The Changing Face of Management: Good Vs Bad

Management

Piles of documents, records of routine dealing statistics, watching over the firm’s employees, maintaining the routine cycle, trying best not to give a chance to the seniors to complain and if it is business than trying hard to raise the finance or set a track that is being demanded for the rest of the staff for organizational benefits, is a summed up formula of management. It is about carrying a series of tasks to reach a specific objective.

Change

Indeed! Management is about accomplishing tasks, but is this enough to sustain the business? Or does this ensure the lifetime guarantee of the managerial skills? Definitely not. The solution or I must say the solutions don’t lie in a single statement but a series of events, research of decades, several conducted experiments and much more which lead to the accomplishment of tasks. The strategies which before were found to accomplish the tasks today require innovation for tomorrow.

Changing Face of Management

Companies face changes every day, there would be a chaos if companies make changes without careful planning. Management change should be well structured in order to achieve goals and missions. The functions planning, organizing, coordinating, staffing and controlling have been expanded in meaning so as to encompass the change.

Initiating evolution has higher possibilities if the companies consider change as a constant opportunity and the implication of the change of any company or organization lies with the change in the management. Various time phases have gone through some minute and some immense changes in management networks which transformed the traditional methods or diluted them into modern and better strategies.

Industrial Age and Change of Workers

Industrial-age organizations or firms were the formal hierarchies which assigned various tasks to the employees. The power basically used to reside in the hands of the managers through which they used to govern the overall procedures of the organization and its employees by controlling, planning and organizing their specific tasks. This is what actually made management a restricting function. Later on, in the era from 1910 to 1950, it was found that to manage the tasks and in order to have a broad approach to get things under control for client’s satisfaction and business sustainability, changing employees after a fixed duration was a solution.

Cultural Code Switching

Afterward, a more balanced approach came into view after a brief study conducted by gathering information from experts of cross- cultural communication and information networks.

Code-switching between cultures was determined by an effective skill to work with the foreign employees. Definitely, each continent or state has its own peculiarities and adjustment of one for a whole lot is better than expecting the whole lot to change for the sake of one individual. So, managers are expected to change their strategy according to the mindset of their employees and get used to their trends, only then they can communicate in the language of their employees and make them abide by the management strategies. International experience in working is important which managers can achieve only if they appreciate diversity and have specific cultural intelligence.

Traditional Models of Hierarchy and Innovation

Later on, with the emergence of technology, few organizations became more focused towards the innovation of the set-up which could nurture and then conceive the decision-making programs. An example of which is the often use of mainframe computers in the banking departments which are used by managers. However, several organizations still employ the traditional models of hierarchy, organizational structure, strategies, planning and organization control schemes because the present stage management is more focused on getting things accomplished where past experiments act as directives for today and the innovative setup approach is still in progress for the future.

Motivation and Health of Employees

The ways of past are not enough to carry out the management programs of the present. So, it needs to and has so far evolved to motivate its employees.

Firstly, the managers today are more into adopting the top down strategies for objective setting, then the management looks forward to measure and control whatever is being done and whatever needs to be done in order to provide corresponding incentives for good or bad performance and lastly those monetary incentives motivate the employees.

Nowadays, the work-life balance, environmental factors and socializing with the employees has become a keen demand for the business. With daily challenges ahead, realizing and praising the employees for their extraordinary traits is a remarkable step of managers in the present situations. Past business affairs mostly demanded employees to oversee compliance, now the focus is towards their motivation so that they may oversee performance and the future will emphasize more on the employers’ potential and their approach towards innovation.

With motivation, carrying out health programs is another major step which managers are taking for their employees’ needs which have made the companies profitable in the long term. According to the United States Department of Labor’s OHSA, companies which implement the health management practices, reduced employee injuries, and illnesses by almost 20 to 40% and the productivity increased to almost 13%. Moreover, carrying out employee fitness programs is another step taken by most of the companies of the present age.

Good VS Bad

Good

The good thing about the changing face of management is that now the technology has opened gateways to a broader analysis of the work which enhances the objectives of any company. Moreover, with technology in hand, through the innovation of smartphones, automated devices, and other technologies, the manual load has decreased to a great extent due to which the managers can watch over their employees’ performances. Various applications have been introduced in the markets which promise efficiency.

In addition to this, organizations need more effective results than burdening their employees with an unnecessary workload which was opposite in the past. So, this is another beneficial side of the changing face of management. Now, the managers are more expected to be vigilant in their field that is they have to introduce such policies which can balance the tract and the employees on it. The instructions of the manager play a vital role and if those are good enough then it can propel the organization to great heights.

Since past was more into changing the employees after a certain time period which never really made the workers realize their capabilities. However, with the change in the management, the workers are not only apprised of intelligence but their traits are also admired which ensures efficiency within the organization. Also, it doesn’t put the health or esteem of the employees at risk. With the balance in professional and personal lives, employees have a sense of relief and are not engaged in the fear of being completely work addicts. Though in countries like the US, holidays are a rare event throughout the year but the light work environment and suitable work hours leave room for the individuals to experience life outside the office.

Bad

In the past, the changes occurred at a slower pace and it took years to them to change their modules in order to comply with the changing readiness. Moreover, management restriction in industrial age was like more energy with fewer results. The authoritarian approach made the manager and employee relation into a dominion and submissive one.

However, since the changes used to occur at a slower pace in the past so the handling crisis was relatively simpler as compared to the present where introducing new strategies is a big deal. Though we are blessed with the technology but despite our technical approach, lack of time is a major issue so dealing with problems in minimal time is tough. For those who think that technology is meant to come up with the perfect consequences then no this is not the case every time. With smartphones in hands, it is a rare event to avoid the pop-up notification menu while working. Researchers found that interior distractions have higher possibilities to happen and are stronger than the exterior ones and it takes almost 25 minutes to the person to focus back on his/ her objective.

Moreover, if a perfect strategy being introduced by the manager can become a reason of success for the organization, similarly a poor decision can collapse the organization as well if the flaw persists then it becomes hard to get rid of it.

With determination and other managerial skills, change readiness is now considered an asset in the management world. Though the past management was not that popular but one thing is for sure that the experiments done in the past have led to the accomplishments of the present which can ensure the innovation for the future. A frequent ideas’ generating mind is important for the revival of the success of any company and this is not possible if the manager doesn’t have experience of adjusting to frequently new work setups. Only then he can make his employees live in the change.

Creating a friendly environment, recognizing the extraordinary instincts of one’s co-workers and the ones working under and then praising them for that, ensures efficiency among them. On the opposite side, the over controlling atmosphere is more liable to fade the competitive struggle among the workers. In addition to this, if we want to make good surpass the bad, it is best to form such units which are only given the responsibility to deal with the probabilities of risks in the present age and then overcome them so that managers won’t have to focus more on this problem, rather they can concentrate on the effective results and ensure new strategies in less time. Furthermore, interior distractions can be overcome if each individual tries to be more honest with his/ her working hours. Thus, proper modifications and right decisions can happen at the right time and lead to better prospects.

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Good Boss, Bad Boss: Here Are 5 Strategies to Cope With an Unpredictable Manager

Jekyll, reflecting on mankind, “All human beings… are commingled out of good and evil.”

You may be familiar with the Robert Louis Stevenson story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll believed that he found a method of separating the good and evil that he believed resides in all of us. The consequences of his experimentations did not bode well for him or the safety of others.

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been used as an analogy for the balance many people try to maintain, between being a good person and doing “the right thing” at work, and acting in accordance with other self-interests. We have all likely worked with individuals who may not have always acted in the best interest of their employer and/or their customers, which can create an ethical and possibly moral conflict.

A duality can also be used to described individuals who are perceived as being moody, or someone who does not demonstrate a well-balanced sense of emotional intelligence. This is a person who seems to have an on/off switch that can be triggered or activated, with or without warning. Those individuals are challenging to work with and when it is your manager whose personality or demeanor seems to constantly change – that poses even greater challenges as that person is responsible for your work assignments, performance evaluation, and reputation with your employer. When you find you are in this situation, there are coping strategies you can implement to help how you respond to and work with this manager.

The Art of Managing Others

While there are countless articles written about managing employees effectively, along with resources that describe leadership styles that bring out the best in employees, managing others is still individually based. For example, some managers can manage employees well while other managers have developed leadership qualities. Some managers are actively engaged in the development of their employees and others manage from a distance – intervening only when there is a conflict that cannot be resolved.

