BUSINESS FAILURE TO HARNESS HUMAN TALENT AND EXPERIENCE IS HOLDING THE NATION BACK
Australian management over rates its capabilities and talents when compared to other countries. There is less investmenbt in people and less innovation. Our political and business leaders are risk averse and lack vision.
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Disclaimer: Obviously not every professional recruiter, or Australian employer, will fall within the parameters of the content of my article. However statistically, according to research of the human resources industry, and the history of performance of employers, and managers, in Australia, indicates a large number may. (Kevin Beck).
PERHAPS PROFESSIONAL RECRUITMENT FIRMS, AND CORPORATE HUMAN RESOURCE DIVISIONS, SHOULD BE STAFFED WITH EXPERIENCED, AND KNOWLEDGEABLE, PEOPLE AGED OVER 50 YEARS WHO HAVE WORKED IN BOOM & BUST AND WHO KNOW THEIR INDUSTRY?
What is the basis and justification for the above assertion?
Robert Walters (https://www.robertwalters.com.au/) one of Australia's most successful human resource professionals and recruiters has produced research "Developing High-Performing Teams to Drive Business Performance and Engagement", inter alia, the research demonstrates that
· 63% organisations may be missing out on top talent due to inflexible selection criteria
· one-third of first round interviews are conducted by people who are not close to the role they are recruiting for (20 per cent said senior management, followed by 11 per cent who said human resources).
· Even if they are familiar with the role, the content of jobs changes very rapidly. In this age of ambiguity and constant change we all have to learn new skills and take different directions in our roles in timeframes measured in a few years (3).
Medium-sized employers were the most flexible in their hiring practices, with only 59 per cent requiring all criteria to be met, compared with 63 per cent of large organisations and 66 per cent of public sector employers.
Being too prescriptive in the advertising criteria could also dissuade good applicants from applying, with 45 per cent of professionals saying they would self select out of the process if they didn't meet all the requirements.
It is worth noting here that it is often said that women are more likely not to apply for jobs when they don't meet 100 per cent of the criteria, which means that those employers trying to increase the gender diversity of their workforces might think of being a little loose in their advertising around the skills and experience they deem necessary.
There were a small number of hiring managers (7 per cent) who say applicants would pass through to the next stage of the interview process if they didn't meet most of the selection criteria, but might perform well anyway.
These hiring managers may have been recruiting for jobs where skills could be easily learned on the job.
According to Robert Walters, as many as 63 per cent of organisations may be missing out on top talent due to inflexible selection criteria. The survey also reveals 32 per cent of professionals say the biggest negative influence on their performance is poor leadership, followed by not having clearly defined goals and objectives, and not being adequately recognised for high performance.
More than half say their organisation does not do enough to reward high performance and the same proportion of professionals say they are managed with a "top-down" leadership style (where leaders make decisions without consulting team members).
Almost all (95 per cent) say they prefer other, more consultative, leadership styles."
Go to Robert Walter's web site
WHAT IS THE PROBABILITY THAT A RECRUITER CAN ACCURATELY ASSESS AN APPLICANT?
To answer this question, I went in search of research on the probability that all companies are "leaders in their sector" as claimed in almost every recruitment advertisement. I also wanted to know how many applicants that a recruiter chooses are likely to be excellent and on balance able to fulfil all of the criteria demanded?
"Much of the strategy and management advice that business leaders turn to is unreliable or impractical. That's because those who would guide us underestimate the power of chance. Gurus draw pointed lessons from companies whose outstanding results may be nothing more than random fluctuations. Executives speak proudly of corporate achievements that may be only lucky coincidences. Unfortunately, almost no one provides scientifically credible answers to every business leader's basic questions about superior performance: Which companies are worth studying? What sets them apart? How can we follow their examples?......
We defined two categories of superior results: Miracle Workers fell in the top 10% of ROA for all 25,000 companies often enough that their performance was highly unlikely to have been a fluke; Long Runners fell in the top 20% to 40% and, again, did so consistently enough that luck was highly unlikely to have been the reason. We call the companies in both these categories exceptional performers. For comparison purposes, we also identified companies that were Average Joes. A total of 174 companies qualified as Miracle Workers, and 170 qualified as Long Runners." (Harvard Business Review, 2013, Michael Rayner and Mumtaz Ahmed, 3 Rules for Making a Company Truly Great)
Go to Harvard Review article
Hiring Gets A Failing Grade
"Most companies react to hiring situations as emergencies; that might explain why so many do it so poorly. When we surveyed 50 CEOs of global companies, along with a pool of executive search consultants who rated about 500 firms, we found hiring practices to be disturbingly vague: Respondents relied heavily on subjective personal preferences or on largely unquestioned organizational traditions, often based on false assumptions.
The executives we surveyed held widely differing views regarding the desirable attributes of new hires. They emphatically disagreed on whether it was best to hire insiders or outsiders, on who should be involved in the recruiting process, on what assessment tools were most suitable, and on what the keys were to successful hiring and retention.
Furthermore, 43% of the executive search consultants reported that their client companies considered the number of years of relevant work experience to be one of the top reasons for hiring a particular candidate, whereas only 24% gave similar weight to the ability to collaborate in teams-and an alarmingly small 11% factored in a candidate's readiness to learn new things. In today's increasingly turbulent business and economic landscape, in which, as one of us likes to put it, "even the past has become unpredictable," we find this neglect of a potential candidate's adaptability mystifying.
Assessment practices were equally variable (even within the same company). On one end of the scale, in 32% of companies, candidates for senior positions went through only one to five interviews; at the other end, 12% of firms subjected candidates to 21 or more. Shockingly, only half of the top-x managers recruited were interviewed by anyone in the C-suite. Fully half the companies relied primarily on the hiring manager's gut feel, selecting a candidate believed to have "what it took" to be successful in any job. What's more, we found that companies based their hiring decisions mainly on interview performance, paying relatively little attention to careful reference checks.
Given the ad hoc quality, lack of specified criteria, and inconsistency of practices among the companies we studied, it's no wonder that usually about a third of promising new hires depart within three years of being recruited." (Harvard Business Review, Boris Groysberg, Nitin Nohria and Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, May 2009 Issue)
A FAILURE OF AUSTRALIAN EMPLOYERS, AND THEIR RECRUITERS, TO KNOW THE BUSINESS WORLD THEY RESIDE IN, TO WRITE SENSIBLE CRITERIA & ASSESS APPLICANT TALENTS ACCURATELY
I contend that many Australian employers do not look beyond the four walls of their business to think about their place in Australia's economic and social fabric and their job of employing and developing their staff. If they do it is at the behest of a HR Manager or Adviser, or a caring employer.
Some do, and they are small, medium and large but a majority do not. They reside in the Harvard's "Average Joe" category of business performers or perhaps even lower. In many respects, Australians can be very myopic about many things, not thinking deeply but more consumed with the practical tasks and process of their work.
Thousands of talented Australians are culled in the job application process before they even get to interview. A lot of these are older Australians. There are few, if any recruiters who would dare challenge the client's myopic perceptions and criteria selection.
The Internet has allowed all sorts of characters to become recruiters.
"So my message to all recruiters is simple. Lift your game or leave!" (Steve Heather)
"If you joined recruiting to make a fast buck with no responsibility and the only way you find out that your service is no good, is by having to continually find new clients (because the old ones don't come back) then I can think of another industry you are far better suited to!
If fast money is your over-riding driver you are going to be disappointed. The industry is professionalising and standards, compliance and entry costs are all also rising.
More specifically, if you think recruiting in the 'super lucrative mining space' is just the ticket then think of this:
Mining usually leads the economic cycles. Most generic industrial businesses are affected by a slow burn of economic and industrial cycles with things picking up and declining gradually. If you supply services to those sectors you can usually see the cycles coming and therefore plan for them, unless you live under a rock and your only reading material is Facebook!
Mining is different - it is usually great or bad, with short time spans between and is therefore much harder to plan for.
Lastly, about the only thing Mining, Mineral Processing and Metamorphic have in common, is an "M". They are not the same thing. You are going to have to invest in knowing more than just recruiting and search if you are going to be accepted and deliver sustained success."" (Mining People International, May 2013, Steve Heather, Managing Director & Principal Executive Search
Go to Executive Search
CORPORATE PRESSURE ON RECRUITERS TO ACHIEVE NUMBERS
Then there are the corporate pressures on recruitment professionals. They may respond to these by working like real estate agents getting listings (applicant bank of resumes) and meeting demanded targets - risking volume over quality.
I think this may be one of the drivers behind the 6 second read theory of resumes and the use of robots.
On the basis of the Harvard Research, cited above, most recruitment companies and their client employers, are unlikely (statistically) to be in the high performing group designated as "Miracle Workers" and the "Long Runners". If the majority keep up their ways they will be lucky to be classed as "Average Joes". Similarly, the HR Managers in the corporate world. Statistically their choice of a candidate for a job who will perform is more likely accident or luck.
I contend that a majority Australia's businesses are overly dogmatic, and prescriptive, about the skills and experience they put into the criteria for selection. They seem unable to comprehend the transferability of skills and experience between different sectors. So, they dictate in the job advertisement that the applicant must have experience in the same industry sector e.g. banking, retail, FMCG, and the like. They then over specify the rest of the criteria effectively demanding that applicants are clones of the employer.
THE 9 PARADIGMS
(nem.net.au: Our ideal client is at the crossroads of achieving the objectives they have for their business... the point in time that makes navigating the right pathway forward, with the right resources, their critical next step - John McKinstry, Managing Director
"It is nem's view that the vast majority of Australian businesses are operated by owners, and managers, who are experts in three of the nine areas. They do not usually require assistance from nem in these areas.
In a further three areas they are not experts but are usually capable and have satisfactory arrangements in place for assistance from existing external service providers. While nem can assist and guide activity in these areas it is generally not where nem finds it can add the most value.
There are usually another three areas where businesses lack visibility.
These areas usually fly under the owners' and managements' radar, creating blockages and issues that are difficult to navigate through.
While the symptoms eventually become obvious to all concerned, the causes remain elusive and difficult to identify; particularly for those who are close to the business."
(Extract from Nem Australasia web site
If the above is the case how can employers, their HR personnel or recruiters, assess applicants in the 6 areas where the employer and the assessor are likely to have no expertise?
Cloning, Cannibalisation and Churn Creating a clone criteria is like nepotism. Such myopia leads to an ingrained, and embedded, culture which is synonymous with what has happened to Australia's major banks. The culture is atrophied and now the banks are being confronted by Parliament and customers, media and commentators.
The employer's Human Resource Department Manager, in some respects, have put them in the hot seat. It is also unlikely that Australia's current risk averse management, and business owner, or corporate executive, is going to employ someone with far greater experience than they have. The assessment of someone being over qualified only has applicability if the role is low level and low wage.
Much of Australia's current process cannibalises existing businesses creating churn. It does not add value or expand the nation's talent base.
The advertisement invariably talks of "career progression", as if every applicant is going to be young and looking for the next step up the career ladder.
In the world of the public service nonsense, and nebulous, criteria apply. Being able to meet this below takes precedence over public policy skill, leadership drawn from the private sector and practical abilities.
Australian Government Senior Executive Service criteria:
Shapes and manages strategy
· Inspires a sense of purpose and direction
· Focuses strategically
· Harnesses information and opportunities
· Shows judgement, intelligence and common sense
Criterion - Achieves results
· Builds organisational skill and responsiveness
· Marshals professional expertise
· Steers and implements change and deals with uncertainty
· Delivers intended results
· Manages financial and physical resources in a constrained environment
Criterion - Builds productive relationships
· Nurtures internal and external relationships
· Facilitates cooperation and partnerships
· Values individual differences and diversitybr>
· Guides, coaches and develops people
Criterion - Exemplifies personal integrity and self-awareness
· Demonstrates public service professionalism and probity
· Engages with risk and shows personal courage
· Commits to action
· Displays resilience
· Demonstrates self-awareness and a commitment to personal development
Criterion - Communicates & influences effectively
· Communicates clearly
· Listens, understands and adapts to audience
· Negotiates persuasively
This sort of criteria, instead of being precise, and pithy, runs to many, many demands making the process cumbersome and often repetitive. I think it would among other things deter external applicants, keeping the jobs available for seasoned internal applicants.
The effect of this criteria, and insular selection screening process, can be seen in the current state of Australia's public services. "The Australian Public Service lacks the right staff, December 10, 2016, Sydney Morning Herald. This claim appears to be supported by evidence - the number of costly failures of information technology projects.
Academic institutions as employers, and big corporates, are to my mind similarly obsessed with over specifying and arduous application processes.
CRITERIA AS A SCREENING MECHANISM
In addition to the use of nebulous criteria we have the narrow specification: "The applicant must have experience with one of the Big 4."
These are the Australian banks and the global accounting and consulting firms. Such a demand shows a clear lack of knowledge about the operation and ranking in the market place of firms such as these. They are not the gurus and the experts that their brand might position them as. They are just BIG. They are nothing more than big name companies with large employee bases that have the full range of human abilities working in them. Not everyone can be excellent.
The use of criteria as a screening tool also shifts the onus for all effort onto the applicant who must assemble a unique response and then risks having the "technology robot" used by the recruiter dismiss the application before any human reviews it. The assessor does not have to use too much mental agility or thinking. The "auto - no reply" standard email to tell you there were applicants who more closely matched the strict criteria. Experience assessment seems to be anywhere from as little as two years and up to ten. Which means older, and more experienced, applicants need not apply. They will only accept candidates that match the criteria 100% and who match the stereotypical profile.
It is clear that many recruiters do not have the ability or the knowledge to effectively distil a complex, and talent laden, resume particularly one where the applicant may have held a number of positions and differing roles in their careers as they transitioned between vastly different sectors. This is likely the case with the younger the recruiter assessing an applicant over fifty years of age.
POORLY INFORMED AND UNAWARE EMPLOYERS AND RECRUITERS, NO EXPERIENCE OR COMPREHENSION OF THE GREAT CHANGES IN AUSTRALIA AND HOW THEY WERE EFFECTED AND IN WHAT MEASURE,
How much research does the everyday recruiter in Australia, and the HR Departments of companies, do?
I do not think they do much beyond looking at their employer's world of work. They have little if any knowledge of whether their employer is actually the leader that they claim to be. Many employers and recruiters have no concept of how transferable skills, and experience, are nurtured and developed across time and career and sectors. Mobility seems to be viewed as a negative, some sort of instability, where the employer perceives it is better to have twenty years in one industry sector than diversity.
For that matter small to medium Australian business owners, and managers, similarly have no concept of how their business can be affected by only looking at the experience of applicants over the last decade or two and employing on this basis.
Younger recruiters have no experience, or knowledge, of boom and bust, the privatisation of state owned enterprises, that the National Electricity Grid does not really exist, or the litany of failures of today's businesses. They may see the name of a prominent company in a resume and for them it is synonymous with experience and industry excellence. Do they consider that the management of one of Australia's largest enterprises lost market share over five years to fall from being number 1 against its competitors and the company managers went on a three year retail experiment culminating in the loss of around 1.6 billion dollars as recently as 2016. If an applicant presented a background in marketing with this company would the recruiter be impressed? I think they would just see the FMCG experience and have little comprehension of the above.
Do recruiters look at resumes, and the companies named within, and consider that many in Australia have a record of fines from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for misleading conduct, false advertising, prosecutions by Fair Work Australia for stealing wages, by Immigration for selling Australian work visas, financial planners working for banks squandering, stealing and losing people's life savings or a plethora of big name companies selling zombie insurance policies that are worthless?
Dick Smith (Australian electronics retailer) was sold and then on-sold again and a year later it went into liquidation. There are many other high profile retail, building construction, real estate and technology companies who have similarly gone belly up. A major airline wanted a bail out loan of three hundred and sixty million dollars, and a guarantee of its debt, from the Australian government.
It takes a combined effort of boards and managers at every level of an organisation to achieve these outcomes.
The irony is that many of the people (employers) specifying the job criteria would probably not meet it 100%, themselves.
Big organisations are more likely to take a chance on diverse applicants, who whilst not meeting 100% of the specified criteria may offer transferable skills and deep experience from another industry. People who are talented can also learn easily.
Though invariably big business in Australia is owned by a multinational where the decision maker is tens of thousands of kilometres away in another culture staring through the lens of a CRM stifling the employment ability of the Australian CEO or Managing Director.
In one job advertisement, I looked at, the employer demanded that the applicant for "Senior Change Manager" be certified in the use of a proprietary change management software. This effectively placed a piece of technology over a highly skilled, and experienced, applicant who may not have had exposure to this software.
Part of the problem with this restrictive approach is that it assumes that the people doing the hiring know exactly what skills, and experience, are needed to do a very good or even excellent job.
SO WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
Another professional, Robert Half offers some advice:
"10% of employee turnover in Australia is the result of poor hiring decisions with almost two thirds (65%) of Australian HR managers admitting they have hired an employee who did not meet expectations….
David Jones, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half Asia Pacific "In a candidate-driven market where competition for top talent is high, it is pertinent that companies put in place efficient recruitment processes. Even though misjudgements in recruiting cannot always be avoided, companies can minimise the risk of a bad hire and the consequential costs by reviewing and evolving their recruiting processes, making sure hiring methods have been adapted to recent market changes. Companies should also ensure they work closely with their HR department and a specialised recruiter to establish a well-developed recruitment strategy."
DON'T go it alone, consult colleagues on attributes and competencies for the open role, and work with a specialised recruitment consultancy to find the best candidates.
DON'T use standardised job descriptions, in order to make your job description more attractive and increase the right applications, consider adding more information such as company values, compensation, additional benefits and training opportunities.
DON'T seek where others do, source actively. The passive candidate market offers a huge potential. Many candidates are open for interesting job offers, although they might be currently employed.
Developing employee programs where premiums are granted for successful referrals can also be very useful. DON'T think the internet has all the answers, cultivate a talent pipeline by personally reaching out to your network and recruiting sources. Online tools can be valuable, but personal interaction is the most important aspect of the hiring process.
DON'T take too long, extend an offer once you identify your top candidate. Companies that don't move quickly risk losing good people to other opportunities.
DON'T' offer a low salary, offer a compensation package that, at a minimum, meets the market standard. Stay current on prevailing trends by reviewing resources such as the 2016 Robert Half Salary Guide.
DON'T fail to differentiate between must-have and nice-to-have candidate attributes. Identify the skills that are mandatory and those that can be developed. The goal is to hire the person who is the best match for the job and your work environment.
Go to Robert Half's web site
Write a Resume Masterpiece
Australian employers are failing to support and engage older workers which is costing them, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of South Australia and the University of Melbourne surveyed 666 Australian workers between the ages of 45 and 75 over a three-year period about their work experiences. They found that employers who addressed and invested in older workers reaped significant benefits including a committed, stable and engaged workforce, however many organisations were “far from up to the challenge” and could face problems as the workforce ages and people retire later in life.
Lead researcher, Professor Carol Kulik, a research professor in human resource management at the University of South Australia’s centre for workplace excellence, said age stereotypes were “notoriously persistent” in organisations.
“Mature-age employees [are] commonly perceived to be less productive than their younger counterparts, lacking initiative, disinterested in learning or developing, and resistant to change,” Kulik said. “Mature-age employees are aware of these age stereotypes and worry that they may inadvertently confirm them. The resulting stereotype threat demotivates mature-age workers and lowers their engagement. “Our research shows that employers who address older workers’ concerns while also investing in training actually reap significant benefits including a committed, stable and engaged workforce. “Unfortunately, organisations have been slow to adopt mature-age practices, even though our research shows them to be highly effective in reducing stereotype threat and increasing job engagement among older workers.”
Mature-age workers currently account for 40 per cent of the total Australian workforce and according to latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures more than four million Australian workers are aged 45 years or older. Moreover from 1 July, the pension age is set to rise by six months every two years, climbing to 67 by 2023. The government proposes to continue this rate of increase until the qualifying age reaches age 70 on 1 July 2035. With an increasingly ageing workforce, this latest study Engage Me: The Mature-Age Worker and Stereotype Threat, found it was essential for Australian employers to keep older workers engaged and harness the power of their older workers in order to boost the economy.
