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King Consulting HR &R publish various articles and video content about employee issues and human resources management, recruitment, and employment law under the Fair Work Act and how to avoid an unfair dismissal claim. Therefore, if you own, manage, or are thinking about starting a business in Australia this HRM Blog is a great place to start. Also, you can learn how to drive high performance and increase profits through your employees. Moreover, understand how to comply with employment law under the Fair Work Act and National Employment Standards. 

Watch this 2-minute video to learn how to navigate the list of Industry Awards (Industrial Instruments) on the Fair Work Site.

This video provides a quick tutorial to navigate industry awards in Australia. We orientate you to the Fair Work Site and where to find the A-Z of Awards for your business industry. There are many awards for various industries. We will provide other tutorial navigating industry awards and other relevant employer related areas to assist you with compliance.

The Professional Employees Award covers many professionals such as scientific, medical, technical and accounting/audit. The employees may be covered in another award depending on what industry the work is being performed in.

The focus for this video is on the Professional Employees Award. However, other videos will navigate to other Industry Awards. Further, we started with the one most people have difficulty finding.

Navigate Industry Awards on the Fair Work website | Tutorial

Further videos will provide more information to help business owners to comply with employment law in Australia. Therefore, we welcome you to ask for a video on a related topic.

King Consulting HR&R provide your business with outsourced Employee Management, Employment Law Compliance and Recruitment Services. Consequently, we welcome you to please get in touch if you would like support with any of these business matters in your business.

You may also find this post helpful:

Fair Work-fines-human-resources-consultants-prevent

 

Workplace hazards are a fact of life. However, there are Workplace procedures for Hazard Identification to address and minimize the risks.

As a manager, you possess an obligation to oversee your employees’ safety as well as follow Workplace Procedures for Hazard Identification. The safer a work environment is, the less chance there is of having an accident happen.

There could be an upfront financial expense when you put in the work to comply with workplace safety regulations. However, the effort could save you a lot of money in the future since it will cut down on the number of accidents and the financial consequences.

The quality of health and safety in your place of work are also going to have a specific impact on your insurance. Insurance costs will differ based on the degree of workplace health and safety strategies an organization adopts.

Organizations which adopt a lax strategy when it comes to health and safety could be unable to get insurance companies even to give them a second glance when they’re in the market for insurance policy coverage.

If you are looking to get a handle on work environment health and safety, as well as prevent accidents, it’s crucial that you discover, reduce, then monitor the hazards that may be present in your workplace.

Workplace Procedures for Hazard Identification – Getting Started

It is crucial you understand what a workplace hazard is. The response to this question relies upon the dynamics of your organization and possibly your commercial property lease agreement. Yes, the projects your organization undertakes are going to determine the kind of hazards that may be present in your work environment.

Being aware of what workplace hazards you and your personnel (as well as clients and visitors) may encounter will help you know what precautions you need to put in place. The following is a list of ways you can identify hazards in your area of work.

Workplace Procedures for Hazard Identification – communication with Your Employee

Talk to workers with regards to any health and safety hazards they may have noticed. You should have a clear picture concerning which employees will be carrying out what duties that will help you to detect potential risks and the safety demands of each employee.

It is your job to promote an atmosphere of open communication. Your workers ought to feel safe reporting any safety worries. There should also be a convenient way for them to report any workplace hazards.

Workplace Procedures for Hazard Identification – Awareness

Make yourself aware of any specific hazard that is likely to happen in your organization. Be mindful of any new equipment that enters the workplace as well as making modifications to current work operations to ensure safety.

You should be informed of any modifications to processes or machinery before they happen. That way you know employees have the necessary briefing and are adequately trained in safe practice. Acquiring an awareness of modifications in the workplace will make it far easier to identify and control any hazards in the workplace.

Workplace Procedures for Hazard Identification – Research

If you have a well-versed knowledge of the hazards related to a job, you will be able to identify the appropriate strategy to handle risk quickly. It is best to research the proper health and safety requirements for each task. That way you will have the full picture regarding the dangers present in your workplace.

Workplace Procedures for Hazard Identification – Injury & Sickness History

To identify workplace hazards, you should evaluate the varieties of injuries as well as ailments that are happening in the workplace. Also, you should examine the consistency and intensity of those injuries/ illnesses that are occurring. You should have a process of reporting in place so that you can keep an accurate record.

Workplace Procedures for Hazard Identification Safety – Audits

Carrying out safety audits on a regular basis will assist you to determine if any potential hazards need to be of concern. Once you complete your review, you need to act immediately and carefully evaluate the degree of risk involved.

Safety audits are going to be meaningless if you identify the hazard but then neglect to do something. You do not want to be in the position where you must go through a compensation claim for an accident you knew was waiting to happen.

Workplace Procedures for Hazard Identification – Action

As soon as you have recognized a hazard in the workplace, you must set a plan in motion. Any safety problems that might be impacting your workers requires immediate action. You should also keep your superiors or perhaps the appropriate regulatory safety associations in the loop. Together you can figure out the right solution to address the present hazards.

Common Workplace Hazards to Look Out For

There are numerous types of workplace hazards grouped under four major categories:

Physical Hazards: This is the most frequently encountered workplace hazard, which includes trips, falls, and slips.

Biological Hazards: Any harmful bacteria as well as viruses which possess a tendency to cause health-related implications, for instance, HIV/AIDS, Legionnaire’s disease and hepatitis.

Chemical Hazards: This comprises any hazardous chemical compound which can cause damage to your workers. Such as, oil which can cause a slip or flammable liquid which could ignite.

Ergonomic Hazards: Are the physiological factors that damage the musculoskeletal system. In other words, monotonous movements, abnormal movements, as well as improper body positioning.

Ian MacLeod is the CEO of the legal publisher RP Emery and Associates. They provide cost effective legal contract kits for Individuals, SME’s and the legal fraternity.

