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Friday, 1 June 2012

EPF of India

Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act (EPF & MP Act) 1952 is an important piece of labour welfare legislation enacted by Parliament to provide social security benefits to the workers. Some important provisions of Employees & Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952 (as on 2012):-

  • The Act and scheme provide for 3 type of benefits (1) EPF (2) Pensionary Benefit to employees and family members & (3) Insurance Coverage.

  • The members (workers/employees), who join the company are covered under the purview of the act has to remit contribution from his Basic Salary @12% through their employer & the employer will contribute the same by diverting 3.67% to Employees Provident Fund & balance 8.33% to Pension Fund.

  • The employer has to pay equal contribution along with admn. charges @ 1.10% of the total salary and inspection charges @0.05%

  • Members, who are drawing basic wages upto 6500/-, will be covered under Provident Fund by contributions both by employees/workers and the employer-company.

  • Over and above basic wages / salary of Rs.6500/-, it is at the discretion of employer to share their contribution to the member's PF account though employees/workers will have to contribute their share to the PF Account.

  • The contribution deducted from members' salary by the employer has to be remitted to EPF Organisation by 15th of succeeding month for the preceeding month salary/wages. EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Organisation) will pay interest @ 8.25% (as on 2012) for the amount accumulated every year till it is withdrawn on retirement.

  • If the member dies, while in service, the family of the deceased member will get the insurance benefit and pension benefits i.e. widow pension and children pension up to children's age of 25 years.

  • Member can change his job and work with any number of establishements till the age of 58 years..

  • Any member, who has rendered continuous service of 10 years, will be eligible for pension.

  • Full pension will be payable at the age of 58 years of retirement.

  • Reduced pension is eligible at the age of 50 years by deducting the 4% of the actual pension payable.

  • On member's death, Widow & Children Pension will be payable.

  • Minimum pension will be payable Rs.450/- to the widower & to the children Rs.250/-, if the member dies while in service.

  • If the pensioner dies, widow is eligible to receive the pension and no children pension will be payable. 2 children will be eligible for children's pension up to the age of 25. If children get married before 25 years of age, no pension will be payable to them.

  • Maximum pension of Rs.2500/- will be payable to pensioner.

  • Insurance will not be payable to the family member if the member dies after leaving the service.

  • If employer fails to remit the contribution, deducted in members salary will land in trouble and settlement cannot be made to the member/pensioner easily.

  • If the employer fails to remit the contribution by 15th of every month, penal damages will be initiated against the employer.

Active Listening

Even though we have somehow divided men and women into planets - Mars, Jupiter, and may be Saturn- the one thing everyone shares is a desire to feel understood. Even if men use fewer words than women, the bottom line is that every person wants a good listener.

What is it that makes for an assertive listener? How can a listener be assertive, anyway? That would seem to be the one are where being passive would work pretty good. So here are some tips on active listening.

  • Listen up, listeners. In order to be an assertive listener, you have to actually shut up for a while. How are you going to know what's being said if you are listening only to the sound of your own voice?

  • Listening means more than being silent and counting to twenty so you can start talking again. But if you are completely silent, the other person may wonder if you are still breathing. Sounds silly! But a genuine "Really" or "Hmmm" lets the other person know you are with them.

  • Do you hear what is being said to you? If you could not repeat the speaker's last two sentences, you probably did not hear them. May be because it is too noisy in your own head. Tune out your own judgments, mind reading, and worries. Otherwise, it is like hearing two radio stations at once.

  • Ask yourself why the person is telling you this story. Do they want your opinion, sympathy, or anger on their behalf? Conversations go off in the ditch sometimes when a friend wants you to be supportive and calm and you get caught up in your own feelings of outrage over what happened.

    Try to put yourself in other man's shoes. And if you really do not know what they want from you, try asking.

  • Do you understand what is being said? Plenty of people can remember what was said but not know why it is important. If you are not connecting the dots, gently ask, "What is getting to you about this?"

  • If you can, connect those dots. An observation like "So Philip must remind you of your sister" can show that you understand what is meaningful about this story.

Emotion Management

An emotion is the stimulation of a pathway of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain. This pathway interconnects with other brain systems that regulate other physical systems in the body.

Our reactions to our world exist in an extremely complex and changeable internal climate of feelings. Emotions are states of beig with a physical basis in te body and a uniquely personal sense of meaning.

The terms, "emotions" and "feelings" are almost interchangeable. Feeling has the connotation of emphasizing the named and interpreted aspect of an emotion, but feelings and emotions are both variations of the same complex experience.

  • Emotion Management is a way of handling your feelings so that they stay in balance most easily.

