Blog Archives

A pocket coach for ‘people moments’.

Who hasn’t ever struggled dealing with the real people stuff? The difficult conversations, the underperformance, anxiety, imposter syndrome, hybrid working, juggling family, team dynamics. All of it. How hard is it and how much mental anguish can it consume?

In response to this dilemma a bunch of very smart (Australian) people have created People Spot. Take a look!

In our field of work, Slade Group is introduced to a large array of HR Tech, but to date haven’t come across an application like this one – an available on-the-spot solution, a business coach in your pocket kind of idea.

We’ve found it has a super user-friendly layout, is easy to understand and follow, and can help anyone in the workplace navigate ‘people moments’.  

We’ve tested it and are sure of its broad relevance: the new graduate employee, frontline customer services workers, mid-level leaders learning how to performance manage, specialists juggling home schooling and remote teams, and the high-flying C-suite exec – with access to further education, travel and individualised support. We all need quick, easy answers to help navigate all those tricky people moments.

The people behind People Spot are Colin Beattie, leading business coach, David Kennedy who returned to Melbourne after working with Apple in Silicon Valley, and psychologist Nerissa Beattie. They’ve all actively wanted to create a solution to help people better navigate the often messy moments of human interaction.

They needed backing and support and brought in some trusted names from Australia’s largest businesses, from finance to tech: Nigel Dalton former CTO from REA Group, Nat Feehan Chief Customer & Commercial Officer for Estimate One, along with Kate Temby former Goldman Sachs Managing Director and now Partner at Affirmative Investment Management.

It launched earlier this year and we’re hoping The People Spot might help us all! They’re excited that it’s struck a chord with us and have offered an exclusive offer to readers of The Slade Report, use our discount code SLADE10 at thepeoplespot.com to save 10% on any order. 

What have been your hardest People Moments in your world @work?

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The U30s are different.

Covid delayed a lot of Under 30s’ plans for the exhilarating two year stint living and working abroad, but with borders re-open, they’re busting out in big numbers again.

Before moving to London this month from Melbourne, 27 year old Kirsty had two very attractive offers from two UK consulting firms. Both sizeable, reputable organisations, the choice for Kirsty in assessing their job offers wasn’t so much about the role or the salary. For Kirsty it came down to their respective answer to one question: “What are your WFH/WFO arrangements?”

One said, “We’re super flexible, we all work when and where we want, at home or in the office.” The other said, “We offer some flexibility, but most of us are in the office most days.” Kirsty jumped at the opportunity to work in an office where she’d get to work with and know her colleagues In Real Life. Who would have seen that wheel turning? Not me! As Kirsty said, “Why would I want to live in some dodgy affordable share house and work from my bedroom all day? I want to get out and meet people, and at work is the obvious place where that happens.”

Those at mid and later stage careers can likely look back on their first decade in the workforce as one which was fast, fun and challenging. We didn’t have too many responsibilities outside of work, and family life, if that lay ahead, was still a foreign country. Who didn’t collect a handful of friends they made at work in their 20s? And perhaps you’re one of the two in five people who have had relationships with people they met through work? Pretty hard to have a drink over Zoom on Friday night and kick on.

Leadership is hard, and this is another example of the nuanced decision making that is required in policy planning and employee centred decision making. A 27 year old is very different to a 47 year old, and we can’t assume their workstyle needs are the same!

Good luck managing through another year of challenging decision making.

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Introversion v. Extroversion in leadership. Seems the jury’s still out.

Is it a hidden advantage to be an introverted boss, or as an extrovert do you have additional horsepower in the table stakes of leadership? Prompted by The Hustle’s weekend newsletter, Why Introverts Make Great Leaders, it’s interesting to discover the parrying continues. I continue to be confused by the debate, although often counsel interview panels not be swayed by the confidence-as-capability armoury of extroverted candidates. (The Hustle report cites a project where researchers analysed a database of 17K executives and found that, while a charismatic person was more than 2x as likely to be hired as a CEO, this didn’t correlate with a better performance once they were hired.)

For the affirmative: “Extroverts DO makes better leaders”

University of Toronto Scarborough has found that extroverts do have an edge that boosts their chances of success. The study reviewed existing scientific literature relating to extroversion in the workplace from multiple countries. If found that extroverts enjoy a distinct advantage in four categories: emotional; interpersonal; motivational and performance-related.

“These four appear to really capture the strongest positive effects of extroversion at work,” says Michael Wilmot, the academic who led the study. Wilmot argues that extroversion is linked with a greater motivation to achieve positive goals – for example, a desired reward through work. It is also closely associated with experiencing positive emotions more regularly.

  • They’re more motivated by rewards
  • They stay positive
  • They’re good schmoozers
  • They perform better on the job

(Source: Extroverts enjoy four key advantages according to a new UTSC study. Here they are)

For the negative: “Extroverts DON’T make better leaders”

A Harvard Study by Carmel Nobel a decade ago, found that  extroverts excel at leading passive teams (employees who simply follow commands), but are actually far less effective at leading “proactiveteams where everyone contributes ideas. Introverts are often more effective than extroverts at leading proactive teams because they don’t feel threatened by collaborative input, are more receptive to suggestions, and are more attentive to micro expressions.

