Take a read of some of the common scenarios we assist with to get a better understanding of how we can help you!
When a business experiences growth, keeping up with the changes while supporting, motivating and engaging current and new staff requires solid structures and foundation. Typically a client will come to us with the following issues:
– Business undergoing growth
– Taking new people on board without structures in place to support them
– Lack of accountability and role definition
– Lack of shared values and understanding
– Communication issues
– Not sure where to ‘put’ certain people
– Leadership skills need strengthening
– Generational mix in the business – Gen Y issues
When a small business starts out, everyone does a bit of everything – there is little clarification and definition between which roles perform which tasks and who has accountability for the various outcomes. As you experience growth, this becomes more and more cumbersome – we see communication issues arising, and employees not performing at their best due to uncertainty around their roles and what is expected of them.
Many managers do not have adequate training in what it takes to be an effective leader and manager of their staff. Effective leadership is the key to culture and retention – employees don’t leave a business, they leave a boss. To assist with developing an open and enjoyable culture, and to retain key staff, it is important for managers to be given some assistance and guidance in this area. Many managers are excellent from a technical point of view, but do not have (nor have ever been given) training as to how to cope with the complexities of managing others. This is particularly evident with managing Generation Y, whose expectations are completely different from other generations previously (primarily loyalty to friends, not the company).
We examine the organisation and make sure we have a clear understanding of the business as a whole before we make recommendations. Typically for the issues above we would do the following:
– Interviews to determine expectations of roles
– JODs® – a type of outcome-focussed position description that defines roles, KPIs and targets
– Definition of culture and values of business
– Performance Appraisals in place (using our exclusive online system to remove the paperwork and administrative burden)
– Behavioural profiling using the McQuaig system – look at the personality and behavioural preferences of existing staff, how these interact within the teams, and define the ideal behavioural style for new staff entering the mix
– Compliance – HR documentation (put in place formal policies on issues such as sexual harassment, bullying, OH&S, dress code, use of phones/internet and other company equipment etc.)
– Review and recommend on recruitment and other HR policies and practices.
Depending on the size of business, we would work between 1 – 18 months on the implementation of such a program, with the aim of helping you to become self sufficient with your HR systems and structure so that you can easily and confidently implement best practice HR processes as you move forward and continue to grow. We also provide ongoing support as many organisations appreciate having us as an independent point of reference (and a neutral third party for advice on all staff matters) once we have finished implementing the program.
Recently a client came to us with concerns about one particular employee who was causing problems and negatively affecting organisational culture and affecting the bottom line. This particular employee had disconnected their home phone line and was solely using their company mobile for all calls, both business and personal. This went unnoticed for a short period of time, by which stage the employee had significantly gone over their mobile cap and had incurred a bill for over $700 for this small business (in one month). The employee was verbally reprimanded and told not to so do again.
The following month, the employee used their work laptop to download a series of mp3 files, illegally pirated blockbuster movies, and pornography. A fellow employee made a sexual harassment complaint, and additionally the employee caused the business to exceed their broadband download allowance, creating a bill for over $600 that month for the company. Again, the employee was verbally reprimanded and asked not to do so again (the sexual harassment issue was not dealt with any further either).
After several more similar instances, this employee was let go. Intending to poach a few key accounts from the company, the employee stole several vital hard copy files and deleted soft copy records on a particular customer; all correspondence and history for that customer were lost.
Most businesses do not think this will happen to them. And when it does, there is usually a band-aid patch-up applied to the situation; surely the company would not be so unlucky again? Without clear boundaries and guidelines set, it can be difficult for small businesses to make their expectations of behaviour officially known. Once one breach is seemingly overlooked, often the effect can snowball.
Businesses are opened up to a raft of potential issues – it creates friction within your team, can cost plenty of time and money, and can also leave you legally liable. It is a legislative requirement that all companies have sexual harassment and bullying policies in place as a minimum, and that these are communicated and educated to employees.
