14 Nov, 2021
How You Do One Thing is How You Do Everything

In a commencement speech at UT-Austin that went viral in 2014, Admiral William McRaven encouraged the graduating seniors, “If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.”

Really? Making your bed? That’s it?

Maybe a made bed doesn’t change the world in and of itself, but as McRaven pointed out, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another and another.”

Maybe it’s a coincidence that during my 12 years struggling to succeed as an entrepreneur, I was an intermittent bed-maker at best. But after watching that speech, I became a habitual bed-maker. And just like that, my agency rocketed to seven figures. Coincidence?

Just kidding... kind of. But I’m a consistent bed-maker to this day. Sometimes I slip up, but nine times out of 10, my bed looks freshly done. And as McRaven put it, “if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made.”

Every single thing does matter

If you were to watch over anyone for a few weeks or a month, you will undoubtedly find that the way they do one thing is the way they do everything the vast majority of the time.

Yes, they may slip up here and there, but a healthy diet? Consistent bedtime and rise time? Meditation and exercise rituals? How clean or cluttered is their car? Kitchen clean, bed made?

Yes, people have strengths and weaknesses, but in general you can draw some fairly accurate conclusions from a snapshot of a person’s life. If all you can see is that person’s car, and the car is dirty and cluttered, chances are excellent that their house is dirty and cluttered, their desktop is dirty and cluttered — and most of the time, their mind is chaotic and cluttered.

Why do job coaches stress interview attire? If you see a person who is meticulously dressed in high-quality clothing that matches and fits well, you can deduce with reasonable certainty that this person cares about his car, his diet, his home, his routines. He may have an “off” day here and there, but in general you are looking at a put-together person. 

Another example. You decide to finally buckle down and start going to the gym consistently, only to crap out after two weeks and return to your couch-potato ways. Take a good hard look in the mirror. What else do you commit to and pursue for two weeks before throwing in the towel?

Our habits tell us who we are. How we do one thing often tells us a great deal about how we do everything.

Not all hope is lost

So does this mean some people are doomed? Maybe you’re in a panic right now, thinking about your greatest weakness and wondering if it defines you. If you do one thing poorly, are you destined to do everything poorly and ultimately fail?

Absolutely not. In fact, a tremendous hack is hiding in the truism that how we do one thing is often how we do everything. (I keep repeating this in case you haven't noticed; that's on purpose).

Here’s the hack — if you successfully change one thing, adopt one good habit and stick to it, it cascades down to the rest of your life. 

If you want to improve your life, start by improving one thing. It doesn’t even have to be the most important thing on your plate. In fact, it’s probably better that it not be related to the most pressing issue on your plate. It’s easy to freeze like a deer in headlights when you tackle the big things.

So start small. If what you really care about is your physical fitness but you can’t force yourself to exercise, start by making your bed consistently. Building up discipline in one area of your life will establish you not just as a habitual bed-maker — it will start to change your identity into that of a person who has discipline. A person who has discipline can ultimately ease their way into a fitness habit, no problem.

If your most pressing issue is to make more money and grow your business, start by improving your diet. Crazy, right? What does your diet have to do with your business life? That’s irrelevant. Succeeding in one discipline gives you the grit to succeed in other disciplines. The increased energy and better digestion can’t hurt either.

Action Steps

  • Untidy? If your home, car and personal appearance tends to be untidy, follow the Admiral’s advice and start by making your bed. Eventually your bed will start to look foolish in its untidy surroundings and you will start getting the rest of your act together.
  • Bad diet? Switch the sugary drinks with water. This alone will work wonders. Drink sugar-free fizzy water if that helps. I am addicted to LaCroix. Highly recommend it.
  • No exercise routine? Walk. Forget about starting a butt-blasting weight routine that will burn you out in two weeks. Start with a daily walk and work your way up to it. It almost doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you pick something sustainableIf that is walking for you, there’s no shame in that.
  • Can’t focus on your business? Wake up 10 minutes early and try a daily meditation routine. Clearing your mind is a great first step to approaching your most important tasks with clarity. 
  • Can’t finish what you start? Pick one thing on your back-burner — anything — and finish it. Develop a taste for the thrill of completion. Trust me, it’s addictive.

The reason I encourage my students to go out and make a sale as fast as they possibly can — to fail fast, break stuff, rebuild better, and get the cash register to ring — is because nothing succeeds like success. 

Once you put a W on the board — even a small one — you develop a lust for victory. So many people choose not to compete because they are afraid they are going to lose. But once they discover that they can win, even in a small way, it gives them courage for the fight. They become hungry for more, and that drives them to do great things.

14 Nov, 2021
Gen Z workers willing to reject jobs based on climate change values
Australian Financial Review

Sophia Lang was working in the logistics area of fast fashion when she realised the industry, notorious for its poor sustainability practices, no longer aligned with her values.

She decided to make a career change, with the 24-year-old moving to consultancy firm KPMG, attracted by a larger pay packet but also the company’s values when it came to climate change and other social practices. 

Ms Lang, a senior consultant, is not the only member of Generation Z – those aged roughly 18 to 24 – to base her career choices on her values in relation to climate change.

A new survey from human resources software company ELMO shows nearly three in four, or 71 per cent, of Generation Z workers would refuse to work for a company they felt was not doing enough to deal with climate change.

Asked if they would refuse to work for a company based on that issue alone, 24 per cent said “strongly agree” and 47 per cent “agree”.

That compared with half of Millennials (in the age bracket 25 to 39) who said “agree” or “strongly agree” and 37 per cent of Baby Boomers (aged over 60) who agreed or strongly agreed.

“I think in the past, employees would kind of just go to get a pay cheque and enjoy their weekend and go again – it’s just not that mentality any more,” Ms Lang said.

“We’re really understanding, as a generation, not only how much time we spend at work but the impact we can have if we’re supporting firms that are doing the right thing.

“That’s where I think the shift in values is really coming to light.”

Ms Lang said when she and her friends talked about where they worked, the conversation was less about salary and more about company values and conditions.

