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business career entrepreneur success

The 5S Process for Workplace Organization

Time spent looking for an important tool or document is time wasted. It’s a known fact that disorganized workplaces slow people down. By comparison, people make fewer mistakes in an organized setting and they’re more productive because there’s no time or effort spent searching for materials.

Sort and set in order 

You can put a workplace in order using a Japanese five-step process, known as 5S. Translated into English, the five S’s are: sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain.

When tackling a disordered workspace, it’s best to start by sorting through all tools and materials. Mark anything you don’t need with a red tag. Once you’ve documented all tagged items, decide if they should be stored or discarded. How to track your progress? Take before and after pictures!

Now that you’ve gotten rid of anything you don’t need, it’s time to organize the tools and materials that are essential to your job. Set these in order so they’re easy to find, use, and put away again. Remember, 5S is about saving time and effort so set tools and equipment in the most logical and easy-to-reach places. 

For example, a repairman might hang his tools on a row of hooks above his workspace in the order he tends to use them. Marking the items and their designated places with visual cues, like matching colors, can help keep everything in its place.

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Responses to Constructive and Destructive Criticism

A key difference between criticism and corrective feedback is that criticism is typically given for larger issues, rather than for isolated incidences of performance. To be effective though, criticism must be constructive.

Constructive criticism is far more productive than criticism that’s destructive. It encourages cooperation and mutual respect, which is vital when you’re dealing with workplace issues that could have major consequences if not dealt with correctly.

Constructive criticism

Giving constructive criticism involves delivering criticism in a reasoned, professional manner that’s designed to help the recipient overcome a problem. It involves offering suggestions or positive feedback.

This creates an atmosphere of mutual respect between the person giving the criticism and the person receiving it. So it facilitates the smooth and effective resolution of the problem. It also creates a positive working environment, which makes things easier for the recipient and the person who gave the criticism.

The most important factor in giving constructive criticism is the attitude of the person giving it. If your real aim is to vent frustration or to “punish” someone for a serious mistake, it’s likely the effect will be destructive on the recipient. But if your aim is to solve a problem or prevent future problems, it’s likely your criticism will have a constructive effect.

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How to Give Criticism Effectively

Giving constructive criticism is an integral part of improving staff performance and increasing productivity — but it’s not always easy to do. To help you give constructive criticism effectively, you can follow a process made up of three steps:

  1. observe the individual’s behaviour,
  2. review your assumptions prior to meeting with the individual, and 
  3. make sure you give the criticism constructively.

1. Observe behaviour

When giving criticism, it’s important that you first observe the individual’s behaviour. This is so you can rely on your personal observations to determine whether or not criticism is necessary, and so that you can substantiate what you include in the criticism.

To observe behavior effectively, follow four simple guidelines:

  • observe the behaviour yourself — If you’re planning to give criticism, rely on your own observations of the person’s behavior rather than on the observations of others.
  • withhold judgment — Use your own experience and knowledge to assess the behavior you’ve observed and don’t pass judgment until all facts are known and the criticism is substantiated.
  • record specific examples — When observing the individual, note examples or instances of the behavior you’ll be criticizing. You can refer to these examples later on when giving the criticism. Use quotations to support your criticism and recreate the incident where possible.
  • plan to give the criticism yourself — When you’re ready to meet the individual, do so yourself — don’t pass the responsibility on to someone else.

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Interviews and Unfair Practices

Legal issues

The last thing any company needs is a lawsuit brought against it for unfair hiring practices. The interview process should be an objective one that follows formal guidelines for assessing job candidates’ suitability.

Employment legislation that deals with the hiring process differs from country to country. It’s also important to keep up to date with this legislation, which may change regularly, and to seek the advice of legal professionals if anything is unclear.

The consequences for companies of unfair or illegal interviewing practices can be severe. The main legal issues for interviewers to consider relate to four areas of concern.

Discrimination

You should avoid asking candidates questions that aren’t directly related to whether their skills, qualifications, and experience make them suitable for a particular job.

Other questions to avoid include “Are you physically fit?” “What’s your marital status?” “What’s your birth date?” and “Have you ever been arrested?” Unless they clearly indicate an ability or inability to perform a task. This is so because it’s possible you might use them to exclude certain candidates based on criteria unrelated to a job’s real requirements. Such actions are potentially illegal.

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