Category Archives: Uncategorized

How about “Try before you Buy” when choosing new staff ?

Selecting new staff for your business can be a time consuming, and sometimes scary, situation. Going through the dozens of applications, screening and sorting to try and find a short-list of the best suited for the job…and then how can you be sure?

Unless you’re a human resources specialist, trained and experienced in selecting people for your organisation, you probably lose a little sleep when faced with the decision of who to hire. Are they experienced enough to walk in and do the job? How much training will they require? Will they fit in well with the rest of the staff? How reliable will they be?

If only you could have the short listed candidates “on trial” for a couple of months, then you could have some “on the job” answers to those questions…but that isn’t possible.  Or is it?

Consider this for a moment. These days there are an increasing number of very experienced, reliable, mature age people who are readily available and willing to take a position on a part time basis and, if it works out, stay on as a full time employee if the fit is right.

Here in the Northern Rivers region of NSW our temp agency, SilverTemp has placed several people into positions on a part-time basis and the organisation has asked us to transfer them to full time employment or permanent part time employment after a few months on the job.  We call it our “Try before you Buy” program.

In a few cases we have placed a couple of people into the same role at different times over a period of 6-12 months and the company has made a choice after these trial periods with minimal disruption in the workplace…a “win win” situation all round.

If the SilverTemp program might work for you why not give us a call and discuss your staffing needs before you place that ad in the newspaper or put the job onto SEEK?

Our number is 0448 244111 and ask for Art


The answer to the “Key Employee” problem

Every organization has one: The employee that we can’t do without.
“Only Brian knows how to generate the monthly sales report.”
“Mary is the only person who can enter the payroll data.”
“Without Jack, we can’t restart the server.”
We have nightmares about them leaving.

We struggle when they are sick or on vacation. How do we solve this problem?

The simple answer is to bring in an experienced person on a part time basis; someone who has the necessary skills developed over the years, just like Brian or Mary.

But where do you find them? Did you know that here are hundreds of mature age men and women who are very keen to take on some part time, temporary employment just so you can have that peace of mind. Flexibility is the operative word too. All our experienced seniors at SilverTemp are very flexible with the working hours you need. It may be only 1 or 2 days this week and perhaps 3 or 4 next week or maybe only 1 day here and there…we can handle it.

You would be amazed how many skilled, reliable, personable people we can provide to help keep your business running smoothly in a time of crisis…and almost all are available at the drop of a hat on very short notice…Give us a call to discuss your staff requirements.

Ask for Art on 0448 244 111


Age discrimination affects over 25% of older Australians

Reprinted from Australian Human Rights Commission e-news, April 23, 2015

Over a quarter of older Australians have experienced some form of age discrimination according to national survey results released today by Treasurer Joe Hockey and Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan.

The National Prevalence Survey of Age Discrimination in the Workplace revealed the extent of discrimination faced by Australians aged 50 years and over.

Treasure Joe Hockey said there needs to be a national conversation about age discrimination in the workforce.

“You have to identify the barriers for entry to work for older Australians,” Mr Hockey said.

“You’ve got to help us to identify the impediments for them to remain in the workforce.

“Age discrimination is as reprehensible as racial discrimination, as religious discrimination.”

The survey found that 27 per cent of Australians aged 50 years and over had experienced some form of age discrimination in the last two years. Of those who experienced age discrimination, 80 per cent reported negative impacts.

Commissioner Ryan said “Age discrimination is most commonly experienced when older people are out of a job and looking for paid work rather than while they are in a job or running a business”.

“Nearly three in five (58 per cent) of those who were out of a job and seeking paid work were a target of age discrimination.”

The survey found that the groups most vulnerable to experiencing age discrimination were typically people who were in a lower income bracket or in a single parent household.

Commissioner Ryan said the economic case for addressing age discrimination was “overwhelming”.

“It is urgent that we act to break down workplace cultures of age discrimination so older people are not only retained but also hired,” Commissioner Ryan said.

