Category Archives: People Management

Three Keys to Job Satisfaction

This post originally appeared on the Harrison Assessments blog. For more posts like this, click here

It seems basic. If you like what you are doing it doesn’t feel so much like work. If you enjoy doing something you are more likely to continue doing it and do it well. So shouldn’t a personality assessment being used to measure job suitability include measuring work satisfaction?

Measuring work satisfaction is essential to determine motivation and forecast whether an individual will prosper, succeed and stay with the organization. Most behavioral and personality assessments fail to measure work satisfaction and are therefore limited to predicting personality.

Harrison Assessment’s twenty five plus years of research prove that employees who enjoy at least 75% or more of their job are almost 4 times more likely to succeed than employees who enjoy less than 75% of their job. Measuring factors related to work satisfaction makes it possible to predict job success and therefore hire, motivate and retain top talent.

Harrison Assessment’s Enjoyment-Performance methodology considers 3 key issues related to work satisfaction and retention, measuring the degree to which a person’s:

  1. Preferred tasks fit the job
  2. Interests fit the job
  3. Work environment preferences fit the job

Enjoyment and Performance are linked because the level of enjoyment that an employee has while performing a particular activity is directly related to the level of their performance relative to that activity.

When people enjoy a task, they tend to do it more, and get better at it. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, good performance creates acknowledgment and/or positive self-regard which then causes people to enjoy the task even more.

Harrison Assessment solutions predict performance, work satisfaction and retention. They enable companies to motivate people and increase their performance by assigning the roles and responsibilities that give them the highest degree of work satisfaction. Harrison Assessments also enables companies to show their employees that they care about their work satisfaction. This genuine concern in itself evokes a positive response from employees. The mutually beneficial outcome is that both employees and employers win!

To find out more about using Harrison Assessments to measure and encourage work satisfaction contact us here

Avoiding the ‘Horror Hire’

This post originally appeared on the Harrison Assessments blog. For more posts like this, click here

If you think when you go for a job interview it is a nail-bitingly painful affair, imagine what it’s like for a manager who has to screen through all the job applications, narrow down the best and then conduct each and every interview while other tasks keep piling up!

Once the interview is over, all the job applicant has to do is wait patiently for the call that may or may not eventually come.

The manager on the other hand, has the task of deciding who is the best among the many hopefuls to fill the vacancy. If not using a job fit assessment there’s not much to go on. The stakes are high. If the right candidate is chosen, the company profits. The wrong one it can be a very expensive horror hire.

So how does one pick the person that is exactly the right fit for the job? And how sure are you that the person who ‘aced’ the test will actually pass with flying colors in the workplace, now and in the future?

Some might choose to go purely by gut instinct; others will base their decision on the recommendations of colleagues and friends. The results can be so very right or disastrously wrong as one small local engineering firm discovered to its dismay.

The firm had hired a manager who was highly recommended and who supposedly had chalked up quite an impressive resume working with multinational companies. The new manager was hired to help streamline the company’s operations but in the first three months, he behaved so arrogantly towards other staff, they refused to work with him and chaos ensued. The company was forced to terminate him only to discover that he had obtained the e-mail contacts of all their clients and associates which he then used to exact revenge.

He emailed allegations against the company to their clients and threatened to cause even more malicious damage to the company’s reputation, unless they paid for his silence! The enraged company was forced to hire outside expertise to investigate his background, counter his claim and fend off his allegations. They paid for a due diligence report to be conducted and forwarded the report to their clients. Then they hired a lawyer to block further action by the ex-employee.

With so much at stake today, it’s time for employers to ramp up the assessment process and cull those who misrepresent themselves. Using the Harrison Assessment can help you avoid the very expensive horror hire and keep your organisation profitable.

To find out more about using Harrison Assessments to make sure you don’t make a horror hire contact us here

Jump start employee engagement

This post originally appeared on the Harrison Assessments blog. For more posts like this, click here

According to a study by the Quantum Work Place “Employee Engagement” has declined to the lowest point it has been in eight years. Despite the improving economy, employee engagement declined in 2014 across organisations of all sizes and in more than 75 percent of the markets measured through the Best Places to Work program.

