July 28th, 2014

Last week Jess and Maxine attended the Property Council Women in Business lunch at Zinc, Federation Square.  Chaired by Emily Dean, National Leasing & Strategy Manager at Telstra the panel guests were Jane Hunt, CEO of Fitted For Work and Romilly Madew Chief Executive of the Green Building Council of Australia.

The panel discussions centred around increasing use of technology to provide flexibility in the working environment and highlighted the importance mentoring, coaching and supporting women in the professional context, with emphasis on being a coach, mentee and mentor and having both male and female advocates. Jane and Romilly also outlined the success of flexible working arrangements at their own companies and that several senior staff members were currently working from home in both full time and part time capacities.

Sponsored by Urbis with attendees from Wood & Grieve, Irwinconsult, Lend Lease, Hassell, Maccormack, the Buchan Group and Aurecon, the lunch highlighted the success of women in business relies often on their own resilience, advice from advocates and being actively involved in more than just their paid positions. Drawing on her own experience, Romilly explained that taking up a volunteer or mentor position will enhance your skills, increase your networks and set you apart from other applicants when taking the next step in your career or progressing to a leadership role.

Maxine is currently involved with the NAWIC mentoring program and can already see the benefits of being mentee to an industry connection, including increased self-awareness, professional development and rewarding insights.

For more information on program click here -  http://www.nawic.com.au/app/NAWIC/Chapters/VIC_TAS/037.aspx

To get involved with Fitted For Work – http://www.fittedforwork.org/

For more information and latest news from GBCA – http://www.gbca.org.au/

- Jess & Maxine

July 28th, 2014

Did you know 91% of Australians feel stressed due to work?

To combat this, Lifeline hold an annual event called “Stress Down Day” – which is dedicated to creating awareness around the importance of reducing stress on our community. On Stress Down Day everyone is encouraged to reduce stress levels by dressing down and enjoying fun activities with friends and workmates.

Last Friday Aspect took part in Stress Down Day for the second year in a row.

To stress down, we had an afternoon full of fun activities which included: Arts and crafts, a paper plane competition, Origami (which Matt & Sara might say wasn’t so stress free), card games, Mario Karts on the Wii and games of Pool in the games room.

There were also snacks, delicious snacks. Among said snacks was “fairy bread” which I thought was quite fitting for an afternoon of fun and games…I soon realised that it was an Aussie/Kiwi thing after I got some confused looks from my English and Welsh colleagues, who were not so excited for 100 & 1000s on bread.

Fairy bread consumed or not, everyone stressed down and it was a great way to end the week!

To see more photos click here >

For more information on Stress Down Day and information on how to overcome stress click here >

- Cass

July 25th, 2014

 

During the week I asked a friend of mine to meet up for a quick lunch and she said “I can’t, I have a meeting. About a meeting.” Yup – she had to have an internal meeting to discuss their up-coming internal meeting.

It seems that the working day is increasingly filling up with meetings – some incredibly useful, some less so. For those working in office based roles, this can mean hours of sitting down which is apparently one of the reasons that poor health (and expensive gym memberships) are on the increase.

In order to tackle the inherent health problems associated with sitting down for long periods, professors at Washington University’s Business School have been researching whether standing during meetings enhances both the health and productivity of those involved. As 75% of meetings run for 30 minutes or less, the professors focused their research on meetings of this duration.

Professors Andrew Knight and Markus Baer staged test meetings where they asked participants to develop recruitment videos for the University. Those who stood up during the meetings stated that they believed their colleagues to be more open to ideas, more productive and less territorial.

It is worth noting that standing for long periods of time can be just as damaging as sitting down so this method must be used in moderation, however spending the first 30 minutes standing could increase productivity and creativity levels.

Another suggestion is walking meetings – the change of scenery and endorphins from the exercise is said to lead to an increased ability to think outside the box. After all, Aristotle (along with many other Greek philosophers) was said to walk as he taught as it promotes deliberation and ideas. If it is good enough for Aristotle…

So, next time you are having a meeting, maybe suggest standing up or taking a walk – you may be pleasantly surprised with the outcome!

- Beth

July 18th, 2014

Breaking your jaw is painful. When this happens, most people rest, get their jaw fixed, then resume normal life. Not Mark Parrent. When Mark recently broke his jaw playing footy, he was told that he could not resume playing his favourite sport for 3 months. Most would take this as an opportunity to take it easy. Mark took it as an opportunity to sign up for a half marathon. In preparation for running a full marathon (which he has also signed up for).

