Category Archives: People Management

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

succession

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.

 

Career Reality Check: Pilot

Germanwings prompts pilot review but industry must also deal with workplace stress

Geraint Harvey, University of Birmingham and Peter Turnbull, Cardiff University

This article was originally published in The Conversation UK 

Following the tragedy of Germanwings flight 4U9525, the US Federal Aviation Administration has said it is launching a study into how pilots’ mental health is monitored. It follows on from Lufthansa’s announcement of spot checks, much like dope testing in sport.

The deliberate downing of the flight in March 2015 by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz led to 150 deaths and prompted calls for safeguards such as a requirement for two people to be present in the cockpit at all times and greater sophistication in the screening of pilots.

However, this tragedy also highlighted the potential dangers of precarious employment contracts and the anxiety such contracts can cause. Murder-suicide is a rare and extreme act, but there was much speculation about Lubitz’s mental health and what may have led or exacerbated his situation. We know that he was “signed off” work on the day of the disaster but still chose to fly. Also, it would seem that he was under considerable pressure at work – Lubitz’s girlfriend was quoted by the BBC as saying: “He became upset about the conditions we worked under: too little money, fear of losing the contract, too much pressure”.

Setting aside the speculation, this experience of work as described by Lubitz’s girlfriend chimes with the results of studies carried out by us on behalf of the European Cockpit Association and the European Transport Workers’ Federation.

The studies show that precarious work (by that we mean low paid and uncertain work), leading to insecurity is becoming widespread across the European civil aviation industry. For instance, in response to a questionnaire survey completed by more than 2,700 pilot and cabin crew respondents in 2014, barely one half of respondents agreed that their work gave them security. Of the 2,700 respondents around 70% were in permanent full-time employment.

In terms of pay, legacy airlines have used low-cost subsidiaries, such as Germanwings (Lufthansa), Iberia Express (Iberia) and Transavia (AirFrance/KLM), in order to reduce labour costs. Terms and conditions of employment can be as much as 40% lower for employees at the subsidiary compared with counterparts who work for the mainline carrier.

Benefits and zero hours-style contracts

An alternative strategy adopted by British Airways has been to develop BA Mixed Fleet – new staff within the mainline operation employed on inferior (low-cost) terms and conditions. The idea is to grow this fleet of staff to service short-haul and long-haul flights if and when possible. It’s not a case of directly cutting benefits for Worldwide and Euro fleet staff, but gradually reducing the average staff costs.

In response to the 2014 survey, fewer than 10% of respondents employed as cabin crew on Mixed Fleet contracts agreed that the pay and benefits were adequate to support their current lifestyle, while none agreed that these were adequate to support future life plans. Shortly after the survey was completed, the Guardian reported that Mixed Fleet staff were reliant on working tax credit (state benefits) to supplement their income. In effect, the government was subsidising BA’s operations.

As for uncertain work, precarious contracts are perhaps most widespread at what have become known as the “ultra-low cost carriers”. Pilots at Ryanair, for example – whose current business strategy is “not to unnecessarily piss people off” – are predominantly hired on “self-employment” contracts. In 2013, around 70% of pilots were hired via these contracts and agencies such as Brookfield Aviation International (which hires the vast majority of Ryanair pilots), with no obligation on the part of the agency to offer work.

This arrangement is tantamount to a zero-hours contract – one crucial difference between the Brookfield contract and a zero-hours contract, however, is that the former imposes obligations on the pilot to provide three months’ notice of contract termination. In 2013, a Ryanair pilot won a test case that found that the firm could not impose a €5,000 “penalty” fee for not serving a full three-month notice period.

Ryanair is not the only airline to use “atypical” arrangements, a report from the University of Ghent in February 2015, based on a survey of 6,600 European pilots, found that Norwegian also hired many pilots in this way. Easyjet and Germanwings, however, used more traditional contracts.

Current business strategy is to be nice.
Juanedc, CC BY

In the UK, the process of qualifying as a commercial pilot can take around three years and cost up to £100,000. Saddled with such a debt, a newly qualified pilot undoubtedly experiences considerable anxiety about finding and retaining a first officer job at an airline. The combination of precarious work (and the attendant insecurity) and the need to retain one’s job may influence decision-making processes and lead to poor judgement, for example reporting for work when unwell/unfit for duty.

Aside from poor judgement, precarious work also has the potential to impact on safety in other ways. Alarmingly in our 2014 survey, only at two of the eight airlines included in the study did the majority of participants agree with the statement: “Employees feel comfortable reporting safety concerns to management”. One respondent commented of their colleagues that: “they are scared to report safety issues as our employment guide allows crew to be fired very quickly”.

