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matrix vision newsletter
Human Resources Issue
June, 2010 - Vol 3, Issue 6
In This Issue
Human Resources?
Workplace Policies - Why?
Applicant/HR Speak
ProStar Coach
Quick Links
Join Mailing List
Story of the Month

Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Officer asked a young engineer fresh out of RMIT, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"


The Engineer said, "In the neighborhood of $150,000 a year, depending on the benefits package."


The interviewer said, "Well, what would you say to a package of eight weeks holiday each year, 14 paid holidays, a company paid overseas trip each year, company superannuation contribution of 50 percent of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Mercedes Convertible?"


The Engineer sat up straight and said, "Wow! Are you kidding?"


And the interviewer replied, "Yeah, but you started it."


Human Resources Quotes
"Companies cannot promise their people lifetime employment.  Global competition is too fierce and economic cycles too frequent for any such guarantees.  But they can promise their people every chance for employability - skills that will make them more attractive if they are forced to part ways."
Jack Welch
" The greatest tragedy in is not the destruction of our natural resources, though that tragedy is great. The truly great tragedy is the destruction of our human resources by our failure to fully utilise our abilities, which means that most men and women go to their graves with their music still in them.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
"Analytical software enables you to shift human resources from rote data collection to value-added customer service and support where the human touch makes a profound difference.
Bill Gates
"The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out an employment application.
Stanley J. Randall

"The only vital value an enterprise has is the experience, skills, innovativeness and insights of its people."
Leif Edvinsson
"Always recognise that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end."
Immanuel Kant
"True motivation comes from achievement, personal development, job satisfaction, and recognition."
Frederick Herzberg
Welcome to the matrix vision newsletter for June (better late than never). This month's newsletter is focussed on Human Resources.    
This newsletter presents some tips and tools about the Human Resources in your organisation.  We have articles including:
  • people - our greatest asset,
  • dangers of coming out of the GFC for our organisations,
  • importance of having good workplace policies in place,
  • a bit of fun by providing a translation of applicant and HR Speak,
  • climate surveys, and
  • new online coaching tool from Performance Support Systems

Enjoy your reading and as always your feedback would be welcome!

If any of the information interests you and if you would like to find out how it can help you please contact us.  We would love to talk with you.
Human Resources?

All Star Logo Large


We constantly hear in organisations "our people are our greatest asset".


When we employ someone into our business we expect a return on our investment and in order to achieve that we need to ensure that the way in which we handle our employment and industrial relations does not detract from our ability to attract, engage and retain good people.  In large organisations we put in place an HR manager or even a team to help us.

For small and medium businesses we need to ensure that we put the critical policies in place, so that our employment practices don't get in the way of us getting the return from our greatest asset.

And if that was not enough the regulations, restrictions and legislation relating to employee and industrial relations are a minefield.  

And look at this excerpt from a recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald


EMPLOYERS beware. Your employees have extraordinarily itchy feet.


An astonishing third of Australian workers are planning to switch jobs, according to a survey released just before figures that are expected to show another hefty rise in new job advertisements.


The finding by the management consulting firm Hay Group backs up a separate finding by Drake International that 50 per cent of Australian workers are thinking about changing jobs and 25 per cent are planning to do it.


''It's payback,'' Drake's strategic manager, David Edwards, said. ''For two years during the financial crisis employees stayed put and suffered cuts in hours and conditions. Instead of feeling grateful for keeping their jobs, they are planning to move.''


Hay finds that while 33 per cent of Australian employees are looking to switch jobs, in Europe and the US the figures are only 22 per cent and 16 per cent.


''This should send alarm bells ringing in human resources departments across the country,'' the head of insight at Hay, Sam Dawson, said.


''The landscape has changed; workers who have been grateful to hold on to employment are sticking their heads above the parapet and gauging what the recovery means for their career prospects,'' he said. ''This could spell bad news for those companies who have failed to take necessary steps to implement effective engagement programs during the tough times.''


The survey finds the cost of replacing an employee ranges from 50 to 150 per cent of the employee's salary.


