Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why American Management Rules the World

Over the past 10 years a team comprised of experts from Harvard Business School, London School of Economics, McKinsey & Company, and Stanford University, has systematically surveyed global management as related to organizational performance. The survey found that organizations with better management outperformed their competitors who were poorly managed. They grow faster and survive longer. More importantly, when it comes to overall management, American firms outperform all others, especially in the manufacturing, retail and healthcare sectors

One of the reasons determined to comprise the “secret sauce of management success”, is the fact that U.S. firms are “ruthless at rapidly rewarding and promoting good employees and retraining or firing bad employees.” There are 3 main reasons for this trend.

1.With the tough levels of competition within the U.S., the markets generate the type of rapid management evolution which allows only the best-managed firms to survive.

2.America traditionally gets far more of its population into college than other nations.

3.The U.S. has more flexible labor markets, and it is easier to hire and fire employees than in other countries.

However, the U.S. should not be complacent, as other countries are just as good as or better than the U.S. in some of the other areas of management studied, including careful monitoring, lean production, and sensible targets. Germany’s manufacturing expertise has helped it weather the recent downturn and although Chinese management practices are well below U.S. standards, they showed the fastest improvement since 2006 of any country studied by the researchers.

The lesson of this study is not that firms should strive to be ‘more American’ but to consider implementing some of the practices which positively correlate to organizational performance.

Click here for original article.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Veteran Opportunity to Work Act

Representative Jeff Miller introduced new veteran legislation on July 7. Representative Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, presented the Veteran Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act of 2011 (H.R. 2433) as a comprehensive act designed to help combat rising unemployment among veterans. “Veterans are born leaders, hard working, and honest, characteristics employers seek. I am committed to reducing the veterans’ unemployment rate to below 5 percent over the next two years,” states Miller.

According to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs website, the Act addresses four main areas: Transition Assistance Program (TAP); Education & Training; National Guard & Reserves; and Licensing & Certification. First, the Act will ensure the effectiveness of TAP through an ongoing evaluation of success. It will also make it mandatory for service members to attend TAP as they transition out of the military. Under the heading of Education, the VOW Act will enable 100,000 unemployed veterans of past wars to receive up to one year of Montgomery GI Bill benefits. The VOW Act will also strengthen protections for returning National Guard and Reserve as provided by USERRA. Finally, the VOW Act aims to address the fact that many talented men and women have military occupations for which there is no certification or licensure and therefore have a difficult time finding civilian employment. The Act will work with the Department of Labor to identify roadblocks to employment for these veterans.

Also included in the Act is the Tax Credit to Hire Veterans Act of 2011 (H.R. 2443). This Act provides a tax credit to be applied to the purchase of capital equipment for small businesses that hire unemployed veterans. Miller sees this Act as integral to the VOW Act, because he believes a comprehensive approach, “…must include incentives for small businesses to invest in hiring veterans. This unique approach not only employs veterans, but also incentivizes small businesses to purchase capital equipment creating even more jobs for all Americans.”

A legislative hearing was held on the VOW Act on July 15. Read the transcript here.

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Managing People You Can’t See

Employees who work remotely comprise an ever increasing percentage of the workforce. For this reason, it is important to acknowledge the challenges that come with managing this type of employee. Here are 8 tips for managing, and working with, remote teams.

1. Identify and Acknowledge Discomfort. No matter which management style you have, you are going to have some level of discomfort with managing people you can’t see. Figure out what your management style is and then identify what challenges you would face while managing someone remotely. Explore tactics and skills you can use to overcome those challenges.

2. Evaluate Remote Work Requests Objectively. Remote work requests should be handled much like any other work decision. Use the following factors to evaluate each request.

• Needs of business
• Nature of position
• Individual work style
• Department restrictions/limitations
• Individual performance

3. Say either “Yes and…’ or “No, and…” Always give a reason for your decision. If you said no explain why you would not be comfortable with an employee working remotely. If you said yes, explain any concerns you might have and establish ground rules.

4. Agree Upon and Document Team Values. Create a team document that outlines a certain set of behaviors that everybody on the team agrees on. Review and update this document every 6 months.

5. Harness Technology. There are many technical resources out there that allow remote teams to work together. Discuss with your team their preference and decide on the best plan for your team.

6. Set Goals and Track Performance. Make sure you clearly communicate deadlines and projects. Everyone should know who is responsible for completing each part of the project.

7. Communicate Deliberately. Body language can tell us so much during a conversation, and it can be more difficult to communicate clearly when we can’t see someone. Say only what is meant and leave no room for interpretation.

