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Archive: Apr 2018

5 key skills that successful HR Managers have

Posted: April 25, 2018 2:10 pm
In any business, human resources provides a core function that is crucial to nurturing and developing the talent that you have. Where the HR team is functioning badly, or unable to meet its goals as a result of a lack of key skills, this can have a negative knock on impact right through the business. So, the quality of your HR manager is crucial, as they will shape and direct the way that the HR team interacts with the rest of the business. The most successful HR managers tend to share a number of key skills.

Sound communication

Communication is perhaps the Number 1 key skill for an HR manager. Without the ability to effectively communicate with their own team, the HR manager will be isolated and unable to ensure that your human resources people are functioning as they should within the business. Communication skills should be both written and verbal and extend to everyone, from the HR team itself through to the business’ employees and everyone at management level.

Positive negotiation skills

From agreeing the details of contracts, to handling disputes, there are many situations that could arise in the HR manager job description that require a positive negotiation skill set. Experience in previous negotiation situations is likely to be of benefit here, as well as the ability to apply a fair and rational approach to a situation that might be tense and sensitive. An HR manager with great negotiation skills is always worth their weight in gold.

The ability to make accurate judgments

Sound, practical and reasonable judgment in an HR manager will create a positive atmosphere within the human resources team and also ensure that HR delivers on its goals and objectives for the rest of the business. Great judgment comes into play repeatedly for HR managers. It could be the difference between ensuring that employees are placed into the right roles - or jobs that make them feel unhappy and unfulfilled. It could be the key factor that stops a potential discrimination claim from escalating. HR managers with excellent judgment know how to assess a situation – and when to ask for support.

The ability to multi-task

Many jobs today require multi-tasking abilities but perhaps few more so than the HR manager role. This not only involves leading a team and ensuring that team meets its goals and objectives but also dealing with the myriad of HR-related situations that arise daily, from recruitment through to staff disputes or the need to let someone go.

The right ethics

HR managers have access to the kind of data that most other company departments don’t and may be privy to confidential information that employees don’t share widely. The right ethics mean that an HR manager is able to ensure that there is a balance between the rights and responsibilities of employees and the obligations and legal requirements that the company must observe. HR managers have a crucial role to play in any business – and the right training and make all the difference. Register your place on PTP’s Introduction to HR Skills course today.

What are your new responsibilities as a Director?

Posted: April 19, 2018 2:08 pm
When you become a company director, you sign up to take responsibility – with the rest of the Board – for the management of the company’s business. This means ensuring that the business complies with its statutory obligations, as well as taking part in operational and strategic decision making. When you become a director there are certain key responsibilities, defined by law, that you need to be aware of.

Directors’ legal responsibilities

  • Acting within your powers and only exercising these for the purpose for which they were given.
  • Promoting the “success” of the company, bearing in mind factors such as employee interests, relationships with any suppliers and the company’s reputation.
  • Exercising independent judgment i.e. you must be making your own decisions.
  • The expectation to act with reasonable care, skill and diligence. This expectation doesn’t require you to have knowledge or insight outside the scope of your experience, just the general knowledge, skill and experience of someone in your role and to the degree that you actually possess.
  • Ensuring that you avoid a situation that might be a conflict of interest. The conflict here is with the interests of the company and could be something like having multiple directorships or being an advisor to a competitor of the company. In some situations, a conflict will not cause an issue – for example, where it has been pre-authorised. Where there is a potential conflict, directors have a responsibility to seek the approval of the rest of the Board of Directors and to check the situation against the company’s Articles of Association.
  • Avoid accepting benefits from third parties. If you receive a benefit from a third party as a result of something you do or don’t do as a director then this could cause a problem.
  • Declaring relevant interests. If there is a transaction or arrangement with the company that you have a direct interest in then, as a director, you have a responsibility to declare this. This should be done before a transaction is entered into or, if the transaction has already taken place, as soon as is reasonably practical after that.

Directors who breach their legal responsibilities

If you are in breach of these duties then you could find yourself facing an injunction, damages or compensation – in some cases even a criminal fine. Some relief can be granted either by the company’s shareholders or the courts in certain situations. Director’s insurance will also ensure that you have a financial safety net should the worst occur.

What about other responsibilities?

Outside of legal duties, directors also have a number of other responsibilities including:
  • The company’s confidential information can only be used or disclosed for the benefit of the company.
  • Health and safety. Ensuring that the business is compliant in health and safety is a responsibility that falls to the directors.
  • Other obligations. Directors are also responsible for ensuring the company’s compliance with other obligations, such as environmental obligations and anti-corruption obligations.
  • Directors have a responsibility to seek advice as soon as possible where the business is in financial difficulty. This is especially important in order for directors to avoid potential personal liability under insolvency law.
Becoming a director is a significant step and one that you need to prepare for – our courses provide all the grounding you need in how to do the job well. Take a look at our Role and Responsibilities of a Director course today or give us a call on 01509 889632 to find out more.

