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Category Archives: employer branding

25 May 2009 8:25am

HR managers are increasingly embracing social networking sites to identify and act on employee and customer gripes, but many employers still aren’t doing enough to deal with “more insidious” online reputation attacks, such as logo infringements and false links.

Employers across the globe have spent billions of dollars in recent years building a “perimeter defence” – consisting of firewalls and user-authentication systems – to protect their revenue and data, says BrandProtect senior vice president, Michael Kiefer, in a recent whitepaper.

Yet more than 90 per cent of employers, Kiefer estimates, do little to manage their online reputations, and as little as 10 per cent of “security budgets”, on average, are allocated to external threats.

An employer needs to do more than “reactively protect its data”, he says. “It must also proactively safeguard its reputation online, where references to its corporate name alone can number in the millions.”

Kiefer says that criminals and competitors often target the “weakest link” – the customer. Online customers, he says, are easily compromised and used to either attack organisations or “harvest” online accounts.

“While threats come in a variety of forms, most represent some form of ‘unauthorised linking’,” he says – through the improper use of a corporate logo or trademark.

The logo might be used to link a customer to a competitor’s website, or divert consumer traffic to illegal or offensive material.

“The threats are varied and often escape detection,” Kiefer says. “In each case, a major institution’s reputation is compromised and a customer is misled or defrauded.”

Clean-up costs can be huge, he says, and damage to the brand immeasurable.

Employers, therefore, should:

identify competing URLs, or those with similar names that might be used to falsely represent the company;

engage with their internet service provider and law enforcement agencies to identify risk mitigation activities and block unauthorised links;

establish priorities, determining which risks are critical and which are moderate or can be dealt with later; and

create an “abuse box” where business partners, employees and customers can report web infractions.
Kiefer notes that although online security appears, on the surface, to be an IT function, “mitigating reputational risk is everybody’s business”.

Employers, he says, must “socialise reputational risk” at all levels and departments across an organisation, from HR and management to IT.

Leading employers keep tabs on online content
Some 95 per cent of employers that proactively protect their online-brand reputation experience year-over-year performance improvements, says HR researcher Jeff Zabin in an Aberdeen Group report.

Leading organisations, he says, keep “close tabs on consumer-generated content to identify and act upon potential brand-devaluation issues at the earliest possible moment”.

Online-brand protection is still in its infancy, but employers must act now with the “explosion of social media” making it particularly critical – and challenging – for a company to protect its name, Zabin says.

He recommends that employers:
hire or appoint an online-brand-protection director, whose responsibilities would include the day-to-day analysis of consumer-generated online content, monitoring other online brand issues, and tracking and measuring outcomes;

define best practices for using social media to “derive actionable insights”;

develop time-sensitive performance metrics, aimed at reducing the time between the identification of a potential online threat and the delivery of the information to the relevant decision maker;

adopt media-monitoring technologies, such as “text-mining” software;

train selected employees to engage in online conversations, ensuring they have the requisite level of experience and diplomacy skills;

track positive-to-negative consumer sentiment, looking for deviations in “normal sentiment patterns” and determining the cause; and

measure actual cost savings and revenue outcomes to justify brand-protection expenses and ensure future executive buy-in.

http://www.hrdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=1164

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Maybe it was just me, but I was amazed pre-GFC at how many employers were complaining about skill shortage and their struggles to find candidates, talking about their employer branding and employer of choice strategies, but who were still using the approaches and technologies they used when labour was plentiful…and not noticing the contradiction….

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12 May 2009 8:17am

Corporate career sites should be customised to their target audience and manage candidates’ job expectations, according to technology and HR expert Gerry Crispin.

Too often, they fail to engage candidates in ways that influence their career decisions and only very rarely do they let candidates know what to expect during the recruitment process, he says.

