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  1. Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    December 16, 2014 by Jenna

    We are delighted to share this week’s blog from Virginia Herlihy, who works for an organisation called How Do We Do It. They provide in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. For those of you that may not know her, here is her background below and we hope you enjoy her featured blog:

    A note from Founder, Virginia Herlihy

    My passion for helping working parents find a successful way to manage their work and home lives has meant I’ve witnessed first-hand the issues that organisations face in attracting and retaining talent, particularly female talent.

    As a working mother of two and a successful small business owner, I’ve personally faced the challenge of combining work and family.

    It’s been critical for me to examine and understand my values and develop strategies to achieve success and satisfaction in both areas of my life.

    My background in executive coaching, training and group facilitation means I can help both organisations and parents acquire those skills and strategies– to facilitate greater work-life harmony and success.

    I’m proud to say, the feedback we’ve received means the programmes and coaching we’ve developed, work.

    Key Strategies for Achieving a Balance between Work and Home. How do Working Parents do it?

    •  45% of couples with children under 2 are both in the workforce
    • 66% of couples with primary school children are both working. Australian Financial Review 2011

    Today many couples are jointly responsible for sharing their work and family responsibilities, so getting some kind of work/life balance can be a real challenge. If you’re a working mother you probably feel that family and work are competing (and constant) demands. You’re likely to be juggling your own expectations and responsibilities about how you should perform in both areas, as well as those of your colleagues and family. While mothers might get most of the attention when it comes to the challenge of balancing family and work, fathers also struggle to juggle their responsibilities and aspirations.

    So, how do YOU do it? Here are some tips that you have time to read because they are short and that we know help, from our experience with working with hundreds of working mothers and working fathers.

    • Strategy 1

    Continue to identify, acknowledge and appreciate the benefits of what you’re doing that is working for you/what you gain from the choice you are making to be a working parent.

    •  Strategy 2

    Remind yourself that you are not alone, and your challenges are normal which is very helpful in itself.  Keep actively talking to others like you and sharing experiences. Your network and the tips they share will help normalise your experience.

    •  Strategy 3

    Stop tuning in to others negative judgements/biases of how you are supposed to make being a working parent work. You can only get this right for you and your family/work.

    •  Strategy 4

    Get clear on your version of success as a working parent by answering theses questions – What does success look like for me as a working parent? What’s most important to me about my life? What’s most important to me about my working life?

    •  Strategy 5

    Avoid the language of compromise/trade off/sacrifice, which is negative and implies loss. Instead recognise that you are making choices, which have consequences and benefits so consciously use the language of choice.

    •  Strategy 6

    Use a scaling technique i.e. rating things from 1-10, low to high – to assess how much you want to do something out of 10 in terms of your energy, motivation, ability, how important it is to others etc. You can also use this to get perspective and rate how important something is in terms of your life overall so that you are less stressed by it. Your intuitive response will give you useful information.

    •  Strategy 7

    Check your energy around choices you are making/people with whom you are interacting and see whether or not you are being drained or filled.  When you have choice, in your personal life particularly, you can limit your exposure to draining people, situations.

    •  Strategy 8

    Remember to position shift – consider the decision/situation from different perspectives, your position, the other’s position.

    Author – Virginia Herlihy, Founder and Director of How do YOU Do It – Working Parents Programmes tailored to your business.

    Contact details:

     Who is How Do YOU Do It?

    • We deliver in-house programmes to help working parents in Australia and the UK combine their dual roles. We’re specialists in helping businesses support their talent.
    • We help businesses solve issues including female attraction and retention, flexible working strategies, as well as “on and off ramping”.
    • We help working parents find success at work and at home and balance their responsibilities in both areas
    • The result is a win/win for both businesses and parents

  2. If you’ve never considered using Temporary Staff in your business, maybe it’s time to join the bandwagon… By Lauren Eardley

    July 14, 2014 by Jenna

    The world of temporary work might be completely unknown to you or one you might not fully understand, however the use of temporary workers is on the up in Australia and has firmly established itself within labour markets worldwide. Challenge Consulting has offered temporary staff to our clients for over 21 years and we’ve noticed a significant and consistent increase in awareness and demand for temp staff across most industries.