“I think with the cohort of new employees, their decisions to do something and their values has just really shifted,” she said.

“You’re at work more than anywhere else; what impact do you want to leave going in to your day job?”

ELMO chief executive Danny Lessem said employees had been making choices about where to work based on their personal values, including climate change, before the pandemic.

But now, as Australia slowly reopens, the workplace had “completely shifted”, he said.

“The post-COVID workplace needs to be an extension of people’s regular lives, it needs to be more aligned with their value sets.”

Mr Lessem said his firm had decided to conduct the survey after anecdotal evidence from clients that jobseekers were asking more about a prospective employer’s values when it came to climate change.

“This is really important for younger Australians,” he said.

Mr Lessem said even when Australia’s borders reopened, businesses would need to be sure they were attractive to employees based on values and work conditions, not just the size of the salary on offer.

“It’s war for talent out there and they have to reflect the values of their prospective employees,” Mr Lessem said.

“We’ve been seeing this trend for some time, it’s just accelerated because of the COVID-lockdown related skill shortage.”

ELMO’s survey also showed three in four Australians worried about climate change, while 44 per cent rated the federal government’s actions poor and a third felt the same about their state government.

Nearly half of people in Generation Z said climate change made them worry about the future, compared with a third of Millennials and only one in four in Generation X (aged 40-59) or Baby Boomers.

Separate research by Qualtrics found half of people aged 18 to 44 planned to look for a new job next year, with personal growth opportunities the biggest reason.

While Generation Z workers value more face-to-face work, Millennials and some Generation X members prioritised more flexible work hours.

9 Nov, 2021
This is the next step after psychological safety
HRM Online
HRM Online

You can’t stop at offering employees a psychologically safe workplace – that’s just a basic expectation. Here’s how to take it to the next level.

​​Psychological safety is a commonly discussed topic at the moment, and rightly so. Most employers understand that in order to get the best out of people, they need to provide an optimal psychological environment in which they can flourish.

This sense of safety is about giving permission for candour and inviting people to welcome bad news, says Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School and the researcher who put team psychological safety on the map in the 1990s.

“Psychological safety describes an environment where you believe you can offer ideas, ask for help or report a mistake without negative repercussions.”

Why does this matter? That is the million-dollar question. Or rather, the billion-dollar question. 

Mentally unhealthy workplaces cost the Australian economy about $60 billion a year, according to Deloitte. While there are plenty of factors contributing to this – such as stress from the pandemic, or our increasing tendency to overwork – research from the University of Pennsylvania shows that feeling like you can’t speak up at work also has significant impacts on wellbeing, as it can increase our likelihood of burnout. 

Low levels of psychological safety also tend to result in less innovation, as employees are unlikely to share their half-baked ideas, or point out errors they notice. In the best-case scenario, that could mean you miss out on a revenue-generating idea. In the worst-case scenario, it can open you up to safety risks.

In short, if you want a thriving, innovative workplace culture, you need a foundation of psychological safety. However, it is just that – foundational. Employers don’t get a pat on the back for simply catering to their people’s baseline psychological needs. That would be the equivalent of an employee arguing they should be paid simply for showing up to work. 

“Psychological safety is just one dimension, albeit an important one, that we need in our workplaces,” says Edmondson. The way to think about it, she says, is as a means towards excellence. It’s what HRM is calling psychological enrichment – the things that motivate, challenge and inspire us at work.

“There are different ways of thinking about the fuel that motivates us to exert ourselves,” says Edmondson. 

What enrichment looks like for one person will be completely different for another. Someone might want their employer to help them live a healthier lifestyle, for instance; whereas enrichment for another person might look like sinking their teeth into a fascinating project that requires them to learn about something completely different from their ‘day job’.

“When I think of psychological enrichment, I think of a garden,” says Deb Travers-Wolf FAHRI, founder of I Lead Consulting.

“I’ve got this big row of plants I’ve been looking after for about three years now. I’ve watched them thrive then not thrive, and I try to figure out what the consistent factors are.”

There’s no silver bullet for psychological enrichment, she says. It’s built upon a collection of purposeful acts. 

However, one of the key elements, she thinks, is intentional inclusion efforts.

​​“Every time I slice and dice data, psychological safety, engagement, inclusion, belonging, whatever dimension you analyse, is reduced for diverse and under-represented populations. You’ve got to try to ensure everyone is having consistent experiences equally. When I look at that line of plants, they’re all equally thriving. Not just one or two that have had more sunshine or water.”

Lynda Edwards, Director of Consulting Operations and Insight Design at the NeuroLeadership Institute, points to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to demonstrate the difference between psychological safety, which exists in the lower two sections of the pyramid, and psychological enrichment, which kicks in from the third level up.

“We need psychological safety to survive,” says Edwards. “If we think about the neurobiological response in terms of threat and reward, when people aren’t psychologically safe, they’re sitting in a threat state. In this state, their cognition is impacted, their creativity is impacted, their perception is impacted. And collaboration – playing nicely with others in the sandpit – doesn’t happen.”

It’s the flight-or-fight state. If people feel in threat, which many would right now when you consider the world we are living in, they’re potentially going to hunker down and hold back.

“That can encourage protectionist-type behaviours. They’re not tapping into their discretionary effort. They’re not going to add as much value. They might feel defensive and they’re not going to feel fulfilled.”

Helping an employee to feel enriched doesn’t just mean eliminating the threats, says Edwards. You have to “take it to the next level”.

“I think of it like those regenerative practices from farming – leaving the earth better than we found it. We need to think about this in terms of talent and leadership. How can we provide a sense of enrichment to our people so we leave them much better than when we found them?”

From psychological safety to a thrive state

A psychologically enriched workforce will equal greater innovation, engagement, retention, business outcomes and a bigger competitive advantage, says Edwards.

“You’ll have people who feel more valued, have greater wellbeing and resilience, and they’ll be more motivated, which we know has significant positive health outcomes. All of that can be translated to the bottom line.”

