News

10 Jan, 2020
10 Top Techniques for a Terrific 2020
Entrepreneur

The new year has begun. But what if we avoided more lame resolutions, instead aspiring toward real, actionable results. Here are 10 top tips for a terrific 2020 for you and your business, based on my experience as a motivational speaker and executive coach.

1. Aim big.

Stop thinking so small. I often coach executives, and one point I make is they need to expand their thinking. I was once coaching a senior director and asked about her long-term career goal and she said, “I want to be a vice president in this company." I paused and asked her, “Why not CEO?” We then had a long conversation about expanding her thinking. How about you? As T. Harv Eker once said: “The biggest obstacle to wealth is fear. People are afraid to think big, but if you think small, you'll only achieve small things.”

2. Have goals in writing.

Too few people have concrete goals, and an even smaller percentage write them down. Create goals for every area of your life, and this year, make sure to put them in writing. Research has shown that goals are much more effective when they are written down, so make that effort to finally put pen to paper.

3. Learn something new.

Think about this coming year and identify three things you want to learn, be it personally or professionally. Find the resources and sign up. You can hire an executive coach, take an online course, go to a live class or read a few books on the topic. When you are constantly learning, you will be reinvigorated, excited and fired up.

4. Give back.

Work with a charity, volunteer at an animal shelter or Habitat for Humanity, or maybe become a Big Brother or Big Sister. When you give back, you help others, but also help yourself by feeling good about how you can change a life.

5. Practice stress management.

When you think about the term stress management, it implies that stress can be managed, and guess what? You are the stress manager. Make a list of all the activities you can use to de-stress in everyday life. Maybe it's meditating, gardening or working out. Experiment with what works best for you.

6. Start or join a mastermind.

A mastermind is a group of five or six people who are all interested in growth and development for each member. You get together once a month and discuss ideas and how you can help each other. I was in a mastermind for a few years and found it to be an extremely powerful experience. As Will Rogers said, “A man only learns in two ways: one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”

7. Limit negative content.

To have the right mindset, you need to be very careful about consuming negative content. Avoid negative TV, negative news and most of all negative people. I decided years ago not to have any more negative friends. It was transformational. If you have any super-negative friends, stop associating with them in the new year. Be careful, because they will pull you down with them into the abyss.

8. Stay connected to loved ones.

Your family loves you unconditionally, and you need to show that you love them back. One way is to make sure you call, email, text, visit and connect with your family regularly. Call your mom, your grandfather, your daughter, etc. Take your spouse out on a date. You get the idea. Connect.

9. Find a new hobby.  

Hobbies are a great way to get you to stop thinking about work. Create a bonsai tree, take up sailing, start oil painting, write the next great American novel. It doesn’t matter what the hobby is, so long as you enjoy it. I play the drums and find beating something with sticks to be very therapeutic.

10. Vacate.

The biggest mistake many of my clients make is they never take time off. They are always “on,” which leads to burnout and less productivity. Commit to taking a vacation this year. Here is a new idea: Pick somewhere to go you have never been to. The novelty of new places and experiences can be very refreshing. Secondly, make sure when your employees are on vacation, they don’t work.

As Gretchen Bleiler once said: “With the new year comes a refueled motivation to improve on the past one.” Happy New Year. You can do this.

23 Dec, 2019
Three things employees want from their organisation in 2020
SOURCE:
HR Online
Hr online

The start of a new year is often a time to turn over a new leaf. But what kind of changes do employees actually want to see? 

As we pile back into work come mid-to-end January — looking a little more relaxed and perhaps sporting a tan — our to-do lists will slowly start growing and our 2020 agendas will begin rolling out. For many leaders, that to-do list will be to build on the successes of last year and to do even better this time around.

As HR professionals often play an important role in forming these agendas, here are three things you should encourage your leaders to be thinking about.

1. Carve out time for learning

How many hours do we need to spend learning in order to close a skills gap? Five hours per week, according to a study from the IBM’s Institute for Business Value.

The 2018 study, which surveyed more than 5,600 executives from 48 countries, extrapolated this to 36 days. That’s ten times greater than the time it would have taken just four years earlier.

The drastically changing skills required to perform many of today’s jobs, paired with outdated, traditional approaches to training, means that global talent shortages are becoming more of a concern than ever. IBM predicts that more than 120 million workers across the globe will need to retrain or reskill within the next three years due to intelligent and AI-enabled automation.

This isn’t just a concern for employers; staff are becoming increasingly more worried about skills shortages too.

New research from the Centre of New Workforce at Swinburne University of Technology, in partnership with YouGov, surveyed more than 1,000 Australian employees and found that 61 per cent of Australians don’t think they’ve got the right knowledge and skills necessary for the next five years of work. This is a five per cent increase since 2018.

Respondents said the opportunity to learn and grow was the second highest motivator to work (34 per cent) behind the nature of the work itself (46 per cent), yet more than half said they didn’t have enough dedicated learning time during work hours and nearly 40 per cent said their organisations had ‘unsupportive environments that stigmatised learning’.

“As technology advances, routine work will increasingly be displaced. Only learning more functional skills is not enough for a worker to secure their future,” says Dr Sean Gallagher, director of Swinburne’s Centre for the New Workforce and research lead.

Gallagher says employers don’t need to send their staff to expensive external training courses and risk losing valuable productivity in the process. These skills, he says, are best cultivated in the workplace.

“Three things differentiate humans from technology. We are first and foremost social creatures, we can see over the horizon, and we can create new knowledge. By working collaboratively to solve complex problems or identify new opportunities, workers create new value. This is learning for the future of work. It is supported by online learning or more formal programs, as required,” says Gallagher.

2. Build a burnout strategy

You’ve no doubt heard the startling fact that burnout was declared an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization this year. Despite this fact, some people still place the onus on the employee to come up with a solution to their own burnout

Workers are plagued with advice like “Learn how to say no”, “Speak up when you feel like your workload is getting too intense”, or “Have you tried practicing mindfulness?” The latter is about as effective as telling a starving person to “just eat more food”.

While individuals should absolutely take responsibility to improve their own quality of life (and yes, there is a time and a place for mindfulness), the buck does not stop with them. If 2019 was the year of finally acknowledging the severity of burnout, 2020 should be the year organisations do something about it.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, workplace expert Jennifer Moss said, “Leaders take note: It’s now on you to build a burnout strategy.”

So what would such a strategy look like?

Moss points to research from Gallup that breaks down the causes of burnout into five categories:

  1. Unfair treatment at work
  2. Unmanageable workload
  3. Lack of role clarity
  4. Lack of communication and support from a manager
  5. Unreasonable time pressure

With this in mind, Moss says leaders need to start asking smarter questions around these points. Questions like, ‘Are our work hours reasonable?’, ‘Am I asking too much?’, ‘How can I make this work environment psychologically safe for everyone?’

It’s of utmost importance that these questions are asked in consultation with staff. If you don’t, you run the risk of disappointing them even further. 

For example, if you notice morale is low and spend thousands on a flashy new coffee machine (the really good kind that lets you froth your own milk) as a way to try and get staff back on side, what you could be doing instead is planting a constant reminder of just how out of touch you are, smack bang in the middle of the office. 

Every time Jenny walks into the kitchen that coffee machine might remind her of the end of year bonus she was denied because the company couldn’t afford it. John might see it and feel disgruntled that his request for funding for a new program was spent on a fancy milk-frothing, latte-making, ristretto shot-dripping contraption.

Of course, you can’t make everyone happy, but by taking a consultative approach you can at least make some happy.

Another tip Moss suggests is to refer to Frederick Herzberg’s dual-factor, motivation-hygiene theory when forming a burnout strategy.

Herzberg’s theory suggests that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not mutually exclusive; just because satisfaction rates increase, that doesn’t necessarily mean dissatisfaction decreases. Managers need to keep this in mind. One way to do this is by looking at your staff’s hygiene factors and motivating factors. 

3. Find your business’s purpose

Organisations’ leaders are becoming beholden to the values of their staff, according to Gartner’s Playbook for a New Talent Deal. This means employers need to create a company purpose that aligns with staff’s values in order to create an emotional bond between leaders and their people.


This Gartner playbook is free to access and has plenty of informative case studies and research included. Some of Gartner’s other great research content is gated, however AHRI members received free access. Find out more here.


Importantly, purpose is not the same thing as culture, the playbook’s authors say. And it’s more than having a mission statement that sits somewhere on your company’s website. It’s something that sits behind every decision your company makes and, again, it should be created in consultation with your people.

“Energising internal and external stakeholders around a purpose creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, leading to more rapid achievement of that purpose through unified effort. A clear purpose attracts and retains employees who are willing to go above and beyond. Employees can more readily realise their potential and drive the organisation forward,” says the report.

The report offers advice from Gartner’s CHRO Global Leadership Board members for employers who want to become more purpose-driven, including:

  • Emotionally connect from the get-go. During the hiring and onboarding stages, make sure you talk about the difference they can make by working with you, not just the details around their pay and role responsibilities.
  • Your purpose can’t be set in stone. It’s important to consistently revisit (and sometimes re-write) your company’s purpose to make sure it still aligns with your company’s evolving mission and your staff’s shifting values.
  • Walk your talk. If environmental awareness is a strong part of your business’s purpose, for example, then that should play a role in determining the clients you will and won’t work for.
  • Use your HR as PR. If your company has a great purpose-led approach to work through various HR policies and frameworks, shout it from the rooftops (figuratively, of course). Getting together with your PR and marketing team and developing ideas to share HR’s successes is a great way to attract new talent and clients that align with your ethos.

By including these three points in your 2020 agenda, you’ll ensure your company starts the year on the right foot and you’ll be one step closer to a happy, engaged and productive workforce.

12 Dec, 2019
Grill’d accused of using government program to underpay staff
SOURCE:
HRM Online
HRM Online

Is it offering worthwhile training opportunity or has it found a clever way to skirt around workplace law?

Burger chain Grill’d has come under scrutiny for its government-subsidised training program, which some workers say is being strategically used to get around paying staff award wage rates.

The program has netted Grill’d more than $7 million from the federal government’s Apprenticeships Incentives Program, which is designed to “contribute a highly skilled and relevant Australian workforce that supports economic sustainability and competitiveness”.

Grill’d promotes its program as “12-month training to ensure consistency across all our restaurants in delivering the Grill’d Experience,” which culminates in workers being awarded, depending on their state, a Certificate II or III in Hospitality or a Certificate II Retail.

 The company is permitted to pay workers less — as little as $14.50 an hour — while they are conducting the training.

 “The training we provide at Grill’d, including our qualifications, are an essential part of developing our people and providing them with the important knowledge and skills to deliver on our promise,” the company says on its website. “It’s this training that provides our team members with long term career opportunities — here at Grill’d and in the broader community.”

However, workers with the company have told news.com.au that their training was rudimentary and dragged out over a long period of time so workers could continue to be classified as trainees.

They say the company would not roster workers on to particular jobs that they needed to complete the training — keeping them working at the counter, for instance, rather than in the kitchen.

 “[The training] was really, really easy — literally like four hours’ work — (but) it took me almost two years to get it completed,” news.com.au quotes one former employee as saying. She also says the company delayed allowing her to complete the training and qualifying for the award pay rate.

 “I wasn’t able to log onto the system, you would contact the regional guy, he wouldn’t get back to you. There was a lot of blatant stalling from the company.”

Grill’d has denied using its program to underpay staff, telling The New Daily that all the company’s jobs are permanent and the stores seek to commit to their team.

“Our traineeship program is accredited and administered by qualified external training providers and those completing it receive nationally recognised qualifications,” the New Daily quotes a Grill’d spokesperson as saying.

“It enhances the skills of trainees not just for Grill’d but for the trainee generally. Trainee contracts for those under 18 years of age are co-signed by a parent or guardian.”

The criticism of the burger chain comes amid reports that it is being investigated by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). An FWO spokesperson confirmed to that it is “conducting inquiries in relation to Grill’d” but would not provide further details.

 

Damage control

Prior to the news.com.au report, Grill’d founder and managing director Simon Crowe sent staff an email saying that the company was “aware of a pending media story that will wrongly claim we have worked against the interests of our franchise partners, and our restaurant teams, including how we conduct our training.”

