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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Leadership

If you are like me, this is a great time to catch up on the latest research conducted during the year. I had flagged this landmark government funded report by the Study of Australian Leadership Group from the University of Melbourne and Centre for Workplace Leadership, ‘Leadership at Work: Do Australian leaders have what it takes?” mainly because of the spirited commentary it generated when it was released late in the year!

The report questions whether Australian leaders are up for the challenge of ‘slow economic growth globally…rate of technological change’ which are disrupting traditional business models along with a ‘seismic shift in the competitive and regulatory environment.’ The report used surveys of over 8000 people on which to base their findings. One source of the controversy arose from the section on ‘Significant gaps and weaknesses in Australia’s leadership and management.’ (Exec summary p. 8)

Peter Wilson, AM, AHRI Chairman takes exception to some of the findings, particularly in relation to the way public sector and private sector targets are  set and measured, the failure to ‘disentangle leadership from other core drivers of performance’ and how often senior leaders access external information and advice. To read both viewpoints, please go to:
for the full report

If you are looking for short courses to develop your leadership skills or for formal leadership roles in investigation management or emergency management please get in touch

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An article out this week by Bianca Healy discusses toxic workplaces with as many as 9 out of 10 people indicating that they have had experience with either ‘toxic’ individuals or cultures. Certainly when conducting organisational investigations it is a term commonly used by all the stakeholders and it generates a great deal of emotion and strong opinions of what is and what isn’t ‘toxic’ behaviour.

Healey says, based on the research conducted by those surveyed that ”everything rises and falls on leadership.” Certainly leaders can ”set a tone” either through their own behaviours where they reinforce aggressive and manipulative conduct.

Or leaders can perpetuate toxic cultures by ignoring behaviours and failing to hold to account those team members who undermine workplace harmony and respectful attitudes. This unfortunately validates individual negative behaviours and leads to an entrenched culture which can be very damaging but also resistant to later efforts to improve workplace conduct and attitudes.

A real test of leadership is where you inherit a toxic workplace. Why can some leaders turn this around? I would love to hear your experiences of how this was done. What worked? What didn’t?

Click below for the Healey article:
HRM Debate: What are the best ways to fight toxic workplace culture?

ACIM Solutions offers a range of programs and services to manage and investigative ‘toxic’ workplace cultures.  Please get in touch if you would like more information on investigating workplace bullying or short courses to upskill staff on emotional intelligence, resilience and leadership.

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Anyone who has been in the workforce for more than a few months has probably endured the phenomenon of ‘death by PowerPoint’. 

It’s a peculiar form of torture where audiences are held captive (often in a darkened room) by one of their own colleagues or another person with links to the organisation.

Once all available exits have been secured, the ‘presenter’ begins to talk and exhibit slides crammed with too much information, tiny fonts and bad clip art. On an on it goes, until all eyes have glazed over and collectively, the audience has lost the will to live.

Although speaking in front of others is a well-known source of anxiety, the ability to prepare and deliver a high quality presentation is undoubtedly a direct reflection on your professionalism. How you prepare, how you communicate and engage others are all important factors in creating a positive impression from the opportunity. 

So how can we break this cycle of cruelty and avoid causing unnecessary suffering to others?

Here are our best tips for giving an unforgettable presentation – for all the right reasons!

1.  Know your audience. 

Who’s going to be there and why? Are there any ‘hot button’ issues you need to know about and either directly acknowledge or avoid it (eg major IT system failures, a new CEO etc). What motivates this crowd?  What do they care about? Focus on how the presentation is relevant to them.

2.  Know your topic

Is your material current, relevant and useful to this audience? Anticipate what types of questions you might be asked, especially the hard ones, and think about how you will respond, before you’re under the spotlight.

3. Visit the room beforehand. 

Confirm the size is right and lighting and ventilation works properly. What audio-visual equipment will you need? 

