Recent Question/Assignment

BSBSMB407 Manage a Small Team
Answers: For Trainer's Use Only
BSBSMB407A Manage a Small Team
Assessment Tool 1 Portfolio of Activities
Activity 1
1. Explain the terms 'staffing level' and 'staffing mix'.
2. Describe the employment arrangements you are likely to use to give your business flexibility with regard to staffing.
Activity 2
3. Explain why it is important to focus a TNA(training needs analysis) on the goals of the business.
4. Conducting a TNA is a useful exercise, even if the owner of the business is the only employee. Discuss this statement.
Activity 3
5. Define the terms 'policy' and 'procedure'.
6. Policies and procedures can help to ensure that the business achieves its goals. Explain why.
Activity 4
Create a job and person specification for a vacancy in your business. If there is no current vacancy, choose a hypothetical position that could become available in the future.
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BSBSMB407 Manage a Small Team
Answer is dependent on the type of vacancy; however, the job specification should include:
o name of the organisation
o title of the position
o department
• reports to
o overall responsibility
o key areas of responsibility, including specific tasks
o consults with (those who the person works with on a regular basis)
o term and nature of employment
o qualifications (necessary skills and experience required)
No file submitted
. 2
Nominate your preferred method for advertising a job vacancy and explain your reasons for choosing it.
Answers will depend on the participant's circumstances.
Methods can include:
• word of mouth
o shop/ office window notice
o job network
o contact local schools
o newspaper advertising
o online advertising
o place an advert on your website
o recruitment agency
o head hunting
. 3
Explain how job competencies differ from job tasks. Give an example of both.
Job tasks are the activities that a person will perform in the course of the job, for example clean a house. Competencies are the abilities needed to conduct those tasks or functions, for example arrive at properly to be cleaned at the designated time.
Activity 5
• 1
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Explain the advantages and disadvantages of using a panel to select staff.
Advantages include having several opinions, minimising the risk of discrimination/ bias, a wider range of questions can be asked Disadvantages can include the process taking longer, finding time for the panel to meet; it can be more intimidating for the applicants. In a small business there might simply not be enough people to make up a panel.
• 2
Describe a method of short-listing and interviewing candidates that compares each applicant to the specified job competencies.
Methods include:
o creating a checklist from the list of competencies and ticking off each item for each candidate
o weighting competencies or prioritising them according to perceptions of importance
o rating candidates on their strength of evidence or on test results
• 3
When interviewing short-listed candidates, what should the interviewer/s look for in each person's answer to determine their ability to complete the job competencies?
Interviewers should look for evidence that the person is competent rather than just accepting statements that they are. Evidence might take the form of examples, statistics, quotations, and outcomes.
Activity 6
• 1
Inductions are not needed in small businesses as people can just pick things up along the way. Discuss this statement.
Without a proper induction, business owners run the risk of new staff learning poor habits/ processes from other workers, offorgetting to pass information on and establishing a culture of mediocrity and potentially creating situations of legal noncompliance. Research shows that if a proper induction does not occur, there is a greater likelihood that new employees will not stay; of poor performance, poor cultural fit, and of poor OHS procedures being followed. Under OHS legislation, employers are obliged to provide suitable inductions.
• 2
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Create an induction checklist for your business.
An example of an induction checklist can be accessed here.
No file submitted
Activity 7
• 1
State at least 3 methods of ensuring that a worker knows their responsibilities and the performance standards expected of them.
Answer can include any 3 of the following or anj., similar answer:
o a written job statement
o an induction program
o buddying with a worker doing the same job to a high standard
o formal training
o performance review interviews
o one-on-one discussions re performance criteria (Key Performance Indicators)
• 2
Describe the benefits of coaching an employee who is unfamiliar with the job requirements.
Coaching can help team members understand what is expected of them and develop an awareness of the business goals that their work supports. It can build-up the employee's confidence and competence. A coach will demonstrate, to the new employee, what must be done and will aid them in learning the skills they need. The coach will allow the employee to practice so they know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. The coach will give positive and constructive feedback about performance.
In this way they will be able to let the employee know what needs to improve and can affirm and reinforce good performance.
Coaching can promote individual and team excellence by encouraging employees to self-manage and self-monitor their work They can learn to assess their own strengths and improvement requirements and identify thethe knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will make them valued employees.
Activity 8
• 1
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BSBSMB407 Manage a Small Team
Discuss the benefits of following a systematic approach to training and development.
A systematic approach involves conducting relevant TNAs and targeting training appropriately. It involves demonstration and explanation of tasks, followed by opportunities to practice, receive feedback and be tested for competence. In this way the learning process becomes easy to follow, can cater for learning preferences and is likely to be effective.
