Organise personal workpriorities

CRICOS Provider Code: 02992E
RTO No.: 21870
STUDENT LEARNER GUIDE
BSBPEF301
Organise personal work
priorities
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Table of Contents
Unit of Competency ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4
BSBPEF301 Organise personal work priorities ……………………………………………………………………. 4
Modification History …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
Application …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Unit Sector …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Elements and Performance Criteria …………………………………………………………………………………. 4
Foundation Skills………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
Unit Mapping Information …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
Links………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
1………………………………………………………………………. Organise and complete own work schedule 7
1.1 – Ensure that work goals, objectives or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are understood, negotiated
and agreed in accordance with organisational requirements……………………………………………………………..8
Organising work activities…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..8
Work goals, objectives and KPIs ………………………………………………………………………………………………….8
Activity 1A ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………13
1.2 – Assess and prioritise workload to ensure tasks are completed within identified timeframes………..14
To-do lists……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….14
Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle …………………………………………………………………………………..16
Activity 1B ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………18
1.3 – Identify factors affecting the achievement of work objectives and incorporate contingencies into
work plans………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….19
Factors affecting the achievement of work objectives………………………………………………………………….19
Activity 1C ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………22
1.4 – Use business technology efficiently and effectively to manage and monitor scheduling and
completion of tasks……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..23
Business technology…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………23
2. Monitor own work performance………………………………………………………………………………… 26
2.1 – Accurately monitor and adjust personal work performance through self-assessment to ensure
achievement of tasks and compliance with legislation and work processes or KPIs …………………………….27
Monitoring personal work performance …………………………………………………………………………………….27
Self-assessment of work performance ……………………………………………………………………………………….28
Activity 2A ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………29
2.2 – Ensure that feedback on performance is actively sought and evaluated from colleagues and clients
in the context of individual and group requirements……………………………………………………………………….30
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Feedback ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..30
Activity 2B ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………33
2.3 – Routinely identify and report on variations in the quality of and products and services according to
organisational requirements…………………………………………………………………………………………………………34
Quality……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………34
Activity 2C ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………36
2.4 – Identify signs of stress and effects on personal wellbeing ………………………………………………………….0
Stress……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….0
Activity 2D ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..2
2.5 – Identify sources of stress and access appropriate supports and resolution strategies……………………3
Sources of stress ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….3
Activity 2E…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………7
3. Coordinate personal skill development and learning ……………………………………………………….. 8
3.1 – Identify personal learning and professional development needs and skill gaps using self-assessment
and advice from colleagues and clients in relation to role and organisational requirements ………………….9
Development needs…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..9
Self-assessment…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………9
Activity 3A ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………11
3.2 – Identify, prioritise and plan opportunities for undertaking personal skill development activities in
liaison with work groups and relevant personnel ……………………………………………………………………………12
Opportunities for development…………………………………………………………………………………………………12
Activity 3B ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………14
3.3 – Access, complete and record professional development opportunities to facilitate continuous
learning and career development………………………………………………………………………………………………….15
Professional development opportunities ……………………………………………………………………………………15
Activity 3C ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………17
3.4 – Incorporate formal and informal feedback into review of further learning needs ……………………….18
Incorporating feedback into review……………………………………………………………………………………………18
Activity 3D ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………19
Summative Assessments………………………………………………………………………………………………………………20
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Unit of Competency
BSBPEF301 Organise personal work priorities
Modification History

ReleaseComments
Release 1This version first released with BSB Business Services
Training Package Version 7.0.

Application
This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to organise personal work schedules, to
monitor and obtain feedback on work performance and to maintain required levels of
competence.
The unit applies to individuals who exercise discretion and judgement and apply a broad range
of competencies in various work contexts.
No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of
publication.
Unit Sector
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving – Personal Effectiveness
Elements and Performance Criteria

ELEMENTPERFORMANCE CRITERIA
Elements describe the
essential outcomes.
Performance criteria describe the performance needed to
demonstrate achievement of the element.
1. Organise and complete
own work schedule
1.1 Develop work goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) according
to task and organisational requirements
1.2 Prioritise workload according to task timeframes
1.3 Identify factors affecting achievement of work objectives
1.4 Develop personal work plans
2. Evaluate own work
performance
2.1 Identify variations between expected and actual work performance
according to task requirements and KPIs
2.2 Report variations to relevant personnel
2.3 Seek feedback from relevant personnel for solutions to minimise
variations in expected and actual work outputs
2.4 Research sources of stress and access appropriate supports

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ELEMENTPERFORMANCE CRITERIA
according to organisational policies and procedures
3. Coordinate personal skill
development and
learning
3.1 Identify personal and professional development needs for job role
3.2 Identify opportunities to undertake personal skill development
activities in consultation with supervisor
3.3 Access professional development opportunities
3.4 Record professional development undertaken for continuous
learning and career development process
3.5 Incorporate feedback into review of further learning needs

Foundation Skills
This section describes those language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are
essential to performance but not explicit in the performance criteria.

SkillDescription
Learning• Employs a range of approaches and investigative techniques to source the
knowledge necessary to arrange personal learning experiences
Reading• Interprets textual information to determine organisation’s procedures,
own work performance and objectives
Writing• Prepares written reports and workplace documents that communicate
information clearly and effectively
Oral
communication
• Provides and receives feedback using specific and relevant language
• Uses listening and questioning techniques to confirm understanding
Numeracy• Complies with organisational policies, procedures and protocols
Teamwork• Selects the appropriate form, channel and mode of communication for a
specific purpose relevant to own role
• Proactively collaborates with others to achieve specific goals
Planning and
organising
• Plans and organises work commitments to ensure deadlines and objectives
are met
• Uses formal analytical thinking techniques to recognise and respond to
routine problems
Technology• Uses digital systems and tools to enter, store and monitor information

