Saturday, 31 May 2014

Human Resources Management – Performance Feedback

The evaluation of the performance of employees is an integral part of human resources management. Evaluation takes place after the appointment of employees to a position, as well as during and after training. It is an ongoing process by which an employer’s job performance is evaluated.

Role of performance appraisal

Job performance is appraisal for two main reasons:
  • Developmental purposes (to improve future performance)
  • Evaluation purposes (to form the basis of personnel decision making)
Development purposes

The main purposes include:
  • Ensuring that employees know what is expected of them
  • Directing employees’ efforts towards the organization’s objectives and goals, consequently leading to increased productivity and sound work practices
  • Measuring individual achievement and providing feedback to employees on how they are performing
  • Improving communication flow by providing an opportunity for management and employees to discuss and resolve any performance weakness, thus enabling employees to improve their performance
  • Improving planning of human resources and establishing area in which employees may need assistance of specific staff development to develop new skills which will enhance their performance
  • Identifying the potential of employees in regard to career opportunities
  • Improving morale and positive attitudes by providing the opportunity for management to acknowledge encourage and reward outstanding and good performance.
Evaluation purposes

The main purposes include:
  • Enabling employers to evaluate and keep of good and poor performances to assist in personnel decision making and to satisfy the requirements of legislation and regulation in accordance with Equal Employment Opportunity principle 
  • Providing feedback to employees on their job performance over the evaluation period.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Effective Management – Terminating Employment

An employee may leave a job for a variety of reason, such as:
  • Resignation
  • Dismissal
  • Redundancy / retrenchment
  • Retirement
  • Going overseas
  • Illness
  • Accepting another position
  • Personal commitments


            Organization generally requires notice of one week or more. The amount of notice to be given by either an employer or an employee will depend on the:
·        Circumstance of the termination
·        Length of service
·        Award conditions
·        Terms set out in the contract of employment

            There may be an official form to be filled out or you may write a letter indicating your intention, the effective finishing date and the reason for resignation, if required.

            Always endeavour to leave a position in “good grace”. In your future career you may need to make reference back to this employer.


            When a member of staff a guilty of misconduct and there is “just cause”, an employer has the right to dismiss that person. However, an employee has a right of appeal against such a decision.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Effective Management – Responsibility for Discipline

Effective management views discipline as a process by which it can help staff to learn acceptable work standards and behaviour, including the organization’s rules and policies. Discipline in the workplace should not be viewed as a means of punishment.


            To ensure that everybody understand the rules and standards within the workplace, the organization should provide clear guidelines. It should:
  • Establish written rules, standards and policies within a handbook or procedures manual
  • Make this information readily available to all staff

Supervisory staffs within the organization have a responsibility to:
  • Keep informed about rules, standards and policies
  • Ensure all staff members have a copy of or access to a handbook or procedures manual
  • Communicate standards of conduct and work performance to staff
  • Be prepared to answer question in this regard
  • Use effective standardized disciplinary techniques such as:
    • Discussions-determining possible causes of problems
    • Offering appropriate assistance
    • Providing corrective feedback to remedy the situation
    • Giving warnings
            Supervisory staff should always keep a record of steps taken in a disciplinary matter. If they feel further action is needed, they should refer the matter to the appropriate authority within management.


To avoid disciplinary action, employees should:
  • Learn about the code of conduct relevant to the organization
  • Keep up-to-date with written instructional and follow directions
  • Demonstrate competent performance when undertaking responsibilities
  • Ask questions and seek additional information if required
Grounds for disciplinary action

            The two main grounds for disciplinary action against Public Service employees are misconduct and committing a criminal offence.


            This is failure on the part of an employee to fulfil his or her duties. Employees have the right to ask an employer what the expectations of them are.

Misconduct can happen as a result of:
  • Not complying with direction or the Act , or Public Service regulations
  • Not being efficient and competent
  • Being negligent or careless
  • Showing favouritism, discrimination or patronage which are all in breach of the Act
  • Improper conduct which either affects the way in which responsibilities are performed or “brings the service into disrepute”
  • Providing information at the time of appointment which was incorrect or misleading
Criminal offence

            It is criminal offence is proven and is relevant to the officer’s employment within the service, disciplinary action may be take.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Rights and Responsibilities – The Employee’s Rights

An employee has the rights to:

  • Be provided with a safe workplace
  • Fair practices in the workplace
  • A harassments-free work environment
  • The choice of joining or not joining a union
  • Be able to access a grievance resolution process
  • Be paid wages in accordance with the award or at an above-award rate
  • Work and access all appropriate benefits and conditions in accordance with the conditions of the award and contract of employment
  • Be given explicit instructions about work required to be done
  • Be communicated with
  • Receive advice and training
  • Be provided with an opportunity to seek promotion based on merit
  • Not to be unfairly dismissed
            In addition, legislation has been handed down to ensure that employees have the right to a work environment that has been adapted to health and safety needs.

