Saturday, June 27, 2009

Leave on a Positive Note: How to Write a Letter of Resignation

Whether you’re on your way to a great new position or unhappily leaving your employer for personal or career-related reasons, you need to write a resignation letter.

The main goal of your letter is to inform your employer about the details of your resignation, but the underlying benefit is a chance for you to strengthen your relationship with your supervisor/colleagues and leave on a positive note. Approach the letter as if you’re writing a thank-you note, and you’ll be on the right track. The following tips will help:

The Introduction

Your letter’s introduction should indicate that you are resigning and should provide your last day of employment. For example: “Please accept this letter as notice of my resignation from my position as [job title]. My last day of employment will be [date] .”

The Body

The body of your letter should mention your reason for leaving and show your gratitude for the experience the job has given you. Here are a few ways to state that you are leaving, based on your situation:

· Found a New Job: “I have accepted a position as [job title] in [location], which will give me the supervisory responsibilities I have been eager to assume."

· Starting School: “I regret having to leave [employer name], but I am strongly committed to earning my [degree type] and have been accepted to [school name] for the fall term.“

· Medical Reasons: “I regret having to leave, but I am currently experiencing medical issues that prevent me from continuing in this position.”

· Partner Relocation: “My wife/husband has been offered an excellent job opportunity in [location], and we have decided to move there so that she/he can accept it."

· Relocation Refusal: “The Company’s restructure has left many of my colleagues looking for new positions, so I am grateful for your offer of reassignment to the office. However, my family and I have decided that relocation is not feasible for us right now.“

· Bad Experience: “My decision to leave is based on both personal and professional reasons, but please understands that I have thoroughly enjoyed my association with [company name]. I have learned a great deal from you, and I look forward to applying this knowledge in my next position.”

You may also mention that you appreciate the opportunity to work with your supervisor and other team members. If you name-drop, be careful not to exclude anyone. Remember that your letter may make the office rounds. If appropriate, state your willingness to help with the transition; for example, you might offer to train your replacement.

The Closing

End your letter with an expression of kind wishes and interest in keeping in touch. For example: “I hope that we can continue our professional relationship and that we meet again in the future. Best wishes to you and to the rest of the staff.”

Ref: By Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

Employee Motivation: Top 5 Myths

While motivating employees is a key factor in an economic recovery, many companies are failing to keep their workers fully engaged in their jobs because they share some common myths and beliefs, according to Suzanne Bates, author of "Motivate Like a CEO: Communicate Your Strategic Vision and Inspire People to Act!" (McGraw-Hill 2009).

Employers must re-examine their beliefs about employee engagement if they hope to accelerate their business recovery and retain their top talent, said Bates, president and CEO of Bates Communications (

In a typical workplace, only 29 percent of employees are actively motivated and engaged in their jobs, while 71 percent are unmotivated and disengaged - either not engaged at all (54 percent) or are actively disengaged (17 percent) - according to the Gallup Management Journal’s Employee Engagement Index.

"While there has been a slight uptick in employee motivation in recent surveys, this may be only temporary because it's based on survival. As the pendulum swings back, employers should watch out - because employees will look at their jobs and their companies differently," said Bates.

"The Top 5 Myths about Motivating Employees" are at work even during an economic boom. However, in a serious recession, everything changes, and employers' misperceptions can be damaging. "If employers don't re-examine their human resource practices and beliefs about motivation," said Bates, "they risk damaging morale, losing top talent, and lengthening their recovery time."

The Top 5 myths about motivating employees, according to Bates and "Motivate Like a CEO," are:

Myth #1: Money is the number one way to motivate employees. "Salaries and bonuses have been the staple of motivation. Most companies relied primarily, even completely, on monetary rewards," said Bates. "Money is only one of many factors in motivation. Yet companies have become lazy about motivating people instead of giving them what they really crave, which is recognition, praise, and the opportunity to learn."

Myth #2: If you want to motivate people, don’t let them in on the bad news. "This is a particularly damaging myth. Bad news always gets out to employees. They hate it when you hide bad news; they consider themselves partners in the company, and they long for a chance to contribute and make a difference, especially in tough times," said Bates. "The surest way to motivate people is to empower them even with terrible news, so they can come to terms with reality, think their way through the crisis, and contribute to creative solutions going forward," said Bates.

Myth #3: Most employees know what motivates them. "Many people are searching for a larger purpose, and they are not finding it in their work," said Bates. "In challenging times, employers can become a powerful source of motivation and pride among talented people. In a downturn, leaders must talk to employees and help them discover who they are and what motivates them. Spend time with them; ask them why they enjoy the work, what they enjoy most, how they want to contribute, and where they see themselves in the future," said Bates.

Myth #4: You simply cannot motivate everyone. "This was true in boom times, when organizations were bloated and some people you hired were marginal. Those days are over," said Bates. "Now that companies have downsized and are arguably leaner and meaner with the best talent, this is a damaging assumption. It is a leader’s responsibility to motivate employees. It’s time to stop blaming employees, and start looking to leaders to ignite the spark," said Bates.