  • Emotion management is understanding your feelings well enough to examine them, accept their natural developments, and make considered decisions about responding to or expressing them.

  • Your first goal is to keep thinking, or stay conscious followed by achieving clarity and maintaining a sense of coherence.

  • Staying Conscious:- Staying conscious can be harder than it sounds. When the brain is over-loaded, the most complex processes are the first to go, especially those involved in making plans or synthesizing thought processes.

    You can learn to maintain or to quickly regain those thought processes that might otherwise be lost under emotional pressure.

  • Achieving Clarity:- To achieve and maintain clarity, you must have the ability to think about a feeling while you are experiencing. With emotion management skills, you can evaluate an emotion as you experience it and decide where to focus your attention.

    This gives you the freedom both to decide what to express about the emotions and to modify environment if you want to modulate that feeling's intensity.

  • Sense of Coherence:- To feel coherent, emotions need to be familiar, understandable, and accepted without judgment. They should blend together smoothly and mix comfortably with your specific personality and general experience of yourself.

    This requires you to study your own emotional system to get a full view of how you operate.

Emotion management includes the idea that your emotions do not disrupt a positive, harmonious, and unified sense of yourself. It is important to know that efforts to control emotions usually tend to backfire.

Emotions are the dynamic and spontaneous results of many forces. Working with feelings always helps more than working against them.

Business Process Improvement

BPI is a simple and effective way to improve any business process at any level of its objectives. BPI can reduce waste and improve efficiency, delivering the maximum financial benefit to any business.

Following six interlinked steps help in revealing and and repairing specific points of weakness with the process and emphasize customers, measurement, planning, and execution.

  • Understanding the Customer:- The first process in BPI is, listening to both internal and external customers and determining whether it is doing its part to meet their needs and expectations, and if it is not. If it is not, to know why and in what ways?

  • Understanding the Process:- Here the workflow is to be documented, by segmenting the process's individual steps, and charting each one. Appropriate measurements are determined to track performance before, during and after changes ar made. This documentation allows to validate the effects of evenly improvement effort.

  • Assessing the Process:- To know which steps add value and which do not. Strategies are devised for improvement by determining how to eliminate non-value added steps and how to consolidate redundant steps to smooth the workflow. This process also involves collecting and analyzing process performance data and comparing it to customer requirements.

  • Improving the Process:- As some processes need adustment and others need radical re-engineering, BPI team should weigh the benefits of the improvement strategies and select the best approach for the business. The main objective of this process is to drive wastes out.

  • Piloting the Improved Process:- Running a pilot test of the proposed improvement will help, know whether it is working and it is delivering benefits projected.

  • Implementing, Monitoring, and Continously Improving the Process:- This final process involves creating a rollout plan, training all affected employees, assessing the results, and continuing to make adjustements as necessary.

BPI may look similar to 'Lean' & 'Six Sigma' but the BPI process actually provides a business improvement framework within which Lean & Six Sigma can be used.

Upon completing the assessment process, operations leaders should determine whether Lean and/or Six Sigma will be applicable and can be applied.

Through the voice of the customer, the use of BPI can point operations in the right direction, prompting radical re-engineering and innovation to leapfrog the competition. Bottomline, BPI provides a disciplined approaching to driving operational change.

Mastering 'Eye Contact'

Good eye contact helps one succeed in nearly every type of social interactions one could engage in - from business to family relations. Your eyes are a reliable indicator of how you are actually feeling inside - Sad, Happy, Shy, Joyful or Nervous. If you are feeling any of them, your eyes will show it.

You can get over from your fear and discomfort around eye contact in several following manageable ways:-

  • Making lengthy eye contact with a a friend or family member:- Find a friend or a family member who is somewhat open-minded and explain that you want to improve your eye contact. Once you have got your friend on board, sit across from each other preferably on the floor. Practice looking at your friend's eye from one second to three minutes intermittently but do not try to look at both eyes at once.

    Keep a neutral facial expression with a soften and warmer focus. Relax and be sure to take deep breathe throughout your exercise. Notice whatever thoughts arise while you are looking at your friend's family member's eyes.

  • Making brief eye contact with strangers:- Here you have to make a fraction of second's worth of eye contact while passing strangers and definitely not long enough. Just see eye color and look away.

    Don't start eye contact too far away. If you make eye contact with someone walking by your on your left side, break your eye contact by looking straight ahead not by looking down.

  • Making longer Eye Contact:- So long as you do your eye contact in a respectful and friendly way, there is absolutely nothing with "practising" eye contact with waiters, salespersons, cashiers and other paid service people. If you do it with the right intention to establish a real human connections with someone you are interacting with, it will brighten that person's life in what is otherwise probably a challenging or dull workday.

