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Before you all proceed with my post….please take a few minutes to read Cirnelle‘s post on  “Counting Hours“.

Done? Ok, that’s all I want to say.

LOL. Ok, just trying to be funny. 😛

Let’s get straight to the point (i’m actually rushing my work now). Do you agree that if one works late or long hours, it means that one is a good employee? I’m pretty sure most of you will not agree….but how many of you is actually doing something like that or have a boss who thinks like that? I’m sure most of you will say “Yea, I do work late, so i think i’m a good employee” or “I have a boss who only rewards those who work late” or “My colleagues always say that I never do my work because I go home earlier”. 

Oh please….we’re no longer in ‘that era’. This is the knowledge worker era. What matters most is your work performance, your knowledge and of course the overall results. If i were to start my own business, i will of course set a timeline for all the employees to complete a certain task…….and to do some proper quality check on the end result. I wouldn’t even bother whether they come to work or not. As long as they are there when there’s a scheduled meeting/appointment…..then i’m fine. Come to work late, go back early or work from home, I don’t mind at all. Why? Because working late or long hours DO NOT mean you’re a good employee.

Let’s see….if you work late…maybe it’s because you have unreasonable deadline…….or, you wasted too much time during the actual working hours? Either way, you are neglecting your private life (family life…friends..etc) when you start to work late. I actually know some people who spend most of their time in office chatting, reading newspaper/online news, surfing, checking shares (ok, i do this, but not that often since the site I used only update once every 1 – 2 hours), watching youtube (that’s why it’s famous), etc (you should know as well as i do 😛). In the end, they are forced to work late in order to finish their assignments.

There you go…work late doesn’t mean you’re a good employee. Good end result + good work attitude + work delivered on time = good performance = good employee.

So, start doing yourself a favor…….don’t treat yourself like a machine which works 9-5 (OK machine) or 9-7 (GOOD machine) or 9am – 12am (candidate for employee of the year)…..because you’re a human and not a machine. Fully utilize your working hours, and go back home earlier….regardless of what your boss/your colleagues think of you. A boss will always reward those with good performance, not those who works late but lousy performance.

Again, feel free to post any comments here 😉

Some of my friends have been working in small companies for few years. You might say that some people prefer to work in smaller companies. True. But these friends of mine always have this mentality that big companies or so-called Multi-national companies (MNC) are actually better in terms of prospects and rewards. They like to say “Alvin, your salary so high la…jealous leh” and I’ll say “Nope, my salary actually quite low” and then they’ll say “Don’t bluff la, MNC sure high pay 1”.

Then it struck me….and I’ve asked few of them “If MNC is so nice to you…why don’t you join MNC?”. And well, you should be able to guess what is the answer they gave me – “Don’t want lah…MNC a lot of politics”. 😐

SOOoooo, the question is…. does it mean working in a big company will expose you to more office politics? Answer is YES. Why? Because the possibility of being involved in office politics is higher, when there are more people in the company. Human beings are the cause of politics in office. So with more people in a company, the possibility of having some screwed up individuals will be of course, higher.

However, one should not be afraid to join a big company if one really likes the company and what it is doing. You can always try to change team (or company) if you are being dragged into something you do not want to be involved in. 😉 In big companies, you can at least try to change project team…or division or department. If you work in a small company with office politics……..well, where else can you escape?

In the end, it all boils down to one thing – luck. 🙂 Just do what you like …if you wish to try your luck in a MNC, do it. Don’t be afraid of politics because if you are unlucky…..you’ll be involved in the politics even if you don’t work in a MNC. 🙂

Turnover has been on the rise nowadays. I’m not sure how applicable is this for other companies…but I do know that it’s quite high for the few companies that I know. And I also know that having a high turnover rate will not help any organization/company and it will give more workloads for the Human Resource people.

