team morale

The New Year’s Key Workplace Challenges

The New Year’s Key Workplace Challenges

What HR and management professionals must consider going into 2017

Tougher economic conditions will impact HR and L&D professionals

Australia is facing a productivity crisis in an uncertain economic environment not because we are vastly unproductive but because the boom is now over and people must be more productive. Put simply, organisations want just as much or even more for less. 2017 will bring with it a greater pressure on workers to perform.

Relatively high and inflexible salary and wage rates across many professional and semi-professional industries are problematic for a country that is losing opportunities because in so many fields it is just not competitive. As people are being expected to work harder and longer and to change their job functions, HR departments will be dealing with higher incidents of challenging behaviour that result from growing levels of anxiety, frustration and dissatisfaction. Expect increases in absenteeism, complaints about poor behaviour and work-related mental health claims.

The answer is to do your due diligence and get those policies, reporting procedures and compliance training programs sharpened. It won’t hurt to be clear about culture and behavioural expectations and to build the resilience of your leaders.

HR and L&D professionals will also be presented with the challenge of producing more with less. These are not the ideal circumstances for achieving best practice, but it should be looked at as a great opportunity to implement simple, back to basics strategies that can be seen to make a difference.

As for government, the so called ‘attack’ on workers’ pay and conditions, in particular the reform to penalty rates, may well gain greater momentum should there be continuing major industry ‘shut downs’. The values of jobs in some industries are growing daily.

A one-dimensional approach to learning will be problematic

Small, medium and large organisations that are really committed to the skill and knowledge development of their people will need to provide a range of learning solutions. One key reason for this is that the large differences in the ages of professionals in the workforce means that there is a wider range of learning preferences than ever before. While budgets and efficiency are typical reasons organisations are turning to eLearning as a prime learning methodology, there is a growing thought that some people learn better through an eLearning experience than in face-to-face training-especially if the eLearning experience is based upon cognitive loading principles. But the truth is, this isn’t the case for everyone.

There is still a degree of scepticism among Australian learning professionals that eLearning can be a ‘be all and end all’ learning methodology which may be healthy. 2017 will see an increasing use of eLearning as a methodology, but wading through the good and the garbage will be a prime role of L&D people. At the end of the day, it’s much better to have access to five quality-learning experiences than 200 that have no learning principles behind them at all.

In 2017, try diversifying the learning experiences available to your people. Don’t be constrained by their personal biases and do some simple analysis by age-group and function to determine what does and doesn’t work.

Political correctness versus the maverick workplace leader

 The election of Donald Trump was without a doubt a shot in the arm for the ‘free-stylist’ leader. This is the type of leader who calls his or her subjects to action on the basis of claims with little substance. It is the type of leader who appears to speak their mind without significant consideration for the impact it will have on others. Some would say Trump is just ignorant while others believe he is simply commencing work on his own political and social agenda. While I believe there is a question mark over whether or not Trump will even see out term one of his presidency, his election has signalled a growing resentment toward the ‘politically correct set’ and among people being forced to speak and behave in away far removed from their true feelings. This resentment also exists in Australia. (See the results of the 2016 election.)

Trump is first and foremost a businessman and his election may well give the nod to business leaders (and boards) across the western world to be a little less considerate or even backward in relation to what they say and whom they offend. If this extends to Australian workplaces, some senior HR people may find themselves walking the tight rope between supporting their chief and dealing with disenfranchised management teams and workers who have often been protected from ‘hard talk’ by a system that has demanded leaders think deeply before making public statements. For senior HR people, 2017 may well be the year of being the ‘meat in the sandwich’.


 

Leadership Essentials 1.1 – Losing Should Hurt

THinking Too Much?

It is 5.00am. I am awake thinking about a job we didn’t get yesterday. I am stewing on the fact that it was maybe something we did or didn’t do that influenced the client’s decision the wrong way. It was a good contract and I love working with them! Actually I was fuming yesterday afternoon but now I am just stewing. It’s all pretty emotional really, but then running the company is an emotional experience. When you ultimately run the show, losing an opportunity can feel like the end of the world, but then my real strength as a leader has always been getting over a lost opportunity by learning from the mistake or simply accepting it was out of my control, then winning the next one.

One thing I realise is that the day ‘losing the opportunity’ doesn’t hurt anymore I should step down from my job.  If you want to be a key leader you need to care about what you do or you should give it away. And I hate this hurting feeling. I get so angry about what I see as unnecessary failure…I think that’s the high achiever in me. I know sometimes I get ridiculous because I am a truly intense individual. But in my view you need to feel hurt when you don’t achieve a goal or a favorable outcome. Not that I can show it to my people. I try not to show my disappointments although my people will tell you sometimes it spews over. I don’t like to focus on negatives.

This lost opportunity seems due to a  change of thought process internal to our client although on Monday we will sit down and evaluate the circumstances and decide if there was any more we could have done as a team. Maybe we can get back in the race somehow. We havent missed out on many big contracts lately. We have got a really good proposal to trade ratio because in this area our product is spot on……but it still hurts.

What I do need to remember is that we had word today that one of my favourite clients in Asia has asked for a lot of training over the next few months. It’s funny how I woke up worrying about the one we didn’t get instead of rejoicing about what we won. Yes I must remember to remind the team about the one we got!

Anyway I better get some sleep.  I want to run 12km in the morning.  I have had a busy week and haven’t achieved my fitness goal yet which will get me uptight.