How to impress the cr*p out of potential employees

Employee Working | HR Consultant | The People & Culture Office

34% of Australian employers say they can’t find the talent they need, 43% of medium sized employers (50 – 250 employees) say they have trouble filling vacancies while 32% of small employers report the same. Every industry is impacted, from manufacturing to mining, transport to trade, employers can’t find the people they need with the right blend of technical skills and human strengths. Keeping pace in the changing environment  demands faster, more targeted talent management than ever before.

The leading cause of being unable to fill positions, according to a recent survey of Australian businesses, is a lack of applicants. The secret to attracting high-quality applicants is differentiating yourself from the competition, and showing top talent how joining your company will be a great career move, so how can you impress the cr*p out of potential employees?

Put your people first

When you truly care for your employees, they’ll care for one another, your customers and the community. Go beyond amazing benefits. Foster a workplace that thrives on trust and respect for everyone — and protect that culture every day. Word will get out. Your people will talk, and they’ll refer like-minded, talented people who believe in your culture and your mission.

When it comes to attraction & retention culture is king

Identify what sets you apart from the competition and shout it from the rooftops

This is not a piece of marketing spin; this is your elevator pitch to potential employees. What are you going to do for me that I can’t get from every generic employer in the industry? Just as an organisation has a brand for the external market, there needs to be an employer brand that can effectively communicate the employee experience, this is your value proposition when you can define your purpose, values & point of difference for candidates they will be motivated to apply. Employers unable, or, unwilling to do this will need to be prepared to pay a premium with benefits, wages or other perks. An environment of skills shortage can drive up wages and turnover, employers need to understand that candidates are consumers too; in order to attract and engage the best and brightest, they need to offer something tangible and appealing.


Know your target market

Recruitment is a sales pitch for your organisation, just as with taking your product to market, you need to do some market research. Have a good grasp of skills your candidate needs (and what are the compromises eg: are you willing to take on someone with less work experience but a tonne of potential?), the age demographic you are likely, or seeking to attract and where to find them. Let’s say you are looking for a tradesperson with a few years of time up their sleeve, 90% of your candidates are going to be early 20’s – mid 30’s. Don’t waste time advertising in the paper, this isn’t where this generation seeks out information. Advertise on seek, your website & Facebook, if you aren’t online then GET ONLINE! Facebook has been around for over 10 years, the internet has been a mainstay in Australian households since the early 2000’s, not being computer savvy enough is no longer an excuse. Advertise your workplace culture and ensure any advertising & web content echo’s your candidates skills, needs and attitudes as it relates to your employer brand.

Understand the candidate experience

You can have nice shiny offices, the newest technology, expertly written job ad’s and pay in the 75th percentile for your industry but if you treat candidates & employees poorly all the work you are putting in will be in vain. I’ve written about the ways in which employers turn candidates off here and here. Your organisation’s reputation permeates candidate decisions. The candidate experience is a continuum that begins prior to the candidate contemplating a role with your organisation (brand awareness) and extends well beyond the time they may leave. Understand your organisations turnover and put strategies in place to counteract the negatives.

If they don’t exist, create them

You don’t always have to bring in new, skilled staff.  Instead, you could focus on nurturing your current employees with training and possibly even offering subsidised higher education or apprenticeship opportunities.

The obvious advantage is that you’ll already know the staff member, their work ethic, commitment and skills, but offering progression will also work wonders for your employer brand. Employees want to know they’ve got somewhere to go and potential employees want to see that you are an organisation that invests in top talent.

Be authentic

Don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Be honest about the realities of the role, it’s critical the candidate knows exactly what he or she is walking into and can make a smart decision about the future. The only way to know if it is a fit is for both parties to have open eyes and clarity.

