Reflective Journal – Week 10

Change can sometimes be difficult to adapt to.  Many times people become comfortable with the way things are going and that is what makes it hard for change to happen.  The story of who moved my cheese was a good story about 4 individuals and the way they dealt with change.  I can relate to all those different individuals and the way they dealt with change.  For me I have been mostly like Haw in the way that I have approached change up until recently.  Lately I have been more like Sniff in that life lessons have taught me that change will happen and to be prepared one needs to monitor for change so that adjustments can be made accordingly.  What I like about the story is that it was relatable plus it makes one think about who they are and who they would like to be.  It made me think that to keep up I need to be constantly looking for ways to improve or change if not I will be forced to change and I will not be prepared for it.

Budgeting is not fun to monitor or talk about but it is very important so that finances are in order.  What I have learned in the interview is that it needs to monitored daily so that the company can make sure it is within its limits.  If there are any additional spending or if someone is doing something wrong then daily monitoring will be able to identify it quickly before it gets out of hand.  Although seeking approval before any spending occurs seems like it is too much, it is an effective way to make sure spending is within the budget and if that spending is appropriate or needed.

 

Budget Interview

To manage and make sure budgeting is within its range a company needs to look at it as often as everyday.  Not only is it important to know that it is within the ranges that it needs to be but also to catch anything out of the ordinary before it becomes a large issue that could cause financial problems.  Having to get things approved before the money is spent is controlling but it is a good strategy to make sure people are not overspending and to be sure the the items are really a need. 

In my experience I remember my superiors would meet daily to review company budgets which included daily over heads costs and profits.  This also helped determine any additional costs that the company would be able to give to the different programs for incentives or recognitions.

  1. Do you use a computer system to keep the budget organized? If so, what type? Since we are a global company we have an in house finance team and Finance Controller. They determine the budget but I am not sure what type of software they use if any.
  2. Who is responsible for coming up with the budget- meaning the actual amount of money your company is allowed to spend? Our Finance Controller. They break it down pretty far as to what can be spent on what (ex. Supplies, recognition, people etc.)
  3. Which team members do you work with to create the company budget? I work with our finance team in the UK office. We discuss what costs are like over here in states and from there set a budget.
  4. Does everyone in your company know the entire budget? No, in our office it is the general manager and the HR team that are aware of the budget.
  5. Does each department have the same budget? Or does it depend on the department? All departments are on the same budget. The only time we break up the budget by “department” is when a new hire comes on. Each team has a certain amount they can use for new hires. Otherwise the teams all share out the US office budget.
  6. What do you do when you go over budget? Does it depend how many times you overspend? We are a pretty small office. Our finance team is very controlled and it is very hard to break budget. Everything must be approved prior to being spent. Office supplies purchases under $100 are fine but anything above that requires an approval.
  7. How often does your company look at budgets? Everyday.
  8. How often does your company meet/reach budget goals? What does your company do to reach success or what do you believe is missing/lacking to reach budget goals? Everything must be approved before the money is spent. If it is not approved our finance team will typically come back with a better solution. This is what helps us to reach out budgeting goals and not over spend.
  9. What is the budget process in your company and what is your responsibility in that process? (For instance, senior managers and company owners create a plan first.) Each year spending is looked at. Every office must report every time they have made a purchase including hiring of someone. We look over those numbers and from their determine what the new budget for the new year should be. If there are issues we address them then. This is then communicated to all of HR on how the spending should be done.
  10. Does your company offer managers any incentives for reaching budget targets? What are the incentives or rewards? We do not offer these as the budget lies mainly with HR in our office. Managers only look to spend when hiring a new person but those are first approved. It makes it pretty difficult to go over budget.
  11. How many people are in charge of/have a say in setting a budget? Our Financial Controller, CFO, and our board.
  12. How do you prevent embezzlement? Limit the amount of people who have access to the budget/money. We also track everything and require a receipt for everything. We are looking at the bank accounts everyday. We would notice money missing.
  13. How often do you create a new budget? Do you adjust the current one or scrap it and start fresh each time? It varies year to year. It depends on what the company brought in and what was spent the previous year.

