Author: HRwisdom (page 7 of 11)

Managing Generation Y In The Workplace

Managing Generation Y In The Workplace

Today’s HRwisdom Blog looks at managing Gen Y staff and comes thanks to HRwisdom expert contributor, Robert Watson.

Over to Robert . . .

Weekend papers regularly feature stories about “Generation Y” – the group of people born between about 1979 and 1999.

Managing Generation Y In The WorkplaceOnce a group attains a label, it follows that writers compile the quirkiest features of that group and turn it into literary entertainment.

However, being a business manager you have probably seen some of these people applying for jobs and perhaps you have even employed some and noticed that they are somehow “different” to your regular workers.

So, it will help employers if they can have an understanding of the characteristics of Gen Y.

Gen Y are commonly described as:

  • Very confident of themselves
  • Impatient
  • Quick to learn
  • Positive about the future, and
  • Spending significant amounts of time socialising using computers and mobile phones (and you thought they were wasting time!).

What if you are recruiting Gen Y people?

Unlike their parents, Gen Y don’t look in the newspaper waiting for job vacancies to appear each Saturday. No, they actively use search engines on the internet to spot advertisements and have them automatically sent by RSS feed to their mobile phones. Gen Y can literally send in their CV one minute after the job ad has been posted.

As an employer, you should be using the internet as your primary method of advertising vacancies.

Having said that, it can be smart to use a two-pronged approach.

First, place a small newspaper ad which shows your company name (brand), the job title, a reference to the more comprehensive internet ad and just enough words to excite Mum and Dad into telling their son or daughter.

Second, your internet ad (or website) should contain details to excite the potential Gen Y applicant:

  • Use fresh and bright colour so that your vacancy looks different from the bland text-only ads
  • Show photos or a video of your existing employees smiling at work (an informal but free method of recognising your best employees!)
  • Talk about growth and exciting future developments because Gen Ys want to see that your business is not stagnant
  • Mention technology where appropriate, and
  • You still need a basic description of what the work entails, remembering, however, Gen Y will be wanting to see if your workplace looks like an interesting and fun place to be. As an example, do school kids join fast food outlets because they want to cook 1000 burger patties in a shift? No! They join because they want to be part of a fun-loving team of young people.

What if your business already has Gen Ys?

With Gen Y, be aware that their loyalty to anything is often fragile. If they don’t like your workplace, they will leave and then start looking for other work (although we’ll wait and see what impact the global financial downturn has upon this characteristic). In contrast, the older generations would hang on in a lousy job until they had secured another job.

To a large extent, you need to entertain the Gen Ys, and there is a way to do this which will tap into their impatience and their need for fast-paced learning.

Consider setting up a Learning Log which is a plan of all the topics needed to be mastered before a person can be considered for the next position. Although the topics might be broad, the individual sub-topics will be small and very quick to learn. Training policies help plan for such learning.

An Example: A Supermarket Business

Level 1 Check-Out Operation

  • Opening the register
  • Greeting the customer
  • Operating the conveyor, scanning and packing bags
  • Transactions – Cash, Credit cards, EFT, Cheque
  • Failed scans and Sale items
  • Shutdown and Balancing the till

Level 2 Front End Supervision

  • All aspects of Check-Out Operation, plus
  • Accessing the safe
  • Handling returns
  • Responsible sale of cigarettes
  • Dealing with abusive customers
  • Confronting suspected shoplifters
  • Emergency evacuation drill coordination
  • Rostering of staff.

In the past, a business might train all of these things in a single four hour session of mostly theory.

However, with Gen Y you would use a staged approach, with separate lessons over a period of time. Each mini-lesson would have a small amount of theory, then a walk-through of the appropriate Standard Operating Procedure and, finally, an appropriate number of hours doing the activity under the watchful eye of your most experienced supervisor.

Short, sharp lessons building up towards the end point makes for a program which engages the Gen Y employee.

