Unit 2 – Managing
performance for maximum return - FAQ
I want to take on an apprentice, but I don’t even know where to
begin to manage others
To manage others effectively we must first build skills in managing
ourselves and identifying our own reasons for travelling down a particular
path. First you need to think about what
are your own goals and what are the benefits to both you and your business for
each of these goals. Then it is important
to list what you believe your apprentices’ must focus on and strive for to
achieve in your business, as well as what the benefits of achieving those goals
are for them.
Communication between you and your apprentice is essential to ensure
that you discuss, negotiate and agree no these individualised goals for them to
focus on. Just like your own goals, the
apprentice’s focus must be personally motivating so that they view them as
worthwhile and dedicate their energy towards them. The apprentice’s participation in setting and
agreeing on the goals is critical for them to personally value the goal.
Once you are able to set these goals with your apprentice that are
mutually beneficial, you can then begin to discuss specific actions and
timeframes to begin achieving them.
Whilst there is much more to effectively managing others, ensuring you
are working towards common goals is one of the first steps.
How can I try to ensure that I get a good return on my investment
with an apprentice?
By committing to employing an apprentice you are investing money,
time, energy, expertise and passion for your business and trade, amongst other
things. It makes sense to want to get a
good return on that investment.
One way to ensure you get a successful return on your investment is
by building a supportive workplace environment where your apprentice can learn,
progress and apply their skills in a practical environment. An example of how you may be able to achieve
this supportive workplace is by establishing a buddy program. By linking your apprentice with other people
in their workplace, possibly colleagues close to their own age, you can assist
your apprentice in developing a sense of belonging that is imperative in their first
This ‘buddy’ can also help your apprentice to feel welcome, adjust
to the workplace, increase communication in your workplace and prepare other
staff for leadership roles within your business. The buddy system also helps to provide another
support for an apprentice within the workplace who is not the ‘boss’. Buddy relationships should be informal,
friendly and share experience and knowledge.
By providing the most supportive and friendly environment possible,
your apprentice has the best chance to successfully learn, apply skills and
remain loyal to your business, to ensure you a positive return on your
investment in them.
My apprentice just doesn’t seem to listen to me!
Workplace relationships rely heavily on communication. Effective communication is much more than
simply conveying information and ideas.
Talking or sending some sort of message does not become communication
until an understanding by the receiver takes place. Effective communicators are conscious of not
only the content of the message, but also the feeling attached to it.
There are many forms of communication – verbal, non-verbal, written
or through active listening. Successful
communicators apply their interpersonal skills through listening, speaking,
questioning, assertiveness, verbal and non-verbal communication.
To effectively communicate you need to know exactly what the message
is that you want to send and ensure that the receiver is listening attentively
to the information being conveyed. To
ensure that the receiver has received your intended message it is important to
ask questions to clarify their understanding.
It may also be appropriate to consider the method of communication
for your particular audience. Some
apprentices may respond well to verbal instruction, others may respond better
to other means of communication such as a physical demonstration of what to do,
perhaps a checklist for them to work through during the day or even written
instruction via email or text message.
If you do find yourself in a position where you find your current
method of communication is not achieving the results you want, it might be time
to think of trying something a little different.
I like to provide feedback to my apprentice, but how do I keep it
positive when they have done something wrong?
Being positive in the workplace can really impact your own and other
people’s self confidence and self esteem, and how other people perceive us.
It is important at work to be positive about the challenge the work
and business you are in provides, the opportunity the apprentice has to learn
new skills and knowledge, and that we show that we enjoy what we are doing and
the people we work with. This provides a
great foundation for our apprentice or trainee to build the same passion about
the work we are doing, and deliver the same behaviours in the workplace that
you are demonstrating.
When providing feedback to your apprentice on their performance, it
is important to consider how you communicate your message. Be sure to speak in a calm, relaxed and
confident tone without yelling, swearing and putting them down. It can also assist to try to separate the
person from the behaviour or action and communicate what you would like done
differently next time. For example, you
might say “what has happened here is that the length of timber has been cut too
short for what we need, next time it’s important to make sure that we double
check the measurements before we cut. If you are not sure, please check with me
I hear a lot of talk about what is ‘fair’ for apprentices – what is
it really about?
The concept of what is ‘fair’ is a major factor in whether
apprentices complete their trade, research has shown that once young people are
in an apprenticeship, there are four critical elements in their experience
against which they assess the essential ‘fairness’ of the apprenticeship:
- Good working conditions;
- Fair pay and progression;
- A good boss; and
- Real skills training.
(A Fair Deal - Apprentices and their
employers in NSW
, Integrated research report, November 2011, NSW Board of
Vocational Education and Training, pp. 29).
“If an apprentice wants to learn the trade,
is fairly realistic in their expectations about pay, working conditions and
training, knows what they are signing up for and knows what they are trading
off, they are more likely to stick with the apprenticeship and complete
If they understand what they are entitled to expect, what the deal is – and the
experience matches the expectation – they are much more likely to complete.
