Get On The Right Side Of History

By Justine Eden Director Eden Ritchie RecruitmentJustine Eden

A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with a couple of friends who work in the legal profession. Faced with huge competition, narrowing panel services arrangements and clients shrinking legal budgets these two professional leaders were under increasing pressure to lead high performing, profitable teams.

I put the issue of market disruption to them – questioning the way they operate, and highlighted just one aspect – the perception of extremely long hours, timesheets and the lack of flexibility that they generally offer to their teams.

I pointed to a new breed of emerging firm that offers just that and appear to be attracting the best and brightest and are highly profitable. I could see their eyes glaze over and that the idea of disrupting anything (apart from a court room) for what is such a traditional industry, was out of the question.

This morning I read a related article and saw this:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-24/richard-branson-marissa-mayer-s-yahoo-work-policy-is-on-the-wrong-side-of-history

It resonated with me – few are the leaders that recognize performance based on results. And it clarified something for me as a leader that I have struggled with for a long time. I spent all of yesterday in performance reviews with my team. I heard A LOT about their great efforts – and don’t get me wrong I am big on putting in your best effort.

But when that doesn’t equate to results or tangible outcomes there is a real problem. Imagine as a business owner going to the ATO and saying, “well I tried really hard, put in my best effort – but I wont be able to pay the BAS this month”. That’s not a result the ATO are going to accept.

So why are so many leaders still so hung up on their people being visible in the office?? Why are so many leaders not having honest and frank discussions with their teams about their tangible results – and letting themselves be sidetracked by conversations about how hard everyone is trying?

Giving people flexibility only works for some people and some roles – don’t get me wrong, we have tried and both succeeded and failed. In our business flexibility is offered to those (where it is applicable to their role) who have demonstrated strong results over a sustained period of time. There has to be trust and mutual respect, you have to all be on the same page and clear (VERY) about what is required.

Change Fatigue – What is it?

Change Fatigue – What is it?

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Is there such a thing as “change fatigue”? In my opinion, there most certainly is!!! It’s that sense of dread that comes when another change is just around the corner.

I understand change is an important part of organisational growth. But I don’t understand why it is continually managed so poorly, with such negative impacts on both staff and the business. The purpose of change is to ensure currency and competitiveness in the market, reduce costs, improve efficiencies and increase revenue, it is not to create stressed, burnt out and overwhelmed employees.

Leaders sometimes unfairly equate change fatigue to resistance to change. Not true. People like stability (we are human right… not robots), but we can quickly adapt to change, if it is introduced properly. Resistance is the push back often experienced because of the uncertainty the change may have, which can create unfounded fear. Successful change management and staff engagement can usually help, however unfortunately, many leaders fail to address this… jeopardizing organisational success. A stressed and unhappy workforce leads to lost productivity, lack of competiveness in the market, and ultimately a drop in the bottom line.

Change fatigue is the product of poor leadership. Leaders often fear they are missing some essential strategy, positioning or concept, often driving the implementation of change so that they don’t get left behind in the competitive world we operate in. While I understand the need for change, too much change can result in confusion, disorganisation and lack of competence. People become frustrated with the constant loss of productivity, the expense and effort of packing, moving, ordering new telephones or changing numbers, inducting and orientating new bosses, losing team members, gaining team members and living in a state of continual confusion.

I accept that change is constant, but I don’t accept that it cannot be managed better. This is the one of the key challenges for leaders, who must operate in a world of constant change. Our ability to respond to change, ultimately determines our success or otherwise, in a highly competitive market place. So it pays to take the time to get it right!!!

Are you feeling the change fatigue or want to know more about this space? Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Post and Pray vs. Passive Candidates

So what does “Post and Pray” mean? This is where you place a job advertisement and hope that great candidates with the right qualifications apply. As recruiting experts, we tend to disagree. I would much prefer to have control, which is why I am so interested in passive candidates in the market place.

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

So what is a passive candidate? A passive candidate isn’t necessarily looking for work, but they may be interested if the right job comes along. Employers often actively seek passive candidates, especially when they looking for people with very specific skills and experience.

When employers proactively recruit candidates, it’s called candidate sourcing and companies may look for candidates via LinkedIn and social networking sites, as well as working with recruiters to find qualified applicants.

Naturally many employers still choose to use the “post and pray” approach. More fool you in my opinion, but even I would have to concede that if used correctly this can play a role in helping you find the right person for that job. To ensure you get a better match of applicants to your post, make sure you use strategic keywords, keep the job description relevant and brief, and set the right expectations from the start. This can mean the difference between sorting through hundreds of unsuitable resumes to receiving a steady flow of qualified talent.

Recently I shortlisted for an administration role which had been advertised as “post and pray” through an external source, and there were over 250 applications…from which I struggled to find 10 suitable candidates to interview. Surely there is something wrong here, so forget the “post and pray” and start marketing your jobs in a way that influences the calibre of candidates you get.

