We have been around for nearly 20 years now and, in that time, we have served hundreds of clients across a wide range of industry, cultural, size and geographical settings. As with any business, to stay relevant and of value to our clients, we need to continuously test and refresh our offerings – always looking to be able to help in new and better ways. Over the past couple of years, we have been undertaking a deeper analysis of our strengths and how we can best leverage them to benefit both our business and those of our clients. We have done this in the context of the people and culture challenges that organisations large and small need to address in the modern world and how we can leverage both modern thinking on employee engagement and high performance on the one hand and HRM technological platforms on the other to better effect. That has led to a number of exciting initiatives that we have begun to roll out and which will come fully online in 2020. Our Better Workplace Projects Using best practice methodologies from around the world, we have put together an organisational improvement model that really works – because it is centred on and is delivered through “your most important asset”, your people.Our Practice Leader, Peter Maguire, designed the Better Workplace Projects to meet the need for Australian businesses to find better ways to lead and manage their people. Peter believes that a focus on strengths rather than risks and enabling employee engagement and wellbeing are the keys to making better workplaces where people and businesses flourish. Here is what an early adopting client, Heidi Tucker, CEO of Anchor, has to say: “Peter has introduced the organisation to a range of tools, frameworks and theories underpinned by positive psychology. These allow us to support our staff to be the best version of themselves at work. Anchor has invested in developing a Better Workplace team, a group of staff members representing all areas of the business, who act as our “employee voice”. I have found this “voice” so important because it guides myself and my senior leadership team in the right direction- where our staff want to go!!” Our EngageMentality Coaching Programs Complementing our Better Workplace Projects, we have flipped the traditional performance management model on its head because it simply does not work. There are 4 basic tenets that underpin this model, namely:
We look at the whole person through the lenses of role, relationships, values, strengths and wellbeing.
We develop performance and development plans that are tailored to the individual in all 5 of these contexts.
We regularly check in to see how it is going, to give credit for achievements and to tweak as necessary for areas requiring attention or things that have changed.
The person responsible for my plan and my performance and development is me – my manager’s role is to coach me to help me to succeed against that plan.
Our technology solution – Employment HeroAfter extensive research, we have chosen and entered into a partnership with Employment Hero, a cloud-based HRM system that fully integrates with leading financial management systems such as Xero and MYOB and others. This provides a lot of functionality and economy to manage basic HRM tasks (like many other online systems do) but it also provides value adds in employee engagement, wellbeing and technological support for our coaching programs that other systems don’t have. It also helps us to automate process functions so that we can leverage our expertise more effectively where it should be directed – to helping you to improve your business and lead and manage your people better. That automation also helps you to focus on what really drives your business – your people. Our investment in facilities We have become a member of Waterman Business Centres giving us access to state of the art working, meeting and training/presentation facilities in three locations – at Caribbean Gardens, Chadstone and Narre Warren. So we now have much better capability to provide the right space for the service that you need at any given time. Our continued offerings Of course, we are not “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. We are still providing the same old every day services that have got us to where we are now. That is the hands on help with understanding and meeting compliance requirements, writing documentation such as employment contracts and HRM policies and procedures, developing enterprise agreements, giving you a hand with staff communications and helping to resolve disagreements and to manage performance, conduct and disciplinary matters. With the range of initiatives that are outlined above, we have new and better ways of doing those things too. Our business is about “Helping PEOPLE in BUSINESS”. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we might be able to do that for you and/or your people by calling me on 0438 533 311 or email me at email@example.com. Peter Maguire Practice Leader Ridgeline HR In 2020, we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary and we will also be growing on the back of all of this refreshment of the Ridgeline HR brand and services. We are looking for people who can do that with us as independent contractors and consultants in both our employee engagement/better workplace services and in our Employment Hero/compliance services. Have a look at what we do and how we do it if this is of interest to you. Then, if you have something to offer us, please feel free to give me a call. [/av_textblock]
If people are your greatest asset (as is so often said to be the case), why is it that so few organisations actually put people at the centre of their business strategy and activity?
Why? Because for the past thirty years, Australian businesses have generally been focused on risk management and process control and more recently metrics as the drivers for managing people.
