Time Management Scale – The Utility of ATOMS

time managementThe importance of effective time management skills in the workplace has been highlighted by issues including increasing workloads, less funding and greater diversity in the client base. A situation has been created where health professionals need to achieve more in less time, making good time management skills essential. The importance of these skills has been endorsed by graduates, supervisors of recent graduates, experienced practitioners, and educators in the industry.

To that end, researchers at Sydney University investigated the most effective way of evaluating time management skills that would be suitable for an academic environment and clinical settings. They used the Australian Time Organisation and Management Scale (ATOMS) (Covic, Adamson, Lincoln & Kench, 2003).

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Surveys could be key to cutting staff turnover

Recent research has found that up to 80% of staff turnover can be better controlled by organisations by improving their understanding of employee needs, employee-organisational fit and workplace culture.  The research, which included over 11,000 employees from 40 Australian organisations, was based on exit survey responses from employees who left their organisations between January 2011 and April 2012.  It found that the main reason that employees cited for leaving the organisation was an unfulfilling job role.

It also found that one of the keys to trying to reduce staff turnover and retain top talent is to be aware of what is going on in the organisation: whether employees are well suited to their roles, and engaged in their jobs.

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Attention: employers of skilled migrants

Australia’s immigration policy had long focused largely on accepting highly-skilled migrants. Seeking workers with outstanding skills and qualifications that are lacking in Australia aims to address specific skill shortages and enhances the size and skill level of the Australian labour force.

In the 2012-13 period Australia accepted approximately 190,000 migrants. 68 percent of these, or almost 130,000 were skilled migrants.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research has found that skilled migrants, particularly those for whom English is a second language, often have different training needs to Australian workers.

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Organisational growth requires understanding your people

A report by the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), Talent pipeline draining growth: Connecting human capital to the growth agenda has found that failing to draw on the talent and expertise of employees can result in significant difficulties with growing the business and reaching financial targets.

CGMA surveyed over 300 CEO’s, CFO’s and HR Directors and found that almost half (43%) of respondents thought that ineffective people management had contributed to difficulties achieving financial goals in their organsiations, while two-fifths (40%) claimed it had reduced their ability to innovate.

In the context of the global financial crisis, the skills, experience, development and job satisfaction levels of employees are emerging as major sources of competitive advantage or disadvantage. Companies with highly skilled HR practices achieve up to 3.5 times the revenue growth and twice the profit margins of companies less skilled in talent management.

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Due diligence can avoid legal issues

When hiring senior executives, a lot of time and attention tends to be given to perfecting the remuneration package.  A leading workplace law and strategy firm warns that it is important to give equal attention to exit strategies, to avoid costly legal battles if the relationship sours.

One aspect of the exit/departure process that is often disputed when senior executives move on is the restriant of trade clause, which sets out which organisations the executive is prohibited from working for after they leave the organisation and how long this prohibition lasts.  For instance, some organisations prohibit executives from working for competitors for up to on year after moving on.

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The hidden costs of employee disengagement

A recent research poll of Australian workers has found that more than 80% of Australian employees feel disengaged and work, with more than 20% being actively disengaged, that is behaving in ways that are actively harmful to the organisation.  They estimated that disengagement costs Australian organisations at least $33.5 Billion a year in lost productivity.  It also has other negative social effects outside the workplace, with disengaged employees taking out their negative feelings on their families and having more health problems.

As discussed in our earlier blog How engaged are your employees, employee engagement refers to the extent to which  employees believe in the values and mission of the organisation, are committed to their work and will act in ways that further the organisation’s interests.  It integrates the well known constructs of job satisfaction and organisational commitment.

Engaged employees are focused and connected at work, supportive of organisational goals and are willing to “go the extra mile” at work.

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Baby boomers are booming at work!

One of the most important issues in the current labour market is the ageing of Australia’s workforce. There are not enough Generation X’s and Yers to replace the retiring baby boomers (BBs). However, this is not necessarily cause for concern as over the last decade we have seen a big increase in the number of BBs working past traditional retirement age (60-65 years).

In 2000 approximately 47% of men and 21% of women worked past the age of 60. In 2010 the figure for men had increased by 15% to 62% and the figure for women had more than doubled to 43%.

While this was partly due to the fall out from the Global Financial Crisis and the impact on superannuation, it is a positive step for organisations as it provides an opportunity both to benefit from the wealth of knowledge that more experienced workers possess and to capitalise on the changing workforce to introduce more flexibility in terms of part-time and casual work, mentoring, opportunities to combine work and further study and working from home arrangements.

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Changing face of the workplace

A large survey of Australian businesses conducted by the National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University and the National Centre for Vocational Education Research reveals some interesting findings about the significant ways in which employment patterns have changed in the last 20 years.

