Blog Archives

5 tips for storytelling like Jesus and some not-so-ancients

Rumour has it I’ve been storytelling since biblical times (remember those parables Jesus told in the Bible, The Good Samaritan and The Tax Collector?)… Well, it’s true that I love a good story!

And it seems storytelling has had a rebirth according to self-help guru Tony Robbins; there’s strategy in telling your story. Social media and bloggers are in on the content marketing bandwagon too (check out my articles on LinkedIn here and on our Slade Report blog here), but seriously, storytelling been around forever.

Whether you’re job interviewing, selling something, making a business case or trying to get a deal over the line, here’s my 5 tips for using storytelling as part of your pitch:

  1. Facts, figures and statistics – use numbers to back your case up
  2. Examples and case studies – paint the ‘picture’ that you’ve done this before, and you know your stuff
  3. Demonstrations – sometimes people to need to ‘see’ it in action
  4. Less is more – you’ve got their attention, but don’t go on talking forever
  5. Structure it like a STAR – What was the Situation, Task or Action and Result achieved?

Storytelling is a great business skill. In a consulting environment it helps me to be more persuasive to clients and candidates, to empathise with my customers’ problems and find great solutions.

We’ll still be meeting on Zoom or Teams for some time, but as we start to get on top of Covid in Australia, I can’t wait to see people face-to-face and return to doing business in person again.

So next time you need to be really persuasive, definitely don’t talk too much, but rather tell your great story using any five of our friends above.

If you’ve got a good story to tell, we’d love to hear it. Let me know about it by posting a comment below.

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

Without top talent, the potential for recovery may be prolonged and painful

Around the world, employees have had nearly 9 months to assess how their employer is responding and reacting to this pandemic. Many employers have realized that human capital is the most precious asset of the organization and are working hard to retain talent. Other employers may be on belt tightening, headcount reduction and reorganizations of varying types. Top performers are watching how organizations react and recruiters are watching top performers.

Without top talent or with the loss of top performers, the potential for recovery may be prolonged and painful. The best of the best are being sought out by other companies via direct hire or with the help of an independent recruiter.

Each passing week brings new challenges. This new environment for work has brought on unexpected challenges with work from home, virtual meetings and conferences, new cybersecurity demands, and the loss of traditional revenue streams. Project work in a dispersed environment has extended timelines and made deliverables more difficult to achieve. The future rests with your top talent, yet they are facing motivation and availability issues like never before. Childcare and elder care are consuming many top producers. Motivation and morale are on wild tides rolling in and out with each new stay-at-home order or closure of daycare centers.

Retention strategies are critical in addressing and retaining top talent now, more than ever. The pandemic has employees reassessing the cities and locales where they live, friends, health, their careers and certainly their employers. If your leadership team is not growing loyalty with their actions, then they are eroding the bond to your most critical asset. Recruiters are watching and hearing how employers are responding to the challenges they face. The actions of some employers, or their failure to act, is creating targets for recruitment of top talent. Now is the time to double down on your best and brightest because if you do not, someone else surely will. Retain talent or become a source of top talent. That is the simple choice you face.

This article was originally published as “Retain Talent” by Dave Nerz on the NPAworldwide blog.

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Posted in The world @work

Why recruitment takes so long

Job hunting takes longer than you think.

Being aware and understanding the whole recruitment and selection process is an essential aspect of successful job hunting. If you want to play the game to win, you need to understand the rules of the game. 

It’s also essential to understand the recruitment and selection process from the other players’ points of view. Here are some questions you can ask yourself and others to gain more insight into the role you want to apply for:

  • Why was this role advertised?
  • What is the organization trying to achieve by creating this new role or seeking a new person for this role?
  • What does it mean for the organization to invest time, money, and resources to advertise this job position?

Once you listen to this episode, you will understand the selection process in a very complete and accurate way, not just from the candidate’s perspective. My goal is for you to have the confidence and the sense of control to know what’s going on the other side of the field when you’re planning to apply for jobs in the future.

