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Providing hints, tips and ideas that help you maintain high performing workplaces that are customer focussed and free of conflict
Rae Phillips - Saturday, December 06, 2014
Upcoming National Public Holidays
Rae Phillips - Friday, December 05, 2014
Given that a new year is just around the corner, what better time is there to make some business resolutions?
Here's a good one to start you off - a new year the perfect time for you to review your workplace practices and make sure they're legally correct and up-to-date.
Here are some aspects of your business practices you must review at the beginning of each year:
1. Your Workplace Policies.
Remember, having clear and legally correct workplace policies (such as workplace bullying policies, drug and alcohol policies and e-mail and internet usage policies) can help you guide the behaviour of your employees and help you avoid being held liable under various types of legislation. It is essential that you review and update your policies on a regular basis.
2. Your Awards, Agreements and Employment Contracts.
Are you sure that all of your employment agreements and contracts are 100% up-to-date? Remember, amendments may still need to be made as a result of the new Fair Work Act. To avoid liability, it is imperative that your awards, agreements and employment contracts are legally correct.
Need a hand with updating your policies, contracts and agreements? Contact us for more information.
3. Your WHS Procedures.
Make it a priority to review all your WHS procedures at the beginning of each year and check they are running smoothly. You could even consider conducting a few drill tests to make sure your employees are completely clear about what to do in an emergency situation.
Need help ensuring your business's WHS practices are up-to-date? Contact us for more information.
Call Inspire Success on 1300 620 100 for more information.
Rae Phillips - Thursday, September 04, 2014
We all know that our Customers are the heart of our business, and it is critical that they are happy with the products or services we provide. I’d like to introduce you to a new concept to help you provide service beyond their expectations, to create life-long customers and improve your business’ performance.
“Raving Fans” is a book written by Ken Blanchard, released in 1993. The concept behind creating Raving Fan customers is simply to figure out what the vision for your business is, check your vision against that of your customer, and then deliver against that vision plus 1%.
Read more about Raving Fans
Simply put, as the owner of a business, you have the power to either turn people toward your business or turn them away.
When your vision is in place for how you want to interact with customers—deliver against that plus 1% improvement every day. The great thing about vision is that it changes with time, customer needs, market needs, and personal or professional needs. Adjust it as you need to, but continue to deliver the core of what you started when you realigned yourself to create true “Raving Fans” customers.
Raving Fan customers won’t even think about going anywhere but to you, and they will tell everyone about how great your offer is.
I’d like to add another element to this. If you create Raving Fan Staff, just imagine how many more sales people you have out there talking about your business! And then imagine the experience your customers are having when they work with your business!
So what are you doing to inspire and excite your people? Think about the environment they are in; the work they do; where they want to be.
Empower, listen, praise, support, guide, and help your people win at work and personally. Lead at a higher level. Lead your people to greatness as you create a high performing business that makes life better for everyone.
To survive in business —you need Raving Fan customers. And to get them, you need Raving Fan Staff!
Rae Phillips - Wednesday, September 03, 2014
What is a Great Workplace?
What the employee wants
Having a list of special deals, discounts or benefits for your employees is not going to make a great workplace. We believe that it is the daily experiences and relationships that guide the employee perspective.
Without doubt though, the key to the relationships is TRUST. So the employees need to trust the people they work for, be proud of the work they do and like the people they work with each day.
Our experience and many many years of employee engagement surveys show that trust is the defining principle of great workplaces — created by the credibility of the Leaders, the respect with which employees feel they are treated, and the extent to which employees expect to be treated fairly. Pride and a real connection other team mates are also important.
What the employer is looking for
It isn't rocket science is it? As employers, we want to meet the goals we have for our business. We want to do this with our employees who are focussed on giving their very best and who work together as a team to deliver great service to our customers.
Great workplaces achieve organisational goals by listening to their people, inspiring them and by keeping in contact. They have employees who give their personal best because they are recognised individually and as part of a team, they grow in their roles and as people. And they work together as a team because they feel part of the business, celebrating and commiserating together.
Is this an issue at your place? Contact Inspire Success for a no obligation chat about the situation
Rae Phillips - Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Everyone is motivated by different needs but generally when people feel good about themselves, the work they do, and the organisation they work for, it is much easier to gain their cooperation. As a manager or owner, you have a fantastic opportunity to make a difference to how your people see their work with your business.
