Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

1. Develop Your Emotional Self-Awareness
Get used to thinking of your emotions as carrying a message - either about something that's happening now, or something that happened in the past that you have not yet fully resolved. Whenever you feel an emotion you're not comfortable with, you can ask yourself "what is this feeling trying to tell me?"

One of the best ways to develop your awareness of your own emotions is to meditate. Take some time out to relax, being aware of your breathing as it flows in and out. Observe your thoughts and feelings as they come and go, without judging them. This will give you a degree of detachment, as you realise you are more than whatever thoughts and emotions you are experiencing at the time.

Another good way to become more aware and accepting of your emotions is to keep an emotional journal. Just take five minutes each morning to write down how you're feeling. Writing things down in this way gives you a degree of detachment and allows you to express your feelings in a way which is safe. It also allows you to recognise recurring patterns in your emotional responses and gives you a record of how far you have come as you develop your emotional intelligence.

2. Take Responsibility for Your Actions and Feelings
It's important that you accept the emotions you're feeling as yours. Often we can regard certain feelings as unacceptable and refuse to acknowledge them. This will lead to trouble as we still continue to act from our emotions even if we deny them to ourselves. Sometimes we even project them on to other people, so that someone who is in denial about their own anger may encounter a lot of 'angry' people.

Often we talk about emotions as if they just 'happen', or that other people create them in us, as in 'she made me angry' or 'he upset me'. Some people even seem to have inanimate objects controlling their emotions, as in 'that squeaky gate is really pissing me off!'
So, can other people or even lumps of metal really control your emotions, causing your brain to release exactly the right combination of neuropeptides to experience irritation, fear or guilt? I would suggest not.

All the information we receive from our five senses about what's happening around us is already filtered by the time we become aware of it - first by the limbic system, our primitive emotional brain, and then by our beliefs and the meanings which we put on these events.
For example, if someone shouts at you and you get upset, it may be that the look they give you, or the tone of voice they use, reminds you at an unconscious level of a much earlier time you were shouted at by a parent or other authority figure. What you feel in response are the same feelings you had at that earlier time. In fact they are the same feelings, trapped in your brain since that earlier event and restimulated by a current event that matches the same pattern.
Or it might be your beliefs that are really crucial to bringing about your emotional response. If you believe that people "shouldn't" shout at other people, naturally you feel upset when someone does. In fact if you have that belief, it means that other people are capable of making you upset any time they want, simply by shouting at you. They may even evoke that response without meaning to - after all, since they can't read your mind, how are they to know what you believe?
The emotional response to the meaning which we place on any given event can happen so quickly that we aren't aware of our filtering process and assigning of meaning which happens in the gap between the triggering event and the response. It feels like the 'trigger' really does cause the emotional response.

However, if that were really the case, then everyone would react in exactly the same way in similar situations - which clearly they don't. One person might get angry, another might get frightened, another find it funny, and another might not even notice.

Here's the thing: in principle, you can change any of your mental filters and emotional responses. This means that you can take "response - ability" - the ability to be able to choose how you want to feel about anything that happens. How? NLP and other technologies for rapid change have a wealth of techniques for helping you to change even the deepest-rooted habitual responses.

3. Remember - You Are Not Your Emotions
There are no "bad" emotions. Whatever you feel is giving you valuable information: either about the situation that you're in, or about some event that's happened in the past that you need to learn from and move on.

A trap that people often fall into is feeling that they 'ought' to feel a certain way - that they are a 'bad person' for feeling emotions they have been brought up to believe are wrong to express or even to feel. If they are on a spiritual path, it can be even worse, as they may feel they 'ought' to be above feeling that way.

Remember, it's how you respond to those feelings that matters. Whatever emotion you're feeling, you still have a choice about how you act on it - and that's what counts. Judging yourself does not make you a better person.

4. Put Yourself In The Other Person's Shoes
Any time that you're dealing with another person - on a date, in a job interview, in a dispute, selling to them, working with them, or just hanging out - things will go more smoothly if from time to time you put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, "What's going on for this person right now? What's important to them? What do they want from this interchange? What might they be feeling?"

