EP Readings


    • What Does Your Team Really Think?

    • A recent newspaper article about an employee who faced court for filling his manager's water bottle with water from the toilet, after his work was criticised, highlights the need to know what your team really think. So to avoid ‘being administered a poison or a noxious substance with intent,’ maybe it’s time to run an employee satisfaction survey.
    • Employee satisfaction is a critical link to a company’s productivity. A well-structured survey will show real verse perceived company culture, plus what's working and what's not.
      These surveys are also an excellent way for employees to feel they have an anonymous way to be heard.  You can find out which departments are happy and engaged and which are not. This gives you a clearer understanding where training and communication are needed most.

      Designing a good survey does take time and effort, but is vital to feel the pulse of what drives your employees. The results will give you valuable insight to allow you to make meaningful changes to your work environment. Here are some relevant and important aspects to consider.

      IDENTIFY - CLARIFY - UNIFY

      • Clearly identify the objectives and ensure results can be analysed
      • Concentrate on need to know, not nice to know
      • Say what you mean and mean what you say
      • Allow employees to answer truthfully. (Some open-ended questions such as “what is the best thing about working for this company” or “what do you dislike most in the company?” are very useful in understanding the exact cause of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.)
      • Don’t ask more than you need.
      • If you want honesty, ensure it is anonymous. (It doesn't matter if you have 10 or 10,000 employees, web based distribution allows each employee to be heard anonymously instantly and effortlessly)
      • Positive interpretation of results back to employees. Focus on what is working, action plans and improvements
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    • Snapshot 2020

    • A snapshot of Australia in 2020 shows our population creeping up to 25 million with the medium age being 40 years old. By the time 2030 rolls around we will be hovering around 29 million, however our medium age will be 60. So what does that mean for the workforce?

    • By 2020 research predicts that Gen Y will dominate the employment sector holding 42% of jobs, with an average role lasting 3 years (currently 4) and 1 in 3 being a casual position. We’ll be welcoming HSC graduates Gen Z; the digital natives; the dot-com kids, the generation of ‘incentivisation’ born in 2002; the year the Baby Bonus was introduced. These kids may well enter the workforce expecting money just for showing up!


      However It is then estimated by 2030 there will be a definite shift. With improving longevity and better health, people will remain in the workforce longer and employment will span more equally across all five generations. This will include the Baby Boomer's still working in their mid-60s and the 2030 graduates, who are only being born this year.


      It’s also predicted that online ‘reputation attacks’ on businesses will increase fourfold. Viral attacks dug up by a Digital Archaeologist, will be erased by a Digital Footprint Manager. (A good reminder to keep the reigns held firmly on your social networking.)


      As technology accelerates towards 2020, we’ll continue to come up against a host of unexpected privacy and security problems, as well as new careers to manage them. Technology will continue to re-shape tomorrow’s careers. Anyone know a good Avatar Relationship Manager, Global Narrowcast Manager or Extinction Revivalist?

      Interestingly a recent study of the skills of 2 to 5 year olds from affluent families in the EU, US, Australia and New Zealand found that twice as many children could play with a smartphone application as tie their shoelaces; surf the web than swim; play a computer game than ride a bike. Children are self-learning "tech" skills before "life" skills. For these children technology will create one-world and their ability to connect to a global network will be the key to them accessing opportunity.

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    • The True Test of Success is Succession

    • The issue of succession planning has been raised several times in recent months during EP Executive placements. Too often the prevailing culture in business these days is short term; this year, this project, this budget or this funding cycle.
    • According to a new study conducted by Deloittes, planning and strengthening the leadership pipeline is the current top-talent concern throughout the Asia-Pacific region. With lean teams and Baby Boomer managers inching closer to the point of retirement, it is estimated that less than 30% of companies have a well-defined succession strategy in place. Plus by 2020, approximately 40% of today’s managers in family and small business will have reached retirement age.

      Unfortunately succession planning and development of high-potential talent is often only thought of once a situation brings it into focus. Without a plan, a resignation or a rapid growth phase can bring a company to a standstill, when critical managers cannot be moved or promoted. Often the availability of a safe pair of hands for the baton to be passed to, just aren’t available.

