Intuition HR update

Intuition HR has implemented its end of August update.

Key improvements include:

  • The introduction of a Safety tab. This allows access to recording of lag indicator, frequency rates and lead indicator metrics. Events can be recorded in the system by those with administrator and manager status.
  • The introduction of a Safety metrics report functionality under ‘View charts’.
  • The ability to set your organisation’s financial year with four options: 1 January – 31 December, 1 April – 31 March, 1 July – 30 June and 1 October – 30 September.
  • The addition of Agent, Intern, Volunteer and Sponsor into the ‘types’ category under the People tab.
  • The addition of Seasonal in the ‘basis’ of employment category under the People tab.
  • The ability to select viewing of different groups of employees to be seen by Franchisors and Franchisees.
  • An updated People report functionality under ‘View report’.

If you want to see how the new Safety metrics data works, just send a request to us so that we can temporarily add you on to our Demo Org version to see a populated working version. This is a ‘must use’ given the new H&S legislation being introduced early next year.

We are also working on identifying a business partner in the recruitment software area to add to our ‘Tools’ tab.

Ideas are welcome for our next planned Intuition HR update in February 2016, which will include a refreshing of the current Intuition HR framework.

Use the Feedback box at the bottom right of the home page to suggest any improvements.

Thanks from the Intuition HR team

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Tips for writing position descriptions

A Position Description is a general description of the purpose, key tasks and responsibilities of a role.  It may contain a person specification which outlines the competencies, qualifications and experience an individual requires or ideally holds to perform the role successfully.

The position description is typically included as part of the individual’s employment agreement and may be utilised for workforce planning, recruiting, performance management, talent management, job evaluation, change management and learning and development purposes.

Position descriptions generally contain the following information:

  • Position Title (consider relative to other positions in the team or organisation)
  • Team / Department / Business Unit (may also state the location)
  • Position reports to
  • Direct Reports to this position
  • Key Relationships
  • May also state Budget and Authority Levels

It should also contain the following:

Position Summary
Use a position summary to summarise the aim and purpose of the position in a sentence or two.

Organisation Summary
Consider adding a brief description of the organisation for the benefit of external candidates, which may include your organisation’s vision and values.

Key Responsibilities or Performance Requirements
Identify and summarise the key responsibilities or performance requirements necessary to perform the position successfully.

  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Make key performance requirements outcome rather than task oriented.  This could be achieved by dividing the key responsibilities of the position into Key Result Areas, priority areas where the jobholder should be spending time and getting results (typically 6 – 8 KRAs).  KRAs can be weighted to give an indication of priority/effort/importance.
  • Write so a person outside the organisation can understand it.
  • Write about the job not the person.
  • Utilise headings and bullet points.
  • Include a phrase along the lines of “Any other duties which are consistent with your skill set and which are reasonably required from time to time” to cover off any other duties which are in line with the role.
  • Include reference to any special conditions such as heavy lifting, exposure to temperature extremes or travel required.

Person Specification

Identify and summarise the competencies (skills, knowledge, attributes) you require in an individual to perform the position successfully.  This will also include any qualifications which are required or ideal, to perform the role including any licenses or certifications.

  • Consider carefully the wording around the person specification – you may rule out some good applicants if you are too specific (e.g. does someone really require a university degree or is equivalent experience just as sufficient?).
  • Education, qualifications and experience are areas where inadvertent discrimination may occur.  For example, experience should not include an upper limit as this would suggest age discrimination.

Other tips and considerations

  • Ensure your PDs reflect the culture of your organisation – consider this when determining the format and design, content, language style and length.
  • Consider setting up templates which already contain some content so PDs are relatively consistent across the organisation.  There may be a number of key responsibilities or competencies required across groups of positions (e.g. a People Management heading with responsibilities required by all people managers across your organisation).  Using a template ensures consistency and saves time writing the entire PD from scratch.
  • Link your PD content to a competency framework if your organisation has one.
  • Include the phrase “This position description is subject to change as reasonably required by the organisation from time to time, and we will discuss these changes with you.”  Ensure the position description is revisited and updated where required.
  • Include a standard sentence relating to areas of expectation across your organisation, such as health and safety expectations or working by values such as customer service or quality.
  • Utilise a concise format to avoid a lengthy document (1-2 pages is often sufficient) and keep it succinct while being informative.
  • Consider including two signature rows for sign off by manager and employee.
  • Consider combining position descriptions with performance objectives documents to create a ‘performance plan’.  This is a results-focussed rather than task-focussed summary of the position.  It also has the benefit of ensuring the document is revisited and updated at least annually, as it is utilised in performance reviews.
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People and Safety metrics added to Intuition HR

Intuition HR has recently introduced the ability for you to track your People and Safety metrics on a monthly basis with year on year comparison in chart, graph and diagram format.

