Human Resources for Beginners - Is HR for You? Course Presentation, Li...

Human Resources for Beginners - Is HR for You? Course Presentation Links to course: Part 1: Part 2: Part 3: After more than 10 years in which I worked in the field of Human Resources, both in small local companies and in large multinationals, world-renowned, with tens of thousands of employees, I want to share with you my knowledge gained hoping it helps you first decide if you want to work in this field, how much it suits you and then take the first steps towards a job as an HR specialist or HR manager, why not? I happened to come across the HR field by applying for a job as a programmer. I was a 3rd year student in Economics and Computer Science and I really wanted to work. I didn't get the job of programmer. I did not have enough experience, but I was offered a job in the same company at the Personnel, Education and Payroll department as it was called at the time. I learned little by little and I received assignments from all areas, areas that I will tell you about: recruitment and selection, payroll and benefits, training and development, performance appraisal, employee motivation, labor law, human resources management, relationship with employees. You will find out what skills you need to develop to be a good specialist in this field and what challenges you may face during your work. And bonus, how can you get hired in this department without experience. #humanresources #onlinecourse

Human Resources - Trends

Considering the past 5 years, employers should be prepared to face the following trends. I watch more and more employers not being able to fill their open positons:

- there are less employees willing to be submissive labor units, mostly those around 40+ are still available . The rest want less work, less restrictions, more flexibility, more money, more personal time;

- there are more employees willing to work online;

- there are more employees asking for a flexible schedule - they prefer a task oriented job rather than a full time 9 to 5 in the office; they don't mind working Saturdays, Sundays or evenings as long as you give them their free time when they need it;

- diplomas value less and less - government positions still require it, but private employers ask for abilities, knowledge and attitude rather than a certified diploma;

- employees ask for respect and are willing to leave asap if they don't get it - being fearful of not getting a new job is a past issue;

- young people are attracted more to fast money rather than a solid career - you will find more vloggers than students preparing to become doctors, lawyers and so on;

- forget about pensions and retirement plans - young people don't hope to get that and start focusing on investing and being antrepreneurs - if you want young smart employees, forget about keeping them on the longterm - instead help them grow and accept they will leave soon to something better, unless you have some profit sharing plans for them;

- young people search for the new, the interesting, the cool - they are smart and want new challenges - make sure you offer them that; they have high self esteem

- young people are brilliant, learn extremely fast, but are independent and not easily managed; they are extremely computer savvy and technically litterate; you as employers need to understand and use that;

- the new employees will choose you, the employer, not the other way around. If they feel good, they will stay; they are not afraid of not being able to find a source of money - they are not too keen on a standard job anyway; they hate conditions and hierarchies; 

- employers must be fast and concise - in publishing an ad, in explaining job requirements and tasks, in communication in general - the new generation of employees has a short attention span, prefer short, clear messages, preferably online, 

So, be flexible, be smart and stay ahead of the other employers by knowing your candidates and by trying to offer them what they want.

Been Rejected a While Ago - Apply Again?

I have applied for a position to a specific company and have been rejected. Now the position is open again. Can I give it another try?

Well, it depends on how long it has been since you have received your previous feedback and if you feel you have significantly improved your skills.

If it has been just 2 weeks, a month or even more but you haven't done anything to improve the skills they weren't satisfied with, then, don't waste your and their time. They will probably don't even call you to start with or mark your CV as an annoying candidate and remember that.

If it has been a while long enough ( I can't tell you how long, just long enough for you to improve your skills) and you have actually tried seriously to improve your skills, then go ahead. Mention in your cover letter what you have improved and how eager you are to work for them. Good luck!
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High Turnover Rate - Negative AND Positive

Turnover rate or attrition rate as some companies call it (I have used both terms in the companies I worked for) counts the number of employees leaving the company. If you need detailed definitions and formulas, there are plenty to be found online - more types of turnover, more than one kind of employees taken into account or different timeframes. I won't go here into more detail. I'm just telling you what it means and that's it since most of you have already heard of it.

