The first Manual of Job Descriptions for the Energy Sector in Cyprus, exclusively from PowerImage/MISCO Cyprus.

The extensive experience of PowerImage Services Ltd in preparing and writing up Job Descriptions for positions in all sectors, led the company to publish the first specialized “Manual of Job Descriptions for the Energy Sector”.

The manual comprises 40 job descriptions and it is an essential and helpful tool for Managers in the Energy Industry. By law, every organization/employer is required to provide their employees with the terms of employment in writing and to keep the employees’ job descriptions and employment agreements in file.

The guide consists of 97 pages and is divided into two sections. The first section is a practical and hands-on toolkit which can assist the reader on how to write custom-made job descriptions while the second section includes forty job descriptions ranging from manual jobs to managerial positions in the Oil and Gas and Renewable Energy industries. Each position is accompanied by an organizational chart, list of responsibilities, required qualifications, etc.

This manual is an excellent tool for every employer in the Energy Sector, and can be consulted during recruitment or restructuring. It would also be a valuable resource for organizations in the Energy Sector, wishing to undertake a programme for upgrading Job Descriptions.

For more information about the manual, which is in the English language and is offered exclusively by PowerImage Services Ltd. please contact us at T. 22660006, or at F. 22661222 or at E. team@powerimageservices.com .

BUILDING TRUST IN BOARDS – A discussion by the European Confederation of Directors’ Associations (ecoDa)

In our contemporary globalized society, trust built over decades can be destroyed in a minute; therefore businesses must be more engaged in rebuilding trust by playing a responsible, responsive and sustainable role in society. This was the conclusion of a discussion organized by the ecoDa, following the World Economic Forum 2017 where “Responsive and responsible leadership” was discussed.

According to ecoDa chair Turid Solvang, “Boards of directors and senior managers have to take concrete steps to ensure that companies benefit from the trust not only of their shareholders but of all their stakeholders.”

In the new digitalized era it is highly challenging for businesses to gain and maintain trust.  According to a report by the Institute of Business Ethics, less than half of the British public believes that businesses behave ethically. Furthermore, according to the Edelman Trust barometer, too many people believe that the system is failing them and reject established authority. Even trust in media and NGOs has reached unprecedented low levels.

People expect businesses to take the lead and to contribute to the overall benefits of the society. Nevertheless, businesses need to take more steps in order to regain trust. Opaque decision-making without accountability to all stakeholders is no longer feasible in today’s society. According to Lutgart Van den Berghe, Chair of ecoDa Policy Committee, “the volume of information is no longer the reference, it is its relevance to all stakeholders that matters; disclosure is not the same as transparency.”  She also stressed that “transparency is not enough either, it is accountability that matters.”

Companies should build trust internally first and then externally. Competitive advantage will go to those who are most able to build trust-based relationships stemming from the sharing of deep, sustainable values and purpose. Reconnecting with employees, gaining their trust and using them as ambassadors is the only way for a business to succeed in today’s new digital industrial revolution.

HR Audit – An innovative service by PowerImage/MISCO Cyprus

PowerImage / MISCO Cyprus, a leading advisory company with long-standing experience in the field of Human Resources, launches the innovative HR Audit service.

In the highly competitive contemporary business environment, organizations are constantly striving to enhance the productivity and performance of their Human Resources in order to survive. As a result, the implementation of effective, efficient and lawful Human Resource practices is of grave importance. To ensure their quality and effectiveness, these practices need to be evaluated through an HR Audit process.

An HR Audit is a process of thorough auditing / evaluation of current policies, procedures, systems and documents of an organization, in order to identify areas for improvement with regards to the enhancement of the Human Resources Management functions. In addition, an HR Audit offers an evaluation of the level of conformity (and risk) to the continually changing regulations and employment legislation.

Experienced advisors at PowerImage / MISCO Cyprus have developed a comprehensive HR Audit methodology based on Human Resources Management best practices which are implemented internationally. The organizations that shall implement the HR Audit will have the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge and experience of the specialized advisors of the company, who will be working closely with the organization both during the diagnosis stage and also during the delivery of bespoke practical solutions based on international best practices.

Through the PowerImage / MISCO Cyprus HR Audit, an organization will be able to:

  • Identify issues that affect the effectiveness of the organization.
  • Discover practical ways through which to optimize the Human Resources Management functions and the effectiveness of the organization.
  • Shift the role of the Human Resources Department from executive to strategic, so that it may directly contribute to the strategy and goals of the organization.

The HR Audit could prove valuable both to organizations that already have a Human Resources Department but also to organizations that do not have a Human Resources Department but would like to develop one by setting a solid base.