This might sound obvious, but despite the clear win for businesses, many organisations are still struggling to get to this ideal state. That’s most likely because dealing with a collection of individuals and their respective needs and challenges can be tricky. But it could also be because some employers are stopping at the start point.

A workplace that’s free of toxic behaviours such as bullying, harassment or gossip is not inherently enriching. It’s standing at the beginning of that journey.

It’s about setting high standards, facilitating impactful motivation and having a shared ambition or purpose, says Edmondson.

“I also think we as human beings want to be stretched so we grow. That feels good because we have something hard to do that we can eventually master,” she says.

“Even if that’s taking a process we currently have and making it just that tiny bit better. We get that feeling of ‘I got well-used today.’”

This important sense of mastery or purpose could be achieved through a process known as ‘job enrichment’. It’s a concept popularised by psychologist Frederick Herzberg in the late 1960s, whereby an employee’s work is altered in a way that makes it more stimulating or challenging, so they can learn new skills and stretch themselves.

Importantly, job enrichment isn’t the same as job enlargement – i.e. simply expanding an employee’s remit – which could result in further disengagement, burnout or increased intention to quit.

Building off Herzberg’s work, in 1976 psychologist J. Richard Hackman and economist Greg Oldham developed the Job Characteristics Model, which has since been used as the basis for job enrichment strategies. It includes five pillars:

    1. Skill variety – increasing the skills an employee uses (or needs to learn) to do their job.
    2. Task identity – seeing a project through from start to finish to feel a sense of ownership.
    3. Task significance – offering work that has a strong sense of purpose to the individual, organisation or other important stakeholders.
    4. Autonomy – allowing employees to take on more decision-making power and giving them the freedom to choose when and how the work is completed.
    5. Feedback – ensuring consistent, regular recognition of good work is shared throughout the organisation.

Neel Doshi, co-founder of Vega Factor, former partner at McKinsey & Company and author, might offer a sixth point to that framework: experimentation.

“Experimenting in your work is actually a lot of fun,” he says. “It’s very motivating.

If you have a job where you feel you can try things, see what works, try something different, and feel creative, you will be much more motivated to do that work.”

When we go into crisis mode – when our physical, emotional or psychological safety is threatened – we tend to lean towards tactical work (rote tasks), he says. What people need to feel motivated is to engage in adaptive work (work that engages our creativity and ingenuity).

“How can we provide a sense of enrichment to our people so we leave them much better than when we found them?” – Lynda Edwards, Director of Consulting Operations and Insight Design, NeuroLeadership Institute

The trouble is, a thriving organisation requires a healthy balance of both sides. People need to be able to solve problems and challenge themselves, but tactical work is still required.

“Imagine if the building is on fire,” Doshi previously told HRM. “People don’t want you to empower them to find the door. If it’s a genuine crisis, they want you to just tell them how to get out.”

Many employers misdiagnose the moment they’re in, he says. They always think the building is on fire. Therefore, they might double down on the rules or tighten employee freedoms and, often without realising, they smother the last lick of the flame that is that individual’s sense of experimentation.

Leaders often don’t have the confidence to try new things in crisis, says Travers-Wolf.

“When leaders are fearful, they play it safe, which makes exploring and experimenting really hard. But we know from research on high-performance teams that being able to explore far and wide increases not only our own performance, but our own intelligence.”

Experimentation leads to a stronger sense of motivation. To demonstrate how impactful this can be on an individual and organisation’s sense of enrichment, Doshi uses the example of a call centre he worked with.

“The opposite of purpose is fungibility – when you feel you’re easily replaced. These days, call centres are designed to make [workers] completely fungible. You sit down, log into the phone system and then a customer is in your ear. The moment you log off, it’s really no big deal because your calls are automatically redirected to hundreds of other call centre workers.”

“We as human beings want to be stretched so we grow. That feels good because we have something hard to do that we can eventually master.” – Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership, Harvard Business School

Doshi and his colleagues worked with a call centre in the insurance industry to increase employee motivation through experimentation.

“These are big football field-sized rooms with thousands of people, many of whom are in a low-play, low-purpose state,” he says.

They asked the workers to identify the things they wanted to improve and made sure they were engaging in experimental work every week to solve these specific pain points.

“It took us a few weeks to set this up,” says Doshi. “But within a week of working this way, a frontline call centre rep came up with a multi-million-dollar idea. This kind of stuff happens all the time.”

We need to work together

Job satisfaction and psychological enrichment shouldn’t just sit on a leader’s shoulders alone, says Edwards.

“Co-creation around things like this is important,” she says. “This approach does a couple of things. Firstly it tells people that they’re valued and that they’re masters of their own destiny. It gives employees autonomy to plan their work or the projects they want to work on, or to take on that volunteer opportunity, for example. We want to give people a sense of ownership and empowerment.”

This is more likely to offer enrichment to an employee than taking a prescriptive route, she says, because if you assume you know what people need, there is a good chance you will get it wrong.

“You need to be asking them questions like, ‘What would it look like for you to get more from your work and fill your cup?’ 

“Remember, sometimes it won’t be about climbing the ladder. It could be being able to lean in and add value to something they feel strongly about, such as a particular project or part of the business.”

We can’t forget that our organisations are made up of living things, says Edwards.

“It’s about enriching the individual and growing them in many ways, enriching the team through cross-skilling and enriching the organisation in terms of diversification.”

This people-centric mindset is what has got businesses through the pandemic so far. And it will be the mark of a successful business strategy moving forward. 

If all you do is plant the bulbs, dust off your hands and call it a day, you’ve got little chance of creating a thriving garden. You need to constantly tend to it and respond to its changing needs in order to see it blossom. 

9 Nov, 2021
The Best Leadership Advice We Heard in 2021
Entrepreneur Asia Pacific

What does it mean to be a leader when workforces are increasingly decentralized and traditional business models have been upended by a global pandemic? Do the old axioms apply, and if not, have we gleaned enough from shifts in the marketplace to get behind any new consensus conventional wisdom?