Here are my
Top 10 Ways to Motivate your People– which will lead to improved performance, productivity and profit for your business.
1. Outline the job responsibilities and expectations
2. Ask what your people want from their work
3. Consider each employees situation
4. Treat them as individuals – but always recognise the team
5. Use flexibility wisely
6. Put money in its place
7. Involve staff in the decision making process
8. Get involved in their development
9. Make the hard calls
10. Recognise that motivation isn’t always the answer
Almost all employees want to do interesting work, secure a good salary and earn recognition for their contributions. But motivating employees takes more than money and an occasional “thank-you.” It requires a strategy tailored to each worker’s needs.
1. Outline job responsibilities and expectations. Make certain that team members know exactly what is expected of them and how their performance will be evaluated. Maintain high standards. By involving team members in establishing high standards of performance, you will build their pride and self-confidence. It has been shown time and again that setting high standards at the start improves staff retention and customer feedback.
TOP TIP: set up a comprehensive and practical induction process so that their Onboarding experience is positive. Check back after one week and one month to make sure that all is still okay.
2. Ask what they want out of work. Just knowing that their boss is interested in their goals will make them feel better about their jobs. It can be difficult to get a quick and accurate answer to this question, however. Some workers may say that they want to work on a prestigious project, for example, only to discover once they have been assigned to the project that it isn’t what they expected. Maintain an 'open-door' policy. Be approachable, available, and interested, not distant.
TOP TIP: have a communications system that allows you to sit formally with your people every 3 months for just 30 minutes. Give them opportunity to tell you why they are still with you, what needs to change and you should give feedback on what is working well and where the development needs are.
3. Consider each employee’s situation (age and career / life stage). There are exceptions to every generalization, of course, but workers nearing the end of their careers are often less focused on the next promotion than those who are just starting to climb the corporate ladder. Younger workers may also be less accustomed than older ones to waiting patiently in a job they don’t find interesting. Engineers are likely to be motivated by working on cutting-edge projects. On the other hand, sales professionals tend to use money as a way to measure how well they’re doing.
TOP TIP: your communications system is key here. Find out what is important to them and where you can, tailor their remuneration or recognition to suit them. Take their ideas on board and make changes where you can.
4. Treat them as individuals – but always recognise the team. Always treat people with respect. Be thoughtful and considerate of the person you are dealing with. Pinpoint each employee’s personality. Give recognition. Give appropriate praise and recognition for a job well done. Some people love public praise; others are mortified by it and would much prefer a sincere, in-person “thank-you.” Make sure you take this into account if you are planning a ceremony to give awards or other recognition. Be aware of the morale level of your team. Be sensitive to changes in morale. Know when and why it goes up or down. Develop a caring attitude. A good manager trains, develops, counsels, guides, and supports their team and be sure to listen. Always listen to and try to understand what people are really saying.
TOP TIP: use your 30 minutes every 3 months to provide feedback on their performance. Give very specific examples of where things are going well, or where a customer has made a positive comment and then also show examples of where improvement is required – comparing to the standards.
5. Use flexibility wisely. Allowing employees to telecommute some of the time or to set their own office hours can have big benefits. It makes employees’ lives more manageable — and it shows them that they are trusted. Still, as with other motivators, one size does not fit all. Some jobs simply can’t be done effectively outside the office. And some workers actually like going in to the office to escape the distractions of home or to preserve a line between home and work. Ask for suggestions. Be sure to invite new ideas from team members concerning work. Be willing to put good ideas into action by making changes.
TOP TIP: have standards set on how people work from home, or remotely. Conduct a ‘home office’ check to show your people how important safety is and that working from home is ‘still working’. Ensure that all equipment is signed off on a register and there are policies for use of equipment.
6. Put money in its place. How well does money motivate workers? The answer isn’t simple. An employee who demands a raise might really be unhappy because his or her suggestions are being ignored, for example. And surveys and experts offer different answers about how important money is, depending on how the question is phrased. Money has been described as “a baseline”: too little of it can make workers feel unappreciated and resentful. You don’t want compensation working against you as a motivator - employees don’t want to feel like their boss is taking advantage of them. However, motivation to work hard rarely comes solely from money. If your employees are being paid fair salaries and still seem unwilling to go the extra mile, throwing more money at them is unlikely to be the answer.
