Midsize Business ERP – Great Plains Standard vs. Professional

Midsize Business ERP – Great Plains Standard vs. Professional

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Source: Flickr

If you are in the growing mode and reach the point when you need to move away from old accounting application and incorporate something, which could be considered as industry standard ERP, you should know general direction and where to look for additional information. Microsoft Business Solutions gives you several ERP packages to choose from: Microsoft Great Plains Standard/Professional/Small Business Financials, Microsoft Navision, Microsoft Axapta, Microsoft CRM. In this small article we will concentrate on Microsoft Great Plains selection options.
• Pricing. Microsoft Great Plains Professional price is about two times higher than Microsoft Great Plains Standard. You should probably know the history. Current Great Plains Standard was formerly available on Pervasive SQL and ctree and the product line name was Great Plains Dynamics. This product was targeted to midsize and small businesses (with growing potential, for tiny business you should consider MYOB, Peachtree, Quickbooks, etc. )
• Database. Currently both products (since version 7.5) are available on MS SQL Server. Standard is also available on MSDE and MS SQL Select 2005. Here we are talking about midsize business and MS SQL Server 2000/2005
• Additional Modules. Obviously both products have standard set of modules: General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, SOP, POP, Inventory Control, Payroll, HR – Human Resources. However if you are large/midsize business you may need additional modules: Customer/Vendor Consolidation, Intercompany Transactions, Manufacturing, Service Suite and others.
• GP Standard Limitations. Number of GPS users has cap 10 users. Also in Payroll/HR you are limited to 500 employees
• eConnect. Large corporation usually has inhouse web and software developers. In this case you can consider creating web interface for multiple users (and doing so avoid numerous and expensive GP users licenses). eConnect is available for both GPP and GPS. In our opinion, however – this is temporary gap – when Microsoft Business Solutions will decide that eConnect should be user-licensed this might be stopped. eConnect is currently not available for Small Business Financials.
• New Version.
MBS Great Plains Standard and Professional version 9.0 is scheduled to be released in September 2005
• Industries. Great Plains Professional should be considered as ERP platform in the following industries: Aerospace & Defense, Beverages, Apparels, Conglomerates, Textile, Services, Non-for-profit, Transportation &Logistics, Warehouse management/Shipping & Receiving, Distribution, Wholesale & Retail, Government, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Placement & Recruiting, Healthcare & Hospitals.
• Cross-Platform integrations. Combining Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains ERP with non-Microsoft Business System or CRM: Lotus Notes Domino, Oracle, DB2
Good luck and you can always seek our help in customization, implementation, integration and support. Call us: 1-866-528-0577 or 1-630-961-5918, help@albaspectrum.com

Executive Career Coaching: Providing Solutions To Succession Planning Challenges

Executive Career Coaching: Providing Solutions To Succession Planning Challenges

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Source: Flickr

Organizations today are facing several challenges and talent management is one of the greatest. According to a poll conducted by OI Partners, Inc., the number one challenge facing the HR profession is leadership development and succession planning. Attracting, developing, and retaining quality talent is more costly and has a greater impact on the bottom-line than ever before. Retiring baby-boomers, the expectations of Gen X and Gen Y employees, and the new definition of “long-term” employment add up to a drastic shift in the way organizations are managing their talent.

One effective way to overcome these challenges is to implement a succession planning initiative. This proactive approach to ensuring future leadership talent offers many benefits. Studies have shown that organizations with succession planning programs have a higher retention rate of human capital and a reduction in recruitment and compensation costs.

Succession planning has to be more than matching employees with forecasted vacancies. Consideration must be made for the future direction of the organization as well as the direction of the employees intended career path. This ensures that the employee is engaged in the process, committed to the organization, and has a vested interest in the company’s success.

Obstacles to Implementing a Succession Plan

While there are numerous benefits to succession planning, there are also challenges such as limited resources and expertise within the company. Without the assistance of external consultants and coaches, implementing a succession planning initiative can drain an organization’s resources. The most effective programs capitalize on the talent available throughout the company during the implementation phase, however, companies often lack the resources needed for ongoing management. In addition, utilizing external resources provides expertise in succession planning and offers an objective perspective.

Coaching as a Resource

Executive Career Coaching can provide assistance with career management and employee development at the individual level. Using individual coaching and assessments, the coach will guide the employees through the selection of the career path within the organization that best matches their interests and abilities. Once a career path has been chosen, the coach will help the employee prepare for their next promotion.

The career coach can administer assessments such as the DISC, PVQ, and the Enneagram to help the employee gain clarity in the areas of motivators, interests, values and strengths. The feedback obtained from the assessments is essential in creating a career management plan. During the coaching engagement, employees will compare this information along with their experience and education to key leadership positions and determine the strongest fit. This process ensures that employees are matched with the correct positions, reducing the possibility of employee disengagement and turnover at the executive level.

In addition to career pathing, an executive career coach will assist in the creation of development plans. The steps outlined in the development plan will be based on the information gathered during a gap analysis. Comparing the employee’s current level to the experience, skills, and education needed for the next promotion will give the coach and executive a clear picture of where to focus their coaching sessions. Execution of the development plan during the coaching engagement results in promotion readiness.