Remember to visit our newly launched website for all your career information – www.edenritchie.com.au and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter

Core Values

Do you know what your employer’s core values are?

Linda ParkerIn society today so much emphasis is placed on customer service, value for money, teamwork, professionalism, quality etc. My question is, how many interviews have you attended where a company’s core values have even been brought up in discussion, either directly or indirectly?

When coming to my interview here at Eden Ritchie many years ago I had searched the company website and wrote down (it’s nearly impossible to memorise when interview nerves kick in) the core values and mission statement, as I realised that surely these must be a significant part of the key criteria in them choosing a new team member.

As a business owner or hiring manager it can be a really simple tool to use in the interview process, as surely you will want staff to align with the organisation’s core values in order for them to fit, and for your company to fit their own personal values and goals.  It really doesn’t matter what the core values are, you can design questions around them to test and assess.

Likewise, as a candidate going for a job interview it really doesn’t take much time or effort to go to a company website and search out this information.

Sometimes going back to basics can bring the most surprising results!

Time Wasters

Does technology mean more productivity or more opportunity to waste time?

With the increased number of people now using smart phones and/or tablets to monitor social media sites or access on line shopping, I often wonder if this is creating more opportunity for people to get distracted and waste time during work time?

smartphone2I recently caught up with a client who heads up a successful construction company, and after talking about staff productivity and performance, the discussion led to what employers can do to put some parameters or rules around people using their personal technology during work hours.

Admittedly a lot of professions rely on this technology to actually do their work and achieve success through prompt action, particularly in client service focused industries, making it difficult for employers to monitor this.

Does your organisation have a policy for staff using their personal devices during work hours and if so does it drive better productivity? I personally think it would be a difficult policy to monitor and keep consistent for all staff, and if people are still meeting their KPI’s and producing outcomes whilst having access to their personal devices then what harm is it really doing?

Do you yourself waste time during work hours using these devices for accessing non-work related sites?

It got me thinking about how many hours per week are actually wasted with non work related issues and tasks, and how many other distractions there are in the workplace to take us away from the job at hand.

This article “How you waste time when you’re at work” questions how much time we do waste at work, and whether distractions such as websites or social media are just an avenue to give ourselves a quick break before tackling the next task. It also has some interesting survey results highlighting the most common days and times for wasting time at work!

I’m going to sign off here and let you get back to work now… hopefully I haven’t wasted too much of your time!!Linda Parker

To fill or find?

Recruitment is an interesting business and I honestly think one of the few modern business areas that can have such a dramatic impact on the success of a business. As a topic, it is one I could write and debate about for way too long. However this week for the Eden Ritchie Recruitment blog I wanted to focus on just a small part of this idea.SueT

As a recruiter I have often been faced with the dilemma of am I just filling the role or am I finding the right candidate for the role and organisation. Sometimes this is driven by the client themselves with their need to just have a ‘bum on seat’, a topic that really deserves a whole blog to itself. The other part of the dilemma is finding the right candidate and what do they look like?

An article I recently read really hit home on this topic and I thought I would give my spin on it all, check out the story here – http://www.fordyceletter.com/2013/04/25/30-client-questions-that-will-save-you-time-and-make-you-money/

The articles lead idea matches my thoughts exactly – preparation is the key to not only understanding what the ideal candidate looks like but also developing the ‘business partner’ relationship with the client.

I realise in our industry time is a massive factor in how we do our job, and I know this can be an issue, however I think there is always time to make a plan of attack before we run that magical search.

My ideal way to find out what a client wants in a candidate is, at the basic level asks these key questions. From the clients response to these questions I will drill down my search criteria.

The candidate profile questions:

  • Why is the position vacant,
  • When do you need someone,
  • How does the role impact on you and/or the business,
  • Forget the position description, what are YOU looking for,
  • What makes this role attractive to people in this field,
  • What does success look like for this person,
  • Is there any absolute or mandatory requirements,
  • What is on offer,
  • When are you free to interview and can we lock it in now.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the questions you ask to find out what a client really wants in a candidate and if you have found this useful.

The Healthy, Happy Workplace

After coming back from a client visit to Toowoomba this week, where it is always noticeably cooler than Brisbane, it dawned on me that summer was truly over and that winter is just around the corner. Now for me, and probably most people who work in an office, this tends to mean more hours inside, less exercise and a greater consumption of the bad things that aren’t good for me! SueT

Add in the fact that we also spend most of our waking hours at work and travelling to and from work (not to mention the amount of time we spend thinking about it), our workplace health and wellbeing should be our number one concern.

For me the above is oh so true and even though I have worked in the health industry for over 10 years and ‘know better’, I have to honestly say that work/life balance has not always come first.

