Employee Matters: How To Get The Best Value Out of Your Employees

Senior HR Practitioner, Speaker, Author and Trainer Natasha Hawker joins HPR host Wayne Bucklar for a special video presentation where she demonstrates about how medical professionals can get value out of their HR and employees. Natasha believes that employees can be your best asset and also your greatest liability.   

Natasha Hawker is the Founder and Managing Director of Employee Matters. She is a senior HR Practitioner, speaker, author and trainer. Natasha is an expert in employment relations, recruitment, performance management, terminations and mediation. She works in many different industries like professional services, banking and finance, corporate travel,
recruitment consulting & IT.

Early in her career, she worked in banking & finance and as a recruiter before focusing on human resources. She has managed employees across all aspects of HR and earned herself the nickname of ‘The Angel of Death’ at one time by terminating 40 employees in 6 weeks.
Natasha has been quoted in articles for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the Australian Financial Review and the Huffington Post and she has often been interviewed on the radio, including the ABC.



Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Buckler and today I’m joined by Natasha Hawker. Now, Natasha’s from Employee Matters and she’s a HR expert and she’s here to share some of her insights with us and for those people who are listening, we’re going to be drawing some video as well. It’s on YouTube but we’re going to tell you what it’s like, so that’ll be television by word pictures I guess. Natasha, welcome to the show.

Natasha Hawker: Thank you very much for having me, Wayne. It’s lovely to be here.

W: Now, Natasha, given that our audience is multinational for this show and you’re an Australian HR expert, what can you share with an international clinical audience about how they can get value out of their HR and employees?

N: Great question, Wayne. My belief is that your employees are your greatest asset. They’re also potentially your greatest liability and for most businesses out there, they want to achieve a lot with their business. In order to do that you have to hire the best, manage your teams to build high-performance teams and you need to exit your non-performers. So what I wanted to walk your listeners through this morning is a simple model. I’m just going to put my screen down here so I can draw. Bear with me. Can you see my screen at the moment, Wayne?

W: Yes. We can.

N: Right. So it’s a really simple diagram and when we draw this for our clients, they really have a bit of an AHA moment. I’m just going to draw down the bottom here. It’s a normal four-quadrant model. It’s an axis along the bottom which is engagement from low engagement or fear to high engagement – they’re you’re super keen bunnies. Then on the other axis, we have a capability indicator from low to high capability. In other words – Are they great at their job and do they know what they need to be doing? So there are four quadrants. In the bottom left-hand quadrant, that’s our prisoner quadrant and our prisoner level think of it as your low level of employees and they have a low level of capability and they have low levels of engagement. The quadrant above that on the left hand side is what we call our conscript model or a conscript quadrant. And your conscripts, you can recognize them – they’re typically quite good at their job, Wayne but turn your back and they tend to have a bit of a whinge. They’re not really engaged in the business and they often sort of sneak a little bit under the radar but the way you recognize that one is for example, your top sales guy who brings in $500,000 worth of business for you but everyone knows is that they’re company bully but we leave him in that role because we know he makes great sales. The quadrant on the bottom right hand side is what we call your trainees and these are your super keen but green buddy. These are guys who are grads, straight out of university, your early technical clinicians but they don’t have a lot of experience or gray hair yet but they want to learn. And your last quadrant, the top one, let me just write this correctly, is called your volunteer quadrant. Now, in your volunteers they are high on capability and high on engagement. Now, what I would suggest to you is for your listeners is to draw this model themselves and then either to place people’s names or the percentage of their workforce in these four quadrants. Now, typically a couple of things happen. One is that if you don’t look after your trainees, the prisoners will look to drag them in to keep them company as a prisoner. So, you need to look after them. The best thing to look after them is to actually buddy them up with your volunteers, your super dude, what I call your superstar employees so that they drag the trainees into the volunteer quadrant. These guys on the left hand side should be on performance management. Often we find that they’re just mosey on along and they need to actually proactively manage these guys either to being volunteers or out the door, show them the exit. Now, your volunteers of your workforce, we recommend you have between 80 and 90% of your workforce in that volunteer category. I would argue that you can’t be number one in your business if you don’t have a high proportion of your workforce in that volunteer category and you risk losing your trainees if you don’t look after them and a lot of your volunteers don’t get recognized for the work that they do and that can be a really sad thing. So I’d love for your listeners to have a go at that model and see how that resonates for them whether that even if they’re a worker whether they can pick their volunteers and their prisoners within their own workforce. But it’s often a fairly quick and easy way for business owners and managers to go, “You know what, I’ve got a team full of conscripts and prisoners and that’s why I’m struggling to get anything done in this.”

