Bribery and corruption – are organisations informed and prepared?

A recently released report outlining the findings of Deloitte’s 2012 Bribery and Corruption survey reveals that organisations in Australia and New Zealand may be ill-equipped to identify and manage corruption and bribery risk.

The survey was completed by 390 organisations from Australia and New Zealand, including publicly listed companies, Australian subsidiaries of foreign companies, public sector organisations and private companies.

Some key findings are:

 

 

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RightPeople in China!

In our efforts to ensure that we offer the most up-to-date, empirically based, well researched  tools available, we are constantly doing research and market-place testing of our new assessment tools.

We even go to China!

In an earlier blog we introduced the Multi-Tasks test, an empirically based competing tasks measure with a long history in job selection research that is particularly useful for predicting job performance in managerial roles.  We have now developed an updated online version of this tool and tested it on a group of workers in China.  Our findings show Multi-Tasks to be a valid, reliable predictor of job performance in the Chinese marketplace, particularly for more senior roles.

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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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R your employees OK?

Thursday 13 September is National R U OK? Day.

R U OK? Day is a national mental health day on the second Thursday of September to encourage Australians to connect with their colleagues/employees by asking them: Are you okay?

One in five people experience depression at some point in their lives. That means that approximately 4 million Australians will suffer from depression. More than 2,000 Australians suicide each year. Depression is the most common mental illness, followed closely by anxiety.   Approximately 7 percent of Australian employees in any organisation suffer from depression each year.

 

So chances are that at least one person at each workplace may be suffering from a mental health problem right now.

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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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Keeping employees happy

Research has shown that some of the ‘perks’ that keep employees happy in their jobs are not the stereotypical ‘big ticket’ items that only larger businesses are able to offer.

Boredom, lack of opportunity and poor work-life balance are within the top four reasons that people leave their jobs, according to The Australian Human Resources Institute, rather than lack of perks such as corporate cards, cars and fancy technology. The Institute also found in a 2009 survey that employees value good communication and training opportunities over and above higher pay.

Other important considerations for employees, that are particularly relevant to smaller businesses that are unable to compete with large businesses on remuneration and work conditions, according to research undertaken by Deloitte, are:

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‘GPS building’ for your organisation

A GPS for business?

No, we’re not talking about a Global Positioning System for your car. But it is a similar principle. Many organisations and business leaders are arranging their organisation around GPS, or Guidance and Positioning Statements. Like a GPS in your car, an organisational GPS will guide your organisation to a chosen destination, providing clear directions and guidance along the way to shape the culture of the organisation. These statements can also be referred to as mission statements, values statements or charters.

An effective GPS is a key tool in fostering employee engagement.

A number of successful and high profile organisations understand this. BHP Billiton refers to their GPS (called a charter on their website) as the “single most important means by which we communicate who we are, what we do, and what we stand for as an organisation, and it is the basis for our decision-making”. Their Charter has existed for over 10 years with only minor modifications being made over that time.

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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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Work safety needs a human touch

Most organisational occupational health and safety (OHS) interventions focus on controlling employee procedures and the physical work environment in an effort to maximise workplace safety.  While such efforts are important, they do not take into account the human factors related to work safety, such as individual and group attitudes and the influence of management.

Recent research involving members of the RightPeople team has found that there is an important interaction between management attitudes, work pressure and individual attitudes in determining whether an employee will follow safety procedures.

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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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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:

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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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Safeguarding our workforce

Australia’s Aging Workforce

The ageing of Australia’s workforce is one of businesses’ major emerging challenges.  By 2044-45 it is estimated that 25% of Australians will be aged 65 years or over, which is approximately double the present population.

Additionally, over the last decade the average age of the Australian workforce (especially the full-time workforce) has been increasing faster than the average age of the general population (Department of Parliamentary Services, 2005).

In September 2010 there were approximately 5.8 million adults not in the labour force.  Over 3.3 million, or 57% of these people were aged 55 years and over (The Australian Institute for Social Research, 2008).  As more people move into older age groups, overall workforce participation rates are predicted to substantially drop.  Some estimates project that there will be a loss of one third of the workforce over the next two decades to retirement, redundancy and illness/disability (The Australian Institute for Social Research, 2008).

By early next decade labour demand is expected to exceed supply (Productivity Commission, 2005).

