Are you getting employee discipline & termination right?

Employee Working | HR Consultant | The People & Culture Office

The discipline or termination of an employee is never easy. It’s important that your termination procedure is compliant with Australia’s unfair dismissal laws and is based on an understanding of your employee’s rights. If you have employees you should have comprehensive policies and procedures in place to educate employees on the expected standards of behaviour and how you will approach any disciplinary actions relating to a breach of those standards. I’ve written about the importance of workplace HR Policies here and here.

Under Australia’s workplace laws there are some keys steps that must be followed for a termination to be lawful, the big one is whether the action taken meets the principles of “procedural fairness” or “natural justice”. This means the employee has been made aware of the allegations concerning their conduct and are given the right to defend the allegations put to them, this implies an opportunity that might result in the employer deciding not to terminate the employment if the defence is of substance. An employer may simply go through the motions of giving the employee an opportunity to deal with allegations concerning conduct when, in substance, a firm decision to terminate had already been made which would be adhered to irrespective of anything the employee might say in his or her defence. An example of this is walking into a disciplinary meeting with a pre-written letter of termination or warning in your notebook ready to pass across the table to the employee once you have put the allegations to them.

More and more with unfair dismissal cases Fair Work is looking at the process the employer followed as opposed to the conduct of the employee, it pays to have good policies & procedures in place and more importantly, to follow them. Particularly with breaches of policy such as WHS and Medication, Drugs & Alcohol the Commission is going to want to see evidence that the employee;

  • knew what was required of them
  • knew a breach of the safety requirement / policy could result in dismissal
  • An adequate investigation took place
  • was given a fair opportunity to respond to the allegation
  • failed to give an adequate response to the allegation

In regards to breaches of Medication, Drugs & Alcohol policies employers must verify a breach has occurred, this requires the sample to be sent for GCMS testing to confirm the presence of illicit substances in excess of the Australian Standards, a positive at the cup is not a verified positive result.

Best Practice

  • Failure to warn employees that their conduct may lead to their dismissal is usually considered a major employer omission by the Commission. This means there should be a ‘paper trail’ which documents the relevant incidents leading up to a dismissal.
  • Proper documentation is essential. It is advisable to have the employee sign the notes of any discussions relating to performance, although the employee is not legally obliged to do so. The employee should be given the opportunity to have a support person present, chosen by the employee.
  • The employee must be informed about all problems, be given an opportunity to respond, and allowed a reasonable period of time to remedy them.
  • In regards to written warnings the employee should be told this is the first warning in a process which may end in termination.
  • Under unfair dismissal laws, there is no statutory period of time in which a warning (verbal or written) remains valid.
  • The period a warning remains enforceable will depend on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the problem and the nature of the offence.
  • Between three and eight months is usually appropriate, but will obviously vary depending on the circumstances, such as how often the criteria for satisfactory performance can be applied to an employee.
  • A ‘shelf life’ of a year or longer for a written warning would be considered extreme in most cases before a tribunal.

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

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Why are workplace HR policies so important?

2mU47LLARySxWAhqwEKDiAThere’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.

Human Resources Policies and Procedures are important as they provide structure, control, consistency, fairness and reasonableness in the business. They also ensure compliance with employment legislation and inform employees of their responsibilities and the organisations expectations. In addition, they also provide transparency in how processes will be managed, and should be easily accessible by all managers, supervisors and employees alike.

Let’s imagine a workplace without any HR policies and procedures that employs managers who have very little knowledge of what to do in terms of process or best practice, and have received no training. How would this look? Like a disaster waiting to happen, thats what- workplace policies are useful documents to rely on when a legal dispute arises between an employer and an employee. In many cases, where the employer can point to a policy to show that the employee ought to have known what his or her responsibilities were in relation to the disputed matter, the employer is likely to be in a much stronger position before a court or tribunal. Some employment related laws include a requirement that a policy be in place and that the policy fulfil certain specifications. For example, occupational health and safety laws require employers to put in place a rehabilitation policy outlining the responsibilities of the employer. Where no policy is in place this will constitute an offence under the legislation. In other areas of the law, such as equal opportunity, there is no specific requirement in the legislation that policies be put in place. However, where an employer can point to a policy, that will go some way towards substantiating the employer’s compliance with the law should the matter arise before a court or tribunal. To this end many organisations have policies on EEO, workplace harassment and grievance handling procedures