These endeavours do also coincide with Marks’ 30th birthday (which was yesterday – Happy birthday Mark). Mid life crisis come early? Maybe. However, Mark is also raising money for Beyond Blue, a wonderful charity that focuses on improving the mental health of the whole population of Australia. For more information visit http://www.beyondblue.org.au/

In order to support Mark in his endeavour, yesterday morning at 8am we all donned our walking gear and coffee in hand set off for a morning walk around the Tan (the proper way I might add – uphill), whilst each donating $10 to Beyond Blue.

As we neared the end, Mark displayed his athletic prowess by bolting off to purchase some yummy fruit to make everyone smoothies when we returned.

The fresh air and healthy drinks helped inspire everyone to have a very productive and healthy Thursday – thank you to Mark for arranging such a gorgeous start to the day!

In order to support Mark and help him to reach his fundraising goal please visit https://runmelbourne2014.everydayhero.com/au/mark-16 – as the saying goes ‘every dollar helps’ so any donation would be very much appreciated. Make this your good deed for the day.

 - Beth 

July 11th, 2014

On Wednesday 2nd July, after a year of hard work, blood, sweat and tears, the Aspect team made their way down Bourke Street, in a sea of red hoodies and new Aspect sports bags.  We were off to the RACV Club for our EOFY conference.  We settled in to one of the large board rooms with a jam-packed agenda for the 3 day event, but as always, it wasn’t ‘all work and no play’!

We welcomed Jess Cronin to her inaugural EOFY conference and also Chantelle Polites, our new Office Manager, on her very first day!  And what a way to meet the team – there’s nothing like being thrown in at the deep end!

Over the course of the 3 days, all staff individually presented to the group, and we listened to what’s in store for the year ahead at Aspect – with some really exciting developments on the horizon.

We enjoyed some free time to sample the hotel’s facilities, with many of us cramming in a gym session, so as to reduce the over-indulgence guilt that was no doubt going to be happening.

True to style, our first evening’s activity was a Masterchef style competition.  Split into 3 teams, we were actually assisting the preparation of a delicious 3 course dinner – in the hotel restaurant’s kitchen! Not sure if we were more of a hindrance than a help, but the chefs and kitchen staff were very patient with us, whilst they bustled around preparing the paying diners orders.  Disappointingly, we didn’t witness any Gordon Ramsey-style language and commotion, but Ben and I did learn to quenelle (that fancy technique you do with spoons, to make a scoop of food into an oval shape!) and I’m pretty sure the majority of the salted caramel sauce was piped into our mouths, rather than onto desert plates.

On Thursday evening, we got even more creative.  Having already been asked to come prepared with 2 outfits – double denim, and a rockstar/popstar – we were guessing it was a karaoke evening.  Little did we know we were actually off for our very own photo shoot in a studio off Hardware Lane!  It was a hilarious few hours, and thankfully there were drinks on hand to ensure that the likes of Justin Bieber, Ginger and Scary Spice, Amy Winehouse and Freddy Mercury were all a little less stiff on camera!  Watch this space for some of the photos to be released!

Safe to say there were some sore heads on Friday, but with no rest for the wicked, we had another full day of work – discussing staff suggestions for improvements to the business, forward planning and financial targets.

Our eventful 3 days was rounded off with the amazing surprise that we were off to Vue de Monde that evening for a private dining, 10 course degustation experience! And WOW, it did not disappoint. We tried some weird and wonderful items, and the wine was flowing.  The Aspect team looked incredibly smart in their black-tie attire, sipping on cocktails and enjoying the view from the 55th floor restaurant in the Rialto building.

Matt presented trophies to this year’s award winners – Tom, Cass, and Ben who deservedly took out 3 awards! Whilst some of us were ready to call it a night after dinner, others continued the celebrations back at the office A-Bar.

As always, the conference was a great way to reflect on the year that has been, and plan for the year ahead.  A big thanks to ‘Uncle Aspect’ and Cass for organising – I don’t know how you’re going to top it next year!

 - Sara

 

June 23rd, 2014

For the second year, Aspect has been supporting YGAP’s 5cent campaign.

YGAP is a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers. Their aim is to inspire social entrepreneurs to end poverty, by using creative fundraising to support projects across Australia, Asia and Africa.

The 5cent campaign is simple – collect as many 5cent coins as you can throughout April and May.

We scoured drawers, jeans pockets, down the back of sofas to find any 5cent coins for the collection.

Last year we collected $43.45 purely from the coin collection.  This year we took things up a notch!  As well as the collection box, Aspect employees donated 5cent for every hour they worked and 5cents for every hour our contractors worked.

We are proud to be donating $672.59 to YGAPs campaign and we’re looking forward to hearing their final total raised.

