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Guest blog: 6 Principles of Customer Service Etiquettte

Customer service etiquette principles should be integrated into every facet of your organization because providing superior customer service is the most effective way to differentiate your business from the competition.

Many employees will walk onto a job with little or no knowledge of how to interact or communicate with customers and without any appreciation of the importance of delivering exceptional customer service.

Employers have a responsibility to set and effectively communicate the ground rules for how an employee should operate within their company. Often an employee is issued a manual or orientation without any formal training on the company's unique culture or way of conducting business. With this lack of understanding, you have employees in effect defining the company policies based on their social norms, which leads to the loss of productivity, morale, and profitability.

Empower your employees by teaching them the six principles of customer service etiquette. Properly train and educate your employees on how to interact and communicate with customers to deliver superior customer service, cultivate long-term relationships with clients, build customer loyalty, and differentiate your business from the competition.

6 Principles of Customer Service Etiquette:

  • Smile and demonstrate good manners. Teach employees to smile, leading by example. Establish a culture of high quality customer service and commit to deliver superior service whether over the phone or face-to-face.
  • Make customers feel comfortable, valued, and appreciated.
  • Treat customers with respect, empathy, and efficiency.
  • Listen actively to be responsive and exceed customer expectations.
  • Effectively resolve the customer's problem.
  • Say "Thank you" and "Please" graciously.

Build prosperous relationships by treating customers as you want to be treated.



Source by Shawn Gilleylen

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Guest blog: Testimonial Samples for Student and Employee

Having a testimonial can increase the chances of getting the job. As there is strong competition among applicants, almost every job candidate requires testimonials for the job. Having the relevant experience under your belt you are required to show that you have proved your abilities in some organization. You can ask your previous employee to provide the testimonial of your services. If you are a student then a Principal/Dean can provide you the testimonial. Here are the both example testimonials that can help you stand out of the crowd.

A sample testimonial letter. (As an Employee)

An Experience Certificate

To whom it may concern

This is to certify that (NAME) has been in our service as an (JOB TITLE) from START DATE (YEAR) to END DATE (YEAR). During this period of service he/she worked diligently and honestly. His/her amiability of temperament, sincerity of purpose and honest absorption in the assigned job were some of the commendable traits of his personality that endeared him amongst us.

Through his/her work and conduct he satisfied us. He/she has a sound moral character. He/she has left our firm not due to any compulsion on our part, but on account of his own free will.

Employer

(Stamp & Signature)

Second Sample Testimonial Letter. (As a Student)

A Testimonial From An Educational Institution

This is to certify that (NAME) s/o (NAME) was a renowned player and student of our institution from START DATE (YEAR) to END DATE (YEAR) then he graduated from our college winning one of the top positions in Commerce. He/She got first class in B. Com.

About his contribution towards sports, we hereby state that he won many a commendatory certificate in various sports events. He excelled in Badminton and Hockey. He is quite hard-working and intelligent youth. We may emphatically say that he will prove out to be an asset to any enterprise where a position of trust and responsibility is offered to him.

I wish him all success in his life.

Principal

(College Stamp & Signature)

A Testimonial From the Major Contractor to Sub-Contractor Employee

Name

Designation

Company Name

Address:

Dear (Name),

Earlier this year we had the pleasure of working with you and your company on a project of (Name of Project) for our company. I am writing this letter to you to express my great satisfaction with the quality of the work completed and quality of the people from your company involved this project. You were extremely helpful from our first telephonic conversation through completion. Everything worked immediately and I am pleased with how things turned out. Please convey our appreciation to all of your team members. Feel free to use us as reference.

We wish you the best,

Sincerely,

(Name)

(Signature)



Source by Shahzada Jehangir

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Guest blog: How Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Can Plan For ERP Implementation

Introduction: Proper Planning to Reduce Risks of ERP Failure

In the first article, we discussed how a well-structured system assessment scorecard can help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) mitigate enterprise resource planning (ERP) [1] implementation failure risks at the system acquisition stage.

In this article, we outline certain steps SMEs can take to mitigate ERP implementation failure risks in the subsequent phase of implementation: the planning phase.

Briefly defined, the planning phase is the stage during which the organization prepares to "ERP-ize" its business. An ERP project requires much more than the mere installation of an IT software system. It requires organizational restructuring.

Generally, SMEs have to restructure their operations to satisfy the business flow parameters defined by the ERP software. These days, most ERP software packages are pre-customized to sectors according to certain industry best-practices.

The extent of organizational restructuring that is required depends on the structure of existing business processes, and on the technical and functional requirements imposed by the ERP software.

As with any complex restructuring project, ERP implementation is accompanied by certain risks of project failure. For example, failure can result from a runaway implementation that causes the project to become uneconomical. It can also result from organizational rejection of the restructured environment where such rejection impedes the achievement of the projected efficiencies.

In the following sections, we elaborate on these particular risks of implementation failure and how effective implementation planning can mitigate these risks.

Failure Risk 1: Run-Away Implementation

If an SME is planning to implement ERP, its primary reason for doing so is likely to achieve cost efficiencies. According to 2009 research by the Aberdeen Group, the need to reduce operating and administrative costs continues to be the main driver of ERP acquisition in the SME segment [2].

Since financial reasons drive the decision to implement ERP, it is critical that the implementation be completed within budget. A failure to deliver an economical implementation will mean project failure.

Since this section deals with ERP-related finance, it is important to briefly discuss some of the fundamental principles.

The cost side of an ERP budget is based on a total cost of ERP ownership (TCO) calculation. TCO is the sum of the present values ​​of system, maintenance and service costs. System and maintenance costs are fixed and largely determinable in advance.

In contrast, service costs are usually highly variable and difficult to project with accuracy. Further, service costs are proportionately significant. In 2007, service costs accounted for 45% of TCO for SMEs. Put another way, for every $ 100 an SME spent on ERP software, it spent an additional $ 81 on service [3]. As you will have probably guessed, service costs mainly reflect implementation costs.

Poor scheduling, improper resource allocation, project delays and scope creep ( ie unplanned increases to the project's scope) are the usual culprits for runaway implementation costs. The first three are generally well understood. Scope creep deserves a bit more attention.

