In case you missed it: Managing employee performance

Hi Everyone,

Many thanks to Tani Hansen from Everest Group for coming along to Business @ the Library on Wednesday to discuss managing employee performance. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s a quick summary of Tani’s main points.

What is poor performance?
Poor performance can be broadly defined as the employee not meeting the employer/manager’s expectations.

It’s important to remember that poor performance isn’t always on purpose. The first step is to find out if the employee is clear about what’s required of them and that that there aren’t any other factors standing in the way of their successful completion of their work.

  • Do they have the appropriate resources to perform the work?
  • Do they know where to access those resources?
  • Do they have the necessary skills? This is particularly important to consider if the employee has been promoted to the position on the basis that they were great at their previous role.
  • Do they just not want to do the job?

Employment law is based on the premise that people don’t aim to come to work to do a bad job. Keep an open mind when discussing an employee’s performance with them and try to understand their perspective.

The skill/will matrix
It can be helpful to consider where the employee sits in the skill/will matrix in order to help you work out how best to proceed. You can find out more about this matrix here, but in summary:

  • High will/low skill employees require more guidance and coaching.
  • Low will/high skill employees will need more direction. Tell them what they need to do.
  • High skill/low will employees need some coaching. Try and find out why their motivation has dropped off and find ways to excite and challenge them again.

Performance improvement plans (PIPs)

  • If you’d like to begin a PIP, draft the document to around 80%.
  • Talk through the rest with the employee – there may be things that you’re not aware of that need to be considered. You also need to have input from the employee in order to get their buy-in.
  • Remember, there should have already been some discussion with the employee about their performance before it gets to this stage.
  • Discuss the plan in the context of the employee’s success, not their failure.
  • Once the plan is in place, meet with the employee and review performance and progress on a regular basis.
  • Company policies, as long as they are fair and reasonable, can be enforced by the employer.
  • Professional guidance should always be sought before the employer seeks to dismiss a staff member.

Leading a performance culture

  • Avoiding dealing with poor performance can have a negative impact on other people in the organisation. If poor performance is managed, other employees appreciate that and overall performance tends to lift. Ensure that all employees know what good performance looks like and that poor performance won’t be accepted.
  • Think about ways to reward, acknowledge and celebrate good performance, including providing the opportunity for skills development.
  • Systems and processes within an organisation can affect performance. Are yours efficient, or too cumbersome and therefore weighing on performance?
  • It’s important to let each employee grow and develop in their own way. Recognise and encourage differences among staff.
  • Think about behaviours you’re condoning or endorsing.

It all begins at the time of employment…

  • Be clear about the role and the type of person you want when you begin the recruitment process. Consider hiring high will/low skill people. Maybe it’s more important to get someone who can fit in to your team and learn on the job.
  • Include other people in the interview and reference checking process so you get a variety of viewpoints.
  • Be clear about your expectations from the start, including terms and conditions of employment and company policies.
  • Ensure new staff receive a good quality induction to your business.
  • Make and effort to keep employees engaged and developing throughout their time in your business.

Tani will be back with us on Wednesday the 13th of September at 5.30pm to talk about strategies to help you retain your superstar employees. Please register over on our Eventbrite page if you’d like to come along so we know to pop a seat out for you.

Have a great weekend,


Business @ the Library: Manage your challenging employees while retaining your superstars

Hi Everyone,

I’m very pleased to announce our that Tani Hansen from Everest Group will be our speaker for our next two Business @ the Library discussions.

Tani is a Human Resource Specialist and will be speaking on two areas that are receiving a lot of attention at the moment – employee performance management and how to retain your top talent.

Managing Employee Performance
Wednesday 30 August, 5.30 – 6.30pm
Tauranga Library

Dealing with poor performance is probably one of the biggest challenges you will face as a manager. Managers often resist putting Performance improvement Plans in place; they can seem too complex and time consuming, termination often seems like an easier option. Avoiding Performance Improvement Plans, or implementing them poorly, exposes your business to financial, legal and reputational risk. If done right performance improvement plans are manageable, valuable and hold staff to account.

Come along and learn:
1. When to use a Performance Improvement Plan
2. How to identify poor performance and the reasons why
3. How to develop and implement a successful Performance Improvement Plan
4. How to define leadership attributes that support a culture of performance improvement

How to Retain Superstars
Wednesday 13 September, 5.30 – 6.30pm
Tauranga Library

Knowing who your Superstars are and retaining them is critical for ongoing business success. While many people and managers accept this, putting practical steps into action can be perceived as difficult and consequently not done well, if at all. Often when a Superstar chooses to leave your business, if the manager had done a few simple things, this departure could have been avoided.

