Is the office becoming obsolete in the 21st century working world?

Siobhan QuinnBy Siobhan Quinn, Government Selection Panel Consultant, Eden Ritchie Recruitment

 

Gone are the days of the traditional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday in the office; with more and more employees demanding flexible working options, businesses have responded by offering work from home opportunities, amongst other initiatives. It begs the question – is the office becoming obsolete?

 

Often when thinking of flexible work arrangements, the likes of tech giants such as Google come to mind; but it may surprise you to know, several key players such as Yahoo and IBM have reversed their flexible work policies. In 2013 Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting, reasoning that while people can be more productive at home; they are more collaborative and innovative in the office. Collaboration needs a place to happen. When employees work remotely, it becomes more difficult for them to interact and share ideas. While there are some great tools to facilitate remote collaboration, it doesn’t quite replace a face-to-face conversation. Also, being in the same room as colleagues is crucial in developing social connections and building the culture of an organisation. Employees can virtually work together in an effective manner, but it’s definitely harder to build a rapport with someone over email, compared to someone you physically work next to. Working from home can sometimes be lonely, and most remote workers will want to come in and work from an office at least some of the time. This helps the individual to feel connected their peers, and as well to the business.

 

For those who enjoy the privilege of working from home, there is a level of trust placed in them to do the right thing. Of course, there are a small minority of individuals who will take advantage of the opportunity and not deliver the expected outcomes. But for the vast majority, remote employees are more productive. With many people commuting for over an hour each day, particularly those who work in the CBD; that’s at least 5 hours a week that could be better spent elsewhere. Generally, employees are more willing to put in extra time where required, but especially when they can do so from home. The same goes for sick leave; those who work from home are usually able to accomplish at least some work, in what would otherwise be a lost day. It can also be cheaper for the business to have employees working from home, for example in growing organisations where desk space is at a premium in the office. For managers who worry about reduced visibility over productivity, technology makes it easy to track output, for example programs which monitor screen activity. Many jobs have performance metrics that can show how productive someone is, and this is particularly so for task-based roles with tangible outputs.

 

In summing up, there are many jobs that can easily be performed remotely or from home. Employees have been shown to be more productive at home rather than in the office, and in many cases, work can be done more efficiently and for a lower cost. Conversely, staff can be more collaborative and innovative in an office environment. Not everyone wants to work from home, many people like the separation of work life and personal life. Working from home also won’t suit every employee or role, and it won’t work for every organisation. So, the office will likely never be obsolete but it’s important to recognise the benefits and changes technology has introduced to the way in which people can, and do, work.

 

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter, or call on +61 7 3230 0033.

How to fit in with a close-knit team!

By Michele CameronMichele Cameron 0246 2

IT/ICT Senior Recruitment Consultant, Eden Ritchie Recruitment

It can feel like high school all over again when you step into a new job and you are part of a small team who knows each other very well on a personal level as well as operating like an efficient work machine bouncing ideas and working through processes quickly!  All you can do is smile and not feel insecure as you learn your role, procedures and find your place in the team.

As a manager, bringing in new faces and personalities into a team environment can be difficult when the group has an established dynamic. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to make sure all of your employees, new and old, feel at home when they come in to work.

Here are my top tips:

1.    Hire for fit – Bringing on someone new is easier by hiring for both skill and fit during the recruiting process. Keep your culture and the personalities of your team front of mind as you write job posts and ask questions during the interview process. Also consider panel interview sessions consisting of other leaders on your team. They can be big help when pinpointing candidates who are a great fit.

2.    Social side – As part of the final stage of selection invite the interviewee to meet a few members of the team for a coffee or after work drink. It’s an opportunity to meet in a less formal environment and hopefully you’ll see more of their personality in a relaxed environment.

3.    Make time for introductions – Make the new hired candidate welcomed by taking time at the start of the day to introduce new employees to each member of your staff individually. Give them enough time for people to match names with faces and possibly find a point of connection. This is a great gesture that can help set the tone when someone new comes on board.

4.    Assign a buddy – Paring new hires with more experienced employees can help a new hire navigate through the work environment. It can help a new employee feel valued, less isolated and to help them through the probation period.

Remember that it always takes time to integrate someone into the rhythms of a new workplace. But it never hurts to make the extra effort to help someone feel welcomed.

If you’re the new starter – here are a few self-care tips:

  • Be patient and kind to yourself, it takes time to develop relationships
  • Keep realistic expectations – remember you’re new, learning and you can’t know everything straight away
  • Work to add value to the team and show the right attributes that you’re a team player
  • Check in for constructive feedback from senior peers and your manager

I wish you all the best!

Contact us on (07) 3230 0033 to arrange a time to come in and meet us and discuss how we can be of assistance.

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter or call on +61 7 3230 0033.

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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.

1 William Street – Noice!!

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Wow!!! I had my first client visit in 1 William Street this week.

