Forms Management and Policies and Procedures – Important? You Betcha!

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Forms Management and Policies and Procedures: Important? Yes, Definitely

Forms are critical to the operations of any organization whether the forms are in paper or electronic formats. Everyone uses forms in their everyday life from Internet surveys, shopping carts, feedback forms, or even a fill-in email in the contact us section of many websites. And paper forms are not dead by any means. Paper forms are still used in applying for driver licenses or completing the registration for your car or depositing or withdrawing money from your checking or savings account. Physical forms are everywhere.

Business forms are management tools that help the writing, transmission, and reporting of business information. There are two ways to view a form: printed and electronic. A printed form is a document bearing instructions with repetitive information preprinted in a fixed position to save writing and reference time. An electronic form is a document stored on an electronic memory device that is made available on a computer monitor when needed. Electronic forms can be designed with fields that change in size as text is typed in, with drop-down menus, active buttons, and electronic forms can even be tied to a database that collects the information filled into the electronic form. Remember, though, electronic forms can be exactly the same as printed forms as well as in the case of a printed form saved in PDF-editable formats, now possible with the right software.

Forms Can Reveal Much about an Organization

Forms can tell your customers a great deal about your organization. For example, appearance alone can imply that the company is either old-fashioned or progressive. Ease of completion may mean the difference between renewed business and the client going elsewhere. In industries like insurance and banking, this can be an important issue. As forms are frequently the lifeblood of an organization, a good forms management department might mean the difference in the strategic direction, vision, and mission of your company.

I recall seeing a Visitor's Form in the corporate office of a major film company that was crudely created on a typewriter. The form projected a poor image of the company. If I were a customer of this large company, I would certainly wonder why the company did not take the time to create a professional-looking form that every potential customer would have to fill out when they entered the building.

Vital Importance of Forms Management to Policies and Procedures

Forms management is equally important to the policies and procedures writer. In fact, in many companies, the policies and procedures department either manages the forms management department and/or the policies and procedures writer is also the forms manager. This relationship is critically important because most procedures contain references to forms in one way or another. In my experience, forms play an important role in the policy and procedure processes. Keep in mind that there can also be forms processes as well as policy and procedure processes. If the writer does a good job, then the process systems will mesh or be integrated.

You Cannot Write Policies and Procedures without FIRST Analyzing the Forms System

For many years, I used to analyze and design the forms used in a process before interviewing the users of the policy and procedure system. In some cases, I would even order the forms before the policy and procedure analysis is complete. This method proved invaluable to me because once the form system had been analyzed and streamlined, the policy or procedure fell into place.

DO NOT Make this Big Mistake!

The biggest mistake made by many policies and procedures writers is to write the policy or the procedure first and then ask the forms management department to adapt to the content contained within the published policy or procedure document. This is such a big mistake and it certainly does not promote buy-in of the systems. The work of the forms managers and the policies and procedures writers go hand in hand; there should be no exception to this relationship.

Fitting Forms into a Policy or Procedure

I am a strong advocate that a picture of the form, and its form instructions, must be included as an appendix to the policy or procedure. In the case of electronic forms, a link can be placed into the policy or procedure than opens up into a new window with a sample of the form and/or the actual form to download or print.

Sadly, many policies and procedures writers do not know the first thing about forms and they simply reference a form by its name and number, or worse, only by its name; and then they leave it to the reader to find the referenced form. I found this practice so wrong for several reasons. For example:

  1. The form will never be sought out or used
  2. The reader will ask a friend for the form and most likely get an outdated form that might have been lying around on the friend's desk or drawer for months, if not years.
  3. The form might be abbreviated with PR and the user might not be able to discern the source of the form. For example, is the abbreviation PR, a purchase requirement or some kind of public relations document.