The Bottom Line:

Rather than shaking your head in frustration at Gen Ys, your challenge is to tap into their many strengths so that your business can ride the fast wave into the future.


Free Information Sessions On Workplace Law For Employers

HRwisdom will soon be rolling out free information sessions on workplace law for employers on a variety of employment law topics. Click to tweet this to your colleagues.

Update On Workplace Law For Employers

UPDATE: The webinars are now here: Free Employment Law Webinars



For a short time only, you will be able to tell us which topics you would like our guest experts to discuss.

To request a particular topic or vote on the broad topics below, please click here.

When the free employer briefings are ready, we will let you know by email.

So, make sure you have used the form over on the right to keep informed.

  • Unfair DismissalFree Information On Workplace Law For Employers
  • Managing Redundancies
  • Adverse Actions Claims
  • Enterprise Agreements
  • Contracts of Employment
  • Organisational Restructuring
  • Divestments. & Acquisitions
  • Workplace Health & Safety
  • Workers Compensation
  • Trade Unions
  • Managing Underperformers
  • Modern Awards
  • Employment Law For Small Business
  • Employment Law For The Public Sector

Employment Law Advice Video


Just For Fun – How To Welcome New Staff From Overseas

At HRwisdom, we talk a lot about being proactive and taking positive steps to ensure a motivated and high-performing workforce.

How To Welcome New Staff From OverseasToday, just for fun, we’re sharing one option you may wish to consider.

No doubt about it – this method is guaranteed to ensure you have sky high employee engagement levels – it just might take a little more planning (and rehearsing) than usual.

If you do any international recruitment and you’re worried about employee turnover and the associated costs . . .

This is one fun example of how to welcome new staff from overseas.

Remember to share it with friends and colleagues.

Video On How To Welcome New Staff From Overseas

Feel free to share this.



Watch This Powerful HR Video Presentation On How Great Leaders Inspire Others To Take Action

Today the HRwisdom Blog is sharing with you a powerful HR video that should serve to inspire you and any person leading people in any type of organisation.

How Great Leaders Inspire OthersWhen describing how great leaders inspire others to take action, the speaker shares such legendary examples as Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers.

By the way, we have a lot more excellent management information to share with you.

Make sure you are part of the HRwisdom Community (it’s free).

Just use the form over on the right below to get started.

Then watch the video presentation.

Remember to share this on Twitter and Facebook.


Download End Of Probation Letter (Unsuccessful) Template

At HRwisdom, we always recommend being proactive and having standard employment contracts, employee letters and Human Resources policies and procedures ready so that you can manage your staff properly in the eyes of the law.

End Of Probation LetterWe also know that managing staff can take up so much of your time.

So, HRwisdom has made things a little easier for you:

We have found for you a free download of an End of Probation Letter template to be used for an unsatisfactory employee.

You can download this unsatisfactory employment probation letter template for free. (Click here to Tweet this free download) More on this below.

We have also discovered a paid service which gives you all the staff management policy and procedure templates you need. To learn more, click here.

Due to the complexity and ever-changing nature of workplace law in Australia, HRwisdom often draws upon legal experts to provide high quality workplace relations advice through the HRwisdom Blog and through other methods.

You are encouraged to take good advantage of the resources shared on this site and to always be proactive when it comes to staff-management in general.

End of Probation Letter Template For Unsuccessful Employees

Just download the template, just login using your normal email address (no password required).


Measuring Staff Performance – Take Out The Hassle

There is often a lot of discussion within businesses about the best methods of measuring staff performance.

The ability to develop and maintain a high-performing workforce is key to success, or even survival during economic hard times.

Measuring Staff PerformanceToday, we turn to expert HRwisdom contributor Leon Noone for some excellent advice on staff motivation.

Leon established his management consulting business in 1978. His core business is helping managers in small-medium business to improve the day to day job performance of their staff.