Let’s break the entire process down to straightforward actions and go through it in detail. 

Two ways job vacancies are created.

There are two ways that job vacancies are created. First, companies advertise an existing position that is vacant. A vacancy can occur when somebody:

  • resigns,
  • has to be absent from the job for an extended period of time (for example, maternity leave), or
  • has been was terminated (i.e., fired).

Depending on how bureaucratic the organization is, it can take a long time for that role to be advertised again. 

The second reason for a job advertisement is when a new role is created. The organization’s budget approval for a new role can be quite time-consuming if it is complex, big, and bureaucratic.

As you can imagine, there is a lot at stake, both when there is a vacancy of an existing role or a new role. 

Two ways a job vacancy is filled.

The first way a job vacancy is filled is through internal promotion. Succession planning is a big part of organizational and professional development. There could be professionals internally who are keen to apply for that role or who are being groomed for that role by their managers.

However, many times there are no internal candidates. There may also be a need to advertise the job externally because the organization’s policies and procedures require that jobs be advertised. Or the decision-makers want to make sure that the very best candidate for that role is the one that gets the position, so they advertise both internally and externally. This way, they can compare and contrast the internal and external candidates and hire the best fit for the role. 

Therefore, the second way a job vacancy is filled is externally through a job advertised publicly. External candidates can be completely unknown to the organization, or they may come through via a referral. That means that the candidate is known to someone that works in the organization. In fact, there are incentives for company staff to identify and refer good candidates for externally advertised jobs. 

Two ways a job vacancy is advertised.

If it’s decided that a job will be advertised externally, it can be done:

  1. In-house: The manager or HR handles the process. They develop the job advertisement, and they develop the position. The position description is possibly already developed and approved by them, but the job ad is done. They will then go to platforms like LinkedIn or Seek or Indeed or other platforms. They will then buy space on those platforms, sometimes pay for specific ads and advertise.
  2. Through a recruitment agency to support the manager and the HR team with initial recruitment stages because that can be very time-consuming.

If it’s a senior role, they may have to outsource this to a search company. Those are what we call headhunters or search professionals. They are often specialized in specific sectors and are experts in helping organizations find senior executives for their top roles. Sometimes search companies won’t even advertise. They will look within their pool of candidates and their networks. 

What happens before you see the job advertisement?

Depending on the organization, a job ad can be drafted, finalized, and reach the internet in a matter of hours. For example, in a small and agile organization that works flexibly, a new job can be advertised a few hours later when a position is made vacant. On the other hand, in a large organization, the job description and job advertisement need to undergo an extensive approval process that can be very lengthy. It can takes days, weeks, and even months before a job ad actually reaching the market. In fact, that has been my experience when managing teams and trying to fill vacancies in my departments when I worked in the public and nonprofit sectors. Even in the corporate sector, the approval process for a position description, job advertisement, and request to advertise a new or existing job can take months. 

Why so many delays? New job advertisements may need to be cross-checked to see if it is really required. HR may want to check if there are internal candidates that may transition into the role. The organization may also have affirmative action programs, which means they may work with partners to identify candidates from minority groups before advertising more widely. These are critical HR policies and procedures that need to take place. For example, if a large organization has a subsidiary going through a restructure, they may consider making staff redundant. Some staff may transition into vacant roles, saving jobs and saving money for the organization. From an HR perspective, if job vacancies happen, they need to consider: “Are there existing staff on the bench that could transition into these roles?”

As you can tell, creating a new job or advertising a job vacancy can be very time-consuming, taking a lot of human resources until it finally reaches you, the job candidate, like a job you see advertised online. 

Three types of job advertisements.

Now let’s look at how job ads are posted online in LinkedIn, Seek (Australia only), Indeed, and the company’s website. Today, most job candidates look for jobs on large platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, or Seek (Australia only).  But job ads are also shared on personal and company social profiles. 

