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HIRING HORRORS: RECRUITMENT MISTAKES TO AVOID P.32 » REBUILDING TRUST IN LEADERSHIP P.36 » INSIDE HR AT UNISYS P.56 »

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IN EVERY ISSUE:

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Profile case studies

Best practice examples

ISSUE 8.09

The forum

Expert opinion columns

Topical news briefs

8/20/2010 10:53:45 AM


EDITORIAL

Hype or hope?

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s a magazine editor you can always tell what the hot issues are simply by looking at your inbox and checking the subject matter of the latest media releases. If that’s an accurate barometer of ‘hotness’ then this past month it seems there’s nothing hotter than social media. Of course, this hardly seems groundbreaking – people have been using social media for years. Plus, there is an undeniable element of ‘tit-for-tat’ going on: when one recruitment agency or consulting business conducts a ‘survey’ their competitor immediately follows with another – and usually the results differ vastly just to get people talking. However, it’s significant that independent of the media hype, many HR professionals are also talking to me about this challenging topic. Not only is it an ongoing thorn in the side of HR professionals who are concerned about social media use at work, but it’s also emerging as a valuable recruitment tool that simply can’t be ignored. How should HR engage with it? Do all job seekers like using this mode of communication? There are, unquestionably, certain ‘rules of engagement’ which must be followed – but what are these? While LinkedIn is, strictly speaking, a professional networking tool (and therefore distinct from the likes of Facebook which is perceived as a ‘social’ networking tool), there is still some confusion about how to best use it for recruiting purposes. Our feature on p.24 provides some tips. Also in this issue we take a look at recruitment in the post-GFC world. This feature is significant in more ways than one. Not only is this the first recruitmentrelated article in Human Capital for over 12 months – and therefore a good barometer of business sentiment – but it also appears the GFC has indeed changed the relationship between employers and recruiters. It might be time for you to reconsider your recruiting arrangements. Find out how on p.14. Iain Hopkins, editor

EDITOR Iain Hopkins

SALES & MARKETING NATIONAL COMMERCIAL MANAGER Sophie Knight

COPY & FEATURES

SALES MANAGER Sarah Wiseman

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Clare Costigan

MARKETING EXECUTIVE Kerry Buckley

PRODUCTION EDITOR Carolin Wun

MARKETING COORDINATOR Anna Keane

PRODUCTION EDITOR Moira Daniels

TRAFFIC MANAGER Stacey Rudd

ART & PRODUCTION

CORPORATE

DESIGN MANAGER Jacqui Alexander

MANAGING DIRECTOR Mike Shipley

DESIGNER Paul Mansfield

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER George Walmsley

CONTRIBUTORS

CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER Colin Chan

Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers, The Next Step, Chandler Macleod Group, Frontier Software

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER Julia Bookallil

SALES DIRECTOR Justin Kennedy

Editorial enquiries Iain Hopkins tel: +61 2 8437 4703 iain.hopkins@keymedia.com.au Advertising enquiries Sophie Knight tel: +61 2 8437 4733 National Commercial Manager, HR Products sophie.knight@keymedia.com.au Sarah Wiseman tel: +61 2 8437 4745 Sales Manager, HR Products sarah.wiseman@keymedia.com.au Subscriptions tel: +61 2 8437 4731 • fax: +61 2 8437 4753 subscriptions@keymedia.com.au Key Media www.keymedia.com.au Key Media Pty Ltd, Regional head office, Level 10, 1 Chandos St, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia tel: +61 2 8437 4700 fax: +61 2 9439 4599 Offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto www.hcamag.com Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept as HC can accept no responsibility for loss.

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CONTENTS

Inside this issue

24 The desert island solution Advocates of LinkedIn as a recruitment tool call it the ‘desert island solution’ – the one sourcing tool they would need if stranded on an island. While it’s taken off overseas, Australian recruiters and HR professionals are just starting to realise its value

36 A sticky subject Leadership trust was jettisoned in many companies in the rush to survive last year’s economic hardship. Iain Hopkins investigates what’s involved in rebuilding the glue that keeps organisations together

50 Will this be another insane payrise?

Understanding and changing behaviour around payrise expectations can result in benefits to the individual and the organisation. Matt Linnert explains

36 14 Cover story: Trespassers will be recruited While that headline may seem extreme there’s no doubt recruitment is heating up again. The question is, how will it be handled? Iain Hopkins investigates how the GFC has altered the relationship between employers and recruitment professionals

Letters to the editor Do you have a burning HR or people management issue you would like to share with others? If so, Human Capital would like to hear from you. Send through your comments to editor@hcamag.com. Alternatively, express your thoughts on the readers’ forums at www.hcamag.com

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24 Regulars 4 In Step – HR career experts 6 Legal 8 Workplace advisory & management 9 HR technology 10 The Forum


HR Career Experts

THE ART OF ENGAGEMENT

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or the early HR career professional, one of the crucial skill sets to acquire to accelerate career progression is the ‘Art of Engagement’. This is the view of many senior HR professionals. But what does this concept mean and why is it so important? One senior HR professional who certainly agrees with the art of engagement concept is Helen Lyons. According to Helen, who has held senior HR roles for a range of organisations such as AMP, Campbell Arnott’s and the University of Western Sydney, the art of engagement relates to the ability of an HR practitioner to entrench themselves within their customer base to the extent where they become almost indispensable. In this month’s Instep, we explore how early HR career professionals can master this skill set as a key platform for their careers. We also look at potential ways for HR leaders to make their companies attractive by offering development opportunities to up-and-coming HR practitioners.

The message for early HR career practitioners

1. Engagement through early intervention For career success, it’s reasonably well understood that HR professionals need to understand the needs of the business and be able to anticipate these. Having said this, even if this is achieved, HR can still hit some brick walls. For instance, even the most professionally written business proposals can get rejected if an engagement process hasn’t been commenced first. When discussing engagement strategies, Helen recommends to early HR career professionals that they gain buy-in by “testing the waters” first. She suggests that before an idea or concept is put on paper, floating the idea past influential stakeholders and gauging their response should be the starting point. If some resistance is already sensed at this stage, it provides an opportunity to “unpack the cause” and deal with it before it’s fatal to the proposal. Helen goes on to say that sometimes the most effective method of engagement is to transfer the ownership of an idea. If an HR professional can “seed a concept” so that stakeholders believe it is their initiative, then the battle is already half won. 2. Engagement through commercial understanding In discussing engagement and career success, Helen along with most senior and successful HR career

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practitioners, believes that an understanding of the business is crucial. Learning what the strategic drivers for both the internal and external customers are, such as market share, ROI, expense and revenue line management and risk mitigation, is key to successful idea pitching. To do this, Helen suggests developing strategic alliances with key divisions in the organisation. “Get into the engine room and find out what people are doing to keep the business running. Building up your knowledge of, for example, Finance, Marketing and Supply Chain Management will provide invaluable insights which will positively influence your career journey.” Helen’s final comment is to not underestimate line business experience. In her view, line and operation experience can help build true business consulting skills to assist in the development of a commercial and pragmatic HR skill set.

The message for HR leaders Within the HR profession, the early HR career market has indisputably experienced the strongest rebound from the global financial crisis. With demand outstripping supply, what can HR leaders do to engage upcoming talent? The Next Step’s 2010 survey of HR professionals, HR Viewpoint, provided useful insight into the priorities of this particular target market. Don’t undervalue the “what’s in it for me” factor. When asked what would attract them to join a new company, the response was overwhelmingly biased towards career growth and development opportunities. Early career practitioners are attracted to opportunities that will accelerate their careers, such as building up their skills in the art of engagement.

The final word No matter which way you look at it, whether you are an early career HR professional looking to accelerate your career, or an HR leader looking to attract emerging talent, your level of success will be influenced by your ability to understand your customer base. Employees and employers that fail to master the art of engagement will leave a lot of value on the table. Peta Neilsen is the Team Leader in Sydney of our early career business, The Next Gen. For information call (02)8256 2500 or email pneilsen@thenextstep.com.au, web site; www.thenextstep.com.au


Recent HR Market Moves supplied by The Next Step

Michelle Blanks has joined Schroder Investment Management Australia as their Head of Human Resources. Prior to this time, Michelle worked with Macquarie Bank as Associate Director for their Risk Management Group. Her career has also included over the past 10 years, senior roles with Perpetual Trustees as Senior Manager, HR Operations and Director, Head of Human Resources Asia-Pacific for Barclays Capital Asia Limited based in Hong Kong.

Marie Pitton has been appointed to the role of Head of Human Resources for Mortgage Choice. Marie was an internal appointment from within the company and replaces Michael Writer who joined Lend Lease in a Global L&D role.

Deb Holst has accepted the role of HR Manager with Heidelberg Australia. Deb’s most recent role was with The Department of Premier and Cabinet as Senior Manager Organisational Development.

Carol Webb has commenced as Education & Training Manager with Australian Human Resources Institute. Prior to this Carol was contracting with organisations such as CPA, CGU and RMIT.

James McKay has accepted the role of Senior Manager Recruitment & Advisory Services with CGU. James was most recently with Adecco Group Australia as Group Human Resources Director. Adecco announced the appointment of Victoria Bethlehem as Director of Human Resources for Australia and NZ, reporting to the

company’s CEO. Prior to joining Adecco, she held the role of Director of People and Development for one of Adecco’s major competitors, Randstad, for five years.

Karen Appleby has joined Merck Sharp & Dohme as HR Operations Leader. Prior to joining Merck, she worked for David Jones as Regional HR Manager as well as acting in the role of GM, Stores HR Operations. Karen has also worked for AAPT, Crown Relocations and IBM in a variety of senior HR roles.

Paul Davey has accepted the role of VP Human Resource with Nuplex Industries Limited, a listed leader in the manufacture of a wide range of industrial products which operates/manufactures in about 20 countries globally. Prior to his appointment Paul worked with Nestlé for 10 years in a range of roles including Compensation & Benefits Mgr, Oceania and Head, HR Business Solutions, Nestlé Globe Center Africa, Oceania, Asia. Prior to his career at Nestlé, Paul worked with Mercer HR Consulting and Ernst & Young, Management Consulting Services. ING Real Estate Investment Management Australia has recently appointed Helen Smirniotis as its Head of Human Resources. Helen has significant senior HR career experience. In her most recent role she was Group Manager Organisation Development for Caltex and prior to this HR Director Australasia for Jones Lang LaSalle and HR Director Asia Pac for Sitel.

By supplying Market Moves, The Next Step is not implying placement involvement in any way.

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Legal Experts

CHANGED PARENTAL LEAVE RIGHTS FOR A MODERN SOCIETY

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he Fair Work Act 2009 has significantly amended the Federal Government’s previous approach to an employee’s entitlement to take leave upon the birth of a child. This reflects the changes in Australian society since the introduction of the first legislated parental leave entitlements in 1979. The ‘normal’ family unit no longer consists of dad going to work and mum staying at home to look after the children and so the terms ‘maternity leave’ and ‘paternity leave’ no longer exist in Australian legislation. A parent’s entitlement to take leave upon the birth, or adoption, of a child is now referred to as ‘parental leave’ and is equally available to mum, dad, step-parents and adoptive parents whether they be married, de facto, same-sex or otherwise. Following on from these changes, the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010 was passed by the Federal Parliament in July 2010, introducing Australia’s first government-funded national paid parental leave scheme. This continues the government’s recent focus on the ‘modern family unit’, recognising the changing roles of parents.

The new government-funded scheme Paid parental leave will be available to the ‘primary care-giver’ of a child born or adopted after 1 January 2011. It is payable for up to 18 weeks at the national minimum wage, currently $569.70 gross per week, within the first 12 months after the birth or placement of an adopted child. The parent must be an Australian resident, have earned $150,000 or less in the previous financial year and must meet the Paid Parental Leave Work Test. This test requires that the parent worked continuously for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth or adoption of the child and worked for at least 330 hours in that period with no more than an eight-week gap between two working days. Paid parental leave entitlements will cease if the parent returns to work; however, the parent can participate in workplace activities, and receive wages, for up to 10 days without affecting their entitlement. The entitlement can also be transferred from one parent to another. While the Federal Government will fund this scheme, after 1 July 2011 the administration of payments will generally be by the employer. Employers should review the ‘Business Requirement Statement’ provided by the Family Assistance Office

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to ensure they are able to meet the government requirements for administering the scheme. If a person has been employed for less than 12 months, is entitled to receive less than eight weeks of Parental Leave Pay or is not employed, payments will be made by the Family Assistance Office. The government-funded ‘baby bonus’ will also continue to be available; however, only one option will be payable for each child. Employees eligible for the paid parental leave scheme can choose which benefits they wish to receive.

Paid leave by employer will usually continue In most cases the entitlement to receive paid parental leave through the government scheme should not affect paid parental leave provided by an employer. An employer cannot withdraw an entitlement to employer-funded paid parental leave available through an industrial instrument or employment contract during the life of that instrument or contract. However, whether a policy of paid parental leave (as found in an employer’s HR or staff policies) is an employee entitlement or can be withdrawn unilaterally would depend on the wording of individual policy documents and practices within that employer. These situations would need careful consideration on the individual facts, and legal advice should be obtained wherever there is uncertainty. An employee’s entitlement to receive paid parental leave under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 should not be confused with an employee’s entitlement to take parental leave pursuant to the Fair Work Act 2009. The qualifying requirements are quite different and being eligible for one does not necessarily mean an employee is eligible for both. Carroll & O’Dea has produced a Parental Leave Guide to help employers and their employees track their way through these complex changes. You should have received your free copy of the Guide with this month’s edition of Human Capital. Please contact Carroll & O’Dea if the Guide was not received with this magazine, or if you would like more copies of the Guide. www.codea.com.au

Michelle Wright Lawyer Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers 72 Church St Wollongong 2500 Phone 02 4227 1427


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Workforce Advisory & Management Evolving your Workforce

WHY CULTURE IS CRITICAL TO ORGANISATIONAL SUCCESS IN THESE ECONOMIC TIMES…

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ften under economic stress, executives will stop focusing on people development and culture. The rationales are ‘we can’t afford to’, ‘we’re too busy’, and ‘our time is better spent focusing on sales’. It is in these challenging times, however, when organisations are most reliant on their people and on a culture that facilitates the achievement of the strategy, rather than one that slows performance down. Culture is the product of all the messages people within a company receive about how to fit in and succeed. You will have a culture either by default or by design. In challenging economic times, clarity of cultural expectations and behaviours are even more essential if you want to achieve your strategy.

What type of culture do you need to achieve your strategy? Firstly, this is dependent on the focus of your business and strategy. Your strategy may require you to create innovative ways to service clients. In that case, your people will need to look outside the box, be visionary and have a ‘can-do’ approach. In an Innovative culture, people need to be willing to learn and change. This leads to the discovery of new and better ways to operate. One of the deal breakers in successfully implementing this type of culture is having a penny-pinching mentality that will kill off an idea before it has developed momentum. Strategies that are reliant on exceptional customer service will require a culture where staff are empowered with the appropriate authorities and trust to do their job. The deal breaker in this type of People First/Customer Centric culture is an autocratic leadership style where a distrust of others, and lack of faith in people’s ability, leads to micromanagement and centralised power. An organisation may have decided to grow through mergers and acquisitions. In this case,

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they will need to build a One-Team type culture and pay particular attention to people collaborating, sharing knowledge and working across businesses in order to achieve the desired synergies designed to lead to: greater market share, cost savings and integration of people and systems. The deal breakers are the barons, the ones who hold onto their fiefdom, turn their backs on everyone else and encourage separateness. A particularly sought-after culture in recent times has been high performing or Achievement cultures where emphasis is placed on accountability, discipline and risk mastery. The deal breaker is a CEO (and top management team) who is not prepared to hold people to account and act on the consequences. It is important for the executives to discuss, debate and decide on the four or five critical cultural qualities they believe are required to achieve their strategy. This needs to be done as a rigorous process where a full range of cultural options are explored.