Benefits of Succession Planning

Identifying and developing strong leaders for future roles is critical to the ongoing success of an organization. Without an effective succession planning program in place, companies will face greater challenges than those incurred during the implementation of a program, including:

• Waging the “War on Talent”
• Fewer leaders prepared to take on new roles
• Obstacles to achieving strategic goals

Attracting and retaining high-potential employees is costly. However, it is not as costly as the turnover of high-potential employees. Studies have shown that superior performers are 50% to 100% more effective than the average performer.

Using these statistics, if an average performer generates $250,000 in new business each year; a superior performer will generate between $375,000 and $500,000 in new business. By developing and promoting the superior performer to a leadership role, they have the potential to increase the productivity of the team. As an example, this leader can increase the revenues of a team generating $2.5M to $5M.

Given the possibility of increased profits, meeting the employee’s desire for career growth is both a financial and strategic advantage.

Because growth and development are benefits highly sought after in a potential employer, organizations with highly publicized succession planning initiatives and career management programs become “employers of choice”, thereby making it easier to attract top talent and reduce turnover.

Most employers are unaware of how much turnover costs them each year or how to reduce this number. Assuming a fifteen percent turnover rate and turnover costs of twenty-five percent of an employee’s annual compensation, an organization with one thousand employees and an average compensation of $50,000 will incur $1,875,000 in costs each year. Given that half of all turnover is avoidable, this organization could save $937,500 each year by investing in employee retention strategies.

The Added Benefits of Using Career Coaching as a Resource for Succession Planning Programs

Utilizing a Career Coach in your succession plan initiative allows leaders and Human Resources to focus on effectively managing and evaluating the program. An external career coach provides a confidential environment where the employees are free to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face in their careers and establish plans to overcome them.

One of the greatest benefits the coach offers is preparing the organization’s existing talent for future leadership roles. They take the organization’s human capital to the next level through the use of assessments, powerful questions, and individual development plans. Promoting from within provides benefits, such as:

• Reduced recruitment costs. The need for external recruiting is lessened for executive level position, which reduces headhunter fees (between 25% and 33% of the candidate’s total compensation) Ex. An executive placed by a headhunter with an annual compensation package of $200,000 would incur fees between $50,000 and $66,666.

• Reduction of executive compensation. According to Towers Perrin, external candidates are generally paid 20% to 30% more than internals that are promoted because externals needs a financial reason to make a career change.

• Promoting internal candidates offers the employer the benefit of knowing their track record, strengths, and their development needs. External candidates, unless personally known, only reveal as much or as little information as they deem appropriate, leaving the organization to rely on the interview process, assessments, and references to complete the picture.

Thriving succession planning initiatives balance the strategic direction of the organization with the career aspirations of its high potential employees. They also rely on external consultants and coaches to provide expertise, an objective perspective and additional resources.

Executives who engage in coaching during the succession program have a clear direction of where they are going and how they are going to get there. In contrast, executives that are not offered coaching are not as well prepared to map out their career path or develop the skills they need for future promotions. Executive career coaching facilitates the process of creating successful careers and developing future leaders.

Leading Change: Pick Up Your Own Room (But No One Else’s) . . .

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Source: Flickr


Just this morning, my wife Holly caught me “red-handed” straightening up my 12 year-old’s room.

This, not 2 hours after we both communicated to our precious Katie in no uncertain terms that she would go no where, see no one, do no thing until she removed the ½ eaten sandwich, empty sprite cans, soiled laundry . . . and only the Creator knows what else… to reveal what once was, and could be again – a nicely appointed pre-teen bedroom.

As Holly observed (and shared in a manner unfit to print here)…

I was truly serving no purpose and no one by doing Katie’s job for her. Not me, not the family, and certainly not Katie.

Sponsors, Change Leaders, Consultants – Are you “Picking Up Someone Else’s Room”? Trying to get someone else to pick up yours?

If your organization is engaged in change — and it is — there are literally & figuratively places you can not go, people you can not see, and things you can not do until your room is picked up . . . and Only You can do it.

Attention Change Sponsors:

1) YOU CAN NOT DELEGATE SPONSORSHIP.

– YOU must clearly communicate where you’re going & why

– YOU must consistently “live” your message — with visible actions that overtly model and support the shifts you’re asking of the organization

– YOU must allocate the necessary resources (technical, human, financial) to get the real work of change done.

Your sharper, more seasoned Change Team members won’t let you try to peddle these responsibilities off on them anyway – but then again, Change Leadership Mastery isn’t exactly the norm in most organizations. So save yourself some heartache, and your organization some money . . . Pick Up Your Own Room.

** Yes, those with the “juice” to do so throughout the orgnization must do all of this as well. The gurus call it “Cascading Sponsorship.” But if the “video” from the top of the organization doesn’t match the “audio” from the middle . . . this change (and the next, and the next) will fail, period.

2) Now – Get Out Of The Way — and Let Your Change Team Do Their Jobs.

Sponsoring Change while simultaneously running the business is a full time gig. This is where your head and heart belong — being a good SPONSOR, period. Driving change at the tactical level — even if you were good at it (and you’re not) — is a terribly irresponsible way to invest your time, energy, talents, and political capital.

