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Getting the Right Balance: A Simple Guide to People Management and Recruitment

Getting the Right Balance: A Simple Guide to People Management and Recruitment

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Getting the Right Balance: A Simple Guide to People Management and Recruitment

205 pagine
2 ore
Oct 20, 2014


What keeps you awake at night? The resounding response from business owners and managers is – ‘my employees’.
Discover the six key areas of people management necessary for you to reap the rewards of having a motivated team who work with you, not for you.

When it comes to people management issues and concerns employers often don’t have sufficient time, knowledge or are fearful of getting it wrong. Written in an easy-to-read, conversational manner, Getting the Right Balance discusses the essential steps to follow and removes the mystery surrounding effective people management strategies.
Follow the quintessential framework outlined in this book and your employees will be pleading to come to work, plus their friends will want to work for you also.
Oct 20, 2014

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Getting the Right Balance - Alison McGrath



Know Where You Are Heading


Woe is Me: Best Practice Strategies for People Management

Imagine what your business would look like if all your employees were excited about coming to work every day!

Employees who feel valued are happy, healthy and positive, as well as innovative and open to making suggestions to grow your business. One of the most significant capital investments that you make in your business is in your people, yet so many business owners just leave this to chance.

A start-up law firm that I consulted with left too much to chance when it came to growing their team. The people management responsibility was entrusted to a loyal employee who meant well but did not have the expertise to successfully manage the human resource functions. This is what transpired:

Jim Bennett – a young, progressive solicitor – decided it was time for him to ‘live his dream’ and establish his own law firm. After working for a medium-sized law practice for the previous four years, he was confident that he knew what was needed. Jim was excited to be finally making his vision a reality.

In consultation with an executive coach and his accountant, he developed his business plan. Together they explored Jim’s vision and values, developed the business mission statement and worked on developing the brand. Premises were secured and refurbished. The opening day was imminent.

Jim was happy that Sue, his personal assistant from his present job, had agreed to move with him. They knew each other well; she was a hard worker who always went the extra mile and he trusted her. Together, Jim and Sue developed systems for the new business and they were off to a flying start.

On the first Monday – with everything running to schedule – it was time to welcome their first clients. Jim and Sue were excited about the official opening to be held on the first Friday evening. What an event it was! Existing and potential clients joined the celebrations: some arriving with gifts of wine, flowers, a pot plant and even a paperweight. The local Mayor officiated at the opening and made a speech welcoming the new business.

Four weeks later it was time to employ a receptionist. Their initial advertising campaign had been incredibly successful and scheduling clients had become a juggling act. In fact, Jim realised that due to rapid business growth, he now needed to fast track growing his employee base. He had already hired a second solicitor and a paralegal plus support staff. Sue was assigned the responsibility of recruiting as well as looking after ‘all the people stuff’.

Unfortunately, Jim made a critical error at this point. Sue didn’t have any prior experience in staff recruiting and had no knowledge of the essential steps that need to be followed. Although the work instructions and systems within the business were good, there were no clear policies or procedures for human resource management. There was no employee manual and no formal induction process for new employees.

Six months on and the firm now had two solicitors, one paralegal, two legal secretaries and a receptionist together with a very healthy client and referral base.

Was Jim happy? No! An introduction to me through a mutual colleague led to us having a chat over coffee. Actually not chatting; it was Jim bearing his soul.

‘I have had my business now for six months and I am exhausted. Living the dream my friends say – if only.’

Jim was not referring to financial or legislative pressures, but the problems with his employees. He was speaking about the petty disagreements, subtle complaints, the reduction of daily productivity and, at times, all-out warfare. He was lost in an employee minefield.

Jim had not established his legal practice to spend his time navigating around people issues. He was desperate for help. His practice was headed for a rapid downhill slide if he ignored the issues constantly simmering just under the surface.

Does this sound familiar to you? Jim’s story is not unique. In fact in 2013, when my company conducted a research study among a select group of Australian businesses (typically with three to forty-five employees) the common response to the question, ‘What kept them awake at night?’ was:

‘My staff.’

‘I lie awake wondering who won’t turn up for work tomorrow.’

‘Will I get 100% out of my team tomorrow or will they be gossiping around the water cooler?’

‘How do I know if they are working to their full potential?’

The common frustration for business owners and managers was people and the ability to manage them efficiently. They generally know what they want to achieve with their teams but are usually time poor so the management of their employees is just left to ‘happen’. They will get around to doing all that ‘people stuff’ when they find time. Yet they very rarely find time until it becomes a serious issue – by which time it is too late.