      No succession will also affect critical managers’ ability to take leave, which again is a no-win situation for a company. Recent figures show leave liability in Australia has amassed 129 million days, worth $40bn in wages - that's over 350,000 years of holidays. This not only becomes a huge liability on the company’s balance sheet, but also effects productivity and creates an unhealthy work environment.

      Don’t leave it until an executive leaves or a crisis hits, before succession is even considered. Define what your key positions are in the context of generational transition in a changing business environment. Then invest in developing and retaining your critical and high potential talent,

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    • EP Journey

    • EP (formally known as Entertainment Personnel) participated in an Australian Government Initiative as part of the Enterprise Connect a division of the  Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
    • EP the journey:-

      Based at Fox Studios Australia, EP is a recruitment company specialising in the creative industries. EP is the go-to head-hunter, placing executives & qualified professionals across film, television, music & performing arts industries. They are a vital link in the supply chain for many businesses working with or within the entertainment field.

      Founder and Managing Director, Patricia Powell-Hughes was looking to revitalise the Entertainment Personnel business and expand on the company’s service offering.

      “The business had reached a point where it had stagnated. We needed to rejuvenate and make changes, so I started thinking of ways we could stimulate and grow the business,” said Patricia.

      Patricia made contact with Enterprise Connect.  Business Adviser David Sharpe met with her to review Entertainment Personnel’s business and provide recommendations on how he felt she could progress towards her goals.

      David could see Entertainment Personnel was a dynamic business, but there were a number of areas in which the business could make improvements. By assessing workflow efficiencies, tracking income and expenditure and hours taken to complete each job, David was able to identify the most profitable services. He also highlighted wasted opportunities, with some services were being given away for free. Entertainment Personnel needed to better capitalise on their intellectual property to maximise profits.

      “David had a good understanding of our business and was a strong leader in helping us to break down our strengths and weaknesses and understand where we were & weren’t making money, and how we could restructure the business to be more efficient and profitable,” Patricia said.


      Outcome

      Entertainment Personnel fully embraced the Business Review process and implemented many of David’s recommendations.

      Patricia and her team engaged a brand specialist and Entertainment Personnel had its first name change in 13 years becoming EP. With a new look, a newly developed website, a concise marketing strategy, creation of an on-going monthly client e-newsletter, they started to communicate and involve their clients. EP also held a re-launch party for clients, to expose the new brand and announce a range of new services to meet emerging client needs.

      In addition, EP successfully applied for Enterprise Connect’s Tailored Advisory Service. They then used the service to  develop an online self-entry portal for candidates to self-manage their own career information. With this new portal enabling their candidate to easily update their own information, it will free up EP’s consultants time to generate income instead of and being tied to administrative duties.

      Finally, new staffing arrangements were put in place to reduce pressure on Patricia as the Managing Director, and allow her more time to focus on business development and EP’s expansion into Asia.

      “We really listened to David and did everything from installing a brand new server, to upgrading our services, reducing risk and increasing productivity through training,” said Patricia.

      Within one year EP turned their business around. Revenue and staffing have doubled and the future looks bright.

      In December 2011, Patricia was awarded the Ernst and Young Award for Best Financial Plan as part of a program she was doing with NSW Enterprise Workshop.

      Further information
      Visit www.enterpriseconnect.gov.au or call 131 791

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    • Know Your Obligations

    • The Fair Work Ombudsman has published a Handbook to assist employers better understand the Fair Work Act 2009 and their obligations under workplace laws. The Handbook has been designed to assist employers prevent and resolve workplace issues in their businesses and provides an overview of the aspects of the Act including:
      • The 10 National Employment Standards
      • Awards and Agreements
      • Pay slips and record-keeping
      • Employing staff
      • Handling workplace disputes
      • Managing under performance
      • General protections
      • Fair Work Ombudsman executive director Lynda McAlary-Smith encouraged employers to combine the handbook with their own workplace policies and procedures to create a single source of information for employees and managers. She also encourages use of the handbook in conjunction with the letter and document templates available on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
         

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    • Outsourcing

    •  It is predicted outsourcing staffing functions will play a major role in the Australian market in the coming years. Although slowly changing, evidence by case studies abroad, show Australian companies are behind the rest of the world in embracing the outsourcing of these strategic needs. The report indicates it doesn’t matter what size your company is; it still needs to operate as effectively and efficiently as a large organisations does, to survive.

