Sunday, March 8, 2009


The labour market is growing everyday. A lot of graduates are pushed out every year into the labour market while little or no effort is made to create more jobs to absorb these job seekers. There is also intense competition to grab and retain the available offers employers are willing and able to give out. There is then the need for every employee to work hard in order to be relevant and competitive in the workplace. Once an employee is seen as relevant in his firm, he has a good chance to grow in the company and attain the highest possible position that will be open for him. In the global economy today a lot of downsizing and layoffs are going on in companies. Despite the level of the economic downturn, employees who are relevant in their firms will not be affected. There is need for every employee to develop himself to a level that despite what is going on in the economy, it will be almost impossible for them to be dispensable.
How then can one develop himself in order to be relevant in the workplace?
• Develop your skills: Your skills are those competencies you have that can help you deliver or not deliver quality services to your organization. Your skills can be seen from your educational qualifications, competencies, abilities, talents and general experiences. To be relevant and always remain so in your organization, you need to work hard to improve your skills always. Do not just stop at being a graduate. Remember you are not the only one who is eligible for that position you are occupying in your firm. Have you asked your self why two people are employed in the same department at the same time and within a few years one of them has already become a manager while the other still struggles to get promotion to the next level? Yes the answer is not far fetched. The one who is moving on may have developed his skills and positioned himself well for the promotion he got.
• Invest in yourself: What is the most profitable investment you can make? Some may tell you shares, bonds, landed properties, high yielding investment projects etc. Yes they are not wrong, but the truth is that the greatest investment anybody can make is to invest in oneself. An investment you make on your self is for ever; it continues to appreciate in value and always positions you for greater heights. It makes you to be more valuable, helps you to actualize your dreams and goals in life and most especially positions you to become your own boss at the right time.
• Always update yourself: It is good to go to school. It is good to have as many degrees as you can handle. The world itself is a dynamic place and changes occur every now and then. Trends on how things are done are always evolving. There is the need for one to always keep abreast with the changing technologies and lifestyle. The computer today and use of the internet has turned the entire world into a global village. There is the need for every employee to be computer literate and grow with the trend.
• Discover who you are: Find out your key skills and areas you are best at and try to specialize in that area. Find out those things you have flair for as you will easily excel in that area.
• Increase your worth: Training and development is a very important way to improve your self. Most employees wait for their firms to send them on trainings and most people wait indefinitely as there are a lot of people to train. You need not wait for your employer to send you on training. Find out the area you are deficient and enroll for training.
• Build good relationship with your colleagues: Peaceful and serene working environment is always as a result of good working relationship among colleagues. Make sure you are in the good books of your supervisors and subordinates too.
• Make sure you fit into the succession plan of your company: Those who fit into the succession plan of their firms are seen to be always relevant in the firm. They are such staff that can fit into the long term goal and objectives of the firm, those who can be trained, those who learn fast, those who are ready to add value and above all things ready and able to make a difference in their department and the company at large.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Contract of employment like every other contract is an agreement between and employer and an employee which describes and states the condition of employment. It is always advisable for one to be sure of what the contract states before signing and accepting the contract as once signed it is binding on both parties. A well prepared contract of employment is a statement of the capacity in which the employee is employed, it covers and shows the name of the job, pay, allowances, hours of work, holidays, leave, pension arrangements, and should refer to the relevant company laws and policies as is applicable to the employee.
In a more refined way, a contract of employment is defined as an employment agreement voluntarily entered into by the employer and employee which stipulates and defines the conditions of employment. Most contracts of employment are in written form which makes it applicable and governed to the general law of contract. This then means that every contract of employment should be binding on both parties as well as valid. It then means that for the contract of employment to be binding just as I general law of contract, there should be an offer, an acceptance and a furnished consideration. In this case the offer is the written employment letter which is accepted by the employee and the consideration being the wage the employer is ready to pay the employee.

