Author Archives: Susan Rochester

About Susan Rochester

BSc MHRM CAHRI (Australian Human Resources Institute) Member CDAA (Career Development Association of Australia) and NAGCAS (National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services). Distributor of Harrison Assessments in Australia.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

New SLICE survey of people strategies in financial advice practices

The second SLICE financial planning survey examines a range of critical issues confronting financial planning practices, topics that challenge practices’ efficiency, profitability and viability.

The SLICE 2 survey provides financial planning practice owners and managers with an opportunity to quickly and easily share their views and insights with their peers, to build an understanding of trends across the sector.

Survey authors, Peter Dawson of The Dawson Partnership and Susan Rochester of Balance at Work, were thrilled with the response to the first SLICE, held in November 2013. Here’s a small sample of the results the survey uncovered:

  • 32% of practices increased their headcount in 2013, with 13% expecting the implementation of FOFA would lead to them employing more staff in the future;
  • 18% use social media as part of their recruitment process;
  • In selecting staff, 21% of respondents always use behavioural profiles and 20% always use knowledge based test.
  • Half the practices surveyed increased their training spend in 2013, but 13% spent less on training;
  • 23% rated the support they receive from their licensee for recruitment and people management as ‘good’ (16%) or ‘excellent’ (7%). A further 25% rated it as ‘satisfactory’.

The second SLICE survey looks at business growth, succession planning and the impact of the proposed chances to FOFA. The survey takes than 5 minutes to complete.

Click here to complete the survey.

When you complete the survey, you will be able to access a copy of the results of the previous survey.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Harrison Assessments and privacy

New privacy provisions come into force in Australia today. Here’s a link to the summary for small businesses (annual revenue under $3 million):

http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-resources/privacy-business-resources/snapshot-of-the-privacy-act-for-small-business

One of the amendments (new Australian Privacy Principle 8) applies to personal information that is collected here but stored overseas. See: http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-resources/privacy-fact-sheets/other/privacy-fact-sheet-17-australian-privacy-principles

Harrison Assessments data is stored overseas, so we are taking the time to let you know how we handle data.

Here is how we ask profilees or applicants for personal info via HATS

  • For jobs: “You are invited to apply for the <<Job Title>> job opening for <<Company Name>>. Please click on the link and complete the electronic questionnaire. The questionnaire results will be used to help <<Company Name>> better understand your work experience and work preferences.”
  • For development: “Please click on the link and fill out the work preferences questionnaire. The questionnaire results will be used to help <<Company Name>> better support your work satisfaction. There are no right or wrong answers. The questionnaire will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Please complete the questionnaire when you can do it without interruptions.”
  • CNS landing page: “To gain access the Harrison Career Navigator, please click the link below then enter the e-mail address that this letter was sent to and the following temporary password: <<User Password>>. This system can help you to improve your understanding of your career preferences and options, and can be a very useful planning tool.”

These texts explain what we do with profilee’s information when they are actively taking steps to complete a questionnaire and why. Harrison Assessments is an assessment service provider (ASP), so in comparison to credit agencies or financial institutions the personal info we ask for is bare bones. The exception may be the optional and anonymous Age/Race/Sex questions that we use in research to prove HA’s not discriminatory, which can be turned off by request (given its anonymity it seems extreme to remove, but we err on the conservative side where this sensitive data in concerned). As for their assessment info, it’s personal, certainly, but being work preference related it’s almost irrelevant in any other context. We protect it none the less.

In the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s words:-

Relevance

13.39 Personal information is irrelevant if it does not have a bearing upon or connection to the purpose for which the information is held.


Our data collection is 100% relevant and securely held, with control in the hands of our Customers for how they manage individual concerns that spring from their employees/applicants.

Harrison Assessments have always been globally careful regarding privacy because it’s the right thing to do. The data is secure. We are sensitive to it remaining so.

For more details, read Privacy Policy Statement_Harrison Assessments International

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Universities Australia deal to get students ‘work ready’

By Alexandra Hansen, 26 February 2014    The Conversation logo

Universities Australia has announced an agreement with business groups to collaborate on vocational training to improve the employability of graduates.

Universities Australia chair Sandra Harding made the announcement in Canberra today. The agreement will assist students in undertaking Work Integrated Learning. This includes work placements accredited for university course work, mentoring and shadowing programs, and internships.

Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson pointed to the closure of manufacturing plants in Victoria as evidence that university graduates need to be equipped with on-the-job skills in an increasingly competitive job market.

The signatories to the agreement include Universities Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia, among others.

