Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Appraising staff in Thailand

Appraisal is a key HR tool that assists a manager to understand the problems and inefficiencies in an organisation clearly and, ‘from the horse’s mouth’, so to speak! The problem is that it is often carried out as something to get out of the way rather than as an exercise that can add incredible value to organisation-wide planning.

Appraisal is just as important an HR-tool in Thailand, as it is in other countries. Some things you may learn from appraisal:

·         Staff X is underutilized
·         Staff Y does not understand his role
·         Staff Z has an idea that could save the company money/improve service/add value
·         Staff A does not work well with others
·         Staff B does not understand communications from management
And so on…

To carry out an effective appraisal, follow these key steps:

Get organised
As with marketing, sales, operations, you need to devote some proper time to appraisal (planning and the activity / analysis itself), plan the appraisal process carefully and set some objectives for yourself.

Obtain resources
Create / download / purchase an appraisal form that can be edited and is usable for your business. The Thailand HR Suite sells a 360-degree appraisal form, in Thai and English language, for just a few thousand Baht.

Your appraisal form should quantifiable (ratings 1-10), but also provide scope for additional thoughts and information, taking in to account the following:

1.    Staff review of themselves in line with their job description
2.    Staff review of their team/department in line with objectives
3.    Staff review of their superior, with regards communication, support, advice, motivation

This 360 degree approach, when used properly, is very effective.

Prior to the appraisal
Inform your team when they will be completing their appraisal, and what the objectives are. It is especially necessary in Thailand to assure the staff that the information they provide is confidential and that the goal is to improve the company. Honesty is key and this is a chance to show management what you are capable of.

The appraisal itself
Sit down with the employee first and remind them of how to complete the form and that honesty is key. The atmosphere should be relaxed, not overbearing. Provide them with a chance to ask questions and then provide enough time for them to complete the form, and place it inside an envelope (for added confidentiality).

After the appraisal
Set aside time to review the results and look for trends, consistencies, inconsistencies and problems. How you address these findings is important, as it should be as soon after the appraisal as possible to maintain momentum. Call people in for a second talk if required to clarify certain issues, but always be thankful for their feedback.

With a proper process in place, your appraisal will yield interesting and helpful results that can improve your business and motivate your team.

Written by Stuart Blott, CEO, Fusion Business Concepts and General Manager, Sutlet Group

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Recruitment in Thailand

An organisation is only as strong as the people within it. As such, recruitment is a key part of your HR operation here in Thailand.

Recruitment in Thailand poses unique problems for the foreign national manager; with language barriers, cultural barriers and lack of knowledge with regards universities and education standards. As such, any recruitment exercise undertaken should be planned carefully and should involve the following:

Undertake a comprehensive HR plan for the upcoming year. What are your current staffing levels, how do you expect to grow in the coming year, what skills are you lacking, which skills can you train and which do you need to recruit for? An HR plan will provide you with the basis for determining your recruitment needs.

Develop your recruitment plan. Every position you recruit for should have its own specific job description and this, in turn, should be based on selection criteria that takes in to account the key functions of the position and your industry.

The actual recruitment of employees can be done in a variety of ways. There are a number of larger recruitment firms in Thailand who will recruit employees for you and charge fees based on the number of applicants you wish to see on the shortlist, the level of the position and other factors. Whilst this may be useful when recruiting a a more Senior Manager, it may not be cost effective when recruiting middle managers and administrative team members.

The most common way to recruit employees is to utilise online job advertisement websites, such as: Ideal for recruiting middle and senior-level staff and – ideal for recruiting lower and middle-level staff

The above job websites offer excellent rates when advertising multiple positions simultaneously, costing as little as Baht 2,000/position. Contact them and ask for their latest promotional rates.

Job boards such as provide a good opportunity to recruit part time staff and/or lower level staff.

The problem with posting job advertisements online is that because these systems are so user friendly, applicants can literally apply for anything they search for with the click of a button. This results in your inbox being filled with applications that sometimes are completely irrelevant to your advertisement or from applicants who have not really read the job description and who are therefore unsuitable for the position. To minimise these problems:
  • Really think about the position you want to fill. If you manage a small business, you may find it necessary, and cost-effective, to combine responsibilities from several roles in to one i.e. HR / Office Manager, Marketing / Customer Service Manager, Accounting / Finance Manager.
  • Determine what attributes and skills are most important for you, and write the job description keeping these in mind. Focus on job skills and attitude, and try not to be too demanding when it comes to skills that you can easily teach or train.
  • If you are advertising a position that requires good English skills, post the job in English only and ignore any resumes that arrive in Thai language.
  • If there are specific skills that are very important, emphasis these immediately in your posting. You want to discourage applicants who do not meet your minimum requirements.
  • If you are recruiting on a budget, list the salary prominently, but refer to the engaging corporate culture and opportunities for advancement
The other benefit to using job websites are that most packages will allow you to then search their database of candidates via a simple login. You can then submit requests to people if you wish to see their resume; this can be useful when building a database of prospective candidates for current or future positions.

University recruitment – if you require low cost/entry level employees with a degree, approach a university. Often they will allow you to post a notice about an internship or full time position if it is suitable for their students.

Recruitment is key to the success of your business in Thailand, but so is the ongoing management of your team. This will be addressed in subsequent articles.

Written by Stuart Blott, General Manager of the Sutlet Group and Owner of Fusion Business Concepts, an HR-service provider in Thailand specialising in HR planning and team development.