Based in Kalgoorlie, The People & Culture Office is an independent HR Consultant who can partner with you to offer a one stop HR solution, we only charge you for the work we perform; no contracts, no annual or monthly fees, just quality service. Click here to learn more






Why outsource your HR function

HR | Kalgoorlie | The People & Culture Office

More than just hiring & firing, HR is an integral component of any business looking to succeed. Human Resources is the function in an organisation that manages all employees and ensures maximum engagement & productivity, as well as make sure the company is protected from any issues that may arise from the workforce.

There’s no denying that HR focus has dramatically changed in recent years. In the not so distant past, HR was primarily an admin function, the dreaded “fun police” when it came to workplace policies or it was a task lumped in with Payroll.

But today’s astute business leaders understand in order to succeed in today’s (and the futures) business environment they need to move their HR function away from focussing on personnel management and administrative tasks, and direct their focus towards managing employee engagement and strengthening workplace culture. Smart business owners see the benefits in ensuring their employees are happy and as a result will continue to stick around for the foreseeable future.

By outsourcing your human resource operations you can improve compliance, save money & attract the best talent. The People & Culture Office can offer your business long term support so you can focus on achieving business success. We are on hand to support all businesses, wherever you may be.   

No annual fee’s                  No contracts                  Just quality service



How will the recent casual employment changes affect you?


Throughout 2017 Fair Work undertook its 4 yearly review into Modern Awards, one of the major changes implemented which will affect 80+ Awards was the changes made to a casual employees right to request conversion to permanent employment. A full list of affected Awards can be found here.

These changes only affect business operating under the Federal system of employment, if you are a Sole Trader eg: Jane Smith T/as Janes Cafe, an unincorporated partnership eg: Jane & Bob Smith T/as Janes Cafe or an unincorporated trust eg: Jane and Bob Smith as trustee for Janes Cafe you fall under the WA Industrial Relations Commission. The majority of employees in Australia fall under the Federal system which covers all constitutional corporations or in layman’s terms it is any business with “Ltd” or “Pty Ltd” after its name. All other states in Australia have referred their industrial relations powers to the Federal system but Western Australia being Western Australia has chosen to keep the State based system.

The clause which became effective on 1 October 2018 provides eligible casual employees with the right to request that their employment is converted to full-time or part-time employment (Conversion Request). This is not a strict right to convert to permanent employment. However, an employer’s grounds for refusing the request are limited and can be subject to challenge (see below).

Casuals will be eligible to make a Conversion Request if, in the preceding 12 months, the casual employee has worked a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis that, without significant adjustment, the casual employee could continue to perform as a full-time or part-time employee.

If an eligible casual makes a Conversion Request, and the employer agrees to the request, the employee converts to permanent employment. In WA the Long Service Leave Act recognises periods of casual service towards “Years of Service” as does Federal legislation for the entitlement for Parental Leave and Unfair Dismissal applications if the following clauses are satisfied;

  • the casual employee was employed on a regular and systematic basis, and
  • the casual employee had a reasonable expectation of ongoing employment on a regular and systematic basis.

Employers can refuse a Conversion Request, however, such refusal must only occur:

  • after the employer has consulted with the employee
  • on the basis of ‘reasonable grounds’. A non-exhaustive list of reasonable grounds for refusal are set out in the model term, and include circumstances where conversion to permanent employment would require a significant adjustment of the employee’s hours of work or where it is known or foreseeable that in the next 12 months there will be changes to the hours of work, days and/ or times an employee works or where the employee’s position will cease to exist in 12 months.

Employers must provide the employee with the employer’s reasons for refusal in writing and within 21 days of the request being made.

Employers should be aware that if an employee disagrees with the decision to refuse the request, the employee may make an application for the dispute to be heard by the FWC.

Employers must notify casual employees of their right to request to convert by providing a copy of the applicable casual conversion clause to all casual employees (not just regular casuals employees) covered by a modern award containing the model casual conversion clause:

  • by 1 January 2019, if the employee is already employed as at 1 October 2018; or
  • within the first 12 months of the employee’s first engagement to perform work, if the employee is first engaged any time after 1 October 2018.

