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  1. How to handle the toxic employee in the workplace

    November 17, 2014 by Jenna

    During your career life-cycle, you may end up working with someone that you may not see eye to eye with. Individuals that can be placed in any of the following categories – complainers, controllers, gossipers, bullies, judges, or someone who is not flexible with accepting another opinion or feedback. This can make your working environment tense, it can increase stress levels and it can also give you a more negative outlook towards work. However, there are ways to rise above it so that it won’t affect you on a daily basis.

    An article on by Travis Bradberry on SBS News provided insight on How to Handle Toxic People and I have highlighted the most important points to share from this article below:

    Don’t give up too easily

    It’s important to fight through another day, that’s what all great successors do, even if there are toxic individuals in your workplace. Try and be aware of your emotions and respond appropriately so that you can stand your ground when the time is right. If you leave your emotions unchecked and let items build up, it can lead to more damage than good.

    Stay aware of your emotions

    You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognise when it’s happening. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to regroup and choose the best way forward. Buying yourself time to assess the situation can often save an emotional reaction or putting your foot in your mouth by saying something that isn’t necessary.

    Giving yourself some time to assess a situation can also allow you to provide a better and more calculated response to set the situation straight.

    Establish Boundaries

    When you need to face your toxic co-worker on a daily basis it can feel like you are in a trap that you can’t get out of. You may think that this is out of your control and you can feel defeated and have to put up with being in their presence 24/7.

    If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. You can establish boundaries, just make sure you do it consciously and proactively. Otherwise you could find yourself getting wrapped up in difficult conversations or situations more often than you have to.

    Don’t let anyone limit your joy

    When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they have done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take away from them.

    While we value feedback and opinions of others, we don’t have to compare ourselves with other people and it’s important to take options with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what toxic people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.

    Don’t focus on the problems – only solutions

    When you fixate on the problems you are facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress. When you focus your actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and reduces stress.

    By focusing your attention on the toxic person, you are giving them exactly what they want. It gives them a sense of power over you. By focusing on how to handle the toxic person as opposed to thinking about how troubling they are, you are effectively putting yourself back into control and it will help with reducing stress when this person is around you.

    Squash negative-talk

    There is nothing wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either help intensify the negativity or help you move past it. Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary and self-defeating. You should avoid negative-talk at all costs.

    Use your support system

    To deal with toxic people, you need to recognise the weaknesses in your approach to them. This means tapping into your support system to gain perspective on a challenging person. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Having someone provide a solution who does not have an emotional connection to the situation can really open up a new perspective.

    Test different methods

    You will be faced with different tests when it comes to dealing with difficult people and interactions. This will involve practicing different behaviours, and sometimes learning from failure. However, the more techniques you try (as each individual behaves differently) the more you will train your brain to handle stress more effectively and decrease the likelihood of ill effects.

    In summary, the best way to handle working with a difficult person is to first understand your own emotional reactions and knowing what makes you tick. That way you can better establish how to avoid setting off a time bomb and keeping the workplace functioning in harmony. It will also help to maintain a positive outlook to your role and your working environment.

    Have you recently faced a toxic or difficult person in your workplace? How did you handle it? What worked and didn’t work?


  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. Two Weeks To Go Until Jenna Baril Completes The Ultimate Challenge For Oxfam New Zealand

    March 20, 2012 by Jenna

    I cannot believe how quickly time has passed! When I think back to August when we initially met as a group to discuss taking on this 100km journey for charity I thought we would have plenty of time to prepare ourselves before the big day. Although we have been training extensively and we are stronger than ever, I guess the ‘reality’ of the event being just around the corner hasn’t hit us until now.

    While training at the gym and partaking in long walks and camping adventures together (and also the Warrior Dash in February for a bit of fun as you can tell by this image) we have also had some amazing blessings come our way. Sponsorship is underway with some very generous donations so far, we confirmed a support crew when we thought we would have to complete the walk carrying our own supplies and our teammate Ryan La Motte also proposed this month and is now engaged!

    We have been in mud, rain and overcast weather to intense humidity, so our shoes are definitely broken in! We’ve climbed through dry riverbeds, climbed up rock faces by rope and have seen some of the most beautiful sunsets and even storms over the horizon. Regardless of the locations we have travelled, seeking the next adventure, every experience has been different, challenging and beautiful in its own unique way.

    Our team have learned some important lessons from our experiences together which includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    • When camping together on a remote island, NEVER ration bug spray  – you will regret it.
    • Most flies and insects that bite are attracted to the colour blue and will bite you twice as much.
    • Finding a coconut on a remote island will not always mean the milk inside is fresh
    • Do not dare fellow participants to partake in any activities that will have a damaging effect on your eyesight.
    • No matter how much you try to boil it, salt water will still taste like salt water and is no substitute for fresh.
    • Make sure to have a proper rain jacket and do not attempt to wear a poncho while climbing.
    • If you are extremely pale in complexion, like myself, you will get burnt on an overcast day… every time.
    • A tin of tuna can go a long way between five people for lunch.
    • Finding a toilet facility on your bushwalk does not always mean it will be a sanitary experience – always carry wet wipes.