    • Though often with fewer resources, the significance is shifting for small to medium size companies to not only focus on cost reduction, but to identify and adopt a greater strategic HR function to retain staff and gain bottom line profitability.


      Results from a recent survey of US and European companies showed the top ranking businesses since the GFC, are decisively entrenched in outsourcing their staffing needs. The survey found 76% outsourced at least one major employee human resources function and 80% indicated they would do so again. Not one of these companies said they had any intention to recover the outsourced functions and bring them back in-house.


      Savvy companies in Australia have started to secure these services as a key differentiator to gain a competitive edge. Providers of these outsourced services in Australia are offering everything from payroll services to managing the entire end-to-end lifecycle of the employee. Whether you have three, 300 or 3000 staff, everything from recruiting, training, performance management & reward strategies can all be outsourced

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    • Are Jargon Packed Job Titles The New Black

    • Interestingly, sometimes when we meet with start-up businesses, no one has job titles. While working hard to build the company, they wear various caps. They don’t play politics and they don’t seem to jockey for position or authority. Yet once a company is more established, a job title does matter.
    • In countries where the economic crisis caused salaries to flat-line and budgets were tightened, a fancy title was enticing potential new employees and helping to stop jaded employees from walking out the door.

      There are pros and cons, but a funky job titles can serve as an extension of a company’s brand. While for others a unique title is more a self-expression than an actual job title. In a less formal manner, this title is used under their actual job title on business cards and can be a great conversation starter when networking.

      On the flip side with innovation comes risk. Perhaps we should think back to 80’s hair and remember when something that seems super cool now, in ten years will most likely to be embarrassing.

      Here are a few we dreamed up earlier…

      Exploitation Whisperer – Publicist
      Chief Imagination Orchestrator – Producer
      Colour Distribution Technician – Graphic Designer
      Commercial Optimisation Creator - Sales Manager                      
      Obstruction Identity Strategist – Sales Coordinator
      Broader Audience Instigator – Programmer
      Experience Enhancement Consultant– Event Producer
       

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    • Bogus, Phony, Faux - Can you tell the difference?

    • For the past 3-4 years websites offering fake references have been in existence. These sites offer services to people who aren’t qualified for a role or have a questionable gap in their work history.
    • For a fee, these companies provide a fake referee name and phone number. When the number is called, it diverts to this company who answer and provide a fabricated reference. Some of these companies go as far as creating a new company with an accompanying phone number, logo, website and LinkedIn profile.

      It’s unfortunate that people make a living from offering services which defraud employers, but while they exist we have to be vigilant. And sadly from our research, these sites are doing big business.

      Careerexcuse a US company  lists itself as, ‘The world’s largest network of job reference providers’ and the Aussie version fakejobreferencesaustralia.com skites that HR hates us, managers hiss at us and CEO'S make voodoo dolls and stick pins in us. Both companies appear to be proud of their negative media coverage.

      So is the reference process flawed? Not if you take reference checking seriously. At EP we have our radars on high-alert to detect a referee who is not suitable pretty quickly.

      For added protection, some clients go one step further. Along with conducting reference checks, a full background check is run as well, before making an official offer of employment. Others clients have a disclosure clearly stated on their employee application form. If a person has lied during the application process, it is grounds for termination no matter when this information is discovered.

      Tips for effective reference checking

      • At interview stage discuss three suitable referees with the candidate
      • Establish the referee’s relationship and how long they reported to them.
      • Plan the call and know what information you need to gain. Give the referee a guide to how long you need and don’t be rushed to end the conversation without the sufficient information you need. If the person doesn’t have time when you call, arrange a more suitable time to call back
      • Unless the referee’s name is known to you, don’t conduct references on mobile phones. Call the switch number to establish the company, rather than calling direct extensions
      • Ensure you establish the relationship between the referee and the candidate. If not a manager, supervisor or senior staff member, ask why they qualify as a referee?
      • Ask relevant questions to the role, the profession and the industry
      • Ensure questions are open-ended rather than getting yes/no responses
      • Lastly if you aren’t confident, hand it over to someone who is, it’s a critical area of recruiting
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    • Help Stop The New Year Resignations

    • Christmas is a time when people get the chance to reflect on the past year’s achievements, challenges, obstacles and stresses. Interestingly the biggest spike in job applications comes in January and February when people act on their decision to leave.
    • After another year of global upheaval, recent reports on employment say when economic conditions improve through 2012; employers will have a battle on their hands to retain their staff. Research by Mercer found that two in five Australian workers (approx. 40%) were still seriously considering leaving their employer and that number will rise as confidence grows and the economy strengthens.