Attention Change Execution Team (Change Leaders, Consultants, etc.):

1) You can’t run (only) the second ½ of the play.

Not in this game – the price & risk of failure is just too high.

You need to be there WHEN THE PLAYS ARE FIRST CALLED – at the very onset — to guide your execs in crafting the strategy. (And don’t whine about not being invited to the locker room until halftime. If that’s the case, find another team – this one’s going to lose anyway.)

2) Beware the Lazy Sponsor.

Well, lazy is less accurate in most cases than simply uneducated — uneducated about what it really takes to properly sponsor (effectively express, model, and reinforce) change.

In any case . . . Don’t Pick Up Their Room (try to do their job for them).

Yeah, I know – sounds ridiculous, but the allure can be incredibly strong. It’s the “fool’s gold” of our arena. I get calls everyday from OD / HR folks and internal consultants trying to take on major change efforts without any real sponsorship in place.

Bright, credentialed professionals who have been lulled into the idea that they can actually be surrogate sponsors — because they’ve been given some training budget and project management headcount for their change projects. Afterall, they’re the resident change experts anyway . . . and “Joe Bob” Sponsor is just too busy finalizing the latest merger.

The next time your Execs try to throw money (in lieu of genuine sponsorship) behind a major change initiative, invest it in “T” Bills or double-up on the shrimp trays at the next retreat . . . Either will produce a much healthier ROI than even the most educated and skilled workforce engaged in ill-sponsored change.

Gotta Go . . . Katie left a flip-flop downstairs, and the dog thinks it’s a ribeye.

– Stone

Leading Change: Pick Up Your Own Room (But No One Else’s) . . .

Leading Change: Pick Up Your Own Room (But No One Else’s) . . .

ACU HRM Network Conference 2016 - 'HR steps up'
Source: Flickr


Just this morning, my wife Holly caught me “red-handed” straightening up my 12 year-old’s room.

This, not 2 hours after we both communicated to our precious Katie in no uncertain terms that she would go no where, see no one, do no thing until she removed the ½ eaten sandwich, empty sprite cans, soiled laundry . . . and only the Creator knows what else… to reveal what once was, and could be again – a nicely appointed pre-teen bedroom.

As Holly observed (and shared in a manner unfit to print here)…

I was truly serving no purpose and no one by doing Katie’s job for her. Not me, not the family, and certainly not Katie.

Sponsors, Change Leaders, Consultants – Are you “Picking Up Someone Else’s Room”? Trying to get someone else to pick up yours?

If your organization is engaged in change — and it is — there are literally & figuratively places you can not go, people you can not see, and things you can not do until your room is picked up . . . and Only You can do it.

Attention Change Sponsors:

1) YOU CAN NOT DELEGATE SPONSORSHIP.

– YOU must clearly communicate where you’re going & why

– YOU must consistently “live” your message — with visible actions that overtly model and support the shifts you’re asking of the organization

– YOU must allocate the necessary resources (technical, human, financial) to get the real work of change done.

Your sharper, more seasoned Change Team members won’t let you try to peddle these responsibilities off on them anyway – but then again, Change Leadership Mastery isn’t exactly the norm in most organizations. So save yourself some heartache, and your organization some money . . . Pick Up Your Own Room.

** Yes, those with the “juice” to do so throughout the orgnization must do all of this as well. The gurus call it “Cascading Sponsorship.” But if the “video” from the top of the organization doesn’t match the “audio” from the middle . . . this change (and the next, and the next) will fail, period.

2) Now – Get Out Of The Way — and Let Your Change Team Do Their Jobs.

Sponsoring Change while simultaneously running the business is a full time gig. This is where your head and heart belong — being a good SPONSOR, period. Driving change at the tactical level — even if you were good at it (and you’re not) — is a terribly irresponsible way to invest your time, energy, talents, and political capital.

Attention Change Execution Team (Change Leaders, Consultants, etc.):

1) You can’t run (only) the second ½ of the play.

Not in this game – the price & risk of failure is just too high.

You need to be there WHEN THE PLAYS ARE FIRST CALLED – at the very onset — to guide your execs in crafting the strategy. (And don’t whine about not being invited to the locker room until halftime. If that’s the case, find another team – this one’s going to lose anyway.)

2) Beware the Lazy Sponsor.

Well, lazy is less accurate in most cases than simply uneducated — uneducated about what it really takes to properly sponsor (effectively express, model, and reinforce) change.

In any case . . . Don’t Pick Up Their Room (try to do their job for them).

Yeah, I know – sounds ridiculous, but the allure can be incredibly strong. It’s the “fool’s gold” of our arena. I get calls everyday from OD / HR folks and internal consultants trying to take on major change efforts without any real sponsorship in place.

Bright, credentialed professionals who have been lulled into the idea that they can actually be surrogate sponsors — because they’ve been given some training budget and project management headcount for their change projects. Afterall, they’re the resident change experts anyway . . . and “Joe Bob” Sponsor is just too busy finalizing the latest merger.

The next time your Execs try to throw money (in lieu of genuine sponsorship) behind a major change initiative, invest it in “T” Bills or double-up on the shrimp trays at the next retreat . . . Either will produce a much healthier ROI than even the most educated and skilled workforce engaged in ill-sponsored change.

