Trial of the Christmas Party

By Ben Brown,

The court of public opinion is now in session. On trial is the notorious Christmas party, which is seasonally subjected too much debate about its place in Australia’s modern business climate. Its defendant is director Ben Brown, a staunch supporter of festive drinks and its role for celebrating a successful year. Greg Kouwiloyan, as the prosecutor, argues that there are better alternatives to celebrating over the standard end of season drinks. Ben will begin proceedings.

The Affirmative

I do concede that if you google “work Christmas parties”, you are most likely to get a litany of articles highlighting the worst possible debauchery that have happened at a Christmas party. Yet, we rarely delve into the benefits of the event. A recent study found that 85% of employers found that their end of year party had a positive impact on staff morale and was an important component to keeping staff motivated. Christmas parties do implicitly demonstrate that employees will be rewarded for success and hard work. As an extra incentive, you can reward your staff and receive a rebate. Expenses associated with a Christmas party can be subjected to fringe benefit tax claims, if they are held offsite and if the cost of the event is less than $300 per head.

As well, it builds enthusiasm and momentum for the New Year. It can be the time to announce the direction for the following year and what new strategies will be launched. There have been examples of where the parties have gone overboard, but most are harmless enjoyable affairs. Providing an opportunity for the company to thank the team for their hard work. It’s rare to get everyone in the office and spend quality time together and to build relationships outside your direct team. Christmas parties can act as melting pots, where colleagues mix to discuss opportunities, challenge ideas and strategise. Considering that we spend one-third of our life at work, we spend more time with our colleagues than anyone else in our life, so we should enjoy their company.

Legendary events can heighten an organisations image of being a desirable workplace. This year, a U.K recruiting company took its Melbourne and London offices to Thailand “an all-expenses-paid, seven-night blow out on Thailand’s party island of Phuket.” This may be an outrageous example, but it is on point for the organisation’s values. They believe that their work, recruitment, has the power to transform people’s lives, so for them, their attitude is reflected in their awards.

Fundamentally, we should have trust in our employees to behave, but also to enjoy themselves. And if we cannot trust our employees to behave themselves at a Christmas party, how can we trust them at any corporate function where alcohol is available?

The Negative

This isn’t a case against rewarding staff, allowing them to have a good time or celebrating the year that was, instead, it’s about realising that staff need to be protected from their own behaviour. While the intention of a Christmas party is positive in nature, they have evolved to a point where employees dread the events and are risking their reputation by attending. Consequently, a recent UK study found that only 27% of men and 37% of women interviewed were looking forward to their annual party. There are years on years of examples of where inappropriate behaviour has damaged careers. More disconcerting is that most are aware of the do’s and don’ts of these events, yet, misconduct still occurs. Even big organisations place themselves at reputational risk, through hosting events that are socially inappropriate.

Now, employers are expected to have processes in place to minimise all risks evolved with the event, especially to protect themselves against a legal conundrum. Last year, the Fair Work Commission decided that an employee was unfairly dismissed, even though they sexually harassed and bullied colleagues and told the boss f-off at a Christmas Party event. The Commission ruled that an employee shouldn’t be required to comply with their workplace behaviour policies if they allowed unlimited service of free alcohol at a workplace event. Fundamentally, the employer is now responsible for all behaviour of their team members, yet, it’s impossible to protect against everything. So, it’s best to avoid the fallout and offer something else instead.

On average Australian business spend in excess of $9500 for a Christmas party, but, that money could be reallocated to activities that staff may actually appreciate. Time is of the essence in December, so why not, give your team-members the afternoon off instead? It’s probably a better use of time, rather than having staff nursing a hangover in the office the next day. Or, allocate the funds to charities or organisations that may need the resources. These are more rewarding options for staff.

We shouldn’t accept the status-quo of Christmas parties; instead, we should challenge them to offer a more viable alternative for our staff.

The Conclusion

Considering that we are having a staff end of year party this week, it seems inevitable that Greg was destined to lose this debate. When we decided to take a plunge and start Method Recruitment, we wanted to create a workplace where our staff would have fun. So for us, the December period provides an opportunity to reflect on the year we’ve had and to pay thanks to all those who have helped us on the journey.

Melbourne IT Hackathons

By Ben Brown,

If you’re looking for entry into the I.T sector in Melbourne and need to bolster your resume, attending Hackathons and I.T meetups are a great starting point. Today we sat down with our recruiter Kate Illsley who specialises in Microsoft Development and User Experience (UX), to find out a little more about how developers can differentiate themselves in the market

Since moving to Melbourne, Kate has been involved in running six different hackathons and attended 42 events in the last year alone. “It’s a great way to meet people, especially in Melbourne where everything is relationships based.” For organisations and recruiters, Hackathons provide an opportunity to find candidates, since those who attend are passionate about the latest technologies and are motivated to improve themselves outside of work.