The Employee’s Responsibilities

An employee’s responsibility to;

  • Work to his or her full capacity in a competent and efficient manner, giving a full and honest day’s work
  • Follow management’s policies and practices in order to achieve its goals and objectives
  • Follow lawful verbal or written instructions carefully
  • Be punctual and conscientious in attendance
  • Cooperate and serve the employer with loyalty and good faith
  • Accept extra responsibility by not divulging things such as the employer’s trade secret, customer list and business information
  • Perform work of high quality
  • Be accountable for  money, materials and property belonging to the employer
  • Be willing to train and retrain as requirements for the job change
  • Follow safety procedures and practices
  • Be courteous and give good service to customers/clients
  • Acknowledge and recognize other employee’s talents and skills
  • Acquire new skills
  • Respect cultural and society diversity among other employees and clients
  • Give early advice concerning inability to attend work (because of sickness, attending exam, parental leave, and so on).

Duty of care

This particularly applicable to public sector employees.

            When giving advice or information to clients/enquirers, provide only factual advice or information. Giving legal advice, disclosing confidential information and commenting on decisions made are activities that are usually outside your area of expertise or responsibility.

            Public sector organizations are fearful of being sued if incorrect information/ advice have been given by public servants.


            When you attend a job interview, the person or people conducting the interview will explain the rules and expectations of the organization. Some of this information may be given after your successful appointment, either at an induction session or during the course of your work. The information is valuable and, as an employee, you are expected to comply with the requirements.

Grooming and dress

            The standards of dress will depend on the policy of the organization. Some employers ask their staff to wear a uniform. In any case, you should:

  • Be suitably dressed for the type of work you perform
  • Always be neat, clean and tidy
  • Be well groomed-do a mirror check leaving home each day
  • Take care of personal hygiene

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Rights and Responsibilities – The Employer

The Employer’s rights

An employer has the rights to expect an employee to:
  • Be punctual
  • Carry out instructions and lawful directions
  • Perform duties with professionalism, honestly and integrity
  • Exercise reasonable care at all times
  • Conduct official dealings with co-workers and customers/clients in a fair and equitable manner
  • Be accountable for money and resources in his or her care
The employer’s responsibilities

Included in an employer’s responsibilities to an employee are the needs to:
  • Provide a safe workplace and follow guidelines as set out by the appropriate state authority in relation to occupational health and safety
  • Provide appropriate equipment to ensure that employees are able to carry out their work safety
  • Ensure fair practices In the workplace
  • Undertake, when required, a performance appraisal of an employee in an accurate, fair and unbiased manner
  • Understand the effect an employee’s personal difficulties may have on work behaviour and performance; also to offer assistance and encouragement when necessary
  • Evaluate performance and provide feedback
  • Disseminate information and communicate with employees
  • Provide advice and training
  • Abide by the conditions and wages as set out in the relevant award and subsequent variations

Monday, 26 May 2014

Rights and Responsibilities of Employer and Employees

In every organization, whether it is public or private, small or large, everyone has rights and responsibilities. For example, the employer has a right to expect certain levels and standards of performance from employees, and employees have a right to expect certain conditions from employers. On the other hand, the employer is responsible for the successful running of the organization, while employees are responsible for assisting in its efficient and profitable running.

            Under common law, an implied contract of employment exists between employers and employees. It may be either:
  • Written – a formal agreement signed by both parties
  • Verbal – an informal agreement
            Human Resource Managers are aware of the benefits of having staff, particularly those in senior positions; enter into written contracts of employment. This dispels misunderstanding about obligations and duties, and ensures that employment requirements and benefits are covered. A properly drawn up contract should avoid disputes having to be settled by litigation.

            Written contracts are explicit and should show more than the expected hours of work and rates of pay. Both parties have input to the terms of the contract, and details of all aspects of employment should be set out clearly.

