Cause you gotta have friends – keeping up your networks in busy times

By Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson

Maybe its just this time of year, with the festive season approaching and all the end-of-year deadlines, but I have been thinking about my networks, which in some cases are also my friendships. I think I’ve had mixed results in 2017, following through on some of my intentions to maintain these, but I’ve definitely neglected other areas.

There’s no doubting how busy we are in work and family life, and we know the reasons why – globalisation, technology, urbanisation, the environment and demographic change, to name a few – but its no excuse really. We are ‘human’ beings, and nothing can replace actually sitting down and interacting with someone we can relate to on a professional and personal basis.

I’ve always liked Margaret Wheatley, the American writer and management consultant who focuses on organisational behaviour and the theory of change, leadership and chaos. As a HR practitioner, I’ve applied some of her work in learning and development settings, both as a deliverer and participant. She has decades of experience and many memorable quotes such as “In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.” She also suggests “All of us need better skills in listening, conversing, and respecting one another’s uniqueness, because these are essential for strong relationships”.

So put some time in your diary before Xmas to nurture your relationships, whether it be attending a networking event, or scheduling in drinks with clients or colleagues you haven’t had a decent chat to in ages. It’s a great opportunity to have a few laughs, reflect on things, and just enjoy the moment!

Advertisements

Having quality performance conversations

Angela Anderson

Angela Anderson

Performance feedback is vital for employees as it provides information on what they are doing well and where they can improve. For new hires, it can assess their progress and ‘fit’ to the team and company culture, while for existing staff it can have a strong motivational effect and help to retain them in the organisation. Managers are responsible for providing feedback about an employee’s performance in accordance with organisational policy and frameworks, however often these conversations don’t go as planned or produce the desired results.

In some ways this is understandable, as these discussions might cover negative aspects, however feedback involving unfavourable information can be positive, if given tactfully and constructively. Its important that during these conversations feedback should also flow in the opposite direction – from employee to manager – so managers should be prepared for some surprises about themselves, whether it be in relation to workload, leadership style, or problems in the workplace.

A useful framework for having quality performance conversations is Perceptual Positions, a neuro-linguistic programming notion originally formulated by Grinder and DeLozier. These positions represent mental reference points from which you perceive things, collect and test information, and relate to what you experience. They can positively influence your ability to understand others and communicate effectively, particularly in feedback situations.

perceptual-positions

Whether manager or employee, you need to be able to act and use all three positions depending on the situation – which often means stepping beyond your comfort zone. Start with noticing the perceptual positions you’re already using and build your confidence to deliberately apply them further, as well as move between them in giving and receiving feedback. Recognise the importance of practice, and you’ll be well-placed to enhance your performance conversations and achieve the outcomes you’re seeking in the future.

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Christmas Holidays and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Linkedin Photo

Nigel Baker

If you are a looking for a new role in Brisbane at this time of year you have no doubt had it drummed into you that “Queensland slows down from Melbourne Cup until Australia day”…..”You may as well take 2 months off and not worry about your job search”….”Enjoy the time off with your kids over the school holidays”…..blah, blah, blah. This is true if you allow it to happen. Let me explain how I see the market at this time of year.

In my experience this is a great time to be looking for your next opportunity, as there is a real urgency around roles that are available, here are a few reasons why;

  • A desire to complete the process before Christmas to allow for a January start
  • If a role is advertised at this time of year it is often a reaction to a business critical driver e.g. timeframes slipping on a project, additional funding etc.
  • Many of your competitors will have decided to ‘down tools’ and wait until the new year
  • Projects will have completed reviews/forecasting
  • Business will have completed reviews/forecasting

Networking

Now is the perfect time to renew those networks that may have slipped throughout the year;

  • Reconnect via LinkedIn
  • Invite someone for a drink
  • Attend a networking function
  • Attend an awards evening

Meet January Head On

I once read an article by one of the most successful ever Olympians…He said that he used to train hardest on Christmas Day because he knew everyone else would be taking it easy. Make yourself busy in December and January and take advantage of the head start;

  • Book meetings for January now – diaries are mostly empty
  • Review job alerts and make sure they are still relevant
  • Update your LinkedIn profile
  • Review your resume
  • Renew/update your professional memberships and qualifications

Take advantage of this time of year and have a fantastic 2017!!!!!

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Jack Daly Says, “Do you have a culture by design or by default?”