Anne Marie

Reflective Journal – Week 9

The staffing group assignment made me realize that it is easier to calculate to know what the staffing requirements are and allow everyone to self schedule.  This is what my unit does when scheduling out our weeks.  Having to schedule everyone’s schedule would be too difficult and time consuming.  But opening up so many slots for certain nights based on trends allows the scheduler to have an easier time when putting shifts together.  It also made me realize that meeting all criteria that is set for staffing (example: so many LPN’s per shift) may sometimes not work out the you would want it to and may need to staff more LPN’s or nurses based on the situation.  But this would also depend on the number of LPN’s and nurses that are staffed for the unit.  It may mean that hiring people to fill those gaps need to be done.

The career discussion posts brought a lot of insight on how to get to the ultimate career goals.  It opened up new ideas like careers in nursing that I didn’t think about.  It made me look in to ways to pay for education or explore other nursing careers.  The one thing that I do know and realized is that to really know what it is that I want to do for a career is to look for opportunities to shadow someone in the career goal that I am considering.  This will give me a better understanding if I would enjoy that profession or not.  So this is something that I need to start doing soon.

Reflective Journal – Week 7

Budgeting is not the funnest thing to do.  Especially when budget cuts need to be done and tough decision need to be made like reducing staffing.  If there is a way to cut cost through reducing the cost of supplies then that would be ideal as it won’t affect the livelihood of the employees.   However, if the numbers show that an organization is overstaffed based on nurse to patient ratios or because of a reduction in budget then it has to be done.  In the discussion posts activity, other team members wanted to keep just about everyone especially nurses and distribute the amount of hours that are budgeted evenly to everyone.  Their reasoning behind it is to be loyal to them because of the hard work that they put in.  This is understandable and I can see their point of view because no one likes to be laid off.  However, if I was an employee that has been there for a long time and put in a position to have my hours reduced to share the budgeted hours with someone that has been working there for a month I would not feel that the company was being loyal to me.  I think that it would be better to let people go, some my qualify for unemployment and they’ll have time to apply and go to job interviews.

Disciplining and firing employees is tough.  Before the process is done having documentation, someone from HR, and if need be having security present will protect the employer from any harm, accusations, or potential law suit.  

Firing/Discipline

Firing or discipling an employee is never easy.  The important things to do when firing or disciplining an employee is to make sure documentation is done and someone from HR is there to be a witness about the things that are said and done during the meeting.  Having someone there as a witness makes it hard for a disgruntled employee to make accusations about what you said during the meeting or seek legal action.  It is also important to know your employee and how they may react to being disciplined or fired.  Having an idea about how they may react allows you the chance to get security if the situation calls for it. 

