The rise & rise of the office mean girl

Office Mean Girl | The People & Culture Office

To quote a line from an absolute movie masterpiece, “Hands up if you’ve ever been personally victimised by Regina George”. I’m sure we’ve all been personally victimised by our fair share of office mean girls in our time, in the past few years on social media I’ve noticed a significant increase in people talking about being bullied at work and if you type “office mean girl” into Google you get 946,000,000 results. In fact workplace bullying has got so out of hand in Australia that in 2013 Fair Work amended the Fair Work Act to be able to intervene in instances of bullying in Australian workplaces, the reality is though, many victims choose to leave the workplace which quite often ensures no action is taken against the bully or the workplace and so the cycle continues.

So let’s have a look at the classic signs of an office mean girl.

She struggles with envy

Bullies bully because they covet what you have & they need to destroy that aspect of you to make themselves feel better. Whether it’s your job, your salary, your abilities, your clothes, your car or all of the above the little green monster makes for a bitter little person. They are willing to go to any extreme to hurt the person that has what they want. For instance, an office mean girl might boycott another employee’s ideas, projects or social gatherings. She will even take steps to destroy her target’s reputation and work-related projects. And she is unable to acknowledge anything good about other people due to her struggle with envy.

She excludes others

Ostracising other women at work is a sure sign of an office mean girl. These women use relational aggression to socially isolate someone while attempting to increase their own status at work. Typically, they are driven by a number of factors including everything from jealousy and a need for attention, to a fear of competition. As a result, they will leave other women out of lunch dates, meetings and after-work gatherings. They may even discuss the details in front of those who are being isolated to demonstrate their power.

She lies, gossips & spreads rumours

Office mean girls are often obsessed with what other people think of them. They consider how everything looks to others. As a result, these bullies target others that threaten their status in some way. For instance, if they believe another woman is threatening their status or position at the office, they have no qualms about attacking her relationally in order to eliminate the perceived threat. These actions can include making up lies and spreading rumors about her work ethic, her office relationships and even her personal life.

She’s a serial bully

These bullies are toxic women who are systematic, controlled and calculated in their approach. On the outside, this office mean girl appears charming and charismatic, but on the inside they are cold and calculating. As a result, they tend to inflict emotional pain on their victims over long periods of time. They also are skilled manipulators. They appear sweet, outgoing and likeable, but this is just another way to manipulate situations to their liking. Girls like these twist facts and situations to make themselves look innocent or to avoid being reprimanded – the counter claim of bullying is a classic example of this type of behaviour.

She struggles with anger management issues

Sometimes office mean girls have poor impulse control. They are quick-tempered, tend to yell a lot and may even use profanity. These women also are prone to using direct insults and direct name-calling. They also may dominate meetings by arguing, criticising, using sarcasm and spewing insults. And they are not above rolling their eyes and coughing to undermine what other people are saying.

She is power hungry

These women want to be the ones in control and calling the shots. But instead of earning that right through respect and teamwork, they often speak disrespectfully to others, insist on having things their way and put other people and their opinions down. What’s more, they use the power and control they already have to their advantage. Sometimes, these women are bosses who are bullies. Other times, they have strong personalities, excellent verbal skills or a lot of influence and they use these things to walk over the needs of other people.

When I knew I wanted to write this post I put the call out on social media for people to share their stories, I knew I’d hear stories of people who’d put up with unacceptable behaviour for months hoping it would get better and I knew I’d hear stories where the organisation did nothing to address the issue, what I wasn’t expecting was for 100% of respondents to tell me they manager did nothing to help them.

I want to share my experiences with office means girls, not to throw shade, but because the psychological effects were pretty extreme and shows what can happen when people are enabled by organisations to behave badly without consequence.

My experience wasn’t just with one mean girl, it was with a posse of mean girls and started on my very first day and lasted for 2 years until I left the organisation. As a senior member of staff and the only subject matter expert in the organisation I was completely unprepared for how I was to be treated. It started with constantly questioning my advice or decisions, even though the employees in question had no relevant experience in HR, over time it progressed to continued gossip, attacks on my character, exclusion from social activities within the office, withholding of information relating to my job, leaving me out of meetings related to me, undermining me until the negative sentiment towards me had spread to a number of employees. And worse, I wasn’t the only employee this group targeted, I once walked in on them having a morning tea they’d organised to discuss a new starter and how she wasn’t really fitting in. It had never occurred to them that they weren’t a very likeable or welcoming bunch, anyone that commenced with the organisation was perceived as a threat to their status and was treated poorly.