These remain open-ended questions, but as we near the year's end, we thought it prudent to share salient points of view on modern leadership from the most trustworthy sources we could think of: our own Entrepreneur contributors.

So as part of a Best Advice series running throughout November, our staff selected several tips directly from features, think pieces and profiles over the past 10-plus months, along with corresponding quotes that epitomized what makes them superlative insights into running a business in 2022 and beyond.

Trust the people you hire

"A lot of business owners like to keep a close eye on day-to-day operations and tasks, especially those who start small. But that approach really doesn’t scale. If you bring someone in to manage operations, or accounting or marketing, you should have the confidence in your own decisions to give them the freedom to do the job you’ve hired them to do. In my experience, the right people will reward your confidence in them and help your business grow in ways you might not have expected — and you’ll have a better relationship with your teams too." — Sean Brown, founder and CEO of GO VC, from "If You Want to Scale, Give the People You Hire Freedom to Succeed"

Have a communication strategy

"Change is hard, and you will find yourself having to repeat communications several times. Plan for this in your communication strategy. Set the expectation that things will get worse before they get better. Mistakes will happen, things will fall through the cracks — and that’s okay. It’s expected and a natural part of the process." — Katie Murphy, Founder & CEO of Expansion Group, from "How to Pull Off the Most Successful Reorganization Possible"

Offer employees more than money

"A paycheck is not enough for today’s employees — you have to earn people's energy. I believe as a leader, my job is not just to help people understand the possible, it's to unleash their potential to realize the impossible.” — Ann Mukherjee, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard North America, from "100 Women of Impact In 2021"

Do this one thing when interviewing candidates

"During the pandemic, children, pets and partners can be a noisy soundtrack interrupting our Zoom calls. There is no need to apologize for daily interruptions that are now part of our pandemic routine. However, as an interviewer and as an ambassador of your company, here’s the number-one thing you must do when interviewing candidates: Do your best to minimize alldistractions within your control." —Mita Mallick, head of inclusion, equity and impact at Carta, from "Here's the No. 1 Thing You Must Do When Interviewing Candidates"

Stay both present- and future-focused

“[The goal is] get the current business to be the best it can be — efficient, profitable and as big as it should be in the segment. But then in parallel, prepare this new world, that in next year's time, somebody else will have the opportunity to take over and take to the next level.” — Adrian Hallmark, Global CEO of Bentley Motors, from "CEO and Chairman Adrian Hallmark Wants Bentley Motors to Be the Most Sustainable Luxury Automotive Manufacturer In the World. He's Well on His Way."

Clearly define, and stick to, your organization's values

“What I’ve been focused quite a lot on over the last few months is what I consider to be a really important foundational piece of work, which is to sharpen our values as an organization, to clearly define the company that we strive to be and the behaviors that are required to support that. We’re now in the process of embedding this throughout the organization to ensure that we can hold ourselves and each other accountable." — Evelyn Webster, CEO of SoulCycle, from "For SoulCycle CEO Evelyn Webster, the Way Forward is Through Accountability, Inclusivity and Purpose"

Hire people you can lose with

"In my sport, I hired people I could lose with — who I’d be comfortable losing with — because they’re who would give me the best support. I mean, they took the losses hard. You want them to take them hard because you want them to be competitive. But if they’re people you’d want to be with when you lose, then I’m sure you’ll be able to celebrate well with them." — Maria Sharapova, professional tennis player and founder of Sugarpova, from "Maria Sharapova's Winning Secret: 'I Hired People I Could Lose With'"

Be willing to not have all the answers

“I always say that you can’t be good at something unless you’re willing to be bad. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten way more comfortable with not having the answers. I think it’s such a great tool of leadership to be able to say, “I don’t know.” The worst leaders I’ve ever worked with or been around are the ones who are steadfast and indignant in their righteousness, and really worried about their image. So I love saying, ‘I don’t know.’”" — Ryan Reynolds, actor and co-founder of Maximum Effort, from "Why Ryan Reynolds Says "You Can't Be Good At Something Unless You're Willing To Be Bad"

Avoid analysis paralysis 

"A leader’s focus should be heavily weighted on execution. Shoot first, aim later. Yes, mistakes can be easily made with this approach, but if you learn from the mistakes, you can always course correct. I seek results, and I keep what is working and drop what is not working. People follow leaders that are bold and make swift decisions."— Ross Franklin, CEO and founder of Pure Green, from "Master These 5 Leadership Skills to Increase Your Results Tenfold"



8 Nov, 2021
Over a million Australians have abandoned credit cards for buy now, pay later services in the past year, new research shows
Business Insider
  • New insights from Nielsen showcase the extent to which millennial and Gen Z consumers are switching to buy now, pay later platforms.
  • Its analysis found 31% of BNPL users were students, with Gen Z women the leading cohort.
  • Gen Z is now more likely to be a BNPL user than a credit card holder, the data suggests.

An avalanche of new customers have joined the buy now, pay later (BNPL) fold in the past 12 months, new research shows, cancelling their credit cards amid increasing financial uncertainty sparked by the pandemic. 

Over a million Australians cancelled their credit cards in the past year in favour of the raft of services offering interest-free payment instalments, new research conducted by Nielsen and DBM Atlas shows.

It comes amid the explosion of the BNPL niche, which has attracted investment from two of Australia’s largest banks and countless Australians chasing skyrocketing stock prices, along with a wave of millennial and Gen Z consumers wary of traditional credit. 

The Reserve Bank of Australia reported in March 2020 that buy now, pay later transactional values had risen by 55% in the past 12 months. 

In August, digital payments giant Square announced it would acquire Australian BNPL pioneer Afterpay in a deal worth $39 billion, in one of the country’s largest local fintech sales.

The sale marked a turning point for the ever-growing sector, which has challenged the established banking space and has come as international and local players, including payments behemoth PayPal, Apple and The Commonwealth Bank seek to build — or acquire — their own BNPL services.

In late October, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia announced it would roll out a fleet of new “smart” point-of-sale terminals as part of an initiative to compete with fintech disruptors like Square, which is currently in the midst of acquiring Australian BNPL juggernaut AfterPay. 