Located under the People tab, you can simply click on View report to access required workforce metrics.

Located under the new Safety tab, you can simply click on View charts to access required safety metrics.

These areas will of course have to be populated in order to be meaningful.

You can have your system administrator enter your workforce details under the People tab and your managers or administrators enter Safety lag and lead indicator activities on a regular basis under the Safety tab. You will also need to set monthly and annual targets in respect of your financial year.

Under system settings (accessible by clicking ‘Settings’ on the down arrow beside your name), you now have the ability to choose your organisation size and financial year settings. We have done this initially for you, but you should check that the settings are correct, especially in regards to your financial year.

Remember that you can also set up reminder emails to go to managers for:

  • Employee birthday and service anniversaries.
  • Required licence, registration and ticketing expiry dates for employees.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance in setting up any of these areas by entering your query under the Ask for advice box on the home page.

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Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year from the Team at Intuition HR

Intuition HR would like to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our clients in 2014 and prospective clients for 2015 and beyond.

Merry Christmas from the Team at Intuition HR

We’ve had a very busy couple of months with new businesses adding access to 24/7 HR and Safety advice and enabling their managers to access consistent, quality advice when they need it.

During this time, we’ve continued to populate, update and develop content within the platform and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Any comments can continue to be submitted via the portal.

In addition to alterations to Kiwi Employment Relations resources (required by new government legislation) new, updated and developed content f or New Zealand included:

News Items

  • Cathay Pacific pilots claim early retirement a human rights breach
  • Advice for employers and employees to stay safe in the silly season
  • Update on the incoming Health and Safety Reform Bill
  • Can I transfer Aussie super to KiwiSaver?
  • How to retain your key staff
  • ERA awards $5,000 to manager dismissed for excessive internet usage
  • Employer hiring confidence at highest levels in 5 years
  • Can employers recover customer non-payments from staff wages?
  • Female slap on the bottom by male manager not sexual harassment
  • Auckland restaurant chain fined $66,000 for failing to produce employment records
  • See the complete list by logging in

FAQs

  • How can we easily estimate global market industry salary rates at no cost?
  • What expectation of guaranteed hours of employment is there for migrant employees (legislative commentary)?
  • What factors do we consider when choosing an ‘at risk’ remuneration framework?
  • How should we conduct video interviews?
  • What is the relevance of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to motivation and effective leadership?
  • Can a potential new employee who is currently a member of KiwiSaver opt out and join our own superannuation scheme instead?
  • What is the most effective way to manage workplace noise and prevent hearing loss?
  • Can I invite a WorkSafe NZ Inspector to inspect the safety compliance of our new machinery?
  • See the complete list by logging in

Documents

  • Workplace Law Update
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Health and Safety Maturity Model
  • Noise Assessment Tool
  • Management of Noise in the Workplace
  • Amendments to the Employment Relations Act (2000)
  • Duty Holder Review Investigation Report Template
  • Duty Holder Review Information Sheet
  • Safe Use of Machinery Checklist
  • See the complete list by logging in

International resources have also been included for businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions.

Office Shut-down for the 2014-2015 Christmas Period

Intuition HR will continue to provide 24/7 advice on any internet connected device whilst the majority of our staff take a break until the new year.

For organisations where Intuition HR acts as the “Ask for HR Advice” contact, we shall continue to be monitoring emails during the holiday period.

Any personal contact can continue to be be addressed to staff members. For full contact details, simply login to Intuition HR to obtain contact numbers, if required.

Our office shall reopen on 5 January 2015.

A Very Big Thank You

2014 has been an exceptional year of growth for Intuition HR with the addition of some exciting new clients that we hope to showcase within the blog, in the future.

So, as a team, we’d like to reiterate our greatest thanks and look forward to working with you in 2015 and beyond.

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Lack of Procedures costs business $11,007 despite probationary period

Employment Relations Authority

ERA rule against employer

Last Wednesday, Stuff.co.nz reported on a decision of the Employment Relations Authority regarding an employee whom, although “on a probationary period” under the terms of her employment agreement, was still allowed to bring a personal grievance for being unjustifiably dismissed because the employer was required to “act in a manner that was substantively and procedurally fair”.

