Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

Posts Tagged ‘leadership

No to Yes Men!

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Bernard Salt made an interesting comment in today’s Sunday Mail which we hope does not come to fruition: that the perceived tightening of the labour market, and concern about job security will force people to become “yes men”.  He said if that happens, innovation and creativity will fly out the organisational window.

At Even It Up! we believe “yes men” – and more specifically, the culture that breeds them – are responsible for most of the world’s woes.  We’ve oversimplified here, but why did someone not speak up about the subprime mortgage fiasco?  Why did the Enron get into the state it did before the proverbial hit the fan?  Why did someone not tell Bush that bombing the crap out of Iraq was not going to solve the problem?  You get the picture…  when the actions of leaders go unquestioned and unchallenged decisions are made that are more about ego than altruism. Ultimately, it’s about power.  Those who don’t have it acquiesce to those who do.   If you are interested in learning more about power and power imbalances, we found an interesting paper on the subject on Jeff Vail’s website

Long live the pot stirrers, we say.  They are actually better for business.


Written by evenitup

January 4, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Interviewing the boss

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Even It Up! is concerned that job interviews are generally a one-way conversation, with the workplace tending to control the process. Candidates have little, if any, opportunity to find out what the workplace they are seeking to work in is really like. Sure, candidates can download an annual report from the internet, or visit the workplace before the interview, but none of these will give any real indication about the workplace culture.   Generally, jobseekers don’t really find out about what a place is like until they work there.  The interview process is, however, usually quite telling.

At Even It Up! we think it’s time to shift the balance and urge candidates to interview their bosses, and check their references and credentials before accepting a position. It may save heartache for everyone concerned, and save time, money and effort in the long term.

But how do you go about interviewing the boss? Clearly, you ask for the interview either in your own interview, or when the position is offered to you. If the boss is not keen, consider that they have something to hide. If they don’t want to set up another interview time, clearly they are not flexible, or forward-thinking in their approach. Would you really want to work for that sort of workplace anyway?

When the boss has agreed to the interview, come prepared with questions covering the areas you would like more information about. For example, you may be interested in:

  •  how the boss deals with conflict; 
  • what workforce planning takes place and how often; 
  • what the expectations are regarding hours worked; 
  • whether the boss is a people person; 
  • how flexible the workplace really is; 
  • how organised the workplace is; 
  • how often strategic planning occurs and who is involved; 
  • what management and leadership development programs are in place;
  • how initiative is rewarded; 
  • how team work is supported; 
  • what your operational budget 
  • whether communication follows an open or closed model.

Ask for references and actually check them. Find out whether the referee enjoys working the in business, and if they have left, if they would work for the boss again. It’s crucial to also find out why they left.

It may be confronting for the boss because of the perceived shift in power, but with more and more people unhappy with the management in Australian enterprises, it may just be the shake up our business leaders need.

Written by evenitup

December 30, 2008 at 11:30 am

Recruiting for diversity – good luck with that!

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Leaders stress the importance of workforce diversity for maintaining innovation and creativity – crucial if your business wants to compete effectively in the global marketplace.  But if your ‘diverse’ staff constantly walk, your recruitment and retention strategies could be letting you down. 

  • How clear – and fair – is your selection documentation? If you are targeting people whose first language is not English, jargon and ‘wordiness’ may be a barrier to applying for a position.  Check that this is kept to a minimum. 
  • What is the candidate experience during the interview process?  If you stick to a rigid panel formula, you may succeed only in employing staff that interview well.  Give the candidate plenty of opportunity to interact with the workplace, and supply realistic job previews wherever possible. 
  • It’s been well-documented that interviewers typically look for candidates who best fit the culture, or who mirror the personalty of the interviewers.  If you want diversity, these ‘blind spots’ need to be recognised and negotiated, because employing “sameness” won’t promote innovation or creativity.
  • Ensure that your internal communications are on target and measured for effectiveness. There is no point spending money on attracting a diverse workforce if your business can’t – or won’t – deliver on its employer branding promise.
  • How is diversity supported in your workplace? Studies show people who are unsupported by decision-makers experience significantly less satisfaction in their work, and are more likely to leave.  There needs to be top-down support for ‘different’ people in your workplace if you really want an innovative environment.
  • How do you reward diverse thinking?  If groupthink and fear of failure dominate the landscape of your workplace, diversity won’t flourish.  Employees need to be encouraged to communicate honestly and openly – and this is modelled by strong, effective, empathetic leadership.

Ask hard questions about the culture of your workplace, and don’t look for easy answers. As leaders, it is your role to ensure that the culture of the organisation works to meet business goals, not hamper them.  And the best way to do this is with a diverse workforce, functional culture and innovative approach.

Written by evenitup

December 3, 2008 at 1:13 am

Posted in Recruitment

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