Time and time again, Employment First Aid (EFA) Mentors witness firsthand the unrealistic school leavers in their first year out of school, assuming they will obtain employment through a trade. Unfortunately, it is not only school leavers who are seeking this way into the industry. There are many unemployed people who have more than likely […]

Being a Boss vs Being a Leader

Communicating with youth in the workplace appears to be one of the biggest challenges faced by an employer: a huge key factor being whether to act as a leader or a boss type of figure.

There are certain traits that apply to a boss that can hinder communication, prove crucial to the relationship, and establish trust issues with employees. A boss tends to talk more, is often self-absorbed and can have a “me, me, me” attitude. A boss can also be intimidating, judgemental, and tends to dictate their employees. These are not great managerial skills to have if you want to lead a productive team.

A leader, however, tends to listen more. They lead by example, are a team player, and are genuinely concerned about their employees. A leader empowers and inspires their employees by supporting them, thinking how this may affect the team as a whole. Striving to be a leader to youth in the workplace is essential to build the trust, belief and resilience that youth are often lacking going into employment.

Once you change from a “boss” to a “leader” mindset, you may find a difference in your workplace. Your employees will be more open in communicating with you, they will complete tasks efficiently once they feel supported and inspired, and will be generally happier on a whole.

Homelessness in Australia

Homelessness is about more than not having a home; a home means a sense of security, stability, privacy, safety, and the ability to control living space (Mallet, 2004).  Despite steady economic growth in Australia, homelessness increased by 14% between the 2011 and 2016 censuses. There are now said to be 116,427 people without a permanent home in Australia. This means that for every 10,000 Australians, 50 are homeless. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which released the data, estimates that more than 43,500 homeless people are under the age of 25.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of people who experience homelessness aren’t rough sleepers (living on the streets). In fact, rough sleeping only makes up around 7% of homelessness while the remainder is ‘hidden homelessness’, that is, people sleeping in cars, rooming houses, couch surfing, or staying in other temporary types of accommodation.

It is for this reason that the ABS defines someone as homeless if their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
  • does not allow them to have control of or, access to space for social relations

What happens if I find myself homeless – who can I call to get help?

  • Homeless hotline phone: 1800 474 753

Homeless Hotline is a phone information and referral service for people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.

There are many other helpful service providers that can assist which include:

  • Kids Help Line phone: 1800 551 800
  • The Salvation Army (Salvos) phone: 13 72 58
  • St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) phone: 07 3010 1096
  • Ozcare phone: 1800 692 273
  • Lifeline phone: 13 11 14

If you would like to help someone who is homeless, you can always volunteer at a homeless shelter or donate items that you are no longer using to a charity organisation or someone in need. A little bit can go a long way and anything is better than nothing when it comes to helping others in need.



High Staff Turnover – How It Affects You & Your Business

It’s important that diversity is welcomed and embraced in the workplace: diversity of gender, race, age, background, among other things. What people sometimes forget, however, is diversity of workplace experience and staff longevity within a company.  High staff turnover refers to the number of staff being employed within a company and the length of time they stay employed there. A company with high staff turnover employs many people, while also dismissing a large number. While this approach can have its benefits, it can also affect the company in negative ways.



There are numerous negative effects that high staff turnover can have on a company. The constant hiring and firing procedure can lead to a workplace being populated by a high percentage of novices and newcomers. When highly skilled or long term employees leave, they take their knowledge (and customers) with them, resulting in a loss of business and loss of knowledge. If knowledgeable long term staff leave before new staff are fully trained, you have suddenly lost knowledge, time and money and in return have a business full of half-trained inexperienced staff.

Another way businesses are affected by high staff turnover is the stress on existing employees. It’s important that new employees learn from the best and who better to train new staff than your top performers? But the cost can be damaging. Once your top performers are taken out of circulation and being side-tracked, the company can fall behind in numerous ways. Productivity, customer satisfaction and employee morale all suffer when a team is short of staff.

There can also be decrease in workplace morale. Overworked employees can get frustrated due to short staff/staffing issues. This can result in a decrease in productivity or sub-par quality of work due to stressed employees doing various roles they aren’t qualified for or alternatively,  inexperienced new employees without complete training.



