Category Archives: Human Resources

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Talent poachers

How to Fend off Talent Poachers

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Talent Poaching is a big issue for organisations. If you hire the best and then train them to be even better, it is no surprise that another business comes along to try and steal those people away. Not only have you invested a lot in them, they have a huge amount of intrinsic knowledge, and worse, know-how that you do not want your competitor getting access to. Even if your organisation is extremely cash rich, you can’t end up in high stake bidding wars every time an employee threatens to leave.

So the big question is, how can you make your organisation a place that people want to stay, where it is not all about the money?

  • Share a vision

Nike’s vision is to “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)” For the Alzheimer’s Association it is “A world without Alzheimer’s disease.” Whilst very different visions, they are both powerful messages – they have a clear direction that people can get behind and feel part of. The vision must be authentic and it must be at the centre of everything the organisation does. It should be almost like a membership card that employees are carrying around – their commitment to delivering upon that vision every day.

  • Give employers power

People want to feel that they have responsibility for achieving something, and that the results are clear for all to see. Get people involved, give them something that they need to deliver. Make people accountable and give them a reason to care. You need them to feel a commitment to what they are doing at the organisation – that they are important and integral.

  • Have a stand out culture

Organisational Culture is that really hard to define, intangible set of characteristics that bind employees together. You can’t create a culture overnight. It grows organically and should be nurtured. Culture is important because when it is strong within an organisation, it can provide a sense of belonging that makes employees reluctant to leave.

In Summary

There will always be turnover within any organisation and it is important to have renewed ideas coming in to promote innovation. However retaining the best talent is a priority for most businesses. We have shared some top tips to avoid poaching, but it is also useful to take advice from an HR professional who can devise retention strategies.

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How to Start a Career in HR

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

There are many different routes into a career in HR. None are necessarily better than the others. It really is dependent on the circumstances of the individual. So let us look at the main options.

  • Straight from school

Whilst this route is not hugely popular, there are some people who look for a junior role within a business after they finish school and work their way up. It can be quite difficult to obtain these roles, and the salary will obviously we low. However if you find the right organisation for you, you will get training on the job and even the opportunity to pursue formal qualifications at some stage. This option is perfect for someone who does not want to continue further education.

  • Graduate schemes

Many larger organisations have graduate schemes that either have specific HR placements, or rotations which include a period of time within HR. If you are certain you want to work within HR, apply for full time HR placements. If you want to experience other functions, apply for a rotational scheme.

  • Full time role after university

Graduate schemes are very limited in number and are also highly competitive. They also are not the right choice for every candidate. With a relevant degree, it is with relative ease that a good candidate can secure a full time permanent HR role

  • Professional qualifications

A lot of candidates decide to pursue a full time professional HR qualification after they finish university. Whilst others secure a permanent role and then pursue that qualification, often with the financial support of the employer.

  • Side step

Plenty of people do not start their career in HR but move into it at a later stage as a side step. Consider looking for opportunities within your organisation to be seconded into a different role.

In Summary

There are many different routes into an HR career. No one of them is better than the other, and what you decide to pursue is dependent on your own attributes and circumstances. If you'd like to learn more about the Professional Qualifications route, why not check out our SHRM-CP & SHRM-SCP credentials?

Personality clashes

Handling Personality Clashes in the Workplace

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Most of us will experience a personality clash in the workplace at some stage in our careers. This can occur for a number of reasons including differences in working style, background, and/or attitude. It is also common for issues to arise when some individuals take a competitive stance, whilst others are attempting to work collaboratively. The first thing to say is that personality clashes are not necessarily negative. Conflict can be harnessed in a positive way to drive innovation, change, and increased productivity. However, if personality clashes are not addressed it can have an incredibly negative impact on the individuals concerned, including stress, and reduced productivity.

With that in mind, how can personality clashes be managed?

  • Take a step back

Sometimes we become so close to an issue that we are not being objective. By taking a moment to consider the situation from an ‘outsider’s perspective’ it can help us to evaluate and find a resolution to the problem. Adding into this some kindness and understanding also helps.

