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Guest blog: How to Perform a Mock Audit

After you have defined the educational programs and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for government inspections, it is wise to choose several studies to apply to a mock audit.

You can base your selection on the criteria established by the FDA and on the type of work your company does; for example, a good option would be a crucial Phase 3 study that was recently completed and includes a good number of subjects, and it is also important to consider the accessibility of the data and the staff that will participate in a specific study.

First, choose a location and a study, and later develop a plan for your mock audit based on your SOPs and on the right FDA compliance program manual.

This plan should clearly state:

-The audit's goals
-The project and location you chose
-The participants
-The time frames for completing the audit

Be very diligent when addressing the requests for information that the mock inspector will issue, taking into account the significant questions about regulatory knowledge, data validation, observance of SOPs, and compliance documentation.

Even more so, include an educational program into the mock audit process. Define how and when the participants will be "debriefed", and how you will follow up on the lessons learned from the exercise.

Once you start the mock audit, make it as real as possible. Follow a clear plan and treat the mock inspector exactly as you would treat the real one. Everyone must remain "in character" throughout the whole process to get the best out of the activity.

It can be educational to invite managers, executives, and members of other projects to observe the mock audit; and it is because of the educational aspect that the mock audit requires immediate and thorough review of the lessons learned after it is finished.

The review process has to include:

-Comments from the mock inspector in regards to what was done well and what needs improvement.

-Observations from the QA team and others who witnessed the activity.

-Input from the participants about what happened during the audit and about the value of the activity.

-The creation of an action plan to take care of compliance issues and organizational deficiencies that surfaced during the exercise.

-A follow-up report to make sure the action plan is put into practice.

Take advantage of the debriefing process to ask the participants about any negative feelings that came up during the mock audit. A mock inspection may upset people, make them feel they were treated unfairly or criticized, or that the issues uncovered could be held against them.

Managers and executives who participated must make sure everyone understands that the results will not affect anyone's job; otherwise, future mock audits will lose effectiveness due to employee fear.

Mock audits must be a regular practice of any pharmaceutical company's training program; thus, it requires full management support and staff participation.

Pharmaceutical consultants believe that when these exercises are held at regular intervals, more and more people share the learning experience, and the company can regularly improve its level to face real audits as well as its operational systems.

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They'll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don't forget to mention our Pharmaceutical Consultancy blog as the original source).

Nigel Smart

Nigel Smart is a pharmaceutical consultant and founder of the pharmaceutical consulting blog.



Source by Nigel Smart

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Guest blog: How to Lead, Manage, Motivate and Supervise Employees Effectively

As a manager, leader or supervisor, a great importance is your ability to lead, manage, supervise and motivate your subordinates / staff – the people under your purview – effectively.

The following tips will help you improve your leadership skills and relationships with your subordinates and get stronger supports from them.

1. Be Fair to Everyone

Treat each of your subordinates / staff fairly and respectfully. Some people are by nature more likeable than others, but as a supervisor, you have to avoid even the slightest hint of favorite; be fair to everyone. You may have to be flexible in your leadership style for each of your subordinates.

2. Develop Everyone

Everyone is unique. Each subordinate has his / her own strengths and weaknesses. So, work on developing the abilities or the potentials of every employee. Don't overlook the need to provide any necessary resources and training needed by the employees to do the jobs. By doing so, they will perceive that you care for their well-beings. In return, they will be more respectful to you and hence, work better.

3. Know and Like Your Subordinates

Learn the individual strengths and weaknesses of the people you supervise. This will aid you in assigning tasks on the basis of skills rather than at random. It will make them feel good working with you.

4. Show Continuing Interest in Your Subordinates

Show continuing concern in your subordinates by providing feedback on their performance regularly – not just at performance evaluation time. Be honest whether they are doing well or bad. This means, giving praise when it deserved – not when it isn't.

5. Criticize with Care

Be diplomatic whenever you criticize any aspects of an employee's performance. Never jump to any judgement or conclusion without thinking first the consequences of your critics. So, be tactful to your subordinates at all the time. They will surely appreciate you for being a considerate leader / manager.

6. Be Flexible

Be flexible in dealing with employee's concerns. Going strictly by set procedures won't always give you the flexibility you need to resolve individual performance. So, always use your good common sense.

7. Give Simple Directions

Give simple, but specific job directions at any time you assign a new task to a worker. Make things not so difficult in the eyes of your subordinates even if it is in actuality a challenging task. This will make them feel good and confident doing the jobs assigned to them.