Everyone sees the world in different ways, and everything that person does and says makes sense from their viewpoint, even if it makes no sense to you. People make the best choices they can given their unique 'map' of the world - if you assume they have the same map as you, then some of those 'actions' might even seem stupid or malicious. If you get a sense of what's going on for them, you will find them much easier to communicate with.

5. Get Some Distance From The Bad Stuff
I once had a client who came to me for help with anxiety about speaking in public. Every time this person had to give a presentation at work, he found himself experiencing panic symptoms which got stronger as the day approached. He had always got through to the end of the presentation without major disasters, but he hated the experience while it was happening.

When we investigated how he was creating these feelings for himself, it turned out that for days before the presentation he was imagining as many ways that things could go wrong as he could think of. When I tell you that he was imagining these disasters vividly and as if he was really there experiencing it, you'll understand how he managed to get more and more nervous as the presentation got closer.

While the impulse behind imagining things in this scary and demoralising way was a positive one - to allow him to prepare for any eventuality - the result was that he was doing the exact opposite of the positive mental rehearsal that every successful athlete does. He was mentally rehearsing failure, reinforcing his fear and making it more and more likely that he would mess up in reality as well. Even if the presentation had turned out well in reality, he wouldn't have had to miss out on the bad feelings - he'd already lived them in his imagination many times over.
With some coaching, he was able to check for things that might go wrong in a less damaging way.

By viewing each scenario as a detached observer, in black and white and as a smaller-than-lifesize picture, he was able to see his future self coping with various possible glitches, without having to become emotionally involved in what he was seeing. I also suggested that he finish off by seeing himself in a life-size, colourful picture, giving a perfect presentation, so that he ended his reverie feeling good. He was then able to approach his presentations in a much more resourceful emotional state, and consequently perform much better.

Often the way we feel is a response to 'movies' that our minds run, or to an internal critical voice. While the mind's intention in creating these thoughts and images is positive, the effect is often unhelpful.

The qualities of the pictures, and the volume and tone of internal dialogue, are what give these thoughts their power. A big, bright, moving, 3-D mental picture, especially if we see it as if through our own eyes, will be more affecting than a small, dim, monochrome, 2-D snapshot, whatever the actual content of the picture. Similarly, a loud inner voice with an edge to it will have more of an impact than a softly-spoken voice, whatever it's saying.

You can use your mental 'remote control' to alter the qualities of your mental pictures. Make your good memories and fantasies big, bright, moving and 'real' so you can enjoy the most intense positive feelings from them. If you have to look at bad memories or imagine an unpleasant experience, make the picture small, dim, monochrome and two-dimensional, and look at it as if you were a detached observer. That way you can still get whatever information you need, while minimising uncomfortable emotional responses.

NLP takes this a stage further with a growing body of patterns for learning what we need to learn from emotions at the unconscious level, allowing us to make life-changing shifts rapidly and gracefully. This is close to Danah Zohar's concept of "Spiritual Intelligence".

10 ways to apply Emotional Intelligence

A job interview is a stressful situation because the stakes are high. If you really want the job, or need the job, it's important to put your best foot forward. Here are 10 ways to apply emotional intelligence to the situation for positive results.

1. Know how to manage your emotions.
Developing your emotional intelligence skills will benefit you in every area of your life. Take the time to study EQ and work with a coach. Then you'll be prepared to manage the emotions inherent in any interview.

2. Know yourself – who you are, what your values are and what you have to offer.
The cornerstone of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Without this, there can be no emotional intelligence. You can't get what you want if you don't know what you want. Work with a coach if you're unsure in these areas.

3. Maintain your integrity.
Know what's important to you and why. Know what your values are. Set your priorities. If you enter a company culture that's opposed to your own, the results are going to be negative. If you go just for the money, you will be disappointed. Integrated self means knowing how you feel about things emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually, and authenticity means remaining true to these.

4. Know your strengths and weaknesses and look for a position that will allow you to work in your areas of strengths, and a manager or boss who understands this concept.
We recommend taking the Strengths Finder profile . This excellent profile tells you the strengths that are innate to you. They're the ones you were born with and will die with. The closer you can work to your innate strengths, the happier you're going to be, the better your chances of reaching your potential, and the less strain you will feel.