    And one aspect of learning about eye contact is learning to deal with rejections comfortably.
  • Making substantial eye contact with friends and family members:- Here you have to increase the eye contact next time you are talking with a friend, family member or your colleague.
  • Eye contact in casual conversation with friends and family members is a delicate dance. To ease into this eye dance you should know some of the following important factors of 'psychological space' like (i) whether the other person is facing you (ii) whether your attention is on the other person (iii) whether the other person is talking about something relevant to you (iv) whether the other person is making physical contact with you & (v) whether the other person is making eye contact with you.
  • Making substantial eye contact with people just met:- This final step you have to follow with the people you meet at cocktail parties, conferences, business events, birthday parties, dinner parties and other kind of event by making substantial contact keeping in view the 'psychological space', mentioned above.

You will be amazed at the feeling of connection, sharing, and trust you are quickly able to develop with loved ones and strangers alike through sharing eye contact.

Habits Holding Back From Top

What we are dealing with are challenges in interpersonal behaviour and often leadership behaviour. They are everyday irritations, caused by troublesome acts that make workplace more harmful to mind and health than it needs to be. They are the transactional defects performed by one person to another.

Check yourself against the list below, reduce it to one or two vital issues and you will know where to start.

  • Winning Too Much:- This is the most common behavioural problem in successful people. Winning too much is the number one challenge as it underlies nearly every other behavioural problems.

  • Adding Too Much Value:- It is extremely difficult for successful people to listen to other people. The higher up you go, the more you need to make other people winners and not make it about winning yourself.

  • Passing Judgement:- There is nothing wrong with offering an opinion in the normal give-and-take of business discussions. But is not appropriate to pass judgement when we specifically ask people to voice their opinion about us. For a week, treat every idea that comes your way from another person with complete neutrality without taking sides.

    People will gradually begin to see you as a much more agreeable person, even when you are not agreeing with them. Consistently follow this policy and people will eventually brand you as a welcoming person, someone whose door they can knock on when they have an idea.

  • Starting with "No", "But," or "However":- When you start a sentence with any of these words or a variation thereof, no matter how friendly your tone or how many softened phrases you throw in to acknowledge the other person's feelings, the message to the other person is : you are wrong.

    Stop trying to defend your position and start monitoring how many times you begin remarks with those three words.

  • Telling the World How Smart You Are:- This is another variation on our need to win. We need to be the smartest person anywhere, but it usually backfires. You can stop this behaviour by following a three-step drill:- (i) Pause before you open your mouth to ask yourself, "Is anything I say worth it?" (ii) Conclude that it is not. (iii) Say "Thank you."

  • Speaking When Angry:- When you get angry, you are usually out of control. Once you get a reputation for emotional reaction, you are branded for life. Pretty soon that is all people know about you.

  • Negativity:- "Let me explain why that won't work". After reading this statement, what you feel. You will definitely feel that this is purely a indicative phrase of negativity. Seeing how people relate to you provides proof that your flaw is serious, it matters to people, and it is a problem.

  • Withholding Information:- In the age of knowledge workers and technological advancement, information is power. Intentionally withholding information is the opposite of adding value. Not sharing information rarely achieves the desired effect.

    Also failing to give proper recognize will deprive people of the emotional payoff that comes with success. They feel forgotten, ignored, and pushed to the side.

  • Adhering to the Past:- Many people enjoy living in the past. We use the past as a weapon against others and a way of contrasting it with the present to highlight something positve about ourselves at the expense of someone else.

  • Not Listening:- People will tolerate all sorts of rough and tough behaviours, but the inability to pay attention holds a special place in their hearts. If you are not listening, it means you are conveying a lot of negative messages.

  • Failing to Express Gratitude:- The sweetest words in the English Language are "Thank You". Although there is no art to saying it, people have a tough time executing this basic courtesy.

  • Passing the Buck:- This is the behavioural flaw by which we judge leaders. A leader who cannot shoulder the blame is not someone we will follow blindly into battle. Such leader is not fooling anyone - except perhaps himself - and no matter how much he thinks he is saving his hide, he is actually killing it.

  • Why Budgeting A Necessity?

    Budgeting is a financial plan for allocation of available funds. Why 'Budgeting' is neccessary?

    • Budgeting helps an individual, department and organisation achieve planned objectives.

    • Budgets helps to illustrate the financial responsibilities of the organization to its shareholders, lenders, suppliers, employers, customers and the owners.

    • Budgets are only as good as the individuals who prepare them. The validity and usefulness of a budget depend on the people who put it together.
  • Budgeting helps in planning of an organization in a systematic and logical manner for a long-term business strategy.