“With average life expectancies approaching 100 years in the foreseeable future, we need to realise that if people leave the workforce in their 50s due to discrimination, negative attitudes and the absence of pathways to retrain, they may have additional 40 or more years of life without paid work.

“I hope this research will be the catalyst for business leaders and policy makers to tackle age discrimination in the workforce and liberate the economic potential of older Australians.”

The survey was conducted for the Australian Human Rights Commission by Roy Morgan Research. The results were launched at Insurance Australia Group (IAG) in Sydney.

“It is in everyone’s interest to have a workforce that is adaptive of our ageing population,” IAG Chairman, Brian Schwartz said.

“We support the work of the Australian Human Rights Commission in addressing age discrimination and highlighting the benefits of providing for, and retaining, an ageing workforce.”

The survey is available online at

Launch of “Willing to Work Inquiry”

Today I had the pleasure of watching on YouTube the official launch of the “Willing to Work Inquiry” by the Australian Human Rights Commission. Led by Anti-discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan  the inquiry will tackle the problem of changing attitudes in the workplace to overcome employment discrimination toward mature age people over 55 and those with disabilities.

Currently only 16% of our national workforce is of mature age and Susan Ryan pointed out that “Research by Deloitte shows that increasing the older workforce by 5 per cent would bring an extra $48 billion annually to Australia’s GDP”

Even though there are laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of age or disability she said the challenges are not for stronger enforcement but to change attitudes of employers and change their perceptions of the value to their businesses of mature age workers. She said that numerous major corporations are embracing mature age and workers with disabilities and cited Westpac who now have 12% of their employees as people with a disability and Bunnings who have long had a policy of hiring older trades people into their retail customer service staff with positive results in feedback surveys from customers.

The Inquiry will be conducted at the request of the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, who attended and officially launched the Inquiry this morning. It will be led by the Age and Disability Commissioner, Susan Ryan. The inquiry will seek to identify the barriers that prevent people from working, and in consultation with employers, affected individuals and other stakeholders establish strategies to overcome these barriers.

“Willing to Work is most timely as employment rates for both older people and those with disability remain unacceptably low,” said Commissioner Ryan. While about a quarter of the population is older, they make up just 16 per cent of the workforce. Australians with a disability make up 15 per cent of the working age population, but only 10 per cent of them have jobs.

In response to questions from the media present, Commissioner Ryan commented that there are several entrenched beliefs among business managers about mature age workers, none of which are substantiated by evidence; things like, people over 50 are reluctant to adapt and change, they won’t learn new skills, they don’t relate to the younger staff and they get sick more often. These are the false impressions that must be overcome.

The Inquiry will shortly publish an issues paper, a call for submissions and plans for consultations around the country.
“We hope to engage employers of all sizes across public and private employment as well as older people and people with disability themselves and their representative organisations. We will have the cooperation of the relevant government departments. The common goal is to improve opportunities for those experiencing workplace discrimination and maximise human potential to the benefit of all of us,” said Ms Ryan.
The Inquiry will conclude and report by July 2016.

SilverTemp intends to participate in this inquiry with input from our experiences in finding work for seniors in the Northern Rivers of NSW

Ballina Council Ageing Plan almost complete

The Ballina Council Draft Ageing Plan is now on display for final input and commentary and it is a very comprehensive and interesting document that reflects the contributions of numerous community groups and individuals.

In short it recognises the need for seniors in our community to be included and active and able to make an ongoing contribution. After all there is a wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom which surely could be spread around for the benefit of younger generations and for the betterment of the community.

One segment of the ageing plan mentions volunteering which can be richly rewarding while keeping our mature age citizens socially engaged.

There was also a belief that we need to ensure there are opportunities for older residents to remain in and re-enter the workforce. Many of the participants felt there was often reluctance amongst employers to employ older residents. Promoting the benefits of employing older workers was seen as a possible means to increasing this engagement. Participants at our consultation suggested that employment opportunities in working with the aged will likely grow as there will be demand for services across the aged care spectrum in providing services to the aged. This will increase employment opportunities in the sector and this should be promoted.