Ultimately it got to the point where the affect on my health was too great and I had to leave. I worked with my GP to get healthy again because the anxiety caused by the actions of the women I worked with was overwhelming, in the first month or so I couldn’t leave the house without suffering severe anxiety, I would frequently cry in public because simple tasks weighed too heavily. My son hosted his first Christmas in his brand new house and I spent the day like a zombie, 2 weeks after my departure from the organisation my nephew passed away and the level of anxiety meant we were unable to travel for his funeral. I will never forgive them for what they did to me, what was just a game to them had far reaching implications for me & my family.

The stories sent into me on social media echo my experiences, women who were targeted for being good at their jobs that tried everything for months on end to have management recognise there was an issue to no avail. Every single respondent told of being quite severely impacted, in fact one story involving *Sasha took place over 20 years ago and involved a colleague constantly critiquing Sasha’s appearance, despite the amount of time passed, Sasha still feels self conscience about her appearance and feels as though she is being silently judged. *Janine told me about being singled out by a supervisor over a 9 month period “because she didn’t fit in” despite this particular person having previous form with this type of behaviour management turned a blind eye.

The implications for management as a result of not adequately addressing these issues are far reaching, first and foremost it’s a breach of Workers Compensation legislation, if the victim has voluntarily left after repeated attempts to have management address the bullying they may choose to lodge an unfair dismissal claim on the grounds on constructive dismissal, there is the damage to reputation as a result of constant turnover and the inability to retain quality employees.

People bully because they can get away with it, when you’re a manager or a bystander you have an obligation to speak up and call perpetrators out on their behaviour, businesses can ensure they have clear, concise policies in place to assist with proceeding with disciplinary action. Each of us can control our own behaviour and take ownership of our choices and allegiances. Even if we’re not managers, we can all do small things to support colleagues at work. So the next time you’re in a situation where you see another colleague talked over, not given their due credit, or critiqued unfairly, don’t just sit out on the sidelines. Your voice matters, so don’t underestimate your own power to make the office a better place.

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

 

Leader or a Boss?

Employee Working | HR Consultant | The People & Culture Office

When you look at the people in your organisation in managerial / supervisory roles do you think they are a boss or leader? All small – medium businesses can benefit by adopting strong leadership principles and knowing the difference between boss vs leader will help your organisation stand out from competitors.

I’ve heard it said that a boss is a subject matter expert and a leader is a people expert. Not long ago I wrote this blog post about what happens when your boss is highly competent technically, but terrible at leading the team. But I think it’s more than that, firstly because I’ve seen some terrible people placed into supervisory roles who are neither subject matter experts or people experts 😀, but, because with the right mentoring and training most employees can develop leadership skills.

In the picture above I’ve written “Being a leader doesn’t require a title, having a title doesn’t make you a leader”

When it comes to effectively managing your organisation there are 2 factors to consider – boss v’s leader and management styles.

Boss v’s Leader

You see, a boss’ main priority is to efficiently cross items off of the corporate to-do list, while a true leader both completes tasks and works to empower and motivate the people he or she interacts with on a daily basis.

A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.

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Management Styles

Management styles are born out of an individuals beliefs, values, assumptions, abilities and experience. Beyond decision making, successful management becomes learned and instinctual over a period of time. Successful managers have learned the mastery of anticipating business patterns, finding opportunities in pressure situations, serving the people they lead and overcoming hardships.

A strong manager may switch between different styles based on the desired outcome, and the method that works best for the relevant employee or team. Commonly management styles can fit into 5 types;

Autocratic

A manager who utilises the autocratic approach makes decision with little input from others, this style is a very top down approach where employees wait for an order or directives from the leader and then carry them out.

This style of management often results in passive resistance and discontent from employees as they begin to feel marginalised or under-appreciated, making this approach to management undesirable. However, in situations requiring urgent action where the approach is unlikely to affect productivity or motivation it can provide the ability to get the task done quickly and efficiently.

Laissez-faire

A laissez-faire approach is when the manager exerts little control over the group, and leaves the team to self manage their work. This style of management is a hands off approach and the manager is rarely involved in the work process.

This approach is only appropriate when the team is highly motivated, skilled and can confidently complete the work on their own. When this is the case team members can often complete goals faster and more effectively without interference and can have a stronger sense of personal accomplishment in doing so. When this is not the case, well, it’s recipe for an unmotivated and lazy workforce with negative implications for the business.

Democratic

A democratic manager makes decisions with consultation coming from within their team, while still maintaining control and remaining a central figure in the group.

A good democratic manager will encourage participation and empower their employees, but will never lose sight of the end goal. They understand that at the end of the day the buck stops with them so the right decision needs to be made, and this doesn’t always align with the majority.

