Constructive Criticism in the Workplace

In the workplace, there can be sometimes be an unspoken rule of “what the employer says is always right”, but there comes a time when rules can be altered. There can be a case of bosses or supervisors telling you what to do, but rarely them asking for your thoughts or opinions on the task. If there’s something you don’t understand would you rather have your employer tell you again or ask you what’s causing the confusion?

Having someone ask your opinion on instructions can make all the difference in the workplace, not only in regards to the work but also the employer/employee relationship.

“What do you think? What’s your opinion on all of this?”

 

Asking employees for feedback has not always been part of the traditional management style. As a manager, it is often thought that the microphone of power naturally belongs to them and that employees should fall in line as expected. However, with the new-millennium workplace taking over it is important to note the best ways to give feedback and how is it best received.

Feedback, or constructive criticism, can be just as important for the employer to hear as it is for the employee and it is best received from a person each party trusts. It’s that simple. Without trust, there’s little care factor for what is thought of each party’s performance and little care factor for pleasing people and changing particular habits or ways. If this is the relationship between manager and employee, the only way to make them change their ways is by threat, which does not work well in the workplace. This is not seen as leadership but as command and control.

The truth about constructive criticism is that the words don’t matter whether they came from a negative perspective (“you really messed that up”) or a positive perspective (“here’s another way to do that”), what matters is the relationship between the words exchanged. If the employee trusts their manager, they can handle the harshest feedback because they know the manger has their best interest at heart.

Unfortunately, constructive criticism has been neglected to a certain degree and therefore there has been a gap in the developing strategies and coping mechanism with youth. It is fundamental that there is a strong relationship and a bond of trust between youth and management to aid employees in retaining their employment. This is also a key tool for employers as resilience is not a strong attribute in a high percentage of millennials.

 

Full-Time/Part-Time Versus Casual Employment In The Work Place

Labels and titles can sometimes be a tricky thing to understand, but it’s undeniably important to know what they mean to avoid making regrettable choices (think washing instructions on clothes or someone with dietary requirements misunderstanding food packaging labels). When it comes to types of employment, it’s vital to know the difference in terms and what you’re signing up for.

Are you a full-time, part-time or casual employee? (You may also refer to these as casual, permanent part-time or permanent workers). Employers can simultaneously hire casual, part-time and full-time employees for a plethora of reasons, whether it be flexibility within their business or to accommodate to the staff’s personal needs.

Let’s start with the basics: What are the differences between casual, part-time or full-time employment? In most cases, full-time and part-time employees receive benefits that casual employees do not. There is also typically a difference in how they get paid: full-time and part-time on a salary or set wage vs. casuals on an hourly rate.

 

What Are Full-Time are Part-Time Employees?

Traditionally, working 38 hours a week has been considered “full-time” employment though depending on the workplace, the hours can vary. The term “permanent” signifies job security as there is ongoing work from the employer and no predetermined end date.

Some employers require fewer hours than full-time status, such as 35, 32, or even 30 hours. This is termed “part-time/permanent part-time”. The employee has the same work security and stability of full-time workers though works fewer hours. These workers could choose to work part-time if they have other things occupying their time, such as another job, hobby, parenthood or otherwise.

In most cases, the difference between full-time and part-time are the accruing of annual leave, which depending on the hours is generally halved.  Workers have the same wages per hour and can still accrue paid sick leave and annual leave (have paid time off).

 

What Are Casual Employees?

A casual employee is one who generally works less than full-time and part-time employees. While this sounds obvious, it’s important to understand the distinction.

The main difference is that casuals are paid different to full- and part-time employees. Casuals are paid only for the time they work. For example, if a workplace is overstaffed, they will typically relieve a casual from work as it reduces costs. Casuals are not entitled to paid sick days, annual leave or any other form of paid time off. In most cases, hiring casuals is more affordable and flexible for employers.

Some specific types of employees or jobs can be casual. For example, an employer may want to make all laborers casual, but their administration employers full-time or part-time. Employers can pay casual employees at hourly rates, and pay different rates for different types of work.

Depending on the company, casual work is rarely as secure as full- or part-time work. There doesn’t have to be a consistency of work or hours (unless otherwise stated), with some casuals going from working 30 hours a week to zero the next. This can benefit casual workers, as if they have something else going on (events, exams, holidays, etc), it’s easier for them to get the required time off work.

 

Where Can You Access More Information?