Human Resources play a vital role in the success of an organization, therefore implementing the right Human Resources Management strategy is of utmost importance and key to developing or maintaining an organization as a leader in its field.

For more information you may contact the PowerImage / MISCO Cyprus team by email at research@powerimageservices.com  or by telephone at 22 66 00 06.

Results Presentation of “2017 HR & Workforce Trends” survey

PowerImage/MISCO Cyprus, one of the leading companies in Cyprus offering Human Resources Advisory Services, presented with great success to CEOs and HR professionals the results of the survey “2017 HR & Workforce Trends” on Tuesday 7th of February, 2017, at their premises in Nicosia.

The attendees had the opportunity to be informed about the Human Resource Management challenges faced by 58 organizations in 2016 in Cyprus, their priorities and initiatives for 2017.

The companies which participated were from a wide range of industries. Some of the participating companies were the following:

  • Baker Tilly South East Europe
  • Cybarco
  • Grant Thornton Cyprus
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Hellenic Petroleum Cyprus
  • Hyperion Systems Engineering
  • IKEA
  • Iacovos Photiades
  • Laiko Cosmos Trading Ltd.
  • Mallouppas & Papacostas Group
  • Photos Photiades Breweries
  • Pireaus Bank (Cyprus)
  • PrimeTel

A brief summary of the final report is provided below and you may download the full report here.

The research revealed that the main challenges companies faced in 2016 were “Attracting top talent”, “Engaging employees” and “Increasing performance and productivity.” The selected top three priorities for 2017 are “Increasing performance and productivity”, “Retaining top talent”, and “Attracting top talent.”  The companies have specified the interventions they are planning to introduce based on the aforementioned priorities. The main interventions planned are to “Provide more frequent feedback on performance” and to “Introduce / improve performance appraisal system” as ways to “Increase performance and productivity”. The most chosen interventions for retaining top talent are to “Improve acknowledgement of exceptional performers”, “Provide more opportunities for advancement” and “Review remuneration strategy.”

In conclusion, the interventions that the participants selected as a method of attracting top talent to the organization, are to “Introduce employer branding strategies”, “Improve the use of social media for recruitment” and lastly the “Use of external recruitment consultants.”

The presentation of the results was conducted by Mrs. Stephanie Dikaiou Fessas, Managing Director of PowerImage/MISCO Cyprus. An introduction to the presentation was carried out by Mr. Lawrence Zammit, Director of PowerImage/MISCO Cyprus and Managing Director of MISCO Consulting Ltd (Malta).

The Value of Employer Branding

I remember a politician once making a comment that there used to be a time when people would be chasing jobs and now (at the time of him making the comment) the jobs are chasing people. Although this comment was made a number of years ago, employers and employees know that it is still very valid in 2017.

We need to keep in mind that although we have had blips in our economy, we have not had severe unemployment for the last thirty years. This has changed the outlook of people in employment and job seekers in particular.

Go back sixty, seventy years. Generally people were seeking employment to earn a living that was ideally more comfortable from that of their parents. Fifty years ago that changed as job opportunities had increased in the second half of the 1960’s and employees were not just seeking a job to earn a living but were seeking to be motivated in their job. This gave them some opportunity to be choosy. With the economy showing good growth since the second half of the 1980’s, expectations changed once more as employees started to seek development opportunities in their job.

Employees are looking for jobs that give them the opportunity to grow and that give them a means to the lifestyle they want to live. They are seeking employment with organisations that have a good reputation and help them to feel self fulfilled. Employees are not just asking themselves about what they wish to do but also where they wish to work.

The battle for talent among employers is so evident nowadays, as skills shortages are becoming even more acute in certain sectors. This has forced employers to rethink the way they position themselves in the labour market.

Traditionally companies relied on their consumer brand to provide them with a good reputation. A strong consumer brand would then be used to attract and retain talented employees. This is no longer enough as there is also a need for employers to have a strong employment brand.

Employers are starting to recognise the fact that their vision, values and culture have a huge impact on their image and, therefore their reputation. In turn this fuels satisfaction, happiness and success on the job. They need to be seen as a great place to work. The brand renders them unique when compared to other employers.

There are companies with strong consumer brands but who few people want to work with, because of their work practices, their values and their behaviours. Recently there was the example of Amazon, which certainly enjoys a strong consumer brand; but about whom there were a number of reports of ill treatment of employees at their warehouse in Scotland. These reports included threats of sacking employees for sick leave or slow packing of products.

However developing an employer brand is not just about pushing public relations messages to the market and refreshing them every so often. It is about the real life experiences of the employees, the way the leadership team behaves, the corporate values that are projected.

