Catherine Gillespie's Blog (32)

Guidelines for Conducting In-House Workplace Mediations

Just as a meeting agenda keeps a meeting on track, a mediation meeting framework ensures that all important steps are covered and important discussion items are raised and addressed. This framework can provide structure and confidence for a less experienced mediator.

One of the most important tips I can offer you is not to rush the workplace mediation meeting. It is a common error to rush the meeting and this…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on May 24, 2017 at 10:54 — No Comments

Leadership On and Off the Field - A Conversation with Tim Cutler

While in Hong Kong recently I had the opportunity to have a chat with Tim Cutler, CEO of the Hong Kong Cricket Association to discuss leadership and the role of leaders in sport and business.

As a former Australian Netball representative, former consultant to the Malaysian Netball Leadership team, and current Business and Sports Coach, I’ve always seen the connection between…
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Added by Catherine Gillespie on May 22, 2017 at 11:30 — No Comments

Mental Health In The Workplace With Georgie Harman, CEO of beyondblue

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Georgie Harman, CEO of beyondblue about the actions that contribute to mentally healthy workplaces.

I recorded the discussion which you can listen to here and/or, take a look at some of the notes taken from the recording below.

beyondblue provides access to information, tools, help lines and other support…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on May 16, 2017 at 13:30 — No Comments

When is Workplace Mediation Needed?

The majority of workplace conflict is interpersonal conflict arising from miscommunication, misunderstanding and inappropriate behaviours. In some cases, but not all, workplace mediation may be required to resolve the conflict.

There will always be some type of conflict in the workplace because our communication skills are not always effective and constructive, we tend to misunderstand each other’s actions and intentions and sometimes behaviours are not appropriate…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on September 20, 2016 at 17:44 — No Comments

Whose responsibility is it to ensure staff are happy at work?

We are all aware of the research that points to greater engagement of and productivity by staff if they are happy at work. But whose responsibility is it to ensure staff feel happy at work?



Much of the literature I have read on this topic seems to indicate it is the employer’s responsibility to provide a workplace in which employees can be happy.



In the book, ‘The Art of Happiness: A handbook for living’ the Dalai Lama stated:…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on August 31, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments

Workplace Mediation – the Benefit of Participation

At times we can feel overwhelmed by the frustration or hurt we believe has been caused by a colleague who has shown a lack of consideration, displayed inappropriate behaviours, used offensive language or is just not ‘playing fair’ as part of a team. Repeated small incidents plant the seed for workplace conflict. With no resolution strategy, the gap between you and your colleague widens and your emotions more strongly influence your perspective on the…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on March 25, 2016 at 10:30 — No Comments

Reoccurring conflict is not grounds for dismissal unless…

by Catherine Gillespie

This blog looks at what can we learn from a Fair Work Commission decision dated 5 December 2014. The case was Jacqueline Lumley v Bremick Pty Ltd Australia t/a Bremick Fasteners (C2014/5516).

Reoccurring conflict between the same two parties may be grounds for dismissal if all reasonable steps have been taken to resolve the matter underpinning the conflict, but the conflict is continuing.

All reasonable steps would…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on March 24, 2016 at 15:34 — No Comments

Addressing Personal Use of Social Media in the Workplace

There is no longer a clear divide between an employee’s work and private life.

Are your employees aware that their employer may:

  • Monitor personal activity on any piece of technology which accesses work systems or is directly provided by the business?
  • Evoke a formal disciplinary process if the employee attends to personal matters (i.e. engaging in private matters) when they are being paid to work?

Employee’s Right to…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on February 19, 2016 at 10:30 — No Comments

The Lion’s Whisker

Once upon a time in a small village lived a manager who oversaw the staff who worked on the land for the local Lord. Unfortunately, the manager was not happy. So one day the manager secretly sought the advice of the local sorcerer.

“I need a spell” the manager said. “My workers are tired and disinterested and work productivity is down. I cannot get them to work hard. They hate me and sometimes, sadly, I hate them.  No one is happy,” he said.

The sorcerer understood and offered…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on February 9, 2016 at 12:41 — No Comments

Productivity Commission Draft Report: Workplace Relations Framework

It is important for HR Practitioners to be aware of the inquiry into Australian Workplace Relations as changes put forward by the Productivity Commission could lead to changes in the Independent Contractors Act 2006 and Fair Work Act 2009 (FWA).

Federal Treasurer, The Hon Joe Hockey MP, requested the Productivity Commission undertake an inquiry into the workplace relations framework.