For students Hackathons helps build their resumes, “it demonstrates you can work in a team, work with people from different backgrounds and quickly build rapport with others.”

 

International Women’s Day Breakfast – Outcome.life

 

Hackathons can be a highly pressured environment; you have deadlines to meet and ambitious goals to reach, it will give you an opportunity to see how you work under such conditions. As a student, make sure you reflect on your experience, what you did well and what personal skills you can improve on, it will give you valuable material to discuss in your next interview.

As Hackathons and other meetup style events provide an opportunity to network with others, you have to consider what is the best way to go about it. “Don’t be the person who just has a quick conversation and gives out their business card”, instead; it can be more worthwhile to have a few meaningful conversations throughout the event as opposed to working the room. Hackathons are swarming with ambitious people, and this can be intimidating. Remember though, nearly everyone there shares a similar passion to you.

 

Startup Weekend – YBF

 

There are many different sources to find events across Melbourne. meetup.com is a website which collates all the different meetups in Melbourne and gives you a wide range of events that are available. Hackathon Queen, Michelle Mannering, reviews hackathons in Melbourne and has up to date information of all upcoming events. As well, co-working spaces routinely host hackathons, so make sure you follow places like YBF Ventures to stay up to date. Disruptor’s handbook, hackevents.com, hackathon.com and Eventbrite are other sites that collate hackathon events.

So how do you assess whether a hackathon will be worth attending or not? For Kate, she reviews the guest speakers LinkedIn or Twitter profile to determine if they are an influencer or industry leader. Other than that, select an event topic that interests you. For organisers, make sure you have some good grub! Too many people leave the event because they get hungry, you want to keep everyone together to get the most out of the day.

 

Don’t forget good grub!

New Opportunities

By Ben Brown,

We’ve all been there, mentally checking out of work, sitting at your desk wondering why you still work there, then decide to do something about it and start the job hunt

The decision to move on and begin your next work challenge is easy. What’s harder is realising that you need to take up a new opportunity, even though you are quite happy in your current role.

Our Recruitment Consultant Anya Loukina had a left-field entry into Method Recruitment. For 14 years Anya had been in the beauty industry, while she was still enjoying her role she realised she needed to start something new.

 “I wanted the feeling of learning how to crawl again, to put myself in a situation that made me feel uncomfortable.”

While for most, being placed in a situation where you are thrown into the deep end is daunting, the benefit is that it will put you in a position to develop and grow.

1) Never go for a position that you are 100% ready for. These positions will not challenge you and leave you with little room to personally grow.

If you see that there is no more for you to achieve in your current position or company, it’s time to start looking at the job market.

2) Know your worth. A lot of people underestimate themselves and don’t recognise the strength of their abilities.

Continually educate yourself and understand where you fit into the market. Be interested in the sector you are working in. As soon as you are not interested, you become stagnant, and you are not learning how you can progress or be better.

3) Don’t become complacent.

Too often people get comfortable in a job that isn’t pushing them and helping them grow as an employee and as an individual. “As soon as you get too comfortable, you’re not being pushed. You’re not able to be the best person you can be.”

4) Understand what drives you, and where you want to be in the future.

You may love your current job, but you need to know what kind of opportunities you may be interested in. Otherwise, you won’t realise when the perfect job does come along. It also protects you from being sold a role that you don’t have too much interest in.

Take the time to seriously consider and think about what you want from your job, where you want to go with your career, what you want your day to day to look like and how you fit into your space.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a position that isn’t pushing you to be your best or you’d like to explore your career paths, send us a message so we can help you find the right position to maximise your skills and potential.

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

By Ben Brown,
with Anya Loukina

As recruiters we are constantly interviewing with candidates to learn more about them – their role, their experience, their career goals and dreams. Presenting well in an interview, articulating accurately your experience and forming a good rapport with your interviewer can have a big influence on whether or not you get the job.

Alongside the standard necessities like arriving on time and dressing neatly, here our top tips to help land you the job.

TOP TIPS FOR PREPARING FOR A JOB INTERVIEW:
1.    Do your homework

“Find out about the company, find out about the growth, find out about the background and the role”

Research the company your interviewing with – understand their values, practises, culture and methods. Look into their recent projects, read their website, investigate the software and tools they use. The more you can understand your employer, the more equipped you’ll be to answer their questions relevant to the role and your experience.