One consequence of the tragedy of flight 4U9525 has been the consideration of factors that may have contributed to the tragedy and possible means of preventing such an incident in the future – the deteriorating conditions of employment faced by flight and cabin crew should not be overlooked.

The Conversation

Geraint Harvey is Senior Lecturer in Industrial Relations and HRM at University of Birmingham.
Peter Turnbull is Professor of Human Resource Management Labour Relations at Cardiff University.

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

Recruitment: The Hunt

assessments for recruiting

This post first appeared on Heather Hankinson’s As Good as Her Word blog. When we saw it, we wanted to share it here and Heather kindly agreed. We think you’ll appreciate her down to earth approach to finding the right candidates...

Finding new staff is really, really difficult. It’s difficult for multinational corporations with entire HR departments, it’s difficult for long-standing businesses, it’s difficult for start-ups, it’s difficult for Bill Gates. Everyone knows that people are a key factor in success but it’s easier said than done when that means attracting the right person, realising they are the right person amongst all the candidates, and then managing their expectations to get them off to the right start.

How do you start the hunt? The culture of your organisation that I’ve spent the past five weeks banging on about is a good starting point: is your business somewhere with an attractive personality, GSOH, who likes walks on the beach? Because if you’ve grown an authentic and unique culture then over time I’ll wager you’ll have applicants come to you.

But you already know how important I think culture is and even if you have it, when you do decide that you can’t manage everything in your business yourself and need to take the scary plunge of employing someone, start by brainstorming the places your perfect employee might hang out. Instead of paying Seek or CareerOne for a pretty generic ad, first ask yourself:

  • Where do they shop? Where do they eat out?
  • What do they like to do on their days off?
  • How do they like to portray themselves?
  • What are their habits?

You may think this is all irrelevant and will narrow your field so completely that you’ll miss most of your potential candidates but what you are really doing is increasing your efficiency and sticking to your cultural values. Say you need to hire a new estate agent for your team, for example: are you a ‘family values’ business or are you aiming for a swanky, boutique feel? For the first, you might put up posters in the local park or family-friendly cafe, for the latter you might ask to leave brochures in a fashionable clothing store.

Once you’ve spent at least 20 minutes scribbling ideas on an A4 piece of paper, see if any of these resources might be a way to reach out to that perfect candidate:

  • Ask your employees if they know anyone, or their friends know anyone, or their kids know anyone. If each employee roughly knows a few hundred people in the area and you have more than one employee, then friends’ of their friends would be a circle of thousands of potential referees. Simple but surprisingly underutilized,
  • Gumtree – for trades or uni student roles in particular, usually so cheap that it’s always worthwhile,
  • Local media – not TV, I’m talking school or church newsletters, cafe or gym bulletin boards, even a local market stall,
  • Client email update or your business’ Facebook page – even if you don’t get any referrals, phrased correctly, it’s an advert of your business itself because the traits you are looking for should be why your customers use you,
  • School career advisor – if you need a weekend casual or junior, I strongly recommend contacting the local schools to see if you can spend 5 minutes in one of their assemblies outlining why your business rocks and what type of stella employee you are after. You’ll be surprised how enthusiastic most schools are, especially near the end of a school year.
  • Consider holding a free seminar or open evening and inviting local professionals to network, mingle, have a beer, and obviously at some point in the evening make sure it’s clear (but not tacky) that you have a position to fill. Please make sure the evening reflects your business: there’s no point creating an illusion and attracting the wrong sort of people,
  • Facebook! I highly recommend that you have a play with Facebook ad manager (use the boosted post function) and search for your perfect candidate using their extremely fine-tunable parameters. It’s scary how much information they have on people, you may as well use it to your advantage. And you can set the budget as low as you like.

Above all, be creative. It might take more leg work but an ad online can set you back $300 and won’t show your business’ personality half as well.

Of course, all this goes hand in hand with knowing what type of employee you want, so three guesses what I’m writing about next week?

PS. If you are still tempted by a regular old online ad, remember: businesses generally get the staff they deserve. If you think you deserve brilliant, committed and sincere staff then start by being brilliant, committed and sincere in your hiring process.

Read more of Heather’s thoughts on recruitment, culture and a whole lot of other stuff on her blog!

Let us know what you think below

Have you tried any of these ways of hunting for the right candidate? How did it work for you?

What’s your story? #3: Chris Page

What's your story?