The employee’s original claim had been that she was unjustifiably dismissed following sexual harassment from her manager, whom she had known personally prior to commencement. You can read the full article here.

This case shows further the importance of following sound procedures and being aware best practice when it comes to interactions with staff. Even small errors can lead to expensive errors within a business.

There is a solution.

Intuition HR provides over 1900 searchable resources to empower line-managers with advice and record keeping at their fingertips, from any internet connected device. To find our more explore Intuition HR.

Intuition HR Portal

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Implications of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill

Last Thursday saw the Employment Relations Amendment bill pass it’s third reading, passed by 62 votes to 58: it is the first piece of legislation to be passed by the new parliament.

New Zealand Parliament Building

Source: Wikipedia

Despite strong opposition from Labour, The Greens, The Maori Party and New Zealand First, the National-led government was supported by coalition partners.

Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse has welcomed the passage of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill through Parliament:

The Government campaigned on our commitment to continue to improve employment law, particularly in relation to fairness, flexibility and choice in the labour market,” Mr Woodhouse says.

The passing of this Bill delivers on that commitment and will improve New Zealand’s employment relations framework by creating a fair and more flexible system for both employers and employees.

It will help to build sustained economic growth through a more responsive labour market, while providing certainty for employers and employees around workplace rights and obligations.

Among other changes, the Bill increases choice and flexibility in collective bargaining, with the Employment Relations Authority now able to declare whether collective bargaining has concluded.

It extends the right to request flexible working arrangements to all workers, not just caregivers, and these requests can now be made from the first day of employment.

Rest and meal break provisions are now more flexible, with the Bill enabling employers and employees to agree to the timing and duration of rest and meal breaks.

The Bill also makes changes to the continuity of employment provisions, known as Part 6A in the Act, for more vulnerable sectors of workers such as cleaners.

Flexible and balanced employment relations legislation is essential for business to grow while ensuring protections for workers are retained.

This Bill strikes the right balance to promote business growth while also retaining protections for workers.

Labour’s Iain Lees-Galloway said it broke Prime Minister John Key’s election night promise to govern in in the interests of all New Zealanders, according to the Herald:

It shows the arrogance of this National Government that the first thing they do after being elected to office for a third term is to undermine workers rights and undermine health and safety at work.

The politics of the bill are being widely discussed, presently, but the implications to business are still to be felt and like all employment matters, it is important to empower line managers with the material required to address these matters during the transition.

Intuition HR provides the tools and cloud-based portal to facilitate this dissemination of this information across your business and all relevant material will be updated immediately prior to the bill being implemented (four months after royal assent is granted).

To find our more explore Intuition HR.

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‘Drug tested positive’ employee unjustifiably dismissed

The Press recently reported on an interesting decision from the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) relating to procedural errors around what a fair and reasonable employer could have done in the case of an employee who tested positively for drug use.

This is an interesting decision since the ERA concluded that the employee was unjustifiably dismissed yet the financial aspects of the judgment suggest that had the process been conducted differently then the employer, Fulton Hogan (FH), may have been justified in their decision to dismiss.

The Press titled their article “Fulton Hogan botches sacking for dope” and reported that a staff member had tested positive for drug use with 20 times the acceptable blood limit for cannabis. The employee denied habitual drug use at the first investigation meeting and maintained that he had mistakenly ingested two cupcakes laced with cannabis. FH subsequently consulted experts who stated that the level was consistent with long-term cannabis use.

The ERA appears to have relied on the fact that there were procedural errors; relating to suspension, failure by the company to supply names of experts to the employee and to tell him that they thought he was lying. It also thought the employer should have offered access to a rehabilitation programme, although this was only available to employees who admitted drug use, which this particular employee did not.

The ERA member, Helen Doyle, in the decision summary indicated that whilst the employee may have been lying, the employer had acted unfairly by not advising him of the reason it did not offer drug rehabilitation, an option for issues of Serious Misconduct at FH. A further issue was that the employee appears to have been suspended without pay during the investigation, wrongly so, and it is possible that there may have been no discussion about the possibility of suspension.

