The November Newsletter

Welcome to our November newsletter. This month I’m taking it back to basics. I’m discussing the role of HR in your business, why buying a pack of generic policies probably isn’t adding much value to your business & how quality HR sits at the core of your business success.

I’m also looking at the challenges of attracting a residential workforce & how we can do a better job of selling Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

Click to read.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes, HR’s value proposition to business is to ensure HR professionals and their practices’ produce positive outcomes for key stakeholders, employees, line managers, customers and investors.

THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH PEOPLE & CULTURE INITIATIVES CONTACT US TO ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT TO DISCUSS WHAT SOLUTIONS WE CAN PUT IN PLACE TO DRIVE ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR STRATEGIC GOALS.

Lets break it down

An employee planning their week in a diary

The People & Culture Office – A different kind of HR Consultant

Lᴇᴛs ʙʀᴇᴀᴋ ɪᴛ ᴅᴏᴡɴ 

Who am I & what do I do?

I want to start with my mission statement – “To build capacity of small – medium enterprises through people & culture initiatives. We aim to be the leading provider of human resource solutions in the local Kalgoorlie-Boulder area, and the wider Australian business community, helping to create more successful, productive and high performance organisations.”

So in other words, I want to build your knowledge, and improve your tools and the resources you have at hand, to help you achieve business success through quality employees and employment practices. And I will do this by embedding HR solutions into your business framework 

Buying a set of cookie cutter policies from a HR provider that has whacked your logo on there to make it feel individualised is not a HR solution – that’s an insurance policy to lull you into a sense of security should Fair Work come knocking.

Having a set of policies in a folder means diddly if you don’t understand the content, don’t follow them or aren’t being provided the support from an experienced HR professional to use them effectively in your business – someone who’s willing to share their knowledge to help you develop your skills in managing employee relations issues.

Additionally, a solution by its very definition is a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation. Are your set of generic policies really a solution?

Having trouble attracting employees? Would having a Recruitment Policy in place solve that? No, because a policy doesn’t tell you how your going to get there, just what you’re going to do once you’ve arrived.

A recruitment strategy, on the other hand, will assist with attracting employees because it’s designed as a plan of action. A recruitment strategy can identify how & where you can source candidates and what initiatives you can put in place to build your employer profile to make you more attractive to employees.

This is a HR Solution, and this is the true value of HR in your business.

And this is why when you become my client I don’t lock you into a contract, because the value I can offer over my competitors speaks for itself, and that’s why I’m a different kind of HR Consultant 

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes, HR’s value proposition to business is to ensure HR professionals and their practices’ produce positive outcomes for key stakeholders, employees, line managers, customers and investors.

THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH PEOPLE & CULTURE INITIATIVES CONTACT US TO ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT TO DISCUSS WHAT SOLUTIONS WE CAN PUT IN PLACE TO DRIVE ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR STRATEGIC GOALS.

Lets get back to basics

What is HR and what does it have to do with your business?

Let’s start with your strategic plan, these are the outcomes you want to achieve over the next 1 – 3 years. It’s your plan of where you want to take your business 

If you have employees then every aspect of your strategic plan involves them

One of your strategies might be to drive innovation and seek out improvements to every aspect of your business 

To do this you need skilled employees with the experience and capability to identify areas for improvement 

What skills & attributes have you identified that your employees will need for you to achieve this? How do you find them? Do you already have them? 

This is where a skilled HR professional can assist 

The strategic plan is underpinned by your core values 

Your core values are the behaviours that guide your decision making, your service, how you engage with clients and the community; they tell your stakeholders who you are and what you believe in

So it makes sense to employ people who share these values with you right?

How do you structure your interview process to ensure the answers to your questions identify the behaviours – negative or positive- as reactions to common scenarios in the workplace?

A HR professional experienced in behavioural or values based recruitment can develop processes to identify the quality employees from the, well, not so quality employees 

But what about your existing employees, how can they help you achieve your strategic goals? How do you guide their behaviours and identify development areas so that everyone is working at an ideal level?

HR can develop policies and processes such as performance management systems to ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them, what they are working towards and what their standard of work, attitude and behaviour needs to be

So this is a basic snapshot but you can see how quality HR processes are a necessity to elevate your business to where you want it to be, to achieve your goals, to have quality employees who stick around and have the buy in to want to see the business do well

HR isn’t a thing we do, it’s the thing that runs our business 

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes, HR’s value proposition to business is to ensure HR professionals and their practices’ produce positive outcomes for key stakeholders, employees, line managers, customers and investors.