Researchers found mature-age workers reported lower stereotype threat and higher engagement when employers had high-performance practices that focused on employee training, rewards, and participation, or had adopted mature-age practices that focused on age-specific training, job design and career-management opportunities. The high-performance and mature-age practices had independent effects, so workers were most engaged when their organisations invested in both types of practices. The practices were especially important when mature-age workers reported to young managers, were surrounded by young co-workers or worked in manual occupations where age-related physical declines could be visible.
“Employers and managers need to be aware of the unintended signals that environmental cues send to mature-age workers,” Kulik said. “Policies crafted to recognise and encourage mature-age workers send consistent, durable signals that lessen those workers’ concerns about negative managerial attitudes and increase their focus on their work. “Organisations can try to eliminate age stereotypes, but managerial attitudes are stubbornly resistant to change so focusing on management practices may have more immediate – and more enduring – effects on mature-age worker engagement. “Organisations will enjoy the highest levels of engagement from their mature-age workers when they add age-specific practices to their management practices including training designed to upgrade mature-age worker skills, opportunities to redesign jobs to accommodate mature-age worker needs, and phased retirement programs that allow mature-age workers to ease into retirement.”
Source: Study Highlights Cost of Ignoring Older Workers, January 16, 2017.
Older Workers: Australia
This article ponders the shifting sands beneath the feet of corporate executives who may not have paid attention to influencing factors beyond their daily horizons. It opines the behaviour and style of two senior executives (as representing the practices, mores and hegemony of modern companies and their senior executives) one an American with a true multinational corporate background in global roles, with a strong technology sales management background. The other, an Australian, working for a multinational company executive but with a limited (non global - limited to Australia and New Zealand mostly) role and a much shorter and shallow experience with a financial background. This case study of management style, and hegemony, is based on my observations and somewhat intimate knowledge of the corporations in which they worked, the internal culture, motivation and beliefs of employees, the industry and customers. Additionally, I am deeply networked into the enterprises' structures and operations.
As stated above both executives worked for multinational companies headquartered in the United States. Both had quite narrow careers with little movement across industry sectors. One had quite a long employment rising up through the ranks of the Australian subsidiary, which had an annual revenue when he became CEO of circa $80M. The other was an import from a major multi-billion dollar United States technology enterprise into another one that was much smaller in scope with annual revenues around $US400 -$500M. Common characteristics from my perspective was a self-belief in their own capabilities and a somewhat "Teflon" attitude. I think both believed they were skilled networkers and that they exercised industry influence. One was a big talker from day one. He told a multicultural audience at a conference in Asia how he, through his vision, drive and ambition, would take the enterprise to a billion dollar per annum corporation within a few years.
The other less showy executive individual had his sights set on a much smaller annual turnover in Australia but a significant increase over two years, more than doubling company performance to circa $A180M. The US parent entity of the Australian enterprise is a billion dollar corporation. Both companies acquired external businesses and both executives were tasked, with others, in merging and making the acquisitions work. The American based executive had the support of colleagues and dedicated people in a collegiate environment. The Australian executive had eschewed a collegiate environment and appeared to have no awareness as to how to create one. The acquisitions have proved costly and problematic for both enterprises. One executive made no apportionment of blame about failing to meet the grand revenue target, the other blamed everyone else and sacked many people.
Today, both executives are gone, quietly without fanfare for different reasons. Neither achieved their lofty financial goals in the time frame. The US departure was more open and known to the industry, the Australian departure occurred over a weekend without the knowledge of the employees of the enterprise and the departure became known very quickly through gossip and the grapevine. One week later customers in the Australian enterprise have not been formally told. The American executive will no doubt move on to greater things. The Australian executive is shackled to a small market place and opportunity unless he moves internationally. In both cases the employees of the organisations were caught unawares.
This is not because the Board kept it quiet (that is only one reason), the reason I believe employees were caught unaware is that most do not see context and mosaic. I predicted the departure of both openly within the respective organisations and in the market place. It took longer than I predicted. One might call me a futurist but I contend the signs are always present in the jigsaw of their corporate world and politics.
I see the world differently and that is one reason why astute executives engage me and remain in communication with me after I have left their organisations or employment.
I am of the view that most employees, and middle managers, including some higher up rarely see the impact of their endeavours and failures beyond their small horizon and day to day working lives. In my experience observing these two corporations and the industry sectors in which they operate very few people seem to be readers of human behaviour, the nature of power and external threats.
In every multinational corporations there is the underlying competitive tensions and the nature of internal power plays that often define who survives and who leaves. Other defining characteristics of the two enterprises are, in my personal view because I do not presume to be accurate in every respect. I am theorising and forming my views from data, information and actual experiences and an unusual capacity to infiltrate large organisations even though they may be global. My research and analysis methodology uses qualitative and quantitative reasoning and processes. No doubt many in the organisations will disagree and I invite debate and contradiction.
Top down management and compliance structure
Day to day monitoring of performance and adherence to corporate demands for target achievements
Salaries paid are not market leaders but rather they are market followers
The US based headquarters' executive's tendency to revert to their home grown experiences and American perceptions quite often not understanding the nuances and cultures of their overseas subsidiaries and employees. Particularly so for Asia where employees have more opportunities, are not shackled by the economic strictures that define America and above all the "politics and context of distance".
Employees are a necessary resource (treated as a cost), to be managed at least possible cost and are ultimately expendable
Employee demotivation and a lack of trust in pockets and in large areas of activity particularly where an organisation is very very complex
Failure to realise that customers quite often did not, and do not, respect them or actually know what the enterprise stands for
Marketing hype (internally generated to employees and to the outside world) that does not reflect capacity, and realities, of the company's actual capabilities or their product's performance. An element of boosterism.
The influence of external persons and/or vested interests on employees and corporate objectives is not realised or taken account of. Particularly in the case of those external individuals, and entities, who have the resources, and wherewithal, to engage with the two enterprises - these may be competitors, individuals, ex-employees, regulators or one of the least known and acknowledged - game theory corporate player.
Acquiring expensive external businesses and the exigencies and challenges in integrating the differing cultures
Questionable due diligence in mergers and acquisition ventures
Single minded focus on business and the customer to the detriment of other stakeholders and their needs, perceptions and motivations
Narrow definitions of customers and needs
Failure to realise changed societal contexts of business decision making
Growing disenchantment with corporate elites, corporate ethics and anti-social behaviour in pursuit of commercial and self-interest objectives
The rise of functional stupidity - smart people with stupid ideas (this theme is explored in depth in one of my other articles)
There are no doubt other characteristics that are common to many complex organisations and that define the modern multinational owned enterprises but the ones above are sufficient for me to conjecture upon. "Leaders may be able to articulate a vision, but very few actually live the vision each day. However, as this author writes, a leader who lives, breathes and weaves the vision into the fabric of an organization inspires everyone to a higher performance every day. ….. A vision is successful when it "speaks" to a wide audience, tells an engaging story that people want to be a part of, challenges people, and creates a sense of urgency. Success occurs when the vision becomes embedded in the daily decisions and actions taken of those you want to lead. A vision is not merely an extended strategic plan or "mission." When we see a vision that is working, guiding an organization to sustained growth, we know that behind it are leaders who are comfortable leading with their hearts as well as their heads. This article describes what a leader needs to do to sustain a vision - and the growth of an organization." (Source: WALKING THE TALK (REALLY!): WHY VISIONS FAIL by: Mark Lipton, Issues: January / February 2004, Ivey Business Journal)
I conjecture that neither enterprise has achieved the grandiose visions extolled by the two senior executives now departed because of the above barriers which are accentuated where the enterprises are managed in a top down demotivating fashion. Interestingly, veiled and sometimes overt threats, are the management tools of choice in both enterprises. These are shrouded by the role of the Human Resources Departments within the holy grail of the American capitalism model that people are employed to deliver. For most employees continual failure is not an option. For the privileged there are many chances to atone and the response of choice, sack people to achieve the bottom line. The shareholders must be served first.
I further argue that the top down management approach coupled with the role of work, and career, in American hegemony leads to employees that are uninquisitive, and unaware, of the world outside their organisation. So many people adopt the company policy and ethos as mantra to be followed independent, and regardless, of regulations and laws, customer reactions and responses.. If they do know of one or both corporations, my experience is, existing, and potential customers do not understand who either of the enterprises are and what they stand for. Both enterprises implyBoth enterprises claim they are unique in line with the theory of the "unique selling proposition"and the internal marketing to employees by management. However, neither company is unique in terms of products and offerings. One of them has quite limited technology offerings, limited software and a large part of the business is locked into a very challenging sector - printing. Why they may believe themselves to be unique, is not apparent to me. unique is an adjectivebe, ing the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
I have quite extensive experience of both enterprises about whihc I am writing but I am not at all sure how all the pieces fit together, and what the two companies actually stand for, so how are external parties such as customers supposed to know? On the inside I observe that many parts of the enterprise operate as silos.
The modern world of business is shrouded in ambiguity and there are signs that both executives (to differing extents) did not adapt to this ambiguity and did not react to signals or ignored them. They both operated under models and modus operandi that had served them well in the past. One of them had far greater career aspirations inside their respective organisations than the other one had. Both executives had visions of extensive careers rising up through their respective organisations. Whilst one tended to hide from the world the other walked the world stage. They both had a singular focus, on the dollar and when that failed to materialise they were exposed. They then went into damage control and fixing strategies. I wonder what they are thinking of today just after their mutual departures? One has gone on his own terms, the other probably has not.
Among the lessons that many senior executives may not learn is one very important: when threatened you either contract (buy) the threat (entity or person), defeat them or form an alliance. In this case I saw no evidence that either of the executives did any one or all of these things. In fact they both engaged in confrontation and were surprised when they were met back equally or with greater impact over a sustained period of time. That which is fleeting to them can become a cause to others. Interestingly both organisations have other senior executives who adopt the alliance approach and work to calm the situation neutralising the threat internally and externally. Mty two subjexcts on the other hand engaged in gladiatorial type management style.
The two executives I am looking at as a case study in management always acted to terminate the employment of the threat or the challenge or to ridicule or debase. In one case the executive could not get rid of the internal barrier to his aspirations to rise to be the ultimate boss, he discerned this and left. The other appeared oblivious to his impending fate whihc many outside the company were predicting. Senior executives, and CEOs, who are complacent and risk averse whilst subtly or overtly demonstrating a propensity to be autocratic, and who are slow to react and are reluctant to ask for help will crash. The mode, and circumstance, of their departures will differ as in the case of the two executives in this case study.
Both executives in my view operated in isolation of the majority of employees. A common trait where executives seek out the company, and approval, of their own class. "When it comes to garnering commitment and engagement from employees, there is one thing that leaders need to demonstrate: Respect. That's what we saw in a study of nearly 20,000 employees around the world (conducted with HBR and Tony Schwartz). In fact, no other leader behavior had a bigger effect on employees across the outcomes we measured. Being treated with respect was more important to employees than recognition and appreciation, communicating an inspiring vision, providing useful feedback - even opportunities for learning, growth, and development." (Source: Christine Porath, November 19, 2014, Harvard Business Review)
Employee relationships can have an effect on company productivity. If employees do not like each other but have learned to work together, then that kind of relationship is beneficial to the company. But if employees and managers begin to show a lack of respect for each other in the workplace, the results can be counter-productive to the entire company. Staff members that show a lack of respect for each other create breaks in company communication.
Employees that do not respect each other will not find it necessary to exchange important information in an attempt to put each other behind on company updates. The problem is that this prevents information to getting to other employees and starts to affect company-wide communication. People who do not respect each other do not give each other credit for the skills they possess. For example, the manager of an auto mechanic's shop who does not respect his top mechanic may decide to give jobs to other mechanics instead. The result can be that the quality of work suffers and the reputation of the shop is damaged. (Source: The Effects of a Lack of Respect in the Workplace, by George N. Root III, Demand Media)
Whilst elements of the above syndrome have occurred in both enterprises, over the years, they are more marked in the Australian company where the dysfunction permeated the whole organisation top to bottom. I would pose that this was one of the contributing reasons the Australian executive has left the firm. The industry, and customers, have known of the internal dissensions and dysfunction for a long time within the Australian company and it has affected the company's performance resulting in sanctions by the customers and subsequent loss of contracts.
Both enterprises will move on and the loss of either will have little impact. Except that the Australian company may have a chance to reverse the decline. The question that arises in my mind is, will either or both of the organisations and their remaining management and employees learn from this or will they simply go on with their traditional mores, customs and methods of operation? Will they have discerned the existence of the external threats and influences and vested interests and move to counter or neutralise them? I predict they will not.
Both enterprises need a massive cultural change and a different way of thinking or they will decline, one more swiftly than the other. Will any external observers in the corporate world think about the things that I have raised here and wonder what lessons and other surprises lay hidden from their view including within their own enterprises? For me the lessons are - the mighty fall quickly and there are a lot of people in Australia, the United States and elsewhere who have little or no respect for corporate elites who do not work to earn such respect.
Finally, I think that more CEOs, Senior Managers (and Employees for that matter) need to take account of the external stakeholders (define that definition widely) and others who are using the technology of the world for a purpose. The most astute executives will neutralise an external threat by harnessing the individual to them. There seems to be few astute executives who have realised and identified those external threats which most see through a narrow prism of competition, market forces and the burden of regulations. Below in this web site I examine the nature of power, influence and the game that external threats can bring to any enterprise, anywhere.
live in Houston where two industries reign supreme: Oil and Gas and Healthcare. I applied to positions within HR at reputed hospitals/healthcare companies only to get feedback from the recruiters/hiring managers that they decided to go with candidates who had relevant industry experience. The recruiters are pleased with my experience and my accomplishments however, knowing the industry was important. To me, it seems like a counterproductive measure to always recruit candidates who have industry experience. Candidates from different industries can bring fresh perspectives to the current environment and can be key to staying innovative. I can understand the importance of having industry experience if I was applying for an executive position. Is it just another way for a company to be nit-picky and rule out candidates? Am I missing something? I have interviewed with tech companies that do not seem to mind that I will be a newcomer to the industry. ( Aditi Arrabolu, PHR, SHRM-CP, on LinkedIn)
Cory M. Cunningham, on LinkedIN - After service plan on hearing the comments "Thank you for your service" and "You do not have (industry) experience," often in sequence / almost the same breath. I concur with those who realize this is myopic, but understand industry experience is often used to reduce the number of candidates for screening. I have found the only true way around it is by finding a connection within an organization to bring you in,which is often another former military member. Hopefully, this opens the door for you to shine (which you must do) and it brings you in at an appropriate level (as taking a significantly lower position to "get in" will often set your market value and provide a steep hill to climb.) Keep up the fight, the transition is often time the largest life challenge for veterans.
Daniel Tay, LinkedIn, I have 20 years in many aspects of Quality from Engineering related industries like Oil & Gas and Semiconductor. I tried going into non-engineering related industries like training. medical or finance. Although the positions I applied are exactly what I have done in the 20 years, they would not even consider talking with me. Can anyone advise what I should do to improve my situation? Thanks!
Kevin Beck Perhaps if we started naming the companies and the recruiters the mass of publicity might start to get a message across? Have you noted how many companies claim to be expert in digital or social media or use it to garner customers yet seem oblivious to the impact it can have on them. Publish articles (posts) on your profile targeting particular interests, companies and executives see what happpens.
Ashutosh Parekh on LinkedIn: Hello all, This is not new information by any means. Aditi I share your pain and frustration because I living it right now as I hunt for my next job and I am in IT one would think it would be easier but it is not. Very few companies consider good experience as a bonus in a candidate they all think bottom line. Here is my take on this. If you want to enter into new field only way is by forgetting big salaries and consider yourself as new starter or perhaps single notch up nothing more. I have 15+ years of experience in supply chain activities with oracle ERP function and technical background but that does not really count. I have been out bid by others because they agreed to work for a cheaper pay. Experienced people have two things working against them. 1. Payscales and 2. current industrial experience. and only 1 way to beat that is start low and grow again.
Devangkumar Desai Do not be discouraged and keep trying.I do not know if you are born here or an immigrant. I do not know your line of work but I would say that this may be one of the way to say you big NO. I have faced this "no experience in our industry" or "Lack of Australian or US experience" kind of rejection. For me who was in technical and scientific areas it really was an excuse to reject because there may be trust issue or outright discrimination or nepotism because either you look different, speak differnet or you are not in their network.
Sterling McGhee, Spoken well, I thought it was just me. I was recently turned down for two positions. The first was with Goodyear as a purchase buyer and the 2nd was a management trainee position with Enterprise car rental. I'm a retired soldier with a Master's degree in business and my primary career is logistics. During my interview with Goodyear, the purchasing manager told me he could teach me about procurement but his concern when hiring the candidate he was looking for someone who he could count on to come to work daily. As a soldier, we don't call off. The enterprise position came down to me not having any sales experience but I thought as a manager trainee they would teach you this. Personally, I believe these companies are going though the motion of looking for outside candidates but at the end of the day they only hire internal. In today's world and far as I can remember, it's not what u know, it's who u know.
David Leach Abiti, don't take it personally. It's a filtering technique. From the Co's point of view, they prefer someone who already knows their industry, which makes sense on one level. But they don't realize they're missing out on the intangibles other candidates might have to offer. Outside perspective, collaborative personality traits and other soft skills are often equally, or more important to overall job performance. It's a numbers game and, as Sterling pointed out - who you know. Keep reaching out with your applications and building your network. And keep learning. Stay the course. Be awesome!
Margaret Musoke To be open to fresh ideas, they have to be open to others from different industries. Some good companies understand this and take it into account. I find the health industry to be the most rigid.
In this article I concern myself predominantly with commercial and non - political enterprises including institutions such as universities, public services and large not for profits but there is relativity to politics and government.
“Knowledge linked to power, not only assumes the authority of 'the truth' but has the power to make itself true. All knowledge, once applied in the real world, has effects, and in that sense at least, 'becomes true.' Knowledge, once used to regulate the conduct of others, entails constraint, regulation and the disciplining of practice. Thus, 'there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time, power relations.” (Foucault 1977,27).
Harold Geneen was the CEO of USA Corporation International Telephone and Telegraph, his memoirs written in 1984 are a window for us to learn how large, complex multinational firms use accounting and control systems (in this age CRMs and ERPs) for surveillance, discipline and control of management and employees. This narrow knowledge of numbers and activities will be directed into raw and blunt power by an average CEO, MD or VP. Average being the benchmark of most large enterprises and organisations. Average can still deliver success but not greatness and differentiation.
Fast forward to 2015.
The senior leadership of commercial enterprise will cloak these systems as tools of good management providing them up to date timely information about the business. There are elements of truth in this. However when one examines the vertical control (cone) management model one can discern how a narcissistic personality (owner, CEO, MD or VP) will utilise the tools. Where such people have come from limited disciplinary fields, having worked only in a few global enterprises we can observe the space between knowledge and power.
This observation can also me made of our politicians although the tools used are markedly different. In politics it is the objective of high office, benefits and a little or a lot of power that drives In both cases the knowledge level against the power level of the individual is in severe imbalance. The only place one might find a balance and openly see it is observing a fine jurist such as those in the High Court of Australia and in our higher state courts, where power is tempered by knowledge.
Accounting and finance objectives (revenue at lowest cost) invariably drive the CEO and the challengers for that role and thus the whole enterprise.. They will all employ, or elect, clones of themselves to reinforce control and discipline and the ethos. Any challengers of the status quo, who may be brought in and protected by senior lower level managers and politicians, will eventually be eliminated.
A true leader in an enterprise will be able to engage in open discourse with anyone of any level in the organisation, and externally, without having to resort to norm producing discourse which effectively draws the employee back into the comfort zone of the senior individual. The true leader exhibits knowledge without reference to power or role. The fake will exhibit language designed to reflect or capture their contrived reality. They see their role as taking the enterprise forward to new heights by adherence to their model.
What ultimately traps them is the differential between their knowledge (drawn from multidisciplinary experiences in different enterprises) and their concept of power. The sycophantic, obsequious, manager will ape this power regardless of ethical compass and critical examination.
Knowledge is who you are and no one can take that away from you. Knowledge, it is said, is power but in the modern era of dumbing down knowledge is applied selectively by enterprise to specific functions, tasks and goals. Knowledge is not general, it does not embody observation or understanding of the human behaviour and motivation of the employee, it is about output. There are exceptions. Such exceptions have been grasped by the bosses of Apple and Google by the innovators but note these can be narrow.