You may think that as ‘sensible adults’ your employees know how to behave – but unfortunately it’s not always the case. The mix of backgrounds, cultures, upbringings, education and experiences see all of us develop different ideas of what is and isn’t acceptable, and how to conduct ourselves at work  Policies should provide all the information that new & established employees need to know.  They are a great tool in the induction process to ensure new starters are on the same page as you from day one.

There are plenty of places to obtain workplace policies on the internet, generally they are relatively cheap, you insert your business name and you’re off and running, but generic policies don’t always work from business to business. Your policies need to be reflective of your workplace & peculiarities of your industry. In addition most of these policies only contain basic information and will then include a “insert procedure here” paragraph, without the appropriate HR knowledge how can you ensure your content isn’t just best practice but legal?

The key to getting policies right isn’t just understanding industry and the workplace, but understanding the law. It’s the difference between knowing legally what steps must be taken during employee discipline & termination or managing drug & alcohol testing to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of a Fair Work decision & just copying another companies policies off the internet.

70% of SME’s utilise the resources of adhoc HR (an employee holding another position in the business that has taken on the duties of HR), and it comes at a risk: If your business is leveraging adhoc HR for your HR needs, you’re dealing with a fairly costly business issue. According to recent data on SME’s, 82% of employees undertaking adhoc HR duties have no relevant training which exposes the business to not only significant legal risk but the lack of capacity to implement strategies to help save money or improve employee retention and culture.

The People & Culture Office policies reflect contemporary human resource practice, offer step by step procedures and are fully compliant to Australian workplace law and legislation. They have been written with the average employee in mind; that is anyone in the business can pick up the policy and understand exactly what is expected of them and what procedure should be followed to achieve the desired outcome.

Policies should add value to your business, whether it’s a Recruitment & Selection Policy to guide you to recruit employees of the highest standard or an EEO, Bullying & Harassment Policy that covers off the relevant legislation, if your policies are too vague, don’t provide guidance and protect you from legal action then you aren’t getting the value from them that you should. Click here to view how we can partner with you to provide contemporary workplace solutions for your business.

Outsourced HR solutions can help manage your risk, keep you compliant, and give you peace of mind. And in doing so, you’ll be placing your company in a strong position to grow and prosper. 

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

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Employee recognition without the big bucks

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What makes you enjoy your job? Is it a massive pay packet or having your Manager (or company as a whole) acknowledge the great job you are doing? Is it a thankless quarterly bonus or a staff lunch put on by the company to give everyone the chance to relax and interact with each other in a social setting? When employers think of employee reward & recognition they think of money, but the most meaningful ways, the ways that employees remember and appreciate, can sometimes be the least cost prohibitive.

Successful companies know that their employees are at the heart of the business. Satisfied and engaged employees create not only positive energy in the workplace, but also go the extra mile to ensure individual and organisational success.

Disengaged employees can be a hindrance to the workplace as they can drain out the positive energy out of the rest of their colleagues. They try to evade work, struggle to meet deadlines and are reluctant to accept additional responsibility.

The challenge of motivating employees to perform to their full potential is one that every workplace faces. Managers can feel that their staff would be more productive if they were more committed, while employees typically feel overworked and undervalued.

The Employee Engagement Hierarchy is based off of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and reflects an employee’s engagement level as determined by how well their needs are being met. Rewards and recognition fulfill different needs and so which one is better depends on the individual and their needs.

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So what are the best methods to increase employee engagement and encourage them to bring their full selves to work every day?

Recognition

Also known as intrinsic rewards, recognition involves the psychological rewards gained by doing a job well. This can include verbal or written recognition of an employee’s achievements, skills, or overall performance. This can be in a team meeting or one-on-one, or in a casual midday chat. Research has found that it is intrinsic rewards and recognition that tend to drive employee motivation on a day-to-day level, rather than the tangible rewards.