The email was posted to Twitter by University of Technology Sydney journalism student Alex Turner-Cohen.

The email also included a video message from Crowe, in which he says the company will “always try and do the right thing by our people, by our franchise partners and the many stakeholders in the Grill’d eco-system”.

“It’s actually come to our attention that there’s a media article about to be released about Grill’d challenging who we are relative to our treatment of franchise partners, the treatment of our teams and even the culture at Grill’d,” Crowe says in the video.

“The intent of this is to give you an insight to what might lie ahead. But I also wanted to point out that our values of passion, leadership, ownership and trust have been part of our fabric since the beginning and they remain. It’s how we will engage with you; we will listen, we will learn, and we will always strive to make Grill’d a better place than she is today.” 

Getting grilled

Whether the Grill’d training program has the legitimacy the company claims for it or whether it is a workaround designed to keep wage costs down, the episode highlights some of the risks involved for businesses that must balance developing their workforce’s skills with taking advantage of the subsidies and savings that are designed to promote such activity.

Grill’d told news.com.au that the government grants are offset by its own costs in providing the training.

“The net cost to Grill’d of running the traineeship program as it relates to government subsidies has averaged in excess of $450,000 each year over the last three years,” a spokesperson said.

“Grill’d appreciates the government’s efforts in providing nationally accredited qualifications and promoting the professionalisation of the hospitality industry. This provides a pathway for young people to establish careers in either hospitality or other industries.”

Presumably, however, Grill’d benefits from having a more skilled workforce operating its restaurants. It is also questionable whether hospitality accreditation is of particular use to staff, many of whom are young workers or students who have no long-term desires to remain in the industry.

This is not the first time Grill’d has been under scrutiny for its employment practises. In 2015, Kahlani Pyrah launched unfair dismissal action  against the company, saying she was fired for seeking the award entitlement for her job. She had been paid under a Work Choices-era agreement that include overtime, weekend penalty rates, or meal and uniform allowances.

Grill’d has previously been criticised for dragging out its traineeships. Commenting on this in 2017, law firm Rouse Lawyers published an article noting that, “This incident comes as a timely reminder for employers to regularly consult with employees to identify issues which could intensify or grow if left unresolved”.

It’s yet to be seen to what extent the company will regret choosing to ignore what appears to be a three year old warning sign.  

12 Dec, 2019
How to increase your recruitment success strike rate from 50% to 90%
SOURCE:
Inside HR
Inside HR

Most organisations get the recruitment equation right just over 50 per cent of the time on average, however, a more focused, strengths-based approach can increase talent acquisition success rates to around 90 per cent, according to an expert in the area.

Organisations get recruitment right “slightly more times than they get it wrong” said Alex Linley, co-founder of Cappfinity, which is a global leader in strengths-based talent acquisition, assessment and development.

“If you look at all the statistics around retention, engagement and satisfaction at work, for example, the overall average is just over 50 per cent when it comes to successful recruitment,” he said.

Hallmarks of organisations which fail at talent acquisition
“There is quite a wide range in there, because some organisations do a really bad job of finding and recruiting the right people, while others do a really good job.”

The first hallmark of organisations which usually fail at recruitment is failing to understand what talent they require in the first place: “if you don’t know who you are looking for then chances of selecting the right person are not good,” said Linley.

The second most common challenge involves selection processes, which can sometimes be subject to personal biases on the part of agencies and hiring managers.

“Sometimes a hiring manager will make a decision based on whoever they feel is the right fit for the culture of the organisation,” he said.

“But if they get the selection process wrong, this can reinforce a culture of command and control because the hiring manager then needs to work extra hard to try and get the new employee to get the job done.

“This then leads to resentment, low performance and disengagement – and ultimately the employee leaves the organisation,” said Linley.

Hallmarks of organisations which succeed at talent acquisition
However, organisations which have a better handle on talent acquisition basically do the opposite of the above.

They have a solid understanding of who they are looking for, what it will take for someone to succeed in a particular role, and who would be a good fit for the organisation.

“They understand what high performers already do well, what their best people are like and what it is that differentiates them,” he said.

“Knowing this, then they can design for consistent, replicable, objective selection processes that allow them to hire more people who are like that.

“I say consistent, replicable and objective because they are likely to use some sort of assessment, structured interview process or group exercise – so they are able to compare like with like and compare people against a standard, as opposed to organisations in which selection processes are forever shifting based on how the hiring manager feels that day.”

“Some organisations do a really bad job of finding and recruiting the right people, while others do a really good job”

Organisations which are good at talent acquisition are typically very good at bringing new starters on board – not just from a process perspective, but also in terms of giving them work which matches their expectations and what they are interested in and want to perform.

“When people are doing things they want to do, they are more likely to enjoy it more and stay with an organisation that enables them to do that,” said Linley.

Hiring based on strengths
Similarly, organisations which understand this tend to perform much better in terms of recruitment, retention, performance and productivity.

“We certainly see across our client organisations that when are recruiting based on strengths, they consistently get it right around 90 per cent of the time,” said Linley.

“There might be a figure of about 10 per cent of attrition in the first year, because 90 per cent would be a very realistic benchmark we could be aiming to meet and exceed.”

With a strengths-based approach to recruitment, Linley said companies spend time understanding what success in a particular role looks like, who they’re looking for and who would be a good fit on a number of levels.

This allows the organisation to recruit based on a success model or framework, in which candidates are screened against exactly what is required to deliver high performance in a role.

“We are looking for an authentic match with consistency and rigour, and this flow through the recruitment process all the way, so there are no surprises,” he said.

Linley observed that a strengths-based approach to recruitment also delivers improved diversity and inclusion outcomes.

“Because strengths are inherently human, we are helping recruit from a wider pool and find people that might have overlooked through traditional methods of recruitments,” he said.

“Using strengths in recruitment goes beyond the surface and looks to find candidates who are going to shine and be successful with an organisation because of their strengths.”

However, there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to effective recruitment, and he said this simply come back to the hallmarks of organisations which are clear about who they are looking for, and steps and processes to find such candidates.

“There is a lot of hype but not a lot of substance in terms of what is actually being delivered and meaningful results”

Pros and cons of technology in recruitment
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in talent acquisition, and Linley observed that it is a tremendous accelerator of recruitment – when done well”.

“I think the best results will always be achieved through a combination of authentic human experience and technology, and using the data in a way that can make the process more efficient and effective,” he said.

“It’s about the right balance and combination of technology and the human experience; that’s where the magic happens.”

Linley said technology is playing an important role in reducing the amount of administrative work in the recruitment process.

However, one way that technology can get in the way is where biases are unwittingly built into the algorithms, and this can negatively impact the shortlisting and selection process.

“It’s about finding the right ways to deploy technologies and using data in combination with strengths and that human experience to ensure this delivers the best recruitment experience,” he said.

“It should make it more efficient for the organisation, and more immersive and authentic from a candidate experience as well.”

There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence and machine learning in the recruitment market, said Linley.

“There is a lot of hype but not a lot of substance in terms of what is actually being delivered and meaningful results,” he said.

Ideally technology has to deliver a faster, better and more cost-effective outcome for organisations, however, this can be limited by existing processes which can hamper the full potential of technology in the recruitment process.

“Some larger organisations which have been around for a while try and reposition themselves as digital, tech-focused and ready for the future, but when you get into their recruitment processes they are quite traditional and there is a lot of scope for improvement,” he said.

12 Dec, 2019
Inside the holistic HR strategy that drove ghd’s business turnaround
SOURCE:
Inside HR
Inside HR

A holistic HR strategy has played a critical role in the business turnaround of boutique hair product business ghd with significant increases in both operating income and employee engagement, according to ghd’s people manager for Australia and New Zealand, Symeon Leslie.

Prior to 2016, there was no HR presence within the company, and it was suffering from all-time high turnover rates, low employee engagement, low productivity and a lack of policies and procedures.

“This was costing the business thousands of dollars,” said Leslie.

“It was clear that there was a lot of work to be done, from the basics like policies, procedures and position descriptions, to ensuring we had the right people in the right places.”

ghd (Good Hair Day) employs around 65 people and makes a range of hair products that are sold to around 4200 regular salon customers, and in August 2016 it conducted the first of its annual engagement surveys.

This survey clearly highlighted employee concerns with recognition, communication, culture and opportunities for promotional and L&D opportunities within the business, Leslie explained.

“This was a turning point for ghd, prompting a much-needed period of change involving all employees, but most importantly, a re-established and reinvigorated HR function,” she said.

Key elements of ghd’s HR strategy
Attracting and retaining a high-performing team is a key part of the business’ global values for success, according to Leslie, who said that the HR team has every responsibility to deliver on this promise.

“When creating our local HR strategy, we asked our team to first create a clear vision that they were excited and motivated by, ensuring that it aligned with the global vision and could be supported with measurable results,” she said.

The strategic goals were split into 3 key pillars: (1) attract and retain, (2) engage and (3) train – each of which contain solid, defined, ‘SMART’ goals which are measured frequently.

Leslie explained that one of the key strategic elements that sits within the engagement pillar is “ghd life” which is the company’s holistic health and wellbeing program.

“It was clear that there was a lot of work to be done, from the basics like policies, procedures and position descriptions, to ensuring we had the right people in the right places”

Introduced in January 2018 following the previous year’s engagement survey, this engagement program was “created by ghd employees, for ghd employees” and has four pillarslive, grow, drive and feel; “each containing initiatives designed to support our team in all facets of life”, said Leslie.

The “live” pillar promotes healthy living and encompasses initiatives that are focused on teams’ mental, physical and nutritional wellbeing, and ensuring all team members are able to achieve work-life balance.

The “grow” pillar places a focus on teams’ personal professional learning and development and includes initiatives around technical and soft skills training, leadership training, onboarding, competency and succession planning.

The “drive” pillar ensures employees have a clear purpose and are rewarded and recognised for their achievements, explained Leslie, who said the final pillar “feel” helps to improve the way we people coming to work every day.

“We know how employees feel about work and those around them has a huge impact on their state of mind and happiness,” said Leslie, “so initiatives for this pillar include community and charity involvement, team building, employee benefits and providing platforms for our team to have a voice and have an impact on how we do things.

“ghd life represents the way we care for and treat our employees, both personally and professionally.

“By helping our team to become healthier and happier versions of themselves and offering opportunities for continuous self-development, we can be confident in providing an environment where they can reach their goals, our goals, and enjoy themselves along the way.”

Adoption and implementation of strategy
One of the keys of success to any people-related strategy or initiative is to provide a level of consultation with all team members, Leslie said.

Prior to the creation of the HR strategy and ghd life, input from the entire team was sought through the annual engagement survey and ongoing pulse checks.

“We quickly adopted our communication to highlight that everyone was responsible for driving cultural change – it was a two-way street”

These short monthly surveys are designed to gain a quick snapshot of how employees are currently feeling at work and provides them with a platform to deliver feedback and have their say on a variety of topics.

Key themes include understanding what is important to the team, their values and where they feel improvements could be made.

“There was no point in creating something that our teams did not care about, so we used the results of these surveys to shape the ghd life program we have today,” said Leslie.

Adopting and communicating new initiatives and or processes to all levels of the business has been relatively easy for us with the introduction of an online hub and mobile app called “ghd world” which serves as the home for e-learning, policies, workshop bookings, communications, weekly newsletters, how-to-videos, forums, frequently used documents, photo uploads and more.

“It’s frequently updated, and even more so alongside the launch of new initiatives to ensure all levels of the business have new and engaging content available and kept informed throughout their journey at ghd,” said Leslie.

Challenges and lessons learned
Along with the typical challenges around budgets for new initiatives, Leslie said the most prominent challenges were around HR-led activities and a large proportion of the company’s broader team which are based in the field.

“When we started shaking things up a little and introducing initiatives such as ghd life, there was definitely a mindset among our team that it was the newfound HR team’s job to improve engagement and culture alone,” she said.

“We quickly adopted our communication to highlight that everyone was responsible for driving cultural change – it was a two-way street.

“We could launch initiative after initiative but unless our teams were getting involved ‘you spoke, we listened’ and placing an onus back onto the team, no-one would get anything out of it, and we certainly wouldn’t get the engagement we needed to reach our goals.”