The CEO, MD and VP lacking a broader knowledge will not turn their attention to creating a social benefit as Apple and Google have. They will be focused on revenue and cost. They may donate to charity and support good causes but this is viewed as part of the (limited) good corporate citizen model.
But today knowledge, as it was viewed in 1600 when the Knowledge is Power phrase was coined, is in the hands of the world delivered by technology and not necessarily by deep education. Specialised knowledge doesn’t necessarily embody power. Specialised skills, particularly in technology are of value provided the market does not become flooded, which it appears to. It is assumed that knowledge can be acquired on demand at little cost or even effort. This is technical or general knowledge rather than knowledge garnered from a life of experience, research and career endeavour. It does derive from the CMS or the ERP or the disciplinary processes of the “surveilled” enterprise.
When a mentor passes knowledge on this sharing is power. How many organisations that you have worked in are littered with mentors passing on knowledge? I worked in the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, in the eighties and nineties, at that time the largest vertically integrated mining, generation, transmission and sales energy enterprise on earth. I became a senior officer in charge of the commercial operations of a number of power stations and a manager of technical and engineering people of high skill though I was not an engineer. I owe this to so many mentors (engineering, technically and administrative at every level all the way to GM level) who gave freely of their time, experience and knowledge.
Between the years 2006 – 2014 I worked at the Datacard Corporation, where people from across the world with decades of experience mentored me. Today I work at nem Australasia, with partners whose resumes are littered with global success in so many disciplines and who give freely of their time and experience to each other. Do you experience this in your organisation? The culture changes when the “revenue – cost” manager takes control. The making of revenue imbues this person with power (not knowledge) and the Board loves it as the balance sheet rises. For this type of boss to maintain the position requires absolute control and manipulation, and a detachment from humanity to a certain degree where the Corporation and the Shareholder/s become paramount and the people are merely the means to achievement. Where unemployment is high, such as in the United States, the people will be fodder to the machine. Unlike in Asia, where self - esteem and dignity are highly valued and skill is in short supply.
It often takes several incidences and experiences to educate the myopia out of the US based corporate executive. Some never learn. Here in Australia the local CEO or MD, running the multinational subsidiary will invariably be slave to the international corporate ideology and culture. So how does a CEO, MD and VP blend knowledge with power? They learn from history and uniqueness. In 1971, Darwin E. Smith became chief executive of Kimberly-Clark, a paper company whose stock had tanked 36% behind the market over 20 years. Smith transformed Kimberly-Clark outperforming the moguls who ran Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Coca-Cola, and General Electric. Humble, shy and unpretentious he embodied intense professionalism and a will to succeed. He described himself as “eccentric”.
Colman M. Mockler, CEO of Gillette made it a multidisciplinary corporation through sheer determination and humility in leadership. Compare these people to the flashy executives of today.
The Chief Executive of Australia Post, Ahmed Fahour, a government owned enterprise, who was written up in the Australian newspaper magazine feature (8-9 August 2015) as a driven man full of self but to many a divisive personality. Australia Post is in deep strife and is posting millions of dollars in losses. It is embroiled in union and employee disengagement, in criminal internal investigation of its management and contract labour practices, in a political mire. The magazine story reports a challenging personality, it states that Mr Fahour wore a white suit to the staid establishment Melbourne Flemington Spring Racing Carnival. Morning suit is the accepted dress code for the elite. This does not denote humility, in Australia’s highest paid public servant, maybe a touch of eccentricity.
What can we say about these examples and the blending of knowledge, power and humility? They deliver greatness and differentiation that sets these enterprises and their bosses apart.
HUMILITY ABOVE ARROGANCE
Power naturally comes to a leader but that power is not a tool of leaders.
Initiative, intelligence, confidence and dedication are qualities most employers look for in top employees and executives. Rarely are they looking for the greatest attribute, humility. Goals are achieved, revenue is up by a mix of sales and canny accounting. But at what human cost?
Despite the success of arrogant executives, there’s a business case to be made for more modest leadership attributes, according to a 2012 study co-authored by Johnson. It found that humble employees make better leaders in part because they foster learning, which helps with employee retention and job satisfaction.
Although some in business may view humility as a weakness, recent research suggests it is a strength savvy talent managers look for. Definitions of humility range from modesty to meekness, but Johnson said the quality ultimately boils down to three characteristics: the ability to learn from others, knowing your strengths and shortcomings, and appreciating the contributions of others.
Building humility in leaders also seems to be working for Google Inc. Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at the Silicon Valley giant, triggered some buzz recently when he was quoted in a New York Times column saying humility is one of the leading attributes he looks for in a candidate, while expertise is the least important factor. The other qualities that aspiring “Googlers” must possess, he said, are cognitive ability, emergent leadership skills and a sense of ownership.
And culture, whether it’s of a company or a country, plays a huge role in which behavior gets rewarded, according to Chamorro-Premuzic. In the U.S., the workplace narcissist is often tolerated as long as he or she is competent, compared to in the U.K., where a more modest and self-effacing approach is valued.
“Cultures differ significantly and substantially in their ability to tolerate arrogance,” Chamorro-Premuzic said. “In most industrialized Western places, like Los Angeles, arrogance is not just tolerated but celebrated. ... That isn’t the case in Korea or China, where self-improvement and humility is what’s promoted, not just in business but in school.” Judging by recent surveys that show most employees who are disengaged from their jobs blame their managers, companies must do a better job of managing the jerks at work.” (Source: Talent Management, Rita Pyrillis, July 11, 2014)
For thirty four years or so the Australian economy has been in growth phase.
The GFC shock was offset by a canny and quick response to pump prime the Australian economy bullet proofing it. This, for some, was heresy. The squandering of the precious surplus. debt is anathema.
The beatings and warnings fall on deaf ears since the populace have been programmed to be complacent, to assume that the economy can be managed politically. The millennium generation has known no real adversity or austerity thinking that they can leave one job and simply get another or go overseas and work in London. They pursue the dream, the career, two incomes, the big house in the right suburb, the lifestyle.
Politics and business is of little consequence to them other than to deliver child care and social welfare to families via the tax system. Government sirens sing melodies to the families.
Much is made about the skills of Australia’s workforce and the need for retraining every time a major business or industry sector closes such as car manufacturing. The halting and unclear policy regarding shipbuilding and investment in our own manufacturing debilitates not just those industries and local communities but the states and nation as a whole.
Towns in regional Australia go through book and bust blithely follow the stated wisdom of government and big business investing heavily, borrowing and riding the wave. Then it is gone. This has happened to the whole State of Western Australia. Most if not all eggs are placed in the China basket, in dreams of an Indian resurgence and Asian tiger, a revived United States. Our decision makers in governments and business are looking ever outwards. China has caused a lot of angst as its economy slows and the Chines government alters the exchange rate and seeks to curb massive outflows of capital into places such as Australian property. Here we can observe the Australian crowd mentality coming into action, similar to the regional towns, investors rush to buy up multiple residential properties on interest rates that are at best tenuous assuming that property prices will only ever go up.
Tens of thousands of Australians are over committed and Australian banks are juggling potential bad debts. Add to this the changes in global financial rules that require banks to hold more capital. The Australian and New Zealand Bank shook the market and caused bank stocks to wobble as it raised billions and share prices are tanking. Maybe it is time for Australian investors (individuals and fund managers) to look more closely at unlisted stocks if they want decent returns. The darlings are crashing. It is only a matter of time (a year maybe two) before interest rates rise between 3 and 4% sending those speculator home investors to the wall.
Under this environment of ambiguity, rapid and sometimes destructive change and global instability there needs to be a coming together of politics, government, business, unions and community. The abandonment of partisan stupidity and gladiatorial Labor – Liberal intransigence and façade.
The decision makers have to stop taking the easy way, waiting for commodities, waiting for China, waiting for something beyond their control and look to themselves. The government focuses on cutting the ranks of public services and outlays because that is the tradition the “Expert” way, that is all they know. If they invest it is in roads. They dance to the Expert economist’s predictions and propositions (unless it is politically dangerous to do so) the ratings agencies and the voices demanding austerity with little, or no, understanding as to why it isn’t working?
It is not the Australian workforce that needs upskilling (talent languishes unemployed) it is our politicians, governments, bureaucrats, business and union bosses. They have to go back to the core of how they are chosen, how they get the roles and what level of ability they have to perform those roles.
In my paper on “”what type of boss you have” I canvass the categories of managers and the research indicates that those enterprises that have managers in the Strategist and Alchemist category are those that excel. It is a very difficult transition from one of the other categories into the top. Expert managers also relate to Expert politicians and bureaucrats. The status quo is maintained. I would hazard that our leaders and decision makers are mostly in the Expert category with a few high profile ones in the first category of Opportunist. The Expert is confounded by the environment we have today. Their expert discipline, and training, focuses on singular dimensions revenue and cost. Half yearly financial announcements (August 2015) show profits delivered predominantly by cost cutting. The story is manipulated by referring to the “underlying profit”. This is a parlour trick for the unaware and uninformed. The Australian Security and Investment Commission does not like such methods of reporting because they are basically not true. It seems to me that a majority of politicians, business, bureaucrats and union leaders are more concerned with process, and adherence, than they are with substance and examination of new ways and ideas. They are uncomfortable wandering out of their comfort zones of what they have experienced (or not) and what they know or think they know.
The Australian Public Service Commission has focused on the decline in skill of the Public Service and are engaged in deciding what new criteria and models will drive the future. Whilst public servants are supposed to be a-political there is a valid proposition to examine that many of them are Labor by nature and view, waiting for the merry go round to deliver the real government. We can see the obsession with process in the operation of the Victorian State Labor government, first choice – let’s have an enquiry and a committee and Minister these representatives must be on it. In NSW the public service is moribund and bound up in turf protection. The other public services are not only obstructive but can be dangerous in their incompetence. They do not even recognise they need to upskill and adapt. Having a degree or a certificate is not a panacea delivering real skill and ability.
In 2005 the Harvard Business Review published an article entitled “The Seven Transformations of Leadership”, authored by David Rooke and William Torbett.. David Rooke (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a partner at Harthill Consulting in Hewelsfield, England and William R. Torbert (email@example.com) is a professor at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management in Massachusetts. They are coauthors of Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership (Berrett-Koehler, 2004). “Most developmental psychologists agree that what differentiates leaders is not so much their philosophy of leadership, their personality, or their style of management. Rather, it’s their internal “action logic”—how they interpret their surroundings and react when their power or safety is challenged. Relatively few leaders, however, try to understand their own action logic, and fewer still have explored the possibility of changing it.” (Source: April, 2005, Harvard Business Review) Research has informed the authors to create categories of management types.
Characterized by mistrust, egocentrism, and manipulativeness, a title that reflects their tendency to focus on personal wins and see the world and other people as opportunities to be exploited. How they will react to an event depends primarily on whether or not they think they can direct the outcome. They treat other people as objects or as competitors who are also out for themselves. The demographic appears to only cover 5% of enterprise Executives. They legitimize their actions as necessary in the dog eat dog world of global competition and pursuit of the objective. They are short term operators focused on daily/weekly delivery of results across their respective organisations.
The Diplomat wants to please higher level of management and avoid conflict. Their logic is to cooperate and perform the daily tasks well. This person performs well in support roles or in creating the bonds amongst the colleagues and are mostly found in the lower levels of management, supervisory, customer service representative and human services..
This is the largest demographic. Experts try to exercise control by perfecting their knowledge. These CEOs and Executives are likely to come from backgrounds of accounting, engineering, law, investment and marketing. They will rise up through the ranks of corporations and are unlikely to have a resume of many jobs. They use hard data, and logic, CRM systems, ERP, People Management. KPIs and Performance. They will pursue continuous improvement, efficiency, and perfection. “But as managers, they can be problematic because they are so completely sure they are right.”” (ibid)
The most likely to transform from the Expert character. This is the next largest demographic and they invite and are relationship oriented. They will enjoy wide and open networks of people and relationships. They are team leaders who will implement new strategies and test them. They are longer term thinkers and will look at 3 – 5 year horizons. The staff turnover and burn rate is lower in an organisation lead by an Achiever. They clash with Experts who find them hard to get oi with because they are less influenced by the data and the rules and more by the impacts on the motivation and performance of their enterprise. They allow flexible non adherence in those who challenge the status quo (The Individualists) for the betterment of the enterprise. The Expert is a perfectionist pursuer based on logic and over engineering.
This demographic is getting into the rare statistics. They are aware of ethics and the possible conflicts between their principles and their actions, or between the organisation’s values (and lack thereof) and implementation, or eschewing of values for purpose. “This conflict becomes the source of tension, creativity, and a growing desire for further development. Individualists also tend to ignore rules they regard as irrelevant, which often makes them a source of irritation to both colleagues and bosses.” (Source: ibid) The Individualist will often be personified by a view as a renegade, an uncontrolled cannon. The Expert will view the Individualist as a divisive person because the Individualist will use both expertise, diplomacy and opportunity as methodologies to get the end result. They can work in teams and on their own. They draw a lot of human resource department attention and will be the subject of complaints from those who like rules and structures and their own little power world. The Individualist threatens almost every other category listed previously. The Individualist will be known across the whole organisation regardless of whether it is a small, medium or large global entity. The stuff of story and legend. Their relationships may be wider, and broader, than the Achiever. They are likely to be informal leaders.
The demographic is much smaller less than 5%. Strategists use personal relationships, organisational relations, and politics, national and international development to work their place in the organisation. They study power and influence and Gaem Theory and other management methodologies. They are charismatic and diplomatic whilst exhibiting elements of the Individualist. They are rarely Opportunistic and can exercise Expertise since they can assimilate large volumes of diverse information They see constraints and perceptions, they create and harness shared views and engage in organisational transformations from within and without. An alienated Strategist, of diverse ability, is a severe danger to the Senior Leadership because they absorb the knowledge and expertise of the enterprise, know its strengths and flaws and its people cultures. They move effortlessly across cultural borders and more likely to harness relationships outside the core of the Senior Leadership local power base. The Strategist handles conflict extremely well and comfortably and will deliberately generate conflict at high levels of the enterprise to get attention or to send a message. Strategists are highly effective change agents who can effect it from within or without over time. They are longer term deployment and tactical implementers who see and think in logical and patterned ways, following along the defined paths and methodologies adapting only after they realise the strategy is not working. They can sometimes leave adaptation until it is too late.
The rarest category, according to research, only 1%. They can renew and reinvent themselves changing from one engagement to another, they will operate in multiple organisations. “The Alchemist has an extraordinary capacity to deal simultaneously with many situations at multiple levels. The Alchemist can talk with both kings and commoners. They can deal with immediate priorities yet never lose sight of long-term goals. They do and deliver what they promise even if it takes years.” (Source: ibid) Transformation to the being an Alchemist is the most difficult and unachievable since it requires a rewiring of the brain and abandonment of fear and the straight jacket of experience and individual barriers. It is the high risk category of management that tests assumptions, strategies and expertise all at once on many fronts inside and outside the enterprise. The Alchemist will harness and nurture a following for decades. Humility (in that they do not steal other’s thunder) carry no big titled business card if they carry one at all and this nurturing of existing, and creation of new, relationships are their most powerful values. They will have mentors but rarely seek out new ones rather adopting a mutuality where they co-mentor their mentors and often can be found as advisers to people running public and private enterprise, institutions and not for profit community development. They tend to look at the enterprise they are in and at the industry, or sector, as a whole. They are very political and know bureaucracy’s power and limitations.
Hundreds have lost their job due to Woolworths (Supermarkets) Australia Board and Management Incompetence
Some years back Australian Coles Supermarket belonged to the Myer Retail Group. It was not doing all that well. It was bought by Wesfarmers who also pown Bunnings. Coles along with Woolworths Supermarkets holds about 80% of the Australian FMCG Grocery business and large chunk of fuel and alcohol outlets. Coles was in a parlous position and if Woolworths Board and senior Management had foresight and reasonable ability along with retailing knowledge as well as passable marketing and customer service it could have delivered heavy damage to Coles' market share and operations. Instead the Board invested hundreds of millions into a hardware chain called Masters. These stores which are quite well dressed are supposed to have taken share of Bunnings, instead the strategy and marketing management made a complex mess losing hundreds of millions.
Meanwhile Woolworths Supermarkets continued to run a tired marketing dressage (Fresho Food People) and a protection of their profit margins at great cost to their base line operations. They blindly serve the shareholder and not the customers. Sacking hundreds of staff to acheive their profits and diminishing their competitive advantage if they ever had any. The money they wasted on their Masters adventure could have been used to refurbish their tired stores, create new product lines, engage in basic customer service and training in order to render Coles to the second ranking. But myopia afflicted their entire Board and management. Coles was given breathing room for a long time.
Woolworths aliented suppliers and unlike Coles would not admit to unconscienable conduct or lack of an ethical compass.
Wesfarmers Board and CEO invested in Coles and imported high;y tactiical and skilled retailers from the United Kingdom. They created mundane but effective marketing - Down Down and Down. Then converted that to staying down. Together with Aldi, Coles has become synonymous with being cheaper and a deep discounting entity. The customers moved to these two. Now they check, like I do, who is cheaper on specific items. The loyalty is gone. The Woolworths Rewards Card is a failure in cementing loyalty and is inferior to Fly Buys. The discounting wars has also impacted the next tier FMCG company Metcash who supply, among others, IGA chain of independent store owners and Supabarns. The latter falling to acquisition in June 2015 I do believe to Coles Australia.
Woolworths has publicly demonstrated how to destroy value, and image, in a long and arduous effort of many years. Woolworths Australia's Board, and former and current CEO are high profile executives. They have been perceived in corporate circles as people of talent and expertise. The theory is that the leaders and managers in our business icons are the best money can buy and up there with the rest of the world. The Australian Industry Group Report (refereed below in this site) says they are not and Wolworths demonstrates that it is not the case. The proposition that Woolworths is a well managed company is, and was, a facade. Big revenue streams, glossy marketing, television ads and a corporate bureaucracy, hide a lot of things.
Woolworths is now a public farce, with an own goal by a bungling and ineffective big business with marginally talented people in key positiions. Their operational abilities are more aliged to the Australian Industry Group report given to Parliament on the poor capabilities of Australia's managers in many of the nation's iconic corporations, and within medium and small enterprise, described below. "Breeding Ponds for Local Jerks". Woolworths never allowed new blood of talent in. Maybe it was just arrogance or a modicum of fear. Perhaps they kept talent out because they might question and threaten the incumbent's hold on positions. The Chairman, and Board, stubbornly stay on metering out ongoing damage and refusing to accept responsibility or admit their incompetence. The CEO had the fortitude to resign. Tge Chairman doesn't demonstrate much to hold him in high regard. The employees who lost their jobs did not get to be stubborn and stay.
Now Woolworths will continue to pay a very expensive price until the shareholders with the voting power tell them to get on their bikes. The culture of indifference to reality has permeated the total enterprise from the top down to the shop floor and the motivation of the staff is destroyed. Only a sycophant or sheep would beleive that they work for a great company and its reputation can be restored.
In the context of people management what benchmarks do Woolworths Human Resources apply in determining who gets to work at the company when the bosses themselves fail basic tests so publicly and are unsuitable as key performance indicators?
This is the headline of an article in The Australian Financial Review newspaper, page 44, 16-16 June, 2015. The article poses the proposition that regardless of whether our managers are push overs or jerks they are falling behind the rest of the world. Six years ago Australian employees rated their managers eight in global rankings for being held in high regard. By 2014 Australia was 10th.
In Sydney in May 2015 a US management consultant Brian Robertson, who travels the globe ranking management talent, described Australia's corporate managers and ineffective and infantilising. He said the modern dynamic of management was that management assumes they can't trust people to be autonomous, and productive, adults if left on their own.
I have worked under this modern patternof management hegemony, for a US mulitinational, run by managers who micro manage, and scrutinise, every hour of every day of every week. The company spends millions on monitoring employees and the CRM fill out. They use a mix of cajoling, pressure, fear and threat as the primary mechanisms of driving sales success and productivity in the pursuit of endless growth. Managers are not the world's most lovable breed. When I raise this with them they are proud of, and invigorated, by their power and the challenge. They love the pressure and the pursuit of one objective - revenue. They of course get the big bucks, not the small beer received by the shop floor. They are inculcated with a gladiatorial mentality. Their ethical compass is askew or broken.
