Strategists in Human Capital!
Affinity International Consulting presents Futurepoint

Sunday, August 6, 2017

8 Books Every Consultant Should Read at Least Once!

You probably already know that being well-read is a must in the consulting world. Consultants are expected to have a broad knowledge of management, as well as good understanding of finance, strategy, and communications—among other things. But if you’re looking to up your consulting game , it’s hard to know where to start among the wealth of resources out there. So this week, I rounded up the eight books that have helped me along my consultant journey and career. Whether you’re applying for a job, trying to develop new skills, or just trying to kill some time, these books will help you learn tons more about the field.

1. The McKinsey Way : While this book is focused on a specific firm, the insights and recommendations from it are applicable across the entire industry. The book doesn’t go very deep into specific frameworks or methods and instead focuses on how to survive at “The Firm” and some of the cultural considerations of working and succeeding in consulting. It’s a good read for those just getting into the industry who want to understand more about the mindset and day-to-day work of consultants. Check Out Jobs at McKinsey

2. HBR'S 10 Must Reads: The Essentials It’s important to have at least a basic understanding of major theories and academic thought within the business field, and for this, HBR’s 10 Must Reads is a great place to start. This book compiles the top 10 articles on management and covers topics such as innovation, strategy, analytics, and managing change. Once you finish the essentials, HBR also offers Top 10 reads on specific topics , like strategy or change management, to deepen your knowledge.

3. Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies This tome is an essential read from a technical standpoint and also aids in understanding the underlying drivers of major corporations. If you are new to how organizations are valued, it will walk you through tactics on how to approach it. If you just want an overview on how financial statements tie to the share price and the decision making process of organizations, you’ll get a great overview. And if you’ve been asked to value a company or to gain a deeper financial understanding of organizations, this book is the ultimate reference.

4. Key Management Models: The 60+ Models Every Manager Needs to Know Because consulting is all about structured problem-solving, it’s important to become familiar with tools that you can use to help solve your clients’ problems. The book covers a range of models, from strategic to operational, and provides information on how and when to use each of them. I use it as a quick reference guide when faced with a new client problem or question.

5. Pyramid Principle: I’ve talked about the Pyramid Principle before , as it is one of the most quoted and widely used frameworks for structuring communications in consulting. It essentially explains that, in any communication, you should start with your recommendation, arrange supporting ideas into groups, and then provide detailed evidence in order to effectively support your story. If you have read the Cole’s notes on the framework and want to go deeper into how to apply it, then I would recommend diving into the full book.

6. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures In the day-to-day work of a consultant, you will participate in a number of meetings, planning sessions, and workshops that require you to explain complex ideas or processes simply. This book gives you tools to do that with the help of of graphics and pictures. I love it as a reference guide when planning a meeting or presentation.

7. Case Interview Secrets: A Former McKinsey Interviewer Reveals How to Get Multiple Job Offers in Consulting If you haven’t heard of Victor Chang yet, he’s a case interview guru who has helped many people secure prime consulting offers. In his book, he outlines how to approach case interviews and provides tips and tricks on what interviewers look for—as well as common mistakes that candidates make. It’s a must-read for anyone going through the interview process.

8. The Consultant With Pink Hair This story about the management of a struggling consulting practice provides an entertaining look at the lives of consultants—working late nights, struggling with client management, and managing competition. While it’s technically fictional, it’s very based in truth, and there is a lot of real learning you can get out of it

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Strategy as 'direction' or strategy as 'plan'. What's your viewpoint?

Strategy as 'direction' or strategy as 'plan'. What's your viewpoint?


Proponents of strategy as a plan asserted that through careful consideration of options, organisations are forced to understand their environments, in turn stimulating new ideas, which ultimately produce economic value (Thompson & Strickland, 1987; Steiner, 1979). This link between performance and planning has not been unanimous, with authors often questioning any systematic link between the two (Shrader et al, 1984; Pearce et al, 1987; Armstrong, 1986). Furthermore, as ideas and best practice rapidly spread, operational effectiveness increases across sectors often reducing the positive correlation between planning and performance close to zero; Powell (1992) calls this the ‘planning equilibrium’.
This view of strategy as a plan is commonplace. Drucker (1974) defined it as “purposeful action”; it is created consciously with a goal in mind prior to any actions (Mintzberg 1987a). More broadly, strategy is concerned with achieving success (Grant, 2016), allowing organisations to focus on what really matters (Sminia, 2014), driving performance (Sminia & de Rond, 2013). For Porter (1991) it is the fundamental core of whether an organisation wins or loses, in order to succeed organisations must create unique and differentiated propositions made up of different activities (1996). Simply put, it is about doing things differently or doing different things from the competition.
The creation of long-term strategic plans can be important, particularly for branded products, set against a backdrop where maintaining market leadership and with it the ability to sustain superior profits is ever more challenging (Gehlhar et al, 2009). However, Mintzberg (1987b) cautions that although strategy is needed to outsmart competitors, which is at the essence of its formulation (Porter, 1979), it can sometimes obfuscate the need for operational excellence, moreover, at times it may be better to proceed without the straitjacket of a clear plan in uncertain waters.
As instability and uncertainty have increased in the business environment, strategy has become less about detailed plans and more about direction. This century has seen a plethora of new challenges and an accelerating pace of change which has meant that strategy has become less about plans and more about options for the future (Grant, 2016). Mintzberg (1987a) calls this strategy as ‘perspective’, it has become more about “an ingrained way of perceiving the world” (p.16) which then sets course for future actions. Williamson (1999) seeks to meld both planning and perspective, critical of the deficiencies in strategic planning’s ability to correctly forecast the future with any accuracy, he suggests combining planning with opportunism. Companies should plan the capabilities needed and new potential markets in order to give them room to manoeuvre, creating strategic options that can be utilised when the time is right.
The change in emphasis from strategy as a plan to strategy as direction does not mean that its importance has lessened, whether adapting to and exploiting digital technology, creating strategic alliances or matching up to the changing demands of social and environmental responsibility, strategy in this context has an increased importance for organisations (Grant, 2016).
In today’s competitive marketplace organisation’s require a constant focus to ensure consistency between internal strategy and the external environment in order to stay relevant and respond to customers’ needs and wants. Indeed, for companies to outperform the market they achieve a sustainable competitive advantage (Aaker, 1989; Porter, 1989), which means that the organisation must create a superior value proposition for its customers. In order to do this the company must have sufficient understanding of its external environment, specifically its target market, so as to be able to create this superior value (Narver & Slater, 1990).
If your organisation needs to evaluate it's existing strategy, or indeed need help in creating either an Organisational or Marketing Strategy in order to compete in today's ever competitive business environment, feel free to get in touch and let us help you compete both now, but also for the future.


