What are your People Management Priorities for 2016?

The start of a new year prompts many of us to think about our goals and priorities for the year. Indeed, we’ll be working with the management teams of several of our established clients over the coming weeks to help them clarify their priorities, particularly in respect of their people management strategies.

Based on our recent work, here are a few common themes we expect to emerge (in no particular order):

1. Clarifying vision and strategy – Sure, a regular paypacket is a good “satisfier” for many, but to really optimise the efforts of your people it needs to be clear just where the team/business is heading, how you plan to get there and what role you are asking them to play in helping you get there. Ideally, formulation of vision and strategy will be a joint effort in order to encourage further “buy in”. Once you have a clear vision and strategy, be sure to review to ensure people-management practices are aligned (eg. if it’s part of the strategy to be number 1 in customer service, staff bonus/incentive plans shouldn’t be entirely about sales volume). Read more

Succeeding in the Culture Change Playground

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

I saw this posted on Linked In the other day and it reminded me of a question I am often asked by clients when speaking with them about potential workplace culture change programs.

The question usually arises while I’m extolling the virtues of taking a structured, collaborative approach to assessing, envisioning and managing workplace culture as a means to improving engagement, productivity and bottom line results. The client or prospect often nods knowingly, then looks thoughtfully, before asking the question, usually along the lines of:

“Yeah, well that’s great, but we have a couple of individuals/teams that are very resistant to change and I just can’t see them coming on board. What do we do with them?” Read more

Are You Prepared To Be Less Of A D*ckhead To Be A Better Leader?

As usual, the annual Conference on Culture and Leadership presented by Human Synergistics Australia earlier this week delivered the goodies, with some great speakers sharing their personal leadership and workplace culture experiences with an enthusiastic Sydney audience.

One of the many things on the day that resonated strongly with me arose out of a performance piece by the talented corporate dramatists from Coup, which successfully highlighted the challenges and opportunities typically presented by leadership and workplace culture change.

In the piece, one of the dramatists playing the role of “the Ghost of Business Future” (with all due respect to Charles Dickens), asked the struggling CEO if he wanted to become a better leader in order to save the business from its projected downward spiral. Of course he said yes, to which the Ghost of Business Future responded quite simply “Great…. so are you prepared to be less of a d*ckhead?”

The laughs from the audience suggest that I wasn’t the only one for whom this comment resonated. As much as we might typically use more accepted corporate language, structured models and frameworks to diagnose and improve leadership effectiveness, I couldn’t help but think that this phrase, as undiplomatic as it might be, provides some fundamental truths. Read more

Workplace Bullying Laws – Progress Report

With the workplace bullying provisions of the Fair Work Act having now been in place for over 12 months, it’s timely to reflect on the changes, how they are working in practice and the associated costs and responsibilities.

The Legislation

Under the legislation:

  • bullying at work is deemed to occur when “an individual or group repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or group AND the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety”. Bullying does not include one-off instances of insensitivity or rudeness, or reasonable management activities carried out in a reasonable manner
  • a worker who believes that they have been bullied, and anticipates that the bullying will continue, can apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the bullying
  • “Worker” has a broad definition and includes, for example, employees, contractors and subcontractors, an employee of a labour hire company, apprentices, trainees, students gaining work experience and volunteers
  • the Fair Work Commission is required to start to deal with an application for an order to stop the bullying within 14 days of it being received
  • courts can impose significant penalties on individuals and/or businesses that fail to comply with an order to stop the bullying
  • the Commission can also refer the matter to Work Health and Safety regulators which could ultimately result in the imposition of fines or a prosecution for a breach of WHS laws.

Read more

HR Consulting

Why are Position Descriptions A Lot Like Politicians?



I probably don’t need to spend too much time convincing you that they are both pretty boring as far as topics of conversation go, but you may need a little more convincing that they (position descriptions at least), are necessary.

Put simply, a position description is a document which outlines the key purpose, relationships and responsibilities of an individual role within the business. In most cases it also details the skills and experience that would be required of a person in order to competently perform the role.

So just what goes into a well-written position description and why are they important for your business?

In terms of their benefits, position descriptions (or job descriptions as they are sometimes referred to) provide:

  • an opportunity to consider and ultimately be clear about important aspects of all positions within the business, including reporting relationships, key task requirements and expectations relating to behaviour/attitude;
  • a good safeguard for you and your business in the event of grievances, disputes, claims of unfair dismissal etc…;
  • clarity for staff and supervisors around just who does what within your business, therein reducing confusion and also providing opportunity for greater efficiency and ultimately profit;
  • opportunity to reduce the risk of non-compliance with employment-related legislation including Work Health and Safety;
  • a sound basis for recruitment and selection, ensuring you get the right person for the job based on their mix of skills, qualifications, experience and demonstrated behaviours/attitudes, and;
  • a sound basis for effective performance review and training and development.

Read more

Here’s an I.D.E.A. – Provide Effective Feedback!

A common challenge for many supervisors and managers when it comes to managing people is providing effective feedback. This is particularly the case where they need to give feedback to a team member who is presently not meeting expectations and/or where they have done something wrong.

Some supervisors and managers become paralysed by fear that the recipient of the feedback may not take it well – they might be upset, your current good relationship might be damaged or, even worse, they might argue against the feedback and become openly hostile toward you. Other supervisors and managers have no trouble telling people exactly what they have done wrong and what they need to do to improve, but they deliver the news in a way that causes people to react negatively, with the result that their efforts to improve the situation result in the recipient becoming angry and/or disengaged. Read more

Engaged Employees = 27% Higher Profit!

Engaged employees = 27% higher profit, 50% higher sales and 50% higher customer loyalty. (Gallup Study)

Is Your Business Set to Achieve Success Through People? Our FREE diagnostic tool will help you find out!

Consider for a moment the total value of your investment in the employees within your business -basic wage and salary costs, leave provisions, workers’ compensation and other insurances, training costs, incidental costs, accommodation and technology costs, recruitment and induction costs, the cost of casual staff to relieve employees on leave etc…. Think also about the time involved in recruiting employees and having them perform at their best, the time you might need to invest in addressing poor performance, conflict, customer complaints etc….

If yours is like most businesses, you’ll find that the total investment in your employees is significant, and in many cases it’s the single-most significant cost of doing business. With this in mind, it simply makes sense to ensure that your business is managing employees in a manner which generates the maximum possible return on investment. Read more

Is staff training worth the financial risk?

CFO to CEO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people & then they leave?”

CEO to CFO: ‘What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

From SMEs to MNCs and as far back as you would like to think, this conversation, in one form or another, is regularly occurring.

One of the biggest worries for business owners and managers is training and investing in quality employees and then losing them to a larger company, or worse a competitor, that might be able to offer more money, greater perks or better career opportunities.

Curiously, a business will regularly put more thought into what capital equipment to buy than whom to employ. And they will ensure there is a maintenance schedule for plant and equipment. When you look at the annual cost of a staff member, they represent significant investment…and cost. Read more

HR Consulting

Employee Incentives

One of the most efficient ways to achieve this is to introduce an incentive that would motivate them by the prospect of a reward if they and the business perform well.

An employee incentive plan aims at increasing employee productivity and therefore profits for the company (financial objective), or aims at giving back to them (a well being, non-financial objective such as job satisfaction), or both. Read more