Immediate practical steps to take: Start–Stop–Keep An immediate and practical step you can take is to use a ‘start–stop–keep’ framework to define specific behaviours you need people to adopt. Ask the following questions: what do we need to start doing that will have a direct positive effect on our business? What do we need to keep doing that has always worked for us? Additionally, what do we need to stop doing immediately because it is counter-productive? For those organisations that are focused and remain committed and composed, there comes a moment in time when critical mass is achieved, where enough people are demonstrating the required behaviours. This, in turn, assists the culture to be resilient in the face of economic stress and ambiguity. www.chandlermacleod.com

Craig McCallum General Manager Marketing: Specialist Recruitment & Consulting Services Tel: 02 9269 8879 Craig.McCallum@chandlermacleod.com


E-RECRUIT – WHAT’S IN IT FOR US? QUESTION: Our HR team is preparing a HR Technology

business case for the acquisition of an eRecruitment system. Can you advise us on some of the benefits that we would achieve and the expected cost savings these solutions can provide?

ANSWER: During times of fiscal restraint it can

be difficult to justify investment in recruitment software without a strong business case outlining the return on investment and expected performance outcomes. eRecruitment systems have much to offer savvy organisations looking to attract, recruit and retain top performers. These solutions offer much more than hard dollar savings for your organisation to consider. The soft dollar savings can be considerable and include preventing the cost of a bad hire, minimising business interruption, and reducing the costs associated with retraining and on-boarding. Some management teams may believe that the war for talent has now abated and there is an excess of applicants, so investment in recruitment technology may no longer be a priority. On the other hand, some best-in-class organisations recognise that when there is an abundance of candidates in the market, HR can spend excessive amounts of time sifting through applications and communicating with candidates. The risks to the organisation of a bad hire and a tarnished employer brand are substantial when HR is overloaded with candidates who can be desperate for work. While sourcing applicants may not be a top priority now, it’s important to highlight that for most organisations talent is a primary business driver – without exceptional talent it can be difficult to innovate and survive during tough times. Therefore preparing a case for implementing a tool that will assist in attracting, identifying and on-boarding talented people will be straightforward. eRecruitment systems offer a compelling ROI, particularly if you currently have no systems in place or have a large workforce with a high turnover. The best place to start is with the obvious hard dollar savings, so take a look at your organisation’s current spend. This will include external agencies and the cost of print media if you are attempting to attract candidates via printed advertisements. Depending on the size of your organisation and types of roles you recruit for, you can reduce or eliminate your agency spend when utilising an effective eRecruitment platform. This can be achieved through internal mobility arising from increased awareness of internal opportunities, talent pool management, employee referral programs and by driving candidates to apply directly through an automated system. The costs associated with sourcing internal and external candidates will be significantly reduced

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when talent pool management is utilised through an eRecruitment system that maintains a skills framework of previous applicants and staff, which makes position skills matching effortless. When staff are aware of internal job vacancies on your job portal, turnover will decrease and, as HR are aware, time to productivity is much shorter when roles are filled with internal applicants. Making employees aware of opportunities will also increase staff referrals. Printing and paper costs should also be included when calculating your expected ROI, as online processing removes the need for printing resumes and hard copy correspondence. Although harder to identify, the soft dollar savings should not be overlooked. These savings include the ability to build and leverage your employer brand with a career portal, which is a highly effective way to develop employer brand awareness with existing and potential talent. Job portals enhance the applicant experience, ensuring that once applicants become candidates they are able to track the progress of their application. Productivity savings can be considerable once eRecruitment systems are implemented, as candidates are then performing the data entry during their application phase. By empowering applicants with the ability to track the status of their applications, phone calls to recruiting managers and HR will be minimised. Time to hire costs will also be drastically reduced as eRecruitment systems extend candidate reach and provide higher quality candidates who are easier to identify through online skills matching. The online screening tools will ensure HR doesn’t spend time on unsuitable candidates. Although some candidates may not be ideal for one role, they may be suitable for another and their details can be saved (with permission) into a growing talent pool. As the internet and the global workforce evolve, talented individuals are seeking employment opportunities online and eRecruitment systems are an excellent way to capture potential employees. The key to developing a solid business case with clear ROI projections is understanding the many benefits that eRecruitment technology provides, along with your current recruitment procedures and the associated costs.

Nick Southcombe General Manager Frontier Software Pty Ltd (03) 9639 0777 www.frontiersoftware.com

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THE FORUM diversity

Tip 1 Seize the day and step out of your comfort zone By Juliet Bourke, partner, Aequus Partners

Right now there is an unprecedented level of energy about diversity – and particularly gender diversity – in Australia. This means that leaders who are sold on the idea of diversity don’t have to push against the tide to get diversity onto the agenda, but for those whose light bulb just switched on, it is about coming up to speed quickly to embrace the leadership position. But what then? How do diversity champions (recent additions and diehards) translate interest into action? Unlike other change agendas, becoming an authentic diversity champion requires you to step out of your comfort zone. Let’s face it, everyone finds it easier to connect with people who look and feel like ourselves. This preference is one of the reasons why we have companies which, especially at senior levels, look very homogenous. For diversity champions, stepping out of your comfort zone means challenging yourself about how your attitudes and actions manifest the bias towards cloning. In essence, it’s about owning up to the blind spots and acknowledging that we are all part of the problem and the solution. Some potential champions feel held back by the need to be perfect before coming out as a ‘diversity champion’. For me, the most inspiring leaders are those who recognise the need for continuous improvement, but are still prepared to stand up and be counted. In practical terms this means that diversity champions talk about their personal journey and take action. They demonstrate leadership (eg, by chairing a diversity committee), sponsor effective interventions (eg, gender diversity training for all staff) and hold managers to account for meeting diversity objectives (through KPIs and rewards).

Avoiding ‘groupthink’ – diversity in action

Talking about diversity initiatives is all very well, but taking action is another matter. Human Capital talks to four experts about how leaders can champion diversity efforts through their organisation

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THE FORUM diversity

Tip 2 Build diversity into key talent management strategies By Dianne Jacobs, founding principal of The Talent Advisors

Companies with high-performance cultures are attuned to the demographics of their commercial and talent markets. When diversity is an explicit component of talent management it becomes a business-unit responsibility with active engagement, commitment and accountability. Talent practices (strategic, operational and individual) then champion, embed and integrate diversity at all levels. Advocacy from the CEO is key provided it is authentic, enthusiastic and hands-on. However, as we know, advocacy, individual role models, broad objectives and indirect reward have not been enough. The numbers are telling. Further change comes when CEOs hold themselves and others accountable by cascading broad equality objectives into targets and scorecard measures with disciplined governance and reward implications. Board members, executives and managers create inclusive meritocracies by being more conscious and transparent at the critical decision points of candidate short-lists, hiring, promotions, high-potential lists, succession slates, reward payments, performance ratings, development planning and career positioning. Not forgetting how clients or major assignments are allocated. Evaluating outcomes and checking for bias at these decisions takes championing diversity beyond a soft issue. Governance structures should extend to talent and diversity committees at different levels or career streams or for important client segments. Divisional HR managers become facilitators of cross-silo moves and talent sharing. The central Talent and Diversity Council oversees diversity strategy linked to human capital and commercial objectives while ensuring execution, evaluation (quantitative and qualitative) and risk-management. Teams and individuals actively support different styles, thinking, traits or schedules through their personal and collaborative interactions. Diversity is a powerful driver of culture and leadership brand. Achieving a robust and diverse talent pipeline – and being responsive to customers and communities – requires specific and measurable actions to be based on business needs and by selecting those areas where diversity moves the business forward. This is the essence of diversity championship.

Tip 3 Use best practice from around the world to build sustainable change initiatives By Maureen Frank, CEO, Emberin

Emberin’s view is that creativity and a fresh approach, combined with a measured understanding of what has worked for other organisations around the globe, can deliver balanced and sustainable change. Having researched what works around the world, Emberin suggests that an integrated approach needs to occur throughout the organisation and can be grouped into four key leadership areas of diversity championship – leadership team, HR, Men and Women. The following key points illustrate what organisations can do to not only comply with the ASX requirements, but also shift their statistics. Emberin’s research has shown that, by adopting and adapting great ideas from around the world, Australian companies can move the needle on gender diversity, talent management and competitive advantage within very short timeframes. Best practices recommended by Emberin include: Best practices by the leadership team – Commitment, ownership and communication about YOUR support for and involvement in diversity What gets measured gets done – on owning milestones, goals, targets and KPIs Succession planning – who are your leaders of tomorrow?

Some potential champions feel held back by the need to be perfect before coming out as a ‘diversity champion’ – Juliet Bourke

Best practices by the HR team – Flexible working: how creative and inclusive is your company? Key metrics: creation, monitoring, action! Pay equity: how you can tackle the gender pay gap? Best practices for women – Networking your way to success; Mentoring: peer, reverse, group, one-to-one, at home or at work Gaining exposure to key assignments and experiences throughout your career Best practices for men – Where do you fit into this diversity ‘stuff’ and what part can you play? What’s the business case and how does it tie in with your customer base? Bias – conscious or unconscious, how can we be aware and change our behaviours and beliefs?

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THE FORUM diversity

Tip 4 Promote cultural awareness, education and information regarding diversity By Rhicke Jennings, managing director, FedEx Australia

At FedEx we value the unique contributions a diverse workforce brings to a company. Our uniquely inclusive environment is a place where differences are celebrated as strengths and the concept of diversity is woven throughout our entire organisation. When championing diversity efforts, FedEx has had great success by going beyond mere words and putting our values into action every day. FedEx has worked hard to promote cultural awareness, education and information regarding diversity. In the US, our efforts have been honoured with the Champion of Diversity Award from the New York Urban League and as one of the top 40 companies for diversity by Black Enterprise magazine. FedEx is also focused on increasing the percentage of women in management by creating a culture that fosters diversity and gender equality, and provides our employees with equal opportunity to excel. In Asia-Pacific, 40% of managing directors are

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women, along with 28% of the management team. In Australia, 25% of the management team are women. The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) has also found FedEx Express Australia compliant with the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999. FedEx further promotes diversity by ensuring open two-way communications between management and employees. We have a unique practice called ‘Guaranteed Fair Treatment Procedure’, a process of review by progressively higher levels of management to fairly and equitably handle employees’ issues. We also have an annual staff climate survey (SurveyFeedback-Action) that provides feedback on all aspects of the company. The results are discussed between the manager and the employees so that action plans can be put in place to address any issues. FedEx was founded on a people-first philosophy, where respect for all people is a fundamental value and everyday business practice. The secret to our diversity success is indeed the 280,000 FedEx employees and contractors who put that value into practice every day. HC


SPONSORED FEATURE HR Partners

DIVERSITY Indigenous recruitment

NEXT GENERATION OF HR LEADERS: RETHINKING RETENTION Y

ou are what you measure, and human resources professionals have a front seat when it comes to seeing which career development strategies are the most successful. HR people are in arguably the best position to understand which behaviours employers will encourage, tolerate or reward. So when HR professionals move on to new opportunities at other companies, there is sometimes the perception that they might have moved on too early. Perhaps this is not a problem just within HR, so much as an indicator of what the business world encourages all employees to do. So, do HR professionals change jobs too early? What turnover should we have? With many years of experience in recruiting HR specialists, I often see people approach their career development strategically. High achievers try to only accept new positions with great prospects. They move to where a potential employer’s HR department has a great professional reputation or where they are about to be involved in a key business initiative or program, or where the head of HR has a strong reputation and HR is well regarded within the company. Changing employers can be a double-edged sword though. Writing in the July Harvard Business Review, Professor Monika Hamori argues that job hopping is more likely to result in a demotion; that one in three job changes are sideways shifts; that a move to a larger company results in a backwards career step in a quarter of cases; and that generalised experience is rewarded more than specialisations. However, HR practitioners constantly observe the choices of others and are in a position to see what works and what doesn’t: I would suggest that they’re much less likely to make a wrong turn than others.

Business leaders often say it is ‘too early’ when an HR practitioner leaves after a couple of years in the business. But with the typical turnover across industries being around 18% per annum, the average tenure is two years in any case. So is it really about the HR person leaving after two or three years? Way back in 1997, Dr Peter Saul suggested four metrics for measuring HR success: its execution of strategy; building and maintaining an efficient infrastructure; optimising employee commitment and capability; and creating a continually renewing organisation. In other words, HR is the function that keeps the human ‘machinery’ of the organisation operating at peak effectiveness. Yet according to research conducted in 2007 by the Australian Human Resources Institute, most businesses do not understand what the HR department does. Perhaps the underlying problem is that HR has become too insular in the past 10 years: the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania found that while only 40% of HR people had come from another specialisation in 1999, this shrunk to 20% by 2009. Could it be that HR departments are losing their ability to communicate their successes and drive their connectivity with others in the business because of a lack of cross-pollination? Let us change our thinking from being the issue to being just one part of the equation. If we are what we measure, then HR needs to be measured and rewarded by employers in terms of overall value rather than judging it in terms of turnover. Perhaps we seriously need to consider improving the flow of talent between HR and other functions. In the long run that is a great way to ensure that HR’s value will be better understood and appreciated by the whole business.

By David Owens, managing director, HR Partners

About HR Partners HR Partners is synonymous with HR recruitment. We operate from offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. HR Partners is linked closely to the UK-based Digby Morgan Consulting and our brand holds a prominent position in the HR recruitment sector. We increasingly provide recruitment expertise to Australian as well as Asia Pacific based clients. Recruiting permanent and contract HR professionals, HR Partners provides a range of tailored recruitment solutions to meet our clients’ needs. Connecting top talent with Opportunity. Visit www. hrpartners.com.au or call Sydney 02 9019 1600, Melbourne 03 9603 0601, Brisbane 07 3009 3800 for further information www.hcamag.com

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COVER STORY RPO pros and cons

While that headline may seem extreme there’s no doubt recruitment is heating up again. The question is, how will it be handled? Iain Hopkins investigates how the GFC has altered the relationship between employers and recruitment professionals

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he GFC and its fallout produced a perfect storm in terms of recruitment. During the height of that storm there were fewer job vacancies, recruiting freezes were in place, and there was limited replacement of any staff who left. Inevitably, increased unemployment presented its own problems: for one thing, a significant increase in the number of applications per job – estimates range from a 50% increase up to 400%. To further compound the problem, insecurity and fear of being ‘last in, first out’ amongst currently employed workers meant many were reluctant to move. What’s the fallout? Peter Gleeson, executive general manager, recruitment at Chandler Macleod Group, says the GFC has changed recruitment in countless ways. Firstly, employers now have the wrong idea of what the market currently looks like. “There’s a perception that it’s business as usual, we’ve got a strong employer value proposition and

everyone will want to work with us. But that’s not the case at all,” he says. “Although unemployment is still relatively high, skills sets are down because no one has been trained over the last three years. Employers wrongly believe there’s a buoyant candidate market. Given that, many larger employers feel they can easily recruit at a lower cost by enhancing their recruitment capability, in other words by just getting sheer numbers in.” While Gleeson concedes that employers can now comfortably take much of the recruitment function back in-house “apart from an ability to source and manage candidates over time”, he adds that in order to be proactive, agencies are demanding a far different kind of consultant.

The rise of RPO Indeed, there has been a fundamental shift in how employers are engaging with recruitment professionals. Maree Mattner, leader of HR and learning outsourcing at IBM Managed Business Process Services, believes that organisations are now looking back to the pre-GFC trend of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) to balance the resource gap they currently have – and also to tame the wild beast that recruitment agency panels can often present. “It’s a more viable alternative to adding to or rebuilding their teams,” she says. “It’s also significant that agencies themselves are moving more towards RPO as well.”