    What is a Temporary Worker?
    A ‘Temporary Worker’ is an employee who is only expected to remain in a position for a limited amount of time. Temporary workers may have the opportunity to obtain a permanent position after that or they may have a set end date. They:

    • Work the hours that you need (Full-time/Part- Time)(Minimum 3 hours per day)
    • Get paid for the hours that they work and are not entitled to holiday pay or sick pay
    • Do not have a contract with the host company
    • Are on the agency payroll (i.e. Challenge Consulting pay them for you)

    Significant research has gone into the use of temporary workers as part of the workforce globally (www.staffingindustry.com). If you are wondering why you would ever need to use a Temporary Worker, research has found that the main motivation behind employers’ use of temporary workers goes further than just answering short-term demands. The numbers are compelling and the most common reasons for the use of temporary staff are:

    1. Flexibility (89.4% of employers voted this the number 1 reason);
    2. Value in answering short-term needs (87.8%);
    3. Benefit in identifying candidates for long-term positions (75.7%);
    4. Cost-effective solution to HR challenges (61.2%)
    5. Bringing external expertise into the business (49.1%).

    From the candidate’s point of view, there are significant benefits for professionals who offer themselves for temporary employment. The research found that professionals who chose temporary employment or an interim management position over a specific permanent assignment did so for pragmatic reasons;

    1. Availability of short-term employment positions even during times of economic difficulty (72% of employees);
    2. Opportunity for individuals to develop their professional network (70.7%);
    3. Opportunity to develop professional skills (66.7%)
    4. Possibility of finding stable employment (59.1%).

    Out of the 17 countries surveyed for the report which included the USA and UK, Australia had the most positive attitude towards temporary employment. Generally, the positive response was more common in countries where Temporary Employment has been more established. On a global scale, Australia has the 2nd largest proportion of temporary employees as a percentage of the total working population (2.8%), just behind the UK (3.6%). Employers and employees now know and understand the benefits of temporary employment and accept it as a positive fact of working life.

    Whether you are using temporary employees to replace a member of staff taking leave or to cope with an unexpected increase in activity; the speed of turnaround from agencies providing temporary employees was listed as the most important factor for employers seeking to recruit. Previous relationship and cost were both secondary factors.

    Temporary employment in Australia is predicted to increase and temporary staffing agencies like Challenge Consulting are likely to become more essential to support business. The ability to provide highly trained employees to sophisticated sectors at short notice is valuable and Challenge Consulting has the experience and resources to respond to your need quickly. If you are looking to employ temporary staff for your business over the Christmas period or any time of year, please contact our Temporary Services Recruitment Specialist – Melissa Lombardo on 02 9221 6422 [email protected].


  3. How to Ask for a Payrise (and how not to)

    May 24, 2011 by Jenna

    We’d all like more money. Some of us may even deserve it. 67% of respondents to last week’s online poll said they would like to ask for a payrise.

    But how do you go about it with any chance of success?

    The most obvious tip for the right way to ask for a payrise is to be able to justify why you deserve one. You have to prove your worth. It is unrealistic to think that a raise is warranted just by you doing the job – that is, after all, what the current pay level covers. And length of time at a company does not automatically entitle you to bid for extra money. You therefore need to give before you get, exceed goals and expectations, and build a reputation of success. 

    – Can you clearly articulate what you do, what you have learned, what value you add, where you go above and beyond the bounds of your job description?

    – Is the timing good, say, after a positive performance review, or when you have been allocated new duties and responsibilities that perhaps warrant a pay rise?

    – Is the company in good financial shape?

    – Have you been in your job for more than five minutes?

    The following is a list of Do’s and Don’ts from someone in an excellent position to give advice in this area – our Managing Director, Elizabeth Varley:

    Do’s

    1. Prepare your case: get facts, figures and evidence as to why you deserve an increase and what you will bring to the role in the future.

