Time management techniques

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1.Identify the most important time management techniques that a busy manager could use.How have you used these to plan your own time on the course?

Answer: Time management techniques generally help us to make the best use of our time and increase productivity and efficiency. I believe everyone should follow at least some basic time management techniques even though you don't work as a professional who has much larger and greater responsibilities. To be successful in one's career, it is very important to place the basic time management principles in place and follow the techniques which suit you best. It is to keep in mind that we can't do all the things in the world but we can always complete most of it. It is certain that we will miss some of it however following a well structured time management techniques can ensure all the important works are done on time. If we try to do all the things at a time we might end up starting off everything but completing nothing which will leave us feeling all the more frustrated so it is very important to organise time and work towards each goal.

For a busy manager who is constraint to doing multiple jobs for the given timeframe, there never seems to be enough time to meet all those demands and commitments. It is therefore important that they practice a well organised time management techniques to fulfil their duties and find an ideal balance between their work and personal life.

The most important techniques that they can use are:

Setting work goals and personal goals, identifying core task and activities, scheduling and prioritising these activities, avoiding time-wasters and taking time off. Some tools which can be used are calendars, planners, to-do lists, pocket diaries, email, reminders etc to support remembering tasks to be done on the right time in a right way.

For busy managers who have lots of pressing issues to be addressed it is necessary that they avoid work interruption such as unexpected telephone calls, visitors, meetings that interrupt the execution of work as planned. The best way to bring such time-wasters under control and to avoid causing maximum casualty is proper planning and organising.

Instead of being overwhelmed by the complexity of large number of projects or goals which may discourage one to even start; it is wise to formulate many small tasks that one can perform. Breaking down such tedious tasks to many small tasks make it easier to complete and monitoring the activities with respect to time allotted for it avoid delaying the work.

As a post graduation students in university we are expected to do a lot of work outside the class and the responsibility lies in our hands. University time is very different from school where teachers may exert pressure to complete the work or from employment were managers may determine the workload. As a student, I try my best to balance all activities like social life, domestic commitments, part time job, and the course which leaves me with little or no time by the end of the day. So in order to perform well while fulfilling all the commitments that I have it is crucial to organise time to make the maximum utilisation of my time in the university.

I set my goals and make a list of all important meetings, tasks and deadlines according to their urgency and indicating how much time I will take for each of the tasks. So identifying targets at how to do it and by when and breaking it down to smaller tasks to achieve everyday helps me reduce pressure and gain effectiveness. Keeping a record or a diary for my schedule for the week helps me complete most of the tasks. Sometimes I do get help from others by looking at how they organise their time and getting tips to improvise my routine.

I try not to delay my works because if I do, it affects the whole routine for the week. I always try cutting down on time-wasters such as long chat over the phone with friends, watching tv or socialising. But I do ensure that I take proper breaks as getting myself too stressed out will not yield any positive result whatsoever. Following such simple techniques has indeed helped me manage my time in the course without over burdening myself.

2.Explain what is meant by the ‘dilemma of social responsibility'?Why might employers be encouraged to overcome this dilemma?

Answer: Companies like to build a public image wherein they are considered as a responsible part of the society. Apart from making profit and constant effort to increase the productivity of the company, they are required to fulfil certain duties and responsibility as a model citizen. For example their responsibilities towards the societal problems like unemployment, poverty and building infrastructure. Their business strategy should guarantee adherence to law, ethical standard and meeting the societal norms. Companies need to think about the effects of carrying out the business process to the society at large but most of the time its easier said than done. By corporate social responsibility it means the firms acknowledgment of it responsibility towards the community, its member and the society as a whole. But most of the time organisations are ill equipped to deal with social issues.

The dilemma involved is that they ultimately fall prey to the demands of the market and profit making strategy. The main dilemma they face is the choice between a strategy aimed at maximising profits and one that targets services for the good of stakeholders and the social community in the environment. Businessmen today are experts on its own business but somehow they lack the ability to deal with social issues which they are not to be blamed off as the nature of training provided are more business oriented than the knowledge to deal with social issues. In the large and complex corporation it is argued that they create more problems rather than solving these issues. It is simply impossible to achieve such goal due to the nature of its environment, structure, and control systems.

