Mindful image

As a society our overall wellbeing is decreasing. Findings by the Australian Psychology Society
detailed that in 2013, the rate of stress, depression, and anxiety reported among people had risen compared to the previous two years of research. In particular, workplace wellbeing was also reported as lower compared with previous years.
Large companies understand the pressures and stress of the modern work environment and some have begun using mindfulness in the workplace from the top down.Mindfulness enables people to neutralise some of the daily stressors people encounter and improves focus, clarity and creativity.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is non-judgemental, open and curious awareness of oneself in the present moment; such as awareness of our thoughts, emotions, and reactions. Research shows that developing this level of introspection has positive effects for reducing stress levels, regulating emotions and emotional reactions. People who routinely use mindfulness experience enhanced decision making as well as decreasing negative thought patterns which can interrupt positive functioning throughout the day.

Mindfulness in the Workplace

Seeing the positive effects mindfulness training can provide, it is no wonder that large companies such as Apple and Google (among many others) are providing their employees with the skills mindfulness can provide. Increasing effectiveness at work, the ability to handle conflict better through emotional regulation, and decreased workplace tension are just some of the benefits that implementing mindfulness practices offer.

Google is the perfect example for implementing mindfulness within the workplace. Google run seven-week long classes for employees to focus on developing mindfulness skills useful for dealing with the stressful corporate world.

This may seem extreme but underlines how much importance is placed on the ability to be introspective, mindful and invest in psychological wellbeing. Introducing simple mindfulness practices into the workplace can have a large impact by reducing stress and increasing focus.

In any industry, increasing the wellbeing of employees is always of benefit to a company. Through the techniques of mindfulness, the added development of increased emotional stability and positive thought patterns only serves to improve morale and the work environment.

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You might have asked yourself: “Why should I look for a job now when I already have one?” 

Job hunting

The thought of searching for a new job can seem like a redundant task. 

However, this is often the reason why people feel locked into a single role and miss out on developing a fulfilling career. The thought of leaving their current environment in exchange for a new one can be enough stress for some people that they don’t even bother looking. 
If you are keeping up-to-date though, you are in a position to take advantage of new and exciting opportunities.

As we’ll show, the benefits greatly outweigh the short-term pain of keeping up-to date in your industry. To help with motivation, we’ve outlined the biggest benefits of keeping up-to-date with job-seeking while balancing your work-life schedule:

You Gain industry insight

Industries change constantly. You get significant advantages by keeping abreast of industry trends; you also avoid the pain of getting left behind. To make informed career moves, it is a good idea to keep up-to-date on the job market in your industry as well as similar industries where your skills and qualifications are relevant.

Researching the job market will give you an accurate understanding of your current market value. Since you are in-the-know, you could be in a position to negotiate a pay-rise or to expand your current role.

As you gain experience and develop more skills you become a valuable asset within your organisation. Great employers are always looking for people who are ahead of the curve and able to bring new value to the organisation. 

If you understand the job market and have sufficient experience you are in a position to talk with your employer about new opportunities for yourself and the company. This discussion should create a win-win scenario with your employer. Given your position, knowledge and skills you are in a great position to ask for new challenges and potentially a pay-rise. For the employer, they get an innovative employee who is able to create value in a new avenue of the business.

On the other hand, if you know that your job is becoming obsolete, you will be in the best position to find opportunities within your current industry or a neighboring one where your skills are relevant and valuable.

The best workers adapt their skills to fit the environment and make learning a habit. Industry changes and new technologies create just as many opportunities as problems, this means if you are up-to-date you can quickly identify areas where your skill, experience and knowledge fits perfectly a new environment and you will be all the better for it.  

The shortage of similar positions can also make you an expert in an emerging job market. For example, studying one unit of database programming at university, while irrelevant in a business degree, could present a huge opportunity if your role current role is made redundant. If you have another skill that is in demand, you can apply for another position internally or develop a new skill set quickly if needed. Regardless of the situation, you will be in the best position if you are up-to-date.

 Some questions to keep in mind while gaining information in your industry are:
  •         What is the general scope of remuneration for your experience level?
  •         What other skills and knowledge do I have?
  •         How frequently do new positions become available?
  •         Which is more common in the industry – full time, part time or contract?

You can plan ahead for something better:

There is always room for dreaming big when it comes to a career, if you’re not where you want to be now, that’s OK because it gives you something to work toward. It can be hard to think of another job as you may be comfortable where you are now, but comfortable is not a term successful people use. 

Thinking ahead to where you want to be and how you’re going to get there puts you at an advantage over your colleagues. Scoping your potential next big move could be the best exercise you have undertaken.

This does not mean you have to stress out constantly looking for jobs. Browsing advertisements each week or month is a great start and gives you a fantastic context. Before sending resume out it is a good idea to have some informational interviews with people in the area you are looking to get into. 