4. Practise, practise, practise. 

There’s nothing like a rambling speaker to put an audience off.  And once that OFF switch has been flicked, good luck trying to get it back ON again.  Practise what you want to say and do it out loud

5.  Get there early.

You are not Madonna. Allow for the possibility that you could get caught in traffic or that an unforeseen problem may delay you. The last thing you want is to be feeling panicked or flustered when it is your turn to speak.

6.  Try not using PowerPoint.

 Or use it in a very limited way. Other options can include:  sending out content beforehand, photographs, short video clips, music, props, samples, brief handouts or get audience members involved in relevant demonstrations? You might even want to try new cloud-based software tools like Prezi. We all have shorter attention spans these days (that’s right, down from 12 minutes a decade ago to five minutes now) so get creative and mix up your media!

7.  Think about your posture and body language. 

Stand up straight and really ‘own’ the space around you. Don’t cling to the lectern like it’s a life raft.  Move around and/or use props or hand gestures if you need to make a strong point.

8. Make eye contact with the audience. 

You need to do this before, during and after your presentation. Remember to scan the room and smile, without staring at any one individual for too long.

9. Start with a good story. 

Ideally it should be something your audience can relate to – and all the better if it is amusing.  Barrack Obama is a master or the amusing anecdote.  Many TED talk speakers also use this technique.

10.  Speak at a normal pace and remember to pause. 

Ifyouspeaktoofastitmakesitharderforthe audiencetounderstandwhatyou’resaying! The average speaking speed is is between 110 and 150 words per minute. Time yourself when you are practising out loud and remember to pause periodically, e.g. before a particularly salient point.

11.  Use case studies.

 Real examples are infinitely more memorable than concepts and theories. If you are proposing a new way of approaching something, find out where else this has been tried. Did it work? Why or why not?  Remember that even negative results can be illuminating and relevant.

12.  Acknowledge and include opposing views. 

People want and deserve to be given a balanced view of important news and issues. Your presentation will have more credibility if you can show that you have analysed your subject thoroughly and looked at it from different angles.  One-sided presentations are just propaganda.

13.  Repeat your key message three times during your presentation

Try to do this in one sentence or less (i.e. three to ten words).  We live and work in a digital age where we are all bombarded with information, 24/7.  Never assume your message will sink in the first time people hear it.

14.  Use a memorable closing story and image. 

Your closing words and graphics are just as important as your opening ones, so make the effort to find ones that relate to your message or sums up the subject. 90 per cent of information transmitted to the brain is visual? Visual information is also processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than written words. Pictures are often remembered long after words and statistics have been forgotten.

15.  Stick to your time limit. 

Speaking overtime is rude to your audience, the host of the event and the presenter who follows you. Keep an eye on the clock during your talk and pace yourself so you can finish on time.


If you would like to know more about advanced communication, leadership skills or other training opportunities for yourself or your organisation, please contact us.


  • <http://executivespeechcoach.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/superior-presentations-71-how-many.html> 30 March 2016<http://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/10-tips-on-giving-a-killer-presentation.html> viewed 30 March 2016
  • <http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/11/14/six-ways-to-avoid-death-by-powerpoint/#b83edcd34cbb>
    viewed 30 March 2016
  • <http://fortune.com/2013/07/10/giving-a-speech-conquer-the-five-minute-attention-span/>viewed 30 March 2016
  • <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/if-these-extraordinarily-powerful-images-of-a-dead-syrian-child-washed-up-on-a-beach-don-t-change-10482757.html> viewed 30 March 2016
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In Part 1 of my article on workforce planning, I discussed the importance of clearly identifying where your organisation is heading and what internal and external drivers are shaping your business direction.

In Part 2, I’d like to give you some tips for getting the balance of skills and experience right in your organisation. 

Once you have determined the optimum organisational structure and identified the skill sets you require for the future, focus on these two key questions:

  • What strategies are available to you to ensure your staffing mix meets your organisation’s requirements? 
  • How can you ensure you have the right capacity in terms of staff numbers, structure and skill set?

