“Thank for a great experience from the time I walked in the door”

Ellen-Maree Gadd
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For more information:
Stephen Crowe

Managing Director

Ph: 02 8042 8907

[email protected]

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Are you considering a move abroad? Perhaps you’ve always dreamt of working in Hong Kong or New York but have yet to make the big move. Ponder no longer! Here are six reasons why gaining international experience is a great idea for you and your career.

1. Upskilling – The knowledge and experience you gain whilst working abroad can be a huge boost to your career. Aside from the obvious exposures to new cultures and languages, you may get the chance to work on interesting projects or with high profile clients – opportunities that could set you apart from your peers at home.

2. Fast Track to a Senior Position – Depending on your industry, role and where you intend to relocate, you may be lucky enough to move in to a more senior role fairly quickly. Perhaps you are highly skilled in an area that is developing in another jurisdiction or experiencing a skills shortage? In that instance, you could be bringing a wealth of valuable knowledge and experience to the table and have the chance to compete for roles that could be far off in your home country.

3. Soft Skills – By embracing opportunities overseas you are revealing your passion and adaptability. Employers want staff who are motivated, ambitious and flexible to adapt to changing circumstances. Moving to a new job and a new country emphasises your determination and resilience in dealing with challenges.

4. Networking on an International Platform – Accepting a role in another country will inevitably open up your network and allow you connect with colleagues all over the world. These connections may prove fruitful in keeping you updated with developments and job opportunities in your chosen field.

5. Personal Growth – Moving abroad especially on your own is no easy feat however it’s a challenge that can bring with it immense personal growth and enrichment. The opportunity to move outside of your comfort zone, experience a new culture and language and meet new people is likely to have an enduring impact on your life.

6. Point of Discussion – Moving to another country and getting that overseas experience will be a point of discussion for the rest of your career. Having interesting experiences and stories to tell about your time abroad will set your CV apart from other candidates on the pile.

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Have you reached a point in your career where you are questioning if you have chosen the right path? Are you ready for a career change but are going around in circles and at a loss as to where to start?

Recognise your fears

Fear is one of the key factors that prevents us from moving forward. Fear can have a paralysing effect on us, preventing us from making difficult decisions like changing career for fear of making a huge mistake. Perhaps you are worried about a drop-in income, a loss of status, concerns that you are throwing away all your hard work to date. In truth, if you didn’t have these fears it would be concerning. Fear is our body’s response to perceived threat and the reality is that there are very real issues to be considered before jumping in to a new career. However, fear in and of itself is not a reason to stand still and maintain the status quo. Don’t let your fear be the only thing standing in your way of a new and exciting career.

Stop researching and start doing

If you are considering a career change, the likelihood is that you have already spent endless hours online researching the idea – looking at job advertisements, qualifications and reading topical articles and blogs. If you have, the likelihood is that you are more confused and worried than when you started. Whilst all this googling can persuade us that we are taking active steps to change career, the reality is that when all is said and done we are in exactly the same position as when we started. In order to bring about change, you need to take some action. That means less time googling and more time spent pushing outside your comfort zone. For ideas on how to do this read on!

Use your network

It’s likely that you have developed an extensive network of contacts over the years through friends, family and social media networks such as LinkedIn. Take advantage of these connections. Connecting with an expert or mentor in your area of interest can be extremely useful as it will give you the opportunity to discuss your career aspirations with someone who has insight and experience and in turn benefit from their advice and coaching. They may even be able to arrange some job opportunities for you. You may also find it beneficial to discuss your goals with a recruitment agent or a professional employment coach for another perspective. Use your network to help find the appropriate person.

Don’t be a bystander – take some active steps

The best way to learn about a new career is to do so first hand. Take a leap and take some active steps to put you on the right course for a career change. You may find out that what you had in mind isn’t the right path for you but at least you will have learned something, excluded another option and reevaluated what you are looking for.

Some ideas you might consider are as follows:

• Attend a networking event with professionals in your area of interest
• Arrange a secondment or shadowing opportunity in your current employment if there is another department or team of interest to you
• Take up a voluntary position with an organisation of interest
• Consider additional qualifications you might need to prepare you for a new role
• Reach out to your network (see above)

Consider the timing

The thought of making a drastic change to your career path overnight can be daunting and overwhelming but taking action doesn’t mean you need to jump in with both feet straight away. You may have a lot of concerns about making this leap and be experiencing stresses and strains in your personal life. In this case, the best approach for you may be to wait until you are in a more secure position personally before you make any big moves. There is nothing wrong with taking a gradual approach to your career change as it needs to fit in with where you are in your life at present. The best course of action may be to dip your toe in to new possibilities by taking some of the steps highlighted above.

