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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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.

Theory based cognitive tests

Theory based tests are best for your business

From the end of the 20th Century and particularly in the early 21st Century a trend has developed so that cognitive ability tests are increasingly based on sound theoretical models. The benefits of basing ability tests on theoretical models are that they:

  • Incorporate the most up-to-date research about how the brain functions and how learning occurs
  • Allow for interpretation of results based on the theory
  • Guide translation of results into practical outcomes.

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Sleep and the workplace: the latest trends and research

The work culture

With Australians working longer hours than ever before and working the longest hours of all countries in the developed world, businesses are finding that they need to provide a greater number of more innovative ‘perks’ to reward their employees’ hard work, to keep their employees’ productive and to ensure they attract and retain the best workers in a competitive marketplace.

Some common examples of perks used by leading organisations, according to Human Capital Magazine’s Perky Perks article include additional maternity/paternity or ‘personal health’ leave, referral bonuses and training.

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Selecting Job Applicants in the Age of Social Media

An article in the ‘mycareer’ section of 4 October’s Sydney Morning Herald revealed that increasingly employers are using social media sites such as Twitter to help select job applicants.  Alan Geere, from Essex Chronicle Media Group and Northcliffe Media South East in the UK this week asked would-be reporters to apply for jobs by tweeting 140 words about themselves.

Twitter has also been used by such well known organisations as McDonalds and Sony.

Mr Geere advised in his blog that he preferred this method of seeking employees as he is “fed up with wading through turgid ‘letters of application’ and monstrous CVs”.

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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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Psychometric Aptitude Tests vs Referee Checks

Most jobs require applicants to provide references or referees in the form of former employers who can be called to ask about how the applicant performed in previous roles.  Whilst referee checks are very common, there is evidence to show that they do not predict job performance very well and can in fact be highly misleading.

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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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Using Integrity Testing in Order to Deter Employee Theft and Absenteeism

When employers consider or discuss employee theft, their thoughts are usually focused on protecting assets such as the business bank account and petty cash. The truth is, most of the employee theft that occurs at work comes in the form of taking office supplies and other merchandise that belongs to the company, as well as incorrectly reporting time sheets that reflect the hours that were worked, sick leave, absenteeism and vacation time.  These untrustworthy, and quite often overlooked, behaviours unnecessarily cost employers billions of dollars every year.

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Implementing Skills Testing Into the Interview Process

It is beneficial for all employers to implement skills testing during the interview process. This allows employers to rate the candidates and decide whether or not they possess the ability to perform the job duties that they are interviewing for. Job candidates are hungrier than ever to obtain employment, and it is important that companies hire carefully in order to protect themselves. This is where job interview skills assessments come into play; they save the company the time and frustration of hiring the wrong person.

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Human Resources in the Modern Workplace

Modern-Workplace

“When hiring for a position, taking into account the various interview techniques at the disposal of the average Director, Executive, HR Manager or Business Owner, we can expect that there is about a 70%  chance that the person employed will be an average or good employee. “

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