And then people start to ask…..why don’t these organizations or companies have a proper employee retention policy to lower the turnover rate? Good question. To be honest, most organizations/companies in Malaysia do not have a proper employee retention policy. They feel that it’s too troublesome or costly. Well, I must give credits to those who do have……but as far as I know, most do not have or are doing a very bad job with whatever retention policies they trying to implement. And for those who do not have any at all…..maybe they think retraining their employee is a cheaper way?

No idea.

After asking bout retention policy……..people will ask WHY? Why so and so want to leave? Why this? Why that? Some people will just say “oh well, it’s a stupid company” or “the company management sux”. I do agree that some companies have very inexperienced and sucky management team…….but I also believe that they are not the main reason someone wants to leave the company. Most of the time, I realized it is the direct supervisor who is forcing people out of the company.

The supervisor is the one who will manage the employees. The person who is closest to the employees or the front line men. He is the one who will look after them and also the one who they will complain or voice their opinions to. Whatever the top management does, the employees will not know or will not see that clearly. In the end, it is the things the supervisor does that will involve them.

When someone leaves a company…….the person might say “Stupid boss la. That’s why i left!”. But the actual boss of the company has nothing to do with the guy leaving the company…well, most of the time anyway. If it’s a small company, the boss is most likely the supervisor. If it’s a big company……do you seriously think the CEO or the Managing Director will actually force someone who is 3 levels below in the organization chart to leave the company? He most probably won’t even notice the guy that much! And well, how much do you actually know your CEO if you are a lower level executive?

In the end….it’s not really the top management that is responsible for the employee retention policy. Everyone is, especially the leaders……any leaders. You might be a team leader, a division lead, a practice lead, a senior manager, project manager, anyone…….but as long as you have subordinates under you……you are responsible for them, their welfare, their career path..their future. If they choose to resign…well, it’s either they found a better opportunity….plan to change their field….or, well, they’re just pissed by you. 🙂

Anyway, the above is purely based on my personal opinion. Do feel free to post up your comments. 😀

Here’s a good article that my senior forwarded to me. It’s about leadership…how to differentiate yourself as a leader.

http://www.cio.com/article/110350/How_to_Differentiate_Yourself_as_a_Leader

I fully agree with this line…. “Most people do not leave their companies—they leave their leaders”. 🙂  I’ll write something on this next time.

For now, hope you’ll enjoy the article as much as I do.

Ever heard of the term “tightness of fit” ? It is a term used by Jerry Poras and Jim Collins in the book Built to Last to describe how visionary companies keep only the individuals with the right mindset with them.

On the other hand, I have a friend who keeps a private mailing list with some of his close friends and named it “Just among ourselves“. No one else (except the few close friends) is allowed to join the mailing list and he will go to the extent of explicitly telling other wannabe-joiners that the mailing list is – “Just among ourselves“. So if you’re not in the list, means you should not and will not be in the list.

Sounds a bit..harsh right? But that’s what a visionary company should do. At least, that’s my opinion.

Why?

If you notice, most big and successful companies have some mission statements…or visions…or ideologies. These are the things they believe in…the things they are working towards to…the guidelines…the set of principles that they MUST follow. To them, it is as important as the law itself. That is why they always stick very close to these so-called “statements“. These “statements” could be more important than the money itself. It’s the LIFE of the company.

Now, imagine if the company hires someone new to fill into an important job position….potentially a decision maker in the company. There are only 3 possibilities…….The first one, the new guy shares the same mentality or “mission statements“as the company itself………and this is the best scenario. The next possibility is the new guy does not share the same values or mentality……but he is open to change and can adapt to the company’s culture. The last possibility is the worst…..the new guy has a completely different way of thinking and does not wish to change.

Imagine this….you are working in a big company and has been made to believe “Making a customer happy is your first priority“. You and the rest of the employees will be willing to go through anything (even outside your line of duty) to make the customers happy and hope that they will return to seek your company’s services in the future. This is your company’s “mission statement“. Suddenly, this new senior manager came in. He forced the idea of “Who squeezes the most profit out of a customer will be rewarded” onto all of you. What do you think will happen? The priority has changed. The business will not be like what it used to be anymore.