A well written contract of employment should include all of the following;
• Parties to the contract should be clearly stated: The name and contact address of the employee who is being employed should be clearly stated as well as the name and address of the employer.
• Date of employment should be clearly stated: The resumption date of the employment should be stated in the contract of employment. This will help in knowing when to start calculating the employee’s entitlements.
• Remuneration: The salary agreed on should be put down in writing. The scale or method of calculating the remuneration should also be put down in writing. Also the interval of payment should be written, either bi weekly or monthly depending on the policy of the firm.
• Terms and conditions of work relating to hours a day: The expected number of hours to be put in by the employee per day should be clearly stated in the contract of employment.
• Leave entitlements: The employees leave entitlement should be stated, number of days he is entitled to, his leave allowance, other types of leave he may be entitled to (sick leave, casual etc).
• Pension entitlements: The employee’s pension entitlements should be clearly stated if any.
• The job title: The title of the job being offered should be stated. The job tasks as well should be written.
• Confirmation: The number of months or years as the case may be the employee will serve successfully before his/her appointment will be confirmed should be stated.
• Disengagement: The number of days or months notice required by either of the parties before the contract will be terminated should be written as well.

After the contract of employment has been established, the employer and employer as well have duties to perform to keep to the terms of the contract. In the case of the employee, he has to keep to all of the following;
• Has to do his job personally: The employer was employed to work and carry out his duties by himself. It then means that by the terms of the contract, he has to do his job and duties by himself.
• Has to abide by the laws and policies of the firm: For every organization, there are laid down rules and regulations as well as policy guides that direct the affairs of the organization. The employee is bound by the contract of his employment to abide by the rules and regulations surrounding his employment contract. Disobedience to any of this may result to outright dismissal or termination of appointment.
• The employee should not by any means compete with his employer. He should not have any interest that will be against that of his employer.
• He is to conduct himself well and properly at all times. He should not be involved in any action that will be detrimental to the firm. He should come to work early and comport himself during office hours.
• He should be accountable to his employer on all assignments given to him during his period of employment.
• An employee should add value to his employer which is the main reason for his employment. He should be able to prove the skills he claimed to have prior to employment.

On the other hand the employer has some duties to perform for the employee to make sure that the contract of employment between them is sustained. The following are expected to be carried out by the employer;
• The employer is expected to pay the wages of the employee. As part of the employment contract, there is an amount that was agreed by both parties as wages for the employee. The employer is expected to pay such wages and as when due.
• He should provide the necessary and required tools to enable the employee carry out his duties effectively.
• The employer should also make sure that there is an enabling environment and good working conditions for the employee to perform his duties.
• The safety and safe working conditions should also be assured by the employer to avoid putting the employee at risk during his period of employment.
• The employee should be rewarded when he has performed well. He should also be motivated by the employer at all times. The employer should not see the employee as a slave, rather as a partner in progress, because without the employee, the employer will not succeed.


Discipline is a most for every organization that wants to move forward. It is very essential for the smooth running of any firm. It is also very important for peace and harmony in an organization. Peace between employees, customers and clients. It is always necessary for discipline to be instilled in employees to get the best out of your workforce. Before I go on with why we should have discipline and disciplinary actions incase of defaulters, its right to find out what discipline is. Discipline can be seen or defined as a force that prompts individuals, organizations, nation etc to observe rules and regulations stipulated which are deemed necessary for the effective and efficient running of the group, organization or nation. In this article discipline in firms can be seen as an orderly conduct by employees of an organization to adhere to the rules and regulations as well as policies guiding the activities and running of the organization.
How can one instill discipline in organization?
• Rules and regulations should be clearly stated: For discipline to be instilled in employees there should be clear rules and regulations that stipulates what is expected of each employee and what is not expected of them. The employee handbook for instance should be clear in the dos and don’ts of the firm.
• The rules and regulations should be constantly updated and reviewed. This will make it possible to do away with rules that are no more necessary and addition of new ones that are needed.
• There should be no discrimination in enforcing rules and regulations. To make sure that there is discipline in an organization there should be a general rule for every defaulter. What ever applies to A when he defaults should also be applicable to B.
• Another important thing is that things that will prevent employees from getting involved in indiscipline should be discouraged and prevented.
• There should be proper communication of the rules concerning discipline in the firm. These rules should be written in the employee handbook and also put in notice boards. By so doing no employee can say he or she is not aware of the rules.
• Disciplinary actions should be in such a way that defaulters will not want to be disciplined a second time after defaulting for a first time.
Causes of indiscipline in firms:
Despite the fact that most firms have laid down rules and regulations, and disciplinary actions taken against defaulters, still indiscipline persists. The following are causes of indiscipline in firms;
• Favoritism: Most managers and discipline enforcers in firms favour some staff in their decision making. There are cases where some staff will commit and offence and will not be punished for it while if it is another person he goes in for it. When such a fellow knows that he will not be punished for an offence, he goes own to commit more offense.
• Lack of Communication: If the laws and rules governing the employment of staff is not clearly communicated or is not communicated at all, there is bound to be several cases of indiscipline in that organization.
• Lack of leadership: For every department, there should be a leader who is to supervise the activities of that department. He monitors and instills discipline in his subordinates. Where there is no one like that to lead and control the others, indiscipline abounds.
• Low morale and Motivation among staff. When employees are not motivated and their morale is low, they tend to work haphazardly. This will affect their discipline and way of work.
• Bad Habit: Some employees have bad habits inbuilt in them that they may or may not be able to change. Once some one for instance has formed the habit of coming to work late, it will take termination of his appointment atimes for h to change.