I have seen turnover as a bad thing for years since I have always taken into account the point of view of HR and that of the employee.

Turnover is a negative thing because:
  • skilled people leave the team which means more work for the rest until they are replaced;
  • people are forced into difficult decisions - leaving their team, the people they know, a job they sometimes like;
  • people are forced into change - sometimes this is good, but the initial impact is tough to handle;
  • it means time wasted by HR to fill the position;
  • it means more time and effort put by all administrative departments to prepare all logistic details for the new employee - badge, computer, other devices needed, special equipment, internet and email accounts, contract, registration with the authorities;
  • time and effort put by all administrative departments to prepare all logistic details for the employee leaving - cancelling badge, computer, other devices needed, special equipment, closing internet and email accounts, contract, telling the authorities;
  • it means more time and effort put into training for the new employee by his/her manager and team;
  • it means money wasted on job ads, recruitment agency work, paperwork, 
Pretty nasty, right?
However, a while ago one of my managers gave me a fresh perspective. I was trying to offer arguments to increase salaries, to offer more benefits since the employees on specific positions left the company and she told me "Let them leave. Attrition is good." My reaction was amazement, anger and astonishment. Was she crazy? How can it be good since we have so much work to do in HR, since we can no longer find skills like rare languages or special IT skills. Then I got it. She was meaning it was good from the company perspective. I was seing things from the perspective of the employee only. But HR is not there to serve employees. It's true that they are HR's clients, but HR's purpose is not to make employees happy. No. It's there to be a moderator between employees and management to try to help both parties.

From the company's perspective a high turnover rate can be a positive thing. Here's why and if I owned the company I would see this perspective first:
  • People with a great seniority in the company earn high salaries after a few years. This means higher costs for the company, even if they are skilled and they offer benefits on the long term. On the short term, this means high costs. Letting them leave and hiring younger, less experienced employees means lower salaries and cost saving on the short term. Some companies with financial difficulties might consider that. They might be interested in cost saving now, not the company perspective in 20 years;
  • New people mean new perspectives on things, on the business, on work inside teams;
  • New employees mean changes implemented easier - they are more flexible and accept a new way of doing things easier since they are not so connected to the old ways anyway;
Would you add anything to my lists?
Take care,

Motivating Your Employees - Change Your Attitude

A while ago I used to have a manager that was a master of mobbing. We all "loved" her. She would burst into the room in the morning, always trying to surprise us while doing something illegal, she would never say "good morning", she would throw her laptop on the desk and start working as if none of us were in the room. Imagine our rest of the day - we were all sad, our motivation was gone (had we had any left in the first place from the day before :)), we were all looking at the clock hoping it would miraculously turn to 5pm on the spot so we could all run to the tram. I wandered along the factory all day begging for a smile for anyone to brighten up my day...just a little at least as the dark clouds came over me again as soon as I entered our HR office.

Well, do you get it? See what's wrong here? Of course! A manager is responsible for a lot of things and among them is team attitude. Your team looks up to you - you have a bad day - don't let them see it because they will borrow your attitude and have a bad day also. You are nice and smiling all the time - they will be happy and smiling all the time. Genuine smile, I mean, not fake, they're not stupid to buy it...

What can you do as a manager to motivate your team from this point of view?
-Never enter the office in the morning without smiling and greeting them;

-Always make eye contact while talking to your team members – it’s not fun for someone to stand by your desk and look at you while reading emails – that’s not a conversation;

-Treat your team members with respect – remember they help you achieve your goals – no, really! You’re not alone there. You wouldn’t be able to achieve your team goals without your team;

-Never take in the office calls or have discussions where you estimate you would get angry – go in a separate room – an angry attitude from a manager shouting influences everybody, even if the manager is not shouting at someone present in the office;

-Always offer negative feedback in a one-to-one meeting; positive feedback can be offered publicly;

-Try to leave your personal issues at home;