Gotta Go . . . Katie left a flip-flop downstairs, and the dog thinks it’s a ribeye.

– Stone

BPO Companies-the Latest Business Trend

BPO Companies-the Latest Business Trend

Fórum Vagas
Source: Flickr

The world of business has dramatically changed and
continues to rapidly change every single day. What we
know today can only last for a few months or years, if
we are lucky. What we know yesterday might as well be
considered a thing of the past tomorrow.
That is how
fast the business world is changing. So companies all
over the globe have to learn to adapt and do it fast.

Before, the business trend is to be a
jack-of-all-trades. To be successful, a business has
to have everything a client needs in one roof-a
one-stop shop. And companies of olden times try to do
just that.

Hire all the kinds of personnel they need for every
department in their company. However, that is a thing
of the past now. The economic market today requires
specialization. Consumers want to have every product
or service tailored to their particular need.
Consumers don’t want generic products anymore.

They want special treatment and the best of quality
service they can get. So, having everything under a
company’s roof does not seem useful anymore. Keeping
all business processes under one roof now proves not
only to be costly but impractical as well.

This is because monitoring each and every one of them
to ensure the best quality is served and tailored to
every client need has become tedious and almost
impossible. Keeping experts in-house is also proved to
be expensive in the long run.

The need for specialization and focus on the company’s
real core business has spun the trend of hiring
Business Process Outsourcing companies, or what is
more popularly known as BPO. Business process
outsourcing companies have now sprouted and
proliferated in countries where labor cost is not so
expensive, such as China, India and the Philippines,
and lately, the Middle East.

BPO companies in these countries and region provide
services to bigger, more often multi-national,
companies that want to focus on their core business
processes so they just delegate generic tasks, or
processes that are of lesser importance, to outside
provider or supplier of services.

The philosophy of companies these days is to “…do
what they do best and outsource the rest.” And it is a
very sensible philosophy at that. And more and more
companies are catching on it.

The list of services that are most commonly outsourced
include, HR solutions, Accounting and Financial
Services, Customer Care Services, Call Centers, IT
Help Desk Services, Marketing tools and solutions, and
other nitty-gritty details that most companies want to
be free of.

These are necessary business processes-yes, that is
true. However, companies now realize that it is more
practical to delegate these tasks and focus on sales
or production, or whatever their company is all about.

In India and Philippines, more and more BPO companies
are establishing business centers in their
territories, capitalizing on the affordable workforce
cost and the abundant supply of highly-trained trained
professionals. The Middle East has also become one of
the newest hub for BPO companies for its multi-lingual
populace and its strategic location, giving it a
favorable time zone. Added attraction for this region
is the possibilities for oil investments and business
expansion opportunities.

In India, you can find the following successful
business process outsourcing companies: Accenture;
Convergys; HCL BPO; Genpact; GE India; IBM Daksh; TCS
BPO; Transworks; Wipro BPO; and WNS Global Services.
Meanwhile, the Philippines’ list of BPO companies
includes companies from the United Kingdom, the United
States and Japan.

Human Resources 101a

Human Resources 101a

DSC_0252-61
Source: Flickr

Managing an organization on its way to success has its own challenges, like dealing with economic factors that may or may not stand as obstacles. Ordinarily, one will claim that this is a Human Resource affair. However, some successful organizations have employed more workable techniques to succeed. This is the human resources of today.

The Traditional Role of Human Resources

Most people in an organization will identify the Human Resources Department to anything systematic, policy-related or administrative. Some automatically think that a Human Resources Program will proceed with psychology or endeavor to inculcate any of the three mentioned above.

This traditional method puts emphasis on leadership, cohesiveness and loyalty in an organization. It emphasized on collectivism.

There is nothing completely bad in such traditional view. However, it was criticized for focusing too much on the economic factors of an organization.

This had been confronted further by different aspects and needs. Thus, the field of human resources was also shaped as it adapted to the social or political environment.

Transitional Phase

Times are changing now. The traditional perception must be taken out of the picture. The modern trend now in Human Resources Management is to be more strategic, consultative and interactive.

Human Resources of the 21st Century

It is definitely a desirable change. However, this may not come easily to those who have gotten used to the ‘old school.’

The social climate of the organization is now addressed, rather than being limited to the economic factors. This time the behavior of the individual is given as much importance as the economic structures.

This time around, Human Resources Department pushes even more the firm into performance as each member now is driven by the attention given.

What Should One Expect in the Human Resources Department Now?

1. The department must show that it contributes to fulfilling all the goals of the whole organization. It is not anymore limited to the department.

2. It should provide also bases and dimensions to measure the success of the human resources initiative and the processes applied.

3. All the members of the organization are to be treated and recognized as clients.

4. Finally, it will not hurt to also change the perception of the people with regard to the role of the Human Resources Department.

It is undeniable. It is necessary to further educate people and provide support to this practice.

What Are the Current Initiatives to Fulfill the Goal?

• Human Resources Outsourcing

Normally, people approach the Human Resources Department to consult on matters to regulate relations among members. However, this consultation could also be utilized to break away from the old shell.