Gabriela – BChannels

  1. How do you begin a meeting where you have to discipline an employee? We start off by explaining why the employee is in the meeting and why we need to take a disciplinary action.      
  2. Do you usually conduct these interviews alone or with another staff member, like someone from HR? HR is always present as well the person’s line manager.
  3. Have you ever had to terminate someone without an initial write up or warning? No, for each person I’ve had to let go so far there was always at least 1 write up for something.
  4. What is your first step in discipline? A verbal warning, a write up, or does it depend on the action? It depends on the action. We have some actions that are immediate termination. Otherwise we try to start with a verbal warning but as I said it depends on the action so we could skip verbal and go to written.
  5. How do you prepare before disciplining an employee? The managers and HR will discuss the situation in a meeting prior to the one we have with the employee. HR usually looks up any additional information needed such as laws, etc.
  6. How do you prepare before terminating an employee? We prepare pretty much the same way as the above except we have their last paycheck ready. Depending on the employee it is possible we might have security on stand by. Thankfully we have never had to use this but its possible. We also give them a choice to come back and clean out their desk or if they are not a threat to the safety of the rest of the office we allow them to clean out their desk immediately.
  7. After disciplining an employee, how do you follow up with that employee? It depends on why they are being disciplined. If its for performance reasons we have a very thorough schedule as what they should be doing and when they need to do it by. They will meet with their managers to discuss this often. If it is behavioral, they will still meet with their managers often but we also watch what goes on in the office. We are a pretty small office so it is easy to keep an eye on everyone.
  8. Do you keep a written record of things that employees do during their employment that may build a case for termination? Yes, always. Anytime action needs to be taken we keep those documents in a file. It makes it easier if someone ever decides to file for wrongful termination
  9. In the meeting for termination, have you ever asked the employee being terminated to train their replacement or is that completely taboo? We have never asked that. I doubt anyone being let go would want to anyway. It is better to just let them that day anyway. As innocent as they may seem you just never know and we work with a lot of sensitive information. Taking that chance wouldn’t be wise.
  10. Have you ever made a mistake in the firing process and has it caused any trouble for you? No, firings are usually well thought out and talked about at least a week in advanced. Obviously if its for something that requires immediate termination we don’t have that much time. However, our process is pretty simple and we have lawyers that have looked over our documents so for now we have done well every time.
  11. Has anyone acted out in aggression when they were terminated? Yes, we once had to let a guy go who had been disciplined prior for behavioral reasons but we were terminating him for performance issues. He was civil in the meeting so we decided to allow him to collect his things. While he was collecting he started telling everyone around him how he had just been fired. His manager who only had worked for us for about a week or so started to escort him out. The employee then turned around and pointed his finger at several people and cursed at them loudly before we got him out the door.
  12. What do you do if you suspect someone might act out after being terminated?  (Have security present; collect their belongings for them) We would have security present. We would then collect their belongings and mail it to them. We always take key cards immediately so they can’t reenter the office.
  13. Are you ever concerned about having to cover unemployment costs after firing an individual? This hasn’t happened very often. We are a smaller company and haven’t had to terminate often. Most employees leave on their own terms and have jobs lined up. It is not really a big concern.
  14. For what reasons would you/ have you terminated an employee? Usually it is due to behavioral issues or non-performance issues. Sometimes it is because of redundancies or budget cuts.
  15. How do you maintain an open and positive relationship with your employee when you need to discipline them? These are tough conversations but they have to happen. We do leave it open for them to ask questions about the procedures, etc. We try to be as positive as possible in the meeting but sometimes that’s a little difficult. No matter how you look at it, the news is not positive.

 

 

Reflective Journal – Week 6

With how difficult it can be in trying to identify what to do during ethical dilemmas, it was nice to learn about ethics committees.  Knowing who is on the board, what they do, when it would be appropriate to refer an ethical decision to them has been helpful.  It is nice to know that if I am put in that position I am not alone and there is a team made up of people from different backgrounds that will help in making sure the best decision is made for the patient.

The group activities and discussion post was tough to pick a side.  Looking at the situation from a medical standpoint and from the viewpoint of the patient’s family puts the decision makers in a difficult spot.  You can definitely feel for the family and the feelings would be the same if you were in their shoes but knowing what medical professionals know by doing research recovery was slim to none.  

Interviewing a leader about performance appraisals was good in identifying some of the preparations prior to meeting with employees.  It was also very informative to know that although performance appraisals are done quarterly or twice a year, a supervisor should be meeting with their employees so that they know where they stand always not just during the appraisal meeting.  This is something that I’ll have to do to be a good leader.

Performance Appraisal Interview

In the interview I learned that this company provides performance appraisal interviews twice a year.  During this meeting one of the biggest things they discuss is the goals that were set and whether or not those goals are being accomplished.  For this company employees attended these meetings without any problem because the meetings are tied to raises and most employees do want to see a raise.  In most interviews employees to know where they stand and whether or not those goals are being achieved because the supervisor meets with the employee every two weeks to see how things are going so it is never a surprise.  I think meeting with employees regularly is a good idea because it forces you to now what is going on with your employees and it also lets employees know that what they are doing is being noticed whether good or bad.