‘The only thing that we know about the future is that it is going to be different’ (Drucker, 1973). The change alluded to by Drucker is applicable for all things but is particularly resonant for business. Failure to adapt to change has led to the demise of numerous organisations’ both large and small over the past 15 years (Forbes, 2013). Those companies that have managed to stand the test of time have understood Drucker’s assertion and been able to adapt their business and strategy to fit the external forces shaping their markets. Invariably when thinking about strategy, the word plan is often the first that comes to mind (Martin, 2014). This is no surprise as although the conception of strategy has developed over the last fifty years planning, through the financial budgeting and corporate planning of the mid-twentieth century, was the keystone of strategic management.

Thomas McAlinden & Ryan Lydon

Monday, July 31, 2017

8 silly work place rules..do you agree?

Companies need to have rules — that’s a given — but they don’t have to be shortsighted and lazy attempts at creating order. I understand the temptation. As my company has grown, so has our difficulty maintaining standards. There have been many instances where someone crossed a line, and we were tempted to respond with a new rule that applied to everyone. But that’s where most companies blow it. In just about every instance, upon closer inspection, we realized that establishing a new rule would be a passive and morale-killing way to address the problem. The vast majority of the time, the problem needs to be handled one-on-one by the employee’s manager. When companies create ridiculous and demoralizing rules to halt the outlandish behavior of a few individuals, it’s a management problem. There’s no sense in alienating your entire workforce because you don’t know how to manage performance. It makes a bad situation that much worse. Here are some of the worst rules that companies create when they fall into this trap.

1. Bell curves and forced rankings of performance Some individual talents follow a natural bell-shaped curve, but job performance does not. When you force employees to fit into a pre-determined ranking system, you do three things: 1) incorrectly evaluate people’s performance, 2) make everyone feel like a number, and 3) create insecurity and dissatisfaction when performing employees fear that they’ll be fired due to the forced system. This is yet another example of a lazy policy that avoids the hard and necessary work of evaluating each individual objectively, based on his or her merits.

2. Ridiculous requirements for attendance, leave, and time off People are salaried for the work they do, not the specific hours they sit at their desks. When you ding salaried employees for showing up five minutes late even though they routinely stay late and put in time on the weekend, you send the message that policies take precedence over performance. It reeks of distrust, and you should never put someone on salary that you don’t trust. When companies are unnecessarily strict in requiring documentation for bereavement and medical leave, it leaves a sour taste in the mouths of employees who deserve better. After all, if you have employees who will fake a death to miss a day’s work, what does that say about your company?

3. Restricting Internet use There are certain sites that no one should be visiting at work, and I’m not talking about Facebook. But once you block pornography and the other obvious stuff, it’s a difficult and arbitrary process deciding where to draw the line. Most companies draw it in the wrong place. People should be able to kill time on the Internet during breaks. When companies unnecessarily restrict people’s Internet activity, it does more than demoralize those that can’t check Facebook; it limits people’s ability to do their jobs. 7/31/2017 8 stupid workplace rules that make everyone miserable | Ladders Many companies restrict Internet activity so heavily that it makes it difficult for people to do online research. The most obvious example? Checking the Facebook profile of someone you just interviewed.

4. Banning mobile phones If I ban mobile phones in the office, no one will waste time texting and talking to family and friends, right? Ya, right. Organizations need to do the difficult work of hiring people who are trustworthy and who won’t take advantage of things. They also need to train managers to deal effectively with employees who under perform and/or violate expectations (such as spending too much time on their phones). This is also hard work, but it’s worth it. The easy, knee-jerk alternative (banning phones) demoralizes good employees who need to check their phones periodically due to pressing family or health issues or as an appropriate break from work.

5. Draconian e-mail policies This is a newer one that’s already moving down a slippery slope. Some companies are getting so restrictive with e-mail use that employees must select from a list of pre-approved topics before the e-mail software will allow them to send a message. Again, it’s about trust. If you don’t trust your people to use e-mail properly, why did you hire them in the first place? In trying to rein in the bad guys, you make everyone miserable every time they send an e-mail. And guess what? The bad guys are the ones who will find ways to get around any system you put in place.

6. Stealing employees’ frequent-flyer miles If there’s one thing that road-weary traveling employees earn, it’s their frequent flier miles. When employers don’t let people keep their miles for personal use, it’s a greedy move that fuels resentment with every flight. Work travel is a major sacrifice of time, energy, and sanity. Taking employees’ miles sends the message that you don’t appreciate their sacrifice and that you’ll hold on to every last dollar at their expense.

7. Pathetic attempts at political correctness Maintaining high standards for how people treat each other is a wonderful thing as we live in a world that’s rife with animosity and discrimination. Still employers have to know where to draw the line. Going on a witch-hunt because someone says “Bless you” to another employee that sneezed (real example) creates an environment of paranoia and stifled self-expression, without improving how people treat each other. 8. Shutting down self-expression (personal items and dress code) Many organizations control what people can have at their desks. A life-size poster of a shirtless Fabio? I get it; that’s a problem. But employers dictate how many photographs people can display, whether or not they can use a water bottle, and how many items they’re allowed to place on their desks. Once again, it’s the ol’ “If I could just hire robots I wouldn’t have this problem” approach. Same goes for dress codes. They work well in private high schools, but they’re unnecessary at work. Hire professionals and they’ll dress professionally. When someone crosses the line, their manager needs to have the skill to address the issue directly. Otherwise, you’re making everyone wish they worked somewhere else because management is too inept to handle touchy subjects effectively.