-Be positive, expect positive things from your team and they will achieve them – be negative and show them you don’t trust them (see my manager trying to catch us while doing something illegal – we neved did by the way) and they will dissappoint you;

-Speak nicely of people, not necessarily your team members – your manager, your colleagues, your family. Your team will see that you are a good person and will appreciate the positive atmosphere you are creating;

-Don’t be afraid to show them you have weakneses too – you are human too and they will see you as one of the team, having faith to come to you for an open discussion;

-Roll up your sleeves – don’t give them tasks and flee. Try to show them you are able to work together with them on the tasks even if for some time. I know managers are busy, but taking the time to work by them will make them respect you. Trust me. You don’t want them to see you as a God from above that is almighty. You want them to respect and care for you. You will have your ups and downs and if they don’t respect and care for you, you will be alone during your downs;

-Make time for them – even if a few minutes. They will appreciate it. A lunch out or even in the office together, a short meeting, a few minutes spent near your desk talking, try to make time for each of them;

-Be fair – tream them equally when they go wrong or when they are successful;

What else would you add to my list?
Take care,

I Hate My Job and My Life! Solutions that Help…

hate your job - do something

Sounds sad, depressing and without any way out. Some of you have already been there, some are there right now and some of you could be there at some point in their life and career. Hating your job so much that you start thinking you hate your entire life…well, I have been there and I found a way out and one of my dearest friends is there right now and her current status has inspired me to offer some optimistic solutions to her and to those of you who might feel like tomorrow is no longer worth living.

First of all, no matter how you feel, you don’t really hate your life. It just feels like it. So, life comes out of the question. Job is the only thing that needs to be analysed. And what you need to remember is that there’s ALWAYS a way out.Always. You just have to regroup and think clearly about it. And more than that, you need to do something. Just complaining won’t solve things. It will depress people around and you will end up complaining together.

Secondly, assess the situation – what do you really hate? Is it that bad? Is there something you know that can be done but you don’t have the power, the courage, the means to do it? Can anybody help?  To keep it simple, here’s what can be wrong about your job, here’s who can help and here are the solutions.  Please add more to my list:

What you hate
Who can help
Potential solution/s
Job – too many tasks
Your manager
Discuss openly and try to explain that tasks have piled up in time and you no longer have the time for all of them
Job – acceptable volume of tasks, but boring
Your manager
Discuss openly to see if your manager can redistribute tasks between the members of your team – maybe one of your other colleagues can give you something that is interesting to you; if you are interested in management tasks, maybe your manager can delegate some of his own
Job – difficult tasks you have no clue how to solve
Your manager
Your colleagues
Try to see if your manager or some of your colleagues can help you solve your tasks, maybe they are more experienced; if not, try to get involved in training sessions, maybe the initial training you had when you got hired wasn’t enough or maybe tasks changed over time and you were overwhelmed by the changes
Job – no tools to do it
Your manager
You don’t have the PC you need, not enough paper, not enough access to the system, no access to a printer, no specific software that might help, whatever there is necessary, just ask for it. Sometimes there’s no money for what you need and you need to manage, but sometimes nobody thought you needed it since you didn’t ask. Maybe the person on the job before you didn’t know how to use MS Access to reduce reporting time, but you do, so just ask. If they can’t offer you what you need, check if you can bring your own. Sometimes the company can’t afford to buy you a Blackberry. They just give you a plain mobile. Try to see if you can use your own and maybe they pay something for it. In this way, you get to improve your work, make it easier and they pay for only part of a new Blackberry. Some companies accept this ‘bring your own device’ system.
Job – all about it, I need a career change
Your manager
See if there’s anything else available in your company. If not, leave…

All the above sound ideal, but what do you do when you find no support in your manager? Believe me it can happen…what do you do whan your manager is weak, is inexperienced, can control his/her team only be means of force, only by imposing absurd limits (you get in great trouble if you are 2 minutes late, you get shouted at a lot, you get tasks that he/she is not able to solve and you know it)…trust me all this can happen, there’s no ideal company, team or manager. Maybe they were promoted for being a great communicator, but they lack experience, strenght in tough situations, they control the team only by force because of their lack of real confidence in themselves. A lot of managers practice mobbing to control teams that are better than they are. Also, maybe there’s something they know, but it’s confidential and they can’t explain their decisions to you. So what do you do then?