During implementation, there is a holy-grail temptation to "ERP-ize" certain business processes that were not included in the original project plan. The rationale supporting a scope increase is that incremental efficiencies will be gained by "ERP-izing" the additional tasks. Implementation seems like the perfect time to widen the scope: the project is underway, consultants are on site and the teams are dedicated.

These temptations must be resisted. Implementation is seldom the right time to widen the scope (except for dealing with unforeseen items that must be addressed).

The reason the temptation must be resisted is because the argument favoring unplanned scope changes only accounts for the benefits side of the financial equation. Incremental costs must also be considered. These costs include direct service costs as well as the opportunity costs of delay. With respect to the latter, every unplanned day that the SME is unable to operate under the new system is a day of lost efficiencies.

It is fair to assume that an ERP project scope is designed to maximize the net ERP benefits (net benefits = cost efficiencies – costs). This means that all components of the project that yield a positive net benefit are accepted. It also means that all components that yield a negative net benefit (where the incremental costs exceed the incremental efficiencies) are rejected. Unplanned scope increases are typically components that would yield negative net benefits, ie they would be unprofitable. Since they diminish the return on ERP investment, these components should be rejected.

The following graph (omitted) depicts the relationship between a project's gross costs, gross efficiencies and net benefits (net benefits = gross efficiencies – gross costs). As seen by the Net Benefits line, the ideal project plan is at Point A. At this point, all profitable components are accepted and all unprofitable components are rejected. Any project plan that lies to the left of Point A would mean that the plan could be profitably expanded. Any project plan to the right of Point A would mean that unprofitable components are being accepted. Scope increases are generally components that lie to the right of Point A.

The above profitability analysis explains why incremental scope changes are both unnecessary and unbeneficial to the project. As time passes, these incremental changes will either be ignored or implemented as part of a profitable optimization plan.

In summary, a well-structured plan can mitigate the financial risks associated with overly broad scope definition and scope creep. Such a plan will help keep the ERP project within budget and on time.

However, even if financial risks are mitigated, other types of failure risk still threaten the project's success. One such risk is that certain key people will reject the new ERP system and / or the restructured business processes.

Failure Risk 2: Improperly Managed Change

Restructuring is a necessary evil. It causes the SME to undergo significant and disruptive changes. For example, the SME's organizational and reporting structures will likely change as departments are shifted. Its operations will likely change as business processes are re-engineered. Daily tasks will likely change as manual tasks are automated. All of these changes mean that employees, management and executives will have to unlearn old habits and learn new ways of doing business.

Some people will embrace the challenges and opportunities presented by the change. These people will help move the project forward. However, there will be those who fear the uncertainties associated with change. These people may resist the project and may risk undermining its success.

Change resistors are powerful forces. Even relatively innocuous-seeming resistance can thwart success. Consider, for example, the case of a sales person at a manufacturer who decides not to input an order into the new ERP system. Instead, the employee calls the order into production – the way he had always performed the task under the old system. Although the order is now in the process queue, it was not registered in the ERP planning system.

This one omission can have severe and far-reaching consequences. Automated production planning, shop floor scheduling and material movements planning become inaccurate and unreliable. These inaccuracies will prevent sales people from providing accurate lead time quotations. As a result, sales relationships will become strained and customers will be lost. The unplanned production backlog will also cause an increase in inventory-related costs. Further, real-time performance reporting will become less accurate since the reports fail to include certain transactions. Unreliable reports will negatively impact management's ability to make important and timely decisions.

In summary, a failure to buy-in to the new system and processes can cause the organization to fail to reap the efficiency and informational benefits of ERP. The result: an uneconomical ERP investment.

The above is but one example of a change resistor. Generally, an organization faces different groups that resist change for different reasons. Common examples of resisting forces include:

A union that objects because its members' job functions would change as a result of process re-engineering and automation.

· Employees who object because they have performed the same manual assembly tasks for 20 years and are afraid of or don't want to learn new processes.

· Managers who object to donating their "A-players" to the implementation team. The loss of key performers would almost certainly have a negative impact on departmental performance.

Executives who object to short-term business interruptions caused by the restructuring project, notwithstanding the long-term benefits. This moral hazard is caused by an incentive system that rewards the executives for short-term performance. Interruptions may cause the SME to miss compensation targets.

Fortunately, many of the various human capital forces that can sabotage an ERP-driven restructuring can be mitigated at the planning stage.

Good Planning Lessens Failure Risks

A good implementation plan accomplishes two goals:

1. It presents a clearly marked and easy-to-follow roadmap to implement the process changes and ERP system; and

2. It prepares the organization and all affected affected to to adapt to the changed environment.

A plan that achieves these twin goals will significantly help the implementation project's prospects for success.

Although each plan should be customized to meet the SME's particular needs, there are certain fundamental principles that can frame the design of every project plan. These principles relate to project championship, project plan design and team formation.

Project Championship

Top management is ultimately responsible for allocating time, resources and money to the project. Its collective attitude towards the project filters down and impacts organizational commitment to the project. Consequently, top management support can make the project while its absence of support can break the project.

Given the importance of executive commitment, the project requires a top-level manager to convert the non-believing managers. This person must be both fully committed to the project and capable of influencing others' commitment. In his capacity as project champion, this person will be responsible for ensuring that the project remains a top priority and is allocated the resources that are required. In other words, the project champion acts as an advocate who drives change, encourages perseverance and manages resistance. Ultimately, it is this person who legitimizes the project and the accompanying organizational change.

Project Plan

The project plan is a formal document that is instrumental in preventing runaway implementations and change resistance.

If done properly, the project plan helps prevent runaway implementations by memorializing the project deliverables on a timeline and allocating a specific budget to each deliverable. Each deliverable should be broken down into manageable and measurable tasks. A well conceived roadmap prevents scope creep, cost overruns and project delays.

The details of the project plan should be (to the extent necessary) transparent throughout the entire organization. Communicating the project plan will diffuse a portion of the organizational anxiety by eliminating ambiguity about the project and the future state of the organization.

In terms of its components, the main project plan should, at a minimum, include the following:

Project Charter:

This is an articulation of the project's mission and vision. It clearly and unambiguously states the business rationale for the project.

