Author: HRwisdom (page 10 of 10)

Australia’s New Centre for Workplace Leadership Not So Central?

Yesterday the HRwisdom Blog examined the recent announcement by the Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations to boost Australia’s workplace leadership capability.

The Minister said:

“Today I am announcing that the Gillard Government, in collaboration with industry, is providing $12 million over four years for the establishment of a new Centre for Workplace Leadership.”

Workplace LeadershipHowever, one high profile labour economics expert has raised the unusual prospect that the Government may have got it wrong with this new investment.

HRwisdom was a little unsure about on the position held by high profile economist Judith Sloan in her widely-read column in a recent edition of The Australian newspaper.

Perhaps you can tell where the highly respected Judith Sloan stands on this issue . . . ?

“The idea of wet-behind-the-ears public servants, fresh from their postmodern university education majoring in cultural studies, handing out advice to highly experienced, but hard-pressed, business owners – I ask you. What is the government thinking?

But I guess most members of the government, who have neither run a business nor made weekly payrolls, have more in common with the earnest, know-nothing public servants who hang out in Canberra than with harried company managers.

Take the recent announcement of Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten to waste $12 million of scarce taxpayer funds by establishing the Centre for Workplace Leadership.”

Whilst HRwisdom obviously took offense at Judith Sloan suggesting that the Government spending $12 million to demonstrate its support of HRwisdom’s harping on/heavy focus on being proactive, her next comments did make us think twice . . .

“According to the blurb -oops, I mean media release – “the centre will encourage higher performing, innovative workplaces and stronger leadership capability in Australian workplaces, to boost productivity and ensure Australian workers truly have quality jobs”. Truly.

Don’t you just love it? The government brings in the Fair Work Act, which is based on conflict and differences between employers and workers.”

As Sloan continued, the HRwisdom were beginning to feel a little more uncomfortable about letting the Government spending $12 million to hang out with us . . .

“So, having brought in laws based on a “them-and-us” conception of workplace relations, the government feels the need to spray around more taxpayer funds to encourage workplace leadership and worker engagement, intermediates through trade unions, of course, to encourage “productive workplaces”.

According to its mission, the new centre will “be the Australian expert on workplace management and leadership and improving the productivity of Australian workplaces through leadership”. Really, the Australian expert?

What about our university-based business schools? What about our diverse management consulting industry?”

Hmmm . . . a reality check indeed.

At HRwisdom we have decided that a better middle ground would be for HRwisdom to be given the $12 million to spend as we see fit.

We promise to use the money wisely.

HRwisdom

 

 

Why Is The Australian Government Spending $12 Million to Hang Out With HRwisdom?

At HRwisdom we focus heavily (some might call it ‘harping on’) on being proactive when it comes to all aspects of managing your workforce.

In fact, it would appear that the Australian Government has taken notice of this harping on/heavy focus and has tried to go one better by stumping up $12 million as proof.

Centre for Workplace Leadership

However, one high profile labour economics expert has raised the unusual prospect that the Government may have got it wrong with this new investment.

In this two part HRwisdom Blog article, we will look at what the Government has in mind and what could possibly be wrong with spending a cool $12 million in an attempt to hang out with the cool crowd (ie. HRwisdom).

What Does The Federal Government Have In Mind?

The Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, recently announced a bold new plan to boost Australia’s workplace leadership capability.

In his media release, the Minister said:
“Australia needs higher performing and more profitable and competitive workplaces to continue to drive productivity growth and position Australia to take advantage of the opportunities of the Asian Century. A key workplace level factor to achieve this is to boost workplace leadership capability.
The workplace relations debate in Australia has for too long focused on conflict between unions and employers and the transactions involved in setting pay and conditions. This has meant that ongoing, daily relationships that occur at the workplace have not been given the attention they deserve.
The recent independent review of the Fair Work Act found no evidence that our workplace relations laws impede productivity growth. Instead, there is a substantial and growing body of evidence that shows that leadership, workplace culture and management practices have a significant impact on workplace performance, productivity, profitability and innovation.  It also shows that good leadership which empowers employees delivers greater job satisfaction, productivity and motivation.”
This led to the Minister’s declaration that the Federal Government wanted to hang out with HRwisdom and was prepared to pay for the privilege:
“Today I am announcing that the Gillard Government, in collaboration with industry, is providing $12 million over four years for the establishment of a new Centre for Workplace Leadership.
The Centre will encourage higher performing, innovative workplaces and stronger leadership capability in Australian workplaces, to boost productivity and ensure Australian workers truly have quality jobs.
The Centre for Workplace Leadership will be a flagship initiative of this Government and will focus in a very distinct and new way on leadership as it happens at the enterprise level every day.”
In an attempt to ingratiate himself even further with HRwisdom, the Federal Minister spelled out exactly what he had in mind for the new proactive Centre for Workplace Leadership . . .
“The Centre will:
  • be the Australian expert on workplace management and leadership and improving the productivity of Australian workplaces through leadership;
  • deliver quality training for leaders and managers on effective leadership, workplace culture and people management practices and connect leaders to training and development from other providers;
  • promote and disseminate practical, relevant research, including surveys, on workplace change and improvement;
  • lead the public debate on the importance of good leadership, workplace culture and people management and on the interdependencies between high performing and productive workplaces, effective management practices and quality jobs; and
  • drive a broader movement to ‘do things differently at work’ by recognising that productivity ‘happens’ at work and that leadership is a crucial mechanism to improve productivity.”
Indeed, there are some powerful ideas and ambitions in the development of the proposed new Centre for Workplace Leadership. Tomorrow, we see what a high profile labour economics expert thinks of this major new development . . .