8. Defend Your Subordinates

Defend your subordinates against unfair criticisms; be with them. Make them think and feel that you are a reasonable or supportive leader / manager / supervisor.

9. Be a Coach – Not a General

Remember! You are at work, not at war. So, be loyal to your subordinates as well as to the company / organization / employer. Include subordinates in the decision-making process whenever feasible. You can also show your leadership qualities by working to obtain promotions, pay raises, and awards for deserving employees.



Source by Taidin Suhaimin

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Guest blog: The Importance of Continuing Professional Development as a Massage Therapist

Some professionals, such as physicians and nurses, are required to complete a certain amount of continuing education each year. This is to make sure they keep up to date on the newest techniques available to help their patients. While having a massage therapist license might not mean you must take continuing education, it is still very important and you should consider it a high priority. After all, you are helping heal individuals just as doctors and nurses are. It is important that you provide the utmost up-to-date service to your clients. Most professional associations require it these days and you insurance may depend on it.

Continuing professional development or education as a massage therapist will not only benefit your clients, but you and your employers (if you work for a company) as well. Employers love for their employees to keep up-to-date on the latest techniques that apply to their field. This means that no only do they have a skilled and qualified employee, but they are providing the best service possible to their clients. Even if you work as an individual massage therapist, the same rules apply. By continuing your professional development, you can let your clients know that you have the skills needed to provide them with excellent massage therapy. This will keep clients happy and happy clients are returning clients. Acquiring new skills will also allow you to charge more for your services. Clients who find a quality massage therapist with credentials to back up their services will be willing to pay more for a massage. You can also increase your business by offering different types of massages. If you were trained in Swedish massage, consider looking to other types of massages to help expand your massage repertoire. Look at continuing your massage development by taking classes in different types of Asian massages such as Thai massage, Thai foot massage, Thai herb compress massage or Chinese Tui Na massage. You may want to study more conventional western forms, such as sports massage, pregnancy massage or aromatherapy massage.

If you are already well versed in Asian massage techniques, maybe you should focus your continuing professional development on a specific part of the body. There are courses which concentrate on the assessment and treatment of upper limbs, cervical and thoracic spine, freeing the shoulder, freeing the lower back and hips, focusing on the lumber spine hip/pelvis and lower leg. There is deep tissue or Remedial massage, which works on specific joints or muscle groups. Going even deeper we have neuromuscular therapy, which focuses on pain relief in specific ‘trigger points’ and deepest of all, there is myofacial release, which works to release tension in the connective tissue layers.

To continue your professional development as a massage therapist is very important to both you and your clients. Check with your local clinics and community colleges to see what classes are offered that might help compliment the techniques you already know.



Source by Annalisa Zisman

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Guest blog: The Pretest Alternative for Program Impact Evaluation

Most funders require organizations to submit an evaluation plan detailing how impact and outcomes will be measured. Many make evaluation harder than it needs to be by using a traditional pretest-posttest design. In this method, an assessment of participants' knowledge or attitudes are administered at the start of the training and then again at the conclusion. This design has merit, but it is not always the most economical or effective method for assessing social-services program outcomes.

In your next evaluation plan, considering a retroactive pretest-posttest design. In this method, the assessment is administered once at the end of the program, rather than twice. To assess change, the tool asks participants to refer back to a prior point in time, such as prior to the start of the program. Participants are then asked to answer the same questions thinking about their feelings today.

Some benefits of the retroactive pretest-posttest design compared to a traditional pretest-posttest design include:

¨ It is more economical. This method requires only one administration, saving printing costs and time spent in evaluation activity.

¨ It reduces bias that may occur if participants are not present at the very beginning and end of a program.

Demonstr It demonstrates more accurate assessment of program outcomes, especially when looking at change of knowledge and attitudes. In traditional pretests, participants may give an inaccurate self-report of one's knowledge because one does not yet have enough information to understand that one's knowledge of a subject is not well developed. This is particularly a concern when a program addresses complex subjects that are clarified over the course of the intervention.

¨ It is more useful for documenting self-assessed changes that occur as a result of the particular intervention, in part, because retrospective pretest-posttest evaluations are more sensitive to respondent change than traditional pretest-posttest evaluations.

Here is an example of a pretest-posttest assessment questions for a program designed to increase the evaluation capacity of an organization.

Section 1. Please think about your knowledge and skill level prior to your participation in this program.