    Now we are contemplating any final packing requirements and will be departing on 30th March 2012 to New Zealand to Taupo where our journey begins.

    So why are we doing this walk? For those of you that are not familiar with Oxfam, here is a little background information that you may find useful: Oxfam exists for a very simple reason – Because poverty and injustice are unacceptable. We believe everyone can play a part in creating a world free from poverty. Oxfam Trailwalker is your chance to make a difference.

    Everyone has the right to the essentials of life – clean water, food, shelter, sanitation, healthcare, education and a livelihood to support themselves, their children and their community. Everyone also has the right to live free from violence. These are fundamental rights and we believe they can be achieved for us all.

    Oxfam New Zealand works in Africa, Asia and the Pacific with poor communities and local organisations to help people address the root causes of poverty. But we recognise that to achieve lasting change we also need to challenge and change unjust policies and practices that reinforce poverty. That is why we work not only at the grassroots level but also with organisations, institutions and governments at the national and international level.

    Oxfam’s belief in fundamental human rights underpins our work around the globe and our campaigning and advocacy work. We are fighting for a world where every person has:

    • The right to a sustainable livelihood
    • The right to basic services such as health, education and safe water
    • The right to life and security
    • The right to be heard
    • The right to an identity

    To find out more about our team ‘The Bush Ramblers’ or to find our more about Oxfam’s click here for more details.

    On behalf of our team we thank you for taking the time to read this blog and we appreciate the support of all of our sponsors so far. We will make sure to keep you posted on our upcoming results!


  4. “It’s all about the people”: Why this is the #1 reason people stay in their jobs

    September 20, 2011 by Jenna

    Rather heart-warmingly, this is how one of our “What’s the #1 reason you stay in your job” online poll respondents succinctly put it. 

    More than a third of respondents chose “I actually like the people I work with” as their #1 reason. Here are the full results: 

    • I actually like the people I work with – 35.2% 
    • I have flexible hours and work arrangements – 17.6% 
    • Other – 17.6% 
    • I actually like the work I do – 11.7% 
    • The money: I am paid above-market rate – 5.8% 
    • My manager inspires me – 5.8% 
    • There are opportunities for learning – 2.9% 
    • I am too lazy to look for another job – 2.9% 
    • There are opportunities for promotion – 0.0% 
    • The bonus and other financial rewards – 0.0% 

    As much as “Hawaiian Fridays” would also tempt me to stay in an otherwise lacklustre role (as another witty respondent volunteered as their #1 reason), I personally agree that it really is the people you work with that ultimately make or break a job. You could get the best job in the world, but if you then discovered that you’ll also be faced with a team of idiots and a psychopathic manager every day, then you’d probably be out the door again quick smart.

    I’m just saying.

    To further support this, here are some more poll responses:

    • I am blessed to be surrounded with very capable and competent staff.
    • I work with a truly amazing and inspiration group of people from the CEO to the Reception staff. The whole team is there to support each other and we are all working towards the goals. The first company I have worked for in quite a few years that I would be really sad if I ever left!
    • I work for family-owned company that treats its people like family. They reward and recognise many things that I know many other employers simply do not.

    It’s a safe bet that most people consider employee compatibility to be an essential requirement for an optimum work experience. Liking one’s co-workers will likely remain the key to overall job satisfaction as long as people are required to spend a lot of time on the job and work with the same people on a regular basis. It has also been shown to increase productivity, job satisfaction, and even life satisfaction. 

    “Anecdotal evidence throughout the culture suggests that liking one’s co-workers is a cherished benefit and even good for business. For example, the U.S. Army for years ran advertisements using the jingle “Be All You Can Be” until market research indicated that to attract the next generation of personnel, a better approach would be to stress the opportunity to “work with people you like”. Recent recruitment posters feature groups of people working together in a variety of occupations.” [Source]

    “Professor John Lounsbury, Trump University faculty (psychometric assessments) and a professor of psychology  at the University of Tennessee, has conducted extensive research in the area of job satisfaction. He has made some striking findings that suggest a positive correlation between employee compatibility and overall levels of personal satisfaction:

    • Based on a diverse sample of more than 1,100 adults in a variety of occupations, I’ve found that liking the people you work with is substantially related (positively) to overall job satisfaction and moderately related to both career satisfaction and life satisfaction.
    • Also, people who rate higher on the following traits tend to like the people they work with more: resilient/emotionally well-adjusted, extraverted-outgoing, agreeable, optimistic.
    • There are no differences in liking coworkers for males versus females, and workers age 20-29 like the people they work with more them those age 30-39. [Source]

    Whilst we’re on the topic of happy teams and staff morale, next week we’ll be looking at whether or not employers should foot the bill for their company’s Christmas party. What do you think? Have your day in this week’s online poll

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