Scope Statement

This defines the parameters of the project. The scope is broken down into measurable success factors and strategic business accomplishments that drive the intended results.

Target Dates and Costs

This sets out individual milestones. Identifiable, manageable and measurable goals are established. Target completion dates are set. Each individual milestone is valued. This step articulates the breakdown of the project into discrete sub-projects.

Project Structure and Staff Requirements

This sets out the project's reporting structure, and how that reporting structure fits into the larger organizational structure.

The main project plan should be supported by whatever subsidiary plans are necessary. Common examples of subsidiary plans include: IT infrastructure and procurement plan, risk plan, cost and schedule plan, scope management plan, resource management plan, and communications plan. For present purposes, these last three subsidiary plans deserve a bit more attention.

Scope Management Plan

This is a contingency plan that defines the process for identifying, classifying and integrating scope changes into the project.

Resource Management Plan

This sets out individual assignments, project roles, responsibilities and reporting relationships. It also sets out the criteria for back-filling positions and modifying project teams. Further, this plan details human capital development and training plans. Finally, where necessary, it sets out the reward system used to incentivise project performance.

Communications Plan

A communications strategy is critical to manage change resistance. This plan codifies the procedures and responsibilities relating to the periodic dissemination of project-related information to the project teams and throughout the organization. Examples of common channels include email newsletters, press releases and team meetings.

A good project plan is only effective if the project teams are capable of executing the recommendations. For this reason, team formation and training are critical parts of the planning phase.

Team Formation

Successful execution requires an enabling structure. Like many well-structured organizations, an ERP project structure should contain a steering committee that has executive-level strategic responsibilities; a core team that has managerial-level delegation authority; and functional teams that are responsible for implementing the changes.

To facilitate communication and decision-making, each hierarchy level should have a member who is represented on the level below. For example, the ERP project manager should sit on both the steering committee and the core team, and certain key users should sit on both the core team and a given functional team.

The Steering Committee

The project steering committee should be comprised of the chief executive officer, the CIO, executive level business managers, and the ERP project manager. The committee has strategic-level responsibility for reviewing and approving the project plan, making changes to the plan and evaluating project progress.

The Core Team

The core team is responsible for managing the implementation project. It should be comprised of the ERP project manager, functional leads, the outside consultants and certain key end-users.

Functional leads should be top-performers who are reassigned to the implementation project on a full-time basis. They should be experts in their respective departments, should understand other departments' business processes and should be knowledgeable about industry best practices. In many cases, functional leads will have to be backfilled in their day-to-day jobs.

During the planning phase, the core team is trained on the fundamentals of ERP theory and on the particulars of the ERP software. The purpose of the training is to ensure that the core team is capable of managing the development of the new business processes.

Functional Teams

These teams are responsible for implementing the business process changes in their respective functional departments. Each functional team is comprised of a core team key end-user, select end-users that cover all of the functional unit's business processes, and a functional consultant with an understanding of the ERP software.

Organizing committed and capable teams is critical to the project's success. The project teams will be responsible for managing the implementation and helping the organization adapt to the new business environment.

Conclusion

ERP implementation is a complex project that involves significant operational restructuring. The restructuring is accompanied by certain risks of project failure, including runaway implementation and resistance to change.

Fortunately, an SME can mitigate many of the ERP failure risks by properly planning for the project. At a minimum, proper planning requires a project champion to secure executive buy-in, the preparation and communication of a project plan that breaks the project down into manageable sub-projects, and the assembly of strong teams capable of executing the project.

[1] Briefly, an ERP system is intended to electronically integrate an organization's functional areas, administrative areas, processes and systems.

[2] Jutras, C. (2009). ERP in the Midmarket 2009: Managing the Complexities of a Distributed Environment. Boston: Aberdeen Group.

[3] Jutras, C. (2007). The Total Cost of ERP Ownership in Mid-Sized Companies. Boston: Aberdeen Group.



Source by Jonathan Gross

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Guest blog: Different Types of Hospitality Management Systems

Hospitality management systems are the software that runs your hospitality business. From the food ordering system in your restaurant, to online accommodation booking software, it enables efficient communication and management of your operation, ultimately increasing revenue.

With a range of hospitality management systems to choose from, understanding what is offered is important in order to find the right system that is tailored for your needs and budget. Depending on the type of operation you manage, you should consider the following systems, their advantages and suitability to your company.

Accommodation management software:

Accommodation software packages range from those aimed at B & Bs and small motel owners to ones for running big hotels, clubs and resorts. The basic package offers simple guest and room management, while the more complex ones cover every aspect needed to manage and run a big hotel chain. This includes reservations, service, retail, inventory, staff roster and training, accounting and much more.

Front desk: A front office software package should enable reception staff to keep track of all bookings, state of rooms, guest details and charges, coordinate restaurant reservations for guests, plan housekeeping duties and process guest check-in and check-out. They should also provide a means to communicate effectively with all travel agents and activity operators linked to the system. Features you should look out for include: Reports for arrivals & departures on a specific date. Guest ledger and reservation details, including activities and special requests. Room rates, discounts, package deals, group bookings, etc. Visual schematic of hotel rooms and status. Visual schematic of calendar with room availability. Facility for printing check-in cards for guests. Flexibility in re-assigning guests to different room. Facility to easily add charges to rooms from restaurants, spa, gift shop, etc. Incorporate all payment options upon check-out and print receipt. Print work roster for staff Facilities for storing guest history Communicate efficiently with reservation and travel agents

Housekeeping / maintenance software: Easy-to-use software for the housekeeping and maintenance departments of your accommodation place will increase the efficiency of cleaning and servicing of rooms. Main features of this module will be: Keeping track of room status – dirty, cleaned, inspected, check-ins and check-outs, etc. All information such as number of guests, number of beds, length of stay, special requests (eg baby cot, high chair) should be visible to both housekeeping staff and management. Staff can enter maintenance issues as they arise, and those are automatically sent to the maintenance department. Staff can request cleaning materials and toiletries ordered. Staff can keep track of laundry status for uninterrupted linen supply.