How familiar were you with the following skills or concepts prior to participating in the DMC institutes? Use the following rating scale: Unaware = 1, Somewhat Familiar = 2, Familiar = 3, Very familiar = 4, Expert = 5

1. Develop a program logic model
2. Choose appropriate and relevant data-collection methods
3. Importance of fidelity

Section 2. How familiar with the following skills now? Use the following rating scale: Unaware = 1, Somewhat Familiar = 2, Familiar = 3, Very familiar = 4, Expert = 5

1. Develop a program logic model
2. Choose appropriate and relevant data-collection methods
3. Importance of fidelity

Section 3. To what extent do you agree with the following statements in regards to your organizations participation with this training? Please use the following scale: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither disagree nor agree, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree.

1. I have better outcomes
2. I have more confidence in my ability to determine program success
3. I am more knowledgeable about program evaluation
4. My organization has started to implement evaluation in other programs

Now it is your turn. Think about your program's specific goals and outcomes. Make a list of those skills, attitudes, and knowledge you expect to change. Then turn them into a retroactive pretest-posttest evaluation.

Looking for more information? These references provide more information about the retroactive pretest-posttest design as well as provide support for this methodology when developing your grant applications.

Is Davis, G. (2003). Using a retrospective pre-post questionnaire to determine program impact. Journal of Extension [On-line], 41 (4) Article 4TOT4. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2003august/tt4.php

¨ Howard, GS, & Dailey, PR (1979). Response-shift bias: A source of contamination of self-report measures. Journal of Applied Psychology, 64 (2), 144-150.

¨ Howard, GS, Schmeck, RR, & Bray, JH (1979). Internal invalidity in studies employing self-report instruments: A suggested remedy. Journal of Educational Measurement, 16 (2), 129-135.

¨ Pratt, CC, McGuigan, WM, & Katzev, AR (2000). Measuring program outcomes: Using retrospective pretest methodology. American Journal of Evaluation, 21 (3), 341-349.

Eff Skeff, KM, Bergen, MR, & Stratos, GA (1992). Evaluation of a medical faculty development program: A comparison of traditional pre / post and retrospective pre / post self-assessment ratings. Evaluation and the Health Care Professions, 15 (3), 350-366.



Source by Sheri Chaney Jones

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Guest blog: MARS Model of Individual Behavior and Results

Companies are striving to answer many questions in efforts to benefit from positive employee behavior in the workplace. The goal of most companies is to foster a win-win situation for both the company and associate. What is the difference between a happy satisfied employee and a disgruntled unmotivated employee? Is it how much money he or she makes, or the amount of time they spend on the job? Is it the work environment? Does the position meet the needs of the employee? Can the employee successfully perform? Does the employee know the role they play in their organization? Has the manager provided their employees with the required tools to be successful? In fact, there is a model of individual behavior that answers these questions quite well. The MARS model of Individual Behavior and Results introduced in chapter two of Organizational Behavior, 4th edition (McShane & Von Glinow) is an excellent medium for creating the win-win relationship between the employer and associate.

This model identifies four interrelated elements that have an affect on employee performance; Motivation, Ability, Role perception and Situational factors. These factors are highly interrelated; for example, a data analyst is skilled in running reports (ability), self taught on how to use the latest tools to extrapolate data (motivation), and understands how this information will help management make decisions (role perception), but does not have the required access to the data files (situational factors). Unless all of the elements of the MARS model are satisfied, employee behavior and performance will be negatively impacted.

A successful manager will possess a clear understanding of the abovementioned elements and be able to apply them. Motivation is the internal influence affecting employees’ actions. Employers must meet the intrinsic needs of associates to fully capitalize on the motivation element of this model. In order to accomplish the job, employees must have the necessary abilities. Managers are responsible for ensuring their employees receive the required training and skills to be successful. Another critical function of the ability element is to place employees in positions that will effectively utilize their talents. The third element of the MARS model is role-perception. Staff members must have a clear understanding of where they fit in the organization and how they contribute to the overall mission. Comprehensive job descriptions with clear expectations will aid the associate in understanding the role-perception element. The final element is Situational factors. Employees must have all of the required tools, equipment and work space to accomplish the job.

How does a manager adopt the MARS model? Starting with motivation, employers must have a good relationship with employees and discover the driving force behind their actions. One well known theory of motivation organizations must consider is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In the workplace Maslow’s hierarchy levels are satisfied as follows:

Level 1 – Physiological & Body – Good salary and safe working conditions.