If it helps, take a snapshot of where you are currently. A comprehensive audit is often the best way to establish a baseline. However, I understand this can be time-consuming. If you work for a large organisation or government agency, explore the option that others in the organisation may be collection people management data as part of other reporting requirements to assist you.

Information that can be used to objectively review the current position of your organisation includes:

  • Staff demographics and staff turnover trends
  • Current roles, grades or classifications in the organisation
  • Staff numbers and employment mode (eg. full time, part time)
  • Employment status (eg. permanent, casual, contract)
  • Short term or temporary staff
  • Qualifications held
  • Skills and competencies currently held
  • Number of employees in training positions
  • Locations of staff
  • Salary rates and HR budget figures
  • Awards and agreements.

Analysing this information will help you identify those areas which need attention and action.

Once you have this data at your fingertips, consider some of the HR options available to align your staffing mix with your overall business goals.

HR options will typically include one or more of the following:

  • Development or improvement of retention strategies
  • Training and education
  • Restructuring
  • Succession planning
  • Targeted recruitment
  • Redeployment
  • Redundancy program
  • Retrenchment program.

Finally, it’s always important to review how effective the HR strategies you have used in the past have been in facilitating your overall business objectives. Monitoring, evaluating, and if necessary, modifying these strategies regularly will ensure you have a flexible, living plan and that you are using all the resources available to you to meet your organisation’s needs and goals.

If you would like to know more about human resource planning for your organisation, please contact us.

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The New Year is always a good time for organisations to plan, develop plans and develop practical strategies to achieve personal and organisational goals.  

Your HR plans should be linked to the broader strategic plan of the organisation and the business plans and the short, medium and long-term goals outlined.

HR Planning involves the key questions:

  • What are the skills and capabilities I need to support and lead the organisation in the short, medium and long term future?
  • What is the organisational structure that we need to meet our business goals in the short, medium and long term future?

Getting the right people into the right positions at the right time is far easier said than done!  

The best people managers understand this and know it doesn’t happen by accident. It is a deliberate strategy and requires careful thought and consideration.

Increasing competition among companies to recruit and retain the best ‘talent’, rapid technological growth (often outpacing the skill sets and training of existing workers), reduced operating budgets and constant pressures to increase efficiency are all factors that need to be addressed.

Additionally, Australia’s ageing population, and retiring baby boomers in particular, are depleting many organisations of some of their most experienced and knowledgeable employees, often before succession plans (if they are in place at all) are ripe for fruition.

Workforce planning represents a major challenge for HR so I have decided to devote my next two blogs to workforce planning.

In this article (Part 1), I’d like to outline some helpful points to consider when planning your HR requirements and in the next one (Part 2), I’ll discuss some strategies you can use to create the right staffing mix for your organisation.

I hope these suggestions will help you to respond more confidently to changes in your workplace operating environment throughout the year and stay on track to meet and exceed!  your professional goals for 2016.

Where are you headed?

Usually, the most constructive place to start is by conducting an ‘environmental scan’.

To do this, consider the following questions:

  • What external factors are occurring in your industry or sector that could potentially impact on your organisation and therefore your team? (eg new or emerging competitors entering the market, technological changes, economic growth/downturn, the age profile of your workforce, potential legislative changes that may impact on your business)
  • Where can you readily source the most credible data on industry or sector trends to make informed decisions about the staffing mix you need?
  • Are there any current legislative or political issues that may be relevant? (eg expected changes to funding models, training requirements for staff, new taxes likely to come into effect in 2016)
  • Do you need to adapt the types of services and products you provide to meet the changing needs of your customer base?
  • Are you intending to expand, reduce and/or restructure your workforce?
  • What organisational structure would work best?
  • What are the key skills your organisation needs? (including technical, operational management and people management skills)
  • Do you have enough people with those skills? What are the time frames to acquire those skills?
  • Can you grow those skills internally (ie through staff development, succession planning) or do you need to recruit them in? What are the timeframes involved?
  • What internal information do you need to source? ( eg demographics, retirements, predicted staff turnover, succession plans, planned absences, staff surveys)

Taking some time to consider your external and internal environments and taking stock of your internal resources will help you to embrace 2016 with the calm self-confidence of an experienced driver, well- prepared for all conditions and ready to enjoy the journey.