A senior manager is able to have such a huge influence on the small team of people…….can you imagine the impact of having an important decision maker to practice such mindset?

That is why if you go for interviews with certain big companies…….they will ask you about your dreams, your goals, ambitions…your plans for the future, or even do some personality test on you just to see whether you are able to fit into their culture.

Blame them not because i am sure that you will do the same thing………..if you are a good leader who cares about the company. 🙂

Hope it helps 😉

And this is EXACTLY what i intend to do when I start my own business in the future. 🙂

http://www.entrepreneur.com/humanresources/managingemployees/article179274.html

Why I want to do this? I personally believe this will boost the morale of the employees – teamwork, competition (and perhaps some extra stress…well, couldn’t help it right?), fun, etc. Most importantly, the employees get to feel at home…doing what they want…enjoying and having fun before getting back to their work.

Some people have doubts over this so-called “new method of retaining employees“. It might have few side-effects, just like every other thing in this world. In terms of productivity…i believe there’s something called “timeline” for every assignment. No? If that’s the case, a responsible employee will know when to get back to work and not becoming a game addict. 🙂

More entertainment will make the employees feel much more like home….and stay longer in the office…and work only when they feel like (but of course, the assignments should be handed in within the given timeline).

So if you are running your own business and are wondering how to retain your employees (especially the creative ones)…. do consider this option. 🙂

I found this article from CNN Money. Quite an interesting read especially for an entrepreneur. It might provide some insights as to how you should start a business.

Here’s the link http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/moneymag/0706/gallery.success_stories.moneymag/index.html

Recently, a friend of mine told me about his story in his company which provides technical support (IT) to the clients (mostly big companies). He was feeling quite frustrated and displeased with his fellow co-workers. In case you don’t know, the IT support industry works like this – a client which you are supporting is complaining about a bug or performance issue with one of the module in the payroll application. So, a representative from the client will launch a “ticket” to helpdesk and the helpdesk will be the one handling the “ticket“. For every ticket, there’s a deadline. The more serious/severe the issue is, the shorter the deadline will be. The deadline thingy will then lead to something called SLA or Service Level Agreement which is the agreed upon level of service (must deliver so and so within so and so time) between the client and the company during the support agreement sign off.

I might be wrong, but that’s what I could understand from my previous experience as a technical support guy.

What happens here is, for every ticket accepted by someone, there will be a chargeable time (the amount of time allocated for you to work on it). As usual, it is human being who assigns these “chargeable time” allocations. There is a possibility that a ticket which needs 10 minutes to finish can get a chargeable time of 3 days whereas a ticket which is so difficult that it needs 7 man days to finish, is allocated only 3 days. You see the problem? Nope, this is not the problem.

The problem happens when you have some selfish individuals in your team. My friend’s scenario is like this – 2 tickets come in. 1 ticket is a simple routine job which has a chargeable time of 2 man days whereas the other is a new issue which has a slightly longer chargeable time of 3 man days. Fact is, nobody has done ticket B before… So my friend was so lucky to get ticket B and ticket A has been assigned to another person. Ticket A, as expected, finished within the 2 days period (can actually finish in 1 day…but the person somehow dragged to 2 days). Ticket B, however, took more than 7 days to finish because nobody knows how to fix it. My friend became nervous due to the SLA, and informed the team leader. The team leader reassigned the ticket to another person who immediately responded by saying “This is a SHIT ticket, why give it to me?

Now, you see the problem. Who cares whether it is a SHIT ticket or not? It is a ticket no matter what and it is the team’s responsibility to fix it. It’s true that my friend failed to deliver the ticket, and he should be penalized for it but it is a completely new issue and nobody even cares to help. So-called teamwork huh?

