Catherine Gillespie's Blog (43)

Carer’s Leave and The Fair Work Act in the Workplace

Carer’s leave was introduced as an employee entitlement in the Australian workplace as part of the Fair Work Act. Under Section 97 of the Act:

An employee may take paid personal/carer's leave if the leave is taken:

(a) because the employee is not fit for work because of a personal illness, or personal injury, affecting the employee; or

(b) to provide care or support…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on July 21, 2017 at 12:36 — No Comments

What Is Acceptable Behaviour In The Workplace?

The idea of behaviour being acceptable or otherwise can, for some, be very subjective and often very personal. Sometimes it even depends on the environment and even ‘the times.’

Induction and hazing rituals once believed to be necessary to develop resilience and teach respect are now viewed as demeaning and in some situations constitute unlawful, criminal assault.

Violence for example, isn’t condoned on the streets yet, in the past it has often been encouraged and applauded on…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on July 18, 2017 at 10:32 — 1 Comment

WIN/WIN - A collaborative approach for workplaces series PART 1: Assertive Communication

Now more than ever our workplaces seem to be a place that exposes us to stressors and depending on our psychological health at the time, our reactions to stress can be varied. While each of us are responsible for how we react in every situation, you can play a significant role in communicating effectively to minimise the risk of others adversely reacting to your comments and instructions.

One strategy which will have a major positive effect on others in the workplace is for you to be…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on July 17, 2017 at 10:30 — No Comments

Are you ready to deal with your employee’s emotional storm?

Dr Anil Behal (@BehalDr) describes an emotional storm as “an incredibly powerful constellation of emotions and feelings that must be sorted and worked through”.

As HR Manager, you don’t need a psycho-therapeutic or psychoanalytic background to know that emotional employees can be quite destructive in the workplace – like a storm or cyclone raging over those around them…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on July 10, 2017 at 13:26 — No Comments

Mediation – a Restorative and Transformative Approach

Mediation is a well-known alternative dispute resolution method. However it is extremely under-utilised in the Australian workforce.

Many managers and employers dismiss disputes between employees as ‘trivial’ believing that their staff should ‘get over it’ and ‘grow up’. However if staff don’t have the skills to resolve such disputes – many cannot just ‘get over it’.

Instead of the problem ‘going away’, Workplace Conflict…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on July 5, 2017 at 15:42 — No Comments

Avoiding conflict around change





Many organisations have learnt that much time and effort must go into preparing for change. It is important to have certainty around the process or procedure that is being changed and clarity about how this will be presented to staff and then…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on June 22, 2017 at 13:34 — No Comments

Why Managers Dismiss Workplace Conflict

Workplace conflict between staff, if left unchecked, tends to escalate – but most managers have a natural inclination to dismiss it.

Employees are often promoted to management…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on June 21, 2017 at 13:30 — No Comments

‘Conflict is inevitable, combat is optional’



This quote from famous US author, Max Lucado rings so true for all conflict situations we can think of.

In all of life’s situations, it is how we chose to respond (and not react) that…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on June 20, 2017 at 17:02 — No Comments

6 Tips To Establish Assertive Management

Being able to communicate and manage in an assertive manner is a skill that takes practice and confidence.

Here are some tips for your behaviour, that will automatically see you being perceived by others as a more assertive communicator. These tips will help you feel more confident and will support your resolve to continue to practice being an assertive communicator.

Think of these tips like getting dressed in a suit or fashionable,…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on June 12, 2017 at 11:20 — No Comments

Supporting headspace to Tackle Youth Mental Health Issues

An extension of our work at Workplace Harmony Solutions is our support of organisations which tackle mental health issues. Last month we had the pleasure of hosting a table at a business luncheon for headspace, a national youth mental health foundation dedicated to improving the wellbeing of young Australians.

The Geelong branch is operated by Barwon Child, Youth and Family and funds raised at the…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on June 6, 2017 at 13:35 — No Comments

Smartphones, Meeting Etiquette and Workplace Conflict

We have all seen signs in stores and at service counters alerting customers they will not be served if they are talking on their mobile phone. We all know there is an etiquette associated with the use of mobile phones, but did you know the use of these devices could also be causing conflict in the workplace and potentially harming your career?

I have conducted a number of mediations in which discussion has moved to…

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Added by Catherine Gillespie on May 31, 2017 at 11:47 — 1 Comment

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

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