Rather than spending your day reflecting on the pitfalls or failures in 2013, I say count your blessings and look for some serious inspiration to kick start 2014 in the right direction.
Since I’m not the most patient person in the world I choose to focus on my strengths of persistence and determination to go for it and not let others get in my way (the party poopers or dream stealers).
Surround yourself with positive, ambitious and enthusiastic people who are bound to ensure you see 2013 out with a bang and welcome the New Year in style. Turn up the music, grab a cocktail (or a smoothie) and let your hair down people. It’s time to party!
Make each and every organisation (whether public, private or government) accountable by implementing compulsory public disclosure of both staff turnover figures and cultural survey results. These are very powerful figures which disclose an organisations treatment of its employees as well as management accountability and/or lack of.
Disclosing such figures will make it very hard for organisations not to walk their talk. Without respect and honesty followed by clarity, transparency and accountability, we will continue to see a decline in productivity in the workforce. We do not need more restructures which are merely the new it word for organisations dodging their responsibility to performance manage their staff and hold their leadership team accountable.
I was somewhat perplexed by the recent announcement in the West Australian about employee absenteeism set to cost Australia billions of dollars over the holiday season. Once again failing to differentiate between employee entitlements by bullying the workforce into submission to fight over what is rightfully theirs under The Fairwork Act. Sure there are those who take it too far when it comes to their sick leave and one could equally argue that employers bullying in the workforce is costing exorbitant amounts of dollars, but going back to employee entitlements, full-time employees are entitled to 10 days carers leave and employers need to be prepared by factoring this into their workforce planning.
But who are we kidding? Lets get to the real issue of why Australia has such a high record of employee absenteeism. Firstly, its poor treatment of staff. Most people if treated fairly are less likely to chuck the so called sickies. The other problem is that management fails to do their job in performance managing or genuinely investigating the circumstances of those who do take prolonged amounts of sick leave which is a clear disregard to their responsibility.
Sure each and every one of us has a responsibility to be respectful and honest about their circumstances but I would argue that employers have more influence over their employees and should take an active role in treating their staff respectfully/fairly and performance managing their staff on a regular basis. Whether to address an issue or to commend a job well done.
Management needs to wake up and realise it is not sustainable to have one rule for management and another for the rest of the organisation. Imposing such rules has harsh consequences which only corrupts and breeds a disengaged workforce, in turn costing billions of dollars in lost productivity due to lack of staff engagement. It’s time for employers to get real and walk their talk by being respectful and honest to their employees by being clear, transparent and accountable. Those organisations which get these critical attributes right will never have to worry about an employee being misleading or dishonest about their sick leave.
You can do all the research in the world on an organisation but unfortunately you are unlikely to get the real picture until you have joined the organisation and experienced it for yourself. Why? Because majority of organisations do not walk their talk and tell you what you want to hear through their espoused values, mission statements and policies and then there is the real world of what really goes on, which is usually the complete opposite.
So unless you are fortunate enough to get the real picture from someone who has had experience within your potential organisation, you need to observe as much as you can as soon as you make first contact with the potential organisation because first impressions are everything!
- Once you have submitted your job application and the organisation contacts you with their set of initial screening questions, pay attention to these questions and the tone of voice in which they are asked, as these questions will give you an indication of what you’re up against. What the culture might be like. In other words how people are treated in the organisation.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions, speak your mind, be honest about what your expectations are versus what’s on offer by the organisation. If their website said they support professional development, make sure you address this, especially if it was one of the reasons you were attracted to the organisation. You then want this to be stated in your contract of employment. E.g. $3,500 per annum training and development allowance through nominated institution.
- How responsive were they in processing your application, getting you an interview? A quick turnaround means they are very responsive and likely to have good systems/processes in place. A slow response usually indicates poor internal processes or poor overall management accountability.
- At your interview, approach the reception staff – invest time in getting to know them. Trust me this is worth your investment. Ask some straightforward questions like how’s your day going so far? Focus on the body language, eye movement this is usually a dead giveaway and speaks volumes. Observe how the reception staff interacts with customers and/or internal staff (over the phone and in person). Are they friendly and helpful or dismissive and aggressive?
- Ensure you are given a job description at your interview that clearly outlines your responsibilities / accountabilities.
- Discuss hours of employment (start and finish times). Is overtime/weekend work required and if so, will you get paid for it? This should all be stated in your contract of employment. I have noticed a lot of organisations putting in a clause to the effect: we may change your duties from time to time or we may change your hours of employment. Such additional duties cannot include unreasonable requests and must be in alignment with your existing experience/position. For example if you were hired as an accountant and were now asked to attend to duties outside your scope of knowledge as an accountant – this would be in breach of workplace practices and should be contested. Equally if you are asked to work unreasonable hours for a prolonged period of time also constitutes a breach of workplace practices.
Good luck to those seeking a new beginning in 2014 and feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.
To boosting your confidence through clarity, transparency and accountability and getting what you want in 2014.
Happy New Year Everyone!!