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Unit Mapping Information
Supersedes and is equivalent to BSBWOR301 Organise personal work priorities and
development.
Links
Companion Volume Implementation Guide is found on VETNet –
https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=11ef6853-ceed-4ba7-9d87-4da407e23c10
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1. Organise and complete own work schedule
1.1 Ensure that work goals, objectives or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are understood, negotiated
and agreed in accordance with organisational requirements.
1.2 Assess and prioritise workload to ensure tasks are completed within identified timeframes.
1.3 Identify factors affecting the achievement of work objectives and incorporate contingencies into
work plans.
1.4 Use business technology efficiently and effectively to manage and monitor scheduling and
completion of tasks.
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1.1 – Ensure that work goals, objectives or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are
understood, negotiated and agreed in accordance with organisational
requirements
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Organise and complete work tasks to the required standard and deadlines
➢ Look at their job description to be clear on the relevant objectives and KPIs
➢ Discuss adjusting work goals with their line manager if they are too challenging or
unrealistic to achieve.
Organising work activities
At work, we have a responsibility to deliver the work expected of us, to the required standard and within
the required timescales; this is what our employers employ us to do. In some circumstances, an employee
has absolutely no control over what they do and when they do it – employees working on a production line
in a factory, for example, have their work schedule dictated to them by the pace of the production line they
are working on. In a different context (e.g. an office, a customer-facing environment such as a retail or
leisure outlet and an outdoor environment), employees may have varying degrees of flexibility in terms of
how they decide which tasks to perform and when. In some circumstances, it will not matter the precise
order in which tasks are completed, so long as they are completed to the required standard and by the
required deadline. This is one of the factors which can be motivating in a job role – the freedom and ability
to decide when to complete individual tasks.
Work goals, objectives and KPIs
In order to be able to plan how and when to complete the work tasks, the employee needs to understand
what is expected of them and any rules or protocols which affect their work planning. For example, an
employee may have a long list of tasks they would like to complete, but if those tasks are ‘nice to do’
activities and they are not related to the core purpose of the job, then one could question why the
employee is considering doing the tasks at all.
It is not uncommon for people to get side-tracked with activities at work which are actually little to do with
the actual job role. A real example of this was an administrator who spent a considerable amount of time
making travel and hotel bookings for her colleagues in the belief that she was delivering excellent customer
service to them. She was indeed providing a great service, but it was her colleagues’ responsibility to make
their own travel and accommodation arrangements and so the work that she was doing was over and
above her core work duties. ‘So what?’ you might ask.
The key point here was that she was carrying out tasks which other people were
expected to do and she was neglecting several core tasks which were her
responsibility. The result was that her job performance was suffering as she was
being distracted by the ‘nice to do’ tasks which generated a great deal of thanks
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and appreciation from her colleagues. But this was at the expense of the important tasks which she was
actually employed to carry out. So, from this, we can learn that it is essential to have an understanding of
the work goals, objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to avoid the trap of just concentrating on
the tasks that we like doing.
Work goals and objectives may include:
➢ Budgetary and production targets
➢ Reporting deadlines
➢ Sales targets
➢ Team and individual learning goals
➢ Team participation.
Budgetary targets
Depending on the nature of the job role, there may be financial targets which relate to spending within
certain budget limits.
Some examples may include:
➢ To ensure expenditure on advertising does not exceed $Y per year
➢ To reduce food waste per week from $x to $Y.
These examples are explicit statements which set out the organisation’s expectations in terms of what the
job holder will deliver as part of their job role.
Production targets
In some job roles, it will be more appropriate to set production targets (i.e. a statement describing what
the employee should produce in a specific timescale).
Examples may include:
➢ Sew 200 bean bags per week
➢ Update the personnel records for all new staff within one week of their start date
➢ Prepare the site for landscaping within one working day.
Reporting deadlines
In other job roles, the reporting of work completed within specific timescales may be a key measure of
performance.
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For example:
➢ Produce monthly training record for all staff by the 5th of each month
➢ Complete health and safety checklist by the end of every shift.
Sales targets
Some individuals may have targets to achieve certain sales targets as part of their job role.
Examples may include:
➢ Generate 5 customer referrals per day
➢ Achieve sales of $X per month.
Team and individual learning goals
There may be learning goals which are appropriate to the team. There may be a requirement to keep Food
Handling and Hygiene training fully up to date each year, for example. This would require the individuals
within the team to ensure that they took the necessary time to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.
Team participation
There may also be a requirement for individuals to participate in certain activities such as attending
meetings and briefings or other events at work. It may also be necessary for individuals to work alongside
other people in order to complete tasks. It’s very possible that one person’s work is dependent upon
another’s and so there would need to be co-operation between both people. For example, one person in
the team may cut out the fabric for the bean bags and this would have to be done correctly and on time
before the next person can sew them.
KPIs
KPIS (or Key Performance Indicators) are a form of work goal or objective – they typically include data
which can be used to measure and benchmark performance.
Examples include:
➢ Key performance indicators on customer satisfaction including:
o repeat business
o customers making recommendations
o completing surveys
o making complaints
o offering compliments
➢ Key performance indicators on customer effort including data concerning the efforts made
to interact with customers such as:
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o sales visits
o numbers of customers served/contacted/spoken to
➢ Monitoring time taken to answer calls:
o can be measured relatively easily with automated systems which can track the
volume and duration of calls
o can also track the average time taken to answer calls (e.g. some organisations
set a standard that calls must be answered within 3 rings or within 5 seconds)
➢ Operating within reporting protocols including factors such as:
o completing or submitting reports within specified timescales (e.g. it may be
necessary to complete an update report every hour, shift, day or week
➢ Score tools such as:
o net promoter
o these are linked to customer satisfaction indicators and give objective data
about how customers have rated or scored the service that they have received
➢ Understanding metrics:
o metrics are another form of key performance indicator
o tend to be more general in nature (e.g. sales figures).
Work goals and objectives and KPIs are set within the overall context of the organisation’s requirements
which may include:
➢ Access and equity principles and practice
➢ Business and performance plans
➢ Defined resource parameters
➢ Ethical standards
➢ Goals, objectives, plans, systems and processes
➢ Legal and organisational policies, guidelines and requirements
➢ WHS policies, procedures and programs
➢ Quality and continuous improvement processes and standards
➢ Quality assurance and/or procedures manuals.
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An essential first place to start when planning and organising your own work is to understand what key
goals, objectives and KPIs relate to your role, in the context of your organisation’s requirements. Without
an understanding of this, there is a danger that you fall into the trap of completing tasks very diligently only
to discover later that you shouldn’t have been doing these tasks at all. This is an extreme example,
however, it is surprisingly common for employees to be uncertain about what exactly they are measured
on and this makes it very difficult to make good decisions about how to prioritise their workload.
There are several ways of checking that you understand what is expected of you:
➢ Look at your job description – there should be clear statements which refer to any
relevant KPIs or objectives
➢ Look at any separate documentation concerning work goals, objectives or KPIs – there
may be a departmental standard for a particular KPI which may change over time – it is
important to be aware of what these are
➢ Talk to your line manager – if you are unsure about what a goal, objective or KPI means, it
is important to clarify this with your line manager.
If you find the goal/KPI to be too challenging, then it would be important to discuss this so that it can be
modified.
There are some circumstances where it would be perfectly reasonable to adjust a goal/KPI:
➢ When you are new to the role
➢ When you are undertaking training to develop skill and competence in an activity
➢ When there are other factors which affect your ability to perform to the required standard
(e.g. temporary health problems).
Talking to your line manager would be an important first step in negotiating your work goals, objectives
and KPIs. This is much better than agreeing to something which you think is unachievable and then failing
to deliver.
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Activity 1A
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1.2 – Assess and prioritise workload to ensure tasks are completed within
identified timeframes
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Create a to-do list or a task list to prioritise when tasks need to be completed
➢ Implement the Eisenhower’s urgency/importance principle to assess and prioritise
workload
➢ Make sure tasks are completed in the right timescales.
To-do lists
Having established an understanding of what is to be done in the work role, the next step is to assess and
prioritise the workload to ensure that the most important/urgent priorities are tackled first and that timesensitive activities are completed within the required timescales. A useful place to start is with a to-do list.
This is simply a list of tasks that are to be completed within a period of time – this may be a day, week or
month, depending on the context of your role. Sometimes, the to-do list is predetermined, in other words,
there is a routine list of tasks which have to be performed and so there is no requirement for the individual
to complete such a list. A useful variation on the to-do list is a ‘Task List’. This is similar to a to-do list but it
is organised slightly differently. A traditional to-do list is simply a random list of unconnected work
activities that are to be completed within a specific period of time.
A traditional to-do list might look like this:

Book hotel
Ring supplier regarding stationery order
Book a meeting room
Query credit note for paper supplies
Book train travel for Sue
Check conference tickets have arrived
Print revised procedures
Pass conference tickets on to Sue and Jen
Send out the agenda for monthly team meeting

This is simply an unorganised list of tasks – it is very difficult to separate out tasks which are connected or
dependent upon each other.
Reorganised as a Task List, the same list might look like this:
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Conference
Book train travel for Sue
Check conference tickets have arrived
Pass conference tickets on to Sue and Jen
Book hotel
Stationery
Ring supplier regarding stationery order
Query credit note for paper supplies
Team meeting
Book a meeting room
Print revised procedures
Send out the agenda for monthly team meeting