5. Prepare yourself emotionally before the interview.
Anxiety, fear and anger can cloud your ability to think. It's important that you be able to think clearly so you can present yourself well. Practice relaxation techniques. Work out before you go, so your nerves are settled and you're calm. Understand that in the last analysis, all that's required of you is to dress, show up, do your best and then go home.
Studying emotional intelligence will also allow you to read the nonverbal communication and emotions of the interviewer which will allow you to steer things in a direction beneficial to you.

6. Work on your nonverbal communication.
90% of what we communicate at any given time is not through words, but by nonverbal communication such as expressions, gestures, and posture.

7. Expect the best.
Your self-talk is very important all the time, and particularly in an interview. Remember it's YOU who puts the thoughts into your own head. (If someone else has done this and you aren't mindful, get some coaching. It can be changed.) If you go into an interview thinking, i.e., saying to yourself, "I'll never get this job," or "no one would ever hire someone my age," or "here comes another rejection," you are setting yourself up for defeat. Instead, program your thinking.

8. Be mindful of your attributions.
They will color your expectations and influence your ability to succeed. Learned optimism (Seligman) means attributing bad things in a way that isn't personal, permanent or pervasive. If you don't get the job, attribute it to something not personal ("That interviewer doesn't know a good candidate when he sees one"), not permanent ("Well, I'm sure I'll get the next job"), and not pervasive ("Not getting that particular job doesn't reflect on my abilities or the rest of my life").

9. Claim your successes.
When you do get the job, and you will, celebrate. This is crucial to your self-esteem and personal power. Attribute it to things personal, permanent, and pervasive. In other words, don't say it was just luck, or the fact that no one else applied. Tell yourself it was because you were the best candidate, this is a fact of your life, and applies to your life in general. You got the job because you deserved to get it. It is crucial that you celebrate your successes in order to build resilience and manage your self-talk.

10. Get out of your own wake.
If you've been on a cruise, and looked at the stern of the ship, there's a lot of commotion going on back there. The bow of the ship is thrusting cleanly through the water, but behind the ship there's churning water that even smart fish have the sense to keep away from. It isn't necessarily bad, and there isn't always anything to learn from it. It's just what the ship has to do to go forward. If the outcome of one interview was bad, just keep going forward. Don't look back.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) An assortment of non-cognitive skills, capabilities and competencies that influences a person’s ability to cope with environmental demands and pressures.

People who understand their own emotions and are good at reading others’ emotions may be effective in their jobs. That, in essence is the theme of the underlying research on emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to an assortment of non-cognitive skills, capabilities and competencies that influences a person’s ability to cope with the environmental demands and pressures. It’s composed of five dimensions.

1) Self awareness: Being aware of what you’re feeling.
2) Self management: The ability to manage your own emotions and impulses
3) Self motivation: The ability to persist in the face of setbacks and failures.
4) Empathy: The ability to sense how others are feeling.
5) Social skills: The ability to handle the emotions of others.

Several studies suggest EI may play an important role in job performance. For instance one study looked at the characteristics of the Bell Lab engineers who were rated as stars by their peers. The scientists concluded that these stars were better at relating to others, That is, it was, EI, not academic IQ that that characterized high performers. A second study of Air Force recruiters generated similar findings: Top performing recruiters exhibited high levels of EI. Using these findings, the Air Force revamped its selection criteria. A follow up investigation found that futures hires who had EI scores were 2.6 times more successful those with low scores. Organizations such as American Express have been found that implementing emotional intelligence programs has helped increase its effectiveness; with other organizations finding similar results that emotional intelligence contributes to team effectiveness. For instance at Cooperative Printing in Minneapolis a study of its 45 employees concluded that EI skills were twice as important in contributing to excellence as intellect and expertise alone. A poll of human resources managers asked this question: How important is it for you workers to demonstrate EI to move up the corporate ladder? Forty per cent of the managers replied very important. Another 16 per cent said moderately important. Other studies also indicated that emotional intelligence and be beneficial to quality improvements in contemporary organizations.

The implications from the initial EI evidence is that employers should consider emotional intelligence as a criterion in their selection process — especially for those jobs that demand of a high degree of a social interaction. The Tata Group, for instance identifies future leaders based on a combination of experience and emotional intelligence – self awareness, self management, self motivation, empathy and social skills.