8 stupid workplace rules that make everyone miserable | Ladders Bringing it all together If companies can rethink their policies and remove or alter those that are unnecessary or demoralizing, we’ll all have a more enjoyable and productive time at work.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Adapting to the Future of Work



CMOs can take a proactive approach to preparing the workforce for the tremendous technology-enabled changes required to compete in the years ahead.
Digital technology is having a profound effect on the human side of the enterprise, affecting where, when, and how employees get work done. The results of Deloitte’s recent Future of Work survey confirm that C-level executives view the ways in which new technologies will shape their organizations and their own roles as a topic of critical importance. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed say it is a strategic objective to transform their organization’s culture with a focus on increasing connectivity, communication, and collaboration.
Even as more business functions are augmented by new technology capabilities, people remain the most critical asset of an organization. Going forward, those people will be working in a more networked, distributed, mobile, collaborative, and real-time fluid manner. Such significant shifts will demand not only increased adaptability on the part of employees, but deliberate forethought from executives introducing new systems and processes to make sure the transition goes smoothly. Forward-thinking CMOs will ensure that work, increasingly done by human and machine in concert, is coordinated to create maximum value for the company and its employees.
When approached with consideration to the impact on work and workers, digital technologies offer the opportunity to create a more engaging environment for employees and a more adaptive organization for the future. The survey offers a glimpse of what executives expect this future to look like as well as six lessons for business leaders who will usher in the technologies to enable new ways of working and also manage the changes within their own talent organizations.
Pay attention to culture. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of those surveyed believe company culture will be critically important to their organization’s ability to realize its vision in the future. The larger the company, the more important this issue becomes. Just 14 percent of those who responded say that culture has no, little, or neutral impact on their ability to realize their vision and mission—and the majority of respondents were from smaller companies.
Developing a common mission and a sense of belonging in a workforce that is increasingly dispersed will grow ever more important. Just 14 percent of leaders say they are completely satisfied with their organization’s current ability to communicate and collaborate. CMOs and other executives who want to achieve the full value of digital transformations will pay close attention to the development and dissemination of communication around workplace changes. Putting in place more efficient decision-making structures and tools (42 percent) and allocating more employee time and resources to innovation by making current processes more efficient (41 percent) are the two most important changes respondents expect to make within the next two years.
Increase transparency. About three in five (59 percent) corporate leaders say transparency in communications is a critical priority for achieving their organization’s goals. Involving employees in technology-enabled changes will be more challenging than in the past. After all, 37 percent of the global workforce is mobile, 30 percent of full-time employees now do most of their work outside of their employers’ location, and 20 percent of the workforce comprises temporary workers, contractors, and freelancers, according to another Deloitte report. More clarity and openness around the exploration and introduction of digital technologies will help employees adapt to significant and more frequent shifts in their roles.
Manage generational expectations. By 2020, millennials will make up half of the workforce. However, individuals are also more commonly working into their 70s and 80s. As leaders manage a workforce comprising up to four different cohorts, managing across generations will be more important than ever. Nearly four in five (78 percent) executives say generational differences in employees’ expectations will drive an increased emphasis on devolved collaboration, whereby ownership of decisions is delegated down through the organization. The key will be building an environment that supports flexibility and tools that enable all employees to collaborate and exchange ideas easily and transparently.
Measure the business impact. The strategic importance of transforming collaboration and communication is based on the assumption that such advances will yield hard business results in an increasingly competitive, interconnected, and fast-moving world. The biggest benefits executives expect to derive from improved collaboration and communication include identifying and exploiting new business opportunities and increasing rates of innovation (see figure below).
C-level executives spearheading the digital transformation of work can identify the specific business benefits their organizations are targeting and regularly measure. They can then report on key indicators associated with those goals, making adjustments to strategy as required based on performance.
Create context. The way we work in five years may look little like it does today. For example, 76 percent of executives surveyed predict their organizations will move away from email and toward more sophisticated collaboration tools. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) expect a significant increase in cross-cultural virtual teaming technologies. And around 8 in 10 (78 percent) think mobile will be the dominant technology environment within five years.
But new tools alone are not enough. The time that workers spend today answering email (an average of 25 percent of the day) or checking their mobile phones (around 150 times a day) is not necessarily increasing productivity. As leaders sit on the cusp of potentially more sweeping technology-enabled changes, they can take this time to develop the right cultural context for these new tools and adapt their workplace processes and policies to make the most of digital capabilities on the way.
Build networks, not hierarchies. More than 40 percent of respondents expect to place more focus on facilitating the exchange of ideas, enabling the flow of conversations across the organization, and providing greater autonomy at team and individual levels going forward. This shift from a “top-down” to “side-by-side” organizational construct will be a critical component to the future of work. CMOs will play an important role, enabling an empowered network of employees capable of acting autonomously rather than waiting for direction.
—by Stephen Redwood and Mark Holmstrom, principals, Deloitte Consulting LLP; and Zach Vetter, managing director, Deloitte LLP

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How to Conduct an Effective Employee Communication Survey



Surveying employees is an effective first step in fixing communication barriers in an organisation. Even if there are no obvious problems, communication surveys can help get an organisation to the next level of performance.

Benefits in conducting an employee communication survey and acting on the results include:
• improved employee satisfaction
• lower turnover
• reduced absenteeism
• less political infighting
• greater levels of manager-worker trust
• reduced defect rates
• higher customer satisfaction

A well-run communication survey can give you these benefits. However, a poorly conducted communication survey can have the opposite effect. Surveys badly planned, rolled-out and followed-up can actually increase employee cynicism and resistance to change. They can also increase employee turnover and absenteeism. This can negatively impact customer satisfaction and your bottom line.

Employee Communication Survey Tips

So, what do you need to consider before rolling out your survey? Here are some tips.
Question types
Include in your survey questions that require limited tick-the-box responses, such as Yes/No and Strongly
Agree/Agree/Disagree/Strongly Disagree. Including these questions will allow you to perform quantitative analyses that you can use to compare results between different demographics and to
use as a benchmark for future surveys.
However, equally as important is the provision of free form space which affords employees the opportunity to elaborate on the feedback they have given elsewhere on the form and to discuss in detail anything that has not been covered in the other areas of the survey. A good idea is to run Focus Groups with a random sample of respondents after the survey forms have been
collected and analysed. These discussion groups are invaluable in performing a sanity check on your results so far and in teasing out issues that have surfaced in the written survey.

