Monthly Archives: March 2016

A boomerang with many happy returns

“For employers, hiring former employees who left on good terms is a no-brainer: They know their past experience and assume they picked up some new skills to bring to the table during their time away.” – Robyn Melhuish, Business Insider.

What brings a former employee back to an organisation? I’m about to rehire a team member who left our business about a year ago. We parted on good terms: She gave appropriate notice, maintained a strong work ethic, designed and delivered a transition plan, which assisted me to replace her with a new hire who is now one of my top performers.

While there will always be a need to source externally and same role/same needs/same company vacancies are relatively unusual, we’ve had a number of people return to Slade Group at various times in their careers, myself included.

As reported in Forbes, people move on for all kinds of reasons: to further their career, to take advantage of an opportunity or to accommodate a change in personal circumstances. That said, there’s nothing wrong with welcoming back someone who left your company after a long period of service simply because they wanted to try something different.

It might surprise you that in a US Workplace Trends Survey of 1800 HR professionals, “While only 15 percent of employees said they had boomeranged back to a former employer, nearly 40 percent said they would consider going back to a company where they previously worked.” And why wouldn’t they if you’ve got a strong employer brand, a clear employee value proposition (EVP) and the culture of the organisation is a good fit?

Here are the key benefits to boomerang hires, as identified by

  1. They’re a known entity – boomerang employees have a well-known track record with your company
  2. They’re easier to train – if they’re already familiar with your company’s operations and its unique processes, they can start contributing and producing sooner
  3. Their turnover rate is lower – they know what to expect from you and your company and knowing what else is out there, they chose to come back
  4. They provide a competitive advantage – they may have gained significant insights from their time working at another company in the same industry or a different market sector

If you choose to rehire, career site Monster recommends taking the time to introduce a boomerang employee to your business as if they were a new staff member. Whilst it might take a little while to get re-accustomed to the flow of things, you can counter some of the initial awkwardness on both sides by briefing them on new projects and establishing clear expectations from the start.

I’m looking forward to our ‘new’ starter.

Have you successfully boomeranged someone as a hiring manager? Have you made a successful return to a previous employer?

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Posted in The world @work

3 seconds is all it takes

Can it really be true that you can win or lose an audience in just three seconds? More on that later, but first here is my checklist for an engaging professional presentation:

  • Strategy – be prepared and have an agenda
  • Energy level – show interest in what you’re presenting, be animated, make it come alive
  • Key message – don’t fluff around, get the message out loud and proud
  • Sell yourself – don’t be shy to talk about your strengths
  • Voice – consider volume and your tone, are you being heard?
  • Non-verbal – think about your eye contact, hand gestures, facial expression, dress, movement, and body language
  • Wrap up – bring the presentation to a logical and timely conclusion

Recently I attended a committee meeting in Melbourne, where a well-known top tier law firm was presenting its services. I’ve often been impressed by switched-on business people who present strongly to an audience. They approach their subject matter positively, use appropriate language and the energy level in the room is high. They are also aware of their body language and dress appropriately.

In a news article about Natalie McKenna, Director of Regeneration Unlimited Communications and researcher in Public Relations at RMIT University, it’s said that “In just three seconds your business meeting could be over, with the business decision already made.”

Well, the lawyers’ presentations were woeful… boring, lifeless, forgettable… definitely over in the three seconds it took me to reach that conclusion!

When McKenna says all it takes is three seconds for someone to make a decision about you, that’s pretty tough. However, it doesn’t take long to lose your audience, and first impressions certainly do matter.

In business we’re often highly absorbed in talking about our product, our service, ourselves (the lawyers could show some passion for their profession here), without being really mindful of our audience. From my experience as a consultant with Slade Executive Recruitment and through my observations with global communications group rogenSi, I know how important it is to engage with others. The same principles apply whether it’s an information session, a sales pitch, a business meeting or a job interview.

What communication techniques have you found useful in your business?

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Posted in Consumer, Sport & Entertainment, The world @work

Just because we have always done it this way does not mean…

Consider this: it’s estimated that US companies with 100 employees spend an average downtime of 17 hours per week clarifying communication, costing approx. USD$528,443 [1]. Communication is vital in all functions of a business, but even more so in HR, OHS and training. The latest trend in team communications seems so obvious: a mobile video platform for internal communications.

If you’re an HR, OHS, training or hiring manager, you’re probably exceedingly familiar with the time consuming repetitive tasks involved in the administration of staff inductions, training, safety and wellbeing, as well as building organisational culture.

And when you think that the written or spoken word is only half as effective as personal presentations, why hasn’t anyone else thought about a short sharp video to relay key organisational message?

Video is an easy way for employees to not only communicate verbally, but capture language and messages through body language, voice tone, gestures and facial expressions. Video helps employees comprehend and retain information for longer while simultaneously video boosts engagement. an innovative leader in this new space, outlined three obvious applications for mobile video platforms in the HR space.