Higher level manager

Try discussing at first with your manager and tell them openly what your concerns are, then with a top level manager. If nothing changes, it’s time to leave. Here’s something you can’t control.
Colleagues themselves
At first try a friendly talk with those that bother you – maybe they don’t give you something you need to do your job on time, maybe they are lazy and you need to do more work because of that, maybe they boss you around, maybe they want to get promoted and they clearly try to put you in bad light in front of the manager - discuss about everything, maybe they have issues themselves and you can help. Maybe they have problems at home and it’s just a phase. Clear the air by starting an honest talk. If that doesn’t help, try your manager in a private talk then in a meeting between the three of you. If that still doesn’t work, try changing the team or try a higher manager.
Try discussing with your manager to see if a change of shift is possible. Maybe night shifts are not for you, but there may be other colleagues willing to accept them for extra money since extra money is paid for night shifts. If your manager agrees, try discussing with your colleagues to see who is willing to switch.
One more thing you can try – see if working from home, at least for part of the working time is possible. If your job allows that, working a night shift at home in your pijamas and then going to sleep immediately after is different from coming to the office by bus, working the night shift and then taking the bus home again. You waste 1-2 hours of your own time and it makes a difference.
If your manager can’t help, then this is difficult to solve. Sometimes budgets are very tight, especially if you work in a low cost area like Eastern Europe or India. Managers themselves are poorly paid there too. Even in multinationals, budgets are approved abroad ‘on the mother ship’ and they are low, low for you. Let’s be honest and face it. They opened the subsidiary in your country to do cost saving, not to make you rich. That’s life.  Try finding out if a promotion is possible, if they have other positions available in the near future. If not, find a richer company. There are companies which increase salaries for some lower level positions yearly by only 15-20 USD (around 10-15 Euro). That’s frustrating, but that’s all the mother ship in some rich West European country approves. Hey, they are used to a different level of salaries and they need to keep it. Your job is to do the same amount of work for much less money. That’s why they opened your position in the first place.
If a higher salary is not possible due to high taxas paid by the company to the authorities, try suggesting some other type of compensation you would be happy with - more vacation days, specific vouchers, a gift for your birthday, the company paying for gas for your car to come to work - try, maybe some of these can be easier approved.
Work environment
Building administrator
It depends from company to company. Think about what is bothering you – too cold in the building, too hot, not enough smoking areas, desks too small, too many people in the room, bad coffee in the kitchen, not enough toilet paper, I don’t know. Find out who is responsible and talk. Maybe they are not doing their job properly. Talk to them, to your manager, to their manager…sometimes things change. Sometimes it’s all about costs and things can’t change. It depends. At least try to see what is there to be done. Maybe talk to some of your colleagues and try addressing the issue together. Sometimes a larger group can force change.

Moreover, there’s one simple tool that can help you when you are so deeply depressed that you have no clue what to do to get out – start an objective list. A plan for a new beginning. Don’t worry about the layout, just get a pen, or an Excel worksheet, or an MS Project file if that suits you better and start writing whatever comes to your mind. Start with larger yearly objectives and for each large objective write down small activites that you need to get done in order to have the objective finished by the deadline you set. And yes, you need to have SMART objectives, not abstract ideas like “I need to improve my German”. Instead write “I need to be able to watch German movies without subtitle and understand what the actors say by December 2015”. That’s only an idea.

For example:
Objective“I must get a job in programming by June 2016”
Activities to be done:
-          Enroll in courses to improve my C++ skills;
-          Find and get a programming internship;
-          Buy C++ books and start learning at home;
-          Start a LinkedIn profile;
-          Enroll in programming groups on LinkedIn;
-          Connect with programmers and HR people hiring programmers;
-          Make a list of companies I would be interested in;
-          Start discussing with my connects to see what I need to improve to get the job I want;

What’s vital about these objectives and activities is that they must all have reasonable deadlines. Without deadlines you won’t do them. And if deadlines are not reasonable you will give up upon failure. Remember that!