RPO for all occasions There are essentially three different types of RPO. The first – and the most straightforward – is technology-only RPO, where a provider or agency


COVER STORY RPO pros and cons

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COVER STORY RPO pros and cons

provides the applications and integration into the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and also the reporting. Essentially this is a technologyfocused recruitment solution. Secondly, there is administrative RPO. This involves an RPO provider taking the recruiting function and doing everything except for the selling to the candidates, or things like hiring manager coaching, or the actual hiring strategy. “It’s basically taking the administration and logistics element across the recruiting function while the employer holds onto some elements such as graduate recruitment or executive recruitment. It’s a hybrid approach,” Mattner explains. The third option is end-to-end RPO, where the provider assumes responsibility for the processes in given areas – that can include the selling to candidates, the pre-employment screening, the interviewing, the hiring – but it may be just for certain geographies or certain types of positions. “It’s rare that a company would do end-to-end RPO across absolutely everything,” says Mattner. Workforce strategy, graduate recruitment and executive recruitment are commonly kept inhouse, but Mattner says the ideal arrangement is a feedback loop, “so while the client retains responsibility we can still provide some input”. Although RPO has traditionally been dominated by the likes of Accenture and IBM (who will partner with agencies for sourcing), agencies such as Talent2, Kelly and Manpower are also increasingly moving into this territory. Admin RPO is showing the strongest growth, and Mattner believes there are a number of reasons for this. Some companies don’t have the recruiting function left in-house so they’re looking at ways to add resources without necessarily adding headcount. HR is charged with keeping a lid on expenses but not sacrificing quality. The real fuel for growth, however, is the same problem that has been dogging employers for years: the war for talent. “I think companies realise they need to find better talent than their competitors, to engage with those candidates better than the competition, to recruit them better, and yet they still need to make cost savings – how do they do that? I think that’s why we’re seeing this trend towards RPO,” Mattner says.

Weighing the pros… Weighing the pros and cons of RPO of course varies according to who is asked. Mattner maintains that IBM advocates having an agency attitude with an HR practice background. The company can “accelerate our lean methodology to ensure we’re running processes effectively and efficiently and we

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“Companies need to find better talent than their competitors, to engage with candidates better, to recruit them better, and still make cost savings” – Maree Mattner can leverage what we call mass customisation,” she says. Fundamentally, this means they can leverage off economies of scope and economies of scale while retaining flexibility. “We can treat individual business units as they require their recruiting needs filled, not by providing a standardised solution where all divisions are treated the same,” she adds. In theory, this means a greater focus on candidate (and client) satisfaction, not just filling a job and getting the fee. It also obviously means cost savings. Mattner says the variable cost model of IBM’s RPO means it’s not unusual to make overall recruitment savings of 25–40%. “Those cost savings are driven not just by being more efficient and effective but achieving higher productivity by having globally integrated models where some things sit on client sites and some things don’t,” she says. However, it’s also apparent that in order for such savings to be made the agency or RPO provider must understand their client’s business, and there must be mutual clarity around business outcomes,


COVER STORY RPO pros and cons

and the drivers needed to reach those outcomes. That ‘true partnership’ model also frees up internal resources from undertaking administration tasks and little else. They can then concentrate more on making the connections between recruitment and compensation or workforce planning so that HR is managed more holistically. “RPO is about delivering high quality talent,” says Mattner. “You’re looking at proactive engagement to find candidates, and using some of the passive technology out there now that allows you to have an always-on candidate pipeline. Therefore, you’re not just filling a need when the need arises but you’ve got a pool there that you can be managing passively – keeping them engaged with the company.”

...against the cons “The big issue with an RPO is the amount of work that is spread across a number of suppliers,” says Gleeson. “What you’ll normally find in an RPO is that margins are significantly squeezed. The most critical element is actually sourcing the candidate, and then evaluating the candidate. If you get to the stage where the organisation doing that is only getting 60% of a normal fee, clearly there will be

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COVER STORY RPO pros and cons

a major problem because they’ll simply take their candidates elsewhere.” Gleeson adds that RPO can work well in a candidate-rich market but in a candidate-poor market, which Australia faces from the skills perspective, there may be a problem. In addition, he notes that unless there is very clear understanding of who’s doing what in a RPO arrangement, there can be unnecessary double-up of tasks. “If you’re outsourcing part of the process and keeping some in-house, make sure you don’t end up with competition. Quite often it appears the performance of the outsourced component in any recruitment strategy can be adversely affected by what’s happening inside the company,” he says. Candidate ownership is also an issue. Gleeson notes that large organisations will have candidate databases, but these may be useless unless they’ve been regularly reviewed and updated. Pre and postGFC candidates have different values, so if someone has been on a candidate database since 2007 and they are contacted in 2010, they will be a different person. “A lot of RPO arrangements will say if the candidate is found on our [the employers’] database we won’t pay you [the agency or RPO provider] a fee – I think that’s unrealistic,” Gleeson says.

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“If an RPO is linked to an ROI and … allows organisations to source and secure the best choice of candidates, I think it’s a great way to go” – Peter Gleeson More broadly, Gleeson notes that HR needs to look beyond just cost to hire. ‘Cost to hire’, he feels, is more than just a recruitment fee – it’s the productivity and integrity of the system in place. “What levels of performance will indicate whether an RPO arrangement is working?” he asks. “We need more measurement and rigour around it. If an RPO is linked to an ROI and is fluid enough to allow organisations to source and secure the best choice of candidates, I think it’s a great way to go. However, I do think organisations need to understand what the outcome of an RPO is going to be rather than listening to a sales pitch saying ‘you’ll save 10% on recruitment costs’. “An RPO is not a silver bullet and it’s a matter of taking a strategic approach to your recruitment, which may involve working with a smaller number of specialised suppliers that can cope with your volume and your geographic spread, whatever the logistics of your challenges are, and then setting


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COVER STORY RPO pros and cons

Case study – keeping it in-house at Bupa Australia Group Human Capital talks to Rebecca Houghton, national recruitment manager at Bupa Australia Group Human Capital: Can you outline how recruitment works at Bupa? Rebecca Houghton: We have an inhouse recruitment team but it’s just one year old. That team is targeted around 50% of direct hire but they actually perform at around 85% direct hire, and the rest is agency. I guess it could be called a hybrid approach. HC: Has the GFC forced you to rethink any of that process? RB: We started in May last year, so it was really a big rethink anyway. We’d never had an internal function before. Managers had to fend for themselves. So the GFC and external factors probably had less impact than internal factors, given that it was a complete start up. We were lucky in that we were swimming against the tide last year; we were recruiting very heavily. The change between last year and this in terms of competition for talented people has been quite marked. That will of course cause us to rethink how we operate, probably to depress some of the expectations in terms of direct hire simply because it will become more difficult. Good recruiting firms will become more valuable to us. HC: How does the internal team work? RH: It’s a bit of a hybrid. We are part of the centralised function but we’re a state-based model. We follow the HR business partners in terms of having state-based relationships with state-based responsibilities. There’s a recruiter in every state, and they have local networks, local sourcing and local market responsibility, and it’s their job to really learn and grow the networks in those areas. However, they are fully supported by a centralised team, who provide assistance with national agreements, contracts, templates for all advertising arrangements, systems, processes and policies. The state-based recruiters really should have the decks cleared for them to simply source and select good people. HC: You do still use agencies for some work – how do you select them?

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RH: We have a new panel that was put in place on 1 August 2009. The process we went through was quite robust. The approach with agencies is that they are partners and need to be treated like partners, not suppliers. We set out to work with people who were representative of our values, and who had good reputations – all the things you’d consider as a given. One thing that was really important to us was our stakeholder group – they wanted to leverage national efficiencies. However, at a local level they were concerned that big national providers may not have the local presence to add value at that level. So it was a balance between ensuring we had the odd national provider where we could

We had the odd national provider where we could leverage great efficiencies but we also made sure we had some boutiques at a local level

leverage great efficiencies but we also made sure we had some boutiques at a local level. We were very conscious that we went to market during the GFC, and at the time we knew full well we could ask any price we wanted and still have 50% of people come back to us and say yes. We didn’t take that tack. We knew it was a two-year agreement and we wanted it to be sustainable. We didn’t want prices to suddenly jump up at the end of that two-year period. We also didn’t want to fall off their radar when the market came back, and be forced into a low priority because of price – which is a real danger. We’re comfortable that we put good prices together – comfortable from both ends – in fact, there’s been a couple of suppliers where we’ve put their rates up. HC: Would Bupa consider more widespread RPO? RH: We did look at RPO. In December 2008 when we put the recommendation together we looked at master vendor and also onsite proprietary. The nature of Bupa is that we love to give our people opportunities and we love to do things ourselves. However, we’re very conscious there is best practice out there and we want to access that; that’s why a lot of what we do in the recruitment space could be considered hybrid, in order to get the best of both worlds. HC: What’s your tip for a successful relationship with a recruiting partner? RH: It’s crucial that you understand what your responsibility is and that they understand what theirs is. We clarify that in contracts and there’s leniency of course, as it’s always subject to mitigating circumstances. The piece that really helps consolidate that is the group of people we hired into the recruitment team. We made sure we had people who were comfortable with expressing their expectations very clearly. Our recruitment partners say they know exactly where they stand and they know exactly what needs to be done, by when, and what the expectations are.


COVER STORY RPO pros and cons

realistic expectations. It is business strategy – and it doesn’t happen overnight.”

RPO in action Pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis has gone from an in-house recruitment team to a fullyoutsourced model, with several Hudson employees now sitting in-house. Ronán Carolan, director of human resources at sanofi-aventis Australasia, has a Hudson recruitment manager and a number of recruitment consultants reporting to him. “We don’t hide the fact that they’re from Hudson, but they’re well and truly part of my team, and they are fully integrated into the organisation,” he says. “They take on everything from job briefs to advertising the job both internally and externally, and then sourcing and on boarding candidates from our database.” The only element that Carolan handles in-house is executive recruitment, which is a change from the situation prior to Carolan joining the company. Back then, all recruitment functions were handled in-house. “We had an in-house recruitment team but they were HR people who were doing recruitment. I believe recruitment is a specialty area and if you have HR people doing it and they have an interest in recruitment then it gets done well; if they don’t have an interest in recruitment they do it when they can,” he says. In addition, the company was using multiple agencies, and senior management had limited control over the cost because agencies negotiated arrangements with line managers. Carolan says the quality of hires was also low and turnover in the first 12 months of employment was high.

“Recruitment is a specialty … if you have HR people with an interest in recruitment doing it, then it gets done well; if they don’t … they do it when they can” – Ronán Carolan “I decided to go to a tender process out to eight different agencies, clearly outlining the scope that I was looking for. They sent in their proposals: I called some of them straightaway because they didn’t respond appropriately or couldn’t fit the brief. Then we ended up with two or three groups that included Talent2 and Hudson. Eventually it got down to site visits to see how each worked, and eventually we went into partnership with Hudson,” he explains. One requirement was that sanofi would keep its own database. “I wanted to be able to walk away from it at any time if I wanted to – if they owned the database then walking away was going to be a lot harder,” says Carolan. “We hadn’t developed our database to any great extent so therefore it wasn’t doing much anyway. Hudson now runs it for us and mines it for candidates.” The result is that sanofi now advertises very few roles – most positions are filled through the database and contacts on their careers site. Carolan says the relationship with Hudson has been successful but he will be keeping an eye on time to hire, the performance of new hires in the first year, the existing talent pool and how new hires fit into that talent pool, staff turnover, and cost. In addition, he’ll be looking at satisfaction from both a candidate level and manager level.

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COVER STORY RPO pros and cons

Echoing Gleeson’s words, Carolan’s top tip for making RPO work is to be realistic about what can be achieved. “If you don’t think an in-house recruitment team could do it, don’t expect an external team to be able to either,” he says.

The future of recruitment? Most HR professionals, alongside the wider corporate world, hold recruitment agencies in a dim light, and the reasons for that are well documented. Will the trend towards RPO be a life raft for recruiters? As demonstrated by the sanofi/ Hudson relationship, an RPO arrangement really only thrives in a sustainable relationship between employer and RPO provider – meaning agencies must be vigilant about their service standards. Rebecca Houghton, national recruitment manager at Bupa Australia Group, believes it’s a start. However, she adds that one ongoing problem needs to be addressed: the recruitment industry is not regulated in any way. “Whilst the RCSA exists, it’s really a watchdog with little authority. It’s just about impossible to be disbarred from service. Anyone can put a shingle up outside their door and say, ‘recruiter’,” she says.

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An RPO arrangement really only thrives in a sustainable relationship between employer and RPO provider

Houghton, who has herself spent 16 years in recruitment, believes tighter regulation would mean the focus would shift from sales to consultant expertise. “Many businesses of a certain scale in most industries are moving towards an in-house recruitment model, leaving only the hard stuff to go out to recruitment agencies. That’s probably how it should be, then they [agencies] are able to showcase their skills, they’re able to leverage networks and show why their fees are worthwhile.” Houghton adds that while some in the recruitment industry are in two minds about the RPO element, she believes it’s only those looking for a shortcut who are struggling with the concept. “I think those who are truly good consultants will benefit hugely from this move,” she says. Mattner has the final word: “Is there a downside to payroll outsourcing? People do it and don’t question it. If you had a problem with your payroll provider you wouldn’t say ‘ok, we’ll now take that capability in-house’. The market is mature enough to switch providers. You need to make sure you have the right partner who culturally connects with you. That’s how it’s going with RPO. I can’t see a downside – for the candidates, the employers, or the providers.” HC


DIVERSITY SPONSORED indigenous FEATURE recruitment taleo

IN-HOUSE VS OUTSOURCING: HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP

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utsourcing all or part of an organisation’s recruitment process can cut costs and reduce internal resource and staffing burdens. However, it is critical that recruitment is carefully handled to attract and hire the highest quality talent. These fundamental considerations can help your organisation evaluate an in-house recruitment process versus an outsourced recruitment service.

Price is obviously important, since one of the typical drivers for use of an RPO is cost reduction and expense control. Also critical is understanding how the RPO will interact with – and represent – your company. Make sure you understand what the candidate will experience, and what recruitment technology will be used as the interface, so that you can judge the fit between the RPO and the organisation.

1. When should an organisation use recruitment outsourcing?

4. How can you measure the ROI of RPO?

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) can assist during times of large change in an organisation’s talent acquisition. In-house recruitment resources might have been reduced, or a growth initiative could be driving the need for a large number of new hires in a new location, or a specialised function.

Look at efficiency and effectiveness of the recruiting process and the RPO’s service delivery. »» Reducing the recruiting budget –including thirdparty agency spend – through RPO is one metric. »» Cycle time reduction is another; top talent is lost to competitors through slow hiring. »» Quality of hire is the most significant. It can be measured indirectly through retention and turnover data, and performance indicators. Hiring manager satisfaction must be factored in as well. Hiring managers should have responsive service, outstanding candidates and a streamlined hiring process. Establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and KPIs with robust system reporting and analytics that measure the RPO’s performance.

2. Does an RPO handle all of a company’s recruiting? RPO services can be contracted for an organisation’s entire recruitment function or for certain business units, hire types or locations. Also, RPO services can handle the full spectrum of recruiting activity or only sections of the recruitment process such as sourcing, background checking, phone screening and interviewing. The basic question for any organisation is to determine where core competence exists to bring in top talent: do those skills and resources exist internally or are they best brought from the outside? For example, does the company already have or plan to implement a talent acquisition technology platform with a proprietary candidate talent pool that is scalable for growth? Does an RPO have a recruitment technology platform that will build and mine the desired talent pool? Additional considerations include the structure of the company’s talent acquisition department. According to the Bersin & Associates study, Recruitment Process Outsourcing: Key Trends and Best Practices: “More than 50% of organisations that invest in RPO on a caseby-case basis have a decentralised recruitment model and 30% have a shared services model.”

3. How can an organisation evaluate vendors? Certainly, proven expertise and references are key.

5. How does talent acquisition technology help? Recruiting technology platforms should help organisations source, assess, hire and onboard the best talent. An organisation’s recruiting process should incorporate a self-service career site, workflow and talent pooling to effectively handle all types of unique recruiting processes from a single platform: hourly workers, salaried professionals, students and alumni, along with mobility of internal employees. The system should power the sourcing strategy through recruitment advertising, social networks or referrals. Both in-house and outsourced recruiting functions should deliver consistent, scalable, fully legal recruiting processes with comprehensive reporting and analytics to monitor recruiter efficiency and sourcing effectiveness. Hiring new talent into an organisation is a critical, strategic function. Organisations should not be tempted to outsource recruitment by the allure of quick gains.