Pros:

  • No financial investment required
  • Increases employees’ sense of competence and worth, resulting in increased pride and care in their work
  • Builds meaningfulness and purpose for an employee, contributing to their job satisfaction as they recognise the relevance/importance of their role within the greater organisation
  • Can be a great way to reinforce organisational values and cultures like improving teamwork

Cons:

  • Staff may “slack off” after they have received recognition, thinking they have already proven themselves
  • Staff can feel undervalued if they are never recognised

For the most part, intrinsic rewards continue to motivate employees afterwards, as they want their employer to feel that the recognition was justified. And recognition is something that can be given to any employee, including those who may not be performing at the highest standard, as it can be used as a tool to engage and motivate employees who feel undervalued or overworked and are therefore less productive.

There are plenty of inexpensive ways for management to show employees the recognition that they deserve. Sometimes at the end of the day, the two most underused words in any organisations are the simple words ‘Thank You’’.

Whichever method used or practiced, remember to make it a ritual and not just a ‘once off’.

Rewards

This includes all financial rewards (also known as extrinsic rewards) like pay raises, bonuses, gift cards, or any other tangible reward which is given to a person in recognition of their performance.

Pros:

  • Highly motivating if the reward is desirable
  • Attractive perks can increase the appeal of an employer to prospective employees, attracting higher calibre candidates
  • Could compensate for jobs with lower rates of pay or job satisfaction

Cons:

  • Short-term motivation only, leading to ongoing financial costs to produce regular reward opportunities
  • Could lead to increased culture of competition, rather than collaboration and teamwork, amongst staff
  • Could lead staff to focus only on achieving outcomes associated with rewards, and neglect other areas of performance

Overall, while providing extrinsic tangible rewards is generally seen as a reliable and effective way to encourage and motivate staff performance, as you can see, there are some consequences worth taking into account.

While rewards can certainly provide short-term motivation and drive, it generally does not drive long-term engagement, and must be continually invested in to make it succeed. In terms of workplace collaboration, rewarding individuals only runs the risk of discouraging teamwork, as individuals seek to outperform each other, rather than work together to achieve targets. This has the potential to create disharmony in the workplace as staff vie for the reward rather than the focus on quality work.

There are compelling gains to be made from creating a workplace culture that celebrates and promotes the achievements of staff through recognition. It requires no financial investment, and provides long-term benefits to employee satisfaction and workplace productivity.

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

 

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Hello weekend!

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Just a reminder that it’s the weekend (if you’re a Monday – Friday worker ), good luck to all the businesses nominated for tonights KBCCI Business Awards I’ve been lucky enough to represent a winning organisation the past 2 years and it’s a great night & honour to be recognised by your peers.

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What’s your business’ point of difference?

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Why would a highly talented employee choose to work at your organisation? What is it that you offer to employees that makes you stand out from the competition when recruiting and is compelling enough to keep your existing talent engaged and in your employ?

As a business you have probably invested a considerable amount of thought as to what your “Customer Value Proposition” is; that clear compelling reason why people should do business with you. Now apply that same thought pattern to your employees and prospective employees; what is the clear compelling reason they should work for you? This is called an “Employee Value Proposition”. In most cases, drawing parallels between customer and employee disciplines is foolish; the relationship with a customer who spends one hour with your business per month making requests is radically different from the employee who spends 40 plus hours per week there. But, over the long term, just like customers, employees do have a choice. It’s in the organisation’s interest to obsess a bit over why they would stay or go.

In case you haven’t yet heard, employee engagement is the key to making your organisation competitive, profitable and successful. In an increasingly competitive labour market, where the best talent regularly change jobs, it’s important now more than ever to identify and communicate your organisation’s unique set of offerings and values to attract top job candidates and retain employees.

If you want your employees to go the extra mile, you have to offer them more than great pay and benefits. When it comes to recruitment, top candidates are often also looking for career development and work that is fulfilling and stimulating.