As I mentioned before, I am fairly sure most of us are in the same mindset. We want to be successful at work, we want to do what’s right for our team, yet what I think plagues most businesses and industries, is that the average person is stressed and doesn’t make the time to exercise or eat right. This inevitably reflects on the performance and attitudes of people at work.

When speaking with my colleagues and friends about this topic, I found that we all try different ways to keep ourselves healthy and happy in our personal lives. However when asked the additional question of “what do we do about our professional lives to keep us happy and healthy?” the point of view was very different.

I have seen many articles stating that wellbeing contributes to a healthy, happy, motivated and engaged workforce. In turn this positive wellbeing in the workplace has been shown to lower employee absence, keeps stress levels down and arguably helps to retain employees.

In the current financial climate, there are many low-cost and innovative ways to help your workforce in staying and getting healthy and happy. It could be as simple as having fresh fruit available, providing the opportunity to have an extra hour for lunch to go to the gym, contributing towards a gym membership, flexible working hours so that you can exercise in the mornings before work or leave early to exercise after work, group fitness sessions (group walks or activities) and access to information on how to keep healthy and happy.

There is literally an endless range of unique and low cost ideas you could offer your team to inspire them to being healthy and happy. So what does your organisation do, to encourage and support you in being healthy and happy at work?

Don’t forget to check out our homepage and follow us on LinkedIn from here – http://www.edenritchie.com.au/

OWN THE INTERVIEW!

In today’s market, it is essential that you have an impeccable CV to secure an interview. But how do you capitalise on that C.V. when you are sitting across from your prospective employer?

Let me ask you a question:

Q: How many times have you received feedback from a recruiter that the client secured a stronger candidate, but thank you for your time and effort; we will contact you when we have another position that matches your profile?

A: Often tom

Or this – 

Q: “I’m sorry we will not be moving forward with your application. The client was not confident in your ability to bring a professional approach to the role and was put off that you didn’t look them in the eye OR shake their hand with confidence”?

A: Just as often

If you are securing interviews but never securing the role, maybe something as simple as the above examples are holding you back.

With the amount of candidates in the market today, it is essential that you are prepared for your interview and are aware of all the aspects that will make you stand out from other applicants.

So, to be successful in securing a job in this market here are a few of my tips:

  • Do your history on the organisation and the panel members.
  • Give demonstrated examples of where you have completed a similar project or role.
  • Detail your specific duties within those projects/roles.
  • Point out transferable skills you offer.
  • Talk about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.
  • Ensure confident and continual eye contact with the panel members.
  • Speak clearly and confidently and as if you are aiming for the back of the room.
  • Ask questions about the project and challenges they are facing?
  • Ask what sort of candidate they are looking for?

Here are some things that I see candidates do that may prevent them from securing a role:

  • Being under prepared and not having a thorough understanding of the organisation or panel members.
  • Under dressing.
  • Over dressing – wearing strong colours is not always good. Stick to light easy on the eye colours. We are not saying don’t be yourself but do consider the panel.
  • Giving vague answers about your experience.
  • Answering questions as if the panel members know everything about you from your CV – they don’t always know your CV and they also want to hear YOU talk about YOU and how YOU can help THEM.
  • Badmouthing past employers.
  • Leaving your mobile on.
  • Talking too much.
  • Looking around the room for answers.
  • Not thanking interviewers for there time.

Interviewing is simple, if you prepare and do your homework!

If you want to know more about interviewing, CV preparation or a general chat about the market and how the team at Eden Ritchie can help, give us a call on 3230 0033 or check out our website www.edenritchie.com.au 

The long long weekend.

So here we are 3 months or even scarier a ¼ of the way through 2013, and it is that time of the year when the Easter break is well and truly needed. Now I am not saying this in a bad way, I love my job, I do work with an awesome team and I am lucky enough to help people make positive change to their lives and careers. SueT

However, after reading an article on “What successful people do on the weekend” I was somewhat surprised to read how executives embrace their weekends to ensure they can stay successful during the week. I imagined they would be ‘plugged in’ at set times over the weekend, did strategic planning and cleaned out their inbox – which is pretty much what I do!

The reality it appears is very different and it has inspired me to do the same. I am not quite bringing back the ‘work hard play hard’ theme but I am playing around with something more like ‘work is work and life is mine’ (I am still working on a better slogan!).

Now getting back to how successful people make the most of their weekends to ensure they are firing during the week. Knowing when to switch off from work and having outlets of meaning to you were the dominant themes that I read and honestly now thinking about it I cannot agree more.

Having that drive and focus to say when I am at work I am 100% committed and here to take on the challenges so that when I get to my downtime I can properly switch off and recharge that part of my brain, is the message I have taken away.