  • Be professional

Some conflicts can become quite heated. Be mindful at all times that the relationship with your colleague is professional in nature and you should be calm and courteous. It is particularly important to be mindful of your tone both in person and all communications.

  • Speak to somebody impartial

You do not need to disclose the name of your colleague. But it can be very useful to discuss the situation with someone who is impartial but will be honest with you if they also see wrongdoing on your side.

  • Take it to management

Clearly it is preferential to try and resolve these issues yourself. However, if the situation is escalating and having a negative impact on you, it is time to speak to your boss. They may be able to intervene and help to mediate between the two parties. In rare circumstances the parties involved have to be separated and may need to work in other teams. This is clearly a last resort.

In Summary

Personality clashes at work are not unusual but unfortunately they can cause stress and a negative atmosphere. We have shared some strategies to employ to attempt to resolve the issue. Remember that personality clashes, addressed appropriately, can actually result in increased productivity at a later stage.

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4 Proven Strategies to Lift Yourself Out of a Career Slump

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Career slumps come to us all. That sinking feeling when it comes to embarking on the daily commute, the sigh of boredom when switching your computer on each morning, the increasing effort to conceal irritation at the same old grind, day in, day out. However, career slumps are trying to tell us something – either about our career choices or our lifestyle and often both – and should only ever be viewed as a positive thing.

Try these four strategies to put the spring back into your work step:

Take a holiday 

It can often be as simple as that. If you haven’t taken your full year’s holiday entitlement, you could be sailing dangerously close to burnout, and interpreting stress as being sick and tired of your job and everything to do with it. Even if you spend the next fortnight doing nothing more than being wrapped in a blanket watching box sets, a break from routine should always be your first strategy.

Explore other career paths

If you’re starting to feel a pull away from your current career path towards other projects, listen to your instincts. None of us should feel we’re in one job for life any longer, and many people will change career two, three, or even four times over the 40 or so years of their working lives.

Polish up your skills

The workplace is changing all the time, with new skills and specialisms required by companies all the time. If you decide to stay where you are, increasing your knowledge base won’t hurt (particularly in growth fields, such as digital marketing or logistics), and if you decide to move on, it could lead to the next stage of your working life.

Work on yourself 

A career slump can often be indicative of something lacking in your life outside of the workplace. Increasing your exercise, or taking a good look at your diet can help to pull you out of a rut, as can starting a new hobby or activity.

Career slumps are inevitable, even if you love what you do and have no intention of changing path any time soon. The trick is to view them as an opportunity to revisit your work brain and give it a good spring clean, perhaps picking up some new skills in the process!

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Top 4 Secrets HR Won’t Tell You

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Every department has their trade secrets – the insider knowledge that they know and carefully guard. Let’s take a peek into the top 4 secrets:

HR are not your advocates

This is perhaps one of the hardest ones for employees to get their heads around, but the HR team are not there to advocate for you. That is not to say that there aren’t occasions when they will – but their role is to support the organisation first and foremost.

HR support and don’t dictate

You may be thinking that HR dictate to the leadership team and your line management. In reality their role is to provide support rather than define organisational strategy. For example, HR support the development of succession plans, but they do not create them.

Performance plans are an early goodbye

In most, but not all cases, by the time an employee has been put onto performance management, they are halfway out the door. It is a strong signal from HR that there is limited possibility of a long term future for the employee. Start looking for a new role!

 HR perform online background checks

HR teams will very often do ‘non-standard’ background checks. This means looking on Linkedin to ratify employment history provided on the CV, looking at social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and alike. Employees should consider that actions in their personal life can have an impact upon their work life. In short, be cautious about what you put out there in the public domain.

HR perform ‘backdoor’ reference checks

HR are unlikely to just use the formal reference routes. Where they can they will use their own network to find individuals who have worked with the prospective candidate and get a real viewpoint. They are more likely to do this where there is something they are slightly suspicious of on the CV.

In Summary

All functions and departments have their ‘tricks of the trade’ and tools they rely on, above are just a few of the trade secrets that some, but of course not all, HR professionals utilise.

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Self-Promotion Without the Bore-Factor – How to Strike the Balance

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Self-promotion and certain career paths just don’t seem to go hand in hand. For a skill that seems to be the preserve of more creative professions, many of us would rather saw our own leg off than push ourselves forward and tell our boss how great we are.