Anonymity
Guarantee absolute anonymity for the people completing the survey and make this clear in the survey
instructions. Some employees will either not complete the survey or give sanitised answers if they believe that their identity will be disclosed with their answers and comments.

Sample size
Should you survey the whole organisation/department or a select group? Preferably, survey all employees as this gives everyone a sense of being listened to. If the organisation/department is excessively large or budget is tight, draw a random sample from each of the demographic groups that you will be reporting on.
If your selection is not random, the communication survey results will not be representative and you will lose credibility with your employees. If a demographic group comprises 50 people or less, you will need to survey 100 percent of the people within that group.

Mode of delivery
If the people completing the survey are small in number and at a single location, then hardcopy distribution will not be a problem. As the number of respondents increases and the locations become more dispersed, more consideration will need to be given to electronic distribution. Think about putting the survey on a local intranet or internet web server.
To make filling out the employee survey form easy for people, have it so that the form can be completed online. If this is not possible, either send the form by email or put it on an accessible server from which people can download it. If your survey respondents are not comfortable
with technology, then be wary of online options and provide plenty of employee support if you decide to go down that road.

Inducements and Reminders
Survey participation rates do not tend to be particularly high, typically ten percent or less. You can dramatically improve on this completion rate by conducting some simple follow-up. As you get closer to the communication survey cut-off date (of course, you will have publicised that date with your survey), send out an e-mail reminder or arrange for someone to call the respondents personally.
Consider advertising a raffle for all survey participants – this will increase the participation rate (especially if it is a good prize).

Distribute results
Once the employee feedback results are in and analysed, distribute your findings first to your managers and then to employees. Withholding results from employees will only breed cynicism and distrust and will make getting a satisfactory response rate from your next survey all that more difficult. Break down your results into meaningful groups, such as by department or by location/site. The reporting groupings need to be small enough that people can identify with the group enough for a meaningful action plan to be developed.
Be prepared for some kickback from defensive managers. Frank employee feedback is both confronting and jarring, especially for those managers not used to it. Use your best facilitation skills to deliver the key messages, or use a professional facilitator to perform this sensitive task.

Follow-up and Rewards
A survey conducted with no plan for action is not only a waste of resources but will leave employees asking why they bothered to give feedback to managers on how they felt. Work with each manager to construct an action plan that they agree with. Remember, it is the manager that will be implementing the communication plan, not you. Get back with each manager three or six months later to review how they are progressing with their communication plan and report the results to the organisation. As you see communication practices improve across the organisation, make sure that managers get rewarded.

Source :  thehrcompany.ie /index.php/blog/how-to-conduct-an-effective-employee-communication-survey/

Sunday, July 2, 2017

6 Ways to Keep Employees Happy During Change




1. Transparent discussions
Being open and transparent with employees about what track the company is on, what it means for the organization, and what it means for the organization’s people is imperative. When company performance or future plans are kept behind closed doors, anxieties spread like wildfire. Keep team members in the loop with regular staff meetings, and ask supervisors to meet individually with their staff members to discuss expectations and career growth.
2. Professional Growth
One way to make employees feel that they are part of the team is to invest in their professional growth. Too often, employees feel undervalued and unchallenged at work. When discussing career growth, provide practical solutions for your employee to get from Point A to Point B. Encouraging employees to take classes or become certified makes them valuable to your organization and keeps them engaged at work.
3. Team Outings
The importance of team outings has never been greater. Providing an activity for employees to participate in together helps build connections within departments and cross-organizationally. Consider team building exercises, like volunteering for an afternoon to help a local cause, followed by a casual group meal at Buffalo Wild Wings. Getting employees connected around topics that are not work-related helps grow bonds, and team members who are friendly outside of work tend to work well together in a professional group setting.
4. Health and Wellness
A popular way of investing in employees is enacting wellness programs in the workplace. Prioritizing your employees’ health is an excellent way to show that you consider their health and their needs important. Wellness programs are not only a fun way to introduce some friendly competition and camaraderie at the office, but researchers from Harvard found that medical costs decrease by $3.27 for each dollar spent on wellness. Wellness challenges give employees incentive to connect in new ways, like running a 5k together or walking during their lunch break.
5. Regrouping
If change has led to the implementation (or retirement) of certain systems, changes in organizational
performance, or layoffs, it is important to regroup with your team. Managing morale during times of change can be challenging, but keeping employees focused and connected to their work is a necessity. Turn negative situations like poor revenue performance into opportunities to re-evaluate and make organizational improvements. Even consider incentive's tasks that will help the organization.
6. Celebrating a job well done
Lastly, make sure your culture includes recognition for employees who go above and beyond. Publicly recognizing team members during staff meetings and offering monetary rewards keeps employees feeling engaged and valued. Employees who feel that their work goes unnoticed can lead to toxic attitudes in the workplace. Excellent performance deserves a call-out, and your employees will appreciate it.
The bottom line
Investing in employees helps foster connections and keeps employees motivated and on target during seasons of change. By adopting an open-door policy and encouraging transparency, providing opportunities for professional growth, planning and executing team outings, offering competitive wellness programs, regrouping after organizational upsets, and celebrating success with

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Future Of Work

CEO'S can take a proactive approach to preparing the workforce for the tremendous technology-enabled changes required to compete in the years ahead.