The report, “Financial uncertainty amid the pandemic fuels a rise in buy now, pay later services in Australia”, digs deeper into widespread reporting showing the surge of younger consumers to the space. 

Its analysis shows that almost two-thirds of Australians who have used BNPL are aged 18 to 44, with Gen Z women leading the wave through purchases of clothing; one of the most popular categories for BNPL shoppers. 

The data showed 31% are students, and a majority are likely to work part-time, or under 34 hours a week. 

Kipling Zubevich, chief executive of DBM, said the insights further highlighted how uptake in the space is being driven by a rejection of credit by emerging generations. 

“While BNPL uptake is increasing across 

 the board, our data shows that Gen Z is now more likely to be a BNPL user than a credit card holder,” Zubevich said. 

The findings are in-line with similar research. Australian research consultancy DBM Atlas reported in June 2021 that approximately 14% of Australian adults had made a purchase using a buy now, pay later service in the past four weeks — up from 11% a year earlier.

In recent months, calls have intensified for further regulation, amid scrutiny of the Australian sector’s current self-regulation model in which eight BNPL companies have established and signed up to their own code of conduct. 

In October, a joint parliamentary committee inquiry into the sector published findings supporting regulation of the sector, in response to claims it should regulate itself.

8 Nov, 2021
Job ads across Australia have risen to the highest levels in 2 years, new data shows
Business Insider
  • Seek’s latest job ads data recorded a 10.2% month-on-month increase in jobs posted in October.
  • The figures follow a raft of stimulus measures launched by the NSW and Victorian governments to boost the state’s economic recoveries.
  • The states have injected millions with the aim of injecting cash into the economy via household spending over the summer.

Australian recruitment company Seek recorded its highest job ad levels in the past two years, as the country continues its path to reopening.

It posted a 10.2% increase in jobs listed month-on-month in October, amid a raft of stimulus measures by the NSW and Victorian governments.

Kendra Banks, managing director of Seek, said the surge in job ads signalled Australia’s economic resurgence was well underway, supported by economic stimulus measures rolled out in recent weeks.

“This was due in large part to restrictions easing in our two most populated states, NSW and Victoria, and businesses embraced this welcome news by preparing for the summer holiday period,” Banks said. 

Overall Seek recorded an increase of 63.2% on national job ads year-on-year, with the biggest jumps in NSW, the ACT and Victoria — at 20.3%, 19% and 16.3% respectively.

NSW and Victoria, which both eased restrictions in October, including allowing the resumption of in-person trading for retail and hospitality venues, also drove the surge in listings in these sectors. 

Jobs ads in hospitality and tourism rose by over 35%, followed by listings in education and administration, as companies begin to return their workforces to the office.

The numbers reflect the recent injection of stimulus into the economies of the country’s two biggest cities. 

In late October NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced a new stimulus package geared at “pent-up” consumer demand across the state and designed to inject cash into the economy via household spending.

The $2.8 billion stimulus package awarded the hospitality sector $66 million in the form of payments to bars and cafes to encourage them to set up outdoor dining for the summer, along with additional funds for the arts.

The Victorian government launched a similar scheme, earmarking $54.5 million for outdoor spending initiatives. 

It will award Victorian businesses, community organisations, not-for-profits and trader associations $2,000 grants once they spend that amount on outdoor initiatives.

As a consequence of an explosion of jobs listed, the site recorded a slight dip in job applications, Banks said.

“Having a record number of jobs posted on contributes to a drop in the number of job applications per ad,” she said.  

Job applications fell by 5.4% month-on-month, the jobs board reported, which is 44.2% lower when comparing the same period two years ago.

The news job ads data also comes amid reports of a skills shortage in many sectors, as closed borders lock out international workers who traditionally filled a raft of hospitality and retail jobs.

Seek data released in September found there were 55% more short-term jobs in retail and hospitality advertised than at the same time last year, with the employment marketplace reporting it had 20,000 casual jobs listed on the site and 5,000 of these based in NSW.

Chief executive of Business NSW Daniel Hunter said in early October the state needed to get its borders opened to attract skilled migrant workers to address the labour shortage.

“When we went into this lockdown, there was already a skilled migration shortage and a general labour shortage,” Hunter said.

“In Australia we rely on immigration and migration for short-term and long-term labour, so the key really is to get this bounce back,” he said.

4 Nov, 2021
7 ways to avoid a candidate accepting a counter offer
HRM Online
HRM Online

You’ve found the perfect candidate, but their current employer has made a counter offer. How can you make sure they accept your offer? A recruitment expert weighs in.

Obtaining verbal acceptance for a job offer and securing a candidate is always a good feeling, but it’s not time to relax until they’ve signed on the dotted line.

In the era of hyperactive hiring, an usually buoyant market, skill shortages and ever-changing candidate behaviour, the need to plan for and manage the possibility of counter offers is critical.

In the recruitment market, a counter offer is an offer from your candidate’s current employer in a bid to convince them to stay in their current position. 

In many instances, the current employer will offer them one or a combination of the following: a higher salary package, additional company benefits, a promotion, a new flashy job title, a change in role, or more involvement in projects.

While the job you’re offering might seem bright and shiny to you, it would be short-sighted to believe that candidates won’t consider their options, especially if they are motivated by money or career progression.

When it comes to a counter offer, preparation is key. Here are a few ways to avoid the possibility of your candidate accepting a counter offer from the get-go.

1. Understand why they are considering a new job

When you start the conversation with a potential candidate, whether they approach you themselves or via your own outreach efforts, it’s a good idea to understand why they are considering a new job role and keep this in mind during the entire process.

Ask the candidate why they want to leave their current job and to list the things they would change if they were the boss. Many of these responses could be around mistreatment by management, a toxic work environment, lack of growth prospects, not being challenged or not reaching their full potential.

Then, get your candidate to outline their goals and what their ‘ideal job’ looks like. For example, are they motivated by money, do they want to develop a particular skill, are they looking for flexible work arrangements, do they want career progression?