For example, let’s say Ericson Australia has a LinkedIn profile. If a position is made available, the organizations would likely write a job ad on LinkedIn. It’s also very likely that the Ericsson Australia staff who either work closely with the role advertised or work in HR would write LinkedIn posts so that their connections would see the job ad and know that they are hiring. This amplifies the job ad’s reach and the ability to bring in high-quality job candidates for the role. 

If the organization decides to outsource part of the recruitment and selection to a recruitment agency or an executive search company, those organizations also have LinkedIn pages, and their recruiters have personal profiles. They will all be posting and promoting on LinkedIn because it’s in their best interest to promote their client assignment as widely as possible.

Depending on your sector and country, other platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can be an avenue to identifying good job opportunities. Like on LinkedIn, companies may have both personal and company accounts in these platforms and use them to promote the job vacancy to their followers, friends, and members of groups they belong to on Facebook. I have seen more and more jobs being advertised on Facebook groups lately. 

Job vacancies are also shared on special job boards, such as the ones managed by industry and professional associations, chambers of commerce, and special interests. I really liked special boards to search for job opportunities. I think that employers that take that step further into identifying the best job boards for the jobs that they are advertising are employers that are looking for the very best candidates.  If they take the time to find those special job boards, they will give higher importance to the candidates that come through those boards. I believe that if you apply through those job boards, you will be perceived as a higher-quality candidate. As a former recruiter and manager, I used boards like that, which was my perception and experience. In Australia, examples of boards like that are the ones organized by Probono.com.au, Ethical Jobs, and job boards organized by universities for their alumni. Professional and industry associations also tend to have great job boards. So if you are a member of a professional association, check if they have a job board for members. They tend to be of outstanding quality. 

Summary and extra tips for job hunters.

In this blog and on the podcast episode, we went through what’s happening behind the scenes at organizations when hiring decisions are made. Armed with this knowledge, you can now find solutions and plan on how to get noticed for promotion and job opportunities. Job hunting is not just about going to LinkedIn job advertisements and applying randomly and in high numbers. You will get through to the rounds of the recruitment and selection process and ultimately get the role if you remember how the opportunities came about in the first place to better position yourself for the role.

  • You need to be highly networked internally within your organization to know that job vacancies are available, when new positions are being designed, and when internal candidates are being considered.
  • It would be best if you were ready to apply once those jobs are out there. 
  • If you’re applying on public job boards, such as LinkedIn, you apply at the tail end of the process. You need to be patient and interested and have a very high-quality application to stand out because everybody’s already excited and ready for whoever is the best candidate to start as soon as possible.

So now you’ve learned how the selection process unfolds. And you can then now empathize with the team running it and understand all the different players, and all of the different aspects of a great process and a very complex process happening and how you are one piece of that puzzle. 

I hope you found it useful learning about the recruitment and selection process, from start to finish. In my experience, once job hunters know the challenge and complexity of hiring new professionals, they become more mindful, empathetic, and switched on to the employers’ and recruiters’ needs.

This article was originally published on the The Job Hunting Podcast Blog.

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Posted in The world @work

Returning to the Workplace – Employee Reluctance

As COVID active cases appear more and more under control, many employers are looking to a return to the workplace. What happens when employees resist the return? Other than the legal and health issues required by an employer for a COVID Safe Workplace, how can you overcome resistance from your employees?

Firstly, is the return to the workplace absolutely necessary? Can you objectively justify the need and evidence that productivity can only increase by working back at the workplace?

One common resistance may be that an employee believes they were capable of performing at full productive capacity from home and therefore does not see the need to return to the workplace. Whilst they may have been productive at home, are you able to evidence that this was also during a time of reduced overall business activity and therefore the functions they would perform only at the workplace were not necessarily required whilst they were working from home.

Perhaps evidence may include the fact that suppliers or customers were also working at a reduced capacity and this reduced the need for your staff to function within in the workplace however now that this has changed, the requirement exists for your employees to return.