√ This article links well with Employee Engagement

√ Include the steps in the above article in your HR Strategy

√ Stay up to date with Work Health and Safety Regulations

 

 

 

 

Casual employees convert to permanent, what does it mean for business in Australia

Don’t panic! Casual employees have always had the right to request to become permanent. The only real change is the process has become more formal and will now be part of most Modern Awards.

The Fair Work Commission confirmed that as of 1st October 2018 casual conversion clauses will be in Modern Awards that do not already have one.

It is important to note; this does not have to be a big deal and worry for employers. Many employees prefer to stay on as casuals because of the higher rate of pay. Further, as an employer you do have the right to decline a request on reasonable grounds.

Interested parties such as the Australian Council for Trade Unions (ACTU) and others, argued and subsequently had addressed by the Commission the insecurities caused by casual employment which had an impact on this decision and its implications for both employers and employees. Read on for more detailed information on the key points of the Fair Work Commission Decision.

What does this mean for casual employees?

It means that casual employees will have the right to request to go permanent. It does not mean that every casual employee becomes a permanent employee. However, it does allow for casual employees who have had continual and regular casual work for a 12-month period (some Modern Awards shorten the period to 6 months) to request permanent employment.

This is not particularly new for business in the sense that for most businesses it is more cash flow positive to have permanent employees rather than casuals with the loading and extra administration required. However, some employers are concerned with difficulties they face with Fair Work when dealing with a permanent employee they can no longer afford.

There are clear processes and procedures in place to follow should that situation occur such as, making a role redundant. Depending on the size of the employer and the length of relationship it does not have to be painful for either party. Also, if the relationship changes with the employee and employer there is a procedure you need to follow to end the relationship which is on the Fair Work Site.

Not every casual is eligible just the ones that meet the requirements:

So, what are the requirements? Casuals that have been continually employed for 6 – 12 months depending on the Modern Award relevant to them, have the right to request to convert to permanent part-time or permanent full-time employment.

It is not dissimilar to the right to request flexible working hours introduced with the National Employment Standards and has similar requirements for both employees and employers.

Casual employees who have enjoyed continuous work over the last 12-month period who have worked regular hours can request to convert to permanent employment.

If the regular hours they have worked can continue without any significant adjustment they can request to convert to a permanent employee. Depending on the number of hours they have regularly worked in the 12-month period they can request to convert to either permanent part-time or permanent full-time employment.

Do employers have to convert their casuals to permanent?

No is the short answer. The casual employee must put the request in writing to the employer for consideration. Then the employer and employee must discuss and document their agreement.  This document must detail whether the employee is converting to permanent part-time or full-time. Further, the agreement must document the hours of work, roster and any other items agreed to in accordance with the Modern Award most relevant to them.

The grounds for refusal to convert must:

  • Refused claiming it would require significant adjustment to the casual employees’ hours of work to accommodate them in full-time or part-time employment. This must be in accordance with the terms of the relevant Modern Award.
  • If it is known or reasonably foreseeable that the casual employees’ position will not exist
  • The hours of the Casual employee will be significantly change or reduced within the next 12-months
  • On reasonable grounds, based on facts which are either known or foreseeable such as a decline in business, a change in demand, social change or any other arguable and evidence-based matter

If an employer wants to decline to convert a casual employee to permanent they must do so in writing. The grounds for declining the request must be reasonable, discussed with the employee and then documented and provided to the employee within 21 days of the request.

What Employers need to be aware of and do:

  • Provide information to your Casual employees notifying them of their right to request to convert to permanent
  • Notify all Casual employees as part of their commencing employment with you of the right to request to convert after 6 or 12 months of regular continuing employment depending on the Modern Award related to their role and your industry. This should be provided in a document along with the Fair Work Information Statement.
  • Discuss any requests to convert with the employees and provide information of a factual nature about the effect it will have on their arrangement with you including the change in pay
  • Give a written response to any request after discussing it with the employee within 21 days
  • Act in a reasonable and evidence-based manner towards employees to maintain a positive work environment and avoid a Fair Work Matter
  • There are a multitude of FREE resources available to employers and employees so claiming ignorance is no form of defense in Australia. Just go to the Fair Work site to find answers to most questions you have

In Conclusion:

If you are still uncertain of any aspect of this change seek professional assistance from a qualified practitioner in human resources or employment law in Australia. Remember, every country is different, and each has its own employment law requirements. Do not rely on knowledge from your country of origin or old knowledge keep up to date with the legislation in the country in which your business operates.

Everything is evolving and quite rapidly in many areas the employment law landscape is constantly evolving due to Case Law Wins and Losses. Keep safe and if in doubt seek guidance from an accredited professional.

King Consulting HR are accredited professional in Australian Human Resources which involves being across and familiar with the Law as it relates to employment please do not hesitate to contact Sonia with any questions.

√  Fair Work Commission Decision Summary

√  Do Not Dismiss

√  Australian Council of Trade Unions

Employer interview tips for better candidate screening

If you really want to improve your hiring process in your business get better at asking the right questions during the interview process. Prepare a relevant set of interview questions designed to ascertain what the interviewee’s thinking process is and what motivates them. Better interview questions provide deeper insights about the way prospective candidates think during the hiring process.

I have heard some silly interviews that are awkward and leave no one any wiser about the right fit of the individual to the role or organisation. A colleague of mine in England, shared with me a recent interview he attended for a senior Accounting role. The Head of Finance and HR Director interviewed him, so it was reasonable to believe they would know how to conduct a professional interview.

He told me he was surprised by the process and some of the questions asked. The interviewers were both late for the interview which was not a good start. They seemed unprepared and had no clear direction to the interview. For example: their questions were vague and unrelated to the role they had.

One question was: “do you know Excel”? Any senior Accounting and/or Finance professional is typically an advanced user of Excel, so the question seemed odd. It was a closed question therefore required only a yes or no answer. It was not elaborated on and did not inquire on any specific aspect of excel in relation to the role and his ability. Therefore, it was not clear what exactly they wanted to know.