A weak manager will lose direction and will be crippled by too many opinions to be able to make a firm call.

Transactional

Transactional management believes employees support their manager as a result of the managers ability to reward them. This management style assumes the primary motivator is the promise of reward, or, an aversion to punishment.

There are pro’s & con’s associated with this style, it can work well where the primary objective is to have employees complete allocated tasks regardless of the obstacles or the restrictions they may face (ie: time constraints or lack of resources) where management give clear & concise instructions and clearly state what the potential rewards are.

Transformational

A Transformational manager derives their power from their inspiring and charismatic qualities, evoking emotional connections with employees by building a vision and arousing passion. Transformational managers lead by injecting enthusiasm and energy and encourage engagement amongst the team.

You’ve probably just read the definition of a transformational manager and thought of current or ex-colleagues that fits the description, but wasn’t in a supervisory role right?

They would have exhibited leadership traits such as showing empathy & compassion for others; earning the respect of their colleagues; were flexible in their approach; they listened when people spoke; they were modest about their abilities; they adapted their approach to suit the cultural or societal requirements of the people they interacted with, and, they were a great communicator.

People would willingly go the extra mile for them because they liked the way they made them feel; they felt important, they felt the work was important, and they wanted in on the action.

Being leader isn’t confined to having a job title to match, just as having the job title doesn’t automatically make you a leader.

AT THE PEOPLE & CULTURE OFFICE YOU ONLY PAY FOR THE WORK WE UNDERTAKE FOR YOU;  NO ANNUAL OR MONTHLY FEES; NO CONTRACTS; JUST QUALITY, LOCAL, SERVICE. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Changes to flexible work arrangements commence 1 December 2018

Employee Working | HR Consultant | The People & Culture Office
The People & Culture Office – your first choice for HR solutions

As of tomorrow the new changes to requesting flexible work arrangements come into effect for all businesses under the national workplace relations system. 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, so these changes do not effect you. 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.

So what are the changes and how do they effect your business.

Come December 1 2018 there will be a right for certain employees to request flexible working arrangements from their employer. An employer can only refuse such a request on “reasonable business grounds”.

More specifically, the requests may be made by:

  • permanent employees who have completed 12 months of service
  • casual employees who have been employed on a regular & systematic basis for a sequence of periods of employment of at least 12 months, and have a reasonable expectation of the arrangement to continue

Eligible employees are entitled to request a change in their working arrangements if they:

  • are the parent, or have responsibility for the care, of a child who is school aged or younger
  • are a carer (under the Carer Recognition Act 2010)
  • have a disability
  • are 55 or older
  • are experiencing family or domestic violence, or
  • provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family who requires care and support because of family or domestic violence.

Examples of changes in working arrangements may include:

  • hours of work (eg. changes to start and finish times)
  • patterns of work (eg. split shifts or job sharing)
  • locations of work (eg. working from home).

Employers must give employees a written response to the request within 21 days, stating whether they grant or refuse the request and may refuse the request only on reasonable business grounds. If the employer refuses the request, the written response must include the reasons for the refusal.

Further, it is unlawful under:

  1. The Fair Work Act to take adverse action against employees including termination of employment
  2. State & Federal legislation to discriminate against employees either directly or indirectly through their employment because of their family or carers responsibilities

Employers must accommodate their employees’ family and carer responsibilities where it is reasonable to do so. Whether a refusal to accommodate such requests is unreasonable will depend on the facts and circumstances of the particular situation. A defence is available to employers on the basis that an adjustment is not reasonable if it would cause an unjustifiable hardship on the employer taking all circumstances into account, including consideration of:

  • the requested arrangements are too costly
  • other employees’ working arrangements can’t be changed to accommodate the request
  • it’s impractical to change other employees’ working arrangements or hire new employees to accommodate the request
  • the request would result in a significant loss of productivity or have a significant negative impact on customer service.

Reasonable grounds for refusal for a small employer may differ vastly to those that are reasonable for a large, well resourced employer.

For example if the employee is in a customer facing role or manning a busy switchboard, and you are a small – medium employer with a minimal number of similar employees to provide coverage for the absence, and recruiting may be impractical given the hours of engagement, then you may be able to justify that you have reasonable business grounds. The same situation with a large employer with 20 + admin staff would struggle to provide such a justification.

Similarly a non customer facing role who can complete the bulk of their tasks online, and with minimal interaction, such as an accountant or engineer would have quite a good case to suggest their absence from the office to work from home would create minimal disruptions to the operations.