A report prepared by PwC for the Australian NSW Chamber of Commerce, in 2014, ranked Australian managers last of 33 developed nations for collaboration. They do not make good team players.
Few companies are investing time amd resources in equipping their under skilled managers. Short termism is driving corporate ethos.
Many Australian companies do have luminary leaders but at the next level down and into the belly of management they drop away.
HSBC Bank has announced it will cut 50,000 jobs. The productivity will not fall since the Board and Management will require the reduced number of staff to work harder and longer. This will lead to poor performance and employee churn. But slash and burn increases profit and seduces shareholders.
Unambitious risk averse Australian corporate managers have contributed to the decline of innovation and success so much so that Australia has plunged to 116th out of 142 countries according to the above PwC report.
Australian corporations are locked in a destructive culture, hard to overcome historical and cultural attitudes to power, control and hierarchy, creating often insurmountable barriers and obstacles.
Despite these truths we see every day misleading, and blatantly, false job advertisements where almost every company is described as a "world leader". In what? Claims that they are an employer of choice with heavily sought after careers. Teir management is described as exceptional and dynamic. They will probably receive hundreds of applications and the applications will come from individauls who are unlikely to have read the Australian Industry Group or PwC scathing assessments of the state of our nation's management capability. The applications will come from people who may have done a cursory examination of the potential employer by looking at their web site or a modicum of investigation by looking at the annual report.
The culture of the company will be dressed up in the effusive job advertisement. After all it's easy to buy a pliable recruiter or human resource practitioner. It's not as if there is a shortage of employment agencies.
The likely trajectory of a company's future is masked by short term results and manipuklative accounting and human resource practices. The cancer takes years to envelop the enterprise if it retains the same cultural hegemony. Employees move on and the unambitious under performers who know how to work the "internal politics" stay.
"A lack of "self awareness" by ineffective company managers is contributing to Australia's slipping international reputation of corporate leadership, according to a new Australian Industry Group report presented in federal parliament on Wednesday. The report, which may shock chief executives and confirm some workers' poor opinion of their bosses, suggests urgent co-operation between government, business, and the education sector to arrest Australia's slide to the bottom of international rankings of leadership and management practices. The AI Group's Addressing Enterprise Leadership In Australia report said leadership was recognised for the role it plays in contributing to innovation through improving operations, organisational structures, new business models and design thinking. But when it comes to converting research dollars into commercial success, Australia ranks 116th out of 142 countries and ranks last out of 22 OECD countries for collaboration.
The report also found Australian managers overestimated their company's management capabilities - even when managers were asked to ignore their own performance. "This blind spot brought on by a lack of self-awareness amongst managers in manufacturing firms is of great concern as it leads to an under-investment in leadership capability development, the consequences of which can be far reaching," the report said. AI Group chief executive Innes Willox said businesses needed to be willing to improve their existing leadership and take a longer-term view when they consider how to create value for shareholders." (Australian Financial Review, Jun 3 2015 at 1:47 PM Australian managers overestimate themselves, Australian Industry Group finds, Fleur Anderson)
"Managers ineffective and infantilising, Vivid future of work event told", June 5, 2015, Sydney Morning Herald, Rose Powell
"Usually, politics happens in companies because it's the most effective way to get stuff. It's a shame, but the way to get it done is to play the system instead of just having a transparent set of rules." Mr Robertson's comments come the day after a damning report into Australian managers presented to the federal Parliament by the Australian Industry Group. The report found Australian managers overestimated their capacity but were also the world's least effective, ranking last among OECD nations and 116th out of all 142 countries surveyed, for their capacity to turn research investments into commercial success. Workplace politics and feelings of professional frustration were key reasons employees looked for jobs, an activity Australians were remarkably enthusiastic about, another employment specialist revealed. Three-quarters of full-time employees were either actively looking for new job opportunities or were open to being headhunted, global job search engine Indeed's vice-president, Paul D'Arcy said."
Wandering the corridors of Linked In one might assume that Australian managers were world class and being associated with tnm via Connecting may be well viewed internationally. However the above report puts paid to such a value proposition. It is well known among those who are (as stated above) continually on the hunt for jobs that the chances of receoving a high quality resume assessment and interview is plauged by personality, politics and myopia within Australia's corporations and government agencies, institutions as well as small to medoum business. Unlike international recruiters and managers Australian managers tend to look for clones that fit their comfort zone.
They are unlikely to take on someone from a completely different sector. For example try entering high level consulting, banking, retail (with Woolworths or Coles) past the gatekeepers of their human resource divisions if you do not have years working specificallly in their sectors. Try becoming a consultant if you have not wallowed in the tier one firms. The proposition that a highly effective person can transfer from a totaly unrelated industry eg power utilities, education, general consultiing and others seems beyond their comprehension.
No matter how you may have delivered high impact change affecting not only an organisation but perhaps the economy itself, or how you may have delivered an outcome against all odds in a complex and quite risky enviroonment, it will be of no merit if you have not inter alia stacked a supermarket shelf or ripped off a supplier, or sent an investor broke, charged exorbitant usery rates and disconnected your moral and ethical nerve centre.
Australian Human Resources Institute
NOW IT'S Australia's FIAT CHRYSLER bosses
It is alleged that Clyde Campbell and Veronia Johns, former bosses of Fiart Chrysler Australia engaged in lavish spending buying luxury goods for staff, spending up big at a Melbourne hotel, food accommodation and spa treatments. Their life style included undertaking driver training. They then used Fiat Chrysler company funds to race at Autralia's Bathurst Raceway, at a purported cost of up to $A800,000. The annual staff Christmas party is reopted to have cost $A1 million including boooking a 100 rooms at hotel. Anyone who questioned the spending got their marching orders.
Fiat Chrysler has filed a law suit in Australia's federal court. A $A400,000 yacht was purchased, trips to Rio, New Orleans, New Zealand, and Victoria Racing Cllub memberships totalling $A244,800 and $A380,000 in gift vouchers.
The couple claim the charges are baseless and scandalous and are politically motivated inside Fiat Chrysler.
As Australia's high profile executives and companies slide deeper into the quagmire, the unknowing person applies for a job, recruiters work for bent company executives, in company human resource managers, staff at every level, remain mute, the PR companies spin the lies and misrepresentations, the media finds out belatedly, and anyone, or an enterprise, earning big $$ of these types dump ethics and morals. They are complicit in their silence and acceptance often accepting largesse and swimming in the sewer of power, money, greed and inflluence. Alternatively they carry out no research of the nature and behaviour of their clients and personal associations.
Some, maybe a lot of, Australian Human Resource Recruiters might behave like Real Estate Agents?
These advertisements below appear on a jobs board in Australia, there are thousands like this. A few tell I have read do not bosster are to the point, most embellish. How many jobs on these sites are real? Some unkind critics, cast aspersions, saying the recruiters and jobs boards, are loading non existing jobs to gather resumes. Obviosuly if the client company logo is used this practice is not industry wide.
There are certain descriptions, and phraaes, used in the real estate industry that convey subliminal messages if you know them. The Australian recruitment business is no different. They booster, exaggerate and mislead. This first one takes the cake for drivel, use of nonsense descriptions and buzz words. The requirements demonstrate a myopic limited view of the market place. It's a WOW!
This advertsiement, including typos, is for a Relationshp Manager (aka Sales grunt). "You're an amazing and experienced Relationship Manager with an impeccable track record of client development within the who's who of Australian Tier 1 customers. This is mainly Melbourne but might include Sydney and is within a Digital, Software and/or DevOps Services led engagement. Your focus will be on the strategic and structured client development, wbuilding upon our trusted relationship status across senior stakeholders and influencing wider. You will likely support those around you in their own development plans due to your expertise in this area. You can have the confidence of Odecee's Experts to WOW clients with bold, insightful and eloquent solutions, easing the conversation on what is next and how we can assist in a sustainable manner inline with our business strategy and values. Your strengths include senior stakeholder management and account management and you have the humility and leadership skills that see people flocking to work with you and can talk the talk around Digital, Software Development and DevOps."
This ad begins with the usual hype and goes end to end in its end to end - according to the ad this company is a "leader in industry sector"....Now recognised as one of Australia’s fastest growing and most forward thinking financial institutions, our client is continuing an exciting journey of growth."
"You are an end-to-end Change Manager with experience of planning and delivering significant programs of work. You will be required to have a strong change methodology / framework, experienced in end-to-end Change Management, including putting together communications and training plans.... 5+ years of experience within change management, more recently as the leading change manager, managing end to end change for large cross functional business projects....Proven in depth change management experience"
So this applicant is going to be a leading expert proven, with five years of experience.
"My client is considered a leader in developing and driving investments via technology-driven platforms. ... Like many emerging growth businesses, a high level of commitment and pro-activity is required to ensure success and they see the appointment of this role as strategic in this process. "
So how can they be a leader if they are emerging? The person who wrote this advertisement is .....?
"The City of South Perth is a unique and vibrant Western Australian municipality, located only 4kms from the Perth CBD."
How is it unique other than it is on the Swan River in Western Australia?
"As a Council, South Perth retains a strong and positive reputation for sound governance, community consultation and an ambitious strategic plan."
The Consultant who wrote this advertisement has never done any research on this Council.
"is a market leader in the design, manufacture and building of residential, rural, commercial and storage solutions across Australasia"
The most common claim by every company, and recruiter, regardless of truth, company ethical record, Board and the quality of management. Is they are "world leaders". How many leaders in the world, in a particular industry sector or business can there be? Define what world leader means.
"We're an Australian owned licensed electricity retailer with a unique position in the retail market. We provide large suitable commercial and industrial electricity users energy solutions to significantly reduce electricity costs via access to the wholesale electricity market."
There are at least six, Australian and multinational, electricity market retailers in the Australian NEM that can claim this. The company, and its recruiter's description in the advertisement implies a lowr level of ethics and perhaps that this employer is delusional. Did they read the recruiters advertisement?
"the leading textile rental company in the world", how does the recruiter know this? It is a very big world changing every day.
"market leading, privately owned, motor dealer group", we all know there are an extraodinary number of car dealers given territory to sell in across Australia. This one is, according to the recruiter, the market leader among many.
"Our client is a leading global coatings organisation". Just as these people calll their clients leaders, assuming there are multiple columns to lead, so to do new media companies tell us that they can put their client's web site, number one in search engine listings, despite there being billions of sites on the web?
Go to Ethical Editotials
They probably teach employees the technical basics of how to use the checkout. But there is no evidence there is any deeper training in customer service or the basics of the firm's business.
Recently I was asked to open my bags at the checkout and the checkout operator looked in and asked for receipts. I asked why she needed receipts? I asked her if she knew her employer product logos and brands because it was clear they were not Woolworths products and price labels. The products were cearly all Coles competitor brands and Coles price labels. I declined to produce recipts and she said it was policy, she callled her supervisor. Slavish adherence to policy even when the obvious is clear. One might presume that the employee may have bben given some training or might have a rudimentary knowledge of the products being sold by the employer and the brand logos that are their trademarks versus their competitors. Not necessarily.
Recently there was an expose on Australian Broadcasting Corporation ABC 4 Corners affecting ever major supermarket . Fresh food sold in Australian retailer supermarkets and fast foood chains, all stores were named, were the effort of migrant labour working under slavery and usery conditions. Farms, chicken production (brands named) and more. In my local shopping malll I was told that store management did not get the staff together and say look we have a major issue about a programme on television last night. Customers might ask whether our products are sourced from places using slave labour? Tere was no advice or indication to employees how to answer or react. At the checkout in Aldi customers were discussing the programme. The chheckout operator had no cklue what they were talking about.
This is not an isolated case. I have ben sworn at (with four letter words) by a major Australian retailemployer for telling her it was rude to talk on her mobile whilst serving me. The chain was Woolworths.
The Human Resource representaative told me this was not their policy. How dumb is that statement. As if a store would have a policy that allowed employees to swear at customers. The employee would be spoken to. I shopped there again. The employee made no apology. This is typical of the low grade management exhibited by that company and many more. The management have no service culture assuming that low prices is the mechanism which allows them to avooid training, ethics, service and model management.
The bodies of many people working in labouring and heavy trade jobs will not hold up.
For others that is all very well except the employment recruiters are unlikely to have been born when older Australians created the economic, and social, foundations of the nation. They have no idea of the change agenda or the contribution nor of the "disruptive innovation" we birthed.
Are any of the following propositions fact or partially correct or disputable even wrong?
THE LIMITING ADVERTISEMENT?
MYOPIC ASSESSMENT AND CULLING APPLICATIONS PROCESSES?
RECRUITMENT EXECUTIVES DO NOT ENGAGE IN DEEP ASSSESSMENT AND RESEARCH OF CANDIDATES FOR A RANGE OF IMPOSED REASONS?
THE AUSTRALIAN RECRUITMENT AGENCY BUSINESS MODEL IS GROSSLY DYSFUNCTIONAL DELIVERING POOR RETURN FOR EXORBITANT FEES
RECRUITERS ARE UNDER GREAT REVENUE EARNING PRESSURE?
THOSE WHO ARE QUALITY PROFESSIONALS CANNOT CHALLENGE CLIENT CRITERIA AND BIAS?
MANY RECRUITERS EXHIBIT A LACK OF CURRENT AND HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE/EXPERIENCE AS TO INDUSTRY SKILL TRANSFER?
SO MANY ARE BIASED, AGIST, RACIST AND VERY DISCRIMINATORY ?
A YOUNG EXECUTIVE DOESN'T WANT TO EMPLOY SOMEONE OLDER AND MORE EXPERIENCED?
The underlying ethos and attitudes required to effect such a major shift in demography andentrenched attitudes to employment stereotypes do not exist.
Unlike lateral thinking natiions like the USA, and Asia, that seek out talent from a wide net, Australia's advertised job descriptions, supplied to recruiters too often define experience and skill within a narrow band.
Many small employers have a poor record of managing their employee workforce and talents. many SME owners are barely competent in running a modern business.
We are a nation grappling with agism, bias and discrimination, not only against women but against many people of ethnic background.
Australia's archaic industrial relations policies and systems
Overblown Capabilities of Employment Agencies
Corporations claiming to be "a world leader" smacks of arrogance and hubris.
There are exceptions. Innovative and creative thinkers, like RMIT University Melbourne, who looked outside the box and appointed Mr Bean as Vice Channcellor of the "Open University", he does not have the standard academic background.
In the USA employers value age, and experience, that is why American companies are successful and better managed. I will tell Australia's federal government Treasurer, Joe Hockey, and his colleague Ministers, that the government's proposition we should all work till we are 70 is all very well except... the recruiters, and employers, are not on board, or mature enough, at this time to change the culture of agism nor comprehend the multiple benefits.
Bias against older workers endemic and 'quite frightening', according to Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan, By political reporter Naomi Woodley, ABC, Updated 17 Sep 2014, 8:55pm
The reluctance of Australian employers to hire older workers is costing the country about $10 billion each year, according to Australia's Age Discrimination Commissioner. Susan Ryan says bias against workers over 50 is endemic and she fears it is much worse than previously thought.
Time for businesses to recognise older Australians' value Businesses also need to undergo a "sea change" to see the value in employing older Australians, according to Ms Ryan. "We get a lot of formal complaints at the [Human Rights] Commission, and they take the form of people being nagged into taking redundancies, or people being told they're no longer suitable for their task, and being laid off," she said. Employers have to say to themselves, I want the best person for the job, not a person that I'm judging by the number of birthdays he or she has had Susan Ryan
"People being told they can't undertake training that would be necessary for promotion or even to maintain their position because their employer thinks they're too old or they won't get their money's worth investing in their training." In the 2014 federal budget the Government announced businesses would be eligible for up to $10,000 if they employed a job seeker over the age of 50 and kept them in employment. While other wage subsidy programs have not had a big take-up rate, Ms Ryan said she hoped this one would be successful. But she warned there was more to be done.
"Employers have to say to themselves, I want the best person for the job, not a person that I'm judging by the number of birthdays he or she has had," she said. The commissioner has also questioned the need for an influx of foreign workers on 457 or similar working visas, when so many older Australians are still willing to work. "I agree if we do have serious skills shortages, and we do have overseas workers who can come in, that's a sensible thing to do," she said. "But it's very hard to believe, when you look at the numbers of unemployed people in their 50s and 60s, the numbers of people who are willing to train, who are willing to move for a job." "You have to ask yourself, are employers looking at our local talent pool of mature workers before they decide they need to import labour? I don't think the answer is yes in every case." She says research previously commissioned for the Australian Human Rights Commission found a 3 per cent increase in workforce participation amongst workers aged 55 and over could contribute $33 billion to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP). "It's big, big money," she said.
"When you look at numbers like that it's hard to understand why more effort isn't being made to ensure those people can work longer."
"Jimmy Teoh, an experienced software specialist, sent job applications to more than 50 companies in Australia but after attending just two interviews in a year, he packed up and returned to his former employer in a Scandinavian country. Despite being an engineer with working experience in Iran, Nasir Abdul Wahid could only land part-time work at a not-for-profit organisation here. Another engineer, Christopher Lee, currently works two jobs as a factory operator and a cleaner in a fast food joint. Lisa Zhang’s commerce degree had secured her a job in numerous global corporations in China but only got her as far as a salesgirl position in Australia. There are many more like them. In my volunteer work to help new migrants find employment, I’ve met hundreds of qualified, experienced professionals looking to get their foot in the door. These new migrants were all granted visas under the Professional/Skills category but Australian hiring managers are somehow unwilling to take a chance on them.
In 1992 my family uprooted itself from Malaysia to move to Australia. That was also the year that Australia underwent a recession. Official unemployment was at 10.5%. For new migrants it was about 50% and for a human resources professional like myself, it was almost 100%. I have an honours degree in economics and had spent 10 of my 18 years at JP Morgan Chase as its Vice President, Human Resources Partner for North Asia and Regional Human Resources Manager for ASEAN, India and Pakistan. Yet I spent two years submitting over 500 job applications only to snag eight interviews, all of which ended with “your qualifications and experience do not match our requirements”. I didn’t understand how my degree, multilingualism and vast professional experience weren’t good enough even for junior positions. I suffered depression and low self-esteem, and questioned my decision to move to this “country of opportunity”.
I finally landed my first job through a mutual friend who conveyed my plight to a Malaysian property tycoon with seven properties in Australia. Before I knew it, I was appointed the Human Resources Director for Vista Australia. At the end of the day, it wasn’t a job application that led me to that opportunity but the power of networking.
The local experience
Even today Australian hiring managers perceive new migrants as “hiring risks” solely on the basis that they don’t have local experience. During my 10 years as Human Resources Manager for Webforge Pacifica and Dow Chemical Australia and New Zealand, I learnt that many hiring managers harbour strong doubts as to whether an Asian can get the job done.
While Asians can prove they have the technical skills for the job, Australian hiring managers want them to also prove their soft skills like leadership, teamwork and problem solving as they perceive Asians as passive and submissive.
Recruitment and selection
Once, while working as a division human resources manager for an Australian company, I was asked to assist in a selection process for another division that needed an acoustic expert. The engineering director had shortlisted a candidate from China but the human resources director disagreed on the grounds that the candidate had ‘failed’ tests on patterns, numeracy and English.
I was told to interview the candidate again and convey the reasons for the rejection. This candidate had a PhD from an Australian university, was lecturing in another and had previously worked for Boeing. The tests that he had failed were designed for quick-thinking Year 12 students not for research scientists. I strongly recommended him and he was hired. We had almost lost a talent to a competitor due to a one-size-fits-all recruitment and selection process. Recruitment companies equally subscribe to this flawed system". (end of extract)
User #441474, Ex HaysEmployee
"You wake one morning and you are a Recruitment Consultant! That’s how easy it is to break into the industry. You start your first day in the agency and you are told by management that you are “an expert” in your field and to assume that persona.
I have been in the recruitment game for over 10 years and I have made a successful career from behaving in the opposite manner to my peers and competition. In fact, I believe 90% of the industry is marred by incompetent, unethical, smooth talking, aggressive, greedy “salespeople”. That’s effectively what they are “salespeople” and they are not interested as you the “candidate” or “client”, rather the commission and KPI targets they need to achieve in order to keep their job.
This mindset is not the fault of the individual. It is the way they are trained and educated by the management of these agencies. Recruitment Agencies are highly competitive and stressful work environments, and unsurprisingly the reason for ridiculously high staff turnover.