Providing services to the other departments of an organization will make the HR Department a more dynamic entity. It could help in determining some processes to realize the vision of a particular department.

• Human Resources Education

The academe can make a big difference in changing the perception.

Improving and developing the literature and the present theories will be helpful in addressing the concerns and the needs of any organization. This is in light of the constantly changing society that concerns the human resources experts and people.

Further studies in the Human Resources can help shape and improve the theories. However, pursuing a career in the Human Resources is expected to contribute to the developments in practice and implementation.

There are initiatives also to spread the knowledge within the organization, down to the most ordinary members. The best way to empower them is to give out Human Resources software that provides an orientation and comprehensive discussion of organizational policies.

• Human Resources and the Law

There are Human Resources laws provided nowadays. This fact is beneficial to most people in the workplace. It establishes the foundations that must be present in any firm or organization. It also sets limits the extent of what human resources will cover, so as not to deprive any person of any basic right or privilege.

There are even some who now implement a Human Resources Program that allows active participation of the employees. They are made part of decision making and the HR Department is tasked to come up with methods and venues to make this endeavor feasible.

Leadership is undeniably important in any organization. It grounds the responsibility and accountability on a single source. However, for any whole to work, its parts must be recognized. That is why the developments in the field of Human Resources are very much welcomed. Human Resources Management must focus on its real strength, on its real resources, the human resources.

Article may be freely distributed as long as content is not altered and Author’s resource box and link remains intact and active.