Accordingly, the ERA found that the employee was unjustifiably dismissed and required FH to pay lost wages for the suspension and a further $4000 for the incorrect suspension. Interestingly the ERA mitigated further compensation of $2,000 for unjustified dismissal by half and ordered the employer to pay just half of the lost wages for the three months post dismissal. According to The Press, Member Doyle indicated that “the docking of 50 per cent was because of Kenmare’s probable untruthfulness about his drug use”.

This case shows that it has never been more important to ensure relevant process considerations are made to ensure organisations show that they have acted in a fair and reasonable manner.

What does the Employment Relations Act 2000 say?

The Section 103A test is whether the employer’s actions, and how the employer acted, were what a fair and reasonable employer could have done in all the circumstances at the time the dismissal or action occurred. The ERA and the Employment Court are not able to substitute their decision for that of the employer and must not determine a dismissal or an action to be unjustifiable solely because of defects in the process followed by the employer if the defects were minor and did not result in the employee being treated unfairly.

We would be keen to hear your views on this, especially as to whether you as an employer regard the above process defects as minor with the employee not treated unfairly. Give us a call or comment below.

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Help your team work more innovatively

An FAQ was recently added into the Intuition HR Library answering the question “What are ways to encourage creativity and innovation within my team?”

Innovation is increasingly desired as an employee behaviour as businesses compete within a progressively fast paced, technological and global landscape.  Industries are being transformed through changes in technology and as the generational makeup of markets and workforces morphs.  And it not only applies to young tech companies, but to more traditional and established businesses too.

This brings to mind the anecdote of the “Boiling Frog”.  The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it won’t perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually.  This is when the ability to be creative (come up with new ideas) and innovate (implement these ideas) becomes crucial to future success in any industry.

Blue Sky Thinking

So, what can you do to help your team to be more innovative in the way they work?  Here are some ideas from our FAQ.

Encourage a culture of creativity and innovation

Promote and encourage a culture of creativity and innovation in your organisation by reflecting this in your expected behaviours, values, culture, communications and working practices.

  • Ensure leaders support and role model behaviour and initiatives around creativity and innovation, especially if this is a core value.
  • Create an environment in which people care enough to come up with new ideas and where they’re encouraged to exchange ideas.
  • Talk about and recognise innovation in your communications and ensure people know the organisation is interested in their ideas.
  • Incorporate a description of creativity and innovation into people tools, such as job descriptions, performance plans and competency frameworks.
  • Develop organisational initiatives to encourage creativity and innovation.
  • Act on ideas and recognise and reward actions so people can see that creative thinking actually leads to change and innovation.

Display the right leadership behaviours to encourage creativity and innovation

  • Empower your team. Ensure them you want to hear their ideas and give them confidence to speak up. Create a team where employees feel supported and are confident to be creative, within certain boundaries (in fact, boundaries themselves can lead to innovation) and let them know they won’t be shot down for suggesting or trying something new or failing. Enable them to be innovative and solve their own problems by removing obstacles, such as needless red tape, and encouraging them to make progress. Be consistent in your leadership so your team feels confident to be autonomous and knows what to expect from you.
  • Inspire others through your own thinking and actions, for example by coming up with new ideas and out-of-the-box suggestions yourself.
  • Encourage change and the gaining of a fresh perspective. Challenge people about the way they currently work, why they do what they do and to come up with improved ways of doing things. Suggest how they can broaden their understanding. If you use position descriptions, review them with the individual at least annually and consider focusing them more on results rather than prescriptive tasks.
  • Talk about creativity, innovation, change, experimentation, risk-taking and failure with your team in a group and individually. Why is it important to be creative in your work and how does this impact on the business? What does ‘being creative’ mean in the context of your work? How can the team and individuals think and act more creatively? How do you take calculated risks? What can we learn from our mistakes? Provide and ask for feedback around creativity and innovation on an informal basis or as part of a performance review.
  • Embrace diversity within your team and celebrate people’s individuality. Different viewpoints and backgrounds can lead to more innovative thinking.
  • Recognise and reward instances of innovation and creativity in your team. Help people understand you don’t need to be in a ‘traditionally creative’ role to be creative in your work. Profile some creative successes and actions, e.g. in your team meetings or organisation’s newsletter.
  • Look after the well-being of your team so they are in an engaged and energetic frame of mind.

Promote opportunities to innovate and make it engaging, fun and rewarding

Create time and vehicles for creativity and experimentation.

