Category Archives: People Management

Career Reality Check: Fashion Editor

We love sharing career stories!  What could be more inspiring or educational than hearing about other people’s experiences in a wide range of careers?

There are 2 ‘occasional’ series of career stories running on this blog:

  1. What’s your story? (Here’s one of the early stories, just updated.)
  2. Career reality check (So far we’ve touched on pilots and TV presenters.)

Today’s career reality check is ideal for you to share with anyone who might be considering a career in fashion publishing.

We became aware of the 60 Minutes segment below because one of the subjects, Laura Brown, is my cousin. From growing up in Sydney and studying at Charles Sturt University, Laura has worked incredibly hard to pursue her dream of working in fashion in New York. Laura is now Editor-in-chief of InStyle magazine. The other Australian subject of the story, Jo Levin, built her own path to Editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine in London.

Their stories are inspiring. Both women epitomise the power of creativity and persistence. That, and a love for their work. They also have in common an ability to be true to themselves and their own vision.

Incredibly, Jo just happens to be the cousin of one of my friends and neighbours. How’s that for a ‘small world’ story?

Do you know someone with a career story that should be shared? Let us know!

Advice your client is waiting to hear

ask for help

As a trusted adviser you may find yourself helping your client in areas other than your field of expertise. How you deal with that situation could make or break your reputation.

By recognising the need for your client to connect with another professional – and then connecting them with the appropriate expertise – you can retain and strengthen your role as a central adviser.

The important thing is to know when to use others’ expertise and how it can help deliver your client value that you can’t promise.

However, many advisers don’t consider referring a client to another party for a variety of reasons – and that harms both the client and the adviser in the long run.

These reasons include:

Assuming you know all about all businesses because you run one yourself

This is like parents thinking they know how a school should run because they spent a lot of time there when they were kids.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know all about business because everyone is different.

Remedy: As an experienced professional, you know each client has different challenges, and their experience won’t be the same as yours. Keep this in mind and assume nothing.

Limited business networks

You will enhance your reputation as a trusted adviser by the company you keep. Unless you have built relationships and a deep understanding of how other professionals can help your clients, it will be hard to refer them to the best people.

Remedy: Network – and keep in mind the purpose of this networking is not to sell your services or to get referrals. A pile of business cards from the latest business networking function is not a network. It’s about identifying the people you’d like to work with to deliver to your clients the advice they need.

Fear of your client getting advice that conflicts with your advice

What if you send your client to another professional and they receive advice you think is wrong?

Remedy: Do your research! Take the time to get to know potential advice partners, their services and how they work with clients. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a poor match – remember you are doing this research on behalf of your clients.

So when would you need to refer a client to another party?

When you may need to refer a client to somebody else

When they need proactive strategies to minimise tax

While you understand and can advise on ways to minimise tax, your client may need to be referred to other professionals as part of the implementation of strategies.

When clients need to seek legal advice

Help the client recognise when the stakes are high and a situation or concern calls for legal advice from a professional. Then provide recommendations of lawyers with the right expertise to help them.

When they need a business coach or strategic partner

Your knowledge of a client’s financial situation gives you a unique insight into any areas where they may lack specific skills, such as business planning or marketing.

When they need financial planning advice

As you know, there are limitations on the advice you can give if you do not have the legal right to do so.

Your clients will value a referral to a professional, independent financial planner when they need to manage their superannuation, life insurance and related affairs.

When they need to prepare for succession, retirement, or sale of a business

Many consultants specialise in these areas but lack the financial expertise you can offer.

When you identify the need for these next steps in a business, it’s time to call on the professionals in your network who can fill in the gaps such as people management, business broking and legal.

The result

Your clients trust you for your values and ethics, and they will get the best results with other advisers who also share those values.

Focus on finding the best possible source of advice for your clients, and you will minimise any risk in referring them outside your business.

Your good advice — in sending them someone who works with them as well as you do — will be rewarded by strengthening your position as an adviser who gives their clients the advice they’ve been waiting to hear.

This article was originally published on MYOB’s blog, The Pulse. For more business news and tips, visit www.myob.com/blog.

Why are you here?