From the moment I entered the building through the formal entry space, the luxe modernist style was apparent. Each floor of the building has been themed in the flora and fauna of Queensland. The floor I visited was dedicated to purple fan coral and looks amazing, with hues of purple and green used generously throughout the sub-tropical botanical design. The fit out is beautiful – timber floors, light, plants, atriums and of course the amazing 360 degree views. It’s not palatial, but it is smart and up to date architecture at its very best. There is access to other levels via internal stair cases, rather than using the lifts. I am sure there are floors (like the Premier and the Deputy Premier’s floors) that do not have this sort of access, but I love the way the staircases have been incorporated as part of the design and not hidden.

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The open plan will no doubt challenge individuals who have been accustomed to office space, however there are plenty of meeting rooms and spaces to use and generous areas to eat and have a coffee. Big corporates like Google are convinced that this openness improves communication and collaboration amongst their employees and this is no doubt the goal for public servants. The top level of the building is for functions and I was told the views from this level are amazing. Sadly, I didn’t get to confirm this, maybe another day.

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While not everything is ready, the movement of public servants into the building appears to be on track and well-coordinated. 1 William Street is a once in a life time experience for many public servants to move into a brand new building, a breath of fresh air in terms of architectural style and a quality piece of infrastructure. I for one, will be looking forward to more meetings in this building and can’t wait to see the next stage of development for this end of town.

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EMPLOYEE PROFILING – Are we all cut from the same cloth?

Ben Wright

I’m asked quite regularly my opinion on the viability of an assessment methodology known as ’employee profiling’, which is quite commonly used to assist organisations in making sound hiring decisions.

 These methods are neither correct nor incorrect and it’s difficult to provide a definitive answer to this question, but rather their degree of effectiveness and relevance depends entirely on the individual circumstance.

 To assist you in making the right decision for your organisation I will outline below both the pros and cons to profiling and how it can be used effectively.

How profiling assessments methodologies are conducted?

  • A selection of an organisations high-performing employees are chosen and given the opportunity to take an assessment that is designed to measure a number of characteristics related to performance. Regardless of the role, the content is usually the same. The score patterns then serve as a benchmark for hiring.
  • During the hiring process, candidates are required to sit the same test and the results are then benchmarked against the current high performers. Those applicants who most closely match the ideal profile are viewed as having the best chance of success and are recommended for hire in an effort to “clone” high performers.

Logically, applicants scoring the same as ‘high performers’ have more in common indicating that they too have what it takes to be a high performer.

What are Pros and Cons of this Methodology?

Let’s start with the pros:

  • Intuitive: The idea behind profiling makes sense.  Look at your best performers and develop a profile that can be used to make sure you hire staff who model success. SIMPLE?!
  • Fast: While many assessment methods are timely to implement, profiling can usually be implemented relatively quickly and reused across multiple opportunities.

In the IT space I have seen this work really well when a profile assessment has been specifically created for role, like Project Managers.

One of the downsides to using a strict Profile Assessment Methodology is that across different roles i.e. Business Analysts, Project Managers, Web Developers, and Solution Architects, they all share different characteristics, that in their own right make them high performers in their specific field. I’ve touched base on a few other cons below:

  • Deficiency: When only one assessment is used for all situations, organisations may find that the content of this assessment will not fully capture all of the things required for performing the specific role.
  • Failure to account for change: This is a big downside as it does not account for the fact that the top performers surveyed may have had a different job profile at the time of hire.
  • In many cases, job performance and on-the-job training may allow an individual to learn and develop in many positive ways. Thus, the profile provided may be an unrealistic one for staff who have not performed the job in question.
  • Over-reliance on “the profile”: as this may create unrealistic standards that can lead to an over-reliance on some attributes and under-reliance on others. Hiring decisions should be the result of balanced information of many types, and the best hiring systems are designed to provide key decision-makers with a variety of information.

The above criticisms can apply to other assessment methods. However, they are worth considering when evaluating the relevance of profiling methods for an organisation’s needs.

Below I have mentioned a few situations where profiling is an ideal methodology for a company to use;

  • An off-the-shelf assessment is needed quickly: Profiling is one of the fastest and easiest assessment methods to implement.
  • The role is mainstream and doesn’t have any specific requirements: Most profiling uses one set of content for all jobs means that the profiling assessment content will be relevant.
  • The organisation is too small or there are too few incumbents to do a proper validation study: Validation research requires relatively large numbers of incumbents to produce a more accurate result.

From my experience the decision regarding the relevance of profiling for a company’s needs comes down to speed vs. accuracy. In such situations, speed and financial expense are often the key decision criteria and a reduction in accuracy is accepted as a result.

In these cases, profiling is a legitimate option and one that will still provide more accuracy than using no assessment or simply using an unstructured interview.

I hope this is helpful, and gives you a better understanding of the pros and cons that need to be considered when choosing the right assessment tool for your recruitment process.

For further information or to discuss please contact me on ben@edenritchie.com.au or 07 3230 0037 

You can also 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.

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  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