Introverts are also…

  • Motivated by productivity, not ambition.

One of the most common misconceptions about introverts is that they aren’t as motivated to succeed as more socially driven people. The truth, though, is that they’re simply motivated by different factors, and they measure success by different metrics.

  • Able to build more meaningful connections.

While they may not be openly conversational in large groups, introverts are great at developing deeper, more meaningful connections with employees and clients in a one-on-one setting. This genuine relationship-building makes an introverted leader more in tune with each member of the team than an extroverted leader might be.

  • Less easily distracted.

Introverts aren’t exactly disconnected from other people and their environment, but they are better able to tune out the noise and concentrate. They draw their energy from within, and therefore they can easily focus on the task at hand without being distracted by loud conversations or other office noise.

  • Likely to solve problems with thoroughness rather than in haste.

Problem-solving is the crux of all good leadership, and according to research, introverts typically have thicker grey matter in the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain where abstract thinking and decision making happen. This leads introverts to make a decision after giving it great thought and reflecting on creative ways to solve problems. Research has also found that introverts are less likely to make snap decisions.

And because quality work is always the goal for introverts, they don’t settle for mediocrity.

For more reading, we recommend these two articles:

Why Introverts Make Great Leaders

Do Extroverts Make Better Leaders?

And just to continue the confusion, Ros Cardinal, managing director of Shaping Change, says “Studies have shown that most organisations favour logical and decisive behaviours in leadership, which are not correlated to extroversion or introversion,” she said. “As a general rule though, extroverts tend to have a higher capacity for sociability and social presence, which are traits often sought after in leaders.”

What are your thoughts about the extrovert v introvert leader debate in your world @work?

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Unravelling the Spaghetti Matriciana (aka the crazy labour market)

Three steps to hiring the best talent and at the right price.

Confused? It’s not just you. Right now the whole labour market is like a bowl of starchy spaghetti and you need to be super dextrous to unravel the threads to sate your appetite. You want the talent, but you and countless others can’t afford the premium. In this blog, we’re setting out the three fundamental steps to beating the competition in order to hire the talent you need. We suggest you don’t even try and make sense of the macro data – we’ve been listening to the economists too and none of them has nutted out the strange equation of the current Australian labour market.

Step 1.

Understand the value of high performing and high potential talent.

These two categories of employees are gold. Make sure you identify what you are looking for in a new hire – do you want this person to perform in the same capacity for ever after, or step up in the future? High performers are shown to deliver up to 4x the productivity of your lower average performers, but will your organisation be able to create the culture for a repeat of that high performance, or to bring out the high potential in an almost there candidate? Sort this out so you know what gap you’re filling.

  Low Potential High Potential
High Performers Regularly exceed benchmarks
Lack skills to perform at a higher level
Set standard of behavioural excellence
Model leadership and cultural values
Low Performers Little-to-no aptitude
Repeatedly fail to deliver
Have above-average aptitude
Show inconsistent performance

Step 2.

As we’re back in the war for talent, have a co-ordinated hiring (attack) strategy agreed and set.

Take it from the troops on the ground – too many hiring organisations are losing out on good talent because of one simple fact – disorganised, muddled hiring processes. Hope and winging it will not land you high performing talent. Time delays, poorly prepared interviewers, managers who don’t understand the current labour market, and poor engagement will set you back in the bunker time and time again while the good talent is signed up to your competition. Take extra time up front to prepare your approach and timeline. If you’re the Commander, bring your internal Officers in on your approach early, and then make military-style moves.

Step 3.

The salary package you have on offer is important but for some organisations, top quartile compensation isn’t an option. What to do? Our advice is have the remuneration and benefits conversations early on – it saves time, money and heart-ache when late on in a negotiation it’s a deal breaker. And again, salary is only one part of the equation – make sure you’ve identified all the attractive benefits of working with your organisation – some of which you may take for granted, but which are great attractors. What else do you offer? Extra paid leave days, a good workplace and amenities, tailored professional development, culture and values alignment, wellness benefits, clear career paths, flexibly work schedule, recognition and rewards etc. Write them down and share with enthusiasm.

Bring them in and they will build!

What is your world @work?

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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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Observing or marking. Rather than celebrating. NAIDOC week as a non-indigenous Australian.

The story goes that a couple of well-meaning inner urbanites had a front door plaque that read “We are proud to acknowledge Aboriginal people as traditional owners of these lands and waters”. And when a couple of said Aboriginal people came knocking on the door to be welcomed home, the door was opened and then firmly shut on them. There was no happy ending for anyone in this story.

NAIDOC week is an important week in our calendar, celebratory for many, and for Indigenous culture. But it’s also an awkward week for non-indigenous Australians, uncomfortable truths, uncertainty navigating what is respectful and celebratory, and what is paternalist and privileged. I feel it personally in the small and large things in daily life; we have a flag pole at our place, and yet I’m not sure what the protocol is about flying the Indigenous flag this week when I’m not Indigenous. I want to show my heartfelt support for the First Nations people of Australia but I’m unclear whether that’s ok, and if it’s seen as lip service.  