However, effective self-promotion for the introvert is possible, and without the cringe factor. Here are a few tips for effective self-promotion without going beetroot with embarrassment:

  • Don’t assume that everyone knows who you are and what you do – and that includes your manager and anyone who reports directly to you! Suggestion: arrange a team lunch where you can introduce yourselves and talk through what you do in an average working day.
  • Conquer Impostor Syndrome – if your discomfort with self-promotion comes from feeling that you’re not up to the job, it’s worth taking whatever steps are necessary to deal with that. Suggestion: a frank review about your progress and competency with your direct manager can not only help you develop confidence in your workplace skills, but identify those niggling areas where you’re less able that are sapping your willingness to jump on the self-promotion train.
  • Deal in facts, not bragging – sharing your success in bringing a new client in to your company is infinitely less dull for your colleagues than telling them how great you are at increasing business without providing concrete examples. Suggestion: be confident about your successes when they happen, and practice communicating them to others.
  • Document your doings – unless you’re a computer, you won’t remember every tiny little thing you’ve done, and be able to share it with others when it counts. Maintain an up to date CV (and biography, if that’s appropriate), and dive headfirst into LinkedIn. Suggestion: consider professional certification courses to up both your communication skills and your industry knowledge.

Thinking of self-promotion as anything other than boasting can be difficult for many of us. However, turning it around and using it to present yourself as the solution to a problem your company didn’t even know it had could make it the best skill you ever learned.

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HR Basics for Startups

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Starting up a new business is exciting, challenging, and daunting all at the same time. Focus is typically on developing the product/service and getting that to market and selling as much as possible. Sometimes this unfortunately leaves little time for some of the other tasks that are important and if are not right from the beginning may cause significant issues later on down the line.

HR practices often suffer as new business owners may be tempted to have overly friendly and casual relationships with their staff as they are caught up in the whirlwind of growing a business. This might work just fine when things are good, but it does not set the right framework for an ongoing business. The first thing to face up to is that you as the business owner are the HR Manager until your budget stretches to hiring professional resource. This does not mean that you should not seek external advice for important tasks – and we will point out those specific cases in a moment.

Recruitment

Tap into your network and contacts to avoid paying recruitment fees. Also, hiring through trusted contacts allows you to get detailed references. There are great resources online for how to conduct interviews and examples of competency based questions which you may want to incorporate. For most start-ups, personality is incredibly important, but do not let that blind you – the candidate must have the technical and behavioural competencies you need.

Employment Contracts

There are some great websites online that are contract repositories. They allow you to fill in key details such as notice periods and then they populate the contract. Most charge a reasonable fee to access the documents. However due to the importance of the employment contract, it may be advisable to splash a bit of cash and take advice from an employment lawyer.

Payroll

There are a number of legal and tax obligations in relation to payroll. You can do this yourself or outsource it to a third party. If you are going to do it yourself, there are online solutions that can help.

Employment Policies

Your organisation may be small, and you may even only have a couple of employees, but you still need policies. These are the glue that bind the organisation together, they lay the right foundations, and they let employees know what is expected of them.

In Summary

Start-up business owners typically face a quandary as they want to focus on their core business, but to grow they must hire resources. This begins the foray into HR requirements which may be all new. Without the budget for a professionally qualified HR Manager, it means taking on those responsibilities for a while.

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Take it on the Chin! Why Negative Workplace Feedback Doesn’t Need to Feel Like a Punch

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

None of us like to be told that we’ve done a bad job. It takes us right back to sitting on the naughty step, or waiting outside of the headmaster’s office for a ticking off and a detention. Even if we’ve got a ‘don’t care’ streak a mile wide, negative feedback can be demoralising and eventually wear us down to a position where we can’t do anything but a mediocre job.