I recommend employers with casuals ensure sufficient procedures are in place to monitor employees anniversary dates and comprehensive records are kept on file in relation to any communication in regards to casual conversion.  Additionally employers should review & monitor rosters and hours of work of long terms casuals to determine if they are still in fact casuals as determined by the applicable Award. A recent Full Court of the Federal Court decision found that a ‘fly-in, fly-out’ worker was not a casual employee despite being employed as one. Accordingly, the employee was entitled to annual leave; a benefit not otherwise available to casuals.

Based in Kalgoorlie, The People & Culture Office is an independent HR Consultant who can partner with you to offer a one stop HR solution, we only charge you for the work we perform; no contracts, no annual or monthly fees, just quality service. Click here to learn more



When you just don’t like your co-workers

HR Consultant | The People & Culture Office

You spend a large chunk of your life at work and usually it’s spent with people that normally, you wouldn’t willingly hang out with. Unless you want to be miserable at work, or get fired, you need to find away to work around it. You don’t need to like the people you work with, but you do need to be professional.

The most common reason cited by employees for not liking co-workers relates to the employee in question exhibiting, to some degree, challenging behaviours. I wrote about the impact challenging employees have on business here. Some of the most common challenging, or toxic behaviours found in the workplace are;

The Hot Mess

Incompetent, unreliable & erratic, The Hot Mess can kill productivity for the whole team.  Whether they just don’t know how to do their job, or just don’t want to, they bring everyone down with them. Fun fact – Studies have shown low performing employees to be the most happiest in the team & often rate their workplaces as a great place to work. Ahhh ignorance is bliss.

The Slacker

We’ve all worked with one, finding a way to get out of work is a full time job for The Slacker. Like The Hot Mess they are a major drain on everyones time and enthusiasm and don’t really seem to care what others think of them. If they can find away to get out of something they will.

The Martyr

The complete opposite of The Slacker but The Martyr comes with its own set of problems,  not just a hard worker, they generally insist on doing everything themselves and aren’t shy about letting everyone know either. The Martyr is a control freak that creates unrest in the workplace, undermines the confidence of team members and is “that person” who comes to work when sick and spreads there germs around. Life Pro Tip if you do this – no job & no employee is that important,  all you are doing is infecting your co-workers and reducing productivity even further, just stay home kids.

The Socialite

Funny, entertaining and everyone’s best friend, The Socialite treats everyday at work as though it’s their own private party or stage for the day. For The Socialite, gossip & chatting are always the core component of the day, and while having some fun at work is must, The Socialite has a hard time distinguishing between what’s appropriate and what isn’t. Perhaps in what can be a bit of a dark side to The Socialite, they can be very charming, often blinding & manipulating management and colleagues to their poor behaviour.

The Sociopath

An employee with sociopathic tendencies leave a trail of destruction where ever they go, they poison the atmosphere and create a hostile environment for everyone else. Just 1 destructive employee can wreck the morale for the entire team, if placed in a customer facing role they can cause serious damage to your reputation & bottom line.

Karen Gately, the author of The People Managers Toolkit gives the following strategies on how to deal with coworkers you just don’t like;

Choose your attitude

The key to getting along with anyone lies in your ability to choose your attitude.  Of course, their attitude matters also, but the reality is you can’t control other people.  Focus on what you can control; that is your own thoughts, emotions and behaviour.

So many of us waste energy thinking and talking about people we don’t like.  How often do you replay annoying events or conversations in your mind?  Do you ‘roleplay’ scenarios in your mind about the conversations you intend to have with some people? Do you imagine yourself winning an argument with your nemesis? Do you allow your emotions to build as you invest in the drama unfolding in your mind?

We all have the power to choose the thoughts and emotions we invest in.  The ability for anyone to offend us or drain our spirit entirely depends on our response.

Pick your battles

While of course it matters to stand up for ourselves when being mistreated, in many circumstance we can simply choose to ignore the things that otherwise upset us.  We have the choice to simply walk away and disengage rather than wade into an argument.  We can choose to let thoughtless comments or unintentionally offensive remarks ‘go through to the keeper’.  Choosing for example to see someone’s words as ill-considered is healthier for our relationship with them, than assuming their actions are malicious.