Having a geographically dispersed team bring other challenges, and one-third of ghd’s employees work remotely across Australia and New Zealand, “so we were challenged in thinking of innovative ideas that could engage these team members as well,” said Leslie.

“I can tell you now: it’s a lot easier to drive engagement when your team is all within the same four walls, rather than spread across two countries and five different time zones.”

Not all strategies would have the same effect on the field team as they would on office-based team members, so to counter this ghd world is utilised as much as possible for communications and competitions, while team members are flown in numerous times a year for teambuilding and training sessions are offered in virtual formats.

“I can tell you now: it’s a lot easier to drive engagement when your team is all within the same four walls, rather than spread across two countries and five different time zones”

Results and outcomes
There have been some notable outcomes from both a business and HR perspective over the past 12 months, according to Leslie.

On a business level, operating income is up by 72 per cent while it is also attracting 4.5 per cent more candidates this year compared to last year.

Staff turnover has reduced by 11 per cent for the same period while there has also been an 80 per cent increase in tenure among employees with 2-5 years’ service.

Overall engagement score is sitting at 90 per cent (which is right on the company target), said Leslie, who noted that there has been a 16 per cent improvement in the overall ghd team engagement score over the past year alone.

Results from employee pulse checks show a 7 per cent increase in “promoters” internally and a 5 per cent decrease in detractors.

In terms of training, two-thirds of employees are involved in some form of non-mandatory training and 87 per cent are satisfied with the amount of L&D offered (a 12 per cent increase on the previous year) and 95 per cent of employees are participating in at least one elective activity through ghd life.

“We are also seeing results due to the focus we place on L&D through internal promotions and advancement,” said Leslie, who added that there has been an 18.5 per cent increase in promotion or advancement opportunities in the business (a 7 per cent increase on the previous year).

Over the same period, ghd has been named finalists as an ‘Employer of Choice,’ ‘Australian HR team of the year’ and ‘Best Learning & Development Program’ in the Australian HR Awards.

“We are really proud of the work we are doing here at ghd and of the results we are seeing – we always have room for improvement, and we are excited at the prospect of some of the initiatives we have planned for the future to do so,” said Leslie.

12 Dec, 2019
How to increase your recruitment success strike rate from 50% to 90%
SOURCE:
Inside HR
inside hr

Most organisations get the recruitment equation right just over 50 per cent of the time on average, however, a more focused, strengths-based approach can increase talent acquisition success rates to around 90 per cent, according to an expert in the area.

Organisations get recruitment right “slightly more times than they get it wrong” said Alex Linley, co-founder of Cappfinity, which is a global leader in strengths-based talent acquisition, assessment and development.

“If you look at all the statistics around retention, engagement and satisfaction at work, for example, the overall average is just over 50 per cent when it comes to successful recruitment,” he said.

Hallmarks of organisations which fail at talent acquisition
“There is quite a wide range in there, because some organisations do a really bad job of finding and recruiting the right people, while others do a really good job.”

The first hallmark of organisations which usually fail at recruitment is failing to understand what talent they require in the first place: “if you don’t know who you are looking for then chances of selecting the right person are not good,” said Linley.

The second most common challenge involves selection processes, which can sometimes be subject to personal biases on the part of agencies and hiring managers.

“Sometimes a hiring manager will make a decision based on whoever they feel is the right fit for the culture of the organisation,” he said.

“But if they get the selection process wrong, this can reinforce a culture of command and control because the hiring manager then needs to work extra hard to try and get the new employee to get the job done.

“This then leads to resentment, low performance and disengagement – and ultimately the employee leaves the organisation,” said Linley.

Hallmarks of organisations which succeed at talent acquisition
However, organisations which have a better handle on talent acquisition basically do the opposite of the above.

They have a solid understanding of who they are looking for, what it will take for someone to succeed in a particular role, and who would be a good fit for the organisation.

“They understand what high performers already do well, what their best people are like and what it is that differentiates them,” he said.

“Knowing this, then they can design for consistent, replicable, objective selection processes that allow them to hire more people who are like that.

“I say consistent, replicable and objective because they are likely to use some sort of assessment, structured interview process or group exercise – so they are able to compare like with like and compare people against a standard, as opposed to organisations in which selection processes are forever shifting based on how the hiring manager feels that day.”

“Some organisations do a really bad job of finding and recruiting the right people, while others do a really good job”

Organisations which are good at talent acquisition are typically very good at bringing new starters on board – not just from a process perspective, but also in terms of giving them work which matches their expectations and what they are interested in and want to perform.

“When people are doing things they want to do, they are more likely to enjoy it more and stay with an organisation that enables them to do that,” said Linley.

Hiring based on strengths
Similarly, organisations which understand this tend to perform much better in terms of recruitment, retention, performance and productivity.

“We certainly see across our client organisations that when are recruiting based on strengths, they consistently get it right around 90 per cent of the time,” said Linley.

“There might be a figure of about 10 per cent of attrition in the first year, because 90 per cent would be a very realistic benchmark we could be aiming to meet and exceed.”

With a strengths-based approach to recruitment, Linley said companies spend time understanding what success in a particular role looks like, who they’re looking for and who would be a good fit on a number of levels.

This allows the organisation to recruit based on a success model or framework, in which candidates are screened against exactly what is required to deliver high performance in a role.

“We are looking for an authentic match with consistency and rigour, and this flow through the recruitment process all the way, so there are no surprises,” he said.

Linley observed that a strengths-based approach to recruitment also delivers improved diversity and inclusion outcomes.

“Because strengths are inherently human, we are helping recruit from a wider pool and find people that might have overlooked through traditional methods of recruitments,” he said.

“Using strengths in recruitment goes beyond the surface and looks to find candidates who are going to shine and be successful with an organisation because of their strengths.”

However, there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to effective recruitment, and he said this simply come back to the hallmarks of organisations which are clear about who they are looking for, and steps and processes to find such candidates.

“There is a lot of hype but not a lot of substance in terms of what is actually being delivered and meaningful results”

Pros and cons of technology in recruitment
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in talent acquisition, and Linley observed that it is a tremendous accelerator of recruitment – when done well”.

“I think the best results will always be achieved through a combination of authentic human experience and technology, and using the data in a way that can make the process more efficient and effective,” he said.

“It’s about the right balance and combination of technology and the human experience; that’s where the magic happens.”

Linley said technology is playing an important role in reducing the amount of administrative work in the recruitment process.

However, one way that technology can get in the way is where biases are unwittingly built into the algorithms, and this can negatively impact the shortlisting and selection process.

“It’s about finding the right ways to deploy technologies and using data in combination with strengths and that human experience to ensure this delivers the best recruitment experience,” he said.

“It should make it more efficient for the organisation, and more immersive and authentic from a candidate experience as well.”

There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence and machine learning in the recruitment market, said Linley.

“There is a lot of hype but not a lot of substance in terms of what is actually being delivered and meaningful results,” he said.

Ideally technology has to deliver a faster, better and more cost-effective outcome for organisations, however, this can be limited by existing processes which can hamper the full potential of technology in the recruitment process.

“Some larger organisations which have been around for a while try and reposition themselves as digital, tech-focused and ready for the future, but when you get into their recruitment processes they are quite traditional and there is a lot of scope for improvement,” he said.

12 Dec, 2019
Inside the holistic HR strategy that drove ghd’s business turnaround
SOURCE:
Insidehr
inside hr

A holistic HR strategy has played a critical role in the business turnaround of boutique hair product business ghd with significant increases in both operating income and employee engagement, according to ghd’s people manager for Australia and New Zealand, Symeon Leslie.

Prior to 2016, there was no HR presence within the company, and it was suffering from all-time high turnover rates, low employee engagement, low productivity and a lack of policies and procedures.

“This was costing the business thousands of dollars,” said Leslie.

“It was clear that there was a lot of work to be done, from the basics like policies, procedures and position descriptions, to ensuring we had the right people in the right places.”

ghd (Good Hair Day) employs around 65 people and makes a range of hair products that are sold to around 4200 regular salon customers, and in August 2016 it conducted the first of its annual engagement surveys.

This survey clearly highlighted employee concerns with recognition, communication, culture and opportunities for promotional and L&D opportunities within the business, Leslie explained.

“This was a turning point for ghd, prompting a much-needed period of change involving all employees, but most importantly, a re-established and reinvigorated HR function,” she said.

Key elements of ghd’s HR strategy
Attracting and retaining a high-performing team is a key part of the business’ global values for success, according to Leslie, who said that the HR team has every responsibility to deliver on this promise.

“When creating our local HR strategy, we asked our team to first create a clear vision that they were excited and motivated by, ensuring that it aligned with the global vision and could be supported with measurable results,” she said.

The strategic goals were split into 3 key pillars: (1) attract and retain, (2) engage and (3) train – each of which contain solid, defined, ‘SMART’ goals which are measured frequently.

Leslie explained that one of the key strategic elements that sits within the engagement pillar is “ghd life” which is the company’s holistic health and wellbeing program.

“It was clear that there was a lot of work to be done, from the basics like policies, procedures and position descriptions, to ensuring we had the right people in the right places”

Introduced in January 2018 following the previous year’s engagement survey, this engagement program was “created by ghd employees, for ghd employees” and has four pillarslive, grow, drive and feel; “each containing initiatives designed to support our team in all facets of life”, said Leslie.

The “live” pillar promotes healthy living and encompasses initiatives that are focused on teams’ mental, physical and nutritional wellbeing, and ensuring all team members are able to achieve work-life balance.

The “grow” pillar places a focus on teams’ personal professional learning and development and includes initiatives around technical and soft skills training, leadership training, onboarding, competency and succession planning.

The “drive” pillar ensures employees have a clear purpose and are rewarded and recognised for their achievements, explained Leslie, who said the final pillar “feel” helps to improve the way we people coming to work every day.

“We know how employees feel about work and those around them has a huge impact on their state of mind and happiness,” said Leslie, “so initiatives for this pillar include community and charity involvement, team building, employee benefits and providing platforms for our team to have a voice and have an impact on how we do things.

“ghd life represents the way we care for and treat our employees, both personally and professionally.

“By helping our team to become healthier and happier versions of themselves and offering opportunities for continuous self-development, we can be confident in providing an environment where they can reach their goals, our goals, and enjoy themselves along the way.”

Adoption and implementation of strategy
One of the keys of success to any people-related strategy or initiative is to provide a level of consultation with all team members, Leslie said.

Prior to the creation of the HR strategy and ghd life, input from the entire team was sought through the annual engagement survey and ongoing pulse checks.

“We quickly adopted our communication to highlight that everyone was responsible for driving cultural change – it was a two-way street”

These short monthly surveys are designed to gain a quick snapshot of how employees are currently feeling at work and provides them with a platform to deliver feedback and have their say on a variety of topics.

Key themes include understanding what is important to the team, their values and where they feel improvements could be made.

“There was no point in creating something that our teams did not care about, so we used the results of these surveys to shape the ghd life program we have today,” said Leslie.

Adopting and communicating new initiatives and or processes to all levels of the business has been relatively easy for us with the introduction of an online hub and mobile app called “ghd world” which serves as the home for e-learning, policies, workshop bookings, communications, weekly newsletters, how-to-videos, forums, frequently used documents, photo uploads and more.

“It’s frequently updated, and even more so alongside the launch of new initiatives to ensure all levels of the business have new and engaging content available and kept informed throughout their journey at ghd,” said Leslie.

Challenges and lessons learned
Along with the typical challenges around budgets for new initiatives, Leslie said the most prominent challenges were around HR-led activities and a large proportion of the company’s broader team which are based in the field.

“When we started shaking things up a little and introducing initiatives such as ghd life, there was definitely a mindset among our team that it was the newfound HR team’s job to improve engagement and culture alone,” she said.

“We quickly adopted our communication to highlight that everyone was responsible for driving cultural change – it was a two-way street.

“We could launch initiative after initiative but unless our teams were getting involved ‘you spoke, we listened’ and placing an onus back onto the team, no-one would get anything out of it, and we certainly wouldn’t get the engagement we needed to reach our goals.”

Having a geographically dispersed team bring other challenges, and one-third of ghd’s employees work remotely across Australia and New Zealand, “so we were challenged in thinking of innovative ideas that could engage these team members as well,” said Leslie.