The Challenges of Human Resource Management

The Challenges of Human Resource Management

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Source: Flickr

Introduction
The role of the Human Resource Manager is evolving with the change in competitive market environment and the realization that Human Resource Management must play a more strategic role in the success of an organization. Organizations that do not put their emphasis on attracting and retaining talents may find themselves in dire consequences, as their competitors may be outplaying them in the strategic employment of their human resources.
With the increase in competition, locally or globally, organizations must become more adaptable, resilient, agile, and customer-focused to succeed. And within this change in environment, the HR professional has to evolve to become a strategic partner, an employee sponsor or advocate, and a change mentor within the organization. In order to succeed, HR must be a business driven function with a thorough understanding of the organization’s big picture and be able to influence key decisions and policies. In general, the focus of today’s HR Manager is on strategic personnel retention and talents development. HR professionals will be coaches, counselors, mentors, and succession planners to help motivate organization’s members and their loyalty. The HR manager will also promote and fight for values, ethics, beliefs, and spirituality within their organizations, especially in the management of workplace diversity.
This paper will highlight on how a HR manager can meet the challenges of workplace diversity, how to motivate employees through gain-sharing and executive information system through proper planning, organizing, leading and controlling their human resources.
Workplace Diversity
According to Thomas (1992), dimensions of workplace diversity include, but are not limited to: age, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, military experience, religious beliefs, parental status, and work experience.
The Challenges of Workplace Diversity
The future success of any organizations relies on the ability to manage a diverse body of talent that can bring innovative ideas, perspectives and views to their work.
The challenge and problems faced of workplace diversity can be turned into a strategic organizational asset if an organization is able to capitalize on this melting pot of diverse talents. With the mixture of talents of diverse cultural backgrounds, genders, ages and lifestyles, an organization can respond to business opportunities more rapidly and creatively, especially in the global arena (Cox, 1993), which must be one of the important organisational goals to be attained. More importantly, if the organizational environment does not support diversity broadly, one risks losing talent to competitors.
This is especially true for multinational companies (MNCs) who have operations on a global scale and employ people of different countries, ethical and cultural backgrounds. Thus, a HR manager needs to be mindful and may employ a ‘Think Global, Act Local’ approach in most circumstances. The challenge of workplace diversity is also prevalent amongst Singapore’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). With a population of only four million people and the nation’s strive towards high technology and knowledge-based economy; foreign talents are lured to share their expertise in these areas. Thus, many local HR managers have to undergo cultural-based Human Resource Management training to further their abilities to motivate a group of professional that are highly qualified but culturally diverse. Furthermore, the HR professional must assure the local professionals that these foreign talents are not a threat to their career advancement (Toh, 1993). In many ways, the effectiveness of workplace diversity management is dependent on the skilful balancing act of the HR manager.
One of the main reasons for ineffective workplace diversity management is the predisposition to pigeonhole employees, placing them in a different silo based on their diversity profile (Thomas, 1992). In the real world, diversity cannot be easily categorized and those organizations that respond to human complexity by leveraging the talents of a broad workforce will be the most effective in growing their businesses and their customer base.
The Management of Workplace Diversity
In order to effectively manage workplace diversity, Cox (1993) suggests that a HR Manager needs to change from an ethnocentric view (“our way is the best way”) to a culturally relative perspective (“let’s take the best of a variety of ways”). This shift in philosophy has to be ingrained in the managerial framework of the HR Manager in his/her planning, organizing, leading and controlling of organizational resources.
As suggested by Thomas (1992) and Cox (1993), there are several best practices that a HR manager can adopt in ensuring effective management of workplace diversity in order to attain organizational goals. They are:
Planning a Mentoring Program-
One of the best ways to handle workplace diversity issues is through initiating a Diversity Mentoring Program. This could entail involving different departmental managers in a mentoring program to coach and provide feedback to employees who are different from them. In order for the program to run successfully, it is wise to provide practical training for these managers or seek help from consultants and experts in this field. Usually, such a program will encourage organization’s members to air their opinions and learn how to resolve conflicts due to their diversity. More importantly, the purpose of a Diversity Mentoring Program seeks to encourage members to move beyond their own cultural frame of reference to recognize and take full advantage of the productivity potential inherent in a diverse population.
Organizing Talents Strategically-
Many companies are now realizing the advantages of a diverse workplace. As more and more companies are going global in their market expansions either physically or virtually (for example, E-commerce-related companies), there is a necessity to employ diverse talents to understand the various niches of the market. For example, when China was opening up its markets and exporting their products globally in the late 1980s, the Chinese companies (such as China’s electronic giants such as Haier) were seeking the marketing expertise of Singaporeans. This is because Singapore’s marketing talents were able to understand the local China markets relatively well (almost 75% of Singaporeans are of Chinese descent) and as well as being attuned to the markets in the West due to Singapore’s open economic policies and English language abilities. (Toh, R, 1993)
With this trend in place, a HR Manager must be able to organize the pool of diverse talents strategically for the organization. He/She must consider how a diverse workforce can enable the company to attain new markets and other organizational goals in order to harness the full potential of workplace diversity.
An organization that sees the existence of a diverse workforce as an organizational asset rather than a liability would indirectly help the organization to positively take in its stride some of the less positive aspects of workforce diversity.
Leading the Talk-
A HR Manager needs to advocate a diverse workforce by making diversity evident at all organizational levels. Otherwise, some employees will quickly conclude that there is no future for them in the company. As the HR Manager, it is pertinent to show respect for diversity issues and promote clear and positive responses to them. He/She must also show a high level of commitment and be able to resolve issues of workplace diversity in an ethical and responsible manner.
Control and Measure Results-
A HR Manager must conduct regular organizational assessments on issues like pay, benefits, work environment, management and promotional opportunities to assess the progress over the long term. There is also a need to develop appropriate measuring tools to measure the impact of diversity initiatives at the organization through organization-wide feedback surveys and other methods. Without proper control and evaluation, some of these diversity initiatives may just fizzle out, without resolving any real problems that may surface due to workplace diversity.
Motivational Approaches
Workplace motivation can be defined as the influence that makes us do things to achieve organizational goals: this is a result of our individual needs being satisfied (or met) so that we are motivated to complete organizational tasks effectively. As these needs vary from person to person, an organization must be able to utilize different motivational tools to encourage their employees to put in the required effort and increase productivity for the company.
Why do we need motivated employees? The answer is survival (Smith, 1994). In our changing workplace and competitive market environments, motivated employees and their contributions are the necessary currency for an organization’s survival and success. Motivational factors in an organizational context include working environment, job characteristics, appropriate organizational reward system and so on.
The development of an appropriate organizational reward system is probably one of the strongest motivational factors. This can influence both job satisfaction and employee motivation. The reward system affects job satisfaction by making the employee more comfortable and contented as a result of the rewards received. The reward system influences motivation primarily through the perceived value of the rewards and their contingency on performance (Hickins, 1998).
To be effective, an organizational reward system should be based on sound understanding of the motivation of people at work. In this paper, I will be touching on the one of the more popular methods of reward systems, gain-sharing.
Gain-sharing:
Gain-sharing programs generally refer to incentive plans that involve employees in a common effort to improve organizational performance, and are based on the concept that the resulting incremental economic gains are shared among employees and the company.
In most cases, workers voluntarily participate in management to accept responsibility for major reforms. This type of pay is based on factors directly under a worker’s control (i.e., productivity or costs). Gains are measured and distributions are made frequently through a predetermined formula. Because this pay is only implemented when gains are achieved, gain-sharing plans do not adversely affect company costs (Paulsen, 1991).
Managing Gain-sharing
In order for a gain-sharing program that meets the minimum requirements for success to be in place, Paulsen (1991) and Boyett (1988) have suggested a few pointers in the effective management of a gain-sharing program. They are as follows:
A HR manager must ensure that the people who will be participating in the plan are influencing the performance measured by the gain-sharing formula in a significant way by changes in their day-to-day behavior. The main idea of the gain sharing is to motivate members to increase productivity through their behavioral changes and working attitudes. If the increase in the performance measurement was due to external factors, then it would have defeated the purpose of having a gain-sharing program.
An effective manager must ensure that the gain-sharing targets are challenging but legitimate and attainable. In addition, the targets should be specific and challenging but reasonable and justifiable given the historical performance, the business strategy and the competitive environment. If the gain-sharing participants perceive the target as an impossibility and are not motivated at all, the whole program will be a disaster.
A manager must provide useful feedback as a guidance to the gain-sharing participants concerning how they need to change their behavior(s) to realize gain-sharing payouts The feedback should be frequent, objective and clearly based on the members’ performance in relation to the gain-sharing target.
A manager must have an effective mechanism in place to allow gain-sharing participants to initiate changes in work procedures and methods and/or requesting new or additional resources such as new technology to improve performance and realize gains. Though a manager must have a tight control of company’s resources, reasonable and justifiable requests for additional resources and/or changes in work methods from gain-sharing participants should be considered.
Executive Information Systems
Executive Information System (EIS) is the most common term used for the unified collections of computer hardware and software that track the essential data of a business’ daily performance and present it to managers as an aid to their planning and decision-making (Choo, 1991). With an EIS in place, a company can track inventory, sales, and receivables, compare today’s data with historical patterns. In addition, an EIS will aid in spotting significant variations from “normal” trends almost as soon as it develops, giving the company the maximum amount of time to make decisions and implement required changes to put your business back on the right track. This would enable EIS to be a useful tool in an organization’s strategic planning, as well as day-to-day management (Laudon, K and Laudon, J, 2003).
Managing EIS
As information is the basis of decision-making in an organization, there lies a great need for effective managerial control. A good control system would ensure the communication of the right information at the right time and relayed to the right people to take prompt actions.
When managing an Executive Information System, a HR manager must first find out exactly what information decision-makers would like to have available in the field of human resource management, and then to include it in the EIS. This is because having people simply use an EIS that lacks critical information is of no value-add to the organization. In addition, the manager must ensure that the use of information technology has to be brought into alignment with strategic business goals (Laudon, K and Laudon, J, 2003).
Conclusion
The role of the HR manager must parallel the needs of the changing organization. Successful organizations are becoming more adaptable, resilient, quick to change directions, and customer-centered. Within this environment, the HR professional must learn how to manage effectively through planning, organizing, leading and controlling the human resource and be knowledgeable of emerging trends in training and employee development.