If you would like to know more about human resource planning for your organisation, please contact us.

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Some workplace roles involve managing potentially or actual heightened or volatile situations on a regular basis. 

Circumstances can arise when behaviours extend past ‘difficult’ and into challenging conduct which requires more sophisticated skill sets in order to positively respond and manage. Unfortunately, managing situations that involve elevated emotions and potential physical harm in workplaces is increasing.

Challenging behaviour can be described as ‘those behaviours that threaten the quality of life and/or physical safety of an individual or others’.* It sometimes exists on a continuum and may include one or more of the following:

  • open or passive aggression
  • physical or emotional harassment (e.g. verbal abuse or threats, bullying, racism, stalking)
  • refusing to co-operate with authority figures
  • refusing to comply with organisational codes of conduct, policies and procedures
  • theft or property damage.
  • self-harm, including alcohol or drug abuse

* Source

So how do you cope with these types of behaviours, reduce potential harm and restore calm in the workplace?

The key is in developing the skills to respond rather than react.

This is much harder than you might think because like all animals, humans are hard-wired to react in either a ‘fight or flight’ mode in threatening situations. Overriding our instinctive reactions takes skill, practice and commitment. 

Here are our top ‘DOs’ and ‘DON’Ts’ for de-escalating heightened situations in the workplace:

1.  DO stay calm so you can think rationally and use your professional judgement to assess the risks.

2.  DO focus on your communication skills. Use a calm, neutral tone of voice and be very conscious of your language so as not to inflame the situation.

3.  DO listen respectfully to the person. Ask open-ended questions to identify the issues and reply using ‘reflective listening’ skills to show that you are paying attention. Allow the person ‘vent’ and don’t interrupt them.

4.  DO be clear, concise and unemotional about what you are seeking from them. Using simple language, outline the impact of their behaviour(s) on others and the workplace as a whole.  Calmly explain the boundaries for behaviour and the consequences of non-compliance in terms of simple choices.

5.  DON’T be afraid of silences in the conversation. They may feel long and awkward to you but they are giving the other person breathing space and time to think about what you’ve said, reflect on their current situation and make decisions about what they do next.

6.  DO focus on your non-verbal communication skills. These are the most critical skills in a heightened situation – be very conscious of the signals you may be (inadvertently) sending.  In particular, using some eye contact (if culturally appropriate) to communicate during heated situations is vital.

7.  DON’T ever turn your back on someone behaving erratically or aggressively. If possible, try to put some kind of physical barrier (e.g. a desk or chair) between you and the other person.

8.  DO stand at a slight angle away from the other person, rather than facing them head-on which could be construed as confrontational.  

9.  DON’T respond to challenging questions or personal provocations. If the person questions your authority, redirect the conversation to the issue at hand.  

10.  DO respond immediately if you feel physically threatened. Use an open-handed pushback with your hand out at shoulder level in front of you.  Include clear verbal instructions, e.g. ‘Stop! Get back!’

11.  DON’T be a hero and physically intervene unless it is completely unavoidable.

12.  DO de-brief with others involved after the event. It may help you to deal with the stress of what happened, get a better understanding of how the situation unfolded and plan more effectively for the future.

For more information on options to develop skills in managing challenging behaviours for yourself or your teams, please contact us.

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How productive are your workplace meetings? 

Are the outcomes worth the significant investment?  

Is attending unproductive meetings just adding to your already hectic work schedule? 

Recent research has found that the average officer worker spends 62 hours a month in meetings and that 31 of those hours – or exactly half! – are considered unproductive or a waste of time. The estimated salary cost to businesses from this lost productivity is a whopping US$37 billion dollars each year.