One aspect of managing others that has a significant influence on working relationships is a manager’s disposition. Some managers rule with an “iron fist” while others may view their role as collaborating with employees. Some managers may seem like dictators and others may appear to be aloof and not very responsive to the needs of their employees. It is this disposition that can appear to fluctuate from time to time and if so, that is when employees may perceive they are working for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Do Personalities Matter?

As a career coach, I’ve heard many clients state that they did not expect their manager to act in a certain manner after starting a new job – as if that manager intentionally changed their personality. Most people display their best personality when starting a new position, and that includes the employee and their manager. Even with the most engaging job interview, and use of behavioral based questions, it is not always possible to predict how someone else will behave in the long run. You may believe that you have a good feeling about a manager; however, you won’t know if that feeling is an accurate measurement until you have worked with that person.

There is an expression that is often used when employees do not get along and it refers to a difference in personalities. A manager or an employee may state that about the other when it is difficult to get along with them and/or a working relationship has broken down. If the manager has made that statement it is often used as a warning sign and indicator that the employee is expected to change in some manner. No matter how hard employees work to ensure that relationships at work remain professional, after time on the job there is always going to be a personal aspect. Friendships are formed, cliques are established, and a distinction of who is liked or not liked becomes clear – and may be based entirely upon perceptual factors. This happens with every employee and every manager within an organization.

Five Coping Strategies

When it seems that you are working for a manager who frequently changes personalities or their disposition, there are strategies you can consider as a means of coping with and working with that individual.

#1. Find a Way to Relate

When you are able to relate to someone else you are finding common ground with them and being relatable means that you are breaking down potential barriers that could block a productive working relationship. This is not a process that works instantaneously or happens overnight, rather it is a process that is done through a series of positive interactions. When you look for ways to relate to your manager, try to find neutral topics that avoid emotional reactions. In other words, if your manager is challenging to work with you may want to avoid discussing politics with him or her.

#2. Learn to Tolerate Your Manager

If you have a manager who exhibits extreme behavior, learning to tolerate them can be challenging. I am not stating that you have to accept their behavior or try to understand why they act in the manner that they do now. However, you can look at the bigger picture. What would it mean for your job, your career, your team or department, and your employer if you try to tolerate how your manager acts? Learning to tolerate a manager also means you do not go above them and try to report why you believe their behavior is inappropriate – unless you have a justifiable matter that would involve someone from a Human Resources department. How you perceive your manager may be different from the perception held by their superior.

#3. Conduct a Self-Analysis

Any time you are finding what you believe is inconsistent behavior from your manager, the first step is to look inward. While that may seem counterintuitive, it is important because you need to evaluate your perception of this person – along with the actions you have taken or would like to take now. Here are some questions to ask: Have you done your best to develop and nurture a working relationship? Have you performed your very best regardless of how you perceive your manager? Is there anything more you can do or should do now to make the situation better? Finally, if you believe that this situation is unacceptable and cannot be changed, is it time to find a different department to work in or look for a new job?

#4. Watch for the Emotional Triggers or Warning Signs

If you have a manager whose disposition can fluctuate from day to day, it will likely occur often enough that you begin to develop a sense of what the warning signs are or when the changes are going to take place. If so, you can learn to work around or work with those changes. If the personality changes occur suddenly and without warning, then your only alternative may be to avoid any actions that can be viewed as confrontational. You may never know why these changes occur and trying to get to the bottom of it can also be an exercise in futility. However, as you get to know your manager you should be able to identify those times and situations when you should avoid direct contact – unless you are specifically asked a question or instructed to do something for them.

#5. Always Maintain Your Own Emotional Control

It could be easy to state that emotional intelligence on your part is the answer; however, a sudden change in your manager’s personality or disposition requires more than managing your emotions – it most likely means you need to hold back any actions or responses. While you may feel frustrated, you must do your best not to let those frustrations show as it will only create greater tension between you and your manager. Keep in mind that your manager is in a position of authority and any actions on your part that can be viewed as being negative or hostile will only result in negative outcomes or consequences – whether or not you are justified in how you feel about your manager. Maintaining control applies to all of your actions and all of your communication, both verbal and written communication.

Consider Your Manager’s Perspective

You may view your manager’s personality and disposition strictly from the lens of how it applies to you and your working environment. However, you should also consider their perspective as well. A manager is not only responsible for their outcomes and productivity; they are also responsible for an entire team. Their role can be very demanding, especially if goals are not being met. This certainly does not justify any manager acting in a manner that is not emotionally balanced; however, as an employee you can learn to empathize with their role, try to understand what they expect of you, and work to improve how they perceive you and your work. How you respond to your manager can ultimately influence their disposition towards you, either in a positive or negative manner.

If you work for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, there may be no immediate or easy answers but what you can learn to do is to learn to cope with the situation – to lessen your emotional reactions and help you still work to the best of your ability, for the overall benefit of your job and career. Coping strategies can also lessen the potential for experiencing stress and built up long-term frustration. What you never want to do is to aggravate someone who seems difficult to work with now. You may never fully understand or be able to explain why your manager acts the way that they do now but you have an ability to control your response to them at all times.

Dr. Bruce A. Johnson is an innovative educator with experience in higher education as an online instructor and college professor, along with work as a corporate trainer and manager of a corporate training development.

Dr. J has developed expertise in his career with adult education, distance learning, online teaching, faculty development, and instructional design, along with organizational learning and development.

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The Effective HR Manager

Winning the respect, trust and confidence of line managers and making a difference

Ask many line managers what they think of HR managers and you will get a variety of views from the positive to the most damning.

Examples are:

“Excellent. Very professional.”

“Very responsive, supportive and helpful”

“Great if I can ever get hold of them”

“Talk their own language. Not really in touch with the needs of the business. A bit flakey”

“You mean the dead hand of HR!”

As the issue of effective HR management has grown in importance over the years so has the need for HR managers to be both responsive and proactive in meeting the needs of their developing organisations.

Clearly it’s important that an organisation’s employees are paid on time, they are able to access the benefits they are entitled to and can receive straightforward help and advice from HR when needed.

This operational piece of the HR management responsibility needs to be reliable and responsive in every respect. Getting the basics right is all important.

So is partnering with line managers in recruitment activities, performance management processes, training and personal development provision. These are all very necessary, core elements of the HR function’s role. Organisation’s have every right to expect that HR managers will be proficient in these areas.

But what about gaining the respect, trust and confidence of line managers, over and above these basics? How can HR managers really add value? Here are eight tips.

Vision

HR managers need to clearly understand the organisation’s vision and challenge the CEO if it is not clear. They need to create an aligned vision for HR to support the corporate vision.

They need to draft a vision, share it with selected line managers, check it, refine it and communicate it both to the HR team and line managers. They need to be clear on HR’s vision for future success, and clear on how it is aligned to the organisation’s overall vision.

Objectives

HR managers must be clear on their organisation’s objectives. They need to put clear, measurable objectives and milestones to the HR vision. They need to make their objectives concrete, tangible and deliverable with time frames attached.

They need to announce them and ‘stick’ to them. They need to communicate their success in achieving them. They need to be seen as “business like”.

Strategy

HR managers need to understand their organisation’s strategy. They need to be clear on their HR strategy to deliver their objectives. How will HR be positioned within the organisation as a whole? How will it work alongside the business to deliver the strategy of the business? How will it marry the day to day needs of the business with the longer term development needs?

How will it operate with closer external specialists and suppliers? What short, medium and long term plans does it have to really add value to the business?

What changes will need to be made to deliver the strategy?

HR managers need to answer these questions, share their strategy and plans with the business and their standing will automatically be enhanced!

Resources

HR is in the business of attracting, acquiring and developing the RIGHT people. HR managers will need to assess the quality of the organisation’s existing people and compare their current capabilities to the capabilities required by the organisation in the future. That’s why they need to understand the organisation’s vision, objectives and strategy so well.

They need to compare the current competency framework to a desired competency framework, say three years from now. What will be different in the requirement of the organisation’s people? How will this impact the type of people the organisation will need, where in the business, and when?

HR managers need to create a strategic HR development plan to deliver the right people resources to the organisation to meet both its current and future needs. The use of performance management, personal development and capability management systems will help them to do this accurately. They must get transparency of the organisation’s human resources to plan effectively.

Structure

HR managers need to structure the HR function in the most appropriate way.