Today’s career interview with Chris Page, National Manager – New Projects at Napier & Blakeley, clearly illustrates there is more than one way to get where you want to be!

One thing that is clear from the discussions I’ve had at recent conferences about the future of work is that many of Australia’s issues with education and employment stem from our relatively recent focus on getting a university education. Aspiring to a degree is not a problem in itself, except that this goal may be at the expense of other forms of equally valuable forms of education for school leavers – both in terms of individual skills and the economy as a whole.

We first ‘met’ Chris in Group Training Australia‘s Network Magazine (March 2015):

Excerpt

Here’s what Chris had to tell us about what he’s learnt on his career journey…

What’s your current position and what do you do?

This is actually a complex question. My title is quite vague and for good reason – to not put boundaries on my internal function here at Napier & Blakeley. To describe my role I initially look to my CV and LinkedIn profile and which says

As head of the new projects department in the National Tax Business Unit I am responsible for the growth of the National Property Tax Business throughout Australia.

I’m also concentrating on growing the Napier & Blakeley brand internationally, and increasing recognition throughout the Property Development, Construction and Investment Industry sectors as the leading provider in Transaction, Asset & Development Advisory, Quantity Surveying, Sustainable Property Solutions and Property Depreciation and Insurance Assessment Advice.

Putting what I do into a simple sentence is hard simply because my role here at Napier & Blakeley is really quite diverse. I do a lot of Business Development in varying sectors in the Property Industry, continuously growing the Napier & Blakeley brand.

I’m also responsible for the growth of a new Tax Business Unit within the company which we’ve been working on for nearly a year – it is being launched and goes to market this coming July. All very exciting – and of course keeps me busy.

What other activities are you involved in?

Outside of work – well not as much as I’d like – I’m rather time poor.

I try to keep it simple. I have a strict gym routine, attending the gym religiously regardless where I am travelling, or staying, at a minimum of 6 days a week. This for me is probably the most important part of my day. Not only because there is no better stress relief other than sweating it out on the gym floor but also because entertaining clients often means eating and drinking far too much – all of which would go straight to my waist if it weren’t for gym!

I am an avid rock climber – yet another form of keeping fit, but also mind clearing. Climbing a wall requires constant problem solving – keeps my brain active in an unusual and physically active way.

Let’s not forget my passion for wine and food – this is something I spend a great deal of time enjoying.

Inside work – LOTS.  Too much even.  I tend to take on more than I should. It’s the price of absolute career commitment. 

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

Absolutely not. Nowhere near it.

I finished school quite young – and at the time I had no idea what I wanted to do – apart from the typical high school dreams. Great job, lots of travel, lots of money, all the glory.

Unfortunately something we don’t quite understand as teenagers is the iceberg theory. When it comes to successful careers generally people outside only ever see the top of the iceberg – the success and glory. And as we know with icebergs, the bigger portion is under the ocean hidden from view.  Stress, responsibility, sacrifice, risk, persistence regardless of challenges or failures on the way. Endless hard work.

But it’s all worth it, for that small bit of super white bright ice soaking in the sunshine at the top.

I think I learnt rather quickly – by being thrown in the deep end in the early years of my career that there is more hard work than there is reward.

I had more work than I did have hours in the day. But I fought through it – always taking on more than I could handle. Biting off more than I could ever chew – but I chewed through it all. Perhaps at great personal and social expense. But if you want it bad enough – you will do whatever it costs to get it done. Success is by no means easy – it wouldn’t be rewarding if it were.

When I finished school I thought eventually I’d end up in Construction Management or something related to it. And I have done that, from Contracts Administration on hundred million dollar construction sites, to being project manager and development manager on sites just as big. Then on to acquisition and development management in the global property market – something I never even dreamt of doing, let alone before the age of 30.

And now I’ve jumped fence to the consultancy side – working with a great deal of developers, asset and fund managers across the country as well as Southern Asia. A lot of my work these days is within the Property Tax sector. Tax is definitely something I never ever considered being remotely involved in – however property tax is one of the good taxes – it’s the one of the few taxes that gives back!! It’s nice to work in a business unit that helps property investors make more money!!!

When you remove common boundaries or as I call them, our comfort zones, and you let your career take the wild paths without fear of the ‘what if’ then this is when your career will take you to places and heights you never expected.

What was your first job?

I was 13 – far too young to have a legal job, but I was tall and looked older than 13 so managed to sneak my way into my first ever job.