“I can tell you now: it’s a lot easier to drive engagement when your team is all within the same four walls, rather than spread across two countries and five different time zones.”

Not all strategies would have the same effect on the field team as they would on office-based team members, so to counter this ghd world is utilised as much as possible for communications and competitions, while team members are flown in numerous times a year for teambuilding and training sessions are offered in virtual formats.

“I can tell you now: it’s a lot easier to drive engagement when your team is all within the same four walls, rather than spread across two countries and five different time zones”

Results and outcomes
There have been some notable outcomes from both a business and HR perspective over the past 12 months, according to Leslie.

On a business level, operating income is up by 72 per cent while it is also attracting 4.5 per cent more candidates this year compared to last year.

Staff turnover has reduced by 11 per cent for the same period while there has also been an 80 per cent increase in tenure among employees with 2-5 years’ service.

Overall engagement score is sitting at 90 per cent (which is right on the company target), said Leslie, who noted that there has been a 16 per cent improvement in the overall ghd team engagement score over the past year alone.

Results from employee pulse checks show a 7 per cent increase in “promoters” internally and a 5 per cent decrease in detractors.

In terms of training, two-thirds of employees are involved in some form of non-mandatory training and 87 per cent are satisfied with the amount of L&D offered (a 12 per cent increase on the previous year) and 95 per cent of employees are participating in at least one elective activity through ghd life.

“We are also seeing results due to the focus we place on L&D through internal promotions and advancement,” said Leslie, who added that there has been an 18.5 per cent increase in promotion or advancement opportunities in the business (a 7 per cent increase on the previous year).

Over the same period, ghd has been named finalists as an ‘Employer of Choice,’ ‘Australian HR team of the year’ and ‘Best Learning & Development Program’ in the Australian HR Awards.

“We are really proud of the work we are doing here at ghd and of the results we are seeing – we always have room for improvement, and we are excited at the prospect of some of the initiatives we have planned for the future to do so,” said Leslie.

20 Nov, 2019
How your non-work mates help you love your job
SOURCE:
The age
The Age

Has there ever been a better sitcom than The Golden Girls? OK, wrong question. I’ll rephrase. Has there ever been a better sitcom that showcases the power and beauty of strong friendships than The Golden Girls? I reckon not. It’s a message proclaimed loudly even in the catchy theme song: "thank you for being a friend".

There’s another reason, beyond the benefits of companionship and solidarity, for being thankful of friends and that’s the way they make you happier at work. I’m not referring to friends at work, though that always helps. I’m referring to friends outside of work whose influence, you might be surprised to learn, extends beyond your social life and into the confines of your workplace.

Which is interesting when considering the extent to which we sacrifice friendships, or at least the time we spend with friends, because of the extended hours we’re devoting to work. Just last week I was remarking to a colleague that I’m content with only one social engagement per week. But according to research due to be published next month, that is evidently not enough.

In an initial study of more than 700 respondents, the scholars from George Mason University analysed the impact that friends, as opposed to family, have on self-esteem and wellbeing. Friends came out "substantially" on top because to be someone’s mate is a voluntary act, unlike our family who we rarely get to choose.

"When people choose to cultivate and maintain supportive friendships with us – because they want to and not because they have to – it conveys that we are valued and worthy of their limited time", write the scholars. Such sentiments of value and worthiness boost our self-esteem. The better we feel about ourselves, the more likely we’ll perform our job confidently and competently.

That last sentence was proven in their second study, which this time comprised more than 300 participants. It found non-work friends even improve our job satisfaction. They have as much of an impact on how much we love our job as do the friends we have at work. (Despite not actually being at our place of work.)

That’s because, according to the researchers, "we consider their perspective trustworthy and reliable, which is not necessarily the case for all coworkers".

These types of friends also tend to be our preferred outlet for venting about work-related matters, which is an avenue that may not be available at the office.

So even though friendships can be easy to neglect when confronted by pressures at work (or even pressures at home), neglecting our friends can turn out to be harmful and counterproductive. That’s why, when determining how to create a better work/life balance, we need to consider "not only how to balance work and family demands but also how to cultivate and sustain supportive friendships".

It’s for that reason I never discriminate when it comes to requests from my employees for flexible work arrangements. It’s irrelevant whether their need for a desired schedule is due to, say, parenting responsibilities or a craving to hang out with a best mate. What matters is the opportunity to engage in a nourishing activity outside of work that will definitely have a flow-on effect at work.

So even though we might not sit around a kitchen table eating cheesecake like Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia, there’s a lot we can learn from the golden girls. Here’s how Dorothy described their friendship in the final episode:

"It’s been an experience I’ll always keep very close to my heart and that these are memories I’ll wrap myself in when the world gets cold and I forget that there are people who are warm and loving."

What research has now proven is the power and beauty of friendship when it’s not so much the world that gets cold but the workplace.

19 Nov, 2019
Accent Group acquires Stylerunner, plans to open bricks-and-mortar stores
Inside Retail

Footwear giant Accent Group has acquired Stylerunner, an online activewear retailer that went into voluntary administration three weeks ago, for an undisclosed sum.

Accent Group CEO Daniel Agostinelli said the acquisition would enable the company to reach a new, predominantly female, audience and tap into the booming activewear and wellness categories.

“Activewear is a style trend that isn’t slowing down and we plan to encourage its momentum through strategic moves like this one,” Agostinelli said in a statement released to the ASX on Thursday afternoon.

Until now, Accent Group has played purely in the footwear space. It owns and operates the Hype DC, Platypus, The Athlete’s Foot and The Trybe footwear chains and distributes brands such as Skechers, Vans and Dr Martens.

But Stylerunner presents an opportunity to expand into complementary categories. Roughly 40-50 per cent of the online retailer’s sales are footwear, with the other 50-60 per cent coming from its activewear and wellness products, according to Agostinelli.

“It was more attractive to us that they had a great position with yoga wear and outerwear, and we’ve seen the wellness piece as a big growth market,” he told Inside Retail.

Agostinelli sees an opportunity for Accent Group to start selling these products in standalone, Stylerunner-branded bricks-and-mortar stores in future.

“We think the name resonates with the consumer, and the market position it has is something we feel the market is missing at the moment,” he said.

Agostinelli said he didn’t know how many stores would be opened, or when, but said they’d likely be in A-grade shopping centres and CBD sites.

“We’re literally one day in; we want to strengthen the back end of the business and introduce all the smarts Accent Group has to offer in the tech area,” he said.

500,000 loyal customers

Founded by Julie Stevanja in 2012, Stylerunner sells exclusive and limited-edition sneakers, apparel and accessories from the likes of Nike, Adidas, P.E Nation and Jaggad, as well as various supplements.

The online retailer has a loyal and engaged customer database of well over 500,000, according to Agostinelli, which doesn’t cross over with Accent Group’s existing customers.

To drive efficiencies, Accent Group plans to innovate Stylerunner’s category and customer experience, strengthen its supplier relationships, build on its current digital, CRM and marketing capabilities and grow collaborations with its vertical brands.

The retailer said it would expand the brand by leveraging its supply chain capabilities and economies of scale as well as developing a strategy for bricks-and-mortar stores.

Stevanja has joined Accent Group to lead the Stylerunner business going forward, and will report to Accent Group’s chief digital officer, Mark Teperson.

The deal was structured as an asset sale on a cash-free, debt-free basis and is not expected to have a material impact on Accent Group’s FY20 earnings.

18 Nov, 2019
Employee ‘honeymoons’ and ‘hangovers’ are weirder than you’d think
SOURCE:
hrm
hrm

Given the right circumstances, job satisfaction among new staff peaks about 3 months in, then it drops. What this means for onboarding is neither simple nor obvious.

The ‘honeymoon’ and the ‘hangover’ dynamic has a lot of explanatory power for a certain emotional journey humans take. 

That journey begins with finding a new thing that we like. Swept up in joy, we feel that it’s perfect. But the feeling can’t be sustained and soon we experience a growing realisation it’s actually quite flawed. Clear-eyed, we can now assess how we truly feel. 

The journey happens in romantic relationships (obviously – it’s called a honeymoon after all), but it turns out it also frequently describes changing feelings about a new job.

The funny thing about the journey is that it’s hard to avoid, even when you’re very aware it’s happening. Just ask anyone who’s been in love more than once.

One of the better research papers on this topic comes from Wendy Boswell, Abbie Shipp and Stephanie Payne from Texas A&M University and Satoris Culberston from Kansas State University. It was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology in 2009.

They checked in with over 132 newcomers in a public sector business in the US (with a budget of US $79 million and 1,500 employees) over a period of a year, and tracked how each individual’s sense of job satisfaction changed.

What made their findings so interesting was what they entailed for onboarding. The type of onboarding HR might call best in class doesn’t seem to have the effect you would think.

Is there a honeymoon?

The quick answer is yes, employees tend to experience a honeymoon period followed by a hangover. 

It’s worth mentioning that the researchers found that 24 per cent of the variance in job satisfaction was accounted for by between-individuals variance. That is, personality differences make a difference.

New horizons

Who has the bigger honeymoon, the person whose last partner jilted them, or the person who did the dumping?

The researchers hypothesised it was the latter – that people who left their last job voluntarily (so quit and looked for new work) would have a stronger honeymoon and a worse hangover. High on their decision to do something for themselves, job leavers would begin a new role with more enthusiasm, only to crash when they realise it is not that much better.

But the research didn’t support this at all. There was no significant difference between those who quit and those who were let go. 

For recruiters, that seems to suggest you a) shouldn’t expect more optimism from people who quit their role to join you, and b) shouldn’t be worried that hiring someone who was made redundant will hurt morale.

Coming out of a bad thing

If your old partner treated you like dirt, it makes sense that you would treasure a new partner who acted decently. You would overvalue being treated adequately, and have a harsher crash when you realise it is just adequate.

This was the theory of the researchers. They speculated that the same pattern (better honeymoon, worse hangover) would be true for people who hated their last job, as compared to those loved their last job.

This hypothesis was only partially supported. People who had high satisfaction with a previous job experienced essentially no honeymoon or hangover, while those who had low satisfaction elsewhere did experience a slight honeymoon in the first three months and a slight hangover afterward.

For onboarding, this suggests it’s a good idea to pay a little extra attention to a new employee who told you they didn’t like their last job. Because chances are that their satisfaction with their new role could diminish within a year.

The power (or lack thereof) of a promise

Just as each relationship is informed by previous relationships – our new partner inevitably gets compared to old partners – we don’t come into a new job as a blank slate. 

Our previous experiences of work, our values system and every step of the recruitment process all inform our assumptions.

The researchers hypothesised that if a job met the expectations of the employee, they would have a better honeymoon and hangover. It’s simple enough. If implicit and explicit promises are kept, the employee will be happier.

So they tested this, asking people whether they subjectively felt commitments (development opportunities, concern for wellbeing, etc) were fulfilled.

Turns out they were dead wrong.

You can see that those who felt promises were kept had a classic honeymoon to hangover journey. Their love for the job bloomed and faded (the solid line). On the dotted line, you can see those who felt promises were broken didn’t really go on a journey at all (the minor movement upwards you see on the chart is not statistically significant). 

And while the researchers stressed caution with the interpretation, it does seem that fulfilling promises resulted in a lower level of job satisfaction one year into the role. Read that last sentence again, because it shows how complex humans are. More on this in a bit.

How well do I know you?

The researchers also tested more classic onboarding stuff around orientation. This is making sure the employee knows the what, where, why and how of their new job. It can be captured with statements like: “I know where to get things”, “I know what I am required to do” and “I understand how my tasks fit into the broader mission of the company”. 

The researchers reckoned that the better an organisation was at “socialisation” – their term for that orientation experience – the higher the peak of the honeymoon, and the less precipitous the hangover.

Again, it didn’t really turn out to be true.

Those who felt they had a better understanding of the organisation had both a honeymoon and hangover (solid line). Those who felt they didn’t, experienced a hangover, but no honeymoon to justify it (dotted line).

According to the report, it seems that positive experiences in terms of both fulfilled commitments and socialisation perhaps serve “as a prerequisite for newcomers to experience the honeymoon and the hangover. Conversely, without these experiences, newcomers are unlikely to experience the high of the new job.”