They should centralise those activities which are core to the whole business. This will include policy development, recruitment, compensation and benefits, performance management, personal development and disciplinary processes. Many of these are governed by legislation and need to be corporate wide, although there may have to be regional or county variations.

HR business managers should be allocated to lines of business to work closely alongside line managers to create and deliver specific interventions to meet their ongoing needs. These people need to be seen as true business partners adding specialist knowledge and skills to line managers. In a sense they are internal consultants clearly understanding the business as well as best practice in HR management and development in the market place.

Systems

HR managers should employ “fit for purpose” systems for both HR management and HR development. This does not mean the most sophisticated, costly and “heavy weight” systems. They should choose systems that can be easily integrated with one another, are customisable and require little management time.

Systems need to be user friendly as the trend is for managers to use them to ‘self-serve’ more and more these days.

Systems should work together holistically enabling the organisation to obtain transparency of its entire human resource, to enable it to adopt the best people acquisition, retention and development process.

Knowledge and Skills

HR managers need to ensure that they and their team members really understand the business they work for, including its:

– Market-place

– Customers

– Products/ services

– Routes to market

– Competition

– Major commercial challenges

– Threats, e.g. legal constraints

– Vision, strategy and objectives

– Plans for the future – short, medium and long term

– Culture and values

– Leadership and management style beliefs

Many HR managers fall down because they lack essential knowledge of the business and fail to use the language and terminologies which clearly show that they understand the core business and how it works.

They should avoid “HR speak” which really turns off line managers. This may be helpful shorthand to HR professionals but it is an anathema for line managers and their staff. HR managers should focus on the objective, tangible, concrete, business related issues not just the softer, behavioural and more subjective issues.

They should gain respect for their knowledge of HR issues as well as the tangible issues faced by the business. After all, human resources are just one element of tackling these issues. When handling people related problems HR managers should go back to the vision, objectives and strategy of the business before embarking on solutions.

HR managers should expand their knowledge to include strategic thinking, change management, business planning and organisation development. Oh and finally HR managers and their teams need to become very IT savvy! They are usually not!

Leadership and Management

The HR manager’s role is to challenge where necessary the behaviours exhibited by managers, who clearly do not ‘walk the talk’. They are to a large extent guardians of the culture and values and need to be seen to be adopting this role.

HR managers should ‘educate’ senior line managers on modern management thinking, helping them to move away from a command and control approach to a more collaborative, consensual working style which truly engages and motivates employees at all levels to give of their best.

The job of today’s managers is to recognise and release talent at all levels not to overlook it or squash it. Performance management systems, personal development programs and reward systems all need to focus on the behaviors and competence required of managers to imbed the corporate values and culture into the organisation. It is the job of the HR manager to ensure that this happens.

So how well have you developed your skills in these eight areas of expertise as an HR manager? Check out how well you are currently doing by using the list below. Tick the box on the left of the statements only if it is TRUE of you.

Start each statement with the words “I..

Top of Form

Have a vision, clearly communicated and accepted, for the role of the HR which is aligned to the corporate vision.

Have short term (up to one year), medium term (two to three years) and longer term (over three years) objectives for the HR function.

Have a thought through written strategy and plan to deliver my objectives.

Am able to assess accurately the organisation’s current HR needs and its future needs, aligning its corporate development plan to strategic HR reviews.

Have a structure for my HR team which enables it to play a centralised and decentralised role in the business, catering for its daily operational needs, and its future development needs.

Have in place HR management and development systems that are fit for purpose, reliable and user friendly.

Am investing in my own and my team’s knowledge and skills in specific areas of HR and wider business related areas.

Challenge the behaviours of managers at all levels of the organisation to live out the corporate values, and my performance management and reward systems reinforce the need to walk the talk.

Am seen as a respected, knowledgeable professional in whom people can put their trust because they have confidence in me.

Continually invest in my own and my team’s personal growth and development.

Total Score:
Bottom of Form

How did you score?

8-10 – Excellent to very good. You have a few gaps to fill.

5 to 8 – Very good to fair. You have quite a few gaps to fill.

0 to 5 – Not so good. If you believe in the points made in this article you have some way to go!

You could say that these are the basics. Getting them right will in itself enhance the HR manager’s standing and reputation. However there are also issues to consider.

These include:

– Being emotionally intelligent

– Being ‘politically’ savvy

– Exercising critical judgement

– Influencing without authority

– Being a catalyst for change

– Having personal credibility

– Being culturally aware

– Conflict resolution skills

– Team building skills

– Managing upwards and managing peers

Plus a host of other soft skills!

Email
Product Advice: jeremy.francis@constantior.com

Head Office
Tel: +44 (0) 1634 787454
Skype: constantior

15 Prospect Row
Brompton
Gillingham
Kent, ME7 5AL
UNITED KINGDOM

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The Importance of Employee Management Software in a Modern Office

Former chairperson and CEO of Xerox Corporation, Anne Mulcahy, once said,

“Employees are a company’s greatest asset- they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.”

If you are an organization that uses the Internet for everyday business practices, then there should nothing stopping you from going one step further and applying technology provided on the Internet to employee management.

Under piles of workloads, appointments, and meetings, it often becomes understandably difficult for a manager to give employees the time and attention, encouragement and stimulus that they deserve.
Making use of a company’s greatest assets – its human resources – to their fullest potential sometimes means adopting technology that efficiently tackles time constraints, management challenges, a employee dissatisfaction.

Has it Ever Worked? Yes!

Ever wondered what goes into making candy? The answer should be a large number of very satisfied workers. Or at least that’s what the Jelly Belly Candy Company of California believe.

The family-owned company takes its employee performance and job satisfaction very seriously.

They recently decided to make the switch from its antiquated talent management process to a far more modern and automated system that uses an employee management software to provide accurate performance appraisals.

The result?

The new automated employee management system has allowed for a more standardized, organized, and formal evaluation process at the Jelly Belly Candy Company.

Greater accessibility between employees and managers, better training programs, and more efficient performance appraisals have all allowed the company to reach its business objectives without compromising on employee satisfaction.

The Different Tools of an Employee Management Software

1. Maintain a database for all your former and current employees

Complete, searchable, and secure records that includes information such as the employee’s personal details, bank details, emergency contacts, and even a record of his/her sick leaves.

2. Reduce the paperwork

An efficient employee management software will allow employees to request time off, submit timesheets or documents and allows employees to audit or approve submissions or requests.
This negates the need to work with HR or submit unnecessary pieces of paper.

3. Keeps track of time and attendance

Employees and managers have an instant record of absenteeism and the number of hours put into work everyday. This allows employees to be more responsible and stay on top of their punctuality and absenteeism rates before it becomes in issue.

4. Total Rewards

Some employee management software apps allow managers to provide their employees with rewards (financial or non-financial) for good performance.

Employees can access their total reward statement through the software, and this often becomes a powerful way of keep individuals motivated and driven.

5. Expense Management

An incredibly useful feature of most employee management software is that it allows staff to scan or photograph and upload receipts onto a database, therefore allowing managers and employees to keep a permanent account of all expenses.

6. Payroll

A simple app can process payroll on individuals online based on the number of hours they have put in with just a click of a button.

7. Asset Management

When an employee leaves the company, managers can keep track and monitor the return of any equipment that was provided to the employee by the organization.

8. Shift Planning

In an organization that depends on perfect timesheets for its smooth functioning, a tool that schedules the staff, eliminates shift conflicts, and notify employees of work shifts automatically can prove to be extremely convenient.

9. Track progress of the company

Information is constantly being constantly being collected on the employee management software, making it easy to gauge the company’s progress.
Instead of having to spend time putting together reports to see how the company is doing, a quick look at the information on the software should allow managers to constantly and accurately track the company’s progress.

The Benefits: Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

1. Providing constructive feedback

Neither managers nor employees look forward to performance reviews, often a once-a-year event that makes an employee feel like a school kid receiving a report card.

Surveys have shown that employees dread annual performance reviews and are therefore less likely to respond in a positive manner to the feedback that is given.

An employee management software allows managers can control how frequently and in what format they would like to provide feedback to their employees.

Performance appraisal reports can be replaced with configurable dashboards and messaging systems, resulting in feedback that is constructive, efficient, and perhaps flows better with the rest of the company culture.

2. Setting goals and motivating employees

An employee management software makes it easy to remind employees of their goals and drive them towards developing skills and meeting deadlines.

This structure also allows employees to work more independently instead of being micromanaged by a manager or HR professional.

3. Better accessibility and communication

Time constraints, clashing schedules, and increasing workload makes it difficult for employees and managers to communicate.

