Skip navigation

Daily Archives: April 9th, 2009

Posted 1 hour 18 minutes ago

Map: Melbourne 3000
A young male gorilla escaped from its enclosure at Melbourne Zoo today.

Yakini got out of the gorilla habitat around closing time, after most people had left.

Staff kept the remaining visitors inside, while the gorilla was taken back to its enclosure about 20 minutes later.

A spokeswoman for the zoo says nobody was in any danger.

The Advertiser
April 08, 2009 12:00am

A third of SMEs don’t understand IR laws
48pc concerned about changes

MORE than a third of small business owners have no understanding of new industrial relations laws being phased in on July 1, according to a survey.

The Telstra Business Industrial Relations survey of 282 Australian business owners found three-quarters were aware the system was changing, but 37 per cent had poor or no understanding of their obligations.

Just over half of respondents feel they are “partly prepared” for the changes and close to a third feel they are not prepared.

Harmers Workplace Lawyers partner Shana Schreier-Joffe said business owners needed to familiarise themselves with the laws before they came into effect. Some changes will become law on July 1, while new Modern Awards that cover a large proportion of the Australian workforce will begin on January 1, 2010.

“Employers are very much in the dark over award modernisation, especially sectors that have traditionally not been subject to award coverage, which will now be covered by modern awards,” Ms Schreier-Joffe said.

Related Coverage
Small businesses under pressure
Adelaide Now, 8 Apr 2009
Bosses claim awards victory
The Australian, 7 Apr 2009
SA needs workplace flexibility to deliver jobs and wages growth
Adelaide Now, 31 Mar 2009
Something’s got to give on award ‘modernisation’
The Australian, 19 Mar 2009
Gillard’s pizza diplomacy on IR laws
The Australian, 13 Mar 2009 Employers needing to adapt to changes include those with staff working after-hours and on weekends. Ms Schreier-Joffe said sectors that traditionally used above-award contractual arrangements might no longer be able to do so and would face increased labour costs as a result.

“Modern Awards may also result in an increase in costs for employers, particularly in industries that employ a large number of casuals, such as retail and hospitality,” she said.

“For instance, many modern awards will provide for loadings for part-time employees, and the casual loading for a number of industries will be increased to 25 per cent.”

The Telstra survey found 48 per cent of company owners were concerned the changes would increase their business expenses.

Ms Schreier-Joffe said employers worried about rising wage costs should consider mechanisms to protect themselves from modern awards, such as a collective agreement.

“The traditional use of common law contracts which provide for above-award payments may no longer insulate employers from award obligations to pay penalty, overtime and loadings,” she said.

Increased union power was a concern for 42 per cent of business owners and 38 per cent were worried about changes to the unfair dismissal laws.,23636,25307308-5017672,00.html?from=public_rss

By staff writers
April 09, 2009 07:32am

THE US FOX network is producing a new reality show where employees decide which one of their colleagues will be fired, AP reports.

Each episode of the series, titled Someone’s Gotta Go, will feature a small company that needs to fire staff.

The staff will then examine the books of the company decide who they will fire, according to AP.

The show is being developed Endemol USA, which is responsible for other reality shows including Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

The chief of alternative programming at Fox, Mike Darnell, told AP: “It’s certainly no worse than watching the news every night and hearing all the statistics and watching what is happening. To be frank, like all these shows, if you don’t want to watch, don’t watch it.”

Fox Network is owned by News Corporation, parent company of the publisher of,27753,25312452-462,00.html?referrer=email&source=eDM_newspulse

From correspondents in Paris

April 09, 2009 01:45am

THE Eiffel Tower was closed today after employees went on strike to demand better work conditions and security at one of the world’s most visited tourist sites.

Ticket offices at the Paris landmark were shut and staff were seen handing out leaflets in English, French and Spanish that said they were seeking improvements to visitor services and job security for staff.

Designed by Gustave Eiffel, the 120-year-old tower last year broke a new record with some 6.93 million visitors.

The Eiffel Tower’s SETE managing company, whose biggest shareholder is the city of Paris, declined to comment on the strike.,22049,25312350-5001028,00.html


Reorganizations grab fewer headlines than job losses, but they are common in a recession, and often precede or follow layoffs. And they can be as just as disheartening. It can be difficult to figure out where you fit in as management changes are made, new work groups are formed, and you find yourself working for a new boss. To survive, you’ll need to adapt, while also assessing the future of your job.

Make the most of the first team meeting. “Be bold,” advises Jay Gaines, an executive recruiter in New York. Ask for details about your new manager’s priorities, what he or she plans to keep or change in the department, his or her preferred style of working and communicating, and whether cost cuts are part of the changes. The more you ask, the more forthcoming others will be with their own questions — and the more information the team will have.