      So now is the time to strike the right balance and keep a positive work culture. It’s time to communicate and thank your team and inspire them with a positive image about what the coming year will look like.

      If you are looking for incentives, keep in mind that the most valuable workplace luxuries are not always financial. What matters too many employees is whether they have work/life balance, are allowed to make decisions, have job security and they are treated with respect. Financial reward is important, but financial reward given without the right attitude is worthless.

      Leading US University Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, an expert in workplace management says, “Today, time is more valuable than money, so although a financial bonus is great, rostered days off or perks that save people time such as on-site childcare or flexible work hours, are actually worth more in terms of quality of life.”

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    • Gen X Officially Named "Most Demanding"

    • A global survey commissioned by SuccessFactors conducted last month, looked at what motivates employees and the differences between genders, generations and countries.
    • It seems Gen X, owes Gen Y an apology. Gen X, no longer the grungy ripped-jeans kids Time magazine first described in 1990, have hit their stride and been named ‘Most Demanding’ generation. The report showed nearly 50% of all Gen X make requests for extra conditions, perks and benefits at job interview stage.

      In summary the report showed 87% of hiring managers globally say that job candidates ask for additional benefits beyond what was on offer at the time of interview. This high-level of requests were common across all countries, especially the request for higher pay.

      Interestingly, although Australian employees were less likely to ask for higher pay than other countries (only 54%) they were more likely to request additional holidays or the ability to work from home. Australian’s were also less likely to ask for a pay rise outside of their scheduled performance review. In the genders stakes at least 45% of male job candidates ask for more money, while female candidates request flexibility around working hours.

      According to the survey, almost half the hiring managers in Australia have experienced requests for less traditional job perks, such as time off for volunteer work, free food or massages.

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    • Work From Home Agreements

    • Work from home arrangements made headline this year after a court case, where a large multinational’s employee successfully claimed for injuries sustained in their own home. On a positive note, more and more companies are offering flexibility, to help with attraction and retention of staff. However it is important that employees are set up correctly from the outset to avoid legal complications in the event of an incident.
    • Employers do have a legal responsibility under work health and safety laws to identify safety risks associated with a work from home arrangement and should take practicable steps to minimise those risks. Employers should also make clear the employee’s obligations, along with well-outlined company policies and procedures in a written agreement and work closely with the employee when planning the introduction of work from home arrangements.

      Both parties have responsibilities and a workplace assessment is recommended, or at a minimum the employee should complete an OH&S self-assessment checklist, signed by both parties before commencing work.

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    • 10 low-cost ways to motivate your staff

    • It's been more than a decade since McKinsey's work on the 'war on talent' and the relevance of 'employee attraction, engagement and retention' to companies wanting to gain competitive advantage. Since then the HR sector has been busy warning businesses that if they don't improve job satisfaction and employee commitment, good talent will walk.  Sounds like an expensive headache, but it needn't be.  Read on for some tips that shouldn't break the bank.
    • First, the definition. Progressive companies who actively support staff to reach their full potential will achieve far higher levels of commitment than old-style businesses who view people simply as resources to be managed. An 'engaged' employee is enthusiastic and involved, and works in a positive way that furthers the interests of the company.  Contrast this with the non-engaged staffer who continues to produce work, but in an increasingly unhappy or bitter way. (Some research puts the difference at over 20% in share value).

      In a competitive market the right talent needs to be unearthed, attracted by what's on offer, and then motivated to stay and deliver.  In addition to salary, candidates are increasingly wanting to discuss factors such as career pathways and employer reputation.  Relying on a fabulous brand name or a 'bees-to-the-honeypot' approach is not enough.  Entertainment companies often pop up in 'dream job' surveys, but rarely feature in ones related to employer-of-choice or job satisfaction.   For creatively-minded candidates a dream job may now be found in some previously unlikely places, as telcos, banks and other corporates invest in areas such as events, social media and video channels.