This can foster resentment and misunderstandings, with managers sometimes being too harsh in their judgement of employees and employees sometimes feeling like they have been judged unfairly.

Employee management software avoid help companies avoid such issues, and can help managers clearly communicate their expectations from an employee.

4. Better employee-manager relationships

Employee management software takes away some of the pressure, anxiety and stress that is often observed between managers and employees.

It allows for an environment that encourages low stress communication and help employees and managers work together towards meeting organizational goals.

To summarize, an employee management software provides an organization with a plethora of tools for better management, while simultaneously focusing on employee satisfaction and engagement.
If used correctly and to its fullest potential, employee management software provides a company with an automated, efficient management system and a healthier work environment.

Learn more about efficient employee management on CakeHR today and find out how you can boost employee engagement and management in your company.

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Learn About Leadership And How To Improve Your Skills

If you want to be successful in any job, you need to demonstrate business leadership skills. This is obvious if you are in a position of leadership, but also helpful if among the rank and file so that you might land a promotion in the future. Keep reading for a number of helpful hints on business leadership.

A good leader, or manager, will go out of his or her way to get to know employees better. Not just about work-related topics, but about their outside activities, family and interests. Employees appreciate it when their leaders acknowledge them in ways that don’t pertain to work. This makes the relationship a little more personal.

Don’t shift the blame for mistakes to others. Subordinates, outside contractors, and plenty of other people within the organization can cause a business transaction to go wrong. If you try to shift the blame, you will lose the confidence of your customers and they won’t patronize your business any longer.

Be sure to finish everything you start or you risk losing the respect of the people that work under you. Even if something seems particularly difficult, you should give it your all and see it through to the end. No one will look at you the same if you turn into a quitter.

Learn to delegate nonessential tasks to your employees. Delegation allows you to focus on the essential things that must be done to make your company successful. Additionally, delegating tasks to your employees gives them a sense of pride and ownership in the company. Although it is tempting to try to do everything yourself, delegation is beneficial to your company.

Choose an appropriate form of communication for the subject matter. Simple confirmation of instructions or other daily communication can be done through email and text messages. If the subject matter is sensitive or of high importance, it is important to schedule a meeting to discuss the subject face to face.

Remember that you are not someone who is perfect. Even as a leader, you still have things that you can learn, and you don’t singlehandedly own all the intelligence in your company or organization. Stay humble enough to realize that you are still going to need help every now and then, and the people you lead will think highly of you.

Leaders, and their teams, often do not connect as much they would like to. However, getting together to talk about work is vital in order to keep things running smoothly. The best kind of gathering to start with is one where you, as the leader, opens the forum with a question like, “How is everything going?” This is a great ice-breaker, and will help you to learn a lot.

Now that you have read this article, you have learned a few things about demonstrating leadership in business. Use these tips to better motivate yourself and those around you in your current professional setting. You should find your line of work more rewarding and productive in no time at all.

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What Are The Responsibilities Of Implementation Consultants?

To become a successful implementation consultant requires clear knowledge and assessment of business analysis. Depending on the particular field entered into, the duties of each person will differ with higher pay grades provided for more senior positions. Learning about the undertakings and responsibilities of such employment titles can assist in determining whether it is a suitable career path for your future professional needs.

Implementation consultants have varied job duties from applications in IT and software development to performing business analytics and developing trusting relationships with clients while overseeing particular projects. One of the most important processes involved in working duties includes HCM (Human Capital Management) where people in the company are viewed as potential assets and their future worth determined for the value and function of the enterprise.

The role of consultants is to engage with clients for the business for the duration of a particular project undertaking or work related measure. These job duties are hired independently to assist a company with particular processes and formal tasks. Developing careful knowledge, skills, and understanding of the responsibilities and roles associated with the job as an implementation consultant can aid in proceeding with the necessary professional requirements.

Consultants rely heavily on the employer in terms of job security and meeting particular professional duties in the field. There is the option of training particular staff to perform the necessary roles or to outsource staff to ensure that individuals with the correct standards of knowledge and education are hired for the position. To work in this field requires a higher level education in business analytics to ensure that the proper professional undertaking is achieved.

One of the major roles of an analyst includes the creation of strong and trustworthy relationships with the clients of a business. The consultants act as representatives of the company and must possess the knowledge, skill and the experience to impress potential clients. It ensures long standing relationships for future business deals and successes.

Consultants must be good with people and possess the necessary interpersonal skills to communicate clearly in professional meetings and undertakings. Specific interests of employees will have to be met to achieve a sale or proceed with large projects. A relationship that is created according to trust and a high standard of professionalism can assist in producing the best results for the needs and the interests of the company.

Regardless of the particular employment field, the duties include client liaison and the ability to best manage conflicts. It must be determined what is best for the interests of a client and the company including data management and careful analysis of project requirements to advise on valuable and effective options. The goal is to determine ways and means of reaching specific outcomes more efficiently and without additional cost.

It is the responsibility of assigned consultants to conduct projects and meet professional deadlines within a specified budget. This includes the development of management systems including the assessment of data to ensure that smooth process is achieved and any complications prevented. This relies on important business analytical skills and in many cases employees will be required to work with analysts to produce the necessary outcome.

More modern companies are outsourcing implementation consultants to assess its processes and advise on ways of improving business. Roles and responsibilities are dependent on industry-specific measures including the impact of regulations and new or outdated systems on its productivity. The goal is to provide solutions to meet customer expectations and deliver more efficient and effective professional procedure to reach company objectives.

When organizations change its systems or wish to implement a new regulation, the consultant is contacted to determine how it will affect and influence its productivity. The goal for any company is to achieve its targeted in an efficient and cost-effective manner and any risk associated with new programs should be carefully assessed and settled before proceeding with the completion of a project.

Executives will evaluate business processes within the professional environment and determine which systems and methods are working. The aim of any company is to develop programs and systems that enhance efficient measures and ensure that the proper organizational strategies are applied for successful results. Consultants are responsible for the implementation of systems that must be put in place to generate the necessary outcome.

The main focus of most organizations is to ensure that the proper products and services are put in place to deliver the best results for the longevity of a company. Settling specific tasks is achieved by looking at specific professional objectives including cooperation with particular staff members to aid in achieving successful results. The consultant will have to meet with various professionals in the industry to produce the most suitable organizational results.

An assessment of data, products, and services will need to be implemented to ensure that the correct steps are taken in support of smooth and efficient procedure. The professional must possess clear communication skills to consult with different professionals and industries when discussing the project development. Proper technique and regulatory practices should be applied in the production of products and refinement of services.

In-house training for implementation consultants is less popular than hiring independent persons. Having an objective view of business procedure and system creation can deliver the best results for the company. A clear and detailed assessment with recommendations for modern processes and the development of comprehensive plans can assist companies in determining suitable practices.

To move towards a more senior position, it is important to develop the necessary skills and experience when executed in project planning and completion. The necessary procedures must be conducted according to a high standard from analytics to communication with potential and trusting clients. These steps are necessary for the development of professional procedure and the ability to reach more advanced employment.

The role of a senior implementation consultant includes knowledge of business analysis, professional data management, and client liaison. Duties include management processes, building client relationships, project oversight, and development among others. It is important to possess a tertiary level education to proceed with the necessary job tasks and fulfillment of more advanced positions.

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Records Management in Government Agencies in Sierra Leone

Introduction

Records Management is the systematic control of all records from their creation or receipt, through their processing, distribution, organization, storage and retrieval to their ultimate disposition. Because information is such an important resource to organization, the records management function also includes information management. Therefore, records management is also known as Records and Information Management or RIM (Magnus, 2006).