If training is synchronised with the overall business aims, does not duplicate previous
training or cover existing skills or cover unnecessary skills, it will benefit both the learner and the business.
• 2
Informal training methods, such as discussion, are sometimes not considered to be as valid as formal methods. Give an example of an informal training method that is or could be used to train team members in your business.
Specific to the participant's business, but examples include:
o coaching
o mentoring
o demonstration
o work shadowing
o buddy system
Activity 9
• 1
Summarise the obligations an employer has to employees.
Some obligations are to:
o pay correct wages
o reimburse your employees for work-related expenses
o provide correct leave entitlements
o ensure a safe working environment
o not act in a way that might seriously damage an employee's reputation or to cause mental distress or humiliation
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o not act in a way that damages the trust and confidence necessary for an employment relationship
• not provide a false or misleading reference
o forward PAYE tax instalments to the tax office
o pay required worker's compensation levies
o make appropriate payment under the superannuation guarantee legislation
• 2
Where might a small business employer find the necessary information to meet their obligations with regard to the following:
a. Payment of correct wages.
b. Provision of correct leave entitlements.
c. Provision of a safe working environment.
d. Forwarding PAYE tax instalments to the taxation office.
e. Making appropriate payment under the superannuation guarantee legislation.
f Workplace ombudsman, AIRC, industrial relations authorities in relevant state/ territory, local chamber of commerce.
g. Workplace ombudsman, AIRC, industrial relations authorities in relevant state/ territory, local chamber of commerce.
h. WorkCover authority in relevant state/ territory.
i. ATO, a reputable and experienced tax adviser, local chamber of commerce.
j. ATO a reputable and experienced tax advisor, local chamber of commerce.
Activity 10
• 1
For what reasons might employees under-perform at work?
Answers can include any or all of the following:
o the employee does not know what is expected because goals and/or standards are not clearly explained and have not been agreed upon
o workplace policies and procedures are not clear or have not been set
o consequences of under performance have not been made clear
o there is a mismatch between the employee's capabilities and the job they are required to undertake
o the employee does not know if they are doing a good job or not because there is no feedback on performance
o the employee does not have the skills or knowledge (competence) to do the job expected of them
o the employee has not received appropriate induction and workplace training
o lack of personal motivation
o low morale in the workplace and/or poor work environment
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o hierarchical structures that actually impede work
o personal issues such as family stress, health, problems or drug and alcohol issues
o workplace conflict
• 2
One of your employees has been under-performing. The employee is young and inexperienced. Unfortunately the poor performance of this person is affecting the performance and the morale of other people in the workplace. This is a problem that must be addressed and resolved quickly. Explain, in detail, how you would go about addressing this problem.
Performance counselling — after collecting and collating the relevant, objective information about the issues would be required.
It would be necessary to:
o identify and document the problem
o use concrete and specific terms to describe the problem
o assess and analyse the problem in terms of work outcomes and peiformance standards
o negotiate a meeting time and place with the employee
o at the meeting explain the problem in terms of performance standards and improvement needs
o ask how you can help the employee improve
o work together on improvement strategies and draw up a plan or contract
o explain the consequences if improvement does not occur
o follow-up — monitor and review
Document and record all of the counselling steps.
. 3
What records should be kept when an employee receives performance counselling?
All of the following:
o performance records relating to the problem or issues, including complaints made by customers, suppliers or other staff members
o records relating to communication of and agreement on employment/ performance standards
o documentation relating to verbal discussion and improvement suggestions made on the floor
o any written correspondence notifying the employee of under performance
o correspondence requesting a performance counselling meeting
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o notes taken at the meeting by an impartial observer (possibly a HR person), including the employee's point of view
o copies of the agreed improvement plan and its validation by the employer and employee
o records of all follow-up actions taken - meetings etc
o records of employee performance over the nominated improvement time/s
• records of feedback and reinforcement given, including dates
o actions taken with regard to the following:
• time off
• transfer to another team, department or section
• retraining for other positions
• job re-engineering
• professional counselling
• issuance of formal warnings
• dismissal (provided the necessary industrial relations formats are followed)
Ifformal warnings are issued, these must be recorded and held in the organisation and
the employee's files.
Termination notices, if applicable, must also be held.
Records should be secure and confidentiality must be maintained. SECTION 4: MAINTAIN STAFF RECORDS
Activity 11
• 1
What information might be held in an employee's personnel file?