EVPs differ from one organisation to another, and across industries. The key is to articulate your brand and the values that drive your organisation. Be careful not to oversell or misrepresent staff benefits and conditions; that’s a surefire way to lock in high staff turnover and discontent. And make sure that policies relating to things such as time in lieu, travel and training are clear and applied consistently.

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Writing an EVP is not an exact science, but the following points will help you craft an effective and powerful workplace tool.

Analyse what your employees want, and expect in the employment relationship.

It’s crucial to be clear about why you want to create or adjust your EVP. Having clarity about your core purpose will help you define employee benefits and guide the implementation of your EVP. Ask yourself: “What challenge are we trying to solve?”

Analysis must identify which employees enjoy working with your organisation most and why, as well as what your organisation needs to attract and retain talent. Identify the following:

  • the key reason your organisation needs an EVP, i.e. the current problems and what the EVP will drive
  • who the target audience of your EVP is, i.e. all employees or a particular segment that needs attention, e.g. casuals, young people, graduates, females, etc.
  • what your employee engagement survey data says about why employees like working with your organisation, what drives their job satisfaction and see if there are issues identified that, if improved, would lift employee discretionary effort and motivation
  • what your employee turnover and absenteeism data tells you and how it matches against industry standards, taking note of pockets in the organisation where retention or absenteeism issues are more prevalent
  • what your exit survey data says about why employees chose to leave and what was missing from their employment experience with your organisation

    what your competitors state as their EVP and understand your points of difference

Design an EVP

Once the EVP elements and themes are established, a draft EVP can be designed. Insync recommends
you involve a diverse group of employees in the design process, preferably from different team, job level and tenure groups. This drives the buy-in needed to make your EVP authentic and effective. Furthermore, involving employees is a very effective engagement tool in itself.

The EVP should be designed alongside the organisational vision and strategy. This is critical as employees might have identified something that is just not sustainable for the organisation. For example, a theme may have emerged in step one around flexibility. However, it’s no good stating in your EVP that you have flexible work practices if they’re not really that flexible. The EVP and reality must be aligned otherwise it’s a recipe for frustration, cynicism and mistrust.

Communicate the EVP to both existing & potential employees

Even the best EVP is pointless unless it is well communicated to staff and job candidates, both verbally and in written form. It is important to use the right platforms to target different audiences. Make sure your message is consistent across your corporate websites and hiring channels, and that it comes from the top rather than from the HR department.

Reinforce and deliver

It’s not enough to create a great and well-worded EVP that’s properly communicated. The EVP must be “lived and breathed” throughout the organisation. The EVP must be regularly reinforced by all levels in the organisation and across all departments to ensure it truly becomes part of your organisational DNA.

Not only should senior leaders be equipped to drive the EVP throughout the work environment by walking the talk, employee champions should also be identified to operate as genuine brand ambassadors. By sharing their thoughts and experiences of those working within your organisation, the authenticity of the EVP will be reinforced.

Supporting material to complement the EVP should also be developed to assist leaders and employee champions to deploy the EVP throughout all organisational development activities. It’s important that initiatives resonate at the organisational, managerial and individual level.

Measure your success

A critical step often missed following the rollout of an EVP program is to assess the extent to which it has actually made a difference. Ask yourself: have you delivered the promise? And are you attracting the right type of people?

Measurement is as simple as collecting employee feedback at regular intervals. Employee surveys – entry, exit and/or engagement – can measure effectiveness of your EVP. Measures such as employee engagement and satisfaction can be used. Over time, absenteeism and turnover data should also be positively impacted. The time taken to recruit and an increased talent pipeline are recruitment measures that can provide an indication of EVP success. Are the right people knocking on the employment door for the right reasons?

 No annual fee’s                    No contracts                    Just quality service

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

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Are your workplace policies enough?

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Workplace policies can come in a variety of formats, I’ve seen everything from a simple 2 paragraph statement to a 30 page framework. But if you’re an organisation without any dedicated or appropriately experienced HR personnel how can you expect to be able to act within the constraints of employment legislation if your policies are brief, vague or not compliant to legislation?