Judge carefully

Ask yourself if you are being unfairly judgmental.  Sometimes the actions we see as wrong are simply different to the way we would approach things. Reflect on why you don’t like the person and challenge any unfounded assumptions or unconscious biases you may have.   For example, the woman you perceive as being attention seeking, may be simply talkative and unaware that her enthusiast sharing of stories about her life is coming across as insufferable self-indulgence.

Build bridges

Look for ways in which you can build trust, respect and rapport. Common interests are a safe place to start.  Find out things about the person you find interesting or respect.  This can be particularly challenging with some people, but appreciate the good that can be found in most people and give credit where it is due.

Rapport can be built by finding common ground as well as by being empathetic.  However, it’s important to understand that most rapport-building happens without words and through non-verbal communication channels.  People build rapport subconsciously through non-verbal signals, including eye contact, facial expressions, body positioning and tone of voice.

Based in Kalgoorlie, The People & Culture Office is an independent HR Consultant who can partner with you to offer a one stop HR solution, we only charge you for the work we perform; no contracts, no annual or monthly fees, just quality service. Click here to learn more


Recruitment is an art

Design 18

The art of recruiting is a process which includes analysing the requirements of a job, attracting qualified candidates to apply for that job, screening and selecting the best possible applicants, hiring, and integrating (early-on) the new employee to the organisation. It’s the right person, in the right job at the right time.

The People & Culture Office can assist with all recruitment functions to ensure your recruitment strategy and processes enable you to source employees that not only possess the right skills and qualifications, but are the best cultural fit for your organisation.

With 14 years recruitment experience in local government, mining; including new mine start up, and the not – for – profit sectors The People & Culture Office can assist with attracting only the best quality candidates for your business. 

From bulk recruitment for new project start-ups to ad-hoc recruitment, our professional approach will sell the best possible image for your organisation and set you apart from the competition

Click here to find out more.




Small & medium enterprises have the highest rate of employee resignations


A recent survey from the Australian Institute of Management (AIM) finds that small & medium enterprises across Australia have the highest rates of resignation from employees. AIM surveyed more than 500 organisations across Australia covering 270 job roles and 25,000 employees.

The average rate of employee turnover in Australia is 15%, employee turnover is costly, with reports of increased stress, reduced staff morale and loss of corporate intelligence affecting the remaining workforce. Other effects include reduced customer service, satisfaction and productivity, in addition to the financial burden of recruiting and training new staff. It’s easy to discount how much losing an employee actually costs you in the long run. Conservative estimates place the cost at around 20% of the employee’s annual wage, but this can go up to 200% for highly skilled workers.

The AIM survey found that the top 3 reasons for employees choosing to leave an organisation were;

  • To seek a new challenge
  • There was limited scope for career progression
  • Insufficient financial reward

The survey also found that 4 in 5 employees are unhappy at work.

Most businesses would call in the experts if they were losing 15% of their clients per year right? So when it comes to employees why isn’t more being done to reverse trends?

To attract and retain quality employees business needs to implement strategies to engage and motivate employees, this includes being realistic about industry trends in compensation & benefits, job design and leadership. As a business owner you are an expert in your field, but you don’t sit down at the end of each week and work as an accountant, IT administrator or marketing expert, so why not outsource your employee matters to an experienced HR professional that understands contemporary practices designed to increase workplace culture & capacity within your business?

Based in Kalgoorlie, The People & Culture Office is an independent HR Consultant who can partner with you to offer a one stop HR solution, we only charge you for the work we perform; no contracts, no annual or monthly fees, just quality service. Click here to learn more



What are your candidates really thinking?

Employee Interview | HR Consultant | The People & Culture Office

About one in four job hunters in Australia go into an interview with the mindset of interviewing the employer, according to new research by Indeed. Furthermore, the study found that 70% of job hunters consider the interview as an opportunity for them to get to know the company.