Employment Law and Social Media Part 2

In this HRwisdom Blog post, we bring you the second half of our article on employment law and social media.

Employment Law and Social MediaThe post comes courtesy of Tim Capelin, a Partner based in the Sydney office of law firm Piper Alderman.

Tim has acted for leading organisations in most industry sectors including food and beverage, retail, health & hospitality, pharmaceutical, logistics, resources, construction, government, finance and insurance. He frequently presents on workplace law topics, is a regular contributor to industry and legal publications and is sought by the media for comment on workplace law issues.

[box type=”alert”]Have you attended one of our free daily online workplace law Employer Briefings yet? To attend, click here: Free Employment Law Briefing [/box]

Over to Tim for the second half of his HRwisdom Blog update on employment law and social media . . .

When drafting a social media policy, the content should be organisation specific to a certain degree, but should address the following topics:

  • A definition of social media.
  • Your organisation’s view of and approach to social media.
  • Who is authorised to use social media as a representative of the organisation.
  • If authorised to represent the organisation within social media, what guidelines should be followed.
  • Whether non-authorised people are allowed to identify themselves as someone connected with the organisation when using social media in their private lives.
  • Whether access to social media will be allowed during work hours and if so, what limits should be followed.
  • How the organisation will monitor usage and what it will do with information gained from such monitoring.
  • The need to protect the organisation’s confidential information.
  • Whether employees have a positive obligation to inform the organisation if they become aware, even in their private use of social media, of comments made about the organisation.
  • Potential ramifications of breaching policy.
  • Who the policy applies to, namely does it only apply to employees or does it apply to all workplace participants.

Further to Tim’s excellent advice, HRwisdom always recommends that employers be proactive and plan ahead.

Such an approach is just smart business, particularly when it comes to the new world of social media.

[box type=”alert”]Have you attended one of our free daily online workplace law Employer Briefings yet? To attend, click here: Free Employment Law Briefing [/box]

To get in touch with Tim Capelin, you can find his contact details here: employment law advice Sydney.

HRwisdom

Employment Law And Social Media

Today we are looking at employment law and social media and have called upon an experienced employment lawyer for advice.

Employment Law and Social MediaThis HRwisdom blog article comes courtesy of Tim Capelin, a Partner based in the Sydney office of law firm Piper Alderman.

Tim has acted for leading organisations in most industry sectors including food and beverage, retail, health & hospitality, pharmaceutical, logistics, resources, construction, government, finance and insurance. He frequently presents on workplace law topics, is a regular contributor to industry and legal publications and is sought by the media for comment on workplace law issues.

[box type=”alert”]Have you attended one of our free daily online workplace law Employer Briefings yet? To attend, click here: Free Employment Law Briefing [/box]

Over to Tim . . .

Employment Law And Social Media

From an employment relations point of view social media has had two major impacts. It has brought what used to be clearly private conduct, more regularly into the workplace, and it has provided a highly useful array of tools for communicating with employees and customers, as well as those designed to help grow your business.

Employees have always been critical of their employers to friends and family. In the past this was done discretely, on the telephone or in small gatherings. When this action is transferred into a social media setting the dissemination can be vast and the damage is likely to be greater.

With appropriately integrated strategies, the likelihood of inappropriate comments being widely published can be reduced and the capacity for your organisation to take decisive action against offending employees enhanced.

Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, have become the business development tool of choice for many sales people, particularly in the services sector. However, the pipeline of leads and contacts created with such a tool can depart your organisation with your sales and other staff. This could have occurred in the past with client and prospect lists however, the tracking of such actions was previously easier. There are measures available to maximise the potential, whilst limiting the downside risks, of employees using LinkedIn and similar tools, this involves an integrated approach to employment contracts, policies and IT procedures.

An integrated aproach

As mentioned, it is best to have an integrated approach to managing social media risks. An aspect of that approach is putting into place an appropriate Social Media Policy.

The content of such policies does not need to sit within its own separate policy, it can be included in your organisation’s HR, IT or other relevant more general policies.

However, to better ensure the policy comes to your employees’ attention and therefore improve compliance, we recommend that you extensively and regularly communicate the existence of the policy.

In the next HRwisdom Blog post, we’ll follow-up this article on employment law and social media by examining what to cover in a workplace social media policy.

To see Tim Capelin’s contact details, click here.

[box type=”alert”]Don’t forget to attend one of our free daily online workplace law Employer Briefings. To attend, click here: Free Employment Law Employer Briefing [/box]

HRwisdom

The Australian Union Movement vs Monty Python

In a recent HRwisdom Blog post, we looked at how industrial action and strikes in Australia are measured and reported.

We also looked at the recent change in the number of working days lost to industrial action.

The article drew on information from both the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) and the Sydney Morning Herald.

To see the specific HRwisdom Blog post, click here: Strike Action On The Rise?

Australian Unions Re-Work A Classic

Australian Union CampaignHowever, as a sidebar, our investigation into Australian strike activity led us to a golden oldy from an old union campaign.

The union movement’s ‘YourRights At Work’ was, by most assessments, an extremely successful media campaign which had a significant impact on Australian politics at the time.

Here at HRwisdom we’re wondering if the video below rings any bells for fans of Monty Python?

If so, feel free to share this excellent re-working of an old classic.

Enjoy . . .

Warning: A couple of rude words make an appearance during the video.

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Top 10 Interview Questions With Answers – Q3

Employers often ask us at HRwisdom for good interview questions to select good candidates.

We have gone one better.

Robert WatsonThanks to long time HRwisdom Community contributor, Robert Watson, we have come up with a Top 10 List of Interview Questions to ask at job interviews.

However, rather than just give you some excellent questions to ask, Robert also gives you the type of answer you want to hear back from your ideal candidate.

And believe us when we say that Robert knows what he is talking about.

Although he started out as an engineer and quality systems expert, Robert also had many years in the HR field perfecting recruitment & selection systems for a variety of businesses.

Robert even did extensive travel overseas for the express purpose of studying world’s best practice for establishing greenfields (brand new) business operations in Australia – this included how to hire people for their skills, knowledge and attributes (and not just the stuff listed on their CVs).

Download the free HRwisdom Employee Attraction & Retention Guide Now

So far we’ve seen:

  1. Good Interview Question 1
  2. Good Interview Question 2

Let’s look at the third question . . .

 

Good Interview Question 3

Q3. Describe a time when you worked on a team. What were some of the difficulties that this team had?

WhGood Interview Questions from www.HRwisdom.com.auen asking someone to describe the time when they worked on a team, what you’re trying to do is find out what their attitude was to the team and how they got on with other people.

As you can imagine, most teams of people will have mostly average people plus a couple of really good people and perhaps a couple that aren’t pulling their weight.

 

Preferred Interview Answer – What You Want To Hear

When you get them to talk about the time when they worked on a team, that’s fine.

But the difficulties that they had, you need to listen carefully to the answer to find out whether they are describing difficulties that the team had almost from an external perspective or whether they’re describing difficulties that the candidate had with some other person on the team.

Listen for things where they’re blaming somebody else or pointing the finger or something like that.

So as an example, a good answer a candidate might give you might be “Well, we’re a mixed bunch of people. If one had their strengths and weaknesses, so and so always used to do the minutes so they didn’t really contribute anything to the meeting but that was okay. Someone else had some good ideas and someone else always helped us to speed along our decision making process.”

An answer like that helps you to understand that the person can identify the different roles and accept that different roles are important in a team.

A poor answer would be if the candidate says “Well we had this team and, you know, Joe is always sounding off and complaining and moaning about the boss and that this wasn’t right and that wasn’t right and in the end, I just told him to shut up and sit down and get off the team.” With an answer like that, the candidate might genuinely give you an answer expecting that you will cheer them because they helped to get rid of an obnoxious member of the team.

That might be fine.

However, they’re also giving away part of the game which is that they might not have a level of patience and tolerance.