      Here are 10 low-cost ways to motivate and engage your staff:

      1.  Shout-outs
      Don't wait until performance review time to reward staff or give public recognition for good results.  Do it immediately - and make a note to acknowledge it again in the formal review.  Consider a simple on-the-spot reward program that works for your team.

      2. Thank-you
      A Gallup survey showed that the behaviour of an employee's direct boss has the greatest impact on engagement and job satisfaction.  Genuine conversations and thank-yous build up trust and loyalty.

      3.  Encourage creativity
      Set aside time for brainstorming, create ways for all staff to contribute to the bigger picture, and give credit where it's due.  Innovation isn't just about digital technology - bright ideas happen in admin, accounts, everywhere.

      4. Empower staff
      Don't just say it - do it.  Are your staff given room and delegated authority to take on projects, make decisions, and learn from mistakes?

      5. Work environment
      Review your workspace and consider small, low-cost changes to staff amenities. Sometimes a fresh eye is needed - ask a friend to drop by the office and see what they'd suggest.

      6.  Wellbeing
      HR Leader reported that 25% of workers spend over 10 hours a day on the job – leaving little doubt that employers have a responsibility to assist with personal wellbeing.   If you can't afford to provide gym memberships, why not bring in occasional experts to talk on topics such as personal finances or health.  Or get away from the fluoro lights and hold weekly team meetings in the park.

      7. Ask them!
      Don't make assumptions about what individuals want.  You may be surprised to learn that for one person, starting half an hour later each day would address stress levels in a way that a pay rise won't.

      8. Career pathways
      Ambitious, energised and motivated staff need to know where they're heading.  Talk with them openly about options. "I expect you'll want to do X elsewhere/overseas in future, but in the meantime, over the next two years I will offer you Y".

      9.   Work isn't the whole story
      Be interested in what matters to your staff outside work - hobbies, religious holidays, studies, family.

      10.  Brain food
      Encourage conversation and stimulate discussion around ideas beyond the daily work.  Share the latest TED video and discuss it as a group.  If a staffer is interested in further study, consider paying for a percentage of the study fees (reimburse upon successful completion of the course) and ask that new learnings are shared.

      © EP 2011

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    • Jargon buster: are you a coach or a mentor?

    • Terms like ‘mentor’, ’train’ or ‘coach’ get tossed around in job descriptions and staff training plans, but do you know exactly what they mean, and what others may expect from you?
    • Mentoring is about objectively sharing experience.  As a mentor you'll be a guiding figure who helps someone to develop their long-range viewpoint.  Been there, done that?  Share your professional expertise and wisdom in a structured way with another person in your workplace or industry. It's not for direct report relationships, or between members of a small team.

      Training is a direct transfer of skills and knowledge.  It is not necessarily professional development.  When creating training plans beware of the distinction between 'training' (technical needs of a job – usually of most benefit to the employer) and 'development' (professional growth – of benefit to both individual and employer).  'Learning' happens in both cases, as the person develops new skills and behaviours.

      Counselling is often used interchangeably, and incorrectly, with 'coaching'. Counselling focuses on solving existing, emotionally centered problems, and should be left to people with professional qualifications in the field.

      Coaching is a collaborative relationship that sets goals, unlocks potential, and encourages actions that change behaviours. ‘Life coaching’ usually relates to self-development.  In a professional context, the most appropriate approach is ‘executive coaching', which focuses holistically on improving both individual and organisational effectiveness.  If you're a manager who coaches, you'll be helping someone to navigate their path to reach a goal.

       

      © EP 2011

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    • Getting to the heart of the job

    • Since the business world made a link between measuring and incentivising staff performance, and increased productivity and profitability, managers have sought the easiest ways to define roles and standardise systems for reviewing their employees. 
    • Obviously a set of simple role templates is a smart idea for forming the basis of discussions between managers and staff, and being a record of shared understanding.  However, particularly in large organisations, as templated documents roll out across departments year in year out they tend to get customised along the way.  Often they mushroom into pages of grids and dots that become so generalised that they are meaningless.  As recruiters we’ve have some shockers sent our way (“Task 2: Communicate with colleagues on a daily basis”, anyone?).  

