Author Archive

Doing Nothing About Bad Behaviour… Poor Choice for Branding

I recently blogged about how employee behaviour over the internet can damage a business’ brand, and why setting expectations around such behaviour is so important. Today’s blog also touches on damage to branding, this time with a “green” tinge.

For those of you who know me, I am fairly passionate about the environment, our planet and all of the citizens of our planet (not just the human ones) and how we really should be looking after all of these things better.

I recorded this blog while driving south along the M3 from Newcastle (thank you to my awesome transcriber Janna). I’d been following two traffic control vehicles driven by employees who had obviously finished their shift for a Friday afternoon and were heading back to the workshop in Sydney.  The passenger in the vehicle that I was immediately behind threw a plastic Coke bottle out of the window onto the side of the road.

I have to say I was quite shocked…. You just don’t see that sort of thing happening anymore because people nowadays are so much more aware of the environment and of what’s ‘cool’ and what’s not ‘cool’. And let’s face it: throwing rubbish out of the window of a car on a freeway is NOT cool at all!

Internet rage – is your business at risk?

My website was hacked recently. I’m really quite ignorant when it comes to all things about my website, so when I received an email from my host telling me that they’d had to pull the site down until I fixed it (me, fix it? are you kidding?) I confess to being quite shocked and upset. Particularly as the wording of the email went along the lines of “you agreed when you signed up to being hosted that you would not cause any disrepute to our site”. Of course I agreed that and was rather upset that they felt I had knowingly done something that would. Anyway…

I duly spent a small amount of money to subscribe to a security firm in the US that was affiliated with the host, then a larger amount of money to pay to have the malicious code (“malware”) removed line by line, which apparently wasn’t part of the smaller subscription.

Two days after I had been assured that it was now over and I could breathe a sigh of relief, I received an email from a young guy in the UK that he had sent through the “contact us” capture on the website. Let’s call him Josh, since that was his name. His email went along the lines of, “stop sending me emails” and signed off by referring to me as a “c*!%”.

Most language doesn’t offend me, I’ve worked in heavy industry for too long. Of course when it’s directed at me it’s never pleasant, but the “c” word really does bother me whenever it’s used. So, I duly responded to Josh, asking if it was really necessary to use that language and apologising that he had received spam but my website had been hacked.

Managing employee behaviour – video

For something different I thought I’d pop in a video interview that gives a very brief overview of performance / behaviour management in the workplace. Please click on the link below.

[sz-youtube url=”” cover=”Employees behaving badly – performance management” /]

 Employees behaving badly – performance management

Please let me know if the idea works for you as an occasional blog entry!

Sexual Banter in the Workplace? We Voted No!!

The 10 Network Australia’s “Can of Worms” program last year aired a show that included the question “Is a bit of sexual banter OK at work?”

It was disappointing in this day and age to see that most of the presenters felt that it was OK, with John Safran the only one who said it was unacceptable.

Julie Goodwin of Masterchef fame said that in her experience in the entertainment industry (which granted, is not extensive) it is quite commonplace for sexual banter and innuendo to occur. From memory her comments were along the line of ‘a bit of slap and tickle is OK’.

Nice one Julie, advancing the cause of women in the workplace everywhere.

One of the other presenters (I think it was Chrissie Swan) commented that we spend so much of our time at work, if we don’t engage in sexual banter there how will we ever meet someone?

Sexuality, race and religion – do they really matter at work?

Last week I shared a post about LGBT (Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transsexual) inclusion in the workforce on my facebook business page. The gist of the article was that smart businesses will take into consideration that LGBT households in Australia represent a significant amount of buying power – and businesses that ensure they are genuinely inclusive of LGBT staff are more likely to be able to tap into that market.

Sexual harassment in the workplace – we have come a long way

I gave a presentation last week about discrimination, harassment and bullying in the NSW context – things employers need to know. NSW is a very litigious state (second only apparently to the US in the world for litigation) so there is a lot that employers need to keep up with.

The seven deadly sins of workplace technology

Some tips on how not to use technology in the workplace…

Working in HR, I occasionally come across poor behaviour in the workplace. In today’s workplace it often involves technology. Anyone who has attended a bullying / harassment / discrimination education session that I’ve run in the past will have heard me say that as soon as someone invents a new piece of technology, someone else invents something stupid and possibly career-limiting to do with it.

The gender of workplace bullying

Ok, straight up i’m going to put a couple of disclaimers on this article. It does contain generalisations made on the basis of gender. These generalisations absolutely don’t apply to everyone in their respective gender.

The second disclaimer is that the observations are made within the context of Australian organisations, and different countries and cultures will undoubtedly have different patterns of behaviour.

Now that’s out of the way…

Why employers should invest in lifelong learning

I’ve seen a lot of employers who are reluctant to part with their cash in exchange for training.

Some of the time their hesitance is justified, for a number of reasons:

  • Attending a training course is seen as a quick fix – which it very rarely is
  • Training outcomes may be misaligned with business needs
  • Some courses are exorbitantly priced, clearly on a “demand is high or our service is exclusive and if you want it, you’ll pay it” basis.

Where I think employers do need to revisit their position is to consider assisting their employees to engage in lifelong, relevant learning – whether or not it has a direct or short-term business outcome.

Stick with me on this.

Enquiries into literacy and numeracy in the last 3 years have found that half of Australians have literacy and numeracy levels that are less than acceptable for anything beyond relatively low-skilled work.

The danger of making assumptions

I recently took my husband with me to purchase a new laptop for my business. For no other reason really than he was around and not doing anything, and I like him to be included in what’s happening in the business. When I asked the young sales assistant the first questions about the laptop I was interested in, I watched him give the answers to my husband. He occasionally glanced at me but most of his responses indicated that he thought I wasn’t the one making the decision to buy. A couple of times during the conversation, he went so far as to turn side on to me and speak directly to my husband. He assumed that my husband was the purchasing power on the day when in fact I was the one with the interest and the one with the cash.

In the same week, I interviewed a candidate for an entry level operator position. My co-interviewers were both men. At one point in the conversation, the candidate started to describe a plant situation and said to my co-interviewers “you guys will understand this.” I have more than 20 years of experience in heavy industry, and I understood perfectly what he was talking about. He assumed that I wouldn’t. I won’t label his reasons as that would be an assumption in itself…