The tasks on both lists are identical. The only difference is that in the Task List, they have been grouped
under relevant headings. This ensures that related tasks are listed together and it is easier to see any
dependencies. It won’t be possible to pass on the conference tickets without checking that they have
arrived, and so the tasks have been listed in the appropriate order. If the conference is next week, for
example, it would be easy to see which tasks take priority over others. However, if the team meeting is
tomorrow, then this would require a different set of priorities. A useful build on the Task List is to allocate
deadlines to specific activities so that it becomes clear when each task should be completed by.
With timescales added, our Task List could now look like this:

Conference
Book train travel for Sue
Check conference tickets have arrived
Pass conference tickets on to Sue and Jen
Book hotel
Stationery
Ring supplier regarding stationery order
Query credit note for paper supplies
Team Meeting
Book a meeting room
Print revised procedures
Send out agenda for monthly team meetings
Date:
5th
4th
8th
5th
6th
6th
5th
8th
5th

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In this example, it is now clear which tasks have to be completed by which date and the workload seems
manageable.
Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle
One very useful tool for assessing and prioritising workload is Eisenhower’s Urgency/Importance Principle
which was used by US President Eisenhower in the 1950s and is widely used as a highly effective method
for prioritising workload. It works on the principle of comparing a task’s importance with its urgency.
Important and urgent are defined as follows:
➢ Important activities lead to the achievement of our goals
➢ Urgent activities demand immediate attention and are usually associated with achieving
someone else’s goals.
We can tend to become side-tracked with urgent tasks which are not very important and can find ourselves
in the stressful position of ‘firefighting’ and struggling to keep on top of the workload.
To use this principle, list all of the activities that you have to complete and then place each in one of the
categories shown below:
Image source: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_91.htm (Access date 24/11/16)
1. Important and urgent
There are two distinct types of urgent and important activities: ones that you could not have foreseen and
others that you’ve left until the last minute. You can avoid last-minute activities by planning ahead and
resisting the temptation to procrastinate. An important assignment that was handed out at college four
weeks before the deadline was not urgent at the time it was issued, but as time passes, it becomes
increasingly urgent – this can be avoided by adequate planning and avoiding procrastination.
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However, you can’t always predict or avoid some last-minute crises. The best approach is to leave some
time in your schedule to handle unexpected issues and unplanned important activities. Some people make
the mistake of trying to plan every minute of their day without leaving any ‘buffer space’ for the
unexpected tasks or things that take longer than expected. A classic example is planning a series of back-toback meetings and then being late for all of them as each one runs over and the employee hasn’t factored
this in or the time required to get from one meeting to another.
2. Important but not urgent
These are the activities that help you achieve your personal and professional goals and complete important
work. A good example is the college assignment that is issued four weeks before it is due to be completed –
it is important to complete this task in order to achieve the qualification, but it’s not urgent as there is
some time yet before it has to be completed.
3. Not important but urgent
Urgent but not important tasks are things that prevent you from achieving your goals. These are tasks
which can perhaps be rescheduled or delegated to others. These might include tasks such as helping a
colleague to deal with a problem – it won’t be important to you, but it’s important to the other person.
4. Not important and not urgent
These activities are just a distraction and so you should avoid them if possible. If something is not
important you should question why it should be done at all.
This tool can be a very effective way of deciding work priorities. It helps you to focus on what’s key to
fulfilling your job obligations and expectations. If an activity is related to a KPI in your role, it should take
higher importance over a minor task that is unconnected to what your job performance is measured on.
There is a saying that only two things get done at work:
1. What we enjoy doing
2. What gets measured!
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Activity 1B
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1.3 – Identify factors affecting the achievement of work objectives and
incorporate contingencies into work plans
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Plan workload ahead and look out for any potential problems
➢ Prepare for any factors that may affect their ability to achieve work objectives
➢ Implement contingency plans at work to minimise impact.
Factors affecting the achievement of work objectives
In an ideal world, we can get on with our work tasks uninterrupted and achieve everything that is asked of
us with relative ease and little stress. However, in real life, a wide range of factors can affect the
achievement of our work objectives.
These factors may include:
➢ Budget constraints
➢ Competing work demands
➢ Environmental factors such as time and weather
➢ Resource and materials availability
➢ Technology/equipment breakdowns
➢ Unforeseen incidents
➢ Workplace hazards, risks and controls.
Budget constraints
We may find that a budgetary limit impedes our ability to complete the scheduled tasks. If we were
working to a budget of $X and it is changed to $Y, there will undoubtedly be an impact on what it is
possible to achieve with a revised budget.
Competing work demands
Very often we have a number of different tasks or projects taking place at the same time. A problem on
one project can have a dramatic effect on the others and we can find ourselves in a position where a
number of different tasks are all vying for our attention at the same time. A classic example is when a
manager asks you to add an additional task to your list today. It is useful in this scenario to show your
manager the current priorities and ask them how you should reschedule them to accommodate the new
task. This way, they will either help you to reshuffle your priorities or they will revise what they are asking
of you and perhaps may delegate to another person instead.
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Environmental factors such as time and weather
We can’t predict the weather with any great degree of accuracy but it may have a significant impact on the
completion of certain tasks. If a house builder is due to install the windows on Day 23 of the project but it is
lashing with rain for example, then this task will have to be delayed until the weather improves and it is
safe for people to work.
Resource and materials availability
When we draw up our work plans, we tend to make the assumption that all will be well – the resources we
need to complete the job will be available and in working order. However, when it comes to actually
performing the task, we may find that essential supplies have run out or are otherwise unavailable. This
can set back the completion of the task whilst new or alternative supplies are found.
Technology/equipment breakdowns
This is similar to the resource/materials availability in that we tend to assume that the equipment we need
will be available and in working order when it is needed. Imagine a task in which an important document is
to be printed for a meeting only to find that the printer is out of ink and it’s not possible to open the
document as it has been received in an electronic format which is incompatible with your systems.
Unforeseen incidents
An unforeseen incident can occur at any time and may take many different forms. It may include colleague
absence, a customer or supplier problem or a sudden shift in priorities at a senior level in the organisation.
These types of incident can potentially cause chaos in terms of managing the workload.
Workplace hazards, risks and controls
Any factor which puts people’s health and wellbeing at risk immediately shifts work
priorities. If a piece of equipment is assessed as being too dangerous to use, for
example, then the work priorities will have to be rescheduled to take account of this.
Similarly, if the fire alarms sound unexpectedly and the phones are ringing, the staff
should be evacuating the building rather than answering the calls.
When planning a work schedule, it is not possible to factor in every possible
eventuality. However, with some insight, it is possible to identify the sorts of things
which may affect your ability to achieve your work goals. If you think that access to
equipment may be a possible problem, for example, then it would be sensible to
build into your schedule a check to ensure that the equipment will be available and in working order at the
time that you need it and to ensure that you have a contingency plan in the event of the equipment not
being available/working.
Planning one’s workload is a little like safe driving in a way. When driving along the motorway, a safe driver
is not only concerned with what’s happening with the car in front, but they are also looking ahead at the
general road conditions to notice anything going on that they need to be aware of. For example, brake
lights coming on in the distance may indicate there is an accident or incident and the driver can prepare to
slow down if necessary. The unsafe driver doesn’t see the wider picture and ends up slamming on their
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brakes at the last moment as they didn’t realise what was happening up ahead. Planning the workload is
similar in that it is important to have an awareness of the wider picture – in other words, it’s good to know
what’s happening later today, tomorrow, next week, next month so that you can spot any potential
problems before they become actual problems.
In this way, you can have contingency plans which enable you to still achieve your objectives with minimum
impact on your work and with minimum stress.
One example of this might be the builder who is due to install the windows on the house on Day 23 but
finds that on the day it is raining hard and it’s not safe to carry on with the task. Without a contingency
plan, the builder has to go home and wait for the rain to stop. With a contingency plan, the builder has
alternative tasks that are scheduled for Days 25 and 26 say, and which can be brought forward to today
without affecting the overall schedule of the project.
When planning your work schedule, it is very useful to look at key
tasks and ask yourself ‘What if…?’ so that you can identify any
factors which may impede your ability to perform the tasks on time
and to the required standard.
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Activity 1C
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1.4 – Use business technology efficiently and effectively to manage and monitor
scheduling and completion of tasks
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Use business technology efficiently in the workplace to organise work schedules
➢ Input activities to monitor and manage scheduling
➢ Make decisions about the priority order of tasks.
Business technology
A wide range of business technology is available in most workplaces to assist with the task of organising
work schedules.
These include:
➢ Computer application
o e.g. programs with automated reminders (e.g. mobile phone apps)
➢ Computers
o some systems can be set up to automatically show alerts and reminders for key
tasks
➢ Email
o some email programs have a feature you can use to attach alerts and reminders
to certain messages
➢ Facsimile machines
o now becoming obsolete in modern workplaces
o been superseded by digital communication
o if they do still exist, the transmit information electronically using a telephone
line
➢ Internet/extranet/intranet
o internet technology can also be used to
store and retrieve information relating to
work schedules
➢ Personal schedules
o come in many different forms
o online calendars, mobile phone apps or
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calendars on computers
➢ Photocopiers/printers/scanners
o can be used to track and report on progress towards completing work schedules