AngelaNg

Angela Ng

Jack Daly is the real deal, a proven CEO and Entrepreneur, with 30 plus years of field proven experience from a starting base with CPA firm Arthur Andersen to the CEO level of several national companies, having built 6 companies into national firms, two of which he has subsequently sold to the Wall Street firms of Solomon Brothers and First Boston. I was privileged this week to have attended Jack Daly’s two-day workshop in Brisbane, on Building a World Class Sales Organisation and Winning Sales Strategies and one of the highlights I’d like to share is that to successfully grow a company is to have a solid and sustainable culture. Now, management is often told to build a great culture, but do they really understand what it means to do so? Firstly, ask yourself, do you have a culture by design or by default?”

Jack Daly clearly defines culture as the unique personality of your company – the people, the environment, the feel. Great companies build it with intention, because, as Jack Daly says: You can’t fake culture.” Culture does more to bring great people in, keep them there, keep them happy, and keep them working longer and more productively than any other factor. Jack Daly points out that to have a successful business you must create an environment where people WANT to go to work versus HAVE to go to work. One of the motto’s he shared at this workshop: Put the F word back in business. Make it FUN!”

Jack Daly rightly observes that many business leaders will design and articulate an ideal culture but never actually install the systems and processes needed to make sure it gets started and is upheld. He has put the keys to building an incredible culture into his book, Hyper Sale Growth: Street Proven Systems and Processes; How to Grow Quickly and Profitably, which I have purchased and read this week. An amazing book and would highly recommend it.

 Below are the four systems that Jack Daly says you will need to build a killer culture:

1. Systems for Recognition

Jack Daly explains that the people who work in your company should feel recognized and valued, from the very first day they start work. He suggests you should never start new people on a Monday, when things are unorganized and hectic. Instead, bring them in when things are humming and make their first day a day to remember. With your existing staff, small but regular gestures go a long way. Recognising milestones, achievements, and good efforts at any opportunity is sure to make someone feel valued and connected to the company. Recognition doesn’t need to be expensive, but it needs to be personal. Make sure you tie your rewards as best you can to desired actions. As Jack Daly says, You get the behavior you recognise and reward.” Imagine if today an outsider stood in front of your employees and asked, By a show of hands, how many of you are overly recognized? Put systems in place that ensure a full room of hands up. If you can only do one thing differently tomorrow, Jack Daly says: Recognize the people you work with directly and win their hearts.

2. Systems for Communication

Many companies get by, day after day, without building specific communication systems. But as companies grow, this approach results in people problems and systematic breakdowns. A top complaint employees make in HR surveys is I wish I knew more about what was going on.” Lack of consistent information breeds confusion, fear, and resentment. Jack Daly advocates establishment of some simple systems of communication between management and employees that will get everyone on the same page. Teams and departments should check in daily. There should be larger monthly, quarterly, and annual check-ins. Establish policy and practice where bad or difficult news is proactively brought to the table. Jack Daly preaches that the best policy is to shoot straight and don’t spin. Most importantly he points out that everyone must learn to listen: We’ve heard it often: two ears, one mouth, for a reason.” If you can only do one thing differently tomorrow, Jack Daly says: Shut down your inner voice and start being an active listener.”

3. Systems for Personal and Professional Development

Jack Daly says potential employees want to know why besides a paycheck they should come to work in your company and current employees need to know why should they stay. The best people see their careers as more than just salary and perks. They care about the overall experience they’re going to have while working each day. They want the opportunities for growth and development that can only be fostered in a growth-oriented work environment. Great employees want to become smarter and more productive in their careers. Their objectives are aligned with yours, so make the investment in them. Construct or pay for training that makes your employees better at their technical and people skills. Invest the time and money to cultivate your employees and you’ll end up with skilled and loyal management that will happily expand the company for decades. If you can only do one thing differently tomorrow, Jack Daly says: Discover the visions each of your employees have, and work to blaze a path for them.”

4.  Systems for Empowerment

Jack Daly explains how you can leverage the growth of your business by empowering your people. He stresses that a growing company needs active decision making by everyone, not just the CEO. But it’s not as simple as telling people to make decisions. If they don’t feel confident they have tools and authority, they will hold back and defer back up the ladder. Jack Daly says: To truly empower your employees, you must create an environment where people feel comfortable making decisions, as if they were the owner.” It’s hard to build this empowerment all at once. If your culture is clearly defined and aligned, your people will know what action to take. Every time you give over authority, your employees grow stronger. If they are rewarded for taking right action on their own, that behavior will expand. Put protective systems in place giving them the opportunity to fail safely so they can learn from error. If you can only do one thing differently tomorrow, Daly says: Give people power to succeed and fail on their own so they learn and grow.”