If you’d like any further information on the YGAP charity and ways you can get involved, please visit their website http://ygap.com.au/

- Sara

June 20th, 2014

Last Friday I attended my second velodrome session at DISC (http://vic.cycling.org.au/Track/DISC) with Michael Alder and some of the mad cycling crew from Arup.  It was in aid of 3 things – Mike’s birthday, to raise money for Bikes4Life, and because after doing it once, you’re hooked!

This time trainer Darryl Perkins (previous track star and father of Australian track champion Shane Perkins) changed the order of things so that we could start with our flying lap time trials straight after our warm up.  We were also all riding the same gear to make things a bit more even for the inexperienced riders.

After 3 weeks in the USA eating a lot of Mexican and savouring every type of gluten free beer I could get my hands on, I made it through the single flying lap fine with a time of 19.50, somehow bettering my time from the last session by .45 of a second.  The double flying lap on the other hand, almost killed me!

The group were entertained by Mike’s music blaring from his back pocket on his flying lap.  The MC Hammer tune, “Can’t Touch This” was a very apt choice for the quickest lap around at 16.16.

You could see the glint in everyone’s eye as they got used to the track and felt the force of momentum roll them into the high points and shoot them down the straights. The sound of the wooden boards creaking underneath the wheels and the whirr of chains on cogs flying past is exhilarating.

After some sprint drills we reluctantly wound down with a few free laps and finished up with birthday cupcakes and lolly bags.  The session raised $290 for Bikes4Life which is a global community initiative providing bikes to underprivileged people in areas where bikes change lives!  You can check out more on their awesome projects here – http://www.bikes4life.com.au/

- Maxine

June 19th, 2014

How long have you worked for Aspect? Almost 3 years – where did the time go?!

What is the funniest moment you’ve experienced at Aspect?  Way too many to mention, every day here has its moments! But if I had to pick just one that stands out, it would be my first night out with the Aspect team.  It was Day 4 in my new role, and was customary to welcome every new team member with a social night out.  There’s no better way to get to know your new boss and colleagues than a very drunken ‘pile-on’ in a bar, with me at the top!  The fancy dress Christmas winery tour, by hummer limo, was also quite an experience!

What has been your most rewarding moment since joining Aspect?  Winning the CSR Award at the RCSA awards evening a couple of weeks ago.  This was pretty rewarding, especially because this is an area that I champion at Aspect, and because of the genuine commitment by everyone here to being socially responsible.

Before Aspect, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

Ummm, well I used to be a Primary School teacher, but that’s not particularly unusual it is?  Something interesting though – a few weeks before I moved out to Australia, I did some temporary work for an exclusive match-making business for the wealthy.  I helped to code their database according to attractiveness – that was a fun task, if slightly judgmental!

Where did you grow up? 

On a small island called the Isle of Man.  It’s a weird and wonderful place, mostly known for the TT Races – but having educated my colleagues, they now know it for The Fairy Bridge, cats with no tails, the 3 legs of man flag, Witches Hill and Bonnag bread!

Nicknames?

When I was younger, my dad often called me Murphy. Here at Aspect, it’s rare someone gets called by their actual name – subsequently I now have to answer to ‘S.F’, ‘Lady Fifington’ and ‘Fifetron’ amongst many others.

Do you have pets?

I do!  His name is Dougall and he is possibly the cutest dog in the world.  He is a Pomeranian-Shitzhu cross.  Be careful though if you’re around the St Kilda area, don’t let his cuteness fool you…. He has a penchant for peeing on people.  Anything stationary is fair game, including a girl who, in the park the other day, was doing a headstand.

What are your hobbies?

I absolutely love baking, though don’t do it as much as I’d like as I can’t be trusted with a tin full of treats in the house. I tried Kite-boarding a couple of times at the end of last summer -which I loved! I definitely plan to take it up when the weather turns warmer again.

What is the last book you read?

Hotel K – it was excellent, if anyone likes a more ‘gritty’ read.  It’s about Kerobokan Prison in Bali.  And I’ve just started ‘Gone Girl’, which my sister recommended.

Favourite quote?

2 things that my Mum used to say to me. “This too shall pass” and “Fly your own kite”.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Adventurous, considerate and a worrier!

If you could speak to one type of animal, what would it be?

I’d definitely like to speak to my dog.  I would ask him why he pees on people, and tell him he just needs to stop it! Immediately!

June 18th, 2014

One of the great parts of being an employee at Aspect is having the opportunity to give back to the community and participate in Volunteer Days throughout the year.