Level 2 – Safety and Security – Job training programs and enrichment.

Level 3 – Social & Friends – Team building seminars and workplace camaraderie.

Level 4 – Esteem – Employee recognition program for performance and promotion.

Level 5 – Self-Actualization – Autonomy, selecting own assignments.

According to Maslow, when a need is met, continuing to offer the motivator has little or no effect. In the information technology (IT) field, managers will soon realize IT employees are motivated by the higher levels; Esteem and Self-Actualization and not necessarily by increasing salary or perceived punishment.

The highest motivated worker will not be successful if they do not posses the abilities required for the position. Managers will need to understand the key tasks, the required skill set to accomplish the job and effectively hire the best candidate. Providing necessary training will ensure associates will be given the best chance for success.

The third element of the MARS model is role-perception. As previously mentioned a comprehensive job description and continuous feedback are essential in ensuring employees understand how they play a part in the company. In the IT discipline, the support staff are typically broken down by technical and non-technical. Examples of technical staff would be the server administrators, network technicians, programmers and database administrators to name a few. The non-technical staff would be the software trainers, implementation staff and data analysts. When working IT issues it is vital to route the customer to the proper staff member for support. In order to adopt this model, managers must ensure employees understand what role they play in accomplishing the mission of the organization

The final component of the MARS model is Situational Factors. To be successful, staff members must have the tools to perform the job. A safe work environment, adequate time and the right people are aspects of the workplace governed by the organization, not the employee. In the IT arena, one way the above is met is to ensure the staff is given the proper level of access based on their position. This policy mutually protects the integrity of the system as well as the employee.

In conclusion, The MARS model of Motivation, Ability, Role perceptions and Situational Factors will assist managers in understanding the how and why employees succeed or fail. In order to successfully implement this model and reap the benefits, companies must strive to fulfill all of the four components.

The MARS model is identified in chapter 2 of Organizational Behavior, McShane, S. & Von Glinow, M. A. (2008). (4th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill.



Source by David Bourassa

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Guest blog: 8 Steps to Prevent Common Ethical Lapses in Organizations

A review of case studies of ethical problems various organizations have encountered show that many common ethical problems that organizations find themselves facing arise from individuals protecting their own financial benefit and/or the short-term economic goals of their organizations and not protecting other key stakeholders of the business or organization. Organizations can avoid serious consequences by considering the consequences of their actions to six key stakeholders, including; business partners, customers, employees, opinion formers, community and authorities (Trevino and Nelson, 2005, p. 196). By analyzing decisions using these six groups as a guide; “one can begin to identify how a variety of calamities might affect a company’s reputation and the value of its brand, and how much those calamities might cost” (p. 196).

By reviewing how companies have both effectively and ineffectively responded to severe ethical dilemmas, leaders of organizations can identify 8 steps for preventing ethical dilemmas in their own organizations.

1. Top down responsibility for ethical behavior must exist within an organization. The head of the organization must take responsibility to manage the ethical behavior of the organization. This responsibility cannot be delegated. Furthermore, this responsibility cannot be downplayed to a lesser role than other key leadership responsibilities, such as, short term profits. Top leadership must set the ethical tone of the organization. They must communicate their vision regarding ethical behavior to employees often and with as much emphasis and clarity as they do with other organization goals. The leader cannot leave the ethical tone of the organization to chance or to others within the organization.

2. Organizations must design a code of ethics for the organization. This code should be developed with input from a broad section of individuals within the organization. It should be distributed to every member of the organization and referred to often in training and other types of communication to employees so that it is not just a manual that sits in a file but is seen as a valid document for answering questions regarding what is accepted and not accepted as appropriate behavior within the organization.

3. Policies must be established and reinforced in the organization regarding how to report ethical abuses. Employees must understand how to report problems and know that they can do so without fear of retribution. Care must be taken that this is not just a theoretical exercise but that examples of real reporting be given and employees are rewarded for reporting ethical dilemmas.

4. Ethical responsibility must be taught to members of the organization. This must be done in various settings including on boarding of new employees, ongoing workshops, business meetings, round-table discussions with leaders, newsletters, websites, etc… Training should include case studies where employees must examine and discuss ethical dilemmas that they realistically might face and possible actions they should take. These case studies should include real cases that have occurred or theoretical cases that may occur in the organization so individuals can understand the proper way to handle real life issues. Employees must clearly understand what they have a shared individual ethical responsibility to each of the stakeholders along with the responsibility of the organization.