Online reservation system: This software package is essential to any accommodation place. It helps you increase direct online bookings instantly. Prospective guests can view hotel rooms (size, choice of beds), availability and prices, plus services and facilities offered. The systems should have instant confirmation of credit card payments or other secure online payment method. After payment of deposit and confirmation by email, guests should be able to login to view or change their reservation details. Cancellation policies should be stated, airport transport options mentioned.

Hospitality management systems for point of sale (POS) operations : This includes restaurants and bars, the hotel gift shop, spa, tour desk and other guest services. It should have the options of direct payment or charge to room. Apart from recording normal vending operations, it should include issuing daily transaction reports to management or the accounting office, and a daily revenue report.

In the POS sector there are many operating hospitality management systems catering for the food vendor sector, namely restaurants, cafés, takeaway shops and delis.

Restaurant (POS) management packages. For POS management packages, you have the choice of an off-the-shelf system for restaurants and cafes, where you can set the options that suit your operation, or a customized one, specifically configured for your business. Most systems are quite easy to use and are cost effective. Their features vary, but most offer the following: Order taking, tallying, and cashier options using a hand-held PDA system. Credit-card processing interface Receipts customized for your business. The more advanced systems also offer: Integrating all transactions with your accounting software. Full inventory / stocktaking facility Translation facilities to selected languages.

Administration software: This module is directed at top management and offers access to all levels of the organization. It provides instant access to the data base of all sectors, ensuring total transparency of operations Overseeing and early intervention by senior staff can prevent mistakes being made by inexperienced employees and save money and the reputation of your business. Other facilities in this package may include:

Tools for setting different rate systems for rooms and services: daily, seasonal, special promotions, etc. Statistical data – percentage occupancy over set periods, and other data used for policy making and customized reports for board meeting presentations. Organizing promotions and package deals. Inventory for different departments. Employee accounts and employee training programs

Remember: with the high staff turnover common to the hospitality industry, it is important to choose a system that needs minimal training to use, and has 'secure areas', which only authorized personnel (with the proper clearance) may access and use.

Choosing and introducing hospitality management systems for your business is a significant undertaking, both operationally and financially. But once up and running, the system will increase efficiency, cut costs and improve the service in your company. You will have happier staff and happier guests, who will promote your business and ultimately increase your revenue.



Source by Leith James

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Guest blog: Why Use the 3W Rule for Action Items?

How many meetings seem to generate good ideas, accomplish valuable problem solving, or make the right decision? If these meetings are producing the desired results during the time people are together, why is so little getting done afterwards? The problem with follow-through from a meeting is most likely due to poor assignment of action items. To resolve the action issue, use the 3W rule for assigning actions. The 3 W’s stand for What, Who, and When questions.

What is the action to do? Understand what needs to be done and why it is important to the project or team. This means taking responsibility for carrying out meeting work. In wording the action item, be sure to use action verbs and be prepared to provide some detail on what is actually necessary to consider the action correctly completed. Then assignment of the action with a due date becomes easier.

Who will do the action? The action must be given to someone or it will not get done. This is a team or project member agreeing to be reliable for activities required to carry out assigned tasks. The action can be assigned to the best qualified person or someone in the meeting may volunteer to do the action. If the action is assigned to someone outside the meeting, someone in the meeting needs to take an action to explain it to the person who is assigned the action.

When is the action due? The due date is an actual calendar date when the action must be completed by for the team or project to accomplish their work. This equates to being accountable for doing outside meeting tasks. By assigning a date, the person taking the action will be able to schedule the new task with their other work and be able to determine if there may be reasons why the action may not be completed by desired date.

Proper assignment of the what, who, and when from the 3W rule will reduce the problem related to follow-through outside of meetings. Now the meetings can not only produce the desired results during attendance, but afterwards as well since more actions will get done. Better action assignment will aid in testing good ideas and solutions to problems, as well as implementing any decisions that are made.



Source by Shirley Lee

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Guest blog: The Importance of Human Resources Management For Hotels

One of the most important departments of any hotel staff is human resources management. Proper human resources management can be the difference between a really well run hotel and a poorly one hotel. The human resources manager can control almost the whole feeling and presence of the entire hotel. This makes the importance of human resources management for hotels very evident.

There are several different areas in which human resources management is very important. One of these areas is for newly hired employees. The employees that are hired in a hotel can really alter the quality of service and the whole atmosphere of the hotel. This means that it is very important to pick upbeat, dedicated workers for each position. It is the job of the human resources manager to make sure that good people are chosen to work in the hotel. In many cases many hotel workers are only participating in hotel work because they can find nothing else to do. Not very many people have a dream of running or serving in a hotel environment. However, there are some people who do want to work in that capacity, and it is the job of the human resources manager to find those people.

Retention of employees is another large problem in the hotel service business. Since so many of the employees do not have hotel work as their ending career goals, many of them only work in a hotel for a short amount of time. Other employees may have to be let go because of poor work ethics or other issues. However, there are ways that a hotel human resources manager can curb some of the desire and likelihood that employees will move to other jobs quickly. The importance of human resources management for hotels is very large in this area. Managers can provide good training and incentive programs that will cause employees to stay longer at the hotel. Having a clear progression plan to advance to higher levels of service will also cause employees to stick around much longer.

The issue of employee progression and promotion is also another large issue for the hotel industry. The importance of human resources management for hotels is proven in this area. Hotels which provide ways for employees to advance in position, or that provide training for employees so that they can gain skills necessary for an advanced position are very important to the retention rate of employees. It is easy to implement services of this nature and the expense is negligible compared to the expense and time necessary to constantly find new employees to replace the ones that always leave shortly after being hired. One of the easiest things to implement is English lessons. Many hotel employees do not speak English very well, and so it is a great incentive for them to stay working at a hotel if they are offered English lessons.

The importance of human resources management for hotels is also important in the area of employee services. If the employees know they can come to the human resources manager whenever they have a problem or issue then it is easier for them to work in good conscience. Many human resources departments implement different games and activities to make the work environment more interesting and fun for employees. There are many different services that a human resources manager can think of to help employee morale. Maybe the hotel could implement a babysitting service, or have a park day every year. These little services go a long way towards making happy employees. Happy employees make happy companies and happy customers.