    2. Compare your current salary: research the employment market using similar roles in similar companies as your benchmark.

    3. Put yourself in your boss’s position: how would this pay rise affect the salary parity of your co-workers?

    4. Be open minded to other solutions and benefit options: these can include flexible work hours, study assistance, career advancement opportunities, further investment in your professional development, etc.

    5. Give your boss advance notice: make sure that your boss has the time and is forewarned as to the nature of your discussion.

    Don’ts

    1. Don’t get emotional: keep the discussion on a business level.

    2. Don’t threaten or use arm-twisting tactics: this will only create the wrong impression and result in negativity and resistance.

    3. Don’t ambush your boss: make sure that your boss can give you the time and is in the right frame of mind for this discussion.

    4. Don’t expect too much: you might deserve a pay rise but your boss’s hands may be tied as to what they can give you.

    5. Don’t gossip: this is a private matter between you and your boss. Office gossip will only lead to negative outcomes and you could “shoot yourself in the foot” by blabbing to your colleagues about your intention and the content of your discussions. 

    If there is a no or an unsatisfactory outcome …

    What should people do if they are only given part of the raise being requested?

    – Politely ask whether the situation will be reviewed within the next 3-6 months.

    – Ask what responsibilities or professional development you could do to improve your chances for next time.

    – Re-emphasise to your manager how much you are enjoying working for your firm, and indicate what you plan to do to demonstrate your eagerness for personal growth.

    Also understand your organisation’s constraints; you may think you deserve it, but your company may not currently be in the position to offer you a raise or promotion. Are there any non-monetary benefits the company could offer? If not, and you feel you are consistently working beyond expectations without any prospects of reward in the next 6-9 months, it may be time to consider your options external to the organisation …

    [With thanks, as always, to the Challenge Consulting Team for their expert comments and suggestions!]


  4. Do People Leave Bad Companies or Bad Bosses?

    May 17, 2011 by Jenna

    According to a study from Florida State University*, 40 per cent of workers in the business world think they work for bad bosses.

     As for what constitutes a bad boss, they have a variety of answers:

    – 39% said their managers failed to keep promises.

    – 37% said their bosses did not give them the credit they deserved.

    – 31% indicated their supervisor gave them “the silent treatment.”

    – 27% reported negative comments from their management.

    – 24% claimed their bosses invaded their privacy.

    – 23% stated that their supervisor blamed them or other workers to cover up personal mistakes.

    Yikes.

    The online poll we conducted last week asking this question garnered an overwhelming response of 93% that people leave bad managers.

    The Challenge Consulting team, as usual, had lots to say on the matter.

    One asserted that the reality is that somebody’s perception of their employment situation is largely shaped by their manager or immediate team. Another said people leave for both reasons, but predominately bad managers as they have to deal with them all day. Someone’s manager has a more immediate and direct impact on you than the organisation at large, i.e. if you had a bad manager, who belittled you versus an organisation that had a leadership team with limited vision or benefits, which would have the most immediate impact for you to look for alternate employer? In the longer term, if you had a great manager, but the organisation would never support new initiatives or this great manager’s vision, you may be more likely to leave, or perhaps follow this great manager when they go somewhere else too! 

    It can also depend on the size of the company. Many employees attempt to move to different departments, either due to bad manager or bad colleagues. In smaller companies, a bad manager may just as well be the company. The organisational structure is much “flatter” which makes reporting issues more difficult as well as there being nowhere within the company to move. 

    Another Challenge team member wondered whether it is bad managers (collectively) that makes a bad company or whether it is a bad company that recruits bad managers? Additionally, managers can be perceived to be representative of the company ethos. Employees may therefore think they are leaving a bad company, which is not necessarily true. 

    Ultimately, though, it should not be forgotten that employees leave jobs for all sorts of reasons – location, career opportunity, work/life balance, more interesting work, financial gain, ill health and so on,  and not merely something as simplistic as a “bad manager” or “bad company”. 

    * Florida State University Leadership Quarterly, Fall 2007




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