Category: Human Resources (HR) Resources

07 Oct 2019

Here comes the boom!

All indications are that Jamaica is trending upwards economically — from being ranked 7th in the world on the most entrepreneurial country index in 2015; being awarded a second time by Bloomberg as the world’s number one performing stock exchange, in 2018; and being rated as the 6th best place to start a business globally in 2019 by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report. It’s little wonder investors are eager to plant financial roots in Jamaica. But macro-economic optics aside, is all this foreign exchange and economic activity trickling down to the factory floor and into office cubicles?

Rising Tide Raises All Boats

It’s natural for employees at all levels to expect a salary increase when the company they work for flourishes. So when all factors point to a growing industry and sustained company profitability, human resource personnel get frequent nudges about opportunities for promotion and increases in basic salaries. It’s important for leaders to recognize that frank and frequent conversations must take place with their team members to prevent alienating them, and to be in control of the narrative. Simply put, perception is often reality, especially for the so-called average worker at the bottom of the corporate totem pole. Quite often, as HR professionals we do more mediation than team-building because organisations allow the communication gap to create an ‘US vs them’ internal stand-off, which is never good for manager-employee relations, or for business. Employers of choice ought to make it a priority to have an open playbook in place that clearly outlines paths to professional development, upward mobility, and succession planning if they intend to keep their employees fully engaged and committed.

The sad reality is that inflation always seems to win. The true value of money erodes faster than the rate of increase in average salary levels and the cost of living, so to the majority of workers it can often feel like being on a treadmill where running as hard as you can still doesn’t get you closer to your financial goal. More and more companies internationally are awakening to the new mindset of the modern worker. Today’s tech savvy, free-spirited employee understands their personal value more so than the traditional punch-clock worker. They understand that technology makes work easier and hours spent doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity. Consequently, headhunters now find more and more that job seekers want to be in working environments that allow them flexible work hours and/or the opportunity to work from home. This means that they still expect to get paid well but also have freedom to explore other non-conflicting sources of income simultaneously. To acquire and keep employees’ full attention, leaders must recognise that a new day has come where a more knowledgeable workforce expects more for their valuable time, in dollars, and appeal to their sense of overall job satisfaction.

Until next time, leaders keep lookin’ up!

Read more:

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career-education/here-comes-the-boom-_176419?profile=1270

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09 Sep 2019

Adapt or die…the Kodak lesson

The laws of nature apply in the jungles of Africa as much as they do in the concrete jungle, aka the corporate workplace. Recent business history is littered with the obituaries of market-leading companies that snubbed or embraced new technologies and processes. Two companies come readily to mind — Kodak and Xerox. Both were so entrenched in their respective core markets that the very function of their flagship products became global jargons. A ‘Kodak moment’ was synonymous with using their camera to capture the moment, and ‘Xerox-ing’ a document meant you photocopied it. By virtue of that, one would have expected them to adapt to the requirements of the market and outclassed any competition. Kodak should have evolved into a massive digital imaging business insulated from the likes of Sony and Canon, but the company failed to adapt, filing for bankruptcy in 2011. Xerox, on the other hand, pivoted from focusing on machinery to become one of the world’s leading business processes firms. The difference? Adapting to emerging markets and technological trends, and a willingness to invest in their most important resource — their people.

Humans are naturally resistant to change, whether at the level of ownership, senior management, or employees, but i the intention is for the business to not only survive, but thrive, companies must come to terms with the need to adapt to changes in the market. In order to make adopting new technologies palatable, leadership and HR practitioners must collaborate to create the ideal culture and conditions for employees to embrace innovation and learn new technology.

The catch-22 is when more experienced employees need to acquire new skill sets just to keep up with fast-emerging global trends. The generational gap must be bridged as baby boomers and millennials learn differently and interact with technology from diverse and often differing perspectives. Many organisations will find it challenging to manage this fast-moving and dynamic process internally and may require assistance from an HR management company as a strategic partner to entrench sustainable talent acquisition and retention policies and procedures. Whether it’s executed internally or externally, clear, detailed goals, effective communication and continuous training are critical transitional deliverables of the process. These could go a long way in helping organisations develop workplace diversity and reinforce a culture change, thereby minimising employee uncertainty and increasing the longevity of the business.

Until next time, leaders keep lookin’ up!

 

Read more

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career-education/adapt-or-die-the-kodak-lesson_174225?profile=1270

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26 Aug 2019

Education or experience — Which is better?