Some essential factors to be considered in a contract of employment are:
  • Salary and wages
  • Hours of duty
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Supervision, including reporting requirements
  • Benefits
  • Superannuation
  • Bonuses and overtime
  • Leave
  • Work location
  • Requirement to travel in the course of duty
  • Policies and procedures for promotion and/or discipline
  • Handling of confidential information.
            Confidential information in here as confidential of commercially sensitive information is a priority issue for organizations. They may request employees, or other organization with which they are dealing, to sign a confidential deed.

            Additional clauses may be added to show the conditions under which the contract will be terminated – for example – after specified period of time or as a result of redundancy, retirement, redeployment, retrenchment, misconduct or some other circumstances.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Communication Styles in Organizations

Formal communication is an organization operates downward (top down), upward (bottom up) and horizontally.

            All these lines of communication must work effectively and efficiently to ensure the smooth functioning of the organization. Communication at all levels should be supported by systems that encourage trust and openness while allowing for confidentially if necessary.

Downward communication (top down)

            The purpose of information flowing down from senior management in an organization is usually to instruct or inform staff. It may be either verbal or written, but it should be clear. It can be issues such as:
  • Information about the job to be undertaken
  • Policies and guidelines
  • Performance appraisal
  • Corporate goals and objectives
Examples of downward communication are:
  • Information sheets
  • Memorandum
  • Posters
  • Corporate videos
  • Pamphlets and newsletters
  • Emails
  • Corporate/strategic plans
  • Meetings of senior management who then disseminate information to other staff members

Upward communication (bottom up)

The employee of an organization can communicate with management both formally and informally. This communication may be either verbal or written.

It flows upward from employees to supervisors or managers and can take the form of:
  • Suggestions for improvement
  • Grievance and unresolved problems
  • Feedback concerning service or product issues
  • Safety problems
  • Performance reporting
Some of the problems which exist with upward communication are that:
  • Staff may be reluctant to openly discuss certain problems in case they ‘rock the boat’
  • Staff may feel that management is not approachable and doe not care
  • Staff may feel that they will be disadvantaged or punished for being outspoken
Ways to overcome these problems are to:
  • Keep communication channels open all the time
  • Encourage open discussion of complaints and unresolved problems with management
  • Resolved any problem areas quickly
  • Maintain management’s objectivity

Horizontal Communication

            Horizontal communication take place between employees at the same level in the hierarchy, for example, managers with managers and clerks with clerks. It generally involves workplace coordination and cooperation in relation to such matters as planning, jobs, solving problems and discussing a variety of work issues. A meeting is one of the formal methods used to achieve horizontal communication.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Organizational Structure

Organizational structures need to be tailored to the particular need of the business. The type of business conducted and the preferred management style will be major factors in determining how the organization is structured.

Basic type of structure

            As a starting point, however, most types of organization structure are based on either line authority or staff authority.

Line Authority

            This type of organization structure is represented by a standard chair of command, which starts with the top management and extends downward to ordinary workers who carry out the basic activities.

            There are clearly defined relationships for reporting and working. An employee knows to whom and for what duties he or she is responsible. Line authority provides managers with the right to direct others and requires employees to conform to decisions, policies and goals. Managers in the system have a directive, operative role.

            Sample of level management as below shows the standard chain of command when an organization’s structure is based on line authority.

Staff Authority

            Managers and other staff members in an organization structured on staff authority provide both service and advice to the line. They often have some particular professional or technical expertise. The primary objective is to provide technical assistance to line managers to help them achieve the organization’s objectives. Theirs is consultative rather than a directive role. (They are not necessarily known as “manager”).

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Public and Private organization

Business ownership has five categories. They are:

  • Sole trader
  • Partnership
  • Private Company
  • Public Company
  • Cooperative
Sole Trader

            A person may set up in business on his or her own, providing all the capital, accepting all the profits and bearing all the risks and possible losses.

Sole trader must be:

  • Multi-skilled (doing all the work of the business as well as cleaning the premises, ordering supplies, keeping the books and paying accounts, attending to customers, answering telephone cal and so on)
  • Prepared to work long hours
  • Willing to forego holidays and time off for sickness (some sole traders have a small staff)
  • Able to accept risks and bear losses, if business fails, personal assets may be sold to meet the commitments of the business
  • Capable of making all the decision associated with the business

Many businesses commence this way and then progress to become partnerships or companies. Some people enjoy the control and flexibility of operating as a sole trader. The balancing factors are long working hours, and taking responsibility for the success of the business. If this type of business fails, liability is unlimited. Sole traders may also have difficulty obtaining financial assistance such as bank loans.


            A partnership gives access to more capital and expertise than a sole trader enjoys. Profits and losses are shares and management decisions can be discussed.