Outsourcing and Your Business

Outsourcing and Your Business

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Source: Flickr

Outsourcing is an established way of doing business today, allowing companies to maximize their budgets and resources — and generate better products.
Also referred to as subcontracting, outsourcing simply means acquiring a product or service rather than producing it in-house. Outsourcing is suitable for just about any industry. In the administrative field, for instance, a variety of activities can easily be farmed out to a subcontractor, including word processing, data entry, transcribing, research, contact management and event planning.
Outsourcing is extremely common practice within human resource (HR) departments. In fact, two-thirds of HR departments outsource at least one activity, according to research by the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. and the Society for Human Resource Management. The top five outsourced HR activities are employee assistance/counseling, flexible spending account administration, pre-retirement counseling, outplacement services and pension/retirement plan administration.
Weighing the Outsourcing Option
When deciding whether outsourcing is a viable option, a company should consider all of the issues involved. Should the projects be kept in-house because they’re critical and employees need to know how to do them themselves? Also, does the company have a sourcing plan, staff members to oversee contracts or a philosophy that supports the outsourcing initiative? If it does, outsourcing may be ideal for your business. The bottom line is every business is different and companies should carefully weigh the benefits of outsourcing.
Benefits of Outsourcing
Many companies that choose to outsource do so because they don’t have or can’t attract the people skills they need. Subcontracting gives them access to a much greater pool of resources. It also enables companies to cut cost by 10 to 30 percent, depending on the industry. They can purchase services on an as-needed basis, instead of maintaining a full-time employee. This allows them to avoid paying employee-related expenses such as salaries, unemployment taxes, paid vacation and sick leave, insurance — which results in a lower overhead.
In another aspect, outsourcing can help a company focus on its core business, creating a competitive advantage within its industry. Subcontracting also affords the business the chance to get the best job possible from the people it hires. By using a third party supplier, a company has more room to be critical of the kind of services provided. If the work is done in-house, company ties may interfere with the final product.
Outsourcing also offers a wide variety of other benefits, including:
Faster setup of the function or service
Acquire innovative ideas
Increase commitment and energy in non-core areas
Improve credibility and image by associating with superior providers
Greater flexibility and ability to define the requisite service more readily
Less dependency upon internal resources
Greater control of budget
Greater ability to control delivery dates
Increase flexibility to meet changing business conditions
Purchase of industry best practice
Generate cash by transferring assets to the provider
Gain market access and business opportunities through the supplier’s network
Turn fixed costs into variable costs

How Does Human Resource Management in the Workspace Effect Me?

How Does Human Resource Management in the Workspace Effect Me?

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Source: Flickr


How often do you find yourself saying: “I wish I knew how to learn more about this topic”

Well, we were listening! And this article is the result.

Today human resources management is opening up new horizons in many different offices around not only the United States, but the world. The reason for this is simply supply and demand. More savvy business owners –even of smaller companies, have understood the value of hiring professionals with experience working in HR. By doing so, and having HR representatives, companies have learned the importance of solid communication with their workforce

The fact is that Human Resource Management exists just for this purpose –to bridge the gap between staff and upper management. In doing so, compromises have been attained which preclude the need for unions or outside arbitration, and thus provide the services that employees feel is their right to have

A company which is not so progressive, on the other hand, neglects HR and the philosophy that goes with it. The result is, employees abandon any thought of fidelity towards their employer in favor of businesses that reward their service in greater ways. Examples of this begin at the most basic level of appreciation. Certificates of recognition awarded on a monthly, bi-yearly, or even yearly basis, for instance, are all that many employees wish.