Preparation is the key to better interviews:

Prepare a set of probing (open ended) questions relevant to the candidates ability to do the role. Have them ready in advance and make sure all interviewers have a set.

The questions you ask at an interview must be relevant to the role and directed to be specific while allowing for elaboration and drill down for more detail. Otherwise, they won’t inform you if this person can do the job and how well. Pick out specific, relevant aspects of their previous roles from their resume to ask questions about and drill down on.

Below is a list of Frequently Asked (FAQ) interview questions:

  • Tell me a bit about yourself? (Nice but vague and how does that relate to the job?)
  • What do you know about our company? (Depending on how the interview was organised, the interviewee might not have had time to look up anything before the interview.)
  • Why are you leaving your current employer? (Depending on the circumstances they might not be leaving the current employer or have already left, and this is a tricky question which could lead the interview off track.)
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? (Interesting, but what is the relevance to the current job or company and if the person can do the job?)
  • What type of manager do you like? (This is open to misinterpretation and what will you really learn about the candidate?
  • What type of manager are you? (This question is speculative, and self-opinion may not be reality)
  • What do you know about our industry? (What is the relevance of this question and what does the answer provide the interviewer?)
  • Who do you admire? (Nice question, but what is the relevance to the role and their fit?)
  • Some people rehearse interviews and talk well but have no real substance to back up their talk. Others don’t interview well and struggle with these types of questions. When you ask a person what they are proud of though it tends to be honest and far more reliable.

Our interview tips of Should be Asked (SAQ) interview questions:

  • In your last role what achievement are you most proud of? (This question prompts a person to consider in detail and provide an answer which is typically honest. It is also easy to tell if the person is telling the truth, their body language will be more relaxed, and their eyes will light up as they recall their experience.)
  • Walk me through the process of achievement? (Allows the candidate to recall their experience in detail and elaborate on it.)
  • What influenced your process? (This will give you insights into the person, what they find beneficial and how they like to operate.)
  • Who else was involved? (This answer should give some indication of their team involvement and whether they prefer to work alone.)
  • Who did you report to? (Indicating their preferred manager and the style which draws out the best in the candidate.)
  • Who reported in to you? (Usually this question will prompt an individual to share their preferred team structure and their own management style.)
  • How did you make it all come together? (Gives you and indication of how this person thinks, how they plan and prioritise their work.)
  • Where there any aspects of the process you did not enjoy? (Will provide you with insights into what the person enjoys most and not.)
  • What did you enjoy most? (As above as well as providing you with more information on the personality, motivation and drive of the individual.)
  • What makes you proud of this process? (The answer to this will provide much more detail on the individuals motivation and behaviour as well as what makes them tick.)

What you will learn about the candidate from the SAQ:

Listen to the answers and you will find out exactly what type of person you are interviewing:

  1. their motivations
  2. feel good about
  3. enjoy and don’t
  4. pay attention to what they don’t say
  5. what they are good at
  6. can bring to your organisation and role
  7. if they are a good fit to your team and manager

Interview tips conclusion:

The types of interview questions you ask determine the success of the interview process. Ask specific well thought out questions which allow an individual to talk freely about an achievement they are proud of. Their answer is going to be much more informative than simple yes or no questions. Also, being  prepared with a set of questions will put you in a professional mind set and able to stay on topic. Create questions that are open and lead the candidate to be more detailed and specific in their answers. You will learn much more about them as a person. Further, you will appear relaxed, organised and professional.

Don’t forget this is a two way process you want the candidate to want to work with you and your organisation if they are the right fit. If they can do the job and fit well in your team you want to leave them with a good impression. Even if they do not take your role they may refer someone equally as good to you.

If you would like to learn more read the following:

hiring-strategies-best-fit

If you are looking for work .

inc.com 14 ways to identify a toxic employee

How can Human Resources Consultants save your business thousands of dollars in FWA Fines

Human Resources Consultants could save your business thousands of dollars by advising you of your rights and obligations with your employees. Thereby, saving your business thousands of dollars in potential fines.

The following cases are examples of just how far the Fair Work Ombudsmen and Commission are prepared to go. Thereby, demonstrating their legal power to ensure businesses and their owners comply with their obligations to employees. Read about how Human Resources Management drives profits and how Insentra’s success as a small business started with good human resources practices. (more…)

The story of Insentra’s success is a great example of the importance of culture in business.

King Consulting specialise in providing HR Consulting Services for business.

Read on to learn what culture has got to do with Insentra’s success and how it was created and shared?

Businesses can create and maintain an awesome culture that delivers to their mission and drives profits. The following is a story, not about Google, but about a great business in Sydney, gaining attention for its awesome culture and rapid growth, Insentra. Further, we discuss how Outsourced HR Consulting Services for business can be invaluable to help define the right culture, tell the story and drive profits and sustain growth.

About Insentra

A channel focused service provider in the Information Technology space and in the News:

  • BRW Fast Starters 2012
  • Symantec Service Partner of the year 2012
  • Action Coach My Business Best Start up 2012

About the founder of Insentra

Ronnie Altit is a business associate of mine and co-founder and Managing director of Insentra, a channel focused specialist IT Services Company. He recently picked up highly commended in the category of ‘Personal innovation – Leadership’ category at the ARN Arnet Information Technology Industry awards.

His award was based around the extraordinary culture, staff retention and team spirit at Insentra. He achieved this culture of success due to the way he hires, on boards and manages his team.

He explains that he uses an analogy to engage and align all of his team to Insentra’s mission and values which form the basis of the Insentra culture.

How did he create this award winning business?

Ronnie explains how he started with getting the Culture right first:

“Running a business is like running a steam train. We think of Insentra as a steam train. I, as MD, am the driver. I have a dream for this train.

The train has cost a lot to set up. All the items involved in the setup are the enclosure, rent, maintenance, and in the analogy, the price of coal.

The train is shiny and new, we are full of pride and hope, and we are under pressure to keep it moving and get to our destination successfully. I can’t run the train on my own.”