The Recruitment industry in Australia problem stems from English based recruitment firms setting up business and bringing their people here to conduct business as they do in the UK. Although, it is a successful model for being profitable, recruitment agents not only have a poor reputation in the UK, but have a worse one here in Australia. The only difference is, is that the Brits are more tolerable to being blatantly lied too and crap service. Here in Australia, we call a spade a spade and we want quality and truthful service.
I am now an Internal Recruitment Manager for a major international manufacturing company. As a business rule, I will not do any business with any English people or English based firms. In my time, I have met hundreds of these fast talking English people, and knowing them personally, I know for a fact they don’t care two hoots about you…. It’s all about them. They are “show ponies”, flash suits, mismatched bright shirts and ties, big bling cuff links and an air of confidence bordering arrogance. Don’t get me wrong, I love English people, I have lived in the UK for over 3 years and made some amazing friends. I have interviewed many “experienced” agency consultants in my time. One thing that is very evident almost none of them knew how to conduct an interview or even know how to ask effective questions…. And they call themselves “Recruiters”!!! Ask yourself this question. “When was the last time I visited an agency and was actually interviewed?”
Recruitment Consultants screen in the same way they were once screened when they applied for their jobs…. They go by “looks”. And if they “like” you, they will be inclined to help you! I was once a recruitment consultant for a major UK based agency that boast they are the largest in the world (not necessarily good either... I might add), and here are some home truths about the way they conduct themselves in the market. This behaviour is encouraged by top management. Most English based firms conduct themselves in this manner too. INTERNET ADVERTISING
Ninety percent of the jobs are “FAKE”!!! This is also the reason why they don't disclose the client's name over the phone (not due to confidentiality.... but rather, there is no client.... seriously think about it). The advert is designed to promote the perfect job with excessively high salaries. This obviously acts as a net for attracting candidates. You meet with the consultant, who will then reduce your salary expectations and gains your permission to “float” your resume to various organisation on their database. Large corporate Recruitment Agencies will lead you to believe they have strong relationships with “the client” when in fact nothing could be farther from the truth. There is no relationship between client and agency, and in most instances PSA don’t mean crap (*). (*) PSA only exist with companies with large volume needs, for example in Industrial (warehousing, pick packers, etc), and Banking and Finance (collections, etc) and Call Center type roles. (*) I once worked as an internal recruiter for a company that had over 100 agencies on our “PSA” panel. All these agencies were out there boasting that they were doing business with us. The fact is, for a 12 month period, we did our own recruitment and spent zero dollars on permanent agency costs. The reason why we had a “PSA” panel was to eliminate recruiters from poaching our staff….. Suckers!
The truth is…. Recruitment is “TRANSACTIONAL” and it’s all about timing. The agency contacts a company and by slim chance a person with your qualifications and experience is required, an interview will be set up. This is truly a numbers game! The consultant will make between 10 – 20 calls or e-mails on your behalf and if the consultant is any good, he or she may be able to secure the 2 – 3 interviews.
"Every industry has its deadbeats – but some manage to do an excellent job in giving everyone else a bad name. The recruitment industry is particularly prone to “bad apples” because of the fly-by-night nature of so many of the people who work there and the short-term focus of monthly targets.
In-house recruiter Dan Nuroo recently mused about why people hate recruitment agencies on his blog. “I knew a guy who placed the same person into a permanent role three times in a year! Twice in the same company, just asked her to go by her maiden name the second time around so as to not raise suspicion,” he writes. “He made a fee each time upwards of $20,000 (in the days of three month replacements), and would brag about it. I’ve heard of agents blatantly using their sexuality to try to get work to the point of offering ‘the full service’ for work.”
I had a boss, who actually told a young lady that she’d better go to the ladies to fix her dress as the straps kept falling off. ‘It’s not accidentally happening’, he was told. (True story).” Speaking to BRW, Nuroo (who has worked in-house and in agencies) says he has also known agents to threaten to “empty the car park” – poach all the staff – if a company refused to use their services. Indeed, I have seen a similar response online from a recruiter complaining about IT company Atlassian’s restrictive contracts for recruitment agencies. Nuroo, who is general manager of recruitment at IMA Management and Technology, is not anti-agency but is warning employers to be careful about the agencies they use and to think about what they want from them.
“There’s a few bad apples,” he says. He says he would not use agencies for his day-to-day hiring, because that is his job. Where he does use them is for “different” roles, for sectors of the market where the company doesn’t have expertise or the network." (end of extract)
"Why ‘agency recruitment’ is totally screwed, By Greg Savage on March 11, 2014, Greg Savage, http://gregsavage.com.au/
"The recruitment agency business model is grotesquely dysfunctional.
It is broken. Yes. It. Is. Certainly for permanent recruitment. We are just so used to it, have it so imbued in our psyche, that we don’t appreciated how farcical and damaging it is. For everybody.
Multi-listed, contingent job-orders benefit no-one.
Clients, naively thinking they get a better service because they get agencies to compete, actually get a far worse service because they are actively encouraging recruiters to work on speed, instead of quality.
Recruiters suffer because even if we want to, we can’t really ‘partner’ or ‘consult’, or ‘value-add’, and in the end we only fill one out of five jobs, if we are lucky, destroying profit in many cases, and the careers of recruiters too, who simply burn out, chasing rainbows. And, the often ignored fact, candidates suffer the most because they do not get service or due care from third party recruiters, who are too busy chasing mythical job orders in competition with five other recruiters, to actually focus on the candidates needs. That’s right. If recruitment worked like accountants, or lawyers, or doctors, or even real estate agents, where the service provider is not working on each case in competition… our recruiters would work on 20% of the orders they currently do, but fill 300% more! And who would benefit the most? Candidates! Yes candidates, who would no longer be treated like cattle, but rather like crucial partners, as they should. No wonder candidates are increasingly avoiding job-boards, and recruiters, and transferring their job search energy to web-searching, social media, and other tactics. Yes, that’s a screwed system all right. But it is getting worse as recruitment evolves." (end of extract)
Greg is the founder of leading recruitment companies Firebrand Talent Search, People2People and Recruitment Solutions. He is an established global leader of the recruitment industry and a regular keynote speaker worldwide. Greg provides specialised advice for Recruitment, Professional Services & Social Media companies.
There are many environmental factors contributing to the need for people to remain in, or rejoin, the workforce at older ages. Making this difficult are the stereotypes about the limitations of older workers. Research, both in Australia and overseas, highlights considerable discrimination against older workers. This paper reports on the findings of two small empirical studies that found job advertisements, although not likely to include overt age limits - due to age discrimination legislation, still appear to target particular age groups, and that the wording of such advertisements can be constructed quite purposefully. Although only one job category was used for these studies, together with the summary of the literature, the challenge for age discrimination is shown to be considerable. Although federal age discrimination legislation has recently been passed, it is predicted that, without significant education and training of employers over a period of time, age discrimination in employment will continue, just as it has under state-based anti-discrimination legislation." (Source: Bennington, Lynne --- "Prime Age Recruitment: The Challenges for Age Discrimination Legislation"  ElderLawRw 8; (2004) 3 Elder Law Review 27)
Age discrimination operates at both the younger end of the continuum and at the “older” end but the focus here is on discrimination in respect to older workers. The term “older” begins to operate in employment at different points for men and women.  Some jobs in which women predominate are notoriously allied to ‘youth’ – hairdressing, secretarial work, modelling, sex work, etc whilst jobs where men predominate have less emphasis on ‘looks’ insofar as this concept is applied to women. Even ‘male’ jobs that require physicality seem to have a far broader age-spread – for example, road workers vary in age, although it may be thought that ‘young’ men only need apply, similarly with factory work, executives, heads and upper echelons of government departments, academics (upper echelons in particular are mostly old or older males).
Age limits for jobs also vary, depending upon the country of origin and the sample used, but in Europe, age discrimination seems to start at 45 years or earlier in terms of employers being prepared to hire workers. The age range of interest to employers appears to quite narrow. For example, Loretto, Duncan and White refer to as “prime age labour” or the 25-3 5 age group as the age group employers prefer to hire. The support for this notion is growing. For example, in the United Kingdom, McGoldrick and Arrowsmith’s summary of the research found that the upper age limit for positions varied between 40 and 50 years, but their own study found a mean upper age limit of 37.1 years. In Australia, a Queensland-based team found that employers preferred 26 to 35-year-olds for almost all categories of employment. Victorian-based research also indicated that recruitment agents, when recruiting for secretarial positions, were most interested in those of 25 years of age, followed jointly by those 23 and 30 years of age. Only two out of 180 recruitment consultants in this study thought that those above 37 years would be suitable to employers, even though the average age for a female secretary in the state in which the study was carried out was 36.38 years. (At this time there was state-based age discrimination legislation and the federal Age Discrimination Act 2004 did not exist.)
An analysis of the advertisements used in this Victorian study revealed clear age targeting. A separate study had secretaries rate the individual words used in the advertisements indicating that words such as “buzzy”, “fast-paced”, “go-getter”, “high-flyer”, “can-do”, “switched-on” and “on-the-ball”, “recent graduate”, “at least 2 years experience”, “flexibility”, “dynamic approach”, and benefits relating to “gym” and education were associated with the early 20’s age target; “dedicated”, “hard working”, “loyal”, “unflappable”, “down-to-earth”, and “common-sense approach” were associated with the late 30’s age target; and experience at a “senior level” and a “mature” approach were associated with the over 50’s age group.
Given that over 90 per cent of advertisements for secretaries in this study conveyed a “defined” age expectation, the connotations for prospective applicants were clear. Even without blatant references to age, the wording could easily have deterred potential applicants from even inquiring about jobs, let alone applying - that is, they might screen themselves out on the basis of age. Further study is required to understand how these processes work.
4 Job Advertisements The job advertisement, one of the most common methods of recruitment, has been widely criticized. Although there is general agreement that the purpose of the advertisement is to attract suitably qualified candidates and to encourage them to apply while acting to screen out those who are likely to be deemed unsuitable, strong views exist about what should or should not be included. The main point of contention appears to be whether the desired personal attributes should be mentioned. Eighty per cent of advertisements for personnel positions have been found to contain some reference to personal attributes and their use increased over the ten year span of the study. Yet, even though the specification of age limits for jobs is unlawful in some countries, it is not always overt and some greenfield-sites have been reported as recruiting on the basis of age and personal attributes rather than skills. Given that employers have age preferences, and given that it is generally unlawful to publish age requirements for jobs (there are some exceptions), it might then be expected that job advertisements will contain covert messages about age limits, as appeared to be the case in the Victorian-based study. Moreover, it appears that potential candidates prefer to see this type of information in advertisements; they use whatever information is provided to assess their potential similarity to the firm that has the vacancy. Most candidates do not wish to invest their resources into applying for a position if they are unlikely to meet the employer’s image for the position.
Whether or not the inclusion of personal attributes adds any value to potential applicants, it has been suggested that their inclusion might also have a more sinister side, in that they might act as a form of covert discrimination. For example, it has been pointed out that recruitment advertisements can be discriminatory in respect to the type of copy used – who is portrayed and who is omitted will affect whether potential applicants feel that they will be compatible with the firm. There have been more specific claims that advertisements contained implicit ageism and evidence of words with ageist overtones have been noted. Overall, though, recruitment advertising has attracted little attention in the study of discrimination in employment which is somewhat surprising given that the 1 990s saw a great deal of attention being paid to diversity management.  (Read L Bennington's full research paper)
A 2012 study by PayScale, called “Gen Y on the Job,” found the median tenure for millennials to be two years compared with five for Gen X, seven for baby boomers and 10 for silent generation workers. As a result, the institutional knowledge, history and business continuity possessed by the silent generation and baby boomers might vanish with Gen Xers and millennials retaining little or no knowledge.
The inability to retain and transfer institutional knowledge could result in a steady increase in employee turnover and further loss of institutional knowledge, translating into higher costs and lower institutional efficiency." (Extract: When Knowledge Left the Building, Andrew M. Peńa, February 14, 2014)
‘agency recruitment’ is totally screwed>
AND SUPPORTER INTERESTS PROVES EINSTEIN'S THEORY
Setting aside whether or not Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and senior Ministers, have an agenda on industrial relations or whether Mr Abbott cannot lie straight in bed I wish to address the matter of the Australian Productivity enquiry into Industrial Relations orchestrated by the Abbott government and vested allied busimness and other interests. It is focused on the so called sacred cows, minimum wages, penalty rates and impediments to Australia's productivity created by successive governments (state and federal) stupid industrial relations system and legislation, poor return for money Fair Work Commission and its politically apointed decision makers and awards.
The usual business associations have welcomed it lathering up to justify their existence because they are not stellar at innovation or ideas on any of their average working days. The enquiry will take a year keeping everyone occupied as if they are dooing soomething of worth and long term value. The gladiators and spear carriers of all interests are oiling up. It's exciting time for the vacuous, and the clones, in business, politics, unions, media, associations, research institutes and academia.
The Commission enquiry will not examine the performance, and value adding (minimal or an absence thereof) from Australia's two political parties and their incumbents. If they did the resulting research might not be flattering, it might shine a light on the ineptitude and lack of capability, poor policiies and contrived practices. It wil not examine the effectiveness and quality of our education least TAFE become affronted by an assertion they are delivering lowest common denominator "competency versus deeper learning". The Austra;lian Productivity Commission will not examine in its 2015 enquiry Australia's education and training systems and its value to productivity, least the sacred ideology of Australia's Labor Party and unions that Vocational Education and Training (VET)enhances the opportunity for a person to gain a job is challenged. The enquiry might find VET does not enhance the likelihood of a person getting a job. The myriad of job agencoes living off public funding labouring under this fallacy would be at risk.
Vocational education and training, impacts, values, disinterest, prejudice and the politics of employability
Beck, Kevin R.
Affiliation: Faculty of Education
Document Type: Masters Research thesis
Keywords: vocational education; Australia; evaluation; unemployment; economic policy
Access Status: Open Access
Description, © 2003 Kevin R. Beck
This study questions the proposition that undertaking vocational education and training (VET) enhances the likelihood of getting a job. The research opines that the perceived impact of VET in the employment decision is ideological and based on circumstantial evidence not measurable in the absence of specifically focused, large scale, longitudinal research. The research contends that unemployment, and the role of education and training in reducing unemployment, intersect in a highly politicised and manipulated environment lacking the necessary data and research to inform public policy and that this environment has spawned a new class system in Australia - "Employability".
The research states that, in Australia, too many individuals and employers exhibit little regard for the value of education and training preferring experience and attitude, whilst the government makes little effort to instil a desire for life long learning engaging instead in denigration of the unemployed and shaping of public perception whilst frustrating independent analysis of its claims for success in dealing with this social enigma. Work, according to this researcher, has been elevated to the point of becoming a religion and humanity is now valued by business, and government, solely for its "employability" in an act of faith policy set that allocates education and training to a role subordinate to, and supporting of, employability. Decisions on the value of education are left up to individual choice in a narrowly focused set of policies shackled by economic overtones and a failure to promote life long learning.
The research locates these, and other assertions, in a conceptual framework that explores the intersecting themes of society, economics, politics, education and training, through hermeneutical interrogation of empirical, theoretical and philosophical research using content, thematic and materialist semiotic analysis within an ethnographic - inductive design. The study surfaces the proposition that research and balanced economic and social evaluation techniques, together with a sophisticated debate and a set of values and policy of life long learning, does not shape public policy and action. Instead, the drivers are primarily narrow ideologies, acts of faith, unproven assumptions and the objectives of politics and capital.
The researcher ultimately concludes that the decision to employ is more influenced by the external complex interactions of agency, practice and social structure and the singular conditions of interview.
Citation: Beck, K. R. (2003). Vocational education and training, impacts, values, disinterest, prejudice and the politics of employability. Masters Research thesis, Faculty of Education, The University of Melbourne.
If the Australian Production Commission enquiry were to examine this scared cow it might find Australians have a low regard for training, don't want to and if they haave to do it want someone else to pay.
The enquiry will not examine the competency of thhe people who work on Boards, (Institutions, Corporations and Governments'), the Chief Executives and Managing Directors and the myriad of middle management. If it did it might find Australia's management talent, and practices, are not worlld class. The politician's ideas, policies and capabilitiies (Labor and Liberal) are not world class. They are corrupt, in measurable ways, to their very core. The rewrite their resumes constantly. We only have to look at the performance of these politicians from 2006 - 2014 to sustain such a belief. We only have to look at the behaviour of executiives in our banks, finance sector and major retailers like Woolworths and Coles too observe an absence of ethics, quality management and a propensity for illegal behaviour. They are not alone.
Thus Australia's Prime Minister, Mr Tony Abbott, unable to throw of his myopia, pursues ideology and his own perceptions and prejudices along with his colleagues and fan club decade after decade. Enstein said it all when he described stupidity. Doing same thing over and over forever expecting a different outcome.
An unconscious Bias Against Women
Employers appointing people who look like them
"Commonwealth Bank chief executive Ian Narev says he has “no doubt” he has been guilty of unconscious bias against women in the workforce, and believes it is widespread. (Australian Financial Review, Ian Narev ‘guilty’ of bias against women, 11 March 2014)
Leading chief executives have conceded that many Australian companies have a problem with women in senior roles, saying some men "fear having to compete with women". The private and public sector leaders said in an Ernst & Young report that businesses needed to change their mindset about gender equality if they wanted to fully harness the financial benefits of having a diverse workforce. "From both a social justice perspective and from a practical standpoint of wanting the best person for the job, I think it’s frankly ridiculous that we only appoint senior people from 49 per cent of the population," Coco-Cola Amatil chairman David Gonski said. The report, titled In His Own Words, deliberately focused on male leaders and their views on workplace equality. The report also criticised the federal government's new paid parental leave plan as being biased and legislating along gender lines. "Its model is pegged to the woman’s salary, assuming this will always be lower than her partner’s," the report's authors wrote. (Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, October 25, 2013, Some men 'fear competing with women')
As Australia’s progress towards gender equity in the workplace slows, prominent male leaders from the public and private sectors speak candidly about why gender equity is a national imperative, why diversity initiatives alone aren’t working - and the changes Australia needs to embrace for everyone’s benefit. Why is gender equity important?
Beyond the ethical argument, male leaders believe Australia simply cannot afford to leave half the population out of the hiring equation. In their experience, diversity at all levels lowers risk and improves organisational performance. In a diverse organisation: leadership groups make smarter, more informed decisions; customers are better understood; employees are less cynical and more engaged; and organisations gain competitive advantage. Brian Hartzer, Westpac’s Chief Executive, Australian Financial Services says gender equity is an economic imperative."(Source: EY, Building a better working world, www.ey.com)
Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?, by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, 9:00 AM August 22, 2013
There are three popular explanations for the clear under-representation of women in management, namely: (1) they are not capable; (2) they are not interested; (3) they are both interested and capable but unable to break the glass-ceiling: an invisible career barrier, based on prejudiced stereotypes, that prevents women from accessing the ranks of power. Conservatives and chauvinists tend to endorse the first; liberals and feminists prefer the third; and those somewhere in the middle are usually drawn to the second. But what if they all missed the big picture?... The truth of the matter is that pretty much anywhere in the world men tend to think that they that are much smarter than women. Yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group. Indeed, whether in sports, politics or business, the best leaders are usually humble — and whether through nature or nurture, humility is a much more common feature in women than men. For example, women outperform men on emotional intelligence, which is a strong driver of modest behaviors. Furthermore, a quantitative review of gender differences in personality involving more than 23,000 participants in 26 cultures indicated that women are more sensitive, considerate, and humble than men, which is arguably one of the least counter-intuitive findings in the social sciences. An even clearer picture emerges when one examines the dark side of personality: for instance, our normative data, which includes thousands of managers from across all industry sectors and 40 countries, shows that men are consistently more arrogant, manipulative and risk-prone than women." (Source: as cited)
A cheap airline in every respect
"Jetstar fined $90,000 for making cadets pay for own training Thu 6 Feb 2014, 7:42pm ABC News Australia
Jetstar has been fined $90,000 for making six cadet pilots pay for their own training. The Federal Court handed down the fine in Sydney after the airline admitted it breached the Fair Work Act when it deducted $17,500 from the wages of the cadets to cover the training. The pilots, recruited between October 2010 and January 2011, were employed on individual contracts through a New Zealand-based Jetstar subsidiary while they underwent six months of training. After their employment was transferred to Australian entity Jetstar Group, Jetstar tried to recover training costs from the pilots despite being advised it was unlawful under Australia's Air Pilots Award 2010, Justice Robert Buchanan found. Jetstar deducted a total of $17,500 from all six pilots' wages, including one pilot who had refused to agree to it. The money was returned two months later after a legal challenge by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP). Justice Buchanan said Jetstar had shown a lack of evidence of contrition or remorse over the events. "The respondents used their vastly superior bargaining power to effectively brush aside any personal resistance by cadet pilots, not desisting until the AFAP stepped in," he said. "The conduct of Jetstar Group and Jetstar Airways was calculated solely by reference to their assessment of their own commercial interests." (end of source)
The fact that Jetstar management thought that it was oaky, regardless of legality, tells us a lot about the company, its Chair and Board, CEO and Human Resource Executives. It speaks volumes of the corporation and its valuing of employees, ethics and principles. It is indeed a budget airline in every respect.