Leon offers you his usual straight-talking advice on how to take the hassle out of measuring staff performance.

Over to Leon . . .

Practical Performance Appraisal: Measuring Staff Performance Successfully Without Filling Out Forms

The term “performance appraisal” usually means filling out forms, reviewing employees’ work, a formal interview and planning development or remedial activities. And it’s often a hassle. It shouldn’t mean any of that.

Performance not Politeness

Formal performance appraisal systems often ask managers to comment or rate all sorts of things.

Some of these are not only difficult to judge, but have little or nothing to do with performance: demeanour, presentation, co-operation, initiative, attitude, to mention a few.

Make sure your performance appraisal is about performance – the results that the employee achieves on the job.

Performance and Behaviour

I’ve read lots of definitions of these words. The best I’ve found is this: “Performance is what you leave behind. Behaviour is what you take with you.” (Tweet this quote now)

Managers often allow employee behaviour to interfere with evaluation of their performance. When this happens, “good” behaviour often masks poor performance and “poor” behaviour overrides good performance.

A large international company once sought my advice about the behaviour of their leading salesperson.

This person had averaged more than 30% over sales budget for 3 years. But his paperwork was poor.

The company was seriously considering “letting him go” due to the poor paperwork.

I suggested that they employ someone to keep his paperwork up to date and give him more time in the field where his performance showed that he clearly excelled.

Clear Performance Standards

To measure performance you must have clear measurable performance standards.

If you don’t tell your employees exactly what performance you expect, how can you measure whether they provides it? That’s the purpose of performance standards.

You Get What You Expect

Expect the best.

Explain to employees exactly what you mean by “best” and how you’ll measure it.

Create systems to enable them to attain “best”. Do that and you’ll probably get “best” or close to it.

Fail to do it and you’ll be lucky to get third best. That’s what employees will believe you expect.

The best thing a manager can do for employees is to put systems in place that make it impossible for them to fail.

Appraisal Daily

You should be measuring employee performance at least weekly and preferably daily.

This is simple, precise and fast when you have clear, measurable performance standards.

If your standards are clear enough and your systems are sound enough, your employees will know how well they’re doing long before you do. They will measure their own performance through the system. And you’ll know too.

Stay Informed and Prepared

Good systems and clear performance standards are the cornerstones of superior staff performance.

With these in place, you’ll have ready access to the information you need to decide “how well they’re doing”.

And so will employees.

If you want to have a formal interview with an employee, you’ll have plenty of time and be well prepared.

Abandon The Appraisal Form

Filling out an elaborate form once every six or twelve months is nothing more than a bureaucratic construct created by HR specialists more interested in bureaucracy niceties than measuring performance. (Tweet this quote now)

It also requires managers to review work over an almost impossibly long time.

There’s no need for it. Stop doing it.

Use Performance Standards and Systems Instead

Today’s technology means both manager and employee can tell how well the employee is performing monthly, weekly, even daily.

Make employees responsible for measuring their own performance.

You shouldn’t have to wait six or twelve months to find out.


There’s no need to complete a form in order to undertake a successful performance appraisal.

In fact, filling in elaborate appraisal forms is likely to hinder rather than help successful appraisal.

Make employee performance a daily concern.

And expect the best.

How To Measure Staff Performance

Thanks to Leon for his excellent advice on how to get the best out of your employees. Such advice is well-timed as businesses face trying times as the economy continues to suffer.

We encourage you take action on Leon’s advice.

Remember, you can learn more about Leon and his excellent HR services by visiting his website here: Leon Noone.

Finally, as always, we welcome you to share this HRwisdom Blog post with your friends and colleagues.


New HR Infographic On The Right Way To Create Employment Contracts

Recently, here on the HRwisdom Facebook Page, we shared a new HR infographic explaining the right way to create employment contracts.