Employee engagement among Best Places to Work was on a slow, steady incline, as organisations recovered from the 2008 recession. However, this past year, engagement dipped to only 65.9 percent of employees engaged. Prior to 2014, employee engagement was lowest in 2010 with 66.7 percent of employees engaged.

Although the majority of employees were engaged, these trends indicate a slight shift toward uncertainty and suggest that organisations have more areas for improvement than in previous years.

A number of themes emerged when examining employee uncertainty about the workplace:

Commitment to Valuing Employees
Almost half of the items with the highest uncertainty were related to how employers value their employees, whether through compensation, recognition, or growth opportunities. Employees should not be treated as a means to an end. Engaged workplaces exhibit a commitment to employees in how they are supported, recognized, and developed.

Global Information
One-third of the items with the highest uncertainty were related to global information, or how information is shared throughout an organisation. Whether it’s understanding their personal future or getting feedback regularly from managers, employees lack confidence in their managers’ ability to communicate.

These areas of uncertainty represent areas of opportunity for employers. By offering clarity and improving in these areas, employers can improve employee perceptions and engagement.

One of the easiest ways to improve employee relations and engagement is through the use of a job-specific assessments such as Harrison Assessments. Now you can measure intrinsic behavioral factors that drive individual engagement — employee motivators and attitudes!

  • Identify gaps between employee and employer expectations and motivators
  • Facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager
  • Foster a shared responsibility for engagement
  • Create a culture of engagement

Take the next step in engagement initiatives! Align employee intrinsic factors with organisational extrinsic factors to maximise engagement.

To find out more about using Harrison Assessments to improve your employee engagement contact us here

Ego Almighty

This post originally appeared on the Harrison Assessments blog. For more posts like this, click here

There are typically all sorts of personalities working in an organisation. Do you have a few “ego almighty’s” working in your company?

Ego Almighty Characteristics:

  • Tends to focus on self-justification and excuses for certain actions or inaction.
  • Does not embrace change in routine and styles willingly.
  • Works well and clicks with those who are like-minded.
  • They are also prone to making decisions or choices according to those who fan their ego and dance to their tune.

Traits to look out for:

  • Egotistical, overly self-confident with a very high opinion of their own views and decisions.
  • Low intent and desire for self-improvement.
  • Lacks progressiveness and is inward looking.

Negative impacts:

  • Difficult to convince and can be rebellious towards change and new initiatives.
  • Draws a lot of energy from direct supervisors in their constant efforts of trying to get alignment and engagement for these Ego Almighty individuals.

How to manage:

  • Needs to be given specific performance criteria.
  • Coaching discussions to identify personal values and direction to establish gaps between company direction and the employee’s own interest.
  • If the behaviour becomes too intense to handle, the final option may be to manage the person out of the organisation.

You may have invested a significant amount of time, energy and training dollars in this person. If you choose to manage them, give them a work fit  assessment such as the Harrison. This will guide you to a developmental plan that may harness some of the ego and motivate them to work in the company’s interests and not just their own.

To find out more about using Harrison Assessments to find the right people and keep them motivated in your business contact us here

Just Do It!

This post originally appeared on the Harrison Assessments blog. For more posts like this, click here.

“I HATE my work!” How successful do you think someone will be at a job who says this? “I don’t care if you hate it, just do it”. How long will this company be operating if this is the most frequent response from the team leader?

The Harrison Assessment’s Paradox Theory predicates that performance and enjoyment are closely linked, because when one enjoys doing something, one tends to do it more willingly and more often. This in turn makes one very competent in that task and thereby more effective in their particular job. Workers who have a great time doing whatever it is that captivates them, will be effective performers and ultimately add to the company’s success!

The key is to find what ‘turns on’ a particular worker and provide an environment where this is readily found and you’ll have a recipe for employee success for sure!

Harrison Assessments’ attraction is that it measures factors such as task preference (for example driving, computers, teaching, researching, manual type of work, physical work, working with numbers), work preference factors (such as outdoors, public contact, repetition), and interest factors (like finance/business, food, science, electronics).