In other words, good onboarding is a cause of the honeymoon to hangover journey. Lacklustre onboarding means employees never experience higher levels of job satisfaction. But the corollary of that is the higher you go, the more significant your crash.

What does this mean for onboarding?

You might be asking if good onboarding is worth the effort then. The answer is that of course it is. Not only did people who had that experience more job satisfaction, but later research shows they are less likely to quit.

Indeed, the more recent research, published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior in 2017, found that “extremely high social tactics” – specifically high-quality mentoring and encouraging “authentic self-expression” – can make the hangover far less severe.

AHRI offers a one day in-house course to help your company establish a mentoring program.

It’s become a standard at many organisations to have regular check-ins with new employees to track their satisfaction. What the honeymoon/hangover research shows is that those check-ins should take into account the typical emotional journey of employees. A few further points the researchers make are below:

  • Around the three to six months mark is a turning point for newcomers.
  • Employers shouldn’t be alarmed that job satisfaction decreases in the first year.
  • You can mitigate lower satisfaction levels by addressing employee expectations and socialisation. 
  • If the employee is not experiencing initial high job satisfaction – if there is no honeymoon at all – chances are they feel you haven’t given them what they expected and/or you haven’t adequately conveyed the nature of their role and the workplace.
  • More comprehensive socialisation, such as giving someone a mentor and a sense of where their career with your organisation could go, seems to result in a more significant honeymoon and less severe hangover.
18 Nov, 2019
'It's all fake': Beauty giant Mecca facing bullying claims
SOURCE:
smh
SMH

Beauty giant Mecca is locked in a battle to protect its reputation as one of Australia's best workplaces with former and current employees accusing the business of discrimination, bullying, and favouritism.

The popular Australian retailer has been rocked by a stream of allegations published on an anonymous social media account, prompting founder and owner Jo Horgan to pledge reform and review the company's policies and practices.

In an email to staff, Ms Horgan said she was "deeply saddened" to learn of the numerous allegations, and said the company was taking the claims seriously.

"If we are not meeting these standards, we need to acknowledge this, apologise, and make the necessary changes," she said.

The complaints stem from an anonymously-ran Instagram account with the handle @Esteelaundry, which last month began collating and posting employees' accounts of working at the beauty giant.

More than 50 accounts of alleged mistreatment from people claiming to be former Mecca employees were posted to the page, detailing experiences of harassment from managers, racism towards staff, and a "toxic" culture of favouritism and nepotism.

Current and former employees have backed the anonymous complaints, telling The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald their experiences with the company were vastly different to the positive, fun, and "gloss and glamour" way Mecca presents itself.

Mecca is a beauty powerhouse in Australia, owning around 25 per cent of the $2.4 billion top-end cosmetics market, with 100 stores across Australia and New Zealand and over 4000 staff.

In the 2018 calendar year, the company reported revenue of $444.4 million, a 20 per cent increase on the year prior.

The business has been named as one of Australia's top workplaces in the Great Place to Work survey six times in the last six years, most recently taking out the fourth spot for companies with more than 1,000 employees.

Narita Salima, a former retail worker, initially expected her experience would reflect these accolades, believing her time at the company would be "fun and exciting" after landing a casual job at the retailer in 2016.

But, after just a few weeks, the then 22-year-old employee found herself dreading coming to work. She says she was bullied and ridiculed by managers over trivial issues, often on the shop floor in front of customers.

"It was traumatic. That whole Mecca culture, that positive workplace, it's just so fake."

After working for a month and a half, Ms Salima says she raised concerns with her line manager about the bullying she was experiencing. She was fired from the retailer shortly after.

Another former employee who worked in the head office said the environment was "cult-like". She says she was asked to quit simply because she was not "passionate" about her work.

"My manager pulled me into her office and said 'I know you're not passionate about your job, I think it's time for you to give me your resignation'," the employee says. "I'd never had any performance issues in the history of my job there. I was shocked."

Another employee claims Mecca workers weren't regularly paid for overtime at the end of their shifts, with the company having a policy of not closing the store's doors until all shoppers had left.

This would lead to employees staying back as much as an hour overtime, often unpaid, and at other times paid with leftover test products.

Employees say attempts to resolve these issues with HR were futile, with one worker labelling the department "toothless". Others say their time at Mecca significantly affected their mental wellbeing, with one former makeup artist saying the constant "bullying and belittlement" prompted her to visit a psychologist.

"I already had anxiety and [Mecca] made it so much worse," she said.

Following the complaints, Ms Horgan, a former entrepreneur of the year recipient, sent a number of emails to staff recognising and addressing the claims and saying she would take action in both the short and long-term.

In these emails, seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Ms Horgan says she was surprised to hear of the concerns, claiming just 0.2 per cent of Mecca's retail workforce had made a bullying complaint in the last two years.

The messages also disputed the claims of unpaid overtime, saying the company's pay policies were regularly reviewed and were "guard rails" to help build the business' culture. The company says staff are paid overtime in line with legislation and all product benefits are in addition to standard pay.

Mecca has appointed an external culture specialist to commence a "listening tour" around stores and make recommendations to the company on what it can do better. It has also established a new anonymous workplace complaints hotline.

In response to a detailed list of questions from The Age and The Herald, a spokesperson for Mecca said the company did not believe the allegations represented the views of the company's 4000 staff, but was striving to "do better".

“It is our aim to ensure each and every one of our team members has a positive working experience," the spokesperson said.

"To anyone for whom that has not been the case, we are truly sorry. We are listening to and taking seriously any issues raised and I recognise there are always things we can, and will, do better.”

* This article has been updated to include the total number of Mecca staff and additional comment from the company.

 
15 Nov, 2019
Wages growth slows further through September
SOURCE:
SMH
SMH

Annual wage growth has slipped to its slowest level in more than a year, falling well short of Reserve Bank and federal Treasury expectations and pointing to a sluggish jobs market.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday reported the wage price index rose by 0.5 per cent in the September quarter, taking annual growth to 2.2 per cent.

It was a step down from the 2.3 per cent annual growth reported to the end of June, and is now the slowest annual rate since the middle of last year.

Private sector wages grew by 0.5 per cent in the quarter, the third successive quarter at that rate. Annual growth is now at 2.1 per cent.

Public sector wages lifted by 0.5 per cent in the quarter for annual growth of 2.5 per cent.

ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said while wages growth had slowed it was still ahead of price increases.

"The rate of annual wage growth eased slightly in September after being stable over the past year, continuing to grow at a slightly faster rate than consumer prices over the past year," he said.

"The largest contribution to wage growth over the quarter was jobs in the health care and social assistance industry."

Wages in health care, which has enjoyed some of the strongest jobs growth in the country, are the only ones lifting at more than 3 per cent. Several sectors, including retail and manufacturing, are experiencing wage growth below 2 per cent.

Last week, the Reserve Bank downgraded its wage growth forecasts over the next two years, tipping them to stay around 2.3 per cent.

Treasury's forecasts, which underpin the budget, are much more bullish. It expects wages growth to lift to 3.25 per cent next financial year and to 3.5 per cent the year after.

The annual rate was affected by this year's minimum wage case. Low income earners were awarded a 3 per cent lift in wages by the Fair Work Commission, a drop on the 3.5 per cent they received last year.

Wages growth remains strongest in Victoria where over the past year they have grown by 2.8 per cent. The slowest growth is in Western Australia where they have lifted by 1.6 per cent over the year.

The Reserve Bank, which has openly admitted it wants wages growth above 3 per cent, has urged all governments to lift caps on public sector wages to help lift overall incomes. WA's public sector wages growth is the slowest in the country at 1.1 per cent.

7 Nov, 2019
What 3 activities should HR focus on to maximise customer & shareholder value?
SOURCE:
Inside HR
Inside HR

HR departments which focus on three HR activities will have a more significant impact on customer and shareholder value than HR departments that focus primarily on HR metrics themselves, writes Wayne Brockbank

A number of leadership and management thinkers and institutional economists have posited that the “enemy of the great is the good”. This has been eloquently stated by Vilfredo Pareto, popularised by the 80/20 rule and formalised through Pareto Analysis. I suggest that an additional dimension might aid us in HR to focus our efforts to create greater value through three particular HR activities. The additional dimension is ease versus difficulty.

Might I suggest both logically and empirically that it is frequently the case that the 20 per cent of value is relatively easy to achieve; whereas the 80 per cent of the value is difficult to achieve albeit through 20 per cent of our efforts. Thus, the easy/good is the enemy of the difficult/best.

Before giving three examples, let me first state that the 20 per cent activities create good value but they are frequently justified because they do create some value. However, I suggest that we may focus on the 20 per cent activities not because they create greatest value but because they are easy to do.

On the other hand, the 80 per cent activities that create greatest value may be overlooked because they are more difficult the achieve. They frequently lie outside the HR comfort zone. The following is an initial checklist of three easy/good activities that may deter our focus from the difficulty/best activities.

First: internal customer focus versus external customer focus
HR has traditionally conceptualised internal leaders and employees as its “customer”. This focus strongly contradicts our other mantra which is to be business partners or partners in the business. Since the customer of the business is the external (i.e. buying customer) then if we are to be a partner in the business then the buying customer should dominate our line of sight as we design and develop our HR practices.

“In the past few years, the HR field has been swept along by the tsunami of the talent agenda”

Our ultimate goal is to create and sustain human and organisational capabilities that enable our firms to meet customer requirements better than the competition. We can only achieve this goal if we have a clear and complete understanding of and focus on the requirements of the eternal, money-paying customer.

Second: talent focus versus organisational focus
In the past few years, the HR field has been swept along by the tsunami of the talent agenda. Ensuring the availability of talent is clearly a good thing.

However, if we overemphasise the talent agenda, we may forget that focusing on individual talent may sub-optimise our contributions. A focus on individual talent will result in the human whole being equal to the sum of the parts. But competitive advantage is found in making the organisational whole greater than the sum of the talent parts. In addition, over time the leading competitors in the same industry will have approximately the same level of raw talent.

Therefore, you must have raw talent, or you lose. But competitive advantage is not found in the raw talent that you have but rather what you do with it after you have it. And that is primarily an organisation challenge. Plus, research at the University of Michigan strongly indicates that individual HR talent will have one-quarter the impact on business value when compared with the impact of the integrated HR organisation.

“A key organisational capability is the orchestration of the total flow of external information about customers, competitors and technology throughout the firm for competitive advantage”

Third: focus on HR information versus business information
Another hot HR topic is HR analytics, that is, the application of information logic to measure and drive HR-related issues. This is clearly a good thing to do. However, in the information age, a key organisational capability is the orchestration of the total flow of external information about customers, competitors and technology throughout the firm for competitive advantage. When the information agenda is appropriately framed as an organisational capability, HR shoulders heavy responsibility for this agenda.

However, conceptualising and implementing a comprehensive information strategy may be extraordinarily difficult. It is a difficult/best activity. Our research at the University of Michigan is clear. HR departments that focus on designing and implementing a comprehensive business information strategy will have twice the impact on customer and shareholder value than HR departments that focus primarily on HR metrics themselves.

What this means for HR
HR professionals should be vigilant in focusing thoughts and actions on the difficult/best activities while maintaining the easy/good activities. We should not allow the easy/good to displace the difficult/best.

3 action steps for HR

  • Identify what constitutes the difficult/best HR activities.
  • Develop the capabilities to design and deliver the difficult/best HR activities including emphasising line-of-sight to external customers, building organisation capabilities and orchestrating the flow of business information.
  • Continually rebalance HR’s focus from easy/good activities to difficult/best.
1 Nov, 2019
Mental illness costs $180bn, study reveals
The Australian

One million Australians with mental health conditions ranging from anxiety and depression to psychosis and borderline personality disorders are going untreated each year, while the economic cost of mental illness has hit $180bn. 

The Productivity Commission, in a forensic examination of mental illness, finds it is costing the ­nation about $500m a day and recommends sweeping policy changes in the health system, workplaces, housing and the ­justice system.

Calling for "generational changes" to address a problem that is getting worse despite increasing expenditure in the area, the report, to be released on Thursday, estimates there are 3.9 million people with mental illness, but only 2.9 million are accessing support and services.

One in eight visits to the GP is related to mental health issues, and mental health presentations at emergency departments have risen by about 70 per cent over the past 15 years.