TOP TIP: have a transparent salary review process – when salaries will be reviewed, how increases will be determined, what – if any connection there is with a performance review. Be consistent and don’t deviate!
7. Involve team members in the decision-making process. Give them a share in decision making. If not deciding what is to be done, then how it is to be done, or when or in what way, by whom. Let their participation increase over time. Keep them informed about changes that can directly affect them such as policy changes, procedure or rule changes, product information changes, and performance changes. As you become more confident that they are making decisions as you would, hand over a little more!
TOP TIP: be consistent in the way you make decisions. Your people will learn from how you handle situations and slowly but surely have the confidence and competence to take on more. Give them feedback on their progress – and never get emotional if they make a decision you wouldn’t have!
8. Get involved in their development. When you ask your people what kind of work they enjoy, also find out about what they’re hoping to do in the future. Giving them opportunities to build the skills and make the connections they need to get ahead in their careers will build loyalty and motivation. It can be very important to keep learning new skills on the job. With people changing jobs more often than they used to and companies no longer promising long-term employment, younger workers in particular realize that continuing to learn is the way to stay employable. With an aging population in Australia, we need to look for ways of tapping into the vast knowledge of older workers, in a way that inspires and excites them too.
TOP TIP: include personal and professional development in your 30 minutes every 3 months. This coupled with a clear training and professional development policy will reinforce what training is considered the employees responsibility and where the employer is prepared to help – in on the job training, with time off or with costs.
9. Make the hard calls. Leaving non performers in the team can be one of the easiest ways to get the rest of the team off side. Employees with a bad attitude, who waste time, who are not punctual and reliable cause huge issues for morale and productivity. Issues should not be bundled up and delivered all at once – poor performance or poor attitudes need to be addressed immediately. Have performance discussions without delay and set the staff up for success – if they take the lead and improve, or if you help them to leave, your team will see that you are decisive and have shown true leadership.
TOP TIP: having standards for every position allows you to give feedback when they are not being met. Your 30minutes every 3 months allows you to give this feedback very directly before it goes off the rails. Use a very clear performance management policy and grievance or dispute procedure to show all employees what happens when the standards are not met.
10. Recognize that motivation isn’t always the answer. If your motivation efforts aren’t working, it may not be your fault. Not everyone can be motivated for a particular job or at a specific time. If an employee would really rather be doing something else, it may be best to encourage him or her to pursue something new. Remember that we are all motivated by different factors; find out what these are for each of your team and you will be on the way to creating a environment within which they can do their best work.
TOP TIP: applying some or all of our Top Tips will get you well on the way to setting up a motivating environment. Employees must bring their own motivation, however, so knowing when to stop trying can save much time, effort and money.
Is this something that could help at your business? Inspire Success helps businesses get their systems right, right from the start. We specialise in setting up systems and providing support in an outsourced model. You only get us when you need us!
Give us a call on 1300 620 100 for a no obligation chat about your situation, or email email@example.com
Rae Phillips - Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Surveying your staff - what do they really think?
At the start of a new (financial) year, many people, personally or professionally, spend time reflecting on the past year - the things that went well and the areas that they could improve. This can also be an important element to your people strategy - what were your staff happy with and what ideas do they have to improve their work environment or the business?
This is even more critical with workplace legislation changing and new and different systems being introduced. How do we do this so that staff are not anxious or nervous?
When managed well, staff surveys can assist in increasing staff retention rates, lowering absenteeism, improving productivity, enhancing customer relations, and increasing profitability. When staff survey results are acted on, it can reinforce to employees that their input is valued by the organisation and help improve morale and loyalty - all valuable outcomes in today's candidate-short market.
The staff survey process often presents a number of challenges; high costs, a time consuming process, poor response rates, and administrative challenges around producing quality reports and charts. So how do we overcome these hurdles to implement an effective employee feedback program?
· Conduct the staff survey using a mixed methodology of online and traditional paper based approaches. Online surveys save money and respondent time and paper surveys are essential in meeting hard-to-reach groups who don’t have access to the Internet.
