5 Women Making a Difference in Business and Technology
A day of recognition for women all over the world, International Women’s Day is happening this Sunday, March 8. To mark this year’s celebration, we spoke to six women across the globe and asked them to share their moments of success in their respective fields, as well as what advice they’d like to give women who are working in similar industries.
The History of IWD
International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8. The first IWD gathering happened over a century ago, in the year 1911. It was born in a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialised world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. The first recorded activity for the campaign happened in New York City, where 15,000 women marched the streets to demand shorter work hours, better pay, and voting rights. IWD has grown since into a wider celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the world, with no single organisation nor institution responsible for this day.
Of course, the landscape of the workforce back then was drastically different. Today, women are leading and succeeding in all fields of work. So how did these women trailblazers thrive and make a difference? Here’s how they map their steps to success:
1. Identify a Need
“The key to solving a problem is to first truly understand it. My personal mission is to keep focusing on the ‘why’,” shared Bridget O’Hare, Product Manager for Workforce.com UK. Her role and team is all about providing solutions to users of their platform. “Repeatedly asking ‘why’ helps you to discover the root cause rather than waste time focusing on symptoms,” she added.
Just like Bridget, Savannah Samples, Founder and CEO of Angel Assistance also felt strongly about a particular need affecting today’s households. With people juggling so many things in a day, Savannah set out to help families focus more on things that are more important than daily to-do lists. “To provide a helping hand in the household, relieving stress from hardworking families and individuals so they can focus on the tasks and relationships that matter most,” Savannah remarked when asked about her cause.
It clearly starts with identifying a gap, but what makes the difference is taking action and facing challenges head-on.
2. Take Action
Women trailblazers are not afraid to pull their sleeves up and work hard to get results.
Sally Roebuck, P&C Services Manager, Bulimba State School P&C Association OSHC is one of them. “I believe my greatest achievement to date has been advocating for the improvement of the state award for educators working at P&C run services in QLD,” Sally shared.
Just the same, encouraging others to join you in your quest is not an easy feat. But it’s possible when you have the passion and drive to make it happen, just like Tracey Johnson, CEO of Inala Primary Care.
“I frequently refer to myself as ‘MAD’. My passion is to ‘make a difference’ by enabling people to be their best each and every day. This applies to patients, our team, and those whose interests overlap with our work,” Tracey shared. Today, Tracey leads a team of professionals and partners to deliver nearly 50,000 consultations a year and growing.
Developing the confidence to trust in your own capabilities is a long process, but an essential one. Savannah shares what women entrepreneurs should understand: “You are doing work that the majority of the world cannot handle or don’t know where to begin. You started and you are making the world a better place just by being you.” Of course, some extra support doesn’t hurt either. “Find your girl gang. Those are the ones that are going to get you through and celebrate every milestone!” she adds.
3. Go Beyond
Leaders don’t stop once they deliver results. They strive to do more and expand their knowledge.
Meg Levis, Head of Human Resources at Workforce.com, believes that learning is the key to moving forward. “[My personal mission is] to continuously learn. There is so much knowledge out there that can benefit my life both personally and professionally,” she shared. But how do you focus on the right things to learn? She has this advice, “Have five and ten-year goals outlined that you can use to spot check to ensure your day to day tasks align with where you want to be in the future. Also, always be up for a challenge. Growth does not come from being comfortable.”
We hear so many leaders advise us to stay focused. But it goes beyond getting the job done. Focus is all about working smart to have time for life too. “Keep it simple. When we have ambitions to achieve great things, we often conflate the task and try and do too much. Remain focussed, deal with the real levers for change and allow time to simply enjoy life.” Tracey shared.
Setting goals. Breaking barriers. Getting it done. These women and many others around the world are proving that making a difference goes beyond gender. It is all about having the passion for the change you want to see and the willingness to make it happen.
Awards & Rostering |
How much do full-time staff really cost?