Disciplinary Actions in firm:
While disciplining an employee, it is always important to make sure that the disciplinary action meted out to the offender is always commensurate to the offence committed. Like earlier said too, it is important to mete out the same punishment to the same category of offenders. Another important thing in punishing offenders is that the person must be given the opportunity to be heard. He must explain reasons for his action before a decision is taken against him. Certain mild offences should also be punished with mild penalties. Some disciplinary actions in firms include;
• Oral warning; when an offence is not that serious or when an offender is a first offender, he can be given oral warning. The human resources person invites him, talks to him, cautions him and warns him to desist from such actions in the future.
• Written warning: When the offence committed by the employee is not an offence that you can just warn him verbally and let him go, he is issued a query. He replies the query and explains reasons for his action. The query and his response are filed in the staff file for future references. After considering his response, a written warning also is issued to him and a copy of the warning letter also documented in the staff file.
• Loss of entitlement: Some indiscipline is cautioned by denying the offender his or her entitlement as a reprimand for the action. In some cases, the offender may not be paid any allowance or bonus due to him to punish him for an offence or indiscipline committed.
• Suspension: If an offence is strong, they employee may be suspended without pay. Depending on the level of offence the suspension may take up to two months or more without pay.
• Demotion: A staff can be demoted from his position because of indiscipline. If a manager for instance keeps on coming to work late, how will he lead and control his subordinates? The best thing is to demote him if he has been advised about it and he fells to change.
• Termination of appointment: When an employee commits an offence that the company cannot condone, his appointment may be terminated.
• Dismissal: This is the strongest action that can be carried out on an offender. When an employee gets involved in fraud, stealing, illegal business etc the firm may have no other option left than to dismiss him out rightly.

Disciplinary action is always carried out in sequence. For instance if one is a first offender, and the offence is not so bad, he can be warned verbally. Then if he commits another offence, he is queried and probably suspended from duty without pay. If another offence is committed by the same staff, his appointment may be terminated. On the other hand when a staff commits a grievous offence like fraud, the punishment is summary dismissal.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Job description is an essential part of every job in every organized working environment. Writing and compiling job descriptions is another very important job of a Human Resources person in an organization. It is very important because it covers details of the day-to-day duties expected from each employee in all departments of a given firm. While writing job descriptions for each position, it should cover such areas as skills, tasks, functions and general responsibilities to be carried out by employees of that department.
A typical job description should cover and clearly state the following;

  • The title of the position
  • The department under which the position is
  • The duties/tasks/functions/responsibilities expected of the occupant of that position
  • Educational qualifications needed for the position
  • Experiences needed
  • General and particular skills needed
  • Membership of Professional bodies required
  • The reporting format (who reports to who, in what order)

