Most workforces are comprised of adults and as such, we should be able to assume that they will conduct themselves in a manner befitting grown-ups. Right? Nope, not right. Unfortunately, you will always find that there are those who are willing and able to push boundaries, behave inappropriately and potentially endanger themselves or their colleagues. Sometimes it’s deliberate and damaging and sometimes it is a lack of understanding or naivete that causes the problems.
As a business leader, you need to be on the front foot with protecting your employees and your business from unacceptable behaviour. But how?
We usually discuss adverse action cases whereby an employer has wronged, or been accused of wronging, an employee. But a recent case lodged by the Australian Building and Construction Commission demonstrates how prospective employees are also protected by the same laws and the penalties for offending employers can be pretty steep!
To state the obvious, discrimination within the workplace is unlawful – the Fair Work Act is where this law is enshrined. But what is included and what constitutes an adverse action in relation to discrimination?.
Sophie Evans - HR Professional
As a business owner or leader, I bet you are constantly thinking of and planning ways to continuously improve your business? Well of course, that’s what a great business thinker should be doing but it doesn’t always have to involve grand, long term plans that involve huge capital expenditure. Improving your business can be as easy as finding small improvements every day.
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
Sally is sick. Really sick. Sally can’t come to work and has now run out of sick leave entitlements. Sally doesn’t know when she’ll be back at work, so you’re scratching your head wondering ‘what do I do now’? Sally is one of your customer service team who are drastically under the pump now with a key employee missing from their team…. Sally calls to say that she has to have surgery. Sally now has complications with her surgery and won’t be back at work for the foreseeable future….. Sally is really sorry.
We hear you screaming from here! It’s frustrating and really hard to keep your business operating at optimal levels. Customer service levels are being impacted and the rest of the team are feeling overworked… To get a temp up to speed will take time and money which will be a lost investment when they are no longer needed. Sally is still employed so you can’t just replace her. Or can you?
One fine Tuesday morning, George doesn’t show up for work. There’s no phone call, email or text message to advise he won’t be in so by 10:30 am, you try contacting him. There’s no answer so you leave a message. You also try calling his next of kin as advised on his HR file but they don’t respond either. Further attempts are made over the course of the next three days to contact George but you still don’t know where he is or if he is coming back. You have a business to run and you need people to either show up for their rostered hours or advise that they need to utilise some of their personal leave. So what can you do?
An employee has just approached you with a request to ‘cash out’ a portion of their annual leave. Roger doesn’t want to take the time off – he just wants the cold, hard cash in this instance. He’s got seven weeks up his sleeve and he’s requested to cash in one week of his accrued annual leave. Do you want to agree to this request and are you obligated to sign off on Roger’s request?
It’s a fact, staff turnover costs your business financially and the recruitment process can be an additional load that you simply don’t need. There are trackable expenses such as recruitment and advertising but there are many intangible costs that are not so easy to determine. Lost productivity is an obvious one but it isn’t just limited to lost output when a role is not back-filled before your incumbent departs – it’s also the efficiency of a new employee who won’t be as quick as the experienced team member they replace. And don’t forget the reallocation of time and attention that impacts you or your staff that are involved in the recruitment, onboarding and training a new team member. And for some businesses, these costs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to staff turnover.
There is no real way to avoid people leaving a company but working on your retention and looking after the people that help make your business a success, can help you reduce the number of departures and minimise these overheads whilst further enhancing a positive, engaged team with increased productivity as a result. To that end, we have seven quick tips to help you build an employee retention strategy that delivers results.
Email is both an essential communication tool and an absolute waste of time. It’s a bold statement but you know I’m right. Email can take you from sealing a major new deal that will take your business to the next level one minute, while the next you get caught in a to and fro exchange that interrupts you multiple times and causes focus, time and productivity to be lost. It’s clear that the positives of email outweigh the negatives so the key is to take control of the tsunami of communications and not let email control you. Simples!
A case involving a fast food giant, a specific shift start time, a required arrival time, a sneaky cigarette, a ladder, a broken leg and an overturned WorkCover claim all came together recently in a Queensland court with a decision that may have far reaching implications for businesses throughout Australia. How is this even possible you wonder….
Your preferred candidate has accepted the job and the start date has been agreed. Awesome. He’ll rock up in a week and you can pop him in Kevin’s old cubicle, and a new era begins you think to yourself as you move on to the next job on your to do list.
If this is what it looks like when you have a new recruit, then you have just set your new gun hire up for failure. But I hired someone smart and experienced I hear you cry. Surely they can just get in there and get stuff done. Well yes, they most likely will jump in if they are as good as you think, but we’ve got some tips that will help you transition them into your business and provide an excellent base for success. After all, you’ve put some real effort into finding the right person – you must want it to work out long term!
Melbourne is notorious for delighting the population with all four seasons within the space of a few hours, so we know to take a sunhat and a raincoat whenever we leave the house. But as summer slowly comes to an end and autumn starts showing herself, much of Australia’s outdoor based workforce will experience the same erratic weather patterns. So it’s timely to have a look at the laws about working in storms and heat…..
Kristi Ackland - HR Advisor
As a business owner or leader, you will experience unwanted stress at one time or another. The key to managing stressful periods is to have strategies and supports in place that will help you get through it whilst maintaining your sanity! At HR Staff n’ Stuff we see the damage stress has on businesses as we are often called in to assist with very challenging situations and we can and will help. But we also recommend a little self-help that only takes 2 minutes. Want to know more? Well, read on…..
