In our experience, a well-planned combination of tools and activities gives the best outcomes when coaching and training employees.
Here’s an example where Harrison Assessments was used as part of an integrated approach to staff development.
In our experience, a well-planned combination of tools and activities gives the best outcomes when coaching and training employees.
Here’s an example where Harrison Assessments was used as part of an integrated approach to staff development.
By Alexandra Hansen, 26 February 2014
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.
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.
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!
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!
We are thrilled to announce:
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:
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.
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!
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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
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?
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:
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…
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.
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:
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.
A typical question would look like this:
To what extent does this person demonstrate innovation?
Those who are innovative will –
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:
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.
While we were designing the questionnaire, the HR director was:
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.
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.
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.
The Balance 360 feedback surveys and reports were developed by Balance at Work to complement the Harrison Assessments coaching reports.
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.
We’re all busy, so here’s some quick advice on how to get the most from your staff! Of the millions of words written about productivity, there are really just three things you need to remember.
For your employees to work the way you’d like them to, they need:
1. Something to believe in
Your strategic plan describes the game.
2. Best job fitness
In my experience, productivity and performance issues are often the result of ‘square pegs in round holes’. This is a perfect time to reassess the fit of key people within their teams. If you have identified individual strengths, you’ll be able to make the most of them.
Sometimes, this may result in more training or restructuring, or it may simply lead to the shifting of some tasks between people.
With the right people in the right positions, you can be confident you have built a winning team.
3. Knowledge of what they’re supposed to be doing
Your organisational chart, policies, procedures, job descriptions and employment contracts are the rules of the game. As with any successful team, training and coaching are ongoing.
Also let employees know how their role fits into the wider picture of the work that is done in your organisation. Are they fully aware of the consequences for the business of their excellent (or poor) performance?
By putting in a little extra effort on people management, you can make huge productivity gains. If you would like some help with this, please click here.
What have you tried to improve productivity in your business?
Have you ever had the experience of employing someone who you “just loved” when you interviewed them, only to face future disappointment when they turned out not to be the person you thought they were?
This is what I call “interview infatuation” and I coined the term because I’ve seen it happen so often I thought it needed a name.
Interview infatuation often happens because recruitment is not your main job it can be daunting task. Even if you have a robust process for recruitment, interviewing candidates can have you feeling anxious and confused.
Part of the problem is that candidates are often a lot better prepared that you. Dozens of websites provide sample interview questions and recommended responses. Your average candidate may also be more motivated than you are to perform well.
How do you shift the balance back to being in your favour?
By putting into practice just a few things that experienced interviewers do as a matter of course:
Most candidates come into interviews well-prepared and you’re at a disadvantage if you’re not equally well-prepared.
A quick scan of the candidate’s resume and drafting a few questions related to it does not count as preparation. Preparing thoroughly involves:
As part of your preparation, write behavioural questions that are relevant to being successful in this role. Behavioural questions matter because past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. Anyone can guess the correct answer to questions such as “What are your strengths?”
Examples of all-purpose behavioural questions
With each of these questions, follow up with more probing:
These questions are looking beyond the standard answers the candidate may have prepared. What you’re seeking to understand is not just the good stuff but how they handle situations when things go “pear shaped”. You will also get an insight into their thought processes as they describe what they learnt (or didn’t) from the experience.
When recruiting, you are often comparing candidates with diverse strengths. To do this effectively, it’s recommended that you consistently ask the same questions to all candidates. Naturally, you will ask some different questions as you explore each candidate’s suitability but your basic structure and behavioural question should be the same for everyone. By doing this you will find it much easier to rank candidates according to the essential and desirable criteria for the role.
A simple table of scores for each can help your final decision
One final point that wasn’t on my original list: Don’t feel like you have to do this alone. I always recommend to my clients that they get someone whose judgement they trust to help them interview. Their insight could prove valuable.
Having someone else at the interview may not be feasible for you. In that case, you can still gain help by accessing the many resources available online.
Preparing, incisive questioning and consistency will improve your “hit-rate” at interviews. You may also find it enhances your reputation as an employer.
Do you have your ‘dream team’ working happily and productively in your business or your department? Perhaps you feel there’s still room for improvement. Below are seven questions to help you identify the gaps in your team’s effectiveness, with ‘best practice tips’ for your consideration.
1. Do we know what we’re trying to achieve?
Does everyone on your team understand the strategic plan and how the team’s successes (and failures) impact the achievement of the organisation’s goals? How involved were they in setting the goals of your team? Could they explain the goals to others?
Include the team in planning and clearly communicate how the team’s performance will contribute to the organisational goals.
2. Is every team member committed to our joint goals?
You will know the answer to this question through observation and questioning. Having a common goal is not enough in itself to ensure success, commitment is also required. Sometimes lack of commitment can be due to a clash between the goal and the individual’s expectations.
Check in with your team members that the goals are consistent with their personal values and aspirations.
3. How likely are we to achieve our goals?
Do you have the best combination of competencies for what you’re trying to achieve? If not, how will you add these resources – through training, outsourcing or hiring? Have you set clear expectations for both work performance and behaviour within the team?
Build teams for future as well as current needs.
4. Do we understand and value our individual strengths?
Do you know in detail the experience, skills and talents of each team member? Are they respected for their specialist knowledge? Do they get an opportunity to use their strengths?
Delegate tasks and responsibilities to individuals in their field of expertise to give them a chance to shine.
5. Do we communicate well?
Does the team leader effectively and appropriately share relevant information in a timely manner. Does every team member get to express their opinion in an environment of respect and openness?
Introduce practices, such as meeting agendas, that allow all members of the team to contribute without feeling threatened.
6. Are we all willing to lend a helping hand?
Is there a spirit of cooperation, with team members going out of their way (and outside their designated roles) to get the work done to achieve your team objectives? Are team members happy to collaborate and share information and resources?
As with communication, a good team leader will model the behaviour that is expected from the rest of the team.
7. Are we having fun?
Work is work and it can’t always be a party, but if people genuinely enjoy the work they do and the company of their team, you will achieve a lot more.
Celebrate your successes and when things go wrong, avoid blaming others.
What do you think?
Reflecting on these questions may have prompted some thoughts about how to improve your team. Don’t let them be lost!
Your next step is to decide on what actions you can take and plan how you will implement those actions. Write it down, share your ideas and ask for help from both inside and outside your team.