8. Build a Strong, Cohesive Team. Promoting teamwork will build a sense of community among remote teams.

Click here for original article.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tim Isacco, VP of Sales at Orion, Provides Insight into the Value of Veterans in the Civilian Workplace

Ho Lin from recently sat down with Tim Isacco, VP of Sales at Orion International, to discuss how Orion educates companies on recruiting former service members in an article titled “The Value of Veterans.” As part of his role as VP of Sales, Isacco explains that he and his sales force approach companies big and small from the point-of-view that there is a place for every type of veteran in every type of company. Part of pointing that out to a potential client is making them aware of the inherent value a veteran brings with them to the civilian workplace.

To start a partnership with a new client, Isacco and his team conduct an on-site visit that helps them determine what the best fit is for the company’s needs. They look at two aspects of a company’s recruiting needs: Leadership and Technical Expertise. By looking at these two issues, they can best match the company with the appropriate candidates.

Many companies are now aware of the discipline, work ethic, and integrity that come into play with a veteran’s leadership skills, but they are often unaware of leadership skills like “cultural inclusion and teamwork, motivating a diverse workforce, and building teamwork to attain goals”. On the technical side, which lends itself well to field service, Isacco and his team often find that Enlisted Technicians are the answer. Isacco points out that “veteran technicians have a skill set that is easy to translate to a civilian job because of the electrical, mechanical and electronics training they’ve had.”

When asked about misperceptions about hiring veterans that he encounters, Isacco explains that many people think that leadership is directly related to your rank. “Today’s Soldiers, Sailors and Marines are a different generation, and they want to be led more on what comes from the heart than what comes from the collar. Leaders today are a lot more dynamic,” explains Isacco. He also says that companies sometimes expect technicians to be able to troubleshoot to the card level while military technicians can do so to the component level.

In Isacco’s experience, companies often initially partner with Orion in a “test drive” sort of way in which they may hire only one or two veterans; however, these same clients typically come back, requesting larger numbers of hires. This is especially true when workforce aging is taken into consideration. “Corporate America is slowly figuring out that one of best sources of talent in leadership and technical skills is the military, and I think that’s starting to appeal to them,” Isacco tells Lin, “We’re finding it’s more a question of finding the right candidate for the right company, and making the right cultural fit, than trying to convince an employer they’re qualified.”

Click here to read the article.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Industry Spotlight: Transportation

A recent article by Adam Stone in Military Times Edge titled “Why transportation companies want vets” explores the demanding transportation industry and how it is well-suited for transitioning veterans, including Orion International alumna Kelly King. Stone turned to Tim Isacco, Vice President of Sales at Orion, to discuss this industry in relation to veterans. Isacco explained, “Transportation is one of the five hottest industries recruiting veterans right now.” One reason veterans fit so nicely into this industry is that transportation companies need technicians and logistical experts, which are readily found in the military community.

The railroad industry is one in particular where veterans flourish, in particular because of the demanding 24/7 environment. “Veterans who liked the rush of military operations tend to thrive in these jobs,” said Dave Ebbrecht, Executive Vice President of Operations at the Kansas City Southern Railway Company. And the former ranks of the veterans in this industry run the gamut. Enlisted technicians are sought after for their technical and craft skills, while Senior NCOs and Junior Military Officers are often placed in entry-level leadership positions.

Stone lists six qualities that make veterans a great fit for this industry. Discipline and work ethic rank number one. “The rail industry is a tough industry,” Isacco told Stone, “You might have to be out in the railyard when it’s snowing at night, or when it’s raining at night, because the rail runs 24/7, just like the military.”

Attention to detail is next, followed by communication, and organization. Flexibility is another required quality. This quality is one in which Kelly King, a former Army Captain and recent Orion placement with Kansas City Southern Railway Company, revels. King, Director of International Rail Operations Support, deals with customer service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection issues. “On any given day, I can’t tell what I’m going to be doing. It’s a great thing. I enjoy that,” says King. Leadership experience is also required in this industry. In fact, Stone points out that transportation companies that recruit veterans understand the scope and relevance of their military leadership experience.

King also enjoys the tight-knit quality of this industry. “I’ve been able to get out in the field and meet conductors, engineers,” said King, “It’s funny, when they ask me how long I’ve been in the industry — anything less than 10 years, you’re still young.” As this industry continues to grow, as is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans like King will continue to find challenging and satisfying careers.

Read the original article.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Independence Day

Hire a Hero wishes everyone, especially our men and women serving this great country at home and abroad, a Happy and Safe Independence Day!