What about the attitude when the person has been assigned the “Shit” ticket? His reaction is pure irresponsible. SLA will affect the team, and perhaps the entire company’s reputation. No matter how “shit” is the ticket, someone has to do it or the SLA will not be achieved. When that doesn’t happen, the team can bid farewell to their “bonus“.

I feel that sometimes, people just don’t see the big picture. True, we need to protect ourselves. We need to know what we want to learn and where we should be heading in our career path. However, if you are working in a team where the performance reflects the attitude and commitment of every single team member………then perhaps, you should really work as a team and not blaming people for assigning you with something you don’t like to do.

I’m just venting my frustration here. I somehow pity my friend who worked very long hours just to get the ticket fixed. He has no more chargeable time left…so why should he commit so much of his time? One word – Responsibility.

Hope it helps.

Recently, I’ve been reading a book called “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard. It’s a very thin book but its content is as good as some more long-winded leadership and management books.

In this book, there’s a part which talks about an employee’s meeting with his manager to discuss a problem. The employee was having a difficult time trying to solve a problem with one of the contractors. That’s why he approached the manager, hoping that the manager has some advice or can offer some help for him.

Well, this is normal for most of us. When we are faced with a problem….we will try for maybe few times and give up especially if there’s someone there to help us with the problem. We assume that this person will help us fix the problem easily without troubling ourselves with it.

Easy isn’t it? It sure is…that is why most of us would go for this option.

However, in this book, the manager (who is known as “The One Minute Manager) refused to help when the employee asked “Can you please help me to solve this?“. Why? The answer is simple. The employee’s role is to fix the problem, not the manager’s. By helping the employee, the manager is making him too dependent on the manager………and also wasting the manager’s time which is meant to do something else.

What the manager should actually do is to hint at the employee on what should be done. Questions like “What is the problem?“, “How do you like it to be if there’s no such problem?”, “How do you intend to get to this path you wanted?“, “Is there any plan for it? Do you think this plan of yours can work? If no, do you have any other plans?“.

I believe these questions will make the employee think for himself. If he cannot answer the 2nd question which is “How do you like it to be if this problem doesn’t exist?“…….then it is not a problem. The employee is just complaining without putting some thought into how to fix the problem.

That is why we must always remember that we need to be independent especially when it comes to solving a problem. Other people can only give us hints, tips or advice…but they should not be solving it for us. Let’s fix it ourselves.

Hope it helps.

The answer is yes and no. As a typical presales guy would say, “It depends“. It depends on the company you are working in, and the supervisor who is managing you.

If you are in a company where the people is taught to be open-minded…..be able to voice out their opinions constructively for the benefits of others….and where age and experience do not play a vital role – then, you definitely can. It’s never easy, but it’s entirely possible.

If you are working in such a company, and under a supervisor who treasures your skills/talents/contributions and acknowledges them……….then, things will become easier for you.

However, if you are in a company where seniority rules……where the upper management does not accept any form of opinions/feedbacks from the lower level employees (stubborn people)…then forget it. You are just wasting your energy. Even if you have a good boss who is willing to listen and acccept….it won’t be good enough since the upper management team has every right to reject and deny whatever you are suggesting to them.

So, what kind of company do you think you are in? If you are not very sure of it yourself, then talk to your direct supervisor. He might know about the company’s processes and mentality better than you do. And he is also the person who will decide whether you can make an impact, or not. So, talk to him.

If you are in the right company, and working under the right person (i know some of you might think that you can overtake your supervisor and voice out to someone higher up……..well, it’s possible but it’s always better to respect whoever is supervising you), and most importantly, you have the will to contribute and make an impact…..then by all means, go ahead ! Voice out your opinions, concerns, problems AND solutions. If you are given the responsibility to take charge in order to make changes, then it’s better still. Go lead the initiatives and make an impact !

By making an impact, be it big or small, you are not only helping your company but you are also learning a lot of stuff. Why not take this opportunity to learn, and at the same time, make an impact and create a name for yourself ? Just make sure that once you have the plan out and approved…….you have to complete it.

Hope it helps.