Records management may also be used to define as the way official records (correspondence files, information) are organized in such a way that they have a meaning, and can be used continuously by the users such as managers, records professionals, educational institutions,

Importance of Records Management in Government Agencies

Establishing a records management programme, in government agencies for example, the Meteorological Department may result in both immediate and long-term importance to the department. Below are stated some of the importance of records management in the government agencies, civil service, companies and businesses as a whole:

• Records management reduces lost or misplaced records. Because the human element is always with us, even the best system in the world will occasionally have misplaced records. But properly designed document management systems can gradually reduce misfiles. Most often misfiled records can cost the clerical staff a huge wastage of time in searching for records;

• Records management act as evidence in the time of dispute. It is important for the settlement of dispute because it can be shown as proof in court;

• It helps in evaluating progress of organization. It helps in the preservation of history of the organization. The past records shows direction to organization. It helps in finding out the weaknesses and strength of organization. Records management gives the account of progress and direction in which organization is giving on;

• Records management is the memory of business. It is useful for future decision making process. The study of past records shows direction for future. It supplies information to organization whenever it is needed therefore, it helps in taking decision;

• Records management helps to evaluate business progress and performance. It helps in comparison between one period of time and another or between sometime of businesses;

• Records management helps in management and control of important records. It helps to protect necessary records with care and disposes useless records;
• To minimize litigation risks. Organization implement records management programmes in order to reduce the risks associated with litigation and potential penalties. This can be equally true in government agencies. A consistency applied records management programme can reduce the liabilities associated with document disposal by providing for their systematic, routine disposal in a normal course of business;

• It increases accountability. A records management will put in place a system for tracking actions on each record, therefore increasing accountability and providing access reports; and

• To improve working environment. Implementing records management programme improves the working environment through the organization of records and storage offsite. Organized working environment can then improve the perception of the business by clients and potential employees. New employees are also easily trained to manage the company’s records when an efficient records management programme is in place (Jackson, 2008).

The Historical Background of the Meteorological Department Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone was the headquarter (HQ) of the West African Meteorological services which was established in 1923.Meterological services were provided for four West African countries namely Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and The Gambia respectively. The Sierra Leone Meteorological department is an offshoot of the British West African Meteorological services founded on the 27th April 1961. Since the establishment, the department has been governed by series of directors and the presently director is Alpha Bockari who has served in this capacity from 2012-to date. The headquarter is located at F18 Charlotte street Freetown.

The Meteorological Department exist to provide cost effective weather and climate services by collecting, processing, archiving and disseminating meteorological and climatological information and services to support end user contributing to the management of Sierra Leone’s economy with special regard to protection of lives and property and safeguarding of the environment and recovering the costs of the services so rendered so that it expenditure will not exceed it income.

As a department under the ministry of Transport and Aviation, they are charged with the following mandates /responsibilities:

• Safety and well being of citizen and their protection against severe weather situation and devastation from natural disasters;

• Provision of reliable climate data to facilitates project design for agricultural planning and implement, water supply systems, infrastructure, and tourism;

• Contributing to the socio- economic (including providing end user services for agricultural activities, marine) development of the country;

• Carryout weather and climate related activities e.g. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Climate Change Services (CCS), Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), and National Communication (NCS) (Meteorological Department, 2014).

Objectives of the Meteorological Department Sierra Leone

The overarching objective of the Meteorological Department established as the sole authority, which issues weather and climatological warnings and services are, to:

• Forecast, plan and deliver meteorological and climatological services which meet national socio- economic development needs.

• Collect, process, store and disseminate meteorological and climatological information both nationally and internationally in accordance with rules and practices and procedures established under the WMO Convention of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), etc and other relevant conventions of the United Nations systems such as the Frame work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and Convention to Combat Desertification, Drought etc.

• Provide a range of customer/ sector specific operational meteorological services to such major sub sector as those for aviation, water resources, agriculture, defense, marine, tourism, sports and recreation, and construction;

• Provides advice on meteorological and climatological matters to the national community and other governmental and non- governmental agencies.

• Develop adequate manpower to enhance functional effectiveness and efficiency of agencies.

• Reduce its reliance on the national budget and generate its own revenue by charging for services rendered to other clients;

• Arrange for and manage surface and upper air observation networks and accurately and effectively record the weather and climate condition for Sierra Leone’s economic development;

• Provides meteorological services for search and rescue operations during disaster and relief operations as well as during national emergencies; and

• Participate on behalf of Sierra Leone in the activities of relevance international organizations to which its belongs, in particular the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), World Weather Watch (WWW), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW), Inter- Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Developments (ACMAD), United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) etc role in all climate change activities of the country (Meteorological Department, 2014).

Methods of Managing Records at the Meteorological Department

Records keeping are of great importance to any institution. One of the most crucial decision managers, directors or heads of organization have to make is to choose the suitable methods of managing their organization’s records. There of two methods that is significantly used. These include centralized and decentralized methods of managing records.

Centralized Methods

A Centralized method of managing records is the one in which all physical documents are located in one central location or office. The location is controlled by the records management office staff. The number of employees in the records department will depend on the size of the organization. In a centralized method, end users have the comfort of knowing all physical documents relating to a particular case are held in the same location. If for instance, end user needs to reference a file he/she would be required to contact the records office staff. The file would then be checked out to the end user. A complete claim of custody of file is captured, so the location of file is known at all times.

A centralized method has a heightened level of security. For example, the entrance is locked so only the records staff has access to the files in the records office. This process yields much more control over physical document than the decentralized methods. For efficiency of purpose, uniform office procedures are documented and circulated to all end user. These procedures address topics such as hours or operation, file request and delivery times.

Decentralized Method

A Decentralized method is one in which the physical documents are located across the entire office. This may mean they can be found in every staff offices or other work room space. Unlike centralized methods, where the files are controlled exclusively by the records office. A decentralized method is controlled by the staff that created the file. The physical files are stored at the employee’s desk not in a centralized location for all to access. Thus, the method would not require a full time record staff.

Employees would have access to their files at all times and would be responsible for maintaining accuracy. The decentralized method of managing records has its demerits. For instance, suppose group of employees are working on the same case at the same time suddenly, the employee who is responsible for maintaining the file is absent. The rest of the group may have trouble in locating the file if the organization does not have claim of custody procedure in place. Along the same lines, a decentralized method of managing records will have little or no security over files. This can prove problematic especially if an organization handles high sensitive cases.

However, in the meteorological department, a centralized method of managing the department’s records is adopted. That is to say, both physical and electronic or other records are centrally managed by the department’s office clerk. Although, there are challenges with regards to the keeping and managing of records, nevertheless the method is well utilized. (Meteorological Department, 2014).

Types of Records generated by Meteorological Department

The records generated by the meteorological department office plays a vital role in managing the operations of the department. The department documents past activities, phenomenon and events that serves the basis for further actions. The records are both manual and electronic in nature. Examples of manual records include:

• Office administrative records;
• Human resource records;
• Financial/ fiscal records;
• Meteorological data/ records;
• Material records;
• Public information records;
• Conference/seminar service records; and
• General programs.

Electronic Records: These electronic or machine readable records are data in a form that can be read and processed by a computer and that satisfies the legal definition of a record. At the Meteorological Department in Sierra Leone these are records relating to divisions and out stations in the department and these include:
• Electronic mail and messages;
• Electronic spreadsheet;
• Primary data files and data bases;
• Machines readable indexes; and
• Word processing files.

Users of the Records at the Meteorological Department in Sierra Leone

The users of the Meteorological Department records in Sierra Leone include:
• Administrative personnel;
• Research/ external users;
• Human Resource Management Office (HRMO);
• Government ministries and agencies;
• International organizations e.g. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Meteorological Organization (WMO); and
• Clients to which Meteorological Department information is given. For example, the media in Sierra Leone such as: Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), African Young Voices (AYV), and Star Television).

Filing System at the Meteorological Department in Sierra Leone

Filing System in Records Management is the process of classifying, arranging, sorting and storing records so they may be easily located and retrieved when needed. It is the classification and control of basic file groups, material collection procedures, file preparation, sorting, indexing, maintenance and cross referencing. A well defined and maintained filing system allows vital information to be accessed quickly and saves company money by saving time. Business, schools, government agencies and even every day, people use filing systems to keep their affairs organized. Thus, the following various types of filing systems may enable agency to carry out proper filing system efficiently.

Alphabetical Filing System

In the alphabetical filing system, records are arranged according to name that is from A-Z either the name of a person, company or subject in accordance with the letters of the alphabet. There are two methods involve in alphabetical filing system.The topical alphabetic filing system, also known as a dictionary system. In this system files, individual record are in alphabetical order. This filing system works well when storing a small number of records. It proves to be problematic when individual has a lot of client sharing the same name.The other method is the geographical filing system; also know as encyclopedia or classification system. This system is used to organize larger volume of records. It groups subject together under broad categories based on a location such as a city, country or state. The categories and the files within each category are arranged alphabetically.

Numerical Filing System

In the numeric filing system, numbers are assigned to each file and arranged the numbers in segmented order. Files of people with the same name won’t have duplicate headings as with the alphabetical system. This system also offers better filing confidentiality since names are displayed in the files and work well when handing a large volume of files.