As you can see, the importance of human resources management for hotels is very great. There are thousands of ways that a human resources manager can make a hotel run more smoothly and more efficiently. There are many different areas that can benefit from the experience and guidance of a human resources manager. Therefore it is very important to not undermine the manager’s importance. Without the human resources manager a hotel is not the same or as pleasing to customers and employees.



Source by Nick Nikolis

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Guest blog: 12 Rules of Constructive Feedback

As a leader you want your team members to develop their skills and improve their performance. It is important to provide them with feedback. Although most of people prefer to receive positive feedback, the truth is that we learn far more from negative feedback.

It is a very hard task to give negative (constructive) feedback. Some managers don’t like it because their employees might react like this – start crying, act defensive, or can give “this look.” Other managers don’t know how to do it correctly: what to say, when, where, or how.

1. Choose the right time

Giving negative feedback long after the event has occurred is a big mistake. People tend to forget that what they did was wrong. Negative feedback should be given as soon as possible after the event.

2. Choose the right place

The golden rule is always give negative feedback in private. Why? Let them “save face.” They might deal with negative emotions and don’t want to be in a public display. It also might cause the other employees to take sides.

3. Control your emotions

Yes, you are very angry that you employee was 30 minutes late, didn’t open the store on time, and you lost some sales. You want to cream “I will fire you.” But please remember that your first reaction and first words when you are frustrated are never right. In this situation people always wish they could take their angry words back. You have to calm down, wait some time till your emotions and anger fizzle down.

4. Avoid giving feedback via e-mail, phones, texts, and notes

The best way to give a feedback is in-person because you want to know that they understand the reason for constructive feedback, and could ask questions.

5. Be prepared

Take the time to plan what you are going to say, to gather information, data, and clarify your thoughts. It is always a good strategy to write down the main points so you can follow them. It is not professional when the manager says after the conversation is finished, “By the way, I completely forgot to tell you (ask you)….”

6. Chose right words and intonation

It is not professional to say: “Your bad attitude”, “your rude behaviour”, and “your bad work ethic.”

Instead of saying, “You were so late yesterday” say

“I felt disappointed when you were late because we lost some sales”

“Our customers were very upset waiting for you for 30 minutes”

The same words can be delivered with a different intonation and depending on how we say it could mean something entirely different.

7. Be specific

Identify specific actions your employee took or specific things he/she said.

“You always”, “you never” might provoke the defensive reaction “No, I am not.”

Instead of saying, “You are always late,” better use this phrase “You were 30 minutes late yesterday”

8. Explain what impact on the team (company)

“You were 30 minutes late yesterday. During this time one of your customers was waiting for you, he was very upset and left the store. He spent $3,000 last month $10,000 over the last year. What if he never comes back to our store? It is a very high price for being late, don’t you think?”

9. Give your employee a chance to talk

Ask questions, find out the reason of their action, “You were late yesterday. What happened?”

10. Make suggestions how to improve

What do you expect him/her to do? As a leader, how can you help him/her to improve?

Does your employee need a sales training? Mentorship? Change shift time?

You could also ask them what kind of help they need to get from you (company) in order to improve their job performance.

11. Finish on the positive note

“I am sure that this conversation won’t happened again. We know you as a great sales person and we wish you to continue your success.”

12. Follow up

It will show your employees that you care about them and are ready to help and support them.

“Let’s have a meeting in two weeks and see what changed.”



Source by Nina Telpoukovskaia

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Guest blog: HR – The Benefits of Having an HR Department

An HR department is an important department in any company. The department handles all the personnel aspects of your company as well as training, paying, and benefits for your employees.

When it comes to hiring and firing employees, the HR department knows the ins and outs of all the jobs – the duties, schedules, and expectations of the job itself and of the area the person would be working in. They can tell, when interviewing, whether the person's personality and skills could be easily integrated into the company work place, and where the person's skills could be best used. In addition, the HR department can also attend job expos, send staff to high schools and universities to entice tomorrow's work force into your company.

Educating your employees, not only on the laws that protect them when it comes to their rights and the National Minimum Wage, it also can develop their skills in other ways by finding courses and classes that upgrade their education or teach them new skills so that they can better benefit your company. Training your employees to do the work in the way that you would like it done is important so that it meets your standards. Your HR department can help in that area, too. In addition, your HR department can train your employees to work safely within their environment and look out for the new guy and each other.

If your company offers benefits, such as medical and dental, your HR department can facilitate that program by maintaining application forms for eligible employees, claim forms, and benefit booklets to distribute to your employees. If there are any identification cards that the insurance company provides for your employees, the HR department can handle the distribution of those, too. They can also provide any answers and information to the questions your employees may have.

The HR department is there so that you and your employees can focus on the success of your company. By dealing with disciplinary issues, hiring, firing, education and training, as well as benefits and remuneration, your employees can do just that. HR can even ensure that your employees receive their earned raises and promotions to keep your employees happy.

Having an HR department is not a necessary, however, and should only be considered if it is feasible for you and your company. Your time is valuable, and if you prefer handling the discipline, education, and payroll of your employees over hiring someone else to do it for you, that is perfectly acceptable in today's business world.



Source by Neil Atkinson

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Guest blog: Are You a Good Employee? The Top Five Ways to Improve Job Performance

In spite of improvements in the economy, the American job market remains tighter than ever. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15 million Americans remain unemployed as of May, 2010. Among teens and young adults the unemployment rate is much higher, nearly three times greater than the rest of the workforce. There are also signs that the unemployment rate may surge by the end of the year. Faced with such grim statistics, the focus for many of us has been finding and nailing that all-important job interview, but anyone with experience in the job market knows that the real challenge begins after getting hired.

That’s right, the need to market yourself to an employer doesn’t end once you’ve filled out the W-2 form. Businesses are watching their workers more closely than ever before, and being a good employee these days isn’t just about striving for a raise or a promotion — it’s about protecting your job security and your future. So what can you do to secure your position and ensure your success once you get hired? Become a great employee! Below are the top five qualities many companies are looking for in their employees along with ways you can improve your job performance.