Crispin told last week’s Australasian Talent Conference that career sites should:
be customised to your target audience – know who you want to hire and tailor your content and design to those people. To engage people, they should recognise “people like me”;

cross-link to other platforms – have a Facebook page, for example, that scrolls your hot jobs;

demonstrate a sense of urgency – have a chat room where potential candidates can ask live questions;

omit static information and diagrams of ‘career ladders’ – “it gives the wrong message”;

offer a user guide – “If you’re interested in doing this, go here, or if you just want more information about us, go here”;

increase the transparency of the application process – offer “clear data about how you hire people and what the process is”. Explain how frequently you have jobs open and what they are;

detail your community involvement – “what are you dealing with in terms of sustainability? People make decisions based on that”;

manage job expectations – “ask key questions of employees that get deep into core values of your company, such as how they excel in terms of performance, and how they innovate in terms of products”, and post videos of their answers. The messages on the site must be aligned with the reality or people won’t stay;

tie in self assessments – more employers are doing this, but the next step is to share the data with applicants. “Both the organisation and [the applicant] should know whether [they] should go forward; and

respect candidates – “acknowledge every action”. Disclose what comes next in the process; promise to protect applicants’ data; offer them status updates and explain why they weren’t selected.
“Most companies are not here yet,” Crispin says, “but you see pieces of it being built in the most competitive organisations”.

11/05/2009 2:24:00 PM

Less than 24 hours after the federal government’s announced plans to introduce paid parental leave, business groups are raising concerns about the cost.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has called on Labor to compensate companies for administering the scheme which offers primary carers earning less than $150,000 a year 18 weeks of post-natal leave paid at the minimum wage.

ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson said the scheme, expected to cost taxpayers $260 million annually from 2011, could slug employers with higher workers compensation premiums and additional payroll tax.

He said employers should not be expected to pay staff the benefit and then seek reimbursement from the government at a later date.

“This carries a cost of accessing money, a red tape cost, and a cost of interest on borrowings until reimbursement is made,” Mr Anderson said in a statement on Monday.

But a spokeswoman for Families Minister Jenny Macklin said the government would provide employers with the money to fund the payments up-front.

Sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said it was essential that the proposal be carefully explained to avoid such confusion.

“This paid parental leave scheme could be a disincentive to the employment of women if business got the idea that business had to fund this,” she told ABC Radio.

“I think it’s important that underlying the delay to implementation that there is a lot of education material put out there and that people understand how the scheme works.”

Ms Macklin has defended the 2011 start date, saying legislation would pass through parliament before the next federal election, due in late 2010.

“There is a lot of working through to do before we put this scheme in place,” she said.

“We do understand just how critical it is to get this in place, but we also want to do it right.”

Ms Macklin said it was unlikely that businesses already offering paid parental leave would wind their schemes back in anticipation of Labor’s new law.

“Businesses which have already implemented paid maternity leave or paternity leave schemes have done so so they can hold onto their good employees,” she said.

“I have no doubt that many of them will use this as an opportunity to add to their paid parental leave arrangements.”

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has given in-principle support to the scheme.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/business/concern-over-cost-of-parental-leave/1509754.aspx

© AAP

By Europe correspondent Emma Alberici

Posted 6 hours 3 minutes ago

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has welcomed Australia’s plan to introduce a parental leave scheme but says it is less generous than what is offered by other countries.

Of all the advanced economies, Australia and the United States are the only countries that do not offer statutory paid-maternity leave.

Economist Willem Adema of the OECD’s Social Policy Division welcomes the announcement of an Australian scheme to begin in 2011 but says the amount allocated to it is low when judged against similar schemes around the world.

While Australia’s proposal is means tested, the paid leave offered in the other 38 other OECD countries is open to all parents, regardless of income.

The OECD reports that in many European countries parents are given between 75 and 100 per cent of their wages for up to 18 months.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/12/2567467.htm?section=justin

12 May 2009 6:15am

Extensive research into its target market, and some strategic alliances, have helped Pacific Brands turn around “appalling” mis-hire and time-to-fill rates, according to its GM of talent and organisational capability, Russell Kronenburg.