Terminal Filing System

In the terminal digit filing system also, numbers of assigned files are in sequential order but filed according to the last two digits. For example. If an individual is filing number 18547; first the individual go to 47 section of the filing system then look for the 85 area of the section and finally look for the number one (1).

Alphanumeric Filing System

The alphanumeric filing system, both letters and numbers are used to organized files. For example, two letters are used to signify the client files in, followed by a number to denote his account number.

The meteorological department filing system, have adopted the alphanumeric filing system. In that record, they use the end-tab folder and pockets that simply stand on shelves and filing cabinets. No hanging pocks with a use of office space. The meteorological department has some challenges but the filing system is organized and use efficiently.

Records Storage Systems

Record should be kept in good order, in a secure location. Those containing confidential or personal data such as staff files must be stored in lockable units and should not be left on desks overnight or view of visitors. Only records which are required frequently should be stored in the office. Those which need to be retained for legal or other reasons should be stored offsite with the records office offsite, while those which have outlived their usefulness should be destroyed. However, records which are less than one year will not be stored offsite.

Storage systems used in records office most provide appropriate protection for records based on format and volume of records, how frequently they are used, how quickly they need to be accessed and security requirement. The main types of records storage systems used include:

Vertical Filing Cabinets

These are adequate for small filing systems, but are less suitable for large runs of records and records that require frequent access. Access is slow, since drawers have to be opened, and these can significant impact where there is a high volume of records activity. The cabinets require large amount of space and drawer space is often not use to full capacity.

Book Shelves

These are suitable for books or files that are stored upright, such as box files and lever arch files.

Lateral Filing Units

These have long drawer for storing files laterally and use space more efficiently than their vertical counterparts. Alternatively, static unit without drawer can be use, where files are stored in hanging pocket or cradles. Where prompt filing and retrieval are required open unit will be the most efficient. If file access is to be restricted, units with lockable doors or shutters can be used.

Mobile Shelving

This may be suitable where a large volume of records need to be stored near at hand, as it reduces the number of access aisles require. It is the most expensive type of shelving, and is very heavy. The floor must have sufficient structural capacity to support these shelves.

Open Shelving System

This usually found in large offices and in central file rooms, it allows for rapid retrieval and refilling. This type of lateral file, which resemble open book shelves allows files to be retrieved horizontally. It also offers full viewing of the folder tabs, which makes for rapid retrieval. And there is an estimated 50 percent saving space when files are moved from vertical system to an open shelve system. This unit usually requires professional installation, which can be negotiated with the vendor is an inclusion in the cost of the equipment. These are the most efficient kinds of files available. They also have doors and can be locked. Some of those with doors have flush backs and can be used as attractive room dividers with a built-in advantage of providing a good deal of sound- proofing. These doors and 6 openings are easily accessed over 200 inches of filing. Those without doors provide even more filing capacity and should be consider, even if there is a perceived need to lock them.

Records Storage Systems at the Meteorological Department in Sierra Leone

The main types of records storage systems used at the Meteorological Department in Sierra Leone is the open Shelve System which is mentioned above where files contacting records are usually found in large offices and in central file rooms which allows for the rapid retrieval and refilling. This type of lateral file, which resemble open book shelves allows files to be retrieved horizontally.

Records Retrieval at the Meteorological Department in Sierra Leone

Retrieval is the process of locating and removing a record or file from storage. It is also the action of recovering information on a given subject from stored data. It deals with standards and procedures in retrieving paper, electronic and image records. For example, finding a name and telephone number in a telephone directory or data base is a common storage and retrieval activity. Records or information can be retrieve in three ways:

Manually: people go to a storage container and remove by hand a record wanted or make a note of information requested from it.

Mechanically: a person uses some mechanical means, such as pressing the correct buttons to rotate movable shelves to correct location of a record, remove the record manually, or record information requested from it.

Electronically: a person uses some means, such as a computer, to locate a record. The physical record may not need to be removed from storage. The requester is informed as to where it can be found, or the information requested is showed to the requester in some way, perhaps on a screen in a data base or electronic mail file.

Request for stored records may be made orally over the telephone or by a messenger or in writing memo, letter etc. The request may be delivered in person, sent by mechanical, such as a conveyor system, or sent electronically by email. The record must be retrieved from storage and given to the requester quickly. Every minute of delay in finding a record is costly in user or requester wasting time and in filers searching time and could possibly lead to loss of money for the business (Stephens, 2009).

However, manual and mechanical procedures are normally utilized in retrieving records at the Meteorological Department since majority of their records are in paper based form.

Challenges facing Records Management at the Meteorological Department in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone situation in business of record keeping and management especially in the Meteorological Department system has not been too successful because of the lack of management component. Writing in support of the above finding, I have noted that many years of neglect had done great damage to meteorological sector and record keeping is not an exemption. The following are some of the challenges of proper records management faced by the Meteorological department in Sierra Leone:

Inadequate Funding

The problem of inadequate funding of records office in the meteorological department is more intensive than the other departments. This is a problem that was not only experienced during the colonial era but has passed on even to today’s records management programs. Payment of employee’s salaries, purchase of modern preservation equipment and chemicals among the other day- today activities that facilitates records preservation are vital activities that call for proper adequate funding to enable the institution to achieve its objectives are not quite seen. For this reason, the meteorological records office practice is abandoned with unqualified personnel thus suffering from inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

Inadequacy of Space and Equipment

The records office at the Meteorological Department is rather too small to contain current and non- current records. The equipment used is somehow crude in nature and also of inadequate capacity. The record staff do not have access to modern equipment due to combine problem of inadequate funding and know- how technology.

Problematic Nature of Format

Most record materials are still organic nature, most of them been paper based. This means they are capable of aging, advancing, deteriorating with time. For this reason, they need equipment to be treated and handled with for the purpose of preserving them. For such a country like Sierra Leone which lies within the tropics such conditions are worsen by high level of humidity in the atmosphere and high temperature all around the year. All these conditions combine work to hasten the nature chemical process of decaying records. Furthermore, records keeping facilities in the Meteorological Department do not have weather control preservative where all weather conditions can be controlled to enhance record preservation thus, making the whole preservation process even more difficult.

Absence of Records Management Laws

The National Records act of 1964 is outdated and is no longer serving its usefulness. Records do not have legal description, backing or definition of their service. Legal laws provide for authenticity, which serves to promote and also provides confidence to the public and those practicing in the profession about the service being offered. These are the very important elements that the Meteorological Department’s record keeping facility lacks.

Lack of Understanding and Appreciation

The records management program in the Meteorological Department is rarely appreciated and its role in the provision and management of information understood by only a handful of staff. This is also true as it is the culture in many other public and private sectors that generate vital records on a daily basis have no basic understanding of records life cycle and requirement of the records disposal act. They are extremely ignorant of the vital role that can be played by the records office to help them properly managed and preserve record both at the current and semi- current stages. Staff is totally uninformed about the records activities and for this reason it is recommended that the records office should engage in programs that will help to educate staff and other users in the requirement and content of the activities.

Conclusively,Record keeping in an organization set up is very important and cannot be over emphasized. This is because continuity depends on availability of useful records of the past activities. In a complex organization like that of the Meteorological Department, it is not possible to keep every single information in the brain, because the volume of information is heavy, therefore records must be kept. In Sierra Leone, meteorological laws demand that every meteorological station should keep certain meteorological records such as weather fore cast data, personnel records, visitor’s book, inventory book, account book. Record keeping occupies a strategic position in the efficient and effective management of meteorological system. In fact, it is central in the administration of institution of learning because it document the planning and implementation of appropriate course of service allowing monitoring of work.

Unfortunately, the Sierra Leone situation in business of record keeping and management especially in the Meteorological Department system has not been too successful because of the lack of management component. Giving credence to this assertion, records management practice in the Meteorological Department has a number of problems as indicated above. By paying close attention to all these problems and addressing them one at a time we help solve the problems and enhance good management of records in the Meteorological Department in Sierra Leone.

References

Brochure of the Meteorological Department (2014). Freetown: Government Printing Press.

Jackson, Potter (2008).The Fundamentals of Records management. Kansas:ARMA international.

Magnus, king (2006). The Role of Records Management. London: Greenwood Press

Stephens, John (2009). Management of Records in the Private Sector. Toronto: Great Awards Publishing limited

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Positive Change in the Management Will Change the Organization Positively

Management was considered a skill and art. People said leaders are born. Then people said leaders could be inspired. Now people say that leaders could be trained. It is true that we could be trained and taught to become leaders. Management is a leadership skill. The best leadership ever is the leadership by example. If the example is right then the understanding will be full. If the example is not right then the understanding will not be right.