Now, pay close attention. What you’re about to read will help you save hours of frustrating, wasted hunting, and let you hone in on some of the best material on this subject!

Of course, on a more pecuniary basis, more constant raises –whether structured and awarded based on time and/or merit, are always welcomed. Likewise, health benefits are probably the second most important factor, besides these well-earned raises. The HR department is very often responsible for such aspects in the workspace.

Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Surely, the aforementioned has been a part of the American workspace for decades. What staff in HR try to instill are programs and emotional support that make employees feel a part of a winning, caring team –even a family.

This has been actualized by programs such as after-work softball and bowling leagues, on-site day care, free fitness memberships, and even after hours bar hopping and social events with the office staff and the boss. At work, people in HR have implemented office parties where before there were none, office pools, after-hour bingo (for charity or just for fun), and other such activities that create a cohesion within a workforce that makes it extremely difficult for an employee to ever consider leaving. It is just this feeling that managers and owners are looking for and why HR is so important.

This field is open to able-minded people of numerous backgrounds. There is training and certification which is available either in the office or at a local college. A fast growing field, the opportunities are currently expanding rapidly. Not only do people working in Human Resources enrich others, but they also benefit their own well-being in knowing that their job truly makes a difference in others’ lives.

So, what did you think about this article? Please drop us a quick note to share your thoughts and comments on it.

For further information, be sure to check out the numerous resources available online on this topic.

How Much Are You Worth: Consulting Fees

How Much Are You Worth: Consulting Fees


How much is your time and expertise worth?
Its the age old challenge for consultants: how much do I bill my clients? Sadly, there is no set in stone answer, however, here are some tips that will help you establish your rates.

First, lets look at your client’s needs. Why are they hiring an outside consultant, when they have employees? There are several reasons why your client is interested in hiring you as a consultant:

a) third party opinion – employees know where their bread is buttered, so they are less inclined to go against the current direction of the company. As an outsider, there is no concern with offering a different opinion. Your independent opinion can provide a much needed, focused perspective your client’s company needs.

b) you are cheaper – this is what is normally the hardest for new consultants to understand. How can you command $75/hr when your client has reps working for $20/hr. It normally ends up with the consultant charging a lower rates. No more!

The employee:
$20.00 Hourly rate
$ 7.00 Fringe Benefits @ 35%
$10.00 Overhead rate at 50% (computers, office space etc)
$37.00 Total effective pay rate

Hours per year: 2080… Annual salary $76960

The contractor:
$75.00 Hourly rate

Hours per year: 480 (12 weeks, 3 months worth of work)…. Cost of completing the project: $36000

Your client gets the project completed quicker, and you end up saving them over 50%.

c) expertise in a specific area – you clearly can bring something that no other person on their team can. That’s why they called you. As the expert in your chosen field, you can meet your clients needs with quickness and efficiency.

d) motivated to get job done on time, and likely, on budget – your work becomes your reputation. If you take too long, or go over budget, you wont see any future business from your client. However, provide the customer with what they need, under promise and over deliver, and not only will you retain your client for future business, you will get referrals. That’s motivation that no employee has.

Now that you know what is motivating your client, you have the groundwork to start to establish your rates. As show in the second reason for hiring a consultant, while your hourly rate may appear to be more than their employees, it actually works out to be less expensive. Any fears or unease that you have in commanding a hire rate than their employees should now be eased. However, how much more can you charge?

Who is your competition?
Establish what their rates are, and then confirm what can they offer. Can you honestly provide more services, better customer service and come under budget or on time? If your competitors can provide more than you, you’ll find that you may only be able to compete with a lower rate. However, if you can offer more, and have the proven results to back up that claim, you can justify a higher rate.

One key factor to remember is that if you charge a lower rate than your customer, you open yourself up to clients who will demand more of your time (it doesn’t cost them as much as your competition). This may lead to finishing projects past due and scheduling conflicts with other clients. So while you may be able to charge an extra $40 per hour for example, you may end up losing clients, and worse, having client demands cut into your personal time.

If you bill a higher rate, you may surprisingly find that you get better clients, and more referrals. If you can justify a higher rate, your clients will be very specific with you in terms of what their needs are (saving you time). Clients who are willing to pay a higher rate, will referral other clients who are willing to pay a higher rate.

Your rate will impact the amount of business you receive. One term successful consultants learn very early is to understand the concept of value billing. Instead of billing by the hour (which many of your clients will be leery of), consider billing by the project.

By negotiating an amount the client will pay based on the project, you can establish milestones at which payments will be made, and provide added motivation to get the job done and the client signed off quicker. If the project is going to take you 10 hours, consider negotiating an amount for 1.5 to 2x your normal hourly rate. If you get the job done in 5 hours, you get paid the full amount, not for 5 hours. The client is happy because they know what the cost ceiling is, and most importantly, the project is delivered early.

Another benefit of value billing is that you can set up milestones whereby you can get paid. If you advise your client that the project will be completed in say, 6 weeks, and comprise of 3 phases, you can receive payment from them when each phase is complete. Finish early, you get paid early and your client is happy. Finish behind schedule and your client isnt paying for work that isn’t complete yet.

This method helps to improve your cash flow. This is key for any self employed consultant.

So, how much are you worth now?