Category Archives: Human Resources

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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!

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Technical vs. Behavioural Competencies for HR Professionals

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

All successful HR professionals need both technical and behavioural competencies to excel in their roles. These are terms you may have heard before, but we will be explaining what each of them means and what mix you need to be effective in your role. A behavioural competency is an attribute such as knowledge, skillset, leadership skills and so on. A technical competence is the application of knowledge and skills to effectively perform in a role.

Behavioural Competencies

Broadly speaking there are five basic types of behavioural competencies;

  • Individual - Personal attributes such as confidence and self-motivation.
  • Interpersonal - Attributes such as high energy levels, communication skills, teamwork and persuasiveness.
  • Motivational - Attributes include leading by example, motivating overs, and taking the lead on new initiatives.
  • Managerial - Leadership skills, decisive decision-making, and managing teams and individuals.
  • Analytical - The ability to review data and scenarios and make good decisions in a timely fashion.

Behavioural competencies are intrinsic capabilities that are typically applicable to any role or organisation. That means they are portable and it is of huge benefit to establish a wide range of these skills.

Technical Competencies

Technical competencies for HR professionals are incredibly important and include knowledge and the ability to apply employment law and compliance regulations. Furthermore the HR team require specific business knowledge as they typically partner with specific functions/departments. For example a business partner to the finance function would require a certain level of technical finance knowledge to be successful in their role.

In Summary

I said in the introduction that we would consider the optimum balance between technical and behavioural competencies. The reality is that this will differ depending on the particular role and organisation. However broadly speaking an equal split will be required between the two. Behavioural competencies tend to be developed over a period of time and are not necessarily learnt in the same way that technical competencies can be through technical training.

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What to do if you Fail an Exam?

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

Nobody sets out to fail an exam – and the reality is that failure can be difficult to cope with. However professional certification exams are tough! Lots of candidates fail. If it unfortunately happens to you, the first thing to do is take a step back and put it into perspective - you will not be the first or the last to be doing a retake. We have helped many students pass after failure and these are our top tips for success:

Get your head straight

Don’t try and blame anyone or anything else for your failure. It has happened. Take a bit of breathing room and a bit of time to relax and reflect.

Review what went wrong

If you can access your exam script and marks, review that in detail. This will allow you to quickly and easily see you where you went wrong and the particular areas you will need to give extra focus to. Also address in your mind any specific exam technique issues you experienced – such as running out of time to finish the paper.

Seek advice

There are training companies out there who are incredibly experienced in coaching candidates through retakes, with impressive success rates. Furthermore, they typically have a huge bank of resources such as sample questions that you can access.  Have a think about what additional resources you might need.

Make a plan

Now that you have considered what went wrong last time, and have hopefully sought some professional advice, you need to plan your study time. Be realistic in what you can achieve, bearing in mind you probably also have a full time role. Ensure you have time to cover all of the content – give more time to areas where you felt you were weak the first time around.

Do lots of practice papers

This in my view is fundamentally important. Even if you have done the papers before, do them again. Make sure you do them under exam conditions as this will identify any issues with your exam technique.

In Summary

Failure can be very tough to manage but with some perspective you can get back on the proverbial horse and work hard to ensure it does not happen a second time around.

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SHRM Recertification: Exam or Development Credits? You Decide!

By Morgan International Staff Writers 

As an HR professional, you will know how quickly the industry changes and understand the need to keep up to date with changes to the legislation and key trends.

If you want to become a true leader in your field, obtaining a SHRM certification will show that you not only have extensive knowledge in HR, which will benefit your organisation, but you also know how to apply this knowledge to real life situations in the workplace. With the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP, you can show that you have a desire to grow within the industry, which can be highly appealing for employers.

Should I re-certify?

If you are reading this article, you probably already have the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certification, but you may be a bit confused about how to re-certify. In order to re-certify, you must be able to show that you are committed to personal development and learning within the HR field. There are two ways to do this; you can either gain the 60 required SHRM professional development credits over a three year period (known as the recertification cycle) or you would need to retake the exam.

Achieving your credits

Of course, the most attractive option out of the two is to gain the points. Unless you are one of the few people who enjoy taking exams! There are three possible avenues you can choose to gain the credits; advance your organisation, advance your education and advance your profession. Advance your education is split into two: self-led and instructor led.

  • Instructor-led – there is no limit to the amount of points you can achieve through instructor-led activities, which may include attending courses, workshops and seminars.
  • Self-led – you can achieve up to 30 professional development credits through self-led activities, which may include reading relevant e-books and/or watching webcasts.

You can also gain 20 professional development credits within your organisation by demonstrating HR capabilities within the key HR competencies. These credits are awarded for your contribution to advance your organisation and showing that you can meet or exceed your goals.

In addition to this, you can also earn credit by demonstrating the ways in which you advance your profession in various ways, including speaking at conferences and researching, writing and publishing on key topics. You can gain as many as 30 professional development credits through advancing your profession.

The time is now!

It is important to keep on top of your accreditations, if you wish to pursue a career in HR and we are on hand to help you. Get in touch to find out more about re-certified.