      Pointless documents and systems are a fantastic way to breed cynicism on both sides of the office desk.  Performance appraisal meetings end up being dreary tick-a-box exercises and do little to create the conditions for what should be a productive exchange about achievements and skills.  Little wonder that many small businesses often believe that formalised HR management systems are a waste of time, and belong squarely in the domain of big corporations. 

      But to ignore the potential benefits of having a simple framework for outlining roles and defining responsibilities is a lost opportunity for employers of any size.  This is particularly so for creative SMEs, where hierarchies are often casual or non-existent, and cultures are dominated by loving the work that you do and a desire to go with the flow.  However, what is one person’s ‘one big happy family’ environment can be another’s nightmare of clashing egos and poor communication about tasks.

      Organisational psychologists agree (and it’s something often raised in interviews at EP) that ‘lack of role clarity’ is one of the top stressors in a workplace, outweighing other factors such as poor pay.  Not being clear about what you or your colleagues need to achieve can cause endless frustration and tension, as well as create gaps or overlaps in tasks.  For employers, the costs are wasted money and time, and good staff. 

      Having a simple, locally relevant framework that outlines the tasks, boundaries, and expectations of each role can go a long way to dispelling any misunderstandings that have built up in the team, and create a common understanding about each role.  Sure it’s just a piece of paper, but it’ll come in handy as a checklist if you need to raise difficult issues with members of your team.  You don’t need to use unfamiliar or over-formal jargon.  If it doesn’t make sense or speak your team’s language on paper, it won’t make sense in real life.

       

      © EP 2011

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    • Learning to love social media in your workplace

    • Long gone are the days when employers tried to ban personal internet use at work.  Companies now expect staff to be savvy digital citizens, and understand that having the know-how to trawl Twitter, harness the power of Facebook, or follow companies through Linked-In can be a vital ingredient to gaining edge.
    • Of course alongside opportunities come the risks, such as low productivity or the posting of inappropriate content. The instant ‘one-to-many’ nature of social media means that someone's sudden flash of anger or mischief can have immediate consequences. Fair Work Australia says that employees would be foolish to think they can say whatever they want online or outside work. If someone’s conduct online is likely to cause damage to the employment relationship or to the company’s interests, disciplinary action, including termination, may be justified, even if the material was posted outside working hours.

      So how do managers balance the need to encourage creative experimentation with ensuring that staff use their time to the company’s benefit? As with all workplace dilemmas it’s far preferable to initiate the conversation and communicate expectations up front rather than need to deal with the fallout later.

      The simplest solution is to update your company policies to include new media platforms, and ensure that these are clearly understood.  Broadly speaking, how an employee behaves online should not differ to a company’s general expectations around behaviour – that is, conduct should not be offensive, damaging or unlawful.

      There are good examples of policies around, including IBM’s comprehensive guidelines.  Other tips to consider:

      • Make sure that everyone understands the reasons why your company is using social media, and how it is built into certain job requirements.
      • Wherever possible, staff required to use social media should be doing so under their real name, and be identified with the company.
      • Consider the audience for each platform and make social media communications relevant.
      • Provide information or training for staff on issues such as defamation. The ArtsLaw Centre is a great place to start.
      • Just as the internet itself is built on principles of peer-to-peer sharing and trust, be clear on the level of responsibility that you’re investing in staff.  Although you have a choice to monitor and crack down on email and website use, the reality is that for most digital folk, whilst they may check their Facebook at work, they’re also just as likely to do a work-related task at home. Overly restrictive or intrusive policies could have a negative impact on morale and productivity.

      Finally, be open to learning. Managers can set themselves up to fail if they don’t make an effort to understand an employee’s skills and passions. You might be surprised to find that what appears from a distance like a lazy cruise through Twitter might be yielding vital information. If your staff know that you ‘get it’, they are far less likely to abuse the trust.

       

      © EP 2011

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    • The case for hiring an external recruiter

    • With some of the biggest challenges that plague organisations being people related, it makes sense to get recruitment right. Hire the right people in the first place, and you won’t be wishing you could manage them out of the door later.  Getting it wrong affects an entire team’s productivity and morale.   And if the bad hire is in a leadership role, of course the problem grows exponentially.
    • Companies need to weigh up carefully the cost of using their internal resources for recruitment verses that of engaging an external recruiter.  In the social media era it seems all too easy now to just ask one of your staff to “run a quick ad and see who’s out there.” Very often the result is a waste of time and effort that still doesn’t yield the right person for the job.  Of course, as recruiters you’d expect us to say this.  But, over and over again we see clients come to us in desperation because what they’ve done hasn’t worked, and need to help them – urgently!

