ePortfolio, what is it good for?

I have spent a fair bit of time over the last 4 years working on and off on my ePortfolio. I have created posts, pages, menus. I have changed themes, images, fonts. I have added videos, links, documents and other blogs to it. And in the end I am still only scratching the surface of this rich resource.

By creating this ePortfolio I have learnt a lot. Not only in the creation of a WordPress site but also in regards to information management, knowledge management, information organisation and accessibility of information. I have had to think about what knowledge I wanted to share and was relevant and how to best present it. This definitely built on my knowledge management skills as I had to select which knowledge was relevant for my own professional development purposes and also that fitted the requirements of the assessment brief.

Managing the information I included and making is accessible was a challenge. There are a variety of ways you can do this on WordPress sites and the variety of options was sometimes overwhelming and made the decision hard. In the end though I was able to use skills I had developed from the course of my Masters and pick a method that I feel allows people to easily navigate and find the information included within my portfolio.

The biggest strength of completing this portfolio is the chance it has given me to reflect on my own experiences. Instead of letting ideas, knowledge and skills I have learnt fade into the background I have been forced to think, reflect and record these experiences. This has been an amazing experience as I could fully understand what I had learnt and how I could relate it to being a Library and Information professional. It has also allowed me to easily recall training I have done, skills I have developed and new knowledge I have gained. For instance, I have reflected on each new job I have had over the last 4 years and how each of them has helped me grow as an Information Professional. This will and has helped me immensely in my career as I have a record of what I have done to show current and prospective employers. It also means I won’t easily forget the skills I do have, how I can use them and perhaps what skills I still need to work on.life-is-beautiful-905868_1280

Overall, the experience of creating and maintaining an ePortfolio has been greatly beneficial. I aim to continue to use this as a way to record my experiences as an Information Professional and also as a tool to demonstrate my skills and experience to employers. Going forward I know this will be a valuable resource for me  and am looking forward to what the future may bring for me as a librarian and an Information Professional 🙂

 

Go back to Part C: Professional Development Activities

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HR Coordinator, here we go!

Since my last glowing review of HR for an information professional, I have been promoted to HR Coordinator. I have been doing this new role for 8 months now and let me tell you, it has been interesting, challenging, motivating, hectic and FUN! I have really enjoyed growing into this role and taking on additional responsibilities and improving as an information and HR professional and getting to work alongside an amazing team.

It was quite difficult for the first month or so as I straddled my old and new jobs. There was a seriously high volume of work coming through from my old job with no one to take it on and I was struggling to learn my new responsibilities. However, I persevered and worked on my time management and delegation skills and was able to process a bulk load of information into our payroll data base in order to meet our deadlines. As an information professional this has really enhanced by database knowledge and my information management skills as I had to sort through a lot of information and select the appropriate information in an efficient way.

Not all of it has been hard times. In my new role, as I have a bit more seniority and experience I am able to communicate a lot more with a range of different people including higher up managers such as the General Managers of Madame Tussauds and the London Dungeon as well as directors of the Merlin London Cluster. Being confident and knowledgeable enough to advise with a variety of people throughout the business is important as an information professional as it allows me to communicate information effectively and efficiently.

Other additional responsibilities I have taken on as a HR Coordinator include being much more active in Recruitment and Training. I can now run assessment centers and conduct interviews with candidates and have also run several training courses, including company inductions. These are great experiences and have really aided in my development as a HR and information professional. Both training and recruitment require me to impart information to a group of individuals. For training it is for the employees development and growth that I must effectively teach them new knowledge and skills. This is a vital skill as an information professional, as people learn in different ways so I have had to use different learning techniques, such as presentations, videos, group activities and individual activities, throughout the training courses in order for all employees to gain from the experience. I have had to share and communicate information in different mediums such as oral, written and visual in order for each employee to grasp the information. Again, this is a VITAL tool for any information professional.

Running assessment centres and conducting interviews has also helped my information skills. Again, I must impart a lot of important information to sometimes a large group of candidates. I must manage the information given to them so they aren’t overwhelmed and can understand what tasks they must undertake. This is really important in order to get the most out of the candidate and recruit well. Assessments and interviews are also about gathering, finding and deducing the information we need from the candidates in order to make informed decisions. As an information and HR professional this is key and can also be tricky thus different mediums are engaged such as forms, presentations, group tasks and questions. This information must be processed accurately and fairly on a scoring matrix in order for the correct decision to be made for the business. Therefore the gathering of this information is crucial to successful recruitment which directly relates to the success of the business. HUZZAH for information!