The ability to hold a successful and productive meeting is a dying art. Even with the wealth of technological aids for modern organisations, many meetings still lack focus, fail to deliver outcomes, fail to engage staff and often become a source of great frustration.  

The ability to chair a successful meeting, even at an informal level, is a direct reflection on our professionalism. If our meetings are not achieving anything, this perception can become an extension of how others perceive us. The reality is many people are not confident in setting agendas, navigating procedural motions, understanding meeting rules and etiquette, recording action items and taking minutes to make the most of the forum.

In order to get the most from resource-intensive meetings, organisations should regularly review the way they organise, conduct and follow-up on them. 

Here are the top ten tips from PSW HR Solutions on how to have more successful meetings:

1. Define

Define your purpose – why do you need to have a meeting?  Is there another communication channel possible that will achieve the same or an even better result in a shorter time-frame?

2. Plan

If you must have a meeting, plan it carefully. Who needs to be there? Do you need the entire team or just the key decision-makers?  Invite everyone who needs to be there and no-one else.

3. Agenda  

Develop your agenda collaboratively to ensure relevance of discussion topics and ‘buy in’ from intended participants. Set time limits for each item. Rank agenda items in order of priority and allow more time for complex or controversial items.

4. Roles & Responsibilities  

Assign clear meeting roles and responsibilities. For formal or structured meetings, make sure the role of minute taker is assigned to someone appropriately skilled for that task. The same goes for the chairperson and/or facilitator. These two roles are crucial, particularly for large meetings.

5. Venue  

Is the meeting venue fit-for-purpose? Room size, accessibility, ventilation, lighting, equipment and technology all matter, especially for long and/or important meetings.

6. Preparation

Send out any background reading materials well in advance of the meeting. This is not only a courteous and professional practice but it will help to foster more thoughtful and considered discussion at the meeting itself.

7. Procedures & Protocols

Follow agreed meeting procedures and protocols. Anticipate any contentious or controversial issues that may be raised and/or potentially difficult personalities who may be attending. Make sure you have strategies up your sleeve to deal with them. For example, seat potentially difficult participants close to the chairperson or facilitator, on their right hand side, if possible. Brief the chairperson or facilitator thoroughly in advance about the meeting’s purpose and any issues or invitees that may be of concern.

8. Participation

Encourage active participation and questions for more meaningful and honest discussions.

9. Evaluation

Don’t wait till the end of the meeting to evaluate it!  Then it’s too late to do anything about it. Ask participants during the meeting for their feedback on how the objectives are being met and take their feedback on board without taking it personally.

10. Actions & Outcomes

Follow-up on any agreed action items and outcomes from the meeting as soon as possible. Be sure to send out the minutes promptly, otherwise the momentum for change/progress may be lost, and key participants will be less likely to attend your next meeting.


It makes good business sense to take meeting management seriously. Improvements can be simple and inexpensive to implement and the potential for positive results can be enormous.

For more information and help on how to develop better meeting skills, including useful strategies for engaging and energising participants, troubleshooting tips and essential competencies for your  21st century meetings toolbox, please get in touch.

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Posted by on in Workforce Planning

Moving into new or expanded leadership roles can be both exciting and daunting. Many frontline or first time leaders often have strong technical or operational skills but, as any leader will tell you, it is the people management skills involved in successfully leading teams that are often described as the most critical!

For those experienced leaders, adapting and growing your leadership skills as your responsibilities or the size of your team expands can also challenge our confidence. The weight of expectation can be overwhelming so it becomes important to make the best possible start on the new leadership journey.

Here are some strategies to help you make the best possible start to fulfilling your leadership role.

1. Do your homework on the business unit as much as possible. Understand their role,  previous performance successes and disappointments, any external challenges they have faced recently or changes that may be imminent.

2.   Confirm the scope of your responsibilities, available resources, levels of decision making authority and ways in which your performance will be measured.  