Sometimes, as in Jim Bennett’s case, a trusted employee is promoted to the role of managing an organisation’s human resource functions. In a majority of these cases, the promoted employee doesn’t have the necessary knowledge or experience to implement the essential functions – either to ensure compliance or to find the best employee for the business. Unfortunately, this story is repeated time and again. Great employees find themselves, as a result of a promotion, unknowingly being set up for failure.

The most common problems resulting from inexperienced people undertaking recruitment roles are:

•A bias towards one particular applicant

•Choosing either the first or the last applicant interviewed

•Not asking open-ended questions

•Not conducting appropriate background and reference checks

•Accepting the applicant at face value because they don’t have the skills for behavioural questioning

•Not following through questions to check authenticity of answers.

There are human resource consultants whose business it is to coach people on how to get the job they seek. They practice answers specific to expected interview questions. To the inexperienced manager or business owner this is a concern when choosing the best person for the job as opposed to the person that answers the interview questions the best.

Before you throw this book away and close your business doors let me reassure you that there are simple solutions available to assist you to achieve best practice in people management.


Successful People Management: the Six Key Human Resource Principles

A focused, strategic, 12-month employee life cycle program will help ensure that your human capital investment is being well managed. I know that lack of time is likely to be a major factor in your business. My adaptable framework – built around the employee life cycle – will help you to ensure your employees love coming to work and are fully engaged when they get there. You will be known as an ‘employer of choice’.

Firstly, I will summarise the six key human resource areas that I will be covering in this book. They encapsulate the critical functions and knowledge that you need to know and execute to ensure ongoing success for your business.

Key Area 1 – Vision and Mission

Know why you are in business and what your vision is with absolute clarity. Share that vision with your employees, along with your mission statement. Ensure your mission statement is still relevant to your business. Are your values just words or do they reflect you and your business? Once they are clear, share them with your employees by putting the values on the wall in their office, at reception and on the intranet. Most importantly of all, live by what you say, demonstrate it daily and ‘walk the talk’, and your employees will give you 100% support.

Key Area 2 – Legislation

The legislation covering the people-management aspect of business can appear limitless. You must know and understand state and federal legislation applicable to the following areas:

Industrial Awards: Know the essential areas such as the Fair Work guidelines which govern our workplace relations system. Understand the awards under which your employees work and their different entitlements.

Work Health and Safety: You must ensure that you provide a safe work environment for your employees and others, and have either a Work Cover policy or specific self-funded policy.

Privacy: Privacy of your employees is covered in the Privacy Act. You must ensure you have open and transparent management of their personal information.

Superannuation: The Superannuation Guarantee is compulsory and is paid by you, the employer.

Subscription to either an industrial relations advisory company or the relevant government department newsletters will ensure you receive up-to-date information regarding legislation.

Key Area 3 – Behavioural/Management Style

Identify and know your management style and your behavioural style. Awareness of these can lead to positive changes in your workplace. Having your behavioural style profiled costs little and will take less than an hour of your time (including the interpretation of information). Refer to Chapter 7 to review my personal behavioural profile and see how this information has been valuable to me.

Key Area 4 – Recruitment

In Chapter 12 of this book I provide a recruitment framework that you can follow to successfully recruit new team members. It is important that you don’t skip any steps. Remember, if you get it wrong it not only disrupts your other employees but can be very costly.

Key Area 5 – Employee Engagement/Retention Life Cycle

Now that you have all your ‘ducks in a row’ unleash your team’s potential!

My 4-step ‘Engage and Accelerate for Growth’ program is specifically designed to help you overcome the challenges of keeping your employees engaged and working at optimal performance.

This simple framework can enable you to leverage your organisation’s human assets for increased happiness and wealth. Remember, you want all your team members rowing strongly in one direction with a clear vision for success.

Key Area 6 – A Healthy Work Environment

Ensure good health and wellbeing is a priority within your work environment. Beyond legislation, there is a need to consider your employees’ overall wellbeing and how you can implement health and wellbeing programs into your workplace.

You can duplicate and implement each of the key areas outlined above within your own business.


Keeping that Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive

Now, what I am going to tell you, you probably already know. However, let’s briefly revisit it just to prompt your thinking and encourage you to revisit your business’ ‘why, how and what’.

Ok, So Why am I in Business?

Why did you decide to go into business in the first place? I can say with absolute certainty that it was not to deal with employee problems (unless, of course, like me that is your chosen area of expertise).

The main reason you originally went into business can become lost amongst the fog of never ending demands. The reason ‘why’ you went into business needs to be remembered and revisited regularly and to be clearly in mind.

Another of my business clients, who set up her own business, knew what she wanted to achieve but did not take all the

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