There are plenty of places to obtain workplace policies on the internet, generally they are relatively cheap, you insert your business name and you’re off and running, but generic policies don’t always work from business to business. Your policies need to be reflective of your workplace & peculiarities of your industry. In addition most of these policies only contain basic information and will then include a “insert procedure here” paragraph, without the appropriate knowledge how can you ensure your content isn’t just best practice but legal?

The key to getting policies right isn’t just understanding industry and the workplace, but understanding the law. It’s the difference between knowing legally what steps must be taken during employee discipline or termination to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of a Fair Work decision & just copying another companies policies off the internet. Policies also detail how issues will be managed, so that there are clear consequences for unacceptable behaviours or poor performance.  Even if certain behaviours are obviously not acceptable, there could be confusion over their severity.  What you think is a ‘sackable’ offence might be viewed by an employee as something that just warrants a warning.  This type of confusion can easily lead to unfair dismissal claims, so eliminating confusion reduces the risk of such a claim.

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The People & Culture Office policies reflect contemporary human resource practice, offer step by step procedures and are fully compliant to Australian workplace law and legislation. They have been written with the average employee in mind; that is anyone in the business can pick up the policy and understand exactly what is expected of them and what procedure should be followed to achieve the desired outcome.

Policies should add value to your business, whether it’s a Recruitment & Selection Policy to guide you to recruit employees of the highest standard or an EEO, Bullying & Harassment Policy that covers off the relevant legislation, if your policies are too vague, don’t provide guidance and protect you from legal action then you aren’t getting the value from them that you should.

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

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Closing the gap on Aboriginal employment outcomes

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On Friday I had the pleasure of attending a workshop on Aboriginal employment hosted by the Kalgoorlie Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Working Together Goldfields Esperance. Aboriginal employment strategies are a subject dear to my heart having worked in HR roles in Kalgoorlie over the past decade that have included implementing strategies to increase the numbers of Aboriginal people in meaningful employment.

Fridays workshop provided participants with an overview of cultural awareness before a presentation from Aboriginal Workforce Services which is a free service funded by the State Government. In the past 5 years the service has placed over 2000 people into vacant job roles, they also offer a mentor service to regional businesses to assist with any employment issues that may arise with Aboriginal employees. The impact of having someone to act as a support to your aboriginal employees, particularly those new to the workforce, can not be underestimated & will increase retention considerably.

In my experience, and others may have different experiences to me, the key areas to a successful Aboriginal workforce strategy are;

  • Providing a supportive, safe and culturally inclusive work environment for Aboriginal people 
  • Attraction and recruitment of Aboriginal people through providing culturally appropriate and flexible recruitment and selection processes 
  • Implementing support mechanisms and provide flexible working arrangements and career development opportunities 
  • Effectively resourcing the strategy/action plan to ensure its sustainability and success. 

Aboriginal employment strategies are a key framework to recognise the importance of providing a long term economic starting base for Aboriginal people, in a workplace where they will feel respected, valued, culturally safe and get to share in the same opportunities for skill and career development on parity to all other peoples, and, acknowledges that employment equity is a key determinant of positive health & wellbeing and consequences that lead to a more harmonious, strong and dynamic Aboriginal community. 

While us HR people often work very hard in the background to develop strategies and build relationships to attract suitable applicants for positions, ultimately the success of the initiative comes down to the wider workforce. I’ve worked alongside Supervisors who have actively undermined Aboriginal employees because they have considered them “too much work” to have in their area, and, with a population diverse as Kalgoorlie’s you are also managing the cultural differences from other nationalities who have little to no understanding of the local Indigenous culture. This is where having a cultural awareness program is vital to underpinning the programme for success. But most importantly, the organisation must embrace genuine efforts of offering career development opportunities, like anyone else, Aboriginal people know when you are not genuine with your intentions and the efforts of the team doing the hard yards will all be in vain.

