Psychology Melbourne Blog

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Eight tips for improving your business in 2016

Edited by Jill Wright,

The start of a new year is a great time to review your business plan and refine your objectives and goals. Psychology Melbourne Corporate Psychologist Gavin Sharp has some great ideas that will help you get off on the right foot in 2016:

Managing a successful business is usually about being able to manage people effectively, from recruiting the right people to rewarding and recognising staff achievements.

Here are eight top tips to help you make 2016 a successful year:

1. Select well by looking at a wide range of factors
When making a hiring decision, don’t rely solely on your gut feeling. That’s been proven to lead to unreliable results. Make sure you consider a wide range of factors, including the skills/knowledge inherent to the role, fit for the organisation and attitude of the candidates.

2. Use assessments tools when making decisions
Make sure you determine potential candidates or employees for promotion (or other roles) by using a range of assessment tools, including behavioural interviewing, asking open-ended questions, reference checks and assessment. Psychometrics can assist in all manner of appointments, improving selection accuracy considerably.  But, like gut feel, psychometrics should not be the only decision criteria.

3. Induct your staff
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good induction process. How often have you heard someone say: ‘I got thrown in at the deep end’, ‘I thought my role was something different to what it turned out to be’, ‘I didn’t get introduced to anyone’? Having a good induction process means that new employees will understand your business better and be able to add value much quicker.

4. Support your staff

Don't shoot first and ask questions later. Staff have a right to be supported, so learn how to ask open-ended questions such as "What can I do to support you?" Provide a good balance (70/20/10) of on-going professional development through training, coaching or mentoring. 

5. Promote a culture of flexibility
You can promote a culture of flexibility and support in your company by not “locking” staff into their roles with tight boundaries. Don’t let people dictate what they can or won’t do according to their job description. Instead you should focus on allowing staff to develop skills and grow in their roles.

6. Performance manage when necessary
You’ll be challenged by some staff appropriately and sometimes not so appropriately. Don’t avoid having tough but constructive conversations with staff around performance. There are two aspects to performance: one is to meet the objectives of the role (KPIs), the other is to demonstrate professional and respectful behaviour and attitude in doing so. You have a responsibility to ensure that staff not only continually meet the requirements of their roles, but also that they demonstrate company values in doing so.

7. Reward and recognise
A common complaint from staff to management is ‘You tell me when I do wrong, but I don’t often get told when I’ve done well.' Naturally we all want to address mistakes, but sometimes we forget to show appreciation. Rewarding and recognising doesn’t have to take a lot of effort of time. Sometimes it’s as easy as taking someone out for a celebratory coffee to recognise their achievements or contributions.

8. Make sure the exit process is respectful
It doesn’t matter whether it’s termination, redundancy or resignation, your exit process should be based on respect. The way a business exits a staff member says more about the business than the staff member, irrespective of what you may think of the staff member. Take the helicopter view - what do others make of an exit where a person is shown no recognition that they are leaving and staff are not informed? Be mindful that we are human and people do appreciate exiting as gracefully as possible. I know of at least three ‘terminations’ where the person was given a send-off morning tea and career transition support! And that helped everyone get on with business as usual after they departed.

For more information

Psychology Melbourne offers an extensive range of corporate psychological services.

Talk to us now about your needs. Contact our reception team on 1300 161 639 or email


About the editor, Jill Wright

Jill Wright (MAPS, AAFT, AICD) is the Director and Principal Psychologist at Psychology Melbourne. Jill was twice elected General Director of the Australian Psychological Society and established the APS Victorian branch Study Group Network. Find out more about Jill Wright.

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