What’s even better is that Harrison Assessments measures an amazing 175 factors which is some five times more than the tests offered by others. Harrison Assessments also boasts an 85% predictive accuracy, able to measure traits that are correlated to successful performance and  measure the presence of negative traits that can be counterproductive to successful performance.

What is the basic difference between “personality tests” and “job suitability tests”? Personality tests may predict that the person is a “nice and pleasant” person but being nice does not guarantee success or great performance on the job.

What are the ‘must haves’ when picking the right kind of assessment ‘tools’ to aid in the hiring process? A comprehensive recruitment tool kit would include a job analysis questionnaire, a profile analysis, a “Traits and Definitions” report, a behavioral impact graph and narrative, a paradox graph and narrative, positive or counterproductive traits of the applicant and probing for weaknesses.

Using a test such as Harrison makes it easier to narrow down the potential capabilities and areas of natural competence on the part of the job applicant.

More specifically it throws the spotlight on four important areas – ability (what he can do now and after training is given), aptitude (ability to gain a skill after training), power (reasoning ability) and performance (relating to one’s experience).

Finding the right candidate for a job is difficult. Using an assessment tool such as the Harrison can help save you time, money and a lot of headaches by helping you find someone who doesn’t say, “I hate this job”. And it will hopefully make it so your team leader does not have to say… “Just DO it”.

To find out more about using Harrison Assessments to find the right people for your business contact us here

What’s your story? #5: Judy Palmer-Brown

What's your story?

When Judy Palmer-Brown and I first met, we were both working at a higher altitude – in the beautiful Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. There have been many changes for both of us in the 15 or so years since then. It’s been great to have our paths meet again more recently and to have the opportunity to hear her very interesting and inspiring career story.  

Judy Palmer-BrownWhat’s your current position and what do you do?

Employment Services Project Manager for WSI – TAFE NSW. My role is to engage and work with clients from a range of organisations who work in the field of recruitment and employment services. These organisations place unemployed people into training and sustainable employment to assist them towards achieving independence.

Is this what you expected to be doing when you were at school?

Not at all. I had considered becoming a legal secretary or a nurse. Both were considered traditional occupations for females who had not gone on to university studies. Tertiary education wasn’t considered as a serious option for girls in the Blue Mountains in that era unless they were highly successful students, wishing to become a teacher, or their parents had completed tertiary education and were encouraging them to go.

When I first left school I trained to become a secretary at a well- known private college. It was quite expensive and I was having difficulties paying the fees. I left the course half way through due to the financial pressure, coupled with a flagging interest in secretarial work, in favour of nursing as I could train on the job.

What was your first job?

From the time I was 14 years old, I worked part-time at a local service station that doubled as a general store. I learnt to pump petrol, use a cash register, stack shelves and maintain a mini delicatessen. I worked two afternoons after school and each Sunday. My best friend worked alternate weekdays and the Saturday. We were earning good money although lamented that we never got to see each other. This was my first lesson in the importance of work/life balance.

My first full-time position was as an enrolled nurse. I enjoyed learning and caring for others although had nagging doubts about if it was truly the career for me. I was beginning to wonder if one actually existed.

Can you tell us about a significant turning point in your career/life?

I became a single parent at quite a young age when my first marriage broke down. I wasn’t able to continue working as an enrolled nurse as child care was too difficult to manage as a shift worker.
I worked in a range of different roles including banking, clerical, reception and hospitality accommodation services, as my six months of training had given me enough skills to gain entry level positions.

While my roles were generally junior level, I gained insight into the running of business and I developed an interest and passion in starting a business myself; however I was limited as I didn’t have management experience in any particular field and had no capital funds for a traditional start-up. What I did have though was desire, drive, and a vacuum cleaner. I set up a cleaning business and used my experience in hotels to benchmark a high level of service backed up by a quality improvement and feedback program to ensure my clients received personalised service that exceeded expectations. The business grew quickly and I began to hire staff.

After several years of running my business, I began to feel that I needed a new challenge so made enquiries at my local TAFE college about studying Business Management, although I was open to other avenues as well.

I met a dynamic head teacher in Tourism and Hospitality who encouraged me to gain qualifications in Hospitality Accommodation Services to complement my work history so I could share my work experiences as a teacher. Teaching was an amazing experience. I had discovered a whole new passion. That was in 1996.