If there is any divergence among these three elements, it is bound to emerge in the public domain and the employer would have no control on it. The employer cannot exercise any control on what is said about it in chat rooms, blogs and online communities. So the employer brand depends a great deal on the authenticity of the employer.

My own experience in the recruitment sector shows that employers with strong positive authentic brands (and not all brands are alike, as the uniqueness of the employer is to be determined by the employer) attract talent to a greater extent than other employers, experience lower staff turnover and reduce their recruitment costs. In today’s labour market these are three outcomes that cannot be ignored.

PowerImage / MISCO and Exelsys – A powerful alliance

We at PowerImage / MISCO Cyprus are proudly announcing the signing with the company Exelsys. Exelsys provides an integrated collaborative Human Capital Management System, enterprises need to manage the full hire-to-retire process for both full-time and part-time employees in an increasingly global environment. This would have not been possible without the assistance and expertise of George Constantinou who is the owner and managing director of Diadrasis, the Consulting Partner of Exelsys in Cyprus.

With this development, we have upgraded our recruitment system allowing us to improve even more our efficient and effective provision of recruitment and selection services. The system provides applicant tracking technology, a service rarely offered by recruitment companies, and companies who offer recruitment as a side service. As an extension of recruiting and staffing, applicant tracking plays a big role in getting the right candidates hired quickly and efficiently. The system also allows immediate publication of our vacancies on the New Job Opportunities section of our Website.

Being one of the few approved recruitment companies in Cyprus by the Ministry of Labour, our vast  experience in servicing the recruitment needs of our clients, our unique methodology and high level of professionalism are some of the reasons why clients choose our recruitment and selection solutions to assist them in finding the right match for their vacant positions.  Our expert methodology is highly merit-based, flexible according to our client needs, and all inclusive. More specifically our process includes CV shortlisting through a merit-based scoring system, behavioural-based interviews and assessment centre services (experiential exercises, knowledge, skills and personality tests). Our clients include Banks, Pharmaceutical, Energy, Retail companies and many more.

Why are HR Outsourcing Services on the rise?

Businesses, big and small routinely outsource all kinds of corporate tasks when they can be done more efficiently or effectively from a professional external provider. Globally, the demand for outsourcing different kinds of corporate tasks is on the rise for the past few years. However, Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO) lately is experiencing a steep rise in demand.

HRO is a way for smaller companies to get expertise without hiring additional personnel or investing in HR systems at high costs. For larger companies, compliance can be an enormous risk, so outsourcing helps avoid such risks.

What is HRO?

Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO) refers to the process where an external supplier manages HR activities, such as payroll administration or recruitment, or perhaps the whole human resources function.

The reason behind the growing demand

With constant developments in labour law and employment regulations, according to a global research report (Global Industry Analysis Inc., 2016) “businesses are now expanding their outsourcing horizon to include complex, time-consuming activities like human resource administration.” Organizations outsource various HR functions including payroll, employee management, employee benefits processing, and employee recruitment to service providers. The market is witnessing increasing demand especially from small to medium companies, due to cutthroat competition to reduce operational costs, enhance productivity and profitability.

The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) conducted a survey of hundreds of companies globally about their outsourcing habits and here’s what they found are the six most common reasons that companies outsource (Gray, 2013):

  • 26% of companies outsource to save money. When an external provider’s fees are lower that what it costs for the company to do an HR function internally.
  • 23% of companies outsource to focus on strategy. Outsourcing time-consuming administrative tasks allows a professional, business or organization to concentrate on core business activities.
  • 22% of companies outsource to improve compliance – It is increasingly challenging to stay in compliance (labour laws, employment regulations, etc.) and increasingly risky to not meet requirements. Therefore, outsourcing these activities is a way to avoid such risks.
  • 18% of companies outsource to improve accuracy – Having too many tasks at hand might reduce accuracy. Outsourcing a function to an expert, who is focused on and accountable for this function, helps avoid haphazard job execution.
  • 18% of companies outsource due to a lack of experience in-house – Handing off a task where an organization lacks competencies, to someone with expertise is a great business decision.
  • 18% of companies outsource to take advantage of technological advances – With big data worth tapping into, but costly technology needed to really delve into strategic analytics, outsourcing can offer solutions without a significant investment.

Which HR functions are being Outsourced the most?

According to the SHRM survey (Gray, 2013), of those organizations who outsource, here are the 9 tasks most commonly outsourced:

  • 84% outsource employee assistance/counselling
  • 74% outsource retirement planning
  • 73% outsource pension administration
  • 72% outsource temporary staffing
  • 68% outsource background checks
  • 57% outsource training/management development programs
  • 54% outsource executive development/coaching
  • 53% outsource employee benefit administration
  • 49% outsource payroll

How is this relevant to the Cypriot business environment?