Companies and organizations have managers and management levels. Smaller companies might have only one level of management and there might be only one individual as a manager. Larger corporations have different levels of management. There might be junior managers who directly deal with base level employees. There might be middle managers who interact between the junior managers and the senior managers. There might be a higher management team which would be at the top of the organizational structure.

If an organization is established to be bigger, the management would have been planned and structured beforehand. Most organizations that are worldwide and famous now, were not planned to be so when they were initiated. If you take any of the gigantic businesses, corporate companies or organizations, most of them were not meant to be grown into worldwide entities. In fact, some of the current successful and worldwide businesses were opened up for fun. We can consider the United Nations Organization as one of the very few organizations which were meant to be worldwide as they were established.

The change becomes necessary when the organization transforms from a small group of people having fun to a larger entity of importance in the society. When Facebook was launched, it consisted of only one manager; the founder himself. Now it has over 10,000 employees with different levels of management. Google was started with two people. Now it has more than 57,000 employees worldwide. This is the transformation that takes place when a company or organization grows.

All companies had to face the issue of transforming from a smaller stage to a bigger stage. Once they transform, the organizations which changed their structure of management accordingly were able to survive. The management of whichever organization was resistant to change had to pay the price of losing the organization. If an analysis is done on the organizations, companies or corporate businesses which were closed or sold, then the management would be held responsible for ending up in such situations.

The most effective mode of management is to lead by example. A military is a controlled system that runs by orders. One of the most important aspects in the military is that the leader who is giving an order also carries out that order. For example if a soldier is required to wear a uniform, then the chief of the battalion is required the same. If a soldier is required to carry out training exercises, the commander is required too. In other words, militaries are successful organizations not because the leaders or managers have much authority but because they lead by example.

As a simple fact, if a manager keeps his table clean all the time, he can ask his subordinates to keep their table clean. There will be no opposition. Since the subordinates know that their manager always keeps his table clean, they will have no excuse or reason to give him. The leader gets his authority through his example behavior and not through shouting at people.

Since management is essentially leadership, it should lead by example. The duty of higher management is to make sure that there are example leaders in the middle management. The middle management consists of the most sensitive links with most critical positions. The middle management of any organization is the bridge between the workforce and the managing force. If the bridge is not right, then the journey wouldn’t be fulfilled.

As organizations transform from small to big, the gap for a middle management arises. The top managers might be able to manage 10 staff but not 100. If the top management decided to manage all staff without middle management, it is like building a suspension bridge without any poles in the middle. It will work for up to a certain length. If the bridge exceeds the optimum length, then the strength would be in question.

It is the same with a growing business. There have to be changes to address the needs of tomorrow. Most organizations fail because they try to address the problems that took place yesterday and they forget to think and make a plan to avoid problems tomorrow. In the long run, this kind of organization will have problems piled up from the past and will be facing problems in the future as well.

The aspects of the management should change in a way that the management should be able to think, anticipate and identify potential problems in the future. They should then be able to get ready to face and solve the problems before the problems hit the organization. If this is not considered by the management, then the day to day problems will keep all the staff occupied in problem solving. While everyone is busy trying to solve the problems, the intended regular tasks will be missed. The missed tasks will seed for new problems in the future. Since the management is not willing to change, the same will take place in a loop.

A few managers don’t consider themselves as examples. The manager might not think that he is not supposed to be an example, but the employee will always look at the manager as an example. If the manager is not punctual, then the employee will either become like the manager or will not like the manager. If people don’t like other people, it is hard to take tasks from them. If you are a manager and your employee doesn’t want to take tasks from you, then you are in trouble.

Every single aspect of the manager is critical to the organization. If there are five different managers in an organization, all of them should be together and be leading by example. The employees who look at the managers should get an impression to become like the managers. In a few organizations the founders or the owners make sure that the staff will like the management. If someone in the management is spoiling the name of the entire management, that person would usually be fired.

Some say that the only job of a manager is to hire staff. I strongly disagree. The only job of a manager is to manage. Managing is a leadership aspect. The best leadership is to lead by example. To be a positive example, the manager has to be positive in all qualities. If the manager is positive in all senses, the employees will like the manager. If the employees like the manager, then they will listen to the manager. If the manager asks them to do something, they will do it. A positively qualified example manager is going to ask only something good for the organization. At the end, a positive change in the management will change the organization positively.

Changes are for ever. Some changes are good and some are not. If the leadership is not good enough, then the group will not be good enough too. Leaders have to be changing according to the needs. If a positive change takes place in the management of an organization, that will affect the entire organizations in a positive way.

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Managing People’s Performance – Fact or Fiction?

Managing people’s performance is key to every manager’s success. It is often the cause of their failure. Why? Something has gone badly wrong if managers cannot get the basics of people management right.

The answer lies in the five greatest mistakes that managers make.

  • Technicians

Promoted into management on the basis that they are technically strong and personally effective, many managers have failed to change their mindsets and priorities.

With their focus still on personal achievement, they often operate as a super technician, oblivious to their team’s needs.

A primary need of any team is involvement, particularly in the definition of its objectives. Managers need to involve their teams, and their people, in agreeing on objectives. If they don’t, they simply become managers in name only. The organisation would be better off with self-directed teams.

  • Push For Results

Managers are achievement oriented and results driven; they have to be. In their push for results, however, they can fail to understand the motivation needs of others.

Pushing for results rapidly becomes pushing their people; pushing their people then becomes pushing their people harder. If the best results are willingly given, then the satisfaction needs of individuals are critically important to a manager’s success.

Ignoring these needs, in the push for results, simply creates a used, or even abused, workforce. A workforce that withdraws its discretionary effort, seeks to do the least, not the most. Overlooking the needs of employees, in a push for results, ultimately has a bulldozer effect – increased resistance to increased managerial efforts.

  • Self-Motivated

Most managers are “self-motivated” individuals. That’s how they became managers. They are not always motivators of others, or people who find it easy to praise and recognise the efforts of others. They often try to motivate by example, modelling hard work and long hours, but failing to engage the hearts and minds of their people. They become “burnt-out” solo performers; their people check out, and many eventually leave. Failing to create a psychological contract, by recognising people’s motivation needs, is often the first step towards managerial failure.

  • No Added Value

Managers should constantly add value to their people. (Why else would their people need a manager?). This means training and developing them, coaching and counselling them, and encouraging individual growth. Managers constantly miss opportunities to add value to their people in these areas. Failing to put effort into their own personal growth and development, they fail to see the connection between learning and results. When people are learning, they become more engaged in their work. The stimulation of learning stimulates a desire for improved personal performance.

Managers, who understand this, invest time in growing their people, and look for every opportunity to do so. Managers, who cannot grasp this essential truth, struggle to perform. They suffer, their people suffer, and the whole organisation suffers.

  • Fairness

It has been said that there is no such thing as a completely fair manager. After all, what is considered to be unfair treatment by one individual might be considered utterly fair by another. This is no excuse however for having favourites, “picking on” certain individuals, and deliberately “making points” through the different treatment of people.

No matter what a manager’s feelings are towards certain individuals, personal bias and subjective views must be replaced by a fair, honest and objective treatment of them. This is hard for managers to grasp. They fail to see that their whole credibility is at stake, if they fail to treat people fairly. A lack of credibility quickly turns to a lack of leadership, and the seeds of future failure have been sown.

How do your managers stack up against the five greatest mistakes?

  • Failing to incorporate employee ideas into their objectives
  • Overlooking the needs of employees, in the push for results
  • Missing opportunities to motivate and coach employees
  • Withholding praise and recognition
  • Not treating their people fairly

The answer is the five greatest managerial behaviours:

  • Involvement Of People

The primary responsibility of any manager is involvement with his/her people. Involvement is vital to create a vision for the future, communicate that vision, formulate a plan to achieve it and then execute it.

The management of change is not achieved in isolation, and if people are going to commit to it they need to be involved every step of the way. Turning a vision into agreed team and individual objectives then becomes a natural part of the involvement process. Implementation of plans then becomes easy and natural, as does the achievement of success.

  • Satisfaction Management

Satisfaction management is the key to unlocking the discretionary effort of employees. Discretionary effort is a key ingredient to high performance. Instead of a continuous push for results, the best managers invest in creating increased satisfaction for their people.