One of Australia’s leading voices on education policy, Dr Gavin Moodie of RMIT, described the announcement as a positive but only preliminary step to increase understanding and cooperation in expanding work-integrated learning.

“Much more will be needed to convert this statement of goodwill into increased and improved work-integration learning,” Dr Moodie told The Conversation today.

He said Australian universities have long incorporated work experience in some of their programs, such as medicine, law, and nursing. Over the past decade, they have sought to offer Work Integrated Learning in more programs to all students who wish to participate.

“Universities are expanding Work Integrated Learning because they believe it enriches students’ learning, it makes graduates more employable, and it responds to employers’ wishes.”

One of the challenges, he said, is finding enough work experience opportunities for students.

“This is particularly ironic in view of employers increasingly seeking graduates who are ‘work ready’.

“As the Australian Workforce Productivity Agency responds, some employers don’t seem to be ‘graduate ready’,” Dr Moodie said.

For vocational training to become a permanent and successful aspect of university degrees across the board, Dr Moodie suggested it cannot be orchestrated purely by peak university and employer bodies. Individual employers, including small to medium-sized employers, will need to work with universities.


Update: Professor of International Education Simon Marginson said work and education are qualitatively different social sites, and should remain so.

“Education provides skills and knowledge useful both short term and long term, but can only provide broad or generic training for work, even in specific professional courses like engineering or law, “ he said.

“If education is tailored too closely to particular jobs or workplaces it becomes inflexible – the skills are not readily moved to other places,” he said.

Marginson said good quality generic training produces mobile, flexible graduates. While they still have much “on-the-job” learning to do, they can only learn to be specific job-ready in the particular job they undertake after study.

He says the vocational training provided by universities should be generic training, such as how to search for opportunities, how to write a resume, and how to succeed in a job interview.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Get it done!

Despite being a coach myself and understanding the value of accountability, I am also probably as bad as anyone else at keeping myself accountable.

Despite every tool available to me, sometimes the keeping track just seems to take up too much time – time I want to spend moving on to the next week, project, client…

If this sounds like you, too, here’s a quick checklist to use to keep yourself aligned to your goals. Fill it in every Friday afternoon to keep you focused.

  1. Top 3 tasks to be completed next week to bring me closer to my goals.
  2. Top 3 tasks I completed this week (including the goal(s) they relate to)
  3. Who I met this week (include current, prospective and past clients; centres of influence; staff; alliance partners)

Use a quick ‘check in’ like this and I guarantee you will make progress. Read it and don’t act on it, I guarantee you will find it hard to keep yourself – or anyone else – accountable.

Let me know how you go!

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Are you heading in the right direction?

terminating employment

Occasionally, it’s good to know you are on the right path…

This email we received from a consultant using Harrison Assessments Career Navigator System (CNS) demonstrates the power in knowing you are heading in the right direction:

A colleague in her mid-twenties who worked opposite me has for quite a while thought that she would like to be a nurse. All she really knew is that she didn’t enjoy working in this job, behind a computer all day every day because it didn’t give her a sense of doing something meaningful. But she didn’t know what else to do. A few weeks before Christmas she used the Harrison Career Navigator, and surprise, surprise, it listed nursing as something she would be really good at. She moved into high gear, enrolled at university to do a nursing degree, resigned from her job, moved a lot closer to the university, and has already begun preparing for the next three years of study. What’s inspiring is that she was willing to sacrifice her income and live another three years as a poor, struggling student in order to do what she loves.

Another friend suffered a major mental health issue and had to be hospitalised for a month. The crisis was brought on by issues related to work, and on leaving hospital she knew she couldn’t keep working in that area, but had no idea what else she could do. She did the assessment, which amongst other things recommended she work in a post office. It so happens her old job also managed a post office, and so she moved into the new role. She now loves what she does, finds work a lot less stressful and her health has really improved (so much so she’s returned to full time work).

A colleague who is successful in her current career but a little bored has been increasingly wondering, ‘Now what?’ She jumped at the opportunity to do the assessment, which confirmed that she would be well suited to being a doctor, something she had contemplated before. She is now seriously considering whether to give up her current work and pursue a career in the medical field. It would be a very long road for her, but immensely rewarding. I’m betting she’ll go for it!

I guess I can also add my own story to the list. I’ve known for a long while that I really want to work in the areas of counselling, coaching and training, which I love, but have often doubted whether I have what it takes to make it in that area. Doing the Harrison Career Development Assessment gave me a huge boost in confidence, confirming that I would be well suited to all three and that they would give me the sense of doing something meaningful that I’ve lacked in my career so far. And even more than that, it even more specifically identified that I would be particularly suited to career and relationship counselling, and adult education training, which I have really enjoyed in my education. So it was a great confirmation that I am on track and has helped give me the confidence and motivation to push on. Exciting times ahead!