5. Practices must be incorporated to ensure that discussions regarding ethics are included in the decision making process. For example, a “devil’s advocate” should challenge decisions in order to explore whether unforeseen stakeholders may be jeopardized as a result of the decision; or decisions should be reviewed by an ethics committee or department to evaluate whether other stakeholders may be at risk. The practice of questioning decisions and openly exploring their consequences must be encouraged and rewarded.

6. Accountability for ethical behavior must be taken seriously by all levels of the organization. Unethical behavior should be punished and not allowed to continue. Ethical behavior must be rewarded. Performance management systems should include ethical behavior as well as other key aspects of job performance. Those higher in an organization should be punished equally as those lower in the organization. In fact, it could be justified to punish those higher in the organization more severely than those at entry level positions because they should know better and because of the example it sets for others in the organization.

7. Organizations should act swiftly to protect stakeholders when dilemmas occur. Contingency plans should be made for dealing with a crisis in order to act quickly to protect stakeholders in times of emergencies.

8. Members of the organization must know that their primary responsibility is to defend and maintain the high reputation of the organization at all times. Leaders should encourage standards of behavior to be set higher than what the law requires. What is lawful should be considered a minimum standard; however, standards should be set higher than this minimum in order to enhance and protect the reputation of the organization. Conduct below that standard should not be accepted and raising the bar higher should be rewarded and recognized by senior leaders.

References:

Trevino, L., and Nelson, K., (2005). Corporate social responsibility and managerial ethics. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.



Source by James Gehrke

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Guest blog: Office Manager Resumes – Presenting Diverse Responsibilities Succinctly and Compellingly

Developing a career synopsis for an office manager can be akin to an attempt to create a resume for a mother of school-aged children. Viewed comparatively, the critical and highly diverse duties of both can easily be distilled down to a single phrase: "I do it all!" However expedient that expression may appear, it will do little, on a career document, to secure an interview. Office managers, then, can benefit by applying the same general methodology to the writing of their resumes as they bring to the business environment: organization, time management, creativity, and integrity.

In organizing office manager resumes, candidates will wish to approach their tasks in terms of overall skill sets; for example, bookkeeping and associated financial duties (accounts payable, accounts receivable, collection of outstanding debts, development of general-purpose financial statements), human resources (employee training, administration of health benefits programs, execution of the payroll function), purchasing ( inventory control, vendor selection and negotiation), document production (authoring of business correspondence, maintenance of spreadsheet data, generation of various reports), and supervision and motivation of support staff.

Viewed as interrelated job functions, applicants can then apply sound time management abilities to the development of their career documents. Understanding that employers are compelled to maximize their time and energy in locating qualified personnel, candidates can refine their responsibilities on office manager resumes into succinct, meaningful phrases. Simultaneously, office professionals can capitalize upon the rich tapestry of keywords engendered by their multifaceted roles. If one intends to seek employment within his own industry, the integration of industry-specific tasks and terms is logical and highly recommended. Finally, the office Go-To-Person must blend creativity with honesty in expounding upon his or her accomplishments. If you are that Go-To-Person, consider the following questions for purposes of highlighting them as possible scenarios. To ensure that your resume "SOARS," state the problem or existing situation, explain how you viewed and turned that into an opportunity, and elucidate the ensuing impact that your efforts had upon the company.

Did you …

  • Need to locate new real estate as a result of a company expansion or downsizing?
  • Staff the new location; in so doing, did you reconfigure job duties so as to consolidate functions and realize cost savings?
  • Identify a less expensive health benefits plan that satisfied managements' cost containment initiative while still providing the employees with a reasonable amount of coverage?

Did you …

  • Establish, systematize, or improve a process or procedure?
  • Achieve quantifiable results (ie Instituted and implemented measures that reduced the accounts receivable cycle from an average of 60 days to an average of 30)?

Did you …

  • Research and recommend the acquisition of a new software application that enhanced productivity?
  • If so, how, and by how much?

By approaching office manager resumes in this vein, a professional can present oneself as a diligent, resourceful employee whose talent is as essential to the daily operation of the business as it is to its long-term growth and success.



Source by Thomas Petruzzelli

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Guest blog: Using Verbal Warnings to Help Correct Employee Performance Issues

Disciplinary action or "progressive discipline" is used to assist employees to improve sub-standard job performance. Performance issues addressed by this process are more serious than those addressed using constructive critical feedback. The first step in progressive discipline is called a Verbal Warning.