#5 Wear Appropriate Attire

Appearance matters and the interview isn’t the only time you need to look good for an employer. Don’t just follow your company’s dress code policy; make an effort to look your best every day on the job.

One of the easiest ways to improve job performance begins before work — personal appearance and hygiene can speak volumes about one’s character, and employers know it. Most job seekers are aware that it’s important to dress professionally for an interview, but landing a job does not give you license to stop showering or to start wearing sweatpants to work. Your employer is expecting you to act as professionally on the job as you did during the hiring process, and looking like you just rolled out of bed on your first day will have him or her wondering if hiring you was a mistake.

Dress conservatively and always be well groomed, even if your company has an informal dress code.

Cathy Ward, a business owner since the 1990s, maintains a relaxed dress code at her ecommerce company, but says even businesses with a casual atmosphere still expect a certain degree of professionalism in their employees’ attire.

“Yes, we are a laid back place to work,” Ward says. “That doesn’t mean you can come in dressed like you’re out on a Friday night excursion. That shows us you don’t care about your job and that you can’t make appropriate decisions about important matters.”

You may not need to wear a suit to work, but you do need to carefully follow your employer’s dress code. Being a good employee means never testing your company’s limits and trying to see what you can “get away with.” Your clothing should always be clean, free from wrinkles, and conservative.

A slovenly appearance can cost you your job.

Many businesses factor attire and appearance into employee reviews, and those outfits you threw together from clothes heaped in the laundry basket can cost you a raise, a promotion, or even your future with the company.

#4 Be on Time

This is one of the simplest and easiest requirements of any job, yet it remains one of the biggest headaches faced by employers. Arrive at work at least five minutes early each day and be ready to start working the moment you punch in.

Don’t want to get out of bed in the morning? Before you hit the snooze button you may want to ask yourself if your future is worth that extra five minutes of sleep. Punctuality remains one of the great unresolved problems of many employers, and the crackdown has already begun.

Over the past decade some of the biggest companies in America have started implementing strict or even zero tolerance attendance policies aimed at problem employees, many of which are monitored electronically. Your boss may not notice that you’ve been sneaking in a few minutes late each day, but the company’s computer does, and your tardiness can put your position in jeopardy.

Your attendance affects everyone around you and your company’s bottom line.

A zero tolerance policy may seem a bit harsh, but being late to work has a real economic impact on businesses struggling to remain profitable in a tight economy. Your attendance affects not just your own work but the performance of your coworkers and your company’s ability to do business. Those few minutes every day add up, and the time and productivity lost from all those late starts represents a major expense. Your employer is fully aware that if you aren’t willing to be punctual every day, they can find someone else who is.

“Businesses waste a tremendous amount of time covering for late or no-show employees,” Ward says. “It also puts incredible strain on the people who do show up on time to do their jobs. It isn’t fair to your employer, its clients, or your coworkers, and it shows that you don’t care. If you don’t, you don’t deserve the job.”

Finish all personal activities before you punch in.

Remember that being physically present at your place of business is not the same thing as being on time. Punching in then hanging up your coat, eating breakfast, or chatting with your coworkers for ten minutes is actually worse than simply showing up ten minutes late. If you want to make a pot of coffee or talk about last night’s episode of Dancing with the Stars, fine, but arrive early and get everything taken care of before you’re scheduled to start your day. Once you’re on the clock you should be ready to immediately begin working.

If you can’t avoid being late, notify your employer and prevent it from happening again.

Sometimes fate can conspire to make even a great employee late. A traffic accident, a blown tire, a meteor crashing from the sky; there’s always the risk that some unforeseen occurrence will prevent us from being on time. When this happens it’s your responsibility to contact your employer as soon as possible and to take steps to avoid future delays.

Unexpected hassles are an unfortunate part of commuting, but they aren’t your employer’s problem. Don’t make excuses; just give yourself ample time to get to work each day. That tiny bit of lost sleep is a small price to pay for your success.

#3 Keep a Positive Attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude at work is the key to a successful career in any field or industry. Negative attitudes are self-sustaining and will only make you feel worse about your job while robbing you of opportunities to improve it.

Many people treat their personal attitude like a private matter, but it isn’t — it’s a very public expression of who you are and how you feel about the job. Showing up to work every day with a chip on your shoulder doesn’t just carry over into your performance and hurt your career, it harms everyone around you. Your bad mood will darken your coworkers’ moods, and their annoyance will blow back onto you — creating a feedback loop of stressful negativity and conflict that accomplishes nothing.

A lesson from Sunday school: Treat your coworkers the same way you want them to treat you.

Avoiding cycles of negativity and having a great attitude means making a mental commitment to keeping positive about your work and being supportive of your coworkers. Do you have to like everyone you work with? No, but you are obligated to give them the same deference and respect you want them to give you. This simple “Sunday school” concept is at the heart of professionalism and is the key ingredient of teamwork and a successful work environment.

Your attitude is communicated through more than words alone.

Also keep in mind that much if not most of our communication is non-verbal and that everything you do conveys your mood. Your facial expressions, appearance, the slouch of your shoulders, the way you walk, and especially your tone of voice (think sarcasm) clearly express how you really feel. Going through the motions of being polite will backfire if your teeth are always clenched or if you’re constantly slamming down the phone. Attitude comes from within, so don’t just settle for being passive aggressive — work on genuinely improving your outlook.

If your job makes you miserable and you can’t improve your attitude, find another job.

But what if your job is so mind-numbing you just can’t feel good about it? Or if your boss truly is unbearable? Or deep down you hate how your company does business? Should you just learn to live with it? Teach them all a lesson by being a problem employee? Absolutely not, explains Bob Bryant, owner of the merchant services company ProcessForLess.com. He adds that if you really can’t stand your job, then it’s time to find another one.

“Attitude is everything,” Bryant says. “If you are only working where you are for the money, consider searching for a position that you enjoy. Spare your employer your bad attitude and poor performance.”

Businesses do not have the time to resolve your interpersonal conflicts or to make life decisions for you.