What difference has direction – or lack of direction – made in your life?

Click here to get sample reports.

To find out more about how you can help your clients find their direction with Harrison Assessments’ Career Navigator, click here.

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

New products from Harrison Assessments

Agile Culture

We are thrilled to announce:

  • The Career Navigator
  • The Succession Planner

Dr Dan Harrison and his team are upgrading the Harrison Assessments HATS system this month to include these new modules.  There will also be updates to the questionnaire and the standard Job Success Formula library of over 6000 templates. Click here to download a summary of the changes: Harrison Assessments New Release Sept 2013

Here is a brief explanation of the new assessment products and talent management tools soon to be available in your HATS system at no extra charge:

CAREER NAVIGATOR

This is an interactive career system that has been added to the current Career Module.  This means that now when you send a questionnaire invitation to a client you have the option of linking their results to their own Career Navigator account.

The client can log into their Career Navigator account to run their own reports and view much more information about careers than previously available in HATS reports.

And you’ll notice that the reports have been updated to be more focused on career satisfaction with an additional 19 ‘interest’ and ‘employment preference’ traits.  HATS administrators will still be able to log into their clients accounts to see the results and run reports for coaching purposes.

The Career Navigator will make it much easier for career professionals, schools, universities, and employment organisations to give their customers access to the accuracy and vast amount of valuable employment information only found in the Career Module in HATS.

SUCCESSION PLANNER

The Succession Planner is an internal job succession tool for employees.  Companies can invite their employees to compare their work preferences (HA questionnaire) against any number of internal jobs included in the Succession Planning module.

Applications are linked to the recruitment campaign module which includes external applicants (if desired) and ensures a transparent, fair and performance based selection process.

The Succession Planner helps companies retain talented and committed employees and is a great resource for HR professionals.  It means employees have the benefit of applying for jobs they know they are already suited to, and may even consider a change in career direction with confidence.  It is also a valuable tool for company restructures and mergers.

For more information on what these changes mean for you, please contact us.  We look forward to answering your questions!

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Recruitment cost calculator for small business

hiring

Do you know how much it costs you to fill a vacant role?

Use the steps below to help you calculate the hiring costs for your business.

We hope you find the following guide useful – and if you do, please share it!

Identify your direct costs

The direct costs of replacing a departing employee include:

  • Expenses of advertising the vacancy
  • Fees paid to recruitment agencies
  • Fees paid to consultants for conducting tests, checking references, pre-employment medicals, etc
  • Termination payout amounts, including pro rata long service leave and pay in lieu of notice

Add your indirect costs

The indirect costs are often less obvious and contribute a substantial proportion of the overall expense.  Indirect costs include:

1.       Loss of productivity for other employees filling in for vacant position

Where other employees perform part of the vacant job as well as their own jobs, estimate one-third of each employee’s total daily remuneration, multiplied by the number of days they continue to fill in.

2.       In-house costs of hiring

This includes the hourly rate of each employee involved in the process, multiplied by the number of hours they spend on tasks such as:

  • Drafting position descriptions and advertisements
  • Liaising with advertisement placement and recruitment agencies
  • Fielding enquiries from prospective candidates
  • Reading resumes
  • Screening applications and advising candidates
  • Making appointments for interviews
  • Carrying out interviews and debriefing
  • Verifying qualifications, checking references, conducting pre-employment assessments, etc

 3.       Induction and training

Multiply the hourly rate for each employee involved, by the time spent on training and induction of the new recruit.  Also include the cost of training and induction facilities.

4.       Termination administration

Again, it is possible to calculate the cost based on the hourly rate of the relevant staff members.  This may include:

  • Pay officer time to process termination pay,
  • Exit interviewer time,
  • Employee and line manager time to finish paperwork, return and check employer’s property (such as security tags, vehicles, tools, uniforms, sales resources, etc) and
  • Administration time, for example, on cancelling computer access.

5.       Loss of productivity in early stages of employment

New employees normally take some time before they become sufficiently familiar with their jobs to achieve 100% productivity.  One suggestion is to use an estimate of 50% productivity until the required standard is reached.

Estimate the number of days required to reach 100% productivity and multiply this by 50% of the employee’s daily total remuneration rate. Some estimates will be quantifiable, such as changes in sales income, but many will not.

6.       Loss of productivity in final stages of employment

The productivity of many employees falls while they are serving out their notice period. For example, many are preoccupied with making new arrangements relating to a new job.  Others may want to take unused sick leave or other days off they feel are owed to them.

