recruitment

“What’s it REALLY like to work here?”

This is what people ask themselves before they take a new role. Our VERIFIED WORKPLACE solution can help.

Even the most optimistic people on the planet will find it difficult to remove themselves from talk about political and economic headwinds facing various economies around the world. The impact of this is of course when it comes time to hire new team members. Regardless of whether there are plenty of people around to hire, the people who you really want to hire will always have the greatest choice about where to work next. They will be selective, and will always be asking themselves during a recruitment process ‘what’s it really like to work here’?

The problem is that every workplace will be saying theirs is great, and in a world where fake news has become a thing, it is hard for people to know for sure what to believe. Naturally, everyone is trying to highlight the good things, but what about the problems? Our research suggest that it’s not the problems that are important, it’s that they are being identified and addressed. In other words, there is a commitment to continuous improvement.

Is independent verification the solution?

There are a number of companies that offer awards and recognition about being a great place to work, and various companies who offer employer reviews (e.g. Glassdoor). The only problem is that the people who offer reviews are either really happy and want to publicly demonstrate this, or are disgruntled for some reason that may not actually be the company’s fault. There are also examples where those who end up with great place to work awards aren’t always a great place to work. Check out this example.

If someone can’t trust these types of results, it’s not going to really help things all that much. So what’s the answer?

Introducing our Verified Workplace approach

After speaking with many business leaders about this challenge, we decided to figure out how to solve it properly. After many years of trial-and-error, we created a technique called Verified Workplace to achieve two simple but important things.

  1. Identify the risks and blind spots that are likely to result in unmet expectations for new employees. You know, unnecessary processes, wasteful spending, things that don’t make sense to anyone and could lead to tomorrow’s headaches. These are the things that people want to know about, and you can give them a direct answer.
  2. Verify this commitment to identifying and resolving issues that are likely to get in the way of someone doing their job, and provide a way of communicating this to both new and existing team members.  

How do we do this?

Well, you will be surprised by the simplicity of the technique. It doesn’t involve a long and complicated survey that costs loads of money. We just need everyone to answer 3 questions that take around 5 minutes. The key is that we have developed a unique way to uncover the very skeletons in the closet that new employees will find out about anyway. Imagine being able to tell them that you are proactively dealing with issue 1, 2 and 3. This is what people really want to know is happening and built into the DNA of the company. Taking action and following through on promises.

The secret to our approach is the idea that it’s the people who are closest to the action that know exactly what isn’t working right now. Typical employee surveys aren’t always able to find these things out.

Prices start from just $2,500. If this sounds interesting, book in 15-20 minutes to discuss it with me personally (Jason Buchanan). Book A Time Here.

How to create a winning Workplace Culture

A great workplace culture is one where everyone has an opportunity to succeed, and is actually succeeding! In this article, we share a few simple principles that we use ourselves to make sure we are succeeding and winning together in a way that is still enjoyable to be part of.

There is no doubt that ‘workplace culture’ is a complicated topic at the best of times. Everyone seems to have a slightly different view on what this really means. To us, it is really simple. Your workplace culture is the sum total of all behaviours of everyone associated with the company and its products/services, including leaders, employees, customers, suppliers and the community. It is not something that can be owned by just by Leaders, or HR, or any particular ‘culture champions’. It is owned by everyone whether they like it or not. At Optimum Consulting Group, when we first thought about creating a platform that could support workplace success, we knew the first thing we needed to consider was the impact on culture (something we are also advising our clients about this everyday). We knew that to create and maintain an awesome workplace culture where everyone is in a position to succeed, we had to get the basic foundations right first. Here are three principles that we believe help to create a great workplace culture. We call them non-negotiables!

#1 – Creating a fair and valuable exchange

If you think about it, almost everything to do with work is based on the principle of exchange. A job is an exchange of x and y between company and employee, a conversation is an exchange of information between two or more people, a goal is an exchange of future intentions. What we know is that when you strip out all of the fluff that you read about in social media, what everyone really seems to want at work is to be part of a fair and valuable exchange. We know that if everyone is committed to this simple principle, a lot of workplace problems seem to disappear. So we made this something that we should not only commit to, but keep ourselves and everyone else accountable to it.

It’s actually a really simple idea. In every interaction with everyone you come in contact with, just make sure it is fair and valuable for everyone involved. It’s everyone’s responsibility! Sure there are going to be times where you think the balance of fairness and value is not weighed in your favour, but that brings us to the second principle.

#2 – If you have a problem or need help, speak up respectfully

We are all human beings with different perspectives of the world and have different ways of dealing with circumstances. Imagine how boring it would be if we were all the same! However, what this means is that to understand others, we need to be able to speak with them about it. The only way to truly understand something is to ask questions and exchange information as part of a conversation. Think about how many instant messages it takes to understand something that a one minute conversation could clear up instantly!

