Archive for category The Board Room

Assessing your Workplace for First Aid Compliance

There is an imminent need for assessing workplace safety among many establishments in Australia. Accidents are inevitable, and as such, a proactive approach is needed to minimise if not eradicate work-related injuries and diseases. The greater question is if an employer is ready to respond to them.Assessing-your-Workplace-for-First-Aid-ComplianceHaving a practical outlook on your first aid measures and procedures is a major requirement to keeping your workplace compliant with the WHS Act. An emergency action plan does not only protect your employees but also ensures continuity of operations after a disaster or emergency.

How Important Is First Aid in the Workplace?

Research shows that well over 630 000 workers suffered a work-related injury in Australia between 2009 and 2010. This figure accounts for all types of jobs from all industries and emergency categories.

The Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Act articulates an outline that covers the scope of first aid – all personnel, including visitors and customers. WHSA compliance is mandatory, encompassing all aspects of the business workplace whether remote, mobile, or outdoors.

Legal requirements call for a strict observation as stipulated under Section 274 of the WHS Act. Furthermore, it compels every company to have a comprehensive action plan for any emergency situation.

These efforts are all in place to ensure the safety and productivity of all personnel. From a business perspective, it directly correlates to brand building and employability.

How To Comply with WHS Compliance

It is important to get acquainted with the most important points of the WHS guidelines on how to become first aid compliant in your workplace.

These are all vital pieces of information that will churn out ideas for an efficient action plan. Keep this record updated as it is crucial for the actions to follow.

Create an Action Plan

  1. Closely assess your work area, you now have a basis for your course of action.
  2. Determine all possible scenarios and their corresponding strategies.
  3. Ensure that these are all aligned with the WHS requirements.
  4. Consider integrating your crucial evacuation details to the set standards and take account of broader emergency settings.

Your action plan will be valid only if you update it in accordance with the changes that happen in your company.

Some work requires transferring from one place to another. It should be clearly stated that there is a specific plan for each location. Change of staff must be also taken into account and this should be followed by proper adjustments in your emergency plan.

Regularly evaluate your own work. An emergency can strike at any point in time so it’s best to be proactive than to be forced to deal with the consequences.

Designate a Point Person

During an emergency, the lack of communication can exponentially aggravate the situation.

Assigning a point person who will act as a leader in these cases will help convey messages faster and more efficiently. They will act like beacons during disasters and orchestrate order.

Training is not obligatory for this position. But it can help, Supervisors and Managers are your primary options for these roles. There are some instances, however, that some special know-how is required for carrying out an appropriate response. Set the roles strategically among your work populace.

Conduct Drills and Practices

They say that perfect practice makes perfect. Emergency situations are not an exception. When a clear-cut emergency/evacuation plan has been formulated, it is necessary to test it through simulation.

Conduct a drill for every given situation, from an earthquake drill to an employee who had a simple wound.

Make a keen observation of everything that happens during the drills. It will allow you to check for leaks within your plan and give you an opportunity to improve and innovate.

The point person/s should act accordingly and take the lead. Their response to these drills will help measure the effectivity of your emergency plan.

Have A WHS Compliant First Aid Kit

The first aid kit is not just a mere tool to aid in an emergency, it contents can decide the outcomes of life and death situations.  

Therefore, these kits must be placed in obvious places  throughout the work area. The level and category of work orientation determine what should be inside a first aid kit.

 

Create A List of Your Emergency Contact Numbers

Emergency contact lists should contain all the local numbers of every phone in the workplace. Part of the objective of the WHS Act is to ensure continuity of business after any given emergency.

It is, therefore, imperative that the list includes the phone numbers of any other key people, stakeholders, and companies like suppliers, employees.

The most important emergency numbers must be highlighted: the police, fire station, local state emergency units, and ambulance services.

First Aid Training and Amenities

Every company or business is obliged to abide by the rules set forth by the WHS Act. It has to always safeguard all personnel in the workplace with full diligence, including other persons that may be affected by its operations.

It is always advisable to remind your employees about the importance of first aid in a workplace. Some of the simple procedures can be put on the walls in the form of first aid visual guides. The best place for these posters is near the first aid kit.