3.   Spend some time on determining how your role and your team can add the best value to the organisation. Start to build your strategic thinking capability. Reflect on what the functions are of the team. Are there opportunities to improve the contribution to the organisation in the way the team delivers their services?

4.   Develop and confirm your ‘must do’ priorities for your first 3,6,9,12 months. This planning includes the preparation of your ‘100 day plan’ usually at the commencement of a new position which assists you to focus your energies and avoid becoming overwhelmed. Once developed the plan should be discussed with your senior managers and also your teams so that the focus of your efforts is clear and expectations can be clarified.

5.   Clearly communicate your vision or plan to the team. Where do we want to be in 12 months? What do we want to have achieved? What are our goals? How will we get there? How will we measure our performance?

6.   Discuss and confirm the communication methods that will work most effectively for your teams, senior managers and peers.  

7.   Define the culture you believe is necessary for the team. What behaviours are appropriate? What positive behaviours and attitudes need to be fostered? Once these have been defined you can communicate those expectations clearly to the team. What key organisational documents will support you in driving positive cultures?

8.   Make a concerted effort to personally connect with your team and one to one partnerships.

9.   Make a conscious and determined effort to make positive impressions at every opportunity in your new role. Convey your leadership through your communication and your actions by delivering on expectations with conviction and enthusiasm.

10. Invest in your network. Create a deliberate strategy to invest in building strong internal and external stakeholder partnerships. 

11. Manage the change process. Where you have a number of change projects identified, reflect on the priority, the expected outcome, the current engagement level of the team and implement the change program accordingly. It will be counterproductive to tackle too many fires at once. Focus on small wins initially to build your confidence and the confidence of those around you.

12. Deliver.  Deliver.  Deliver. New managers must deliver successful outcomes within reasonable time frames. Identify the priorities and focus your efforts on ensuring that projects of tasks are completed to a high standard. Resist the temptation to take on too many things at once for exactly this purpose. It will undermine your efforts to complete and this will affect your confidence.

For more information on options to develop confident and competent leaders in your  organisation, please contact us.

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I was pleased to announce the launch of my new RTO, as part of ACIM Solutions. This news was recently featured on business news website Hunter Headline

ACIM Solutions (RTO #41002) offers a valuable opportunity to develop and deliver high quality competency and non-competency training programs, for both the public and private sectors. 

If you would like to read the article, please click here.

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The transition into a leadership role can often be a challenging time for both the individual and the organisation.  It is in everyone’s best interest that this process be managed to create the smoothest possible move to the new role.

Below are just a few strategies for those leaders in the organisation supporting people making the transition, and also those newly appointed leaders.

Positive strategies for organisations

  • Recruit wisely for your leadership roles. 

Many organisations will promote the next in line and this can sometimes be problematic.  Some people are very technically strong, but do not necessarily have the people management skills, or desire, to assume responsibilities inherent in leadership roles.  Consider the leadership skill set the business needs carefully.  What are your priorities as a business unit? Based on the current business goals, has your candidate demonstrated enough capability to validate the decision to move into staff management responsibilities? Being technically strong does not equate to skills in people management.  The skill sets are very different!

  • Clearly outline what the new role will involve.

Clear communication of expectations from the outset avoids problems down the track.  Be specific for example on issues such as, additional hours, increased responsibility, management of budgets, travel requirements. 

  • Clearly outline how their performance will be evaluated.

Specify in what ways will their performance be measured, how regularly and any bonus or incentive scheme provisions.

  • Provide (meaningful) coaching and mentoring support. 

Particularly in the early stages,  provide regular access to the right people to ensure the new leader has an opportunity to discuss any concerns, outline their progress, ask questions or seek advice. Coaching and mentoring is a very powerful form of staff development and will give the new leader confidence to respond to their new challenges positively.   

  • Provide leadership training

Quality training and development, particularly in relation to people management skills, is a crucial part of building confidence in newly appointed leaders.  Training programs help leaders to build and develop positive leadership behaviours which directly value add to the organisation. 