· Market the staff survey internally via email, notice boards or the Intranet and promote the benefits of taking part to increase response rates.
· Make sure you have buy-in from team leaders and that they own the results. Appoint a staff survey coordinator who will liaise closely with your senior team.
· Protect and communicate the anonymity of the employees’ responses and you are more likely to receive honest feedback. Using a 3rd party to conduct and manage the staff survey can assure the employees of confidentiality.
· I have found that using a third party to conduct your staff survey also increases response rates, provides objectivity in the report and more quality in questionnaire design.
· Communicate the results to your workforce whether they are positive or negative. This should be done quickly to show you’re being serious and then get them involved in working out what the actions will be.
· It’s not enough to just conduct staff survey! You and your senior team needs to make sure you act on the results and communicate your actions to their employees. A positive plan of action needs to be put into place to address some of the key issues.
· Finally run the staff survey at the same time every six months or so to gauge the difference in satisfaction levels and highlight any problems. Together with performance reviews, team workshops and exit interviews, this can build a picture of staff satisfaction and ensure that you retain your most valuable resource – your employees.
Rae Phillips - Friday, August 15, 2014
We see a lot of owners going into business without a clear understanding of the value and importance of the human resources strategy. It seems that most startups believe that HR only manages day-to-day activities and administrative duties that they, or other employees, could possibly manage on their own. Additionally, hiring an HR specialist is not viewed as cost effective. It is difficult for startups to justify hiring a non-revenue generating employee at an early stage.
As a result, the owner and their teams are burdened with tasks that take time away from core business, which ends up with a strained workforce, inefficiency, a high attrition rate, and possibly even legal ramifications. This is not the way to set yourself up to success!
Having someone who is completely focussed on the people plan will do wonders for getting your startup off the ground. HR is important for any company, particularly those in the crucial developmental stages. Why is it so essential? Below are just a few reasons why your business needs HR:
1. HR Supports Your Company’s Brand
It is imperative that you establish a supportive network of individuals with whom you trust. To add value to your company an HR specialist will need to understand the ins and outs of you and your company. One of their purposes is to support the attainment of your overall strategic business plan and objectives.
An HR Advisor can help you create and maintain a cohesive work environment from day one. They will ensure your employees embrace your company’s philosophy, strategy, and purpose and that anyone hired will be a good fit.
2. Attract Great Talent With A Dedicated HR Department
When you have only a handful of spots to fill, you need to be sure you are selecting the right person for each job. Every person on your team plays a pivotal role in getting your business off the ground. They all contribute to its growth and development and in the end its success.
To ensure this, you need a HR Advisor who can focus on recruiting the perfect individual for each position when or before the need arises. This task is made all the more challenging when the company is a startup, not only do you have to find the right people, you have to inspire them to commit to a company that is not yet established and secure.
3. You’ll See Better Retention
As your company grows, employees need to be kept happy, engaged, and productive. You want to keep good people around you. This will reduce recruitment and training time and cost.
During periods of growth, inevitable challenges and conflicts will arise. An HR Advisor is trained to identify, resolve, and restore employee relations matters. They also work with the operational teams to set up feedback mechanisms, incentive programs, salary reviews,internal promotions and leave.
4. HR Can Help Sustain And Improve Your Company
A HR Advisor should be tasked with developing a suite of policies and processes to help things function at the business. They can also work with the operational teams to create structure with standard operating procedures. Even with a small team, organization goes a long way. Additionally, the more your company expands, the more the business model must be able to work without the owner.
5. Compliance Is the Framework
Right from the start, owners need to be aware of the laws in place that affect the business and their employees. As the company grows, the more confusing legislation related to employees and workplaces can be. These requirements are not optional, they must be set up and managed effectively.
With out a HR Advisor to lead this process, ongoing issues could cause distraction in the business, impact productivity and result in payments to employees or fines.
Is this something that could help at your business? Inspire Success helps startup businesses get their systems right, right from the start. We specialise in setting up systems and providing support in an outsourced model. You only get us when you need us!
Give us a call on 1300 620 100 for a no obligation chat about your situation, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rae Phillips - Thursday, July 31, 2014
Did you know that the first 4 weeks of employment are when our new starters are deciding whether they are staying or not? This is the time to make sure we set them up for success and make the most of the money we have already spent on recruitment.