Regards

Katrina McKinnon
Community Outreach
www.alsco.com.au
www.alscofirstaid.com.au

Doing the hard yards to make a great start in business

Plenty of people have started in business and failed, some failed quickly, others took longer, a LOT longer…

Years of observation and working with business people has taught me a range of things, the main things are how they failed in business, in often not so spectacular ways and what to do about it.

The reasons are often simple.

Business success

It’s all in the planning

  • No plan – No structural or marketing strategy
  • Technical skills to do something but no business ‘personality’ or charisma to really sell, promote or build interest
  • Low knowledge of the purpose and function of business – Profit is one thing, providing a reason to do so is another…
  • Inability to look at the challenges and find ways to overcome them
  • Being busy and working long hours does not always mean you are being productive
  • Not enough start up capital, CASH to really give your project a go
  • Lack of operational systems for when things really get going so you can develop a valuable asset not just a business
  • Research – making and selling a gadget that is about to go off trend and fade is one thing, knowing it is fading is another…
  • Not knowing how much money you NEED to make each week to break even and then how much profit to make, then what to do with it

A seasoned business operator will look at this list and say, hey that’s just the start… and they are right. There is so much to business that this list is just a starting point.

But that’s it, it’s all about starting points. Even people in business after many years find there are new starting points, like when computers started showing up in businesses, a new starting point. A new piece of technology for a manufacturing process… same. And so it goes on.

If you want to start in business, make sure you do something about addressing the basics listed above, sure they can be daunting, sure you will be tested, but you wanted to take the risk, you wanted to make your mark so do it, but do it right.

Regards

Steve Gray

Assessing Employees

Performance reviews are not new, and at the end of a probation period employees are often given vague reasons as to why they are kept on by the company or ditched… Sometimes non management staff have been perplexed by these moves and the reasons given can be as vague as the decision itself.

 

Steve Gray's assessment tool

 

To ensure an effective decision is made effort needs to be put into assessing the person and their efforts in the role. So I scoured the web for ideas, and coupled that with my own thoughts and came up with this checklist to assist in making decisions as well s being able to pinpoint areas for development which might go under the radar.

A contemporary business might give the list to the employee early in the probation period (probably not on day one…) and let them know what sorts of things you are looking for at the end of the process. Of course  you would do your own research and fact gathering from their peers and supervisors to ensure an effective mix of facts can be utilised.

EmployeeAssessmentTable

Check it out it’s three pages I feel sure  you will want to use often to ensure your staff are doing more of the right things by your organisation.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

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Stress and the New Employee

Starting a new job is challenging at the best of times, but if the supervisor, buddy and boss don’t recognise or bother to take notice of what might make the first few days or even weeks stressful then what hope has the person got. Here are some pointers for the ‘newbie’ and those who have to work with them.jobs wanted

Stressors at work for a new employee

  1. Not enough product knowledge
  2. Unsure if they will fit in
  3. Unsure of the expectations they will have to work to
  4. Customers…
  5. Being understood
  6. Fitting in with Co-workers
  7. Where things are
  8. How things work
  9. Where do I put things
  10. Will I be paid… When?
  11. Working conditions – Hours – Equipment – Facilities – Tools
  12. Safety – Mine – yours – ours.
  13. Producing quality outcomes
  14. Working fast enough or not?

The list goes on… 🙂

So dear ‘Newbie’, breathe a little

Take it easy, take a deep breath, and relax a little. The company wants you to succeed, they want you to be happy, they want you to feel at ease and know that “masterpieces take time”. There is plenty to learn and lots of things to figure out. If the company is doing things right they will train you in  how they do things, where things are and set  you on a path to success.

Some keys to new employee success.

