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Posted by on in Stakeholder Management

Feedback from customers, as well as internal and external organisational stakeholders, provides us with a valuable opportunity to identify ways to continuously improve human resource management across the business. 

The opportunities are only available if the private or public sector organisations are brave enough to capture the feedback, analyse the trends and proactively drive improvements!

Organisations can use a number of methods to source and channel stakeholder feedback, for example;

  • internal and external surveys,
  • feedback cards,
  • complaint processes,
  • blogs or service comments and testimonials. 
  • Performance management on an individual or team basis for example through KPIs.

Much of that feedback inevitably relates to staff performance, both good and poor.

On the upside, positive feedback can provide a valuable opportunity to reward and acknowledge teams in a timely manner.

Just as significantly, negative feedback should be seen by organisations as a thermometer of the business unit. Effective complaint management can be a powerful early warning system of deeper people management issues that need to be addressed.

The key then becomes how to efficiently capture the data, and use that information to identify and implement sustainable improvements in people management processes and systems.

Stakeholder complaints

Complaints from internal and external stakeholders often indicate one or more of the following people management processes needs review;

  • Recruitment processes
  • Induction processes
  • Training and development
  • Workforce planning affecting service delivery (staffing or deployment models)
  • Performance management
  • Conduct management
  • Work, Health and Safety
  • HR policy design and/or implementation
  • Welfare management

What do you need to do?

The first thing to do is to ensure you have a structured process around regularly sourcing and capturing complaints and feedback.

The next step is to analyse that data objectively and really consider the various issues that may sit behind the negative comments.

Build the discussion on feedback into your regular team meetings and communication processes. This depersonalises feedback in many situations and helps to focus on the issues, rather than the person. Issue-based resolution will often result in more long term and positive outcomes. Actively involve your teams in the process as they will offer a valuable and different perspective in problem solving.

If you would like assistance in developing a feedback management system and/or training and development in this important area for your team please contact us.

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Posted by on in Stakeholder Management

PSW HR Solutions have been working with several clients recently who are seeking to enhance the resilience of their teams. 

Significant and sustained organisational changes, negative media attention for an organisation and leadership changes have resulted in the resilience of team members being tested. 

People are worn down by the moving goal posts, ever challenging targets and uncertainty about their role and even their long-term future in tough economic environments. 

Workgroups with low resilience are often evidenced by the following HR challenges;

  • conflict in the workplace
  • low morale
  • staff turnover and absenteeism
  • low innovation and productivity

The good news is that people can always improve their capacity for resilience at any time in their life! 

Further, successfully leading your teams through challenging periods is actually an opportunity to build a culture of resilience and can strengthen the team – if it is managed well.

So how can we get our teams to move from the victim/blaming reaction to the learning/coping reaction?

Here are some strategies to help you create a resilient work culture

Evaluate Workload

Across public sector and private sector people are being asked to do more with less and it is critical to clearly discuss and clarify organisational expectations and priorities. You also need to ensure you carefully and objectively assess a healthy level of pressure versus unmanageable work demands. 

Many people thrive in challenging work environments but where this balance is out people quickly feel anxious and defeated. The key is open communication with your teams regularly about their workload.  Leverage the opportunities offered through the structured performance discussions processes.

Empower your people

Where people feel they have little control to influence decisions or events, particularly where they affect us directly, we become very stressed. We often do not know all the facts and that adds to the pressure. 

Where reasonable involve your teams in decision making at all levels, consult wherever possible to solve problems and offer a variety of ways for teams to provide feedback. 

Keeping people informed about decisions and providing opportunities to contribute builds engagement and creates a resilient culture.

Resource your teams

People managers have an important role in ensuring teams have adequate resources, training and technology to do the work required. It is vital to make a conscious effort to fix niggling problems quickly as they amplify our frustration in pressured environments.  Save the stress for the big-ticket items, not annoying technical or process problems!

Prioritise expenditure on creating improvements that enable people to meet their goals as easily as possible.  Focus on continually developing skills in your team and consider ways they can grow their capability with incremental challenges. Growth builds confidence which underpins resilience.