(This was my first ever post on LinkedIn and what I said seems to have struck a chord. That’s why I’m also sharing it here. Hope you like it!)

This question is not a huge, existential angst-filled, deep philosophical question. Instead, I mean “why are you HERE – on social media?”.

This is my first article on LinkedIn, even though I’ve been blogging here forever. It’s also a post that’s been rumbling around in me for over a year.

Back when I first thought of writing this post, at the start of 2016, I had just learnt that someone I had known and cared about for over 30 years was gone from this world. It was a big shock to me.

In the preceding few years, I had reconnected with this old acquaintance through our business interests, on LinkedIn and via our weekly email ‘Feel Good Friday’. With those links, even though I hadn’t seen him for many months, I thought we were ‘connected’.

But that was an illusion. We weren’t connected enough for me to know that he had become seriously ill and would die before I got around to seeing him again.

This sad event led me to reflect on the meaning of connection…

I love social media and the relationships, knowledge, sharing and thousands of ‘connections’ it has brought me since I started using LinkedIn over 10 years ago.

Social media platforms make it easy for us to stay in touch with more people than ever before. But if we believe that being here is keeping us connected with people who are important to us, then we are kidding ourselves.

We are not communicating, we are broadcasting. We may have some interesting interactions with others – whom we may or may not know in the ‘real world’ – but they are usually simple and ephemeral. Who knows, we may even prefer it to be that way because we have so many other demands on our time and attention.

Sometimes I may even choose to use social media because it feels quicker, cleaner and more efficient than having to deal with real people in real life situations. And most small business owners I know are in the same boat. We feel compelled to do our marketing here because it feels like we’re doing something. Perhaps we are using it to help us avoid what we really should be doing!

At worst, all this is a distraction from the connections we could be making.

I continue to use social media but I understand the relationships that matter can’t be sustained this way. They need time, attention and real conversations.

Go for a walk. Pick up the phone. Send a card. Have a conversation. Connect!

And so I publish this first article hoping something I’ve said will connect with how you’re thinking and feeling. Yes, I do see the irony here!

Please let me know what you think below… or give me a call, or drop me a line, or go talk to someone close to you.

Harrison Assessments and the Entrepreneur

Harrison Assessments Paradox Theory enables organisations to identify how team members’ behaviours can contribute to or hamper team objectives.

In this video Adam Goldenberg, founder and CEO of justfab,com, describes the critical role that building the right leadership team plays in entrepreneurial success.

Team building with Harrison Assessments

The key success factor in recruitment of his leadership team is their suitability for the role. Assessment of other factors, such as eligibility and interview performance, is relatively straightforward. However, he believes it is a mistake to rely on ‘gut feeling’ to judge a person’s suitability.

To assess suitability, Adam Goldenberg relies on data provided by Harrison Assessments Paradox Reports. More than a simple personality test, Paradox Reports reveal and individual’s strengths and weaknesses associated with many traits. Collectively, a team’s Paradox Reports can also identify gaps in skills and give insights into team dynamics.

Adam also reveals how, after witnessing the results, he became convinced of the value in management coaching. Again, Harrison Assessments provides his company with the information and tools necessary to tailor coaching for maximum effectiveness.

The first step to success

His main message on the first key to entrepreneurial success is:
Hire the right people – then invest in them.

Workplace Giving With Meaning

What comes to mind when you hear about workplace giving? Charitable donations? Team-building volunteering opportunities? Secret Santa? In this article, I’d like to explore some other ideas.

In the season of giving, let’s take the time to recognise and appreciate the ways we give to each other at work every day, not just on special occasions. For some people, giving is what you are paid to do. While for others, it sits outside your job description but I believe it’s still a vital attitude for all of us to have in order to work effectively and to find our joy at work.

Here are some reflections on giving at work, not just for the Christmas season:

1. Everyday giving

.

We already possess them. What’s more, their supply is unlimited. Think about the times you have given freely the following.

  • Your attention
  • Autonomy and empowerment
  • Sincere praise and recognition
  • Constructive feedback and guidance

2. Giving gives meaning

You may not always appreciate it, but each of the items listed above is a gift to the other person in the work context. That’s because it benefits both the giver and the recipient. You don’t have to give the gift, but you can choose to do so.

