in your company are correct.
3. Be educated. Take a course on a subject like creative thinking, creative writing or update your current skills
4. Use Mind-Maps. On a paper sketch out your ideas and the way in which they can be connected. You can have more connections just by listing on a piece of paper.
5. Be positive. See problems as challenges and opportunities. Open your mind to new ideas, even if they look as difficult task at the beginning
6. Look for creative ideas: Identify the creative people in your field. Call on them to get involved in brainstorming sessions and evaluate all ideas for a creative solution
7. Change your routine. Make small changes in your daily routines and physical environment to help you see that things can be done in different ways.
8. Listen for change resistance. Look out how people have done in the past and what people have not done . . . Improve and be creative at this point and try to do new things which are not done before
9. Book time to be creative. Block some time for ideas to wander over. Have an informal meeting with your colleagues and you can able to solve even old problems
10.Role model. By being yourself a creative model in an organization, it inspires others and creativity is spread across the team and gives the energy to develop creative thinking

Summary:
a. Creative Thinking lets you explore new avenues of thought.
b. Creative Thinking draws on the diversity of a team.
c. It investigates a wider range of solutions to the problem.
d. Creative Thinking makes everybody in your team contribute ideas.
e. It can lead to ground-breaking achievements or rewards.
f. Creative Thinking makes the team focused with good results.
f. Creative Thinking sees problems as opportunities.

“Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources”
― C.E.M. Joad


Source: https://vb1a.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/creativity-corporation/

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“The brain controls our thoughts, memory and speech, movement of the arms and legs, and the function of many organs within our body. The central nervous system (CNS) is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The theory is that people are either left-brained or right-brained, meaning that one side of their brain is dominant. If you’re mostly analytical and methodical in your thinking, you’re said to be left-brained. If you tend to be more creative or artistic, you’re thought to be right-brained.”

The supply chain professionals are left-brained. To know why? watch the below video.

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Michael Eugene Porter is an American academic known for his theories on economics, business strategy, and social causes. He is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School. Michael Porter coined the term ‘Value Chain’ was first used in his book “Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance” (1985). The value chain is a process of translating organisational activities and its performances to gain a competitive position in the market place.
In any process, we find Core activities and Support activities that collectively deliver performance outcomes in the form of margins. Here margin refers to the profits earned for a product or service through sales revenue which is more than the sum of the cost of all activities in the value chain. Porter’s basic model as shown below identifies direct and indirect activities in any organisation which drives margins.

Porter’s value chain emphasizes on the process of how inputs change the outputs purchased by consumers which delivers competitive advantage and targeted margins of the organisation.

Core Activities (Primary Activities)
The core activities relate directly to the manufacturing, service, sale, maintenance and support of a product or service. And they consist
o Inbound logistics
o Operations
o Outbound logistics
o Marketing and Sales
o Service

Support Activities
These activities support the core functions identified above. In the above diagram. For example, procurement supports operations with certain activities, but it also supports marketing and sales with other activities.

• Procurement (purchasing)
• Human resource management
• Technology
• Infrastructure

My Perspective

In my opinion, the fundamental difference between supply chain and value chain is the element of “margin” part of Porter’s value chain. Supply Chin never deals with margins, it deals with SMART Goals, KPIs, deliverables – Quantitative and qualitative. The supply chain cannot assure margins which largely depends upon sales and sales is outside the purview of supply chain and whereas Porter’s value chain the core activities include Marketing and sales which could drive improved margins with other elements such as inbound logistics, Operations and Service supporting the improved margins.

My concept of the value chain bit different from Porter’s version. I firmly believe that People, Process and Technology is the support functions and the core functions are Supply Chain, Operations, Marketing and Sales and I firmly believe that customer service is part of Marketing and sales. If we integrate these functions and work towards organisational goal effectively we can achieve targeted margins. I am not critical about Porter’s view, but I am presenting my views as a Supply Chain professional.
Today’s world is collaborative in nature. No function is superior and no function can attain organisational goals independently. It’s a team approach. In my theory, people, process and technology enable supply chain, operations and marketing and sales to achieve competitive advantage in the market place. One more point is that the communication channel between support functions and core functions is two-way. Listen, Respond and React is the communication strategy for achieving targeted goals.