Create positive work relationships

People’s relationships with their colleagues and their managers can often define how they feel about work. Lack of support, aggressive and/or disengaged management styles will quickly demoralise the team.

To counteract this, build in routine  practices that actively create positive relationships within the team as part, for example open communication processes.  Communicate appropriate workplace conduct and ensure the standards around positive behaviours are maintained. You should also monitor your own leadership style when under pressure and reflect on whether you need to adapt your style to meet the current circumstances.

Create positive strategies to support change

Change is an inevitable part of our lives yet it is constantly recorded as one of the major triggers for stress. It is helpful for your teams if you acknowledge how stressful and challenging it can be. You can then build engagement in the process by celebrating even small wins along the way where you can. 

In addition, regular updates on progress are critical to keep teams energised. You can also role model positivity about the changes and consciously use positive language. This serves to encourage people to shift their thinking from focusing on what is lacking or going wrong towards what is working well and how they can build on it to create new opportunities.

For more information on options to develop a resilience culture in your organisation, please get in touch.

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How to make the most of this important investment in your new staff.

This is the second blog in a 2-part series. The last blog focused on the value of effective onboarding and induction processes to build staff engagement. 

To project a professional image and maximise the opportunity, recruitment, induction and onboarding should be conducted as a cohesive effort!

Tips for effective onboarding

While the formal induction program may start when the employee first arrives to begin work, the actual onboarding experience should begin well before the first day.

Some basic tips for an effective induction and onboarding program include:

Before the start date:

Contact the new starter by phone prior to their first day. First-day nerves can be eased by providing the new starter with some basic information which can be easily sent to them and include information such as:

    • How to get to work (maps, bus routes, etc)
    • What time to arrive
    • Where to park
    • How to dress
    • Where to go/who to ask for and contact details
    • What activities to expect on their first day.

Upon arrival:

People will feel welcome if their arrival is expected. This can be seen as a small detail but it does send a very powerful message about an organisation and their internal communication processes. It sets up the first day in a positive way so inform reception or other relevant staff when a new employee is starting so that they are welcomed. 

Ensure immediate team members are updated so they are not taken by surprise when introduced to the new person but, rather, also offer a warm welcome.

Take the time to have a workstation prepared. For example, secure a telephone and computer prior to the employee starting work. Set up email addresses and prepare network access where appropriate so employees can get to work immediately.

Give the new employee a task to start working on that is relevant to their ongoing work. This will ensure the employee is being productive and feels useful from the start. The task should be easily achievable, yet meaningful.

Expectations of performance and behaviour

Ensure that the new employee’s position description is accurate and current. The manager should spend time discussing the position description with the new employee, explaining the work in the broader context and providing clarification where necessary.

Further to that, provide an overview of how the new employee fits in with the rest of the team, how the team fits in with the department, and how the department contributes to the overall effectiveness of the business for example. It may be useful for the new employee to spend some time with other members of their team to learn more about workflows.  When people understand their role in the wider organisation they are more likely to be engaged in the business and their work.

Ensure you clearly explain performance expectations and also behavioural expectations of the business. You can then clarify any concerns at this point. 

Discuss the Code of Conduct and ensure a clear understanding of what is required. Agreeing on the performance criteria at the outset will ensure that the new employee is clear about your expectations of them.

This is critical given the provisions of a probationary period.

Ensure regular communication opportunities. Managers should meet the new employee ideally at the beginning and end of their first day. Include time regularly in the initial days and weeks to check in with how they are finding the new position.

The information ‘dump’

Induction processes can often become an information dump. Do not bombard a new employee with too much information at once. They will be overwhelmed and will be unlikely to retain very much. Instead, deliver information in stages, depending on priority and relevance. Try not to accomplish too much on the new starter’s first day.

Make the process as interactive as possible. Generate discussion to ensure understanding. People are less likely to retain information from an experience they were not engaged in.

Documenting the process

Documenting the date, content and attendance of staff taking part in induction processes is critical. The agenda should ensure all legislative obligations (e.g., safety) are all addressed.