In this case, we drafted a clear, concise and easy to understand code of conduct manual for our client, tailored specifically to their business and industry. This outlined policies on all areas of work, from sexual harassment and bullying through to use of company equipment and dress code to name a few. We then held a 90 minute training session on the new policies for all existing staff and offered the opportunity to discuss, ask questions, and talk about examples of the types of behaviours that were and were not appropriate.
We coached managers on how to deal with problem staff members, and instituted a process of written warnings, to deal with behavioural issues as they arise. We also conducted a cultural survey with the existing staff to assess who was happy in their jobs, what they would like to see improved and what they liked most about working for the organisation. Armed with this information, our client was able to effectively and cheaply improve working conditions, increase the morale, motivation and productivity of their staff, and has not experienced any behavioural incidents since.
Many clients come to us with a similar problem – trying to find the right staff for their business was turning out to be a nightmare!! They had tried recruitment agencies (desperately expensive and had a real ‘bum on seat’ mentality) and were now trying to do the recruitment on their own. Trying to get the time to write ads, post them, wade through the applications, organise interviews, screen, test, assess, review and reference check was just something they didn’t have! Plus, many of them had never had to do this before – it takes expertise to know what to put in an ad to try and attract the right people (sometimes they were getting 3 people applying, others 100), was difficult.
They also found they weren’t quite sure what questions to ask either. They would read each application one by one, and get many candidates in for an interview. At the face-to-face interview, the client would ask whatever questions came to mind about that candidate, such as “would you be good at this job?”, “hypothetically, what would you do in this situation?”
These questions were not terribly helpful – they gave the candidate the opportunity to give the “right” answer about their skills and capabilities, not an actual indication of what they could do. Being not terribly structured either, our client was often asking different questions of different candidates, meaning objectivity and consistency went out the window. Few points of comparison existed and it made the selection decision quite biased and unsystematic (which would make any decision difficult to justify if questioned by the courts!).
After several attempts at hiring people, this client found that once the new employee started, they weren’t the right fit. In some cases, they didn’t have the skills required to perform the role, sometimes they had the skills but lacked any initiative or drive, and some candidates had the wrong attitude and didn’t fit in with the organisational culture. In all these instances, the new employee had left again within the first three months, and the lengthy, time consuming recruitment process started all over again.
We went back to the drawing board. What type of person were they looking for? Why was the role vacant? What managerial style did the person this new person would report to have? Having dealt with the client before we already had an idea of what was happening culturally and strategically and were able to integrate this information straight away, saving time and money in the process.
After some coaching and training, we asked the client to write an ad and send it to us for approval. This they did. We were able to make suggestions based on our experience of what tends to work for that industry, role type and salary level. We were also able to make recommendations as to when to post, where (seek.com isn’t always the best option! Sometimes the local paper can be good for attracting return to work mums for example). We often post the ad for client to keep anonymity, but many clients do this themselves.
In this case, our client didn’t need help at the screening stage – they were fortunate to have the time and resources available to screen through the hundreds of applications and sort out the good from the bad. It was in the next few steps of the process that they needed a little expert assistance from People Dynamics to help them find the perfect employee.
We often help our clients by taking care of the entire recruitment process for them; however we have many clients (such as the one mentioned above) who only require assistance at certain steps. We help these clients by tailoring a recruitment package to suit their individual needs.
For this client, we offered a packaged recruitment assistance option, coming on board just to write appropriate interview questions, facilitate interviews alongside them, conduct behavioural profiling, and guide them in their selection decision. Through this process, we were able to help the client discern what were the important skills the new employee needed, how to accurately asses (through behavioural interviewing techniques) whether each candidate truly had these skills and capabilities, and how to judge the values and attitude of a candidate to make sure they matched with the organisational culture and the personalities of the other people they would be working with.
The result was that through utilising our specific expertise, our client was able to find the perfect candidate (and that person is employed by them to this day!). We have repeated this process multiple times for this client, who have found that using our expertise at the recruitment stage really does make all the difference to the longevity and retention of their staff!
Get in contact or call us today on 03 9077 4870 to find out more about our packaged or end-to-end recruitment options, and how we might be able to help you iron out the kinks in your recruitment process.