How does this giving make you feel? Could you get more of that feeling?

3. Appreciate that you can give

Being able to give is a gift in itself. Think about the ways you share your gifts and talents in the workplace. Then be grateful for those who give you the opportunity.

4. Real giving is different from ‘giving to get’

Giving your time, attention or praise is meaningful only if you do it without the expectation of receiving something in return. If you would like to give more, seek out Adam Grant’s book ‘Give and Take’ for inspiration.

5. You can give too much

We sometimes see people who always seem to be giving without looking after themselves. I’m sure you know people like this. It may even describe you.

A typical workplace example of this phenomenon is the team leader who loves to dive in and help the team to solve issues and get their work done. This is admirable up to the point where the leader is taking from their team opportunities to learn and to gain a sense of empowerment. The leader is also sacrificing their ability to get their own work done. In extreme cases, we may see this leader exhibiting atypical dominating behaviour when under stress because continually giving in this way is not sustainable.

In the Harrison Assessments Paradox report, this dynamic is illustrated by the ‘Power’ pairing of the traits Helpful (the tendency to respond to others’ needs and to assist or support others to reach their goals) and Assertive (the tendency to put forward personal wants and needs). To find out more about Harrison Assessments and the Paradox report that covers 12 pairs of traits, click here or contact us.

What do you think?

How and what do you give at work? Why is giving important to you?

Terminating employment: What you need to know

terminating employment

Terminating employment can be a difficult and emotional time for all parties.

The employment relationship can end due to resignation, redundancy or dismissal. In any case, it’s vital you go about things in the right way.

Before, during and after the process it’s important to keep in mind these general guidelines, especially if you are dismissing an employee.

Is there a valid reason for termination?

Sound reasons include:

  • Redundancy: when the work no longer needs to be done due to changes in the business or technology.
  • Summary dismissal without notice: when there has been serious misconduct, such as violence, theft, fraud, intoxication or other serious breach of workplace policies.
  • Poor performance: when an employee has been advised of such and taken through a fair process.

Do you have a fair process for employee performance management and dismissal?

A fair process does not mean ‘three strikes’ anymore. It does mean:

  • You have followed your internal policy and procedure or workplace agreement.
  • The employee is advised, preferably in writing, of the specific issue.
  • You are clear in your communication that the poor performance can lead to dismissal if there’s no improvement.
  • The employee is given a chance to understand and respond to your view of the issue.
  • You and the employee agree on the changes that need to be made and when you will review their performance again.
  • They have the opportunity and time to improve their performance, with support such as training if required.
  • You have allowed them to bring a support person to any meetings.
  • If dismissal is the ultimate outcome, you have given the right amount of notice, as specified in their Award, workplace agreement or employment contract, or payment in lieu of notice.

For small businesses, the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code provides guidance and a checklist to follow for a fair process.

Redundancy is a separate issue with special rules, as set out by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

A guide to dismissal in New Zealand can be found here.

Have you documented everything?

It’s important to keep written records of the following:

  • Evidence of underperformance or other reason for dismissal.
  • Minutes of all meetings concerning the issue, including when they occurred and who attended.
  • Agreed performance improvements and review dates.
  • Letters of termination and associated documentation.

Could the termination be unlawful?

Under Australian workplace laws it’s unlawful to dismiss someone for a range of reasons that could be viewed as discriminatory.

These are set out in the General Workplace Protections for most employees.

Have you paid the correct entitlements in full on termination?

On dismissal, the employee’s entitlements include:

  • Pay in lieu of notice, if they are not required to work out their notice period, at the employee’s full rate of pay including allowances, loadings and penalty rates.
  • Any outstanding wages, commissions or other remuneration.
  • Any accrued annual leave and pro-rata long service leave.

In the case of redundancy, there may also be severance pay entitlements.

Some extra tips that will make the process better for all:

  • Stay calm and show leadership.
  • Don’t delay acting on a performance or conduct issue.
  • Be prepared for meetings and know exactly what you want to say.
  • There should be no surprises for the employee.
  • Mind your language — don’t patronise and don’t waffle; definitely don’t shout or swear.
  • Treat the employee as kindly as possible and offer support, such as outplacement services, if you can.
  • Be clear about deadlines, including the termination date, and security requirements such as return of keys and changing of passwords.