o scanning and emailing information can be more efficient than printing and
posting it.
When using technology to assist in the organising and completion of work schedules it is important to
remember that the technology cannot do the work for you – you still have to input the activities (unless
this is fully automated) and you still have to make decisions about the priority order in which you tackle the
tasks. Technology can help you to organise your workload and make it feel more manageable, but the
actual doing is down to you.
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Activity 1D
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2. Monitor own work performance
2.1 Accurately monitor and adjust personal work performance through self-assessment to ensure
achievement of tasks and compliance with legislation and work processes or KPIs.
2.2 Ensure that feedback on performance is actively sought and evaluated from colleagues and clients
in the context of individual and group requirements.
2.3 Routinely identify and report on variations in the quality of and products and services according to
organisational requirements.
2.4 Identify signs of stress and effects on personal wellbeing.
2.5 Identify sources of stress and access appropriate supports and resolution strategies.
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2.1 – Accurately monitor and adjust personal work performance through selfassessment to ensure achievement of tasks and compliance with legislation and
work processes or KPIs
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Use self-assessment tools to monitor personal work performance
➢ Keep track of your progress and compliance with legislation, work processes and KPIs.
➢ Use results of self-assessment to plan, prioritise and make adjustments.
Monitoring personal work performance
It is important to monitor and adjust your personal work performance as this enables you to track your
own progress towards achieving your work goals and KPIs and make any changes that are necessary. For
example, if you find that a change in the budget or a customer request has impacted on your work tasks, it
would be important to plan and prioritise to take account of the new circumstances. This is only possible if
you have a good understanding of what progress has been made and what is still required of you.
Many people who experience stress at work do so because they feel a sense that they have lost control and
they find it difficult to adjust to changing circumstances. By having a good understanding of the
expectations of you in your role, your progress and any factors which can affect your work, you are in a
better position to calmly relook at your workload and make the necessary decisions about what to tackle
and how. A great deal of stress is caused when people allow factors to take control of them rather than
taking control themselves.
It is motivating and empowering to feel a sense of control and achievement regarding one’s work activities.
Being able to cross tasks off a list is motivating in itself as it indicates progress towards the end goal. It also
enables you to show others what you have achieved. This is useful from the point of view of a manager
being able to give recognition for work achieved.
But it is also useful for the manager or other relevant people having a good
understanding of any factors that have affected the achievement of
goals so that this can be avoided or taken into account in future. For
example, if a target was set to reduce food waste in a catering
company by 10% over 3 months, the Catering Manager may find in
reality that due to the organisation’s food preparation policies. It is
very challenging to achieve a 5% reduction, and then this alerts the
relevant decision-makers in the catering company to consider revising
the target or making other changes so that the target is more achievable.
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Self-assessment of work performance
Self-assessing work performance can be achieved using the same tools that are used for planning the work
in the first place. If mobile phone apps or computer programs are used for planning and scheduling work,
for example, these can be updated as necessary to reflect progress towards completing tasks. If a simple
handwritten Task List is the basis of the work plans and schedules, then each task can be crossed off as it’s
completed. The sense of striking through (either manually or electronically) tasks which have been done
can be enormously motivating and give a real sense of achievement.
Another method would be to review and update data relating to the achievement of KPIs and work goals
and objectives. For example, if part of your work plan was to file all customer receipts by the end of the
working day, you can mentally or physically cross that off your list when the task has been completed. If
your goal was to secure five appointments with customers per shift, you will get a great sense of
achievement and motivation when you achieve this half way through your shift and can then ‘over achieve’
in the time remaining which may lead to various incentives and rewards.
Keeping track of your own work progress puts you in a position of control so that you will know yourself
how well you are performing and what adjustments you may need to make to keep on track. It is far better
to see for yourself that you need to apply more effort and attention to a particular aspect of your role than
for it to be pointed out by your manager or a customer.
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Activity 2A
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2.2 – Ensure that feedback on performance is actively sought and evaluated from
colleagues and clients in the context of individual and group requirements
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Seek feedback from various sources and methods to monitor performance
➢ Use reflective behaviour strategies to consider their performance
➢ Evaluate feedback to determine what action they need to take.
Feedback
Feedback is an essential component in our working lives. It enables us to feel a sense of recognition and it
helps to give us a sense of achievement – research shows that recognition and achievement are amongst
the biggest factors which motivate us at work.
Whilst it is empowering to assess and adjust our own work performance, our own view of ourselves can be
obscured by a wide range of factors. A person’s modesty or an over-inflated view of their abilities can lead
to a distorted picture of an individual’s performance. A self-assessment is an important aspect of
monitoring our own work performance, but it is even better if that is supplemented with feedback from
others whether that’s from your line manager, colleagues or customers.
Feedback on performance can be obtained from various sources and methods:
➢ Formal/informal performance appraisal
➢ Obtaining feedback from others
➢ Personal, reflective behaviour strategies
➢ Routine organisational methods for monitoring service delivery.
Formal/informal performance appraisal
Many organisations have performance appraisal processes in place. These may be either formal or informal
and the degree of formality and amount of paperwork associated with it can vary widely. The appraisal
may also be known by many different names including performance review, development review, one-toone or supervision. What it is called is arguably irrelevant. The important point is that this is a formal or
informal opportunity for the employee and their manager to discuss the employee’s recent job
performance over a period of time and to make plans for the future. The future plans usually include
setting new performance goals and objectives as well as discussing any
support or development needs. This conversation is an ideal opportunity
for the manager to give feedback about the employee’s job performance.
Ideally, this feedback should be a summary of any feedback that the
manager has collected from various sources and should not just rest on
their own opinion. So this might include feedback from colleagues and
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customers and performance data relating to KPIs to form a more balanced and objective view of a person’s
performance.
Obtaining feedback from others
All those who are in contact with and are affected by the work carried out by the individual employee may
have an opinion about the quality and effectiveness of the person’s work. This may include clients,
supervisors, colleagues and even suppliers in some instances.
This feedback can be sought in a variety of ways:
➢ Clients, supervisors and colleagues may volunteer feedback about the person’s
performance on an ongoing basis in response to particularly good examples of
performance or where there have been problems
➢ The manager may specifically ask for feedback either on a routine basis or in preparation
for a performance review or appraisal
➢ There may be automated feedback mechanisms which elicit feedback at key points (e.g.
via computer-generated questionnaires).
Personal, reflective behaviour strategies
A useful source of feedback is to use reflective behaviour strategies whereby one considers the work
performance and reflects on effectiveness and what else can be done to maintain or improve existing
performance. We tend to know deep down when we have done a good job or not. Reflective behaviour
strategies enable us to really consider our performance and assess what was good and what needs to
improve. By making a habit of reflecting on our own performance, it puts us in a constantly curious state
where we continually ask questions about how effective our performance has been and what can be done
to make it better. Athletes are a good example of this where they analyse their performance and identify
what they will do to improve next time.
Routine organisational methods for monitoring service delivery
If your organisation has KPIs in place, there must be a mechanism to measure the achievement of them. So,
if there is a KPI which concerns the number of bean bags sewn per hour, for example, there must be a
mechanism for measuring the actual number of bean bags sewn per hour so that it is possible to determine
whether or not the KPI is being achieved. Other routine methods for monitoring service delivery may
include customer satisfaction surveys, production data and budget data. All of these give objective
feedback on an individual’s or team’s performance and they give a useful insight into performance.
However, the data on its own should be treated with caution. A KPI might be for a
salesperson to bring in two new customers per month. On the
surface, Salesperson A might have failed to achieve the KPI if
they only brought in one customer. But, if that customer’s
order was ten times the usual order value, then this should be
considered a success and not a failure in achieving the KPI.
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When feedback has been obtained from a variety of sources, it is important to weigh it all up and
determine what it is telling you. The example above about failing to achieve the KPI but on balance having
succeeded is a good one to illustrate the importance of evaluating the feedback and working out what it is
actually telling you.
Consider the example of the tax inspector whose performance data all points to the judgement that their
work performance is good. They have been carrying out the necessary inspections, their paperwork is
always accurate and up to date and they are a reliable and experienced member of the team. However, a
complaint was received about the inspector’s conduct and behaviour during an interview with a taxpayer.
There was a danger that this feedback because it was an isolated example, was dismissed out of hand and
ignored. However, what should happen to this type of feedback is that the individual inspector reflects on
it and sees it as an opportunity to improve the way they carry out their inspections. All the data and other
feedback points to ‘good’ performance, but this one complaint is giving a hint that there is still room for
some improvement.
Now, it’s not possible to respond to every single piece of feedback received, not is it desirable, particularly
if the feedback from one party conflicts with another. However, the point here is that the feedback should
be evaluated and on balance, the individual should reflect on what the feedback is really telling them about
their performance. If the tax inspector was honest with herself, she should have been feeling secure in the
technical delivery of her role but that the interpersonal skills needed to be developed and this would give
her something to work towards during the next review period.
Obtaining the feedback and doing something with it are two