As an overview, if you can evidence with data why it is essential that employees return to the workplace, use it to strengthen you case.

Secondly, discuss their reluctance. Understand their reasons for not wanting to return. Some examples may include:

  • Commute by public transport or other where COVID safety would be beyond both their own and the employers’ control;
  • Cost savings such as travel, laundry expenses etc;
  • Reduced meetings and other distractions that would occur if in the workplace resulting in greater productivity from home;
  • Easier to manage commitments such as child care and other activities;
  • Greater flexibility in when and how work is performed when home based.

Consider the reasons provided. Determine if there is any way you can assist with their concerns ie., part time at workplace, part time at home, change of work times to reduce commute times and crowd numbers.

Thirdly, consider ways to entice your employees back. Hold welcome back events such as morning teas and lunches. Ensure your management are meeting with employees regularly to discuss any problems or concerns they are facing with the change of coming back to the workplace. Remember it is natural to make routines around your situation. If employees have been home based for months, they will not be in a routine that requires travel to and from the workplace, or they have possibly cancelled any childcare provisions whilst they have been at home. This will mean that some of your employees are also dealing with the impacts of a change in routine for dependents.

It is important to reinforce the good things as well as the operational needs of working together in a central location.

This article was originally published by HR Advice Online. For more information about our partnership, click here.

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Posted in The world @work

The Goldilocks of HR Advice

Not too small, not too big, just right.

It’s 3.00pm on a Friday and you’re asked, “What’s the policy on Social Media?” You realise you haven’t seen updated policies for over 12 months and you’re not sure your organisation has a Social Media Policy. Help!

No matter how big or how small an organisation, there are head-scratching HR issues you just wish you could talk through with someone.

At Slade Group, we’re no different. We have to stay close to all HR and labour legislation, Fair Work, Awards and all relevant rulings.  We’re not big enough to warrant a full-time in-house People and Culture leader, but we’re in an industry that has to be absolutely attuned to the world of Human Resources.   

This is our Secret Santa gift to you… HR Advice Online is like that product or service you didn’t know had been invented, and then when you find out about it you think, why didn’t I think of that!?

Your delight will be like ours when you discover there’s now a service where you can talk to a live qualified HR practitioner about all those things that would normally keep you up at night:

  • Which award, if any, are my employees covered by?
  • My business only has a small number of employees, so can I terminate an employee at any time?
  • Annual Leave Loading – we don’t need to pay that?
  • What do I need to have in place for employees working from home?
  • We pay above the Award, so therefore we’re not covered by the Award, right?

If you’d like to know more, let us know and we’ll put you in touch with the right people, or have a look at our HR Advice Online page under the Employer Services section on our website. 

Sweet dreams and a happy New Year!

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Posted in The world @work

How to job search during the holidays: Three options, depending on your availability.

There is no reason to stop job hunting during the Festive Season, Christmas, and New Year. You can if you want or need to. But if you have time on your hands, or if you are in a hurry to find your next job, then this is, in fact, a great opportunity to step ahead of the game and get an advantage.

Click here to listen to the podcast…

Other articles in the same series:

This article was first published on the The Job Hunting Podcast Blog.

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Posted in The world @work

Are your employees safe Working from Home?

Whilst it is generally accepted that many businesses made a rapid almost overnight transition to work from home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, eight months on, are your employees safe?

With many employees moving to work from home arrangements initially working from makeshift work areas such as kitchen benches, couches and even lap tables in bed, what are you doing to ensure your employees have moved to more ergonomically suitable work specific areas to reduce their risk of injury or illness?

Flexible arrangements forced by the pandemic are becoming the new ‘normal’ for many workplaces with the realisation that technology, video conferencing and reduced travel time can result in a more productive and less expensive workplace however, these costs will increase greatly if employees are working from home without a suitable set up.