Personnel files could hold the following information:
o name and contact details of employee
o wages and employment conditions
• date employment commenced
o tax file number (and/ or ABN)
o next of kin/ emergency contact
o job/ position descriptions
o formal qualifications
o training undertaken and completed
o promotions, transfers or secondments
o leave arrangements
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BSBSMB407 Manage a Small Team
o taxation and superannuation arrangements
o police checks (where relevant)
o payments made — eg wages, taxation and superannuation — overtime
o absentee times/ dates
Records of performance evaluations, career counselling, performance counselling, disciplinary actions, accidents, illness and OHS incidents and records relating to worker's compensation might also be contained, where applicable, in an employee file.
. 2
Conduct some research of your own and describe how the national Privacy Act impacts on the type and amount of employee information an employer can collect, record, store, use and disseminate.
Answer will be dependent on participant's research.
In general terms, however, the research will support the following:
The national Privacy Act must be understood by all employers. It dictates the type and amount of information, about employees, that can be collected by employers. It also dictates what can be recorded, used, stored and disseminated. In most cases, only information that directly relates to an employee's work and conditions of work can be recorded. This includes necessary personal information, such as contact details and emergency contacts and in some cases, sensitive health details that relate to work. These records must be protected from unauthorised access. This means that unless the
employee gives consent, the information held in their files cannot be sold or passed on to others (unless exceptions under the Privacy Act, applying to public health and safety come into force). For instance, if an employee terminates their employment and moves on to another job, information contained in the employee's personnel file, cannot, unless the employee gives written permission, be passed on to the new employer.
Activity 12
* 1
Maintaining security and confidentiality of personnel and payroll records is essential. Describe how you will monitor your systems to ensure that this occurs.
Answer will be specific to the participant's circumstances but could include: reviewing the user log and matching it against typical use frequency, running queries to detect unusual/ unauthorised activity, listening to office talk, physically examining hard copy files to ensure they are in order and no unauthorised amendments have been made.
. 2
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When might it be appropriate for a business to seek specialist advice with regard to personnel records and payroll management?
Large companies will usually have in-house accountants and payroll clerks. However, middle size to small companies might find it cheaper and more expedient to outsource financial management to an accountant or firm of accountants or to utilise a payroll management company. This will alleviate the need to employ a payroll clerk or records manager and will possibly reduce some of the costs associated with in-house management of these functions. It will also mean that the organisation will have regular access to specialist advice and will know that the information they receive is relevant and current.
In small organisations where there are no employees with the necessary skill, it might be more expedient to outsource than to train an employee who should be spending their time doing other tasks.
The benefits of additional services, such as printing group certificates, is also a cost-saving andfives up personnel to undertake other duties.
Activity 13
. I
Why should the owner of a business initiate a performance review program?
It is essential that all personnel involved in a business undergo regular performance reviews — this includes owners. Undertaking a review provides an opportunity to revisit the business plan and to assess whether you have the skills, knowledge, attitudes and abilities to be able to meet your SMART goals. It allows you to quickly take corrective action i fgaps are detected. Subjecting yourself to a performance review on a regular basis provides a good role model for your staff and helps to create a climate of continuous improvement. It also allows staff the opportunity to provide you with constructive feedback about your management and leadership skills and about the business systems that have been set up. If these are not operating well, the evaluation process can point to the areas in need of change/ improvement. Customer and supplier information will also let you know how you and the business are perceived in the marketplace.
• 2
List the critical elements of a performance review meeting.
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They include:
o review the objectives set previously
o let the employee talk about how they feel about their performance
o discuss specific performance against KPIs
o give feedback using concrete examples
o give motivational and correctional feedback
o talk about career aspirations, goals and development needs
o create and agree on a development plan
o set objectives for the next appraisal period
o agree on the performance ratings, the development plan and the objectives for the next period
o offer opportunities for the employee to give feedback and make suggestions for improvement
Activity 14
• I
Explain the importance of regularly monitoring staffing levels/ ratios.
It is essential to monitor staffing on a continual basis, as too many staff will result in unnecessary costs to the business, whilst too few staff can negatively impact on product/ service quality, customer care and/or legislative compliance.
• 2
List the factors that have the potential to affect the staffing of your small business.
Answer will depend on the nature of the participant's business, but could include:
o seasonal fluctuations
o peak times of day
o weather
o holidays/ public events
o factors affecting suppliers, eg strikes
o advertising/ promotional campaigns
o training and experience of staff
o staffing mix
• 3
Explain how you will or do determine the best staffing levels for your business_ Answer will depend on the nature of the participant's business.
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BSBSMB407 Manage a Small Team
Activity 15
• Create a list of 5 things you can do to recognise or reward staff achievement. Include tangible and non-tangible rewards. Discuss what each costs you and its benefits to your business.