Positive strategies for the new leader

  • Ensure you are clear on the commitments involved with your new role.  This can be critical if you are already within the organisation.  Issues such as maintaining confidentiality,  performance management and disciplinary responsibilities are part of a leadership role.  There is often a big difference between being one of the team and leading the team.
  • Understand the organizational expectations of your performance and how that performance will be evaluated. 
  • Assess your own strengths and focus on areas where you can grow skills.  Building self awareness is an important skill for a leader and it is a positive habit to develop. Be as objective as possible; consider specific examples that validate your self appraisal. For example, how do I know that I am communicating to my teams positively? Is my communication style engaging the team to perform at their best, or could I develop my skills to achieve even better outcomes?
  • Invest your time in creating networks and relationships with people who can give you constructive guidance and feedback.
  • Commit to ongoing professional development to keep enhancing your skill set.  Continued learning in leadership will build your confidence, broaden your network and allow you to add value and maximise your contribution to your team and the organisation. 

For more information on how to support your organisational leaders to achieve better outcomes, contact us.

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Posted by on in Archive

Generating and maintaining high performance of our teams is a critical characteristic of successful organisations. 

Teams that are performing at optimum levels drive competitive advantage, create positive work cultures and differentiate ‘great’ from ‘good’ in achieving the organisational outcomes.

It is crucial for businesses to have effective systems in place which:

  • determines performance parameters,
  • acknowledges and recognizes positive performance
  • provides a framework to monitor performance
  • builds accountability of all stakeholders
  • proactively and positively manages performance issues in a timely manner

Many organisations and managers find developing and implementing an engaging and productive performance management system very elusive.

Sometimes even when we have all the components of a constructive performance management framework in place something gets lost in translation. Performance management can become synonymous with an expensive and disengaging waste of time for managers and team members. Rather than turn people on to perform better, the process turns them off!

So, we know it makes sense to have a strong and meaningful performance management framework, but how do we create it? How can you build in accountability and also motivate the team in an integrated and streamlined process?

It is critical to identify the key components of the performance management framework for all organisations;

HR Policies

There are a range of HR policies that can directly impact on managing performance in an organisation. For example,

  • remuneration policies may outline bonus or incentive schemes,
  • employee performance policies may list a process of how regularly performance will be reviewed, the method and the basis of any scoring system,
  • the Code of Conduct and Disciplinary policies will discuss the consequences of unsatisfactory performance or conduct.

All policies should be reviewed to ensure they are working in synergy. For example, the incentive scheme cannot encourage behaviours that could possibly breach organisational Code of Conduct provisions. This sends mixed messages around performance expectations to the teams and undermines the framework.

Position Descriptions

Ensure the position descriptions are accurate and reflective of current duties. Use the performance management process as a regular opportunity to discuss the current roles to identify any changes to the duties involved.

The accountability in the framework is platformed on accurate position descriptions and performance indicators that provide a consistent and clear description of the responsibilities involved. 

Setting indicators and goals

Define the indicators and goals in clear and concise language. Ensure these goals align with the overall business goals and objectives and create a ‘clear line of sight’ through the organisation. This linkage is very important in building understanding of the business direction and priorities and how each individual is contributing to those goals.

The other area where I see organisations struggle relates to effective goal setting. This can often be an area that disengages people rather than motivates teams.

Take some time to get this part right. Engage your teams in setting the goals to build engagement. The SMART goals formula works very well in creating goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound.


The above components of the performance management structure create a shared understanding of the expectations of performance and how it will be measured.

The next blog relates to the two final components of successful performance management:  that is, the actual process used and also the importance of developing skills in our managers to maximise this important opportunity to drive continuous improvement in the workplace.

In the meantime if you would like to know more about creating and implementing an effective organisational performance management process, please contact us.