Disciplinary action is used when an employee:

  • makes a serious mistake OR
  • fails to respond to constructive critical feedback given one or more times.

Prior to using disciplinary action, supervisors and managers must consult, understand and comply with:

  • their organization's policy and procedures
  • requirements in collective agreements (in workplaces with unionized employees)
  • employment standards or labor regulations in their area.

Follow these steps when giving a verbal warning.

  • First, identify the performance problem. Ensure the problem is either ongoing or serious enough to require a verbal warning. Constructive critical feedback should be used at least once prior to verbal warning for less serious performance concerns.
  • Gather factual information regarding the ongoing issue or the incident. Be quick but thorough – delays in giving the warning will reduce its effectiveness.
  • Document the information in writing. Be specific with dates and times when possible
  • Schedule a meeting with the employee during their normal working hours.
  • Ask another supervisor or manager to attend the meeting as a note-taker and witness. Union agreements may require attendance by a union representative at formal disciplinary meetings. Your meeting should be held within three business days and not later than five business days from the date you became aware of the issue.
  • Meet with the employee in a private location away from the eyes and ears of co-workers, customers or the public.
  • Factually describe (who, what, where, when) the performance issue or the incident. Never tell an employee that they have a poor or bad "attitude". If you use these words, the employee will likely respond with "What do you mean, bad attitude?" Stick with one or two concrete examples of where their conduct, behavior or job performance is not acceptable. Be firm, clear and specific.
  • Always use the phrase "This is a verbal warning" and use it only once. This distinguishes the current warning from other verbal feedback and from a written warning which is the next step in the progressive disciplinary process.
  • Keep the tone of the interview calm, professional and non-judgmental. Do not raise your voice and resist the temptation to argue or debate. Avoid using emotionally charged words (eg, incompetent, untrustworthy, disloyal, just to name a few) or generalizations (you always or you never).
  • Describe the corrective action required; make your comments specific and instructive
  • Clarify the performance standards that must be met – make sure you indicate that performance improvements must be "immediate" and "ongoing". This helps prevent employees who tend to yo-yo between improving their performance for a short while and allowing things to slip again.
  • If the employee lacks the skill to do their job, identify training or support required and set a schedule for the training to occur.
  • Invite the employee to ask questions and clarify your expectations. If it feels like the interview is becoming an argument or debate, restate the expectations one more time and then end the interview politely and professionally.
  • Following the interview ensure that the minutes or notes are typed and place them on the employee's personnel file.

Notes taken during disciplinary action may be considered to be legal documents. This documentation also may be used in the future as part of formal proceedings (eg, if a written warning is required, if an employee grieves the warning or during wrongful dismissal lawsuit brought by the employee against his / her former employer). It is important that notes be professional, complete, accurate, typed and securely stored either in electronic form or as a hard copy.

Employer policy may require employees to sign the notes taken during disciplinary interviews. Employees will often refuse because they believe their signature indicates agreement or consent, resulting in an impasse. It is not really necessary to have the employee sign the notes at all. However, if policy requires it and if the employee refuses to sign, the supervisor or manager should write: "Presented to employee for signature. Employee declined to do so." Then date and sign the notes and place them in the employees personnel file.

Verbal warnings are not appropriate when the employee's performance problem is very serious (eg, health or safety of others has been jeopardized, or unethical / illegal activity has occurred). In very serious situations, a written warning or even dismissal may be warranted. In a small number of cases the employee is dismissed with "just cause". Supervisors and managers MUST consult more senior management and a lawyer before dismissing any employee regardless of the circumstances.



Source by Paula J. MacLean

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Guest blog: Cultural Differences: Different Time 'Zones' (Part-1)

In the quest of building a strong global identity, organizations are realizing more and more culture related issues which, when used as a covert foundation in policy formulation and planning, would aid in aligning organizational goals with regional differences. Time perspective is one such element of culture, which influences the way members of a culture tend to approach decision-making in consumer as well as business activities. The difference in the time perception leads to the difference in the outlook of the employees towards work and people. The issue of time in the study of culture can been used in International Human Resources Management (IHRM) researches to measure country and group level effects that can be discriminated between countries and groups and thus help explain variance in the behaviors of organization and people. The dimension of time-perspective could be added (Bond, MH et al 1987) as the fifth dimension of culture related to work organization. The other four dimensions are Power Distance, Individualism, Masculinity and Uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede and Bond 1984), as defined by Geert Hofstede's most popular framework of studying international culture.