He brings his team on board and this is what he does when they are about to hit tough times:

Continuing with the Steam train analogy he explains:

“I have invited every member of the Insentra team to get on board and shovel coal into the fire to help the train move forward. They could work on any train. They’ve chosen to be on the Insentra train – ours.”

“Every now and again the train is going to need to climb a hill… that’s when the company gets really busy. At this time, everyone will need to shovel coal together and a lot harder, to help the train get to the top of the hill. That includes me, as the driver.”

Through this process it is going to get hot, dirty and messy. People will probably tread on each-others toes and maybe even accidentally hit the other with a shovel… all in the name of trying to get that train up the hill.

We are head down shovelling coal. We’ve got to get over that hill or we get stuck. And there are other trains coming up behind us. There is only one track.”

Read more about good hiring-strategies-best-fit.

Once past the tough time:

Continuing with the Steam train analogy for when they are past the tough part:

“The hill will then be conquered. We physically straighten up and take a moment to enjoy the view and then we will coast downhill for a period. At that point everyone will be able to take a breath and prepare for the next hill.

Then the train will pull into the station. At this point, more people may be taken aboard to deal with the track ahead and those who don’t want to shovel coal on the Insentra train can get off.

The new people shovelling coal will need to be trained in how to shovel coal the way we do it, which will allow the longer term coal movers to step up and develop the new, more junior team. And so, it continues. “

What if someone want to leave:

Again, using the Steam train analogy:

“The team are also aware that if they become undecided about continuing, there is a way off the train. If the indecision leaves them with one foot on the train and one foot on the platform, or hanging off above the track precariously, the train driver and his engineers (the management team) want to know. So, they can rectify any issues preventing them from staying on the train.”

“If they have outgrown the train, the driver and engineers will assist them in finding a new train more suited.”

There are no hard feelings or awkwardness. Thereby, avoiding hostility and time consumed on unnecessary arguments.

“For those who want to stay and love it on the train, we will work hard to train and expand their horizons, so that when they meet their destination, they are able to make a fresh start from a higher view point. That’s what we love best, when our coal shovelers start to live their dreams – on us.”

The above approach is very important and forms the basis of good practice in HR Consulting for Business success. By allowing for an exit strategy it removes the emotion and stress and is less likely a business will have a Fair work matter to deal with. As Ronnie points out, they also love to have their people grow and excel in life. This is a terrific attitude and likely to keep all involved positive and supportive. Wherever the team members end up they will remember their experience at Insentra positively.

How the team respond to this Steam train analogy:

“Our team love the train story. They all feel a part of the same machine travelling on a railroad which ensures all of them are taken together, on a journey, along the same track, knowing that each of them individually and jointly are what makes the train move. The better they work together, the better the train will stick to its timetable and reach its destination”.

This is a fabulous analogy for team work and the benefit it has for all concerned. It is another core component of HR Consulting to businesses by creating an aligned team. All working together to achieve success. As the saying goes, their is no ‘I’ in team.

In conclusion:

This is a terrific story and an excellent use of analogy and story telling to ensure everyone understands and shares the business journey. It is a fantastic way to explain to the team how important it is that each member is aligned to the mission, vision and values of the business. Therefore, the culture is formed and embedded to drive the business forward with an aligned team.

A business needs a team to grow or the business owner will be driven in to the ground trying to do everything alone. The team needs to be aligned to the business and to do that it needs the right culture. The culture is the mission or purpose of the business, the values and the behaviours needed for the mission to be achieved.

Ronnie’s analogy makes perfect sense and enables anyone to understand and appreciate the importance of setting up the culture right first and then aligning everyone to it.

How we can help:

Not every business owner has the capacity to find their story and share it as well as Ronnie has with Insentra. King Consulting HR consulting can assist your business to develop your story to create the right culture, maintain it and drive profits.

We often refer to this story with our clients. It helps to create an image which most people can relate to. Complex topics such as culture, team work and driving through difficulties are much easier understood with stories and imagery.

It is also, easier to refer to this story when discussing difficult topics such as behaviour. Too often, I hear people referring to their company policy without expanding on why it is important. Further, without a story and shared understanding the topic of behaviour becomes stressful and emotional.

Conclusion:

Businesses need to start by defining their desired culture in their human resources management process. Then, find a method to create a story to explain the vision and purpose. Thereby, making it easier to share and find like minded team members to share the journey.

King Consulting HR was created to support businesses with their human resources management systems. We start with the Culture which drives all the other related activities to keep the business on track and profitable.

Read more about culture and human resources:

   Culture is the key to success! 

   HR Strategy – 7 Tips for small business

√   Employee Engagement is the key to success in business

Get in touch if you would like support with HR Consulting services for your  business.

Does Human Resources Management drive profits in business?

Human Resources Management (HRM) is founded on driving profits in business. Driving Profits through employees is the purpose of Human Resources Management.

To quote Inc.com encyclopedia:

Human Resource Management (HRM) is the term used to describe formal systems devised for the management of people within an organization. The responsibilities of a human resource manager fall into three major areas: staffing, employee compensation and benefits, and defining/designing work.

Essentially, the purpose of HRM is to maximize the productivity of an organization by optimizing the effectiveness of its employees. This mandate is unlikely to change in any fundamental way, despite the ever-increasing pace of change in the business world.”

As Edward L. Gubman observed in the Journal of Business Strategy:

 “the basic mission of human resources will always be to acquire, develop, and retain talent; align the workforce with the business; and be an excellent contributor to the business. Those three challenges will never change.”

Optimising the effectiveness of an organisations employees is an essential component in driving profits in to the business. This process is not done once and then magically repeats. It requires a systematic and ongoing focus on activities that improve employee performance. Also read about HR Consultants save businesses thousands of dollars.