Do a self-assessment. Think about what you have to offer to the new team and its leader, advises Licia Hahn, an executive coach in New York. What skills have you been using that will continue to be valuable? And what new skills or expertise do you need in order to be more valuable? “You need to be flexible and nimble in this economy,” Ms. Hahn says. “If the thing your boss needs most isn’t your favorite thing to do,” adjust your attitude and do it — and well — for now.

Schedule one-on-one time. Sit down with your new boss as soon as possible “and treat that first meeting like a job interview,” Ms. Hahn advises. “Show them everything you’ve done in your career so far” and point out what you have to offer in support of the new agenda. Ask the boss about his or her priorities for you. Offer to be available should the new boss have questions about the group or projects, and if you’ve already been through a few reorganizations, what has and hasn’t worked in the past. “Being the boss’s right hand in this way earns huge brownie points,” Ms. Hahn says. Just be careful not to alienate your peers, say, by talking down their pet projects.

Ask the tough questions. If your gut instinct — or the water cooler talk — tells you that layoffs are coming, both Ms. Hahn and Mr. Gaines advise summoning up the nerve to ask whether you will have a job in the new organization and whether your role will be vital or marginal. While an unwelcome answer might be stressful, knowing what’s coming will give you time to plan, negotiate severance and seek out other opportunities.

Accept the new reality. “There’s often what I call the Dilbert effect after a restructuring,” says career coach and author Marshall Goldsmith. “People sit in their cubes and complain about how stupid the people in charge are.” But adapting to the new way of doing things “is the best way to keep your job these days,” Mr. Goldsmith says. He suggests thinking of your new boss, his boss, and so on, as your customers. “You learn to make peace with your external customers’ quirks and you need to do the same with your internal customers.”

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page D6

February 28, 2009

Learn to love your diary and you will discover how much you can get done in just 10 minutes.

By Kath Lockett.

A lot of valuable work time is wasted through procrastination, i.e. putting off doing the work facing you and not prioritising tasks properly. It (almost) goes without saying that people are often smarter about putting off tasks than they are when they finally do them.

Procrastination can also make the culprit look extremely busy. If you feel as though you are constantly on the telephone, shifting papers over a messy desk or continually tapping away at your laptop, it is easy to start believing that there simply isn’t enough time to get everything done. You may start with the intention of getting some real work done, but then the emails roll in, meetings have to be rushed to, the message-bank is full and there’s just no time left. Despite this, most people tend to overestimate how long or how complex a task is going to take, especially if it’s one they dislike or have been delaying.

The simplest thing a procrastinator – or anyone who struggles to find time to tie up loose ends – can do is to make friends with their diary. A diary is more than just a place for scribbling down meeting times; it should also be used to block out chunks of time to do your own work. Book yourself the first hour of the day as an appointment. Treatthis hour as respectfully as you would any meeting with your boss or an external client and stick to it.

Don’t waste this hour lingering over your first coffee or losing yourself in emails. Don’t check your email in-box at all until you have planned your first hour as six, 10-minute, quick-and-dirty chunks. It is surprising what you can achieve in 10minutes.

What takes far longer is thinking up excuses for not doing the work, re-reading papers and documents without taking any action and putting them back into the in-tray.

Forget multitasking (or should that be called multi-distracting) and use 10minutes to focus on one task at a time and get it finished before starting on the next one. These are often the jobs that people enjoy the least, so by doing them first you are getting them out of the way and everything on your plate will be more enjoyable. After a few days of these hour-long self-appointments, you’ll find that you’re in the groove of getting the little-but-important stuff done and feeling much less stressed and anxious about your workload.

Here are some of the things you can achieve in 10 minutes:

* Draft a response to a letter.

* Find the information sought by a colleague.

* Return several phone calls.

* Clear your desk by filing or disposing of documents that don’t need action or reading.

* Leave at least three informative phone messages – i.e. your name, job title and unit, any information you can pass on, and the best time and number to call you back on.

* Photocopy, post or scan an important document.

* Delegate a task to a trusted colleague.

* Respond to three urgent emails.

If these 10-minute tasks are done one at a time without worrying about the next job or straying into reading non-essential emails, you will find that your first hour at work will be a very productive one.

Note that responding to emails is listed as the very last task on the list. Emails are a necessarily evil and there may be some urgent ones requiring your attention, but they can also cause too many temptations to forget or put off doing other tasks by getting lost in reading non-essential messages, re-reading old emails or getting bogged in reply-forward discussions that seem to include the entire office as participants.