By Alice Snell VP Taleo Research www.taleo.com/blog www.hcamag.com

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RECRUITMENT online professional networks

The

desert solution

island


RECRUITMENT passive candidates

Advocates of LinkedIn as a recruitment tool call it the ‘desert island solution’ – the one sourcing tool they would need if stranded on an island. While it’s taken off overseas, Australian recruiters and HR professionals are just R professionals have likely been using starting to professional networking sites such as LinkedIn for several years, primarily as a realise its networking tool, and also possibly to engage with value colleagues. Increasingly, however, it’s being used

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as a recruitment tool. This is also nothing new – professional recruiters have counted LinkedIn as perhaps the most valuable tool in their armoury for some time. For those not yet ‘in the know’, how can LinkedIn be used to optimum effect? Steve Barham, director, Australia & New Zealand, LinkedIn Hiring Solutions, says that one of the company’s three business lines – LinkedIn Hiring Solutions – is dedicated to helping employers find specialised passive candidates. The flagship product in this line is called LinkedIn Recruiter. This product, which launched in Australia in April 2010, gives employers the ability to search across the entire LinkedIn membership network (over 70 million professionals). It allows their team to collaborate on an enterprise platform, which looks quite different to the LinkedIn site that everyday users see. The teams can build projects – through which they can easily pipeline candidates – as well as collaborate with colleagues, and set up search alerts. For example, when a new Java Developer joins LinkedIn in Sydney, the team is alerted immediately. It also provides the ability

to reach out to all those members on LinkedIn via an in-mail. This protects confidential contact information for LinkedIn members, but also allows an employer or recruiter to contact anyone who is a perfect fit for a job opportunity. A second solution is the Jobs Network. Barham says employers are finding it useful to post their openings to LinkedIn. “We’re not a job board but we do have tens of thousands of job postings,” he says. “The unique advantage of putting a job posting onto LinkedIn is that it’s really the only place where you can post a job opening and have it viewed by passive candidates. If they’re on a job board, they’re one of the 5–10% of the workforce that is either out of a job or wants a different n 63% of job. Posting a job to a job board is only going to FORTUNE 100 attract that audience.” companies in Job postings can be the US are using matched to best fit the LinkedIn Hiring members, so when a user Solutions to logs onto their LinkedIn attract talent homepage that day they’ll be presented with the three best job opportunities that fit their profile. The third portfolio of solutions encompasses employment branding. Companies can create a careers page, which is essentially their portal within the LinkedIn community. They can talk about their EVP, create polls, have links to their other social media sites, and they can also host video. “It can also be targeted to different audiences so you can have different content being viewed depending on whether that candidate is a sales person, IT professional, or whatever,” says Barham. Targeted advertising can also be used to get a brand or key message out. www.hcamag.com

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Of course, while all of this costs money, Barham remains optimistic that local employers will be keen to sample at least some of these options. “There’s no such thing as a standard offering,” he says. “For pricing we work directly with each employer and recruiting organisation to create a solution that’s right for them. It’s not one-size-fits-all.”

Changing the way we recruit Unsurprisingly, Barham believes LinkedIn has changed recruitment forever. “Employers need to look beyond just posting on job boards and in print,” he says. “LinkedIn enables sourcing teams to be more proactive, to do the jobs they were hired to do – to find the right talent. Previously they didn’t have that capability – they would either have to post and pray, and wait for a good enough candidate to respond, or rely on external agencies which can be quite cost prohibitive.” The search capability of LinkedIn is directly tied to the robust, comprehensive profiles that users are creating every day. “These profiles list their roles, specialties, the experiences they’ve had – even more so than you might find on a traditional resume. So you’re able to search across all that information on Recruiter, and stack it one on top of the other to narrow the 70 million down to the 12 who are your perfect target in little over a minute,” says Barham. Where does this place recruitment agencies? Are they out of business? It’s a question Barham is often asked. “My response is that recruiting agencies have been using LinkedIn for years – they’ve found it the most powerful tool in their arsenal as well. It’s a rich landscape of candidates for recruiters to engage with. With 70 million members, there’s plenty of fish in the sea for recruiters as well as employers. If recruiters can offer their clients a widely sourced selection of candidates it works for them, too,” he says.

Engage – but use discretion Cherie Curtis, head of psychology at Onetest, provides some insights into online/social media recruitment. Social media provides two great opportunities: 1. It improves the scope and quality of applicant pools by extending the geographical reach of recruitment activities, allowing recruiters to effortlessly reach candidates both nationally and internationally. 2. It allows employers to improve brand awareness and employment marketing reach. As a result, we can expect to see increasingly transient workforce coming from non-traditional markets – for example, candidates from rural areas and overseas applying for positions in different regions. Social media also changes the scope of the candidate pool: • It allows for more people to be ‘passively’ reviewing other opportunities while still employed. This highlights the importance of ensuring a positive and consistent brand image is maintained and current employees are treated well at all times, as it will be increasingly easy for people to ‘jump ship’ as they hear about other opportunities, even when not actively job seeking. • Employee engagement is therefore more important than ever. As a recruiter this means that you should also be considering ongoing passive sourcing so that every opportunity to source potential talent is optimised. However, in order for social recruitment to be successful, HR will need to work closely with marketing departments to effectively leverage the opportunity that social media channels provides. It is important to be mindful that these channels are very different to traditional channels and some ‘out of the box’ thinking is required to be successful. Also be mindful of not intruding on people’s personal space – Onetest’s 2009 Graduate survey identified a degree of concern amongst some graduates that the overuse of social recruitment marketing could intrude on their personal space. One specific comment summarises this well: “Employers need to recognise that MySpace is ‘my’ space, not ‘YourSpace’.”

Also handy for… Barham also sees the division between social networking and professional networking widening as time goes on, and he believes people join LinkedIn for very different reasons to why they’ll join other social networks. “They join LinkedIn to manage their professional brand,” he says. “What the world has now come to realise is that whether it’s a potential employer, a potential client, people evaluating whether they want to come work for you, or anyone who’s about to meet you for business purposes, they’ll all do a quick check to find out more about you. The de-facto

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place for that professional research to happen is your LinkedIn profile.” HR professionals are not only networking and finding talent using LinkedIn but they’re also building communities using LinkedIn groups. Company profiles can be used to create forums for existing employees. In addition, it’s also possible to create alumni groups, which are a handy way to keep up relationships with former employees. HC Additional information on how to utilise LinkedIn more effectively can be found at http://talent.linkedin.com


RECRUITMENT passive candidates

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FEATURE candidate screening

Keeping your guard up

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The rush to hire is no excuse for cutting corners in the recruitment process – especially when it comes to candidate screening

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hat a difference a few months can make. While business confidence was picking up slowly in the second half of 2009, eight months into 2010 and there is already talk of skills shortages. The job market has become well and truly ‘mobile’. While not yet at pre-GFC levels, the amount of hiring is fast pushing the GFC into hazy memory territory – an unfortunate blip on the radar. It’s also boom time for those engaged in screening job candidates. However, it’s not just the buoyant job market that is driving the increasing need for pre-employment screening. Guy Cary, managing director Asia Pacific South, First Advantage, says there are three main drivers: compliance, protection and performance. “Legislation is a major driver in Australia,” Cary says. “We’re seeing more and more legislation introduced which mandates a level of screening for entrusted individuals and those within industries where there is a need to ensure the highest levels of protection.” In addition to this, employee fraud is well covered in the press. If an employer has not been directly impacted by an incident of employee fraud,


FEATURE candidate screening

they usually know someone who has and can easily calculate the potential damage to their own business. “As more employers introduce employment screening, it is recognised as best practice. If your competitors are screening their employees, you risk attracting the bad apples if you do not have the same controls in place,” says Cary. Added to this, employers are highly focused on recruiting the best talent. The savings in recruitment, training and attrition costs can be easily calculated, and appointing the most appropriate talent has a major positive impact on the bottom line.

What to check? Broadly, background checks can be split into three categories: identity, integrity and credentials. Identity checks confirm that an individual is who they say they are. Integrity checks relate to their character (police, bankruptcy) and credentials checks will verify their experience and qualifications. Across-the-board screening is neither time nor cost effective. Cary suggests that HR and hiring managers should be aware of the inherent risks in each role and

Why screen? In recent news, it has been revealed that a $19m theft from retailer Clive Peeters contributed to the company’s collapse. Through access to payroll and superannuation accounts, the thief initially traded in soft toys, an obsession which transformed into property fraud. The mother of two purchased 44 properties over a two-year period using the company’s money. www.hcamag.com

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FEATURE candidate screening

Conducting an employment history check Guy Cary provides three tips: 1. Confirm that you are dealing with a genuine business. If the employer is unknown to you, we recommend conducting company searches. Fake employers do exist and they do provide subscribers with a website and contact phone number. They are not always easy to identify – if you are suspicious, contact an expert. 2. Verification should be conducted via the company switchboard, rather than a direct number supplied by the candidate. We recommend that details such as salary, position and direct manager details are verified through payroll or HR. Information relating to employment dates and salary are often not at the fingertips of the direct manager and it is a risk to rely on their memory – or even their bias. 3. Finally, I would suggest verifying the details of multiple previous employers to identify gaps and trends – and don’t forget those periods spent overseas. You may consider a discrepancy irrelevant in one case, but multiple discrepancies may raise a red flag. screen accordingly. For example, ask whether the position has access to sensitive information, regarding your customers, funds or budgets. “The risk is not always consistent with seniority,” says Cary. “For example, you may find there is a high level of risk in an executive assistant role as they can be privy to highly confidential information; similarly, a customer service adviser in any location may have access to individual customer data.” Cary adds that First Advantage’s clients will generally identify four to five levels/approaches in which to categorise the roles within their business. As risk is influenced by business structure, internal systems and controls, the number of roles falling into each category will vary from organisation to organisation and may be relatively consistent across industries. The Australian Standard for Employment Screening (AS411) recommends a baseline level of screening which involves verifying an individual’s identity, criminal background, employment history, qualifications and financial checks where relevant. First Advantage also encourages all employers to verify an individual’s Entitlement to Work in Australia – and any conditions of that entitlement (for example, a visa may only allow entitlement to work for an employer for less than six months, even though the visa may be valid for years).

When to check? Timeliness is often critical in recruiting. Take too long and the candidate may slip away; rush through

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and it may come back to haunt you down the track. Cary says that in the past the race to secure a candidate saw many employers conducting postemployment checks. There has recently been a shift to pre-offer checks. “The objective of the change is to eliminate the risk, but it also has a positive impact on compliance,” he says. “There are a number of actions that a candidate must take before checking can commence. The job offer becomes an incentive for the candidate to participate in the screening process. “In a fast moving recruitment process, it can be difficult to introduce the background checks prior to offer. As such, some employers will make a conditional offer; however, they will not allow a candidate to commence employment – or will restrict building or system access – until the background check has been completed or started.” Cary adds that it’s not unusual to now see employers conducting ongoing and random screening throughout the employment period as employees’ circumstances change (a marital status change or a gambling addiction being obvious examples), and this can lead to behavioural changes.

Major challenges Privacy is a major consideration for any employment screening program. The process requires candidates to provide an extensive amount of personal and sensitive information. It is also recommended that candidates are made aware of any screening requirements early in the recruitment process (this can also deter unsuitable candidates from applying). The benefits of the program should be outlined as well as the controls in place to protect privacy. First Advantage’s secure online technology ensures that candidate data is encrypted and password protected. A further challenge is keeping up with the changing legislative landscape globally. One in five candidates screened by First Advantage in Australia have had some recent experience abroad. The availability of information and official sources globally is continuously changing, meaning that keeping up with latest legislations and information availability is vital. Still, it’s worth it. The end result of sloppy hiring can be costly and even disastrous. The press is full of stories where things have gone wrong – but if the level of pre-employment screening is appropriate, these risks can be dramatically reduced. HC


SPONSORED DIVERSITYFEATURE indigenous first recruitment advantage

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING TRENDS BEWARE: NSW Male, aged 21-30. He has spent time outside of Australia and now applies for Senior Management position. The bigger your business, the more likely a target you are.

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his is the profile of a Candidate most likely to falsify some element of their background when applying for a role, according to First Advantage’s 2010 Background Screening Trends Australia. The statistics, pulled from 1,375 First Advantage background screening reports*, provide insight into the high risk elements and best practice approaches to screening locally. With an average of three background checks conducted as part of each report: »» Almost one third of reports (28.2%) highlighted an area of concern for the prospective employer »» The highest number of discrepancies were recorded for employment history (72.4%), employment references (53.6%), professional memberships (38.8%) and educational qualifications (34.0%) »» Employers conducting six background checks were 12 times more likely to uncover an area of concern (85.7%) compared to employers conducting only one background check (6.6%) »» Screening reports on males were more likely to identify a red flag (29.9%), compared to women (26.2%) »» One in every 16 had limited right to work in Australia and one in every 87 had unconfirmed rights »» Queenslanders are the most honest candidates, recording a 13.7% discrepancy rate compared to 33.1% for residents of NSW »» 21.43% of candidates had spent a period of six months or more outside of Australia within the

Breakdown of criminal outcomes Fraud Theft Drugs Traffic

Misc.

Violence

past 10 years and 28.1% of qualifications presented were obtained abroad »» One in every 19 qualifications verified raised some major concerns: 2.2% could not be verified due to the institution having no record of the applicant, 1.9% of qualifications presented were recorded as incomplete and a further 1.1% recorded a variance in the qualification level »» Candidates were most likely to falsify the details of their most recent employment, with the major reasons for variance being salary package and position held at 12.5% and 9.8% of all checks respectively. 3.3% of all reports recorded a salary variance greater than $10,000 »» One in every 24 reports recorded a disclosable criminal outcome

Email hcmagazine@ fadv.com.au for your free copy of the First Advantage 2010 Background Screening Trends Australia report *All reports were generated on consenting job applicants www.hcamag.com

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RECRUITMENT hiring horrors

Hiring Even the most promising looking candidate at the interview stage can haunt an organisation down the track. Paul Howell looks at the classic mistakes that scare hiring managers and recruiters

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o-called ‘bad’ hires cost a business time, money and resources – that much we all know. But what exactly makes any one new recruit a poor choice over the long term? Experts today say the definition of a ‘bad’ hire can change over time – and is certainly doing so at the moment. With talent shortage on all recruiters’ minds, the chances, not to mention the potential costs, of a hiring mistake are growing fast. Many years ago, hiring managers could easily get away with less-than-perfect selections. Workers tended to stick with one organisation for many years, sometimes even their whole careers, and promotions and career development opportunities were assessed in terms of time served, not necessarily competency or potential. Now, the more enlightened way of looking at staff and getting the most from them places much more pressure on HR to get the fit right from the earliest possible stage. “It’s very much everywhere, and not just in banking,” says Paul McGrory, head of resourcing, Asia Pacific, Group HR, Royal Bank of Scotland. “High quality candidates are scarcer.” What’s more, it can be very difficult to measure recruitment success – since even several years down the track,

a seemingly ‘good’ candidate can turn into a problem employee. Eliminating those easy-to-make mistakes from HR’s hiring toolbox is the first step to dealing with the new talent landscape.