Answer depends on participant's experience. Tangibles are things like pay or benefits, non-tangibles are business culture related.
No file submitted
Activity 16
• Why is consultation and collaboration necessary?
The more employees are involved in decision making the more likely it is that they will accept ownership and support changes. Consultative processes give decision-makers access to a wider range of inputs.
Activity 17
• 1
What is a contingency plan?
A contingency plan is a plan for action prepared in anticipation of an incident that is unexpected or extreme. It is a Plan B that is intended to reduce the impact and mitigate the effect of an emergency or major problem that could interrupt production.
• 2
List 3 areas of risk for which your business will develop a contingency plan.
Specific to the participant's business but could include:
o occupational health and safety
o staffing
o customer demand
o suppliers
o IT
o workloads
o accidents
o fire/ theft
o emergencies
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Activity 18
. 1
Describe the observable behaviour that you might see in a team that enjoys a positive and constructive relationship.
Answer can include but is not limited to the following behaviours: team members help each other out, they raise ideas and suggestions, work together to perform tasks and solve problems. They enjoy their work and willingly put extra discretionary effort into tasks. They are enthusiastic about achieving work goals.
• 2
List 5 behaviours that help to establish and maintain positive and constructive relationships between team members.
Behaviours could include:
o tell people how you feel
o let people know what you know about the business
o keep confidential information to yourself
o be perceived as working for the organisation's interests rather than just your own
o stand up for the rights of others
o act in a reliable and dependable manner
o keep promises
o disclose information about yourself
o cooperate with others
o behave consistently
o express warmth and acceptance
Activity 19
• Discuss the advantages of setting both individual and team objectives.
Each individual in a workplace should have work goals and objectives. This enables them to direct their energy and their work in terms of specific achievement. Teams must also have objectives and goals.
Setting team goals can tap into the synergy created by effective teams and allow the
business to achieve things that would not be achieved by individual workers or by
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groups. They can help bond a team together as long as the team dynamics are strong and the goals are SMART.
If the goal-setting process does not occur, then work will be undirected, chaotic and unlikely to achieve business goals.
Activity 20
• How can the strengths and weaknesses of teams be assessed and how should assessment results be used?
Performance can and should be monitored and assessed against predetermined benchmarks and performance standards — the team KPIs that were agreed upon. Where performance does not meet the required standards or output expectations, then further probing should be conducted to determine why. Where team weaknesses are exposed, strategies must be put in place to overcome them. These might include restructuring of teams, adding new team members, moving existing team members into other teams/ groups, providing training for all team members, changing the organisation's support systems etc.
By the same token a team's strengths might be demonstrated if they perform at higher levels than those expected (by KPIs). These strengths should be exploited and capitalised on. They should be examined and the skills and experiences that contribute to them should be used to design and develop improvements in performance areas that are not so successful.
Activity 21
. 1
List some likely impediments to reviewing work operations if specific times are not allocated.
Everyone is too busy, hard to find a common time where everyone is free, becomes a low priority as it is not urgent.
. 2
Describe the methods that you will use in your business to schedule team reviews and nominate the frequency with which they will happen.
Answer will be specific to the participant's circumstances, but an example is: weekly staff meetings at 9.30am on Monday's where all staff are encouraged to share insights, quarterly meeting to review operational performance against KPIs and a yearly 2-day strategic planning session to be held off site.
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Activity 22
• 1
Explain why teams that are empowered to monitor their own performance are beneficial to a small business.
The business will benefit by having motivated, engaged employees. This is likely to translate into higher productivity, increased discretionary effort and a focus on performance standards, quality work outcomes and achievement of business goals. By empowering team members to make decisions, to self-monitor and evaluate, to suggest and participate in professional development opportunities, the business establishes and maintains a culture of continuous improvement. Employees feel valued and valuable and, in a team context, will be able to achieve much more than a group of individuals working in the same organisation.
• 2
To get the best out of the people with whom you work with or who work for you it is necessary to provide suitable supports. How do you think you can best do this in your business?
Answer should include awareness of the fact that employers who wish to be successful should:
o believe in people
o respect people
o know who the people they employ are
o provide a safe and secure workplace
o minimise workplace stress
o value employees and their contribution and be seen to do so
o expect the best from people (you will get it)
o maintain a climate of shared goals
o support the goal achievement of others and recognise individual goals
o create a positive, supportive and humanistic workplace culture
o encourage active cooperation between people and between work groups (or teams if teams are used)
o provide feedback and share results
o find out what people want from you and from the organisation
o communicate openly and honestly — and support open communication at all levels of the business
o celebrate achievements
o encourage change, improvement and innovation
o support and guide people through change
o share information
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o pay a fair wage —without exploiting people
o ensure that all employees receive the training they need to have confidence in their own abilities
Activity 23
• An employee gives notice due to ill health. Six months later you hear he/she is working at the local hardware, part time, as a sales assistant. Would you include him/her in your staff turnover figure? Discuss reasons where you would and would not include him/her.