“Synergy – the bonus that is achieved when things work together harmoniously.” – Mark Twain

My value chain model:

I appreciate your views and comments.

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Leader vs. Leadership

A leader’s job is not to work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves and successful, to succeed beyond what they thought possible. A leader is at his best when people barely know he exists when the work is done, and the objective is fulfilled, they will say: “we did it”. When “I” is replaced with “we”, the leader’s presence is sensed.

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others”

Leadership is something you earn, something you’re chosen for. Leadership is all about doing the right things, millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why. Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping the team focused on a goal and motivated and achieve it, especially in dynamic and challenging conditions. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.

The difference is that leaders embody leadership mindsets and actions. It’s who you are as a person that makes you a leader. Managing leadership actions or merely holding a leadership position does not make you an individual a leader.

To develop a vision for the organisation is leadership. To be visionary is to be a leader.
To drive people towards organisational goals is leadership. To be influential is to be a leader.
To coach others, the right things are the leadership. To model how to determine the right things is to be a leader.
To recognize opportunities is to be leadership. To solve problems is leadership.
To be wise decision-making is to be leadership. To make decisions is the leader’s job.

Some interesting quotes on leadership.

1. A leader is best when people barely know he exists when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu

2. Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18

3. I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? —Benjamin Disraeli

4. You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

5. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree

6. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis

7. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. — General George Patton

8. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch

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We hear this phrase “Change Management” as frequently as “Excuse me”, one has to be really excused because change management has become a fad, far from reality. Change Management is a process and a journey towards desired future state from current ineffective state. This could involve mostly people, but other elements that go through a change and they could include Business Processes, Technology, Business Activities etc.

When leaders or managers are planning to manage change, there are five key principles that need to be kept in mind:
Principle1- Different People React Differently To Change
Principle2- Everyone Has Fundamental Needs That Have To Be Met
Principle3- Change Often Involves A Loss, And People Go Through The “Loss Curve“
Principle4- Expectations Need To Be Managed Realistically
Principle5- Fears Have To Be Dealt With

Miracles do not happen, we the people and transformational leaders make it happen. Change management should be as simple as changing your attire. However, it is complicated because it deals with human behaviour and the change draws people out of their comfort zone and creates anxiety stemming out of fear of failure.

In my opinion, change management is not a business process but mindset management process. As soon as people feel comfortable with what is called as change will embrace it without any mental blocks.

It is not as simple as said and done. What it takes it to make it simple and easy to achieve? Few interesting dynamics pop-ups in my mind and they are emotional intelligence, listening skills, communication skills, ability to walk the talk. One could question that listening is part of communication skills. Technically no, practically yes. The technical definition of communication is “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”. As you can notice, listening is not part of communication. When you are unable to listen to other’s perspective, how can you exchange information effectively? Listen and Silent are spelt with same letters. Think about it. Practically, listening is part of communication because when the exchange of information is considered as an interactive process, one cannot exchange information effectively unless one understands other party’s thought process. See what happened to the patient (below graphic) on the operation table.

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” Zeno of Citium

The idiom emotional intelligence is becoming more popular recently. But what is it? “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” If we dissect the definition, the critical words are aware, control, express and handle are the keywords of emotional intelligence. Be aware of the other person’s emotional state, control your emotions, express without hurting other’s emotions, and handle emotional conflict effectively. And finally, show empathy and focus on the issue and not the person.

“As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership.” – Amit Ray

In the change management mode, the leaders and the change managers talk a lot to convince people about the change and that is ‘talk the talk’. However, to make the change successful, it is absolutely necessary to ‘Walk the talk’. This means actions speak louder than words. Words are critical as all the people involved in the change process may not have very good comprehending abilities. Hence, it is absolutely necessary to convey the change in as many ways as possible. It could be a good idea to display posters about the change with motivational quotes such as, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”; “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”; “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”; “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”; “He who rejects change is the architect of decay”; “We can do it together”; “We can do it!”.

In this article, I have put the cart in front of the horse. I should have discussed the barriers to the change management before addressing those challenges. I have worked for a CEO who wanted the solution first and the problem next. I have followed his philosophy in articulating about the change management. Now let us look at the barriers.