There are specific rules related to each type of employment termination for most employers and employees in Australia.

To find out in detail the requirements and how to avoid an unfair dismissal claim when terminating staff, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website where you will find a range of resources, including guides, checklists and template documents.

This article was originally published on MYOB’s blog, The Pulse. For more business news and tips, visit www.myob.com/blog.

Is the Harrison Assessment like MBTI?

career help

This is a common question from people who are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test.  Both systems look at an individual’s preferences or tendencies, however there are some fundamental differences between them.  Dr Dan Harrison provided his insights into the two tools.

The major difference is that MBTI was designed to be used as a personality assessment tool only, while Harrison Assessments (HA) is a job suitability tool based on the work context.  HA measures work preferences, motivations, values, work environment preferences and interests, in addition to personality.

  • In MBTI, respondents are type-cast into one of the 16 types, based on 4 dichotomies. HA does not type cast because in doing so, it would seriously limit its usefulness for recruitment and employee/career development.
  • MBTI was not developed for the work environment and consequently the questions are not fully designed to be work focused. The HA questions are work focused.
  • MBTI analyses norms based on different populations. HA analyses individual traits in relationship to performance for a wide variety of different job functions. Each role or career is benchmarked against employees in relevant roles to find the traits that contribute to job satisfaction and high performance as well as potential derailers.
  • MBTI uses bi-polar scales which assume an either/or relationship between traits. HA uses Paradox technology which allows for the person to be either, neither or both. The Paradox scales provide a deep insight into behavioural competencies as well as stress behaviours and even unconscious tendencies.
  • MBTI scales provide a surface view of personality. The paradox technology clearly measures negative tendencies whereas MTBI isn’t designed to do so. Because of the use of the bi-polar scale any conclusion regarding negative tendencies is more tentative.

MBTI is best used for team facilitation

The manufacturers state that the score on the MBTI does NOT relate to job success. Therefore, it has limited usefulness for career planning  or recruitment applications.

Human beings can be quite complicated as different factors interplay to drive their behaviour in different situations. The Harrison Assessment looks at 175 traits and examines the paradoxes in the tendencies. Its comprehensiveness facilitates awareness and development as one can zoom into a specific trait and context.

The HA reports enable you to increase effectiveness in career coaching, hiring and developing performance. They do not require a psychologist to interpret and anyone can easily learn to use the reports.

If you’re an experienced MBTI user and would like to explore further what makes Harrison Assessments so different, you can find out more here and here!

This is an update of a post that first appeared on this blog on18 May 2010

There is something worse than rejection. It’s uncertainty.

When was the last time you experienced rejection? Was it following a job application? Perhaps you put forward a brilliant idea that was ignored or discounted by someone else.

Rejection feels dreadful and most people will do whatever they can to avoid it.

You know the feeling. You are so demoralised and discouraged you don’t want to do anything. Remember? Could anything be worse?

As humans, we are programmed to avoid rejection at all costs. Rejection from the family or the tribe meant almost certain death to our distant ancestors. We have evolved to avoid rejection as a very natural survival mechanism.

How does rejection feel for you?

When we fear public speaking, we fear rejection. When we don’t want to make a sales call, it’s because we are afraid the answer will be ‘no’. Rejection again.  As are the times when we don’t follow up on a job application because while we don’t know the answer, we can convince ourselves it might be ‘yes’.

When was the last time you stopped yourself from putting forward your ideas in a meeting because you weren’t sure they’d be welcome? A classic and typical business example of avoiding the discomfort of rejection.

What could be worse than rejection?

We all know how rejection feels. We don’t want to experience it. We also – usually – don’t want others to experience it. In fact, sometimes we go to the extent of lying so we don’t impose rejection on others.

We want the world to see us as friendly, kind people. Within that hope lies fear of rejection. So instead of telling the truth, we choose to generate some uncertainty.

Here’s a scenario familiar to many of us: You apply for a job, you are interviewed and it goes well. The people seem friendly and they say they’ll let you know. You really want that job and you are feeling good about it. There are other jobs you could be applying for but there was something about this one that makes you hold off on going for the others.