Come along and learn:
1. How to identify and retain your star performers
2. What have you got to offer your superstars
3. Keeping top employees motivated
4. What do your superstars value the most?

Please register your interest in attending one or both of these discussions online or by phoning 577-7177. As always, these sessions are free for anyone to attend so if you know someone else who may be interested, so feel free to pass these details on to them.

Have a great week,

Kompass becomes Katalyst: An easy way to find business to business information

Hi Everyone,

A quick posting today to let you know that there have been two changes to the Kompass database that we subscribe to: 1) the name has changed to Katalyst; and 2) the profiles are now for New Zealand businesses only.

Never been a Kompass user and have no idea what I’m talking about?

This is an online database of businesses from around New Zealand. It’s aimed at business to business users and (among other things) you can use it to find new suppliers of products you need, or to identify businesses that you can market your product or service to.

You can search by business name, size, location, products, a particular person, or countries that a business imports from or exports to. The results that you see look something like this:




















There are currently around 16,500 profiles included in the database. The producers of Katalyst note that they focus on profiling the 14% of businesses that account for 80% of the economy’s output. This includes producers, manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors, but large wholesalers, but not retail or trade (except chains and groups) so there are some limitations. More information on what they collect and how they do it is available on their website.

Access to Katalyst is available at any Tauranga City Library branch – Tauranga, Greerton, Mt Maunganui and Papamoa. It’s free and you don’t need to have a library card to use it.

If you have any need to access products or services from another business, or you’d like to market yourself to them, I encourage you to come and try it out. And if you need help, please don’t hesitate to ask a library staff member.

Have a great week,

Get free business magazine subscriptions with your library card

Hi Everyone,

Do you have subscriptions to business magazines and journals? If so, consider cancelling them now!

Your Tauranga City Libraries card gives you free access to a range of online databases that include thousands of journals, magazines and newspapers around the world.

You can search these resources by subject or by the particulars of an article if you’re looking for something specific. But even better, you can also create alerts so that when new issues of publications that you like are added to the database you’ll be notified, which is what I want to talk about today.

Because this is a business focussed blog, I’m going to use the Business Source Elite database. This is my favourite of the business databases we subscribe to as it’s easy to use and I find I don’t get overwhelmed by results I don’t really want. However, the principles of searching and creating alerts are pretty much the same in any of our other databases.

Here’s how you go about creating an alert in Business Source Elite (with apologies for the quality of some of the images):

  1. Log in to Business Source Elite. If you’re outside the library, you’ll be asked for your ID (this is your library card number) and PIN to prove you’re a library member.
  2. If this is your first time creating an alert in an EBSCO database, you’ll need to go through the steps to Create a new Account. This is an EBSCOhost account managed by you for use with our EBSCO databases only – it’s completely separate from any details we have about you on our database relating to your library card.To do this, click on the Sign In button in the top right of the screen and choose Create a new Account. Complete the required fields and click on Save ChangesYou only need to go through this process once. Once you have created your EBSCOhost account, you’ll just need to click on Sign In and log in using the username and password you’ve created for yourself.
  3. Click on the Publications button at the top of the screen. Here’s where you can find titles that match a particular subject area that you’re interested in, or search for a particular title. In the example below, I’m searching for the Harvard Business Review so I’ve typed that in the search box and I’ve clicked on the Alphabetical button.
  4. Click on the Browse button to see the results of your search.Great news for me…the Harvard Business Review is available in this database and I can read all the content for free. I can tell this because it says Full Text: 01/01/1985 to Present underneath it. I can also tell from the icons that I can read it in PDF (i.e. as it’s formatted in the print version) or HTML. I’d recommend the PDF, where possible, as it’s much more attractive and easier on the eye.

    You’ll notice that the Harvard Business Review America Latina and the Harvard Business Review China have no mention of full text. This means that you’ll see enough about the articles included in them to decide whether you like the look of an article, but you won’t be able to read them in this database. Conversely, Harvard Business Review Digital Articles has full text from 2007 available in PDF form only.
  5. Click on the title of the publication you’re creating the alert for.
  6. You’ll be taken to the specific page for that publication, in this case the Harvard Business Review. Notice on the right hand side of the screen, I can expand the years to see all the issues available and read any articles from them. But in this case I want to go ahead and create my alert so I’m going to click on the Share button on the right hand side of the screen and choose E-mail Alert.
  7. The Create Alert screen will appear. Here you can choose what you want to display in the subject line of the email, how you want the records to display and where you want the email to go. I like to choose HTML as the format. At the minimum, you just need to fill out the E-mail to field.
  8. Click on Save Alert and you’re done.

From here, you’ll receive an email message confirming that the alert has been set up and then it’s just a matter of waiting for the next issue to appear in your inbox in the form of a contents page with links to the individual articles.