I have since gone on to complete a Bachelor of Adult Education and specialised in language, literacy and numeracy teaching in conjunction with labour market programs and workplace training.

Completing a degree also gave me opportunities within the TAFE sector, ultimately leading to managing programs for the Institute and working in the commercial sector. My current position allows me to indulge in my passion for business along with developing training opportunities for people like myself, who have found themselves in a limited capacity to develop a career because of personal circumstances. I firmly believe that education is the greatest investment you can make in yourself.

Who do you admire? Who has inspired you?

I know this is going to sound cliché… however I admire Richard Branson. Richard has boundless enthusiasm and an absolute sense of self that allows him to stretch and grow his business while continuing to challenging himself and inspire his employees. The Virgin group is as diverse and vibrant and the founder.

If there were no limitations, what would be in the future for you?

I want to work for myself again. I want to build an enterprise that I can be immensely proud of; one that inspires others and provides opportunities for employees to feed their ambition and achieve their own personal success.

Finally, what would you tell your younger self about work and careers?

Education, education, education! I can’t stress enough how important it is educate yourself. Education is powerful. Be open to ongoing learning, whether that takes place in the traditional sense or through mentors. Gather people around you who are positive and generous with their time and knowledge and then reciprocate and pay it forward to people who you can assist and influence. Aside from gaining a qualification, studying builds self-confidence and develops a broader understanding of the world and how it works. Share everything you learn.

Do you know someone whose career story should reach a wider audience? Please let us know!

How to reward and keep your best employees — for free

career help

It’s tempting to say that your best employees don’t require rewards because they are probably already highly engaged. I’m sure some businesses operate that way, but it’s certainly not sustainable.

When you have employees you would like to keep, there are a few simple — and free — measures you can take to both reward and retain them.

1. Share your vision

Unless they know what they are working towards, it’s difficult for even the most highly motivated team members to stay enthusiastic and productive in the long term. On the other hand, if they expect their efforts to result in them being part of a team (or leading the team) that excels at what they do, they will work hard to get somewhere they can be proud of.

More money in their pockets — or your pockets — is not a sustainable reward and retention strategy. There’ll always be someone else who will pay an employee more if they’re a top performer. As Simon Sinek reminds us in his book Start with Why, profit is an outcome; it is not a purpose. Like you, your team want to know why they’re doing what they’re doing.

2. Keep them in the loop

How often have you set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for staff based on your business plan, then not referred to them until their next performance review?

As a business owner or manager, you are constantly monitoring results. Are you keeping the people who are responsible for achieving those results up to date with their progress against their targets? Of course, this involves sharing the bad news as well as the good.

While it seems to come naturally to be careful about what information we share, it’s just as important to be mindful of how you share information. It’s your job to communicate. You are responsible for doing as much as you can to ensure your message is clear and appropriate for the person receiving it.

3. Challenge them

Your best employees often have the capacity to offer more, so don’t be afraid to ask them, provided the two steps above are already in place.

A sense of mastery is experienced when a new and challenging task is equal to the person’s ability to complete that task. By providing new opportunities, you are providing your best employees with the chance to experience mastery and ‘flow’ at work. This is an intrinsic reward task that can’t be counted in dollars and cents, but it will certainly have an impact on your bottom line.

Rewarding and keeping your best employees requires giving them purpose, a sense of belonging and a chance to shine. These are covered in the points above, but there is one more thing — and it’s probably the most important of all.

Your best employees achieve that status because they know their job, know your business, know your industry and know your market. By asking for their input and really listening to them, you will not only learn a lot, you will also uncover the secret ingredient to engagement and retention.

Acknowledgement and recognition are basic human needs. We can believe these needs are satisfied with a bonus, pay rise or award. To some extent, they are. However, recognising your best employee’s value by seeking and respecting their opinion can be a much more powerful reward.

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

Confronting poor performance

feedback

Dealing with an employee that fails to meet your expectations is a difficult but important task. While all managers would love to have staff that consistently meet and exceed expectations of performance, this is simply not the reality for most. A good manager, however, is able to effectively deal with the issue of a poorly performing employee in a way that can have a positive outcome. The best way to approach to confronting performance issues is to come from a place of understanding, whilst maintaining firmness. Below are some tips to make this process run a little smoother for everyone.