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A recent report by Deloitte Australia, has highlighted that jobs requiring soft skills are projected to grow 2.5 times faster than occupations where the need for soft skills are less in demand. It would appear that it’s no longer enough to impress employers with your extensive qualifications and technical experience; employers are increasingly expecting candidates to bring a strong set of soft skills to the table.

What do we mean by “Soft Skills”?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary “Soft Skills” are “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.” These attributes or qualities typically include social and communication skills and emotional intelligence. Employers often find that candidates with strong technical skills and capabilities do not hold equally strong soft skills. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to develop new soft skills and strengthen those that we have already have through our experiences both inside and outside the workplace. Whilst hard skills may get you through an employer’s door, it’s your soft skills that will ultimately help land you the job!

To help you we have highlighted some of the most highly sought after soft skills that employers come back to again and again.

Communication Skills

We can’t emphasise strongly enough the importance of communicating confidently, professionally and articulately. Recruitment agents and potential employers will make an instant judgement on the strength of your communication skills. Don’t lose the job before you’ve started by mumbling, appearing disinterested or using poor language. Employers need candidates who can communicate with colleagues and clients and be strong representatives of their organisations. They want candidates who can communicate ideas and plans and drive their business forward.

Adaptability

Having the ability to be flexible and adapt to changing requirements and circumstances is an essential soft skill in any employee who wants to succeed especially within a fast-paced workplace. Employers are looking for employees who are resilient in the face of change and competing demands.

Self-Starters

The best employees don’t need to be spoon fed everything. Whilst employers are happy to provide training and development opportunities they are also looking for potential employees who have initiative and a drive to seek out answers, opportunities and add value. They want candidates who have a strong work ethic with motivation to give their best at all times.

Stakeholder Management

The ability to manage your time and workload under pressure is a fundamental soft skill. Equally as important and perhaps more demanding however, is the ability to effectively manage stakeholders. By understanding requirements, setting boundaries and negotiating or pushing back when necessary, you will be able to effectively manage expectations and deadlines. This is very much a soft skill that develops with knowledge and experience however employers will most certainly be looking to see your potential on this front!

Emotional Intelligence

The ability to read situations and people and react appropriately is a highly rated skill by employers. Whether that be cheering up or calming down colleagues, choosing the correct moments to speak or be silent or being able to deescalate a confrontation – these moments require you to manage your emotions and often the emotions of others. Having strong self-awareness and self-management and applying these to your interactions with others will allow you to successfully navigate the workplace.

 

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Linkedin currently has over 500 million users in 200 countries and territories and has plans to expand its user base to 3 billion in the not so distant future. It seems that Linkedin is not going away any time soon, with the platform increasingly playing a role in the search for talented candidates.

Faced with 500 million other Linkedin user profiles it can be overwhelming to think of ways to make your profile stand out in such a huge crowd. To give you a helping hand we have pulled together some top tips for ensuring your Linkedin profile has maximum impact on the right people!

Choosing the right profile picture

Make sure you have a profile photo! According to Linkedin, profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views than those without. We would advise you to keep it simple – use a plain background to avoid distraction and ensure you are presented professionally. Make eye contact with the camera and smile! Avoid selfies or using photos with family or friends be it on holidays or on a night on the town. Whilst you might think these photos indicate how sociable and well-travelled you are, they can also serve to create a negative impression and distract from the professional image you are trying to present. You may also want to consider paying for a professional head shot to avoid the pit falls above!

Sell yourself in a brief profile

This is your chance to really sell yourself and let potential recruiters and employers out there understand who you are, what you do and where your interests lie. Very often we come across profiles containing a large number of ‘Featured Skills’. Whilst we would encourage you to complete this section to ensure your profile features in any search results for that skill, where we have 100’s of candidates with a similar background and skill set it can become very difficult to distinguish between them. This is where your personal profile comes in to play! Providing a summary allows you to put your skills in to context by giving some brief information on your background and experience to date. If you are open to new roles or changing career paths, this section also offers you the opportunity to clarify the type of roles you would be interested in hearing about. Make it as easy for the recruiters and employers out there to understand where you are coming from and where you want to be!