The general consensus is that attaining higher education presents one with more employment opportunities. Consequently, the more advanced the accreditation achieved, the more a candidate will have his or her pick of attractive positions. While this is mostly true, there are numerous cases of college dropouts leading Fortune 500 companies. The irony of it all is that often, less academically qualified individuals are the ones hiring personnel with master’s degrees and doctorates, which gives rise to the question: Which is more important, education or know-how? The reality is that HR practitioners can attest that a healthy balance of qualification and experience is ideal; but which one is more likely to get you that job?

 

Level Up

The catch-22 of that overused word ‘experience’ is that you have to first be employed to gain it. Therefore, if as an academically qualified candidate your Achilles heel is your lack of actual, on-the-job experience, potential employers are going to have reservations about whether you can hit the ground running or will need time to match your theoretical knowledge with real world applications. Employers of choice unanimously seem to favour candidates with a ‘high ceiling’ or upside, that is to say, those with great potential and with most of the right qualities and qualifications, as opposed to those who are experienced but might have already passed their professional peak. This is where HR professionals and CEOs have an opportunity to create the environment for their employees to be continuously learning. By facilitating higher education and training opportunities, staff members not only become more competent at their jobs but tend to feel a sense of loyalty to the company. Inevitably though, while organisations should in their own self-interest and that of their employees seek to encourage skills and competency upgrades, the bulk of the responsibility lies with the individual if in fact they are serious about climbing the corporate ladder.

 

Moving On Up

It then becomes a matter of who most applies him/herself in all the ways that affect the company’s core targets and objectives. This means that some objectives may have different benchmarks than others. So, while a sales associate will be revenue driven, someone in quality control may be assessed based on how few complaints are recorded. The new approach to leadership now requires managers to always be in succession planning mode, constantly testing and preparing their charges to become upwardly mobile within the organisation. This paradigm dictates that any leader who isn’t hiring team members who can or will replace them are either stuck in the old ways or out of touch with what is required to make a business successful and sustainable in the long run. Recruiters and HR partner companies are recognising that organisations with a clear path to promotion opportunities and transparency, where documented cases of the company filling management positions from within the organisation are evident, those companies lead the way in attracting the best, brightest and more experienced candidates. But make no bones about it, one way or another, the rules of engagement must be learned and strategically applied if the office mail delivery person is to one day occupy the CEO’s chair.

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26 Aug 2019

When you do what you love…

There’s a saying that when you do what you love, you never really work a day in your life. It does make a big difference, but the thing is: other factors have to be ideal to bring about this synergy. Often, people think that a particular position is their dream job, until reality strikes. As an HR solutions company, we’ve experienced countless instances in which candidates enter the interview process supremely confident about what they want. That is, until the truth is revealed to them. This is why professionals with years of tertiary education sometimes switch careers to pursue something they find more fulfilling, or just less stressful.

Occupation vs Career

So how does one find that sweet spot — doing something you’re passionate about that also suits your priorities? Your dream job may be right there waiting for you — in another country. Are you willing to do what it takes to follow your passion? Would you migrate to China, for example, with an entirely different way of life and language? That may sound extreme, but even local companies providing staffing solutions can attest to how difficult it can be to meet expectations. So how does one differentiate between a job you’ve been in for 20+ years and a career? Years of tenure may add up to you spending your life in a position, but does that mean you chose a career in a field you love, or just ended up staying for stability? The lines can get crossed, but in the end, each individual, whether at the start, mid-point or near the end of their working life, ought to determine what they want to spend the majority of their time doing.

Finding Your Passion

I know of doctors and lawyers who ditched their scrubs and wigs to pursue careers in music and art. It happens all the time — top executives leaving Fortune 500 companies to start non-profits or start-ups because what they were doing didn’t satisfy their soul. However, outside of the emotional considerations, anyone seriously considering their career path would be advised to speak with a talent acquisition specialist to guide them as to the current opportunities and potential future trends. Having said that, here are some factors to consider when making a career decision:

1. Marketability. Don’t just think of what’s hot and trendy now; think about what will be in demand in 15-20 years. Automation will replace many current jobs. Think about the future, not just the present.

2. Environment. Are you willing to uproot and swap worlds to do what you love? Can you adapt to a culture that requires you to adjust your behaviour and preferences?

3. How you work. Are you a free-spirited person looking to start a career in a very structured vocation? Do you prefer working partially or completely from home or outside an office setting? Are you a morning person or a nocturnal?

4. Priorities. How much time will you be required to give this passion of yours? Will you be able to strike a work/life balance? Your happiness should be your primary reason since you’ll likely spend most of your life doing this thing from which you intend to make a living.

 

Your work should leave you fulfilled and well-paid. Finding that balance may require a few stops along the way to figure out, but it’s well worth the journey.

Until next time, leaders keep lookin’ up!