Can personality traits predict work related behaviors?

Five specific traits have proven most powerful in explaining individual behavior in organizations. These are locus of control, Machiavellianism, self-esteem, self monitoring and risk propensity.

Locus of control: A personality attribute that measures the degree to which people believe that they are masters of their own fate.

Who has control over an individual’s behavior? Some people believe that they control their own fate. Others see themselves as pawns of fate, believing that what happens to them in their lives is due to luck or chance. The locus of control in the first case is internal. In the second case, it is external; these people believe that their lives are controlled by outside forces. A manager might also expect to find that externals blame a poor performance evaluation on their boss’s prejudice, their coworkers or other events outside their control whereas internals explain the same evaluation in terms of their own actions.

The second characteristic is called Machiavellianism (Mach) after Niccolo Machiavelli who provided instruction in the sixteenth century on how to gain and manipulate power. An individual who is high in Machiavellianism is pragmatic, maintains emotional distance believes that needs can justify means, and is found to have beliefs that are less ethical. The philosophy if it works use it is consistent with a high Mach perspective. Do high Machs make good employees? That answers depends on the type of job and whether you consider ethical implications in evaluating performance. In jobs that require bargaining skills (a labor negotiator) or that have substantial rewards for winning (a commissioned salesperson), high Machs are productive. In jobs in which ends do not justify the means or that lack absolute standards of performance it is difficult to predict the performance of high Machs.

Differences between Human Resource Management (HRM) and Human Resource Development (HRD)

1. HRM is a subset of the entire management processes of an organization. HRD is a subset of HRM.

2. Scope of HRM is wider. Scope of HRD as compared to HRM is narrower.

3. HRM manages and develops the human elements of an organization in its entirety on longer term basis. HRD focuses on those learning experiences which are organized for a specific period to bring about the desired behavioral changes.

4. HRM emphasizes that employees, their abilities and their attitudes constitute an important organizational resource that should be used effectively and efficiently to achieve organizational as well as employees' goals. HRD emphasizes mainly on training and development of employees.

5. HRM takes decisions on HRD plans. HRD thus depends on the decisions of HRM.

6. HRM at its center has HRD. HRD's cooperation is important for overall success of HRM. HRD has to work within the realm of HRM and therefore, it's objectives should be in tandem with the broader objectives of HRM. Thus, HRM and HRD are interdependent.

7. HRM takes care of all the human needs and tries to satisfy these needs so that the employees are motivated from all the angles to contribute their best to achieve organizational goals. HRD focuses on upgrading the skills and competencies of the employees in order to improve the performance of the employees on the job.

Differences between Personnel Management (PM) and Human Resources Management (HRM)

1. Personnel mean employed persons of an organization. Management of these people is personnel management (PM). Human resource management (HRM) is the management of employees’ knowledge, aptitudes, abilities, talents, creative abilities and skills/competencies.

2. PM is traditional, routine, maintenance-oriented, administrative function whereas HRM is continuous, on-going development function aimed at improving human processes.

3. PM is an independent function with independent sub-functions. HRM follows the systems thinking approach. It is not considered in isolation from the larger organization and must take into account the linkages and interfaces.

4. PM is treated like a less important auxiliary function whereas HRM is considered a strategic management function.

5. PM is reactive, responding to demands as and when they arise. HRM is proactive, anticipating, planning and advancing continuously.

6. PM is the exclusive responsibility of the personnel department. HRM is a concern for all managers in the organization and aims at developing the capabilities of all line managers to carry out the human resource related functions.

7. The scope of PM is relatively narrow with a focus on administering people. The scope of HRM views the organization as a whole and lays emphasis on building a dynamic culture.

8. PM is primarily concerned with recruitment, selection and administration of manpower. HRM takes efforts to satisfy the human needs of the people at work that helps to motivate people to make their best contribution.

9. Important motivators in PM are compensation, rewards, job simplification and so on. HRM considers work groups, challenges and creativity on the job as motivators.

10. In PM improved satisfaction is considered to be the cause for improved performance but in HRM it is the other way round (performance is the cause and satisfaction is the result).