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

 The People & Culture Office can partner with you to gain a competitive advantage through people & culture initiatives Contact Us to arrange an appointment to discuss what solutions we can put in place to drive achievement of your strategic goals.

Same, but different (but really just the same)

The People & Culture Office | Tattoo | Woman

“There’s a saying, diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance. But that’s bull because usually the party is up a flight of stairs. People think if they are treating people the same, they’ve got it right. But that’s the essence of discrimination – as experienced by disabled people – is that when you treat them the same as a non-disabled person they can’t even get in the building” Susan Scott-Parker

Before you read on I would like you to pause for a moment and picture in your mind what a person with a disability looks like.

I’ll check back in with you at the end of my post.

Due to unconscious bias, many people with disabilities face barriers to gaining employment (not just meaningful employment, just any employment), which is why the unemployment rate for people with a disability is more than double that of the general population.

In my former life I was a HR Manager for a disability support organisation, while there I noticed that millennials and Gen Z had a really inclusive view towards people with disabilities due to the prevalence of Education Support annexes in the school system. In my school days (I’m 46) children with disabilities were very much separated from the general school population and as a result Gen X and Baby Boomers can find relating to people with disabilities on a human level quite confronting. (Those damn millennials hey)

People will often direct the conversation towards a family member or a carer rather than converse with the person directly, they may stare, ask inappropriate questions, or, in an attempt to act as though they aren’t feeling uncomfortable, will fail to acknowledge their presence all together.

In fact we (as in society, the media et el) are so unused to seeing someone with a disability featured so prominently that sometimes famous people with disabilities are confused for each other. Those that follow the tennis or are a regular viewer of The Project would be familiar with Dylan Alcott, Dylan and fellow paralympian Kurt Fearnley have a running joke on Instagram that they are often mistaken for each other.

Think about applying for work or attending a job interview knowing there is quite a good chance you’ll be discounted as soon as you enter the room (if you’re even lucky enough to get that far).

1 in 5 Australians are classed as having a disability, a lot of people develop a disability throughout their life as the result of an accident such as a motor vehicle accident or falling off a ladder; through suffering a stroke; developing an illness such as MS, parkinson’s or one of the many autoimmune illnesses or through the presence of a psychiatric illness such as anxiety, depression or PTSD.

Picture an Accountant who has had a stroke, and as a result has reduced mobility. There’s no reason why they can’t perform an office based role without any added safety risk at all is there?

Now picture that same person applying for a job with a company who’s pre-employment medical process eliminates all people without excellent functional capacity. When assessing someones fitness for work the inherent requirements of the job are meant to be considered hand in hand with the individuals functional capacity. But quite often it doesn’t, for whatever reason many industries and organisations baulk at the thought of making “allowances” or reasonable adjustments for people that don’t automatically fit the perfect physical criteria.

Maybe it goes back to the idea that they are treating everyone “equally” 🤷🏻‍♀️

Dylan Alcott has established Remove the Barrier to encourage the employment of people with disabilities. Other organisations such as Forest Personnel can assist with the recruitment of people with disabilities. Follow the links through to their websites where you can find some great info on employing people with disabilities.

Something I really want to stress is that a person with a disability isn’t necessarily a person on a disability support pension, or someone with an obvious physical disability such as being in a wheelchair. Disabilities vary between what type they are and the level of functional impairment such as:

  • Physical – affects a person’s mobility or dexterity
  • Intellectual – affects a person’s abilities to learn
  • Mental Illness – affects a person’s thinking processes
  • Sensory – affects a person’s ability to hear or see
  • Neurological – affects the person’s brain and central nervous system,
  • Learning disability
  • Physical disfigurement or
  • Immunological – the presence of organisms causing disease in the body

So right at the start of the post I asked you to picture what a person with a disability looks like, well they look like this

Me – not Rachel from Madison Studio Photography 😀

5 years ago I was diagnosed with Lupus which is an autoimmune illness that attacks healthy organs and tissue in your body resulting in extreme fatigue, joint pain and organ damage.