  • Training facilities wasted by staff not lasting the probation period
  • Financial loss on job advertising, time taken out to interview, induction process etc
  • Financial loss on severance pay
  • Existing employees start doubting their jobs – is the grass greener on the other side?



If high staff turnover is something that hits close to home for you, as an employer, then you’re undoubtedly looking for a way to change this. Aside from hiring the right people the first time and for the right reasons, there are ways to you can cut down on the hiring and firing on your team.

Perhaps the most effective way to ensure your staff stay in the company is to “repair, not replace” them. If your staff are under-performing, there might be a reason why. Take the time to find out why and support them through it – you don’t always know what’s going on behind closed doors.

Another way to lower the staff turnover is to offer flexibility. If money is a factor that is making people leave, try and offer something else that could make them stay. Things could include flexible hours, free parking, remote work privileges, onsite fitness facilities/day care, discounts on services or travel and employee assistance programs. That way you can keep your employees satisfied without blowing your budget.

Finally, you can prioritise employee happiness and make sure your staff feel valued, a seemingly an easy task that is often overlooked by employers. By ensuring your staff are happy, you raise the workplace morale and make the environment a better place for them to be. Your staff will want to be there, want to do the right thing by you and therefore produce better results. Once they feel valued, they are more likely to perform to their best ability and stay with the company that values them.

Honesty Is Always The Best Policy

Honesty is a fundamental in every business and in working relationships of staff, management and customers. Honesty creates trust and confidence within a business: if customers trust you, they will return, spending more money and buying more regularly. As this reflects on your character, your employer will come to trust and respect you more and in turn reward you for your honesty.

The feeling goes both ways. If you feel that your employer or colleagues are always honest, you value their word and respect their opinions. You feel comfortable to be around people you find to be honest, as you know they won’t talk negatively about you or disrespect you to others.

Honest employees cannot tolerate lying, fudging data, misrepresenting themselves or their employer, family or friends. Workplace politics between staff can create tension, cause termination and be the catalyst of team disrespect. It is important to always stay honest in the workplace to avoid being caught out and jeopardising your future.

Below are some tips and hints to apply honesty in your life:

  1. Stay True to Your Word

To establish a solid reputation with your employment, you must deliver on your promises. Keep your word without excuses and don’t change your mind at the last minute. This will follow with more shifts, valued respect with your work colleagues and future growth within the company.

  1. Time is of the Essence

Always be mindful of time. If you have an appointment or shift, it is imperative that you are punctual. If you are running late, call ahead to notify your workplace or manager. By being late or failing to show up when you said you would, you instantly tarnish your reputation and display a lack of respect for other people and their time. This can result in a lack of shifts as your employer may find you unreliable and untrustworthy.

  1. Stay Focused on You

It can be tempting to follow others and be distracted with invites, plans and appointments but it’s more important to stay true to your plans and follow things through. Personal issues, drama and stressful situations are a part of life but remember to not show this at your workplace.  This means not being distracted, not being on your phone and distracting others with personal drama – you are there to work and get a job done. Stay focused on your task until your shift is over.

  1. Surround Yourself with Honest People

Spend your time with people who are honest and who you can trust. These people will support your decisions, encourage you to do better and be a reliable friend. In return, you must be that person for others by always showing respect and honesty to others and yourself. Remember that you are the company you keep and your friendship group will reflect what kind of person you are.

  1. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

Never be afraid to tell the truth and make each decision with the best intentions. If you offend someone, step out of line, or see yourself in a bad situation, be the first to put your hand up and take responsibility for your actions. Apologise wholeheartedly and show employers, friends and family that you really mean your words. Strive to always be the best and most honest version of yourself.



Entitlement: What It Means For the Next Generation of Employees

When a person is entitled or behaves in an entitled manner, they believe that he/she deserves certain privileges or special treatment (often in an arrogant way). The term “Culture of Entitlement” suggests that a rising number of youths today have a highly unreasonable expectation about what they are entitled to and deserve in the workplace.