different things. It is important to consider the feedback in
light of the wider picture and to then decide what action, if
to take as a result. It is also important to reflect on the
context of the wider team when considering an individual’s
performance. If your own job performance is satisfactory, is
reflected in the overall team’s performance?
the
any,
this

Activity 2B
2.3 – Routinely identify and report on variations in the quality of and products
and services according to organisational requirements
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Review the quality of products and services provided in the job role
➢ Check that their work meets the organisation’s requirements and standards and report
the findings
➢ Take the necessary action to improve quality of products and services.
Quality
Part of monitoring one’s own work performance involves reviewing the quality of products and services
provided as part of the job role. When undertaking tasks at work, we can often have a general idea of
when the work we do is good or satisfactory. We should also be aware of when work doesn’t quite meet
organisational requirements and we’d be expected to identify this and take the necessary action.
In one example, let’s say the employee is responsible for collating data and producing a monthly report.
When checking through the report before passing it on to the manager, the employee notices that the
figures don’t seem to make sense and so they double-check the report and correct any errors that they
find so that they can be sure that the information they are passing on is correct.
However, in another context, the employee may not be able to correct the data as they were working
with information supplied to them by other people. In this case, they would be expected to point out
the discrepancy when they submit the report so that the manager was aware of the possible error. In
either case, there is an expectation that the employee is responsible for ensuring that their work meets
the organisation’s standards and that they point it out if this is not the case. In other words, if the
quality of the work is not to the required standard, they are able to identify and report this.
The range of products and services that the employee may review
includes:
➢ Either products or services
➢ Goods
➢ Ideas
➢ Infrastructure
➢ Private or public sets of benefits.
In all of the above, there is an expectation that the employee responsible for carrying out the work tasks
would also be responsible for identifying and reporting on any variations in quality. For example,
imagine the individual was responsible for delivering an IT support service to a range of clients: if the
service was interrupted, delayed, or there were problems with the quality of advice being given to users,
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the individual would be expected to identify and report this on a routine basis – they shouldn’t sit on it
and wait for the problem to be identified by others. This is a mature and rational approach to work
responsibilities – if something is going wrong, we should spot it and let the relevant people know about
it so that appropriate action can be taken. It is usually much easier to resolve a problem as soon as it has
been identified rather than after a period of time – problems that are ignored have a habit of growing
into bigger problems.
The routine identification and reporting of variations in quality will depend on the context of the work
being carried out. In some cases, the quality checking will take place as the work is being completed, at
specific intervals during the process of the task being completed or at various points in time after the
task has been completed.
Let’s return to the bean bags for a moment: the machinist should check each piece as it is sewn and
again before passing it on to the next stage in the production process. If they spot any variations in
quality, they should either correct the problem themselves or report it in the appropriate manner
depending on the organisation’s procedures.
In another context, imagine that the employee is responsible for providing interior design advice to
clients. It is likely that it won’t be possible to fully assess the quality of the person’s work until the design
specification has been completed and possibly the actual interior design work. It’s not possible or
practical in this context to assess quality on a ‘piece-by-piece’ basis in the same way as for a production
task and so different methods and timing are necessary. The important point is that the quality of work
should be checked using methods and at times which are appropriate to the task being carried out and
according to organisational requirements.
Finally, one important aspect of identifying and reporting quality variations is that these add to the
individual’s experience and they learn over time the implications of variations in the quality of work and
how these can be avoided or minimised in future – this is an essential part of an employee’s continuing
professional development.
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Activity 2C
2.4 – Identify signs of stress and effects on personal wellbeing
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Monitor behaviour at work to identify signs of stress
➢ Display awareness and acknowledgement of stress
➢ Use support mechanisms around them to help counter and manage it.
Stress
Stress is our response to pressure in our lives, whether the pressure comes from factors in our home
lives or at work. Stress is not always a negative force. Sometimes we need a certain amount of stress in
order to ‘keep us on our toes’ and keep us focused and alert. The stress of an important presentation,
for example, can induce an alert state which is actually helpful in terms of us giving our best
performance. However, when the level of stress becomes difficult to manage, then it can be considered
to be negative and potentially damaging.
In the workplace, negative stress can result from many things, including:
➢ Increased workload
➢ Demanding timescales
➢ Pressure from the organisation/clients
➢ A change in duties.
We have different tolerances to stress –what seems challenging but manageable to one person may
seem extremely stressful to another. This does not make the person who feels stress weak or inferior in
any way. We are all different in what we perceive as stressful.
There are several signs which indicate that stress may exist:
➢ Absence from work: this might be due to medical advice to take time off work to
recover from stress, or it may consist of occasional days’ absence. This will be
evidenced in a person’s attendance record at work. Long periods of absence or a
pattern of shorter absences over a period of time may indicate that stress exists.
➢ Alcohol or other substance abuse: some people turn to alcohol and other substances
in the mistaken belief that this will help them to cope with stress – it may help them to
feel better in the short term but this is not a long-term solution. Other people may
notice signs of substance abuse such as the smell of alcohol on a person’s breath,
shaking, dilated pupils, making errors, lateness or absence and lack of concentration.
➢ Conflict: when feeling stressed, we are not always able to think and act rationally.
What would normally be a trivial matter can seem like a major crisis when we are
feeling stressed. This can lead to irrational behaviour which can lead to conflict with
others. This may include raised voices/shouting, curt and abrupt behaviour, snubbing
others, making negative remarks and speaking ill of others.
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➢ Poor work performance: a person who is stressed may not be able to give the same
attention to the job as usual and so they may make mistakes, become forgetful, make
poor decisions or find it difficult to make any decisions at all.
Stress can affect several different aspects of our personal wellbeing including:
➢ Cultural
➢ Emotional
➢ Social
➢ Spiritual.
Stress can cause us to question our relationships, our beliefs and everything that we hold dear.
Friendships can become neglected in the belief that we don’t have time for them. We can drop out of
our usual social activities, again thinking that we don’t have time or that we have stopped enjoying
them. We can become withdrawn and uncommunicative which affects our relationships with people we
are close to. We can question our own beliefs and spirituality.
Stress that is not well-managed can have wide-reaching effects on the way we live our lives and the way
that we interact with others. It is not uncommon for a stressed person to push away all of their support
mechanisms: friends, family, loved ones and social/cultural/spiritual activities. In fact, all of these
support mechanisms are an effective counter to stress, but the severely stressed person cannot see this
and can often withdraw into solitude and a lonely existence. Over time, negative stress which is not
managed effectively can seriously damage a person’s health and wellbeing.