The best way to keep workers is to provide ''tools and processes to actively deal with employee frustrations,'' but for many employers it is too late.


''About one quarter of Australian employees have already decided,'' Mr Edwards said. ''Not all of them will move, but right now none are expecting to stay.''


In the first five months of this year new jobs were created at the rate of one every 90 seconds, about 28,000 per month. Economists surveyed by Reuters expect Thursday's figures to show the rate of job creation slowed to 17,000 in June, enough to keep the unemployment rate steady at 5.2 per cent.

Sydney Morning Herald - 5-7-10 
Managing the employment relationship well, can help ensure we retain the people who are key to our continued success. We need to build the kind of organisation that attracts good people, we need to be effective in recruiting the right people, we need to build an organisation that engages the people and we need to develop the skills in our people for now and the future.

If you would like some help in understanding and looking at ways that you can attract, recruit, engage and develop the people in your organisation give us a call and we can talk with you about how we can help you.
Workplace Policies - Why?
For small and medium businesses we need 
to put the critical policies in place, so that our employment practices don't get in the way of us getting the return from our greatest asset. I have asked a colleague of mine, Trish Bell of Head 2 Head HR to contribute her thoughts on why all organisations need to have in place some critical workplace policies.

In essence, workplace policies are necessary because we employ people.


Organisations are made up of people who bring their own value systems into the work environment.   If the organisational values are not clearly defined people make up their own rules based on their own values.  Very soon those rules become the norm and, if workplace policies are not clearly defined, may create exposure to litigation and claims for compensation.


Workplace policies clearly communicate legislative meaning, and provide managers and employees with a clear understanding of what is and what is not acceptable in the organisation.


In today's workplace an employer can be held liable for the bad behaviour of an employee, especially when that bad behaviour affects other employees, or other people.  For this reason the most critical workplace policies required by employers are those linked to the health and well-being of the individual and predominantly focus on safety, discrimination, harassment and bullying.


Despite wide-ranging communication, education, and consultation focussed on these critical areas, statistics tell us that such behaviour is escalating in the workplace.  The Australian Human Rights Commission estimates that workplace bullying costs Australian employers between $6 - $36 billion dollars every year, including hidden and lost opportunity costs.


Financial compensation received by complainants in cases resolved at the Human Rights & Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC) varied widely, from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $200,000. In almost all cases resolved at HREOC the employer agreed to compensate the complainant either as well as or instead of the alleged harasser. This is a further price paid by employers who had failed to prevent or satisfactorily resolve the complaints themselves.  The majority of complaints came from employers who had not implemented policies fully or at all.


The recent sackings of both the David Jones CEO for inappropriate behaviour toward a female employee, and Andrew Johns as an NRL coach for racial comments demonstrate that no industry is immune from bad behaviour.  The behaviour is systemic, which means it goes across all levels of the organisation, and employees at any level are accountable for bad behaviour.


It is critical to devote the time to develop workplace policies for your business before the need arises.  It's an investment that can pay large dividends in increased productivity and minimised litigation. It's also an essential component of your comprehensive people strategy.

Trish Bell - Head 2 Head HR 
Trish supplies expert, as required, assistance to help businesses comply with sometimes onerous and often confusing employment legislation and to help prevent them from receiving an unwanted and unfavourable appearance on 60 Minutes.

So, if you are a small or medium business and employee people, talk to Trish - Head 2 Head HR.

Or give matrix vision a call.
Applicant/HR Speak
Job InterviewAny type of communication can be confusing.  People often express themselves in a way that hides exactly what they really feel. The job interview is a communication situation that has so many competing issues as the applicant attempts to portray themselves in the best possible light to secure a job, while the HR recruiter may sometimes gild the lily in an attempt to make the job attractive.  The following is a "tongue in cheek" explanation of what each may really be trying to say.
 Applicant Speak 

"I KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESSFUL SITUATIONS:" I'm usually on Prozac. When I'm not, I take lots of cigarette and coffee breaks.