Arguments against the Practice of Incorporating a Form into a Policy or Procedure

While I am a strong advocate of embedding a form image into a policy or procedure, there are a few arguments against this practice, none of which I agree with:

  1. READER SAYS: If I embed the image of the form into the policy or procedure, then every time the form changes, the policy or procedure will have to be reissued. While this might be a true statement, the policies and procedures writer should want to rewrite the policy or procedure because a form change also suggests a change in one or more processes that make up the heart of a policy or procedure document.
  2. READER SAYS: Why should I embed the image of the form when I can reference the form in a forms catalogue? Thus, if the form should change, the link would remain the same and then I would not have to change the policy or procedure each time the form changed. This argument has two issues: (1) the same argument above applies that when a form changes, then the content of the policy or procedure should also change and (2) I have found it rare for a company to have the resources to maintain a forms catalogue the way it should be maintained. Therefore, I would agree with this argument if the forms catalogue is regularly maintained and if the person who maintains the catalogue keeps in close touch with the policies and procedures writer such that any form change can be analyzed to determine if there is an affect on the current policies and procedures that use that form.

Sources of Finding Help Understanding Forms

The most important association in the United States is the Business Forms Management Association, BFMA.org. Seminars, conferences, workshops, and books are offered to its members. I highly recommend that you look at their website, give them a call, join, and attend a conference. One or two conferences will be an eye opener for any policies and procedures writer. A whole new world will open up to them.

Summary:

The policies and procedures writer should learn from this article and take charge of the forms management department if one exists. And if a department does exist and politics get in the way of taking over this function, then I do suggest that the writer develop good rapport with the forms management department and start working together.

And if a forms department does not exist, go out and get the training necessary to add this function to the policies and procedures department. The policies and procedures writer should take charge and:

  1. Think about how to produce attractive, effective forms that will enhance the organization's image and that will complement the policies and procedures it affects and/or supports.
  2. Think about how you can work closely with the forms department and/or forms designers to assure that the forms systems complement the policies and procedures system and visa versa.
  3. Think how you can best serve the readers of the policies and procedures and write effective policies and procedures that use effective forms.

Biography:

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Source by Stephen Page

The Importance of Educational Software in Educational Institutes

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Internet has expanded its dimensions like anything. The incredible expansion of the web world along with its easy and affordability of integrated technology have come together to create a new learning methodology of Educational Software. Nowadays, the task of carrying out educational projects and disseminating education is not at all futuristic or alien. This have not only become an important part of the educational setup but also of the business world. The facility to link with the internet in a reasonably priced and competent manner was the basic reason for this tremendous growth of this. Nowadays, education software available in comprehensive package forms for colleges, schools, Universities and even home use.

With time, educational institutions have become more diverse and therefore they cannot risk being simple temples of education. There are vast varieties of activities in educational institutes like admissions, curriculum management, library management, placements, hostel management, finance management and a number of other requirements. It is in view of these burgeoning requirements of schools and higher educational institutions that Educational Software have become popular nowadays. This software can address all the requirements of an educational institute starting from student curriculum management to school bus tracking system to Biometric Attendance System to Student Information System to Library Automation Systems.

Education Software is nowadays constituents of a school's identity as they are capable of delivering all the associated tasks. Present day software even provides the facility and access to parents to keep a bird's view of their kid's progress in the classroom. The Student Information System enables parents to monitor the curriculum of their children and receive feedbacks from the teachers. Intelligent Library Management System allows easy access to library records.

Another aspect of education software is their Bus Tracking System that ensures the safety of students. It is a path breaking integration into this software. Nowadays, they have become quite affordable integrating advanced GPS applications into the software. They are effective tools for the school management as well as the parents, who want to know whether their students or kids are safe while travelling from school to home and vice versa.

The curriculum management component of this is capable giving an interactive learning experience to students. Nowadays, most of the education software is capable of developing to the next level as and when students grow in their knowledge. Online tests and evaluations have become important tools used by such software in order to test the level of students. It can even take the form of a game in order to stimulate the mind of children giving them real demonstrations of subject matter. Educational Software can now be found for students of all ages and for all subjects.

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Source by Syed Abdul Samad

History of Human Resource Management

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How long has Human Resource Management or HRM been around? We need to be specific about which of these three aspects of the question do we want to know?

  1. How long has the term HRM been used?
  2. How long have functions typically covered by HRM today been studied and managed?
  3. How long has there been a dedicated unit, department or system taking care of HRM functions?

Definition of HRM

Let's define HRM first. Basically HRM is concerned with the policies, practices and systems that influence employees' workplace behaviour, attitudes and performance. HRM is a process of managing human talents/skills to achieve the organisation's objectives. Central to HRM is the core aim of all management, to increase predictability and achieve better control of events related to people in the organisation.