What would you add to my list? Maybe your ideas can make a difference in someone’s life right now.

Thanks and take care,


How to Have a Successful Career

A successfull career - this is what everybody wants and there’s no need to explain why. What I still need to emphasize is that by “successful career” I mean having that dream job/occupation that makes you happy – not necessarily being a top manager in a multinational because not everybody wants that, but having that job that makes you wake up in the morning happy that a new day has started, that makes you hurry to work, that makes you feel good about yourself, about achieving something, that makes you feel useful and that makes you go home in the evening satisfied with your life.

I am sure that all of you that are reading this article are in different stages of your career – some are still studying, some have just started their first job, some have a few years of experience behind, some of you are happy with your job and want to know how to keep the feeling and some desperately need a change.

And one more thing before we start: one of the good things that my last job has taught me – don’t fear change. Change can be beneficial. Stop opposing it and try to be open minded about it. Try to analyse the impact and try to see if there are any opportunities involved. You may say: OK, but I am 50 years old already. What can I do now but accept my fate? Accept change instead! Think about your passions, some things that you have always wanted to do in life and couldn’t because your parents wanted you to become a manager or a doctor or whatever you weren’t passionate about. Being a happy and successful cook or farmer is better than being an unhappy top manager. Think about it!

Now, let’s start…
For those of you that are facing the difficult decision of what I want to become, here’s my advice:

-         Start with your passions. Think about what you like and what you do best. Talk seriously to your parents if they want you to keep the family tradition by choosing a job you don’t like or you have no skills for. They want you to be a lawyer, but you feel better on the stage in the spotlight and are good at playing the drums, then be mature and discuss about your choice; or you are keen on researching marine life – again, be firm and discuss in a mature manner; you will make them happy for a while if you accept their choice, but you will get unhappy in the end and blame them for your lack of success;

-          Research well before starting – you think that you would like to be a teacher, a surgeon, a lawyer…try to find out as much as you can about these. What studies you need, what certifications, what exams you need to pass later on, what skills you need to have, how can you develop those you don’t have yet, what difficulties face the people in those professions, what sacrifices do they need to make to be successful. Try to talk to people doing these, visit their work environment. And if all this seems difficult to do and you would rather go to a party…well, you should wake up. Imagine yourself 20 years from now in a job you hate but you have to keep because you have children and mortgage to pay! And if you have no clue what that feels like, look around you! There are thousands of people like that…just because they didn’t think about their future well enough before making choices and they preferred to leave that to others or they just moved on hoping for the best. So…be mature and remember that you make your own future most of the times. Inform yourself, research, think, talk to older people, make lists and act responsibly;

-          Remember that money doesn’t make you happy.Sure, having some helps you have a better life, no debts is better than a life of debt, having money to buy your children gifts for Christmas is great, but money alone doesn’t make you happy. Don’t aim for a well-paid job if you don’t like it or you don’t have the skills for it. Happiness is a complex thing and it involves more than money – it involves family, friends, health and much much more. Tons of money and things don’t compensate for friends, family and health; it may not seem like I’m right, but trust me, I know. I have aimed for money and a better job, always going for more and going up, but now after 10+ years I have come to believe those that told me what I am telling you now;

-         Prepare for hard work. Nothing in life comes for free. Unless you are really rich and your parents plan to offer you everything at no cost – big mistake, but it happens; or maybe I should say…prepare for hard work if you want to enjoy what you have achieved and feel happy about yourself. Most of the times the things that come for free are taken for granted, so work hard to achieve something by yourself if you want to feel accomplished.