Short-term fixes that don’t

Matangi Gowrishankar, HR director, Asia Pacific, BP Lubricants, says there are many mistakes that can lead to a ‘horror’ hire. But many of them are symptoms of the same basic problem. “The big one is that we hire for today,” she says. “We ought to be hiring for at least tomorrow, if not next year.” She says many line managers and recruiters get fixated on the immediate gaps that need to be filled. Certainly competency and ability to do the job hired for is an important consideration, but organisations also need to look at the wider issues involved. How the recruit fits in to the culture of the organisation is important for long-term retention and productivity, and HR also needs to consider the recruit’s ability to progress in their careers. When hiring accountants, financial planners and mortgage brokers as business partners for his company Blue Wealth Property, CEO Dr Tony Hayek takes special care to ensure culture fit. “BWP is service orientated and committed to looking after our clients and it’s important that our business partners share these values,” he says. “Initial meetings with potential business partners are designed to allow both parties to learn about each other’s businesses and assess whether there is a commercial and cultural fit. We also provide ongoing training and education for our business


RECRUITMENT hiring horrors

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RECRUITMENT hiring horrors

Mistakes in three stages Declan O’Sullivan, managing director, Kerry Consulting, says hiring mistakes can happen in any of the three vital parts of the recruitment process: Planning: HR shouldn’t wait until there is a vacancy to begin the search for a replacement. Jobs and search criteria need to be planned well ahead of time, with all stakeholders part of the consultation process Execution: The failure to generate a quality short-list is one of the biggest mistakes possible. Also the selection panel needs to be ‘on message’ or you will miss out on some very good people Integration: A big mistake because it typically doesn’t happen! Onboarding needs to be planned and executed thoroughly, ensuring new recruits maintain their high levels of enthusiasm for the organisation through to their work

partners so they’re connected to our philosophies and up to date with the latest research.” Without this important criteria considered, new hires can sometimes begin to lose engagement and enthusiasm just one or two years into the recruitment, becoming what Gowrishankar calls a “miss-fit” within the organisation. “Once the shine wears off, we learn the recruit doesn’t have the values, beliefs and behaviours required,” she says. “Sooner or later the line manager will say they have a performance problem.” McGrory says the challenge begins at the outset of the hiring process. “Getting the wrong brief from the line manager can be a big mistake,” he says. “Recruiters will then often focus purely on job title.” Recruiters and managers need to work closely together to ensure they know exactly what they want before any selection takes place. “If you get the brief wrong – you’ve got no chance of finding a star.”

Avoiding ‘shifters’ Another symptom of the natural urge to hire with only short-term goals in mind can be an over-reliance on strict experience requirements. Obviously, employers need their staff to be competent in their jobs but Gowrishankar warns that competency can’t be measured solely on what is in a candidate’s résumé. What’s more, previous experience of a particular job should inspire HR to question why the candidate is looking to shift sideways to the same role in a different organisation. These ‘shifters’, can often represent the more mediocre end of the talent pool – candidates that merely move between roles of the same level without the enthusiasm or potential to take the next step up the ladder. Joanne Chua, manager (HR division), Robert Walters, says this is a common problem – with

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many employers advertising for candidates who can ‘hit the ground running’ without the need for internal training. She says this increases the chances of hiring mediocre talent but it can also lead to retention issues down the track. “It’s also true that the candidate is highly likely to become bored with the responsibilities of a similar role after six months,” she notes. Chua advises HR to look closely at all candidates, including those with no direct experience in the role offered. Those without well-known multinationals listed on their résumés have a higher chance of getting written off, resulting in firms missing out on what could be a top talent and a great fit.

Stick to your guns Most HR departments, and by extension their organisations, already know the way to avoid these types of problems. As all the HR textbooks will state, there needs to be a clear hiring process that assesses candidates against a range of criteria, including cultural fit and potential for leadership. Both HR and line managers need to work together for an end-toend solution that critically evaluates the written job description, selection criteria and the candidates. The problem is that often this simply doesn’t appear possible. The immediate needs for skills in a particular area outweigh the time and resources required for a drawn-out assessment process. Gowrishankar acknowledges this is a common problem; but says HR needs to take leadership on these issues and ‘own’ the process. Where a candidate falls short – particularly on those softer skill areas – HR needs to hold out for someone that truly does fit with the organisation’s requirements. “We have to learn to say ‘no’,” she says. “HR needs to live by the leadership frameworks it has developed and the values the organisation holds high.” It’s still not an easy thing to do, but Gowrishankar says it’s a case of practise makes perfect. “Line managers and HR have to have the discipline to follow the process and not take shortcuts.” Gowrishankar adds that it can take up to two years to set this process up. McGrory agrees. He says a quality and careful hiring process is what breaks the constant ‘merry-go-round’ of talent, particularly in the banking sector. Candidates need to see that the hiring process is taken seriously, in order for the best to become inspired by that organisation. “There’s got to be more to it if we’re going to get and keep good recruits,” he says.

Delegating the task Many organisations will look to solve the risks of ‘hiring horrors’ by engaging a third party recruiter.


RECRUITMENT hiring horrors

But this can simply shift the responsibility to another entity, doing little to change the way hiring actually happens. Working in an industry that uses third party recruiters for almost all positions, McGrory says the internal team should still have much to do. In particular, it needs to be the conduit of constant communication between the line managers and the external recruiters. “Often the manager doesn’t know what he or she’s actually looking for,” he says. “All parties need to talk about the job requirements.” The Royal Bank of Scotland achieves this by keeping its third party recruiters “very close” to the internal resourcing team. It uses a reduced number of ‘A-List’ recruiters, just one for every business area (investment banking, for example) and maintains one-on-one relationships between those recruiters and the heads of the relevant departments. “That close relationship builds trust and capability,” McGrory says. Importantly, each of these heads remains actively involved through each stage of the recruitment process. As one such executive (leading the resourcing function), McGrory himself takes on this

“HR needs to live by the leadership frameworks it has developed and the values the organisation holds high” – Matangi Gowrishankar

duty. “You’ve got to practise what you preach,” he says. “I spend 60 to 70% of my time interviewing and finding people for my own team.”

Hire well, but hire fast Having a dedicated and deliberate hiring process helps organisations to hire the best of the best – but that’s not the end of the discussion. Today’s competitive talent market means HR needs to also ensure those ‘stars’ are ready and that the organisation is able to make an employment offer. “That’s another big mistake employers make,” Gowrishankar says. “Taking forever to make a person an offer!” If all these processes and deliberations take too long, the best of the best will often have already found a home elsewhere by the time the offer comes. It sounds like an unsolvable conundrum – to hire well and to hire fast – but both are possible if a recruitment exercise is well planned in the first instance. Recruiters, HR and line managers all need to have a clear and common picture of what they are looking for; so that when they find it – they can pounce with confidence. HC

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‘O

A sticky subject Leadership trust was jettisoned in many companies in the rush to survive last year’s economic hardship. Iain Hopkins investigates what’s involved in rebuilding the glue that keeps organisations together

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ur employees are more important than profit’. How many times has that mantra been thrown around? Dig a little deeper and it becomes clear that senior management always agrees with that mantra, while employees strongly disagree with it. Perhaps more than anything it is that disconnect that erodes trust between employees and employers. All it takes is something drastic like a GFC to throw that disconnect into sharp relief. “It almost always happens this way,” confirms Keith Ayers, CEO of Integro Leadership Institute. “When there’s a major financial threat organisations tend to focus more short-term. Employees do understand that needs to be done, but in many cases organisations jumped the gun, and the first thing they did was lay people off just in case. Then it turned out they didn’t do so badly. Employees see that happening and they become cynical.” Ayers is a realist: he acknowledges that business leaders often must make decisions for financial reasons; most businesses are not charity cases. However, he feels there is a way of treating people with dignity and respect. Now, with the economy improving, many business leaders are realising just what they’ve lost in the flight to survive, and the biggest casualty was trust.

All about trust Where to from here? Thirty years of research from Integro indicates there are four elements of trust. If any of the four are missing, trust will diminish. Reliability is the most obvious – this is how humans judge other humans and organisations. “If you’re a customer and the company lets you down, you’ll find someone else to do business with. Employees also want to be able to rely on their managers to do the right thing. Likewise, managers judge employees by their reliability,” says Ayers. Congruence is a combination of honesty and directness. Ayers uses the example of the congruent


LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT trust

triangle where the corresponding sides are equal in length and their corresponding angles are equal in size. “In other words, what I did is the same as what I said I would do; I practise what I preach. Also, I say what I really mean – I’m telling the truth, I’m not beating around the bush or sugar coating the pill.” The third element is openness, which Ayers stresses is a two-way street. “It’s about not hiding things, disclosing what’s going on and saying what’s on your mind. It’s also openness in terms of being receptive to what people have to say. We see it over and over again in employee surveys where employees comment on the lack of openness of the senior leadership team. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not being open with what’s going on – though often that’s also true – but they’re not receptive to what employees have to say. They don’t know what’s troubling their employees because they don’t ask.” The fourth element is acceptance – that is, people feeling accepted and respected for who they are, that they get a sense that they’re important and significant to the organisation, and what they do is important. “It’s where management doesn’t

even know the names of people, they’re just a face, or even just a cog in the wheel. We’ve known for years the relationship between the employee and their immediate supervisor is the most important relationship in terms of building engagement, and also the most important in terms of trust. An employee will continue to be engaged and work hard for a manager who they know respects them and values them, even if they’re not sold on the senior management team,” Ayers explains. Of all four elements it’s actually acceptance that gets the trust ball rolling. “Think about your own experience,” says Ayers. “If someone treats you with disrespect, you don’t want to have anything to do with them. If your manager doesn’t know anything about you, shows no interest in knowing you personally, if you’re just there to do a job, then you don’t give anything back. It switches you off straight away and there’s no commitment to do your best.” Even if senior management teams are ethical and honest, Ayers says it’s not uncommon for employee surveys to reveal a low score for trust, and this is because employees don’t judge senior managers by reliability or honesty – they expect that as a given.

The relationship between the employee and their immediate supervisor is the most important relationship in terms of trust and engagement

Assessing the ‘elements of trust’ Element of trust Acceptance Openness Congruence Reliability

Supporting values

The statements employees respond to for each of the 8 values*

Respect

People are valued for who they are

Recognition

People get the recognition they deserve

Receptivity

Giving new ideas and methods a fair hearing

Disclosure

Communicating openly one’s own ideas and opinions

Straightforwardness

People are clear about what is expected of them

Honesty

Having high standards of honesty in everything we do

Keeping commitments

Striving to do our best in everything we do

Seeking excellence

People follow through on their responsibilities

*Employees were asked two questions about each of these statements: How important is this to you personally? How well does your organisation operate by this value? Source: Integro Leadership Institute

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT trust

Leaders must demonstrate not only through behaviour but also through policies, that people are more important than profit

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Instead, they are judged primarily on openness and receptivity to ideas – for example, if there’s a system in place where employees can communicate ideas or tell management things that aren’t working, such as a forum or town hall meeting. Acceptance is also crucial. Leaders must demonstrate not only through behaviour but also through policies and practices that people are more important than profit. “One of the simplest examples is this question to senior leaders: do you see payroll as an expense or as an investment? If you see it as an expense, then what do you do with expenses? You try to contain it, cut it. Typically, payroll is one of the biggest items on the P&L. Employees see that, they know it, they feel it. If you see payroll as an investment, that’s the investment in people,” Ayers says.

impossible to do anything with employees if it’s not present). Ayers maintains that people who are passionate about their work and their organisation are the best contributors. Within the passion survey Integro can also assess trust through the four elements – reliability, congruence, openness, acceptance – and the two values under each element (see box on page 37). At an individual level, leaders are assessed on their flexibility and their trust building skills through their own perceptions and through the perceptions of others. “Measurement is key,” says Ayers. “Most leaders see themselves as honest, trustworthy, ethical – and they are – but they’re not necessarily building trust because they’re not aware of the elements that build trust. I might think I’m very accepting of people, but then I don’t necessarily let them know that – I may do things that demonstrate they’re not as important as I think.” These surveys are always given as part of some leadership development. Additional surveys can be conducted by the senior team to develop the strategy for increasing trust not just in the senior team but across the organisation. Ayers maintains that it’s crucial to get senior leaders looking at some of the policies, procedures and practices that actually communicate a lack of respect for employees. For example, having countless rules automatically implies that people can’t be trusted. “Many organisations have policies that are implemented because a few people did something they shouldn’t do, so a rule is written for everyone to follow. That makes sense, and may be very necessary, but is there another way of handling that? How about agreeing to a set of values on how the company operates? You can write a lot of policies, procedures and rules and then police people and monitor them. However, people are more strongly committed to a set of values than they are a set of rules.”

Rebuilding trust

Continuous development

What can be done? Can trust be rebuilt? Ayers says it can, but it’s not a case of simply flicking a switch. He alludes to ‘authentic leadership’ whereby senior leaders go out of their way to talk to employees, to spend time on the floor, in the branches, giving people the chance to sit down and talk. It’s also important for leaders to know where they are currently placed, and that can only be achieved by shining a self-reflective light on themselves and by asking others for their perceptions. Integro offers three levels of surveys to measure trust. At organisation and team levels, the employee passion survey measures passion (not engagement, which Ayers says is so fundamental that it’s

No one is perfect, and judging by the number of corporate scandals regularly reported, certainly no CEO is perfect. Ayers cringes when it’s suggested that some CEOs may baulk at the suggestion that they need further personal and professional development. “Anyone who thinks they know it all doesn’t,” he says. “To me that’s a defensive reaction compounded by a fear of looking at themselves. The way I would overcome that is not to challenge that person but to measure the results. My experience is those people who think they know it all will score the worst results in the organisational survey, with the lowest level of engagement and the least flexibility as perceived by others.” HC


LEADERSHIP INSIGHT DIVERSITY indigenous recruitment

THE FORGOTTEN LEADERS NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

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hen we look at leadership from a corporate viewpoint, generally we focus on the importance of building leadership capability at the executive level – and there is an abundance of statistics to tell us that great leadership drives better organisational performance. Now I don’t disagree that a focus on executive-level leadership is critical; after all, the executives are the individuals charged with making the big decisions and setting the overall goals, strategy and direction of the organisation. However, over the last 20 years, one thing that continues to surprise me is how often we overlook or downplay the importance of building real leadership capability at the middle management level. After all, these are the people who are tasked with translating strategy from the theoretical to the actual. Your middle managers have the opportunity to directly influence the attitudes, behaviours and performance of a vast number of your staff overall – those people who are busily executing your corporate vision, day in day out. Hence, effective middle managers are the key to unlocking significant performance potential from the vast majority of your workforce. If you are like most companies, you probably build middle management skills by either running internal leadership development programs, use an external company to deliver, or maybe a combination of both. The programs might even be nationally accredited like the Certificate IV in Frontline or Retail Management. Do they actually create a more effective mid management layer in your business? For those of you leveraging government funding to help pay for training, the first step towards “yes” is ensuring you are looking past the concept of “free training”. I know this might sound obvious, but this complacency can prevent us looking deeper into whether our programs are actually valued by learners and improving the effectiveness of our middle managers. In my experience, programs most likely to improve middle managers effectiveness begin with clear, positive and confident answers to the following: What behaviours are we trying to influence with our middle management development programs? How will these increase their performance and effectiveness in their leadership role? Do we know if these desired behavioural changes are actually

occurring? Does senior management show a real interest in these programs, get involved in them in any way or hold the learners accountable for the implementation of their learning? If you answered ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’, it’s likely you have an issue. Without clearly defining the behaviours you are trying to change and measuring that change, how can you determine the real ROI of your program? Without senior manager involvement, how can you hope to drive an improvement of your middle management layer long term? In short, you usually can’t. To see a consistent improved performance from your people, learners need to implement their learning, senior managers need to be involved in the process to support this endeavour and the behavioural change needs to be measured. Here are a few tips on how to structure your programs to increase their effectiveness: »» Identify what behaviours you are actually targeting and how these will improve learner performance and effectiveness in their role »» Base session and course content around these behaviours and give learners simple tools to assist with application of learning. Assess learner performance based on evidence of application of this learning »» Use anonymous pre- and post-program reviews to measure the levels of behavioural change, ensuring you involve the learner themselves, their team and their boss. Where possible use the feedback to dynamically update and improve course content »» Get senior managers involved throughout the entire process from the pre- to post-program phases (needs analysis, guest speakers in sessions, coaches/mentors during/post-program and taking ownership and accountability for their people displaying the behavioural changes) What are the rewards for your efforts? »» Higher performing, more effective middle managers who drive higher performance levels from their teams »» An objective measurement process that clearly identifies the ROI you are getting from your programs »» More buy-in from senior management to the programs. If you can show them a positive ROI, they’ll want to be involved!

leadership

success

Leonie Curtis-Kempnich Director - Training and Course Development Level 26 44 Market Street Sydney NSW 2000 ABN: 20142987297 p: (02) 9089 8609 f: (02) 9089 8677 M: 0416210977 e: leonie@lstraining.com.au w: www.lstraining.com.au www.hcamag.com

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FEATURE professional development

Leadership development:

Path to

enlightenment? It’s true that the age-old question about leadership qualities being innate or acquired keeps being asked. Professor Preston C Bottger believes the problem lies not so much with the answer we’re receiving as the question we’re asking

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he above is a question that has obsessed many leadership scholars over the years and is often posed by executives in development programs. Here’s our response – it’s a bad question, which begets bad answers. As many decades of leadership writing shows, this is a question that cannot yield a satisfactory response, especially for aspiring leaders. Understandably, the line taken by management educators tends to be that most leadership qualities can be developed, given adequate amounts of key personal characteristics, notably intelligence and physical energy. But the fact is that you do not know what you are born with until you try very hard to express it. So why do executives even concern themselves with this question? Often, it is to gauge their own leadership potential and, sometimes, to determine that of others. Yet ‘born or made?’ is a bad question for such assessments because it gets executives focused on the wrong topics – such as which dispositions are fixed and which behaviours are amenable to change.