The new HR infographic explains the key elements to ensuring that you have a good employment contract development process in place. Tweet This Infographic New HR Infographic - How To Create Employment Contracts

The picture quickly outlines aspects such as:

  • Drafting your employment contract.
  • Understanding minimum entitlements.
  • Legal advice on social media and other tricky areas.
  • How to explain the contract to your new employee.
  • The employee contract review process.
  • Documenting the agreement.

The diagram is a very handy guide for any organisation trying to ensure that there are no hiring contract issues down the track.

Interested? Jump over to the HRwisdom Facebook Page now to see the new HR infographic.

For more workforce management information, watch the following HR video:

Local Workplace Law Advice For Employers



The Main Workforce Management Mistake Made During A Slowdown

When times get tough, there’s one big workforce management mistake that tends to get made by many businesses . . .

Employee engagement falls off the radar.

The Forgotten Case For Employee Engagement

It depends on who you talk to, of course, but most HR-minded folk would agree that there is a fairly strong business case in favour of increasing employee engagement.

After all, here’s what the hugely influential Gallup organisation had to say about employee engagement as part of their ongoing assessment in which they interviewed more than 3 million employees since 1997:

Employee Engagement“Engaged employees are clearly more valuable to your company than disenchanted ones. Great managers and leaders know this instinctively, and The Gallup Organization’s latest research into employee engagement levels among the U.S. workforce confirms it. In fact, according to Gallup’s calculations, actively disengaged employees – the least productive – cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity.”

At an individual employee level, Gallup calculated that each disengaged employee costs businesses approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 paid in salary. Click to tweet

In contrast, Gallup suggested that engaged employees were far more productive and profitable due to their very strong customer focus and heightened sense of self-accountability. These types of employees were also noted as being stayers – their average tenure within organisations is longer and so they continue to contribute to economic grow over the long term.

In an economic downturn, this sort of real data and positive reviews would reasonably be expected to lead all organisations to eke out maximum business performance by further encouraging employee engagement efforts.

However, we continue to see industry surveys and reports that show that many employees are either dissatisfied or actively disengaged in their work.

In Australia, a recent large-scale workforce survey conduct by Insync found that just over half of all people voluntarily leaving their employers were doing so due to disengagement. Click to tweet

A Focus On Survival

The most likely reason for a company’s loss of focus in this vital area is the simple need for survival.

In tough economic times, many organisations will focus all their energy on purely operational matters.

Some short-sighted companies have seen the economic downturn as an opportunity to get rid of the ‘dead wood’ but such an approach is rarely done with longer term consequences in mind.

Jack Welch became known for his tough approach to performance management and firing but he was careful to combine this with a very strong focus on employee engagement for those who remained.

Organisations that lose sight of the needs and expectations of their workforce at any time place the future in jeopardy.

This is especially true in hard times.

Indeed, our friends over in the UK recognised this fact with a report commissioned by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills arguing that: “wider delivery of employee engagement could have a positive impact on UK competitiveness and performance both during the downturn and in powering through to recovery.”

How To Benefit From A Recession

A time of recession or low growth is exactly the right time to be maximising the performance and discretionary efforts of the workforce.

Any person who thinks that an economic downturn is no time for achieving businesses management excellence should keep in mind the findings from the well-known Kauffman Foundation study of a few years ago. The study revealed that just under half of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies and 57% of the Fortune 500 companies had been founded during a recession or bear market. Click to tweet This included many companies that value and encourage discretionary effort and staff motivation such as Sears, General Electric, 3M, Ford, Boeing, State Farm Insurance, and Delta Air Lines.

Tough trading conditions are no excuse to drop the ball by not seeking maximum levels of staff motivation. In fact, they offer proactive businesses a competitive advantage.


HR Video On The Benefits Of Building A Diverse Workforce

Today HRwisdom is sharing an HR video on the benefits of building a diverse workforce.

Diverse WorkforceWith an ageing population, skills shortages of the past will return but with greater intensity.