For those that are struggling with their first or second job:

-          Think about what would really make you happy. Do you want money, a top position, do you want to travel? For a while go on that path and pursue what you think would make you happy. Any difficulties you encounter now will prepare you for later and will make you know what to choose. A little struggle is fine as long as you know when to stop. A lot of successful entrepreneurs find their way in business after their first or second job because they learn what to search for and what to avoid. They learn about business and people the hard way. School is useful but it doesn’t really teach you what to expect in a real job;

-          Then if you think you don’t like what you have but are not sure what path to go on – think really hard…sit down with yourself and decide if you REALLY don’t like what you have. Maybe you find your life more difficult after school. It’s normal to be that way. School is about learning and passing exams. Having a job is about doing your daily tasks – on time even if you don’t like all of them, dealing with angry customers and demanding managers, being on time everytime at work even if you feel like not going out of bed, dealing with ambitious colleagues or with colleagues who want to work less and make you work for them and so on. It's a jungle :) You are now facing real problems. Problems that adult and mature people have. You are no longer a student caught cheating by the teacher. And a class you missed is no longer your biggest issue.

-          Make a list of pluses and minuses concerning your current job, leave it for a day or two then read it carefully. Think about the minuses and how many of them are fixable – maybe you need more training (you can talk to your manager and that can be fixed), maybe you need a more flexible schedule, a different shift, a new PC monitor or whatever. Think just about those that can’t be fixed and how many they are. If they far exceed the rest, then it’s really time to move on;

-          Read above as well. Some apply to you too, especially the part about passions and hard work.

For those that have already started a career, have a few years behind, let’s say around 10, but are having second thoughts…since I am there, I will speak from my experience. I’m sure I’m not the only one around. You are at that point in your life where you have worked really hard to graduate, to specialize, to impress, to shine, to get to a better position, then a better paid one, then more money, then even more, then to become a manager, to see how that works out…and after a while you are no longer happy with what you have, you no longer want something more, but something DIFFERENT. Your passions are now clear to you, but you have some constraints already – kids, a house to pay, a car that needs to be changed since it no longer accomodates your entire family. You are no longer at that point where it’s only you and you decide for yourself only. Other factors need to be taken into consideration, other people have a say. Well, for you I have another short article I wrote a while ago: Career Change at 30+. I hope it helps.

And finally…for those that alredy have a notable career behind, aren’t happy anymore and more than that don’t consider their current career ‘successful’:

-          Again, think about your passions, what you would have liked to do in life and what you have done in the end. Maybe at some point you dreamed about becoming a painter, a famous cook, having your own cattle farm, growing herbs, opening your own restaurant. If you have the skills, go for it. If you don’t have the money, borrow some from your friends or try to convince an investor to invest in your idea. Think about all the questions they may have for you and how you would convince them. It’s never too late to achieve your dream;

-          Be open-minded and explore change. Sorry for what I’m about to say, but it’s proven fact that the older you get, the harder it is for you to accept change. And that’s simply because you no longer have the energy you used to and you prefer to accept things as they are, good or bad, than invest some time and energy. Trust me that I know what it feels like to have no more energy after you have invested it all in kids, the stress at work, paying for years for your house, the sleepless nights when you thought about your next mortgage payment…but even if it’s late, think about yourself too and do something you are passionate about and something you have always wanted;

-          Enroll in some classes or look around for opportunities to help you get started. It’s never too late to start over. Of course there are jobs where they won’t accept you for being over-qualified. Wanting to be a junior programmer after 20 years in the finance field, may not even bring you to an initial interview. Let’s face it. That’s the reality. But there are fields where you can start something for yourself and where age and previous experience don’t matter.  Normally I avoid TV, but I couldn’t help noticing a lady of around 45-50 who had always dreamed to be a soprano singer. She came to a TV show where she amazed everybody with her voice. She had no studies in the field and she had worked for years in the financial field because that’s what her parents wanted her to do. Now she wanted a fresh start and her dream was about to get true;

And last but not least, one final thing that you should all remember: always keep time for yourself. If a job doesn’t allow that, then you need to get out. You may not mind now, but you will when you end up alone in a cold appartment with no family or friends, old and boring. Always make time for yourself, your friends and family. No company keeps you forever. Maybe when it’s yours, but you need to remember you will get old someday and you will need to leave. Coming home to a big but empty house is no fun.