The system is not adequately helping many people seeking treatment, the report finds, with one million having symptoms too complex to be adequately treated by a GP and limited government-funded sessions available with mental health providers.

But their condition does not reach the threshold to access state-­funded specialised services, private psychiatrists or private hospitals because of long waiting lists or high out-of-pocket costs.

The report finds many people still avoid treatment because of stigma and, with 75 per cent of people with a mental health issue first experiencing symptoms before the age of 25, calls for a greater focus on early ­intervention.

Social and emotional development checks of Australia’s 1.25 million children aged up to three years are among 25 detailed recommendations.

Productivity Commission chairman Michael Brennan said dealing with mental illness was “one of the biggest policy challenges confronting Australia”.

“Mental ill health has huge impacts on people, communities and our economy, but mental health is treated as an add-on to the physical health system — this has to change,” Mr Brennan said.

He highlighted the need for a greater emphasis on early intervention. “Seventy-five per cent of those who develop mental illness first experience symptoms before they turn 25,” he said.

“Mental ill health in critical schooling and employment years has long-lasting effects for not only your job prospects but many aspects of your life.”

Workplace, housing and education reforms to support people with mental illness are also proposed. “Mental illness is the second largest contributor to years lived in ill health,” the report finds.

“Compared to other developed countries, the prevalence of mental illness in Australia is above the OECD average.’’

The report marks the first time mental health has been examined beyond its clinical context into policy areas such as education, housing, justice and the workplace.

The report, a draft inviting public submissions, notes that one in two Australians will be affected by issues such as anxiety and ­depression during their lifetime.

“The cost to the Australian economy of mental ill health and suicide is, conservatively, in the order of $43bn-$51bn a year. ­Additional to this is an approximately $130bn a year cost associated with diminished health and reduced life expectancy for those living with mental ill health.”

The direct costs are broken down into healthcare support and services ($18bn a year), lower economic participation and lost productivity ($10bn-$18bn) and informal care provided by friends and family ($15bn).

Broader social effects such as the cost of stigma or lower social participation aren’t quantified.

The report notes that while costs have risen, “there has been no clear indication that the ­mental health of the population has improved”.

“Community awareness about mental illness has come a long way, but the mental health system has not kept pace with needs and expectations of how the wellbeing and productive capacity of people should be supported,” the commission says.

“The treatment of, and support for, people with mental illness has been tacked on to a system that has been largely ­designed around the characteristics of physical illness.

“And while service levels have increased in some areas, progress has been patchy. The right services are not available when ­needed, leading to wasted health resources and missed opportunities to improve lives.”

The report says Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are twice as likely as non-indigenous people to be hospitalised because of mental illness, and twice as likely to die by suicide. 

For those up to 24 years of age, the suicide rate is 14 times higher for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. 

And services are far from uniform across the nation, with ­people in capital cities nearly twice as likely to access mental health services as those in ­remote areas.

The commission also calls out: thin services in the regions; too clinical an approach to mental health concerns; stigma and discrimination leading to a reluctance to seek support; and a lack of clarity between the tiers of government about roles, responsibilities and funding of services.

Among its recommended reforms, it calls for greater specialist mental health services to be delivered outside acute, expensive, hospital settings.

It also calls for greater investment in “long-term housing solutions for those with severe mental illness who lack stable housing”. “Stable housing for this group would not only improve their mental health and inclusion within the community, but reduce their future need for higher cost mental health in­patient services,” it says.

Workplace reform is also ­proposed.

The commission invites written submissions by January 23 in response to its draft report, and a final report will be provided to the government in May.

28 Oct, 2019
11 Quotes on Kindness That Every Entrepreneur Needs to Read
Entrepreneur

The business world is often portrayed as a highly competitive ecosystem in which you need to fight to get ahead.To a good extent, that’s very true. Entrepreneurs need thick skin, drive and intense focus to succeed. But it’s also important for entrepreneurs to remember the value of kindness. 

With World Kindness Day coming up on November 13, take a few minutes to read these 11 quotes. They can all teach us important lessons about business, entrepreneurship and being good human beings. 

1. “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” -- Scott Adams, Dilbert Creator and Author

Businesses give you the chance to change the world and influence others. Kindness does the same thing, and with a single act you can influence countless others. Pairing kindness with your business can make for a powerful opportunity. 

2. “Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” -- Eric Hoffer, Philosopher and Author

Sometimes in life, you have to fake it until you make it. Many of us don’t get up in the morning feeling generous. However, if you concentrate on thinking positively and bringing kindness to each interaction during the day, you might just start to feel the momentum spread to more of your interactions. The truth is, kindness can become a driving force in your business that you can encompass into your mission, story and even branding. 

3. “If you want to be a rebel, be kind.” -- Pancho Ramos Stierle, Activist

In an often jaded world, kindness may be the ultimate act of rebellion. Volunteering for a nonprofit, donating a percentage of your business profits or serving as a mentor to young entrepreneurs can all help you stand out for the right reasons. 

4. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” -- Mahatma Gandhi

Kindness can be transformative. A volunteer experience might give you new ideas for a business or project. Helping another business owner or pairing up in a partnership may help you to better identify your own future business opportunities. Maybe it won't teach you any of that and you'll simply feel energized by being kind. Regardless, by helping others, you can grow as an individual. 

5. “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the figure of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

A nation doesn’t have to be cruel to be tough, and neither does your business. In designing your company with kindness in mind, customers and clients will recognize and respect both you and your business. 

6. “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” -- Og Mandino, Author

In business and in life, it’s all too easy to put off those things that we really should prioritize. Find a way to make changes in your business, today. Be kind, start that new project and establish a personal connection with your clients. 

7. “You can be rich in spirit, kindness, love and all those things that you can’t put a dollar sign on.” - Dolly Parton

You may have started a business with the goal of becoming rich, but money is only one way to measure a fortune. Be sure to balance your business life with your personal life so that you can enjoy love, kindness and those other elements that can also build your fortune. 

8. “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson speaks here to the temporary nature of everything in life. Keeping this in mind might make you want to stop and evaluate how you treat people, whether they're competitors or co-workers. How can you make a difference in someone’s life today? 

9. “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” -- Sir Winston Churchill

Just think of how good you feel when you give a little to others. Consider donating a percentage of your business’s profits. It won’t just change your life; it will change others’s lives, too. 

10. “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” -- Amelia Earhart

Your journey as an entrepreneur isn’t just about you, but what you do for others and how you affect their lives. Starting with kindness means you can leave a legacy that’s larger than you. 

11. “Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you.” -- Zig Ziglar, Author and Motivational Speaker

When you’re kind to others, that kindness comes back to you, too. You can make the journey easier for everyone simply by being kind. 

When you’re building a business, it’s easy to become so focused on your own goals and progress that you forget about how you’re treating others. But in a world full of entrepreneurs and new businesses, kindness is one quality that can quickly help you to stand out from everyone else. Work on incorporating kindness into your daily routine, and that routine may soon become a joyful experience.

23 Oct, 2019
Political and economic uncertainty takes toll on UK wage packets.
The Global Recruiter

Data from global job search engine Jobrapido has found the majority of UK salaries (53 per cent) have suffered pay freezes or decreases over the past 12 months. Nearly a quarter of salaries (24 per cent) have frozen whilst nearly three in ten (29 per cent) have decreased. The research examined the salaries of more than 1.2 million jobs across more than 20 different industry sectors across the UK between the period of July 2018 to July 2019.  Those falling victim to stagnant salaries included employees working in sales/personal care and a wide range of management occupations.

Those working in education, training, business and financial operations as well as computing and mathematical occupations have suffered and taken less in their salary over the last year. With an 8 per cent drop (about £4,500 less year over year), ‘computer and mathematical occupations’ is by far the category that suffered the most significant salary reduction, also representing almost 11 per cent of the workers.

Industry sectors which have bucked the trend (47 per cent) and shown salary increases include legal occupations, life and social science occupations, construction, architecture, design and farming and fishing industries.

For more than one in four of these sectors (26 per cent), the increase has been lower than three per cent, while just a few categories had a growth over five per cent. Legal Occupations, representing just 1.5 per cent of salaries, registered the most significant increase, more than 7.5 per cent (about £3,200 more year over year).

“Undoubtedly the climate of political and economic uncertainty in the UK has taken a toll on people’s salaries over the past twelve months,” says Rob Brouwer, CEO of Jobrapido, “and the latest forecasts from the OECD predict no-deal Brexit will slice almost three per cent from the UK economic growth over the next three years compared with just 0.6 per cent from the rest of the EU. But, of course, it remains to still be seen what happens at the final Brexit hurdle.

“That said, nearly half of UK salaries have shown modest increases and there is a growth of new jobs, for example in most of the technological and fast-growing AI related fields, where demand far outweighs supply and those who have the skills are being rewarded with princely salaries,” he added.

“Whilst UK workers may have to brace themselves for a time of salary-stagnancy, current climate presents a good time to re-evaluate career paths and look at acquiring new skills or even re-training in a new occupation. Perhaps it is time for make this happen and seize available opportunities despite adversity,” concludes Brouwer.

23 Oct, 2019
People will do anything to avoid a tough conversation, even quit
SOURCE:
HRM Online
HRM Online

Some employees will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid addressing an uncomfortable issue at work, says new research.

Need to tell the new intern that their work isn’t up to scratch? Are you too afraid to tell your work friend Susan that her inability to meet deadlines is hampering your productivity? Struggling to conjure up the courage to tell your colleague Alan about his perpetually bad breath?

Time to quit then.

This is not really a joke, because you wouldn’t be alone if you felt that way. Many of us have to have an awkward conversation that we don’t know how to broach with a colleague and some people are willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid it.

Cat got your tongue

New research from leadership training company VitalSmarts found that one in four people have been putting off an uncomfortable conversation for at least six months, one in 10 have been doing so for a year and another one in 10 have been staying mum on an awkward issue for more than two years.

The findings, which were collected from over 500 US-based respondents, also showed one in five admitted they wouldn’t feel confident that the conversation would go in their favour even if they found the courage to have it. Others felt it could have negative repercussions for others in the business or that the workplace culture doesn’t support people who speak up.

Of course, the definition of an uncomfortable conversation is a chat you’d rather avoid, but the methods people are willing to take in order to avoid being uncomfortable were staggering. The research found that people would:

  • Avoid the other person at all costs (50 per cent). This is obviously a hard task if you share a workspace with them.
  • Dance around the awkward topic whenever they speak to the person in question (37 per cent)
  • Consider quitting their job or taking a different job (37 per cent)
  • Quit their job (11 per cent)

VitalSmarts identified three main topics that people were avoiding: 

  1. Obnoxious behaviours 
  2. Poor performance
  3. Broken promises (such as an agreement for a promotion or pay-rise that’s fallen through)

“In these moments, most people run the other way because experience tells them the other person will be angry or defensive. And yet, our research shows the select few who know how to speak up candidly and respectfully – no matter the scary topic – can solve problems while also preserving relationships. As a result, they are considered among the top performers in their organisation,” says Joseph Grenny, one of the researchers.

Addressing the elephant in the room

HRM has previously written about why these difficult conversations matter and has offered some tips from a psychologist about how to get the ball rolling. But it’s also important to create an environment where these conversations are the norm.

In an article for the Harvard Business Review (HBR), Jim Whitehurst, the president and CEO of Red Hat, a multinational software company, shares an anecdote about an organisation he worked for as a consultant. Apparently at this company each staff member could write a long list about all the things they saw the company wasn’t doing well, but when they came together as a company, no one would raise the issues on their list.

As an outsider, Whitehurst said staff were comfortable airing their grievances with him but weren’t willing to point the finger at the causes of their problems – which were often their colleagues. 

You’ve likely heard your own version of this story before. Staff are often too scared to pipe up and therefore HR and leaders are blindsided when the issue finally comes to light. There’s a psychological component to this. When everyone else seems okay with the problems, individuals feel compelled to stay quiet. As the saying goes, the first one through the wall gets bloody.

To create a culture where these conversations aren’t relationship or career ending, Whitehurst suggests creating what he calls “a vibrant feedback loop”.