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

I’m Engaged!

Jade Mortlock

Hold the bubbles!

While I am sure my mum and dad can’t wait for this call I am not talking about a sparkly ring and white dress, I am talking about being an ‘engaged’ employee.

An “engaged employee” is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organisation’s reputation and interests.[1]

How would your staff respond to the following 3 questions?

  1. Would you recommend this organisations service to your friends and family?
  2. Would you recommend this organisation as somewhere to work?
  3. Do you see yourself working here in a year’s time?

I attended the most recent Brisbane ACHSM Breakfast forum where guest speaker Ms Michelle Russell, Solution Manager, GE Healthcare Performance Solutions explored employee engagement as a key driver of organisational performance. She believes, and I agree, the above 3 questions will quickly tell you if you have engaged staff.

Regardless of your industry, research shows that organisations with engaged staff deliver better patient/consumer experience, fewer errors, stronger financial management, higher staff morale and motivation, less absenteeism and stress and specific to healthcare; lower infection and mortality rates.

10’s of thousands of articles and papers talk about ‘how to engage employees’. Although written specifically for the NHS ‘Staff engagement’ identifies six building blocks for harnessing the creativity and enthusiasm of staff, which can be applied to any organisation.

7-great-benefits-of-engaging-your-staff-3-638

  1. Develop a compelling, shared strategic direction – inspire your staff with a persuasive narrative about what your organisation is seeking to achieve and how staff can contribute.
  2. Build collective and distributed leadership – move away from top-down leadership and share authority, responsibility and accountability with staff.
  3. Adopt supportive and inclusive leadership styles – encourage leaders throughout your organisation to develop a broader range of styles, with less reliance on directive leadership and a greater focus on consensus-building, coaching and supporting staff.
  4. Give staff the tools to lead service transformation – give staff the training and support to improve their services for themselves, creating learning organisations, rather than parachuting in external experts.
  5. Establish a culture based on integrity and trust – develop a clear sense of your organisation’s values and live by them, including maintaining the highest standards of integrity and fairness, even when things go wrong.
  6. Place staff engagement firmly on the board agenda – start making time for regular board discussions of how to improve levels of engagement.What is your organisation doing to ensure the staff are engaged?

[1] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employee_engagement

The Dark Side of the “Struggle to Juggle”

By: Kate Broadley

1D6A0555Last week I wrote about the some of the benefits for employers and employees of using flexible work practices. But I thought to be fair, I should talk about the challenges, or the dark side as I call it.

In reality, flexibility does not work in all workplaces. Yes I work from home, but not everyone can do this. One must be willing to work independently and alone. Of course there are fewer distractions and I get to avoid those unnecessary interruptions, but there is no office vibe or excitement, and no one to exchange ideas with. While this works for me, there are times in a business environment when your expertise is required and missed in the workplace, if you are not there! The type of work I do requires at times a quiet place where I can analyse information and write reports, so the home office is the perfect place. On the other hand, a lot of work requires you to be in the very hub of activity in the workplace. I don’t get distracted at home, but others find it impossible to focus.

I work in a small business with two fantastic directors, who are comfortable communicating with me through various mediums other than face to face, and who support and trust me to deliver what I need for the business. It helps that my goals and outcomes are clearly measurable. This has not come about overnight and I think it is unfair for employees to expect this. It has been created over time and built through trust, delivery of quantifiable and measurable outcomes, and some ups and downs along the way. In my opinion, without mutual trust, support and measurable outcomes, this type of flexibility cannot work.

And finally, I am never off the grid, given all the wonderful technological gadgets we now have access to, which create the opportunity for greater flexibility to fit work in and around all of life’s other activities. But whether technology has enabled greater freedom from the workplace is debatable. It is easy for working “anywhere, anytime” to turn into working “everywhere, all the time”. I check my emails all the time, I hate to admit this, but often before breakfast and even when on holidays. I am not expected to do this, but it helps me manage my workload. I like to multi-task, but does this simply exacerbate the “struggle to juggle” and put us at risk of burnout, which is one of the very things, flexible work practices seek to avoid?