Employers need to be encouraged to overcome this dilemma because they need to create an environment where the organisation can grow and has a future. They are required to overcome this dilemma to achieve its business goals and objectives which are beneficial for the firm and the society whether in providing employment, eliminating discrimination or avoiding pollution etc. They need to be proactive in meeting the basic rules of the society and prevent ethical norms to be compromised in order to achieve corporate goals. Being a good corporate citizen they are expected to perform better than the mere compliance with laws and regulations whether in providing employment, eliminating discrimination or avoiding pollution.

It is therefore essential to integrate business as accordance to ethical and moral standards to contribute resources to the society and as a whole improving the quality of life.

3.Most HR managers have little idea about issues to do with finance.Why is this problematic and what would you advise as a way forward to overcome this deficiency?

Answer: Most of the HR managers have little knowledge about issues to do with finance. This is problematic because they are out of touch with commercial realities, unable to comprehend the nature of the business, its customers, or its corporate goals. They are also criticized for promulgating policies that may be fine in theory but inappropriate for their particular workplace since they are unable to interpret the stories behind those numbers. HR is often seen to constrain the autonomy of line managers in terms of decision making which might be for the best interests of the business. Finance is becoming one primary source of performance measurement data so in order to improve the organisational performance it is very important to understand and relate those data. The information finance gathers on earnings, productivity and customer satisfaction provides tremendous insight into the staffing and development needs of an organization.

With the changing nature of business HRM now plays an important role in making business strategies to give that competitive edge.

HR department now has growing responsibilities in finance related issues like benefits, employment taxes, compensation administration etc. However the bitter reality is that HR managers are ill equipped when it comes to issues to do with finance. As a matter of fact most of the HR personnel can't even read their company's annual report. In order to overcome such deficiency it is important to have effective communication and work closely with the finance department such as business case evaluation. It is crucial that HR specialists themselves learn and understand the business realities and show an awareness of issues relating to core business strategies. Finance department should help HR make more financially sound business decisions.

They need to understand matters to do with finance in order to ensure successful investment on HR practices like recruitment, training and development, performance appraisal etc to deliver a good business result. So, it is important that HR personnel know and understand the business and its financial matters to act accordingly so as to enhance business productivity and create sustainable competitive advantage. They need to know where the organisation is standing by evaluating company's performance and achieve measurable and valuable results.

4.How can the operation of the HR function be improved by the more systematic use of information technology? Provide examples to illustrate your answer.

Answer: In today's highly competitive business environment, organisations are undergoing dramatic changes with significant implications for how human resources are managed and the HR function is best organized and managed. The forces driving change include the rapid deployment of information technology, globalization of the economy, and the increasingly competitive dynamic business environments that corporations face. The more systematic use of information technology will help deliver more efficient and responsive services. Knowledge and information are becoming the foundation of many new services and products. The use of advanced technology will help in improving productivity, increasing quality, facilitating mergers and acquisitions while reducing cost and time.

The systematic use of Human resource management system like payroll module, time and labour system, managing employee records, benefit administration module and HR management module helps in reducing the workload as well as gain efficiency by improving standard of operation.

For example: In MNCs with global workforce advanced use of technology enables quicker process of recruitment with a greater chance of attracting better and quality candidate with low cost.

In shared service centres, outsourcing of HR services, in training and development, talent management etc the use of technological advantage in a right way can help reduce time and error while increasing the quality of service.

5.Identify the key problems associated with contracting out public services to the private sector.Illustrate your answer with examples.

Answer: The problems associated with contracting out of public service which is a form of privatization are job cuts, reduced health and safety protections, low quality of service, minimised training, legal issues and inflation, all in the name of profit making and competition in the market.

The key problems of contracting out public services to the private sector are:

Cost cutting strategies:

while contracting out the whole or part of public services to private sectors the main issue is the maintaining budgets. Staff can be cut or simply not replaced as they leave or they may be transferred through a private operator. Sometimes the budget is cut by removing some of the services or incurring direct cost for each service. For example contracting out of large public services like gas/electricity/telecom have skyrocketed the cost of services while offering low quality of service.

Performance pay:

it is based on an individual performance in the private sector where most of the time the targets are set on quantitative basis which often leads to measurable amount of the work while ignoring quality or success of the service. This is different from the public sector where rigid limits are set by collective agreement.