11. In PM, employee is treated as an economic unit as his services are exchanged for wages/salary. Employee in HRM is treated not only as economic unit but also a social and psychological entity.

12. PM treats employee as a commodity or a tool or like equipment that can be bought and used. Employee is treated as a resource and as a human being.

13. In PM employees are considered as cost centers and therefore, management controls the cost of labor. HRM treats employees as profit centers and therefore, the management invests in this capital through their development and better future utility.

14. PM’s angle is that employees should be used mostly for organizational benefits and profits. HRM angle emphasizes on the mutual benefits, both of employees and their families and also the company.

15. PM preserves information and maintains its secrecy. In HRM communication is one of its main tasks which take into account vertical, lateral and feedback type communication.

Managing organizational change and development

Helping firms manage change is a major issue for human resource managers. Professor Edward Lawler conducted an extensive survey of human resources practices. He concluded that as more employers face the need to adapt to rapid competitive change, focusing n strategy, organizational development change is a high payoff activity for the HR organization.

What to change? When she became CEO of a troubled Avon Products Company several years ago, Andrea Jung knew she had to renew her vast organization. Sales reps were leaving, customers were demanding new and more effective products, and the firm’s whole back end operation – its purchasing order taking, distribution system – lacked automation.

Faced with situation like these, managers like Andrea Jung can change one or more of five aspects of their companies – their strategy, culture, structure, technologies, or the attitudes and skills of the employees.

Organizational renewal often starts with a change in the firm’s strategy, mission, and vision with strategic change. For example, faced with intense competition from firms like Estee Lauder, Avon under Ms Jung more than doubled its expenditures on new product development, with the aim of introducing new product line that created younger looking skin. Avon also expanded its strategy to selling through select department stores, rather than just door to door sales reps.

Strategic changes like these invariably trigger repercussions throughout the organization. For one thing (in Avon’s case), going from strictly door to door to adding department stores meant cultural change, in other words, adopting new corporate values – new notions of what employees view as what they should or shouldn’t do. Moving fast, embracing technology, and keeping lines of communication open were a few of the new values Avon management needed employee to adopt.

Avon’s new expansion to department stores and product lines demanded structural change; in other words, reorganizing the company’s departmental structure, coordination, span of control reporting relationships, tasks and decision making procedures as well as technological change, as Ms. Jung guided Avon to automate its purchasing / distribution chain.

Of course, strategic, cultural, structural and technological changes like these, no matter how logical will fail without the active support of a motivated and competent workforce. Organizational renewal therefore invariable involves bringing about changes in the employees themselves and in their attitudes, skills, and behaviors.

The Human Resource Manager’s role:

HR managers play a central role in organizational renewals like Avon’s. For example, structural change may require performance reviews to decide who stays and who goes, as well as job analysis, personnel planning and revised employee selection standards. Changing the employees’ attitudes, skills and behavior typically triggers a wide range of new human resource efforts – recruiting and selecting new employees, instituting new training programs, and changing how the firm appraises and rewards its personnel, for instance. The net effect is that human resource managers must be familiar with the techniques companies can use to being about organizational change. At a minimum, this includes understanding three things – how to overcome resistance to change, how to organize and lead an organizational change, and how to use a technique known as organizational development.

Overcoming Resistance to Change: Lewin’s Change Process>>

Often, the trickiest part of implementing an organizational change is over coming employees’ resistance to it. The change may require the cooperation of dozens or even hundreds of managers and supervisors, many of whom might well view the change as detrimental to their peace of mind. Resistance may therefore be considerable.

Psychologists Kurt Lewin formulated the classic explanation of how to implement change in the face of resistance. Behavior is a product of two kinds of forces – those striving to maintain the status quo and those pushing for change. Implementing changes, thus either weakens the status quo forces or building up the forces for change.

Change process consisted of three steps:

Unfreezing: Unfreezing means reducing the forces that are striving to maintain the status, usually by presenting problem or even to get people to recognize the need for change and to search for new solutions.

Moving means development new behaviors, values and attitudes sometimes through structural changes and sometimes through the sorts of HR based organizational change ad development techniques explained later. The aim is to alter people’s behavior.