Encourage head hunting by making your profile public

We live in an age where we are increasingly wary of the risks of putting our personal details online. However, if you want to attract the attention of employers and recruiters out there it really is essential they be able to view your profile. You don’t need to include personal details like addresses or phone numbers but by making your profile public, employers and recruiters have the option to decide if you’re a good fit for any potential roles and approach you via InMail. If for whatever reason you are reluctant to mention in your summary profile that you are looking for new roles, you could make use of Linkedin’s relatively new functionality which allows you designate yourself as ‘Open to new opportunities’. This functionality is only available for premium users of Linkedin such as subscribers of Linkedin Recruiter which is typically used by recruiters and human resource professionals and is therefore unlikely to be visible to your current employer or Linkedin connections.

Personalise your profile

Create a multi-dimensional profile by including information which sets you apart and makes your profile memorable. Make sure to include any voluntary experience you have completed, memberships of organisations or committees as well as any major personal accomplishments. Endorsements and recommendations from previous employers will also help your profile stand out from others. Connect with Linkedin groups of interest to you which will not only expand your network but also give potential employers and recruiters an idea of your outside interests.

Linkedin has become something of a game changer in recruitment. It is a platform that is being utilised like never before by recruiters and employers alike who are using it frequently to source talent particularly in areas where there is a skills shortage. If your Linkedin profile is not up to scratch it may be overlooked! Give yourself the best chance of obtaining a new role by following our top tips to reinvigorate your profile!

For information on Linkedin Statistics see: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-numbers-2017-statistics-meenakshi-chaudhary and https://press.linkedin.com/about-linkedin?#

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Most employers understand that the most important asset a company has is its people. In fact, a recent study by Indiana University found that 10% of productivity comes from the top 1% of employees and 26% of output derives from the top 5%.

This means attracting and keeping top talent is imperative if you want to achieve top results.

But if you’re an SME, you’re probably wondering what you can do to secure top talent before the Fortune 500’s stake their claim.

The short answer is to work on your employer brand.

An employer’s brand is what communicates to potential employees what it’s like to work for your company. It shows your value proposition as an employer and what makes your company a great place to work. Companies that have clearly defined employer brands can attract up to 3.5 times more applicants per job listing than similar companies in the same sector.

When creating an employer brand, you need to start by identifying who your target employees are. Are you looking for candidates with years of experience? Or, are you trying to attract ambitious graduates? In each case, how you brand yourself is going to be different.

For example, a recent Accenture study revealed that millennials prefer to work in companies that have a creative and fun culture and that provide ample opportunities for career advancement, both of which were considered more important than salary.

 

More experienced candidates, who have been in the workforce for a number of years, are more likely to have family responsibilities, and according to a recent survey by Seek, are looking for job security, work-life balance, and salary, rather than a fun culture.

Many SME’s are already good at providing what top talent is looking for; it’s just a matter of getting the message out there. So, once you decide what type of employee is the best fit for your organisation, you need a branding strategy that appeals to this target group.

A great place to start is your company’s website. Besides being a great place to position yourself as a thought leader in your field, you can also use it to broadcast your employer brand message clearly, particularly in your ‘About Us’ and ‘Work for Us’ pages. Social media also provides great opportunities. Make sure your current employees are regularly posting on your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles, as they are the best brand ambassadors you have.

As long as you are consistent with your brand messaging, and make sure the wording in your job listings matches your overall brand message, you should find that you are attracting high quality candidates. And this is great news for your bottom line.

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“I want to discuss my salary package”

“Can I have a raise?”

These two phrases can cause a lot of frustration and uncertainty in the workplace if not handled sensitively.

 

 

First of all, it isn’t easy to ask your boss for a pay rise.  A lot of anguish, thought and hopefully research has probably occurred before the employee has come to you.  So, if you know an employee is due for a pay review take the initiative and raise the discussion before they feel they must.  But if they beat you to it, give each request a lot of respect.  Listen to the case presented and take time to consider.  This will usually mean not giving an immediate answer so agree on a time and date to meet to discuss your decision.