By doing the above, it will be much easier for you to place them in a job that they will feel happy and secure in. This will also lessen the chances of them accepting a counter offer.

2. List all the job perks

Sell the job by listing all the perks, especially those that correspond to their definition of their ideal job. Never underestimate the power of perks, especially in the post-pandemic world.  

The biggest perk is often a meatier salary than the one they currently have, so avoid lowballing them. Be honest about your best office and be transparent about any future opportunities for financial growth (i.e. do you have a bonus or commission scheme? How often are internal promotions considered? Or are you in a position to offer them a salary bump at the completion of their probation period?).

For millennial workers in particular, there are a range of new expectations around what their employers will offer them, such as flexibility, learning and development opportunities, and the chance to develop and nurture their out-of-work interests, such as maintaining a fitness regime. Many of these were previously nice-to-haves, yet now jobseekers see them as essentials. 

At the end of the day, candidates want to know what’s in it for them.

3. Build trust and eliminate fear

In order for a candidate to feel confident moving forward with a role in your organisation, it’s important to build trust. 

They don’t want to feel like another applicant on your list, instead they want to feel like you actually care about them and their future career progression. By speaking to them like a real human and listening to their concerns, you can build a genuine connection and help them arrive at the best decision for them.

It’s also important to ensure they are comfortable with the idea of change and eliminate any worries they may have, especially if they have been with the same organisation for a long time. A good way to do this is to organise a meet and greet with the team or invite them to job shadow for a half or full paid day. This will allow them to build connections before they receive a formal offer, which may help them feel more confident about their decision.

4. Ask them: “what will you do if you get a counter offer?”

This can be a difficult question, but it’s an important one to ask. 

By asking the candidate what they would do when faced with a counter offer, it will allow them to think through their priorities and whether or not they are confident to leave their current organisation. 

When you ask this question, document their response and retain it. When you make the job offer, refer to the reasons they said they would leave and provide clarity on how this role or environment is different and exciting. 

5. Move quickly

If the candidate is a winner, it’s a good idea to move quickly on the interview and selection process.

If you take weeks to get back to the candidate, it’s likely they will either change their mind and stay with their current employer, or continue their job search and interview with organisations. 

Furthermore, their current employer might get a whiff that they may be looking and could possibly make a counter offer before you have even come up with the first offer. 

6. Help them resign

Resigning can be an uncomfortable process to navigate, so if you’re a recruiter, it’s a good idea to offer them some advice and support through the process.

This could include suggesting they:

  • Resign on a Monday morning, as it prevents their employer from having a weekend to think about the counter offer.
  • Give their current employer a written resignation with a ‘thank you’ note, and a clear last day of employment.
  • If you are a recruiter, you can let them know they can call you before they resign if they need support or a pep talk prior to resigning.

7. Keep in touch during the two-week notice

Finally, once your candidate has resigned, it’s essential to keep in touch during their two-week notice period (in some cases this time period may be longer, depending on their role and length of service). 

Give them a call after they have resigned to let them know if they are presented with a counter offer that they should reflect on the reasons they provided for wanting to leave.

By nurturing your relationship, your candidate will believe that you genuinely care about them and want to help them through the transition. 

Once they start in their new role, check in on them at consistent touch points to ensure they’re happy and that the role is meeting their expectations. It’s at this stage that you can address any small niggles, or potentially tweak processes a little, to ensure that they’re experiencing what you sold them on.

If the candidate decides to stay with the current employer or accept a counter offer, it’s important to respect their decision and know when to walk away. Because who knows, they might just come knocking on your door down the track, so you want to make sure you part on good terms.

4 Nov, 2021
Over 60% of office workers believe they are more productive when they can work flexibly, new research suggests
Business Insider
  • New research spotlights Australian workers’ desire to maintain flexible working practices out of the pandemic.
  • A Swinburne University study found 61% believed a hybrid working model was the most productive.
  • It comes as employers navigate returning to offices after months of working from home.

New research suggests enabling flexible work makes employees happier and more engaged, as Australian workers navigate returning to the office.

The study, conducted by the NSW government in partnership with Edith Cowan University, found employees able to work remotely and who could dictate the terms of their work, gave overwhelmingly positive feedback on their workplace.

The report found workers surveyed said their emotional security was better looked after despite being socially isolated at home. 

The study looked at the psychological health of the 1,039 white collar employees interviewed about their experience of lockdown, finding that the industry workers were in had little impact on their experience of lockdown. 

Those who reported the greatest benefits were those who had a disability or had caring responsibilities, with those reporting benefits overwhelmingly being women. 

The key finding of the study was that flexible workers placed a high value on feeling trusted by managers and employers.

NSW Centre of Work Health and Safety director Skye Buatava said the research was conducted to examine the impact of an overwhelming move toward flexible work by organisations following work-from-home orders imposed by the pandemic. 

Buatava said the research showed flexible working arrangements would be an overall net positive. 

“It’s reassuring to see that for the most part, working flexibly can be a very positive experience,” she said.

At the same time, the dramatic work from home shift during the pandemic has “highlighted the need to ensure the right support mechanisms are in place for modern ways of working,” with the NSW government using the research as a touchpoint for developing tools to support businesses in transitioning to a new way of working.

The survey results highlighted the gaps in many companies’ infrastructure for remote and flexible workforces. 

“We discovered some flexible workers felt their organisation did not have adequate work health and safety processes in place and that training around mental wellness was lacking,” Buatava said. 

In response to the survey’s outcomes, the centre has launched best practice guides and resources on supporting flexible workers. 

The resources are geared toward providing “practical advice for employers and employees on creating a mentally healthy workplace at home, both during and after the COVID-19 restrictions,” Buatava said.

The survey is one of a raft of initiatives launched by the NSW Centre of Work Health and Safety in response to changing work practices since the start of the pandemic. 

In late 2020, the centre launched a research project that allocated $660,000 into preparation for the “workplace issues of the future”, in particular risks in health and safety.