One of the first stepping stones to avoid or manage damaging stress is to recognise that stress exists in
the first place – once this is known and accepted, steps can then be taken to deal with it. But is has to be
recognised and acknowledged in the first place.
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Activity 2D
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2.5 – Identify sources of stress and access appropriate supports and resolution
strategies
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Raise awareness of stress and identify the different sources
➢ Use a range of coping strategies to manage it positively
➢ Implement long-term solutions to deal with stress in the workplace.
Sources of stress
Stress at work can be generated from a range of sources including:
➢ Complex tasks
➢ Cultural issues
➢ Work and family conflict
➢ Workloads.
Complex tasks
Tasks that are complicated and challenge us can be a source of stress. If they have challenging deadlines
and a number of different people and factors involved, this can add to the complexity. Things that are
new can also be stressful and if we are operating outside of our usual ‘comfort zone’ we can feel
stressed and anxious.
Cultural issues
If we are feeling that our cultural identity is threatened or not respected, particularly in the workplace,
this can lead to us feeling stressed. Conversely, if we have to respect cultural diversity in the workplace,
this can prove challenging if we are fearful of saying or doing the ‘wrong’ thing and we can feel anxious
about unintentionally causing offence or upset. Sometimes people can feel as if they are walking a
tightrope, trying to balance the needs of the job with the needs of the people that they are working
with.
Work and family conflict
Sometimes there can be a conflict of work and family commitments and priorities. It can be hard to get
the balance right between getting to your son’s first important sporting event at school for example,
and achieving an important deadline at work – these sorts of choices can be a constant challenge for
people with caring responsibilities, whether caring for young children or elderly relatives. Even without
caring responsibilities, it can sometimes be hard for people to feel that they can finish work on time so
that they can be at home spending time with their loved ones without feeling guilty. Another source of
stress can be taking work home or spending time at home dealing with worktexts and emails – this can
be enormously frustrating for those at home who want to spend time with you and see you relax.
Workloads
Heavy workloads can lead to stress if people feel that the workload is unmanageable, or the deadlines
are too demanding. Everyone has busy times at work which may be due to increased customer demand,
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certain times of the year (e.g. seasonal fluctuations and busy periods), special projects and crises. We
can usually cope with a one-off busy period as it is usually for a short period of time. However, when an
unmanageable workload is the norm rather than a now-and-again occurrence, it can lead to prolonged
stress as the person can feel overwhelmed by how much work there is to do and how little time there is
to do it in.
When we are experiencing stress, we need to use a range of coping strategies to help us manage our
way through it.
The following outlines the range of supports and resolution strategies which can help an individual to
deal positively with stress at work:
➢ Awareness raising
➢ Counselling
➢ Employee assistance programmes (EAP)
➢ Family support
➢ Group activities
➢ Job design
➢ Mediation
➢ Sharing load
➢ Time off
➢ Training.
Awareness raising
Accepting that we are feeling stressed is the first step in working towards a resolution. The person who
refuses to accept that they are stressed will find it very difficult to take up any support offered or to
implement any solutions. Some people feel that it is a sign of weakness to admit they are feeling
stressed and will go to great lengths to disguise it. Talking openly about stress at work can help a great
deal in terms of ‘normalising’ stress and enabling people to realise that it is a perfectly normal reaction
to a range of challenging factors at work and that practical steps can be taken to manage the stress
effectively.
Counselling
When people are feeling unable to cope with stress, it is affecting their wellbeing and their
relationships, counselling is a valid and useful support strategy. This involves confidential one-to-one
support from a qualified professional who works with the person over a period of time to explore
what’s going on in their life/work and helps them to identify practical steps they can take to move
towards a more positive state. The fact that counselling is confidential and is usually carried out by
someone from outside the organisation can enable the stressed individual to ‘open up’ and disclose
their worries and concerns in a safe environment. Again, once the issues are out in the open and have
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been disclosed, the counsellor can work with the person to identify positive steps that can be taken to
manage the situation more positively.
Employee assistance programmes (EAP)
Many organisations recognise the need to provide external assistance to employees during times of
difficulty and so they provide Employee Assistance Programmes. Typically, these are based around a
telephone or online support service which can offer impartial advice and guidance on a wide range of
issues affecting employment. This support is usually free at the point of use for the employees using it.
Some schemes will also offer confidential counselling as part of the package of support that is available
to employees. If an organisation provides such a scheme, it shows that the company recognises that
people need support from time to time and it is a very positive and progressive step.
Family support
Support for families is provided by the government and may include a wide range of support services
and interventions to help families through periods of crisis. It may include counselling and other
parenting support.
Group activities
Group activities can be a beneficial source of support for those suffering from the adverse effects of
stress. This may involve work-related activities which give team members an opportunity to build better
relationships and ways of working, for example. Or they may be activities which are targeted specifically
at helping groups of people to manage stress better.
Job design
Job design is a very practical way of putting some short or long-term strategies in place to support a
person’s well-being. This may involve changing the working hours or shift patterns, changing the job
responsibilities or changing the job location.
Mediation
Mediation is an intervention carried out by a qualified
professional mediator in which two or more parties come
together to work out a resolution to the difficulties and
challenges that face them. It is particularly useful when there
is a personality clash or where grievances exist between
people. Typically, the mediator will meet individually with all
parties to establish the facts and how each party perceives
the situation and how they would like it to be resolved. Then the mediator manages a face-to-face
meeting between all parties to examine the situation and help them to work together to find a
resolution. This can be a particularly powerful intervention as it is tailored specifically to the individuals
involved and the situation which they are finding challenging.
Sharing load
Helping individuals to share their workload for a period of time can be a very simple and effective way
of alleviating stress. This might involve sharing work across the team or bringing in a temporary
resource to support the person who is experiencing stress. This is a useful short-term solution which can
be put in place almost immediately, but it is not usually effective as a long-term strategy.
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Time off
Simply giving the individual some time off work to remove the source of work-related stress can also be
a very effective and immediate way to alleviate stress. Again, this is not sustainable as a long-term
solution, however, when someone is feeling excessive stress; a break from work can be a highly
effective way of giving them some distance from the stressors so that they can start to think rationally
about how they can deal with them.
Training
Stress management training is becoming more common as there is a wider acceptance that being
affected by stress is not a sign of weakness but a very real and valid condition. It is possible to learn tips
and techniques for managing one’s stress more positively. Even attending Time Management training
can be a great help for individuals who struggle to manage competing priorities and increasing
workloads.
From this, we can see that there is a wide range of possible interventions