If you really dislike your job or keep finding yourself in intractable conflicts with your coworkers, the only things within your power to change are your attitude and the job itself. There’s nothing wrong with discovering that a particular work environment isn’t right for you, but if you’re truly unhappy then it’s up to you to improve the situation. Your employer is obligated to pay a fair wage and treat you with respect, not mediate your disagreements or obsess over your mental well being.

Cathy Ward agrees. She explains that while workplace disagreements are inevitable, employees need to be positive, respectful, and resolve conflicts as adults. She adds that businesses simply do not have the time to deal with overly negative employees. “This isn’t daycare,” Ward says. “Behave. Believe it or not, times are tough and most businesses are struggling to stay on top of this recession. Don’t waste our time by forcing us to intercede on petty disagreements.”

Use self-examination to make yourself aware of your own attitude.

But is your attitude really that bad? Seeing yourself as others do can be tricky, and it’s important to be as objective as possible when examining your behavior. Below are some of the trademarks of a great employee — try to answer the following questions as honestly as possible:

– Do you complain or whine that you would rather be doing something else?

– Do you engage in gossip or point out the faults of fellow employees?

– Do you check emotional baggage at the door, or do you discuss personal matters that are inappropriate to the workplace?

– Do you downplay the efforts of your coworkers, or take credit for things you didn’t do?

– Are you polite and considerate in all interactions with employees and supervisors, regardless of whether you agree with them or like them personally?

– Do you treat problems as challenges that can be solved as a team, or as the personal failure of your company, supervisor, or coworkers?

– Are you willing to talk through and amicably resolve workplace conflicts, or do you treat them as fights you need to win?

– Are you open and accepting of modifications to workplace procedure, or do you actively resist every change?

Try this exercise to see yourself the way your employer sees you.

Still not sure if you have the right attitude for your job? Here’s an easy exercise for seeing yourself the way your employer does:

Think of yourself as a one-person business (in a way that’s exactly what you are). Now imagine that your employer is your customer. Your employer has the right to expect the same attitude and behavior from you that you would expect from a business when you are shopping or buying a service. Really look at the “experience of you” that you give your employer every day. Ask yourself if you’ve given them reasons to keep coming back to your business. Would you want to buy something from you?

A great attitude doesn’t mean being happy 100% of the time or somehow getting everyone to like you, but it does mean being honest with yourself and your coworkers. A good employee constantly strives to be upbeat and professional. Keeping that attitude no matter where you find yourself will make your job a better place to work, and your employers will appreciate you for it.

#2 Appreciate the Job

You have to appreciate your job and your employer if you want your employer to appreciate you.

Lately there’s been a tendency in popular culture to depict most companies as greedy, mismanaged behemoths populated with spectacularly incompetent middle managers who are completely out of touch with reality. We’ve all seen news reports about executive bonuses, or watched TV shows like The Office, or read comic strips like Dilbert. Yes, over the past ten years the images of have employers has taken a real beating. But while it’s true there are plenty of immoral businesses and ineffective managers out there, many employees now take it for granted that they know better than their bosses or that it’s acceptable to get one over on their employer.

This perception has led to a sense of entitlement and ingratitude that many problem employees have used to justify a variety of questionable behaviors ranging from poor attendance (see above), to insubordination, to simple laziness, to even outright theft. However, this sense completely ignores the fact that most companies are small and independently owned businesses, not mega-corporations, and that the vast majority of these employers are operating in the most ethically responsible way that they can. As for your clueless boss, chances are he or she worked hard to get to where they are today. They may not always be right, but they do have knowledge of the job born from experience.

Many companies and managers welcome fresh perspectives and ideas from their employees, but that doesn’t mean you get to act like the CEO. You need to appreciate that there’s probably good reasons things are the way they are, and unless you’re omniscient you likely don’t know them all. Even if your ideas are great, you still need to show proper courtesy when you share them.

“Most employees have no idea what it takes to run a company,” says Cathy Ward. “I know that now that I’m a boss. If an employee questions something I do, that’s fine, but they need to do so respectfully. I have reasons for many of my decisions that come from twenty years experience.”

“It’s not easy being a boss,” adds Adam Williams*, a human resources consultant. “It’s even harder these days when so many people automatically assume their boss is stupid. When I coach managers I tell them if they see signs of disrespect from an employee once or twice, they need to confront that person. From there the employee either needs to get on board or drown.”

The fact is that no matter where you work or whom you work for, there’s no such thing as job entitlement. No, your employer is not obligated to act on your ideas, but you are obligated to complete your assignments, even if they seem pointless. By the same token it’s never acceptable to shirk a task, skip work, or steal simply because you feel your employer isn’t perfect. Your job, and the perks that come with it, need to be earned.

Respect is a two-way street. If you want to be an active part of your company and treated as a good employee, great, but you need to first appreciate the job and the huge amount of effort that goes into running any company. Unless you have that appreciation, your employer will never appreciate you.

#1 Work to the Best of Your Ability

Do your absolute best to fully complete any task, duty, or assignment regardless of whether it’s something you enjoy doing or not.

There’s an old saying that goes, “Close enough for government work.” Avoid this mentality (especially if you actually work for the government) and commit yourself to putting forth your best effort to every aspect of your job — never walk way from something that is merely “close enough.” Consistently giving your best is a fundamental unwritten rule of any job, and it’s the most important quality for ensuring your success throughout your career.

Doing your best can lower stress and make work more fun.

Giving your best can also make your job easier and a lot more enjoyable. Bob Bryant points out that when an employee works to the best of his or her ability, they inspire their coworkers to do the same. This not only increases productivity but can make any environment a more pleasant place to work.

“Work doesn’t have to be fun, but it can be,” Bryant says. “When everyone makes that extra effort you can actually see the stress level of the workplace decrease. People start having more fun even as their performance improves.”

Bryant says that just as with attitude the opposite is also true, and workers who fail to focus on their tasks can make everyone else’s jobs more difficult and hurt morale. “If you can’t get behind the people you work with and support them to your fullest capacity,” Bryant says, “you do both them and yourself a disservice.”

Seek help and ask for clarification when you need it.

Bryant adds, “People sometimes mistake doing your best with being perfect. That’s simply not true. If you don’t understand what’s being asked of you or honestly don’t feel you’re capable of handling it on your own, it’s OK to go to someone for help.”