I’m learning, but too slowly and I’m not always sure of what resources are available to steer my understanding and insights.

In recent years I’ve made the mistake of saying in a public forum
“Welcome to Country” when only Traditional Owners/Custodians of the land on which the event takes place can deliver a Welcome to Country. It’s not a mistake I’ll ever make again; if a Traditional Owner is not available to do a Welcome to Country, an Acknowledgement of Country can be delivered instead.

I currently have no colleagues who identify as ATSI (Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander), Indigenous or First Nations, and yet all the while I’ve been working on a number of Indigenous related projects this year. Why am I working on these and not with someone with Indigenous heritage?  Should we all be trying harder to address this lack of diversity? But here’s the rub. Only 3% of all Australian’s identify as Indigenous, and the most recent ABS statistics from 2016 show the spread of our Indigenous country men and women doesn’t always correlate with meeting diversity targets.

Estimated resident population, Indigenous status, 30 June 2016

  Aboriginal only Torres Strait Islander only Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Total Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Non-Indigenous Total
  no. no. no. no. no. no.
NSW 254,842 5,888 4,955 265,685 7,467,173 7,732,858
VIC 54,044 2,350 1,373 57,767 6,115,405 6,173,172
QLD 176,910 24,873 19,493 221,276 4,623,876 4,845,152
SA 40,393 1,115 757 42,265 1,670,578 1,712,843
WA 96,497 1,882 2,133 100,512 2,455,466 2,555,978
TAS 26,152 1,322 1,063 28,537 488,977 517,514
NT 71,288 1,020 2,238 74,546 171,132 245,678
ACT 7,113 196 204 7,513 395,591 403,104
AUS 727,485 38,660 32,220798,36523,392,54224,190,907

Estimated resident Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, Remoteness Areas, 30 June 2016

  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Non-Indigenous Total
Remoteness Areas % % %
Major Cities 37.4 72.7 71.6
Inner Regional 23.7 17.8 18.0
Outer Regional 20.3 8.0 8.4
Remote 6.7 1.0 1.2
Very Remote 11.9 0.5 0.8

indigenous.gov.au

Having a job helps people build the future they want for their families and their communities.

Supporting people to find and stay in work and making sure everyone has the opportunity to own your own home, run your own business, and provide for yourself and your families will mean a strong future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

To make this happen, government and communities need to work together to:

  • increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have work
  • train more people for local jobs in their communities
  • support Indigenous rangers to manage land and sea country
  • progress land and Native Title claims
  • negotiate more community held township leases.

The Government works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to help you build your future your way. Different communities will have different priorities and different ways they want to develop and sustain economic independence in their region.

Many of these events are linked to this year’s theme, Always Was, Always Will Be. The theme recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years and their spiritual and cultural connection to Country. This has heightened my awareness and understanding of the challenges and opportunities to First Nations people.

The government introduced the Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) on 1 July 2015 to give Indigenous businesses greater opportunity at winning Commonwealth contracts. The IPP leverages the Commonwealth’s annual multi-billion procurement spend to drive demand for Indigenous goods and services, stimulate Indigenous economic development and grow the Indigenous business sector. For more information refer to Indigenous Procurement Policy.

Links

www.iworkjobsite.com.au

iWork is now Australia’s leading Indigenous jobs board with over 5,000 Indigenous people registered for direct work opportunities

https://www.indigenous.gov.au/news-and-media/announcements/grants-deliver-scholarship-program-call-applications

https://www.indigenous.gov.au/news-and-media/announcements/indigenous-business-month-2020-award-winners

https://www.indigenous.gov.au/news-and-media/announcements/indigenous-apprenticeships-program-0www.supplynation.com 

Supply Nation provides Australia’s leading database of verified Indigenous businesses which can be searched by business name, product, service, area, or category.

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Project: Core Strength

Project Core Strength Report
Project Core Strength Report

It’s no longer candidates who are nervous at interview; it’s now hiring managers who are anxious about identifying the character traits they’ll need to survive and thrive beyond the impact of COVID-19. This is as true for Boards and CEOs as it is for recruiters and line managers.

In this report we provide you with the results of our Project: Core Strength study. We commenced this research in the early stages of Lockdown Mark 1, and over the course of the next four months, sought feedback from 100 trusted respondents.

Beyond simply filling in a form, many of the respondents also provided deeply thoughtful written responses, and excerpts of these are provided along with the data.

In this report you will see the break down of data, a summary of the results, an interpretation of the results by Andrea Brownlow – our highly regarded Consulting Psychologist, and then some interview and performance management questions that are designed to help us sort the talented from the less capable.

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“Let me call you back” – Recruitment trends shaping the job market in 2020

In this episode of The Job Hunting Podcast, host Renata Bernarde interviews Anita Ziemer. Anita talks about recruitment and selection trends in 2020, the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the economic downturn and how it’s affecting the job market. She speaks candidly about her profession and how candidates can better work with recruiters. She gives job hunters inside tips, from understanding the mechanics of the recruitment and selection process to making your resume more effective, and your skills more easily noticed by the recruiter.

Other episodes in the same series:

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