Living on the Gold Coast – when I wasn’t at school or at home I was mostly likely found on one of the two ice rinks ice skating and playing ice hockey. Naturally I started working at one of the rinks. It was, at the time my ideal dream job – being paid whilst getting to skate. Loved it. I worked at ice rinks on the Gold Coast and then down in Melbourne (after a family move at 15) up until the last possible moment when university and my apprenticeship took all my time.

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

This is a hard question. There are a couple of turning points.

Spending a few weeks in Canberra at the GTA  (Group Training Australia) ‘Today’s Skills, Tomorrow’s Leaders’ program was definitely an eye opening event. It lifted my ideas of what is possible to a whole new level.

I think travel is also something that can help us grow, or act as a turning point. When I moved to London – my entire life was shaken upside down. New job, in a new country, new everything – it challenged me to a new way of thinking. Primarily because it exposed me to a whole new level of success. Success you don’t see too often in Australia. The abundance of successful multi-millionaires and billionaires that I was lucky enough to learn from in the UK really taught me that success is not something you get or are given (well for those lucky to be born into it perhaps this is the case).

Success is something you sacrifice for, something you dedicate your whole life to earning. It’s the reward that we are lucky to earn after a life time of effort, hard work but most of all smart business decision making.

But let’s not forget success is not only wealth – it’s family, and life in general. I think it was a turning point meeting people who had obtained great wealth and success at the sacrifice of much else. Family, friends – time.

Learning that success is more than just wealth and power – this teaches us that we need to work hard towards a happy balance. And that will be something different for everyone.

 Who do you admire? Who has inspired you?

I admire a great many people. Kerry Packer is someone I grew up admiring, he was born into wealth, but he grew up in an era where you worked for it. He lived life to its fullest – made good and bad decisions, but regardless of outcome continuously fought to better himself and his businesses.

Aurelio Peccei, an Italian scholar and industrialist of the 20th century is probably one of my all-time most admired individuals to read about and more importantly learn from. He is perhaps best known as the founder of ‘The Club of Rome’ but for me, he was a man who survived imprisonment, torture and very nearly execution during WWII, he is the one man who turned post war Fiat Corporation into the mighty international beast of a company that it became in the late 20th century.

When Aurelio founded The Club of Rome, he introduced the world to the idea of an international think tank. A forum for scholars of all nations to come and think aloud – to present the world with ideas of how to better humanity for the greater good.

 

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

Limitations? What limitations? By simply thinking ‘if there were no limitations’ you’re already placing them upon yourself. There are no limitations!

As I’ve always said, people who tell you to pull your head out of the clouds simply say it because they themselves are too scared to see what’s above them.

Limitations are something that generations before us were guided by. People were born poor and were to stay poor, or they were born into wealth and it was their ‘birth right’ to remain wealthy throughout life.

Thank god for the industrial revolution.

Today people can be born anywhere in the world, from any family, any race, any religion, any anything and become wealthy, successful and powerful. The only limitation we have are those which we lock ourselves into.

If you truly want it – you will do whatever it takes to get it – or die trying. If you want it that bad that is.

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

This question makes me laugh. Because the only thing I would say is “slow the F**k down Chris”. (Excuse my French!)

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a career. We’re placed under so much pressure these days that we forget to stop and smell the roses.

So simply put, the only think I would advise myself on is time. Slow down, the one thing we learn with age is that the journey is where the fun happens. The destination is death so why limit our journey?

Take risks, have fun, work hard and enjoy where life takes you without worrying about ‘what if’!

Your future workforce

Predicting the future is always a risky business, but it is also a fascinating exercise!

Here’s some data from McCrindle Research that gives us a taste of who you will be dealing with in your workplace soon, if not already. To read the original article, click here.

Gen Z infographic

 

What have you noticed about the generation entering the workforce now?

We’d love to read your observations, so please share them below.

Hiring? Data beats intuition

workplace training

This article comes via Harrison Assessments International. You can read more articles about Harrison Assessments here.

Can an algorithm beat the experts at hiring?

The Scientific American Article: How Data Beats Intuition says,

“When we make selection decisions – whether it is choosing a date, a potential business partner or a job candidate – we try our best to make accurate judgments about the potential of the people we are considering. These decisions, after all, have long-term consequences. A first date could turn into a long-lasting romantic relationship; a potential business partner could be a lifelong colleague; a job candidate could be someone we work with for years to come.

Yet, too often, we find ourselves asking, ‘What went wrong?’ We may have spent a lot of time with the person and conducted multiple interviews and assessments to then realize, a few months later, that the person we chose is just not right. This is no rare event. For instance, data shows that traditional hiring methods produce candidates that meet or exceed the expectations of the hiring manager only 56 percent of the time — about the same result one would get tossing a coin.”