But if the employer fails to live up to
their side of the bargain – in terms of pay and working conditions, recognition
of achievement, training on the job and supportive workplace practices and
culture – then the apprentice is not getting a fair return for trading off some
benefits. They are likely to look for
something better – an apprenticeship with a better employer (and about half
do), a better job or a different pathway.
The work experience has not passed the fairness test”. (A Fair Deal - Apprentices and their
employers in NSW, Integrated research report, November 2011, NSW Board of
Vocational Education and Training, pp. 32).
By ensuring that you have open communication from commencement with
your apprentice on what you and they feel is ‘fair’ will assist in ensuring the
best possible chance of retaining the apprentice through to completion and
Young people just don’t seem to have the same work ethic as when I
was an apprentice
Often we question a young person’s work ethic when they do not do
things in the way we expect them to. To
help young people meet our expectations in the workplace we need to set the
scene early in our workplace relationship and make clear, in more than one
modality, what are required behaviour standards in our workplace. If you think something is important to you,
and have not yet advised your apprentice about this requirement, you are not
being fair to them or your business.
If it is important to you that an apprentice turns up 20 minutes
before the start of the day to set up tools or that they only use their mobile
phones during their break time, then it is essential to communicate this to
them at the earliest possible point in their employment. If the apprentice then fails to deliver
against your expectations you have a reference point for raising performance
issues with them.
By negotiating these expectations and ground rules upon commencement
of the apprenticeship, you and the apprentice can ensure you are on the same
page and the apprentice can take some ownership over the ‘ground rules’ as they
will have been part of the process of establishing what is acceptable and may
have negotiated some of their own needs as ground rules too.
What tools are there to help me better manage my apprentices performance?
Some vital tools that can assist you to better manage an
apprentice’s performance are documents such as a detailed position description
and clear, concise key performance indicators.
Position descriptions are valuable to communicate expected activities
and tasks to deliver required performance as well as encourage initiative and
creativity. Position descriptions also
help managers and business owners to do a better job of searching for and
interviewing employee candidates, as it allows you to build effective questions
for the interview process linked to the job role.
to view a sample position description.
Performance indicators or key performance indicator (KPI) is a
measure of performance. Such measures
are commonly used to help an organisation define and evaluate how successful it
is, typically in terms of making progress towards its long-term business goals.
They are a useful tool for crystallising and communicating what you
want your apprentice to achieve, and how they will be measured to enable you to
provide them with constructive and positive feedback, or identify where
corrective action is required.
Examples of Key Performance Indicators are below.
I. 100% completion of
tasks as directed by
your work Supervisor
within the required
I. Positive performance
and attitude feedback
from your supervisor –
II. Able to demonstrate
management in completing
the required tasks with
interruptions to self
and others – minimal
III. Telephone your
Supervisor prior to work
commencement time for
every absence (sick
or personal leave) – 100% of the time
I. Compliance with The
Business policies and
II. Compliance with
work method statements
III. Drive the Business
image and brand by
accordance with the Business
Code of Conduct at all
IV. Wear the Business
provided uniforms at all
times whilst at work
Learning and Growth for
I. Participate in
meetings and follow
II. Work with your
supervisor to ensure your
Plan is followed and
delivered in the
required time frame
III. Participate with a
positive attitude in your
own performance review
and when provided
IV. Staff satisfaction rate of 75% or higher
I am worried about my apprentice getting hurt at work and it costing
me a fortune.
Statistics show that young workers, aged between 15 and 25, are
being hurt or killed on the job every day.
To protect young workers employers
and managers must know the range of hazards in their workplace, and must
apply all the necessary control measures to ensure people are not injured or
made ill because of their work.
Employers must give young workers all the information they need,
supervision and thorough training to enable them to undertake their work in a
safe manner, provided with safe equipment and tools, and safe work
methods. It is important to remember
that workplace injuries may be physical and/or psychological.
A requirement of your workplace is that you have established
policies and procedures regarding safety, harassment and workplace bullying –
which protects your business, your apprentice and all other workers in the
business. Policies are another effective
workplace tool to ensure you communicate business expectations to everyone in
the workplace. Your policies don’t have
to be long. A short statement outlining
what your business stands for and expects is enough to communicate to the team
your stand on required issues, and which establishes requirements of behaviour
View a sample work place policy here
How do I best deal with conflict in my workplace?
Following some simple rules to discuss and resolve issues early is
critical to achieving resolution to conflict.
To achieve successful resolution of conflicts in the workplace we have
to dig past what is being said by individuals and uncover what the motivation,
fear or value is that is the real underlying issue.
Simple yet effective key strategies to ensure conflict is resolved
- Using active listening to
understand interests (listening, asking questions, reflecting, reframing,
- Understanding the problem
before seeking to resolve it. You need
to fix the problem not the symptom (which is the complaint or behaviour that is
causing the complaint).
- Focus on the issue/complaint
and acknowledge the feelings of the complainant.
- Stay ‘Above the Line’ – do not
lay blame but look at what has occurred, acknowledge the alleged event/s, and
work on what needs to be achieved for a positive and agreed outcome.
Click here for a summary of managing
performance for maximum return