However, turning negative feedback into a positive kick into action can make it the best thing that ever happened to you professionally. Here three tips for turning negative feedback on its head and making it work for you:

  • Listen – if you wade in and interrupt, you might miss valuable insights which will help you digest what is being said, and help you to move on. For example, is the feedback for something you’ve actually done wrong, or is it just relating to someone’s perception of your competence?
  • Learn – if the feedback highlights a gap in your skills or qualifications, this is the perfect opportunity to focus some attention on your professional development. If you trust the manager or colleague in question, you can even ask them to be frank about anything else you need to address (there’s nothing like getting all the bad stuff out of the way in one go rather than drip-feeding negative feedback one nugget at a time!).
  • Act – make a list of the main points. For example, if your industry knowledge was called into question, make a list of qualifications and courses you could follow to improve this, and where and when you can study. If you’re feeling really proactive, you could always schedule a further meeting with your manager to discuss your career development, and work out an action plan together.

Additional qualifications never hurt anyone, so have a look at what we can offer you, and make sure that negative feedback is the best thing that ever happened to you in the workplace.

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SHRM-CP & SHRM-SCP Exam Tips

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

The SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP exam is by no means an easy one, so don't expect to go in and breeze it. The pass rate is just over 50%, so you can expect it to be quite challenging. However, it is by no means impossible, so if you take these top tips on passing your SHRM exam on board, you should be all set and ready to achieve a great result.

Digest as much as possible 

The SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams require a lot of study, so make sure you do a little every day, probably months in advance of the test. It may seem like a lot, but you need to be totally prepared and just like anything, the more you do it, the better you'll become. Read text books, attend study classes, use the online learning and practice the questions over and over again. It may also be worth speaking to someone who has already sat (and passed) the exam to get some of their study tips!

Create a study plan 

Use different available resources to study and create a plan, so you cover every subject. You are responsible for ensuring you have digested enough information to pass the exam, so give yourself the time to do it and stick to your study plan. Minimise any distractions which might negatively impact on your success.

Think strategically

Put your strategic HR head on when answering any of the questions. You should think about how the questions correlate to the workplace and answer on the basis of HR being a proactive consultative presence, rather than a passive one.

 Take your time

With any exam, there is always the temptation to just rush through in a blind panic, but this is likely to lead to the wrong answers. Make sure you read each question twice or more before attempting to answer it and be careful with your answer.

Keep the faith

Make sure you go into your exam with your head held high. It may also help to do some personal development before the exam, such as reading relevant books and using a vision board to ensure you are at your most confident. If you have studied hard and you take your time with the questions, there is no reason why you shouldn't pass. Believe in yourself.

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Preparing for April Fool’s: How Not to Get Caught by Office Pranks (However Good They Are)

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

You could be forgiven for thinking that the last profession with a reputation for practical jokes would be accountancy. It’s quite true, however, and in the run-up to April Fool’s Day, you can bet that the accountant in your life is already making plans to catch their colleagues out in a joke or two. You could even argue that the brainpower expended in thinking up ever more elaborate pranks has a positive effect on their work.

However, April Fool’s is all about fooling the fooler, so here are a few ways to avoid getting caught out by the number crunchers this year:

  • Is it ridiculous? Many bits of office jargon and routine are ridiculous, so provide a goldmine of material for the inveterate joker when they have a new victim. However, pranks like “could you fax me over a ream of paper? I’ve run out” shouldn’t be fooling anyone (at least after they’ve had their first coffee!), so pause for thought before acting.
  • Is it a ‘make work’ task? Measuring bins or counting restroom visits might be necessary time and motion tasks in the most exacting and dry of workplaces, but if they’re not a feature of your office, then check the calendar. If someone is poised with a smartphone taking photographs, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ve been had.
  • Is it a disaster scenario? – it’s astonishing how many databases fall over and take any and all back ups with them around the first of April. You could almost be forgiven for thinking that office disasters only happen then. A good clue is whether the IT department are struggling to keep a straight face or not.

Of course, you could always try a prank of your own; if you don’t know the excellent trick to turn a screen display upside down, try it now. Press CTRL + ALT + the down arrow key on your keyboard (CTRL + ALT + the up arrow key will put it the right way up again). Very handy to use on a prankster when they leave their desk and their screen unlocked.

If the world of accountancy practical jokery is appealing to you, why not join their ranks? We offer a range of courses and qualifications which could see you pranking with the best of them next year!