“Once you establish the practice of sharing regular feedback across the company, it begins to function like a flywheel. It’s hard at first to get it moving. You’ll need to do some substantial pushing and monitoring to get the wheel spinning. But before you know it, you’ll find that the wheel begins to turn all on its own using its own momentum,” he says.

It’s important that this feedback loop is modelled from the top, he says, and there are three main things for leaders to keep in mind:

    1. Practice what you preach. As a leader, if you’re open to taking on the feedback, you set the tone for the rest of the organisation and also increase that person’s engagement levels in their own work, says Whitehurst.
    2. Start with recognition. Workplaces need to work on taking the negative connotations out of feedback, he says. One way to do this is to start by offering recognition and appreciation for the person’s work – he suggests a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative comments. 
    3. Include everyone in the feedback. Organisations that are overly siloed can breed mistrust or encourage an “us versus them” mentality, he says. Seek feedback from a variety of departments on smaller issues in order to cultivate an inclusive workplace community that’s built on trust. It also normalises feedback if you’re not only dishing it out when the stakes are high.

Conversation after care

The issue isn’t always done and dusted after the conversation is over. In a different HBR article, talent development leader and former head of global manager development at Google Dolores Bernado suggests returning to the conversation shortly after its ended to acknowledge that it happened.

“There is huge value in appreciating that you were able to come together, identify and discuss a big issue, and even have the conversation in the first place. Thank your colleague for taking the time to engage in the conversation,” she says.

Bernado also suggests practicing the ‘designed alliance conversation’, whereby two colleagues ‘put the past on hold’ and take a long term outlook on how they can use this to benefit their relationship in the future.

“It includes questions like: What does success look like in this partnership? What outcomes are important to both of us? What constraints do we both have that we need to be aware of? What is important to each of us that the other might not be aware of? This gives each party a chance to be honest about how you each prefer to collaborate going forward,” she says.

So if you’ve got something on your mind that you’d like to share with a colleague, don’t put it off. As long as you approach the situation with empathy and keep the long term working relationship in mind, it’s likely to go much smoother than you think. Probably much smoother than trying to quit and find a new job anyway.

23 Oct, 2019
How Dr Catriona Wallace became the second woman ever to run an ASX-listed company
CEO Magazine

There’s something about Dr Catriona Wallace that makes her seem like more like a superhero than a businesswoman. Her brilliant red hair makes her stand out in a crowd and her impeccable clothing and make-up leaves you wondering if she’s just stepped off a catwalk.

Meanwhile, her inviting smile radiates warmth and confidence, immediately putting you at ease. But, what is most engaging about the charismatic entrepreneur is her sheer determination, drive and passion. There’s no doubt that when she sets her mind to something, she makes it happen.

The Australian businesswoman is not only the Founder of artificial intelligence fintech start-up Flamingo Ai, but is also one of the very few female CEOs running ASX-listed companies.

In fact, Flamingo Ai is the second female-led (CEO and Chair) business ever to list on the ASX. “I don’t deal with many women,” Wallace laments.

“There are very few women who are leading ASX companies, and there are very few who are in the investment community that invest in companies.”

Wallace believes the shortage of women in leadership is something that needs to be addressed by the business world. She points out that women working their way up through the ranks often leave large companies between the ages of 30 and 40.

“Perhaps in those years, they choose to start a family or have a career change,” she says. “We see a significant number of women drop off who could potentially make it into leadership roles in ASX-listed companies.”

“We see a significant number of women drop off who potentially could make it into leadership roles in ASX-listed companies,” – Dr Catriona Wallace

While there’s no easy solution to the problem, Wallace believes that with the right mentoring, coaching and guidance, many could be encouraged to stay in the corporate world and eventually break through the so- called glass ceiling.

“I also think there needs to be more profiling of women who have made it into leadership roles and are role models,” she adds.

“Women need to see, read about, meet and experience other women who are in those leadership roles. I believe that women attract women. Women like to go and work with women, so just having that visual presence would certainly help.”

Understandably, many women choose to put their careers on hold while they turn their attention to raising a family.

Those who return to the workforce after having children often seek part-time work, which results in them taking lower positions and stepping aside to let their male counterparts ascend the corporate ladder.

However, Wallace is adamant women shouldn’t have to choose between career and family. “I believe we can have it all,” she declares.

As a mum-of-five, Wallace certainly knows a thing or two about juggling parental responsibilities with a high-flying career. Describing herself as an “un-mother”, she reveals she’s made it work by taking an unconventional approach to parenting.

“My youngest son once said to me, ‘Oh, Mum, you’re an un-mother.’ I said, ‘What is that?’ he said, ‘An un-mother is just super-loving like a mother, but you don’t actually do anything that mothers are supposed to do. You don’t make my lunch, you don’t come to the school, you don’t go on excursions, you don’t know who my teachers are.’ I said, ‘Yeah, actually, all of that is true!’” Wallace laughs.

“He said, ‘But you do show me how to work and how to be an entrepreneur, and you’ve taken me overseas, you’ve taken me into your business and I’ve learned a lot of things that mothers do when they’re working.’ I went, ‘Okay, great, as long as there is some other benefit there.’ I think this unconventional approach to parenting is necessary, and I think if you have that, indeed, you can have it all. You can be a mother and a worker in senior leadership.”

Wallace, who has a PhD in Organisational Behaviour: Human Technology Interaction, is also passionate about encouraging more women to pursue careers in technology.

In 2013, the entrepreneur founded Flamingo Ai, a machine-learning company with headquarters in Sydney and the US that provides cognitive virtual assistance for employees and customers.

She’s since become a world-renowned authority on artificial intelligence (AI), insisting it needs to be a core part of every company’s business strategy.

“It’s the fastest-growing tech sector in the world,” she says.

Concerned about the bias that will arise without diversity, Wallace is urging more women to join her in the field.

“Currently 90% of all AI-type coding is done by males, and with that comes the risk of bias, probably unconsciously, being coded into the way the algorithms work. We’ve already seen that play out in some pretty disastrous situations, where we’ve had machines and technology choosing males above females for recruitment,” she explains.

“We must get more women, and also minorities, into STEM simply so that we can avoid hard-coding society’s existing biases straight into the machines that are going to be running our lives going forward.”

Currently, AI software promises to improve efficiency and facilitate better and faster decision-making. However, in just a few years, the technology will begin taking over many of the tasks traditionally performed by humans.

“Within the next six years, 40% of the jobs in sectors such as finance, retail, hospitality and tourism will be automated by machines,” – Wallace

“Gartner predicts that, within the next two years, 1.8 million jobs will be lost as a result of AI, but 2.3 million jobs will be created. The issue is that the 1.8 million who lose their jobs will not be the 2.3 million who are taking the new jobs. It’s predicted that 90% of the jobs that are going to be automated will be those mainly done by women and minority groups.”

When you listen to Wallace speak about AI, it quickly becomes apparent that she is not only passionate about the topic, but is also extremely knowledgeable.

However, not everyone realises this when they first meet her. “I’m one of the very few females in the AI sector who’s leading a company so, often, when I’m around my counterparts, or even venture capitalists and investors, they assume that I don’t really know about AI and high tech, so I get a lot of mansplaining,” she smiles.

“Many people, for whatever reason, assume that I don’t know about technology, so they’ll start to tell me and teach me about it, and then I say to them, ‘Oh, look, I actually run a company, and we’ve built this from scratch. It’s our own proprietary technology. I have a PhD in the field,’ and then they correct themselves. Initially, they assume that I’m a lady running a company without the significant experience and substantial knowledge that I have.”

Despite having to prove herself along the way, Wallace is proud of everything she’s achieved. “Conceiving an idea of a new technology and successfully bringing that to the market, not only here in Australia but also in the US, and providing great value for our clients – that’s been amazing,” she grins.

“Competitors in our field are all the big technology giants, such as Google, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft and, so far, we’ve been able to hold our own in a highly competitive space. So I’m proud that we, as a young Australian company, have made a mark in the AI field.”

21 Oct, 2019
10 Powerful Women Leaders of HR Share Their Most Effective Strategies to Retain Great Employees
Entrepreneur

Does your company have a high turnover rate? Employee turnover can be extremely pricey. So how can your company increase its employee retention rate and keep its turnover rate low? What's the best way to create a culture that helps to retain and engage its talent?

A recent series in Authority Magazine profiled nearly one hundred HR directors from successful companies, asking each one to share their three most effective strategies to retain employees. Here are some of the highlights. 

These interviews have been edited for length and clarity. 

Jo Deal (LogMeIn Chief Human Resources Officer)

My focus tends to be on engaging our employees. If we do that well, then retention should follow, though it is not an easy thing to do. Engagement happens in that sweet spot where an individual’s personal goals, whatever they may be, are being met, and that moment intersects with the company’s goals being achieved. The challenge comes from us all being individuals with very different sets of personal goals. What someone wants from work varies during stages of our careers and personal lives, so it is hard to find the perfect answer for all. However, there are some common themes that help drive engagement for the majority.

  1. I believe we each want to know what is expected of us at work, to know how that work fits into the overall company goals and strategy and to receive ongoing feedback on how we are doing. It seems relatively simple to say yet it doesn’t always happen. Leaders need to communicate and share direction, managers need to give feedback (which is hard) and employees need to work with their managers to set sensible and realistic goals, hopefully aligning them to the high-level corporate initiatives. Investing in first-line management development and a robust, companywide mechanism for communications are both critical to this effort.
  2. Perks are great, but they won’t substitute for creating a strong culture with good open communication channels and a focus on a positive environment. There is no right set of values or particular winning culture. Authenticity is what matters. Don’t say you value a certain behavior if the reality doesn’t match. Don’t ask people to behave one way and then recognize a different behavior or ignore a leader’s behavior that contradicts the values. Employees are smart. Most will recognize and accept when your culture is a little aspirational and when there is room for improvement; however, all of them will see right through something that is inauthentic or geared towards, "Do as I say, not as I do.” We spend too much time at work to have to fit in somewhere where our values don’t align or where leaders consider themselves apart from the behaviors that matter. That kind of mismatch is likely to lead to low engagement and retention issues.
  3. Lastly and most simply, I would suggest actively listening to what your people want. Understand what you are investing time or money in that isn’t working for them, what is missing and what they want more of, whether as an individual or a team. The key, of course, is actively listening, which is another skill many of us have to work on every day. Engagement and retention can be tied back to simple acts if they are meaningful and well-intentioned. With a global workforce representing multiple different demographics, it's hard to keep abreast of what everyone wants, but asking them is a good start. I love the concept of reverse-mentoring, where both parties give and get, and I'm looking to find someone from Gen Z to mentor me so I can be better at social media and understanding a generation that (apparently) would rather have working Wi-Fi than a working bathroom.

Rachel Book (Fidelity Investments Director of Diversity Recruiting Strategies)

A cynic might say, "Throw more money at them.” But that’s rarely the top factor in employee retention metrics. At Fidelity, we’ve found that these three are vitally important factors in employee engagement and satisfaction:

  1. Be realistic and transparent throughout the recruiting process. Open, honest dialogue will reduce the likelihood of disappointment or surprise when a new employee joins the company.
  2. Welcome them aboard! A robust and welcoming first day — and entire onboarding experience — will ease the transition for any new employee. Don’t throw them into the pool and hope they figure out your firm’s cultural quirks. Connect them with employee resource groups and encourage them to participate right away.
  3. Maintain the momentum. Don’t leave the newbie hanging after they show up. Check in often, and ensure they can bring their real self to the office. If they don’t feel comfortable doing so, their stay with you may be short — and you may have larger workplace/culture problems to deal with.

 

Michelle Murphy (Ingersoll Rand Director of Progressive, Diverse, and Inclusive (PDI) Work Environment)

  1. One thing I’m proud of is that we live out our values daily. We respect and value the worth of all people, cultures, viewpoints, and backgrounds and leverage our diverse workforce to drive innovative and imaginative solutions. Retention is important because our success directly correlates to the commitment and dedication of our employees around the world. To retain employees, leaders should know the "why" of their employees. What drives them? What matters most personally and professionally? Leaders should know and try to honor that.
  2. In addition, in this constantly connected universe, work should better fit into overall life. It's important to value and celebrate that your employees live and enjoy full lives.
  3. Today’s workforce wants to feel valued and invested in. Providing ongoing development and growth opportunities is one way we do that, whether it be formal classroom training, informal peer-to-peer conversation or creating opportunities that bring people together to share, learn and connect. Companies who recognize and act on these things go a lot further in attracting, retaining and cultivating top-tier talent in the long run.