When talking to recruiters be very careful to explicitly state that you want your interest to remain completely confidential and not be placed into a database without your consent. Overall, consider planning ahead, networking, and spending time thinking of what your next job could potentially be.

You can gain the most out of networking:

Networking is one of the strongest factors in deciding who gets the next available job. Knowing the right people could get you through doors that would otherwise be closed to you. 

Aim toward increasing your network. This could mean requesting that your contacts keep their eyes open for job opportunities as they arise. Or attending conferences, workshops and other professional events as well as buying a few coffees for people in order to build your network. Remember, people would rather hire those who they know rather than those they don’t know.

Hopefully these tips will allow you to move away from the comfortable ‘steady as you go’ space that you have fallen into and allow you to expand your network, look beyond your current position, and plan ahead for what job opportunities lie out there. Who knows, your dream job could be around the corner!

Taking the time to scope out other opportunities can have a number of benefits. The main benefit is that it could land you in something new! But by using the above steps as a guideline, you can gain insight into potential opportunities in order to make informed decisions about your career.

Start the search here...
Career Exchange is Psych Press’ job board catering for job seekers and advertisers within HR and Allied Health community. Career Exchange offers a range of services that enable you to connect to find and advertise new employment opportunities.

Have you ever been part of a brilliant team where everything runs smoothly, up until your top player quits and you don’t know why?

your best employees will quit

This is a scary prospect for employers. It is also the harsh reality. More employees are leaving their positions in search of better opportunities now than at any point since 2010.

Certainly, there are forces outside of the managers’ control that influence retention however, great managers are proactive and create an environment that makes employees feel engaged, valued and respected.

So, if you’re wondering why your top talent would leave, here are the top 5 reasons:

1. Mismatch between personal and effective leadership styles

Finding the balance of micro-managing employees and providing autonomy can be difficult  for even the best managers. Providing resources and clear expectations are key to making sure your people have the tools they need and a framework in which to apply their skills.

Poor managers fail to set expectations for fear of micro-managing or, worse still, set ambiguous expectations that are not consistently followed up upon. This approach to leadership simply confuses employees and creates a culture of disengagement and dissonance. For an example of this kind of leader, look no further than Ricky Gervais’ character David Brent in the BBC show ‘The Office’.

Managers who go the opposite route and micro-manage also create a culture of dissonance because the crucial element of trust is lost. Micro-managers give no autonomy to employees which distorts their ability to think creatively and innovate.

If there is little direction or a lack of trust in your workplace a good place to start is to question the leadership because, as the saying goes: “People don’t leave jobs or companies – they leave managers”.

2. Disengagement and Repetition 

To create a work environment that fosters productivity, an employees’ tasks need to be in line with the skill set that they have. If the tasks aren’t chosen carefully, employees can be stuck doing monotonous work that they do not enjoy which affects engagement and productivity. Ultimately, the employee will feel disrespected and will be heading towards the exit.

Understanding what each employee loves to do is important. Someone who loves to be creatively challenged or employees who are analytical obviously need to be catered to differently - if their skills don’t match the task - think twice about why you’re giving it to them, and also ask yourself what sort of result you’re expecting if you set the wrong task.

For employees that are currently disengaged, look to give them a task that is completely new but still within their scope. For example, you could give them the extra responsibility of managing a project or team or even working on a different aspect of the same project. If nothing new is available a similar role on a different department even temporarily will make the employee feel cared about and respected and will lead to higher levels of engagement.

3. Minimal  growth opportunities 

Work environments are constantly evolving to suit the nature of the business. In turn, employees require opportunities to further develop and grow with the business. providing opportunities can be achieved by creating projects that extend and enhance their skill set. For example, get your employees involved in the creation of a process for a project or managing a team.

This example could be mutually beneficial – the employee might develop a new approach to a task, and the organisation will  benefit from their employee’s innovation.

4. Lacking a sense of Belonging 

Even your best and most autonomous employees still need to feel respected and valued. This needs to be reflected in practice though, not just in superficial gestures. To foster a sense of belonging you should proactively communicate with your employees about their role within the organisation and about their personal goals.

In doing so, you will demonstrate that the organisation does care about its employees and that their careers matter. This means you are a lot more likely to keep people who are otherwise likely to leave.

5. Recognition and rewards

For someone work at a company,  intrinsic motivation is very important. A poor recognition and reward system will consistently undermine intrinsic motivation and cause employees to disengage if it is not administered correctly. As such, is vital to ensure that an employee is receiving a consistent and congruent feedback to do their job.

While financial rewards are important, more important is the role of feedback. One of the quickest ways to lose employee engagement is to delay, omit or ambiguously deliver feedback. Feedback needs to be a daily goal of any good manager in the form of praise. A team member needs to know that they are valued by their team members, managers and organisation explicitly.