It was taking, on average, 181 days to hire design managers when innovative designers “had the potential, with one product, to deliver about $300,000 additional revenue in a day”, he told the Australasian Talent Conference last week.

At the time, two in five designers were leaving the company during their first year.

Pacific Brands opted to spend some time “confirming our understanding about what employees valued about us”, and what external people perceived about the company (and what might attract them), he said.

It found that part of its problem was the lack of a “fantastic relationship” with the design community, and that its competitive, corporate-style recruitment approach didn’t appeal to the best designers.

“Our strategies in the way we were talking to them were wrong. Our solutions were wrong.”

It responded by addressing four key areas:
internships and design projects – to give students “real world” experience. “To be honest, I don’t even care if they come and work for Pacific Brands, I don’t care if I can use their design (because it’s their IP). What I am really keen about is how they become a better designer so that at one point in time, if they ever come into our business, I know that they’ve had real world experience and they’re able to solve our needs and our consumers’ needs.”

Employee development – “it’s about how do I build technical capabilities for some of our more creative and innovative people? Often they love this world of creativity, but they hate constraints. They often don’t get a lot of development because no-one knows how to solve their development needs.”

Pacific Brands partnered with academic institutions around the world and Kronenburg says these are “an untapped source”;

Research – “how do we partner with people to advance research for the industry, from a consumers’ point of view, and possibly even how do we tap into it?” and

Recruitment – Pacific Brands opted not to use external recruiters to source designers because that wouldn’t achieve its aim of building relationships with the design community.

“I didn’t want to give that to an external recruiter because what we would miss out on is the relationship that we could build with people that may not necessarily want to come and work for us tomorrow [but might in the future].”

Long-term focus
Kronenburg says large employers must focus not only on their own talent needs but also those of the broader industries in which they operate.

Initially, he said, the strategies Pacific Brands employed were “about our needs” and the design community was “a bit concerned and sceptical. We found it didn’t unlock a lot of doors for individuals and the community”.

As a result, the company embarked on “other initiatives that were about long-term viability… In doing that, we’ve enabled ourselves to be in a different space”.

The initiatives included:
building (“really cheaply”) a LinkedIn forum called the International Fashion and Apparel Association. Kronenburg manages it and oversees who joins, but there are no constraints on the community. It has about 1400 members worldwide who ask each other questions. Although it wasn’t built as a recruiting portal, he said, “we have found some fantastic people from it”;

going to universities to help students with their interview skills and talk about their portfolios;

knowledge exchanges – giving designers the chance to be guest lecturers at overseas universities; and

industry design projects – winners get to work at Pacific Brands for a limited time, giving it “access to the best design talent in the marketplace”.

Kronenburg said that as a result of all the initiatives, “we’ve got access to a much bigger talent pool of designers than we ever had before.”

“We now have people graduating from universities around the world who would have never known about Pacific Brands previously who now know about us and want to come and work for us.”

http://www.recruiterdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=39481&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

01 May 2009 6:03am

Despite starting out in the “poor cousin” sector of recruitment, Metier director Sally Paris now gives advice to top-level executives and says more recruiters should take an interest in broader business issues to better assist their clients.

Like many consultants, Paris “fell into” recruitment when, more than 10 years ago, she found herself seeking the services of an agency and ended up convincing the manager she could do a better job than its consultants.

Since then she has worked her way up to a general manager role at Julia Ross before deciding to start her own business with partner Neale Bettman in 2006. At office support specialist Metier, she manages a team of eight and continues to run her own desk looking after Metier’s top clients.

Paris says that as a small company without a huge marketing budget, Metier had to rely on the reputation she has built in the industry and carve out a niche via referrals from her clients – largely ASX100 executives, celebrities and high-net-worth individuals.

“A lot of my clients sit across different boards, charities, etc, and they often talk about their EAs and if they like them and don’t like them, and my name comes into the equation because I have changed their lives by finding them great people.”