My new role has also allowed me to take on a few more projects. One that I worked really hard on was coordinating not one but two (!!) benefits fairs for our employees at Madame Tussauds London and the London Dungeon. These events for all our teams had to be planned well in advance and included me further developing the following skills –

  • Liaising with outside companies
  • Liaising with internal employees
  • Engaging with employees to find out what they wanted to see
  • Arranging and sticking to an assigned budget
  • Coordinating food, drinks, raffles, goody bags, rooms and with management
  • Advertising

By running and completing this project I was able to present information to our employees in an engaging and exciting way. I also had to organise information proficiently in order to deal with multiple vendors with requests and get them all on site for the fairs. Overall the fairs were very successful with over 250 attending the fairs and taking in the information I presented them, whoa!

Madame Tussauds Benefits Fair 2015

Madame Tussauds Benefits Fair 2015

Another project I undertook, at my own initiative, was in regards to employee engagement. At Madame Tussauds London we have an annual employee of the year award whereby employees nominate an outstanding employee. All the nominating is anonymous to our employees and they only find out the winners, not who is nominated. In order to inspire and engage our team I wanted to let them know who else had been nominated. I had to think carefully about what information to give our employees and how best to present it so that the employees were able to get the most out of it. This project was turning out to be all about the information! In the end I presented certain quotes and snippets of all the nominated employees on a large board in a busy thorough fare of the office. I jazzed the board up and took pictures of all the nominated employees, to make it fun! This project was wildly successful because of the way I presented the information. Everyone saw the board and were thrilled if they saw themselves or their colleagues up on it. It definitely helped with employee engagement and even the General Manager praised it, a very rare thing! Overall this project showed me how crucial it is to show information in an accessible way to suit your audience.

I have learnt loads more over the last 8 months however I don’t want to ramble on too long. Some other key skills I have picked up include –

  • Problem solving – being heavily involved in payroll I have had to solve many complex queries. I have come to really enjoy this side of my work, flexing my brain and being able to sift through information, find the cause of the issue and implement a solution.
  • Time management & prioritising – taking on more responsibility and helping support a new attraction opening (Shrek’s Adventure! London plug!) I have had an increase in my workload. I have had to utilise lists and prioritising more than ever before.
  • Employee Relations – I have been able to understand and advise more frequently on our company’s disciplinary policy, sickness and absence policy and other company policies. Senior managers feel comfortable discussing confidential matters with me and are confident with the advice I give them.
  • Training – not only have I run training courses but I have also been training my own colleagues in processes I am confident in such as payroll & recruitment administration. I have had to understand my colleagues’ needs and how they best learn in order to share the information accurately with them.

I am still utilising a lot of the knowledge I spoke about in my previous blog, The Wonderful Land of Human Resources :). However I am now really fleshing these out and expanding my skill sets and knowledge.

HR is still a passion of mine, especially now that I am interacting with more and more employees, such as in training and recruitment. These further skills have enabled me to implement knowledge I have gained during my masters and improve my information skills. Plus it is loads of fun! HR and information go hand in hand and I cannot wait to bring all my new skills and knowledge back to Brisbane and start the next stage in my information career, be that in HR or in the Library industry!

 

Go back to Part D – Professional at Work

The wonderful land of human resources :)

If you have read my previous blog you will know that I am currently living and learning in LONDON! It is a very exciting place full of wonder and magic that has opened my eyes to the possibilities. The possibilities of being an information professional and not working in a library. It kind of just happened, I didn’t mean for it but I am not sorry. My main career aspirations have always been to do something that I like (such as organising) and to help and interact with people. Because of this when I first started my course in Information and Library studies and started working on the L&R Desk at Gardens Point Library I thought I had found IT. The perfect job for me. But as I left that job behind and went exploring the world outside of Brisbane I discovered another job that met my career aspirations to a T. Human Resources.

I have been working in this department as a HR Data Administrator for nearly 10 months now and LOVE it. Not only do I work with amazing people but I get to utilise my information skills on a daily basis, organise a lot of information AND help all the employees that work for the company. This new career direction is seriously testing my loyalty to libraries, but is that a bad thing? I don’t think so.

From working in HR I have learnt a million and one new skills and really developed my information skills. Some of the new skills I have developed and continue to develop are –

HR Generalist skills –

  • Developing knowledge of  HR, what it is, what is does and what the UK employee policies are regarding: sickness & absence, disciplinary, recruitment, maternity & paternity and long service etc
  • Helping employees with queries including payroll, benefits and recruitment
  • Liaising with management regarding their staff and their HR needs
  • Providing support with the disciplinary process including note taking and advice of disciplinary procedures
  • Supporting the HR Manager and others of the HR team

Recruitment skills

  • Assisting the Recruitment Specialist with recruitment administration including CV sifting, communicating with candidates & organising new starters
  • Successfully implementing new recruitment procedures including onboarding & scheduling centres as per company guidelines in order to streamline the recruitment process
  • Keeping employees up to date with current internal vacancies
  • Assisting in interviews and assessment centres
  • Note taking for interviews and assessment centres
  • Managing background screenings on new starters and liaising with third party company who runs them

