August 2009 Vol 2, Issue 8
Modern man
When I agreed to teach 'Managing and Developing Careers' and 'HR and IR Strategy' at the University of Western Sydney this semester, I knew I'd be busier than ever...
What I wasn't prepared for was how inspired I am by the students!  Any employer would benefit from having such enthusiasm, energy and knowledge on their team.
I know you're busy, too, and we appreciate you taking the time to read this newsletter and pass it on.  Here's a quick list of what you will read about in this issue:

By the way, if you're mult-tasking while reading this, or you supervise multi-taskers, you should read the latest research from Stanford University.

If you find the information in this newsletter useful, you might be wondering what you have missed in previous issues.  You can access them all here.
Join our Mailing List!
 Or Call Us:
1300 785 150
P: + 61 2 9233 2293
M: + 61 448 306 180
View Susan Rochester's profile on LinkedIn
Forward to a Friend
Find out more about online assessments on our website
performanceAre you suffering from performance anxiety?

war for talent

A recent poll of 'My Career' readers, highlighted common attitudes to performance reviews. 
Do you identify with any of these?
  1. A massive waste of time that produces nothing - 45% agreed
  2. An agonising hour where my boss gets to be horrible to me in the name of progress - 18%
  3. A battle/game between me and my boss to try and get the biggest pay rise I can - 9%
  4. A useful tool to assess peoples' past performance and plan for their future - 28%

Not a very positive view of performance reviews!  So why persist?

One clue comes from data on financial planning practices, collected by Business Health and published in their In the Future Ready III whitepaper: "The results for those businesses willing to invest in their people are quite astonishing - the firms that implemented an effective performance management system deliver (on average) almost three times more profit to the business owners than those who are not yet leveraging the full potential of their team".
In our experience, most employees really want to perform to the best of their abilities.  Whether your business is able to make the most of that desire will depend on many factors including:
  • Having people in roles that match their unique strengths
  • Being consistent in performance expectations
  • Implementing a coherent performance management approach
  • Rewarding appropriately
  • Skilling all participants in giving and receiving relevant, timely and effective feedback
TIP:  Don't put off improving your performance management systems and skills -  you could be losing money!

ACTION:  Get some help...
  1. Start with an understanding of your employees' key strengths and you'll know if they have the opportunity to use them in their current role. Our online assessment tool is one way of getting an objective picture of individual preferences.
  2. Setup a performance management system that fits your business.  For financial planning practices, the Encore Group's 'HR Toolkit' contains guidelines, policies and documentation.
  3. Find a coach who can help build your skills and confidence in managing performance. Contact us for suggestions.
debFederal government funds balance and flexibility
Having recently been notified by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DWWER) that they have been successful in obtaining a grant to implement the new 'Fresh Ideas for Work and Family' program, our friends at White River Design will now install a new system that will allow its workers more flexibility and family friendly options in the workplace.  

"With the new system, my staff won't need to take sick leave when their children are ill," commented Debbie O'Connor, Director of White River Design.
"Instead, they will be able to access our system remotely and be able to work from home, while being there for their family.  It will also enable them the opportunity to do extra hours of work while they are at home, if they are wanting to increase their wage."

Further information can be found on the website at: 
Assistance for businesses considering implementing programs and/or applying for the above grant - including the 'Flexible Work Practices Toolkit' - is available from Flexibility at Work.  
quinnsWhat you should know about the new Fair Work Act
Quinns logo
The Fair Work Act 2009 spells the end of the controversial Workplace Relations Act 1996 that was implemented by the Howard  Government during it's time in power.  Some of the changes took effect as at 1 July 2009 and others will not be in operation until a later date. For example, The National Employment Standards and award modernisation commence on 1 July 2010.
There are a lot of changes taking place that both employers and employees should be aware of. In short, some of the core objectives of the new Fair Work Act include creating a new instrument called the Individual Transitional Employment Agreement (ITEA's), setting minimum conditions for all National Employment Standard (NES) and award modernisation, a radical overhaul of Unfair Dismissal laws, ensuring that only workplace agreements, agreement variations and terminations that meet fundamental requirements (such as employee approval) would come into operation and the introduction of Fair Work Australia.
Introduction of Fair Work Australia

In line with the new legislation the Federal Government has also introduced new governing organisations to oversee and regulate employment conditions in Australia.  The Australian Industrial Relations Commission and the Workplace Ombudsman will cease to operate and will instead be replaced with Fair Work Australia and Fair Work Ombudsman. It is important to know that the Ombudsman does not deal with Unfair Dismissal matters.
New Unfair Dismissal Laws

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, a person is considered to have been unfairly dismissed if:

(a) The person has been dismissed; and
(b) The dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable; and
(c) The dismissal was not consistent with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.

The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code is available to employers of fewer than 15 employees. Part of the new code contains a checklist that an employer can choose to complete at the time of a dismissal and should be retained in the event of any future unfair dismissal claims.

Some key changes to unfair dismissal that should be noted include:

� Small business employees can only claim unfair dismissal after they have served a qualifying period of 12 months. However, for larger business the qualifying period is reduced to six months.  For qualifying purposes, a small business is defined as a business which employs less than 15 employees at the relevant time.

� There no longer exists a ban on employees bringing unfair dismissal proceedings against their employer because of number of employees their employer engages. Generally, those who engage as little as 2 or as many as 200 employees can be subject to an unfair dismissal claim.

� The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code. It should be noted that the Code largely mirrors the previous practice of the Industrial Relations Commission in determining unfair dismissals and it is not likely that it will provide any substantial protection for small businesses.

� "Operational reasons" are no longer a defence to a claim of unfair dismissal. However, a dismissal is not considered unfair if it was done through a genuine redundancy.

� Applications for a remedy for unfair dismissal are to be made to the new agency Fair Work Australia, the application must be made within 14 days after the dismissal took effect.
The introduction of the Fair Work Act will see dramatic changes in workplaces across the country. Whether you are an employer or an employee, if you have any questions or would like more information on how the new laws will affect you please contact 1300 QUINNS or  
click here  to submit an online enquiry.
pollParticipate in our poll
This month, we launched a poll on LinkedIn to find out what the priorities are for businesses in terms of people management.  The poll question is:  In your organisation, which area of people management do you feel is in greatest need of improvement?
To vote, click here.
After you vote, you'll be able to see the current results and analysis of how different types of professionals answered the question.

seminarAttend a free information session on the Fair Work Act
NSW Business Chamber is running seminars in Sydney and regional areas from September to November 2009.  To find out more and register, visit the site.
Until next time...
Warm regards
Susan Rochester
PS  Remember you can check out the Balance at Work blog, follow me on Twitter or join our LinkedIn group.
Balance at Work is the human capital expert for financial services companies of 5-500 employees.  We combine the most accurate, insightful and easy to use online testing tool with expert advice, to give managers confidence to hire the right people first, make the most of their potential and approach difficult performance discussions with ease, creating businesses that are highly competitive because they have productive and valued employees.