Philip R. Cateora and John L. Graham ('International Marketing', 10th edition, Pg. 130) define the classification of perspective of time into Monochronic and Polychronic time. M-time or monochronic time perception of a culture implies that people tend to concentrate on one thing at a time. It is typical of low-context cultures like that of North Americans, Swiss and Scandinavians. They divide the time in to small units and are concerned with promptness. M-time is used in a linear way and is experienced as being tangible, in that we save time, spend time or waste time.

The concept of polychronic time or P-time is characterized by simultaneous occurrence of many things and by "a great involvement with people". P-time allows for relationships to build on and context to be absorbed as part of high-context cultures like that of India and other South Asian countries. The completion of human transactions is considered more important than holding to schedules.

The author has made an attempt to analyze the HRM practices of USA, India and Japan, in the context of cultural-differences in the perception of time. The choice of these cultures have been based on the fact that traditionally USA is recognized as a M-time culture, India as a P- time culture, while Japan is a mix of M- time and P- time behavior. However these cultures do not exist in isolation, and the time perception in these cultures is being influenced and changed by cross-frontier trade and other interactions.

The implications of the difference in the perception of time in different cultures can be organization wide, individual directed or task centric.

Influence on Organization

Those issues, which effect planning, scheduling and unionism have an organization wide effect and are in turn influenced by culture based perception of time.

The P – type culture takes short-term view of organization and its goals, while an M-time culture takes a long term view and emphasizes long term organization planning. For an organization that is planning to set up operations in P-type culture, it would have to acquaint the employees with its long-terms goals and align them with their personal goals to introduce a long-term vision.

Reworking the reward system to emphasis on attainment of long term planning goals would also reinforce the same. A culture having a mix of P and M type behavior shows long term planning and a strategic role of HR in planning. Rules are codified and decision-making is allowed adequate time.

For any organization with international operations unionism is an essential part of its external environment, which is often guided by the law of the land. M-type culture takes an adverse view of unionism. On the other hand, P-type culture has cooperative unions and collective bargaining and worker participation is the norm. A mix of P and M type culture shows enterprise unionism, which is positive and cooperative in nature and worker participation is encouraged.

The information about prevalent unionism is of use to both employees and management since this defines their interaction and extent of worker participation in management.

Decision making is another aspect of organization which in M-type culture, perceived as more bureaucratic with rigid rules, is appreciated if it is quick; while P-type culture is more flexible and accepts a long decision making process. In contrast, the mix of P and M type culture emphasizes the role of HR in the decision making. The rules are formal and codified and decision making is allowed adequate time. By acquainting its expatriate managers with these perceptions an organization would gain in situations like negotiations.

Influence on Individual

Aspects like individual's performance appraisal, reward and perspective towards employment are some issues, which are influenced by culture-based perception of time.

Performance appraisal can be based on individual achievement or it can emphasis group performance. An individual in an M-type culture concentrates on his own performance since group achievements are not the primary goal, while in a mix of P and M type culture, group performance is an important criteria for performance appraisal. In this issue the organization can be guided by societal norms and values. The interval between performance appraisals is also dependent on perception of time and a culture with long decision making cycles might require a longer performance appraisal cycle.

The issues like career planning, hiring policy and succession planning are dependent on average employee tenure in the organization. In both P-type and the mix type culture, employees presume a lifetime employment. This leads to easy succession planning and a need based hiring policy, which relies heavily on personal interviews as a selection criteria. In contrast, an employee in M-type culture would in all probabilities work for more than one employer in his lifetime and hence a structured hiring policy. Another area of ​​difference between different cultures is wage determination. In P-type culture wages are based on industry-cum-regional parameters, and seniority is an important parameter in determining wages. Wages in M-type culture is skill and merit based. In a mix of M and P type culture wages are based on both seniority and merit. To avoid dissonance this factor is to be kept in perspective to draft an effective compensation policy in different cultures. Since most organizations want to avoid a geography based pay differentiation, a non-monetary remuneration can be offered.

Influence on Task

Task definition and task related skill development is also influenced by culture related perception of time.

Tasks in P-type culture are loosely defined giving flexibility to the employee while M-type culture has rigid definition of task. In the mix of P and M type culture job definition is simple and broad. This difference could mean job dissatisfaction in organizations operating in different cultures but following a uniform job definition.

