Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Blog Post:Crisis Management

When a crisis hits an organization, all hands are needed to repair the damage and maintain the organization’s good reputation. The HR department can oftentimes be disregarded during a crisis and their ability to help rehabilitate underestimated. If your organization falls under that category, it is important for HR to impress upon senior management the significance of HR in attaining a level of stability during what can be the most tumultuous period in the company’s history. Management of employees is crucial in getting the company back on its feet and can make or break the reputation of the company even long after the crisis has transpired. 
While some types of crises can be anticipated, the very nature of a crisis is to be unexpected.  A comprehensive crisis communication plan with clearly defined steps should be a staple at every organization. This plan should inform whoever reads it.  HR Managers must ensure that employees are aware of the dos and don’ts of responding to a crisis both internally and externally. An updated contact list of all employees should also be readily available.
During a crisis everyone within the organization must speak with the same voice, echoing the stance of the leadership to ensure that the media is given no loophole to extend the shelf life of the crisis. This is not limited to traditional media (radio, print and television) but also to social media. It is not possible to monitor the social networks of all the employees in a company however, it must be stressed that speaking of the crisis on personal sites can impact the situation and should be avoided. All it takes for the crisis to elevate is a snide comment about who caused the crisis to be discovered on a personal blog. One way of preventing this is by ensuring that the employees are informed of the crisis via the organization rather than through the media.
Communication is vital to this stage of crisis management. Face to face communication can help to reassure employees of management’s sincere interest in their wellbeing. It can also help to alleviate any concerns or aid in coping with the situation if it is emotionally stressful.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11, the March 11 Tsunami and earthquake that devastated Japan, the presidential scandal that rocked the IMF, they have all proven Murphy’s law- anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. There several types of responses to crises which must also be considered by management prior to the occurrence of a crisis in order for provisions to be made. Trauma can induce physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioural responses, factors which can affect the level of productivity during and after a crisis. It is the responsibility of HR to ensure that employees return to work as well as manage the balance between productivity and personal needs for those who cannot yet work due to trauma.

The role of HR is paramount to the success of an organization’s response to a crisis, as are the employees. They are perchance the most important player or stakeholder in a crisis and can reverse the efforts taken to manage the crisis if significant value is not placed on internal communication.
Do you think there is a culture of preparedness in Jamaica on a whole as well as in your organization?
What measures would you advise in order to create this culture?
What more do you think HR can do in the midst of a crisis?

Join in the discussion and tell us where you stand. It begins with us, it begins right here.

The Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica
“Enhancing the Value of Human Capital for Growth and Development”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take Advantage of this Special Offer Now! Coming this September:

HRMAJ offers a certificate course in Training Programme Administration. It deals in a practical way with strategies for the effective administration of training and other human resources development interventions.

Coverage includes:
-How to integrate the Training Function with strategic goals of the organization
-Investment issues relevant to the training function
-Assessment of Training Needs
-Planning development training schedules
-Developing training budgets
-Re-entry and reinforcement of learning

Target Audience:
 Training Directors/Managers, Training Officers/ Coordinators, Administrators, Line Managers with responsibility to organize training for staff

 HEART College of Beauty Services
10 Hope Road, Kingston 10

8:00 a.m- 4:30 p.m.

Members: $31,000 (plus GCT)
Non-members: $34,000 (plus GCT)

Contact us at:
Shop #3 Mid-Spring Plaza, 134 Constant Spring Road, Kingston 8
Tel: (876) 925-9564, 925-1010, 925-6476, 969-2944,969-0743
Fax: (876) 969-7229
Twitter: @HRMAJ

Friday, July 22, 2011

Upcoming Event

Register now for this upcoming event!

FridayBlogPost: Discussion

This week's topic for discussion came from our Facebook Friend Yolande H. Her  request was:

One issue you could tackle is the opportunity for young persons to be afforded the opportunity to get HR experience. It is quite a challenge as organizations want to hire people with HR experience but the big problem is how do young people get that direct HR experience?

Let's get the ball rolling!