Refreezing: Organizations tend to revert to their former ways of doing things unless you reinforce the changes. How do you do this? by refreezing the organization into its new equilibrium. Specifically instituting new systems and procedures (such as new compensation plans and appraisal processes) to support and maintain the changes.

HRM in retail A Strategic Tool

In the new economy, human capital is the foundation of value creation. In most cases, it becomes an asset which is the most important but at the same time, the least understood and measured. In the case of the retail organization, the human capital is the asset which very often is the starting point of his interaction between the retailer and the customer.

Building a sustainable competitive advantage has become imperative for the imperative for the survival of the retailer in today’s global economy. The values of the company and the culture that it creates go forward to create the spirit of enterprise which is an integral part of the organization. Talent acquisition and talent management has thus, become a core focus of many a retail organization. Considering that retailers today operate multiple business models and there is rapid expansion across cultural boundaries, it becomes imperative for the retailer to create a superior store experience for consumers in order to increase sales and customer loyalty. They must do so, however, without increasing their overall labor costs.

In order to achieve better service while controlling cots, retailers have begun seeking ways to closely align their resource allocations with market demand. Two major retail assets, however—inventory and labor are variable, and in the case of labor, highly strategic. Labor is a retailer’s single largest controllable expenses, and the workforce is the retailer’s face to the customer. It is through the employees that customer service, revenue and brand differentiation are delivered. By aligning the deployment of this asset with actual business needs, a retailer can improve customer service during times of peak demand, thus enhancing the customer experience and control overall labor expenditure by precisely forecasting and scheduling to meet demand. It is for this reason that human resources are seen as a strategic partner.

The structure that an organization chooses to adopt is the key factor that affects the functioning of various roles in the organization. Organization structures are important as they define the hierarchy levels, the reporting relationships and the decision makers in any organization. In retail, as in any other business, defining the organization structure is the starting point for managing a business.

We start by understanding the significance of the human resources in a retail organization. After understanding the conceptual perspective of the function of human resources various human resources issues like recruitment, training and motivating employees in a retail environment are examined.

The Significance of HRM:

The early 1990’s saw the emergence of human resources as a key factor within the gamut of the company’s strategy and its implementation. The function of human resources has moved across four strategic paradigms, which are:

1) The Personnel perspective: The firm purely hires people, but the focus is not on hiring the best or on personnel development.
2) The compensation perspective: The firm uses bonuses, incentives and meaningful distinctions in pay to reward performances.
3) The alignment perspective: The firm does see its human capital as an asset, but does not invest in utilizing the capabilities of the same.
4) The high performance perspective: The firm views human resources as an integral element of the firm’s strategy implementation.

Over the years, the function of human resources has evolved to being considered from a strategic perspective. The new economic paradigm signifies an increasing focus on intangible assets and intellectual capital, especially in case of industries like retail. The significance of the right environment at the work place, the opportunities for growth and the involvement of the organization in the development of its employees has, over the years come to play a significant role n the type of talent that the company acquires and retains.

Various aspects of the HR function in retail

In any retail organization, the people who deal with the customers at a one to one level are considered the face of the organization. Thus, people who work at the store level are important. Hiring the persons with right attitude is important as in the case of most retail stores, the employees need to work long hours, and also need to work when the rest of the people may be on a holiday e.g. on Sundays or on occasions like Diwali, Christmas etc. Secondly the retailer needs to have the persons with the right skill sets taking care of functions like buying and merchandising, as the product is the key in a retail set up.

In this section, we examine various aspects of human resources function in retail.

The Human Resources function in retail involves:

1. Identifying various roles in the organization.
2. Recruiting the persons with right attitude to fit the jobs.
3. Training
4. Motivation of employees
5. Evaluation of employee performance.

Identifying the various roles in the organization:

The first step starts with the identification of the various tasks or jobs that need to be performed in the organization. This helps in determining the number of people required from various jobs, the skill sets and educational background needed and the location, where they are doing to be based depending on the organization structure defined and the size of the retail operation.

Key tasks in a typical retail organization involve:

1) Buying and merchandising
2) Store management and operations, and
3) Technology support.

It is necessary that persons with the right attitude and skill sets are recruited for the above mentioned functions as they are the key in any retail organization. While professional qualifications for the various tasks are important, it is also necessary to hire persons who understand consumer trends and technology and what it can provide. This is extremely important, as traditionally retail has been one of the oldest users of information technology.