    Before a complete job description is prepared, there is need for the HR person to conduct a comprehensive job analysis. This analysis will expose answers to each of these items above and help in getting the job done faster.
    Aside from the above, abilities and competencies of the candidate is also put into consideration and has a place in the job description.
    In compiling and preparing a job description, the HR person always has an onerous task to prepare the description for each position in all departments. The HR personnel gets these information by interviewing existing staff, conducting research, asking employees to fill in an already prepared questionnaire, observing performance of certain tasks etc.
    A very good and well-prepared job description is a valuable asset to the firm because it saves cost in the long run for the firm. Summarily, a good job description can do the following for the firm;
    Helps during vacancy placement. It will assist the HR person to know exactly what to write in the advert to attract the experienced employees.
    Helps in preparing interview questions and to monitor answers given by interviewees.
    Helps to match employee skills, experiences and competencies during interview before employment.
    Draws a clear line between duties of one position from another position.
    Clarifies the issue of who reports to who.
    Helps in career path planning as well as succession planning.
    Helps to make the appraisal exercise simple and straightforward.
    It helps to draw a clear line between achievers and non-achievers in a department.

    In summary, job description is prepared to explain to employees what their duties/tasks are in the workplace. It also tells an employee where his duties ends and where the duty of another employee starts in order to avoid duty conflict and employee job duty related grievances.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Performance management, Performance review or performance appraisal as used by different establishments are all talking about the same thing, it has to do with aligning the human resources with the corporate goals of the firm, evaluate their performances and recommend commensurate rewards. It involves skill planning, skill development, and maintaining a good pay for performance culture in an organization.

Over the years, effective performance management has been proven to improve employee loyalty, morale and general productivity. Due mainly to the highly competitive business environment today, there is the need for firms to boost the morale and loyalty of their employees in order to stand the heat of competition. Because of the high cost of selection, recruitment, training and developing new employees, it is imperative for firms to motivate and retain their high performing employees. What am I saying in essence as a Human resources expert, you are to have in place a good performance management system in your firm to help motivate and retain top performers, align individual performances with corporate goals thereby creating a more involved workforce, which will lead to greater productivity. A very good Performance management system must include employee and management participation for it to be non biased and fair.

There are different steps involved in performance management or appraisal depending on the type of firm or size. These steps may not be followed rigidly, but they will assist in having a good review result. The following steps will act as a guide to a good performance management;

  • Define different jobs. Each job or duty should have a name. The department each duty reports to should be established and known.
  • Define Job Duties. There should be clearly defined duties and responsibilities for each defined job. It should be done in a clear manner to avoid clash and interference between different jobs.
  • Define Performance Goals: Performance goals should be defined with measurable outcomes.
  • Define Priority for each job goal and responsibility. The main priority for each job goal should be clearly stated for easy assessment and measurement of result/outcome.
  • Define performance standard: For each key component of the job, a performance standard should be defined to know when a staff has performed below or above the given standard.
  • Keep Record of all staff performances before during and after every appraisal exercise. It is always good to have records kept for each staff in his file. Discussions with staff supervisors and with staff should be noted even when appraisal exercise is not on. It sure will be of help during any appraisal exercise.
  • The Appraisal form should be elaborate: The form should have columns for the appraiser and a part for appraisee’s agreement or disagreement with the appraisers comments about him as well as the appriasee’s comments (Self Assessment).
  • You May Provide a feedback column: This column will be used to get feedback from employee’s peers, customers or subordinates if need be.
  • Very Important to have a training need column in the form: A very important aspect of an appraisal is to find out how an employee is performing in his present responsibility and if not why he is not performing as well as training needs that may be used to improve performance.

