Archive for April 2013

Stop The E-Mails!

 mailBy: Eric Nazarian
Director of Client Technology Solutions

Most professionals will acknowledge that efficient use of time is a constant challenge in today’s corporate environment.  I recently identified my greatest opportunity for improvement in this area: Email Replies.  As a starting point, I spent several weeks logging the quantity of email responses and their corresponding time commitment (Note: Incoming emails were excluded as I can only control what I send).  It was, at times, a tedious process but I felt strongly that any and all short-term pain would yield long-term gain.

 The results were astounding… I was spending, on average, two hours per day replying to emails!  Worse yet, I deemed 80% of such replies were ineffective for a variety of reasons, the most common being the infamous re-reply which typically added another layer of complexity not identified in the original message (we technology folks commonly refer to this as “scope creep”).  Furthermore, when replying to a distribution group, the outcome can feel like getting singled out during a game of paint ball.

 I arrived at a simple yet effective methodology for governing my email responses: “Only reply when my expertise is absolutely required and my emotions are entirely under control”.  After two weeks, I had reduced my email responses by 75%.  That translated to nearly one full day per week (and one full week per month) of time to redeploy in a more productive manner!  The most immediate results I experienced were an overall reduction in stress and a greater desire to interact with my co-workers.

 It’s worth mentioning that reducing the number of email replies is not a “magic bullet” to increased time savings nor may it be an area you need or wish to address however I challenge you to personalize the concept: Find the area in which you spend the most unproductive time and address it immediately.  You might just unlock a wealth of time you never realized was available.

 Finally, the next time you go to reply to an email, pause and ask yourself, “Is my response necessary and are my intentions honorable?”

Posted April 8, 2013 by scicompanies in Employment Law

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HR’s Role in Top-Grading

ball of wordsHuman Resources Professionals are faced with the challenge to streamline headcount, improve hiring outcomes and enhance performance management practices in this “do more with less” economy. Developing best practices to ensure that the right people are in the right places doing the right things will ultimately help organizations maximize their Human Capital investment.

A main concept that will maximize Human Capital is a close alignment of the hiring, training, and evaluation practices with company mission, vision and values. These elements make up the “moral compass” of an organization. Just like any relationship, if you are closely aligned with a person’s morals, values and overall outlook on life – you are likely to form a strong bond. We spend a lot of time and energy picking our friends and companions in life. We typically date a few different people before we commit to long-term relationships or marriages. Why would we treat an employment relationship differently? After all, we spend a whole lot of our time in that relationship!

HR Professionals can partner with business leaders to define a clear picture of what the mission, vision and values actually mean and the types of individuals and behaviors that truly personify those elements. Then, by adopting tools and activities in the hiring, training and retention initiatives they can help drive this streamlining and “Top Grading” effort in their organization. Here are a few ideas on how to make this work:

  • Competencies – Identify behaviors and attitudes of individuals that are core to the organization’s mission, vision and values in addition to those that are required for job-specific success. Define what those are, why they are important and what they look like in the form of actions and results.  These can then be developed into training objectives, evaluation metrics and interview questions.
  • Assessment – Select assessments that are aligned with required skills (such as in-box exercises or technical tests) as well as personality and preference-based assessments to test core competencies. Identify some internal, ideal benchmarks for these and consider an activity or scenario exercise to determine how individuals will behave under similar circumstances.
  • Interview Process – Insert multiple stages into your interview process and involve multiple viewpoints. For a cultural fit perspective, involve direct team members with whom this individual will be working and encourage them to provide a realistic job profile including how decisions get made and communicated, what career growth looks like, management style and team expectations.
  • Performance Evaluations – Performance expectations and metrics that are aligned with company mission, vision, values will drive the behavior of progression and growth within your workforce. Incorporating specific developmental goals that relate to learning and applying concepts of your business models, codes of conduct, business acumen and organizational development will enable focus on the cultivation of professionalism and success.