  1. When you conduct an employee evaluation do you have a formal sit down, or another strategy you prefer? A formal sit down is best. It is usually over the course of an hour and takes place in a conference room.
  2. What is the most important question you can ask an employee during a performance interview? (updated by Karina on 1-12) “How do they feel your year has gone?” Through asking this question you get to understand their perspective.
  3. Do you have questions you ask every employee during a review, or does it change from person to person? There is a template we follow with questions. We also go over the objectives/goals they set for the year. Sometimes this can lead to additional questions that not everyone is asked. However, for the most part each person is asked the same questions.
  4. Do you ever ask them if they have skills that are not being utilized to the fullest? We don’t ask this question specifically. I think it could potentially come up when we ask if there is anything additional they want to discuss. Most people will come forward and say they have skills they would like to use in other areas of the business or have skills they feel could help the business that they aren’t currently using.
  5. Do you ask your employees about their goals? This is a major topic in our reviews. Employees are required to set goals or objectives. This is how we measure performance.
  6. How long do your performance review interviews typically last? They are typically an hour.
  7. Have you had to offer correction in a performance interview? How do you go about that? I have and it can be a tough conversation. Besides appraisals, we have 1:1s at least every 2 weeks. In these meetings we discuss how things are going for that time period if issues need to be address we will address them then. It is typically or at least it shouldn’t be a surprise if a correction needs to be made in these reviews because they should have been discussed long before the actual appraisal happened.
  8. Does your company require performance interviews or are they optional? They are required.
  9. How many goals per year do you expect your employees to make? The minimum is 4 and the maximum is 6.
  10. Does your company have a format that you follow for performance interviews? Yes, we have a template we follow. There is feedback from both sides. Meaning the employee will answer the questions on the template as well their manager.
  11. How do you prepare before giving a performance appraisal? I go over the answers the employee has provided in the template we use as well as my own and compare what we have written.
  12. How often do your employees receive a performance appraisal from you?. Why? We have 2 times a year. This is what the company requires.
  13. What do you do if employees do not agree with a review they have received? How often does that happen? This hasn’t really happened to me. I have had some issues with people not liking their feedback but it didn’t mean they didn’t agree. I had solid evidence as to why I was giving this difficult feedback so there was not much they could dispute. Even with those tough conversations they have always ended positively.
  14. Has there been an employee that chose not to participate in a performance appraisal? How did you handle the situation? Is there disciplinary action for someone that chose not to participate? I have not had anyone that choose to not participate. It is required. Not participating would ruin any chance they have for a raise as these appraisals are tied to that. They are given a score and that score determines whether or not they qualify for raise. If they choose not to participate it would only hurt them. Should this happened, they would probably qualify for a low behavior score which would lower their overall score. Behavior score actually carries a pretty heavy weight on the scale. So they could end up being let go because of that score due to their choice not to participate. Although, I don’t think it would be a total loss because someone who doesn’t want to participate has probably cause a lot of problems anyway.
  15. What is the general attitude and performance of employees after a performance appraisal? This past year, it was pretty positive. I know their were a few employees who did not receive that great of scores but it generally wasn’t a surprise to them. Issues were addressed by managers long before those appraisals happened.
  16. How do you create a safe environment when discussing the weaknesses of your employees? (updated by Karina on 1-12) I think it is about how you talk to them. Your tone, word choice and body language. People are often aware of those weakenesses but if you address it as a how can we fix it type of conversation it often goes well. Also, the apprasial shouldn’t be the first time the employee is hearing about their weaknesses. They should be discussed regularly. You should want your employees to succeed so addressing things early on is much better than at the last minute. It’s easier to have those conversations on a smaller scale then at the final appraisal. If nothing has changed by then it is now on them.