Here at SilverTemp, we heartily agree but it is good to hear our sentiments embraced by a forward thinking plan to deal with the circumstance that face our ageing population going forward. In the area of employment SilverTemp has over 130 mature age women and men who are actively seeking part time employment and we have been successful in finding over 12000 hours of work for seniors since we began in 2010…a small step in the right direction we believe. If you need staff for an office situation  why not give us a call on 0448 244111….and have a wonderful day !

Are job seekers getting a fair go with their JSP?

I just watched the Four Corners program last evening and it makes for some very interesting viewing.

Apparently there are some 780,000 people seeking work but only about 150,000 jobs so people are getting parked in the system because it is too difficult for the job service provider to get a good financial outcome if they spend time trying to place them.

According to 4 Corners $1.3 billion goes into the Job Service Australia network of providers each year and another $ 600 million into training courses run by the training arms of the service providers….that’s a lot of money.

If you’re interested in finding out how much the job service provider gets from the government when you walk in their door to register and what they get paid beyond that to find you a job maybe it would be worth viewing the 4 Corners investigative report that went to air last night…You can view it on-line on ABC-iview … and it’s called The Jobs Game….Riveting stuff !!

The address is


What’s the cost of a bad hire ?

We all know that hiring the wrong employees can cost organizations a huge amount of money.

But here are some startling figures.

When it comes down to it, getting the right fit the first time matters a lot more than you thought it did.

Let’s look at the list of things that can add up when an appointment goes wrong.

(Based on hiring an employee on $52000. per year)

  • Hiring Costs include: (conservative estimates only)
    Advertising the position                                                                                          $500
    Reading resumes – 20 hours of your time @ $50 /hour                                         $1000
    Screening applicants and short listing – another 20 hours of your time                 $1000
    Interviewing the best 3 applicants – another 8 hours of your time                          $  400
    Checking references – phone conversations with referees = 3 hours                    $  150
  • Cost of maintaining the employee through three non-productive early months
    probably equates to 50% of 3 months wages – $52000/4 x 50%                             $6500
  • Disruption when they leave or are terminated = loss of productivity until
    replaced could easily equal the cost of those non-productive early months            $6500
  • Severance – payouts on departure = accrued leave entitlements, depending
    on length of employment could be at least another month’s wages                         $4300
  • Total                                                                                                                       $20350

Lost business is another variable that can vary with every business so
must be an add-on and
Replacement costs which must be incurred again

It is not inconceivable that a “bad hire” could be a $50,000 – 100,000 mistake and most business managers are not professional recruiters so chances are bad hires will occur from time to time.

So, how can a business avoid the “bad hire” risk?

One way could be to labour hire a casual for the first 3 months with a negotiable transfer fee to take the candidate on permanently at a later date. If the person works out well and fits with the culture of the business and other staff, this is low risk with no interviewing costs, minimal disruption if a changeover is required and no severance costs on departure. Savings are substantial and a professional recruitment is a virtual certainty…and it’s worth a thought.

Gen Y + Gen X + Gen WW = Productive Outcomes

‘Wisdom Workers’ offer businesses a unique approach and commitment. Heidi Holmes of Adage explains the benefits of hiring experienced 45 to 65 year olds.