            Under the relevant law, partners are deemed to contribute equal amounts in expertise and capital. They share equally in decision making, contribution of capital, distribution of profits and liabilities for losses.

            When the partners do not contribute on an equal basis, Partnership Agreement should be drawn up to set out how profits and liabilities will be shared due to:

  • A partner investing more capital than other partners
  • A partner working longer hours than other partners
  • A partner having more experience and expertise than other partners
            The Partnership Agreement may also specify the ways in which the business is controlled. Partners may be restricted from entering into business arrangements without the consent of all other partners.

            The death or retirement of a partner usually means the legal end of the partnership. However, if the trading name has been registered, another partner may be brought in. Otherwise, completely new arrangements have to be entered into with the incoming partner(s).

Limited Partnership

            In a risky partnership business, a limited partnership may be formed. There must be at least one general partner with unlimited liability and one or more limited partners.

            Limited liability partners come in with extra capital to promote the business enterprise. They do not take any part in the running of the partnership. In the event of the business failing, they only stand to lose the capital already invested. These stakeholders are called “sleeping partners”.

            The remaining partners, who have unlimited liability, are responsible to make good any losses.


            As mentioned, both sole trader and partnership business have unlimited liability, which means the individuals risk losing personal assets in the event of business failure.

Companies may be set up and registered so that:

  • More capital can be brought into the business by shareholders who purchase a part of the company
  • Greater expertise can be brought into the business
  • The business continues after the death or retirement of a person (partners)
  • The business is separate and distinct from its owners/shareholders (because a company is a legal entity)
  • The business is managed by directors who are elected by shareholders
  • In the event of business failure, shareholders are protected and can lose only the amount invested (or agreed to be invested) in the company (limited liability)
  • In accordance with Corporations law, legal protection is given to shareholders
  • Formal rules can be drawn up giving details of the company structure and management and the internal controls for running the company.

Private Companies

            These are normally identified by the words “Proprietary” or “Pty”. In recent years, the legislation has been altered so that one person may form a company. This means that sole traders can now set up as a company and have the limited liability protections that this offers.

Some conditions applying to private companies are:

  • Regulations relating to revenue and gross assets must be complied with
  • The number of members must not exceed 50
  • A public company must be formed when members exceed 50
  • Funds can only be raised from shareholders or bank loans
  • The share are not listed on the Stock Exchange; they can only be bought by another shareholders and with the approval of the board of directors
  • Annual accounts are not published
Public companies

            These are formed to allow for greater expansion and the investment by the public in the business. There must be a minimum of five shareholders, but there is no upper limit.

            The word “Limited” or “Ltd” must be part of the name. Like a private company, a public company has limited liability.

Some conditions applying to public companies are:

  • Shares are quoted on the Stock Exchange and they may be bought or sold without the approval of the board of directors
  • There is no upper limit to the number of shareholders
  • When additional capital is to be raised, a prospectus is issued inviting members of the public to subscribe
  • Annual accounts must be published

No liability companies

            An exception to the liability requirement has been made for mining companies. These are considered to have a higher degree of risk.

            In order to encourage the public to invest in their enterprise, a company may be called a “no liability” company. The initials “NL” are shown as part of the name.

            In the event of a business failure, shareholders are not responsible for any balance owing on their partly paid share. If they originally paid 50 cents on each $1 share, they would not be liable for the balance of 50 cents to be [aid at call.


            A cooperative is type of limited liability but it is not listed on the Stock Exchange. Cooperatives are formed by common-interest groups to promote better conditions, marketing and other benefits.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Goals and structures in an organization

Most organization has a number of features in common:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Formal organization structure
  • Informal organization structure
              With an ever-changing marketplace, an organizational has to look continually at its goals and structures. This will ensure that it is being responsive to the demands of the market in which it operates.

Goals and Objectives

            For an organization to function effectively, it must have a set goal or goals. It then translates these goals into operational objectives. It is the responsibility of management to support staff in achieving these objectives.

            The primary goal of private sector organizations is to make a profit in order to survive in the market place.

            The public sector is being encouraged by government to shift its focus toward a business orientation and become self-funding, if not profit-making. This is called corporatisation.

Formal organization structure

            The structure of an organization is determined by the type of ownership, its business activities and its size.

Small business

            In a small business, the contact between the owner and staff is simple and direct, with each person performing a variety of tasks. The division of tasks is not as distinct as that in a large business.

