The Effective HR Manager

Winning the respect, trust and confidence of line managers and making a differenceAsk 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.- VisionHR 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.- ObjectivesHR 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”.- StrategyHR 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!- ResourcesHR 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.- StructureHR 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.- SystemsHR 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 SkillsHR 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 beliefsMany 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 ManagementThe 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 FormHave 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 FormHow 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 peersPlus a host of other soft skills!

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Things That Everyone Should Know About Home Schooling: Pros and Cons

The number of families opting for home schooling is rising each year. With a growth rate starting at 7% and even greater, it is easy to understand why more and more parents are starting to think of it as a viable option for their child’s education. If you are one of those looking at the possibility of home schooling for your kids then let me help you out.I have created a list here of the pros and cons of home schooling. An educational system such as that would always have two sides to it. It is bound to have a downside as well as a positive side.Pros- You must be aware of the possibilities for this before you jump into it. So here we take a look at the pros first.• One of the biggest pros that can be provided by home schooling is the fact that students under it have a whole lot more freedom when it comes to choosing what to study. Since their parents or guardians are the ones determining the curriculum, then they can have some influence regarding that. That does not mean that they would not be studying the basics, though.• Another huge advantage of this is the physical freedom that it provides. While it is still advisable to set a specific time for study each day, moving it for some other activity would be a lot less hassle. Compare that with regular one where the student would have to choose between going absent at school and foregoing the family activity.• We all know that schools are not as cheerful as we want them to be and though we might belittle the problems that kids face there, it is pretty serious to them. Peer pressure, adolescence, and bullying are just some of the stuff that they have to face while at school. It will gives them a choice.• Many families opt for home schooling because of religious freedom. To some people that might be a reason to badmouth, but for religious families it’s a real blessing.• One direct result is that can not be denied is that it binds the family closer together. It enhances the parent-child relationship and takes it to a whole new different level.• Children can get plenty of rest when they go for this. This is something that they do not get when they go for regular schools where they might have to wake up very early in the morning.Cons- As we have mentioned there is also a negative side to home schooling and here are some of those:• Perhaps the biggest drawback of this is that it will require a lot from the parents and the guardians. It will eat up a lot of their time and it is going to be a huge responsibility.• Another drawback of this is that it is going to cost a lot more. Families with average incomes might find it hard to cope with it.• Then there is the danger of being perceived as an oddity. Parents who home school their child should be careful that their child should not get this feeling.

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Is Property Being Reduced by 50% – Truth Or Myth?

With all the negative press and constant reminder that we are living in a recession and a crisis at the same time, blocks of homes sitting empty while the banks hang on to the money needed to buy them, is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, is the most commonly used answer, many feel we have reached the bottom as the world economic markets are bouncing back and recouping their 2009 loses and more locally the property market on the Costa del Sol is being stimulated by the drop in house prices by up to 50%.Just like waiting in long queues at you department store when it is sale time, so is true for bargain properties that were not so long ago up for sale for 200,000 Euros are now being sold for 100,000 Euros. As a result of these hard times, young couples are moving into new apartments, of one bedroom generally, for 100,000 Euros which we are told to find a comparison we would have to go back ten years and in more recent times buyers would end up buying a studio apartment or an old property in a poor condition.However, there is a catch to these 50% bargain properties that are being sold for a 100,000 Euros along the Costa del Sol with the best offers being in the Axarquia area, such as Valle Niza and Torre del Mar, and properties located inland from the coastline. Also in areas such as Benahavis, Casares, Estepona, Manilva and Sabinillas there are also many reductions of up to 40%, with Benahavis and Casares having the more up market properties within a short distance from the beach by car.In some areas along the Costa del Sol, property prices have become immune to the current market variations and prices have maintained. In some cases sellers are willing to reduce their price by about 20%, but nothing further then that in areas such as Marbella, San Pedro del Alcantara, Nueva Andalucia, East Marbella, Malaga City and so on. The reason for why these areas are not dropping huge percentages off the sales price is because in previous recessions Marbella and it surrounding areas was still very much a resort tourist driven area, but things are different now. Before the economic meltdown of 2008, the Economic Stimulus Plan had already been started with State funds flowing into the Andalucia regional government, pouring hundreds of millions of Euros into improving basic services on the Costa del Sol, such as:o Road improvements and the new tunnel under the N340 at San Pedro del Alcantara. Construction of new schools, hospitals, parks, water desalination plants, together with improvements to the coastal railway system. Three promenades between Marbella and San Pedro del Alcantara are being joined making 13 kilometers of uninterrupted beachfront.
o Under current construction is the Malaga airport extension which will increase the amount of passengers arriving on the Costa del Sol by millions, together with the inclusion of the new AVE high speed train which connects other Spanish cities with the Costa del Sol.
o Commercially projects such as the Technological Park of Andalucia, outside Malaga city has on offer over 100 high-tech companies working in fields such as computer processing, solar panels, etc. Like Silicon Valley in California, the Technological Park of Andalucia will market the area as a centre of advanced technology and attract more companies offering well-paid jobs.All these factors above and including that the unofficial population of full time or part time residents in Marbella is more then 300,000 makes Marbella a fully functioning 12 month of the year resort that does not depend entirely on tourism. For these few reasons alone, this is why Marbella and its surrounding areas are not affected by the current property market prices and will generally hold their value.Conclusion
Our advice to potential buyers on the Costa del Sol is that this is the time to buy if you have the availability of money; there are bargains of up to 50% for properties inland or further away from the Costa del Sol, but if you are looking for a good quality property, in a good location then prices will not reduced by more then 20% – 25%. Be realistic and when making offers, do not offer a ridiculously low offer as sellers know that they have a good product and will not sell it for 50% less.Finally, the reason why good quality properties in good location are maintaining there high prices is because there are few promoters will to take the risk of building luxurious properties in such hard economic times, therefore increasing the demand for good luxury property. For those who want to buy luxury, remember there are good deals on the market place with a possible saving of around 20%.

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