 

Rose M. Velez-Smith (Pitney Bowes Global Vice President of Human Resources)

I wish it were as simple as just three. Three I have found important are:

  1. Stretch assignments.
  2. Great career plans that provide a roadmap on how to help an individual grow.
  3. Continuous inclusiveness.

These all help keep employees on their toes as well as learning and getting better at what they do. Everyone wants to feel like they are adding value, so including employees in important decisions and initiatives is key. Helping them feel confident in their skills and keeping them current is essential.

Another way to increase the value provided to employees is to provide wellness perks. We have a history of providing and encouraging a healthy work environment and are widely regarded as an innovator in employee health. To help our workforce stay proactive with their health, free programs are available throughout the year focused on preventive care and cancer screenings, nutrition and weight management, fitness, stress management and behavioral health, smoking cessation, back pain prevention and flu vaccinations. Providing a healthy work environment has been central to our culture for nearly 100 years.

Kelly Williams (Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Vice President)

My most effective strategies to retain employees are as follows:

  1. Inspired leadership. Position your best people managers — those who love to support others in being brilliant, into positions that play on their strengths. There is a lot of research out there that highlights the immense value of hiring/promoting leaders who amplify others. From a personal standpoint, it has always been more important to me who I work with than what I work on.
  2. Context and connection. In my experience, most of us thrive when we have context and can see/feel/understand a connection or possibility. Engagement comes from within and is tethered to connectivity. Every day we are working to connect dots and model what’s possible — one conversation at a time.
  3. Human-centric design. We are focusing on human centric design, and while we are in the early stages of the conversations, I love that we are focusing together on what truly matters — from the employee lens — the human in human resources.

Faye Tylee (Avaya Global Head of Human Resources)

There is a lot of noise and competition out there to attract, hire and engage the best talent across all industries. I believe the best ways to accomplish this goal are to:

  1. Understand from a qualitative and quantitative standpoint what fundamentally drives, motivates, inspires and engages your employees. You have to truly know what makes your workplace work well and make the right investments to find this information out.
  2. Put employees first — even before customers. That feels like a bold statement to many at first glance but the reality is that when you put your employees first, you are essentially putting the customer first in the long run. Employees are the face to your customers. They’re your brand. Treat them poorly and they, in turn, will treat your customers poorly but treat them well and they become the biggest asset to your business.
  3. I think about successful employee engagement as having five core pillars that work in unison. If you’re not addressing the whole, you will not solve your engagement problem. Leaders from the top down must commit to making each pillar part of the employee experience, and that commitment must be evident in every action, interaction, transaction and reaction across the organization.

In a people-first company, employees experience the following:

  • Purpose: "My company and the work I do have meaning and impact."
  • Connection: "My leaders listen, understand, and care about my needs and challenges."
  • Trust: "I feel trusted, empowered and supported to make the right decisions."
  • Learning: "My company is invested in my personal and professional development."
  • Gratitude: "I feel recognized and appreciated for my contributions."

By evolving to this people-first model, leaders will create a culture that combines customer experience and employee engagement in a way that helps strengthen the brand, attract top talent and inspire innovation, continuous learning, collaboration, creativity and inclusion across the company.

 

Jen Warne (Lincoln Financial Group SVP and Chief Talent Officer)

 

The most effective way to retain talent is to really listen to your employees and target what they want from the workplace. No, I don’t necessarily mean free sushi or bean bag chairs (although those can be fun and exciting). I mean what employees truly value: career, community and cause. There is an excellent Harvard Business Reviewarticle that explores this concept.

Our people are our most valuable asset, so we target these three values and continuously listen to our people to make sure we are hitting the mark.

  1. Career. We offer resources to help our people discover, assess, plan and invest in their careers. Whether it’s formal training programs, on-the-job learning, mentoring, continued education benefits, a job transfer, a stretch assignment or simply building a professional network, Lincoln invests in the success of our employees.
  2. Community. This is about feeling connected to the people and culture of an organization. We believe diversity of thought, background, experience and people drive innovation. An inclusive culture helps attract the best employees, empower cutomers and allow communities to achieve great things. We aim to offer our employees opportunities to connect and collaborate through business working groups, employee action committees and more.
  3. Cause. Purpose is the motivation that drives your employees toward a satisfying future. It is important to help your employees understand and connect what they do every day to a driving force for good. For example, at Lincoln, we empower Americans to take charge of their financial futures and our employees can see how their work helps the lives of so many Americans. We also encourage connectedness within your community through the Lincoln Financial Foundation and other volunteerism opportunities.

Lastly, but most importantly, if you want to retain your employees you have to ensure you have the best managers. Managers have a day-to-day impact on employees and their environment. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found 58 percent of employees say that their relationship with their manager is very important.

Amelia Ransom (Avalara Senior Director of Engagement and Diversity)

I think we underestimate our employees when we think all of their needs and expectations cost millions of dollars. You know what employees want more than ping pong tables and fully catered meals? Leadership transparency and to know that they have the ability to do their best work for an ethical company that knows they matter. Those things don’t cost a dime.

My three employees retention strategies are to:

  1. Solicit and encourage honest feedback.
  2. Don’t shoot the messenger when you receive the feedback.
  3. Determine whether or not you’re going to change, communicate that decision and do the work.

 

Marcy Hamrick (Publix Talent Acquisition Manager)

Our founder, George W. Jenkins, encouraged a spirit of openness, dignity, and respect across all of our associates — regardless of job class — and that philosophy stays firmly intact today. It is a large part of what continues to make Publix a great place to work. Organizations can put this in play by striving to:

  1. Define clear career paths at all job levels. Mr. George sought to create a place where anyone could be successful and build a long-term career for themselves. He showed his associates the opportunities they had for a future at the company and rewarded the talent that instilled his cultural values. Today, approximately more than 12,000 of our associates have been with the company for more than 20 years. Our very own CEO at Publix, Todd Jones, started his career with the company in the 1980s as a front service clerk. 
  2. Create a culture of service. Employees crave an employer that builds connection between people and communities. When teams are able to engage in activities that do good for a greater cause they feel a sense of purpose and belonging. Publix hosts an annual Publix Serves Day where associates across our company, all on the same day, take time from their day to serve their communities. 
  3. Constantly show the employee their impact. We aim to make sure that every Publix associate clearly understands our culture and knows the role they play in delivering it to our customers. We have a recognition program called My Publix, My Part where managers award an associate they observe reinforcing one of our core values with a card. The card describes the action observed and the outcome achieved, and it entitles the associate to a free Publix product.

 

Kelli Dragovich (Looker Chief People Officer)

We need to change our mindset on “retention.” It’s changing as fast as the high-tech industry. Here are the three strategies I’ll share:

  1. Create a culture of transparency — it’s the new retention tool.
  2. Develop a mission-oriented company that is dedicated to doing meaningful things, and makes decisions based on when the rubber hits the road.
  3. Help your talent evolve. It’s hard, but as much as a company can hire talent for a journey versus a job, the longer they will stay with you.

Regarding increasing the value you add to your employees, it's simple — be real and connect with everyone. At the end of the day, we as people want to feel valued, connected and included in any community we're part of. To truly connect with talent and make their career, experience or even their day better, as well as to help them succeed (whatever that means in their minds), adds a ton of value. I’ve seen more value added in an intimate roundtable where a leader unpacks their career, failures and fears than at a $200,000 event. 

 

18 Oct, 2019
7 keys to Talent’s award-winning employee engagement strategy
SOURCE:
Inside HR
Inside HR

There are seven areas leaders and managers need to focus on to increase employee engagement and enhance workplace performance, according to the head of HR for global recruitment firm Talent International.

The firm, which was recently recognised in Gallup's global 2019 Great Workplace Awards (the only recruitment company in the world and one of only two Australian-based companies to be recognised in the group of winners), has achieved consistently high levels of employee engagement through investing in its people to create a positive, supportive employee experience.

This has had a direct impact on business performance, with Talent jumping from position 96 last year to 87 this year in Australia's 500 Top Private Companies list, with a reported group turnover of $640 million for FY19 and a year-on-year growth of 16 per cent.

Talent was recognised by Gallup for a number of key initiatives, including increased communication at all levels of the business, a new online training program, a real-time recognition tool, and a reinvention of the company’s values (with input from all employees in every region).

April Marcot, head of people & culture at Talent, explained that the firm has focused on creating a culture that thrives on high performance, embraces difference, and embodies its values.

“Our teams feel connected to, and deeply passionate about our vision and purpose,” she said.

“Our management team understands the intrinsic relationship between performance and engagement.”

Marcot explained that there have been seven areas that leaders and managers across the business focus on to drive employee engagement and performance.

1. Establish your baseline
Marcot explained that it is important to start with understanding the current level of employee engagement within your organisation.

“It’s not where you start but where you go from there that matters,” she said.

An engagement survey can help establish a baseline to work from, and this can provide facts, figures and anecdotes to assist in measuring the different areas of engagement.

“Our management team understands the intrinsic relationship between performance and engagement”

“If your company measures well in areas relating to social engagement but low in relation to training and development – you will know which areas to focus on and plan around for improvement,” said Marcot, who added that this will also help make qualitative work more measurable later in the process.

“Listen to your people, they will give you the answers you need, and, at the same time, they will appreciate being asked,” she said.

“They might even offer much simpler and more intuitive solutions than grand corporate schemes.”

2. Impact of managers
While initiatives, incentives and programs from head office are important to increase employee engagement, Marcot said it’s the relationship between team members and the manager that is responsible for 70 per cent of employee engagement and, therefore, productivity.

“This has been quantified in an enormous amount workplace research including Gallup studies, and from my own experience, I have found it to be the most important factor in creating an engaged team,” she said.

“Start with giving your managers the tools and support they need to get it right. Give them the autonomy to lead, encourage them to communicate and listen, set clear goals, and give feedback regularly.”

3. Play to their strengths
It is also important to help connect people with the right positions within the company, as Marcot said this helps them progress in their career by allowing and encouraging them to do what they are good at.

“Develop people in their roles individually, and help them become leaders in their field, within their strengths and interests,” she said.

“You don’t need to be a manager to be a leader, as career progression means different things to different people.”

Marcot explained that not everyone wants to be (or can be a manager of people) but everyone can be a leader, given the right opportunity.

4. Connect culture and performance
Clearly communicated values that resonate with employees will go a long way in shaping behaviour and identifying behavioural expectations, Marcot added.

These values need to be communicated and reinforced constantly, in various ways to reach everyone.

“Showing support and caring for your team members does not come at the expense of performance, it actually improves it”

“If you don’t already have clearly defined values, or they need a refresh, get everyone involved in helping to define them,” she said.

“Give them a sense of ownership and accountability in creating and living them.”

Leaders and managers need to be prepared to make some hard calls to show they not only support but also live by these values.

5. Communicate and have meaningful conversations
The importance of communication in employee engagement should not be underestimated, according to Marcot, who said to “overcommunicate with everyone all the time”.

“Make communications global, local, in writing, in person and in teams,” she said.

“Share the vision, the plans and the progress, celebrate the wins, and share learnings for improvement.”

This helps people feel involved and connected to the purpose of the company.

“Taking the time to genuinely listen is one of the most effective ways to understand the people in your organisation; it’s also a great way to learn from them in order to be a better leader.”

6. Celebrate success
Within Talent, teams are motivated by helping them understand what success looks like, and by helping them understand how it was achieved.

“Start with recognising good behaviour, catch people doing a great job and acknowledge it,” said Marcot.

“By sharing the highs and lows of their own journey, leaders and managers can help their team members to see that success comes from sustained hard work, not by having the magic touch.”

7. Kindness is not a weakness
Treating people with respect and kindness does not mean there cannot be a strong focus on performance, added Marcot, who said this can strongly influence employee engagement.

“Celebrating people’s differences and opinions, respecting social and emotional needs, will result in an engaged team wanting to push harder and go the extra mile,” she said.

“Showing support and caring for your team members does not come at the expense of performance, it actually improves it.

“Allowing people to bring their whole selves to work will ensure they continue to come to work, and love being there.”

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