 

Debra Fraser, MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the BPIAJ and the Global Services Sector, a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and Society of Human Resources Management in the US. Please direct comments to dfraser@caribbeanhrsolutions.com or www.caribbeanhrsolutions.com

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29 Jul 2019

Step inside my office by Debra Fraser

Being asked to meet with your manager is enough to give anyone cause for pause. Your mind starts racing, searching for your latest alleged transgression; thinking, “what did I do now?”

While it is that all that has happened is that you’re just being told “I need to talk to you,” this one sentence can send many people searching for their resumes. However, more often, these days, it’s simply an actual invitation to, well, talk.

Leaders are now recognising that, while intelligence in terms of skills and competence are the primary employment factors, emotional awareness and intelligence are of equal importance.

I HAVE BAD NEWS

Too often, especially in our culture, bosses and managers only interact in any meaningful way with staff members to berate or correct them. Hence, many employees have been socialised to expect that any arranged meeting must be to read them the riot act, which usually means a reprimand, being written up, or worse. However, in high-stress vocations, such as the security forces or health services, it is critical that team members not only feel empowered to express themselves in a safe and confidential environment, but have ready access to counselling, and if necessary professional treatment. And since organisational culture is shaped by individual behaviour, it’s noteworthy to mention some of the key benefits of counselling and other intervention measures. It tends to:

• reduce depression and improve mental health;

• mitigate workplace stress;

• improve communication between managers and staff; and

• promote employee job satisfaction.

It doesn’t require a death on the job or in the family for someone to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Oftentimes, just the sheer magnitude of the work portfolio can be the reason. Many companies are not equipped internally to handle job-related anxiety or tension and require assistance from outsourced human resource professionals to implement effective solutions.

THE GOOD NEWS IS

In order to effectively address and treat matters related to mental health, depression, and, in turn, workplace productivity, organisations often turn to specialised human resource consultants and other trained practitioners. Even outside traditionally stressful occupations the corporate landscape can be a mean dog-eat-dog battlefield in which targets met equal temporary job security. So while fanning the flames of competitive spirit is encouraged, doing so at all costs could mean short-term gain and mid- to long-term burnout and high staff attrition rates.

Although counselling, culturally, has been stigmatised as something for crazy people or team members who can’t hold it together, in the present-day workplace in which doing more with less is key and automation is rapidly taking human jobs, both employees and employers have to develop effective and sustainable strategies to create and maintain a healthy work environment.

Improved staff morale and productivity are the usual by-products of engaged and satisfied employees. For this formula to work, ease of access to get help, if only to talk it out with a sympathetic ear or receive counselling, is critical to team members feeling heard and valued, which eventually augur well for the bottom line.

 

Read More

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career-education/step-inside-my-office_170967?profile=1270

 

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02 Jul 2019

BIRCHES GROUP ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH CARIBBEAN HR SOLUTIONS (CHRS) IN JAMAICA

Birches Group, a global market consulting group that provides salary and compensation data to developing countries, is pleased to announce its strategic partnership with Caribbean HR Solutions based in Montego Bay, Jamaica. With over ten years of experience, Caribbean HR Solutions provides outsourced HR solutions such as recruiting, employment agency, payroll & benefits and HR consulting to its clients. Having clients from various sectors in the country, Caribbean HR Solutions provides practical Human Capital management for companies entering the Caribbean Service Center market ensuring they access the best talent available.

Under this partnership, Caribbean HR Solutions will co-sponsor Birches’ multi-sector survey and help promote survey participation to all their clients and other Jamaican entities. Together, both entities will also be exploring possible compensation management training events, webinars and other activities to provide professional development opportunities for HR practitioners in Jamaica.

In commenting on the partnership, Debra Fraser, CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, said “We are excited to enter into this partnership with Birches Group. Being actively engaged in the HR industry for over 20 years, I believe that this partnership will provide Jamaican employers with competitive information to maintain their most valuable assets (employees). Over the years, Jamaica has been struggling with access to credible/specific data to make strategic employment decisions. We are pleased to partner with Birches Group as their solutions will move our clients and Jamaica in the direction of being a data-driven society.”

Julienne Sayoc, Manager for Private Sector Business Development for Birches Group, added: “This collaboration with CHRS creates a mutually advantageous partnership that expands CHRS’ product and service portfolio while it allows Birches Group to increase and sustain its visibility and penetration in the market. Combining Birches Group’s expertise in compensation and benefits solutions with CHRS’ well established presence and cross-functional HR expertise will undoubtedly bring about synergies that will ultimately benefit our mutual clients.”

For more information about this partnership, or to learn more about Caribbean HR Solutions and services, please contact us.

