Thursday, 18 June 2009

Management Training – It’s not just for the ‘good times’

With news of short time working, redundancies and business closures, it’s not surprising that many employees have become nervous about what the future holds for them. Inevitably, this will cause some people to become distracted and therefore not completely focused on what needs to be achieved. A potential consequence of this is that they become less productive, less creative and take fewer risks, which is not what a business needs in the current climate.

It is important therefore that managers are trained not just to recognise the ‘mood’ of their staff but that they are also given the skills and capability to influence the motivation and morale of their staff in a positive way.

Some business will have to restructure and make staff redundant, but the way managers handle this sensitive and emotive issue can have a big impact not just on those who leave, but also on the morale and commitment of the staff who remain.

One of the key characteristics of how successful organisations perform after any such restructuring is how retained employees feel their colleagues who left the business were treated. Organisations whose staff felt that their redundant colleagues were treated poorly often subsequently struggle with low levels of employee motivation and productivity for a while after the restructure. Treating people ‘unfairly’ can range from a number of things.

For example, redundant staff may have experienced:

· Little or no support to find a new job.
· No opportunities for retraining.
· Redundancy payments handled incorrectly.
· Broken promises from managers.
· Leaving the organisation’s premises with out any recognition or thank you from their manager.

It is important therefore that managers are given the appropriate management training and support to help them deal with the consequences of a business restructure. For example they need to be able to:

· Give appropriate time, attention and sympathetic support to affected staff.
· Help staff to focus on the future and not dwell on the past.
· Give practical and useful advice and guidance about how to find a new job.
· Demonstrate independence and not collude with staff.

Management training can therefore play a vital role in a successful restructure. It will help managers deal with the effects of redundancies sympathetically and appropriately and at the same time enable them to ‘keep an eye’ on future motivation. After all, you want staff who leave the business to be prepared to recommend it to potential employees in the future as well as maintain the productivity and commitment of those who remain.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Selling Yourself at an Interview

When your job application or CV have successfully earned you an interview, it is vital that you give yourself the best possible opportunity by preparing thoroughly for the interview in advance. Although you are unlikely to be able to think of every possible question or scenario that you will be presented with, preparation and planning will prevent a poor performance on the day.

Consider the following tips to help you improve your chances of success.

Before the interview

  • Find out as much as you can about the organisation, the job and the interview process

  • Prepare a list of questions that you wish to ask. For example: what opportunities will the organisation provide for personal development or management training?

  • Put yourself in the position of the interviewer and think through the questions they might ask.

  • Be proactive and prepare a plan of the things you will do in your first 3-6 months of employment.

  • Prepare 5-6 ‘selling points’ i.e. the benefits an organisation will gain from employing you.

  • Remember that first impressions count. Practice how you will introduce yourself in a positive and confident manner. Remember your handshake – no finger crushers or limp wrists!

  • Make sure you know exactly how to get the interview location, and plan to arrive in plenty of time.

At the interview

  • Be yourself – if you pretend to be someone else you will be caught out.
  • If asked about your weaknesses or failures give examples that are not relevant to the role – in this way you will not talk yourself out of a job.
  • Avoid being critical of other people or previous employers.
  • Make sure you get your ‘selling points’ across– this is your responsibility not the interviewers.
  • Ask the interviewer if they want to see your ‘3 month plan’.
  • Be enthusiastic – no one will employ someone who doesn’t demonstrate motivation.
  • Take time to answer questions – avoid ‘shooting from the hip’.
  • If you think you have got something wrong, say so and rephrase your answer.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question say so!
  • Before leaving the interview, make sure you know what the next steps are.

After the interview

  • Write down key points that you remember from the interview. This will help you if you are offered a second interview.
  • Write and send a brief thank you note as soon as possible.
  • Follow up with the organisation if they haven’t contacted you within the agreed timescales. Show interest but not desperation!

In today’s competitive climate it is important to ensure that you sell yourself, and show yourself in the best possible light if you are going to land the dream job you are after.