Please share your thoughts,
Take care,


What to Do as a Manager When Your Team Falls Apart – Prevent & Cure

First of all, let me define “falling apart”. I’m sure you have a rough idea, but let me be clear. To me a team that is falling apart means unhappy people leaving the team, people that are not motivated to do their job and make sure others are demotivated too, people that constantly complain, people that you see are constantly coming late to work, taking too many breaks, spending too much time on social networks or job portals, people who no longer do their job (but used to) and come up with silly excuses, people who stay home on sick leave too often, who no longer answer their phone after 5 pm, who no longer stay willingly in the office to help finish a team project if the clock is 5.01 pm, who miss team events outside the office, people who seem bored and annoyed around their colleagues, around you or inside the office. Sounds familiar? I’m sure you’ve had that in your team at some point…

Now, what to do?
Well, there are several possibilities depending on the number of team members in that situation – if there’s only one, obviously your team is not falling apart quite yet and the situation can easily be improved. However, if there are several team members involved, you need to rethink your strategy entirely and FAST!

But, before treatment, try prevention:

-          Get to know each team member really well – what their personality is (introverts, extroverts, ambitious, timorous, courageous), what their skills are, what their ambitions and goals are and important as well – get to know their personal life too – their parents, children, problems, hobbies, illnesses, whatever they are willing to share. I know it seems like a lot, but it is worth it. You will get to understand them better and use their skills in an optimum way and at an optimum time;

-          Spend enough time with each team member and the team as a whole – this will make them feel valued and important; get to listen to what they have to say, to their suggestions, reply in a realistic manner and use their ideas if they are good – you may never know who is the one saving your next project;

-          Accept the idea that there may be people in your team better than you. I mean it! Help them develop and support them. You will lose them eventually if you don’t and the image they will spread about you and the company won’t be a nice one. If you support them, they may be replacing you when you get promoted and the company won’t lose a great next manager; you may never know what lies ahead;

-          Do your best to offer your team the resources they need to do their job – knowledge, office supplies, time, whatever necessary. Involve them in the process and they will respect you for trying even if you fail;

-          Roll up your sleeves – don’t just sit there ordering them what to do. If there’s a big project that requires a lot of work that is beneath your level of expertise, but the team has to do overtime to finish it (and you have some spare time), leave the strategic thinking for later and help them. Team members respect their manager if they see that he is working next to them archiving dusty papers.  Don’t be afraid you will fall from your throne! No way! They will just appreciate your effort and it will be great team building for them too;

-          Make people feel important – value their ideas. Read more about it here;

-          Accept the idea that attrition is good up to a point and that people need to evolve. Don’t panic and run like a headless chicken around the office if someone leaves. The rest of the team will panic too and moreover they will think that you don’t value them as much. Simply organize a team meeting, explain to the team what happened, ask for ideas if necessary to bring things up to normal then continue your work. That’s it!

-          Allow team members to enter your busy strategic world. Offer them information about the company, about what you are doing, about your projects. Let them see as mush as possible of the big picture. This will allow them to better understand their work and their part in the company;

-          Give your team members SMART objectives. And I mean SMART. Don’t just say they are SMART.  Talk to them and make sure they understand what you need the to do. Putting parts of their job description as SMART objectives for the year is stupid and dangerous. Make sure they can measure at all times what their progress is. If an objective you give them can’t be measured in terms of progress, then that’s a non-SMART objective and can demotivate your team member who will struggle to achieve it but won’t see the end in their struggle. Let me give you  an example of a non-SMART objective that I received some time ago from my manager and that annoyed me and demotivated me: “ Have a good work relationship with your colleagues from location B.”. Well, how do you measure that? How many times I traveled there and took them out for lunch?