to help a person to deal with the negative effects of stress. Very often, a
combination of support and resolution strategies will be required to
achieve long-term success in managing stress. An individual who is
severely stressed at work may benefit from a combination of time off
work, sharing their workload and training in stress management
techniques, for example. The key point to remember is that what works
for one person in one set of circumstances may not necessarily work for
another. In a situation where there is a deeply rooted personality clash
which is causing stress and conflict, for example, this approach would
yield little results and a better strategy would be to include either
counselling or mediation as part of the support arrangements.
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Activity 2E
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3. Coordinate personal skill development and learning
3.1 Identify personal learning and professional development needs and skill gaps using selfassessment and advice from colleagues and clients in relation to role and organisational
requirements
3.2 Identify, prioritise and plan opportunities for undertaking personal skill development activities
in liaison with work groups and relevant personnel
3.3 Access, complete and record professional development opportunities to facilitate continuous
learning and career development
3.4 Incorporate formal and informal feedback into review of further learning needs
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3.1 – Identify personal learning and professional development needs and skill
gaps using self-assessment and advice from colleagues and clients in relation to
role and organisational requirements
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Use self-assessment to assess own abilities against the job requirements and identify
gaps in knowledge and skills
➢ Ask colleagues and clients for their feedback and advice on how they have performed
➢ Implement plans for developing their own knowledge and skills.
Development needs
When we take responsibility for organising and completing our own work schedule, we are in the
perfect place to consider what we are comfortable with and any aspects of the role that prove
challenging. In an administration role, for example, an employee may be very skilled in using all of the
software packages except for one. Or they may be very comfortable with the majority of the tasks that
they complete but find one or two a bit more difficult or less enjoyable. These areas suggest that a skills
gap or learning need may exist.
Self-assessment is the process of assessing our own abilities against the job requirements to identify any
gaps in our knowledge and skills, or areas in which we need to undertake some learning. This can be
done informally just by reflecting on those aspects of the role that we feel we do well and then
identifying the areas that we feel less comfortable or confident with. In the example above, the
administrator has informally assessed their skills with regards to their confidence in using different
software packages.
A more structured approach to this self-assessment would be to review the job description and to
identify which responsibilities you feel you can carry out confidently and competently, which ones are a
challenge and where you may need some experience, training or other help. In some organisations, the
job descriptions are quite detailed giving specific details of the knowledge and skills required for the
role. In other organisations, there may be a set of ‘competencies’ for the role – these are statements
which indicate the level of performance required in the role. These are similar in a way to KPIs as they
set standards of performance for the job role. If this detailed information is available, it would be useful
to review the job description, list of skills and/or competencies and to assess yourself as to how
confident/competent you feel in each area. This should give you an overview of your strengths and
areas for development in your role.
Self-assessment
When assessing your own learning needs, it is important, to be honest with yourself. It
is also important not to be too modest – if you have a particular skill or strength in an
area, give yourself the credit for it. However, if you know deep down that you find an
aspect of the job difficult or demanding, this may indicate an area in which you would
benefit from some development.
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Even if you have been in the same job role for a long period of time and have become highly skilled in it,
there will usually be some areas for development which arise from time to time. Nothing ever stays the
same for very long: legislation, codes of practice and working practices change and develop over time
and it is essential that people keep up to date with these. So, even if your core job responsibilities may
be unchanged over time, you will probably find that you need to learn about changes in legislation or
working practices in order to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.
Assessing your own learning and development needs is a useful step in coordinating your personal skill
development and learning. You may find that your existing organisational processes give you a natural
opportunity to do this via a performance review or appraisal process, for example. If this is the case,
please engage in your existing processes. If no such processes exist in your workplace, then simply
review your job description (and any other information that is relevant to the role) and consider your
strengths and areas for development – this will give you an overview of what you do well and what you
need to develop further. This is a good basis for planning your own development activities.
However, we do not always see ourselves as others see us. An employee working in a store may think
that they give excellent customer service as they put a lot of effort into chatting to customers, building
rapport and generally being attentive. However, the store manager may see the employee spending
large amounts of time with individual customers and the customers themselves may not always like the
attention, finding it intrusive at times. How we perceive our own performance is not always the same as
how others perceive it and so it is useful to gain a perspective that is outside our own view of things.
This can be achieved by asking colleagues (including managers) and clients to share their opinions and
offer any advice. This can be done informally through your day-to-day conversations with people simply
by asking for their feedback or comments about how you have performed. There are more formal
mechanisms for gaining this feedback perhaps by asking for recommendations or references or using
surveys. The more formal mechanisms would tend to be managed on an organisation-wide basis at
particular points in time (e.g. a few weeks before a performance review is to take place).
Taking your own self-assessment and any feedback or advice that you have had from others into
account, you should be a in a strong position to identify your personal learning and professional
development needs and skills gaps which are relevant to your current role and your future career.
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Activity 3A
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3.2 – Identify, prioritise and plan opportunities for undertaking personal skill
development activities in liaison with work groups and relevant personnel
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Produce a list of possible development opportunities and put them in order of priority
➢ Liaise with the line manager and anyone else involved to get input and support
➢ Implement and plan the development activities.
Opportunities for development
Having identified the learning and development needs and any skill gaps, the next step is to consider
how to meet those needs, in what order and when. This step is concerned with considering the sorts of
opportunities that will meet your needs and then planning to take action.
Let’s go back to the example of the administrator who is confident and competent in the use of most of
the computer software that is used in the role: they have identified that there is one program that they
don’t use very often but which they are sometimes required to use. Let’s say the program in question is
a piece of presentation software which is used to put presentation slides and documents together for
meetings and training sessions. We’ll assume that the individual has already identified this as a
development need and has had feedback and advice from others to suggest that it will be beneficial for
them to become competent in the use of this software as they are going to be expected to use it more
frequently in future. Having identified the development need, the administrator now needs to think
about the ways that this need can be met.
They might generate a list like the one below:

1. Attend training course
2. Trial and error in using the software
3. Using online resources and information
4. One-to-one training with an experienced operator
5. Using the Help function within the software package itself
6. Job shadowing an experienced operator in another department/
company

There is a range of possible opportunities and not all will be practical or useful for the individual. Much
will depend on the cost and availability of the development opportunities, as well as other factors such
as the time required for each type of training.
Having generated a list of possible options, the administrator can then review this list and rule out any
that are impractical on grounds of cost, availability and timing. They may find that attending a course
may not be practical as they’d have to wait 6 months to get on a course, it’s being delivered at a
location that is difficult for them to get to and the cost is more than the budget available. Similarly, they
might rule out the option of job shadowing in another department as their boss may be unable to
release them for the time required.
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For the viable options, the administrator would then need to consider which ones are workable, and
to place these in priority order which might look like this:

1. One-to-one training with an experienced operator
2. Using the Help function within the software package itself
3. Trial and error in using the software
4. Using online resources and information
5. Attend training course
6. Job shadowing an experienced operator in another department/
company

In this example, the administrator has ruled out two options and then ranked the others in order of
priority based on which ones they feel are the most useful to implement. It would be a good idea at this
stage to get the input of the line manager as their support will be needed to allow time for the training
and also perhaps to arrange for the other experienced operator to be available.
Now that there is a priority list of development opportunities, the administrator can plan precisely
what, how and when it will take place in order to meet their needs. From this outline plan, they would
be able to set firm dates with any other people involved (e.g. the experienced operator) and to plan
when they could practise using the software themselves and use the Help function.
This planning should not take place in isolation – it is good practice to liaise with the line manager, other
people in the work group and anyone else who is involved or affected by the development activities
taking place. In our administrator example, it would be good practice for the experienced operator’s line
manager to be involved (if this was a different manager) so that they can ensure that time is made
available. It is also good practice to let others be aware of development activities that are taking place
so that the people involved are not disturbed.
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Activity 3B
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3.3 – Access, complete and record professional development opportunities to
facilitate continuous learning and career development
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Access opportunities independently or through the approval and support of managers
➢ Make arrangements to complete the learning activities
➢ Keep a record of any development opportunities they have undertaken.
Professional development opportunities
Professional development opportunities come in all shapes and sizes.
There is a wide variety of possibilities which are listed below:
➢ Career planning/development: this involves taking a long-term view of one’s career,
identifying career goals and aspirations and the development steps that are required in
order to achieve those goals.
➢ Coaching, mentoring and/or supervision: these are all highly effective, individualised
options for meeting development needs. They all involve a tailored approach which is
specific to the individual undergoing development. They are typically cost-effective
approaches as they can all take place in the workplace with minimum disruption and
they encourage the individual to take their own steps to achieve their development
goals.
➢ Formal/informal learning programmes: learning programmes can take place in a
variety of contexts, internally and externally and may involve a degree of self-study or
attendance at learning activities and events.
➢ Internal/external training provision: as for learning programmes, training provision
may be provided by internal personnel or external people in the form of training
courses or one-to-one training sessions.
➢ Performance appraisals: the performance appraisal discussion should provide an
opportunity to discuss the individual’s development needs and priorities and it is the
ideal time to make outline plans as to how those needs can be met.
➢ Personal study: more and more, people are taking responsibility for their own learning
and undertaking their own personal study by accessing online content and material as
well as traditional methods such as researching books.
➢ Quality assurance assessments and
recommendations: any quality assurance
activity provides a rich source of learning
opportunities both in terms of
highlighting good practice which can be
replicated and emulated by others, but
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also in terms of practice which is not so good, highlighting things to avoid and look out
for. Reviewing a recent quality audit gives a good insight for someone who is learning
about what ‘good’ looks like.
➢ Recognition of current competency/skills recognition: this can be achieved via
accreditation or certification of existing skills and knowledge through assessments.
➢ Work experience/exchange/opportunities: working in another area of the business or
in a different organisation can be hugely insightful for someone who is developing their
skills and knowledge. It gives an opportunity to see how others implement the target
knowledge and skills in a different context. This is an excellent way to broaden a
person’s experience in a real-life setting.
➢ Workplace skills assessment: similar to recognition of current competence, this
involves an assessor assessing a person’s competence or abilities against a set of
criteria. This may be in connection with a nationally-recognised qualification (as in this
unit of competence) or it may be linked to the organisation’s own processes and
procedures for assessing and ‘signing off’ a person as competent in some workplace
tasks and activities.
Depending on the chosen method of development, you may find that you can access some
opportunities independently without the input of anyone else – for example, personal study using
online content is often free to use and can be accessed by anyone anytime. In other instances, the
approval and support of other people (usually your line manager) will be necessary before any
arrangements or plans can be made. Assuming that you have already sought this support as part of the
previous step in which you identified and planned the learning opportunities, the next step then is to
actually undertake the learning activities as planned and to keep a record of these.
It is important to keep a record of any development that you have
undertaken. Any learning that you do, whether this is formal or informal,
forms part of your overall career history. Something that may have seemed
relatively minor to you at the time may, in fact, turn out to be a useful ‘selling
point’ to a prospective new manager or employer when you are applying for
promotion or other roles in the future. It is easy to forget every piece of
development that we complete particularly the informal activities and so
keeping a learning log or a learning journal/diary is a useful way of capturing
the highlights. You may have documentation at work which is used for this
purpose, but if not, you can simply start your own record to capture what you
learned, how you learned it and when this took place.
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Activity 3C
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3.4 – Incorporate formal and informal feedback into review of further learning
needs
By the end of this chapter, the learner should be able to:
➢ Gather feedback about their progress from people who have been involved in
providing or supporting the learning
➢ Use the feedback to review progress and inform plans for further learning and
development activities.
Incorporating feedback into review
When you have undertaken a period of learning and development, even if only informally and for a very
short time, the others who have been involved in providing or supporting the learning will be able to
comment on the way in which you have responded to the learning or how effectively you have applied
the learning in practice. In other words, they are able to offer feedback about your learning which in
turn may inform your plans for further learning and development activity.
The people who may be in a position to offer this feedback may include:
➢ Your line manager or supervisor
➢ Anyone who was directly involved in providing the
training (e.g. one-to-one trainers, training deliverers,
experienced personnel who you job shadowed and
coaches/mentors)
➢ Other relevant people who can comment on how
effectively you have implemented the learning in
practice at work.
Let’s return to the example of the administrator who was learning about the presentation software.
Imagine that they received some one-to-one instruction at work from an experienced colleague and
supplemented this with some practice and online research. The experienced colleague would be able to
informally assess the learning and offer feedback about the progress being made in terms of which
aspects the administrator was developing confidence in and which areas they still have to master. Let’s
assume that the colleague has given feedback to the effect that the administrator is capable of setting
up a new presentation document, conforming to the organisation’s ‘house style’ and inserting images.
However, they may still need to learn about and practice the skills of animating the slides and inserting
multimedia clips, for instance. This feedback is invaluable for the administrator who can use this
information to make decisions about the next priorities for development, how and when they can
achieve this. In essence, this feedback step completes the learning and development cycle.
When completing a period of learning and development, the final step is to review what has been learnt
and to plan the next steps. Obtaining feedback from others on progress so far and their guidance and
advice about ‘what next’, is hugely beneficial in furthering the person’s overall development.
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Activity 3D
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Summative Assessments
At the end of your Learner Workbook, you will find the Summative Assessments.
This includes:
➢ Skills assessment
➢ Knowledge assessment
➢ Performance assessment.
This holistically assesses your understanding and application of the skills, knowledge and performance
requirements for this unit. Once this is completed, you will have finished this unit and be ready to move
onto the next one – well done!

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