Let's Value the Talent and Loyalty of Australia's Car Manufacturing Workers
In the G20 group some 19 countries manufacture cars. All subsidise the industry for a ramge of reasons most of which have little to do with cost of local labour (compared to less developed countries) and more to do with global dynamics. It does not help that of the three major car manufacturers in Australia, two are owned by US centric and myopic corporations where the ethos is that America is the centre of the world. We have seen this in decisions regarding Ford and its Forrester SUV by the US parent and the announcement that Ford is leaving Australia.
Yes it is grist for the media, and the unions, when Holden soughta wage reduction. But the fundalental question is what forces external to Australia cause this and what factors and policies can be brought to bear to solve cmplex and vexing issues.
car manufacturing directly employs about 50,000 Australian workers. When one considers the downstream industries the employment ratio grows exponentially. Offshoot industries and the impact on other activities in and around the car manufacturing is evident, particularly in Gellong, Victoria, Australia
Australian Future Fibres Research
and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC)
Innovation in this regional town, which built its economy on Ford, creates a climate of more innovation and cross breeding.
A car worker is amongst one of the most skiled and highly sought after employees. Trained in complex logistics, supply, manufacturing and technology these workers and managers can migrate to mining, services and many other industries. Technology developed for car manufacturing finds its way into other areas of Australian society. Rather than look at car making through a prism of government funding and limited return media, policy makers, some union officials and critics might look at the Innovation Ecosystem into whihc car manufacturing fits and informs.
What determines innovation success? I do not belive that it is the underlying technology or the monetary value proposition. There is an interdependency amongst all of the players in this scenario, an its impacts outward to the down stream industries and seeding of R&D, these partner networks that define the innovative nature of the ecosystem. Politicians business community need to learn how to adapt and build their local, regional and national econsystems. The developing innovation may fit into Science Based, Technology Based or Service Based Ecosystems, or straddle one or more. Science and technology can merge. New battery technology, paints based on nanomaterials coating, parts that convert the mechanical energy of the vehicle into electrical generation are all born due to the car industry.
So let's broaden our minds, and value the talent, and dedication, of the Australian car manufacturing worker who demonstrates incredible loyalty for the company and love of their product, rather than sniping away with churlish intent on a vested interest.
|"Exploitation found in unpaid work experience, Thursday, 7 February 2013: Extract of media release|
University of Adelaide legal experts say the use of unpaid internships and work experience in Australia could in some cases be seen as a form of exploitation, and might result in legal action against employers. That's one of the key findings of a major report into unpaid work experience - commissioned by the Fair Work Ombudsman - which has today been publicly released.
The report, called Experience or Exploitation? The Nature, Prevalence and Regulation of Unpaid Work Experience, Internships and Trial Periods in Australia, is the first of its kind for the nation. It contains six key recommendations aimed at preventing the exploitation of workers who undertake unpaid work experience where that work is not linked with a formal education or training program. The report's authors are two of Australia's foremost labour law experts, Professor Andrew Stewart and Professor Rosemary Owens from the University of Adelaide's Law School. "There is significant evidence of unpaid work experience, internships and trial work that could be seen as undermining the award system and other labour standards," says Professor Stewart. "In some cases, these practices may be considered a form of exploitation of unpaid workers, and we believe much can be done to educate businesses and workers alike to reduce the problem." Professor Owens says: "By work experience and internships, we're not talking about volunteers who work for a charitable or community organisation, or people on work experience programs as part of their education. There is no issue with these programs.
"However, there are real instances of employers who repeatedly use unpaid internships instead of paying someone a wage to perform that labour. At this point, as we've seen in countries like the United States, 'experience' can move into the more dangerous territory of 'exploitation'," she says. To read the full report click here
With the decline in ethical management, and behaviour, in Australia it is no surprise that the University should conclude that exploitation exists. If our most reputable corporations, their Boards and Executives, are prepared to exploit the poor workers of Bangladesh and Cambodia,
"Monday 24 June 2013, Australians love a bargain, but what's the real cost of cheap clothes from the sweat shops in Bangladesh? On 24th April this year more than a thousand people were killed when an eight storey building collapsed in the heart of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. The collapse of Rana Plaza turned the world's attention to the shocking conditions workers in the country's clothing industry are forced to endure. In recent years, Australian companies have flooded into Bangladesh to take advantage of lax labour laws and the lowest wages in the world, paid to the predominantly young, female workers in the factories. Next on Four Corners reporter Sarah Ferguson sets out to find where the clothes we see in our major retail outlets are made. What efforts do Australian companies make to ensure the factories are safe and their workers earn a living wage? Australian retailers blocked our enquiries at every turn, refusing access to factories wherever we went." (Source of extract: ABC Australia, FASHION VICTIMS, By Sarah Ferguson and Mary Ann Jolley, Updated June 25, 2013)
and to misuses the Australian 457 work visa system for their advantage, and greed,
"'INSUFFICIENT COMPLIANCE CHECKS'".... But Jobwatch, an employment rights legal centre in Victoria, says insufficient compliance checks mean some 457 sponsors are getting away with exploitation. For Walter, an experienced restaurant manager from Italy, being granted a 457 visa marked the start of a stressful period in his professional life. He was granted a visa on the basis he would be employed as a restaurant manager. But his sponsor ultimately forced him to work in a less senior role, and threatened to have him deported if he did not do the 50-plus hours a week demanded of him. "The job described was that I had to be the restaurant manager of that place. I had to make a roster, I had to deal with the suppliers, deal with the customers, like running the place actually. Instead after the first week he completely changed his mind. He doesn't give me the power to manage the place. Actually I was just a waiter, no more, no less." At one point Walter was made to work three weeks without a day off. He says he felt like a slave." (Source: Are 457 visa-holders being exploited? 5 NOV 2012, 7:52 AM, SOURCE: PHILLIPPA CARISBROOKE, SBS, World News Australia)
why would Australian employrs of all shapesa nd sizes, not exploit Austalian workers too?
Holden Australia, extracting mega millions from taxpayers to stay manufacturig in Australia, now want workers to take a pay cut. The exploiters of employees, and others beyond our shores, are often ably assisted in their endeavours by their Human Resource practitioners, Recruitment Providers and Lawyers. (Kevin Beck, June 2013)
"The Fair Work Ombudsman today announced a new focus on educating employers and employees about the legitimacy of schemes for unpaid work experience, following research by the University of Adelaide Law School. The FWO commissioned the research, published in the report Experience or Exploitation?, which uncovered a growing number of businesses using unpaid work schemes as an alternative to hiring paid staff. The report also found young people and migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to being exploited through these schemes. Key sectors of concern for unpaid work were trials in the hair and beauty industry, retail and hospitality while unpaid internships in the media, accounting and legal professions are quite widespread." (Source: FWO to crack down on unpaid work experience after research reveals exploitation: What your business needs to do Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:12, CARA WATERS, Smart Company.)
"The Fair Work Ombudsman does not want to stifle genuine learning and development opportunities such as vocational placements linked directly to formalised training through universities or other training institutions. It will focus on exploitation, such as a young person required to work unpaid in a cafe for a full week to test his or her "suitability" for a paid position as a barista, waiter or kitchen-hand." (Source: Work experience, not exploitation, the key 22nd Mar 2013 1:40 PM, Coffs Harbour Advocate, Australia)
"Performance reviews are useless and staff numbers are always being cut back. Is it any wonder everyone hates HR? How many HR officers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Four. One to assess the risk of the light bulb changing process, another to consult the light bulb and its stakeholders, yet another to ensure that the health and safety procedures are being adhered to while the bulb is being changed, and a fourth to actually change it. Everyone hates human resources. It’s one of the pet peeves of most employees. But then, let’s face it, most HR people are not that bright and HR has not proven to be an effective career track. It’s certainly not the fast track to the top. Historically, it’s been a depository of people who haven’t made it somewhere else. Not going anywhere? There’s always HR. HR is widely seen as obsessed with duplicative and wasteful process, turning every minor transaction into a forest of paperwork. It’s also regarded as a handmaiden of management with HR people behaving like Soviet bureaucrats, spouting the ideology and then doing the opposite as required by their political masters. One of the great management thinkers Gary Hamel was brutal about HR when we had a conversation about it some time ago. "HR is mostly interested in compliance, both compliance with external laws and regulations and things that govern employment, and internal compliance, like are people following the rules and doing what they’re supposed to be doing,’’ Hamel said. “Now a certain amount of that is alright but if you ask what contribution HR has made to helping organisations become more innovative, to helping people become more passionate, I don’t think they see their job that way, sadly. Either they don’t understand what it means to get the best out of people and build human capital or they understand it but they’re not doing it.” Writing in BNet, Margaret Heffernan sums up the problem perfectly. Heffernan writes: “In most companies, HR lacks organisational clout because it doesn’t have its own P&L. No revenue = no influence. That some firms have outsourced their HR function goes to show just how low it can fall within the corporate power structure. Others claim that HR doesn’t exist to do anything — it’s just there to prevent lawsuits... (Source extract: Why everyone hates HR, November 10, 2010, Sydney Morning Herald, Executive Style, Australia)
"I've never had a positive interaction with Human Resources. "It starts with annoyance. In the technology field, HR is the department that stays firmly mired in the 80s with everything on paper, using outmoded forms, usually with false information and always requiring signature after signature for things which are unlawful, overreaching, counterfactual or frivolous. "It reaches into unease. HR staff feel the need to put a 'friendly face' on all interactions, empathizing and finding common ground with employee concerns. However, they do not work with other employees on a regular basis, so they're empathetic strangers. It rings false, and no bond can be established on this basis. "But it's much worse than that. Human Resources always sides with corporate interests. If there's a legal concern, such as a legitimate harassment situation, Human Resources will act as a mock support system for the involved parties, but ultimately act to protect the organization from perceived threats which may never be released at the expense of providing a healing resolution for anyone." (Source:Do You Hate HR? By Susan M. Heathfield, About.com GuideFebruary 7, 2013)
"I’m old enough to remember real personnel departments that did serve a useful purpose....But in my experience I find few of them very professional. (Source extract: The destructive uselessness of HR departments, Posted on April 24th, 2012 by James Higham, The-destructive-uselessness-of-hr-departments/
On the positive side
"Mapping the HR Value Proposition A systemic approach that makes visible and credible the value-added contribution of HR professionals In their must-read book ‘The HR Value Proposition’, (see the Further Reading section for details), Professors Dave Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank outline a practical approach for HR professionals to add business value. They state “HR professionals add value when their work helps someone reach their goals. It is not the design of a program or declaration of policy that matters most, but what recipients gain from these actions. In a world of increasingly scarce resources, activities that fail to add value are not worth pursuing…The HR value proposition means that HR practices, departments, and professionals produce positive outcomes for key stakeholders – employees, line managers, customers, and investors.”
Unfortunately, in some organisations HR is still not seen as an occupational group that delivers value to key stakeholders. In an article from a Melbourne newspaper, The Age, tilted ‘Getting down and dirty with HR’, (August 31, 2005), critics view HR as “the handmaiden of management, the only one without smarts to work as a strategic partner…In most organisations HR is seen as a cost centre…when Channel Nine boss Sam Chisholm recently got rid of his HR director and deputy (to cut costs), he ordered senior staff to take a crash course in how to do human resources.” Ulrich and Brockbank point out that if HR professionals want to hold onto their jobs and increase their influence, they must focus less on what they do – their processes and systems – and more on the value they can deliver to the business. They must ensure they have a direct line of sight with their key stakeholders. (Source Mapping_the_HR_Value_Proposition.pdf)
"The Value Of HR, by Darin Phillips"
This presentation includes key research into the value that human resources teams can provide through strategic, competency-based talent management practices... http://www.slideshare.net/the-value-of-hr
In "High cost, low productivity nation" no mention is made of excessively overpaid business leaders |
or the poor productivity of management. The comments from business leaders come across as whining. The real problem is the under-performing managers who are failing to lead. As the productivity of managers falls they quickly turn to unions as a scapegoat. Unions have a duty to protect the interests of their members. This idea that a union involvement "verging on nil" is ideal, shows up managers as being naive." (Source: Greg McKenzie
Australian Financial review
Overpaid business leaders fail to lead, 16 FEB 2012)
"QANTAS grounded its entire domestic and international fleets indefinitely last night - stranding thousands of passengers - as it declared it would lock out all workers engaged in industrial action. Announcing the unprecedented action against three unions, Qantas's chief executive, Alan Joyce, said the drastic strategy meant the cancellation of all flights, effective immediately." (Source: Airline that stops a nation, October 29, 2011, Sydney Morning Herald)
Global Human Rights News and Articles
Image courtesy of Kozzi
Human Capital Magazine (Australia)
Image courtesy of Kozzi
Human Capital (USA)
Image courtesy of Kozzi
Lisbon Council (Europe)
Image courtesy of Kozzi
and HR Management Theories
Australian state government cuts vocational training 2012
How Important is Education to Your Job?, Fri, 05/20/2011 In "A Successful Woman"
In a word: very! Some jobs donâ€™t ask for anything beyond a high-school diploma, but these are generally low-paying positions that wonâ€™t offer you any room to advance. Most employers worth working for will require that you have a degree before theyâ€™ll even hire you, while many want you to continue your education in order to qualify for advancement. The level of education needed for any given job will vary by both the field and the particular position, but if youâ€™re interested in improving, youâ€™re probably going to have to think about continuing education at some point.
Victoria Australia: "TAFEs hit hard, courses to be cut
VICTORIAN TAFEs could be forced to shut down or amalgamate after the Baillieu government slashed spending to 80 per cent of vocational courses as part of $100 million in cuts to skills funding. TAFEs were reeling after the government announced drastic cuts to fee subsidies for courses including hospitality, fitness, business, events and retail. The cuts will lead to sharp fee increases for students and are expected to result in courses being abolished and job losses. Victorian TAFE Association executive director David Williams said the budget cut was the biggest funding cut to TAFE in history. ''Many current TAFE courses will cease and some facilities are likely to be closed,'' Mr Williams said. ''The budget clearly indicates Premier Baillieu has broken his promise, as frontline TAFE staff will inevitably need to be retrenched in significant numbers to meet lowered funding.'' The Victorian Government cut the government subsidy for most vocational courses after demand burgeoned in recent years. The subsidy, originally expected to cost the government $900 million this financial year, has surged to $1.3 billion. Spending will be cut to $1.2 billion next financial year." (Source: Jewel Topsfield May 02, 2012, Sydney Morning Herald")
"Ted Baillieu's razor gang, PM seeks friends
Baillieu's razor gang. Victorian treasurer Kim Wells has wielded the axe in handing down the Victorian state budget, with $2.9 billion worth of public sector spending set to go in the next financial year. TAFE courses also fell victim to the cuts, with $100 million worth of skills funding to go, while the government will seek to increase fines as a way of filling the revenue hole. The deep cuts will see Wells post a predicted surplus of $155 million for 2012-13." (source: The Power Index, Wednesday, 02 May 2012)
It is often put about that the younger the recruiter professional the more likely that they are to be biased, and incompetent, at reading the applicant and having a knowledge, and of the industry for which they are recruiting. Every word every interaction can be reported on twitter or on facebook or any number of social networks yet recruiters go on oblivious to this. I have formed this view from many years of engaging with recruitment agencies, and human resource practitioners and reading cases of bias and incompetence. I observe extremely poor human resource management in private enterprise and the public sector every day across Australia and internationally in Asia, the United states and the United Kingdom. My most memorable interaction was In Sydney (2011) with a recruitment specialist in a high profile firm in North Sydney. She assessed that at my age I was unlikely to come to grips with the Internet and all of its capacities. The second most memorable was also in Sydney (2010) who informed me that I was unsuitable for a position at an energy company because I had no nuclear power station experience. When I enquired why this was relevant she informed me that NSW power stations were all nuclear.
"Since the introduction of the Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth), experiences of age discrimination in employment among mature age workers have featured prominently in the complaints of age discrimination received by the Australian Human Rights Commission. In 2008-09, I undertook a series of consultations with peak bodies including age-based community groups, legal service providers, business groups, unions, academics and relevant government departments. As well I undertook research to learn more about the barriers to employment facing mature age workers. A number of general themes emerged including mature age workers' access to appropriate skills and training, the ability to balance unpaid caring work, issues of law reform and the lack of detailed Australian research into these issues. One of the foremost barriers that emerged was that of unlawful age discrimination - and this in the face of one of the most significant demographic shifts in modern human history where populations across the globe are ageing. Age discrimination is entrenched through ageism, which can be found in almost every sphere of public life. It doesn't just exist - it thrives. Disturbingly, unlike other forms of discrimination, age discrimination and ageism donâ€™t yet seem to be at the point of being stigmatised." (Source: Age Discrimination â€“ exposing the hidden barrier for mature age workers Australian Human Rights Commission, 2010)
You can download this full report here
" Resume writing and "ageism" in recruitment Stereo typing people based on their age is sadly a common problem in Australia and it is estimated that over 80% of mature employment seekers have suffered some form of ageism in their job search. However, there are still a number of organisations that seek out diversity in age across their teams and value experience, so age can also work for you as opposed to always working against you. Therefore limiting your applications the right types of positions can often help avoid unnecessary disappointment. What to look out for in a job description: Employers will never say "looking for someone in their mid-20's" in a job advertisement as it's breaking discrimination laws. Instead, an employer will use subtle phrases such as "two years experience" to help guide applicants into knowing the type of candidate they feel will be best suited to their particular positions." (source: ITouch Professionals, http://www.resume-services.com.au/resume-writers-age-concern.html"
This company gives tips on how to spot agism and how to try and get around it.
"Ageism Rife in ICT Sector Anthony Wong The 2010 Intergenerational Report released by Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan earlier this month has highlighted the need for urgent action to combat the negative impacts of age discrimination. The ACS Age Discrimination Task Force is preparing a comprehensive report on ageism, exploring the contributing factors, costs and possible solutions. Anecdotal evidence suggests ageism is rife in the ICT sector, with the latest ACS Employment Report revealing that more than 20 per cent of Australian ICT professionals have experienced age-related discrimination while over 30 per cent of senior ICT professionals remain unemployed. Itâ€™s a global issue, with the US, UK and Europe all reporting low participation levels for mature age professionals in the ICT sectors. According to a study by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), workers aged 55 and over account for only 6.8 per cent of the ICT workforce, compared to 11.7 per cent of the broader working population. Similarly, a 2007 report entitled Diversity Management in the ICT Industry, prepared for the EUâ€™s Union Network International, reported: "ICT workers are significantly younger than the population as a whole; while the 45+ age group is growing as a proportion of the population, 80% of ICT professionals are under 45." The EU report also identified "widespread and long-standing age discrimination in recruitment to ICT work based on unproven assumptions about age: that older workers are less healthy than younger workers and are consequently likely to have high sickness absence rates, that their skills are obsolete, and that they have difficulties in learning new skills." Australiaâ€™s Commissioner for Age Discrimination, Elizabeth Broderick, claims that age discrimination in recruitment and employment practices is "pervasive, systemic, invisible and accepted". (source: Anthony Wong is President of the ACS and Chief Executive of AGW Consulting P/L, a multidisciplinary ICT, Intellectual Property Legal and Consulting Practice.)