Myth #5: People are just grateful to have a job, and this attitude will survive the downturn. "Top talent will always have a place to go, and while they may have had less mobility during the recession, your competitors are already looking around to see who is unhappy and ready to leave," said Bates. "Employers who keep believing their people are just grateful to have a job will be blindsided when their top talent walks out the door because they don’t have leaders who are engaging them, praising them, recognizing them, and giving them opportunities to grow."

Ref: Suzanne Bates

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

People Management- Formula for Success

If a HR manager of any organisation is thinking of jumping onto the team-based-management bandwagon, they should first take heed of the lesson many chief executives have learned the hard way: they must give their employees a solid incentive for making teams work and teach them the skills they'll need to earn those incentives.

Take the case of this hypothetical company, Damodaran Industries. The HR manager Sushil Rao had enough foresight to do both: giving incentives and teaching new skills. When he first took the step to help restructure his company, which makes seating and table products for private aircraft, Sushil made an unusual proposal to employees: teams would be paid 25% of sales on the specific product they made, and they would distribute those revenues among their members as they saw fit. They would be responsible for hiring, scheduling, customer service, quality, and even their own cash flow.

That first year, Sushil tried the new system on just one team, promising employees that they would not earn less than they had the previous year. As it turned out, average annual wages increased three-fold. Once employees began to see that if they worked more effectively as a team they would make more money, they had enthusiasm for working in this new way, and they made a commitment to learning. The following year, four more teams were organised similarly.

Indeed, learning was critical to the new system's success. Sushil, who has a background in organisational design, developed his own training programme to teach employees effective communication, team-building skills, and business processes. Employees were required to attend 13 hours of training every quarter for a full year.

Sushil supplemented the training with team coaching. He also made assessments of teams' weaknesses, often suggesting that a particular team repeat a training session. Team leaders were required to put in even more training time, attending three-hour courses at a local community college on hiring, time management, and cash flow.

The training and coaching have paid off. While costs per employee have remained steady, sales were up 50% last year, and the company's margins are at about 20% -- twice the industry standard.

Ref: TheManageMentor

Six Steps to Accomplish Your Goals and Resolutions

Don't let your goals and resolutions fall by the wayside. Chances are that to achieve your dreams and live a life you love, those goals and resolutions are crucial. Goal setting and goal achievement are easier if you follow these six steps for effective and successful goal setting and resolution accomplishment.

  • You need to deeply desire the goal or resolution. Napoleon Hill, in his landmark book, "Think and Grow Rich" had it right. "The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat." So, your first step in goal setting and achieving your dreams is that you've got to really, really want to achieve the goal.

  • Visualize yourself achieving the goal. Lee Iacocca said, "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." What will your achievement feel like? How will your life unfold differently as a result? If the goal is a thing, some gurus of goal setting recommend that you keep a picture of the item where you see and are reminded of it every day. If you can’t picture yourself achieving the goal, chances are – you won’t.

  • Make a plan for the path you need to follow to accomplish the goal. Create action steps to follow. Identify a critical path. The critical path defines the key accomplish-ments along the way, the most important steps that must happen for the goal to become a reality. Stephen Covey said, "All things are created twice. There's a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you've thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind." He's right.

  • Commit to achieving the goal by writing down the goal. Lee Iacocca said, "The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen." I agree completely. Write down the plan, the action steps and the critical path. Somehow, writing down the goal, the plan and a timeline sets events in motion that may not have happened otherwise. In my own life, it is as if I am making a deeper commitment to goal accomplishment. I can’t fool myself later. The written objective really was the goal.

  • Establish times for checking your progress in your calendar system, whatever it is: a day planner, a PDA, a PDA phone or a hand written list. If you’re not making progress or feel stymied, don't let your optimism keep you from accomplishing your goals. No matter how positively you are thinking, you need to assess your lack of progress. Adopt a pessimist’s viewpoint; something will and probably is, going to go wrong. Take a look at all of the factors that are keeping you from accomplishing your goal and develop a plan to overcome them. Add these plan steps to your calendar system as part of your goal achievement plan.

  • Review your overall progress regularly. Make sure you are making progress. If you are not making progress, hire a coach, tap into the support of loved ones, analyze why the goal is not being met. Don’t allow the goal to just fade away. Figure out what you need to do to accomplish it. Check the prior five steps starting with an assessment of how deeply you actually want to achieve the goal.

This six step goal setting and achieving system seems simple, but it is the most powerful system you will ever find for achieving your goals and living your resolutions. You just need to do it. Best wishes and good luck.

[About the author: Susan Heathfield is a Human Resources expert. She is a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources issues and in management development to create forward thinking workplaces. Susan is also a professional facilitator, speaker, trainer, and writer.]

Change Management- Leadership support

Leadership Is Key in Change Management

Successful change management requires a large commitment from executives and senior managers, whether the change is occurring in a department or in a complete organization. One recent survey respondent said, “a change effort cannot be optional for senior staff. They must lead or get out of the way. The new system will ultimately have to stand on its own feet, but every new system needs support and nurture.”