A couple of weeks later, you still haven’t heard, so you call. Only then do you find out that the job has gone to an internal candidate. Your application and interview were great, they say, but you just didn’t have the level of experience of the other person.

What would be your preference now? Would you rather have had a clear ‘no’ immediately, or hear it now? What could you have achieved in the meantime, instead of hanging on thinking the job just might be yours?

This post is a plea for us all to be more honest. With those close to us, with team members, with anyone trying to sell us something.

How to handle rejection

When you have to give an answer to the question of employing someone, buying their product or trying their ideas, there are only three possible responses:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Later

By being honest about your intentions, early, everyone can move on. The first two options are fairly clear. Use option three only if you mean it. In that case, give the other person a set date when you will be ready to provide a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

From dealing with the latest telemarketer to management to parenting, this principle will save time and pain all round.

What do you think?

Do you agree we could all be more happy and productive if we were a little more honest with each other? Next time someone tries to sell you an idea, product or service, will you be able to override your fear rejection and give them an honest answer?

Need some help? Dealing with rejection – from both sides – is a key leadership skill. Click here to see how we can help you understand and develop your leadership strengths.

Employee engagement is “everything money can’t buy”

employee engagement

The inspiration for this post on employee engagement came from an unlikely source – a drive in the country. We visited the beautiful Wolgan Valley west of Sydney and historical Newnes. Although there’s no longer a town, there’s a sign that says Newnes, followed by the tagline: ‘Everything money can’t buy’.

When someone works for you, you exchange your money for their labour. That’s the basic economics of labour. There’s nothing about that transaction that imposes a duty on your employee to feel engaged, excited or enthusiastic about their work. They bring their skills, training and experience to work to produce goods or services you sell for profit. That’s the part of the employee engagement equation money can buy.

Doing things that increase employee engagement can certainly cost money, but engagement itself usually can’t be bought.

People want to feel the work they do is making a difference. Making a difference means different things to different people – and this is where many attempts at employee engagement have run off the rails. Answers to the question ‘How do you know your work is making a difference?’ will include answers as diverse as these:

“I know my company always acts ethically”

“The work we do here helps society”

“I have opportunities to contribute to the direction of the organisation”

“I’m learning new skills that will give me a hand in my career and that I can pass on to others”

“My work matters”

Can you tell me where you can buy that sort of employee engagement?

Employee engagement is much more than an annual survey or a new workshop. Employee engagement requires managers to find out what money can’t buy for each person on their team. What can you do to employ their heart and not just their head and hands?

Surveys and workshops, while valuable, are also generic by nature because they don’t tap into individual engagement ‘drivers’. There are many engagement factors to consider. Each person has their unique combination of things that money can’t buy. How do you find out what will employ their heart and not just their head and hands?

A valuable starting point in any employee engagement exercise is to do a serious analysis of employee expectations. With the Harrison Assessments Engagement and Retention Analysis, we examine these expectations in eight categories:

  1. Development
  2. Appreciation
  3. Remuneration
  4. Communication
  5. Authority
  6. Personal
  7. Social
  8. Balance

Here’s a small part of an individual Engagement and Retention Analysis report, to give you a taste of what’s possible:

Employee engagement indiv

We can also analyse the expectations fo any size group. Here’s a tiny snippet of the information you’ll get in a group Engagement and Retention Analysis report:

Employee engagement group

Beyond the colourful graphs, the detailed narrative in each report can help you improve your business results by showing how to increase employee engagement. You will know what people want, how important different factors are to them and how to address those needs to create better performance.

If you would like to experience our unique approach to employee engagement, get in touch!

CDAA Workshop: Expand your Career Assessment Toolkit

career assessment toolkit

Event Details

Name: NSW Event: Expand your Career Assessment Toolkit (24 Sept)
Venue: UTS City Campus, Cnr Quay St & Ultimo Rd Haymarket.
Date: 24/09/2016
Time: 8:30 AM To: 12:30 PM
Sign-up Before: 23/09/2016 12:00 PM
Contact Details
Name: Leonie Stanfield
Phone: 0412 595 991
Email: leonie.stanfield@grouptraining.com.au
Price
Member: $70.00
Corporate: $90.00
Non-member: $120.00
CPD Hours / Competencies
CPD Hours: 4

Expand your Career Assessment Toolkit

Utilizing career assessment tools effectively can benefit your clients and your practice. In this interactive ½ day workshop we will explore the use of Harrison Assessments, Career Compass and Career Voyage (from JIIG-CAL), and a range of simple no cost tools and strategies that can be used to assist clients anywhere and anytime.