Before

In the lead up to the meeting it is important to be well prepared. To do this, ask yourself the following questions.

  • How do I want to deal with this?
  • What outcome do I want?
  • Do I need more information?

Once you have answered these questions you should have a clear idea of the purpose of the meeting and how you think the problem could be resolved.

Be prepared for the person you are confronting to be upset. It is never easy to be told you are not doing well enough. There may well be anger or even tears, so it’s best that you think about how you will respond to these reactions.

During

There are a few things you can do during the meeting to make it a little easier for everyone. Turn off your phone or leave it in another room, and make sure there are no interruptions. Hold the meeting in a private space, somewhere you can close the door and not be interrupted.

While you are in the meeting it is very important that once you have described the issue as you see it that you sit back and listen to the person talk. Let them explain their side of the story. While you are doing this, pay attention to your body language and really listen!

It may be useful to ask some follow up questions to really understand what is going on. Below are some questions that will help you get a clear picture of the underlying issues and potential actions to remedy the poor performance.

  • What more would you like to say?
  • How do you think we got here? Why?
  • What stopped you from take action sooner?
  • How can I help you?
  • Where do you think we can go from here?

These questions should help you get to the bottom of the issues. Be aware that the poor performance may be a result of factors outside the workplace over which you have no control. Your purpose is to determine what can be changed in the workplace.

After

Your actions following the meeting are vital in maintaining amicable relationships. Be clear about what the next step is by putting the agreed actions in writing. Maintain open, friendly communication with the employee. Don’t tell anyone who doesn’t need to know what is happening. Be respectful of the person’s privacy and wishes.

If it is decided that the best course of action is to terminate the employee, be sure to check that it is a fair dismissal. You should check your obligations by thoroughly reading the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code and checklist.

Confronting poor performance is never a pleasant experience for anyone, but these tips can help you manage it effectively whilst maintaining respectfulness and a positive attitude.

New recruitment tools for small and growing businesses

recruitment

You need to recruit new staff, you have the budget and you have a plan. What’s next? In the past, you’d go straight to advertising or briefing a recruiter. Both are going to take time and cost money. New recruitment tools give you more control and streamline your sourcing and selection processes, even if you use a recruiter.

Sourcing

Job search databases: List your job on a service like Jobbed (free) OneShift (fee), Glassdoor (fee) or Jobseeker (free) instead of advertising through traditional channels to connect with candidates who have already listed their job search criteria. You can also search their databases to contact suitable recruits, for a fee. Some also provide apps for posting jobs and viewing candidates.

Applicant tracking systems: Love the idea of free postings but too time poor to set them up? There is an easier way! Services such as JobAdder or Adlogic make it easy for you to post your job on multiple free (and paid) platforms, including social media, and centralise all your applicant data for a monthly fee. Both these services include a mobile app to make recruitment even easier.

Social media: With a recent survey by recruitment agency Randstad showing that one in three jobseekers are using social media to find work, it can’t be ignored as a source of candidates especially if you are recruiting for tech-savvy employees. Facebook and LinkedIn are the main platforms for recruitment. At a minimum, you should ensure your personal and company profiles are attractive to potential new recruits. Just as networking in the real world can be a great source of good staff, networking in the virtual world is a very good way to locate candidates who might not yet be actively looking for a new job.

Selecting

Video interview software: Perfect for remote or first round interviews, services such as Vieple and TalentVX allow your candidates to record a video introduction or answers to questions you have listed for them. One advantage is the easy review and sharing of interviews to help you in your decision-making, allowing multiple stakeholders to have input without needing to be present at an interview.

Psychometric assessments: The options available to small and growing businesses are too numerous to list here, and your choice of tool will depend on where you want it to fit in your process and how much you want to spend. When selecting an assessment, look for a customisable, workplace research-based tool designed for recruitment that will answer the most important question: ‘Is this person the best fit for the job and our culture?’ Always keep in mind that a test result is just one part of your overall decision.