The future is now

The reality is flexible working arrangements will soon become the new normal, and not just for the legislated requirements we have now. In a recent white paper released by Employment Hero on what Australian employees want from their workplace, flexible work arrangements rated in the top 3 wants with 45% of respondents indicating it was important to them when choosing a prospective employer. The same group, when asked what benefits they would like their existing employer to introduce, overwhelmingly stated flexible work arrangements with 59% of respondents giving it priority over other benefits such as career development, financial incentives and “feel good” benefits such free massages.

The next generation crave flexibility. The Deloitte 2017 Millennial Survey reveals that “flexible working continues to be a feature of most millennials’ working lives and is linked to improved organisational performance, personal benefit, and loyalty”. Overall, 84% of millennials reported that some degree of flexible working ranging from flexible start and finish times, flexible roles and flexible locations including work from home were highly desirable.

These arrangements are not identified as “simply a nice to have” but as being strongly linked to improved performance, employee retention and loyalty. Further, the report notes that organisations that have adopted flexible work indicated any earlier misgivings that opportunities would be abused appeared to be unfounded with 78% of respondents feeling trusted by their line managers. If you would like to read more about the changing millennial workforce Click Here. I also shared my thoughts on whether the changing face of the workplace was a contributing factor to the skills shortage in residential mining and trades positions here.

The inclusion of flexible work policies into your HR framework isn’t just about millennials or working mums, as we hurtle towards a large ageing population it provides the flexibility for the ageing workforce to continue working well beyond 65, something that will become more and more a necessity with superannuation unlikely to accommodate most retirees needs into their 80’s & 90’s.

Flexibility as a workplace norm builds diverse and inclusive workplaces, it allows those who would otherwise be somewhat excluded or restricted within the workplace to be able to contribute to the organisations success, it allows organisations the ability to attract & retain talent as we see a societal shift in personal priorities. Creating a flexible and agile workplace goes beyond creating “an accommodation for working parents”, rather it’s a strategy that enables a competitive business edge in the ever changing world of work.

At The People & Culture Office you only pay for the work we undertake for you;  no annual or monthly fees; no contracts; just quality, local, service. Click here to learn more

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating 6 months in business

 

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This Sunday will be the 6 month anniversary of the launch of The People & Culture Office.

In January of this year I was made redundant and after an appropriate period of comfort eating and laying on the lounge binging on Netflix I decided I needed to have a serious think about what I was going to do. There were literally no jobs in HR at my level, and over the preceding 12 months I had noticed a distinct decline in career friendly/ challenging positions in female oriented roles in Kalgoorlie- Boulder (has anyone else noticed this trend?)

After some market research and some imposter syndrome related discussions with my partner the conclusion was to take my redundancy payout and invest it in myself – and The People & Culture Office was born.

It’s been an interesting ride and here was what I’ve learnt so far;

SME’s are in need of risk minimisation & strategic HR solutions but don’t understand the value it can bring to their business.

My biggest hurdle to overcome & the sole purpose of this blog.

My mission is to build the capacity of small – medium enterprises through people & culture initiatives, by helping to create more successful, productive and high performance organisations. To achieve this businesses need to put their employees at the forefront of embedding their strategy into the organisation. But to do this successfully they need to create a positive culture and have the HR framework in place to ensure their strategic goals become reality. To put it simply; culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Viewing HR as an admin function only or having a series of policies that are short statements about legislative requirements is not adding value to your business and won’t cut it in the changing business environment.

Outsourcing your HR function is a very cost effective business decision my business model works on a once-off or project basis, I don’t lock people into contracts, nor do I charge an annual fee. Depending on your business needs I don’t need to stick around for months or years on end. The People & Culture Office can provide a framework for your HR needs with ongoing HR support as and when required.

Working from home has a lot of distractions

See Exhibit A

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Exhibit B

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Exhibit C

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Not getting paid every fortnight is scary

It’s fricken scary man

I’ve discovered so many local businesses that I had no idea existed

I’ve also had a hard time trying to find businesses online or even an email address to make contact- if I can’t find you, how can your target market find you? Businesses such as Kalsec Creative  and Pride and Prominence can manage your content for you and help you put strategies in place to reach your market.

It’s given me a platform to meet some dynamic business Owners & Managers

We have a lot of forward thinking & amazing leaders here, we just need others to jump on board and experience what they have to offer. Business is all about change; whether it’s addressing the decline in retail, making your event unique to smash attendance numbers or coaching business owners for greater outcomes. We have the resources here, there just needs to be a desire for progress and a willingness to think outside of the box.

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

 

 

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

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

 

How will the recent casual employment changes affect you?

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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