Reasons For Performance Appraisal in a Firm:

Apart from the general reason of increasing the morale, motivation, involvement and productivity of staff, there are other streamlined reasons why firms carry out performance appraisal exercises. These reasons include;

  • To provide feedback on individual performance in a given period: Firms employ because of the need they want met. During appraisals, firms find out if employees are adding value to the firm or not.
  • To plan for future Promotion: As a reward for performance, employees are promoted and given greater responsibilities and authorities. Performance appraisal or review is needed to know staff who are due for promotion.
  • As a succession Planning tool: Dynamic and future oriented firms plan for tomorrow leaders today by planning how to hand over power, authority, and running of the firm in advance. Perfomance appraisal exercise showcases employees who are future leaders.
  • To assess Training and Development needs of employees: A good performance appraisal exercise reveals training needs of employees.
  • Provides Information for salary planning: After appraisal, some staff are promoted to the next level, which attracts salary and allowances increment. Also some staff who are not promoted are rewarded with gifts or salary increment too. This assists in planning for staff salaries.
  • Career Planning: Career planning is a corporate organizational issue. After appraisals, it is always found out that most employees are working in departments they have little or no flair for. This generally affects their individual as well as general corporate performance. Performance appraisal results help in planning and repositioning employees career.

It should be noted that performance appraisal is a very important aspect of organization future growth and positioning as such it should be carried out with all seriousness and sincerity. The Human resources person should be able to advice all supervisors and managers before every appraisal exercise to avoid getting a biased result, which will ultimately affect the general productivity of the firm. Supervisor /Managers should avoid elements of favoritism or emotions during appraisals. Most Managers use appraisal exercise as a time to get back at subordinates. This is a wrong approach to appraisal. Appraisal exercises should be fair and without bias. Before a manager can appraise his subordinate, he should be able to know the employee very well, the company goals, the products /services they are handling, their customers, other colleagues, the target given to the staff etc before a fair and non biased judgment can be given.

Finally for any Performance appraisal exercise to be successful and without prejudice, the Goals set must be “SMART”. This means that the goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and with a Time Frame. Individual goals must be aligned with corporate organizational goals. Employee self-evaluation/assessment must be included in the assessment form. The Supervisor and subordinate must be allowed to participate in the review. The ratings must be clearly stated with reasons for each rating. There must be a final column for the Human Resources personnel to evaluate the review and make a final recommendation for Managements approval.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


The human resources department is one of the most important departments in an organization. Almost all the activities of an organization revolve around the HR department. A Human resource professional must perform a lot of functions and roles in an organization towards the actualization of the corporate goals and objectives of the firm in a way to drive the organization’s vision and mission.
The core roles of a human resources person are grouped into four broad roles that must be carried out professionally. The Human resources professional must be all of these;


As a strategic partner, the HR professional must be able to partner with the organization in developing plans that will align the human resources of the firm with the long term corporate goals and vision of the firm. He should be able to contribute to business strategy development by aligning HR jobs with strategic goals. He should be able to provide tools and create an enabling environment to actualize these goals. He is the eyes of his firm in the outside world and should be a liaison between his firm and the society, environment and government. He should be able to analyze work processes and recommend improvements where necessary. He should develop policies that will benefit the firm, Management and employees alike.

As an Administrative expert, the HR professional is expected to carry out administrative duties like providing the necessary tools needed for the organization to operate successfully. He should be able to manage the overall labour costs in his organization and plan for administrative budgets. As an administrative expert, the HR person should be an information manager. He should have at all times all data relating to employees and make same available ಅಟ್ all times. The HR person should be able to discover new and evolving trends that will be beneficial to the company and advise Management accordingly. He should always conduct research to find out what is obtainable in other firms that makes them tick and advise management. The HR person should be able ತ manage HR budgets (recruitment, selection, training and development, etc. He should be a good negotiaಟು r in times of salary decisions.

As a Change agent, he should be able to find out new ways of doing things that can move the company forward. He should be able to convince Management on the need for the change and address employees about changes. He should coordinate and facilitate the change process. He is to provide the tools and structures needed during change period. As an expert, he should be able to create a new organizational change without disrupting the firms business.

As an Employee Champion, the HR professional should be able to manage the selection, recruitment, training, development, career planning, performance management, succession planning, and Staff retention exercises. He is to determine the long term human resources needs, assess current resources and determine area of changes. He is to determine whether human resources needs can be sourced internally or externally. He is to conduct training needs assessment, to determine the type of training that will benefit the staff and organization. Conduct and arrange for trainings and determine the training results on the productivity of the firm. The HR professional manages and carries out career management in a way to align the employees’ dreams with the organizational requirements. Also as an employee champion, the HR expert is to carry out performance appraisal exercises to determine staff performances in their present responsibilities a well as determining those that will be rewarded, promoted, demoted and recognized. As an employee champion he should be involved in grievance handling and disciplinary issues in the firm. He is to handle all employee related matters like leave issues, medicals, pension matters, housing and general welfare issues.