The personality of a candidate can be much more important in an EA role than many others, she notes, because they have to work closely and in a more personal way with their boss. The difficulty of making this match is often compounded by the fact that HR usually shields top-level executives from recruiters, but she demands some face-to-face time before embarking on any assignment.

“I don’t work with anyone unless I’ve met them face-to-face. Even if they are someone who is travelling globally and only has 10 minutes to meet, that’s going to ensure the match of the assistant.”

One-on-one meetings also identify issues that HR departments often aren’t aware of, she says. “In one instance last year I met with a well known, highly regarded property identity. He couldn’t understand why he’d gone through so many EAs in the last 18 months, but [working it out] was just a matter of sitting down with him. He worked in the overseas markets and had a lot of success with EAs who he had long-term relationships with, but it came down to the fact that he wasn’t paying enough salary for what he expected, and the qualifications he needed from an EA. [He didn’t know this because] his HR people were guarding him from meeting with agencies.”

Take an interest in business
When dealing with clients at this level, Paris says, it’s vital to have some business nous yourself and a strong understanding of what your clients do.

Office support is generally seen as “the poor cousin” in recruitment because of its high proportion of junior consultants, she notes, but to succeed in this sector consultants must take a genuine interest in business issues and stay up-to-date by keeping an eye on the stock market, and reading business news. The level of knowledge and business savvy required for successful EA recruiters takes some time to acquire, she says, and “that level of interest or consultant approach just doesn’t happen as much these days”.

Often, she says, “[consultants] come straight out of business college and when entrusted to recruit for an MD’s EA they just can’t understand what these guys do on a day-to-day basis.”

The most successful office support recruiters, she says, meet with executives to understand “their business, their schedule and what they do, so we can explain the position up front to the EA – a HR person who doesn’t work one-to-one with the executive can’t describe that”.

Among the challenges of EA recruitment are that executives can be difficult for assistants to get along with, and because EAs don’t necessarily require a specific set of qualifications, the success of a placement hinges on the personality fit, she says.

Paris consults to clients by recommending ways that they can help assess whether an EA is the right match. “I suggest tips, such as getting the EA at the end of the interview to compose a business letter, because that’s the only way that they’re going to see how they react on the spot.”

She also recommends that executives schedule a five- or 10-minute meeting throughout the day when they update the EA “on where they’re at and what really is important – those little things really make a difference.”

Responding to the GFC
Paris is aware she started her company in a more buoyant economy, but says that while some business plans have changed, “irrespective, recruitment methodologies stay the same.

“A focus on core business is key. We don’t try and be all things to all people but we’re seeing a lot of non-traditional office support players trying to encroach on our market segment and that’s obviously difficult for us as a business. At the end of the day those other businesses’ brands are going to be diluted. Candidates they don’t place are going to be disillusioned. Although this is a large industry, it’s small at same time and people talk – service is key.”

Staying true to a brand, and resisting the temptation to branch into other areas can be hard in this market, she says.

She points out that a long-term client who, due to the downturn, hadn’t been able to give the company much work lately asked if it would recruit outside of its speciality – a clinical manager position – but Paris turned the role down. “We said no to that because we didn’t have expertise in the office to understand exactly what that client wanted, nor a pool of candidates ready to go. You may be able to list an ad, [but] … out of 10 people you’ve spoken to and interviewed, only one of them’s going to get the job and you’re not going to be able to place [the rest], and I think that can get frustrating for the candidates.”

Focusing efforts on the likelier wins is a strategy that flows through to other areas of the business. Despite being a small company, Metier has won several preferred supplier contracts with ASX 100 companies, but Paris says she only tenders when she knows the company has already proven itself to the client.

“I don’t think any agencies ever really win PSAs or normal business agreements unless they’ve demonstrated a track record with that client.”