Human Resources Management drives profits by doing the following:

  1. Hiring
  2. Inducting or on-boarding people into the organisation properly
  3. Training
  4. Setting performance pay structures, incentives and rewards
  5. Setting Key Performance Metrics or KPI’s that align employee performance to profits. Read about calculating revenue per employee here.
  6. Managing Performance to continually improve and monitor, setting boundaries and when required disciplining for improvement
  7. Employee engagement this is an area that is vitally important and of itself has many steps. Read a separate article on this here.
  8. Aligning employees to the vision, mission and purpose of the organisation which includes the core values of the business or “The way we behave around here”

Human Resources Management drives profits by also doing the following:

  1. Giving recognition where it is due and listening to the employees to ensure rewards and recognition are in align with their desires
  2. And much more read two good articles that cover this topic in more depth one from Gallup and one more here
  3. Ensuring safety at work and compliance with legislation
  4. Ensuring company compliance with Employment Law
  5. Working with company directors to maximise returns for the business while maintaining a high performing work force with minimal disruptions
  6. Maintaining a balanced workforce with sufficient employees to cover all areas while minimising cost overruns in payroll
  7. Working with Finance on employee benefits in line with budget and forecasts

Human Resources Management drive profits is backed up by substantial research

Furthermore, there has been a substantial amount of research in business profitability and its link to good Human Resources Management practices as sited here:

From Boston Consulting Group and the World Federation of People Management Associations

“Companies that are highly skilled in core HR practices experience up to 3.5 times the revenue growth and as much as 2.1 times the profit margins of less capable companies,” according to From Capability to Profitability: Realizing the value of People Management. The report from Boston Consulting Group and the World Federation of People Management Associations is based on a cross-industry study of more than 4,200 HR and non-HR managers in more than 100 countries.”

Small business can learn from this research about the effective use of human resources management to drive profits:

Human Resources Management is not simply something you must do to comply with the Law. Use effective human resources management to dive profits. By implementing just a few of these steps in your business, you could drive much more profit through your employees.

Follow some of these simple steps to drive profits through your employees:

Hiring

Therefore, when hiring staff for your business look at how they will contribute to your profits. Don’t just look at the tasks they will do, rather how those tasks contribute to your profits. Include the impact on profit in the position description. To assist with calculating revenue per employee read this article. To learn more about hiring read here.

Rewarding

Include reward, bonus or performance-based pay into your employees package, based on what you can afford. Especially look at rewards for high performance for achieving significant contributions to the business.  Give a thank you card when someone does a great job. It is a simple, low cost, gesture that will reap huge rewards. Rewards do not always have to be financial, they can be extra time off, a gift card, a massage voucher, a dinner out, a petrol voucher or any other form of reward demonstrating your gratitude. 

Performance Monitoring

Implement and or invest in a system for monitoring performance and/or bring in a specialist to help you set it up. Thereby, you and your employees will see the results of their performance. Implement a regular catch up with employees to have 2-way discussions on performance. Regular performance management  check in’s with your employees rather than waiting for something to go wrong before commenting on performance will result in improvements.

Listen to your employees, especially if their contributing ideas on improvements. Place equal importance on noticing when something goes right as well as wrong. Read more about performance management here.

Performance improvement is a pivotal component of how human resources management drives profits. Therefore, performance management and review is imperative to obtain results.

Set the right expectations up front

In the first place, be clear about what you expect from employees. Therefore, have a “Company Code of Conduct regarding behaviour expectations and how that links to profits.

In the event you do not currently have a code of conduct in place, invest in getting one unique for your business. As a result, it will take the headache out of having those awkward discussions about behaviour expectations.

There is a more detailed article on setting expectations and creating a Company Culture Code here. Read about Insentra’s success driven by setting the culture right first here.

Provide opportunities

Allow employees opportunity to advance, either by supporting their training with time off or paying for courses that will improve their skills. Consequently, it will be of benefit to your business.

Listen

Take the time to listen to employees and encourage innovative thinking. As a result, they may come up with  more efficient, better ways to do their job so, encourage them to speak up. In front of, challenges ahead give employees an opportunity to suggest solutions.

Celebrate

When something really goes well for the business, take the time to celebrate it with the employees. A simple morning tea or Friday afternoon pizza goes a long way towards engaging employees.

Notice

Take a moment to notice employees, especially the star performers. Let them know you notice and encourage them. One way to encourage high performance in the team is to ask a star performer to mentor others to encourage similar performance. Be part of the team not just the boss.

Collaborate

Get your employees talking with you. Allow them to share their ideas. Encourage open dialogue at the right times.

Be available to your employees to talk about their ideas and any difficulties they are having. Personal issues can quite often spill over in to work, allow people the opportunity to talk with you.

Of course, set boundaries and limit such discussions to work relevance, but don’t be completely closed off.

As a result, you may find yourself in a position to give some wisdom to your employees. Accordingly, if you do not allow open dialogue with you, you may end up surprised when something happens.

Collaborate with your team to find performance improvements. As a consequence, they may well be part of the solution. If there is an issue, do not assume they are deliberately not performing to expectations. They may have a justifiable and good reason. Therefore, you need to ask them not accuse them.

In conclusion

As a result, of implementing just a few of these human resources management practices you will drive profits. In the final analysis, if you go about implementing these human resources management practices the right way you will have a more robust and cohesive team . Read more on why do Human Resources Management here. We have testimony to prove how effective human resources management practices lead to great profit. One of our customers had a goal to reach a 15% profit target, which they achieved this financial year 2021, despite the Covid19 pandemic and work interruption’s due to lockdowns.  

√ Learn more about employee engagement here. Read about some real case studies here.

 You can read about avoiding FWA fines here.

 Get our free guide to defining your business culture here

 

How does culture drive success in business?

The Culture of a business can impact business success by the very nature of the way everyone in the organisation behaves and the values they portray. Culture means different things in different contexts but is essentially, the way a group of people behave. If everyone in the business is not striving for the same outcomes and demonstrating the core values of the organisation things can swiftly go off the rails.

Furthermore, I have read and contributed to some interesting discussions and debates on LinkedIn about organisation culture. Likewise, I have read some terrific articles about Peter Drucker’s quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. It seems many people get confused about what a business culture means.

Therefore, what do we mean by the Culture of an organisation or business?