The People & Culture Office came to being because I found it increasingly difficult over the years to find a workplace and colleagues willing to accommodate (and be inclusive of) my illness & it’s limitations. I knew that with appropriate wellbeing measures in place I could continue being a valued member of society, contributing taxes to the healthcare system that I lean heavily on and continuing to share my skillset with a range of organisations.

And I would have a guess that 99.9% of my clients, business connections and acquaintances wouldn’t even know that I have a chronic illness. Because with the appropriate adjustments in place I can function in a work environment, I can still add value, and the thought that, that part of my life could have been taken away from me would have been devastating.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

IT’S TIME FOR HR TO MOVE BEYOND POLICIES, PRACTICES AND PROCESSES. THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH PEOPLE & CULTURE INITIATIVES CONTACT US TO ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT TO DISCUSS WHAT SOLUTIONS WE CAN PUT IN PLACE TO DRIVE ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR STRATEGIC GOALS.

Building an “always learning” culture

“No matter how much you’ve done, or how successful you’ve been, there’s always more to do, more to learn, more to achieve” Barack Obama

One of my favourite questions to ask of potential new employees is “what is something in your area expertise would you’d like to learn more about”

When looking to future employees I’m looking for not only someone who can, and, is willing to learn something new, but someone with enough self awareness to understand there is ALWAYS something to learn.

I’m about to bang on now about how the workforce is changing and how entrenching a culture of continuous learning is a must for attracting and retaining not just younger employees (16 – 37 year old demographic), but any employee who values their position within an organisation and wants to bring as much value as they can to their role. In other words, the type of employee you’d be lucky to score.

So lets start with my favourite subject – the changing landscape of the workplace

Learning is no longer just for students or apprentices & trainees. Technological advances, such as AI and automation, are creating an environment of almost constant change – not just at work, in every aspect of our lives. Businesses that don’t encourage and enable their employees to adapt to the changes will lose their competitive edge.

Traditional employee learning and development strategies are based on a stable and predictable environment. That, for better or worse, no longer exists.

On a small scale we are talking about minor changes to internal processes; ie: the requirement for handover notes or incident reports to be completed online meaning all employees need some level of computer competency, for a big picture example, thanks to technology a multitude of businesses can now operate in a digital & global space that just wasn’t conceivable for them 20 years ago.

It’s also no longer enough to employ someone and expect them to remain stagnant in their nominated field of work. Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends’ report found 42 per cent of millennials are likely to leave their organisations because they’re not learning fast enough. That number is astounding, especially when 75 per cent of the workforce will be made up of millennials by 2025.

What’s needed for organisations to survive and thrive in this new world is education; creating a culture of continuous learning that helps older staff shift into this new, fast changing era, and to satisfy the younger workforce’s desire to learn.

It requires a change in mindset, but the rewards are positive. Leaders who embrace the concept of a learning culture understand that learning is a natural process, that people yearn to grow. These organisations cultivate employee potential through learning opportunities and experiences.

And now onto my next point – thanks to technology workplace learning is now easier than ever.

Thanks to applications such as Zoom & Skype workplaces can access coaching, webinars and structured training right from their desks.

TAFE’s around Australia have been delivering course content 100% online for some years now.

Depending on your industry, there may be an industry specific LMS system available for you to join in order to access learning modules for your employees.

And finally the *most* important factor in building a culture of continuous learning within your organisation – senior employees & leaders who possess the skills to coach employees.

Most people within a leadership position was probably bought up through the ranks by what’s known as a “Command & Control” leader, defined by traits such as; I’m the manager, so I make the rules; Your job is to do what I say; If you mess up, I’ll let you know about it; If you don’t hear from me, that means you’re doing fine; You’d better be careful not to make a mistake, or cross me!; I make the policies, and you follow them.

If this was your boss how willing do you think you’d be to try something new? Not very; you’d be terrified of getting in trouble.

Growth and innovation comes from trying new things; stepping outside of your comfort zone; not being afraid to fail. It requires a collaborative and innovative leader.

When people think of coaching employees to learn something new, they think in terms of just showing them what to do. “First we do this” “If this happens you need to do that”

Coaching is about providing your employees the tools and capacity to discover the solutions for themselves as opposed to the how and when to complete a task. The leader still makes decisions but the conversation in getting there is two way.