In summary a HR professional should be able to perform the following functions; Manpower planning, recruitment, compensation and salary issues, employee development and administration, Training and career development, labour relations and discipline management, personnel transfer and movement, performance management Human resources information system, payroll, organizational development etc.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Custom Search
The most important job of a Human Resources person is the selection and hiring/recruitment of employees. It cannot be faulted that the success of any firm depends on the quality of human resources or talents in that firm. This is why it is very important for any human resources expert to be very sure of hiring the right staff without compromising anything from the onset. The questions behind your mind while sourcing for talents should be can these staff deliver? What are their strengths? Can they fit into the corporate goal and objectives of the firm? What are their competencies? Can they be trained? Can they pursue the vision of the firm? What values are they bringing into the organization? Are they coming to use our firm as a learning ground and move on with their career somewhere else? Can we count on them to fit into the succession plan of the company? Etc. Answers to these questions and more are why selection and recruitment seems to be an onerous task. It cannot be argued that most applicants fake their qualifications and experiences just to impress interviewers and get the job. It is very important then for interviewers to look beyond the physical to determine how suitable an applicant is. This brings us to the issue of the competency analysis of those to be interviewed. Competency test is always one of the important selection strategies. This is because it goes beyond what eyes can see. It checks the behaviours of the applicants as well as their characteristics, which influences and drives their performance on the job. A competency can then be seen as the underlying characteristics of a person which enables him to deliver or not deliver superior performances in a given job, role or situation.
The competency of a candidate can be seen in his Skills, educational qualifications, Knowledge, abilities, achievements, strengths, social roles, self image, Traits and Motives. Where the candidate’s skills, educational qualifications, knowledge, abilities, achievements, strengths and weaknesses can be easily identified, his Traits and Motives are always hidden in the core of the candidate. The Motive and Traits of different candidates are always what separates the chaff from the juice. This then means that interviewers should pay more attention during selection exercises in the motives and traits of candidates more than their qualifications and experiences.
When there is an opening in a firm, it is always very important for the Human resources department to check inwardly if there is any existing staff that can fit perfectly into that position. If none, the next step should be to look outwardly. While placing the advert, it is also very important for the HR person to know the job requirements for that position, the educational qualification needed, number of years of experiences on the job, the job description, the gender of the person needed etc. These will help in knowing the content of the advert placement.
It is also always very important for the advert to specify that each candidate should have his profile and career summary in the first page of the resume. This will make the short-listing job simple.
Bearing all these in mind, the selection and recruitment process will flow as easy as ABC. For a guide, a typical selection and recruitment process should follow the sequence below:
  • Be aware that there is a vacancy / opening in your organization.
  • Analyze the position/s requirements. Learn everything about the job, the processes, performance; the skills needed, the traits, the competencies, salary range etc.
  • Vacancy announcement. Place the vacancy in your website as well as in one or two dailies as the case may be. Be sure the daily you are to use has wide readership.
  • Start your short listing, having in mind the job description and requirements.
  • Depending on the number you have in mind, shortlist many candidates for the pretest selection to give you a variety of choice.
  • Conduct the test exercise (for entry job levels mostly).
  • Prepare interview questions for the pre-screening interview.
  • Conduct the pre-screening interview (to trim down the number of candidates.)
  • Prepare more practical questions for the next stage of the interview.
  • Make your selection and present to the Management for the final selection.
  • Conduct your background checks/reference checks on the successful candidates.
  • Recruit the successful candidates.
  • Conduct employee orientation.
  • Hand over a copy of the employee Handbook to each of them.
  • Place them on probationary period before confirmation of appointments.

    Thank you for reading and don’t fail to read about the CORE ROLES OF A HR PROFESSIONAL in my next blog.