Susan Rochester will take us through the background to the Harrison Career Navigator and give participants the experience of using the reports. Attendees will have the opportunity to complete the Harrison questionnaire prior to the workshop and receive their own results at no extra cost.

The Harrison assessment provides a comprehensive picture of your client by taking into account their career interests, task and work environment preferences, engagement factors, interpersonal skills, attitudes, values and motivations, as well as personality. The resulting reports give you a strong foundation for building rapport and giving targeted, effective advice based on their individual strengths.

Brian Horan will lead us through an overview of Career Compass (from JIIG-CAL) for students 11-14 years; a fun, easy and intelligent way to explore suitable career pathways, make realistic plans and discover jobs of greatest interest. Career Voyage (from JIIG-CAL) is an internationally recognised, high quality career planning system designed for career seekers of all ages (15+) administered by career practitioners. Career Voyage takes career seekers to the next stage in their career journey and generates Occupational Interest Profiles, 20 Job Suggestions ranked in order of suitability, detailed Job information, Qualification Requirements, etc.

Airlie Bell will share some simple, no-cost tools and strategies that careers practitioners can use to assist clients when proprietary tools and resources are unavailable due to cost or context.

Presenter Biographies

Susan Rochester, through her company Balance at Work, has been a Harrison Assessments Solutions Partner since 2008 and is an accredited expert and trainer in the use of the Harrison Career Navigator reports. Susan combines her in-depth knowledge of Harrison Assessments with over 18 years’ consulting and coaching experience to provide practical advice for your specific career consulting and business needs.

Brian Horan has worked as a Careers Advisor in an independent NSW High School (HS) for seventeen years and has also worked with unemployed youth. Brian operates his own Career Consultancy and is also currently working in the tertiary education sector. Brian prefers to use Career Voyage to assist Years 10 to 12 students and uses Career Voyage with his private practice clients. Brian is a certified Career Voyage Trainer and the NSW Representative for JIIG-CAL Australia.

Airlie Bell is based in Armidale NSW, and in the course of her work across the region has acquired a portfolio of careers tools that have proved effective and accessible to students and clients of all ages, and across a wide range of circumstances. Airlie has a private careers practice, teaches post-graduate career development at university, and contracts to government and corporate clients for professional development and outplacement counselling. Her aim is to educate and empower clients with the skills and knowledge to successfully manage their own lifelong career transitions. She has a long standing interest in developing career literacy across the community.

Employee engagement: 5 ways to kill it

Employee engagement is a favourite topic with employers and staff alike. The annual employee engagement survey always has some interesting results!

With this level of interest and investment in engagement, you’d think we’d be finding people are happier at work. Instead, research shows in survey after survey that overall job satisfaction is remarkably stable with ‘x%’ ready to leave their jobs and move on at any time.

How do good organisations kill employee engagement?

Here are just some of the less obvious ways we’ve seen managers get it wrong – even when they thought they were working on employee engagement.

1. Scrimping on essential resources

A computer system that works is an example of a basic requirement for anyone working in an office environment these days. Unfortunately, that can’t always be assumed to exist. When glitches aren’t fixed promptly, employees waste time and energy on expensive workarounds.

2. Having processes that don’t make sense

The carefully designed process may have made a lot of sense in the meeting that developed it. How much time was spent consulting the people who will have to use it?

3. Taking away employees’ autonomy

Employees want feedback on their work – especially if it’s given in a timely and constructive way. The rest of the time, they like to feel trusted to do a good job in the work you employed them to do. By micromanaging, you remove their sense of autonomy and, ultimately, their engagement and productivity.

4. Failing to invest in career development and training

You hired your staff for specific skills, qualifications, and experience. They probably spent a lot of time and money to get to the point where you could benefit from their investment. Now it’s your turn to make them even more valuable.