But agism is not merely limited to employment. It is entrenched in attitudes of employees and those who do not like working with the aged in our society. "As discussed in Section 2.3.2, ageism constitutes a significant barrier to clinical placement in aged care services. Equally this is a significant inhibitor for the development of a TNH â€“ but not necessarily a lasting inhibitor once a TNH has achieved positive results (also discussed in Section 2.3.2). The negative impact at the planning stage is illustrated in these two examples from the TNHP initiative in the USA. The lingering mistrust between education and service and the hurdles of contract negotiation that this created seem small compared to the entrenched attitudes toward the aged, most particularly the institutionalized aged. Undergraduate students were less than exuberant about a clinical placement in the home. Staff members were blind to the fact that there could be more quality of life for residents â€¦. (Bronner 2004: 6 quoting Lucille Joel, director of the TNHP project at Rutgers University). The faculty were uninterested and unmotivated. It was hard to get them to redirect their interests and carve out space in the curriculum. Gerontology has never been as sexy as critical care or oncology nursing (Bronner 2004: 6, quoting Joan Lynaugh, Associate Director of the TNHP project at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing)." (Source:Implementing the Teaching Nursing Homes Initiative: Scoping Study - Bridging Education, Research And Clinical Care - The Teaching Nursing Home: Discussion Paper, 4.6 Overcoming Ageist Attitudes, Australian Government Health Department.
I am currently experiencing numerous examples of recruitment companies ending young temporary workers and others who last a few days and or months and then leave. No mature workers are offered for consideration. From time to time I apply for jobs to test the market and to determine if my perceptions are correct. Recently I applied for a job in one of my client's enterprises, where I am an executive. I did not get and interview and when I asked the recruiter why I was told that there were better candidates, more skilled and experienced. The candidates arrived and they were university graduates with two years experience in narrow spectrum skills. I declined to agree to their appointment and terminated the interview process dropping the agency off the company's service provider list. I continually list on a number of major recruitment firms web sites. Most notably when I do receive an interview the recruiter or human resource practitioner have little clue about the industry, major players in it and most prominently have no idea that I am well known within the sector. In my view they do not do their homework. They are oblivious to the proposition that it is they who are being interviewed, assessed and reported on.
I cannot see any evidence that the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA) is having any sway in addressing this as a failing in their industry standards.
"The Association is instrumental in setting the professional standards, educating and developing Member skills, monitoring industry participant performance and working with legislators to formulate the future. Members are kept up-to-date on information regarding best practice techniques, resources and technological innovation, along with legislative changes impacting on employment." (Source: Workforce Participation of Mature Age Workers Submission of The Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA) December 2011)
"RCSA, as the peak body representing recruitment and on-hire service providers in Australia, are acutely aware of the important role played by mature aged workers. RCSA has been working with all forms of Government for the past decade on ways to further utilise the mature age workforce to provide a partial, yet significant solution, to the ongoing skills shortage, a shortage which is as relevant to the State of Victoria as any other. With this in mind, RCSA welcomes the opportunity to participate in this Consultative Forum and to provide our thoughts about opportunities to increase workforce participation for mature age workers." (source: ibid)
"Overall, recruiters were positive about older workers and believed that they have an array of positive attributes to offer future employers including good skills, life experience and the capacity to effectively mentor younger employees. They found older workers had positive attributes including being reliable, steady and loyal employees who turned over their jobs relatively infrequently. In terms of their more challenging attributes, some recruiters identified that older workers have relatively more health concerns and also request greater levels of work flexibility, including reduced hours or part time work. Some found older workers were slower than younger workers and had different expectations of their career progression, often being happy to stay at the level they have reached during their work life. Further some older workers possess out dated skills and were identified as needing to actively improve their work skills- particularly IT- to improve their potential for job placement. Of course, there were equally many experiences where mature aged workers retained current skills in IT." (Source: extract ibid)
The submission by the RCSA, extracted above is worth reading
Having read the report and the quotes from recruitment agencies within it, it is not clear why there is a persistent reporting of bias and discrimination in Australia. If I had to make an assumption I would say that there is a common trait across Australia, people making decisions have narrow education, they are now imbued with a shallow focus on competency and short termism and they are pitifully unaware of laws, politics, human behaviour and all of its implications. There is a dumbing down and narrowing of education, skill, knowledge, research capacity, comprehension, awareness and anticipation, in almost every sector of employment, economy and society within Australia.
"Female CEOs are a rare breed in Australia, particularly at the very top. The nation has the lowest percentage of women in top business roles compared with the UK, the US, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand. A 2010 census by the Equal Opportunities for Women in the Workplace Agency (soon to be the Workplace Gender Equality Agency) reveals just six female CEOs in the top 200 companies where women hold a mere 104 of 1300 key executive positions. This does not bode well for efforts to get more women on to the boards of publicly listed companies, as former senior executives tend to make up the majority of board directors".(Source: Women and Leadership: Putting Unconscious Bias Top of Mind Published: May 10, 2011 in Knowledge@Australian School of Business)
"Unconscious bias against women remains firmly established in the workplace and is an ongoing barrier against women reaching leadership roles, a new report has found. The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) will today release its report, Women in Leadership: Looking Below the Surface, which it says examines the high degree of unconscious gender bias in the Australian workforce. The report is due to be officially received in Melbourne later today by Federal Minister for the Status of Women, the Honourable Kate Ellis MP. Chief Executive Professor at CEDA, the Honourable Stephen Martin, said the report will provide facts and figures to business leaders offering a case for resolving gender equity issues. Professor Martin also said the report highlights some of the unspoken, underlying unconscious biases that exist and are hindering change."(Source: HC Online,Unconscious gender biasâ€™ in Australia: New report 27/09/2011)
"Organisations are damaging their employer brand and bottom line by engaging in poor recruitment practices, according to new research. A survey of more than 500 recruitment managers, by psychometric testing firm SHL, revealed one-quarter felt over stretched by the number of applications they are receiving during the economic downturn. This is having a knock-on effect on their recruitment processes, with nearly half of the 1,600 workers surveyed reporting they were left with a negative view of an organisation following an unsuccessful job application." (source: Personnel Today, Poor recruitment practices damage consumer brand and bottom line Kat Baker 08 June 2010)
"Tell me about yourself? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years time? In the decade I have been writing about employment these would have to be the top three most detested questions. There are some fabulous one-off hated questions. One woman wrote to me after a weird question from a potential boss. "He wanted to know how I would react to him banging his fists down on the desk â€“ and did just that to demonstrate." It shouldnâ€™t be an issue because the answer is not to take the job if it is offered. Another woman in her early 30s told me she was interviewing in front on a panel for a role in an elite team within one of the top banks. "This guy asked me if I had any plans to get married and have children one day. The HR manager was sitting next to him and nearly fell off her chair." (source: Hated job interview questions and how to answer them,"Kate Southam, Monday, May 09, 2011, News.com.au)
"Seriously, we know work sucks. We know how monotonous and frustratingly hellish your commute is. We know what an unpleasant tool your boss can be and we know there's at least one coworker who sucks the ever loving life out of you. To help alleviate the symptoms of work rot, browse our latest job stories and post your own (anonymously, of course). You can't keep this crap bottled up!" (source: Go to: Job Schmob "Why I hate recruiters and I hate recruitment agencies they SUCK! OK so I know that this is a forum for recruiters, but let me tell you something, I hate them, I've thought long and hard about the reasons why I hate them and following is the list. 10. "Recruiters have NO IDEA what the skill set is that they are trying to fill" 9. "I am not sure if the post-interview feedback is honest or I don't get feedback at all ....how hard to do this can it be?" (Source: Review recruiter.com)
There have been a few things going around the recruiter blogosphere this week focusing on the service recruitment consultants deliver. Greg Savage wrote a great post: "God I Hate Recruiters" based on a discussion he'd had with a friend on the cricket field. Yesterday Recruiter Daily posted an interview with a recruiter Ian Bellingham. He said he was amazed at the poor service he'd received from recruiters when he had been recently looking for a job. It's sad that this is news. It seems that many people consider consultants a necessary evil. Research last year from Destination Talent showed that 64% of executives have found a job at least once in their career using a recruitment service. However, 33% had negative opinions, and only 18.66% considered recruitment firms to be effective. I can't really see the service job seekers receive and the perception of the service they receive changing in the very near future“ for a few reasons. The commission based business model that agencies use is entrenched. It's a known model. There's big money to be made. It takes a brave business to break that model. Sales success is easy to measure and reward. You're a consultant. You place a person. You meet your money targets. You get the commission. However, like Greg says, it's not a model that leads to recruiters looking after the individual. Read my piece on the silent treatment you may receive as a job seeker as a result....."
Continued: "The "perception" that recruiters deliver poor service will not change in the future. It will always be difficult for people to think they are getting good service. When people look for jobs they are vulnerable. Change is traumatic or difficult for most of us. That's why we put up with jobs we loathe and stay in careers we detest......
..."I think there are game changers at play as people become more socially media savvy. Facebook easily connects old friends. Jobs get passed around quickly and easily. Linkedin also has some interesting features which now allow you to look at an advertised role, then see who is in your network who knows the advertiser." (Source: Should we really "hate" recruiters? by KARALYN on MARCH 2, 2011, http://interviewiq.com.au/should-we-really-hate-recruiters)
"The recruiter works for the employer not you." (Source: Whirlpool.com.au blogs)
In Australia we are forever in a world governed by the cycle of employment and mass redundancies, boom and bust in employment opportunities, the two speed economy and the failure of governments, state and federal, to create coherent long term policies all the while focusing on self interested political cycles and retention/winning office.
Then there are the poor attitudes of the general population to ongoing education, the failure of the basic education delivery (reading, writing and literacy), the laziness of those who will not put in the effort to gain a higher education, the lack of lifelong learning policy at state and federal levels of government, the undervaluing, and under utilisation, of talent and a myriad of other examples all compounding the loss of morale, and the waste of human capital and potential in Australia. (Kevin R Beck, Melbourne Australia, 2012)
Threats, cajoling, fear, retribution and must do harder in your job
In line with this endless growth managers of people demand an ever increasing effort of productivity improvement. Politicians throw it around as if it can be quantified. The public service must return a dividend in the form of productivity improvements to justify their salaries. Never mind that they perform vital, valuable and often irreplaceable services. OWNING THE EMPLOYEE
One can read the rhetoric as to how business, and government, enterprise and institution value their employees. Despite this there are employers in Australia who believe, and act according to this belief, that they own the employee. They dictate what they may do both at work and after work. Take for example the pettiness of an employer who would worry about post it notes on computers screens and hanging coats on the back of chairs. These are the managers of companies whose contributions are usually the most questionable and who hide in the enterprise existing as parasites on the people. They eat away at morale. We can from time to time point to Australia's most ignorant employers, they vie for leadership in this area. They exhibit a long history of intrusion, bullying and use of threats, as their human management philosophy.
The silence of Australia's governments, and Ministers for Employment, as to these corporate policies, in this regard, is deafening. Any government worth its salt knows that the only real asset we have as a nation are the people. yet they do their best to keep them out of Australia, to dumb them down, to demand improved productivity whilst themselves delivering very little except stress, low morale and fear of loss of job.
THE THUGGERY APPROACH (ARGUED AS THEIR RIGHT)IS A COMMON PRACTICE OF MANY EMPLOYERS
ADD SPYING AND SNITCHING TO THE BANK EMPLOYEE'S DUTY ROSTER
Advertising says a lot about an entity whether it be government, institution or private enterprise. The advertising for Australia's largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is, to my mind, nebulous and without a clear message. It is obtuse, sometimes extraordinarily immature even condescending. Some time back they had a crack at humour using American basket ball themed advertisements with ridiculous propositions and activities totally related to Australia. Apparently the message was that the Comm Bank was not a big dumb American corporation or that Australians were not as stupid as Americans. If that was the intent of the ad it was not a very nice theme. Regardless the intent was not clear.
Then they resorted to an advertisement with a large pugnacious bull dog engaging in seductive persuasion with a french poodle. The owner of the bull dog was apparently in the bank. The Bank management may have thought we would be titillated, or excited, amused or want to remember, the two animal's conversations. The approach worked I remember clearly the ad. Would I bank, or do business with the Commonwealth? On occasions by the nature of my work I have to. It is has never been a rewarding, and usually it has been a costly, experience. Was the dog of an ad another stab at humour? The message seems to be that the dog did not get time to have its way with the female because the service was so fast and the owner, also a particular character came back. Unfortunately the advertisement may have said more about the quality of the agency, the management who approved the ad and the type of customer they saw in their mind's eye than the bank's actual service.
It is reported in the media (February 2011), and confirmed by employees of the bank and the union, that the latest gem from this weird enterprise is to threaten employees with disciplinary action, even dismissal. if they engage in any activity within or without of work that may be deemed by management to dismiss the bank's standing in the eyes of the community. This is not a surprise to me. I think that elsewhere in my web sites and in this one I have other commentary on the Bank's practices. The Bank also indicates in its policy pronouncement that the same applies if an employee knows of someone else within the bank or anybody outside including social media posters and bloggers who may criticise or engage in commentary and criticism that this ignorant enterprise deems to be not of it's liking, if the employee does not report it. What is the calibre of the bank's board and CEO that they would permit this policy, and action, to be carried out? One of the earlier ads that the bank ran perhaps sums up what we, the community should think of them - "Which Bank?"
CBA faces back down on social media policy, Published 6:13 AM, 4 Feb 2011 Last update 10:21 AM, 4 Feb 2011, By a staff reporter of the Business Spectator
Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd will meet with the Finance Sector Union, following criticism its recently introduced social media policy is unfair and unworkable. The two-page policy, which if breached could result in termination, says employees cannot "comment on, post or store any information about bank-related matters" or speak negatively about the company. The policy, released in December and obtained by Business Spectator, also requires employees to report any "inappropriate or disparaging" comments made about the bank on a social media site to their manager, and the bank's media and communications team. This could include comments from third parties on any social networking site. The policy also asks staff members to help it remove or delete material deemed inappropriate." (Source as stated above)
What qualities or lack thereof lead the bank's management to believe that such a policy is okay? Is it ignorance, lack of education and experience, lack of knowledge, poor social skills, perhaps it is a one eyed myopia that causes an employee to believe that the rights of the corporation are above all others? Where is the ethical compass here? I have a personal view that company employees are oblivious to the likely consequences or outcomes of their actions. They act, according to my view of them, in isolation of interests, and influences, beyond their horizon. Whether those be regulatory, legal or other. Poor motivation leads to poor performance. But do employer's actually care? (Kevin Beck, "Which Bank - precisely, who cares?" Melbourne 2011)
Industrial relations in Australia is a political football with inept and quite stupid politicians extolling new ideas every five minutes as part of their values statements.
The current labor government, under former leader Kevin Rudd and current Julia Gilllard,
has enacted another set of laws, exhausting anyone who has been trying to implement the last lot
put out by the former conservative government under John Howard. Neither party can attest to having human relations credibility. Under Rudd, the biggest employer the Commonwealth treated employees like slaves.
The human resources departments of Australia's public, and private, sector are sycophants proxy representatives of management attitudes, policies and practices. Everyday we see the quite stupid manner in which they go about dealing with their most precious resource - people.|
"WORKERS have downed tools for a second day running at Victoria's Wonthaggi desalination plant amid attempts to placate union fury over a spying scandal. Construction company Thiess was holding crisis talks in Melbourne today with the Electrical Trades Union, the Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union and other unions in an urgent attempt to resolve the industrial dispute at the $5.4 billion plant. Tensions erupted at the construction site this week after The Australian revealed that joint venture partners Thiess Degremont had hired the man known by unions as "Australia's number 1 scab", Tasmanian Bruce Townsend, to carry out covert surveillance of employees and contractors at the plant. Thiess has admitted to its arrangement with Mr Townsend, code-named the Pluto Project, but has described it as highly unusual and inappropriate, and maintains company executives had no knowledge of the surveillance operation." (Source: Desalination plant builder tries to calm union anger over spy scandal, Natasha Robinson, Pia Akerman From: The Australian November 19, 2010")
The Brumby lead state labor government of Victoria is as inept as the federal labor, and liberal politicians, in that the Victorian government has fostered a climate of intrigue, and spying, by allowing memorandums to be signed between police, private companies and others, when confronted with sensitive unpopular matters around construction of projects. The desalination plant is a hot political potato a week out from the Victorian state election.
Add the above and the mediocre management practices to the proposition of being interviewed by a half baked, semi experienced and often quite dumb employment agency consultant and overall the state of management of human capital here is a disgrace. Any company that uses an agency to filter applications needs to make sure that the consultant has half a brain because the majority according to anecdotal opinion do not. This is rather unfortunate given the aging nature of our workforce, the practices of agism, discrimination and bigotry by the public, and private, sectors.
"To most people, the term "capital" means a bank account, a hundred shares of IBM stock, assembly lines, or steel plants in the Chicago area. These are all forms of capital in the sense that they are assets that yield income and other useful outputs over long periods of time. But such tangible forms of capital are not the only type of capital. Schooling, a computer training course, expenditures on medical care, and lectures on the virtues of punctuality and honesty are also capital. That is because they raise earnings, improve health, or add to a person's good habits over much of his lifetime. Therefore, economists regard expenditures on education, training, medical care, and so on as investments in human capital. They are called human capital because people cannot be separated from their knowledge, skills, health, or values in the way they can be separated from their financial and physical assets. Education, training, and health are the most important investments in human capital." (Source: Human Capital, by Gary S. Becker, http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/HumanCapital.html)"
The Australian governments rabbit on about skills, training and education and then a great cost on it. Employers often see it as a personal thing and adopt a blinkered approach. Education should be free of cost so that the individual may choose, across the course of their life, to engage in life long learning. Yet it is not. The myopic governments and enterprises of Australia see education's primary function and "preparation for, and competency in, employment. In this respect they are dumb and dangerous. The great number of Australians are lazy and many are under, or lowly;y, educated. Schooling and learning is a chore. Australian competition policy, lack of funding and the little to no innovation on the part of our education ministries and political leaders, has lead to a packaging of education into competency streams, certificates, shallow and cheap fast track education. It has seen education become a business not a core element within our culture. In November 2009, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, is an extreme disappointment. He is a man of hollow words, crowing an education revolution. He crowed it in 2007, and every year since. So where is it? With regard to education
After his first year, or so in the office of Prime Minister, Mr Rudd is seen to have no more intellectual policy credibility on education than that of the Prime Minister or Minister of Education in any other administration, now or in the past, at state or federal levels in Australia. He is as far as I can discern, a politician of slogans and a large serving of humbug. Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard of the multiple portfolios and super human capabilities, is no more revolutionary but nevertheless trots out the mantra that we are having an education revolution. With respect the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, are deluding themselves ably assisted by the federal department. But in fairness read about the government's policies, and actions, and discern for yourself the depth of the revolution at DEEWR.
A Mediocre Education Revolution
"Abstract: Primary and secondary data sources confirm that Australia is trapped in a low-skills/low-quality cycle. Among the factors that have contributed to this cycle are the following: the relatively small average size and low technology base of Australian firms and the relatively short-term planning horizon and under performance of many Australian enterprises (compared with the planning and performance of their counterparts in the United States and New Zealand). The theory of a low skills equilibrium, which states that all major stakeholders in skill formation contribute to maintaining the low skills equilibrium, provides a broader-based explanation for Australia's problems regarding worker skills and quality. Five key stakeholder groups influence the nature of the demand for quantity and quality of skills: enterprises; groups of enterprises; the government; employer associations; and individuals and training providers. Specific measures that each stakeholder group can take to move Australia into a high-skills cycle have been identified. Unfortunately, because of Australia's continuing high levels of unemployment and the poor performance of Australia's other economic sectors, many Australian employers and the Australian government will likely remain under pressure to continue following an ad hoc, low-skill/low-quality approach to forming intermediate skills in Australia's economy. (Contains 51 references.) (MN)" (Source: ED413512 - Is Australia Locked into a Low Skills/Low Quality Cycle? Working Paper No. 10.)
Monash Univ., Clayton, Victoria (Australia). Centre for the Economics of Education and Training. Education Resource Information Centre (ERIC)
November 2009: The Australian Labor government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has trumpeted an education revolution. Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has carriage of this impressive policy and action programme the proof of which is more in the oxymoron political spin than revolutionary developments. The labor government's policy propaganda is not a revolution of intellectual and human capital development but more of the same focus on competency and skills, and the labor party's blue collar drive mentality to the nation's life long learning.