  • Ask lot’s of questions – Even a few weeks in, the more questions you ask, the more answers we can give you, the more confident and assured you can become. There are no silly or stupid questions.
  • If you are not sure – Paraphrase a question, ask the question in another way, to get greater clarity,
  • Investigate and explore – Find out where things are and explore, within reason of course… To find out where things get kept and become familiar with where things might be found.
  • Research – Show you are interested in the role by doing your own research, check the internet for information and ideas, not to become a ‘smarty pants’ but to ensure you pick up the language, relevant techniques etc.
  • Be at ease – We know that might be hard for the first few days or even a week or two. Remember, breathe in, breathe out and repeat 🙂 They want you to be happy. There is no need to rush to learn or ‘get up to speed’ that will happen, so don’t concern yourself about it.
  • Think SAFETY – Always, for yourself and others around you. See something, do something…
  • Mistakes, we all make them – Mistakes are learning opportunities, however it is important that you let someone know that you made a mistake, perhaps they can fix it, show you a better way to do the task.

I hope your new job works out fine and that the Company people reading this jumps into action and makes sure you have a fantastic start, after all they know that a replacement always costs money and time…

 

Regards

Steve Gray

Juggle that business

That’s right juggling…

Juggling business resources

Juggling your business resources

When you know that the business has so many elements it’s almost impossible to juggle them all, you start to realise there must be an answer to being able to juggle at least SOME of the elements.

For those with a big enough business or the resources to do it, you might simply delegate those things that require more time to make sure things are done right. Not all of us are that lucky.

For those who are starting out, or those who want to keep the business alive and happening even though you have a small crew, this planning document is for you.

Download the free PDF file, it’s at the end of the article… It’s just two pages of planning material that you can copy to your heart’s content, then USE IT to get your planning act together. You know what they say… “Work on the business not just in it.” When you realise that’s a truism you want to aspire to, then drag this out and make it happen.

Ok, so it’s a planning calendar with a sheet of questions and query points to get you started. The aim is to get you thinking about the three key areas that make your business tick, then plan to work on each area. If you get stuck you can refer to the questions on the list, then develop  some starting points to go from.

Enjoy and drop me a line to let me know if it works for you or could be altered to make it better!

Planning guide

Regards

Steve Gray

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Remember when your business was small and fast, not big and awkward?

eye for work

Image is courtesy of 2nix

Your business has grown and so too has the culture of focusing on being a ‘big’ business.

You now have procedures for everything, policies to deal with all the things that could be a risk to your business and in the process your team have become ‘big’ in their thinking.

On reflection you might just think that you would like to have some of the small business culture you used to have. The sort of thinking that was more ‘seat of the pants’ faster to adapt, faster to decide and that degree of ‘nimbility’ was what got you going, the late nights, the furious work pace made sure your small team were fed with work. Now it just seems big and awkward.

You like so many aspects of that small business approach you want to now use that in your bigger business. You want your people to think faster, be more creative and problem solve like you used to, on the run. You want them to be more flexible and not bogged down by lengthy processes.

Here’s your chance to do just that, think of it as taking a mirror to your business and looking back to see just how these qualities can be achieved again.

Think fresh

When you started out you probably asked your customers lots of questions to figure out their needs, send your teams out to do the same and make it a random thing you instigate throughout the year. If they already do that look at other aspects of the business thinking that could be freshened up. If you hold meetings in the same in house room day in day out, find a new room, in another building, a park, a training venue… Wherever you can have fresh stimulus.

Stimulate learning

In the early days when your business was small, you learnt a lot about many things quickly and you coveted people that could do the same. This ‘learning on the fly’ approach solved many challenges for you, everything seemed like a prototype and I bet your team jumped in to help find solutions. Take a look at the processes involved, perhaps you now need a team when one person was given the job in the early days. Consider doing the same and create a ‘maverick’ a lead person who can jump in and learn, plough though as if there was no hold ups and pass on their findings to the team to develop.

Create what customers want

Go and ask them what they want, and or test a new product or service early in the development process to see if it has ‘legs’. no legs no development. There, you just save the business a lot of money and time… now get on with developing what people want or need.

Provide solutions

Top sales people will soon tell you they sell solutions, so give your people the ability to problem solve and find ways to see what they have is a solution to a customers need, then they will have tangible ways to engage the customers and be seen as a source of comfort in their time of need.

Success is working towards any worthwhile goal, in this simple list of starting points I feel sure you can get back some of that small startup magic and reinvigorate the team to get better results.

Regards

Steve Gray

Is Your Business a Destination?