Background checks: Although checks on qualifications, previous employment and police records can certainly be outsourced (see Verify and PeopleCheck for example) I am not aware of tools that will fully automate this process for you. But I do recommend you check out Rapportive, a Google Chrome app, as a way of finding candidates’ social profiles and any connections you might already have to them, based on their email address.

No matter which tools you choose to use, you still have to put in time and effort to hire the right person. As in every other business activity, successful recruitment depends largely on having a clear picture of what you want before you start. None of the tools above can save you from this core business task. But they may just mean you make the right decisions along your recruitment path.

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

What’s your story? #4: John Boylan

What's your story?

This edition of What’s your story features John Boylan, the current HR Manager at Greenpeace Australia. Since his beginning as an Army Cadet to his current position, John has had a very interesting career.

John BoylanWhat’s your current position and what do you do?

I’m currently working as Human Resources Manager for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. Broadly speaking, I’m tasked with all the HR functions of Greenpeace in our geographical region.

What other activities are you involved in?

I do a bit of fitness training for a local rugby team called Sydney Irish. It’s a largely expat group and leans far more to the social than to the competitive side of things. In saying that, they’ve won two trophies in their first two years so there must be some talent there!

Aside from that, although over a year and a half in the country, I still see myself very much as a tourist in Australia and so spend my time trying to figure out what exactly is going on in Australian people’s heads…an endlessly fascinating pursuit.

Is this what you expected to be doing when you were at school?

I had absolutely no expectations in school of what I was going to be become…not in a negative sense; I just had complete confidence that I’d choose my own path and not conform to what seemed the obvious choice. I still do that and I still have no idea where I’ll be in 5 years’ time…and it’s made all the difference!

What was your first job?

My first job was when I was 13 at an amusement park stall selling dreams…..well, selling the dream of being able to knock 6 cans over with a baseball and winning a teddy-bear. The lady who ran the stalls used to sit in a caravan watching us all on CCTV cameras so if you stopped yelling out “3 balls for a pound!” to customers she’d come down and give out to you. Naturally I came to dislike this woman and took great pride in blocking the camera, knocking the cans over with my hand and presenting select people with their prize.

My first REAL job I suppose was when I was accepted into the Army Cadets after school which kick-started a 12 year career as an Army Officer.

Can you tell us about a significant turning point in your career/life?

I wouldn’t so much call it a turning point as confirmation of what I’d suspected, but when I was serving as a Lieutenant in Kosovo in 2008 I felt stymied by my role there. While the Irish Army performs an unbelievably valuable function in the peacekeeping sphere, being involved in the military side of things meant you could help, but only so much. After that, I knew I needed to get involved in a far more direct way with helping people in trouble-hit zones. I haven’t got there yet, but that’s the goal.

Who do you admire? Who has inspired you?

Che Guevara. Reading his works and about his life in my early 20s completely restored my faith that there are leaders out there who will choose the harder right over the easier wrong, and that will act with disciplined selflessness in order to inspire orders through leading by example. He was intelligent, pragmatic, completely uncompromising, and guided by a personal set of morals, values and ethics that I could personally empathise with.

If there were no limitations, what would be in the future for you?

I’d like to put my skills from the army into practice by coordinating international aid elements on the ground in disaster-hit areas or war-torn regions.

Finally, what would you tell your younger self about work and careers?

I’d tell him that, as he suspected, nothing you do will totally meet your expectations, so as soon as you feel things have run their course, get out…..and trust in your ability to find what you’re looking for.

Employing Apprentices: A new resource for business

new employees

We are delighted to be part of the following initiative, announced today:

New tool to match employers and apprentices for better completion rates

Strategies to match apprentices with employers and ultimately reduce the current high levels of apprentice attrition will be the focus of a new online tool being launched today.

The web-based resource, Employing Apprentices, is designed to help employers understand what is involved in taking on apprentices, and provide information about recruiting, managing and communicating with apprentices.

Developed by Group Training Australia (GTA), and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training, the tool is aimed at overcoming some of the key obstacles to successful apprentice completion.