At the time, the NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said the investment was designed to help companies adapt for what it anticipated would be a transformation of the workplace thanks to the pandemic. 

“The future of work will be vastly different from today’s landscape, and we want to be ready to adapt so that we can continue to protect our workforce,” Anderson said.

In 2015, those working from home as part of flexible work arrangements represented just 13% of the Australian workforce, according to the ABS. 

By June 2020 around 32% of working Australians were working from home due to lockdowns. 

An ABS survey released this year suggests employed Australians expect these practices to continue. 

“Employed Australians expected work from home arrangements to continue throughout the year,” ABS Head of Household Surveys, David Zago said. 

“In the next six months, 47% of employed Australians expected the amount of work from home to remain the same, 11% expected a decrease and 8% expected an increase.

Wider research conducted around the Australian workforce supports the NSW government’s future workforce management.

A new national survey of Australian knowledge workers, conducted by Swinburne’s Centre for the New Workforce, found that almost every  worker surveyed wants some form of flexible arrangement. 

When asked the ideal number of days of work each week in the office post-pandemic, office-based workers cited 3.7 days as the ideal number to be present in the office. 

A survey by recruitment company Hays of 2,500 “working professionals” in November last year found that 61% believed a hybrid working model was the most productive.

Hays’ research revealed that 47% of employers were open to retaining working from home as part of their workplace mix.

1 Nov, 2021
You Can Stop Being a Manager Without Sinking Your Career
Harvard Business Review

When people think about career advancement in today’s organizations, they typically envision getting promoted to supervise increasingly large teams of employees. But what if you want to take your career in a different direction and move from being a boss back to an individual contributor? What will hiring managers and your peers think about you?

As the “Great Resignation” has shown, experienced mid-level employees are not only willing to leave their companies in greater numbers than before, but they are revisiting what it means to have a meaningful work life. A recent study from Forrester Consulting and Indeed suggested that people have come to a  “Great Realization”: they now rank feeling energized and having a sense of purpose as more important than compensation when it comes to professional happiness.

Perhaps you became a manager because you believed that career success depended on climbing the hierarchy rather than expanding the application of your strengths to frontline projects or technical issues. But now you find yourself missing the autonomy and responsibility of directly solving problems in your chosen department and less enthusiastic about having to indirectly influence others to do so. Though it might seem like a step back, there can be significant benefits to your personal fulfillment as well as your organization if you choose to become an individual contributor again. Consider the following strategies when communicating your motivation and decision so that you don’t let others’ perceptions get in the way of your happiness and future success.

Remove your own limiting beliefs.

Before you can confidently explain to anyone why you want to move from leading people to working on your own, it’s critical that you view this as a step forward, not backward, in your career. Remember that you’re not a failure for pivoting away from management. In fact, if you don’t enjoy your current role but refuse to make room for someone more suitable to take over, you’ll do more damage to yourself and your team.

One of my coaching clients was promoted to a sales director role at an enterprise software company because he consistently outperformed his peers. At the time, he never thought about refusing the promotion; it was a chance to be recognized as a leader in his organization. But over the next year or so, he realized that the work of a sales manager — designing compensation structures, giving motivational talks to his representatives, and role-playing sales conversations to coach his team — didn’t light him up. He wanted to be back in the trenches, meeting customers every day, and envied his direct reports, whose daily activities were directly correlated with results.

In trying to improve the situation, I initially suggested some job-crafting ideas, including him making time for more engaging customer-facing work. But without a formal role change, that might seem like micromanaging. He would be in the way of empowering and developing his team.

Instead, my client considered how he might revert to being an individual contributor willing to push the edges of creativity more than he had before and solve problems in more expansive and masterful ways. I liken this to an actor who has to perform a monologue in a play or movie. The first step is learning the lines, but after that memorization process, they can play with the part, taking it in a variety of new and compelling directions, while still seeming natural in their delivery.

When you look at your move back to being an individual contributor as a re-entry that allows you to bring new life experiences and skills to improve your offering, you’ll have an easier time embracing and explaining it.

Don’t assume you have to demote yourself.

Many managers who step down will typically choose individual contributor roles similar to ones they had in the past. But in most organizations there are examples of mid-level and senior people who don’t manage others. So it’s worth proposing a formal role or title that reflects the value you bring to the company even if you’re not directly leading a team.

Consider an IT director at a Fortune 500 company who led a sizeable group of managers and their direct reports. When his organization began migrating to the cloud, it needed an expert to guide the individual business units and functions through the transition while also coordinating with an outside consultancy. So, based on his technical experience as well as the influence he had cultivated across the company by previously leading a key support function, he pitched himself to be the director of digital transformation. Not only did he land the role, but he was also able to stay at the same compensation level despite no longer having direct reports.

Another way to become an individual contributor while retaining your executive rank is by working on enterprise-level initiatives with highly visible strategic missions. For instance, I coached two VPs who stepped down from people managers to take on such roles. One ended up leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs at a top media group, while the other headed up diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for their Fortune 100 company. Neither had direct reports. Instead, they were appointed and rewarded for their ability to develop an agenda and execute through influence working with partners in their respective businesses.

As companies consider new structures and flatter hierarchies, these leaders show that it’s possible to work on your own at the same or a higher level than you had as a manager.

Show that you can lead without formally managing.

Some people might argue that the work of individual contributors won’t scale. They think managers have more impact because they have many direct reports executing on their strategic goals. You’ll need to challenge those assumptions. Explain that those who work through influence rather than authority are able to gain momentum through more than just one team. One might even argue that people outside management, who have to work with and through different colleagues, teams, functions, and businesses, do even more people management. The job requires more adeptness and agility to drive results.

Make sure to show that you’re prepared to use your interpersonal and communication skills to lead in this way. Consider a coder I worked with who ended up managing other software analysts and engineers for several years but wanted to go back to coding individually. He knew the company valued his leadership and struggled with a dearth of managers, while having a surplus of individual contributors. So he committed to keep mentoring others as a colleague not a boss. He also promised to work with the new manager on enterprise-level communications.