The philosophy has been about efficient process, delegation of responsibility, compliance and consequences for non-compliance.
But that is hardly engaging, is it? And, while you certainly need to have efficient processes and appropriate policies in any business, it won’t really deliver a high performance culture, will it?
So what can you do differently?
Use the relationships between people in your business as the driver for improvements.
You do this by understanding and getting buy in to the inter-dependencies between people and here are a few examples:
When you have someone new start, identify the key people that this new starter will interact with in their role and introduce them to what these relationships look like by getting them to ask three questions of each of these people: What is your role? What do you rely on me for? What do I rely on you for? That will help the new person to settle in so much faster and effectively because they understand where they fit in the relationship sense.
When you set up a project, map the inter-dependencies between project team members and other stakeholders by answering those same 3 questions. That is a great aid to project planning and execution.
When you are resolving conflict between people, explore the inter-dependencies (ie what do I rely on you for and what do you rely on me for). Then determine what is working well and celebrate it and identify what can be improved and commit to a plan together to deliver those improvements. By focusing on the professional inter-dependencies and partnering in the improvement plan, you move beyond the blame game to effective shared solutions.
These are just a few of the ways that we leverage the power of positive relationships in Helping PEOPLE in BUSINESS.
We recently launched our new Better Workplace Projects and we are getting terrific feedback on the impact like:
“The session was excellent – great buy in from everyone and really positive feedback afterwards.”
“The team and I loved the session and felt very positive and inspired”.
Why are they having this impact?
It’s fresh thinking for old challenges!
We look at what drives people engagement and high performance through a positive psychology lens where the focus is on how we use our strengths to improve rather than just how we fix the problems.
We also reinvent the performance management process to provide a positive and continuous development experience that gets people engaged, aligned and accountable.
In our interactive Better Workplace Project Introductory Workshops, we introduce you to the best practice models that underpin the methodology and have an open conversation with you about how these might be used to address the people and culture challenges and opportunities and deliver high performance in your organisation.
For a small investment of $800 plus GST and a couple of hours of your time, we can help you to get started or step up on that journey to a Better Workplace.
Our Better Workplace Project Introductory Workshops are delivered by our Practice Leader, Peter Maguire, who has consulted to hundreds of organisations on people and culture strategy and practice. Peter has an extraordinary breadth of experience with clients in public, private and NFP sectors and in a wide range of industry and people culture settings. He is also a former Investors in People Assessor and has presented internationally on HRM best practices.
Over the past few months, there has been a succession of changes in provisions of modern awards and the Fair Work Act relative to family and domestic violence. In this article, our aim is to provide you with a sense of how they come together and what that means in terms of your legal obligations and how to manage those.
Family and domestic violence is the most significant social and welfare issue that we have in Australia and we can all do something about that.
Introduction of “Leave to deal with family and domestic violence” in modern awards
The significance of this issue is such that the Fair Work Commission deemed it necessary to insert “Leave to deal with family and domestic violence” provisions in all modern awards. In essence, this provides an entitlement of up to 5 days of unpaid leave per annum for employees regardless of their employment status ie whether they are full-time, part-time or casual, they are entitled to the full 5 days each year.
An employee may take unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence if the employee:
(a) is experiencing family and domestic violence; and
(b) needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence and it is impractical for the employee to do that thing outside their ordinary hours of work.
That leave entitlement for award-covered employees came into effect on 1 August 2018.
Extension of entitlement to non-award employees
On 12 December 2018, the Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2018 took effect and essentially extended the modern award entitlement effective from that date.
So effectively that means that all employees now have access to this entitlement as follows:
Entitlement to unpaid leave
An employee is entitled to 5 days’ unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence, as follows:
(a) the leave is available in full at the start of each 12 month period of the employee’s employment; and
(b) the leave does not accumulate from year to year; and
(c) is available in full to part-time and casual employees.
So our take on that in implementation is:
For existing award-covered employees and those who are subject to an agreement that incorporates the award, the entitlement takes effect from 1 August 2018
For award-covered employees and those who are subject to an agreement that incorporates the award and who commenced employment after 1 August 2018, the entitlement takes effect from their date of commencement.