“Much of the blame for drop outs typically falls on apprentices, but we know that this is a two way relationship and that improved matching and shared expectations are vital,” said the Chief Executive of GTA, Jim Barron.

“Around half of all trade apprenticeships are not completed and most of those are because of problems in the workplace,” he said.

The interactive, online tool provides access to a range of resources to help in effectively recruiting, matching and supporting apprentices.

It will particularly assist intermediaries such as group training organisations, Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) providers, and Job Active Employment Service providers. It will also be useful for careers advisors and VET in schools co-ordinators.

The new website has a range of resources, including good practice guides, tools and templates, as well as a number of self assessment checklists to identify best practice and address any gaps.

The site was developed by a team at Ithaca Group, based on their research and their extensive understanding of factors relevant to apprentice completions.

Professor Rod McDonald, Managing Director of the Ithaca Group, says that apprentices who don’t complete their training impose a high cost on organisations and a negative experience for both employers and apprentices, which, in turn, impacts future apprenticeship opportunities.

“It is important for employers to understand all that is involved in taking on an apprentice and determine whether they can engage with young people and provide the necessary learning environment,” he said.

He said that the latest approach puts a priority on ways of improving the match between apprentices and employers and on developing a range of learning opportunities that will help address apprentice retention and completion.

See the Employing Apprentices website: http://employingapprentices.com.au

Click on ‘A Good Match’ then ‘Testing and Profiling’ to get to our contribution, ‘Job Fit Analysis’.

Why your workshops aren’t working

workplace training

As a (sometimes) trainer, I’m surprisingly cynical about the value of training workshops in changing behaviour. I know I’m not alone in this, and I think I now understand why.

Typically, a client comes to us with a problem in their organisation that they feel training can solve. It might be an issue such as bullying or poor productivity. They have the budget and we design a program for them. We deliver the training but only rarely get to know if it has any impact in the longer term. My experience of human behaviour tells me a short workshop is highly unlikely to have solved the problem it was meant to address in the first place. This is why…

1. We are only treating the symptoms

If I have a headache, I can take some painkiller but unless I change what caused the headache, the pain relief will only be temporary.

If you have poor time management skills, I can teach you a range of techniques. They might help you get more done, but if your real problem is not being assertive enough to say ‘no’ when someone wants you to do something, all I’ve taught you is a smoother route to burnout.

Similarly, we could run a session on bullying, but if your managers lack the emotional intelligence to read their impact on others and know when they are being a bully, not much will change.

2. The wrong people are in the room

Early in my consulting life, I conducted a series of half-day workshops on bullying and harassment for an organisation with around 300 staff. We knew bullying was endemic and it needed to be stopped. We also knew this toxic culture was coming from the top as is, sadly, often the case.

As you may have guessed, although they were scheduled and rescheduled into the workshops, the executive were always too busy and didn’t make it to the training. In this case, we didn’t even get the change to share the basics with them, let alone contribute to a wider cultural change – which is what was really needed.

3. Not monitoring return on investment

On numerous occasions, we’ve been called in to deliver a program for a specific purpose. This is well and good: a need has been identified and it is being addressed. But often there’s something missing.

That something is data. Without knowing how bad the problem is and the evidence that supports our assumption a problem exists, it will be very hard – if not impossible – to know how effective the training intervention has been.

Quite often, organisations choose to save money upfront by not doing a good analysis of their needs. Unfortunately, this attitude guarantees they will have no way of knowing – apart from feelings – if they’ve just thrown more money away on a pointless training exercise.

How do you avoid these traps?

1. Do your homework

Know what you want to achieve. Make sure you have current data that will allow you to track progress over time, and clear goals of what outcomes you would like to see in the future.

2. Choose wisely

Sometimes a workshop is not the best way to achieve your desired outcome. For example, poor morale may be due to one person. Then your decision is to keep or let go, and if you decide to keep the person your next choice is about how to manage their behaviour.

3. Monitor closely

While feedback on the day is essential, usually people are basking in the glow of new information or a day out of the office. What matters more is long term change.You must work out how you will measure this change, it could be anything from fewer incidents to feedback after one month.

By following the steps above, you will be on your way to more effective training in your business.

If you have any further insights or tips, please share them below.

 

 

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