Businesses and hiring managers often forget the recruitment process is a two way process, yes you are assessing the candidate but remember they are judging you too. From your advertisement to the questions asked at interview you are building a brand for your business, remember, the candidate has a choice too and as the skills shortage begins to make a significant impact on business operations the ability for business to showcase why working for you will be a great career move will be pivotal.

82% of employers think that a bad candidate experience has little or no effect on the company, according to a recent Careerbuilder survey. Subsequently, a majority of employers respond to less than half of the candidates who apply. On the other side of the coin, 84% of candidates expect a personal email response, and more than half anticipate a phone call. Thanking a potential employee for taking the time to apply for job at your company is a small courtesy. But what many get is a brush-off akin to last night’s date sitting by the phone, waiting for the call that never comes. You can read more about the importance of communicating with your candidates here.

The interview process is as much of a process for the candidate to assess you as much as you are assessing them. If you are running late, are unorganised, come across as rude or abrupt, ask unlawful questions, don’t ask relevant questions, or don’t communicate with your candidates, then chances are your candidate will walk away thinking you are a cowboy operation they want no part of – no matter how much you are paying.

In a world where disappointed candidates can send their plight viral with a few keystrokes and the click of a button, it’s time for employers to stop treating candidates like the proverbial pain in the butt and start treating them like a customer in their business. At a time when industry leaders and managers clamor for more qualified skilled workers, it doesn’t pay for companies to be lazy and incompetent when it comes to recruitment. Candidates expect more. And they deserve better.

The People & Culture Office can develop a bespoke package of recruitment solutions, including detailed job and person specifications and advertising options.  We can ensure that you are selling the position, your brand, and, culture to ensure your newest recruits not only have the necessary skills and experience, but also the right values and attitudes.

Based in Kalgoorlie, The People & Culture Office is an independent HR Consultant who can partner with you to offer a one stop HR solution, we only charge you for the work we perform; no contracts, no annual or monthly fees, just quality service. Click here to learn more

Managing employee complaints; don’t be “that” employer

Employee Complaint | HR Consultant | The People & Culture Office

As someone who has worked as a HR professional for some years, I can say that it’s not unusual for an employee to approach me wanting to talk about being bullied, harassed or discriminated against in some way. It takes a lot of guts for an employee to speak to management or HR about their concerns; depending on the situation and the persons involved they may subject themselves to more inappropriate behaviour; ostracise themselves from the team, or, open the floodgates to the commencement of what sometimes is a long and emotionally taxing process.

There are often occasions in which the person just wants to let someone know or have an opportunity to vent, but doesn’t want to go as far as lodging a formal complaint. Those occasions place management or HR in a difficult position.  From the individual’s perspective, the opportunity to unburden may be a great relief but from where the manager or HR sits, the information that has been communicated is in a zone that’s akin to a no-man’s land. A complaint has been received but the complainant does not want to call it a complaint.

We are now in an era where human behaviour and the law are combining to produce circumstances that result in management or HR being exposed to legal action being taken against them as individuals in the performance of their duties. There tends to be a belief from managers that they must wait until a formal complaint is made before they can take any action. This belief, which is false, sometimes reinforces a business’ reluctance to investigate and can be used by a manager to stick their head in the sand about what is going on in the workplace.

Under work health and safety legislation, contract and tort, an employer must take all reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of employees. This includes taking action as soon as becoming aware of serious workplace concerns, regardless of the way these may be communicated to the business.

In a recent case a female employee was placed into a role as a team leader in traffic control at a railway level crossing site by Marriott Support Services. During one of her projects, the female employee worked alongside a male worker from another organisation, Rail Safe Working Solutions. Marriott and Rail Safe were engaged by contractor Lendlease to provide traffic and pedestrian management services during the project.

According to the female employee, the male Rail Safe worker repeatedly acted inappropriately. He stood too close to her and other workers, criticised the Marriott disability program she was part of – stating she was “not employed on [her] merit”– and made sexually aggressive and violent comments in her presence.