Administrative skills

  • Inputting all new starter information into data base accurately
  • Maintaining all employee files and keeping them up to date
  • Carrying out regular audits on employee files to keep information up to date and compliant
  • Managing other employee databases relating to online STAR system
  • Inputting large quantities of comments onto STAR system
  • Managing and inputting any employee changes including leavers onto data base
  • Creating documents and letters for employees and their files

Information programs used successfully

  • Ciphr – employee database including all payroll information
  • Taleo – online recruitment system that allows you to interact with candidates via email
  • ADP Freedom – records employee sickness & absence and allows access to payslips
  • STAR – online employee benefit scheme
  • Agenda – online screening system

Working as a HR Data Administrator has really opened me up to a world of new information and what I can do with it. I utilise and store information for the business everyday whether that be paper filing it or inputting the data into one of the many HR systems we use. I can definitely see how important (and confidential!) this information is to the  business and that by inputting it correctly we are able to track employee records accurately. This is important for employees so they can see what training they have done, their career progression and get correspondence from the company in a timely manner. I can also see how it is important for the business as it allows the high ups (directors and general managers) to see who they employ, how many people they employ, track their departments sickness and other things that affect the business. The information that I help create and maintain is important and can affect employees and the business so I must be accurate!

Whilst in this role I have undertaken various projects, all to do with information management. One of the main ones was a file audit on all of our employees proof of right to work in the UK. By creating a list of all current employees who did not have a passport noted on the employee system, Ciphr, and going through their files I was able to identify which employees we either needed to update our database with the information within their file or contact the employee so they could provide us with their proof of right. I then contacted via letter all the employees who needed to provide their proof of right, advised them of what they had to show me and recorded and filed the information they provided me. I had to carefully manage the information coming in to make sure that I received the correct and valid documents from ALL of the people I needed.  I also had to liaise with managers in order to get the correct information on time. It was a big task with over 100 people to be contacted and managed however I successfully completed it.

From working in HR I can really see how an information professional could fit in and really contribute to a team. There is so much information coming in and out that there are ample opportunities to improve my information management, information retrieval , information programs and  information organisation skills and develop further as an information professional. I really hope I can continue on this career path of an information professional within HR as it is really worthwhile and exciting!

 

Go back to Part D – Professional at Work

A new information land – FINANCE!

So I haven’t written a blog for quite some time but I have an excuse! I have moved over to London and have been travelling, exploring and finding new work. It’s all been very faced paced and I am only now just starting to really settle in and have some spare time. I thought I would use this time to reflect on the new skills I have learnt and that I am developing over in London. Surprisingly there is more to London then just pubs and tourists, I have learnt and utilised many information skills!

My first job in London was as a temporary position within a finance team as an Administrative Assistant. They had BIG monthly deadlines that had to be met no matter what and a large influx of tickets and vouchers that had to be counted, recounted, recorded and invoiced daily. It was a very fast faced and high pressure environment that I did well in. By putting my head down and doing solid work I was always able to help the team reach their deadlines. Some of the key skills I developed were –

  • Inputting huge volumes of data accurately
  • Working to strict deadlines
  • Prioritising work schedule to meet deadlines
  • Filing copious amounts of paper files
  • Photocopying & scanning copious amounts of paperwork
  • Becoming familiar with creating invoices
  • Using invoicing program SAGE
  • Successfully communicating and working with team
  • Using complex Microsoft excel spreadsheets accurately

One of the key things I did in my 2 months of working with the finance team was helping them streamline one of their main duties, scanning. As I had previous experience with their brand of printer, I recommended a new option within the printer settings that allowed them to scan large documents without rushing. It also allowed them to continue their scan even if there was a jam. This saved them a lot of pain and time and scanning was a vital but very time consuming role within this team.

Working with Finance allowed me to develop my information skills by forcing me to process large quantities of information regularly and with a high level of accuracy. I could see that even the smallest amount of information, such as how many people where on a ticket, could affect not only the team but the business. For instance if a voucher was recorded wrong it could result in an incorrect invoice resulting in an unhappy customer and reflecting negatively on the business. I also used information skills whilst filing. Even in this task one out of place invoice means that the information is that much harder to locate. When labeling invoices they had to be given names according to a specific formula. This meant that they could be found easier at a later date. This showed a very important information retrieval system.

Overall, this job allowed me to develop my data inputting & filing skills. It also allowed me to see how important information management is to not only teams but the overall business needs. I will never forget my first job in London and all that it taught me!

 

Go back to Part D – Professional at Work