Reproduced from adage blog…October 29, 2014

For the first time in history, four different generations could now find themselves working together. As we experience better health and a higher cost of living, many older workers find themselves continuing in the workforce past what was once considered the traditional retirement age.
Over the past decade, the Gen Y worker has definitely been the flavour of the month, with many employers having a preference to hire these educated, tech savvy and ambitious workers. Often this has been at the expense of older workers who are instead viewed as expensive, out of touch and difficult to work with.
We all know stereotypes are often inaccurate and this certainly holds true for the older worker. One of the biggest things potentially feeding this negative stereotype is in fact calling them older workers. From this point on I will refer to experienced 45 to 65 year olds as ‘Wisdom Workers’ and hopefully you will consider hiring one by the time you’ve finished reading this blog! However, I’m not just sharing why you should consider Wisdom Workers as part of your retention and recruitment strategy, but I want you to also consider how you can create a cohesive and productive workplace culture by harnessing the benefits which come from both age and youth.
Different approach to work
Of course it can only be expected that different generations have a different approach to work. However employers need really only be concerned with the output, not necessarily the methodology in getting there.
Through the benefit of hindsight, Wisdom Workers are able to draw upon the years of work and life experience to deliver a methodical and well thought out response to a problem. While it may take them a bit longer to deliver the solution, you can be sure they are also making a decision in the best interests of the employer and also potentially the customer. However, it is also important to have a workplace culture where ideas are encouraged to be shared and sometimes the unbridled thinking of a younger worker can generate some creative and innovative initiatives.
What is important for the employer or team leader to achieve is an environment where both generations are not only aware but also respectful of their colleagues’ different approach to problem solving.
It’s obvious to see the benefits here in a scenario where a creative idea is generated but the final polish can be added by the wisdom worker.
Gen Y + Gen X + Gen WW = Productive Outcomes

A recent study by Ernst & Young into the motivations relating to work across different age groups found those over the age of 50 are more likely to be motivated by the actual work they do rather than financial incentives or offers of work/life balance. However these were the very drivers that were more important to the younger worker. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be motivated by financial gain, however this does challenge the negative stereotype that mature workers are more expensive and that they have unrealistic financial expectations. It appears in fact the majority of Wisdom Workers are just grateful to have a job and given the high value placed on job security, will be highly motivated to perform that job to the best of their ability.
If you are 55 and faced with an average length of unemployment of 73 weeks, you can see how motivations quickly move from financial incentives to being a productive worker! Younger employees may also look to other incentives/perks in the workplace which are of little interest to Wisdom Workers such as a social club, break out space and access to social media.
However, Wisdom Workers can also be enticed with non-monetary rewards such as offering workplace flexibility. One such program we have seen to retain valuable wisdom workers is grand parental leave. This could simply mean being able to leave work at 3.00pm on a Wednesday and Friday to pick the grandkids up from school. SMEs are often in a better place to be able to offer such initiatives due to having more direct and open relationships with their employees and can use this to their advantage when competing with big business to retain their best and brightest people.
Embracing an intergenerational approach
The generational warfare has been done to death. Everyone is always looking to pit the different generations against each other. However, the truth remains that regardless of our generational classification we are all connected through work, friends or family. We all know someone from each generation who we admire, trust and respect so there is no reason why this mutual respect shouldn’t be transferred across to the workforce.
I believe it is Big Business which has largely driven this wedge between generations as they believe it is easier to recruit for workplace dynamics, rather than create it themselves. They often achieve this by hiring the same type of individual merely playing lip service to their so called diversity strategy! SMEs can’t hide behind an array of workplace promises and offers so are naturally drawn and open to new strategies to keep their dedicated workers happy and productive. As Australia’s largest employer, SMEs are often underestimated and their influence ignored when it comes to the impact they can have on our communities of long term unemployed and disengaged workers.
Through conversations we have at Adage with our SME clients, we know we are already preaching to the converted. Wisdom Workers present as attractive employees as they are often multi-skilled, open to doing tasks outside their job description and reward their employer with many years of dedicated service – all attributes highly valued by the SME employer.
Employers just need to make sure they are creating a workplace environment where everyone recognises the value each employee brings to the organisation, regardless of age.

Editor’s note: Silvertemp specialises is placing Wisdon Workers into part time administrative positions. We have over 150 Northern Rivers candidates for you to choose from…call us  on 0448 244 111

How to Gracefully Terminate an Employee

By Linda Richardson – reprinted from HubSpot – September 15, 2014

To terminate is to bring to an end. If you have ever had to figure out how to terminate an employee, you know things don’t get much harder or sadder. Most managers dread this part of the job more than any other.

Because of a sense of guilt, uncertainty about the decision, legal concerns, and excuse after excuse by the team member, many managers don’t let poor performers go. And when they do take action, almost every termination conversation is stressful.