Yesterday Cass and I donned our overalls and made our way to the Brotherhood of St Laurence Store in the Royal Arcade.

We were given the task of painting the staff office and kitchen so that their dedicated volunteers had a space to enjoy and take a time out during their shift.

The room was certainly in need of some love and attention so it was very satisfying to see the before and after (see below – though the pics don’t really do it justice!).

For anyone that is not familiar with the work of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, their mission is to alleviate and prevent poverty by focusing on groups within the community that are particularly vulnerable.

You can find out more information or make a donation on their website below, or you may even like to pop in to one of their stores to pick up some goodies.

http://www.bsl.org.au/

- Jess

June 16th, 2014

We are human at Aspect Personnel and we think you are too. So it goes without saying that the relationship we build goes two ways. We want to, and enjoy, helping you find new job opportunities. In return, we expect that you are honest, timely and interested in our expert opinion. Let’s delve deeper…

What to expect from a consultant at Aspect Personnel

Expertise: Our consultants are dedicated to specific industry segments and can advise objectively on market trends, projects news as well as who’s who in your industry.  Consequently, we can put you in touch with influential industry figures.

We consult to match your career experience. For example, if you’re new to the industry, we will help you find employers who offer training and development opportunities. Conversely, if you’re ten years into your career, we are more likely to advise on projects that might lift your career or take it into a new realm. Most importantly, we listen to you. Our advice is dependent on your motivators and what you tell us. We can tell you about the market in its entirety, within Victoria, but also across Australia.

We don’t profess to know everything, however, so if you have information to share, we’d welcome your thoughts and input. By communicating respectfully and exchanging information, you’re more likely to find a responsive and interested consultant on the end of the phone when you next call.

Information regarding job opportunities that match your capabilities: We want the same result as you – to find you a new and fulfilling career opportunity that you will enjoy for years to come. We will match your experience and talents, to the job opportunities we have to hand, or, keep you informed about forthcoming job opportunities should what you’re looking for not be available in the market at the particular time we connect. What we mean by that is, we aren’t going to call you to tell you about a position requiring twelve years’ experience, if we have already discussed that you only have five years’ comparable experience. It is our clients’ expectations that we source candidates whose capabilities match the job description and by putting forward candidates who do not match the job description, we waste time. Your time. Our client’s time.

A personal, professional connection:

We work in the same industry as you, albeit sitting at a different angle of the table. We are genuinely interested in you, what you do, how you view the market. Further, we like to know what kind of a person you are outside of work. We don’t expect you tell us your life story, but snippets of information that reveal more about your personality help us to understand what your values are and therefore which of our clients’ organisations will interest you the most. The more you feel connected with the organisation you work for, the more likely you are to stay and progress your career there which gives us great satisfaction. So tell us!

A call back:

We call you back; it’s that simple. We may not call you back five minutes after you have called. Please allow us a reasonable time to call back. There is no need to call three times. If your message is urgent, just let us know. You could also try our mobile number (we may be at an industry event or out with a client or meeting a candidate) and you can always email us.

What we expect from you in return

In return for all of the above, we expect what any consultant would of someone they are working closely with; collaboration. Here, I’ll list a few ideas:

Be forthcoming. Don’t shy away from telling us about you. Confidentiality is as key for us, as it is for you. We take your request for us to search for new opportunities for you very seriously. It won’t be page one news the next morning. Generally, we like to know: why you are looking for a new job. If you don’t know, have a think about it before you call us. If you’re on the phone to us and you’ve made the phone call, you’re likely to be unsatisfied in some way with your current situation. Acknowledge and share.

Be honest. Don’t shirk away from the truth. We’ve heard it all. On the contrary, it will, once again, help us to find you a better suited role (you might spot a reoccurring theme here).

Listen. We work relatively long hours but enjoy what we do. So trust us. We have a good understanding of the over-arching state of the industry and we have your best interests front of mind.

Act promptly. Sometimes, especially for temporary work and in some cases for permanent jobs too, time really is of the essence. And if it is, we’ll tell you. If it is, we expect you to act promptly. Take action. Edit your C.V.  Write your Key Selection Criteria. Accept the offer. By delaying decisions at key times during the process, your opportunity may slip away.

Dress appropriately. We typically wear ‘collar and cuff’. That’s just the way we do things round here. We don’t expect you to. We simply hope you would also dress appropriately. If you’ve come from site, be courteous and let us know you’ll be in casual clothes. The old cliche ‘first impressions count’ still rings true today. And every other day.

I hope that provides you with an understanding of how you can best work with us. If you’re keen to make contact, you can find the most relevant recruitment consultant here and email or call us today.

- Miriam