      Those who think they are saving their company money by using internal company resources should know that those resources still come at a cost.  Even if a company is large enough to have an HR department with an internal recruitment function, the cost of recruiting will find its way somehow back to the department. And the department manager’s time will still be required throughout the process.

      When a staff member resigns, managers (or their assistants) need to find the time to stop what they are doing and write the job ad, write a job description, draft some selection criteria, research the most suitable medium to run an advert, place the ad, (negotiate best rates), take phone enquiries about the role, review CVs, shortlist and arrange interviews, conduct interviews, call reference checks, make an offer, negotiate the salary package, issue a contract, and then reply to all the unsuccessful applicants.  (Many don’t bother with the last point, forgetting the lasting impact this can have on the company brand).

      Add up all the hours it takes to source, assess, and then fill the position, the hourly pay rate of the manager, and the productivity lost whilst the position was being filled.  The cost is several thousand dollars – and that’s assuming the role was filled successfully the first time around.  There’s no guarantee that your first-choice candidate will accept the role.

      A specialist external recruiter such as EP will hit the ground running and already have their finger on the pulse of the market.  They’ll come back in a specified timeframe with a solid shortlist of qualified people who will have the appropriate skills, right attitude and cultural fit for the organisation.  It’s a smart investment for any company.

      © EP 2011

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    • Exit interviews – yes, worth the effort

    • When a staff member announces their departure, attention turns to the subject of their replacement, and practical matters such as dates, handover, and farewells.  Somewhere amongst all that kerfuffle the experience and knowledge of an employee is about to head out the door. Whether or not you're happy to see that individual move on it's worth taking the step of requesting a final meeting to run through an exit interview checklist.  For the employee, even if they can't wait to hand in their security pass it's likely they'll appreciate the opportunity to contribute their views and possibly help to shape the role for the next person in the chair.
    • Ideally companies should build exit interviews into their normal employment cycle, as they're seen generally by staff as a positive and healthy aspect of company culture.  At EP we're asked to facilitate them from time to time, either as part of the process to define recruitment needs, or to assist managers with giving difficult feedback. Sometimes exit interviews can throw up surprising results.  Maybe that great person can be persuaded to stay once all the issues are fully aired.  Or perhaps you can make peace with a disgruntled staffer once it's understood that the job was set up wrongly in the first place.

      Some exit interview questions:

      • What factors led you to accepting a job with our company?
      • How has your perception of those factors changed during the time you’ve been here?
      • If you could change one thing about how this company operates, what would it be?

      Attendance at an exit interview is not considered compulsory, and information discussed should remain confidential unless otherwise agreed

       

      © EP 2011

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    • Get your facts straight before you hire

    • Hands up who's not guilty of embellishing their CV at some point in their career?  Indeed. But there’s a world of difference between neglecting to mention that terrible Science grade or the six-week job from hell, and presenting false qualifications or wildly exaggerated work experience.
    • Studies by Galaxy Research show that one third of job applicants fabricate information, with experience, salary levels and fake references/qualifications topping the list.  The internet may have made it easier to do a quick search on a prospective candidate, but it has also led to a proliferation of cheat sheets, bogus profiles and fake university degrees. In 2010 CNN reported that in the US alone 100,000 fake degrees are purchased each year from 'degree mills' (fake online universities), with a third of these being post-graduate qualifications.

      Whilst it may be tempting to write off fabricated evidence as  ‘creative licence' or enthusiasm on the part of the applicant - particularly if it's a popular candidate - it’s important to recognise that bad habits can be hard to break, and that past behaviours are often predictors of what lies ahead.

      A skilled recruiter can pinpoint gaps and inconsistencies in a candidate's CV, identify areas for future development, and drill down on detail such as an applicant's actual contribution to a project. That delightful candidate who apparently won those major tenders won’t do much for team morale later down the track if she turns out to be a coat-tail rider without the skills to deliver.  So before you rush to lock in that great person and put out the company announcement, check that you've allowed sufficient time for both interviewing and reference checking.
       

      © EP 2011

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