For more information, you can visit the website of Fair Work http://www.fairwork.gov.au/ to gain a better understanding of the type of employment that will suit you and your circumstances.

 Why is it Important to set Goals

Increases Self-Confidence

When you set goals and achieve them, it provides a major boost to your self-confidence. This increase in self-confidence will improve all areas of your life, from your relationships with people to your success in business to your overall attitude.

Pushes Your Comfort Zone

Along with boosting your self-confidence, setting goals also provides an opportunity to expand your comfort zone. By setting goals and breaking them down step by step it makes them more achievable and also enables you to expand outside your usual comfort zone.

Balance Long-Term and Short-Term Goals

While there are no rules for setting goals, we recommend striking the right balance of short term and long term. This way, you have big things to work towards while still benefiting from the motivation that comes from achieving things in the short term.

For example, you might have a long-term vision of running a marathon, but that’s far too big a goal to help you maintain the motivation to meet it. To balance this, you can break that down into smaller goals that form a marathon training plan that consists of running a certain number of kilometres per week. This way your goal is much more achievable.

Set SMART Goals

The SMART goal framework is a powerful tool that you can use to set yourself up for success to achieve any goal you want. It consists of setting goals that meet the following criteria:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

By using this SMART guideline, it makes it more achievable to reach your goals and gives you a greater chance at achieving these goals.

 

Social Media & Your Work

If you use social media and have a job, what you post, share or even like online can have an adverse effect on your employment.  Several issues can lead to disciplinary action — AND no matter how you have set your privacy settings.  So to help keep you out trouble and stay in the good books with the boss, here are some handy hints for you to check out.

  1. Don’t post photos of yourself partying when you have pulled a sickie!

Not a good idea for you to post photos of yourself having a whale of a time out and about when you’re supposed to be sick.  You may be surprised that your boss has found out that you went to the clubs or that concert you were bragging about just days earlier.

  1. Don’t let steam off online!

If you have had a crappy day at work, you might be tempted to post about it on social media.  Your comments on social media can get you in trouble even if the posts are posted on your personal account and are made outside of work hours.  They can damage the employers name and dissolve any trust the employer had in you and more than likely, destroy the work relationship.  And, if you’re negative comments are about a work colleague, your post can be determined as bullying or harassment.  Think of it this way, would you be happy to see your post on the front page of the local newspaper. If not, probably best not to post it.  Also, take into consideration of the legal consequences that could come from it.

  1. Don’t spend extra amounts of time on personal social media in work hours!

After all you ARE there to work.  If you are sitting in front of our laptop, and keep looking at your phone, or your phone continuously beeps, this is inadvertently letting others know you are on social media, while you are meant to be working.  Depending on your job description, (check with HR), as spending too much time looking at your own personal social media accounts, could lead to disciplinary action.  Your boss may feel it is interfering with your work.

  1. Don’t share inappropriate content with your colleagues!

A big no – no, and a topic that most would like to avoid talking about, is sharing pornography and any other inappropriate content with colleagues.  Many will be offended and most likely will lead to disciplinary action and in some cases legal action sort.

  1. Remember you’re being monitored

Many employers may be monitored by their employee’s web traffic when they’re using the employer’s network.  It can tell how long you have ben on the web and what you have been looking up.  If your boss needs to take your PC for what ever reason, they could potentially look at your browser history to see what you did have been looking at and when.  While times are changing, there are still a lot of work places that do not allow the use of social media in work hours.  Again, check with you employer and their expectations.

Social media tips for employees

  • Be aware of your workplace’s social media policy
  • Avoid letting off steam about your workplace & other people you work with
  • Consider what you put on social media may affect your work life reputation and future career opportunities
  • Avoid excessive personal social media use at work, if social media is permitted in the work place.

Asking For Feedback

Asking your boss for feedback can improve your career progression

Good feedback can mean the difference between an average career and one that’s amazing and long lasting!

And even though it’s always on my mind, it’s left me feeling anxious and nervous about speaking to the manager on what I can improve on and where I can step up in my employment.  I was afraid of constructive criticism, negative reviews and hurt feelings, but asking the question could really support my career in the right direction.

There are many ways of asking for feedback, setting a time after your shift to sit somewhere private, emailing your employer on different items to discuss or making the time to speak over the phone.  Sometimes employers can assume things about you with your work goals or life goals, but it’s great to take the time out to express your wish for promotion or thoughts on how the team can work quicker and still get the job done on time.