  • Examples might be a brainstorm workshop, a creative project or challenge, an ideas contest or a role swap day.  A famous example is Google’s 20% time, where employees could use 20% of their time to experiment on their own ideas, which resulted in new and successful products for the company such as Gmail and AdSense.
  • Set aside time for creativity away from interruptions such as email, in an interesting new environment.
  • Provide rewards for coming up with new ideas.

Encourage connectedness and exchange of ideas

Connecting with others can be very inspiring and helpful in encouraging a creative mindset.

  • Leverage connections within the organisation and outside e.g. through external contacts/networks, talks and events, other organisations, social media, etc.
  • Introduce your team to examples where innovation has been at the forefront or thinking creatively has lead to success.
  • Discussion groups and brainstorming sessions to solve problems and find solutions.

Recruit for these traits

  • Talk about creativity and innovation in your job ads and position descriptions and reach out to a diverse range of candidates with different backgrounds.
  • Ask behavioural interview questions focused around creativity and innovation.
  • Assess these traits in any assessment process you use.
  • Ask a candidate’s referees for examples where the individual has demonstrated these traits in their previous work.
  • Encourage a creative mindset in new joiners through the content and format of your recruitment and induction processes.

Provide development opportunities

Look at how can you develop creativity and innovation within your team.

  • Are there any training courses, talks or events on creative thinking techniques that can help?
  • Inspiring books?
  • Invite creative business people – not just from your industry – to speak to your business.
  • Look at development opportunities to broaden people’s perspectives e.g. shadowing or secondment to other teams or organisations, acting up when a manager is absent or joining a project team for the duration of a project.

Encourage creativity and innovation by incorporating these behaviours into your organisation’s people tools, such as interview questionnaires, position descriptions, performance reviews or other HR resources provided in Intuition HR.

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Top Tips for Providing Performance Feedback to Your Team

Giving feedback is all about helping your people make progress at work and be productive.

Providing regular feedback to employees throughout the year (for example, in a weekly or monthly individual catch-up meeting or at the end of a project) rather than waiting until their formal performance review, is the best way to enable them to recognise and address areas for improvement and feel engaged. This way, there are no surprises come review time.

Regular users of Intuition HR will be aware that our FAQs library is regularly updated and populated with a wealth of advice to help managers and HR practitioners with Human Resources issues and people management advice relevant to New Zealand businesses.

So today, as we launch our new blog, we’d like to share some tips we’ve put together on providing performance feedback to your team, both to individuals and as a group -whether you are an Intuition HR user or not.

Regular, regular, regular

Hold regular meetings with your employees to discuss performance, check in on progress against objectives and development plans, and to provide coaching. This could be as part of a weekly one-on-one catch up chat or a monthly review. Become a leader who develops and coaches people.

How would you like your feedback?

Ask people how they would like you to give them feedback. Some people may want to receive more regular feedback than others; some may prefer written feedback over verbal. Fit the feedback to the person. For example, if you want to recognise success and you know someone in your team would be embarrassed to have a fuss made of them in front of their peers then acknowledge them individually in a private meeting.

Look for feedback opportunities

Be observant and look for feedback opportunities. This builds the connection between you.

Make the feedback relevant

Link your feedback to goals/objectives, organisation values or competencies of the role as well as the individual’s own development.

Best timing

Give feedback as soon as possible after an event – don’t wait until performance review time – so the feedback is memorable and sincere.

Be consistent

When setting expectations, be consistent so the person knows what to expect, and anticipate any questions they might have. Let people know where they are and where they should head in terms of expectations and goals.  People research by Google showed predictability and consistency to be a key attribute of a successful leader, as when people know what to expect from you, they can be more autonomous in their own roles.

Be impactful

Back verbal feedback up in writing from time to time. Writing and data are more tangible and can have more impact.

Feedback from others

Solicit feedback from others (e.g. team members, customers/clients, internal customers, suppliers) and use their input to guide your feedback. Be careful with confidentiality issues though.

Take notes during the year for formal review time

Document discussions so you can revisit if necessary at the formal performance review.

Remind yourself

Ask people to remind you if you are not giving them feedback regularly enough or set up a task reminder to remind yourself.

And finally, and importantly…

Don’t forget that feedback can flow two ways, so you may wish to ask your team for feedback on what they need from you as a manager too.

Further FAQS and information on giving feedback and managing the performance review process, as well as templates and tools to help, can be found within the Performance & Development and Coaching advice sections of Intuition HR.

Constructive Feedback

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