  • Budgeting helps in co-ordinating the activities of the various parts of the organization and ensure that they are consistent.

  • Budgeting helps in communicating more easily the objectives, opportunities, and plans of the business to the various business team managers.

  • Budgeting helps in motivating managers to try to achieve the organisational and individual goals.

  • Budgeting helps in controlling activities by measuring progress against the original plan, adjusting where necessary.

  • Budgeting helps in providing a framework for evaluating the peformance of managers in meeting individual and departmental targets.

  • In spite of its many advantages, Budgeting can increase paperwork and can be a drain on management time, especially early on.

  • Budgets are slow to work, since the benefits will not be seen until the next year. Budgets require standardization, which can lead to inflexibility.

  • Budgets can meet with resistance from managers with no willingness to accept new procedures.

  • Salesperson Communication

    Communication is where all trust and relationships begin. Communicating with customers should be 80% listening and 20% asking questions. Trust is earned in listening and not in talking.

    Psychologists say that 93% of what we communicate to other people is non-verbal. A sales person can start his meeting off by telling his customer a few things without uttering a word. Carrying a big shoulder bag / laptop to the customer's place will frighten him. The less the salesperson brings with him is better. The salesperson whenever possible can follow the following communication techniques:-

    • Closing Mouth:- Seems overly simplistic? But the salesperson cannot learn anything while he is talking. He has to learn to use silence in a conversation and leave more space in his conversation by letting his customer to come up with more detail or additional information.

    • Looking & Smiling at Customers:- Having eye contact is vital in good communication and earning trust. If you are a salesperson, just let your eyes roam around your customer's face and come back to their eyes every few seconds. Make sure that both your mouth and your eyes are smiling. A real smile involves your eyes too.

      While your customer is talking, try to block everyting else out your mind. Look at them and listen with your eyes as intently as you can. Your customer will notice the difference and so will you.

    • Moving Head a Little:- Salesperson should let his customer talking by nodding a little as the conversation goes along, but should not overdo it. He might also want to get his eyebrows involved a little on the really interesting bits.

      Even when the customer is doing the talking, and a salesperson's mouth is closed, he still has 93% of his capacity to communicate available which he can use.

  • Becoming a Great Conversationist:- Great conversationist knows how to get people talking and keep them talking, use a number of verbal sounds and certain words to encourage often to continue. When customer takes a breathe, salesperson can encourage them to help talking by mastering the use of great conversatinaist's words like Hmmmm, Oh, Really, Unbelievable, Amazing, Seriously etc.

    Anybody can practice using these words. And the salesperson can often prompt his customer to continue talking by repeating the last few words, using by right intonation

  • Asking Clarifying Questions:- To understanding motive, urgency, consequence and effect, salesperson can ask right questions. If you are a salesperson and cannot think of any right question, the best question to ask is "Why do you say that, Albert?" (note, question followed by name to make it non-personal to get customer's personal opinions and views). Salesperson can use this question a few times over the next few days to make himself comfortable with it.

  • Training Sales Team

    According to a Business Dictionary, 'Training' is an organised activity aimed at imparting information / instructions to improve anybody's performance or to help, attain a required level of knowledge, skill or attitude. The keys to making 'Sales Training' effective depend upon how training is imparted to Sales Team.

    • To know the objective of training, training need analysis is to be undertaken.

    • Trainer should ask himself (i) Does sales team need to know more about Company's products and services? (ii) Do they have a high enough level of technical knowledge? (iii) Does the team need to know more about the marketplace? (iv) Would performance improve with general sales training? (v) Should training be in-house or out-of-house?

    • Sales persons who require coaching can be listed out.

  • Initially, sending sale people on courses on general business principles and practices to help them, better understand the customers' needs and the needs of their company.

  • The trainer can learn from experts and, if possible, can engage them to deliver a speech to sales team.

  • Sale people can be taught business finance principles, no matter how how unfamiliar tey may be with money matters.

  • An experienced Sales Manager, while imparting training to his sales team, can cover wide range of topics according to the needs of the group.

  • As different types of customer will react differently, training sales people by 'Role-Play' training method help them to recognize and handle a variety of reactions. Sales Manager can make role-playing as realistic as you can for maximum effectiveness.

  • As the trainer cannot teach sales skills in the classroom, he can accompany the salesperson into the field, to allow him to make a sale.

  • Constructive demonstrations of different selling scenarios can be made part of the training.

  • The defects of trainees should never be harshly criticised.

  • Good progress can be observed and faults can be noted. Anything that as been done well should alays be praised.

  • Performance can be constantly monitored, followed by feedback to them.