When it comes to asking for feedback about your employment, it doesn’t matter who starts the conversation. What matters is that the lines of communication are open between yourself and your employer or manager. It’s a positive feeling to receive feedback so you continue to grow in your chosen career.  If you hear something surprising or even unpleasant, it’s best to remain calm and quiet when your manager is talking to you, never interrupt to give your side of the conversation. Never blame other co-workers for something that happened, if you did make a mistake own it and apologize to your manager and your team and move on from that moment on.

Just know that good, bad, or in between, it’s best to listen, take time to process, and then respond in a professional and thoughtful manner.

Keys Points

  1. Approach your manager at an appropriate time and place
  2. Have an agenda, and jot down notes on the feedback
  3. Use the feedback in daily tasks.
  4. Have yearly meetings with managers regarding progression.

Happiness & Healthiness At Work

Happy employees are healthier and more productive – so check the importance of having fun in the workplace

So many times, I hear people say, “Oh we should have a long weekend every weekend!!” And how cool would that be?  Just to only work 4 days and have the other 3 off 😊

While most people, generally, would rather spend time with their friends and family than be at work, there’s no need for work days to be all dull and boring.  It’s okay to have a little fun as well.  After all, most of us may have to work the 5-day week and some even longer.

Putting some time and effort into making your workplace a more enjoyable place to be can create positive vibes for employees, colleagues, and even the bosses and clients.  Here are 3 good reasons why fun should be part of our everyday working life.

Having fun at work improves communication!

Enjoying time with your work mates in more chilled and fun surroundings encourages honest and open discussions.  If employees can all get along at work, rather than just being ‘other people’ we work with, then they’ll work better together and communicate more effectively.

Having fun with people at work or play is a great way to learn how each other tick.   What we like, don’t like and build habits that create understanding. This gets us/them to better understand each other’s strengths, weaknesses and where the lines are drawn.

Fun at work creates creativity!

Most people will agree that young children often learn best when they are playing, interacting with other children; well the same applies to adults.

Everybody’s ability to learn gets better when the job you have been given is enjoyable and they’re in a relaxed mood. Play can create imagination, helping people to problem solve.

When there’s a buzz in the air, work mates become more enthusiastic and have lots of conversations about how their work is going and often will help if they see someone might be struggling.

Happy employees are healthier employees!

Happy and content employees who have fun at work are more likely to avoid the effects of stress and anxiety.

The health effects that happiness has on your work place will also help to reduce absence and increase productivity.  If workers are generally healthier because of the increased fun they’re having in the office, then they’ll take less time off due to sickness or just simply not wanting to go to work.  Again, wishing for that long weekend … EVERY weekend.

Anger and anxiety in the work place can create negative feelings of not wanting to be there.  Negative emotions are no good for you.  Constant stress or fear can alter biological systems and over time, will wear you down, and eventually, can cause such things as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Resilience in Youth

What is resilience? It’s the ability to cope with unexpected changes and challenges in your life.

In life unfortunately, it’s sometimes not possible to avoid stressful or adverse situations but with some great techniques and strategies you can strengthen your capacity to deal with challenges and develop resilience.

In the workplace especially, resilience can be hindering on an employee if they don’t know how to handle or deal with situations that may arise. Listed are some great coping strategies that may help if added to your daily schedule:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation or relaxation
  • Setting goals
  • Breaking challenges down into smaller parts
  • Keeping a dream diary
  • Take a break or time out
  • Seeing the big picture

Having great coping strategies are essential in building resilience but strengthening your resilience in the workplace enables you to better cope with challenging situations. Mental well-being is very important in the workplace and if your resilience is low this can be hugely affected.

Here are some great things that can help build and strengthen your resilience:

  • Know your strengths and use them well
  • Build your self esteem
  • Think positively
  • Build healthy work relationships
  • Ask for help when needed
  • Be in tune with stress management
  • Be aware of anxiety/depression
  • Work on problem solving skills
  • Utilise your coping strategies

 

Accountability in the Workplace

What is Accountability in the Workplace?

When youth are employed to do a job, they need to be aware there is a high level of responsibility to complete all given tasks and to perform all duties as requested in a reasonable time limit. A high level of Accountability should be taken in making sure jobs are done to the highest quality. If tasks are not completed or the job isn’t executed properly, expect to have a performance review.

Examples of Accountability in the Workplace:

  • Employees being present for their entire required shift ( Staying of Social Media, phone on silent locked away )
  • Employees completing any tasks that have been designated to them (Getting all work done in reasonable time frame)
  • Employees being consistent in doing the right thing in all aspects pertaining to their job (Doing what is right for t
  • Employees working together towards a common goal for the business (Working in a team to be accountable in role)

Why is Workplace Accountability Important?