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Actually, the question illuminates little, as it fails to deal with a basic point, namely the degree of responsibility sought. What level of leadership responsibility does the person aspire to? The highest levels of leadership responsibilities present tasks that are massive, complex and conflictual. The playing field, the boundaries and the rules become less certain. Indeed, it is the leader’s job to shape these choices. Also, the further executives advance in leadership, the more they must deal with high-calibre people who know how to get what they want, who are difficult, strong-willed and who have a sharp appetite for power. For executives trying to assess their leadership potential, we propose instead three critical questions:

Question 1: How far do you want to go? To reach higher office and to fulfill the obligations of higher office, you must continuously make choices that will affect other people’s money and lives. And you will be doing this in a context where other people

The question illuminates little, as it fails to deal with a basic point, namely the degree of responsibility sought


FEATURE professional development

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FEATURE professional development

Leadership certainly requires business smarts, technical capabilities and cultural sensibilities, but above all, it is about power … a leader must gain and retain power

Changing the MBA to match the times Associate dean (postgraduate) in the Faculty of Economics and Business at The University of Sydney, John Shields, says the GFC altered learning in a number of ways. In the early days of the GFC, he notes, there was a lot of debate around the idea that the crisis occurred because many senior managers making decisions were great theorists but not practically able to apply this theory. “Understandably then, the GFC sparked a rethink by tertiary institutions about learning content in MBA programs. The Faculty of Economics and Business was already in the process of reviewing our postgraduate programs and looking at ways to make our offering much more hands-on. As educators we also began to think more about how to teach management behaviour, ethical reasoning and organisational sustainability as core parts of our programs,“ he says. As a result of the GFC it is clear that effective long-term planning is more crucial now than ever and the

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importance of resilience is a critical concept built into all postgraduate programs offered by the Faculty of Economics and Business. The Global Executive MBA launched by the faculty in 2009 is a great example of how the faculty listened to the business community and created a product that reflected all this thinking. This innovative Executive MBA program was well down the development track when the global financial crisis hit. Global executive MBA acting program director and associate dean (Executive education), associate professor Nick Wailes, adds: “The key message coming from the business community was that it wanted an MBA that focused on leadership and more broadly at the economic and political context of business today. So, instead of producing a program like others on the market, we took a very nontraditional approach. The result is a program unlike anything else on the market.”

will want your position or will be competing with you for the next higher role. It is easy to criticise the competence of those with greater responsibilities than ourselves, and even easier to fantasise about how we would do it better. Many people who aspire to senior leadership simply underestimate the degree and kinds of effort required to take on those responsibilities. A useful exercise: Look at your immediate boss’ job and honestly ask if you could do it as well, or better. Then, stretch even further and take the most senior leader in your line of sight – perhaps the CEO – and educate yourself about what that person must deal with. Get a feel for the gap between how you spend your time and the time, energy and capabilities required to do those jobs. What would it take to be CEO of your company? What would you have to do that you now cannot do, or do not enjoy doing? What do you enjoy now, but would have to give up? We see too many executives who set themselves up to fail by lack of valid assessment of the role they are pursuing in comparison to their true capabilities.

Question 2: What are you willing to invest? Aspiring leaders can delude themselves about their strengths and the extent of their limitations. The realisation that you have significant limitations can be hard to digest. But if you are serious about wanting to lead, you face tough choices about how much effort you must put in and in which areas – in order to grow the capabilities that enable the exercise of extreme responsibility. The work of leadership certainly requires business smarts, technical capabilities and cultural sensibilities, but above all, it is about power. While this point is upsetting to some people, the brutal reality is that whatever else a leader must do, a leader must gain, exercise and retain power. We meet too many ‘high potentials’ who aspire to high leadership, but are used to rewards for being bright and creative. This breeds a sense of entitlement that is incompatible with the necessity to fight for leadership power. While it has bad connotations for some people, the appetite for power


FEATURE professional development

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FEATURE professional development

Hitting the ROI mark Human Capital talks to Professor Paul Kirkbride, deputy dean of Mt Eliza Executive Education, about the latest trends in executive education Human Capital: Did the content of your executive education courses change as a result of the GFC? Paul Kirkbride: Solely in the executive education space, not the MBA space; we almost panicked because we saw other providers putting titles out to do with the GFC. We thought perhaps we were missing something, but in essence we didn’t change anything and it hasn’t hurt us. Sometimes I think it was old wine in new bottles, the same old stuff just rebadged. We teach leadership, management, finance, marketing, HR – but that doesn’t really change. You may have more people who need to focus on costs and understand how to read a balance sheet and so on. That may give the impression we’re being complacent but really we‘re changing because we think there are certain holes in our portfolio where we should be presenting things to the marketplace that we haven’t got – but that’s not about changing what we do already. HC: How important is follow-up evaluation on these courses? PK: It’s very important. Everyone talks about evaluation but no one really does it properly. You’ve got a number of problems. Take standard evaluation. You ask people before they come to the program what they need, what they’re missing. Then you do the evaluation at the end – did they enjoy it, what do they think they learned? Those self-assessments are notoriously imbalanced. People are not the best judges of themselves. Other people are much better judges. So you need to go to their boss or co-workers and say, does Fred appear to be doing anything different? One way you can do that is a 360 before and a 360 six months later. What we’re working on now is something called narrative capture based on work by Dave Snowden. This captures stories. Instead of just responding to a questionnaire, and

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scoring a course on a scale, you get them [participants and peers] to tell a story: Since Fred came back he did this, and I saw this happen. Then they tag the story via a series of questions that relate to the stories. This allows the software we’re using to do the most amazing sophisticated analysis. From that we can pull out fantastic pieces of data which you normally wouldn’t see, including areas of strength and weakness. HC: This must be effective feedback for HR to assess whether their learning initiatives are hitting the mark PK: Many companies struggle to justify the spend of their L&D budgets. My view is that ROI is a waste of time. It’s impossible to show ROI. But if they could go into this data, to say the purpose was to achieve X, we had this bucket load of money, these are the areas we’ve made progress on, and we can see that quantitatively and qualitatively, that’s a good sell for them when pitching for funds and budgets from senior management. We’re trying to use that evaluation not just to prove a point but to give HR something they can use to support their position. HC: Will this be how L&D is assessed in the future?

PK: You don’t need to get this sophisticated but as a minimum you ought to do 360s and simple focus groups – one with participants, another with their bosses. Traditionally, another form of evaluation was to ask what skills do we want people to develop, and from there design a program. We now start with a different conversation for our customised clients: we talk about the impact map. The impact map starts by outlining what the strategic outcomes the business is looking for over the next 2–3 years. Then we look at the 12-month business objectives, then what performance level these people have to engage in to be able to deliver that, and finally what skills and competencies people will need. When you get to the evaluation part it’s not just, ‘did they learn this or that?’ You can look at the whole thing – ‘did they learn this, did this impact on performance, did this impact on objectives, did this impact on outcomes?’ It’s not ROI because you can’t quantify it, you can’t say, invest $100,000 in this and you’ll get a million in output. But you can see multiple needles starting to jump up, and you’ll be more likely to reach that strategic goal.


FEATURE professional development

is a necessary condition for reaching positions of high responsibility. Also, there will be pleasures that you must give up. Certainly, there will be implications for aspects of your personal life – raising questions not so much of ‘work-life balance’ in the short term but rather of finding a ‘workable mix’ over the long term. And there are constraining beliefs to overcome that limit your capacity to see things as they actually are, and to generate new behaviours. As a leader, you must take people where they have never been before – in thought and action – often against their initial preferences. But until you let go of the hooks that tie you to your own past, you won’t be able to go to new places either.

Question 3: How will you keep it up? Over several decades of leadership, you will need methods to keep yourself going when you are not being recognised and rewarded for your performances – and to deal with criticism, resistance, setbacks and having people disliking you or what you are asking them to do. The assessment of the costs of leadership is not a one-off event.

If you envisage another 10, 20 or even 30 years of leadership work, then you must find effective approaches for maintaining your physical vitality, your emotional flexibility and your intellectual reach and freshness. As they do the hard work of leadership, many people become more closed and set in the ways that have brought them success so far. So periodically, senior executives must create and undertake some time-out for themselves to review where they are investing their time and energy, in order to ensure that they remain capable of generating new behaviours to deal with new challenges. Management educators might be right in saying that leadership is learnable. But instead of taking comfort in the idea that you can develop, you should take fright at how much work there is in devising methods for managing novel situations, indeed extreme circumstances. The most significant leadership question is not ‘born or made?’. Instead, the important questions are: what are your current assets and what are you willing to do – or to sacrifice – to attain leadership at the highest level you can? HC

About the author Preston Bottger is Professor of Leadership and General Management at IMD Business School. He teaches on the following programs: Leading the Global Enterprise (LGE), Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) and the Program for Executive Development (PED)

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PEOPLE MANAGEMENT respectful workplaces

Why should HR aim to create respectful workplaces and how can it be done? Joe Moore has the answers

Respect A

respectful workplace can be hard to define. It’s one of those things – you know it when you see it, but it’s hard to put words to. It’s much easier to say what it is not. In thousands of workshops dealing with respectful behaviour we have asked participants questions like ‘what are some of the things that people say and do at work that display respect?’ Some of the common answers include: People are performing – they are meeting reasonable expectations around productivity, effort, quality, effectiveness and efficiency, they talk frequently about what they are doing and how they are doing it, they say their colleagues do a good, high-quality job. People are following the rules – they get that written rules are there as a safety net for our conduct at work – they understand that thoughtlessly following the rules is not the main game. They have figured out how to comply with the written rules of the workplace in a way that meets the spirit of the rules rather than the letter. People get along with each other – they greet each other, are polite and courteous, they include people in conversations, events, coffee, they have social

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{where it’s due} conversations as well as work conversations, they are comfortable talking – or not talking – about personal stuff at work, they do what they say they will do – when they say they will. People talk to each other and attempt to resolve locally any day-to-day disagreements, hiccups in the way they get along – they call poor behaviour respectfully and directly, they have high expectations of each other, they invest time and effort in helping each other get along, when they see things getting out of control they step in and help each other out. A respectful workplace is one where you feel good about being there. Other people’s attitudes and actions towards us have a significant impact on how we feel about ourselves and our work. Did you notice how many of the above items are focused on doing our job and on how we get along with each other through the way we talk and act towards each other? Respect at work is feeling safe and secure about: • Diversity and accessibility – the workplace welcomes people similar to you and different from you. • Acceptance – the workplace values you for what you bring, and not what you are. • Accommodation – the workplace takes reasonable


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PEOPLE MANAGEMENT respectful workplaces

steps to recognise your individual needs and helps you do your job well. • Clear expectations – there are clear expectations as to how we treat each other in the workplace. • Effective communication – we communicate in a healthy and effective manner in the workplace. • Effective conflict transformation and dispute resolution – the workplace makes available a variety of processes for changing relationships, behaviours, attitudes and organisational structures for the better and resolving disagreements. • Active improvement – everyone plays a role in continually trying to improve the workplace.

Why is it important to build and maintain a respectful workplace? If a respectful workplace is one that allows you to feel good about being there – then it is useful to ask if there are any business advantages to feeling good at work and with getting along with each other. Some team leaders, managers and CEOs may well ask – “how do I get the best out of my people if they don’t fear me?” The advantages of feeling good about yourself and your work include reducing the amount of stress we feel at home and in our personal life. Reducing stress often goes hand in hand with improving our physical and emotional wellbeing. Feeling good about ourselves and getting along well with others at work results in increased productivity. The business prize won when you build and maintain a respectful workplace includes: • Smoother change management • Greater productivity and profitability • A better chance of achieving stronger revenue growth, lower costs and higher income • People are more likely to work in value-adding ways to achieve the kind of performance that shareholders demand • Your customers use your products more, and increased customer usage leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction • Lower incidence and cost of injuries in the workplace and therefore reduced workers compensation costs You can better understand the business benefits of a respectful workplace by considering some of the problems you get to deal with when people begin to feel excluded and disrespected at work. Poor relationships at work are detrimental to employee wellbeing. Employees behaving badly erode productivity, customer retention, morale and satisfaction on the job.

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A respectful workplace is one where you feel good about being there. People’s attitudes and actions towards us have a significant impact on … ourselves and our work Are respectful workplace policies doing their job? The findings of the ProActive ReSolutions workplace questionnaire* highlight that having respectful workplace policies doesn’t necessarily guarantee respectful behaviour. Sixty-nine per cent of some 8,000 employees and managers who responded to the questionnaire said they were aware of their organisations’ respectful workplace policies. Yet, 58% said their organisations hadn’t prepared them to respond appropriately when they were being treated with disrespect, and 32% said they were aware of two to five past incidents of disrespectful behaviour. These findings highlight the need to do more than just create respectful workplace policy manuals. To ensure policy is transformed into action, workplaces should integrate respectful workplace behaviour into organisational values, performance reviews and training. HC *The Proactive ReSolutions workplace questionnaire results are based on responses from some 8,000 (of the 11,138) people working in mostly the government sector in Australia and Canada, who participated in ProActive ReSolutions respectful workplace training from June 2007 to June 2009. Before each training session, participants were asked a series of questions about their organisations’ respectful workplace policies. Not all questions were answered by all participants.

About the author Joe Moore is managing director of ProActive ReSolutions – an international company focused on building more respectful behaviour between people. For further information, call (02) 9221 0446, visit: www.proactive-resolutions. com or email info@proactiveresolutions.com


PEOPLE MANAGEMENT respectful workplaces

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FEATURE remuneration

insane payrise? Will this be another

Understanding and changing behaviour around payrise expectations can result in benefits to the individual and the organisation. Matt Linnert explains

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FEATURE remuneration

B

efore you give someone their next payrise, ask yourself “is this going to be just another insane payrise?” So what makes for an “insane payrise”? Let’s first look at the definition of insanity. A common definition, albeit probably not the dictionary definition, is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different outcome. Interestingly, the majority of times someone receives a payrise, within three months or so they see no tangible benefit of receiving increased pay. They think it will make a difference before they receive the increased income, but such a prediction fails to materialise into any real change. Then the next performance and pay review comes around, the negotiation for a payrise takes place, usually under a certain level of anxiety for all parties, and then three months later, the same thing happens – there is no noticeable change or benefit reaped. In fact, there is a good chance that there is a deepened sense of pay dissatisfaction. This represents not only an insane payrise pattern on an individual level, but an insane pattern on a collective level. This behavioural pattern is costly to the financial position of both the employee and employer, and is costly to the relationship between the employee and employer. There are two ways to respond to this pattern. The first is to ignore it. The second is to understand where this behaviour comes from, and then do something about it. The second approach requires us to consider two questions: Why does this happen? What can be done about it?