It’s about developing your employees by providing regular support & feedback to allow their careers to progress to where they aspire to be. The ongoing dialogue of coaching communication guarantees that employees know what is expected of them and how their work fits into a larger vision or strategy of the organisation. 

The unfortunate reality is most people in leadership roles do not coach or develop their employees — ever.

Organisations with neglected learning cultures experience high talent turnover, struggle to keep customers, and ultimately fall behind competitors. These organisations may be profitable in the short term, but they ultimately fail.

On a scale of thriving to failure, where would you rather be?

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

IT’S TIME FOR HR TO MOVE BEYOND POLICIES, PRACTICES AND PROCESSES. THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH PEOPLE & CULTURE INITIATIVES CONTACT US TO ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT TO DISCUSS WHAT SOLUTIONS WE CAN PUT IN PLACE TO DRIVE ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR STRATEGIC GOALS.

Apprenticeships should support workforce planning

In 2013 when this most recent downturn hit I was made redundant from my job (the joys of working in a support service – you aren’t seen as an income generator so off you go).

I am passionate about youth employment and an opportunity arose for me to work in the apprenticeships & traineeships space.

What I become to learn (and alarmingly so) was that because of the down turn apprentice numbers took a sharp turn south. Companies that had in the previous years taken on a dozen or so new apprentices were only taking on 1 or 2 – or none.

These were for trades that once we come out the other side of the downturn (as past history would show we always do), would be in high demand. These were trades that up until the down turn businesses were recruiting from the eastern states and paying for existing employees to undertake trade upgrades.

Had companies maintained their apprenticeship program, by 2017 they would have had a bunch of tradies finishing their time and ready to work within their businesses, and most importantly, with a skill set tailored specifically to that business.

Apprentices & trainees should be seen by business as a way to bring fresh new talent into the business, to support their succession planning and growth aspirations and to minimise any negative impacts from current or future skills shortages.

And what a better way to have have a workforce trained to your specific business requirements than to grow your own talent. Apprenticeships and traineeships offer you the opportunity to train your up & coming employees in the areas that your business needs the most, providing your business with the skills it needs the most.

You want to know what else is great about employing youth into these roles? They bring a fresh approach & energy into a business which can have a knock on effect to other employees. A company that is willing to invest in people by supporting apprenticeships is showing a positive approach to corporate social responsibility, which is good for attracting both customers and future quality staff. It builds a positive employer brand which in turn will increase your profile as an employer that people want to work for.

And now to address the elephant in the room, I often hear business owners and older employees lament about the younger generation in the workplace; they are lazy, you have to hold their hand every step of the way, they are always on their phones.

Hands up who left school and started their first job and knew EXACTLY what to do? ……… anyone ……… anyone? Nobody can start a new job without some sort of training – ranging from “this is my first job ever and I don’t know how to conduct myself” through to “where do these documents get saved”. If you want your employees to not just exceed, but to excel, you need to spend time with them.

So if I hear “they are lazy” my response is did you asked them why they are sitting around not working; if you are telling me you have to hold their hand every step of the way I would suggest you try alternative ways to communicate, because your current method may not suit their learning style, and if I hear they are always on their phones I’m more interested in understanding why you haven’t told them to get off of it.

Depending on the industry & qualifications employers of apprentices and trainees can attract some great financial incentives with commencement, midpoint & completion payments available as well as well as additional incentives for priority areas and subsidised payroll tax for the bigger employers.

With the new financial year WA businesses can take advantage of the Jobs and Skills WA Employer Incentive. The great thing about this incentive is it is also available for school based trainees, which means you can gain a financial incentive to select and nurture your future employees from upper high school right through to the completion of their apprenticeship or traineeship. There’s a potential $8,500 in incentives on offer for a 4 year trade and $4,250 for a 2 year traineeship – woah!

Nicole Goldsworthy from Apprenticeship Support Australia is a valuable resource for employers within the Goldfields region and can answer your queries, sign your apprentices and trainees up and assist with sourcing reputable registered training organisations. You can email Nicole here.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

IT’S TIME FOR HR TO MOVE BEYOND POLICIES, PRACTICES AND PROCESSES. THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH PEOPLE & CULTURE INITIATIVES CONTACT US TO ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT TO DISCUSS WHAT SOLUTIONS WE CAN PUT IN PLACE TO DRIVE ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR STRATEGIC GOALS.

What’s the tea

Settle down and get comfy because I’m about to spill some tea.