Ward agrees, and notes that, “It always takes longer to fix a mistake than it does to take an extra moment to learn how to do it right the first time. If you don’t know, ask.”

Never leave something unfinished or try to sweep a project under the rug simply because it is unfamiliar or difficult. While you should avoid causing your coworkers too many distractions, there is no shame in reaching out for assistance once in a while, especially if you are new to a position. It shows you care about the job and are committed to seeing it done right.

When you make a mistake, accept responsibility and work to resolve it quickly. Take the initiative to prevent it from happening again.

But until the robots take over, all of us are human and mistakes are unavoidable. When they happen, face the problem head-on and don’t make excuses. Trying to weasel your way out of a mistake you made by fabricating a story or blaming someone else ultimately wastes everyone’s time and is a poor reflection on your character. Identify what caused the problem, do whatever you need to do to correct the issue, and work out a plan to prevent it from happening again. Employers have far more respect for employees who take responsibility for their actions than those who don’t, and your integrity will take you far in the long run.

Grow with your position while consistently striving to improve your performance.

When an employer hires you, he or she is making a bet on your future. Your company is going to invest time and resources into training you because they believe you will be an asset to their business. Doing the bare minimum of work or resisting change stalls that investment. It makes it harder for the company to grow and makes it inestimably more difficult for you to grow with the company.

Working to improve your performance and to consistently raise your personal standards doesn’t just benefit your employer, it benefits you — and not just with raises and promotions. It makes your work more engaging, your days more enjoyable, and prepares you for a great future. You spend a lot of time working, after all, so why not make it the best experience you can?

Committing Yourself to Being a Good Employee Will Help You Succeed in Any Economy

With nearly one in every ten Americans still out of work, embarking on a career is more difficult now than in recent memory. So, if you are currently employed, take a moment to congratulate yourself on making it this far — we all know it wasn’t easy. But next think about the commitment you’ve made to your appearance, your attendance, your attitude and outlook, and whether you’re ready to give your best. These are simple ways to improve your job performance that will make you a great employee and will give you the tools to succeed and develop your dream career, no matter what the economic outlook. Good luck and get to work!

*Name changed due to confidential requirements of employment.



Source by Brian Cross

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Guest blog: Offshore Employee Leasing: A Strategic Management Option

Business outsourcing is a widely known compelling strategic management option several companies are adopting nowadays. From small to large scale establishments, they have been using it to continually maintain their stable status in today's overly competitive market. Its emerging power as a business tool is undoubted.

Offshore Outsourcing is a program in which non-core operations are delegated from a company's internal unit to an overseas external supplier. This set-up enables you to focus on your business core competencies. Companies in various parts of the word deploy this program in the purpose of obtaining better profit margins and decreasing overhead costs.

Through the business outsourcing model, you'll be relieved of the usual burdens accompanying the implementation of traditional recruitment processes and staff maintenance.

Having an outsourcing company to rely on gives you the benefit of deferment from several human resources related fees such as non productive administrative costs, government taxes, levies, unemployment insurance costs, in-house training expenses, etc.

There would be no further need to worry about the equipments needed before an employee could begin. Every leased employee has their own table, comfortable working area, computer, efficient internet access, and everything they could possibly need. With just a go signal from you, they could begin right away.

Outsourcing offshore gives you an extended resource pool of skilled personnel. Moreover, you can take advantage of the value of less than par foreign currencies. You will only be paying us a fraction of the cost in comparison to the actual charges of using local manpower resources in your area.

This program enables your company to function more efficiently by having all manpower services you need without worrying about manpower related fees.

Employees' regular in-house trainings and constant progress check are also conducted upon job placement to continually enhance their skills.

Prime Outsourcing, a trustworthy supplier of offshore leased employees and IT related outsourcing services, offers you the best cost and quality edge in today's overly competitive market. Our company currently has a very stable and credible status in the industry, proving it worthy to invest your money and trust unto.

Our objective is to assist several local and multinational enterprises attain their full potential as well as increase their ability to compete.

Our company has the perfect Asian location- Manila, Philippines- the heart of the largest English speaking country in Asia. With this strategic location, you surely will be encountering no difficulties in communicating with our employees. Our people have excellent English verbal and written skills.

Our services have already been globally proven reliable and easily available. You definitely will experience no difficulties in choosing the best employee that will most certainly suit your needs and meet up with your qualifications. Our company features an integrated team of marketing and IT professionals who understand and practice the latest in Information technology. All of them are college graduates with several years of experience in their respective fields. These individuals exhibit professionalism, high competence, flexibility and dedication to excellence.

We will also take the responsibility of recruiting and sourcing highly qualified applicants, in accordance to the requirements that you had specified, that will comprise your staff overseas.

In short, we will be handling almost all of the routine maintenance and development tasks for you. Due to the improved organizational efficiency, you can now give your sole concentration to your company's strategic growth and development.

We have two types of solutions that you could try, depending on the package that would suit your needs most.

The first one is the "dedicated staff package". In this set-up, your leased employee will work for you full time-eight hours a day, six days a week, four weeks a month. There would be no need to worry about conflicting schedules since every employee is flexible to your prescribed time frame.

The other one is the "per project package". Provide us the specific requirements then we'll do the rest for you. We will be arriving at a fixed price after estimating the amount of time and resources involved in your project. Afterwards, a project plan would be presented to you for your approval.

These service packages are available in reasonably low prices, promising you of enormous savings without sacrificing quality.

Services and solutions offered by the company:

oData entry, processing and conversion

oData capture and image scanning

oForms processing services

oTyping and word processing

oWeb research services

oOnline research, survey and catalogs

Medical transcription

oDocuments and record management

oProgramming

oCreative writing

oAnd much more!

Outsourcing human resources to us gives you all the cost, quality, and time advantages that only Prime Outsourcing could provide. Give us a try and experience our prime quality services. Here at Prime Outsourcing, our primary goal is to provide ultimate customer satisfaction. Feel free to visit our website at: http://www.primeoutsourcing.com/

You absolutely have high dreams for your company, come and make it happen with us!



Source by Megan Bautista