If you include at least these 3 steps to your induction, we believe you are on your way to building a positive employment relationship with your new starter and will have a much better level of engagement (read higher productivity, less conflict, less complaints, easier work for you!):
1. Deliver on what you promised
2. Set the standards up front
3. Follow up at regular intervals
Setting employees up for success in a new role requires planning and action. There are times that things won’t go according to the plan, but the system should be flexible enough to allow for this, and help it get back on track.
1. Deliver on what you promised.
Your recruitment systems should help here – what did you agree to in the interview? The letter of offer needs to be clear on what the job role is, what the pay is, when they start and how it will be reviewed.
Try to have this set up before the new starter arrives – it shows organisation in the business if their tools and workspace are ready, there is a name-badge and PPE, a handbook ready and an email address all sorted.
If you can, send the letter of engagement, personal details form, super and tax forms out in advance (we call this the starter pack). If this is completed at home and sent back in, you can set them up in payroll in advance and ensure there are no issues in getting that first pay. And if you pay monthly and they just miss the pay run – show them some flexibility by organising an end of month manual pay so they don’t have to wait 6 weeks!
TOP TIP: Have a checklist that you use to prepare for new starters, but that doubles as their checklist during Induction.
2. Set the standards up front.
You should have a standard checklist that is used by you or your key personnel so that you know every new employee gets exactly the same information. This checklist should include information on the company history and your service expectations, the focus of the division or department (this helps them understand how their position fits into the big picture) and very specific details like hours of work, where to park, uniforms, safety, timesheets, calling in sick etc.
Make certain that the checklist has a link to the position description so that the key personnel can work through the PD, letting the new starter know exactly what is expected of them and how their performance will be evaluated. Maintaining high standards during the Onboarding period will ensure that they continue.
By involving team members in establishing high standards of performance, you will build their pride and self-confidence. It has been shown time and again that setting high standards at the start improves staff retention and customer feedback.
TOP TIP: Your position description should be general enough that the employees understand the scope of their work, but specific enough that you can explain the standards (quality, quantity and time) you expect.
3. Follow up at regular intervals.
Specify on your checklist that there will be a weekly catch up, with a 6 weekly performance review mid probation. These catch ups should be casual, but structured, using the checklists as a guide.
Ask lots of questions, go over the information they have learned, ‘test’ that they have understood it and check to see where there are still gaps. During this time you should be listening for underlying problems with what the employees expected and what they are experiencing.
The 6 weekly probation review is a formal opportunity to provide feedback on their take-up of the new role, where they are going well and where there are performance issues. Document this discussion using a review form that you can go back to if necessary.
TOP TIP: These follow ups will work best if they are two way discussions. Ask the employee how things are going, listen to their response and then give your feedback. Resist the urge to jump in first.
Is this something that could be helpful at your place? Inspire Success is all about Practical, Stress Free, Timely Human Resources - no matter what size your business is.
Contact us for further information email@example.com.
Rae Phillips - Wednesday, June 11, 2014
The Fair Work Commission yesterday handed down its 2014 Annual Wage Review Decision, which can be summarised as follows:
All Modern Award rates of pay are to be increased by 3%, effective from the first full pay period commencing on or after Tuesday 1 July 2014.
This wage increase can be absorbed into any existing over award payments (check the absorption clause in your Modern Awards - usually this is in clause 2.2 or there about).
The default casual loading for Award free casual employees will increase from 24% to 25%, effective from the first full pay period commencing on or after Tuesday 1 July 2014.
Is this something you need some advice on? Contact one of our Advisors on 1300 620 100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rae Phillips - Wednesday, June 11, 2014
From 1 July 2014, the High Income Threshold will increase to $133,179.
Here are the key implications for those of you who have high income earners in your business:
In the past Employers have been caught out because they assumed that all amounts paid to employees counted toward the threshold, or because they thought that the seniority of employees excluded them from the unfair dismissal jurisdiction.
There are some hints and tips to setting up the high income earners contract of employment, and we recommend always using a professional to do this.
Is this something that could be an issue at your workplace? Get in contact with the Advisors at Inspire Success - 1300 620 100 or email@example.com
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