-          Be honest – don’t lie and don’t promise things you can’t offer; empty promises  will help on the short term, but they will backfire horribly on the medium and long term;

Now, assuming that you did all that and your team is still falling apart, then…

First of all, if there’s only one team member that is obviously demotivated, you need to:

-          Talk to them.This is the first thing to do. Maybe they don’t have the courage to tell you something. Maybe they have a family problem, maybe they did something and are afraid of the consequences, maybe they are overwhelmed with tasks, maybe their best friend in the team is no longer doing his job and they are doing their job too not having the courage to say. I don’t know. Just talk to them. People react strangely sometimes;

-         Try to improve something – maybe the employee needs more resources, maybe you need to change their shift, maybe they have too many tasks or maybe they just need a few days off. Try to help somehow, the employee will expect it after the meeting; don’t implement favorable measures just for the demotivated employee if there’s the case. Extent it for the entire team;

-          Explain the changes to the team – you don’t want more of them getting demotivated. Allow them to understand what happened and why.

If the team is really falling apart, then you need to:

-          Organize a team meeting and encourage the team to tell you about their problems. Try to improve at least of few items during this first meeting if you have the ability and power; they will see you care;

-          Go to upper management with the problem if there’s something you can’t fix – maybe they want higher salaries, maybe there’s a new company on the market offering something more and you could fix it with their help, maybe you need to hire someone new to take some of the tasks the others can no longer handle; come back to your team members with results or at least keep them posted with as much as you can tell them – there may be confidential items you may not say;

-          Keep a close report of leavers – reasons of leaving, duration of stay in the company, positions of leavers, other details you may find useful – this will help you improve the life for the rest;

Tough being a manager, huh? Who said it was easy?  Managers keep teams together and have a difficult job. What else would you add to the lists above?

Take care,


Motivating Your Employees - Make People Feel Important

As I have mentioned in my previous article, motivating people is a difficult job for a manager, especially when you have only non-financial means available and your team is made up of various types of characters. Money is a good motivator but only for a while and only for lower type of positions. As you go higher, it no longer works, no matter how much money you decide to make available. That's when you need to think of other motivators. Making people feel important is one of them. It works for all categories of team members - juniors and seniors alike.

Making people feel important doesn't necessarily mean promoting them. And you need to remember that not everybody wants to be manager. For some it may be a huge pain in the back. Also, promoting the wrong people may lead to team disaster. Making people feel important may be sometimes much easier than you think. Here's what you can do:

  • Listen to people - this shows you care - listen to their problems, to their suggestions, even if you can't apply or solve everything at least give people a part of your time to show that you appreciate their effort in the team;
  • Ask for help - this makes people feel useful - delegate some of your tasks - it will help them and you equally;
  • Be polite - no matter how angry or frustrated you are. Never forget "Please" and "Thank you";
  • Reward people - don't take measures only when something is wrong to solve a problem - also act when people have done something positive;
  • Offer feedback - good or bad - this shows that you are following your team members in their actions, that you offer them part of your time, that you praise them when good things happen and that you care about their improvement when bad things do;
  • Encourage people;
  • Offer them some decision freedom - no matter how small, allow them to make some choices, to implement some of their ideas;
  • Show them you care about their professional and personal improvement - send them to trainings, organize team buildings, delegate (I've already said that, but it needs to be repeated here too), talk about what they want to do and help them, give them challenging tasks and objectives;
  • Show compassion when they have personal problems;
  • Allow them to have a life - let them go home on time to be with their families, encourage them to be efficient on the job in order not to spend the entire day at work, encourage them not to take work at home unless absolutely necessary;
  • Smile, be nice and honest;
  • Organize personal meetings with each of them to allow them to offer your their feedback;
  • Roll up your sleeves - don't run when the team has a big project to finish and tight deadlines- work near them doing sometimes tasks that are below your status - this will show them you care about them and about the team and you don't consider yourself too good and too high on the ladder to do entry level tasks;
What ideas do you have to make people in your team feel important?

Take care,