It is true that young persons find it difficult to acquire this work experience, however there are some avenues they can try to gain experience in the field of HR. Firstly they can apply for an internship during the holiday periods of summer and Christmas. These are perfect times to get experience because they are outside of the school semester. Parents can be of assistance to find organizations that are willing to take on young persons for an internship. Also they can identify persons that they know who work in the field and offer their services. While this may not be a paying job, and may only require them to do small things, being in an environment where you can observe the ins and outs of the field should be a welcomed opportunity. Identifying someone in the field who can serve as a mentor is another option; someone who can guide you as to the rudiments of HR.
The key here is for them to make themselves available to a possible employer or mentor and be willing to offer their services for free as it is difficult for many organizations to take on young persons for a paid internship in this economy. Volunteering can give these young persons the opportunity to impress possible future employers with their work ethic, potential and insight as a young person entering the field.

Also if these persons are university students studying HR, they can find out if the HR Management Department is in need of any help, whether during the year or the holiday periods. This can give them first hand experience in HR in a large institution as well as give them the opportunity to impress their lecturers.

Join in the discussion and tell us where you stand. It begins with us, it begins right here.

The Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica
“Enhancing the Value of Human Capital for Growth and Development”

FridayBlogPost: Financial Literacy

Today’s post focuses on an issue that is easily but regrettably overlooked in many countries around the world. It affects every demographic and can result in significant losses in the future. Studies have indicated a considerable gap in the levels of financial literacy between men and women around the world. Reports like that of Financial Finesse, a provider of workplace financial education, show the disparity between genders on issues of investing and budgeting, retirement preparedness and savings plans.
“Only 25 percent of women reported feeling confident with how their investments were allocated vs. 42 percent of men, and 63 percent of women said they had a handle on their cash flow vs. 80 percent of men.”
Some 19% of men are secure that they will replace 80% of their income in retirement, while only 12% of women share this confidence. These claims are substantiated by other studies, like that of Dr. Annamaria Lusardi of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA. An interview conducted between Dr. Lusardi and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis revealed that while the overall levels of financial literacy were low, women, racial minorities, the young and old were the least financially knowledgeable.
The issue of financial illiteracy has been around for years, but with the economy becoming a more dangerous place to be ill informed, the issue has elevated in concern. Does HR however respond to this issue by making available for employees the necessary information on financial information?
In moving forward, measures may need to be taken to involve financial literacy as part of training programs. The upside however, is that female staff will be more receptive to this change. According to Dr. Lusardi’s research, while women are more financially illiterate than men, they are aware of this fact. They have objectively assessed their own knowledge, are more sensitive to their lack of knowledge and therefore more willing to address the situation.
“If you go to a financial education program, you'll likely see that a large majority of the audience is women. If you look at the market for financial advice, the more successful books and writers are those that target women,” said Lusardi.
Read more:
Although women fall short when compared to men on the issue, men are not to be forgotten as overall their level of financial literacy is still poor. Management must respond knowing how to address the needs of each group. Programs need not be separated by gender in entirety however, in order to effectively communicate, women and men must be addressed in their own capacities. Influential in the success of financial education programs at Dartmouth Lusardi said was listening to what the audience wanted. Programs must be designed with the receiving audience in mind to increase the reception to the information presented. This includes the format, speakers, duration, media used etc.
These financial education programs can significantly benefit the employees’ personal financial standing as well as the economy on a whole. Executive director of the Financial Services Commission Rohan Bartlett commented on the future implications of financial education to the Gleaner when speaking of the financial lessons being offered by his organization to high school students.
"A more financially literate population fosters sustainable and orderly economic growth and development for our country, this is because a more financially savvy population saves and invests more and are better able to understand and respond quickly to public policy changes," he added.
President of the Banker’s Association Minna Israel echoed this view, commenting on the success financial literacy can bring in regards to standard of living.
"The outcome of financial decisions has significant implications for an individual's financial security and standard of living. A person with a good command of financial literacy is better poised than someone who is less exposed to the discipline, to manage financial affairs in a prudent manner," she argued.
Institutions that provide training need to consider including financial education as a premiere topic when preparing persons for the working world. While the Financial Services Commission will tackle this issue from the high school stage, opportunities need to be created for working persons who still are not knowledgeable.
Does HR have a part to play in helping tilt back the balance between male and female financial literacy?