The Work Health and Safety obligations on an employer require that they provide a workplace that is free of risk to their employees so far as is reasonably practicable. As the home office is simply an extension to the workplace, an employer is obligated to ensure that the employee has a suitable work area, as they would be obligated to do so in the office location.

Musculoskeletal injuries caused by poor ergonomic work areas is an obvious risk when considering what injuries may occur in work from home settings. Other injuries and illnesses may include; social isolation from not working in a workplace with their colleagues; fatigue and burnout from not having a work area that they can walk away from forcing that work life balance; and stress caused by job uncertainty.

It is recommended that workplaces begin to return to a new COVID norm, that a reassessment of the flexible work arrangements be undertaken to include the actual workspace setups employees have and how they have coped working in that environment. 

Now is also the time to ensure you have well documented policies, procedures and employment documents which are imperative for clarity of expectations for employees who work remotely due to their lack of face to face contact.

To greater assist your employees with work from home and to minimise their risk you should:-

  • Update all work from home documentation including policies, procedures and checklists to ensure they are fit for purpose.
  • Clarify when a work from home employee is ‘at work’ and when it is their personal time.  Consideration could be given to even shutting off access for employees to systems indicating that they have finished for the day.
  • Talk to your employees regarding safety whilst working at home. Ensure they are aware that their obligation to keep themselves safe and to report any injury, incident or near miss continues to exist as the home is their extended workplace.
  • Investigate any incidents, injuries promptly to understand if they are a work related injury and to assist the employee to reduce or eliminate any future risk.

This article was originally published by HR Advice Online. For more information about our partnership, click here.

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Posted in The world @work

COVID-19 continues to change how we work. Could it be for the better?

Living in Australia and having experienced the Stage 4 lockdowns in Victoria, it is apparent that this pandemic has changed how we work. The question now is, could it be for the better?

Last month our team joined the SEEK Insight & Innovation 2020 digital event, a seminar which was informative and well executed.

Some of the ideas presented really stem from taking the time to be considerate of the massive upheaval experienced by many people across the world, and I am pleased to say Slade Group has been carrying them through: increasing employee engagement; adapting to new ways of working, primarily working from home (especially for those who are in roles that are not usually accustomed to working from home); investing in new technology; innovating our service delivery and diversifying our service offering.   

While at this stage ‘Covid Normal’ is still being defined, according to the statistics presented by SEEK, a massive 41% of people are rethinking their careers. The cycle of travelling to work, working long hours, travelling home, rushing the family meal, ferrying children to sports and other extra curricular activities, spending the whole weekend doing the same things… and then starting it all over again – isn’t appealing anymore.

Covid has given us the capacity to explore what we may be able to achieve without the usual routine we have just accepted as ‘life’, which statistics are saying isn’t desirable anymore.

It used to be cool to be ‘super busy’ because you were ‘successful’ and didn’t have time for anyone or anything. With the benefit of lockdown hindsight, we can recognise a few home truths: You may not be suited to the role you are doing, or you may have had too many roles (paid or unpaid) with too much on your plate. Were you making excuses not to catch up with someone you would really have liked to spend time with or to take time out for yourself?

With just over one month left in 2020, what are the insights for next year? I think most would agree taking care of our health is much higher on the agenda. Working from home in some capacity is here to stay. If your current role doesn’t provide the flexibility to reset the balance or you’ve had a break from the workforce and are looking to get your career back on track, what would be challenging and stimulating?

My team at Slade Group are assisting our client organisations to develop the culture and strategies that will allow them to be successful in a post Covid world @work. At the same time, we are helping candidates to reinvent themselves and find their perfect role, not simply because it’s our job, or to do our part to reduce the unemployment rate (since the pandemic, the highest in over 20 years) and rebuild the economy. We are looking forward to a new normal where personal life and business life happily coexist, so you may need to find another reason to not catch up with that person you have been putting off. 😊

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Posted in Technical & Operations, The world @work