Cyprus is very well placed as an international business and financial centre. Its euro-zone membership, good airline connections and telecommunications, and an increasing alignment with the European position in matters of culture and trade make it an effective bridge between West and East.

It is therefore evident that the labour market is Cyprus is no longer local. Many Global and European companies have relocated their headquarters, and others have branches here. Subsequently, HR is an increasingly strategic area of business, as many domestic industries struggle with a skills gap and growing competition from global organizations.

However, most small to medium companies (the backbone of the economy) do not have the needed resources, internal competencies or know-how to manage efficiently and effectively their HR functions, and therefore be able to attract, retain and develop their workforce and remain competitive. Therefore, HRO is a smart solution for these companies. By outsourcing some or even the whole human resources function they acquire the right expertise in a cost-efficient way, and have more time to focus on their core business.

PowerImage / MISCO Cyprus can be your HRO partner

Our HRO service or as we call it HR Business Partner, is a simple and smart solution to minimizing the risks associated with being an employer and gives business owners and key staff members more time to focus on what they do best; Running and growing their business.

As a leader in our industry with dedicated HR experts and advisors, and over a decade of experience in Cyprus and abroad, we at PowerImage / MISCO Cyprus are able to provide a customized solution based on our client needs. We use professional analysis to evaluate existing HR practices and to design customized solutions for our clients – a process which includes the implementation of programmes, tools and procedures to help a client’s HR operation evolve into a strategic function which fully supports growth and success.

Bibliography

Global Industry Analysis Inc. (2016). Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO) – A Global Strategic Business Report. San Jose, CA 95138, USA : Global Industry Analysis Inc.

Gray, N. (2013). 6 Top Reasons for Outsourcing Human Resources Fuctions. San Francisco, CA : Job Science.

Acing the interview is not enough!

The days of the Crisis are fast becoming a thing of the past and more and more candidates are getting invited for job interviews.  Whilst doing well in the interview is arguably one of the most important factors in securing the job, creating the right impression from the outset is also paramount. Having a positive attitude and acting in a professional way throughout the recruitment process is key in the formulation of the image the recruiter has for a particular candidate.

Always remain keen and positive

Through my experience in recruitment, I have witnessed candidates who instead of being keen and positive to have been invited for an interview for the position they have applied for, they come across as difficult prioritizing their personal needs and expectations instead of their future employer’s – indeed, it is not uncommon for some candidates to demand that the time, process and place of the interview suits their personal needs, with no flexibility to meet the future employer half-way.

It is my understanding, that candidates don’t always appreciate the negative impact that this may have on their chance to secure the job.

What makes a candidate suitable?

Whilst the recruitment process aims to be fair and just, awarding the position to the most suitable individual, ‘suitability’ is not always an equation of how many qualifications the candidate has obtained, or how many languages they have proficiency in. Recruiters and employers alike are looking for the most suitable candidate in the face of someone who besides the experience and qualifications is also flexible, cooperative, and reliable.

Project a professional image from the start

When applying for a job, candidates must bear in mind that the selection process starts from the very first contact the recruiter/future employer has with a candidate.

It is natural that people who project a professional and positive image and who show eagerness for the opportunity offered will be considered more favourably, as these are positive traits that people respond to.

In addition, it is important to remember that the image thatwe project to our future employer should be consistent with all the parties involved, regardless of whether we will be working with them directly or not. People commonly make the mistake of being very polite during the interview, but not making as much of an effort with future colleagues. Usually the future colleagues will inform the recruiters of this behaviour, which may have an adverse impact on the outcome of the selection process.

Be punctual

When selecting a candidate, recruiters and employers will also take the candidate’s punctuality into consideration. It is of course a possibility that a candidate may be late because of a valid reason; however, communication is key in managing such unpredictable instances. Letting the recruiters know in advance and apologizing for the delay, is definitely the correct way of dealing with such unforeseen circumstances, and acts as reassurance that as a candidate you care about this job. Not showing up for an interview without warning and explanation can destroy a candidate’s chances of getting a job at that company or possibly others too in the future.

In a nutshell, I would advise candidates to treat an interview as a formal social interaction and I would highlight the importance of applying your communication and interpersonal skills to create a positive and favourable image for yourself, and really showcase what you could be bringing to the employer’s table. Whilst having the right skills and knowledge is strategic in securing the job, what will set you apart from other candidates is your ability to demonstrate an effortlessly positive and polite demeanor, with a genuine eagerness and appetite to fully engage and secure the job.

Do you have a Talent Management Philosophy?