So, how are those new year resolutions going? By mid- January, 80% of resolutions are already distant memories but we have a promise that we want you to make to yourself for 2019. Work / life balance – don’t just talk about it, get some into your life and you are going to be thanking yourself.
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
Amie Graham - HR Advisor
Based on numbers alone chances are you will have an employee in your business living with mental illness at any one time. Globally, mental illness is predicted to be the fastest growing and most significant non-communicable disease impacting on the economy, and higher income countries such as Australia are impacted the most.
As a business owner it is your responsibility to ensure you are creating a mentally healthy workplace. Not only to do the right thing by your people but as part of your business strategy so you remain competitive and successful, reduce absenteeism and maintain productivity levels.
Dina Fergadiotis - HR Advisor
The hot weather is just around the corner and of course that can mean excessively hot work environments for some employees, especially those working onsite, in factories and in warehouses. Excessive heat has potential to cause a significant safety hazard in work places that can lead to symptoms such skin irritations, dizziness, dehydration, excessive sweating, heat stroke or, in the extreme, death.
So how do you protect your employees while balancing the needs of your business?
Dina Fergadiotis - HR Advisor
A positive change by business leaders is the recent focus on workplace culture, wellness and morale. If businesses are not ahead of the game, they risk losing valued and talented employees to a workplace with a higher morale or stronger culture. With a tough talent market – good, great and especially exceptional employees are really hard to find. High quality candidates have a lot of options and when they are tossing up which position to accept they are certainly more likely to choose a business that is known for its positive workplace culture and morale. Not only do these businesses secure the best candidates, they are able to deliver long term and high levels of engagement and satisfaction throughout their employment – win-win for businesses and employees!
So what's your workplace morale like and is it worth all the effort to make changes to boost it?
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
It can be challenging for most businesses to navigate the myriad of rules and regulations that they must comply with, and this gets even trickier when trying to make sense of the various employer obligations regarding people: discrimination laws, privacy laws, Fair Work legislation and more. Over time the facts can be distorted until there is a particular belief about what employers can and can’t do, should and shouldn’t do etc. Deb Peppard attempts to’ bust four common HR myths’ to help you get a handle on the facts!
Danielle Stone - HR Advisor
Flexible working arrangements have become the new normal in workplaces in recent years. Until recently, it was mostly working parents that requested greater flexibility in the workplace but over time it has become far more common for a diverse range of employees to request a transition to flexible working arrangements for a variety of reasons.
So as a business leader, should you consider these requests?
Yes! In a perfect world, all businesses would be able to offer their employees such flexibility as there are significant benefits to you as an employer, as well as to your employees, but in reality, there are many things to consider.
Apps. What are they good for? When you look past Candy Crush, they can be incredibly helpful in your business if you choose the ones that suit your needs and your working style. But do you have the time to wade through them all to find the app that will assist you? We know you don’t, so we’ve had a look at some of them for you and have some recommendations that might save you some time and money!
Amie Graham - HR Advisor
For some, the freedom of choosing what they wear to work each day is a joy – for others, it is just another chore that needs sorting in the morning! For the one quarter of workplaces in Australia that have a uniform for their employees, this leaves a considerable number of us choosing what we wear to work. So how do these daily choices impact your businesses and what ability to you have to exert any control over how your employees present themselves?
What could be more important than growing your brand new business? Or building an already thriving business? The reality is that being a business owner is all consuming no matter the size or maturity of company, but life outside of work really is just as important. Work/life balance is an issue WE all struggle with at one time or another but as a business owner, how do you ever switch off and truly relax? Without balance, you could lose everything you have worked so hard for Stress and exhaustion can erode your health and you can lose precious time with your family and friends, including those real milestone events. Achieving balance sounds sensible but it isn’t always easy to put into practice, so here are 7 tips to developing your work/life balance more effectively:
For many of us, it is difficult to comprehend that Domestic and Family Violence is a prevalent societal problem in Australia. Sadly though, it is a major issue that does not discriminate based on gender, financial status, education level, cultural identity or age. In response to this issue, one area of support that is now enshrined within our Modern Awards is a provision for leave to support those who need it most.
The art of communication is the language of leadership – James Humes
Without doubt, we’ve all experienced a time (or many times) when we have had to sit through a presentation, a meeting or just a one on one conversation where the thought of poking your eye out held more appeal. Poor communicators can make the experience excruciating for those on the receiving end. As to the message that the orator is trying to deliver - there is no possible way it’s making its way through! If the audience hasn’t simply zoned out, they will be checking their Facebook pages or plotting their escape route.
We all want to make sure our message is heard, so we have 5 quick tips that will improve your communication skills.....
Dina Fergadiotis - HR Advisor
If there is one thing that employers dread it is that knock on the door from an employee eager to talk about their salary. Does that sound familiar?
Sometimes the business cannot afford to increase employee salaries which is absolutely okay! Sometimes you may have a small amount you can afford to spend, but you simply can’t increase your overall wages bill. In fact, you don’t actually have to increase the salary of your employees every year. The only obligation an employer MUST MEET is to ensure their employees’ hourly rate is at least the minimum requirements under the relevant Modern Award.
There are plenty of other ways to reward employees, keep them engaged with the business and keep them motivated in their roles. We have listed a few creative options below that we know work!
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!