How to become a person of influence in your workplace

Posted: April 12, 2018 12:11 pm
Influence is crucial if you have ambitions to make a difference and to climb the ladder in your current career. However, acquiring it doesn’t come naturally to many people. The more influence you have, the better able you will be to manage others, to contribute to the direction of the business and to build a store of respect and appreciation. For most of us it means the difference between being ignored in a competitive environment and being heard. So, how do you begin building influence in your workplace?

Be a consistent presence

No matter what the role you currently hold, if you can demonstrate consistency in it then you are laying the foundations to having influence. People rely on consistency and they trust those who continuously adhere to the same standards and demonstrate commitment to the same principles and views. If you’re in a management position then being consistent will mean your team knows what to expect and it will give them unambiguous ways to progress and improve in your eyes. If you’re in a position lower down the ladder, consistency is the easiest way to show dedication.

Learn the difference between aggression and being assertive

It can be a struggle to get heard in a competitive modern workplace and attempts at being assertive often spill over into aggression. However, while being assertive means being confident in your views, ideas and expectations, if you go too far this could be perceived as aggression. It’s particularly important to consider your responses if others don’t listen – do you raise your voice, insist or bully? All of these fall on the wrong side of the aggressive vs. assertive divide. It’s also worth mentioning the importance of listening – although influence does depend on getting your voice heard, the process starts by learning to listen to others, believing in and supporting them as much as you expect them to do this for you.

Start to build trust with those you currently work with

You might be looking to establish a reputation with those higher up the corporate ladder but building influence begins with the people you’re working with right now. If your co-workers trust you then they are open to your influence – so start being a trustworthy and reliable coworker and build from there.

Actions speak louder than words

You might be the most eloquent person in the office but if you have no demonstrable proof of action to back up what you say then it will be difficult to begin building influence. This starts by following up on promises – if you say you will do something then do it – and consistently achieve good results. If you want to be more convincing then learn how to demonstrate the ideas you have rather than just talking about them.

Be a human being

People tend not to trust those who keep their personalities hidden so it’s difficult to build influence if you’re not being entirely yourself. This is particularly important as you move up through the levels of management – the more you try to distance yourself and “be the boss,” the less influence you’re likely to have.

Act as a positive force

There are many ways to bring positivity to your workplace and these tend to revolve around enhancing the experiences that others have. Stubborn and rigid coworkers are difficult to deal with, for example, whereas those who are flexible and willing to be open to change are much more likely to be valued. Begin to develop influence in your workplace with our Influencing Skills course. Book your place today, or give PTP a call to find out more.

Create a culture of strong team building with these simple strategies

Posted: April 6, 2018 1:17 pm
Team building is fundamental to everything, from productivity through to performance and business culture. It can support an organisation through tough times and create new opportunities through collaboration and shared innovation. If you’re keen to foster a culture based on strong team building then there are some simple ways to enable this.

Prioritising communication

Clear communication is essential if you want to foster cooperation between people – anything ambiguous is likely to just cause confusion and, potentially, conflict. Opening channels for communication is also an important part of the process. This is most effectively done by leading by example, asking questions, listening, offering support and being open to queries or concerns.

Focusing on consensus

It is faster to make a decision on your own and then impose it on the rest of the team. However, this is not necessarily the most effective method. Consensus takes longer but ultimate provides a firmer basis for collaboration and problem solving. The key is to establish a consensus process you can work through each time, such as open debate with the entire team or smaller working groups to focus on specific issues.

Fostering trust and collaboration

It’s as important to have positive relationships between team members as it is between the team and those who are managing it. Strong team building involves an element of looking at the way that team members are interacting and finding opportunities to help improve the trust and collaboration in those relationships. It may be necessary to establish ground rules for the team that provide a foundation for all interactions within it. This could be anything, from the way that information is shared, to conduct in meetings and communication choices. Ground rules established by consensus are likely to make the most impact.

Encouraging openness

Getting people talking is a key part of team building and ensuring that your people are as effective as they can be. It’s often difficult for employees to speak up in a team environment – or you may find that some are concerned about disagreeing with the views of others. However, open debate is key to creating a strong team so it’s important to find ways to encourage the kind of brainstorming and discussion that inspires creativity and better decision making.

Providing a firm framework

Team building is much easier and more effective within a well defined framework. This means finding ways to ensure that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and setting out goals and objectives. Talk to those in the team about their goals and how they’re achieving those goals and provide feedback and evaluation on a regular and consistent basis.

Act as a harmonising influence

When there is healthy discussion and debate taking place it is inevitable that at some point there may be conflict. If management and leadership aim to act as a harmonising influence, alert to the hidden feelings of the team and ready to mediate and help find compromise then these conflicts can often lead to better things. Our Team Building Course is designed to help you find ways to get the best from the people you work with – contact PTP today to find out more.