W: It’s a very fascinating model, Natasha. As you’re drawing it on the board, I could imagine that in one of our station management meetings and giving everyone a post-it note and saying now stick yourself along that engagement line and stick yourself along that capability line and now figure out where you sit on the board and then we’ll draw in the quadrants afterwards.

N: Exactly. It is fascinating.

W: Yes. I think there would be a lot of people who might be a bit shocked to find that they’re in that prisoner and conscript area and they should stay there – the person for whom performance management is important.

N: Exactly and look, a lot of this is around cultural fit too. Your conscripts can do the job but they’re not born into your mission or your vision. They’re not born into your “why” – “Why do you do what you do?” And being able to hire these people in, hire your volunteers in, hire you trainees but have them on a mentoring program so that you lift them up quickly and you have the difficult conversations and get rid of or pull them into that volunteer segment is really really important.

W: We do have people who come to work for us from time to time who say, “I would do this job even if I didn’t get paid. I just love what I do.” And I guess that’s the definition of a volunteer is.

N: That is exactly the definition. These are the guys and even if they won the lotto tomorrow, they’d still come to work with you because they’re so bought into you, your business, your product, and your purpose. You want to hold a group of those because those guys can achieve a lot of things. I think what often happens, Wayne, though is because those guys are low maintenance they don’t get the attention that they deserve. I would suggest to your listeners across the globe at the moment because it’s not just in Australia. We are in an incredibly tight applicant market where skills are hard to come by particularly in the allied health space in Australia at the moment. So in order to protect your business, you need to make sure you’re retaining these volunteers. What are you doing to proactively retain them? And one of the recommendations we have for our clients is to conduct ‘Stay Interviews’. I talked to them about – “What would make you stay with us for another two years? Why do you work for us? What keeps you here? What will keep you for another five years?” And that can be a very powerful conversation.

W: Now, Natasha, it’s been a great insight in that model and for people who are listening rather than watching us, let me just recap it for you. It’s a two by two matrix – much be a love of academics everywhere. The one axis is engagement. The other axis is capability. At the zero point, both are low. At the extremes both are high. So from that, we get four quadrants. Bottom left prisoners, bottom right trainees, top left conscripts, top right volunteers. If I’ve confused you with that description, you can actually look at the video on YouTube and you can see as Natasha has been drawing it live for us. The test is for the people listening who have heard you speaking and go where – that Natasha Hawke is a smart lady. She knows a lot about people. We need to reach out to her. How can people get hold of you?

N: Yes. Best to contact me through the website which is employeematters.com.au or alternatively through my personal website. I do a lot of speaking gigs and I’m an author and that’s natashahawker.com.

W: Given that you’ve just been drawing your model and talking to me over the Internet, I’m guessing you can do this around the world.

N: Exactly and I’ve worked and lived all over the world luckily enough. I’ve worked and lived in the UK and down in India and I’ve done work up in the US. So, I’m familiar with some of the environments as well.

W: Geography shall be no barrier to us.

N: Exactly.

W: Natasha, thanks for your time this morning. I do appreciate it.

N: My pleasure. I hope that’s been helpful and happy to help anyone who wants to talk to me.

W: It has been very helpful. If you’ve just joined us on Health Professional Radio, you’ve just missed my chat with Natasha Hawker of Employee Matters and we’ve been talking about some of the things you can do in a clinical sense or in a clinical business, you don’t feel it because you’re a doctor or a lawyer or a radiologist that this doesn’t matter to you because if you’re in private practice, you’ll know having a team of people on your side that works well is critically important and if you’re in public practice, you’ll know that having a team with you who work well makes all the difference to your time at work, your career and your patient outcomes. So Natasha has been talking about exactly that – how to get a team of people that work for you brilliantly. Now, the good news is you haven’t missed Natasha because on our website we have a transcript and we have an audio archive on iTunes and YouTube and SoundCloud. But most importantly for this segment, because we’ve been drawing a little model on the screen. If you look at the YouTube video, you can see that model being drawn live as Natasha explains it. And the links to all of those things are available on the HPR website at Health Professional Radio, hpr.fm and if you’re listening to us on social media, we do appreciate all those likes and shares and smiley faces but most particularly if you have questions either for Natasha or for us, pop the question in the comment section of any of the social media, we monitor them all and we’ll either pass it on Natasha or we’ll be able to answer them ourselves. This is Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar.

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