"I SEEK A JOB THAT WILL DRAW UPON MY STRONG COMMUNICATION & ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS:" I talk too much and like to tell other people what to do.


"I'M HONEST, HARD-WORKING AND DEPENDABLE:" I pilfer office supplies.

"MY PERTINENT WORK EXPERIENCE INCLUDES:" I hope you don't ask me about all the McJobs I've had.

"I TAKE PRIDE IN MY WORK:" I blame others for my mistakes.

"I'M BALANCED AND CENTRED:" I'll keep crystals at my desk and do Tai Chi in the lunch room.

"I HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR:" I know a lot of corny, old jokes and I tell them badly.

"I'M PERSONABLE:" I give lots of unsolicited personal advice to co-workers.

"I'M WILLING TO RELOCATE:" As I have recently left Pentridge, anywhere's better.


"MY BACKGROUND AND SKILLS MATCH YOUR REQUIREMENTS:" You're probably looking for someone more experienced.

"I AM ADAPTABLE:" I've changed jobs a lot.

"I AM ON THE GO:" I'm never at my desk.

"I'M HIGHLY MOTIVATED TO SUCCEED:" The minute I find a better job, I'm outta there.

"I HAVE FORMAL TRAINING:" I'm a college drop-out.

"I INTERACT WELL WITH CO-WORKERS:" I've been accused of sexual harassment.


"I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU SOON:" Like, I'm gonna hold my breath waiting for your stupid form letter thanking me "for my interest and wishing me luck in my future career.
 HR Speak

"COMPETITIVE SALARY:" We remain competitive by paying less than our competitors.
-PACED COMPANY:" We have no time to train you; you'll have to introduce yourself to your coworkers.

"PROFIT-SHARING PLAN:" Once it's shared between the higher-ups, there won't be a profit.

"NATIONALLY RECOGNISED LEADER:" Inc. Magazine wrote us up a few years ago, but we haven't done anything innovative since.
"IMMEDIATE OPENING:" The person who used to have this job gave notice a month ago. We're just now running the ad.
"SALES POSITION REQUIRING MOTIVATED SELF-STARTER:" We're not going to supply you with leads; there's no base salary; you'll wait 30 days for your first commission check.
"SELF-MOTIVATED:" Management won't answer questions
"SEEKING ENTHUSIASTIC, FUN, HARD WORKING, PEOPLE:"...who still live with their parents and won't mind our entry-level salaries.
ATMOSPHERE:" We don't pay enough to expect that you'll dress up; well, a couple of the real daring guys wear earrings.
"COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT:" We have a lot of turnover.
ENVIRONMENT:" Guys in grey suits will bore you with tales of squash and their weekends on yachts.
:" We all listen to nutty motivational tapes.
ENVIRONMENT:" Your coworkers will be insulted if you don't drink with them.
ENVIRONMENT:" We booze it up at company parties.
"MUST BE DEADLINE ORIENTED:" You'll be six months behind schedule on your first day.
"SOME PUBLIC RELATIONS REQUIRED:" If we're in trouble, you'll go on TV and get us out of it.
"SOME OVERTIME REQUIRED:" Some time each night and some time each weekend.
"A HIGHLY VISIBLE POSITION:" You'll give boring speeches on your own time.
"FLEXIBLE HOURS:" Work 40 hours; get paid for 25.
"DUTIES WILL VARY:" Anyone in the office can boss you around.
"WHERE EMPLOYEES FEEL VALUED:" Those who missed the last round of retrenchments, that is.
FOR DETAIL:" We have no quality control.
"SEEKING CANDIDATES WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE:" You'll need it to replace three people who just left.
"PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS A MUST:" You're walking into a company in perpetual, systemic chaos.
LEADERSHIP SKILLS:" You'll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.
"GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS:" Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want and do.
"ABILITY TO HANDLE A HEAVY WORKLOAD:" You whine, you're sacked.