To begin with, Culture is not one thing! It is many things and it is measurable. Furthermore, Gallup Inc. are experts in the field of analysing and quantifying things by making them measurable. For instance, staff engagement is one of the core components of understanding an organisations culture and is a great benchmark to understanding it from an analytical point of view but is only one of the many components and is covered by Gallup in this article.

To summarise, here is my list of what Culture means in a business:

  1. A business purpose or mission is clear, understood by all and documented
  2. Values held by the leaders of the business can be observed by the way they and the rest of their employees behave
  3. The environment, that is, what the building design, furniture and fittings are a good fit to the type of work being conducted.
  4. What is measured and managed such as team work and individual performance
  5. How people are rewarded and recognised
  6. Care programs for employees as well as social events and the feeling of being valued by the organisation; which is part of staff engagement
  7. The way the business responds to current trends in their industry
  8. How the business adapts to change, this is sited in the New York Times as being an issue that has hampered them in the Digital era
  9. Sustainability of the organisation which is related to adaptability and response to industry changes as sited in Successful_Habits_of Visionary_Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Moreover, these are just some and by no means all, of the components, I see as being important to understanding and defining what is the culture of a business or organisation.

Furthermore, maintaining the right business culture is not a set and forget exercise:

An organisation needs to maintain their culture, be agile enough to respond to change when it is required and to constantly monitor all the components to ‘check in’ that it’s all still on track.

Regular maintenance of it requires focus and intention. Subsequently, the way people are managed, recognised, rewarded and disciplined all form part of maintaining the right business culture.

As an example, creating and maintaining the right Business Culture has been a big key to the success of many household names in business today:

Such businesses as, Apple, Google, Atlassian, Twitter, Facebook and Adobe are just a few that come to mind where the culture is enviable. Consequently, young people aspire to work for them. Therefore, finding talent is potentially easier.

Furthermore, if a person is lucky enough to be offered a role with one of these companies, they are more likely to take it over another.

A personal example, from my own recent visit to the Apple Store:

I recently visited Sydney, City Apple store to have my mobile phone examined for a technical issue. The experience was enjoyable from start to finish.

The centre was large, vibrant, well designed and incredibly busy. Wait time was not long because I had already booked ahead.

My attendant was polite, friendly and professional. The service/check took about 45 mins and it was thorough.

Particularly, while we went through the checks on the phone, I talked with the attendant and what she revealed about working there was informative about the culture of the organisation.

In particular, she told me how much she liked working their because they had a terrific culture. One example she gave was: “if we make a mistake, no one yells or blames. Instead they will say, OK let’s get you trained better and talk me through what you do not understand or know how to do”. That was only one of the examples.

Moreover, she explained that everyone was friendly and supportive, and it felt relaxed but very organised. Everyone knew their job, what they had to do and if they were uncertain of anything, they knew they could just ask for help. She said: “it really felt like being part of a team and that you were valued and important.”

Consequently, if that is what it is like to work at an Apple Store and service centre, I imagine it would translate to most of Apple’s enterprise. A Culture of support, team work, professionalism, service and no blame, just train. That seems like a great way to work.

Everyone knows Apple and what they do and their reputation for delivering terrific technology. Their successful brand awareness is not just due to technology.

The people that work at Apple must deliver on the promise for the company to remain a success. A culture of collaborative, team work and no blame are no doubt why Apple remains a success story.

So, how do these household names create a great Culture and maintain it?

They Document it

It starts by very clearly defining the culture they want to create. Then linking it to their business, what they do and how they differentiate themselves and make money to thrive.

They plaster it on the walls. Announce it to the world in their mission and vision statements. They don’t stop there though.

If you would like a guide to help you define the culture in your business, please request a copy of our free culture guide. Contact us if you would like further support to implement and maintain it.

Create and distribute their Culture Code Policy

It requires constant monitoring and maintenance to keep a company culture on track. One of the important ingredients to embedding and maintaining the right culture is by making it a part of the company’s human resources management process. That means making it a company policy also known as, a ‘Code of Conduct’. It needs to be clear and have a documented procedure for what happens if someone breaches it.

Get everyone aligned to it

Documenting, policy making, and sharing are only the beginning. Everyone must align and agree to the Culture for it to work and be maintained.

Every existing employee must be part of it and in agreement with it, or it is just not going to work so well. Get the team involved in creating the culture and everyone will either agree and cooperate or move on. That is a much better result than having to ask people to leave because they do not fit the culture. Read the story of how Incentra’s CEO Ronny Altit brings his team on board the vision and mission of the business here.

There are many good articles on employee engagement such as Why employees at Apple and Google are more productive and this one Employee Engagement.

Hire into it

In the hiring process keep the company culture top of mind and share it with any potential new hires.

Be vigilant about checking whether the person will fit in with the culture or not. Ask them if they it is a good fit for them. Monitor closely during probation to make sure they are a good fit.

Manage by it

If you notice something say something. It is equally important to notice someone acting by the behaviour standards expected in the Culture Code as it is to notice someone not behaving.

Ideally, as soon as possible after observing someone acting either for or against the Company Culture expectations, it must noted and commented on to reinforce desired behaviour. Furthermore, it is much easier, less stressful and difficult to have conversations about desired behaviour when everyone knows what is expected of them. When desired behaviour is documented, agreed to and known by all, it is easier to remind and refer to what was agreed.

Conclusion

A ‘great place to work’ will thrive far better than a not so great place. Getting the culture right is the foundation. If you would like to know more about the other steps using Human Resources Management to Drive Profits also read this article.

King Consulting HR created the Five Step Process© for creating a profitable, high performance business with the foundation step of first defining and developing the Culture. If you would like to find out more about this or any of the other services, we provide please get in touch.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like:

 HR Strategy – 7 Tips for small business

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Does bias cloud performance management in your work place?