Download the press release here.

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27 Jun 2019

Why it is important to invest in your employees

Should I invest in training my employees or should I not?

There is an old conversation between a CEO and a CFO where the CFO asks what happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us? To which the CEO responds what happens if we don’t and they stay.” The fact is that many companies believe that employee development is the responsibility of the employee and the company. However, it has been shown that employee development can be mutually beneficial for both the employee and the employer. Here are some ways that employee development can benefit the employer.

  1. Improves Moral – When employees believe that they are working somewhere that they can achieve and grow, they are more excited and enthused about going to work. This excitement will trickle down to the overall work performance and the productivity of the company.
  2. Competitive advantage over competitors – As an employer you are able to boost an interest in employees and your willingness to invest in your employee which will attract more candidates to your company over your competitor. You are in a better position to attract the best candidates to your company.
  3. Promote your company as “Employer of Choice”. – When employees feel valued and engaged at work, they are more likely to promote your company as “the best to work” and recommend colleagues and friends. As the word travels about your company and the benefits, you are more likely to attract the best candidates.
  4. Decrease Retention – When a company invests in an employee, they feel valued and are less likely to leave. Replacing an employee can be costly. When employees are leaving it is difficult to maintain the same level of production even with new employees. That is because new employees need time to train and be acclimatized to the new work before they reach their full level of productivity. In addition, there are costs for training (for the employee to be at the same level as the previous employee) and hiring.

As an employer there are many measures that you can employ to invest in your employee’s development. How you choose to invest in your employee is to you, however it is important that you do engage in some investment strategy to keep them engage. This will not only benefit your employees but will undoubtedly aid your bottom line.

 

References

https://www.inc.com/young-entrepreneur-council/how-investing-in-employees-ensures-your-organization-s-success.html

https://www.recruiter.com/i/why-its-critical-to-invest-in-employee-training-and-development/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/315095

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19 Jun 2019

Stay-at-home dads and paternity leave: redefining the role of men in the corporate world by Debra Fraser

It’s common knowledge that Father’s Day doesn’t get the same treatment that Mother’s Day does. That’s partly due to the fact that women often pick up the slack for men. However, enough credit isn’t given to the male of the species who are true leaders in their own right, both at work and at home. In fact, for many modern men, corporate and home duties are often interchangeable, with stay-at-home dads becoming a growing trend, especially in developed countries.

Paternity Leave?

Another growing trend is the number of countries which have introduced paternity leave predicated on a culture of inclusion and diversity as the foundations of a positive and gender-neutral work environment.

In Jamaica, the Government announced late last year that it is facilitating discussions on the introduction of a Paternity Leave Act to encourage shared parenting, support and mentoring. The move is in line with the recommendations of the National Policy for Gender Equality.

Paternity leave is defined as a job-protected period of leave for employed men, with income support provided in some cases. It allows fathers to take leave immediately following the birth of their children in order to help care for the children and assist the mothers.

The Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica (HRMAJ) has welcomed the announcement, describing it a significant advancement in gender equality which stands to benefit both parents and children.

Currently, the Maternity Leave Act (1979) provides a mother with a minimum of eight weeks paid maternity leave.

Having a National Paternity Leave Policy would be an important provision to encourage fathers to share childcare responsibilities. This policy would, therefore, be a positive step in the right direction, not only from a national perspective but also in support of building-up family structures”, HRMAJ president Karl Williams said in a previously reported news article.

“The policy [also] would allow for bonding with the newborn and increase the probability of the father’s sustained support/influence in the child’s development,” he added.

Extensive surveys have been conducted to show the correlation between the feeling of appreciation among employees and their organisational output and loyalty. Based on those surveys, appreciation levels among employees increase when a combination of welfare programmes, such as paternity leave, and competitive pay packages are expertly delivered internally or via HR or payroll service providers.

Other studies show, however, that in spite of all the progress made, there are still some ways to go before we are equally yoked, at least where the cheddar is concerned, but that’s for another discussion.

The bottom line is that we should strive for gender parity in all spheres of society.

Until next time, leaders, keep lookin’ up, and Happy Father’s Day!

 

Read more

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career-education/stay-at-home-dads-and-paternity-leave-redefining-the-role-of-men-in-the-corporate-world_167534?profile=1270

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03 Jun 2019

Who run the world? by Debra Fraser

My, how things and times have changed. If you went into a coma about five or so years ago and just regained consciousness, you’d be surprised at the updates regarding the progress made on gender equality in particular. One needs to look no further than the #MeToo movement started in the US. In countries like Italy, where old customs still dictate and limit women’s involvement in economics and politics, they’re starting to feel the effects of nearly half their population being limited in their contribution to national development because, let’s be clear, it’s no longer just about gender; it’s about economics.