Simple, free, and another way to get value for your business from your library card.

I encourage you to have a go with this and see if you can use it as a way to rationalise some spending or to gain access to a information you haven’t had previously. And if it seems like something you’d like to try but everything I’ve said seems to be written in a foreign language, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to run through it with you in person.

Enjoy the rest of your week,

Grow your digital skills to grow your business

Hi Everyone,

Have you heard about the Digital Enablement Project (DEP)? This is a fantastic new initiative that was launched last week by the Venture Centre, and is backed by Tauranga City Council and Western Bay District Council.

As the name suggests, the aim of the project is “provide pathways to digital enablement for youth, business owners and founders with the tools, knowledge and resources they need to succeed in a digitally enabled world”. It’s a pilot project at this stage and is comprised of three streams:

PoweringON – Dedicated to helping small businesses grow their digital capability.

MADVentures – Events for kids and teens designed to get them involved with technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Instigator – A variety of programmes for startup founders designed to provide the capability and connections to launch a new business.

I think the DEP is a fantastic initiative and am thrilled that Council is getting behind it. You can expect to hear more about it from me as the project progresses as I think it’ll be particularly valuable for our local SMEs who want to grow their business through the use of technology.

With that in mind, I wanted to tell you that the PoweringON programme is kicking off next week with a series of workshops in Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, Te Puke and Katikati.

The workshops are being facilitated by the team from Digital Journey and at the end of them you will have:

  • Learned how the internet and online technologies challenge traditional business models, especially in New Zealand.
  • Investigated future innovations and received a comprehensive overview on what online services your business can benefit from today.
  • Experienced online services in action and learned how successful businesses are using these services.
  • Established a personalised action plan, tailored to your needs, outlining clear, easy to follow steps to make your business more effective.
  • Gained skills and tools to use internet technologies effectively.
  • Made useful connections to progress on your Digital Journey.

You don’t need to have any previous knowledge in order to go along to one of these workshops and they’re a real bargain – just a small koha is welcomed, which will be used to fund other DEP events for kids. Everyone’s a winner!

If you’d like to book in or find out more about one of these sessions, check out the links below (spaces are limited):

Tauranga – Wednesday 24 May, 9.00am – 1.00pm

Katikati – Wednesday 24 May, 4.00 – 5.30pm

Te Puke – Thursday 25 May, 9.00am – 1.00pm

Tauranga – Friday 26 May, 9.00am – 1.00pm

Mt Maunganui – Friday 26 May, 2.30 – 4.00pm

If you can’t make it to one of these sessions, all is not lost… You can also take this free online assessment that will give you a personalised action plan, benchmark you against 5,000 other New Zealand businesses, and provide recommendations of areas where digital can work in your business, so you can stay competitive.

Have a great weekend,

9 tips for your social media from DK

Hi Everyone,

You know that feeling when you go to a conference or training session and it’s so good that you come away really refreshed and inspired? I had that back in March when I went along to a session on social media with DK. Literally just a D and a K.

DK was running a series of workshops on behalf of the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) to help us librarians make better use of social media because, even though we aren’t selling anything, we’re still desperately trying to engage with people and get our message across about the cool stuff that we do, just like you.

The presentation I went to was an hour long but it was packed with great information – some of it a refresher, some of it new, and all of it presented in a really interesting and challenging way (all helped along by a broad Welsh accent!). Because of the audience, DK talked a lot about the kind of social media that librarians like to do – engaging, conversation starting…that sort of thing. But a good chunk of it was also relevant to businesses using social media so I put it on my ‘to do’ list to do a quick posting about it.

One of the things that DK challenged us to do was to think about presenting content in new ways so I’m taking him up on that and presenting nine key points from the presentations that I think are most relevant to you in the image below. I hope you can read my writing…and apologise for any spelling mistakes I may have left in there!

If you’d like to find out more about DK, you can visit his website or follow him on Twitter. And if you get the chance to go along and hear one of his presentations at some point, I’d definitely recommend it.

Enjoy your week,

Business @ the Library: An evening with Wendy Simister

Hi Everyone,

On this miserable morning, I couldn’t be more pleased to announce the details of our next Business @ the Library discussion, with our guest speaker Wendy Simister.

Wendy is the founder and owner of the women’s fashion store, Wendy’s. She’ll be talking to us about her career in business, how she’s built Wendy’s into one of Tauranga’s most iconic stores, and what she’s learned along the way.

Tauranga Library
Thursday 20 April
5.30 – 6.30pm

Please note that the library will be closed at this time so registrations for this event are essential. Let us know if you’d like to come along by phoning 577-7177 or emailing

I look forward to seeing you there,