For existing non-award employees and those who are subject to an enterprise agreement that doesn’t incorporate an award, the entitlement takes effect from 1 December 2018.
For non-award employees and those who are subject to an enterprise agreement that doesn’t incorporate an award and who commenced employment after 1 December 2018, the entitlement takes effect from their date of commencement.
All employee have the entitlement to 5 days per annum regardless of their employment status ie whether full-time, part-time or casual.
Interaction with new rules on Flexible Working Arrangements
Two of the categories of workers who have entitlements under these rules are:
employees experiencing family or domestic violence; and
employees caring for family members experiencing family or domestic violence.
Accordingly, we can expect that eligible employees like these might well seek both leave to deal with family and domestic violence and flexible working arrangements. Alternatively, because the leave is unpaid, people might be more likely to seek flexibility in working arrangements that allow them to maintain their income while varying their hours of work to meet their personal or family needs.
If these matters cannot be resolved at workplace level, they may well end up in the Fair Work Commission via the disputes resolution clause in a modern award or enterprise agreement.
Additionally, while these rules on flexible working arrangements technically apply only to award covered employees, it should be expected that they would be regarded as a procedural and fairness benchmark for dealing with requests from non-award employees.
Care should be taken to ensure that any workplace policies on any of the above are reviewed to reflect current minimum standards and benchmarks.
We will publish an article soon on what employers can do to genuinely and positively influence the incidence and impact of family and domestic violence and why you should be doing that. Stay tuned!
October is Mental Health Month and World Mental Health Day is on October 10, a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.
This a great opportunity for businesses to get proactive in dealing with a major challenge for Australian society and every business – the impact of mental illness.
A recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers report identified that ignoring it costs Australian businesses around $10.9 billion a year in lost productivity. And with poor mental health likely to affect one in five employees, by taking action the benefits can be profound.
PwC discovered that on average, across all businesses, for every one dollar invested in mental health initiatives, there’s a return of $2.30 and reports showed that in many industries the returns were even greater.
So what that says is that working on improving people’s mental wellbeing at work will generate great returns for business owners. That means that looking after your people is not just the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do.
So what are you going to do to get started on the mental health improvement journey?
There are lots of resources at Heads Up, the website of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance.
Mental Health Australia which is leading the campaign for World Mental Health Day also has useful information and materials to promote mental health in the workplace – see https://1010.org.au/.
This is an area where Ridgeline HR is committed to making a difference through our Better Workplace Projects, a key component of which is creating mentally healthy work environments.
This post is one way that we can help to raise awareness of the issue and encourage employers to be proactive and tackle mental health in your workplaces.
Join us by sharing this and other promotions of mental health to help that happen and make a difference. Pictured: Croydon Chamber of Commerce AGM giving a thumbs up for workplace wellbeing.
In essence, they are whatever you need them to be. Here are some different elements of better workplaces that we might include in a “Better Workplace Project” depending on client needs, preferences and budget:
A Respectful Workplace: implementing a values-based approach to behavioural standards that are to be applied across the business and addressing legal requirements relative to bullying, harassment, discrimination, gender inequality and related unsatisfactory behaviours.
An Aligned Workplace: providing clear direction to employees on organizational goals and structures and what they translate into in terms of the roles and performance expectations of teams and individual employees.
A Safe and Healthy Workplace: developing and implementing a risk management and employee engagement strategy that helps to improve the wellbeing of people in the areas of physical, emotional and mental health as well as addressing legislative requirements in relation to workplace health and safety.
A Connected Workplace: developing and implementing consultation and communication processes that ensure effective employee voice and timely and constructive communications between people across the business as well as better informing management decision making.
An Engaging Workplace: developing and implementing performance feedback and development processes that are timely, balanced and friendly whereby each employee has a performance and development plan of their own. Managers meet with them regularly to review progress against the plan, provide positive feedback on achievements and guidance and encouragement with areas for development.
A Sustainable Workplace: equipping and coaching leaders to maintain the impetus focused on constantly reviewing workplace policies and practices and identifying and harnessing opportunities for continuous improvement.
If you are interested in making your business a “Better Workplace”, give us a call on 0438 533 311 to see how we can help.