Whoopy do! For Gillard and Rudd the political spin and media managers of modern government in Australia. The revolution is a new national curriculum and a building programme of school halls and class rooms, but not new advances in teaching skills and innovation. It is difficult to have a revolution if those in charge of education (the Australian state governments) are inept, blinkered, myopic, riddled with vested interests and persist with having mediocre Minister and senior managers of Education Departments in charge. How could NSW ever have anything of quality under the labor governments Of Bob Carr, Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees, and an atrophied bureaucracy which became impaired, and moribund, decades ago.
The federally funded building programme is to line the coffers of state and territory governments via creaming, to keep special labor mates and local contractors employed during the global fiscal crisis. It is not about providing vital resources to state of excellence learning centres. Victoria runs advertisements extolling the virtue and quality for education. Why? If it is so good why would the Brumby government have to convince us?
The Rudd government's education revolution also involves giving every child a computer so that they can enter the questionable world of "technology shaping" and the questionable value of such learning tools. They can experience the internet's dumbing down and lazy, impact on learning I have never heard the words - "life long learning" emanate from the lips of the Deputy Prime Minister or for that matter the Prime Minister of Australia. I cannot remember ever seeing it in the labor party's (Kevin Rudd manifesto of 2007) policy paper: "The Australian economy needs an education revolution, New Directions Paper on the critical link between long term prosperity, productivity growth and human capital investment, Australian labor Party 2007
It is nowhere within the evidence based policy formulation rhetoric of the Prime Minister.
"The PM promised an education revolution and what we have got is questionable funding of school halls, which only occurred as a result of the GFC and concerns over the delivery of computers and questions from the states about who pays for software and other associated costs. So much for the lofty ideals of the revolution and new federalism. Fail." (Source: Business Spectator, BALANCE OF POWER by Steve Murphy, RSS feed, Posted 16 NOV 2009
JULIA Gillard's $14 billion primary school infrastructure programme is making work for lots of tradesmen.
But could her "Building the Education Revolution" actually be bad for education? The correct answer could be yes in Tasmania, where business fears that Canberra's budget stimulus will simply erect more buildings in half-empty primary schools. Tasmania's primary schools could be 50per cent vacant by 2020, the state Labor government's demographic advisers warn. Tasmania needs an education revolution that involves rationalising its existing school buildings, not building more of them. Erecting a new library or hall in every primary school will either be a waste of money or make it politically more difficult to close or merge under-utilised schools. Or both."(Source of extract: Education revolution builds halls in half-empty schools Michael Stutchbury, Economics editor From: The Australian October 29, 2009 12:00AM) Kevin Rudd's education revolution is nothing of the sort. It is exactly as stated in the opening abstract to this article. "Australia is trapped in a low-skills/low-quality cycle."
September 2009: I sat in front of the consultant, working for the big name firm, and she queried me on my energy industry knowledge. having worked in one of the world's greatest engineering entities, the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, I though I was in a pretty good position. Specifically she wanted to know about my "nuclear power station" experience. When I pointed out that I came from a thermal power, coal generating, environment she expressed disappointment. When I asked why, she said that nuclear was a prerequisite because the power stations in New South Wales, where her client resided, were all nuclear. I looked at her for some time silently then got up and left the room. When she asked what I was doing she was affronted when I expressed my derision for her ability to conduct a valid assessment. There are no nuclear generating power stations, with the exception of a small reactor in a science laboratory in the south of Sydney, in Australia.
Reading this weekends newspaper I observed more drivel, in the careers section. The new breed of recruiter shaped by technology, who is "comfortable working on people issues that can sometimes be soft, but also in quantitative environment where people issues are pretty rigorously analysed and considered before decisions are made". (Australian newspaper, August 29 - 30, 2009, Professional)
What does it mean? it doesn't mean anything. It is nebulous twat. perhaps it is trying to justify using technology to short cut experience and ability. perhaps it is replacing brains with machines and Google, word resumes and key word sorting programmes looking for criteria that is largely irrelevant. Perhaps it using technology cause the brains have gone walk about. Computers assisting the recruitment consultant challenged by poor education and sometimes a lack of intelligence. Australia's governments, corporations., employers and the citizenry at large, have no inkling of, or desire, for life long education and learning. The person who may have spruiked this cant may be faced with employing narrowly educated, inexperienced and sometimes, very mediocre employees, passing them of as talented, at great charge to clients.
In a bedding factory in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne Australia, Greek supervisors oversee the labour of a group of predominantly Indian and Pakistani workers who earn $A15 per hour handling beds, single, double, queen and king size. The work is hard and some only last weeks and months. If they handle a bed wrongly they are told that they will be given a warning and they can lose their jobs. The supervisor's main tool is fear. A typical instrument of the ignorant foreman in a workplace where the senior management ape rhetoric but little else. The operation is not well organised and trucks have to wait if the bed is not ready when they come to pick them up. The supervisors shout for the "loaders".
This is not an exception. This is the norm. The company managers treat the employees as disposable. Not just here but in many factories and retail outlets and businesses across Australia. These are brand name industries. This business by name, and advertisement, extols the orthopedic qualities of its products. If the worker even looks like they will answer back, or be recalcitrant, there are many more, willing to travel by bus and train, for hours, to take their job. According to someone who worked there, the workers come from across Melbourne. Racism is rife and thick in the air.
This is the legacy of a modern society, and economy, where globalism calls the tune and the ignorant rise in the ranks of modern enterprise to sit in the executive suites and the boardrooms of the businesses and corporations. It is the modern era of a self serving political and business class in close collaboration, where money and profit are the primary objectives. The human resource practitioners in this particular bed manufacturing enterprise are blind to what occurs. They may be, according to some, sops to management, betraying the professionalism of their trade. But hey, have you ever met another type of HR person, who is to be admired, in the place you work in? I haven't. They are usually compliant and rather like their influence and place in management.
And the Calibre of the People In Charge under a Labor State Government?
A Picture Says a Thousand Words
Well perhaps it tells us that the manner of determining public policy in Australia is very low grade. The pool of ministers, particularly in the states, seem to offer little in the way of talent and capability. They are however imbued with excess of hubris.
"Andrews again chose not to answer the specific questions.....At a media conference the next day, Brumby was asked whether he believed there was room for improvement in the way ministers answered questions in Parliament. He conceded nothing. In fact, he suggested that if there was a problem, it was the Opposition's fault. "Ministers answer the questions appropriately, they answer the questions which are given to them by the Opposition. I don't think there's an issue with answers, I think there's an issue with questions." This from a man who as opposition leader in the 1990s wrote a 46-page pamphlet called Restoring Democracy in which he said "we need to improve the question time as a matter of urgency" and called for parliamentary rules to be changed to "make ministers answer questions directly, factually and succinctly". This from a Government that under its former leader used to at least pay lip service to the need to avoid hubris or arrogance. (Source extract:A question of hubris Date: October 18 2007, Paul Austin, The Brumby Government is subverting question time and blaming its lack of openness on the Opposition. The Age Newspaper Melbourne.
The Minister for Health in Victoria, Daniel Andrews, demonstrates this proposition as the Victorian nurses' dispute grinds on, in every hospital, in Victoria.
" THE state public nursing union has accused hospital managers of unprecedented intimidation and harassment of nurses involved in industrial action. Armed with more than 2,000 complaints faxed to her, Australian Nursing Federation Victoria branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick today said some nurses had been threatened with the sack. "They have been threatened with fines and dismissal for speaking out to the media and having their pay docked," she said. "Managers have been sitting outside toilet doors waiting for nurses to come out to ask them about their participation" (Source: Herald Sun newspaper,Kamahl Cogdon and agencies, October 22, 2007 10:47am)
What can we say about managers who sit outside toilets? The Minister and Premier are shocked. Then why did the managers think that they had the imprimatur to do this? They take their lead from ....?
The federation, representing the nurses, is fighting a one sided battle. In this regard Joe Hockey's proposition set out below, that the unions days are really past, may be prescient. The nurses seek so little against what they give the community yet the politician's rate their own objectives, and interests, above them. They take their pay rises which are all very nice from an independent tribunal. They thus shield themselves against criticism. Do they use an independent tribunal for nurses? They live in a fantasy of spin replicating reality that they are there for the public good and are guardians. Federal Minister Tony Abbott, the statistical wonder whiz of the federal government, says that he can offer $6,000 for retraining to bring them back. Statistical whiz? Look at his history, black and white, a futures man.
Kevin Rudd, ever the shallow throw away ventriloquist, says that he can put over 9,000 nurses back into the system over five years, if elected. This is drivel. He calls the Victorian situation the "argy bargy" of negotiation. This man dismisses their lives, and problems, as so much argy bargy. This is flaky politics at its most decrepit. What system? Why would any one go back to a health system of under funded, under resourced, drudgery, poor administration, political manipulation and trickery. The political players in the Victorian episode, which repeats with tedious regularity across all our public sector institutions, are tarred with the same brush. Why should the average person bother with democracy and elections? Our system is fractured and in many places broken, corrupted and corroded by the politicians, and machine men and women, of the Australian labor and liberal parties. The nurses? They are just an example of who is political fodder to the system. As the federal election itself grinds on we see the two leaders and the state bit players, warts and all. They are not very attractive to the voters. The nurses of Victoria are. Let's vote them into office instead of the politicians.
The Australian labor party at state and federal level descries the Australian government "Work Choices" (see below in this web site. Yet Andrews demands that the nurses obey the federal law as he does. He chooses to use it as a justification and a shield when it suits. He is a poor role model for he demands the nurses return to work. This ignores the morale and performance issue for which he as the Minister of the public sector system is ultimately responsible. Given the decline in accountability and responsibility in the Victorian government he is likely to accept such. Thus he is happy to have workers who do not want to be there forced to work. This is typical of the manner of management. He is supported in his short sighted ignorance by a poor performing public hospital administration and management. Happy to escalate the situation to desperate measures this ignoramus is paid from the public purse. There are no performance measures. The Premier has no standards and measures that demand that the public interest be served and Ministers actually do a good job. Who would work for the Victorian public service under these conditions? People with little opportunity to go elsewhere perhaps? Thugs and those who are comfortable with the belligerent style of supervision? Those who have no inkling of management and human resource practice?
Shock horror and the gasps of Australia's media when Joe Hockey had the nerve to say that the role of unions is essentially over.
"Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey says the role of unions in Australia is essentially over. He has taken the Government's attack on the trade union movement to a new level. Mr Hockey says falling union membership proves the independent Workplace Authority has replaced the role of unions. "Gradually they've been falling and most dramatically even under Keating and now they're just down to 20 per cent," he said. "One in five workers are choosing to join the unions. "Now unions have an important safety role in some industries but overall Australians are choosing not join the unions because they see them as irrelevant to their lives." (Source extract: Unions irrelevant, Hockey says, Posted Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:12am AEST, ABC News)
An intelligent person listening would discern the logic. Union coverage has fallen to 20% and is only 15% of the private sector workforce. People are not electing to join unions. This is fact. Further changes to legislation and the structure of industrial relations has altered the system. Thus collectively the role as we have known it is essentially over. But no. The journalists have to put their own spin and the semi aware respondents have to blather about the James Hardie representations and the asbestos cases. This was not the crux of the statement and there is still a role in advocacy for those who want to utilise it. The greater number of workers do not.
I was a union member for decades and also employed by a union for four years. Up until 1985 I remained a union member. Over the years I noted that they took my three or so hundred dollars a year and rarely responded to my correspondence and definitely gave me no service. Fundamentally I entered management ranks and the trade unions (not including the professional associations unions - engineers, medical) do not service managers. They are archaic in their perspectives. Thus they became irrelevant due to their own ignorance and failure to service. The Prime Minister was not forced to defend Hockey or the unions. He stated as Hockey did that they have a role. Albeit it is now a minor one and they are given far too much credence by a sycophantic and admiring media, particularly in the ABC. As for the labor parliamentary party having a surfeit of trade unionists, that too is fact.
The Australian government has framed, with the help of a law firm and selected industry advisers, a policy set underpinned by law. It is a pugilistic and acrimonious initiative designed to eliminate third party interference (lawyers, trade unions and advocates) whilst giving relatively unfettered power to employers.
The government claims as a core justification the delivery of improved productivity and labour market reforms. This may well be the case although it will be impossible to independently determine this due to the propensity of misrepresentation and slanting statistics in the Australian public sector. The silencing of critics as a natural and growing strategy may be effective in the medium term but will result in the reshaping of the nation and its values eventually creating a political backlash.
Privacy Statement, Uses and Motivation
Eddy McGuire, former game show host and a football club president is Chief Executive of one of Australia's oldest television networks. He has expressed a desire to "bone" employees. This is his terminology for sacking them. The number is his head is 100. He also likes to deny the obvious truth and deny all of this. He gets caught out all of the time. As a very public Australian Chief Executive he presents another one of the many faces of human resources management ignorance in Australia. His devaluing of people also devalues the brand of the enterprise he heads up. Public displays of his management expertise indicate there may be a problem with transmission from celebrity television host to executive. Publishing and Broadcasting, the owners of Channel 9, will seek to extract value from the network to fund their diversification into gambling. Eddy McGuire's future employment may be in jeopardy as a different style and set of abilities are sought by new partners or owners of the asset.
For many similarly inclined executives, of Australian enterprise, the adoption of good management and ethical standards, is only a consideration if the "macho" and "blokey" disregard for good management and ethical principles affects their future, their ego, personal public image and/or the corporation's revenue. If no one of substance and influence objects they continue in their myopic, and destructive, ways. All of these factors are in play under Mr. McGuire's inexperienced hand.
Ajax Engineered Fasteners is a key component supplier to major Australian car manufacturers Holden, Ford, Toyota and other parts assembly companies. The Australian car industry suffers from product over supply, too many models, poor design and market interpretation, under whelming management and industry sector decisions. The car manufacturing industry in Australia lives as a parasite on the public purse, of state governments, receiving subsidies least it pack up its ball and bat and go overseas substantially hurting community and economy. The management of the car companies use this as a blunt instrument in bargaining. For a long time the car companies have used their dominant, and perhaps collusive, bargaining and industry power to limit what companies such as Ajax might charge them for its bits and pieces. Put crudely the car manufacturers, like the supermarket chains and other large players, like to "screw" the little manufacturer. Whilst they (the major car manufacturers) bleat about their conditions, plight and costs they refuse to listen to the plight of the small component suppliers. Ajax's costs have risen over a long time and the manufacturers have refused to accept part of that burden and alter the supply contracts. Their actions and myopia have lead them along a precipitous path. It would seem logical to an external observer that if we continually go in search of efficiencies using techniques such stringent unsustainable pricing enforcement in contracts, supply rationalisation, "just in time inventory" and ultimately limiting the number of competitors by creating pricing barriers that something has to give. The Ajax financial collapse and the subsequent predicament that the manufacturers faced of having to stand down 10,000 workers in the final days of August 2006, due to lack of component supplies (when a major supply company falls over) is of their own making. We might typify it as "ostrich like - head in the sand management style" hoping the bleeding obvious would never happen. Brinkmanship and bluff is a trademark of the players including unions, management, boards and politicians in the Australian economy. In this case the car manufacturers and some other companies have had to inject cash into Ajax via the administrator to keep their own company manufacturing production going. Did they have a plan and a solution? No. The cash injection is a six month short term fix whilst highly paid executives demonstrate publicly their incompetence. Having faced this crisis and added a band aid they are doing what they always do trying to pass the buck and the cost to someone else. That is all they know and in the meantime uncertainty damages morale, productivity and the general fabric of economy and society in another sector of Australian life.
This web site highlights, and comments on, aspects of the failure of policy, planning and research
by Australia's governments and employers
to comprehensively identify, assess, harness and apply human talent in Australia.
It examines, based on experience and research, recruitment and selection practices, the dominance of short sighted, myopic and risk averse employers, of little imagination and national interest values.
It provides glimpses of excellence
whilst highlighting the poor investment in research and development in Australian enterprise, human and other as well as the low investment by a large sector of employers in employee education, training and skills development, leading to the dumbing down of Australia. The owner KEVINRBECK poses the hypothetical question, are employer associations mature, balanced and innovative in their representation or simply parrots of ideological theories and propositions?
The rhetoric spin is that we live in a democracy in which we can participate and be secure. This is not the reality. We live in a nation governed, and managed, by a handful of individuals, who come together in different ways and in different forums to shape and manipulate our thinking and actions. We are an acquiescent nation that allows our lives to be managed by politicians and employers. We only react when our little patch of being is threatened. We have little regard for the talents of our people and allow government's, employers and interests to use what they want. We are in the grasp of a handful of people of limited capacity and vision and we wonder why our lot is one of struggle. The political system and our government system and public service is of no value to us if we permit a small number of people to take the wealth and demand that we produce more. It is not the Work Choices legislation that will end the days of John Howard and the grasping employers power over the greater number. It is not the policies of the Labor party, and its political class, who are no better than those they criticise, that will change this. It is not collective bargaining or improving riches for the middle class. It is the dawning that we are imprisoned by our own disengagement and myopia. To change the ways things are we must take hold of our democracy and government demanding how we want things to be through our elected representatives. It is about bringing the power collective to a realisation that they are dependent upon labour, and capital, cooperating for their ongoing personal position and wealth. It is about us stating that we are talent enough to do things differently to their flawed ideologies and methods.
Australian executives are not well known for their human resource management and practice knowledge and skills. For that matter Australia's politicians are not all that experienced or innovative in this arena. It was once that the public services lead the way. That was until the senior executive service was corrupted by politicians who wanted the "public" service to become "the government" service". Now Australia's public services are inhabited by an arrogance and lack of ability that is on display every day. Some Departments are worse than others. The federal Department of Immigration, the Defence Department, and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations seem to be trend setters in the declining standards of industrial relations in Australia. The confontationist model that was once the hallmark of management practice is not the best practice model for the nation. The Australian government's Work Choices is a poorly designed system. It is in many ways exploitative model of how not to intervene in human resources management in the engine rooms (employers) of the Australian economy. The trend setters at state level would be Tasmania, way out in front, Queensland and New South Wales. These three with the federal agencies named above demonstrate poor administrative, human resource and citizen service talents.
The private sector was never a trend setter of excellence and of late (July 2006) exhibits a myopia and excess that over time can only damage the nation. Among the leaders in repressive practices for human resource management are Telstra. This is not surprising given the backgrounds of the senior management. The Commonwealth Bank, examples given below and from time to time Virgin Airlines for its discriminatory employment practices and Australia Post. There are many more examples. There seems to be a parallel between trashing the talent in the organisation and trashing the brand. Poor human resource management principles, and awareness, is reflected in the associations that represent business. The Australian government recently passed its Work Choices legislation, described below, in detail, in this web site. Not satisfied with the raft of Draconian, and belittling, principles Australia's largest employer group wants to take the excesses and domination of employees further. There are no human talent values in the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) discernible to an external observer. I have never had much time for people who earn high salaries being parrots of big business so that the individual CEO can avoid public scrutiny. The ACCI wants to abolish the 38 hour week limit. The AICC and its members believe that in order to maximise corporate profit workers must drive themselves in to the ground and be away from home and social life simply because some enterprise deigns to employ them. The AICC wants to alter (lower the benefits of) annual and sick leave provisions in the existing federal laws. They want to decide what the level of annual leave should be for all categories of workers including shift workers. They want to change the laws regarding pregnant workers. The membership of the ACCI might want to look to the skill, and ability, of its CEO lest the individual CEO's are tarred with the same brush of poor opinion and the jaundiced observations of this scribe. The ACCI after all merely mouths the desires of its membership, or does it?
AND PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT TALENTS AND VISION
"A mine worker from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, who says she was sacked last month after refusing to sign an individual contract, is taking her case to the Federal Court. Lorissa Stevens, 21, says she was bullied by mining industry contractor Mining and Earthmoving Services (MES) and then lost her job after she refused to sign the contract. She says she was horrified by several clauses, including one which would see her fined $200 if she took a day off sick without giving at least 12 hours notice. A claim has been lodged in the Federal Court on behalf of Ms Stevens, who says she is upset by the experience". (Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia, July 4, 2006)
When the Australian government enacted its Work Choices legislation it was based on the premise that employers would bargain with employees because they valued their skills and talents. The reality it seems is quite different as the content below will demonstrate.
DEVALUING HUMAN CAPITAL AND GLIMPSES OF EXCELLENCE