Digital technology is having a profound effect on the human side of the enterprise, affecting where, when, and how employees get work done. The results of Deloitte’s recent Future of Work survey confirm that C-level executives view the ways in which new technologies will shape their organizations and their own roles as a topic of critical importance. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed say it is a strategic objective to transform their organization’s culture with a focus on increasing connectivity, communication, and collaboration.
Even as more business functions are augmented by new technology capabilities, people remain the most critical asset of an organization. Going forward, those people will be working in a more networked, distributed, mobile, collaborative, and real-time fluid manner. Such significant shifts will demand not only increased adaptability on the part of employees, but deliberate forethought from executives introducing new systems and processes to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

Forward-thinking CEOs will ensure that work, increasingly done by human and
machine in concert, is coordinated to create maximum value for the company and its employees.
When approached with consideration to the impact on work and workers, digital technologies offer the opportunity to create a more engaging environment for employees and a more adaptive organization for the future. The survey offers a glimpse of what executives expect this future to look like as well as six lessons for business leaders who will usher in the technologies to enable new ways of working and also manage the changes within their own talent organizations.
Pay attention to culture. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of those surveyed believe company culture will be critically important to their organization’s ability to realize its vision in the future. The larger the company, the more important this issue becomes. Just 14 percent of those who responded say that culture has no, little, or neutral impact on their ability to realize their vision and mission—and the majority of respondents were from smaller companies.

Developing a common mission and a sense of belonging in a workforce that is increasingly dispersed will grow ever more important. Just 14 percent of leaders say they are completely satisfied with their organization’s current ability to communicate and collaborate. CEOs and other executives who want to achieve the full value of digital transformations will pay close attention to the development and dissemination of communication around workplace changes. Putting in place more efficient decision-making structures and tools (42 percent) and allocating more employee time and resources to innovation by making current processes more efficient (41 percent) are the two
most important changes respondents expect to make within the next two years.
Increase transparency. About three in five (59 percent) corporate leaders say transparency in communications is a critical priority for achieving their organization’s goals. Involving employees in technology-enabled changes will be more challenging than in the past. After all, 37 percent of the global workforce is mobile, 30 percent of full-time employees now do most of their work outside of their employers’ location, and 20 percent of the workforce comprises temporary workers, contractors, and freelancers, according to another Deloitte report. More clarity and openness around the exploration and introduction of digital technologies will help employees adapt to significant and more
frequent shifts in their roles.

Manage generational expectations. By 2020, millennials will make up half of the workforce. However, individuals are also more commonly working into their 70s and 80s. As leaders manage a workforce comprising up to four different cohorts, managing across generations will be more important than ever. Nearly four in five (78 percent) 1/3 executives say generational differences in employees’ expectations will drive an increased emphasis on devolved collaboration, whereby ownership of decisions is delegated down through the organization. The key will be building
an environment that supports flexibility and tools that enable all employees to collaborate and exchange ideas easily and transparently. Measure the business impact. The strategic importance of transforming collaboration and communication is based on the assumption that such advances will yield hard business results in an increasingly competitive, interconnected, and fast-moving world. The biggest benefits executives expect to derive from improved collaboration and communication include identifying and exploiting new business opportunities and increasing rates
of innovation C-level executives spearheading the digital transformation of work can identify the specific business benefits their organizations are targeting and regularly measure. They can then report on key indicators associated with those goals, making adjustments to strategy as required based on performance. Create context. The way we work in five years may look little like it does today. For example, 76 percent of executives surveyed predict their organizations will move away from email and toward more sophisticated  2/3 collaboration tools. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) expect a significant increase in cross-cultural virtual teaming technologies. And around 8 in 10 (78 percent) think mobile will be the dominant technology environment within five years.
But new tools alone are not enough. The time that workers spend today answering email (an average of 25 percent of the day) or checking their mobile phones (around 150 times a day) is not necessarily increasing productivity. As leaders sit on the cusp of potentially more sweeping technology-enabled changes, they can take this time to develop the right cultural context for these new tools and adapt their workplace processes and policies to make the most of digital capabilities on the way.
Build networks, not hierarchies. More than 40 percent of respondents expect to place more focus on facilitating the exchange of ideas, enabling the flow of conversations across the organization, and providing greater autonomy at team and individual levels going forward. This shift from a “top-down” to “side-by-side” organizational construct will be a critical component to the future of work. CEOs will play an important role, enabling an empowered network of employees capable of acting autonomously rather than waiting for direction.

—by Stephen Redwood and Mark Holmstrom, principals, Deloitte Consulting LLP; and Zach Vetter, managing director, Deloitte LLP

Friday, May 12, 2017

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Reference Checking

What’s there to know about checking references? A lot more than you might think. Here are six things you may not have known about this very common — and very crucial — practice:

1. Reference Checks and Background Checks Are Not the Same Thing

Do you do both? If so, make sure you’re getting useful insight from each and not just duplicating your work. For example, if you use reference checks to verify employment history, then you’re not learning anything new. You could have gotten that information from the background check.

Why do a background check?

To comply with the law (when required)
To verify employment history
To check criminal records
Why do a reference check?

To confirm job titles and dates of employment
To learn about a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses
To better understand the candidate’s previous job duties and experiences
Background checks are fairly standard, but the effectiveness of a reference check will depend on your process. If you’re not able to differentiate your reference checks in a meaningful way, then it’s probably time to rethink your approach.

2. More Than Half of All Resumes and Job Applications Contain Untruths*

Can you tell fact from fiction? Probably not, but former coworkers and managers have firsthand knowledge of what a candidate is like to work with, what they’ve achieved, and what they’re capable of.

According to a survey of more than 1,000 senior managers, more than one in five candidates are removed from consideration after their references are checked. Thanks to insight from candidates’ professional contacts, many employers are spared the expense of a bad hire.

(*Society for Human Resource Management)

3. Traditional Reference Checks Can Take Weeks to Complete

Meanwhile, your time-to-hire spins out of control. If your company requires a reference check as a condition of employment, then you and the candidate are at the mercy of the references — who are in no hurry to call you back.

Fortunately, when you automate the process, you can see much better results, including:

an 80 percent response rate;
two-minute completion times;
and full reports (3-5 references) within 24 hours.
4. Employers Don’t Know What They’re Allowed to Say About Past Employees

Therefore, they err on the side of caution. The truth is, in many states, employers are protected from civil liability when providing good-faith references and truthful negative information.

But try telling that to a reference who won’t pick up the phone.

The answer is anonymity, which is an option in automated reference checking. Providing anonymity is a huge advantage because it boosts response rates and allows references to be honest about a candidate without fear of repercussion.

5. Reference Checking Doesn’t Have to Be the Last Thing You Do

Many companies use reference checking as a screen-in method, which means it happens at the end of the hiring process with the purpose of moving a candidate forward — as long as references don’t give the employer reason to reconsider.