 

Person Interviewed:  Drew Thomas

Company: BChannels

 

Reflective Journal – Week 5

This week was another good review on some of the previous experiences I have had during my time as a supervisor.  One of the good reminders that I had was making sure someone was in the room when terminating an employee so that I can cover myself from any potential issues.  Another good point was on documenting any disciplinary action and more importantly keeping up with them in case other offenses happen.  Performance appraisals for me was one of the harder things to keep track of.  I worked in call centers and our turnover rate was high and the amount of employees we had at times were a lot.  But there is importance there and knowing how employees are progressing is important not just for us but for them to know also.

The greatest leader of all time discussion was interesting to see who everyone in the group came up with as far as who they thought the greatest leader was.  I didn’t think about any religious leader like the members in my group.  However, when I think about the position of a leader I like to view it as being a coach.  Coaches are there to help all members of the team succeed.  They are usually the one with the game plan to ensure success.  What changes need to be made so that progression can happen.  If the team doesn’t win they take on that burden and responsibility of not preparing the team for success.  I also like to look at some of the most winningest coaches in history, think about why they were so successful and what they all had in common.  First thing that stands out is that all the players respected them.  This meant that they made sure to discipline players when needed but also give them praise when it is due.  They maintained order, and motivated their players.  They also know each players strengths, weakness, where they would be most valuable, and who needs to be off the team.  I am a sports guy so viewing a supervisor role as a coach relates well for me.

Reflective Journal – Week 4

It was interesting to see the views of another company in their hiring process.  There were similarities but at the same time there was also a lot of differences from my own experiences.  The differences that I noticed was due to the nature and type of company along with the positions that needed to be filled.  Turnover rates can affect how quickly a company will decide on hiring a candidate and so will the number/level of position(s) that need to be filled.  Seeing things through the eyes of someone that is doing the hiring brings a different perspective.  Most often we only see the side of being hired and we fail to realize that the company also has needs too.  It is not just one-sided since companies need to fill the openings and usually have deadlines for them to be filled.  Preparing for interviews so that there is a good presentation gives the interviewee some leverage.  Knowing what or how interviewers might be thinking during the interview from this activity is something that I’ll need to take with me during my next interview.

The team building activity was fun in getting to know the members in my group.  During some of the activities it was interesting to know other group members thoughts.  It brought out different personalities but in the end we had to work together to come to conclusions in ranking or prioritizing different things in the activities.  Through the activities you learn how to compromise or to just be civil.

 

Hiring Interview

Hiring Interview

 

From my experiences in management/hiring and in conducting this hiring interview there are a lot of similarities and there is also a lot of differences. To me it says that there is no one-way to hire someone but that the process is what works for the company and the nature of the company. One of the differences that I noticed is that in the field that I was working in had a higher turnover rate than the person I interviewed so hiring someone on the spot for me was not an issue. However, for the company involved in the interview positions was more limited and turnover did not happen as frequently. This meant the process was slower, more selective and strategic.

 

Interviewee: Mandy Albino

Company: bChannels

 