Time-poor consultants can’t neglect candidates
Among the core tenets of the business are the need to “treat others as you would yourselves – little things that may seem a bit idealistic or old fashioned”, Paris says.

“We’re seeing a lot of candidates being treated poorly in the market because agencies are time-robbed of their core duties with the influx of candidates… so it’s about doing things that people remember. We have to take time out; more than ever we have to become the counsellors in our industry because there are people turning up on our door who’ve been made redundant, they might be in tears. We can’t turn those people away even if we’re in a staff meeting or were really busy; we have to pull out all stops.

“If you have a difficult person on the phone, they might not be someone that we can necessarily help but take a deep breath and think, ‘what would I be doing if I were in their shoes, how would I like to be treated?'”

The recruiters who survive and thrive through the downturn, she says, will be the ones who love recruitment and love people. “This market can get anyone down – can get really good recruiters down – but you can’t mope around, you’re only one person; you’re not going to change what’s happening in the global economy just on your own, so you have to adjust to the circumstances and fire up. And you can be successful in good times and bad times, I firmly believe that.”

If you’re not seeing success at the moment, “take stock – listen to your peers, watch what goes around your office and take your time with things”, she advises. “The little things that make a difference are getting back to people, being honest with clients, and being honest with candidates. Nothing that I say is rocket science, it’s all the same principles that are tried and tested in the industry.”

http://www.recruiterdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=39395&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

30 April 2009 8:19am

Australian HR departments are struggling to meet the challenges created by recession-driven cost-cutting with fewer resources and less control over decision-making, a new study confirms.

Two in five HR directors feel they have less autonomy than a year ago – almost 10 times the number reporting an increase in control, the survey by Kelly Services has found.

“More control, more information requests, and more centralised decision-making” summarises the responses of many HR directors to the survey, which asked 56 members of the International HR Directors Forum about cost-containment measures and the GFC’s impact on the HR function itself.

One HR director notes that these demands make HR “much more reactive: you can’t be proactive when you are constrained by centralised control”.

The greater scrutiny has also led to a “speeding up of operating rhythms” – from quarterly to monthly reporting, and monthly to weekly – which inevitably leads to a greater workload.

Parent companies’ expectations of their Australian operations are “overly influenced” by what is happening in their home market, the report says, with the parent – in most cases – having a more severe view than local management about the cost-reduction measures needed.

Cost-cutting measures
Virtually all respondents to the survey have already implemented cost-cutting measures, with the most common being reduced use of contractors (74%), hiring freezes (70%) and headcount reductions (66%).

Australian subsidiaries have been required to take steps even where the GFC hasn’t yet had a noticeable impact on local operations. This is despite the report noting that, “given the state of the key US and European markets, Australian revenues (typically around 2-5% of global revenues) are hardly likely to be a decisive consideration in global cost reduction decisions”.

Reducing accrued annual leave entitlements is another strategy being employed by many of the respondents, with one director pointing out that pressure to reduce this liability on the balance sheet is “inevitable” and another saying, “it’s not just a financial issue, it’s a wellbeing issue. It’s not healthy for people not to be taking adequate leave breaks, so we are pushing this angle in our discussions with affected employees.”

Almost half (43%) of the respondents have reduced their training expenditures, but some companies have made a firm decision to keep investing in this area.

One director acknowledges the need to continue to upskill and invest in employees in order to meet business objectives, adding that in circumstances where bonuses and pay rises are out of the question, “we can at least educate and develop our people”.

Only “an exceptional company indeed” would have considered salary reductions 18 months ago, the report says, but now almost one in five employers (17%) is considering this move in the next six-to-twelve months.

This is arguably one of the most unpopular cost reduction measures and, given the need for employees to agree, the most difficult to achieve, the report says.