But what would happen if you checked references earlier in the process? Doing so could help you narrow down a large pool of candidates or identify the best match among top contenders. With automated reference checking, you’re free from the time constraints and can check references for as many candidates as you like whenever you like.

6. References Are a Valuable (and Often Untapped) Source of Talent

In most cases, employers contact references for one specific reason: to get feedback about a candidate. It’s a single-serve conversation, and unless the employer is a renowned brand, the reference will know nothing about the company they just interacted with.

Don’t miss an opportunity to source great talent. As part of the reference checking process, consider asking references if they’d like to join your talent community. It’s essentially a free referral program! Plus:

Candidates tend to choose their best professional contacts as references.
30 percent of references will opt in, exponentially growing your talent pipeline

April 5, 2017 | Greg Moran 

.

Where Do I Belong?

May 1, 2017 | Sara Stowe

At the 10-year mark in agency recruiting, I made the move to corporate recruiting, leveling up with talent acquisition strategy. As I got deeper into talent acquisition, I became particularly passionate about workplace culture.
At the next 10-year mark in corporate recruiting, I was ready to take a big step—consulting. I determined my readiness to take that step with great care and consideration. Over the course of 20 years, I’d interviewed many consultants who were looking to return to full-time employment, and heard the myriad of reasons and common themes why they were leaving consulting.
The right opportunity came four months after drafting my business plan, and so I confidently made a leap. The client already knew me, was well-funded and innovative, and equipped with leadership that genuinely cared about culture. It was ideal. I secured another client. I had opportunity ahead of me doing the work I love.
Fast-forward five months into the engagements, and I was feeling something I’ve never experienced before – a compromised emotional well being. I was feeling low, sad, a general malaise…yet, living the dream?
I was able to draw this conclusion when I visited one of my clients, who generously made a point of arranging happy hours whenever I was in town just to include me. One of those weeks, I also went on an excursion with my husband’s work team and their plus ones. Lovely experiences, but in both instances I felt apart. I was included, but I didn’t belong. That’s what was affecting me: I didn’t belong.
Abraham Maslow published the Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, which brilliantly gave us the imagery of the pyramid of needs that must be met before we can achieve our highest state of being: self-actualization.
Only after our ability to breathe, access food, water, safety and security, is our need to be loved and to belong. Feeling that we belong is necessary before we can achieve a sense of self-esteem, confidence, and respect of and by others. While I “belong” to a lot of aspects of my life—my family, marriage, friendships, the causes I care about; my profession has been a huge part of my identity. To not feel any sense of belonging in that dimension left me lonely. And, that loneliness affected my happiness.
I am fortunate to have timed this awareness when my new employer was looking for someone just like me. I am once again happy with a team again, doing the work I love in an ideal situation. However, as someone who is on the front lines with job seekers, candidates and employees, when I consider the prediction that by 2020, an upwards of 50 percent of the workforce will be some sort of contingent labor (freelance, contract, consultant, temp), could half of our workforce potentially suffer from some degree of unexpected loneliness, sadness, or even depression? How will that impact their work, productivity, and self-esteem? How will it impact the people they work with?
Many of these contingent workers won’t be ready to take the leap. Many will be piecing work together until they can find a fulltime opportunity. If they’re feeling lonely, it could compound frustration in what typically is the demoralizing process of getting a job. Co-working spaces recognize the importance of place as an aspect of belonging. We’ll see those spaces grapple with culture fit with independent contractors, freelancers and early stage startups. We see independents collaborate on projects, and then disband at the end of the engagement. More professional networking and meetups are happening that build a sense of community. It is a multi-faceted solution to create that sense of belonging when you don’t belong as an employee.
As HR professionals, what responsibility do we share to prepare the emerging workforce for finding ways to satisfy its need to belong? What responsibility does a company have to their contingent workforce’s emotional wellbeing (particularly in a climate that demands a clear delineation between the FTE and contract worker)?
Or will we see greater engagement in work from people who have been contingent workers, grateful that they have perspective of belonging once they convert to FTE? I expect that different people will feel the lack of belonging to different degrees, depending on how used to working alone they may be, and it may not be an entirely negative outcome. I don’t have all the answers, but it’s something I think about now.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