Senior leaders can do the following for successful change management.
  • Establish a clear vision for the change management process. Paint a picture of where the organization will end up and the anticipated outcomes. Make certain the picture is one of reality and not what people “wish” would occur.

  • Appoint an executive champion who “owns” the change management process and makes certain other senior managers, as well as other appropriate people in the organization, are involved.

  • Pay attention to the changes occurring. Ask how things are going. Focus on progress and barriers for change management. One of the worst possible scenarios is to have the leaders ignore the process.

  • Sponsor portions of the change or the change management process, as an involved participant, to increase active involvement and interaction with other organization members.

  • If personal or managerial actions or behaviors require change for the changes to take hold in the organization, “model” the new behaviors and actions. (Walk the talk.)

  • Establish a structure which will support the change. This may take the form of a Steering Committee, Leadership Group, or Guiding Coalition.

  • Change the measurement, reward, and recognition systems to measure and reward the accomplishment of new expectations.

  • Solicit and act upon feedback from other members of the organization.

  • Recognize the human element in the change. People have different needs and different ways of reacting to change. They need time to deal with and adjust to change.

  • Senior leaders must participate in the training that other organization members attend, but, even more importantly, they must exhibit their “learning” from the sessions, readings, interactions, tapes, books or research.

  • Be honest and worthy of trust. Treat people with the same respect you expect from them.

Reference: Susan Heathfield is a Human Resources expert. She is a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources issues and in management development to create forward thinking workplaces. Susan is also a professional facilitator, speaker, trainer, and writer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

People Management- A Globally Multicultural Outlook

Diversity recognises existence of differences in a work force with regard to the race, gender, physical ability, lifestyle, tenure, age, religion, geographic origin, education, attitude/behaviour, functional expertise and personality. A study on one of the Fortune 500 companies, a multi cultural organisation, gained immense popularity from its employees on implementing a multicultural policy. The policy ensures that there are no discriminatory issues in an organisation with regard an employee's nationality.

Diversity management is considered a new organisational paradigm. Companies have realised the need to move beyond a human resource model to a model with inherent value in diverse workforce. Globalisation has brought the 'diversity' factor into focus. Employers feel that diversity should be given significant importance since complications on such issues are unwarranted at work place.

Many Indian companies have expatriates occupying senior management positions and find it difficult to deal with the rest of the employees. Management should formulate anti discrimination policies to cater to such problems. To be a global player, it is imperative to have a diversity initiative programme in place.

The Diversity Programme

Dow Chemicals with plants and offices all over US was designated a multicultural organisation. It made substantial progress towards 'inclusion'. It identified certain key areas, which influenced diversity initiatives.

Initiation and support from the top management

Dow Jones, an organisation that has its offices all over the U.S., has an anti discriminatory policy, which focuses on serious commitment towards the diversity initiative. Though it was considered as 'frivolous' for some, the top management's initiative made a lot of difference to employees across the board. Employees started taking the issue more seriously than before.

Another company with a good track record of diversity management is Xerox. The top management's objective was to convince employees that managing diversity was not an obligation but was a business imperative.

Companies looking to tie up or acquire global companies should ensure that a diversity management policy is in place.

HR initiatives

Several inclusionary measures were made sub functions of the human resource department. A committee called

'The Preferred Employer Quality Action Team' comprising of a cross-section of managers at corporate headquarters spearheaded policies. The team identified five categories for improvement: overall compensation, employment security, operating environment/culture, policies and values and personal dimensions. It believed that these areas affected employee satisfaction and were derived from general attributes that the company hoped to achieve.

Organisational communication

Employee involvement in HR policy making was the high point of the diversity initiative the organisation could have come up with. The Equality Council comprising of a cross-section of employees met once a month to discuss issues related to a diverse workforce. Membership rotated every two years.

Suggestions ranging from a diversity booth at the Family Day Picnic to offering discrimination refresher training sessions, preparing guidelines during performance appraisals and creating an anonymous suggestion box titled "Dr. Equality" were conceived by this council.

The council also designed posters, calendars, and coffee mugs to promote the diversity theme. Employees collectively determined policies at work and could express disgruntlement with existing policies through the council. The HR manager moderated the discussion.

The council also helped design yearly employee opinion surveys. Diversity progress at plants within the organisation was highlighted, in an annual corporate diversity conference. The in-house and corporate newsletters encouraged employee involvement and helped to transmit the diversity message.

The organisation had a corporate philosophy governed by diversity policies. The standardisation of policies was in accordance with the desire to create a stronger organisational unity and identity among the employees. These policies created a "sense of linkage" and a feeling of unity by having a common cause.

A true commitment to diversity encompasses a variety of measures over a period of time. Creating a climate of acceptance requires major, systematic, and planned change efforts, which are typically not part of affirmative action plans. Efforts to address managing diversity must be supported by profound changes that are reflected in the day-to-day operation.