They found that since 1992:

-There has been a significant shift away from full-time, permanent jobs, particularly for men

  • Only 20% of all new jobs were for men employed full-time on a permanent basis
  • Growth in permanent jobs had been concentrated among individuals aged 45-59
  • Labour hire has been growing rapidly and now comprises over 3% of all employment

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How engaged are your employees?

 Employee engagement (EE) refers to the extent to which your employees believe in the values and mission of the organisation, are committed to their work and will act in ways that further the organisation’s interests.  It integrates the well known constructs of job satisfaction and organisational commitment.

It can also be thought of as an emotional or intellectual “attachment” (positive or negative) to their role and the company.

Engaged employees = intellectually focused and/or emotionally connected at work, actively supportive of organisational goals and willing to put more effort into their jobs (Khan, 1990).

Disengaged employees= distant and withdrawn emotionally or intellectually and perform their roles incompletely, without effort or automatically (Khan, 1990).

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Surveys profitable for businesses: a case study

Surveys as risk management tools

Well designed organisational surveys are profitable for your business.  They operate as risk management tools, helping organisations to prevent problems before they occur.   They can help identify/prevent inapproriate hires, inappropriate promotions, poor organisational culture, unsafe practices, misconduct, poor leadership and burnout.

Alternatively, not identifying these issues and having  unengaged, unsuitable, underskilled, risk-taking employees can prove very costly in terms of an organisation’s bottom line and reputation.

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Safety matters, just ask Orica!

Incidents such as the leak of the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium by Orica in Newcastle in August last year highlight the importance of safety procedures and proper handling of health and safety incidents by organisations.

Following the leak the plant was closed for 6 months, it reportedly lost $90 million in earnings, it faced court over breaching Environmental Protection laws and the incident was the subject of a NSW Health health and safety risk assessment and two government inquiries.

The incident also forced changes in environmental protection laws, which now require companies to notify authorities immediately after an incident that poses a risk to the environment, with fines of up to $2 million for failing to do so.

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Striking out

A dispute between workers at Coles’ National Distribution Centre in Melbourne turned into an indefinite strike last week over a new workplace agreement with Toll (the company which Coles outsources their warehouse staffing to). Staff believe the agreement does not provide them with the same pay and benefits as employees employed directly by Coles.

Early last week 250 workers and union officials barred access to the warehouse by Toll Group trucks, interrupting the approximately 100-130 trucks that usually pick up and drop off produce to the warehouse each day and threatening supplies to Coles stores.

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Assessment in Organisations – Current Status, Trends and Emerging Issues

Meta-analyses have revealed that the most valid predictors of job performance are ability measures (cognitive or intelligence tests) and personality assessments, particularly the “Big 5” personality traits, followed by structured job interviews.  Together, ability tests and measures of conscientiousness or integrity provide an adjusted validity of 0.65 (Ones, Viswesveran, & Schmidt, 1993; Ones & Viswesveran, 1998).  The combination of these measures also helps to reduce the impact of issues such as cultural differences in performance on ability tests and measurement error (Bartram, 2004).

In terms of ‘post-hire’ testing, research has shown that 360 degree feedback systems are one of the most popular and fast-growing types of assessments used in organisations.  These systems have evolved as globalisation and the increased pace of change in organisations have resulted in a need for flexible measures of organisational performance that assess a range of competencies rather than specific job skills (Bartram, 2004).

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How safe is your contact centre?

 

courtesy of google images

The security breaches at Sony Corp., makers of the PlayStation consoles, in April this year exposed both the wealth of personal information that contact centre staff gather from customers on a daily basis and also the potential costs and reputation damage that can result from lack of risk management and appropriate security practices.

The information stolen by hackers of the Sony Corp. systems included the names, dates of birth and possibly mother’s maiden name of approximately 100 million Sony PlayStation network customers as well as credit and debit records from over 23,000 non-US customers of Sony Online Entertainment (Edwards & Riley, 2011).  It has been estimated that financial costs (including credit card fraud, network repairs and marketing costs) will amount to approximately 50 million USD, whilst restoring confidence in the company’s network and stabilising sales may take up to 6 months (Edwards & Riley, 2011).

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Safety first?

A recent front page story in the Sydney Morning Herald (Wallace, 2011) “Injuries Show the Dangers of Childcare” highlights the serious problems that can arise when employees are unaware of, or do not follow, organisational safety procedures.

The report indicated that there were 13,300 potential health and safety breaches in child care centres in NSW in 2009-10, resulting in 1,000 children requiring medical treatment and one death.

While your business may have nothing in common with a childcare centre, it is important to realise that workplace injuries can happen in any organisation.  According to a WorkCover report, across NSW in 2008-09 there were 139 deaths resulting from workplace accidents and over 133,000 employment injuries reported (WorkCover NSW, 2010).  These occurred across a range of industries, including ‘low risk’ areas such as administration and insurance.