But keeping poor performers on the team is a disservice to other team members, clients, the organization, and even to the person in question. Lower standards are infectious and can bring down the aspiration level of other team members, and poor performers often incite resentment. Taking action puts other low performers on notice, helps managers meet goals, and ensures clients get the value and care they need.

Time and time again I have been told by people and managers who have lost their jobs that the worst part was not the termination itself but how the message was delivered. To quote a colleague, “The message was dropped like a bomb.”

When it is time to let a team member go, the process you use — while it does not change the result — significantly alters the experience and reduces chances of litigation. Knowing how to terminate an employee properly makes managers more confident and compassionate and team members more accepting.

DO’s and DONT’S

Do: Prepare. Review the employee handbook. Consult with HR and legal on how to terminate an employee, and inform IT and security. Calculate final compensation and severance when appropriate, finalize all paperwork, and collect all materials and documentation.

Don’t: Have the termination conversation alone. Ideally include a colleague from HR or one of your peers as a witness.

Do: Set an appointment, ideally face-to-face in a private setting. Set the tone with a serious voice.

Don’t: Share the reason for the meeting. If asked, say that you prefer to have the discussion in person (or phone, if necessary) when there will be adequate time.

Do: Start with the punch line. The first message you deliver should let the person know that he or she is being let go.

Don’t: Change the decision unless new and compelling information is presented (this is not the norm).

Do: Lead coaching sessions and a final consequence coaching meeting in which you clearly spell out the objectives to be accomplished, the time frame to accomplish them, and most importantly the consequence if the objectives are not met — i.e. the person will lose their job. Document all sessions in writing prior to the termination meeting. If you do not have documentation, meet with HR and consider putting the person on a 30, 60, or 90 day performance plan.

Don’t: Surprise the team member. In fairness to the person, termination should never come as a surprise (unless it is due to an egregious act or part of corporate downsizing). Any element of surprise will cause resistance and resentment.

Do: Keep your explanation short but specific. For example, “We set X objective to be accomplished by [date] and it was not met. Your performance has not …” Detailed feedback should have been given in performance reviews and shortcomings worked on in coaching sessions. There are two reasons to keep the meeting short: 1) You do not want to get into an argument or long discussion — the decision has been made and is non-negotiable. While clear feedback is very important for growth, it should have already been given by this point. 2) There is no need to further hurt the person’s feelings. The employee may vent and ask questions, but just listen and repeat your concise message.

Don’t: Give a long list of failures. It will only put salt in the wound, create hard feelings, and provoke an argument.

Do: Follow company policy. Clearly define next steps, clarify the effective date (in many companies this means immediately), communicate severance, and identify who will accompany the team member to their desk. Offer any resources you are willing to provide.

Don’t: Apologize, but say you wish things had worked out differently and extend best wishes for the future. Avoid Friday terminations. Monday is actually better because the employee can start making contacts more easily during the week.

A Termination Model

While termination is often the best thing for the person, it’s hard for most people to recognize this at the time. I have always favored models as a way to put a more simple frame around things that are complex. Here’s a model to follow on how to terminate an employee:

  • Prepare for the conversation/prepare your organization.
  • Set an appointment.
  • State the decision at the start of the meeting.
  • Give a short, specific reason based on previous feedback and objectives set in the final consequence meeting.
  • Avoid rambling off a litany of the person’s failures.
  • Listen and repeat as necessary.
  • Clarify separation terms and next steps.
  • Provide necessary paperwork.
  • Express best wishes and hope for the future.

What this model does not address is the approach you take. Be as considerate as possible. Compassion and making sure nothing in the meeting is a surprise are the keys to avoid burning bridges.

Concerns about litigation have tempered termination conversations and added another dimension of stress to these already challenging conversations. Nevertheless, I think it is important to express at the conclusion that you regret things worked out as they did and wish the person success in the future. When thinking about how to terminate an employee, keep your message objective but your tone human.

I started with the definition of termination — to bring to an end. Professionally, that is what you are doing. But the emotional tone you set — one of caring and respect — will make a difference in the short- and long-run. No matter how bad the team member has been, show you have heart.