Archive for Human Resources

The emergence of Virtual Assistants

Posted in Outsourcing, Virtual Assistance with tags , , on November 19, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Virtual Assistants are typically professional level people who have left the confines of corporate business to start their own businesses. Virtual Assistants are independent contractors who work from home providing a variety of services to businesses.

This trend allows these highly skilled professionals to bring their knowledge to bear for a whole range of companies that would otherwise not have access. While VA’s were once limited to more administrative tasks, they now encompass the entire spectrum of professional skills. If it can be done from home, there is a VA doing it.

What companies are starting to appreciate is that Virtual Assistants cost companies a fraction of the cost of actual hires. A company employing Virtual Assistants can utilise the services of a whole range of professionals instead of having to choose which specialty is needed most as the company grows.

For the cost of one salaried Administrative Assistant, a business owner could utilise approximately 1400 hours of assistance divided among any number of top professionals. Utilising Virtual Assistants allows businesses access to the exact services that they need, it also allows businesses to shift gears more quickly and efficiently by investing in growth rather than payroll because they are paying only for the time spent on their project. There is no longer a reason to worry about taxes, benefits, vacation pay, and time wasted by the water cooler.

More and more businesses are coming round to the idea of Virtual Assistance; it’s a win-win for everyone involved. It gives businesses the help that they need without the hassle of hiring a full-time employee.

www.powerhomebiz.com/082005/va.htm

Top 5 mistakes when hiring in a recession

Posted in Human Resources with tags , , , on August 26, 2010 by virtualcitypa

While hiring during normal economic periods is itself fraught with big time peril, hiring during a recession can have its own set of unique challenges. Here are the top five recruiting mistakes made by companies during tough economic times:

1.  Thinking Great Candidates Grow On Trees

Recruiters I’ve talked with on RecruitingBlogs.com say they are having a harder time filling the reqs they have open. How can this be? Unemployment is high! Generally speaking, most of those top tier candidates that clients are asking for are still working and are not so willing to move now with so much uncertainty. Like most things in life, quantity isn’t a sure sign that you’ll get the quality you need.

2.  Under-Estimating Your Staffing Needs

One of the classic moves is under-staffing when times are tough. When you are launching a product though and you forecast five employees and your manager cuts it to three, think about the situation you are putting these new employees in. They’ll be doing the work of five employees and that added stress can lead to increased turnover. Turnover can cost a lot of money too.

3. Hiring Now Only To Later Lay Them Off

The opposite problem of number two: you hire someone and then lay them off three months later because of something unanticipated. There isn’t anything worse than this (especially if they had a job before!) When you make the decision to open up the req, plan worst case scenario and that you have to keep them on board for a year or more. Still confident? Open it up. Have questions? Re-investigate until you can be confident.

4.  Under-Compensating Because You Can

In a depressed market, you may feel the urge to underpay a new employee because you can. While I am a fully fledged capitalist, I should mention that there is a real risk to this strategy. Let’s assume that you under-compensate a new employee by 25%. Not a problem now but down the road when the market is back and compensation is on the rise, are you going to be ready to up the pay significantly (by 25% or not)? If you’re not, beware. You may be buying a deal on a very short term employee. And don’t forget holiday bonuses either, although here are some recession-proof ideas for you.

5.   Not Replacing A Necessary Employee

When times are tough and you have a hiring freeze going on, it may be tempting to not replace Bob from accounting who is retiring at the end of the year. Just redistribute the work and hope for the best. If Bob is a necessary puzzle piece though, you must replace him not only because you can (you were paying that salary before) but because it will help the other employees who are in the department (who may have taken over extra work as the down turn began).

In short, hiring in a recession isn’t about guessing and it isn’t about treating people like sub-humans because they are desperate for a job. On the contrary it is all about getting your hires right the first time and treating them with respect. This attitude will pay dividends once the recession is over and we’re all back to business as usual.

You can also find Lance on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/thelance

http://standoutjobs.com/site/blog/top-five-hiring-mistakes-in-recession/

Good human resources practice is important

Posted in Human Resources with tags , , , , on July 23, 2009 by virtualcitypa

Effective HR practices make an enormous difference to organisational performance, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Where they are not in place, levels of employee commitment are up to 90 per cent lower.

But even the most carefully thought through HR strategy is a waste of time unless it is embraced by line managers who have the skills and understanding necessary to engage and motivate employees.

These are the critical conclusions of a three year investigation by the CIPD examining the HR practices, staff views and performance in 11 large organisations including Jaguar Cars, Nationwide Building Society, Selfridges and Tesco.

The study, Understanding the People and Performance Link: Unlocking the black box sought to understand more about why and how people management practices influence business performance – to unlock what has been termed the “black box.” It confirms the powerful relationships between HR practices, employee commitment and operating performance, tracking organisational performance over a three year period and puts HR under the spotlight.

The study found that an organisation needs a clear direction and purpose, beyond the bland mission statement or generic goal of financial returns, which engages, enthuses and unites people. At The Nationwide Building Society this is a commitment to mutuality. At Royal United Hospital (RUH) Bath it is saving lives. This ‘big idea’ appears essential in motivating and directing people behind the strategy of the organisation.

High performing organisations invariably employ some form of balanced performance scorecard or methodology. Be it the stakeholder value model employed at Selfridges, the six-sigma methodology at Jaguar or the EFQM framework at the Court Service, this demonstrates the importance of different stakeholder groups to the organisation’s success, and links individual and corporate goals.

The research confirms that there is no universal ‘best HR practice’. It is all about having a broad and integrated ‘bundle’, tailored to the needs of the organisation. For example, the practices employed at technology company AIT would be unlikely to go down well on the production line at Jaguar. Yet every worker there could tell you Jaguar’s position in the JD Power quality league table.

CIPD adviser on Organisation and Resourcing, Angela Baron, said; “Strong attention to team working, extensive employee communications and involvement, and positive perceptions of training and careers emerge as common ingredients in this performance-driving HR mix.”

“Leadership, not at the top of the organisation, but at the front line appears to be the Achilles heel in many UK organisations ability to compete and in delivering HR strategies. Middle managers and supervisors set the context in which the HR/business performance relationships happen, or all too frequently don’t.”

For example at Tesco, where 88 per cent of staff feel loyal and share the company’s values, a typical section manager described their role as, “mobilising the team with a goal, motivating people”. And building management capability is a core component of the Inland Revenue’s HR strategy.

Another example in the research is nursing staff at the RUH Bath describing the change after a new ward manager worked with her HR colleagues on a range of new policies, such as flexible shift working and 360 degree appraisal. Comments include:

“I’m much more motivated now, there’s training, the atmosphere’s totally different”;

“Communication is excellent now…our manager is very approachable”;

“When I came here it was unsettled. Now we have a strong team…you want to do the job to the best of your ability”.

The high level of staff turnover in the ward has since fallen to almost zero.

In another of the case studies, the management was subsequently changed in one location, to replicate the high levels of commitment and performance evident in the company’s other sites.

According to Angela Baron: “Organisations can make progress very quickly. They need to survey employee attitudes and commitment; assess, train, coach and support their first line managers and integrate HR policies with goals and values.”

“This will get them started – and the good news is that once these processes are underway there is a very high likelihood of the kind of transformation we have seen in our case study organisations. The evidence is here for all to see.”

Author: Brian Amble
www.management-issues.com