Accountability in the work place is crucial to any successful business. Every employee, no matter what level of rank in the business all are equally responsible for the success of the company. In order to achieve all goals set by Management and Owners whether they are short or long term, its very important that all Employees within the company work together and share accountability. Employees who work together towards the same overall goal help their workplace to become more accountable, in turn make the business more productive, profitable and intern to keep their jobs.

Mobile Phones in the Workplace

As technology improves & evolves so the does the effects it has on society, especially the way we communicate. With the introduction of smart phones, it’s nearly impossible for a person in Western society not to own & use one on a regular basis. By 2019, it is estimated that there will be 4.68 billion mobile phone users worldwide.

With that said, what is the appropriate usage when it comes to mobile phones in the workplace? A common concern from employers, is the ill effects improper mobile phone usage has on their employees’ performance, especially those under 25. Below are some things to consider for both employees & employers, when it comes mobile phone usage at work.

  1. Safety- The number one priority in any workplace is the safety of its staff & customers. If you are constantly using your phone, you’re not 100% focused on the task at hand. Consider the safety of yourself, other staff & customers before picking up that phone. Also look at it from a legal point of view, if an incident occurs am I or the business liable?
  2. Customer Service- With a large majority of young people working in customer facing roles, mobile phones can have a serious impact on a business when it comes to customer relations. Remember, first impression last! If a customer enters your workplace & you’re on your personal phone texting, is that really a good look? Are you really giving that customer your full attention & service they deserve?
  3. Productivity- Statistics show that on average, Employees can spend up to 8 hours per week on their personal phone instead of working. What’s that costing businesses – you do the maths? When you’re at work you should be working, that’s what you get paid for. If you need to check your phone, wait until you are on your breaks. Something to think about next time you receive that text or call at work.
  4. Workplace policy- Does your workplace have a mobile phone usage policy? Employees, it’s a good idea to check your workplace agreement or speak with your Manager. The last thing you want to do is to jeopardise your current employment. Employers, if you don’t have one in place it may be a good idea to develop one. Make sure that your Employees are aware of what’s acceptable usage & what’s not- communication is key.
  5. Phone Addiction- Mobile phone addiction, also known by experts as: Nomophobia, is a real condition & has been proven to cause serious health risks for many Employees. Symptoms for this condition include feeling of anxiousness when separated from your smartphone, difficulty in focusing at work, and constantly checking your phone for notifications. If you, your Employee or someone you know is showing these symptoms, it is suggested you seek medical advice from a GP or health professional.

Tips for Work ‘Mental’ Health

Plenty of Sleep

Getting the right amount of sleep can assist in reducing stress at work.  It can cause a vicious cycle when it comes to not getting enough sleep.  Not sleeping well or only sleeping for a few hours can cause your stress levels to increase, and this lack of sleep will leave you vulnerable to even more stress. Getting plenty of sleep will help you to manage your emotions and help cope with stress much easier.

Leave for work Early

Leaving a little earlier for work and not rushing to your desk, workshop or counter every day, will have you feeling less flustered and more relaxed to begin your day/night.  Try leaving 10 to 15 minutes earlier each shift, depending on the time you start (as night work traffic may not be as confronting), to slow down your commute. Leaving a little earlier will let you ease into your shift and allow you time to think work mode. This may also mean that you miss the worst part of rush hour (if traveling in peak hour traffic), making you will feel more relaxed and having a safe journey.

Exercise

Exercise is vital for maintaining mental fitness and is known to reduce the stress and anxiety levels of everyday living. Physical activity produces endorphins which is a natural mood-booster and helps you to sleep better, which put together, reduces stress. A walk or some other physical activity can give you hours of relief from anxiety. Try aiming for three hours of moderate exercise a week and include 20 minutes of standard exercise into each day.  Make it part of your daily and weekly routine.

Eat Well

It’s all about filling yourself with foods that make you feel great, increase your energy levels, improve how you see things & make you feel better in general.  The way we eat and what we eat can change how we feel and add to a sense of well being.  Eating unhealthily can occasionally add to you feeling a bit down in the dumps.  But, certain nutrients, such as protein, monounsaturated fat, calcium and fiber are known to increase good moods.  But remember, by eating small and more frequent meals can also help put you in a good mood for the day.