There will also be time used for exit interviews, client hand over and farewell parties.  You might attempt to estimate percentage loss of productivity based on your observations of past employees who resigned, and multiply the percentage by the employee’s daily total remuneration rate and number of days after resignation.  Again, some estimates will be quantifiable but many will not.

Summary of employee turnover costs

When all the quantifiable expenses are calculated, the total cost of turnover for one employee is as follows:

Total direct costs

+ Loss of productivity for other employees filling in for vacant position

+ In-house hiring costs

+ Termination administrative costs

+ Induction and training costs

+ Loss of productivity in early stages of employment

+ Loss of productivity in final stages of employment

LESS Unpaid remuneration while the job is vacant.

Would you like to reduce your hiring costs?

In association with Peter Dawson of The Dawson Partnership, we have prepared an e-book to help you hire efficiently and effectively. Click here for your copy of Successful Recruitment: Transforming your business through best practice.

As always, please share your comments and queries below…

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Giving back

This is how we give back, as told by Ted Schellenberg of B1G1

Tell us your story of giving below.

We all seem to lose our balance every now and then, as we go about our lives. Luckily we often find a way to ‘right ourselves’ quickly, because we just seem to know, instinctively, what has to be done – less of this, more of that – to regain our balance. However, keeping the right balance at work can be a little more difficult, as somebody else is usually making the decisions there!

Enter Susan Rochester of Sydney, Australia. Susan believes that everyone has the right to be happy at work – including the boss. Her company offers a suite of online surveys that help managers to hire right the first time, to lead with confidence and to create a motivational culture.

With a name like ‘Balance at Work‘, we’ve always known that work is about a lot more than just making money,” Susan told us. “We were inspired to join B1G1 when we heard Chairman Paul Dunn speak here in Sydney. Such a simple and effective way for Balance at Work to ‘give back’ was really appealing to us. We particularly liked that we could link our contributions to B1G1 with our work with clients.

Their company website proclaims that “The Right Balance Delivers the Best Result”, and to get the best results from their giving program, Susan’s team took a page from their own company playbook – sitting down and spending time co-ordinating and balancing their contributions.

Each of the projects we contribute to is linked to a service we sell,” she says, “And those B1G1 projects are often relevant to that service. Over the time we’ve been a B1G1 partner, we’ve selected projects involving primary, computer and workforce education, microcredit, life coaching, meals and the environment!

We’ve found B1G1 makes giving more of a regular habit. B1G1 keeps us informed and makes it easy to share the concept with our clients.

Growing a business is hard work, and Susan told us that the B1G1 program helps that happen in a very balanced way: “Knowing that as our business grows we are able to help even more people to have a better life helps to make it worth the effort!

We are all capable of so much more than we think, and that’s especially true when it comes to global giving through B1G1. It really does give you a nice balance at work and in life!

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

It’s not all about the money

hiring

The recently released Hay Group Australian Salary Movement Index report has some interesting things to say about the basics of finding good staff – and keeping them:

The research reveals that organisations wishing to have higher engagement among employees and lower turnover should focus on getting these five fundamentals right.

1. Confidence – in the organisation and its leadership, providing clear direction ‐ line of sight ‐ and
support

2. Development – ensuring clear pathways for career development and progression are in place and communicated

3. Selection – ensure you are selecting the right people for the right job in order to maximise employee contribution and minimise turnover costs

4. Reward – fair (internal and external) recognition of both monetary and non‐monetary methods,
ensuring it’s a good fit for the organisation

5. Enabling employees – giving people what they need to do a good job, and an environment that is
positive and one that fosters innovation and creativity

How do you apply these basics in your organisation?

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

How well do you know your team?

business culture

At Balance at Work, we often get involved in helping our clients hire the best people. We also care about how they retain the best.

To keep key people, you need to know them and their needs.

As an exercise, imagine I’ve asked you to tell me the following about each of your top performers:

  1. Why do they work for you?
  2. What are their highest values?
  3. What could they earn elsewhere?
  4. What frustrates them about their job?
  5. What do they want to do in their career?
  6. How would they most like to be rewarded?
  7. Do they like the culture of your workplace?
  8. What worries them the most in their life right now?
  9. What are they most excited about in their life right now?
  10. How easy would it be for them to get another job if they wanted to?

How would you go?  Would you have all the answers?

If you found some gaps, it might be time to do some research – by which I mean having some conversations. Your interest in the answers to these questions demonstrates your interests in your team as people, not just ‘human resources’.  If you would like some help in retaining your team, please click here for more information.