Entitlement is one of the biggest issues and challenges faced by employers and parents of youth that fall into the Generation Y age bracket: They can be unmotivated, unhelpful and self-absorbed. When it comes to work, entitled youth don’t think they should start on low/apprentice wages, they typically don’t want to work with fast food or other undesirable positions, and are often wanting more despite everything they are given.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

In the Employment First Aid (EFA) program, there is a distinct separation of two typical types of clients: Entitled Gen Y youth and extremely disadvantaged youth. The former generally do not know how to keep a job because up until now have had a relatively “easy” home life, education and childhood. After having everything given to them without having to work for it and receiving constant parental reassurance that they are “special” or “above the average”, they typically lack resilience and do not take well to criticism. This causes them to give up easily and outwardly blame other circumstances for their failures. Meanwhile, the disadvantaged youth tend to come from a child safety background, in and out of foster care, with little to no family support, and numerous mental health issues.

The wants and needs of these two types of youth are on two completely different wave lengths. While the disadvantaged youth are happy just to have bare necessities (food, a birth certificate and a roof over their heads), their entitled job competitors are rarely satisfied with the many things they already have. Most of the time, entitled youth have trouble differentiating “want” with “need”, alleging they “need” the latest technology or unnecessary item to feel fulfilled.

Entitled youth are becoming more and more common with our Gen Y youth due to changes in parenting over the years. As having two working parents in the household has increased, there has been a significant change in parenting direction and priorities. When both parents work, they tend to become very busy and “time-poor”, and are buying their child’s love instead of earning it (often out of guilt or to bypass real duties of parenting).

There are nine major areas that have changed in parenting priorities over the years thus leading to youth developing entitlement issues. As a result, this affects youth’s resilience and coping strategies, and can lead to multiple employment issues (falling in and out of employment, unrealistic expectations of pay, etc).

Parents of entitled youth tend to;

  • Reward bad behaviour
  • Empower a bad attitude in youth
  • Rescue their youth (don’t let them learn from their mistakes)
  • Confuse necessities with privileges
  • Don’t set or enforce boundaries
  • Don’t encourage positive change
  • Don’t offer new opportunities
  • Be inconsistent with punishments, attention, time and rewards
  • Have little to no consequences for actions (blame everyone else when something goes wrong)

These problems with entitled youth can make it difficult for them further down the line as entitlement is not accepted in the workforce. Entitled Gen Y youth often have not developed coping strategies and they expect to be rewarded for everything they do in their job.

EFA has implemented the Tuckman’s tool, a team development model that brings awareness of the stages in the workforce; forming, storming, norming, and performing. It is important for youth to be able to identify when a certain stage is happening in their workforce team and build certain strategies to cope with it. Not everything at work is going to be sunshine and rainbows, there are different stages with different situations and personality types.

The team at EFA have also helped youth with identifying the distinct difference in what is a “want” and what is a “need” in life. It brings the youth back down to earth and helps them see that you must work for what you have, it is not given to you. Entitlement in youth is going to be an ongoing battle in society and the workplace but with programs like EFA adding extra support, hopefully the entitled youth will learn to be grateful and that not everything comes easy.

There’s no such thing as being too organised in the workforce!

Failing to plan is planning to fail: A quote once said by Benjamin Franklin that is still more than relevant today.

There are numerous reasons why being organised is important in the workplace. During an interview, planning will not only impress the interviewer, but it also assists with those first interview nerves. When you’ve planned an answer or strategy for the questions, you won’t feel put on the spot or thrown into the deep end and will feel more relaxed and in control of the interview. It is also important to research the company and job title you are applying for. The interviewer may ask you specific questions about the industry, company or role, during which it’s better to have a basic understanding of what those are so you aren’t caught off guard. You are more likely to get hired if you have prepared for the interview and know what your employer is talking about.

Now not only are you prepared knowledge wise for your interview, but you should feel more confident too. Confidence in responding to questions and while talking to people make you more memorable than previous applicants. The combination of your planning and confidence will assist you in building a rapport with the employer, being familiar with the operations and showing an interest in the opportunity: all promising things a potential employee should have! Don’t forget to consider transport when applying for jobs and always plan ahead. It is better to schedule interviews or work days for when you have a means of getting there, to avoid cancelling and potentially ruining any plans your employer might have staff-wise. Think ahead and have more than one means of transport in case one falls through – you want to be a reliable, punctual employee and get off to a good start.

Remember: there’s no such thing as being too organised in the workforce!

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 to gain a better understanding of the type of employment that will suit you and your circumstances.