Microsoft Word Matters – Most Popular Corporate Software

MS Word “After Web browsers Word is the most-used app on the planet; it’s still the platinum standard in word processing. Nothing else even comes close”(PCMag, March 2013).

Microsoft Word is a word processing program developed by Microsoft.”  It’s been in existence since 1983, and since that time has undergone 14 revisions, the most recent being Word 2013. It is the most widely used word processing program, with Word files being used as the “go-to” format for sharing documents (e.g. by email) because almost every computer user can access a Word document by using MS Word, a viewer or word processor that imports the Word format.

Its basic features include utilities for manipulating and editing text, as well as a spell checker, thesaurus, and dictionary. It appears as a deceptively simple program, but it has a high degree of functionality.
» Read more

English Second Language Training and Support

In Australia, on average 15 percent of all school students come from a non-English speaking background. In some states it is much higher: in New South Wales this figure is almost 25 percent English Second Language Students, as it is in the Northern Territory, and in Victoria it is 20 percent. According to Adriano Truscott, president of the Australian Council of TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Associations, Australia has an “outstanding tradition” in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL).

It is therefore vital that we have a great system for tracking the progress of our English Second Language Students (ESL) students, to cater for the needs of our high number of ESL students, as well as to safeguard our reputation as a leader in this field.

» Read more

The key advantages of well-designed skills tests

Skills tests assess skill levels of applicants or employees on a variety of topics and areas that are important in the workplace. These may include typing and data entry, Microsoft Office and other commonly used software tools, Web development and basic literacy and numeracy skills, to name just a few.

There are a number of key advantages to using well designed skills tests as part of a pre-employment selection process or employee development program. Read on to find out more about these advantages, and about what you should be looking for to ensure that you select the best skills tests for your organisation.. » Read more

Multimedia and multi-tasking

Brunken and colleagues (2002) investigated multi-media learning and the processes that make it work. In two experiments they showed that the multimedia format facilitates learning through the processes of the dual coding effect and the modality effect.

The dual coding effect refers to the effect by which learning is improved when related pictures are presented at the same as text based information, and the modality effect shows that learning is enhanced when information is presented through the visual and auditory modalities simultaneously.

» Read more

Report reveals the benefits of skills testing

Skills are specific competencies (such as knowledge of MS Excel) that enable performance of job tasks or functions (such as accounting tasks). While often thought of as ‘less than’ a qualification such as a degree, skills are essential in the workforce.

While being intelligent and having a degree, diploma or the like provide the necessary foundation to perform well in many roles, it’s also important that employees have the necessary skills to perform the day-to-day tasks required by their job and which are often not taught as part of a formal qualification.

 

» Read more

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.

» Read more

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

» Read more

Importance of ‘soft skills’ in the workplace

As seen recently in a leading Australian Human Resources magazine, the importance of ‘soft skills’, including creativity, flexibility, diplomacy and original thought in the modern workplace is gaining momentum.  In an increasingly complex business environment these skills can help organisation’s develop new and better solutions to problems, as traditional ways of interacting with clients, colleagues and the public are becoming less relevant.

So what are soft skills and how do they differ from the more recognisable ‘hard skills’? The easiest way to explain is by way of an example:

» Read more

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.

» Read more

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).

» Read more

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.

» Read more

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.

» Read more