Examples of processes typically handled by HRM are

  • Compensation and benefits
  • Industrial relations
  • Performance and appraisal
  • Safety, security and occupational health management
  • Staffing – Job analysis, recruitment, selection and retention

How long has the term HRM been used?

  • The term HRM evolved in USA out of the earlier Personnel Management or PM in the early 1960s.
  • Merriam-Webster dictionary claims that the first recorded use of the term Human Resource is from 1961.
  • By the mid 1980s the term HRM or Human Resource Management started appearing and quickly replaced Personnel Management.

How long have functions typically covered by HRM today been studied and managed?

The functions typically covered by HRM today, have a much longer history than is widely believed. Many writers claim that the term Performance Management or PM in organisations was created, first in the USA to deal with the paperwork needed to hire employees and handle the payroll.

Though they did not use modern terms, there are many recorded instances of current HRM functions being named in ancient texts.

  • The ancient Code of Hammurabi from Babylon in 1750 BC sets minimum wages, obligations for expert craftsmen to transfer their skills to apprentices, quality standards for builders, and healthcare obligations for owners of slaves.
  • The Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder in the first century AD, warned about the health hazards of handling zinc and sulphur and prescribed the use of protective masks made from animal bladder.
  • In 1556, the German scientist Georgious Agricola in his De Re Metallica describes occupational hazards and methods for improving occupational health.

But the modern usage comes from USA especially after WWII, when Personnel Management practitioners wanted to different PM from other managerial functions.

How long has there been a dedicated unit, department or system taking care of HRM functions?

The first recorded modern dedication of a separate unit or department for HRM is from 1901 in USA. The National Cash Register Co. faced a disruptive strike yet won the battle with the unions. After this, the president of the company, John H. Patterson, organized a personnel department dedicated to improving worker relations by handling employee grievances, discharges, safety and other employee issues.

Though they were not called such, people dedicated to HRM functions started appearing in the USA in the 1920s when mass production started spreading. Personnel administrators were often called welfare secretaries in the 1920s. Much of the modern theoretical work on HRM began around this period. The studies conducted by George Elton Mayo (1880-1949), especially the Hawthorne Studies is credited as the foundation of the Human Relations Movement in management.

Only after WWII can we find specially designated units taking care of typical HRM functions. In many Western countries, collective bargaining defined industrial relations and HRM gained in importance.

From the 1960s, the rise of Japan as a commercial power also required efficient HR systems being adopted by the Japanese corporations.

Globally, the profile of HRM started becoming widely recognised by the 1980s. Universities and Business Schools started teaching different aspects of HRM in the 1990s. Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations was the first business school in the world for college-level study in HRM.

In the first decade of 2000, there was a strong movement to see HR as a strategic partner to business rather than as a support function system. The most recent areas where HR has become involved are corporate social responsibility and sustainable growth as well as environmental concerns.

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Source by Rana Sinha

Commercial Property Management – Checklist for Property Management Handovers

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When you take over the management of a commercial or retail property today, the information that you gather from the outgoing property manager or landlord will be critical to the establishment and future success of your property management processes.

Information is Critical

Lack of information in the handover process means problems and potential errors in the future. On that basis you should have a specialised handover process that you can implement on and with the handover of every property type within your local area. A checklist will help your activities as you bring in the new property to the management portfolio.

Here are some ideas to incorporate into your handover checklist:

  1. Get complete and comprehensive details of all leases and licensed occupied areas within the property. You will need to check these against the tenants physically in occupancy and the rental invoices that are raised for tenancy payment. Everything has to cross relate accurately.
  2. Copies of lease documents should be checked against the original documentation. Also look for side agreements for any extension or variance documentation relating to the original lease.
  3. Copies of correspondence relating to existing tenancy matters should be handed to you. Ask for this specifically and drill down on the details of each matter.
  4. Get copies of the current rental invoices and cross reference these to the tenancy schedules for the property. It is not unusual to come across in errors in the tenancy schedule or the rental invoices.
  5. The tenancy schedule should be checked against the actual leases and other occupancy papers and the signed documentation between the landlord and tenant.
  6. Check all outgoings charges and expenses that are applied to the tenancies within the managed property. The charging process should be shown on the rental invoices; you will need to check this amount and the process of recover that is adopted. It is not unusual to see errors in the outgoings recovery with tenants in managed properties. The process of checking will involve you getting copies of the current outgoings budget and the recent outgoings reconciliation.
  7. The arrears that apply to the property and any tenancies should be identified as part of the handover. They are sometimes discharged at the time of settlement, although the question should be raised in case you are taking over the ongoing pursuit of the arrears with any existing tenants. If that is the case you will need copies of all previous correspondence and claims.
  8. Current vacant tenancies within the premises may be the subject of lease negotiation. You will need copies of the lease offers that are or have been made and the status of the existing negotiations.
  9. Details of the maintenance issues within the building will be required. The essential services within the building will be critical maintenance contracts to identify early in the Handover. Any threats to the stability and function of essential services should be identified and addressed immediately. The maintenance contractors for the building will understand the function of the existing plant and machinery; get details of these contractors and then set up meetings as quickly as possible.
  10. Ask about any orders or notices that apply to the property or any part thereof. Check out any encumbrances, rights of way, or easements that apply to property usage.

So these are some of the main items that apply to the property management handover process. There will always be more issues and items to look at although these items listed above are the big ones to immediately get under control.

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Source by John Highman

5 Essential Features of ERP Solution

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Enterprise Resource Planning better known as ERP is a software package that integrates seamlessly with the company's functions and operations so as to provide enhanced and timely information via shared data stores. An ERP package is a great enhancement for the companies as it has numerous advantages, some of which are:

o It streamlines work-flows.

o Helps to provide better customer service.

o Provides real-time statistics into raw material availability, sales patterns and cash flow.

o Ensures swift processing of information thereby reducing the paperwork.

o It is quite suitable for global operations as it includes local as well as international attributes required for a global business.

In short, an ERP system can help to boost the productivity levels thereby increasing profits, both tangible and intangible.

Like every other thing, ERP too has some drawbacks. With levels of configuration and intricate interfaces, ERP implementation takes both time & money and can significantly affect the company's working environment. However, the advantages of ERP software always outnumber the drawbacks and have become a kind of necessity for manufacturing industry, transport sector and distribution & retail stores.

In order to implement ERP solutions, companies should search thoroughly for the options and weigh them according to the features and capabilities. Most important of them are:

1. Financial Management – Owing to the fact that companies are constantly under the scrutiny of financial regulatory bodies, a sound financial administration is an essential component of an ERP solution. A financial management module offers several benefits. It ensures that companies adhere to financial reporting and tax requirements. Also, managers can boost financial performance with real-time tracking of expenses by improving cash flows and maintaining more accurate and timely financial reporting.

2. Human Resource Management (HRM) – Earlier Human Resource (HR) ERP modules were restricted to employee administration, payroll management and few other legal reporting. But now, the solution has evolved and moved beyond the boundaries. The latest solutions are able to handle varied number of tasks such as talent management, scheduling, recruitment, performance assessment, time & attendance and many more. Additionally, the tool also provides customized insight into common HR processes.

3. Supply Chain Management (SCM) – In the current highly competitive market, it is essential for a company to correctly assess the demand, supply, manufacturing status, logistics and distribution. Failing to do so can have adverse effect on the company's operations and may sour the relationship with the suppliers or distributors. It may also lead to degrading the reputation of the company in the market. An ERP supply chain module takes care of all the phases right from design to the requirement fulfillment.

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Customers are the most valuable assets of any company and no one can afford to lose them. If you have large customer base, it becomes quite difficult to address their needs on time. A customer relationship management module (CRM) ensures proper flow of information between sales team to address the needs and marketing team to understand the buying preference and patterns.

5. Third-Party Interoperability – No two businesses are same and even if they are, chances are that they have some uniqueness in their operations or requirements. It calls for additional arrangement to satisfy those unique needs if it is not addressed in their existing ERP system. Therefore, it is important that the ERP solution is scalable and interoperable without any integration nuisances.

Installing an ERP solution can be a daunting task and further customization to suit the business needs makes the process more complicated. Therefore, it is quite necessary to select an ERP package with the appropriate features and capabilities so that it can deliver more benefits than investment.

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Source by Shailendra Sial