  1. How important is presentation in the interview? Very important. It shows the interviewee cares about the job they are applying for and has self-respect as well as wants to make a good impression.
  2. How flexible do you expect your employees to be with their availability? They need to be able to fill the job requirements. Which includes the hours our clients need them. Typically this is 8am to 5pm. However, we do understand things come up and situations arise. With that we ask that all employees speak to their managers and see if something can be worked out. It is rare that something cannot be worked out.
  3. Are there any obscure questions you always ask your candidates to provoke an imaginative response? (Like what appliance they would be?) No, we ask questions based on the type of candidate we are looking to hire. We look to hire people who will fulfill our company values. Asking obscure questions to me, doesn’t promote what we are trying to do. It is important for each candidate to have a good experience and perception of our company whether they are hired or not and I feel these types of questions do not promote the type of culture we have.
  4. What has been the most effective way to acquire/find talented applicants? Career Fairs. They are basically interviews on the spot. We typically start our interviewing process off with a phone interview. This can be challenging sometimes. The way people speak on the phone can be different in a face-to-face interview. When you’re at a career fair you can get a feel for people right away. You in a way cut out a step and get a better understanding of who they are and if they would be a good fit for your company.
  5. What do you think is the best approach for candidates to inquire about pay? I think it is best to just be honest and simply ask what the pay range is for the position. That way if it’s not in their ballpark they can cut ties there and nobody’s time is wasted.
  6. What are some of the hiring issues you come across when filling positions? Good candidates go fast! You have to keep candidates on the hook while you’re in the process of interviewing others for the same position. Often times a great candidate will get hired on by another company while you’re still conducting interviews. It comes with the territory but we do have to get through all the planned interviews before choosing the best candidate and sometimes we end up with the second best. We typically only conduct face-to-face interview with 3-4 people out of all the applicants spread out over 2 days. That gives a small idea of how fast candidates can get hired on by other companies.
  7. What do you look for in a candidate you are going to hire? We are a company of high performing individuals. We look for someone who is going to be just that. We have a set of company values and we look for someone that has those values. Having those values leads to a high performing individual. Those values are passion, trust, consequence or accepting responsibility, respect.
  8. How many candidates do you typically interview for a job? Does it depend on the position? We start off with phone interviews and we will conduct phone interviews with applicants we feel could potentially fill the job. That number is typically between 8 to 10. From those phone interviews we choose anywhere from 3 to 5 candidates to bring in for face-to-face interviews. After those interviews are complete we will choose a candidate.
  9. What are some questions you might ask an individual in an interview? A few questions are: “Tell me about a time you achieved a goal,” “What are your weaknesses?” “If I called your last boss, what would they say about you?”
  10. What do you think is the most important quality for a person for this job? Someone who is driven or motivated. People who are motivated have passion. That passion could be for a number of reasons. People with these qualities tend to be hard workers because they have an outside force that drives them to achieve goals and be self-motivated.
  11. Do you think it is more important to have employees who have prior job experience or have a friend that works for this company? I am not sure this question is the best comparison between the job experience and a friend but out of those two options I would prefer the job experience. Just because someone has a friend at the company doesn’t mean they will be able to get the job done. Maybe the friend isn’t that great of employee to begin with so the candidate might not even want to reference the friend. The job experience at least lets me know they have an idea of what the job entails and they have done it before. They are more likely to be successful in fulfilling the position.
  12. What is something a candidate could tell you that would absolutely make he/she not qualified for the job? If a candidate mentions something that contradicts what they will do in the job position. An example of this is I once had someone apply for a calling position. When they came in for their interview they mentioned they weren’t confident on the phones and didn’t like calling.
  13. Are there any qualities you look for in a candidate that are not listed in the job description? Our company values. We don’t list them all out one by one in the job description. Our “requirements” or the description of the job is what they will be doing and skills that might be helpful for them succeed but not individual traits. We like people who are hard working, have passion, self-motivated, can take responsibility, and have confidence.
  14. What are common weaknesses or mistakes you have seen candidates do in past interviews? One question we ask is “What are your weaknesses?” Which often times you can tell people haven’t thought this question through. It’s a pretty common question and it often surprises me that people don’t come up with a “weakness” they have that is actually a good trait. Many times candidates will say something like “I tend to focus on the small details and forget the big picture”. Which can be really bad in our line of work, it means they get so focused on one thing they forget what they are actually trying to achieve which can lead to not getting work done and missing deadlines.
  15. Has any candidate done anything memorable before, during or after the interview that increased his/her chances of getting hired? What did she/he do? Yes! We had one candidate bring in handwritten notes after every interview he had. It was a pretty big role we were hiring for and have multiple candidates we were considering. It was actually a really tough decision. He didn’t end up getting the initial position he applied for because he simply didn’t have enough experience but because of the notes he brought, we made sure to find him another position.

 

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