Bias Performance Management is too easy to do:

Bias is also known as our perception (or point of view). It is part of who we are and how we form different opinions and views on things. However, it can also cloud our ability to perceive others true intentions or motivations. In Human Resources Management it is very important to be mindful of our bias. We need to be impartial, fact based and balanced in our opinions.

Unfortunately, however, bias often interferes in our perceptions of situations and Human Resources Practitioners are not immune. In can affect our ability to manage our employees fairly and productively. For example, if you hold an opinion about a person you employ, it could make it difficult for you to see them objectively. That is why during a workplace investigation an independent HR consultant should be involved and directing it. They will remain impartial and look at the whole picture. That is, they will look at all the facts based on evidence rather than forming an opinion based on hearsay.

It is quite natural to form opinions and it is an important part of human evolution. Learn more about Cognitive Bias in this video. To overcome our bias tendencies, we must practice impartiality and form evidence-based conclusions. If you have ever watched a ‘who done it’ type or detective show, such as one of my favourites, ‘Cold Case’ you will see this type of evidence-based analysis occurring before a conclusion is reached.

Be careful to make sure your performance management measures are specific, measurable, achievable and realistic (SMART). Take a look at this article on Key Performance Indicators.

An example of bias in performance management:

Sally is a logistics manager and has two people as direct reports. She also has 6 other people who ask Sally for guidance. She is known as: the company expert or ‘go to person’. Essentially, Sally has a lot of experience and many years of accumulated knowledge.

The Director of the company, Peter, is frustrated with her. He does not understand why she is not doing some of the things he has asked her to. Especially as he hired support staff for her.

Peter has formed the opinion, that she thinks she knows better than him because of her years of experience and knowledge in the industry. He thinks she is not following his instructions, because “she thinks she knows more than him”. This is Peter’s bias. It limits his ability to understand Sally’s response when he asks, why she is not doing what he asks.

Sally believes Peter wants to get rid of her and has hired a new person to replace her. This is Sally’s bias, which limits her ability to really understand what Peter is asking her to do and why.

Neither Sally or Peter are communicating clearly with each other because of their biases.

Become mindful of potential bias:

It is possible for Sally and Peter to communicate without bias! If they are mindful of listening to the other person’s words. Asking for clarification of meaning. Instead of tuning in to their own internal bias in their heads. As you will see if you watch the video explanation in the link above, we are often unconsciously bias making it hard to change our views.

It takes a bit of practice, but it is possible to tune in to your own thoughts during a discussion. Ask yourself if there is; any true grounds for those thoughts. It is also possible to articulate those thoughts to the other person. Do it in a structured and considered manner. Put emotions to one side. This will enable the other person to truly hear what you are saying.

Repeating what you believe you have heard with statements such as: “What I am hearing you say is…., am I hearing you correctly? By stating what you are hearing in this way, helps to clarify for the other person how you are receiving the information. This enables them to correct it if necessary.

Creating the right culture in your business is pivotal to having a good understanding and an enjoyable work place. Read this article on establish the right culture.

Other Possible solutions to overcoming potential bias:

Seek independent council. Someone who will listen to both parties. Choose an unbiased, skilled professional who is without prejudice. Allow them to interact with you and to observe your interactions with your employee.  During a debrief be open to answering questions and receiving feedback about your bias and ways to move forward.

Ask yourself what is it you want to achieve? Using the example of Sally and Peter, does Peter think Sally could be more productive, hence hiring the inexperienced staff? Could Sally be doing her best but is caught up with training new people instead of just doing her job. Remember she is also feeling her job is under threat by the new hires? Perhaps Peter did not consult Sally before hiring new staff. Further, was this change in the team a collaborative event or just Peter’s?

Take a look at this article on employee engagement for some tips on how to improve it and gain productivity. As human’s we often do not like and fear change. We also like to believe our opinions are valued. Consequently, if changes are going to be made it is best done in consultation with the existing team with reassurances about their employment and position in the company.

The challenge with bias:

We need to form opinions about things in our lives and the people in it to learn and therefore, avoid repeating the same mistakes. We often allow these opinions to cloud our perspective making us less open to other possibilities.

Become more mindful of potential bias playing a part in preventing progress. Have you ever had the experience where someone else thinks your actions are because of an intention which was not correct? If you have, and most of us have at least once, it is due to the other person’s perspective or bias.

Bias performance management with poor communication may be the reason for nothing improving with in a work situation.

In Conclusion:

Be honest with yourself and ask if you have formed an opinion about someone in your work place. Is it based on fact or opinion?

If you would like to learn more tips and strategies about managing your employees read:

Emotional intelligence

 Key Performance Indicators

 Do not dismiss

Fair Work Australia

How the Sydney Train Strike situation occurred requires a look at some of the background issues leading up to this event.

What is the Sydney Train Strike about?

As Sydney commuters and business owners prepare for day of massive disruption on Monday and slowed services from today, Thursday 25/01/18 it is time for some perspective. Is this massively annoying disruption for a justifiable reason or just about more money? Understanding some of the details in the Sydney train strike from a human resource consultants’ perspective.

OK, here is my take from a Human Resources Consultant and specialist in developing a culture of high performance and profit.

To give further background to my opinion as a human resources consultant we need to look at the following two statements:

This statement from NSW.Gov.au on the new and improved transport system provides some is where it all started:

Over the next 10 years this essential program will transform Sydney’s busiest train lines with more services through digital systems, infrastructure upgrades, and more new trains.

The next stage of More Trains, More Services will investigate upgrades to parts of the network with state-of-the-art technology to create high capacity, turn up and go services for many customers.

How was all this improvement possible in such a short time? It takes skill and training to operate a train, a ferry and drive a bus in this fast-paced city. How many new train drivers were employed and trained, as well as bus and ferry operators?

This statement from Transport NSW is just about the increased train services:

The additional services include:

more than 1500 new weekly train services, including 750 new weekend services

almost 7000 new weekly bus services for the Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs, Inner West, Lower North Shore, Macarthur and Hills Districts

introduction of the new B-Line for the Northern Beaches with over 2000 weekly services

more than 140 extra weekly ferry services including a new Cross Harbour ferry route linking the Eastern Suburbs, Lower North Shore, Inner West and Sydney CBD.