2.    “Confidence and Knowledge”

Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll have the right knowledge to make you prepared for their questions. You can then formulate your responses accordingly using the STAR interviewing technique. Being prepared will make you feel confident in what you’re talking about. Then it’s about knowing how you fit into the space and what resources, skills and experience you can offer relative to what they’re looking for.

3.    Building a genuine connection

It’s all about creating a good rapport with your potential employer. Your CV shows your skills and experience – your interview shows your personality and how you relate and interact with others. Employers want to know that you’ll be a nice, genuine and fun person that will fit in with their work culture.

“Just be yourself; have a laugh; find out about that person and break down those barriers earlier on”

4.    You’re the talent

Change your train of thought. A job interview is a two way street. They need you just as much you need them, so be confident!

Stop stressing. You’re the talent-they need you.”

Without you, they are missing out. So go in there and be yourself. Be inquisitive, attentive, articulate your past experience, skills and how it is relevant to the role you’re applying for. Think about what can offer the company and what you want back in return.

 

If you’re currently looking for your next opportunity, hit us up! We’re more than happy to help you on your career journey.

 

Culture Vulture

By Ben Brown,

Four ways to optimise your team environment

Nowadays the word CULTURE is as loose as Gandalf’s baggy wizard frock. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is priding themselves on what a fantastic work culture they have implemented but the one thing that people overlook is that everyone views culture differently.

The parents of the office may feel that incorporating flexible working policy – enabling them to do the school run – is an excellent facet to the work culture. On the other end of the spectrum, you have 20 somethings who may feel that having a free bar serving up Preseco and Peroni in abundance on Friday afternoon, is their idea of a “great” working environment.

My point is all employees measure company culture differently, so how do you cater for all parties?

Always communicate: Communicate your values and culture explicitly and continuously, both internally and externally. Employees must understand your culture, and why it’s important. Reward employees who advance your culture, and be open and honest with those who don’t.

Prioritise: Sure, every leader has the utopian vision of running a company where everyone’s happy, has fun, loves their co-workers, brings their dogs to the office and specialises in marketing, design, engineering and sales. Don’t fall victim to the cult of the ‘rock star’. Give me five people who work together as a team, anyday over one person who’s talented at everything. They’re not, and it’s not worth the trouble.

Good leadership sets a tone: Culture is shaped mostly by how your leaders act, so make sure your leadership team embodies the type of company you want to be. Is a ‘teamwork culture’ the ideal? You’d better make sure your executive team truly works as a team. Is ‘transparency’ most important?

Assign an Ambassador: It sounds simple, but companies need someone who is directly responsible for culture. Of course, that person can’t do it on their own, but deputise someone to focus on culture and to push everyone else in the right direction – whether they’re hiring candidates or managing the engineering team – it sets priorities.

Do these and the simple things well and you will see retention and morale improve during tougher times. That’s what great company culture is really all about.

Q3 – Betting with your skeptics

By Ben Brown,

You may have seen over the last few weeks the events surrounding Elon Musk going after short-sellers of Tesla stock. As a quick 101 of short selling, it is the act of borrowing shares and immediately selling them, then repurchasing them at a lower price and returning the shares; consequently, the seller makes a profit from the difference. Musk loathes short-sellers since they are shareholders betting that Tesla’s share price will drop. Musk has claimed that over the ‘at least a few months he has had extreme torture from short-sellers as they are desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla’s destruction.’ This whole charade has made me reflect on our company.

In the case of Tesla, it has demonstrated the importance of balancing short-term successes with long-term objectives. To counter-act short-seller’s one weapon in a business’s arsenal is to seek strong quarter results, potentially to the detriment of long-term growth.

You may assume that I don’t like the practice of short-selling since it can skew the direction of the board; however, organisations should embrace the skepticism that comes with short-selling.

To be more sustainable business leaders need to have the capacity to bring both their employees and shareholders on the journey of where the business is travelling. To be transparent and realistic about all the challenges you think may occur along the way, and why you can overcome them.

All proper planning involves incorporates evaluating your weaknesses and external threats, and the best leaders should have people around them that are willing to share their thoughts whether that be positive or negative, to avoid any instances of groupthink occurring. Groupthink is where a group wants to avoid having conflict, thus, always reaching consensus due to individuals feeling reluctant about sharing their own beliefs or opinions. Researchers point to groupthink as being a systemic cause of the 2008 U.S banking crises, as many financial institutions created a culture where discussing market failure was taboo.