Recruitment and Selection:

After determining the tasks to be performed within the organization, the jobs need to be categorized on the basis of the functional or geographic needs. The aim of the recruitment process is to make available job applicants for a specified job/s. Common ways of recruitment include newspaper advertisements, visits to colleges, existing employees, references, recruitment agencies and even websites.

Many organizations create an application blank, which has to be filled in by the applicant and gives the details of education, work, hobbies and family background. It helps the organization obtain information about the applicant in standard and structured manner. Once the applications are received, they are screened on the basis of parameters that are important to the retailer. This serves as the primary basis for acceptance or rejection of the candidate.

In case of most of the organizations, the candidates who are short listed on the basis of the bio data or application blank are called for a personal interview. A personal interview enables the interviewer gauge the attitude of the person and his suitability for the desired job. Depending on the position applied for, the selection procedure may comprise of one or more interviews. When the candidate passes the interviews stage, reference checks may be done and the final decision is taken.

Training:

Training is an important aspect of human resource management in retail. Typically, in retail training needs arise at the following points:

1) Induction new persons / staff into the organization
2) Training of sales staff, as they are the persons who are in direct contact with the customers.
3) Training of staff / personnel for skill enhancements.

When new persons join any organization, an induction program is conducted. The purpose of such an induction program is to familiarize the new entrants about the organization’s policies and methods of doing business.

In retail special importance is given to the training of sales staff as they are commonly termed as the face of the organization.

10 Tips for a Successful Service Business

If you are running a service business, the success or failure of your venture will depend on your ability to reach and maintain the right customers. However, it differs in the sense that you are primarily selling yourself - your skills, your talents, and your capabilities. You are your own product. More than any other business, your success will greatly depend on how you deal with your customers and how you package yourself.

Here are 10 tips to make sure that your clients will love and value your services:

1. Know your customer. The key to good client relationship is leveling-off of expectations. Before taking on a client's business, ask them what they expect to get out of your service. Then explain how you may be able to respond to their need. It is good policy to investigate your client's needs by asking simple questions such as "How do you want this done?" If you are a hairstylist, for example, ask the client how she wants her new hairstyle to look. Unless you are the "best hairstylist" in the country with a reputation for doing-what-you-want-to-do-with-no-questions-asked, your customers will appreciate you more if you ask them first if they want a radically short haircut before proceeding to cut their long tresses.

If it will be helpful to you, keep a record of your client's needs and wants, as well as their little idiosyncrasies. If they have previously used a service similar to yours, probe their experiences and learn from what they have to say in terms of what they want and don't want. As you work with a client, express an interest in your client's work. Listen to what your customer does, take a moment to learn something personal about them, and listen to what they need and expect from you.

2. Follow the Golden Rule. Treat your customer well. The work you are doing is extremely important to your customers so you have to assure them that it will be done professionally and on time. Terri Seymour, founder of Web Success Central, says, "The customer is the reason for your business success. Treating people with respect and building those personal relationships are one of the most effective ways of providing your business with a solid foundation." Janice Byer, Docu-Type Administrative Services, further agrees. "I believe in this statement completely! Your clients are your means of income and the best people to spread the word about you and your work. Keep them happy!"

Making your customers feel important is one of the best ways to ensure continued business. You want to remember how each client likes to have his or her work done.

3. Dependability is key. If you agree to complete a project by a certain date, you must be prepared to meet that deadline even if it means sacrificing personal activities or money. Offer to go the extra mile at no additional charge. Thoroughness is part of being dependable; your clients will soon realize that they can count on you to catch their mistakes. If you build a reputation for dependability, you can rely on repeat, as well as referral, business.

4. Keep the business between you and the client. It is best to consider all work confidential. This means that you do not discuss your client's business with anyone - even your mother. Make a habit of clearing papers from your desk before you go away. If ever you decide to use your work for them, maybe as part of your client list or testimonials, be sure to seek their permission first. If they refuse, honor their decision.