20 misused words that make smart people look dumb

20 misused words that make smart people look dumb  By Travis Bradberry Mar 14, 2017 We’re all tempted to use words that we’re not too familiar with. If this were the only problem, I wouldn’t have much to write about. That’s because we’re cautious with words we’re unsure of, and, thus, they don’t create much of an issue for us. It’s the words that we think we’re using correctly that wreak the most havoc. We throw them around in meetings, e-mails and important documents (such as resumes and client reports), and they land, like fingernails across a chalkboard, on everyone who has to hear or read them. We’re all guilty of this from time to time, myself included. When I write, I hire an editor who is an expert in grammar to review my articles before I post them online. It’s bad enough to have a roomful of people witness your blunder and something else entirely to stumble in front of 100,000! Point is, we can all benefit from opportunities to sharpen the saw and minimize our mistakes. Often, it’s the words we perceive as being more “correct” or sophisticated that don’t really mean what we think they do. There are 20 such words that have a tendency to make even really smart people stumble. Have a look to see which of these commonly confused words throw you off. Accept vs. Except These two words sound similar but have very different meanings. Accept means to receive something willingly: “His mom accepted his explanation” or “She accepted the gift graciously.” Except signifies exclusion: “I can attend every meeting except the one next week.” To help you remember, note that both except and exclusion begin with ex. Affect vs. Effect To make these words even more confusing than they already are, both can be used as either a noun or a verb. Let’s start with the verbs. Affect means to influence something or someone; effect means to accomplish something. “Your job was affected by the organizational restructuring” but “These changes will be effected on Monday.” As a noun, an effect is the result of something: “The sunny weather had a huge effect on sales.” It’s almost always the right choice because the noun affect refers to an emotional state and is rarely used outside of psychological circles: “The patient’s affect was flat.” Lie vs. Lay We’re all pretty clear on the lie that means an untruth. It’s the other usage that trips us up. Lie also means to recline: “Why don’t you lie down and rest?” Lay requires an object: “Lay the book on the table.” Lie is something you can do by yourself, but you need an object to lay. 1/3 It’s more confusing in the past tense. The past tense of lie is—you guessed it—lay: “I lay down for an hour last night.” And the past tense of lay is laid: “I laid the book on the table.” Bring vs. Take Bring and take both describe transporting something or someone from one place to another, but the correct usage depends on the speaker’s point of view. Somebody brings something to you, but you take it to somewhere else: “Bring me the mail, then take your shoes to your room.” Just remember, if the movement is toward you, use bring; if the movement is away from you, use take. Ironic vs. Coincidental A lot of people get this wrong. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s not ironic—it’s coincidental (and bad luck). Ironic has several meanings, all of which include some type of reversal of what was expected. Verbal irony is when a person says one thing but clearly means another. Situational irony is when a result is the opposite of what was expected. O. Henry was a master of situational irony. In “The Gift of the Magi,” Jim sells his watch to buy combs for his wife’s hair, and she sells her hair to buy a chain for Jim’s watch. Each character sold something precious to buy a gift for the other, but those gifts were intended for what the other person sold. That is true irony. If you break your leg the day before a ski trip, that’s coincidental. If you drive up to the mountains to ski, and there was more snow back at your house, that’s ironic. Imply vs. Infer To imply means to suggest something without saying it outright. To infer means to draw a conclusion from what someone else implies. As a general rule, the speaker/writer implies, and the listener/reader infers. Nauseous vs. Nauseated Nauseous has been misused so often that the incorrect usage is accepted in some circles. Still, it’s important to note the difference. Nauseous means causing nausea; nauseated means experiencing nausea. So, if your circle includes ultra-particular grammar sticklers, never say “I’m nauseous” unless you want them to be snickering behind your back. Comprise vs. Compose These are two of the most commonly misused words in the English language. Comprise means to include; compose means to make up. It all comes down to parts versus the whole. When you use comprise, you put the whole first: “A soccer game comprises (includes) two halves.” When you use compose, you put the pieces first: “Fifty states compose (make up) the United States of America.” Farther vs. Further Farther refers to physical distance, while further describes the degree or extent of an action or situation. “I can’t run 2/3 any farther,” but “I have nothing further to say.” If you can substitute “more” or “additional,” use further. Fewer vs. Less Use fewer when you’re referring to separate items that can be counted; use less when referring to a whole: “You have fewer dollars, but less money.” Bringing it all together English grammar can be tricky, and, a lot of times, the words that sound right are actually wrong. With words such as those listed above, you just have to memorize the rules so that when you are about to use them, you’ll catch yourself in the act and know for certain that you’ve written or said the right one. This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. Dr. Travis Bradberry is the coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Using Recruitment Tests

Hiring With Better Results 

© Veer
rufar
Make sure you get the RIGHT answer when recruiting.
Getting the right person for the right job is the goal of most recruiters. But it's not easy.
Hiring the candidate who seems to have all the "right" answers may not be best, especially if you don't ask the right questions in the first place (read Hiring People: Questions to Ask ). Choosing the candidate with the best reference isn't a guarantee either – what if the person giving the reference will say anything just to be nice? And hiring someone because you "feel good" about them is probably as reliable as buying a used car after kicking the tires.
To recruit effectively, it's best to take the guesswork out of the process. The more reliable information you can gather about a person, the better. You want as complete a picture as possible of the candidate's skills, experience, competencies, personality, and aptitudes.
Given the costs, the pain and the lost opportunity that comes from a poor hiring decision, would you like to remove as much guesswork as possible when you hire? One method that companies use to do this is pre-employment testing. These tests are designed to give you reliable and valid information about a candidate – information that a résumé, interview, and reference may not provide.
Recruitment tests are not a substitute for other traditional assessment tools, but they can add to and improve hiring practices. When you combine information from these tests with properly thought-through structured interviews, you add considerable predictive power to your selection process.

Why Use Tests in Recruitment?

The most common reasons for introducing pre-employment testing into the candidate selection process include:
  • Current selection or placement procedures result in poor hiring decisions.
  • Staff errors have had serious financial, health, or safety consequences.
  • Staff turnover or absenteeism is high.
  • Current candidate assessment procedures don't meet legal and professional standards.
In essence, managers use these tests to address rigorously the most significant situations where recruitment has failed in the past, or the highest risk areas where it could fail in the future.
However, as with all business activities, use of tests takes time and has a cost, so they should only be used where the benefits gained more than compensate for these costs.

Types of Test

The key to using the right test – and making best use of everyone's time and resources – is to know what problems you're trying to address with the test. Here are some common types of test, and the typical reasons for using them.

Ability and Aptitude Tests

These are used to predict success across a wide variety of occupations, typically in people who have not yet received much training in the skills needed for that occupation. In essence, what you're trying to do is identify "natural talent" for the work, which you can then develop.
Mental ability tests generally measure a person's ability to learn and perform particular job responsibilities; they focus on things such as verbal, quantitative, and spatial abilities.
Physical ability tests usually cover things such as strength, endurance, and flexibility.
When you use ability and aptitude testing, it's important to consider potential discrimination factors – such as language, race, culture, and age.
Specific examples of ability and aptitude tests are as follows:
  • General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB): Used to assess verbal, numerical, and spatial aptitude as well as provide a basic reference for general intelligence.
  • Differential Aptitude Test (DAT): Used for assessing aptitudes in eight specific areas (as opposed to the general areas of the GATB): Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Ability, Abstract Reasoning, Mechanical Reasoning, Space Relations, Spelling, Language Usage, and Perceptual Speed and Accuracy.
  • Personnel Test for Industry (PTI): Used to test basic verbal and numerical competence, and typically used for placement in industries such as transportation, manufacturing and mechanics.
The International Test Commission (ITC) released the International Guidelines for Test Use in 2000. This was in response to the increased use of tests in countries and cultures outside of the test population used to standardize the instrument. You should refer to these guides to ensure uniformity in test application across different linguistic and cultural contexts.