Ensure your transition doesn’t impair your team.

As you step down from management, it’s also important to lay the foundation for a seamless transition.  You should build your team’s bench strength in advance of your move, develop a clear succession plan, and/or keep your network active so you’re aware of outsiders with the right talents to take over for you. You might go to your current manager and say, “I want to make sure my move causes as little disruption to our team’s success as possible. I have a few recommendations for my replacement and am happy to partner with them as they assimilate.”

Remember that how you make a move is just as critical to your reputation as which more energizing non-management role you take. Consider helping onboard the new manager and, if necessary, offer to spend first few months in hybrid mode until they’ve settled in and you’ve defined the success measures for your individual contributor role.  My software manager client took a great deal of time transitioning back to being a coder. He knew he could perform as an individual contributor with no problems because he had done the job before. But he was careful to first find the right person to replace him (and effectively be his boss).

In this period of pandemic-inspired career reevaluation, you might find yourself wishing you didn’t have to manage people but worrying what leaving a leadership role will mean for you professionally. These strategies will help you demonstrate to others — and yourself — that it’s not a step backward but a transition that will make you happier and more productive, which benefits everyone.

1 Nov, 2021
5 critical HR trends for 2022

Nearly 60 per cent of HR leaders say building critical skills is their top priority for 2022. Discover other important HR trends to prepare for.

As the end of 2021 looms near, now is the time for employers and HR professionals to start preparing for the year ahead and align their internal goals with larger HR trends that are emerging.

Newly published research from Gartner has revealed HR leaders’ top priorities for 2022.

The survey of more than 500 HR leaders from various industries across the globe demonstrates how certain HR trends are likely to manifest in the workplace.

While the findings are in keeping with similar trends from previous research, Arj Bagga, Director of HR Advisory at Gartner, says the drivers of their priorities have shifted in light of COVID-19.

HR Trend 1. Building critical skills

Companies prioritising efforts to upskill their workforce has been common practice for a number of years, but this trend has been supercharged by the pandemic.

“The thing that’s changed is the urgency around building skills. It’s possibly greater than ever before,” says Bagga.

The need for businesses to pivot their approach – in many instances, transitioning to a digital-first model – has fast tracked the focus on digital skills. Limited access to overseas talent has also contributed to this need.

“We don’t have access to the same talent pools as we did before, so if we think about engineering talent and data science talent coming out of the US, UK and across Asia, we’re no longer able to tap into that. 

“In planning for three to five years time, a lot of organisations have realised that the skills they will need don’t nicely package into the current roles they have.”

Organisations are creating new roles to address this issue, he says, but he advocates for a more fundamental change in mindset from organisations and employees viewing skills development as a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have’.

Upskilling employees isn’t just about developing brand new skills in areas of growth, but identifying current skills that might be redundant in years to come, he adds.

“If an employee needs five skills to do a job, it’s likely that two of the current skills they have will no longer be relevant in five years, and they’ll be adding two more skills.

“One in three current skills will be redundant by 2022, so that helps to provide capacity for upskilling.”

Skills that could be deemed unnecessary are those that are predicated on transactional, repetitive or operational – i.e. those ripe for automation.

For some actionable tips on how to develop employees’ digital skills, read HRM’s article on overcoming the critical skills shortage.

HR trend 2: Organisational design and change management

It’s easy for employees to resist changes in the workplace – whether that’s to the composition of teams, a particular process, or the type of work they’re doing.

Even if the change is likely to boost productivity or strengthen performance, change often means navigating uncharted waters, which can be an uncomfortable, exhausting and anxiety provoking experience for many employees.

HR leaders have certainly found that to be the case, with 54 per cent of 274 leaders saying their employees are suffering from change fatigue. 

With 48 per cent of HR leaders saying organisational design and change management is their top priority for 2022, it’s imperative to find ways of making change a less unsettling experience for employees.

Bagga dispels a key myth that often does the rounds in workplaces.

“HR leaders typically design their change strategies to help mitigate the volume of change.One of the perceptions in HR is that the volume of changing experiences is the key factor driving the fatigue levels.”

 There are two factors that are driving change fatigue.

“One is exertion, so the level of effort we expect employees to display in implementing change, and the second  is disruption to an employee’s workflow when a change is implemented.”

He posits that focusing on how to reduce the volume isn’t a sustainable exercise because “looking at the way that organisations are moving, the volume of changes is only expected to increase”.

It’s important, then, that employers find ways of making changes that aren’t disruptive or exertive.

The key to doing this lies in building employees’ resilience, says Bagga, noting how the role of a manager has evolved from solely driving productivity and performance, to taking a more active stance in supporting their employees’ mental health.

Read HRM’s article on building resilience in your hybrid workforce for further tips.

HR trend 3: Current and future leadership

Building a more resilient workforce requires employers to lead from a place of empathy.

“The nature of a manager’s role these days is very different to what it was three or five years ago,” says Bagga.

“A lot of employees are burning out so the sustainability of their performance is at risk. It’s a manager’s role to be able to help build that resilience.”

Employers need to consider emotional and people skills when promoting employees into managerial positions.

Gartner’s research found that 45 per cent of HR leaders would be placing the development of current and future leaders as their top priority for 2022.

Bagga advises that developing leaders’ emotional skills should be a key focus.

“How can we create a mindset around empathy and provide the capacity for managers to be more empathetic?”

Another trend he’s observed is employees seeking more informal leadership opportunities.

“People are looking at their individual contribution, and where they can play a coaching and mentoring role across the organisation rather than having formal responsibility over a person or a whole team’s performance,” says Bagga.

Many companies are guiding their workforce through tough periods by having many people wearing informal mentorship or leadership hats, he says.

The diversification of coaching roles across an organisation might also reduce the pressure placed on one manager to be the sole support person for an employee.

“The idea of a coach has shifted from someone who provides feedback on every single skill to an employee, to managers being more of a broker to the right experts across the business. Their role is identifying skill needs and pairing an employee up with the right coach and mentor rather than always providing that coaching and mentoring themselves.”


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