Tag Archives: HR Club Sydney

Open Feedback Culture is important- what’s yours like?

When we consider athletes, dancers or other sportspeople today we know that they set goals, they train and they work hard to achieve optimum performance. After they perform, they often critique the performance and receive feedback from others. For instance a baseball pitcher might review video footage, they might seek out feedback from their coach or sports specialists. If they didn’t seek feedback, or weren’t provided with this feedback they would not be able to achieve or maintain the desired performance.


It’s no secret here that the culture at many organisations is one that shy’s away from having tough or difficult conversations with people. This includes peer-to-peer dialogue, upwards and downwards feedback or communication.

The best feedback for learning occurs in the moment, but I think it would be safe to say that many staff aren’t even receiving accurate feedback during appraisal time. It’s much easier for managers to tick the box and write a general comment about an employee than have an honest conversation about someone’s behaviour and performance. Sometimes it’s the threat of a grievance or investigation that put’s managers off.

We know feedback is crucial to improving performance so this is a culture we need to change.

The reason why people get scared and threatened by feedback is often because they aren’t used to receiving it. Often managers tippy toe around what they really need to say, whilst others blurt out loud and clear what’s on their mind in an inappropriate manner. Neither approaches are effective methods of providing feedback to employees, nor will they evoke a change in the individual’s behaviours. Balance is key.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not suggesting you use the old hamburger approach (or shit sandwich as some people call it!) but it is about delivering a firm message in an appropriate way to other people in the workplace. We talk a lot about communication (yeah yeah we all know the model of giving and receiving a message)- so why don’t we think about this when giving feedback?

Some further thoughts: here’s a three-pronged approach I like (HT Evan Carmichael)

1. From an individual perspective, it is critical that people don’t take feedback personally. Take it as a means of learning.
2. From the team perspective, managers need to provide coaching in the spirit of improving performance, not naming flaws or faults or trying to change what makes someone who he/she is. Use it as a means of instruction.
3. From an organizational perspective, companies need to recognize and reward people who have the courage to remain open to giving and receiving constructive performance feedback. Exploit it as a way to develop talent and manage performance.

What is the feedback like in your workplace and how can we as HR professionals encourage it?


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What are you ALLOWED to view at work? The grey area of social media in the workplace

Last week when I was chairing the Australian Employment and Workplace Relations Summit, the very last panel featured Pete Williams from Deloitte Digital and so the conversation skewed towards social media and what companies allow employees to access.

I mentioned that in my workplace, I have access to everything. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube- the lot- and I know it may sound silly, but I honestly don’t think I could work somewhere that didn’t allow me access to these sites. One of my friends can’t even look at this blog. Why am I so passionate about it? Because it helps me do my job.

Twitter- is awesome. It has allowed me to meet so many fantastic people (in HR and other industries) located in Sydney, greater Australia and across the world. Some of these people I’ve met in person, others just online- and others have become really good friends.

If I have a question about something, it’s a great pool of resources to draw upon. Invaluable to my work and mental sanity as the rest of my team is located in Melbourne. I also get access to so many fantastic articles and blog entries this way.


Facebook– I don’t use facebook as much for work, but in saying that I don’t spend very long on there each day. I have it as an app on my iPhone so I do the check-ins on facebook when I’m bored.

LinkedIn– another fantastic way to meet people that share the same interests as you, and share articles, information and personal experiences.

Youtube– an excellent resource for training, learning and creating entertaining presentations. We all know its important mix up the media you use (in order to escape death by PowerPoint), and it gets people engaged and sometimes excited about what they are seeing. Video has the power to invoke an emotional response- which is great for HR.

And as Laurel Papworth (Australia’s foremost social media expert) said recently in HR Monthly, “Anyone who would waste a huge amount of time on Facebook at work would only switch to email, internet surfing or playing solitaire online. Timewasters waste time. Don’t blame the tool!”

So what is your stance on this, or what does your organisation allow you to access at work? I know I’m Gen Y, and that is my perspective because it how I work- but I’m keen to hear a range of other perspectives.

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Thanks to everyone who attended last night!

Last night was the first HR Club Sydney Event and we received a great turnout of HR Professionals based in the Sydney area. Thanks again to our three presenters; Sue Jennings, David Hales and Ben Palmer. I thought the presentation was an interesting insight into how we can ensure our recruitment and retention strategies achieve the goal of having the right people, in the right jobs at the right time.


If you would like to follow up on this, please visit http://www.genosinternational.com/


So overall, how did the event go? Feedback was generally pretty positive and the attendees seemed excited about the concept of catching up with other HR professionals in Sydney. However I would like to share some learnings with you so the next event can be even better.


Here is my commitment to you for future:
Better organised space for networking with others prior to a presentation
Take-away handout of presentation
Organise meet ups that aren’t focussed around a presentation but purely to meet other people
Set-up space for break-out activities


Finally thanks to everyone for coming along, and also to Joel for assisting me on the night with the preparation. If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment here or via linkedin.


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Nothing will get in the way of a good time!

Jeepers creepers- I think a few things have been thrown at me to derail tonight. Last week I had a mild case of shingles and today my laptop has died (yes I felt sick when I saw the blue screen of death), but nevertheless the show must go on and a good time will be had by all.

Here are the final details:

Improving Customer Service & Performance with ‘Motivational Fit’

Date: Monday, August 24, 2009 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM (TONIGHT)

Forrester’s Hotel
Cnr Riley and Foveaux Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales 2010

Bring your business cards along as we have a few small lucky door prizes. Plus Forrester’s Hotel has $7 steak, chips and salad available tonight so if you want to grab a meal here, it does look good.


See you there tonight!


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HR Club Sydney Event- Monday 24th August- More reasons to be there

I’m sure I don’t need to bribe any of you to come along Monday, because we have three amazing speakers who’ll be talking about “Improving Customer Service and Performance with Motivational Development at Qantas”. We have had huge interest in this event with over 50 HR professionals in Sydney indicating that they will be there Monday.

However, the additional purpose of the event is to get HR professionals to mingle, share experiences and make some contacts in Sydney in a casual environment. So keep this in mind and come along with your drinking shoes (for a glass of wine etc) and your conversation hat (cheeky!).


So why should you be there?

* You’ll get to hear a real-life experience from Senior Australian HR professionals on how they tackled a major problem in their organisation
* You will get to meet a number of Sydney based Human Resources professionals (perhaps make great contacts)
* Each attendee will receive a complimentary copy of Michael Specht’s21st Century Recruiting e-book” (worth AUD$15)
* There will be a business card draw at the end of the evening which you can enter to win one of three great prizes.

The other thing I would like to mention is that Forrester’s Hotel has agreed to waive the room booking fee for the night, so in return I hope that we are able to support them buy buying food and/or drinks on the evening.

I can’t wait to meet everyone in person so see you there Monday!

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What is this?

I want to start a community for Human Resources Professionals in Sydney.

I’ve found in the first few years of my career that talking and networking with others working in HR has been the best way of learning. Even from when I was at University, the best lecturers I had were those currently working in the field. HR studies are incredibly prescriptive so real-world experience is important, and this experience can be learned from others.

HR Club Sydney is designed to be a place where HR professionals in Sydney can network with others on a regular basis, in person and via the web. We’ll aim to have monthly coffee/drinks nights where HR professionals from all industries and backgrounds can get together in a relaxed, informal environment and discuss all things HR.

I will also look at organising networking events in Sydney with guest speakers, and promote other events for HR employees to attend.

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