Since we aren’t a floated company we are not held to account by shareholders. Instead, our accountability must derive from within, our employees. We’ve been conscious of creating a culture where our decisions must be questioned, where our employees shouldn’t self-censor or conform.

As we continue to expand our business, I want to embrace any skepticism to our plans to make sure we are ready to counter-attack any challenges that may rear its head.

The Intern Experience

By Ben Brown,

Just over eight weeks ago we brought on board our first ever interns into the Method Recruitment family. We had identified that we could improve our current marketing strategy and decided that we should look for ambitious students who would have up to date knowledge of marketing analysis, especially in the field of social media. The process of finding and placing our interns was simplified through the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce provides a $3,000 grant to member organisations for placement of an intern for 120 hours. We were required to outline a proposal detailing the roles our interns would undertake, what skills they would need and what would be the outcomes of our project. The Victorian Chamber was responsible for sourcing talent through their partner universities, and we were provided with a short-list of interns to interview.

Consequently, we landed two candidates from the University of Melbourne, James Gallus a Master of International Business Student who was in his final year of study and Jessica Frizziero who was in her last semester of a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Creative Writing.

“For me, the most enticing part of an internship is to taste-test a job role”, says James.

“An internship compliments your studies and gives you the practical industry experience that theory based studies often just can’t offer” says Jessica. 

 

Our interns were able to question the status-quo, asking why we did certain things in a certain way. Quickly they began rebranding our social media channels, creating images for posts, templates for job positions, writing blogs to direct traffic to our website and performing a SWOT analysis of our marketing strategy.

“While at University you learn different marketing concepts and analyse how to implement such strategies, but you have limited exposure to undertaking the tasks, through an internship we can put our theory into practice,” says James. 

While the eight weeks of the program has concluded, the journey does not end there. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) contacted us, requiring a Marketing Co-ordinator who could start ASAP. Fortunately for AHPRA, we had two outstanding candidates working for us! As Jess submits her final assignments for her Bachelor’s Degree, she will begin her career at AHPRA. “Interning with Method Recruitment gave me the opportunity and skills needed to propel my career in the right direction, landing me a job straight out of university.”

And we’ve kept James on the team, where he will continue providing us with marketing assistance as he commences his final semester of studies.

 

James and Jess had some thoughts as to how employees can make an internship highly worthwhile for students:
  • Have a plan of what you’d like them to achieve, but, give them scope to also direct the business plan.

  • Set goals or objectives that are achievable, it provides the students with a tangible experience which can help them with their job prospects.

  • Make time to sit down and discuss their progress. Provide feedback on what they’ve done well and what areas they can improve on.

  • While they may be there for a short period, treat them like regular employees – it makes them feel at home quickly.

     

We’d strongly encourage any organisation to take on interns; it gives you the opportunity to have access to the top university talent, have someone on board who has an up-to-date academic knowledge and can bring fresh ideas to the team.

For us, it has been highly rewarding being a mentor through sharing our business and practical experience with these students.

As a small business, interns can have a significant impact on the operation of our business and can provide you with a skill set that may be hard justifying employing until you’ve gone through a phase of growth. If you’d like to find out more about the Industry grant visit https://www.victorianchamber.com.au/internships-0

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…

By miracles,

3 reasons why starting my own recruitment business was appealing yet petrifying.

My undying need to create the point of difference

What the hell do you mean I hear you ask??? Well let me sit back in my velvet armchair, pour myself a glass of port and tell you exactly why this single point was the driving force behind my decision to leave the big corporates.

Over the course of my career I’ve seen:

– Unnecessary drive to push KPIs over people
– Prioritising money over a person’s professional development
– Failure to move with times
– Gender equality
– Flexibility in the workplace
– Racism and Sexism
– Technology

Please click here to read the rest of the article

Building a Business and Culture building

By miracles,

Starting any new business can be challenging and rewarding. I’ve been reflecting on how we managed to grow Method Recruitment and why we’ve been so successful in our very early stages. Here are some of my top tips for starting a new business and how getting the simple things right, at the very start, has helped us on our journey.

A great working partnership

We now have four partners in the business – all who offer different ideas, skills and areas of expertise. We meet regularly to discuss the bigger ticket items while other decisions are made day-to-day with the trust of each other. With our 50 years combined experience we know what works in the recruitment world. Business decisions are a bit tougher and for these to be made you need to be open and transparent. If you don’t agree, speak up.

To read more, please click here to be taken to the full article