Kath Lockett is the author of Work/Life Balance for Dummies, published by John Wiley & Sons, rrp $34.95

Build a strong business case for HR investment

09 April 2009 8:52am

Meeting today’s HR challenges requires innovative thinking and spending some cash, says Onetest CEO Steven Dahl, and “how you ask for it will make all the difference”.

According to Dahl, the ability to build a business case for HR investment is critical as economic conditions worsen and businesses become more selective in their spending.

A business case is not just about numbers, he says. “It’s about a strong case and how to build it.”

The first step is to clarify your objective – why are you asking for money? This might be, for example, because you want to reduce the time it takes to hire new staff in your Brisbane call centre, or because you want to improve the retention rate in your sales team in Melbourne.

“Whatever your objectives are, have demonstrable proof of the issue and that it needs to be solved.”

The next step is to “gather your allies”, he says. “Get the people who feel the pain of the problem most to assist you.”

Keep asking them why it is an issue, and what it will mean for the organisation if the problem is solved. “There must be consequences in order for the CEO to act. This is the difference between a strong and a poor business case.”

Answering questions as to who is feeling the pain, and why it is an issue for your business, forces you to think analytically, “the way decision makers will”.

HR people, Dahl says, often use “I feel” and “I believe” statements, such as “I think we’re taking too long to fill roles in Parramatta”.

A stronger business case looks deeper into the issue. For example: “Our time to fill is 35 days … we have 10 shifts vacant … costs us $14,000 … stress levels would decline … stress led to 35 per cent of our staff leaving … reduce our time to hire by 50 per cent … increase our production by $28,000 per month … would cost us $2,500 per month … ROI of 11 times … it could be done within eight weeks … benefits would be seen within the first four weeks.”

When building a business case, Dahl says, HR managers should:
conduct further quantitative investigations to support “initial qualitative rumblings”;

use historical data;

apply a dollar cost to the problem;

identify additional flow-on benefits;

address the issue with a known solution;

use a case study or reference site for peace of mind – what are your peers doing?

compare the cost of the initiative to the return on investment; and

determine a timeframe to see some results.

Choose your battles
There are myriad things HR could spend money on, so you must “choose your battles”, Dahl says.

Consider what will deliver the biggest positive return for the business, he advises. To determine this, talk to a wide range of staff and consider conducting surveys, which add rigour to your case.

Write a list of their challenges and rank them according to how important and/or urgent they are. “Issues that will impact the CEO will get more priority.”

If you’re inexperienced at presenting business cases Dahl advises you to “get some smaller wins on the board first”.

“Choose smaller things, shorter timeframes; pick easier targets to build your confidence.”

Presentation is key
How you present and deliver the business case will have a significant impact on whether it wins approval, Dahl notes.

“Bad business cases have been approved because of an ability to sell, while good business cases may not be approved due to poor communication, poor structure, lack of evidence, or a lack of confidence.”

Before you get too far down the track in formulating the case, Dahl says, think about your target audience. “Who is the decision maker? What are their motivators? What is their style? Who will influence the decision, and what are their drivers and behavioural style? These will influence how you structure your business case and how you deliver it.

“You can’t present the same way to different people – for example a CFO and a head of marketing. ‘Your way’ won’t work for everyone you’re presenting to. You need to get into the hearts and minds of decision makers. Do this early, while you’re constructing your business case.”

You should consider:
whether to use statistics and data or case studies and analogies;

using images, graphs and pictures versus text and numbers;

the length of your presentation. The higher up the ‘food chain’, the more time-poor people are – they’ll prefer a simple analysis ;

the level of detail required – remember all decision makers dislike superficial analysis;

whether to send an agenda beforehand;

whether to send a “thank you” and summary afterwards;

where to hold the meeting – off-site or in the boardroom.
Essential elements
Ultimately, Dahl says, a strong business case must either:
save time, or give someone important some time back to do other things;

save money or make money; or

increase comfort or make life easier/better – for example, reducing stress levels by automating a process (but remember to tie “comfort” back to facts and figures).
“The more you can demonstrate time, money or comfort, the stronger your business case will be.”

Is it possible for non-local graduates to find HR jobs here in AUSTRALIA?
put visa-related matter aside, it seems that non-local HR graduates (including myself) are struggling to find a job that is HR related regardless our proven knowledge and abilities. from first hand experience, i know some companies are even willing to take on board someone with less qualification so long as he/she is local. maybe it has nothing to do with racism. maybe it’s just the way it is? so if that’s the case, can non-locals ever get a chance to proof his/herself, particularly in HR industry? please enlighten me on the issue. thanks…

(11 + comments at