As a result a draft report has been released which can be downloaded from…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on September 14, 2015 at 14:13 — No Comments

Unfair dismissal upheld for disciplinary action without procedurally fair investigation or disciplinary process

The recent case of Poultry Harvesting Pty Ltd, highlights how a justifiable reason for dismissal does not meet the requirements of a fair dismissal if a fair process has not been followed.

In this case ([2015] FWC 3126) a worker was sacked for allegedly being intoxicated while at work and causing the death of 50 chickens. The decision to enforce the disciplinary action of summary dismissal was determined purely from listening to the witness of a co-worker. The co-worker believed the…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on June 4, 2015 at 15:20 — No Comments

Grievance procedures: should a complaint be made in writing?

A complaint or grievance should not be considered valid only when an employee puts their concerns in writing. It used to be considered ‘dangerous’ for a manager or HR to act on an informal complaint that was not in writing. Having seen examples of this in practice, I consider it more dangerous for the manager to know of the situation but have a ‘hand’s off’ approach, justifying this by saying, ‘there’s nothing in writing’.

It is good practice to ask a staff…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on May 25, 2015 at 14:30 — No Comments

Grievance handling procedures: informal complaints – should managers give them ‘airtime’ or not?

With respect to taking notice of informal complaints and where they fit in the context of grievance handling procedures –there are three types of manager:

  1. Those who, when listening to staff, just hear comments but don’t consider them as grievances;
  2. Those who, when listening to staff, hear a concern and hold further discussions; and
  3. Those who, when listening to staff, hear repeated whinging, leading to the manager trying to avoid such…
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Added by Catherine Gillespie on May 18, 2015 at 15:20 — No Comments

Why Negotiation & the Resolution of Conflict Can Often Elude Us (…and how Strategic Thinking Leadership Can Help)

When embroiled in a problem – there is usually something at stake – maybe something intangible like ego/pride, justice/fairness or something more evident like financial or material gain. ‘Having a stake’ in the outcome causes bias, limiting perceptions and therefore possibilities in the way options for solutions can be generated, considered, discussed and agreed upon.

An emotional attachment to the problem and outcome inhibits activity in the pre-frontal cortex (or problem solving…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on May 6, 2015 at 10:30 — No Comments

5 common mistakes made during the workplace investigation process

Commentary by Elisa Walerys, WPCR Employee Relations Specialist

Workplace investigations require a thorough, unbiased and procedurally fair approach. There are common mistakes made during all phases of the investigation process that can put the integrity of the investigation at risk.

#1 – Not being responsive

Taking too long to respond to a complaint can lead to a bigger issue developing and the risk of legal intervention. An employer has a duty…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on April 20, 2015 at 16:30 — 1 Comment

Bullying and reasonable management action

Let’s not confuse performance management and disciplinary action

This confusion is based on an historical and outdated concept. It’s what I call the ‘old paradigm’of performance management.

Performance management is the management of performance or behaviour.

This should be happening on an ongoing, informal and daily basis as manager’s work alongside their staff. It is a manager’s role to continually monitor and assess capability,…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on March 30, 2015 at 12:10 — No Comments

How important is the role of a Return to Work Coordinator? It could be a life or death matter.

Q: How important is the role of a Return to Work Coordinator?

A: Important enough that their work can minimise the risk of suicide following a work related injury.

In a recent case heard in the Northern Territory Magistrate’s Court –  the family of a worker who committed suicide, as a result of suffering depression following a…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on February 5, 2015 at 14:28 — No Comments

Why it is important to follow up on minor breaches of policy and procedure

This post is contributed by Workplace Conflict Resolution’s Legal Commentator, Tiffany Healy

Minor Breaches of Policies and Procedures and Patterns of Behaviour: Where Do the Parties Stand?

There are many benefits to implementing policies and procedures in the workplace. One of these benefits includes…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on July 16, 2014 at 12:41 — 1 Comment

Inconsistency and Double Standards: Traps When Managing Inappropriate Behaviour in the Workplace

Written by Tiffany Healy, Workplace Conflict Resolution Legal Commentator

There exists a diverse range of personalities to manage in the workplace. In order to maintain a cohesive and harmonious working environment, it is in management’s best interests to recognise and celebrate this diversity. However, an employer’s tailored…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on June 29, 2014 at 22:51 — No Comments

What is the role of a support person in a disciplinary conversation?

This post is contributed by Workplace Conflict Resolution’s Legal Commentator, Tiffany Healy

One of the most challenging tasks an employer must face is managing and disciplining their employees. Employers are often confronted with situations where they are required to convene meetings to discuss sensitive issues including managing the performance of an employee, discussing…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on June 2, 2014 at 21:23 — No Comments

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