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Posted by on in Archive

The start of the year is always a great opportunity to take stock of your organisation. As outlined in the previous article the first step in working out what your staffing requirements will be in the short, medium and long term is clearly identifying where the organisation is heading and what internal and external drivers are shaping your business direction.

Some questions to ask include:

  • What strategies can you use to ensure your staffing mix meets your requirements? 
  • How can you ensure you have the right capacity in terms of staff numbers, structure and skill set?

Where are you now?

After determining where you are heading, you need to establish where you are currently. A comprehensive audit is the best way to establish a baseline. 

Some of the information that can be used to objectively review the current position includes:

  • Staff demographics and staff turnover trends
  • Current roles, grades or classifications in the organisation
  • Staff numbers and employment mode (eg. full time, part time)
  • Employment status (eg. permanent, casual, contract)
  • Short term or temporary staff
  • Qualifications held
  • Skills and competencies currently held
  • Number of employees in training positions
  • Locations of staff
  • Salary rates and HR budget figures
  • Awards and agreements

Gathering this information will help identify the areas on which to concentrate your strategies.

Some of the HR options available to align your staff with your overall business goals include;  

  • Development or improvement of a retention strategies
  • Training and education
  • Restructuring
  • Succession planning
  • Targeted recruitment
  • Redeployment
  • Redundancy program
  • Retrenchment program

Remember, it is always important to review how effective the HR strategies have been in facilitating your overall business objectives.  Evaluating and modifying regularly will ensure you are using all the resources available to you to meet your organisational goals.

If you would like to know more about human resource planning for your organisation contact us.

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No matter what size organisation you may be working within, or whether you are in the Government or private sector, the beginning of the year is always a great time to consider where a business is heading in the short, medium and long term. 

This is a critical part of managing human resources so I have dedicated the next two blogs to workforce planning. This one specifically focuses on what is helpful to consider when planning your HR requirements and the next blog discusses strategies you can employ to create the right staffing mix.

Over the last two years, I have worked with organisations in the private and public sector analysing how their human resource planning links in with their business goals. I know it can be a bit overwhelming, but in my experience it does help to break the process down into manageable pieces and work through from there.

Where are you headed?            

Reflecting on the direction of the business unit and what your key goals and objectives are will then lead to a contemplation of what the human resource requirements will be to support those goals in the short, medium and long term. 

Successful organisations understand that planning is critical to ensure they have the right people, with the right skills in the right place and the right time to maximise every opportunity, respond to changes in the operating environment and stay on track to meet, and even exceed, their goals.

The fundamentals of workforce planning involves considering the following questions as a starting point:

  • What external factors are occurring in your industry or sector that could potentially impact on your organisation and therefore your team? (eg. technology, unemployment levels, economic growth/downturn, changing skill sets,  ageing workforce)
  • Where can you readily source the most credible data on industry or sector trends to make informed decisions about the staffing mix?
  • Are there any legislative or political issues that may be relevant?
  • Do you need to adapt the types of services and products you provide?
  • Are you intending to expand/reduce and/or restructure?
  • What are the skills your organisation needs? (including technical, operational management and people management skills)
  • Do you have enough people with those skills?
  • Can you grow those skills internally or do you need to recruit them in? What are the timeframes involved?
  • What internal information do you need to source? ( eg. demographics, retirements, predicted staff turnover, succession plans, planned absences)

 If you would like to know more about human resource planning for your organisation contact us.

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Well-written position descriptions are a foundation in building  positive organisational culture and are an invaluable tool in managing people.

Position descriptions offer clarity to your team by outlining a position/role in terms of why a job exists, the position objectives, the responsibilities and outcomes, the capabilities and behaviours required and under what conditions the job is performed.

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Conflict is inevitable in the workplace, and when managed effectively, can be a healthy and integral part of your organisational culture.

However in my experience as a HR manager and nationally accredited mediator, I have seen firsthand how damaging workplace conflict can be for many organisations.

Unfortunately the reality is that many managers and leaders are not confident in positively managing conflict. 

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