Join in the discussion and tell us where you stand. It begins with us, it begins right here.

The Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica
“Enhancing the Value of Human Capital for Growth and Development”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Writing a Winning Resume

For the person looking for a job, the resume is the first chance to impress a possible employer. Needless to say as important as the resume is, many persons do not invest quality time into producing an interview worthy resume. Without careful and thoughtful writing, your resume can be a disservice to you, and could hinder you from getting employed. Below are some things to consider when writing a resume so that the results will be in your favour.

Before beginning your resume, take some time to think about why you are writing it and what it is for. A resume is a professional document intended to present to a potential employer the reason why you should be hired for that job. It however is NOT a biography or a summary of your life’s history.

The Rockport Institute, who has helped individuals to successfully choose their career paths since 1981, describes a resume as an advertisement, “nothing more, nothing less”

        “A great resume doesn't just tell them what you have done but makes the same assertion that all good ads do: If you buy this product, you will get these specific, direct benefits. It presents you in the best light. It convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career.”- (How to Write a Masterpiece of a Resume Part 1)

This advertisement must be skillfully crafted to achieve its one goal… to get you an interview. This ad must also be able to impress the reader within less than a minute. HR Managers face hundreds of resumes and cannot thoroughly read through every one. It is therefore imperative that at a quick glance your resume can stand out from the pack.

Writing the Resume

When beginning to write a resume you may want to consider jotting down your points first. Take the time to identify all the aspects of your character, goals and accomplishments that you will want to include. Look for key words and action phrases to best describe you and how you can contribute to the organization.

Your resume should have a direct focus. Keep in mind that just like advertising a resume is directed to a specific audience and intended to grab and maintain attention. The focus of your resume should be clearly defined from the onset. This presents you as a person who is secure in their personal goals and who uses their energy productively to achieve them.

After the contact information the first item on your resume should be an Objective. This objective can grab their attention or send it elsewhere. While most persons craft a vague objective which speaks to their overall goal in life, your objective can be tailored to each organization that your resume is sent to. It should be concise and clear about your career direction. If this resume is being sent in response to an advertisement, the employer may have made known in the ad the qualities they are looking for. The objective is very useful for establishing which of those qualities you possess, which would make you stand out amidst other candidates. Not every objective will be this specific and some may still be broad and undefined. The key however is to remember that the employer is looking for someone who will be of benefit to them rather than aiming to fulfill your personal life goals.

Here are some examples to consider:
• Senior staff position with a bank that offers the opportunity to use my expertise in commercial real estate lending and strategic management.
• An entry-level position in the hospitality industry where a background in advertising and public relations would be needed.
• A position teaching English as a second language where a special ability to motivate and communicate effectively with students would be needed.

Another element to consider is the layout of your resume. Traditional methods would place qualification and education as the first element of the resume. The functional method dictates placing education information in the second half of the resume. The functional method is more commonly used because it presents immediately the information the reader wants to know: what you can do for them. While your education is important and mandatory for a resume, your education or qualification simply verifies your accomplishments, qualities and skills.

With the right resume you will be on your way to landing a job and with these tips you are on your way to a great resume. Below is some more advice for writing winning resumes:

1. Do NOT : 
a. Lie
b. Put the following: age, height, weight, date of birth, marital status, sex, ethnicity, health, religion or political affiliations, primary or prep school
c. Include a photograph unless requested
d. Use fancy fonts or graphics
e. Use personal pronouns (“I”, “me”)
f. Title your resume as “Resume”. Start with you full name
g. Use an unprofessional email address (eg.

2. DO :
a. Ask a friend or two to proofread your resume
b. Check for grammatical, typographical, punctuation errors
c. Use contact information that you can actually be reached at.
d. Keep it short, no longer than 2 pages.
e. Maintain consistency in the use of fonts and headings.
f. Highlight strengths and de-emphasize weaknesses

Fore more tips:

Join in the discussion and tell us where you stand. It begins with us, it begins right here.

Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica

“Enhancing the value of human capital for growth and development”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Topics for Discussion

Let us know what topics or HR issues you want to discuss by commenting below with the title "Topic for Discussion". One topic will be chosen each week for discussion in the Friday Blog Post.

We cannot wait to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The highly anticipated HRMAJ Conference is here again. This year Conference31 will be at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel from November 16-18. You will not want to miss it. This year's theme: Innovating Through the Downturn... Creating Value for the Upturn.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Internet as a Driver of the Future

If you are waiting for the future then wait no longer, the future is already here. Innovation will be your most valued skill as a company or individual in this tumultuous market. Outside of this market is also a changing landscape, introducing new trending topics never faced before in the workplace. It is time to get with the times as not only are entertainment and leisure moving ahead at lightning speed, but so is the business world and the internet is the driving force.

As at September 2010 1,971 million persons were users of the internet according to The user base of Facebook was larger than the population of the United States, that is 350 million and more videos were uploaded to Youtube in 2 months than the total number of footage aired on ABC, CBS and NBC combined since 1948. Today’s leading companies are remiss to not have a Facebook page, website, and if they really want to branch out, a Twitter account. But where do you stand amidst the downturn in the economy and the flurry of pings and tweets? Establishing a foundation for continued success in the realm of the internet is key to ensuring that value is added to your ROI.

The major challenge of ruling your internet domain is staying current. In order to compete on a global level, your clients and competitors must grow accustomed to your strong and continued presence. The nature of social media is immediate gratification and as such, failure to update these sites can lead to extinction in the mind of your client. Along with your online presence, the very way in which the message is broadcasted holds influence. Social networking happens virtually the way it does in reality, therefore instilling the desire to share your content in your target audience becomes a primary goal. In this way, feedback from the audience is also crucial to building your online network.

On Sunday June 26 the Jamaica Observer reported the latest figures of Jamaican Facebook users at over 600,000 persons, 80% of which are aged 18 years and older. Tishan Lee of NCB hails social media as one of the most successful marketing tools that allow you to stay on trend with your customers.

"Social media has certainly proven to be a useful marketing and communications tool for us at NCB. As the media grows in popularity, so too does our ability to utilize it to reach our customers from the popular youth and other key demographics," noted Lee.

Read more: 

Establishing real-time communication lines with your customers holds significant long term benefits such as increased transparency and problem solving capabilities. Although confronting the open criticism may prove challenging, never before has there been a medium to settle an issue with speed and efficiency.

What do social media hold for the future of human resource management? In addition to the benefits they offer, social media has created an entirely new field of employment. While there is no educational course available to certify in social media management, the young ones have it as they are the generation of the internet. Some of the most adept professional Twitter and Facebook users who work for entertainment or social organizations are fresh out of high school or university. There may be an arising need for accommodating these fresh minds, honing not only their technological competences, but propelling them to go from techies to technocrats. Is training necessary for social media buffs to help them develop more management and communication skills?

For some companies, the idea of social media when coupled with their employees is a recipe for misrepresentation, time wasting and productivity loss. Wayne Marsh, an Internet Marketing Consultant, however disagrees. In the Sunday Observer on June 26, Marsh outlined the pros and cons of blocking social media websites from office computers, revealing the archaic reasons he believes should be disregarded and the remedy in developing a social media policy. Not only does he view social media websites as a way forward not backward for a company, he also thinks blocking these sites may deter from building employee morale.

“As you must have realized by now, social media website blocking is not a fool-proof way of preventing employee access. So why give employees an unnecessary reason to dislike their company?”

 Read more:

Much is in store for the business world with the internet as a driver of the future. Will the face of HR evolve successfully with the world around it? Will today’s concept of the office become obsolete? How does management harness the potential of social media to work with and not against them? Will HR be the next trending topic?

Join in the discussion and tell us where you stand. It begins with us, it begins right here.

The Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica

“Enhancing the Value of Human Capital for Growth and Development”