At the end of the day, teams are made up of different people and they’re not all going to be perfect. But everyone on the team does need to have an appreciation that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and hopefully everyone has strengths and weaknesses, not simply weaknesses.

 

Want More Good Interview Questions Right Now?

Stay tuned for the next question in our Top 10 Interview Questions With Answers series.

  • Can’t wait to see the rest of the questions and answers?
  • Like to know Robert’s thinking behind these questions and how they fit into the overall interview process?

You can download the full document via our HRwisdom Facebook page right now.

Just sign-in or join using the Free HR Resources tab – it’s free and available now at: www.Facebook.com/HRwisdom

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HR Advice, Employment Law Discussion, Staff Management Tips and Information

Strike Action On The Rise?

With high profile strikes being seen in recent times in the education sector, aviation industry as well as the construction sector, HRwisdom has taken a quick peek at what’s actually happening from a numbers perspective.

This investigation also led us to a golden oldy…

How Strikes Are Measured In Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) produces regular updates on industrial action and strikes in Australia.

ABS Strike Activity Statistics

Here’s how the ABS measures industrial disputes in Australia . . .

The Industrial Disputes (ID) collection produces quarterly statistics on the number of industrial disputes, employees involved in industrial disputes, working days lost and working days lost per thousand employees where at least ten working days are lost as a result of the dispute.

The following types of industrial disputes are within the scope of the ID collection:

  • unauthorised stopwork meetings;
  • general strikes;
  • sympathetic strikes (e.g. strikes in support of a group of workers already on strike);
  • political or protest strikes;
  • rotating or revolving strikes (i.e. strikes which occur when workers at different locations take turns to stop work);
  • unofficial strikes;
  • work stoppages initiated by employers (e.g. lockouts).

Excluded from the scope of the collection are work-to-rules, go-slows and bans (eg. overtime bans).

Also excluded are effects of disputes on locations other than where the stoppages occurred, such as stand downs because of lack of materials, disruption of transport services and power cuts.

Knowing the categories and definitions is useful to understanding what’s going on for employers.

Highest Number of Working Days Lost To Industrial Action Since 2004

Now let’s turn our attention to what’s actually happening in the bigger picture.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald which reviewed the recent ABS data release:

“The highest number of working days lost to industrial action since June 2004 was recorded in the June 2012 quarter.

A total of 101,700 working days were lost in April, May and June – almost three times more than in the March quarter.

They involved 70,000 employees in 53 disputes.

In the 12 months to June, the number of disputes dropped by one from the previous year, but almost double the number of working days were lost.”

A Golden Oldy From The Union Movement

Finally, as mentioned above, this investigation into Australian strike activity led us to a golden oldy from an old union campaign.

Enjoy . . .

Warning: A rude word makes an appearance during the video.

Share/Like This

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Top 10 Interview Questions With Answers – Q2

Employers often ask us at HRwisdom for good interview questions to select good candidates.

We have gone one better.

Robert WatsonThanks to long time HRwisdom Community contributor, Robert Watson, we have come up with a Top 10 List of Interview Questions to ask at job interviews.

However, rather than just give you some excellent questions to ask, Robert also gives you the type of answer you want to hear back from your ideal candidate.

And believe us when we say that Robert knows what he is talking about.

Although he started out as an engineer and quality systems expert, Robert also had many years in the HR field perfecting recruitment & selection systems for a variety of businesses.

Robert even did extensive travel overseas for the express purpose of studying world’s best practice for establishing greenfields (brand new) business operations in Australia – this included how to hire people for their skills, knowledge and attributes (and not just the stuff listed on their CVs).

Download the free HRwisdom Employee Attraction & Retention Guide Now

So far we’ve seen:

  1. Good Interview Question 1

Let’s look at the second question . . .

 

Good Interview Question 2

Q2. How did you know how well the business was going?

Good Interview Questions from www.HRwisdom.com.au For the average employee, they really don’t know how the business is going and they really don’t care.

Most people are just focused on their job. They turn up everyday. They do what they have to do and they are eager to leave at the end of the day and they look forward to the weekend.

That’s the average sort of employee out there.

But it’s in your interest to look out for candidates and put new employees on who have a little bit more a sense of how the business is going.

 

Preferred Interview Answer – What You Want Hear

So, when you ask this question, I would reckon that half of the candidates will just shrug their shoulders.

Most of the rest of them will go “Once a year or every six months, the boss used to tell us how the business is going” something like that.