They bring measurement to satisfaction in the same way they do performance. They actively involve people in identifying their satisfaction needs and in exploring ways to meet them. They modify their leadership style to bring the best out of people. They have “emotional intelligence” and they use it.

  • Coach, Counsellor And Facilitator

Effective managers not only balance their task and people focus, they actively seek to grow the capabilities of their people. They know that if they do this, continuous improvement in both team and individual performance can be achieved in a dramatic way.

They see their primary roles as Coach, Counsellor and Facilitator to their people. They understand that without additional knowledge, fresh insights and the ability to solve their own problems, people cannot perform to their best ability.

They have learned that a significant learning input into their people produces significant output for their organization. They have learned to “conduct an orchestra,” versus “play an instrument.”

  • Encouragement, Praise And Recognition

If you want to de-motivate someone, just ignore him/her. Ignoring people devalues them, demeans them, and undermines their dignity as a human being. How often are employees de-motivated, not by cruel, but rather by uncaring managers?

Encouragement, praise and recognition create the high-octane gas that fills up people’s emotional tanks. It needs to be genuine; it needs to be attached to achievement or progress; and it needs to be regular.

Blame and fear cultures are only replaced by learning cultures when genuine, positive reinforcement replaces continuous negative feedback, or a lack of any feedback. Managers need to be generous providers of the right feedback; they need the skills and the confidence to deliver it and the belief that it makes a difference.

  • Honest, Open And Fair

Managers cannot always be perceived to be utterly honest, open and fair, but they can strive to be so in their dealings with others. Culture and values need to be lived out, leadership needs to be modelled and not just talked about.

Managers must be seen to be acting in the best interests of all. Difficult? Not really- if there is a genuine partnership relationship with their people. If loyalty to their teams, and giving others the credit for success become the norm, then honesty, openness and fairness become a way of life. So also does the mutual support that accompanies them, and which is needed in abundance if today’s managers are to succeed in the hostile, challenging and uncertain business environment of the twenty-first century.

The five greatest managerial mistakes can break an organisation. The five greatest managerial behaviours can make it. These behaviours can be learned.

Using our programme, Managing People’s Performance, we equip managers with these behaviours. Our programme turns the fiction of good people-management into a fact. A fact that will transform your organisation and its future success.

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Creating Culture of Accountability, Performance and Coaching – Lean Performance Management

If there is ONE talk-show that is very scary and beat the shit out of everyone, right from the CEO of an organization to fresh-graduate Trainee is – Performance Management Talks. Why people are so scared to discuss their performance? There can be many reasons and few of them are –

  1. Format – Performance is considered as an event which is organized once in a year or at the best once in every SIX months. However, the fact remains that Performance Management is a continuous process.
  2. Poor alignment of performance scores and merit increase – No matter how much an individual score in his performance assessment, it is his reporting manager who decides his merit increase percentage and usually there is no correlation between the two. Hence, employees don’t believe in the process.
  3. Incompetent and untrained Assessors/Managers – Many managers do not consider performance management as one of the key components of their role. They believe it to be a job of HR. Probably they don’t want to spoil their relationship with their team members. Managers are usually biased in their approach towards assessment of team members. They want to keep everyone happy.
  4. Poorly defined KRA’s and KPI’s (What needs to be measured and how it will be measured) – In many organizations, performance goals don’t seem to have any relation to organizational goals. They work in silos. They don’t have defined success criteria’s of their goal. There is no clarity about what need to be done and when the task will be labeled as “successfully completed”.
  5. Poor communication between assessor and assessee – Communication regarding the change in goal or change in success criteria rarely gets communicated to employees. They are up for a surprise when they are told about these changes in the final review meeting. This leads to irritation and frustration and as a result, leads to unhappy, disengaged employees.

What gets measured gets managed. And what gets managed gets improved upon. What organizations should do to overcome these challenges and fears of employees and can do to create a culture of performance?

1) The Role of a manager is to manage – It is one thing to roll-up your sleeves and get to work and it is another thing to do what you are hired for. A team member is promoted to the position of Team Manager to guide the team, manage the team and show the direction. If he will continue to contribute as a team member then he is not doing his work properly. As a team manager, it is his responsibility to manage his resources, communications, customers, performances of the team and deliver within specified timeline. Performance Management and Performance Coaching must be one of the key competencies for an individual to be hired to or promoted to the level of manager. “Don’t promote your subject-matter expert as Manager. An efficient and effective manager need not be subject-matter expert”. “Performance Management or Resource Management is not my work” is an excuse.

2) Aligning KRA’s and KPI’s of an individual with organizational goals – Every organization carve annual goals and growth targets for itself. Every employee in an organization must contribute towards those goals and targets. Every goal has defined success criteria; hence, every goal or target is measurable. Every employee in an organization contributes towards the goals of his department or team, which in turn inches organization closer to its goals. For an individual to win his team must win and his organization must achieve its targets. Its collective win and collective failure. Someone said, “But I did my job properly”. Unfortunately, your contribution was not sufficient or good enough for the organization to achieve its goals. One question an employee must always ask himself, “how better I can contribute” or “what else I can do”.

3) Aligning Performance Assessment scores with Merit Increase Percentage – “I have scored 85/100 in my annual performance assessment. Another team member scored 75/100. I am awarded 10% increase over my existing salary and he has been awarded 18% increase over his existing salary, how”? Usually, managers don’t answer these types of questions or they put the blame on the management team of organization and thereby creating an impression, “if you want to give increments as per your whims and fancies then why you did this drama of appraisals, you could have given us increment without assessing us”. There has to be a direct and clear correlation between assessment scores and merit increase percentage. This correlation can be drawn at grade level or functional level based on the business model of organization and its compensation philosophy.

4) Performance Management is a process (creating a culture of performance coaching) – Performance management is not once a year activity. It is a continuous process. A manager shall have monthly performance review meeting with his team members to assess their progress and communicate any deviation in goals. A manager must create performance review tracker. In such circumstances, your annual review meeting becomes less tedious and less scary because before even entering for the final assessment, both assessor and assessee know what to expect from the meeting.

Secondly, there is another advantage of monthly performance reviews. If the concerned manager decides to separate from the organization at any time during the year, the new manager will not find himself out of place. Through performance tracker, he will be able to trace performance goals and progress of individuals in his team.

Thirdly, monthly performance reviews will let the manager know challenges faced by his team members in achieving their goals and hence he will be able to coach him and take corrective actions at an appropriate time.

Fourthly, organizations and managers set their annual goals at the beginning of a year. Many changes might occur during the due course of year forcing organization and employees to realign their goals. Monthly review meetings provide a platform for every type of correction and communication. Lastly, monthly performance assessments will eliminate any kind of bias from the process.

5) Lean Appraisals – THREE of the biggest drawbacks of annual performance appraisals are –

A) Managers can compare performance scores of their team members and hence will be biased towards their favorite team member, which creates unrest and frustration among employees.

B) When appraisals are done once in a year, there will be a huge increase in cash flow in one given month, as per the performance cycle of the organization.

C) During the year, many new employees join the organization and old employees resign, therefore, in annual appraisals, there will be few employees who will be assessed for SEVEN months and few will be assessed for FIFTEEN months. It might create unnecessary difficulty in allocating increment percentage to employees. Hence, there is a need to have lean appraisal system.

Lean appraisals mean doing an annual assessment of employees in their month of joining. A manager managing a team of 24 employees will be required to do TWO assessments in a month, instead of doing 24 in one particular month. It will not be difficult for the organization to arrange for a big chunk of cash-flow in one particular month. It will eliminate any type of bias from the system. There will not be a comparison of performance scores and increments among employees.

On the part of the management team of the organization, they need to allocate budget to each manager to manage his team. The budget shall be driven by market and industry and a manager will get it proportionate to the number of members of his team at the beginning of financial year. This fund shall be called as Performance Management Budget for the year ****. Thereafter, it shall be the responsibility of a manager to manage his fund and report back to the management.

Let’s understand and accept this. Performance Management and Coaching is one of the integral responsibilities of a manager. They shall not push it on the management of human resource function. HR is to facilitate the process. Management is to allocate the budget. Employees working in the organization are not your personal friends. They have been hired to perform a specific role. They are paid for their performance. As a manager, you must help them improve their performance.

Readers might think that this type of performance management system is not feasible and not practical, however, the fact remains that such system is scalable and manageable. I have done this in my several consulting assignments.

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