Added pressures
Among the added pressures HR directors report being subject to are:
more scrutiny of new hires – there are “more hoops” to go through to get new staff on board. In other cases, HR’s involvement in recruitment has been eliminated in favour of line managers contacting agencies directly, leading to a higher risk of hiring employees with poor cultural fit;

falling morale and engagement – nearly 60 per cent of HR respondents have noticed their company’s responses to the GFC having a moderate or significant effect in this area. HR is now faced with a “changed organisational psyche”, when employees realise for the first time that their company faces the same hard realities as everyone else; and workers who no longer feel in control of their careers, creating a “prison mentality” where employees who aren’t happy don’t feel confident to leave;

diminishing returns on the communications investment – communication (almost to the extent of over-communication) has become a more important task to resource, and HR has identified a need to “communicate the same message in many media: some like email, others prefer face-to-face, and others like to have opportunities for discussion”. The drain on HR’s already limited resources is proving problematic, the report says;

employees in need of support – the HR role is now more about providing reassurance and support for employees, with respondents noticing more cases of personal trauma such as financial problems, stress and relationship breakdowns; and

reduced resources – some 60 per cent of companies are attempting to meet these challenges with less HR resources than they had a year ago. Only one company reported an increase in HR funding.

http://www.hrdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=1141&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

29 April 2009 8:05am

More than half of employees in the Australian finance profession have had to take on extra tasks after staff cuts, but employers are failing to put in place countering work/life balance initiatives, a survey has found.

Almost one in two accounting and finance professionals (48%) works in a department affected by restructuring, according to Robert Half’s research, which involved 366 Australians (and 4,830 workers worldwide).

Some 58 per cent have taken on extra responsibilities as a result of consolidation, and 49 per cent report increased workloads (Australia was second only to Singapore in this regard, where 58% of workers had higher workloads).

Roughly in line with these figures, almost half (48%) of workers are reporting greater stress, the survey says. Some 33 per cent also report lower morale.

Robert Half found that despite these numbers, only 13 per cent of companies have introduced programs to manage work/life balance, and just 35 per cent have increased the level of communication between managers and staff.

According to David Jones, the managing director of Robert Half Asia Pacific, the one rule that employers should currently be living by is: “you can’t over-communicate in tough times”.

He acknowledges that communication can be more challenging when employees and managers are fearful for their jobs, and suggests giving people the opportunity to ask questions anonymously, “in an open forum whereby questions are submitted in an envelope so nobody knows who’s asking [them]. This ensures managers are made aware of the core issues in their departments and gives them the opportunity to respond.

“Without these sorts of initiatives, managers are often left in the dark and staff continue to feel insecure or unappreciated, leading to a decline in productivity,” he notes.

http://www.hrdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=1140&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

28 April 2009 8:06am

“New entrant” airlines investing heavily in employee development and resisting the urge to “slash and burn” their workforce during economic slumps are outperforming the industry giants, says a new book on the flight trade.

Airlines with the highest labour costs have some of the lowest total costs, say Monash University’s Professor Greg Bamber and North American business academics Jody Hoffer Gittell, Thomas Kochan and Andrew von Nordenflycht in Up in the Air: How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging Their Employees (Cornell University Press ISBN 9780801447471).

They seek to cut expenditure through “underlying process improvements” and building employee commitment rather than “adopting a narrower focus” on reducing staff numbers.

Employee morale within the airline industry is at a next-to-all-time low, the authors say. In 2007, a survey revealed that only 25 per cent of pilots and flight attendants believed that morale in the industry was high, compared to more than 60 per cent just seven years before.

Regular lay-offs over that period have led to increasing cynicism among employees regarding airline management, the authors say. (Just two weeks ago Qantas announced plans to shed 1,750 fulltime-equivalent positions.)

Low morale often results in poor quality service – alienating many customers – and a spike in flight cancellations as disgruntled employees begin “working to rule” (contributing the bare minimum) and declining overtime assignments.

“Labour cost reductions may have been a necessary condition for survival at some airlines,” the authors say, “but they are far from sufficient for fostering a return to sustained profitability.

