People management problems Google can’t solve

By Kathleen Tierney
(Owner, Career Embassy)

Recently, I asked my accountant friends, why they don’t use a People Management (HR) expert in their respective businesses. To which Garry, the CFO immediately quipped, “… because I have Google.”

Garry then regaled yet another workplace incident that involved a recently hired manager uploading his workplace ‘selfies’ onto the company computer as his screen saver. Unfortunately, the employee was wearing nothing but the company logo t-shirt in the photos!

People Management Expertise Doesn’t Come from a Search

Whilst this anecdote made amusing conversation, Garry spends an inordinate amount of time dealing with the consequences of inadequately equipped People Management practices. Surfing the internet for employer advice is a serious distraction from his real job as a busy CFO.

Garry’s reliance of the internet for people management advice is a typical example of what we hear daily. Extensive research, tells us that whilst larger corporations engage appropriate expertise to look after their managers and employees, smaller businesses generally do not.   Yet we all know that if you don’t attract and retain the best people your business will suffer greatly. And that, can be an absolute deal breaker for survival and longevity of smaller businesses.

Starting with People Management

For example, most start-up businesses readily source an accountant and bookkeeper to look after financial matters within the first few months of achieving an ABN.

However, it is unusual for a company to have engaged an expert People Management advisor until employee numbers have grown beyond 50 or 100 people. Many smaller businesses with salary commitments of, say, $2m p.a. are not efficiently or adequately managing their most expensive, complex and critical investment! Further, it explains why the Fair Work Commission/Ombudsman is processing an increasing number of disgruntled employee claims (over 45,000 per annum) and company prosecutions each year.

If You Use the Web for HR Expertise

If your primary ‘go to’ source for employer advice is the internet, you are: spending too much time, money and sleepless nights on staff issues; ‘putting out fires’; terminating new employees; over budget on costs; not maximising productivity; holding excessive leave liabilities; and, your workplace culture maybe festering with gossip and grievances.

Grow Your People Management Expertise

There are many compelling reasons why getting expert employer advice and assistance is essential to business operations and success. And, although the internet may be helpful with generic information, it does not identify missing yet critical components of your people management policies, processes, implementation strategies or issues.

We know that many business owners don’t know what they don’t know, simply don’t know what to do, or worse still, are scared about addressing people management issues.

Therefore, instead of googling for generic answers when a crisis hits, we recommend to be proactive and talk to the right people management experts.

25 Reasons Not to Rely on Google for expert People Management Advice:

  1. Most employers don’t know the actual questions that need to be asked – you don’t know what you don’t know. Employee issues are not always straightforward or textbook.
  2. An Employee Issue, grievance or problem in the workplace, is most often just the final manifestation of real problems that have been festering – google won’t ask you the multi-layered and probing questions that get to the causal factors. Treating only the symptoms doesn’t stop repeat problems, or help to mitigate long term and costly damage to the workplace.
  3. There is more than one regulation that may (or may not) be applicable. Online advice doesn’t sift through all applicable legislation and advise which exact clause/s is relevant pertaining to your particular employee/incident/issue. Nor does Google tell you which other clauses/legislation you need to consider in conjunction with those that seem more obvious.
  4. Unless you are an expert at reading Employment legislation, knowing how to quickly read and navigate through all applicable regulations for all relevant statutory considerations and updates, doesn’t happen via static internet searches. To properly interpret the application of employment legislation, you need to know what are the various layers of statutory requirements, and through experience, how to read definitions, be familiar with precedents, and have a thorough understanding of appropriate examples of industry practice /standards that have achieved relevance over the years.
  5. Dealing with People Management issues in the workplace should be proactive and preventative – Google doesn’t ask you the questions which will identify risks, liabilities, and client impact.
  6. Google doesn’t provide an open dialogue about the subtle hints, changes or potential impact of specific employee/manager interactions, behaviours, relationships, value to the business or personal/family traumas.
  7. Google doesn’t ask you if this is the first incident or typical of your workplace culture. It doesn’t help describe the context or history in which the issue has arisen – critical to defining the best solution for understanding best available options, strategy for success and minimising disruption and distress whilst the problem is being addressed.
  8. Google doesn’t question your ethics, values and decision making processes. All critical information for achieving the right outcomes.
  9. Google doesn’t discuss the various aspects, including direct and indirect, of a cost benefit analysis for likely outcomes.
  10. Google doesn’t provide you with a specific negotiation strategy designed for your particular incident or issue.
  11. Google doesn’t talk you through how to deal with the emotional stress you may confront or experience. Nor does it de-brief, guide or encourage you at each part of an interaction.
  12. Google doesn’t custom write a carefully worded script for you to deliver in those hard conversations or team briefings.
  13. Google doesn’t sit with you, represent you, facilitate your meetings, mediate for you or provide you with specific recommendations.
  14. Google doesn’t discuss your employee issue/s in the context of your urgent and future business priorities, client service or team impact.
  15. Google doesn’t guide you in consideration of your desired workplace culture, leadership capabilities or employee strategies.
  16. Google doesn’t work through your ideal candidate criteria and assist you to build a meaningful job description or formulate the critical questions to ascertain the necessary information against priority competencies.
  17. Google doesn’t coach you as to how to screen the pile of résumés you have received or the subtleties of how to interview candidates
  18. Google doesn’t share how to best manage Recruitment Agencies
  19. Google doesn’t workshop with your team leaders as to how to overcome the issues they are experiencing in the current market and most effectively recruit or interview for their team
  20. Google doesn’t follow up and check as to whether you need more support or guidance.
  21. Google doesn’t take an interest in, monitor or congratulate you or your team managers for achieving growth and development of leadership skills.
  22. Google doesn’t facilitate or workshop your people management or business strategies, ensuring that diversity and inclusion is intrinsically achieved.
  23. Google doesn’t design and implement the custom strategies to engage your leaders, teams or employees to achieve open two way communications, your business objectives or productivity maximisation.
  24. Google doesn’t recommend the most appropriate people management products, services or approaches suitable for achieving your business priorities or objectives
  25. Google doesn’t identify missing yet critical components of your people management policies, processes, or implementation strategies.

About the Author

Kathy Tierney
Kathleen Tierney is the Executive Director and Owner of Business Embassy and its parent company, Career Embassy. She helps Australian companies with business management, HR services, policies and procedures. Kathy believes that great leadership and business success is achieved and sustained by connecting with our personal values.


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