Large business

            In large business, the organization structure is centered on chains of command, authority and responsibility, and the formal communication network in which decision are made and instructions given. Decisions and instructions flow downward from management. Reports flow upward to management. This allows the business to effectively achieve its specific goals and objectives.

            Essential elements to consider when developing an effective organization structure in a large business are:

  • Setting clear goals and objectives
  • Planning from the objectives to decide on the type of work and functions necessary to achieve those objectives
  • Division of the functions into departments and individual jobs
  • Staffing decisions and the degree of specification required to perform the various functions
  • Providing a physical environment that allows the employees to perform the functions effectively.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Work Environment

Business activity falls into one of three main classifications of production: primary, secondary or tertiary.
Primary Industries

These are industries engaged in the extraction of raw materials such as:

  • Agricultural products
  • Mineral and fuels
  • Forestry
  • Fishing products
Secondary industries

            These are involved in the process of making products from raw materials in factories and manufacturing plants for the use of the customer. Materials are obtained from primary industries. Examples of secondary industries are:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing companies
Tertiary industries

Tertiary industries are distribution and service industries which sell or consume the goods, as distinct from manufacturing or obtaining raw materials. Examples of tertiary industries are:

  • Hospitality
  • Entertainment
  • Insurance
  • Medical
  • Legal
  • Accounting
  • Transport
  • Education
  • Travel
  • Social service
  • Recreation
  • Offices
  • Wholesale suppliers and retails outlets

Organizational and Office Procedures

Organizations spend a lot of time, money and energy developing policy and procedures manuals. They often commission management consultants to research the issues and functions critical to the organization’s continuing success. These can include:

  • Aims, goals and ethical base on the organization (known as its mission statement)
  • Best practice policies for the particular industry
  • Procedure for efficient and effective use of time, office space, materials, fund and staff
  • Human resources policy and procedure

Policy and procedures manuals

            A policy manual sets out the organization’s aims and mission statement. The procedures manual shows how policies will be implemented. In other words, it contains the practical applications. Both policy and procedures manuals are usually classified as “confidential”. This means they are not available to the public, but are given to staff members when they join the organization.

Using a procedure manual

            It is invaluable for employees to have access to procedures manuals for their area. The manuals provide clear information about what is expected of the employees. They also explain the conditions of their employment, and give details of their rights in specific circumstances.

            The Human resources procedures manual describes people’s roles and functions in an office.

Workplace practices and procedures

            Policy and procedures deal with broad issues, roles and functions, but there are also many day-to-day situations where you might need information or help.

            Sometimes another employee can assist with information or advice. There are also many practical resources, such as “help” programs on computer and instruction manuals for equipment, available in the office.

Peer support

            While chatting about personal matters is not good practice, other staff members can often help you solve a minor problem quickly and easy. If you are not sure how to do something, ask someone more experienced.

On-line help

            All software packages on you computer have a “help” menu. Use these to learn short-cuts and to explore the range of functions the software can perform for you.

            Set up your own databases and templates for recurring projects. These will enable you to produce updated and amended files quickly and efficiently.

Use search tools as well as you search engine to find information quickly on the Internet.

Solving operational problems

            There should be instruction manuals for the equipment and systems you are using. For examples are:

  • Telephone
  • Answering machine
  • Computer
  • Software package
  • Printer
  • Fax machine
  • Calculator
  • Etc.etc.
             Keep these references where you can access them easily. Making a good attempt to resolve operational problems demonstrates your initiative and independence.

            If, however, you cannot solve the problem quickly, seek help from other experienced operators within the organization, or call in a technician to attend to the fault and/ or repairs.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Function of organization

Organization need to make a profit. In order to be profitable, they may diversity their functions and set up subsidiary companies which specialize in particular aspects of their operations. They may be government-run or privately owned; small, medium size or very large.

            Most business employs staff. They have a responsibility to provide up-to-date staff training and to ensure that salaries and other benefits are appropriate to the work performed.

            In return, staffs have a responsibility to meet work standards for their particular job, and to contribute to the efficient running of the business.

Key functions of departments and personnel

Sample of staff job title and position in the function organization.

  • General Manager
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Research and Development
  • Operations
  • Product Marketing
  • Etc.etc
             Although in some instances there are several people with the same or similar job titles, their responsibilities are clearly defined and there is no overlapping. For example, area of responsibility include :

  • Marketing
  • Human resources
  • Business development
  • Administration
  • Customer service
  • Operation
  • Purchasing
  • Etc.etc

 Sample of Functional Organizational Structure