Organizations, big or small depend on their talent to achieve their goals and vision. It is therefore imperative that in order to head in the right direction, organizations not only need to have objectives, but also a clearly defined Talent Management Philosophy (TMP).

Talent Management describes an organization’s commitment to hire, manage and retain talented employees. It is this Talent Management Philosophy, which should form the guiding principle on how organizations can strategically hire, manage and retain their talent and by which all important talent decisions are made.

However, for most companies, the TMP is shaped by the organization’s management team, not as a planned strategy but in most part, quite randomly.

Should organizations let their managers act and make decisions as they think appropriate and simply hope for the best? That would be disastrous, given the highly competitive environment in which they operate. In the absence of a TMP companies may make unfit or poor hires, have high employee turnover, high absenteeism, unutilized skills or capabilities and low performance levels.

So what can companies do? There are five areas around which a company needs to define its approach:

  • Performance – What level of performance is considered acceptable and what not, and what are the consequences for high or low performance.
  • Accountability – How is accountability assumed for actions, decisions, and policies, at management level or lower.
  • Transparency – How easy is it for employees to see what actions are performed, and how and based on what criteria are decisions being made.
  • Behaviour – What kinds of behaviours are acceptable and which ones are not, and what are the consequences of the latter.
  • Employee Relations – The commitment of management on how they communicate and how they facilitate and resolve issues.

These areas will be defined by the management team of the organization. Standards will need to be set and consequences will need to be discussed. For example, regarding transparency, if management decides on having a highly transparent process on promotions, this will mean that the criteria for promotions will need to be announced and management will need to be consistent with these criteria when taking such decisions.

In order for the defined TMP to be put in practice, some processes need to be created or adjusted. And these processes need to be explained to all employees along with the new TMP.

Of course, processes alone do not guarantee the realization of the new TMP if there is absence of commitment by upper management who will need to constantly safeguard that these processes are respected and followed.

Which recruitment mindset do you use?

The recruitment process is no easy task, not only because of the demanding process but also because of the insight required when one decides to enter such a process.

As an HR Advisor, I have the opportunity to meet hiring managers with different recruitment mindsets. Below I present them, so that one can be more aware of their own mindset, and therefore be able to understand and if necessary adjust it in order to be more successful with his / her hires.

As a summary of my experience, I break down these recruitment mindsets in three categories:

The “fit to profile” mindset: These hiring managers represent the majority and look for a person who has the profile that will fit a current vacant position. These managers usually are very specific to what they are looking for and have a list of qualifications – i.e. must be an extrovert, must have a perfect accent, must be familiar with PowerPoint. The positive side of this mindset is that if this is a here-and-now need that must be satisfied quickly and accurately, this is a good mindset to have. However, it is a short-term one, as the hiring manager does not go through a long term analysis of what type of talent will fit with the long term plans of the company. This mindset is usually present in companies that are in a reactive phase, where they are either growing too fast and have not had the chance to be proactive in their strategy, companies that are in a chaotic state (after a culture change or restructuring where they are still trying to figure out how to go about dealing with the culture shock and finding stability), or simply companies that lack strategy and a long term vision.

The “decide as we go along” mindset: This category includes hiring managers who think they know what they are looking for, come with a set of qualifications they desire, but change their mind as they meet different candidates. The whole recruitment process often is very confusing and time consuming for them as they discover that they are not clear as to what they actually want in the end. The positive side to this is that they keep their mind open to the different options they have in available talent and the different added value each candidate will bring to the company. On the other hand, this mindset can cause them to be indecisive and lose valuable time and opportunities, not to mention that in the end, due to lack of analysis of the actual needs, they might end up hiring the wrong candidate.

The “fit to talent” mindset: This is the opposite to the “fit to profile” mindset where hiring managers actually keep an open mind on the available talent, see long term, and seek people who are flexible enough and have the right attitude which will enable them to fit in the company’s long term succession plan.  It is the best of both worlds where they have specific requirements in terms of basic and transferrable qualifications, but at the same time know what to look for in candidates in terms of potential so that they will be able to respond to the future needs of the company. However, it is important to look at the current needs of a company, not only the future ones because this again might cause them to hire for the future, but fail at filling a current gap in capabilities.

Of course, I appreciate that not all hiring managers are trained or knowledgeable on recruitment strategies and this is where recruitment consultants need to provide their professional advice. It is shocking to me sometimes that despite the fact that employers outsource their recruitment with credible companies, they still forget to utilize the available expertise to the fullest and be open to advice. The aim it to be partners with companies that wish to employ talent and the companies that utilise credible consultants the most, are the ones that end up with long-term hires.