“The only walls that exist are those you have placed in your mind. And whatever obstacles you conceive, exist only because you have forgotten what you have already achieved.” Suzy Kassem

In my opinion, there are no barriers to change, they are virtual barriers, let us examine them. The first one is “Resistance to Change”. The resistance could be political or mind block arising out of fear of failure. And the direct resistance could be due to fear of unknown and indirect due to political reasons.

Before embarking on the change it is necessary to understand the current state (organisational cultural scan) even before thinking about the change. Some traditional organisations may not be ready for change, they are used to doing things in their own way and style. The culture, processes and systems of large organizations dwarf the complexity of a change management idea/attempt. Please remember that an architect wouldn’t renovate a building without looking at the existing blueprints. The current state of the organisation is the blueprint for the change management process.

Managing changes in any organization can be compared to repairing an aircraft when airborne. Change is always a moving target because as we travel through the change journey, expectations change, business dynamics change and outcomes also could change. Long drawn change process may have many integration points that are potential to fail.

In current globalised economy, business is dynamic and fast paced which initiates change management. External factors such as competition play a vital role. In many cases, external forces drive organizational change. Competition, external threats, technological change, market conditions and economic forces are all common drivers of change. Organizations may expedite a change in response to external threats.

Change is not compulsory and at the same time one cannot exist and grow without change. Change is inevitable.

“After all, if you do not resist the apparently inevitable, you will never know how inevitable the inevitable was.” – Terry Eagleton

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Good Better Best Dice Representing Ratings

I have come across a story, I thought it is worth sharing.  This story reminds me  John Lubbock Quotation

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”

I thought I should share it with all like minded people. Managing human resources is the key factor to the success of Supply Chain and Business. It is very much essential to align supply chain goals and work with clarity.  This story narrates the gap between performance and expectation.  It is necessary for the team to understand the expectation clearly and at the same time, it is necessary for the boss to explain the expectation without ambiguity in order to drive the desired results.  The gap in understanding could lead to disappointment and disaster.

This is not my story; I thank the person who wrote this wonderful story.

“A butcher watching over his shop is really surprised when he saw a dog coming inside the shop. He shoos him away. But later, the dog is back again. So, he goes over to the dog and notices he has a note in his mouth.

He takes the note and it reads “Can I have 12 sausages and a leg of lamb, please. The dog has money in his mouth, as well”. The butcher looks inside and, behold, a ten dollar note. So he takes the money and puts the sausages and lamb in a bag, placing it in the dog’s mouth. The butcher is so impressed, and since it’s about closing time, he decides to shut up shop and follow the dog. So off he goes. The dog is walking down the street when he comes to a level crossing. The dog puts down the bag, jumps up and presses the button. Then he waits patiently, bag in mouth, for the lights to turn. They do, and he walks across the road, with the butcher following him all the way. The dog then comes to a bus stop and starts looking at the timetable. The butcher is in awe at this stage. The dog checks out the times and then sits on one of the seats provided.

Along comes a bus. The dog walks around to the front, looks at the number, and goes back to his seat. Another bus comes. Again the dog goes and looks at the number, notices it’s the right bus and climbs on. The butcher, by now, open-mouthed, follows him onto the bus. The bus travels through the town and out into the suburbs, the dog looking at the scenery. Eventually, he gets up and moves to the front of the bus. He stands on 2 back paws and pushes the button to stop the bus. Then he gets off, his groceries still in his mouth. Well, dog and butcher are walking along the road, and then the dog turns into a house. He walks up the path and drops the groceries on the step. Then he walks back down the path, takes a big run, and throws himself against the door.  He goes back down the path, runs up to the door and again, it throws himself against it. There’s no answer at the house, so the dog goes back down the path, jumps up on a narrow wall, and walks along the perimeter of the garden. He gets to the window, and beats his head against it several times, walks back, jumps off, and waits at the door.

The butcher watches as a big guy opens the door, and starts abusing the dog, kicking him and punching him, and swearing at him. The butcher runs up and stops the guy. “What in heaven’s name are you doing? The dog is a genius. He could be on TV, for the life of me!” to which the guy responds:

“You call this clever? This is the second time this week that this stupid dog’s forgotten his key.”

Performance

Cartoon Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Moral of the story

You may continue to exceed onlookers’ expectations but shall always fall short of the boss’s expectations!

It’s dog’s life after all……… “


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