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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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Recruiting the Gen Y employee

http://www.smartcompany.com.au/Premium-Articles/Top-Story/Whod-hire-a-Gen-Y.html

What the research shows about Generation Y

Many surveys and studies on Generation Y (individuals born between approximately 1980 and 1995, earlier or later in some definitions) indicate that, as a group, there are a number of characteristics they tend to display that employers should be aware of when hiring and managing these individuals.

Specifically, research has shown that more than any other generation in the workforce, workers from Generation Y (Gen Yers) tend to:

– Anticipate changing jobs frequently (with some research showing more than half of Gen Yers anticipate changing jobs every 2 years).

– Be much more likely to move to a new job if their needs for challenge and career development are not met.

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Streamline your recruitment process to attract top talent!

A recent survey has shown that 79% of job applicants lose interest in a job when faced with a long recruitment process and 45% have withdrawn their application because they didn’t like the interviewer.

This is consistent with the experience of James Nicholson, managing director of the professional recruitment consultancy Robert Walters.  Nicholson said he has consistently observed that the organisations that are slow to make decisions or fail to properly sell the role have difficulty attracting  the best talent available. A streamlined recruitment process is critical.

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Fraud and misconduct prevention

Fraud and misconduct “grey areas” in the workplace

Yesterday’s Human Capital Australia magazine outlined a recent decision by Fair Work Australia (FWA) and the implications for dealing with fraud and misconduct in the workplace. 

A supermarket store manager was dismissed for taking groceries without paying, however the dismissal was overturned by FWA and he was awarded more than $15,000 in compensation as the matter was not properly investigated.  The manager claimed that he intended to pay for the groceries at a later stage and in the absence of an appropriate investigation  there was inadequate proof that this was not the case.

In his judgement Commissioner Ian Cambridge said that a “proper, comprehensive and balanced” consideration should have been provided before dismissing the employee.  A warning or dismissal with a notice period may have been a more suitable response.  The supermarket should have undertaken a thorough investigation to determine whether misconduct had occurred and to ensure their rights and the rights of the employee were protected.

This ruling has a number of important implications for employers.  The main implication relates to properly investigating alleged misconduct.  Another important implication is that employers should be careful about who they employ in the first place.

The old adage “prevention is better than cure” has never been more appropriate.  Dealing with misconduct once it has occurred can be fraught with difficulty, as this case highlights.  It is much easier to try to create a workplace where misconduct is unlikely to occur.

RightPeople has a range of psychometric tests designed to identify people who are most and least likely to engage in unethical and illegal behaviour within organisations.  These tests look at attitudes, behaviours and other risk factors associated with wrongdoing.  It’s called the Risk Management Profile (RMP).  Specifically, the RMP identifies integrity, honesty, poor impulse control, stress tolerance and conscientiousness.   Used in combination with our personality inventory it can be an invaluable tool for safeguarding your workplace against fraud and misconduct.

Contact us to find out more.

Psychometric personality tests

Our last blog looked at psychometric tests and the difference between psychometric and skills tests.

The main focus was on cognitive ability tests and specific skills sets.  An interesting question, therefore, is where does personality fit in?

Personality tests

Personality tests are psychometric tests.  They are based on personality research and theories about how personality is structured and how it can be assessed.  They have robust psychometric properties (high validity and reliability) and normative data gathered from many thousands of people.  They look at a different type of individual difference: individual propensities to think and act in certain ways.  Unlike cognitive ability tests and skills tests there is no right or wrong answer.  Different jobs and positions in jobs have different personality types that are best suited to them.  Although, there are certain personality traits where performance in a certain range is preferable for many jobs.

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Psychometric tests and skills tests – what’s the difference and what’s the value

Psychometric tests and skills tests are often used in job selection.  Both can be vital tools to help you find the best people for the job.  But what exactly are they, and what are the differences between these two types of tests?

Psychometric tests are instruments that tell us about individual differences: such as personal characteristics or cognitive ability (intelligence), compared to other people.  Skills tests tell us about whether a person can perform a certain set of tasks, and how well.  While they might sound quite similar, they are actually different.  The main differences between psychometric and skills tests are their design, their applicability and what conclusions can be drawn.

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More on skills tests v’s psychometric tests – declarative and procedural knowledge

Declarative and procedural knowledge

There are several different ‘ways’ of knowing things and of acquiring knowledge.  Two of the main ways are declarative and procedural knowledge.  Declarative knowledge is knowing that – i.e.,  factual knowledge and information – for instance that Sir Edmund Hilary climbed Mt Everest.  Procedural knowledge is knowing how – i.e., knowing how to perform activities – like playing tennis.

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