Why does this happen? When understanding behavioural patterns and personal financial management, it is important to first understand what motivates us around money. First of all, we have the ego-self which sees money as a tool to grow self-worth. Secondly, there is the strategic-self which sees money as a resource to fund a desired lifestyle, present and future. When your employees are asking for a pay rise, it is important to understand whether it is the ego-self or strategic-self playing the dominant role. When the ego-self is dominant, your employees will want a payrise for one of the following reasons:

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FEATURE remuneration

Employers benefit from employees who look after their finances, at least to the point that they are not financially stressed

1. Because their colleague got a payrise 2. Because they could earn more in another industry 3. Because they are worth more, without a fundamental reason 4. Because they should get a payrise each year 5. Because the boss must be making more money this year The ego-driven payrise helps your employee feel ‘good’ about themselves, at least for a little while, but it does little to provide genuine lasting financial benefit. It is important to highlight there is nothing wrong with approaching a payrise through the ego, many of us do it, have done it, and will do it. However, when the ego-self is the driver, the focus is on getting a payrise, not what can be done with additional income, leaving the strategic-self sitting in the shadows. It is for this reason that within only a small period of time, no material benefit has occurred from the payrise, leading back to the pattern of ‘not enough – need more – not enough – need more’. To progress towards the harmonious place of genuine pay satisfaction, the next time you discuss a payrise, educate your employee to put the ego to side, and encourage the strategic-self to be the dominant player. There are four tips on how to do this. Importantly, the strategic-self does not hang one’s self worth on receiving a payrise or not. The strategic-self is rather emotionless about how much money it earns (or doesn’t earn), and is more interested in what it can do with what it earns, as opposed to just getting more. When the strategic-self is dominant, a different approach leads up to the payrise, which increases the likelihood of different outcomes and actions once the income has increased. It is only through taking such an approach that the pattern of the insane payrise can be broken.

What can be done about it? Four practical tips to help you As mentioned above, before the next pay review, educate your employees to put the ego to the side and employ their strategic side. Some people can do this more readily, depending on their money personality preference; however, everyone can make some form of progress. The following considerations can assist in the education process:

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Consideration 1: Are there reasonable grounds to expect a payrise? If the organisation has had a difficult time of it, there may simply be a lack of financial resources to increase wages. Depending on your employee’s role, they may feel that this is out of their control. Nonetheless, discussing organisational realities is an important first step. On the other hand, if the organisation is going well, and your employee’s contribution quality and/ or quantity has at least been stable, and preferably has grown, then there is every reason to discuss the merits of a payrise. In most cases, your employee will be expecting at least a discussion. Consideration 2: What will your employee do with the increased pay? When your employees use a payrise to fund a shortterm interest, such as a weekend away, new TV, or similar, they are likely to experience a short-term rush, with a resulting low of dissatisfaction. Soon the plasma means little, and the money is gone. From a satisfaction perspective, your employees are better off funding holidays through regular savings than one-off kickers like a jump in income. If you really want to assist your employees in this regard, help them get clear on what they can do with the money they earn on a regular basis, which provides medium and long-term gains. Here are some activities your employees could do that are likely to grow pay satisfaction: 1. Increase mortgage repayments 2. Increase the amount they regularly pay off personal loans, like credit cards and car loans 3. Start or increase the amount paid into a savings plan. Savings plans used for home deposits, further study and investing are likely to lead to noticeable personal and financial benefits 4. Increase personal contributions to a superannuation fund 5. Take out a loan to further improve their home 6. Take out a loan to purchase other investments For some of these activities, depending on the knowledge and competence of your employee, further education or personal financial advice may be warranted. Consideration 3: Do the calculations! Remember that an increase in pay is typically expressed as gross income. Encourage your employees to take out income tax to determine how much they have to work with from pay to pay. (Unless they salary sacrifice the gross income increase straight to superannuation).


FEATURE remuneration

To determine the increased after-tax income, you can do the calculations for your employee, or use it as an opportunity to advance your employees knowledge of personal finance and the tax system. They do not need to be a maths whiz. There are a range of income tax calculators available online. You may also encourage them to complete a budget to see if any money is slipping through their fingers.

employees to look after their finances, and to at least take a reasonable amount of responsibility. Such a discussion balances up the responsibility for pay satisfaction to both employer and employee, not just one or the other.

Consideration 4: Encourage your employee to share their strategy with you Employers benefit from employees who look after their finances, at least to the point that they are not financially stressed. Employers typically want their employees to be satisfied with their pay, but the reality is, what your employees do with their pay is their choice, and these choices drive pay satisfaction. You may find an opportunity to encourage them to be open about how they are faring financially and if they feel they are making the most of their earnings. Not every employee will be open and willing to have such a discussion, but you may find that more are than aren’t. Just by asking the question, you are demonstrating that you expect your

By encouraging your employees to engage the strategic-self, and put the ego-self on the shelf, the potential conflict and anxiety around pay review reduces. With time, your employees will be more stable when discussing pay levels. By taking a more strategic approach, your employees are more able to consider both the plight of the organisation, as well as their own needs and opportunities. This enables a more harmonious and balanced conversation to be held, and also increases the likelihood that a noticeable and sustainable difference is achieved for the employee. By using these tips, you increase your chances of strengthening pay satisfaction and minimising financial stress, while enriching the collective performance of the organisation. HC

The ego is in its place and your employees are moving ahead

About the author Matt Linnert is co-founder of Innergi. For more information phone 1300 883 522, email info@innergi.com.au or visit www.innergi.com.au

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GUEST CONTRIBUTOR brett minchington

F Employer branding 3.0 The next generation Have you just got your head around Web 2.0? Act fast – Web 3.0 is right around the corner. Brett Minchington outlines how this will connect employees and customers for a better society

or the past two-and-half years I have been travelling the world interacting with leaders and sharing best practice in employer branding. Each new country provides an opportunity to learn about the local nuances and the challenges of delivering an employment experience which positively impacts on an employee’s ability to deliver a brand experience expected by their customers. In each of the 20 countries I have travelled to, it is evident there are political, economic, social and technological forces confronting companies which will require a combined stakeholder effort to ensure business sustainability. However, I find there is one common force that connects us all – the human will to create a better society. We hear political leaders talk about it in discussions on critical issues such as climate change, financial reform and labour practices. Future sustainability will require a collaborative effort to maintain a healthy balance of ‘what’s good for profit’ and ‘what’s good for society.’ A study by the US Federal Reserve Board shows the dramatic increase in the importance of intangibles such as brand to overall corporate value in the second half of the 20th century. It is argueable that in general the majority of business value is derived from intangibles such as the employer brand. Since its inception in the early 1990s, employer branding has evolved through three stages: employer branding 1.0, employer branding 2.0 and employer branding 3.0 (see Table 1). Employer branding 1.0 was characterised by one-way interactions between employers and their employees and customers. Employees were seen as an infinite resource and talent was in abundance during the industrial revolution. Jobs were for life and employer branding was used to fill jobs as companies experienced growth. Employer branding 2.0 evolved due to advances in technology and the invention of the internet. This led to the rise of the knowledge worker and centralised manufacturing in developing nations where labour costs were low. Generation Y employees grew up seeing their parents being laid off and by the time they turned 25 years most already had multiple careers. The ageing population in many developed nations and declining fertility rates and globalisation led to a talent scarcity and higher wages as companies enjoyed an extended period of growth in the first decade of the new Millennium. The GFC has led to a shift towards employer branding 3.0. Tomorrow’s most successful companies will be those that recognise all stakeholders have a responsibility to make the world a better place, not just employees and customers,


GUEST CONTRIBUTOR brett minchington

but suppliers and investors too. A positive employee experience will lead to higher levels of employee engagement which will drive customer engagement, increased investments and company and shareholder profits. Creating a better society, not a focus on company profits, must become the starting point of strategy development.

Figure 1: Model of brand advocacy & loyalty Truth

Brand advocacy and loyalty

Employer brand 3.0 – A model of brand advocacy and loyalty A 2007 Towers Perrin survey of nearly 90,000 employees worldwide found that only 21% felt fully engaged at work and nearly 40% were disenchanted or disengaged. That negativity has a direct impact on the bottom line. Towers Perrin found that companies with low levels of employee engagement had a 33% annual decline in operating income and an 11% annual decline in earnings growth. Those with higher engagement, on the other hand, reported a 19% increase in operating income and 28% growth in earnings per share. In a 2009 study of 1,478 full-time US employees, Maritz found companies stressing either strong principles or social ideals tend to be those that are most likely to attract employees. They also found companies that strive for high profits but offer little else to intrinsically reward employees have to pay their employees a premium to keep them satisfied. When employees work for highly principled companies they not only enjoy their customer interactions more, but also feel customers are served better. Companies must strive for brand advocacy and loyalty with employees and customers (see Figure 1). Employees and customers are seeking to build relationships with companies whose values reflect their own. It is no longer sufficient for values to

Values

Society © Minchington 2010

simply reside in company mission statements. They need to inspire employees in such a manner that they optimise the employee-customer relationship. This is the foundation upon which trust is developed. Employees demand authenticity and transparency in the employment experience and customers in the products and services they buy. Starbucks has set of goal of making 100% of its cups recyclable by 2015, no small feat considering they produce four billion of the 500 billion annual paper and plastic cups. Contributing to a better society not just involves Starbucks’ employees, but their customers as well. The focus on trust, values and society leads to higher levels of brand advocacy and loyalty amongst employees and customers. Achieving alignment between the elements in the model will lead to higher levels of profit whilst making a better global society. Doing the right thing for employees, customers, investors and society is not just about being a good corporate citizen, it’s necessary for business survival. HC

About the author Brett Minchington MBA is chairman/CEO of Employer Brand International and a global authority, author and corporate advisor on employer branding who has trained leaders in more than 30 cities in 20 countries. For more information email: brett@ employerbrandinternational. com. Details about his new book, Employer Brand Leadership – a global perspective, can be found at www.brettminchington.com

Table 1: Comparison of employer branding 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 Employer branding 1.0

Employer branding 2.0

Employer branding 3.0

Objective

Fill jobs

Engage employees

Make the world a better place

Focus

Employer

Employee

Stakeholders

Wealth creation

Employees as infinite resource

Employees as finite resource

Employees as assets

Driving force

Talent abundance

Talent scarcity

Optimise human potential

Value propositions

Functional

Functional & emotional

Functional, emotional & spiritual

Key employment concept

Job for life

Multiple careers

Blended work/life

Relationship with customers

Disconnected

Connected

Community

© Minchington 2010 www.hcamag.com

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PROFILE john maley

Walk in their shoes This month’s profiled HR professional has taken ‘being in the frontline’ to a new level – and he’s lived to tell the tale. Iain Hopkins profiles John Maley

I

n the interests of building empathy and emotional capital, people managers are often advised to figuratively walk in the shoes of their team members. In 2009, John Maley, human resources director at Unisys, took this advice to the next level by participating in Operation Boss Lift. Organised by The Australian Department of Defence (ADF), the objective of the exercise is to show employers what their staff are doing when on active service for the Reserves. Not only has the ADF been a long-term client of Unisys, but the company also employs several Reservists. Maley’s name was put forward by a colleague, and he soon found himself on a plane to the Solomon Islands. “I should confess that as a new Australian – that’s my excuse – I had to first find out where the Solomon Islands were!” Maley says. “It was fascinating – as well as filling in a large gap in my local geographical and historical knowledge, it was great to see firsthand what individuals gain from being a Reservist and how this can benefit their employers.

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“I also got to fire a rifle with live ammunition and eat Army rations, which were a lot better than I expected – but then ours was heated up! All in all, it was a fantastic experience and I learned a lot from it.”

Early career As indicated by his reference to being a ‘new Australian’, Maley hails from overseas – Glasgow, Scotland. After completing a Masters degree at St Andrews University, Maley’s early career ambitions were directed towards working in taxation. However, after eight years in this area he decided it was not where his heart lay. He moved into an IT consultancy and became a resource manager, and then an international mobility manager. “I made the change to HR as I enjoyed dealing with people, not paperwork,” he says. “Being a resource manager I was matching people to the consulting opportunities that we had across the UK, EMEA and on occasion South America. I learnt very quickly you could really help people achieve their personal objectives,


PROFILE john maley

PERSONAL FILE

John Maley Age: 45 Family: Single

Favourite sports: To watch: NRL. To do: mountain biking Favourite movie or TV: Changes over time but recently The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke Self-described: Blonde, bubbly and a bit bolshy – this is how one of my former teams described me. They assured me it was all complimentary Best advice ever received: Imagine it was happening to you… Hobbies: Movies, watching NRL, dinner with friends (eating not cooking), travel (I can’t get enough of it) First job/worst job: As a student, I worked in the post office as a Christmas job – it was in Glasgow in winter and involved late shifts. I hated it but my exam scores always improved substantially after that – I did it two years in a row If not in HR: I’ve changed from taxation to HR so am very happy here, but if not HR I would have loved to have been a pilot – it seems interesting and of course presents lots of travel opportunities

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PROFILE john maley

as well as the company’s objectives, such as travel, exposure to new technologies or project lifecycle elements, and I got a real buzz from making that happen. That sense of fulfilment, together with some encouragement from colleagues, made me realise I wanted to continue a career in HR.”

Maley at Unisys Maley moved to Australia two years ago and joined Unisys at the end of a three-year transformation program for the company which had not been as successful as initially hoped. A new global CEO, Ed Coleman, was appointed in late 2008 and he refocused the company and resources around four areas of strength. This involved restructuring and a number of changes to reduce the company’s cost base, including people. “It was a tough time that required some hard decisions, many of which affected individuals,” says Maley. “But this early action helped position us to

In his own words… What do you consider to be your greatest career achievement so far? I believe it’s the move into HR. I had to get myself into jobs where I could prove I had the skills to work in HR as it was not what I had studied. In part, this was through taking on the roles others did not want and where I thought I could make a difference and raise my profile. I’ve also managed to work and live in London, Hong Kong, Bangalore, Manila and now Sydney – which is very definitely home – as part of the journey. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? In 2004, I took a role in India running an offshore delivery centre for a previous employer. We were tasked with recruiting 1,000 staff a month and I had end-to-end HR delivery responsibility – that is, from recruitment to HRIS to payroll and expenses to separations. Nobody else wanted to take the role but, excited by the challenge, I volunteered. It was probably a bigger challenge than I realised as no single process worked well and together they were, frankly, a mess. About six weeks into it I did actually wonder what I had got myself into but I had got myself into it by volunteering, so quitting was not an option.

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weather the GFC storm. I believe that the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) HR team and our colleagues around the world have continued to retain the confidence of the business and our advice is valued. Today, business is strong both globally and here in ANZ. Many people contributed and I’m proud that the HR team has been part of that.” Maley’s current role is HR director for Australia and New Zealand. He holds a range of generalist responsibilities. Like many companies, Maley says Unisys has a model where the ‘people managers’ focus on managing people, and HR provides the support to the managers as necessary. He has a team of nine HR professionals across ANZ, who have responsibility for 1,200 people across many locations. “Quite a few of our staff are positioned on ADF bases so they are literally all over the country,” he adds.