20/20 Logo 
Matrix Vision is a value added reseller and a user of the most powerful and versatile feedback software tool available today.
People need an efficient, confidential and anonymous vehicle for giving feedback to each other. State-of-the-art software can simplify the process of collecting multi-source (360) feedback for anyone in your organisation.
20/20 Insight GOLD is the world's most versatile feedback tool. With this system, we can set up surveys to collect virtually any type of feedback-ideas, opinions, impressions, ratings - from any number of people about the performance of an individual, a team or even your organisation as a whole.organisation.
Our software contains everything you might need - for everyone involved in the feedback process:
  • More than 1,200 items in a massive library - easily customised - or we can incorporate your competencies.
  • Approximately 300 survey items in leadership categories.  Each one has an associated document for the learner that contains:
    • What a low rating in this item might mean
    • Specific recommendations for improving in this area
    • Recommended resources
  • Ability to not only collect open-ended responses at the end of the survey but also get optional explanatory comments for each item rated, providing extraordinary coaching and personal growth material.
  • Dozens of powerful reports can be generated.  Compare previous to current results to measure improvements.  Produce consolidated reports with summary data for the entire organisation.
  • A 31 page booklet and online performance analysis tool for each feedback recipient to help them create and implement a personal development plan.
We can tailor almost any aspect of a feedback project - add your competencies, use or modify ours - or any combination.  With this unprecedented flexibility, we can provide many different types of surveys for your organisation.  A few examples:
  • All "soft-skills" training to provide a baseline of behaviours, feedback to participants and measureable results to management
  • Leadership and individual skill development
  • Needs analysis
  • Team and organisational effectiveness
  • Climate surveys and customer feedback
Feedback is one of our specialities.  We have the experience and expertise to handle all your feedback and survey administration needs.  We take time to find out exactly what you need, and we create the survey according to your specifications.
  • Save valuable internal staff time for other priorities
  • Get efficient and very cost effective services
  • Relax, knowing that all feedback is kept confidential and stored securely off-site
  • Make it easy and fast for participants with an internet connection to access their assessments from anywhere in the world.
To learn more about the power of 20/20 Insight Gold click on the image.
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To talk with us about how you can use feedback to help improve your organisation, please
ProStar Coach
Pro Star 
From Performance Support Systems (the developers of 20/20 Insight Gold) comes
this new career management training resource - ProStar Coach - it answers the time and money problem.
It is a complete and confidential online coaching system - available to you and
your team 24/7 for less than a cup of coffee a day!
"ProStar Coach really helps you to grow, expand and stay focused on your goals. It helps get your mind working and stimulated to consider options you might not otherwise think about."
---Stacy Hunjadi of PrimeLending

ProStar Coach includes:

  • Leadership Assessments to Identify Your Leadership Skills and Strengths
  • Your Own Personal Coaching Network - Get Ongoing Online Support from Coaches You Pick
  • Online Training Videos Specific to the Skill Areas You Want to Strengthen, Worksheets, a Learning Archive, Energisers and Encouragement and Recommended Action Steps
This career management training resource is powerful because it can be accessed as often as you want. It helps you maintain momentum and focus because you get ongoing support and insights from colleagues, mentors and coaches. It is cost effective, helping you 'stay' fit and strengthen your leadership muscles, for less than a dollar a day.
"I find that I've never worked with such a comprehensive set of tools to address my 'needs' as ProStar Coach provides."
---Christine Johnson of ALD, Inc.
The program focuses on both the leadership skills important to success AND the character skills. There are three focus areas:
  1. 18 Leadership Skills for Managers
  2. 20 Personal Strengths related to leadership
  3. 20 Personal Strengths related to high performance
The Pro-Star Coach program comes with a 30 day guarantee. There's no risk. You are guaranteed satisfaction or you get your money back.
"There are many other things that impress me with ProStar - easy to use, well-presented, there when I need it, and so forth - but the key measure is that it helps me improve my business."
---Harvey Bennett of 360 Is Us Ltd.
Contact me
 with any questions you have about this career management training resource. 
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In July the theme of the newsletter will be "Self Awareness".
All the Best,
Barry Signature
Barry McMaster
Matrix Vision Pty Limited