Don’t you think they’ll feel like sticking around longer if they believe you care?

As always, have your say below…

 

BALANCE AT WORK BLOG

Case study: 360 degree feedback for company culture

accountability

You can download this post as a PDF here: Case Study – 360 for Culture

Late in 2012 we were approached by the HR Director of an SME in manufacturing. The organisation had been through extensive change and renewal. A new strategic plan was in place, as was a set of clearly defined organisational values.

Values
Keen to ensure the values were embedded in the day-to-day running of the business, the executive team decided to use 360 degree feedback. In this case, the members of the executive were to be rated by themselves, the CEO, their peers and their direct reports on how well they demonstrated the company’s seven core values. The values were:

  • Loyalty and transparency
  • Stamina and passion
  • Striving for excellence
  • Responsibility
  • Leadership
  • Unified culture
  • Innovation and initiative

The business had clearly defined and communicated the values to all staff in the organisation. Our task was to put those values and examples of aligned behaviours into an online questionnaire.

Questions
A typical question would look like this:
To what extent does this person demonstrate innovation?
Those who are innovative will –

  • Develop and initiate new approaches, experimenting with different ways of doing things
  • Follow through on their ideas, even when faced with significant obstacles
  • Maintain focus on the desired outcome

In addition to the questions on each core value, two questions allowing for additional comments were added at the end of the survey. These were:

  • What they do well… Please comment on how this person’s behaviour in general demonstrates the core values.
  • How they could be more effective… Please comment on what this person might do to more strongly reflect the core values.

Ratings
For each question, participants are invited to give a rating on the following scale and to add a free form comment.

1    Not at all
2    To a little extent
3    To a moderate extent
4    To a great extent
5    To a very great extent
N/A    Don’t know or not applicable

The N/A option was used to ensure participants were not forced to give a rating if they did not have enough information to do so. Likewise, there was no neutral option. Participants instead chose between options that describe the extent to which the specific behaviour is demonstrated.

Administration
While we were designing the questionnaire, the HR director was:

  • Educating staff on the purpose of the 360 and the process to be followed.
  • Training participants on how to give appropriate feedback.
  • Creating lists of who would be completing the survey. For each manager, there were five peers and five direct reports to give feedback, making a total of twelve responses for each person (including their own response and the CEO).

This pre-implementation phase took about two weeks in total.

Unique codes for each participant, linked to their relationship with the relevant manager, were sent to the HR director for distribution. The HR director knew who had which code, but had no access to the raw data. We knew which codes had been used but didn’t know the names of the participants. By separating these functions, anonymity was ensured.

During the two weeks of the survey, we monitored the responses to track completion. Reminders were sent to all participants a couple of times, to give a 100% completion rate. Responses were also screened for inappropriate language, although none was found.

Results
The survey results were collated and published for initial consultation with the CEO within one week of the survey closing. Following this discussion, copies were supplied to each of the managers, supported by coaching from the CEO and HR director.

Lessons learnt

  • Defining the purpose of the 360 degree feedback survey and how it links to strategy is critical in engaging participants.
  • Good rapport, communication and cooperation between the internal person responsible (in this case the HR director) and the supplier are essential for the smooth running of a 360 degree feedback project.
  • The 360 degree feedback process works on three levels to support company culture building:

1.   Demonstrates to all staff the importance management places on living the values;
2.   Helps individual managers understand how their behaviour in relation to the values is perceived by those around them;
3.   Points to areas for individual and organisational development in line with the desired culture.

More information
The Balance 360 feedback surveys and reports were developed by Balance at Work to complement the Harrison Assessments coaching reports.

UPDATE (November 2014)

Since this case study was written up, we have upgraded to a new software platform so we can now offer you even more flexibility for your 360 degree feedback surveys. If you would like more information, please get in touch.

"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things. "
By Sam Refshauge, CEO, batyr
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
By Jessica Hill, Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
By Chris Bulmer, National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"We use Harrison Assessments with our clients to support their recruitment processes. We especially value the comprehensive customisable features that allow us to ensure the best possible fit within a company, team and position. Balance at Work is always one phone call away. We appreciate their valuable input and their coaching solutions have also given great support to our clients."
By Benoit Ribe, HR Solutions Manager, Polyglot Group
"The leadership team at Insurance Advisernet engaged Susan from Balance at Work to run our leadership development survey and learning sessions. Susan was very professional in delivering the team and individual strengths and opportunities for growth. Susan's approach was very "non corporate" in style which was refreshing to see. I can't recommend Balance at Work more highly to lead, employee and team development sessions."
By Shaun Stanfield, Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet

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