However, there’ll be a low number of candidates, probably one in twenty, who will say things like “Well, I looked at how the price was going on the stock exchange,” for instance, or “Every six months, the boss sits down with us and shares his graphs on how sales have been going and I notice that within the last quarter, the sales have been going down as has the general economy” and things like that.

So you need to keep an ear open for those candidates who express some interest in how the business is going and how it might connect in with the community.

 

Want More Good Interview Questions Right Now?

Stay tuned for the next question in our Top 10 Interview Questions With Answers series.

  • Can’t wait to see the rest of the questions and answers?
  • Like to know Robert’s thinking behind these questions and how they fit into the overall interview process?

You can download the full document via our HRwisdom Facebook page right now.

Just sign-in or join using the Free HR Resources tab – it’s free and available now at: www.Facebook.com/HRwisdom

By the way, we’d love it if you Like, Share or Tweet this blog post.

HRwisdom

Top 10 Interview Questions With Answers – Q1

Employers often ask us at HRwisdom for good interview questions to select good candidates.

We have gone one better.

Robert WatsonThanks to long time HRwisdom Community contributor, Robert Watson, we have come up with a Top 10 List of Interview Questions to ask at job interviews.

However, rather than just give you some excellent questions to ask, Robert also gives you the type of answer you want to hear back from your ideal candidate.

And believe us when we say that Robert knows what he is talking about.

Although he started out as an engineer and quality systems expert, Robert also had many years in the HR field perfecting recruitment & selection systems for a variety of businesses.

Robert even did extensive travel overseas for the express purpose of studying world’s best practice for establishing greenfields (brand new) business operations in Australia – this included how to hire people for their skills, knowledge and attributes (and not just the stuff listed on their CVs).

Let’s look at the first question . . .

 

Good Interview Question 1

Q1. Tell us about the previous job that you had, and how you fitted in with the business.

ThGood Interview Questions from www.HRwisdom.com.auis question has two parts to it.

The first part, which asks them about their previous job, is really designed just to relax the candidate it gets them talking about themselves and what they did so it’s familiar territory and helps to settle their nerves.

But it’s really the second part which will help you to identify the candidates who have a little bit more edge to them in terms of business acumen.

 

Preferred Interview Answer – What You Want Hear

So, when you ask this question, I’m suggesting that you ask it just a full question, not in two parts and just listen to what they say.

Some candidates will tell you about their current job and you’ll hear in the answer that they give how they relate to the business as a whole and customers in particular.

If they have a sense of business, they will just sort of weave in to their answer how they connected in with the person up the line who was giving them information that they needed to use, how they may have interacted face to face with the customer, or over the telephone for instance or if they’re a bit more remote and they’re just filling an order, they might talk to you about products and how people might use those products in their daily lives and again, if they’re in a production-type situation or supply-chain situation, they might also talk about the next person down the chain.

Candidates or employees who have that sense of who comes before me, where do I fit in the organisation and who’s the next person along, they have a much better sense of business so an advantage to you is when you come along to announce major plans or cut backs because of difficult times or a new strategy or something like that, these types of people will fit in easily because they understand the connection between one part of the business and the other.

I don’t mean that they have to give you university-type answers. I just mean that they need to pepper their answer with things like customer in need of this or they needed this urgently or they need it tomorrow or there was a particular problem when they returned such and such to me. So keep your ears open for those sorts of things.

 

Want More Good Interview Questions Right Now?

Stay tuned for the next question in our Top 10 Interview Questions With Answers series.

  • Can’t wait to see the rest of the questions and answers?
  • Like to know Robert’s thinking behind these questions and how they fit into the overall interview process?

You can download the full document via our HRwisdom Facebook page right now.

Just sign-in or join using the Free HR Resources tab – it’s free and available now at: www.Facebook.com/HRwisdom

By the way, we’d love it if you Like, Share or Tweet this blog post.

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Welcome To The HRwisdom Blog

Welcome to the HRwisdom Blog (series 2).

This is the second series in the widely-read HRwisdom Blog.

The first series of the HRwisdom Blog commenced in 2009 and covered a wide range of Human Resources/staff management topics.

Due to the major growth of the HRwisdom Community, we have recently been moving much of the HRwisdom infrastructure to a new system and server arrangement.

That’s IT talk for “we’ll have all the great HR information and resources back and freely available for you soon.”

In the meantime, do continue to follow HRwisdom here on the Blog (use the little RSS logo up in the top right-hand corner) and on Twitter and Facebook.

Make sure you are on the main HRwisdom Community list via the form (look over to the right) because that’s the first port of call for all our excellent free resources and information.

Kind regards,

The HRwisdom Team

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