If the reason for leaving is legitimate and the employee has recommenced work due to a change in circumstances then you would not include him in the turnover figure. If the illness was an easy way out when giving notice you would include him in the figures.
You own and operate a hair dressing salon. At the start of the year you had 8 cutters. At the end of the year you still had 8 but 4 girls are new, replacing others who left during the year. One of the girls who left resigned to have a child Another left because she heard you were going to close the business, although that is not the case. Calculate the turnover rate.
Average staff = (8 + 8)/2 = 16/2 = 8
Turnover = 3x100/8 = 37.5%
If you don't include the girl who left because she thought she would lose her job through redundancy
Turnover = 2x100/2 = 25%
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BSSSMS407 Manage a Small Team
Written / Oral Questions
Develop staffing plan
How can you assess the need for new staff in a business, and how might you assess the
required skill set for the personnel required?
The skill set of existing personnel might be examined and any gaps might warrant an additional employee. Gaps would rate to business outputs and to customer satisfaction. If there are problems, bottlenecks or customers are dissatisfied, then appointment of new staff might be necessary.
Staffing requirements should be documented in the business plan and should be driven by current and future job tasks.
Tasks and forecast roles should be examined, mapped against business needs and documented in terms of what needs to be done, how it should be done and when it will need to be done. This will give a job outline. From the job outline it should he possible to determine the skill set required by a new employee.
. 2
Recruit, induct, train and retain the team
What legal and organisational requirements should you include/ follow when writing a
job specification and selecting and employing candidates?
Aspects to be included in a job specification include:
o name of the organisation
o title of the position
o department
o reports to (to whom the person directly reports)
o overall responsibility
o key areas of responsibility, including specific tasks
o term and nature of employment
o qualifications — necessary skills and experience required
o desired skills and experience
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When selecting candidates it is a legal requirement that you do so in a manner that is free from direct or indirect discrimination. It is strongly recommended that selection is conducted against a clearly defined set of competencies.
. 3
Comply with industrial relations obligations
How would you ensure that both the employees and the employer's legal obligations are
addressed in a counselling session?
Provide written notice to the employee of the industrial relations issue and the date and time of the meeting. Allow them to bring a support person. You can also ask an independent person such as a HR manager to be present. Outline the nature of the problem, its extent and why it is a problem. Give the employee the opportunity to respond. Clearly state standards required and jointly agree on course of action to achieve them. Provide agreement in writing to employee and retain all records in the employee's personnel file. Monitor performance and reward the employee if they improve their performance. Repeat counselling or escalate if they do not.
. 4
Maintain staff records
What privacy issues must be considered when maintaining and providing human
resource information, and what procedures do you have that address these issues?
Privacy issues include: keeping the number of personnel with access to files to a minimum, ensuring no unauthorised access, ensuring that only appropriate information is kept, allowing employee access to their file, keeping records for the legislated period of time, disposing of old records securely.
Procedures will be specific to the participant's business.
. 5
Manage staff
How will you ensure that your staffing is appropriate? That is, you have the optimal levels and mix of staffing, that each person is doing the most appropriate tasks and is meeting their KPIs and that you have staffing contingency plans in place.
Regularly review the performance of the business to ensure that staffing is optimal for demand This can be done by examining KPIs and by general observation. Regularly review the contributions of self and all other team members to ensure that they are meeting personal KPIs and are allocated to the most appropriate tasks. Encourage staff to provide thoughts and comments on how tasks could be performed more efficiently by having open door policy, suggestion box or scheduled discussion sessions. Risks to
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staffing are identified early and are constantly monitored. Contingency plans are devised, tested and implemented when required.
• 6
Review team performance
Teams can actually work against each other if they are not managed well. How can you ensure that the teams within your business work together? What information should be included in staff performance feedback systems?
Positive and constructive relationships should be developed amongst team members and a culture of trust and openness cultivated. Every person should be involved in the setting of business goals so that they have a sense of ownership over them and are supportive. Each person in the team should be aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses and tasks allocated accordingly. They should be encouraged to regularly review themselves as well as the team as a whole. This can be done by regularly scheduling time for the team to discuss performance.
BSB40407 Version 1

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