If you read the heading and thought of a holiday destination you love, even briefly… then I have done the right thing.IMG_2871

Now imagine if your customers thought of your business as a fabulous destination, a place they love to hang out even if it is breifly to get some suplies and head off again. Think about that, you business as a fabulous place to hang out.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

One of my Sisters in law has a fantastic quirky gift/art store postindustrialdesign.com.au and in the front they have a cafe. It’s a fabulous destination, they hold events, have pop up food stores out the front from time to time and people love the place… It’s a bit out of the way for some, but people come from far and wide. I know why they do, because they love it.

I like to brag about the place to others and let them know if they are in that area they can drop in and might just be delighted by what’s on offer.

People seem to readily sign up for their email newsletter, like them on social media and follow their events and antics, their Christmas window display will be the buzz around town each year if the first year is anything to go by and they manage to get rave reviews in weekend magazines, newspapers and the like.

But what about your business?

I want you to now think about your business, even if it’s an online one, is it a destination people really want to go to? Perhaps they will get to the business and be excited by what you have to offer, what you have planned, and or the way you treat them so they feel special.

Many years ago my wife and I went to a shop that have created a wonderful atmosphere by creating a rainforest to wander through, with lots of soft toys and quirky items that hikers, environmentalists and wanderers would purchase. I loved it, each turn revealed another wonderful array of gifts to surprise and delight.

Okay, so you can imagine people being drawn to this magical place, and figure that somehow you would like to entice your customers in some way, by creating a positive destination. So what do you need to consider?

First off, ask yourself why do you want your business to be a destination, is it… More customers, better customer satisfaction, boost turnover, create a promotional buzz, get more Public Relations exposure, to put more pep into the business you love. Whatever the reason you have to appreciate that this reason is the motivation or driver for the idea of creating a better destination.

The key is, enticing people to buy from you more often, by providing an environment conducive to  connecting with them emotionally so they want to be part of what you offer. This is where some key points come in, let’s explore:

Be the best – People will seek you out if you are the best at what you do, your business is the destination, due to the fact no other business can match your quality

You want to be the best – Maybe you need to tweak a few things to get to this point, go on start making a list of the changes you need to make

You want to create an atmosphere people will love – Perhaps your business is the best at what it does but people don’t know it yet. Like the examples given, you can imagine making your business more exciting and enticing to do business with

You want people to sense you are authentic in what you offer – You want to show you can think outside of the square and come up with ideas to keep customers coming back for more.

You want to add spice to the way your business does things – Add events or program promotional activities to make your business a special place to be even if it is for just a short time

So how do you do it?

Evaluate what you have, if you fit into one of the specific categories outlined earlier then you have a starting point to go from. Now make a list of the changes that want to make in each of those areas, Maybe you want to break things down further. Here are some exploration points to consider.

Perhaps it is a marketing thing – You already have a rgreat business, with wonderful things on offer and good quality service, so if it’s a marketing thing to let more people know how wonderful your business destination is then pull out the felt markers gather the team and brainstorm ways to tweak the marketing and then get out the calendar and pick suitable dates for things to happen that will miss the public holidays, festivals etc. Now make a list of the types of things you can program in to make the most of what you have to offer.

Perhaps it’s a strategic management issue – You wanted to do more of the right things, but have not planned a strategy to support the good things that are already happening, what strategies do you have in place to explore and promote excellence which will create a culture to underpin your fabulous destination?

Perhaps it’s the decor that works – The store layout, the training of staff on how to create and maintain the right decor,

Perhaps its the quality outcomes you produce – the way you promote (is it creative, interesting or just a list of what you offer?)

Perhaps it’s some form of event – an in store demonstration, an exhibition,  a meet and greet with a local specialist in your field or a famous personality. Try and consider ways to make the event fun and engaging so people want to come back for more.

You could have

  • VIP events for your top customers and clients
  • Educational events
  • Games and contests
  • Cultural events

Start the ball rolling in some practical way to show your team you want to have a business destination which is a fantastic place to be. Then you can start to measure the effect of the things  you implement.

Remember all of the above points are about getting people in the door, calling to find out more or trolling your website for more information, going the next step is about how you will convert their action into sales. Let’s save that for another time.

Regards

Steve Gray

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