5. Let your customer know you. There’s the maxim that the customer is always right. But the customer must learn to play by your rules. Right at the very beginning, set your guidelines and parameters as to what you can and cannot do. Deborah Brown, a noted Personal Coach and founder of SurpassYourDreams.com, stresses, ”Being straightforward with customers is critical. Why should they buy from you if they know you are not telling them the truth?”

Discuss your rules, and set the groundwork for working with you. Talk to them about your rules when the project deviates from the original agreement, its costs implications and procedures in dealing with new tasks. Don’t be shy to discuss your fees and payment schedules. It is best to clarify these things at the onset; after all, nobody likes surprises

6.. Protect yourself and your customers. As a business owner, you must make sure that your business is protected from losses resulting from fire, liabilities and other hazards such as a client slipping and falling in your office. Call your insurance agent to ask for the right kind of insurance that will protect your business. If you have equipment like computers, fax and printers, don't assume that all your expensive equipment is covered by your home insurance policy. It may not be unless you buy an add-on policy or rider.

You must also safeguard your business against professional liability. While no one wants to think of lawsuits when starting a business, you may be liable if your business causes harm to individuals and businesses. You could be sued for their losses, and as a result, your entire business and even personal assets could be at risk.

If you are operating in the United States, an insurance premium is deductible as a business expense, whether you work at home or in rented office space, so you do not lose by having it.

7. Accept only what you can do. During the start-up phase, chances are you will try to accept as many jobs as you can. When you say yes to a client, be sure that you can deliver the service requested by the time the customer needs it and within the cost budgeted for it. Only accept accounts that you think you could do a solid job. Never accept assignments that are way beyond your head in your eagerness to prove yourself. If you feel it might not be possible, say so and request more time or suggest another alternative. It is worse to be late with a project than to ask for more time. If your clients are willing to take a gamble on you, make sure that you are on the same wavelength in terms of expectations as so what can be accomplished. As Deborah suggests, “Under promise and over deliver. This is the fastest way to grow your business.”

8. If you have to say "No." Like most entrepreneurs, I am sure that you never want to refuse a particular kind of work if you can help it. However, if there is a job you absolutely do not want to do for some reason, it is better to say that your schedule does not permit it rather than saying that you don't like that kind of work. Or you can also be honest with a client and say that their project is beyond the scope of your expertise and they may be better off with someone who has the skills they require. You may want to suggest another service provider that you think will match their requirements. They will value you more for your candor, rather than take on the job and deliver a sub-standard service. If you really have to say "no," say it politely and never, ever criticize a client.

9. When you are late in delivering the service. Despite your very best intentions, you sometimes slip up and fall behind a project's deadline. If you find yourself in that situation, don't act as if everything is ok and hope that the client will not notice your delay. Talk with your client and offer your apologies, with the promise that you will complete the project as soon as possible.

Janice Byer, gives this advice. "By showing initiative and ensuring you have the right information for the project, your clients will see that you are professional and, even if you are late with a project, they will understand that you trying to make the end result the best you possibly can thus keeping them happy."

As Terri Seymour has learned in her Internet marketing business, "Telling lame excuses or blaming this or that is not the way to deal with this situation. Simply apologize and assure the customer it will be done ASAP and maybe throw in a little discount or something for free. Let the customer know that you care about getting the job done and doing it correctly."

Schedule a meeting with your client to discuss any stumbling block that are hindering the completion of the project. Maybe you have an unresolved question to one of the client's demands, or some factors beyond your control are making your assignment difficult to complete. Keep the client abreast of what is happening with their projects or accounts. One cardinal rule you shouldn't forget: don't tell them that your reason for being late was because of your work for another client. No client would want to hear that his or her business is of less importance to you. You don't want to be put on a spot where you have to explain why the business of client B is more important than that of client A!

10. The longer picture. At the end of the day, you must ask yourself the important question: “Does this client’s business contribute to the growth of my business? Do I want to continue working with this client?” You accept an account for various reasons, maybe for profitability, exposure, or the learning opportunity that it provides. During the start-up phase, you may think that you have no choice; after all, beggars can’t be choosers. But as you go along, you will have a better sense about the true value of a client’s account. While an account may generate a sizeable cash flow for you, but if your client wreaks havoc on your mental state with her demands and attitude, you may have to rethink the long-range potential of the account. There are some accounts that are simply not worth it.