  1. New Hire Packs and Induction
    Imagine this, you’ve created a short video explaining to your new employee where to park their car, how much parking costs, where to collect their security key, where the fire escapes are, and who the wardens are. You attach the legal employment documentation forms, add a first-day feedback questionnaire and SMS and email it directly to them the prior day to start with the name of their line manager and start time. An automated process for all new team members creates a personal touch that is engaging, welcoming and increases the brand’s professionalism and image. Another benefit is you save time, paper and money by streamlining this repetitive task.
  2. Training and Development
    How hard is it to schedule a training session that accommodates busy schedules, multiple time zones and shiftwork rosters? Training and development managers may not realise that online video training modules can be distributed via SMS or email. This ensures the whole team have access to the training regardless of their physical location and can catch up and learn at a time that suits them, putting less strain on their productivity. Another positive is that online training videos provide a consistent message reducing the variation in the information taught. Video and direct distribution methods are also an effective way to instil messages to the wider team throughout the year that may have been relayed during an executive offsite or weekend training and development seminar.
  3. Video Job Ads
    Used appropriately, video can be an effective recruitment tool. As an advertising medium, it engages multiple senses and can be positively influential. Well produced video ads report higher applicant response rates. Internal data from US-based CareerBuilder reveals employers “receive a 34 percent greater application rate when they add video to their job postings” [2]. Video interviewing has been used successfully for many years, particularly to facilitate face-to-face style meetings with candidates in remote locations.

In recent years Slade Group has successfully used short form video to present a candidate’s pitch, which many of our clients appreciate for initial candidate screening.

Tell us about your world @work and innovative new video communications.



[1] 360 degrees

[2] Peak Posting Performance: Best practices for writing a better job posting, Career Builder

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Posted in Slade Executive, The world @work

5 ways to make a first rate decision

Making a bold move is risky business. Even when you’ve done the research, modelled the outcome and evaluated the risks, the results of even the most calculated decision can be unpredictable. Having experience as an accountant, I can say there’s some degree of predictability with numbers; but it’s another story when you’re dealing with people.

Last week, I hosted our fortnightly team meeting and focused on one of Slade Group’s core values: Consistently making first rate decisions every day. Of course it’s a no-brainer to always want to make the right choice. Who would aspire to making second rate choices? Flicking through the newspaper on the train on my way to work, I couldn’t help thinking that the benefit of hindsight would be a wonderful thing for the likes of collapsed Dick Smith retail chain (3300 employees now facing job losses) or embattled law firm Slater & Gordon (a $1 billion share market loss in the last six months).

Unfortunately it’s usually not until well after the fact that we know what the consequences of a decision will be. Here is a selection of business examples that our team collated, with a few key takeaway points for decision-makers.

    1. Gather quality data and information to evaluate which is the right choice.
      In 2001, Sir Richard Branson rejected a generous $240 million offer from Singapore Airlines to exit the Australian market, which at the time was 24 times what Virgin had invested in the domestic market after some aviation climate analysis. Within 24 hours of Branson’s decision, Ansett Australia went into receivership and 12 months later Virgin was valued at $2.4 billion.
    2. Perform a situational analysis, work out the pros/cons and quantify the risk versus reward of the decision.
      In 2009, social media giant Facebook turned down two computer programmers, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, in job interviews. A few years later, after being rejected by Facebook, both Acton and Koum sold their once fledgling development company WhatsApp to Facebook for $19 billion.
    3. Solicit opinions and obtain feedback from people you trust or have appropriate expertise.
      In the early 1970s, NBA basketballer Spencer Haywood was offered a shoe sponsorship deal comprising of either $100K or a 10% share in a little apparel company called Nike. Sadly for Spencer, his agent persuaded him to take the cash so he could snare an easy commission. According to Forbes, a 10% stake in Nike would today be worth somewhere around $8.6 billion.
    4. Carefully consider the consequences of any action (inaction) to make a decision.
      In 1975, Kodak developed a prototype for the world’s first digital camera, but decided against unveiling their product for fear of diluting their film market monopoly. Kodak also opted against signing on as the official film for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, instead giving new player Fuji an opportunity to gain a foothold in the world market. Due to the booming digital camera revolution in the late 1990s, Kodak’s fortunes drastically declined and forced them to file for bankruptcy in 2012.


  • Based on solid experience, sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct and make the call.
    In 1962, a young pop band from Liverpool called The Beatles auditioned at Decca Studios in London. The record executive thought they were out of date and sounded too much like another band at the time called The Shadows. Three months later, The Beatles signed with EMI’s Parlophone label and went on to sell well over two billion albums worldwide.


Whether we like it or not, we all have to make choices every day. What’s an example of a first rate decision you have made recently?

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Posted in The world @work