Being in the business of managing staff costs, we often hear people say that casual staff just cost so much more than their full time equivalents. I mean, that extra 25% is a killer, right? Especially for staff who work a fairly consistent schedule each week, it’s almost like free money. For a while there I went along with that, not really giving it much thought. But today the thought struck me – casuals miss out on plenty of benefits afforded to full and part timers, so are they really better off? I decided to investigate further. What follows may surprise you. First – how many days in a year does a full time employee work? Weeks in a Year: 52 Working Days in a Year: 260 So far so good. We’re going to ignore the 1 or 2 days that we’re off by, for the sake of a nice round number. Next, let’s look at this full time employee’s entitlements, in days. Annual Leave: 20 (4 weeks) Personal Leave: 10 (2 weeks) Public Holidays: 10 We’ll assume a 7.6 hour work day and 17.5% leave loading. So how many hours of leave are we paying? Annual Leave – Base: 152 Annual Leave – Loading: 26.6 Personal Leave: 76 Public Holidays: 76 Total Hours of Leave Paid: 330.6 Earlier we calculated how many days of work one can work in a year, now let’s subtract leave taken to get a more accurate figure. Days of Leave Taken: 40 Actual Days Worked in a Year: 220 Actual Hours Worked in a Year: 1672 Divide 330.6 (hours of leave paid) by 1672 (hours worked) and we get 19.77%. Remember, we are comparing this to the 25% loading paid for casual staff. So from this perspective, yes, your full time and part time staff are still cheaper – but only by 5.23%. And even that number is probably on the low side. We ignored long service leave and maternity leave because they are a bit more unreliable. Both they are also costs (or accruals) that can definitely add up! When you take into account the fact that you only have to pay casuals when you need them, it’s easy to see why more and more Australian employers are turning to casual staff. According to the ABS, this has been growing steadily since the 90’s, and today over 1 in 5 jobs in Australia are casual.
Awards & Rostering |
Easter Penalty Rates 2015 — What you need to know about paying staff
Easter is coming up soon, and that means two things! A new season of Game of Thrones to feast on, and – perhaps less excitingly – public holiday rates to pay staff. As a business owner, accountant, or bookkeeper, it’s important to be aware of how public holiday rates over Easter and ANZAC Day should be paid in your state. First, let’s see when the holidays will be in 2014. You might be surprised! If your business is open on any of these public holidays, you’ll need to pay staff the appropriate public holiday rates. You should check your award, which will tell you exactly what multiplier or penalties to apply, often under a Public Holidays section. A common multiplier is 2.5x. Some businesses pay staff salaries, or pay casually “above award”. Public holiday penalties still apply! If you have a contract, it should cover this – check with Fair Work if you are unsure. Staff who don’t work on a public holiday If you have full or part time staff who should have worked on any of the weekday public holidays – Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Easter Tuesday in specific cases – they are still entitled to pay, even if they do not work. Generally you’ll pay at base rate for the hours staff would have been entitled to. Of course, if staff do work on the day, you’ll pay at a higher rate as dictated by the award (see above). But keep in mind: this only applies if they usually work on that day. For example, a part timer in Queensland who generally works Tuesday to Thursday probably wouldn’t get paid the public holidays because there’s no public holiday on those weekdays. Check your award/agreement to be sure! If your award dictates how rostered days off work, you should check to see if staff with an RDO on a public holiday are still paid. In some states, some kinds of businesses are not permitted to open on public holidays due to trading regulations. If this applies, you will probably still be required to pay staff who would otherwise work on that weekday. Again, if you’re not sure, it’s best to ask. Staff who work on a day that isn’t a public holiday Keep in mind that the rest of the award doesn’t shut off just because it’s Easter. For example, if you are in Tasmania and pay Saturday rates, you’ll still need to pay these on Easter Saturday (which is not a public holiday for you). Did you know… If an employee takes sick leave around a public holiday (eg. Thursday April 24 to Monday April 28), they still get paid the public holiday if they were otherwise supposed to work that day (ie. full/part time) If an employee takes annual leave, public holidays during the leave period don’t count towards their annual leave balance Public holidays do not need to be paid for staff on unpaid leave Staff cannot be forced to work on a public holiday if they have reasonable grounds for doing so. Common reasons include: the amount of notice given, family responsibilities (especially over Easter), and whether one could reasonably expect the business to be open on a public holiday. Tanda’s employee time clocks automatically interpret industry awards – including public holidays – so you can be sure you paid staff right, without tedious manually data entry Add the Fair Work Infoline to your speed dial, they are always happy to help. The number to call for any payroll queries is 131 394. Note: none of the above constitutes formal payroll advice. Always check with your accountant, bookkeeper, or Fair Work.