 

Right Person For The Job

Going are the days when phrases like ‘this is a man’s job’ are taken seriously. The past 50 years have proven that gender has very little to do with aptitude. It’s been tried, tested and proven that attitude is the key ingredient to achievement and upward mobility. That, and good old-fashioned smarts and hard work. So, in addition to expanding their views on workplace diversity at various levels, forward-thinking companies are now recognising the critical importance of finding the right person for the right job at the right time. This may be especially challenging to accomplish internally when the culture itself is in flux and may require external partnership from an HR service provider or even a workforce management company. As with Affirmative Action in the United States, legislating change and employment quotas can make a difference. However, since privately-owned companies in particular can self-determine who they want to hire without external oversight, many firms are turning to executive search partners to find the best and brightest yes, but also those whose core beliefs complement the organisation’s culture and strategic goals.

Girl Power

A word for our local super heroes. Our most decorated Olympian is also a woman — Merlene Ottey. Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medallist is also a woman — Deon Hemmings. Since then, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and others have blazed a trail on the track. More recently, Alia Atkinson has been literally making waves with her consistently outstanding performances in the pool. And in a few days, Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz begin their maiden adventure at the Fifa World Cup, playing their opening game against none other than Brazil.

More and more, globally and locally, women have staked their claim to top leadership roles in sports, business, and politics. From Portia Simpson-Miller to Audrey Marks and countless other phenomenal women, companies, and governments are realising that you marginalise any group really, but especially half the population, at your own risk. The recently constituted South African parliament proves that some are getting it right; half the representatives are women. Canada gets that too in the composition of Justin Trudeau’s Government with strong representation by minorities and women. It’s full time we recognise that our organisational and national sustainability will ultimately depend on everybody pulling their own weight, regardless of gender, political affiliation or religious beliefs.

 

Until next time, leaders, keep lookin’ up!

 

Read more

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career-education/who-run-the-world-_166240?profile=1270

 

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25 Mar 2019

Employee happiness = business profitability

Because I’m Happy

Happy is not in the lexicon of what is considered the usual business lingo. We’re more accustomed to talking about profitability, efficiency and sustainability. Ironically, for those key factors to be in the ideal optimum state, employee welfare and engagement must be a priority for any forward-thinking organisation. This brings into focus the oft-blurred lines between corporate objectives and clearly aligned hiring and on-boarding best practices. This is also where HR practitioners excel, or ought to anyway, by helping senior management employ holistic hiring solutions with employee contentment as a priority.

Workplace harmony

Let’s get one thing straight: as much as companies strive to be the coolest place to work and be revered for their compensation and benefits package, it is, above everything else, a place where services are exchanged for payment. That’s the primary reason organisations conduct executive searches or hire HR consulting firms — to help them find the best and brightest. Keeping them on board is another story. It’s not lost on managers that with strategic succession planning in mind, they must maintain the interest of young hires who are increasingly more into personal development and instant gratification. But how does a leader strike that tricky balance between getting their pound of flesh and creating a family centric culture that encourages employees to act in the company’s best interest as if they were the CEO and founder? Many start-ups go as far as offering stock options or up the ante with paternity leave and on-site childcare or gym amenities. The fact is that organisations are awakening to the stark realities of competing for the loyalty of their internal customers almost as much as they do for external ones.

Business model

The subheading alludes to the framework and peculiar strategic objectives of any given company. In this instance, though, I’m referring to a model business environment, one that sets a standard for how team members are given primacy in one of the areas that matter most — their physical workspace. Over the last decade or so, much has been made of some high-profile examples of uber trendy, downright cool places to work. If you Googled ‘cool places to work’, Google itself would probably pop up as a top search item. As self-serving as that may seem, it’s also reputed to be true. The same can be said for Facebook and other open-floor designed corporate spaces — where enclosed offices are often seen as closed-off communication, and jeans, trendy tees and sneakers are the new normal for office attire. A local example of an international brand that employs this approach in some respect is Vistaprint. But don’t be fooled by the facade of employee chill-out areas, flashy paint jobs, or mini-gyms. Creating a ‘happy’ environment for your team members is never just about stylish or lavish amenities. It starts and ends with a genuine appreciation for the value and contribution each team member brings to the table, and backing that up at every level of their engagement and compensation.

Debra Fraser, MBA is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and a member of the Society of Human Resources Management in the US. Please direct comments to dfraser@caribbeanhrsolutions.com

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http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/career-education/employee-happiness-business-profitability_160261?profile=127

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