“[They] can even be counter-productive when they are carried out in a way that allows total costs to grow and service quality to decline. When service quality declines, costs can rise even further due to the costs of service recovery.”

Case Study
Southwest Airlines entered the US market in 1971, and – in what the authors describe as an “unusual feat” in the deregulated industry – has been profitable every year (but its first) since.

Southwest’s initial competitive strategy was based on the rapid turnaround of aircraft between flights, which required “high levels of coordination” across all elements of the business.

According to the authors, the airline is characterised by “frequent, timely problem-solving communication between functions” attributable to HR practices focussing on “building shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect”.

Southwest’s strategies include:
a hiring process that seeks to identify candidates “with an awareness of other people and a respect for their work”, as well as a willingness to go above and beyond their specialisation;

a training process that builds on this foundation. Employees receive on-the-job training by a coordinator who explains not only the tasks to be performed but how these tasks impact other functions;

job descriptions that outline specialist tasks but encourage flexibility, with broader language such as, “whatever else is needed to ensure a successful operation”;

a high supervisor-to-employee ratio, enabling leaders to actively engage in coaching, respond to feedback and relieve workloads at peak times;

performance management that focuses on problem solving rather than the assignment of blame. Southwest also uses conflict resolution to build a shared understanding of work processes across different functions;

a work/family balance policy aimed at encouraging workers to have fun – because if they are “there is a good chance they are doing well” – and to take time off to “renew themselves” and maintain their family and community commitments;

trade union partnerships. Southwest is the most highly unionised airline in the US, but has one of the lowest conflict levels in the industry, and has only suffered one strike in its history; and
job security. The airline has avoided lay-offs during downturns, the post-9/11 crisis and in the face of customer-service automation.

According to Southwest co-founder and former CEO, Herb Kelleher, “nothing kills your culture like lay-offs”.

“Nobody has ever been furloughed at Southwest,” he says. “It’s been a huge strength of ours… Not furloughing people breeds loyalty. It breeds a sense of security. It breeds trust.”
In Australia

According to the authors of Up in the Air, Virgin Blue Australia has for the most part followed the Southwest model.

It seeks to achieve cost savings primarily through efficient work practices rather than reducing pay and benefits or by sacking the workers it has “invested its resources” in, they say.

It looks for candidates with “flair”, aims at developing a happy, motivated and committed workforce and encourages flexibility.

Virgin Blue experienced growth rates of up to 200 per cent in its first five years (after it entered the market in 2000), and maintains “unit” costs that are approximately 35 per cent lower than Qantas’s.

Its operational reliability and on-time performance are also consistently higher than that of Qantas, the authors say.

http://www.hrdaily.com.au/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&nav=1&selkey=1138&utm_source=daily+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily+Email+Article+Link

JESSICA LEO
April 23, 2009 12:01am

THE state’s job shortage could ease in as little as 10 months, says the president of a career development body.

Dr Peter Carey, president of the Career Development Association of Australia says anecdotal evidence and growing business confidence points to South Australia going back to a skills shortage in less than a year.

“There’s an underlying skills shortage that will come back to bite in as little as 10 months,” Dr Carey told The Advertiser.

Speaking in the wake of CDAA’s national conference, Dr Carey said the onus was on businesses and individuals to invest in their training and development in preparation for the upswing.

Careerone: Thousands of jobs online.
“We’re trying to engage business people to take on board career development,” he said.

“It’s a win, win for businesses – happy people are productive people.”

In the interim, Dr Carey suggested an agreement be reached between businesses, employees and government to keep workplaces buoyant during lean economic times.

“We need to look at more flexible work arrangements and they (businesses) also need to be talking to government, to work out an agreement that might support some of their initiatives,” he said.

Despite the economic downturn several Adelaide companies are taking measures to invest in their staff.

One company, HPS Pharmacies, already provides a solid career pathway for its young professionals, offering a new tiered entry partner scheme.

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25371648-2682,00.html