Human Resources Consultants perspective on the Sydney Train Strike. To meet the demands of the increased services, there has to be a plan in place. In order to ensure there is adequate human resources to meet the need:

I have not been able to find any information on any planned increase in the number of transport personnel, including train drivers to cover the increased work load. Further, at the time of writing this article, I have been unable to find any detailed information on how many new train drivers were employed and trained. It would be necessary to have many more transport staff hired and trained to cover the new time table and increased services.

To use a typical project management tool, the triple constraint, which basically put states “that if you increase the scope you increase the time and you increase the cost”. The scope in this example is the number of services running, which means you must have the resources to maintain the quality and meet the schedule within the budget.

Human Resources Consultants perspective Sydney Train Strike. One of the issues identified in the cause of problems with the transport system was Driver fatigue. Is this not, a human resources management and work health and safety issue:

According to some news articles Sydney train drivers are over worked to meet the demands of the new time table. Because of not having enough resources to meet the schedule.

One article is from the Sydney Morning Herald talking with one of the drivers about a recent meltdown on the train system and he said:

“It’s not even about entitlements, it’s about fatigue. For that day I drove trains for six hours straight,” he said.

“Most of the time when things go wrong it works all right because they have an excess of staff and they can sort of cover anomalies.”

“There was not an excess of staff on Tuesday, and Frank said that lack of standby staff combined with shorter dwell times for trains meant there is less flexibility when there are delays.”

Further, I have read elsewhere of drivers doing so much over time they are clocking up 11 hours without a break. This is a recipe for disaster. Confirmed by the incident in Richmond this week which, as of writing this post, the cause is unclear, but some suggestions are, the train driver failed to break or slow down. Under fatigue, we make far more mistakes.

Richmond train crash: ‘Horrifying’ accident at station in Sydney injures …

3 days ago – Around 16 people were injured when a train failed to brake and hit a barrier at Richmond Station in Sydney’s north-west on Monday morning, with one witness saying passengers were sent “flying like Superman”. … Initial reports suggested the train derailed, but Sydney Trains CEO …

Human Resources Consultants perspective Sydney Train Strike. Are different parts of the same government not under the same scrutiny as the rest of businesses in Sydney? The Fair Work Ombudsmen need to look at Transport NSW in relation to their treatment of their employees according to their compliance with the Fair Work Act?

There are also issues with the train systems infrastructure and its capacity to cope with the added services. However, this article is about the human element of the current issue with the Sydney Train network. We have in place a Fair Work system and have for some time focused on making the work environment fairer on the employee. It would seem, to me, to be quite an unfair burden on the Sydney Train Drivers to meet the capacity of increased services without enough staff to cover all shifts and any short falls due to sickness.

The impact of drivers working so many hours and not having enough breaks could be the reason for so many calling in sick. Further, a recent meltdown with the train network was apparently due to driver sickness and lightning strikes causing signal failure, as stated by the CEO in the following article:

Sydney Trains To Look At Timetables After Blaming Sick Staff …

Jan 10, 2018 – Sydney Trains CEO Howard Collins blamed lightning strikes and driver sickness for Tuesday’s chaos. He apologised to commuters for Tuesday’s delays. “It all kicked off with some pretty significant weather issues, lightning strikes taking out signalling at various locations. We had a blip of genuine sickness …

Human Resources Consultants perspective Sydney Train Strike. The Sydney train system really is in a bit of a mess and a lot of questions remain unanswered:

There needs to be a review of how much planning went in to meet the demands of the new time table and increased services. How many train drivers were up and ready to meet the demands? Is the infrastructure capable of meeting the demands? Was there due consideration and contingency plans put in place for natural disasters, sickness, fatigue, holidays and work load?

Is the action of the unions all about money or is it about getting attention on a much bigger issue? What is the potential for more accidents and fatalities due to the lack of fore thought and planning?

Human Resources Consultants perspective Sydney Train Strike. Multiple issues tie in to the Sydney transport system:

It would seem the issue with Sydney train transport system is not one issue but many. One of the issues related to transport woes is the population increase. According to The Australian Bureau of Statistics:

Population clock

On 25 January 2018 at 04:22:53 PM (Canberra time), the resident population of Australia is projected to be:

24,809,524

This projection is based on the estimated resident population at 30 June 2017 and assumes growth since then of:

·       one birth every 1 minute and 44 seconds,

·       one death every 3 minutes and 17 seconds,

·       a net gain of one international migration every 2 minutes and 20 seconds, leading to

·       an overall total population increase of one person every 1 minute and 26 seconds.

These assumptions are consistent with figures released in Australian Demographic Statistics, June Quarter 2017 (cat. no. 3101.0).

Human Resources Consultants perspective Sydney Train Strike. Various factors and time of year effect the transient population of Sydney, which I don’t think is factored in to the ABS information:

Does the bureau of statistics factor in the transient visitors to Sydney in these figures that also effect our trains and infrastructure? We have international students and tourists, business travelers and various visa holders all coming in to Sydney.

Do we have the infrastructure and systems to cope? Sydney trains is just one of the areas under strain, accommodation is also. We saw not long ago, read or saw a report on how poor the accommodation was for visitors. I suspect our schools, hospitals and other primary services are struggling to cope with the rising population of Sydney.

In Conclusion to Human Resources Consultants perspective Sydney Train Strike:

My perspective on the Sydney Train Strike is there are questions that need answers, but looking for fault, causes or blame is not going to fix the issue.

The situation in Sydney while not as bad as some other highly populated cities still does not provide a very comfortable way for us to live. Overcrowding on trains and roads and housing is just one of the many uncomfortable factors of growing populations.

We need an action plan in place to address the issues and fast. Our population is increasing, and we must have a city that can cope.  We also need to look after our people working on our transport system. The Fair Work Ombudsmen needs to review the treatment of the transport system employees as it would any other industry.

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