Tea Spill GIF - Tea Spill The GIFs

Last month I was visiting a friend and we were all chatting, her husband, who works for one of the bigger employers in town, was telling me how the organisation had sent out an employee feedback survey.

The workplace has quite a low morale, pays are low compared to the rest of the industry and there are quite a number of FIFO workers. The sentiment amongst the residential workforce in general is that the big bosses are more concerned with putting profit over our community.

So the crews are assembled in the meeting room and management start discussing the terrible feedback from the employee survey and they ask if anyone would like to make a comment on the issues (let’s not lose sight of the fact that these types of surveys’ sole purpose IS for employees to make a comment – this is information they already have).

Silence………. nobody speaks a word. Then finally a voice pipes up “People are too scared to say what the issues are” discussion ensues and a couple of people, respectfully, share their input.

The meeting ends and those who spoke up are pulled aside and given a bollocking for what they said.

😳🤔 Do you think they get the irony of their actions?

Anonymous employee surveys are an excellent way to gain insight into the workplace culture, employee morale and what you are doing both right & wrong – as long as the organisation, and by that I mean management, is mature enough to accept the good with the bad and take action to make meaningful changes for the better.

All too often you see companies invest heavily in “yay team” training sessions or social activities in an effort to improve culture while failing to address the real issues.

Organisational culture is accepted behaviour, not expected behaviour

Culture flows from the top down

A strong & positive culture comes from strong & positive leadership. Words don’t change a culture. Displaying company values around the premises & in communications, or imprinting mugs, mouse pads, note pads, or key chains with the (company’s) values might be nice reinforcement, but these things do not define or change a culture.

Culture change comes from concrete and noticeable changes in leadership behaviour: what they do; who they hire; who they ask to move on; who they listen to and emulate; where they spend their time; what they talk about in meetings; what they measure; how & where they invest their $$.

When you listen to employees talk which pronoun do they elect to use when talking about the company? “We” or “They”? “They” suggests disengagement and at its worst, alienation.  While “we” suggests that employees feel as though they are part of something meaningful and significant.  They are engaged, productive & proud employees.

Do people want to work for your company and what do they write about you online? High turnover & finding it hard to attract quality talent (or keeping them) is a sure fire sign there is something wrong within your organisation, or within a particular department.

Going back to my story at the beginning of the post, I did a Google search to see what employees had to say about their experiences working there, here are snippets from the 5 most recent reviews;

“Your Employees Matter Too, Not Just Shareholders”

“Over worked, under paid and no real sense of being appreciated”

“Only management and share holders matter workers are nothing”

“The people working there are essentially good shame about the management”

“Upper management being very detached from daily struggles in the working environment and low pay rates”

Ouch! Now think about my reference to the FIFO workforce, the Kalgoorlie mining community is small and bad news spreads fast, the FIFO community draws from a much bigger pool. The number of FIFO onsite kinda makes sense doesn’t it?

Want to learn more about workplace culture? You can find more blogs here, here & here.

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

IT’S TIME FOR HR TO MOVE BEYOND POLICIES, PRACTICES AND PROCESSES. THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH PEOPLE & CULTURE INITIATIVES CONTACT US TO ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT TO DISCUSS WHAT SOLUTIONS WE CAN PUT IN PLACE TO DRIVE ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR STRATEGIC GOALS.

Our June newsletter is here!

It’s full of Friends quotes and a plethora of important and interesting info

Follow the link to get reading……… and remember “He’s her lobster” 🦐

https://mailchi.mp/013db8f2ad25/its-like-a-cows-opinion-its-moo

Like what you see? Click around and discover how partnering with us can give your business a competitive advantage by aligning strategy with people & culture, or, give us a like on Facebook for regular updates on industry trends, blog posts & photo’s of me having coffee at my regular haunts and / or my dog & cat disrupting my work day

Simone Pickering | The People & Culture Office

IT’S TIME FOR HR TO MOVE BEYOND POLICIES, PRACTICES AND PROCESSES. THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE CAN PARTNER WITH YOU TO GAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH PEOPLE & CULTURE INITIATIVES CONTACT US TO ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT TO DISCUSS WHAT SOLUTIONS WE CAN PUT IN PLACE TO DRIVE ACHIEVEMENT OF YOUR STRATEGIC GOALS.