5. Expecting staff to compete not collaborate

While you can motivate some employees by having an in-house rivalry, others will feel completely disengaged if they are forced to compete against their colleagues. Can you identify who fits into which group on your team? Or do you just treat them all the same?

What if there was a way to find out how to improve your employee engagement?

The good news is that there are lots of ways. The simplest place to start is asking your staff. You might be surprised by what they tell you – and you’ll know more than you knew before!

Aside from the annual engagement surveys, you can access a range of tools to solve the employee engagement puzzle. Here are a few to consider:

1.  Engagement and Retention Analysis (ERA)

Available from the Harrison Assessments suite of reports, with the data collected in one online short questionnaire, ERA reports are available for individuals and any group size. Click on the images below to see samples.

ERA teamERA report

2.  Weekly targetted check-ins

If you’re super efficient at meetings, then you could do this face to face. A more productive and useful approach could be to use a tool like 15Five that allows you to ask the questions you want to ask. And get the answers you need to take action.

3.  360 degree feedback

Employee engagement is mostly in the hands of your managers and team leaders. Sadly they may not always be delivering the basics you expect. It can take you months or years to find this out if you’re not proactive about getting feedback from staff. We can help you set up a feedback survey tailored for your situation.

Not sure where to start with employee engagement?

We’d love to help you navigate the most efficient and economical way to improve your employee engagement. Find out more or get in touch!

Performance reviews no more? 3 things to consider!

When I first heard of big name companies like Deloitte and Accenture ditching their annual performance reviews, I have to say I became a bit excited! Anyone who has worked in HR or line management – no, let’s make that anyone who’s worked – knows what a pain they can be.

Not only is it the people management task managers often have the most trouble completing. Often to produce results that are at best meaningless. At worst, performance reviews can be destructive, demoralising and unlikely to produce better performance.

Can you tell I’m not a big fan of the traditional performance review?

Yes, that would be true when the emphasis is on ‘traditional’. You know the one I mean. It comes around every 6 or 12 months, it’s 5 pages long, it contains rating scores and there’s a collective groan when it arrives. You complete the form first, then negotiate with your manager about the ratings you’ve given yourself. This negotiation can be high stakes if the results also determine your salary.

Instead of the process above, I’ve long thought that in a perfect world, feedback would be continuous. Then the performance reviews, if they had to happen, would be more of a formality, codifying what is already known. No energy-draining difficult conversations and no surprises!

In most places I’ve worked, this would amount to a very idealistic world view. And it’s a view I’m prepared to adjust on my reading of recent research into performance reviews.

What you could miss if you drop performance reviews

There are several risks an organisation takes if management decides to drop performance ratings or reviews. Most of them relate to removing the mandated conversation that has to happen between a manager and his staff. By cutting back on the performance reviews, you could miss out due to:

  • Lost opportunity for discussions beyond day-to-day task management and reporting
  • Less engagement with employees as managers retreat to doing what’s essential for their immediate KPIs
  • Lower productivity from high performing employees because they aren’t getting positive feedback on their performance

How do you get the best of both worlds?

More than most, I understand the desire to ditch the traditional performance review. That could work as long as other processes are in place to avoid the risks listed above. In my experience, the organisations who have successfully done so are rare – and well-resourced. My hybrid solution would combine the following with a scaled-back performance review process.

  • Creating opportunities (and motivation) for regular feedback for all team members
  • Asking the right questions, focussed on what is important to both greater employee engagement and delivery of the strategic plan
  • Consistent, regular and effective feedback (in both directions)

Implementing these changes will be easier with the right tools. We recommend using 15Five to create opportunities, asking the right questions and being consistent.

Get your free trial of 15Five now to see how it can change your approach to performance reviews.

What do you think?

Please share your view below. Have you tried new approaches already? What has worked for you?

Are you ready to try something new but don’t know where to start? We’d love to help you sort it out if you get in touch!

Postscript:

Following the publication of this post, the Australian Financial Review published a related article the next day about GE replacing performance reviews with regular check-ins. If you’re exploring doing the same, here’s the first step in your research.

 

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