Industry Insights |
Giving Employee Feedback: 7 Ways to Constructively Deliver Bad News
Wouldn’t management be so much easier if everyone just did their job? You might feel sometimes like your job description would better match that of a babysitter than a business manager. But the sad fact is, unless you provide your staff with proper leadership; productivity, efficiency, morale, and overall quality of work will suffer. Part of effective management is providing your personnel with feedback when they’ve done something incorrectly, or perhaps just less correctly than you would prefer. Ideally, you want to train your workforce to act as you would in a given situation. This takes time, patience, and consistent positive reinforcement. So how can you communicate to your beautiful and unique snowflakes that they’re not meeting your standards without alienating, offending, or irritating them? Here is a list of best practices that can help you deliver a difficult message in ways that will improve employee attitude, engagement, and performance. 1. Focus on Positives Even if you’ve been stuck with the worst employee in the world, even if they come into work smelling like a Cypress Hill concert in un-ironed slacks made of organic hemp, you’ve got to find a silver lining. To be clear, this doesn’t mean sugar-coating the negatives. It just means balancing criticism with praise. Build employee confidence first, then present avenues for improvement. The thing to remember about creating a harmonious work environment is it begins and ends with being nice. The simplest gestures can prevent resentment, discontentment, and hurt feelings. Keep your employees happy, and you’ll be a much happier manager. 2. Objectivity This can be tough. It’s important not to let your emotions get in the way of effective management. Subjectivity can get you into all sorts of trouble: favouritism, nepotism, and a plethora of other –isms worth avoiding. A cool head is needed for command decisions, plus your employees will reflect the attitudes you present to them. Come to work angry, and you’re likely to look out and see an office rife with cantankerousness. 3. Always Deliver Negative Feedback in Person It’s a busy day, you hear a bad report, and you want to get it handled quickly. So you just shoot of an email with a textual reprimand. A very tempting scenario, but not the best idea. People can read into messages more or less than you intend. If there’s a problem with an employee important enough for you to respond personally, then it’s important enough to respond to it in person. 4. Time your Feedback Correctly Timing is everything. You have to take the opportune moment. For minor infractions, or something of a sensitive nature (a conflict between employees for example), allow a bit of time to pass so that tempers might cool before addressing the situation. Similarly, don’t call an employee out in front of their peers. Wait for the right moment, when they’re not under scrutiny, to approach. You don’t want to embarrass an employee, and you never know what can get the blood running to someone’s cheeks. 5. Location, Location, Location Along the same lines as timing, the location of a performance review can have a great impact on how receptive an employee might be to your suggestions. Go to an empty conference room, any neutral ground will do. 6. Pay Attention to How You’re Being Perceived This means watching your phrasing and body language. Present problems in a sympathetic light, and avoid negative syntax: “I don’t think… You shouldn’t… This isn’t…” Maintain eye contact, without being creepy. Keep gesticulations, mannerisms, and movements calm and casual. Aggression is an animal instinct, don’t release the beast during a performance review. 7. Be Clear With Your Criticisms, Leave No Room for Interpretation Convey your meaning quickly, clearly, and without ambiguity. Be direct with your employees, let them know exactly what you disapprove of, how they can improve, and if there’s a need for it: a warning as to what continued instances of the undesired behavior will result in. Alternatively, reinforce desired actions. If they’ve done anything right at all, mention it, and offer praise. Building an effective team is a complicated process, but armed with common sense and a healthy dose of positivity, you can put together an office environment that runs like a well-oiled machine.