Many business managers and human resources professionals will recall the great difficulties involved in recruiting during the last economic boom.

Small business owners regularly complained about being squeezed out of the labour market by a shortage of suitable staff that they could reasonably afford to hire.

One of the ways that the Federal Government is trying to address this issue is to encourage employers to become more open in their recruitment search and to take on a more varied work group.

One particular video highlights the fact that there are significant productivity and cost benefits involved with hiring a more diverse workforce. Tweet this fact

The video is a case study which looks at the advantages that hiring a diverse labour force can bring for Australian businesses. David Miao from Woolworths and Dominic Calabro from Catholic Homes discuss the topc and share their experiences.

Some of the discussion you’ll hear includes:

“Some employers think that people with disability and older workers will be less productive than co-workers but in fact, they take less sick days and have been rated higher in productivity, flexibility and attendance.”

“Some employers think that diversity won’t fit into their workplace with their customers, but in fact, diverse workforces have a positive influence on workplace culture and can increase customer loyalty.”

“Some employers think that people with disability and mature age workers will be more prone to accidents. In fact, the opposite is true.”

“In effect, the numbers don’t stack up. We’ve got an ageing workforce. We’re employing a more diverse workforce, yet our incidents WorkCover claims have continued to decrease.”

“Employers can be concerned that they don’t have the time or money to diversify their workforce, but in fact, employers may be eligible for a range of support from the Australian Government.”

Let’s hear some of the thoughts shared on the video . . .

HR Video on Building A Diverse Workforce

As always, feel free to share this with your colleagues.


Do You Agree That Australia’s Employment System Needs This Change?

A recent edition of The Australian newspaper led with a strong call for change to Australia’s employment system.

Australia's Employment SystemThe editorial was up-front and very clear in its argument that the workplace relations system was unwieldy, complex, and very costly in a variety of ways.

As part of its case, the newspaper quoted a study which found that four out of five employers felt the current labour laws had made business more difficult.

Here’s a brief extract of the editorial – we wonder what you think?

Here’s something for politicians to think about on the beach. Who is benefiting from Australia’s inflexible industrial relations system? Not the young workers and other casual staff missing out on shifts in shops, hot bread kitchens and cafes across the suburbs and even in tourist areas. Not their employers who find it more economical to close over the holiday season than pay the prescribed $40, $50 or more an hour. And not the customers paying more in the outlets that are open.

For five years, Julia Gillard’s Fair Work system has unwound 20 years of hard-won industrial relations reforms achieved primarily by the Howard government, but also by the Hawke-Keating governments, that encouraged decentralisation and insisted on workplace efficiencies in return for wage rises.

For the sake of prosperity over the next 20 years, especially in the slower sectors of the two-speed economy such as retail, tourism and manufacturing, both sides of politics must focus in the new year on more productive workplace relations.

The editorial then moved on to describe the expected consequences of not making changes to the national industrial relations system:

Youth unemployment in parts of Australia is already close to 20 per cent and will worsen as the economy slows. Tweet this statistic

As reported yesterday, a survey of 562 small and medium-sized businesses in NSW, Victoria and Queensland found that four out of five employers said the current labour laws had made business more difficult because of the compliance costs and complexity associated with the Fair Work Act (tweet this statistic) and the modern award system. One respondent to the survey, Mudgee-based earthmoving business Kodiak, spent $30,000 on legal fees to negotiate the intricacies of the act to strike an enterprise bargaining agreement with drivers and equipment operators. Tweet this statistic

Nor has Fair Work ushered in the harmony promised by Labor. Strikes in the construction industry, as well as in state public services, pushed the number of working days lost in the September quarter to their highest level in eight years. Tweet this statistic

The newspaper editorial continued with further such arguments and there was no sitting on the fence. It’s worth a read.

In an election year, we can be sure that Australia’s employment system will be up for a lot more intense scrutiny and debate.

We’ll keep you posted . . .


Older posts Newer posts