The perception about training is also culture based. P-type culture considers training to be of little importance and training is on the job. In M-type culture formal training is imparted. In the mix of M and P type cultures, train-ability is emphasized with both on-job and off-job trainings being imparted. Thus the issue of training and skill development in different cultures will have to be tackle differently, more so because cultures also promote multi-skill or specialization development. P-type culture and the mix of M and P type culture, associate job rotation with job satisfaction hence employees are multi skilled. In M-type culture employees are specialists in specific tasks. This difference would be specially emphasized in case of blue-collared workers.

Comparison

A good case for comparing the three cultures is the statistical comparison of importance of company breeding in the US and Japanese managerial labor markets by Takao Kato and Mark Rockel. It states that there is a clear difference between the time taken for new recruit to reach the position of CEO in the two countries. On an average, in USA it took 20 years while in Japan it took 27 years in. Seeing that most of the CEOs in India reach that position after 25 to 30 years in the organization we can extend the study to aid in comparing the three cultures.

This difference in promotion is quite apparent in terms of real time. But another criteria to be considered is that Japanese organization stress on hands-on on-job-training for the development and training of a CEO hence the emphasis remains on the long-term objective.

The survey points to the fact that the managerial labor market of Japan tends to nurture more long-term relationship between managers and the firm than that of USA. The CEOs in USA laid lesser emphasis on knowing the firm and its employee, owing to comparatively lesser stress on consensus building.

In the traditional Indian firms with the emphasis on relationships, the promotions were typically based on seniority thus often the CEOs were appointed even as they were just a few months away from the stipulated retirement age.

Conclusion

The deeply entrenched perceptions, which have even shaped cultures, would be difficult to melt to mold together in one universal time-perception. But the desire to seek or introduce homogeneity in these matters are uppermost in the minds of a managers dealing with various issues of international HRM, ranging from managing of subsidiaries to training of expatriates. The slow progress towards acceptance of similar mixed time- perceptions at least in the place of work is visible.

While on one hand the Japanese promote dynamism, future-orientation, hard work and adherence to rules, on the other hand importance is placed on relationships, broad job descriptions, decentralization and respect for seniority.

HRM practices in USA are showing a similar trend, be it in greater tolerance of trade unions or in forays in building corporate loyalty. Similar trends in India are being forced towards a more monochronic approach to wards work, by advent of competition for the state owned enterprises from the private sector firms, including MNC.



Source by Puja Karki

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Guest blog: Pros and Cons of Getting An ITIL v3 Certification

If you work in IT, odds are good that you are considering getting an ITIL v3 Certification. This is perfectly understandable with many companies adopting its policies and valuing those with this training. Of course, getting this training does require a significant investment so one must give it some serious thought. However, to help you with this analysis, we have put together a list of some of the pros and cons of getting this training.

Pros

We will first take a look at the pros of getting this certification. The first advantage of getting this training is that you will be viewed as a more valuable employee. With this training on your resume, you will have a knowledgebase that many companies will value if they have an emphasis on ITIL in their company. It also allows you the ability to get better at your job with this training as you can utilize these best practices in your work to become more efficient and be more productive.

A second advantage to this training is that it will make you a more attractive candidate for either promotion or to other companies. As many employees are eager to fast track their career, this training can be a way to do that especially if they love the practices and concepts this training teachers. Even if your current company does not value this training as much as others, this could provide a way for you to get your foot in the door with one of those companies.

A third advantage to getting certified is that you can command more pay. This can be good as it can help justify the cost of the training as you are able to more quickly make up the training costs by getting increasing in pay. Basically, the training allows you to objectively show you deserve a pay increase or can allow you to get a better salary than without the training on your resume with another company.

Cons

There are also some disadvantages to getting this training. The most significant of these has to be the cost. Anyone looking into getting certified, must recognize that they will have to make an investment here as each course costs a couple thousand dollars or more. For this reason, one must make sure they are very serious about making a career in the IT field.

A second potential disadvantage is where the company you work for is not as big on ITIL principals as you would like. In this situation, you will not reap as many rewards as other employees who work for companies that really value this training. For you, the benefits will be in setting you up to move to a better job that does value these principles and concepts.

Now, weighing these advantages and disadvantages, you should have a much better picture of whether getting an ITIL Certification is right for you.



Source by Fred Barnes