Old and new challenges The HR challenges of Unisys mirror the broader talent challenges of Australia. In other words, Maley is concerned about a strengthening employment market and the accompanying competition to attract and retain staff. In addition, he adds that Unisys is continuing to focus on cost management – not a unique proposition by any means – but one which makes the retention challenge greater. Therefore, HR efforts are focusing on the ‘softer benefits’ given to staff. The company holds quarterly Town Hall meetings in all of the major locations across ANZ. “Our staff has the chance to hear about our latest business results, major wins and HR and marketing initiatives, as well as the opportunity to ask questions of executives. We record these and make them accessible to staff in remote locations,” Maley explains. This sense of authentic leadership extends to Maley and his colleagues doing roundtables with staff when visiting different locations. “I sit down with a dozen staff and pose the question ‘what is it like to work at Unisys?’ and where possible I try to address any concerns. The staff members have told me that it is this sort of approach that they like at Unisys,” he says. Maley believes the evolution of HR as a profession over the past 10–20 years will stand it in good stead for the future – but he warns that the profession must move with the times. “With ongoing shortages of good skilled labour, the importance of managing them well

“We must make sure our HR polices and training address things like how to secure mobile devices, what is and isn’t acceptable social media use at work, and the use of this technology to better engage employees” – John Maley


PROFILE john maley

and seeking to meet their needs as well as those of the business will continue to grow. HR will be expected to be the experts in making this happen,” he says. Maley adds that HR will need to be a profession that embraces technological change and also help to drive it productively throughout businesses. Unisys recently conducted a study on the increased use of consumer technology (eg, iPhones, netbooks, social networking applications) in the workplace – a trend called the ‘Consumerisation of IT’. The study found that 97% of Australians use their own devices for work purposes, which raises a range of security and liability issues. However, Maley warns it’s not just a technology issue. “We must make sure our HR policies and training address things like how to secure mobile devices, what is/isn’t acceptable social media use at work, and the use of this technology to better engage employees,” he says. “We can’t stop it, so let’s embrace it and use it to our advantage.” Maley feels HR needs to step up to the plate in other ways. For example, if HR wants to be perceived as the go-to ‘people experts’ it needs to figure out where people issues are heading next – much like the CIO needs to have a strategy around future technology in their business. “As an example, we need to focus on what Generation Y feels is important in a good employer so that they want to join and stay. I, for one, think I sound like my parents criticising ‘youngsters nowadays’ if I spend too much time dwelling on the differences and the things that make me a little uncomfortable – such as their desire to be on Facebook all the time or listen to their iPods at their desks. We need to decide what is good for our businesses and what is not,” he says. He also has a refreshing take on the trend of HR professionals wishing to include or involve themselves in absolutely everything going on in an organisation – especially when things go wrong. “Sometimes I think that HR people try to position themselves as being critical to everything,” Maley says. “I read an article recently in an HR journal which said the cause of a major and very public product recall for a car company was an ‘HR issue’ related to poor training in quality assurance. While there may be some small element of truth in that, it came across to me as being a little arrogant. I think if HR wishes to continue to be regarded as professional, we need to avoid such attempts to position ourselves as central to absolutely everything.” HC www.hcamag.com

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f you see performance manager for Altis Consulting, Roy Hammett, walking around with a smile on his face, there is good reason for it. With a tight-knit team, Altis has grown into a successful Australian consultancy offering specialist expertise in data warehousing, business intelligence and information management. They also happen to be a company that takes very seriously the all-round wellbeing of their most valuable assets: their employees. This personal touch has rewarded the company with a citation in BRW Magazine’s 2010 list of best places to work in Australia; they made the list on their first attempt. Hammett, who was the first manager employed at Altis during the company’s 1998 formatting, has watched it grow from a small team of 15 to a bustling centre of 80. He and his team were quite adamant from the start that the company would be one that people worked for by choice. This mantra has seen it grow from strength to strength. So just how did Altis manage to make their workers so satisfied? Hammett says first and foremost teambuilding events are a major contributor to the company’s success. “The key aspect we scored highest in was camaraderie, which is very much

about people being themselves in the organisation, people thriving by enjoying the people they work with, having a fun work environment, and being made to feel welcome at work,” Hammett says. In light of recent Gallup poll results that show one in six Australian workers identify their manager as the most disliked part of their job, Altis Consulting bucks this trend. Positivity is in fact so strong that employees bring suggestions spurred on by satisfaction directly to management. “One of our employees made the suggestion that we should enter the BRW best places to work survey, being just one of many [surveys] that we could have chosen. So that’s what we did; it seemed high profile and we wanted to see ourselves sit in the ranks. We made it to the top 50,” Hammett proudly says.

Keeping your catch Hammett says that a number of HR initiatives at Altis have created an environment that he believes is pivotal for the company’s ability to attract and retain top talent. He’s well aware that in a climate where skilled labour shortages are rife, attracting and retaining talent is a top priority. “It’s hard to get people on board – our sector is data warehousing and

Can’t get no

satisfaction? At Altis Consulting they sure do. Clare Costigan asks how they’ve achieved the Holy Grail that is employee satisfaction

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TEAMBUILDER roy hammett

“We believe teambuilding is much easier when there’s strong evidence of trust between team members”

Thilo Pulch, www.pulchphotography.com

– Roy Hammett

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business intelligence, which is quite niche,” he says. “More than that, what differentiates our sector from most other IT sectors is that most of our clients are in fact business people, and the systems we deliver require significantly more interaction with nontechnical business users than technically-minded ones. That means we need to employ IT specialists who have exceptional client-facing skills, which is not often the case. It’s hard to find the right mix.” To keep talent once on board, Hammett has developed a career framework. This is essentially a feedback loop between managers and employees about where the employee wants their career to go, and building career development programs around those goals. “It’s helped quite a few of our team members get the most out of their careers. It’s led to much better focused training assignments in career coaching, which we believe is a major factor in our ability to motivate and maintain our staff,” he says.

Who says you can’t mix business with pleasure? Hammitt says that at Altis mixing business with pleasure is a way of bringing staff together. “We have a big emphasis on team events, which are generally social events. They take place every couple of months in every region,” he says. However, employees were not the only people taken into consideration. Hammett knew that by nurturing a quality work-life balance, employee satisfaction would continue to grow. This spawned the refreshing mentality that, at Altis, family matters. “We put a lot of emphasis on being a family. As a result of that, there are a lot of social events and a lot of interaction between individuals, their families and the rest of the team. Only yesterday one of our team members and his wife came in with their new baby and we spent a couple of hours as a team with them. We have quite a few young people having families now. Our CEO is a family man, and he’s keen that we value our family members,” he says.

The happY generation With such a broad range of employees, Hammett is well placed to comment on how to satisfy that notoriously finicky bunch known as Gen Y. In an environment like that found at Altis, do they thrive or do they dive? Hammett says Gen Y excel amongst the company’s inclusive management style where open expression and innovation is encouraged. “We know it’s important for Gen Y to feel that their work is an extension of their private life. Our office

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is very much an environment where people can be themselves. We encourage people to use our facilities, our assets, and to consider it a home away from home,” he says.

Trust above all else

“We put a lot of emphasis on being a family. There are a lot of social events between individuals, their families and the rest of the team” – Roy Hammett

Trust in the workplace is important – we have all heard this before but Hammett believes this overused and often undelivered word is mandatory for creating the elusive positive workplace. “We believe teambuilding is much easier when there’s strong evidence of trust between team members, so to engender trust it’s not just about socialising at events, it’s about focusing on sharing knowledge,” he says.

Share and share alike Sharing of knowledge is high on the priority list at Altis. Hammett says successful sharing of information is done through face-to-face meetings, whether they be for a project kick-off or a simple catch up. “It gives other members of the team ideas on how they can use that experience in their own environment,” he says. Hammett also doesn’t shy away from technology to share worker knowledge. “The company has a sophisticated knowledge sharing technical forum and knowledge database that promotes a virtual teambuilding environment, which is aptly named virtual teaming,” he says. One could look at it like an internal Facebook or Twitter where employees post comments covering a wide range of issues. This clever technology that moves with the times beautifully has a double effect in spreading knowledge across fields and unifying workers at the same time.

The road ahead The path lying before Altis Consulting has every reason to look bright. While rapid growth companies often lose key elements of their culture as they grow, Hammett says the aim of the company is to retain its ‘family’ feel whatever the future holds. “It’s very much the intention of the directors to continue to be focused on the quality of people’s work-life balance rather than the size of the company,” he says. “While growth is a necessary aspect of any business, we’re not going to sacrifice the staff for the sake of growing the company. During the GFC we were proud of the fact that we did not lay anyone off. It’s very much bunker down during the hard times, and during the good times grow organically,” he concludes. HC


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IN BRIEF australian news

Employee presenteeism costing billions

New analysis from corporate wellbeing expert Dr Paul Lanthois suggests that presenteeism is costing Australian business tens of billions of dollars in lost productivity every year. Lanthois said that many employees may be underperforming to the point where at least 24 working days are lost every year through poor productivity. One of the largest causes of productivity loss is presenteeism, costing business four times as much as absenteeism. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Lanthois. “The study only measured the productivity impact of 12 medical conditions and didn’t include obesity or arthritis, both of which were found in an American study to be in the top six most costly medical conditions in terms of absenteeism and presenteeism.” When the impact of these medical conditions are considered alongside the $14.8bn burden that workplace stress places on Australian business each year, Lanthois added that the cost is too great to ignore.

Call for gender equality

In 2010, more than 20% of director appointments to ASX200 companies have been women, a sharp contrast to 2009 when this proportion was only 5%, according to Women on Boards. “The number of women on ASX200 company boards increased from 8.7% at the end of 2009 to 9.2% in June 2010,” said Women on Boards executive director, Claire Braund. Braund expects even more improvements by January 2011 when the changes to the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations, requiring companies to report on gender at board and senior management levels, come into effect. “The top end of town has made a grab for female directors ahead of these amended guidelines coming into force. This demonstrates that it’s really not that difficult to find high performing women to sit on ASX boards.” However, there are still 101 companies in that group without a single woman on their board. “These companies clearly need to address the gender issue,” Braund added.

Employers beware: One-third of job applicants lying Research has found one-third of job applicants are lying in their resume or interview, putting employers at risk of drawing the wrong candidate from a shrinking talent pool, according to psychometric consulting firm, SHL. The Galaxy Research, conducted among 1,010 Australians on behalf of SHL, found that 32% of job applicants stretch the truth. The most common ‘fib’ was exaggerated or imagined work experience, with 17% admitting to stretching the truth in this area. The next most common lies were offering friends as false employer referees (16%), lying about salary packages from previous jobs (10%), making up references (6%) and fabricating qualifications (3%).   “Organisations face a competitive job market as the economy continues to grow. With this research confirming candidates are ‘massaging’ parts of their CV and experience, it’s becoming more difficult for employers to identify the right candidate,” said Stephanie Christopher, SHL national director.

Fast fact:

According to the quarterly Clarius Skills Index, average annual earnings are set to rise by $8,200 within the next three years as the Australian economy continues to recover and acute skills shortages start to appear

It’s public, but don’t use it

In an online survey of 889 Australian job seekers conducted by Hays Human Resources, 46% believe employers use social networking profiles to help vet applications, but should not do so. A lower proportion of 34% of job seekers believe employers use social networking profiles, but agree that they should use such information to vet applications. Just 20% think employers do not use social networking profiles as part of the recruiting process. “This survey reignites the debate about public versus private life, but this time it’s not celebrities or politicians that are arguing their right to privacy, but just everyday job seekers,” said Susan Drew, regional director of Hays Human Resources. Drew said job seekers would be wise to change their privacy settings so that they do not share all posted content with everyone. However, she also suggested not restricting the focus to pure social sites like Facebook or Twitter, but also to include video sharing sites, online forums and blogs.

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IN BRIEF international news

UK: Skilled candidate drought

London will officially enter a candidate-short market in Q3 2010, according to research by Ambition, a global recruitment firm specialising in accounting, finance and technology jobs. There are currently nine vacancies for every 10 skilled candidates actively looking in London. This has risen from three vacancies per 10 candidates at the bottom of the economic downturn in Q1 2009. London can expect to have 10.3 vacancies for every 10 active candidates in Q3 and 12 vacancies per 10 candidates by Q4. Tim Gilbert, UK managing director of Ambition, said, “we’re not expecting a fall in the number of jobs available in London. But even if job growth does slow slightly there won’t be huge numbers of experienced candidates suddenly appearing on the market. This will leave businesses in a number of sectors fighting over talent. As a result, you can expect wage inflation – particularly base salary inflation – and more valuable counteroffers being handed out.”

Ireland: Floor too high

Irish employers are calling for a minimum wage freeze, saying the local salary requirements are out of kilter with wage floors in the rest of Europe. Ireland’s national minimum wage is currently €8.65/hour, 20% higher than in the UK. Employers group IBEC wants the wage to remain frozen for a “substantial” period of time. It said high wages are pushing up prices of other goods, and also harming Ireland’s international competitiveness. Brendan McGinty, director of IBEC, said the minimum wage needs to be much closer to those of the UK and other European Union members. “If Ireland is to become competitive again in the EU market, and in particular against the UK, all of our wage rates – including the national minimum wage – must revert towards the average rates in these countries,” he said.

Canada: Indigenous job matching

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, more people in the US voluntarily left their jobs in the past three months than were retrenched – a sharp reversal after 15 straight months in which layoffs exceeded voluntary resignations

The Canadian federal government will be pumping in C$210m (US$199m) over the next five years to match Indigenous people with jobs. The initiative intends to provide aboriginal people with job experience that leads to gainful and permanent employment. Aboriginal organisations will be able to tap on the new Skills and Partnership Fund for projects that focus on employment in new and emerging job fields. Particular attention will be paid to training for jobs that are in-demand, as opposed to a previous initiative where all types of training were covered. Federal Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said the program will be geared towards ensuring that participants have jobs waiting for them upon completing the training.

China: The ‘three-year itch’

Eighty-eight per cent of Chinese college graduates engage in ‘job-hopping’, according to statistic reported in the 2010 Graduate Employment Report. The report showed that more than 20% of last year’s graduates quit their jobs within six months, while those who graduated in 2006 have changed jobs twice within just three years. The ‘three year itch’ was found to be caused by graduates’ desire for good career prospects, not money. Around 31% of respondents said “limited space for personal development” was their primary reason for switching jobs. It was followed by “low wages and benefits” (25%) and “desire to change occupation or field”(13%). There is also a mismatch between the kinds of skills that employers actually demand and those perceived by college students. www.hcamag.com

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What’s the greatest HR lesson you’ve learned so far? You need to be in rhythm with the business. If you don’t understand corporate priorities you won’t be well positioned to provide the necessary workforce and tools to support the business. What’s your favourite people-management tip? Put yourself in their shoes. Whether that means peers, clients, staff or management you need to listen to different perspectives and find the approach that works best for your organisation. What career advice do you have for ambitious HR professionals? Be courageous, be practical and be relevant. Learn about the dynamics of your organisation to highlight opportunities where you can have a positive influence and add value. Using your knowledge to develop useful and useable products for your organisation makes all the difference. What’s the main challenge facing the HR industry right now? From my observation people working in the HR field may not always necessarily recognise themselves as HR professionals, to the detriment of the profession. We need to put effort and energy into building a credible and influential HR profession. My ideal is an environment where HR experts are invited to work side by side with the business and are recognised as trusted experts and advisors. How should HR professionals overcome that challenge? We need to raise the bar and work on our professional image. We need to develop an understanding of what it takes to build credibility and trust within our organisation and recognise that each organisation may have different expectations and requirements of their HR people. We also need to ensure that the decisions we make are aligned with business and that they are practical, feasible and sustainable.

Quote of the month “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people” – Mohandas Gandhi

Can you believe it? In an attempt to reach guys at a time when they’re online the most – at work – Hugh Heffner has launched a workplace-friendly version of his Playboy website. The site doesn’t contain nudity, but it’s full of articles that bypass an organisation’s screening software, with titles such as ‘How to get drunk at a children’s birthday party’ and ‘Why the coolest girls are comic book geeks’.

n One in four Australian employees were born overseas. Only the US and Spain have a higher proportion of foreign workers Source: OECD

n A survey of over 1,000 Australian workers has revealed onethird say they’ve lied during a job interview Source: Galaxy Research

n 7-in-10 HR managers say their senior management team encourages employees to work sensible hours, but 61% don’t model that behaviour Source: Australian Human Resources Institute

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