Continuous, specific feedback is the key to communicating effectively and it leaves no doubt in the employees mind as to whether they’re valued or not. Too many managers leave it until too late to recognize their employees and it can come as a nasty surprise when employees leave.

 The problem with employee engagement

Most organisations implement employee engagement programs that only deliver superficial and short-term results. To truly motivate employees, a better solution is to develop and implement an employee engagement strategy, this places emphasis on the company culture and leadership as a driving force to making employees feel values, respected and engaged.

Employees both want and need to be engaged with their tasks coupled with being a part of a supportive environment. If an engagement strategy is managed correctly it will have continual, long-lasting effect on employee retention.

There are many tools you can use to conduct culture surveys, job satisfaction surveys and identify the values and motives of staff to see if your company and the individual are aligned or not.

In the end, you chose what type of culture an organisation has, it starts at the top and has a trickle-down effect. If it is one of dissonance and disengagement then you can watch your best employees walk out the door.

Looking for your next star employee?

Psych Press develops talent assessments that link personality to performance prediction for a variety of competencies. One of our most popular assessments is the Business Personality Reflections (BPR) assessment. This gives accurate insight into competencies and personal factors that influence employee engagement and is particularly useful in recruiting. To find out more about this product, you can email us or call us on +61 (03) 9670 0590.

Employee Exit guidelines image

Staff turnover is an inevitable part of any business, but how it is handled can make the difference between an angry, disgruntled employee and one that leaves the company with feelings of goodwill. An ill-planned exit by one employee can cause the spread of negative information internally, and has the potential of reaching future potential employees in extreme cases.
The frequency and need of exit planning should not be ignored, and while the cost of replacing an employee can be considerable, it can also be an important source of information and provide an opportunity to examine workplace practices and culture.  

Pros and cons of staff turnover

  • Creates opportunities for upward mobility
  • Encourages staffing flexibility
  • Attracts employees with new ideas and experiences into the business
  • Reduces frustration of employees staying in the same job – for both them and subordinates
  • Costs of replacing employees including advertising, recruiting, orientation and training
  • Potential of losing high performing members
    (Neal, 1987)
All companies should have formal, standardised exit procedures to make sure a positive employer brand is upheld. Best practice includes the following:

Exit Interviews

An exit interview is often a verbal, face-to-face interview but can involve an online survey or be conducted over the phone.  It provides an employee who is leaving the opportunity to discuss their time with the organisation, their perceptions about the organisation, workplace morale, what they liked about the company and what they would change.  If the employee is departing because of sensitive issues such as harassment, discrimination etc., then legal advice should be sought before conducting an exit interview.
Some of the benefits:
- Ensure that the employee feels cared for and respected by their employer, and that their voice is being heard
  • Understand the basic reasons behind the employee leaving
  • Enables transfer of knowledge and experience from a departing employee to a new employee
  • Provides information on how to make the organisation a better place to work, leading to changes in satisfaction and ultimately higher productivity
  • Exit interviewing is a straightforward procedure that can be incorporated into the resignation processes
  • Reviewing summaries of exit interviews can assist in identifying causes and trends which may be contributing to staff leaving and help employers consider options to prevent future staff losses

Exit checklists

The exit checklist provides a structured and practical tool to ensure all processes are completed.  The best person to complete the checklist is usually the employee’s supervisor and should be done on the day they leave.
The checklist can include:
  • Handover information, if possible try to begin organising necessary tasks and information that needs to be shared as soon as it is known the the employee will exit
  • Collect any company property such as credit cards, mobile phones, keys, security passes or password information
  • Notify all relevant areas of the business, eg. Payroll, IT
  • Disable access to the building and computer network
  • Review any existing contracts and what expectations of the employee may remain post-employment
    Be sure not to leave any loose ends behind.  While you may have the highest level of trust with your exiting employee you need to know that only existing staff have high level access in the future.

What happens if you don’t have a good employee exit process?

  • Legal action (unfair dismissal) – while unfair dismissal claims may not always go to court, the time and money associated is enough to do some permanent damage to your productivity and public image
  • Use of intellectual property – it is likely that your employee may use their skills in a similar environment. It is your responsibility to make sure that reasonable limitations are set with insider knowledge and trade secrets through relevant agreements.
  • Brand damage – all your efforts in creating and maintaining a positive workplace can be ruined when people believe that you care more about short term gains than the overall care of staff.  Today information travels much faster than before, especially through social media.  It doesn't take much for potential candidates to dig up previous information or rumours about how staff have enjoyed (or not enjoyed) working for you.

Implementing a sound Exit system

Psych Press provides a structured online exit survey that effectively assesses an exiting employee's feedback. Whilst face to face meetings can gather some emotional information, an online assessment aims to build your trend analysis information to allow you to identify areas of improvement for long term satisfaction and growth. Talk to a consultant on 03 9670 0590 or email [email protected] to find out more.