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How emotionally intelligent are your managers?

Leaders exert a significant influence over the satisfaction and engagement of the employees that they lead (Harter, Schmidt & Hayes, 2002). A good manager can inspire and transform a workplace; while a bad manager can derail their own efforts and those of the organisation.  Signs of derailment include failure to delegate, attitude of arrogance and insensitivity, bullying and inability to adapt to change (Kaiser & Hogan, 2007).  These can lead to reduced individual and organisational performance and have a negative impact on individual health and well-being.  See our blog on workplace bullying to understand one significant outcome that poor leadership can have on workers.

Studies vary in their estimates, but Hogan & Kaiser (2005) has advised that managerial incompetence may be as high as 30-75 per cent in America.  Friday 25th June’s edition of Human Capital Online cites research that shows that at least one in nine managers in Australia are underperforming and engaging in harmful behaviours.

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Identifying your strongest and weakest leaders

The idea of a 360 degree performance appraisal is to survey those around an employee to gather information about their performance from the perspective of different individuals they interact with at work. Feedback is typically provided by subordinates, peers and supervisors, the individuals themselves (self-assessment), and may include feedback from customers or clients. “360” refers to the 360 degrees in a circle, with an employee figuratively in the middle of the circle.

360 degree performance appraisals provide comprehensive, balanced information, i.e. they reveal how the individual operates in a range of roles and with a range of individuals; as a manager, as a member of a team, as a subordinate and, if applicable, with their clients. Reviewers typically remain anonymous, thereby reducing the likelihood of inaccuracies such as the ‘halo’ effect.

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Testing for Workplace Bullies

The Australian Psychological Society defines workplace bullying as the experience of aggressive and negative behaviours towards one or more employees that results in a hostile work environment. To be classified as bullying, such negative acts must be regular (usually at least weekly) and persistent (continuing for a 6 month period or longer).

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The Multi-Tasks Test as a Predictor of Management Performance

Managers are arguably the most important members of an organisation.  Managers act as the liaison point between the workers and the strategy makers.  They lead and direct staff, implement strategies and policies devised by organisational heads and provide both upward and downward feedback and advice.  They are relied upon by all levels of the organisation.

So it is very important for your business that you employ the right managers.

Interviews and traditional ability measures will provide guidance in your decision-making, but there is another tool that has been found to uniquely predict performance in managerial roles.

It is called the Multi-Tasks Test.

RightPeople’s Multi-Tasks test paradigm has a long history in psychological research but has recently re-emerged as technological advances have made it possible to develop superior forms of Multi-tasks and efficiently administer this test in the average workplace.

Read on for more information about the theoretical basis for this test, the empirical research supporting it and how RightPeople can help you make one of the most important decisions you will make: who you put in charge of your business.

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WHO SHOULD YOU TEST FIRST?

It’s a reality that incompetent accounting staff can virtually destroy a business.

Accounting practices have evolved over the last decade due to unprecedented market pressures including commodity based pricing and increasing costs from training, technology, and litigation (Eilifsen, Knechel & Wallage, 2001).  A number of accounting scandals in the early 2000’s (e.g. Arthur Andersen and Enron) fuelled the revision of key accounting practices and highlighted the damage that can be done to an organisation’s reputation and livelihood when accountants and auditors act improperly, incompetently, or do not recognise or respond effectively to strategic risks.

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PULLING OUT THE BAD WEEDS

Recruitment & Pre-Employment Selection Testing
By using the intuitive method of psychometric testing during pre-employment screening processes, companies are hitting a home run the first time they hire someone. Selective testing is “intuitive”, because it assesses job candidates beyond the normal interview questions, extracting information about the candidate through various kinds of pre-employment tests

According to Human Capital Magazine, pre-employment selection testing assists in recruiting people who are suitable for both the position and the company. In addition, selection testing also aids companies in “pulling out the bad weeds” that seem like the perfect fit.

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GIVING PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES A FAIR CHANCE

Psychometric Aptitude Assessment
A rigorous interview and selection process may seem tedious for both employers and prospective candidates. However, if you implement aptitude psychometric testing in your interview process, believe it or not, you are giving job applicants a fair shot at the job position.

“But, aren’t these tests used to weed out the unqualified employees?” you ask. The answer is: Yes, but aptitude psychometric assessments are also great for determining which candidates are the most qualified as well. When an applicant passes the tests that you chose to administer with flying colours, you know that you have found a viable candidate for the position.

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The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Job Performance

An independent study investigating the relation of the “Big Five” personality dimensions (Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism) to three job performance criteria (job proficiency, training proficiency, and personnel data) for five occupational groups (professionals, police, managers, sales, and skilled/semi-skilled) is summarised below.

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