New employees should sign as acknowledgement of their understanding of relevant organisational documents such as Codes of Conduct, Employee handbooks and performance arrangements.  Any equipment or security clearances should also be acknowledged.

Finally, always actively source feedback from new staff on the induction and onboarding process. It is the key to driving continuously improving these important phases.

For more information on your onboarding and induction processes so that your organisation can meet its goals, please contact us.

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The value of effective ‘onboarding’ and induction systems for new staff

(Part 1 in a 2-part series on the benefits of cohesive and holistic staff entry programs.)

How staff are introduced into a workplace can often set the tone for their level of engagement and contribution to the organisation in both the short and long term. 

How we manage these important phases in the employee life cycle directly reflects on our professionalism as a business. New staff are forming their first impressions on the organisational culture and the aim should be to create, and maintain, a positive impression.

Disputes can later arise over what information was provided by an organisation during induction/onboarding phases, particularly in terms of the quality of safety information provided or expectations around KPI’s and performance. 

Some legislative requirements must also be met and an inadequate process often comes back to haunt businesses as standards and practices fall short of expectations on both sides of the ledger.

A systematic and well thought out program will avoid all of these potential pitfalls!

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is a broad term that discusses how organisations acclimatise new staff. 

The goal is to accommodate and assimilate new staff into the organisation so that they may start contributing as early as possible. 

Onboarding is a continuous process which extends beyond the initial induction and ensures new staff are supported during the early part of their careers.

How does onboarding differ from induction?

Induction is an important part of the overall onboarding process, but is typically more focused on the procedural aspects. 

Induction phases are usually shorter term in nature and provide information, guidance around procedures and support to new employees.  Addressing ‘how things work’ will enable a speedy adjustment to the new environment so they can begin productive, meaningful work as quickly as possible.

To be effective, induction should be a structured program that is implemented consistently across an organisation to provide orientation, organisational knowledge and initial on-the-job training requirements, safety information and attend to administrative functions such as computer access and payroll.

Why is it so important to get these steps right?

There is a direct correlation between induction and onboarding (or the lack of) and early employee turnover. Turnover in the early stages of employment is costly in both tangible and intangible terms to the employer due to the following reasons:

  • Cost of recruitment | Re-recruitment doubles the cost.
  • Loss of return on investment | If an employee leaves within the first three months of employment, the company will receive little, if any, return on investment for the training and resources provided.
  • Loss of productivity | Turnover is disruptive to staff and your business operations.  The duties/priorities of other employees will need to be reorganised to cover the duties of people leaving prematurely.
  • Cost of temporary replacement | Temporary staff may be hired to fill the gap, bearing an additional cost to the company. Temporary staff will need to undergo initial training and, depending on the nature of the work, may be unable to work on long-term projects, thus affecting productivity further.
  • Reflection on the organisational brand | Often people leaving due to inadequate processes will often discuss their experience negatively.

Probationary Periods

The probationary period is designed to assess an employee’s competence and professional behaviour before making a commitment to their ongoing employment. However this period is also an opportunity for an employee to assess the organisation and how you perform in onboarding and induction will be critical!

Benefits of effective induction and onboarding

In addition to reducing early employee turnover, effective induction and onboarding offers the following benefits:

  • Strong programs reinforce the decision of the new staff member to join the organisation. Positive, professional experiences validate their choice and turn the lust into love!
  • Makes new employees feel welcome and valued which will underpin engagement
  • The structure of the process and open communication reduces a new starter’s anxiety by assisting them to adapt to the new environment quickly and clarify concerns.
  • The appropriate levels of productivity and efficiency are reached earlier
  • There is less reliance on the direct supervisor/manager for direction
  • There are organisational benefits as the opportunity is presented for existing employees to mentor new staff while simultaneously developing their own skills.
  • Builds a culture of professionalism and positive communication.  These processes should encourage feedback so that employee dissatisfaction can be addressed early on.

Please see Part 2 -, Tips for Effective Onboarding and Induction - for practical tips on how to make the most of these important staff development opportunities.

For more information on your onboarding and induction processes so that your organisation can meet its goals, please contact us.


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