So with Easter about to kick in, I am going to make some positive changes and am determined to take what these successful leaders of industry are doing and apply my new mantra ‘work is work and life is mine’ mindset by downing tools on this and every other weekend.

It has been a learning year for me and this article has reminded me that time is not a renewable resource and that we all have the same 24 hours in the day. Working is part of everyone’s life, be it paid or unpaid, however we need to learn to turn off and do what is important and not urgent to give us back balance.

This week’s blog is short and sweet, like the up coming Easter break, however our team would love to hear your thoughts on our blog and what you do to ensure you are successful at work.

“The Power of Mentoring”

KateSo what is mentoring? Mentoring uses the resources your company already has to improve employee satisfaction, develop leadership, and teach new skills.

Does your company have a mentoring program? If yes, is it working? If not, why not?

Here are some ideas about how to start your own program. Starting a mentoring program might be the closest you’ll ever get to making a business decision that has a positive impact for everyone involved. Research has shown that mentoring can improve employee satisfaction and retention, enrich new-employee initiation, make your company more appealing to new recruits, and train your leaders. And the best part is, it’s “free”, unlike similar learning incentives, training programs or offering to pay for courses, mentoring uses the resources that your company already has.

A mentoring program can help develop both mid-level employees for possible promotion and entry-level employees for self-improvement to help them grow with the company. Mentors are employees already in management positions, employees highly skilled or trained in a specific area, or employees at any level who can provide encouragement and guidance to other employees just starting or ready to take their next career move.

Mentoring can do a lot of good, but only if people know what they are supposed to do. Training of the mentors is important, and I recommend that the mentees receive some training as well. There are plenty of websites available with tips on what to do and at Eden Ritchie we have skilled and experienced staff available to assist organisation’s in the development of their mentoring program.

When you have implemented a mentor program, remember it will require “nurturing and caring”.
 So now you are ready to unleash the “power of mentoring” to ensure you talented workforce grows with you.

If you have a mentor program already in your organisation, share your ideas and thoughts to assist others.

So what does it take to be a great Project Manager?

Managing projects can be a complex and difficult task. So what is it that allows great Project Managers to build reputations people that will deliver results on time and within budget?

After discussions with a number of successful and senior Project Managers recently, there is a general agreement on the key attributes that successful project managers possess.

1) They understand the business! They have the patience and communication skills to listen to the key stakeholders and understand what the business is trying to achieve from the project. There is no point in delivering a product or service that will not fit the requirements of the organisation.

2) They are Problem solvers! Projects can vary in size and complexity and it is important that project managers are able to think outside the box to come up with solutions to overcome obstacles.

3) Flexibility! Some projects can change on almost a daily basis and thus, project managers need to be flexible when approaching a project. Project management methodologies are a great way to set the direction for the project but they are not strict procedures. Project Managers must have the flexibility to alter their approach to overcome any obstacles that arise.

4) They are delivery focussed! The reputations of project managers are made or broken on their ability to successfully deliver outcomes to the business. It is imperative that project managers liaise with key stakeholders to set the desired outcomes and do everything they can to achieve them!

5) Outstanding communication and leadership skills! Project managers must be able to engage with key stakeholders to get support from senior management. They also must be able to bring out the best in their teams. This means supporting and delegating to team members to make the most of project resources.

6) Ownership!! Project managers have to take complete ownership of their projects and have the drive and passion to do everything they can to ensure that the outcomes are achieved within time, budget and resource constraints. This is where project managers build their reputations as someone who will get the job done!

Do you have what it takes to be a great Project Manager? With so many large projects kicking off, the industry is booming in South East Queensland. It is certainly an exciting time to be involved in project management!!

How’s Your Morale?

It’s easy to stand out in the current climate as a smart employer.  Ok the GFC has ripped the market around from candidate short to being job short, and businesses are cost cutting and shedding staff, but there is an opportunity to critically look at how happy (or not!) your team are.

Know who your best performers are, mentor, train and develop them, communicate and keep them informed of broader business strategies, get their feedback and input.  None of this costs a lot, but the pay back is guaranteed.

Employees are nervous about job security, they need to know how the business is tracking, they value hearing about the future plans and how that impacts on them.  If you want to keep your best people when the market turns, you need to invest in them NOW.

How you approach the market when you recruit new people is also a key aspect to building favourable impressions with employees.  With social networks booming, the world is getting better connected and information flows abundantly.  People readily share their impressions and gripes, with poor recruitment processes at the top of their list of complaints.

When you take a job to market – be READY.  This sounds silly, but we are seeing so many poor approaches to the current market.  Yes it’s an employers market, but your reputation is still important in any market!  Have the go ahead to actually recruit, update the PD, be able to put time aside to interview, be prepared to make a selection – don’t stall.  And induct!

All simple stuff, we know, but you’d be surprised at how many employers aren’t doing this!