From an employee’s perspective getting a pay rise is pretty simple, have I performed well enough in my job to deserve it?  From the employer’s side things appear bit more complex.  Apart from performance, employers need to consider how the salary compares to the market generally, how the salary compares to others in the team, whether the company is in a position to give a pay rise and does the requested pay rise fit within the companies’ policies?

If you’ve decided not to give an employee a salary increase how you communicate it is pretty important.  Of course, every scenario will be different but usually the outcome you are looking for is similar; although you are not going to reward the employee with more money you want them to stay focused on their job and maintain or improve their performance.

This isn’t a comfortable situation for the employer or the employee.  The answer though is to be tactful and honest.  If the employee’s performance wasn’t where you wanted it to be, carefully explain where they were below expectations and, if possible, use data to illustrate.  Then try and plan a clear performance path to the point where you would be able to give a pay rise. This should be as transparent as possible so the employee can easily understand if they are on track or not.  If the employee’s performance has been adequate but the businesses situation does not allow you to give a pay rise or the employee is already well paid in market terms again, be open about why you can’t pass on a pay rise at the moment, but also look for alternatives that will be seen as a reward.  These alternatives may include training, flexible working arrangements and additional holiday days.

Salary negotiations are sometimes tough to handle, but it is pivotal that employers plan for this process, as it is inevitable. The more proactive you are now, the less reactive you will need to be later.

 

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Work life balance is now a double threat – it needs to be demonstrated to attract staff and delivered to keep them

A new report from best practice insight and technology company CEB has exposed another consequence of poor work life balance, – staff attrition.  Since the 2011 edition of CEB’s Global Talent Monitor work life balance has been the number one driver of attraction for employees. The latest edition (recently published) shows it is now also a key driver of attrition, i.e. employees will choose to leave an organisation that does not meet their work life balance needs.

There are an ever-increasing range of factors that are negatively affecting work life balance for employees, especially those in large cities like Sydney. They include commuting time, housing costs and child care costs to name a few.  Technology is a double-edged sword, on the one hand it is hugely invasive seeping work into every hour of every day through smart phones etc, but the other edge is that technology can also give us the flexibility to work productively from home.  I know people who used to be tied to their desks until late at night who now go home, have dinner, put their kids to bed and then log on and get their work done.

So, who is responsible for an employee’s work life balance?  What role does the employer play in the equation?  Well an old-fashioned employer might be recalcitrant, look to the past and not be willing to change.  But in a world where skills are scarce that is not a sustainable position.

I think the role of the employer is to create an environment that enables employees to be the best they can be.  That might mean providing training and tools to enable them to do their job effectively.  It might also mean providing the infrastructure to allow them to work effectively away from ‘their desk’ when it is applicable.

But the individual has a responsibility as well. They must work at being effective, to use their time productively, to make smart decisions about their priorities, so that they meet their obligations to work, family and friends.

The fact is that competition in business has never been fiercer and it is unlikely to ease up.  To be able to compete businesses need engaged productive employees.  To be engaged and productive employees need to be able to deliver on the demands of family and community as well as those from work.

It isn’t simple and we won’t get it right all the time.

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Are you using online learning to train your staff? Online learning gives staff the benefit of being able to do their training when it suits them best and dispels the need for having staff in one place at one time for training.

Done well, online learning is engaging, meaningful and produces desired outcomes. Done poorly, it lacks sound learning strategies, achieves little towards meeting outcomes and demotivates learners. So before you invest in a training strategy for online learning, go through this checklist to assess a training program and ensure you’re not wasting precious resources:

Communicate expected outcomes. Make it perfectly clear what your staff need to know by the time they’ve finished their training and why they need to know it – never assume that they know the expected outcomes of their training.

Highlight critical information. Focus the learner’s attention by using headings, clear formatting, colour and plenty of ‘white space’.

Build on existing knowledge. Help learners to recall prior knowledge so they can link new information with related information in their long-term memory.

Cater for individual differences.
Include different types of activities – branching scenarios, case studies, eLearning games, videos, audio and ‘chunked’ text – to engage a range of different learning styles and test knowledge.

Ground learning to real life. Design activities that are relevant to learners’ real life roles and responsibilities in the workplace to emphasise the relevance of what they are learning.

Give feedback. 
Let learners know how they are progressing by giving feedback on their activities, congratulating them on completing learning modules and helping them keep track of their progress.

Encourage collaboration. Create a community of learning within the workplace by encouraging learners to share knowledge, insights and link their own success to the success of their colleagues.