One of the most commonly heard comments when discussing Aboriginal employment strategies is that “they are being given special treatment” or “jobs handed to them on a platter”. Our workplace system values the way non Indigenous people have been socialised over the way Indigenous people have been socialised, and this is where targets or quotas to meet diversity workforce numbers comes in. Much like the discussions around quotas for females in senior roles, the subject will always be quite divisive and it’s not a rabbit hole I want to venture down today. Employing people based on merit only works when the current system of employing people is already functioning extremely well on a merit based system, and it isn’t. To say that it is means that each organisation in Kalgoorlie-Boulder would have a percentage of Aboriginal employees that is commensurate with the local population of 7.3%, that would mean for every 100 employees in your business you would have at least 7 Aboriginal employees, or if you’re a small business of 25 employees or less at least one employee would be Aboriginal.

Whether business owners and managers like to admit it or not, people tend to recruit someone that reflects back themselves. Sometimes when a management team states they recruit on cultural fit what they really mean is they are looking for a while male aged between 25 – 45 that likes to sink a few beers at the end of the week and supports the West Coast Eagles. Sometimes it’s overt, such as my example, but sometimes you can look around your workplace and realised you’ve basically employed the same person 40 times, this is called unconscious bias.

Research suggests that we instinctively categorize people and things using easily observed criteria such as age, weight, skin color, and gender. But we also classify people according to educational level, disability, sexuality, accent, social status, and job title, automatically assigning presumed traits to anyone we subconsciously put in those groups.

The “advantage” of this system is that it saves us time and effort processing information about people, allowing us to spend more of our mental resources on other tasks. The clear disadvantage is that it can lead us to make assumptions about them and take action based on those biases. This results in a tendency to rely on stereotypes, even if we don’t consciously believe in them.

No matter how unbiased we think we are, we may have subconscious negative opinions about people who are outside our own group. But the more exposed we are to other groups of people, the less likely we are to feel prejudice against them. So the more diverse our workplaces, the more it will become the norm, and the requirement of workshops such as Fridays will no longer be needed, and the days of affirmative action reporting and quotas will be relegated to the history books as just “another one of those things we had to do while we waited for the remainder of society to catch up”.

So where to from here? I can assist you with an Aboriginal Employment Strategy, it can be as basic as modifying your recruitment practices to provide a level playing field for Aboriginal candidates or as comprehensive as writing a strategy focusing on creating a culturally inclusive workplace; attraction and retention of Aboriginal candidates; building capability and careers; fostering Aboriginal leaders in your workplace and putting reporting measures in place for your workplace to be accountable to itself.

I can be contacted here for further information.

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

 

 

 

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Managing performance for business success

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Many small business owners think of formal employee performance management as “overkill” administrative activities that they can put off until their business gets bigger. After all, you spend every day working closely with your employees. Why should you implement a formal process that adds administrative burden and stress?

Actually, a good deal of research shows that effective employee performance management enhances employee morale and performance, and helps drive better business results. As a small – medium sized business, you likely can’t afford to ignore any program that is proven to help you better run your business.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing people and their work performance, there is a range of core management practices that can help managers and supervisors maximise individual and team performance.

I recently wrote this post on the importance of performance management in SME’s, today I want to focus on the big picture, how performance management relates to your organisations strategic plan and how you can utilise the methodology to build a performance culture.

Effectively managing an employee’s performance is a hallmark of a successful manager. Research shows that employees work best when they have clear goals and understand what is expected of them and their work; receive fair and regular feedback about how they are performing; are recognised for a job well done; and get constructive advice about areas of unsatisfactory performance and how they may improve.

An organisation’s performance is the result of the combined efforts of the individuals within it.  Managers and supervisors play a critical role in aligning employee capabilities and efforts with organisational outcomes. This involves ensuring employees clearly understand what they need to achieve; what capabilities they need to be successful in their role; any processes and procedures they are expected to follow; and the standards and behaviour expected of them. Managers also need to work with employees to identify their capabilities, leverage their strengths and provide development opportunities to close any gaps between their capabilities and what is expected of them.