Both the immediate manager and the divisional manager believed the majority of the claims made by the female employee. But, according to the tribunal’s report, the divisional manager said she looked tired, and suggested that she was “being oversensitive” and may have misinterpreted the comments. The report says the divisional manager reminded the female employee that she didn’t have to make a formal statement, that she could refuse to get involved in “site politics” and it was “predominantly a working man environment in construction and that there was always going to be unwanted attention to women”.

This caused the female employee to believe her complaint wasn’t being taken seriously because she was female. She believes she wasn’t offered enough support, that the complaint wasn’t effectively documented and that she was “actively discouraged” from making the formal complaint. It seems the tribunal agreed, ordering Marriott to pay her $10,000 in damages.

The matter of Watts v Ramsay Health Care serves as a timely reminder of the importance of ensuring that as managers and HR professionals, you understand the requirements and purpose of your Bullying and Harassment policies. Specifically, it highlights that poor management decisions, in this case, the decision not to investigate an employee’s complaint, can form part of a bullying claim.

Ms Watt, a catering assistant at Glengarry Private hospital, had (on at least two occasions during 2017) bought to the attention of her direct manager and Ramsay’s HR manager, allegations of bullying and harassment against several of her fellow workers. She alleged that she was being bullied by co-workers on her morning shift in that they had accused her of smoking beyond her allocated break, not doing her job properly, smelling of alcohol and that she had been subjected to other defamatory remarks.

Noting that Ms Watts had raised these concerns with her managers, including in the context of investigation of her own performance or behaviour, Ramsay determined not to commence any kind of enquiry or investigation into Ms Watt’s allegations, citing a lack of specific information and/or evidence about the allegations for their decision.

In granting Ms Watt’s application, the Fair Work Commission accepted that the managers had behaved “unreasonably” towards Ms Watt and that their decision not to investigate Ms Watt’s bullying allegations was not ‘reasonable management action’. The FWC determined that Ms Watt had been understandably reticent to name the offenders, but had nonetheless provided her managers with sufficient information and that those managers had “imposed their own requirements’ on how Ms Watts must complain to them about alleged bullying before they would commence an investigation”

The FWC also concluded that the managers failure to investigate Ms Watt’s complaints was a breach of Ramsay’s own Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment Policy which did not require the level of detail her managers required her to provide in relation to the bullying she alleged. Ms Watt was granted a Stop Bullying Order under s789FD of the Fair Work Act.

In another case the Supreme Court of Victoria has sent a solemn message to employers to sit up and listen to employees who make complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace, by awarding damages in excess of $1.3 million to a plaintiff suffering psychiatric and physical injuries because her employer failed to provide a safe working environment. The alleged conduct was repeated and severe, including not only being referred to as a “spastic” and a “bimbo”, but also sexual harassment (both verbal and physical) and threats of sexual assault.

The complainant gave evidence that she was reluctant to complain to her immediate superior, because he too was responsible for some of the offensive conduct. On occasions when she did raise concerns, she was met with laughter. When she raised her complaint with her Area Site Manager, he said words to the effect of “leave it with me”, but to her reckoning nothing was done save for the fact that she was moved to another work site for a 10 month period, before being moved back to the original site (upon which the problems recommenced). The complainant eventually resigned after developing high levels of anxiety, stress and depression.

While the circumstances in this case may seem extreme, it is a reminder to employers of the significant costs that can result if employee complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace are not received, considered and actioned in an appropriate and timely manner. Under federal anti-discrimination laws, if an employer wants to argue that the organisation should not be held liable for any discrimination or harassment by one of its employees, the employer will need to demonstrate that the organisation took ‘reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence’ or took ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent the discrimination or harassment. While the size of the employer is relevant to these considerations, an important factor that is likely to be considered is whether the organisation has an effective complaint handling procedure and if employees have been sufficiently trained in the execution of the policy.