This is a very good article and true according to Harrison Assessment International’s experience and research. The biggest reason that data works better is that there are many factors that relate to job success.

Each of these factors should be systematically weighted and scored. Job interviewers don’t tend to systematically analyze the job and formulate the key factors. In addition, interviewers don’t have a strategic and effective means to measure the factors. Consequently, their subjective judgments will be less effective.

You can see the importance of job analysis by looking at the difference between structured interviews and unstructured interviews. Structured interviews have been proven in nearly every study to be far more effective. The difference is that someone took the time to consider what was important related to the job and base the interview around those factors. This greatly improves the results.

Assessments are a systematic means of weighting and measuring the qualifications and behavioral competencies that relate to job success. However, to be effective, an assessment must be tailored to the job and not simply measuring general factors.

Another important factor is the degree to which an assessment is comprehensive. An effective assessment must weigh and assess all the factors related to job success including education, experience, technical or business skills, interpersonal skills, leadership tendencies, and motivation. There must be a sufficient number of factors measured. Unrelated factors should not be included in the analysis to avoid confusing the recruiter. An effective assessment should also measure engagement and retention issues by assessing employment preferences, task preferences, and interests. Otherwise, the assessment will not be comprehensive. To the degree that the assessment includes all the factors related to job success and only the factors related to success for the specific job is the degree to which it will be effective.

The Harrison Assessment can include strategic mechanisms that identify deception that are far more effective that an interviewer attempting to determine the degree to which a person is telling the truth related to each factor.

If the data is tailored for success in the specific job the results are likely to be more relevant. For example measuring a few general personality factors and allowing the interview to guess at which factors are important for a job is not more effective than a structured interview. The factors measured and the weightings given should be based on performance research rather than guesswork. In that case there is real data and a much greater chance of predicting job success.

Future of Work Conference 2015

At the end of April 2015, I was fortunate enough to attend two days of inspiring sessions at the Future of Work conference

There was so many ideas shared, which I’m sure you will see reflected in future posts on this blog. For now, a summary provided by the organisers, the Centre for Workplace Leadership.

If you’d like to know more, please ask!

In total, there were 367 attendees at the conference, plus 35 speakers, and around 30 staff and volunteers. In the two days of the conference, we managed to fit in 17 sessions, consume 1000 cups of coffee, write thousands of tweets, and the hashtag (#2015FOW) was trending on Twitter.

The conference taught us to get ready for Uber working, identified the key issues facing business, highlighted the need to promote innovation (and throw out our management textbooks), explored what was holding us back as entrepreneurs, and much, much more.

A new way to recruit

You sense the new person you need for your business is ‘out there, somewhere’.  But how do you find them?

While researching an article on new recruitment tools for SMEs, I was talking to our client and friend, Jo Muirhead. Coincidentally, Jo had just posted a new vacancy on Facebook. Instead of a traditional Facebook advertisement, this was a normal post with a link to a page on her website containing a video of Jo talking about the job plus details of how to apply.

This innovative approach has some key benefits

  • Jo started by being crystal clear about what she wanted – and equally clear about what she didn’t want.
  • Facebook is the perfect medium for reaching her target candidates: anyone looking for a part-time PA role in their local area.
  • Using video allows the potential candidates to see Jo and get a real sense of what it might be like working with her, giving them the chance to screen themselves out if they don’t think they’re a good fit.
  • Applicants were asked to include a video of themselves explaining why they think they’re suited to the role. This would require a level of confidence that matches what’s needed to perform well in the role.
  • The post and video leave little room for doubt, saving time on both sides of the recruitment equation.
  • Promoting the role via Facebook is free and Jo’s Facebook friends and followers were able to easily share the job with their connections.

Did it work?

Jo kindly gave me an update this week (4 May):

I had two applicants only, which meant I didn’t need to wade through 100’s of resumes and pay someone to review all that wrong and poor job application information. The video was certainly the test of courage that kept people away.

That being said, both applicants were incredible and if only 1 had applied I would have been more than happy. Having to choose between the two was tough but it came down to skills and teachability.

What do you think?

Would you be willing to give something like this a try?

You can find more tips on using social media in our e-book ‘Successful Recruitment: Transforming Your Business Through Best Practice’.

Perhaps you already have experience using social media in your recruitment process. How has it work for you?

 

 

"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things. "
By Sam Refshauge, CEO, batyr
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
By Jessica Hill, Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
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