Collective bargaining:

private enterprises usually don't initiate collective bargaining so they want to suppress the union power as much as they can. Hence, the lost or declining influence of union power and strength and considerable decrease in collective bargaining.

6.For an organisation of your choice, examine the latest Annual Report and write a short report explaining to employees how well the organisation is performing.You will need to look at the report and accounts to do this.(Note – do NOT append material from the Annual Report to support your answer).

Answer: Performance is the profit or loss of the given period. The annual report of Marks and Spencer Group plc for the year 2009 shows that the company had a strong performance in their international business but it was down in the UK market.

Overall they had a good year even though they had to balance the long term plan with short term strategy to manage the business during economic downturn like capping the level of pay increases which count towards pensions and changing the formula for early retirement reductions. Total revenues were up 0.4% with UK revenues 1.7% down and International revenues 25.9%.

Regarding operating profit before property disposals and exceptional items was £768.9m, down 29.4%. In the UK, operating costs were up 4.3% with an increased in retail staffing, occupancy and distribution but reduction in marketing expenditure and other supports. The bonus amount for 2009 is £2.8m as compared to last year £16.8m which shows increased in performance or productivity. Profit on property disposals was £6.4m as compared to £27.0m last year. They did incur exceptional charges of £135.9m due to restructuring and changes made in terms of the UK.

In 2008 the company had to take steps to tightly manage the costs affected by recession. The company maintains its standard of operation and aims at upholding high ethical standard. The company focuses at improving their leadership development and strategic planning to satisfy their long term plan.

7.How would you ensure that students and staff at theUniversityofManchester(or another organisation of your choice) take their health and safety responsibilities more seriously?

Answer: In order to ensure that students and staff at the university of Manchester take their health and safety responsibility more seriously proper communication about the law and regulations should be delivered.

Students and staff needs to be educated about the potential risk they might encounter if the instructions are not followed wisely. There should be routine check up and monitoring. Sometimes students get indulged into physical or verbal abuse which can lead to serious implication if not handled properly. Students might experience unwanted situations like bullying and harassment which can cause serious mental illness or stress related issues if not controlled at the right time. Most of the students tend to take health and safety issues for granted so it is necessary that all the safety information has passed down to create an awareness. There are numerous and varied activities carried out in school ranging from laboratory experiments, sports, running a school disco to going for school trips. So it is important they inspect and advice about hazards which can arise from day-to-day work in the university. For example, in science laboratory experiments students get exposed to many harmful chemical and substances capable of creating minor to major injuries if not handled carefully. So in order to avoid any accidents proper instruction and precautionary measures should be taken.

During university events like sports, staff and students should have a proper understanding of the safety recommendations. In the case of accident or any incident they should know where to report to. In such situation there should be a quick and fast service to attend to the incident because if the first aid is delay the accident conditions might get worsened

There should be seminars and presentation about the health and safety laws and regulations for the staff and students to follow.

There should be professional expertise provided to staff members in all aspects of health and safety. Providing help and advice on the handling of university work to keep the university a safe and healthy to learn and work. Professional training programmes should be available to staff members and co-ordinators on key areas like risk assessment and inspections.

8.Identify the benefits of continuing Professional Development.Provide examples.

Answer: Continuing professional development is a process of learning to ensure continuous improvements at work and personnel development. It is beneficial to both the organisations as well as the employees and it applies to all kind of profession. Its benefits are:

* Continuous learning and development of its employees to enhance the workforce capable of enduring change.

* To facilitate the process of developing skills and attitude among its employees to improve their job performance and help achieve organisational goals.

* In today's competitive market, continuing professional development is important to acquire new customers and to develop new products which are creative and innovative.

* To update the skills of the workforce. For example, to encourage skill upgrading and learning new skills and expertise for the ageing workforce helps to stay in the competition. It can be improving or acquiring technical skills as well as developing interpersonal skills.

* Adding value as it aims at accumulating valuable resources and forming core competence.

* Functional flexibility in order to increase the mobility both in internal and external labour market and adaptability of the workforce, enabling a range of tasks to be performed and the employment of a range of skills.

* It heightens employee morale ensuring job satisfaction and commitment towards the company.


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