Achievement Tests

These tests are used when you're looking for skilled people, and you want to ensure that the people you hire are sufficiently skilled to do a good job. These are often called proficiency tests, and they're typically used to measure knowledge and skills that are relevant to a specific position. There are two basic types:
  • Knowledge tests usually have specific questions that determine how much the person knows about particular job tasks and responsibilities. Here are some examples:
    • Clerical Abilities Battery: Used for assessing commonly needed administrative skills including clerical speed and accuracy.
    • Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal: Used for determining how well a person applies analytical thinking, by assessing the ability to infer, recognize assumptions, deduce, interpret and evaluate arguments.
    • Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test: Used to assess how well a person understands how things work by evaluating mechanical comprehension in three main areas: mechanical information, spatial visualization, and mechanical reasoning.
  • Work sample or performance tests require the candidate to actually demonstrate or perform one or more job tasks that are related to a specific job. The tests are often designed for a specific organization, and they sometimes involve workplace simulations as well. A classic performance test is the Inbox/In-tray Assessment .

Personality Inventories

Used where attitude and fit within a team are of major importance, these are designed to evaluate characteristics such as motivation, conscientiousness, self-confidence, or how well a person might get along with co-workers.
There are usually no right or wrong answers to questions, so the recruiter may look for "desirable" responses. A weakness of these tests can be that people "cheat", by guessing what these desirable responses are. This is why sophisticated personality inventories often build in deception scales, which can sometimes detect if the test taker is trying to respond in a certain pattern.
Below are some popular personality tests:
  • Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator  (MBTI): Used to learn more about an individual's preferred style of working and interacting, so that this information can be used to enhance team and personal performance.
  • Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness (DiSC® ): Used to determine a person's preferred behavioral style, and then find ways to promote better communication and understanding within teams.
  • California Psychological Inventory (CPI): One of the most standardized personality tests used to uncover personality characteristics and professional leadrship style, in an effort to identify people who best fit into the company and who will be the most effective and productive.
  • NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO PI-R): Based on the Five Factor Model of personality, this test is used to measure an individual's motivational, emotional and interpersonal style, as well as general attitude, in an attempt to identify people who fit into the culture of the company.
Useful across almost any business setting and particularly where you have a strong business need for especially high ethical standards, these tests look at honesty characteristics as well as integrity, truthfulness, and personal values. They're used to assess company security as well as cultural fit. Some of these tests ask very obvious questions, and others use "disguised purpose" questions to identify undesirable traits such as insubordination and theft. The following are examples:
  • Giotto: Used for investigating work-based behavior and attitudes related to carelessness, commitment level, violent tendencies, discipline, disrespect, theft, and change tolerance.
  • Employee Reliability Inventory (ERI): Used for distinguishing between employees who will be assets versus those who will liabilities, by assessing a person's level of job commitment, respect for safety, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, courtesy, emotional maturity, and lack of disruptive on-the-job behavior.
If you use one of these integrity tests to hire people for a particular job, you should document the business case for such a test. Honesty and integrity tests are usually considered more intrusive and personal than typical pre-employment tests. Some national and local governments restrict their use, so check regulations in your area.

Considerations for Recruitment Testing

When used for the right purpose, professionally developed tests that are part of a planned assessment program should help you select and hire more qualified and productive workers. However, you must understand that all evaluation tools are subject to errors – both in measuring a characteristic, such as verbal ability, and in predicting performance criteria, such as success on the job. This is true for all tests, regardless of how objective or standardized they might be.
Be sure to consider the following:
  • Don't expect any test to measure a personal trait or ability with perfect accuracy.
  • Don't expect any test to be completely accurate in predicting performance.
Sometimes test scores may predict that people will be good workers – when, in fact, they are not. It's also possible for candidates to be rejected due to low scores – when, in fact, they would be very capable and loyal workers. Because of these selection errors, remember that testing is only one of several ways used to evaluate a candidate's abilities.
Use good judgment when you interpret and analyze test results, and review their use periodically to make sure that they're actually giving you the results you want, in terms of improved recruitment outcomes.
It's important to use reliable and valid testing tools. When using them, ask if they have they been through comprehensive standardization procedures? Were they developed by a qualified industrial/organizational psychologist?
Many quizzes for personality and work characteristics are available for free, however, these may not have years of research to back them up.

Key Points

To hire effectively you need to focus on what the job is, get relevant information from a candidate, and provide a framework for making a rational and fair decision. Many companies use pre-employment testing as part of this.
When appropriate test results are combined with well-conducted structured interviews, these methods can add considerable power to a selection process.
As always, spending a bit more time and resources on up-front planning and analysis can save you a great deal of pain later. By adding recruitment tests to a well-constructed hiring process, you'll almost certainly improve worker satisfaction measures such as turnover, productivity, and morale

Sample list of colleges, our clients have attended.

Process Overview

Continual Professional Development

We provide comprehensive continual professional development to professional associations auch as The Irish Law Society, Institute of Engineers of Ireland, The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and other leading professional associations.

Questions to ask Yourself

Drop us your email

In return, as a valued client, we will provide you with discount vouchers on select upcoming programmes. You will also receive advance purchase notification on "high demand" master class programmes.

Email:




Please note that we take your privacy seriously

Specialist Training

If you are a Corporate entity, SME, or a "not for profit" organisation with a specific niche training requirement, please contact us.

With our extensive national and world-wide network of training consultants, we are able to identify, source and fully arrange your training completely in line with your requirements.

Strategic Management

Strategic Management

We are very proud to deliver the only short course on strategic management available in Ireland. This course has been designed to be delivered in house and is specifically tailored for the Irish multi national IDA high value manufacturing and services sector. The programme is delivered over 20 hours as an integrated format over modules decided by the client. Strategy only works when everyone is on the same page and for this reason we offer this programme for each management forum to take advantage of this unique opportunity. It is fundamental knowledge that companies that have a strong foundation and understanding of strategy and how it shapes future sustainable success are the business units that achieve prolonged success within the greater company structure. Simply put, the business unit that talks the language of the CEO attracts the greatest interest and capital input. Success is always built on strategy. See a sample of our strategic training work.
Providing management solutions and training through consultancy contracts in operations and HR management.
Website by: Déise Design