Consider this. If someone is upset about something but doesn’t say anything, who’s actually creating the problem? By making it everyone’s responsibility to speak up about what’s on their mind, it means that everyone doesn’t have to second guess if someone is needing help or upset about something.

However, this principle comes with an important prerequisite – speaking up needs to be respectful of others and conform to the principle of fair and valuable exchange. Constantly pointing out things that are wrong, or complaining about things that aren’t fair, isn’t really all that fair on others. Stomping towards the boss’s door every time something isn’t going your way is hardly fair on them, in the same way that ignoring appeals for help is not fair nor valuable. Reacting poorly to bad news or spreading gossip about someone who is going through a rough time is hardly a fair and valuable exchange. I am sure you get where we are going with this.

With these two principles in place, it makes this next principle much easier.

#3 – We all have our jobs to do, so lets do them

When I ask someone ‘what does your job involve’, I have never ever had anyone tell me that their job is to gossip, bully, discriminate or make life difficult for people around them. Even if a job description isn’t totally clear, rarely will anyone’s job involve any of these things. This simple principle is about focusing on doing what we are paid to do, and achieving what we set out to achieve. Sure there are plenty of speed bumps and problems that will surface on the journey, but let’s just get our jobs done to the best of our ability.

And this is where My Employee Life fits in. The only way a person can be successful in their job is if they know what they are supposed to be doing. If everyone is fully aware of their job responsibilities, and the things that really matter to success (actions and behaviours), everyone has a much better chance of succeeding.

This means that it is everyone’s job to know what their job is. If someone isn’t sure about what they should be doing principles 1 and 2 apply. In other words, all three simple principles work together. What we are left with is a workplace that doesn’t let unnecessary excuses creep in, which is better for everyone.


Should you implement the same principles?

Every workplace is different, however what we know is that the principles of success are largely the same. Set clear expectations and priorities, consistent non-negotiables that apply to everyone, and then encourage better conversations and interactions whilst creating momentum. Our suggestion is to discuss it with your teams and see what they think. The only people who can create your culture are the people involved, so it’s not a bad place to start.

And if you need some help to implement or want to discuss how to go about it, get in touch with us. We have something simple and effective to share with you.

predictive analytics

How to create a continuous improvement program.

The secret to continuous improvement is to keep identifying and removing the things that are causing unnecessary chaos. We can help.

In the world of business, barely a day goes by without an article popping up about how artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and machine learning can be used to improve business decision making and workplace performance.  Whilst this is true, it is not all that easy for SME’s to get right, and it can be expensive. Whilst data will always be important, one other option is to focus more on implementing a proactive ‘continuous improvement’ program that reduces the need for collecting loads and loads of ‘predictive’ data.

The difference between predictive and proactive.

There is a certain irony about the term ‘predictive analytics’ in that it takes a lot of accurate historical data to make somewhat accurate future predictions. What can sometimes happen though is that by focusing so much attention on historical data, it draws attention from what is happening right now. ‘Now’ is the only time that really matters.

If budget is a consideration, another option is to focus more attention on guiding and influencing what is happening in the present. Here is what we suggest:

  • clear goals and expectations
  • clear guidance about high-leverage actions and behaviours
  • clear guidance about principles and ground rules
  • ensuring the appropriate ‘feedback loops’ are in place and everyone is communicating effectively.

If you have read other articles of ours, this will sound exactly like the performance drumbeat that we describe. The trick to then creating a successful continuous improvement program is to confirm these things are happening, and then identify risks and blind spots that are likely to be causing people frustration. What we want to know is anything that is likely to be getting in the way of success, and remove as many of those things as possible to reduce unnecessary chaos.

For a smaller company without the budget or resources to go and collect lots of historical data and crunch it accordingly, this is a sensible approach.

How can we support your continuous improvement program? 

At My Employee Life, we can partner with you and help to not only ensure your performance drumbeat is effective, but also to help you identify risks and blind spots that are likely to get in the way of future performance.

We can still collect plenty of data about various parts of the performance drumbeat, this approach just means there isn’t any unnecessary data being collected that can become distracting. Whilst your competitors are drowning themselves in too much data which is causing too much unnecessary chaos, your workplace can be focused on adapting to the current circumstances as they are.

How?

This is becoming one of our most popular services. We agree on a monthly budget, and we help you with all of our capabilities on the path to achieving the things that are important to your workplace. Here’s an example of what we can achieve for just $500 per month:

  • Goal Setting workshop conducted for supervisors.
  • A short quarterly survey to uncover problems and blind spots
  • Create a continuous improvement drumbeat involving team members to co-create solutions.
  • We offer a ‘verified workplace’ confirmation that can be presented to new team members.

If this sounds like something that can benefit your workplace, simply book in a time to discuss.

Create A product first!

Create a product first please!