The figure below illustrates how every employee plays an important role in achieving organisational objectives. Leaders translate the organisation’s strategy into the set of capabilities and behaviors required to deliver it; what began as the strategic priorities and vision, mission & values cascades down to operational outcomes and workplace policies and then broken further down to an individuals performance indicators and the creation of day to day structure, systems and processes.

Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 3.44.40 pm.pngAccording to research, an employee’s understanding of expectations and standards – and how they relate to their work and the organisation – is the biggest driver of employee and organisational performance. When employees understand this, their performance can improve by as much as 36%.

Good performance management practice features 6 essential components and related core elements that occur on a continuous basis, are cyclical or driven by an event.

Set and clarify expectations Collaborative process between manager and employee to set performance expectations and clarify them on an ongoing basis.

  • Each employee has an up-to-date description of their role, including required capabilities and responsibilities, linked to the organisation’s strategy.
  • All employees understand the organisations values, the capabilities required of them in their roles, and the deliverables for which they are accountable.
  • All employees are aware of the codes of conduct, policies, procedures and standards they are expected to observe.
  • All new employees undergo a review process that includes informal and formal reviews.

Monitor Ongoing joint evaluation of progress towards achieving work goals and expectations, involving regular two-way feedback.

  • All employees have regular opportunities to discuss their work with their manager and receive informal feedback on their performance (either individually or as a team).
  • All employees have the opportunity to provide informal and formal feedback (through a structured assessment method) to their manager.

Plan and review Collaborative process between manager and employee to plan performance, linked to corporate objectives, with periodic reviews of progress towards achieving work goals.

  • All employees have an annual formal performance agreement with their manager that sets out individual performance objectives linked to corporate objectives as well as the capabilities they are required to demonstrate in their role.
  • All employees have a formal performance review at least once a year.

Develop Collaborative process to identify and develop employees’ capabilities with periodic reviews of progress.

  • Development plans are based on the capabilities required in the role, the employees’ existing capabilities, and his/her performance objectives and/or career goals.
  • Progress against development plans is formally reviewed at least once a year

Recognise Regular practice of recognising employee efforts and excellent performance outcomes and achievements.

  • Organisations have guidelines in place to help managers appropriately recognise employees at the local level.

Resolve unsatisfactory performance Process of addressing employee unsatisfactory performance.

  • Managers promptly work with the employee to understand and resolve instances or patterns of unsatisfactory performance.

Want to learn more about the essential components of managing employee performance? “Managing Performance – A guide for Managers” is available for purchase, please contact us for further information.

Organisations who exceedingly outperform the competition foster a strong employee culture. We view culture as the cumulative effect of what people do and how they do it – and it determines an organisation’s performance. There’s always a culture. You end up with one whatever you do, so you can either choose to shape and influence it or take your chances.

High performing teams and people thrive in high performance conditions and leaders play a massive part in creating and sustaining those conditions. Too many leaders don’t understand what that takes, or are too busy, or say that the time isn’t right. Then they become unhappy about the culture they’ve got and the performance they’re getting. Or they only put the effort in for a while, the culture weakens and people think high performance is a fad. The best people leave, the worst behaviours thrive and results suffer.

Leading a high performance culture makes a massive difference to performance and results. It takes discipline, time and effort because these cultures are not normal and without that leadership focus, they will whither and die. So like behaviours, leaders end up with the culture they deserve.

Choosing the high performance life

Leaders have a massive impact on culture. The behaviours they demonstrate, encourage and tolerate pretty much are the culture

Excellence here has a structure. You need to make sure the key elements of a high performance culture are in place or you’re getting them in place.

You need to line things up. Vision, purpose, goals, behaviours, rewards, signals and messages are all tools that leaders who build high performance cultures use wisely and in combination. After all, you’re out to build a culture that outlasts you, not a cult that’s dependent on you.

You need to show that culture matters to you. Rewarding two results equally even though one reflects and supports the culture you want to sustain and the other doesn’t, is only going to get you what you don’t want.

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