Provide sound support. Ensure that learners can access support when needed to help them with issues like site navigation, questions about the learning and strategies for completing the modules in the time required.

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Leading teams requires great commitment and looking outside of yourself to meet their needs. We have provided some tips below to help set you on the right path to a great leadership experience: If you are new to a leadership role they might help guide your way and if you have been at it for a while they may serve as a useful reminder.

1. Brush up on Your Communication Skills. Having clear and precise communication is important, and being honest and open with your team helps build a level of trust. Making sure all staff understand what the goals and expectations are and giving them the opportunity to contribute their thoughts and ideas for feedback is important.

2. Be Committed to Your Goal. Not only should you be explaining the importance of the company goals to your team, but you need to show by example that you support the goals as a leader. This involves setting out the tasks, having follow-up meetings and making sure that your team is on track with what needs to be achieved.

3. Give Verbal Recognition. Verbal recognition for efforts and praise show your support towards the staff member’s accomplishments. It also boosts morale and positivity that encourages a mutual support among team members.

4. A Team Leader Should Lead by Example. A great leader is someone who shouldn’t be afraid to get their hands dirty or dig in to help when the team requires additional support. Someone who can encourage team members to take risks and support them when they do.

5. Invest in Staff Careers. To ensure your staff are up to date with the skills they need for their role, you may need to invest in training, invest time mentoring or finding the right mentor, invest time to discover what they really need and want in order to do a great job.

6. Resolve Conflicts. Any conflict within the workplace needs to be handled promptly and assessed by leaders as soon as it arises. Appropriate measures need to be taken to find resolution or negotiate a mutual agreement. Whether it is conflict in a task or between co-workers, leaders must step up to the plate to take action and problem solve the best way that they can.

7. Teach Adaptability. The effective team manager should teach adaptability and flexibility to all their team members. This results in better communication, a greater sense of empowerment among staff and a faster exchange of information.

8. Build Pride in Your Team. Positive reinforcement on success is a proven way to keep staff motivation high and build pride in your team. It will increase productivity amongst the team and encourage drive towards goals. You are also creating a positive working environment that employees are happy to be a part of.

9. Give Your Staff New Responsibilities. Just as you have developed into your role of leadership, your team are looking for development opportunities. It is important that you help them by giving them the opportunity to take on new responsibilities as the opportunities arise.

Have you lead teams during your career? What were your first experiences when it came to leading teams? What did you find was most successful? What did you learn from the experience?

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You have worked hard to get your promotion, now you have to set yourself up for success in your new role. Preparing to take on more responsibility will make the transition process run smoothly and will help set you up for future success.

So what are the next steps after you receive the promotion? What can you do to keep yourself on track?

1. Get clear expectations. The first thing you need to do is really understand your new role. What does the organisation expect of you? What does your manager expect of you? And what do you expect of yourself? Clarifying these expectations sets up a path to follow.

2. Set your goals What do you want to accomplish and why? Set personal and career goals both short and long term so you can measure your progress on the path. Don’t be afraid to share your goals or vision with management and get their buy in as well,

3. Talk to your boss. Get to know your manager and determine how you will work together. How and when will you communicate and what will help you succeed beyond the job description. These things are critically important to your mutual success.

4. Focus on building relationships. You may have moved to a new department with new peers or report to and a new manager. The relationships with the people around you are part of that job! Invest time in building relationships with your new peers, people in other groups, your boss, your customers, and if you are a leader, your team. It makes your working environment more positive and productive if you have a level of rapport with your team.

5. Learn what you need to learn. Remember you are new to this position so you cannot know it all on the first day! It is part of our development to learn new skills. Take notes, ask questions, request feedback to make sure you are heading on the path towards success. The earlier you set yourself up to understand the requirements and expectations of the role, the easier it will be to settle into the position and start delivering.

6. Celebrate! Of course you deserve the time to celebrate your promotion and share the excitement with others. Take some time for yourself and those closest to you to celebrate your progress and accomplishments. Celebrating builds your confidence and awareness, and it sets you on the right path for even better performance.

Sometimes we tend to rush from one project to the next without fully understanding what we have achieved. Every accomplishment is a stepping stone on the path towards your future. Show appreciation towards those who helped get you get to that next stage.

If you have been through a promotion recently, what steps did you take to continue to perform at your best and show that you were the right one for the job?