Without doubt, many employers were extremely nervous about how COVID-19 lockdowns and work from home directions would impact their business. What would be the impact on productivity and employee engagement, would connections with internal and external stakeholders survive and how does one create a Zoom background to hide the mess in the family room so that your position as a leader isn’t undermined? Indeed, how was business supposed to flourish, let alone survive all the challenges this nasty virus had thrown at the world?
For those who have come through the experience, the learnings raise new questions. What now? How do we incorporate many of the incredibly positive work from home learnings into our businesses in 2021 and beyond? Should we consider changing the way we work?
As we slide into Christmas after the most extraordinary and challenging year most of us have ever experienced, it’s a relief to see Australia’s hard work in managing Covid-19 is paying off with borders, retail and entertainment opening up and workplaces coming back to life. It means we can all look at 2021 with more optimism than we could have imagined. Even Victoria, who has done it toughest of all, is coming back to life with more restrictions lifting as announced over the weekend and we have a quick summary for you…
Danielle Stone - HR Professional
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the varying levels of restrictions has meant that many of employers have had to move people to work from home at very short notice. It is important to remember that employers have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring a safe work environment, wherever that work is carried out. This includes employees working from home. With more and more employees being asked to work from home particularly in Victoria with Stage 4 restrictions, we felt it was timely to remind employers of their legal obligations.
Over the past few weeks much noise has been made about JobKeeper and demands to extend it, review it, amend it. On Tuesday 21 July, the Morrison Government addressed these concerns about JobKeeper and outlined the changes that would see the subsidy extended.
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
When it comes to workplace events that produce resentment and anxiety, few score higher than the big annual performance review. This dreaded process is a relic of the industrial age and in today’s world of working, getting feedback once a year no longer serves a purpose. It comes as a verdict, a judgment, whereas the intention needs to be course-correcting.
It is with great relief that Covid-19 imposed restrictions are starting to lift across the nation. Kids are back at school and moving back to sport, cinemas are opening up, you can sit down in a café and you can get back to camping and use shared facilities. But what about getting your team back into the workplace?
Each state is at a different stage based on how they are managing Covid-19 and how it has been transmitted within communities. So let’s take a look…
Kristi Sinclair - HR Professional
Covid-19 has resulted in a huge work from home experiment that may result in changing the way many businesses operate when restrictions lift and we move to our new normal. As many business leaders have learned, the sky hasn’t fallen in with teams working off site but others have come to understand that some employees are better suited to working on site. With any new process, it’s worth looking at the learnings we can take from this experience and weigh up the pros and cons to help you decide how you direct your teams when the world opens up again.
HR Staff n’ Stuff are huge advocates of having clear and appropriate policies in place to protect both the employer as well as your employees. They establish standards of behaviour and allow for consistent and fair responses from employers if they are breached. If established correctly, communicated clearly to employee and consistently adhered to, they are a valuable asset when an employer needs to defend themselves in an unfair dismissal claim. However, use them inconsistently and it will cost you!
Did you know that there are situations in which an employee can resign and it can be deemed a dismissal? Sounds like convoluted word play I know, but it can then allow that employee to lodge an unfair dismissal with Fair Work!
That’s right, an employee who resigns, in certain circumstances can lodge an unfair dismissal claim. Let’s take a deeper look at this….
Why would a HR Consulting company write about GPS? Sure, our team use it in their cars or on their phones to get to meetings in locations that are unfamiliar but that doesn’t warrant a blog article does it? Well sort of …..
Whilst some of us remember the joy of trying to fold a map, the introduction of GPS means there is a whole generation of travellers who have missed out on learning the finer art of map origami. At the touch of a screen, a guided map and a sultry voice pop up to guide us to our destination without a paper cut in sight
This week the HR Staff n’ Stuff team were lucky enough to attend an HR Employment Law Masterclass where we heard updates on areas that affect a wide range of our clients. One major area that was covered and has had significant changes of late is related to the Whistleblower laws. This is a complex and large piece of legislation that you hopefully won’t ever need to use but we have a summary of considerations businesses need to be across.
24 hours or 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. It doesn’t matter who you are, we all have the same amount of time in a day. It’s how you use it that counts. When running or leading a business, it often feels like there are never enough precious, magical time to get everything done while also managing to have a personal life but there are ways to take back from time thieves. We all know the changes in our lives that “apps” have brought but how do you even find time to work out which ones are applicable to you? Well fear not fine reader, we’ve taken a look at a few and have 7 time saving apps that might help you streamline your work and give a bit of your day back to you….
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
Small businesses typically take a fairly informal approach to appointing new staff. Often it is done verbally and if there’s time, there may be a short written position description. Many don’t go the extra step in drawing up an employment contract. While there is no legal requirement for you to provide an employment contract, it should be high on your priority list if you want to protect your business. Here’s why:
HR Staff n’ Stuff has supported many clients who have needed to implement Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs). We always highlight the need to follow process to protect both your business and the employee. When used correctly, they can have incredibly positive outcomes but when used inappropriately, they can cost a business an absolute fortune!
A recent case proves how costly it can be if you get it wrong.....
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
A few of our clients are small businesses with around twelve staff - for one of them, what should have been a simple situation regarding annual leave became a frustrating series of poor behaviour that culminated in a tough decision being made once they received the advice from HR Staff n' Stuff as their in house HR consultants.
The story commences with the appointment of a new senior person in their business. The new employee informed the business owner that they had a pre-planned holiday booked for two weeks within the first few months of starting. Although the new employee wasn’t entitled to leave, the business owner agreed to honour this time off - it was a reasonable request and can quiet often crop up when new team members commence. But some will always try to push the envelope....
Deborah Peppard - HR Director
What kind of Manager are you?
Are you a Micro-manager who rules with an iron fist, hoards all the power and controls decisions?
Or are you a Delegator who shares the duties and is more consultative than dictatorial, relinquishes power, and shares responsibility?
To be a great leader, you have to learn how to delegate well. We have 5 tips on how to become a better delegator and improve your leadership qualities.
July 1, 2019 marks the start of a new financial year and with it comes changes to minimum wages as set out in the Modern Awards as determined by the Fair Work Commission. Since 2017, there have also been changes to penalty rates that have significant implications for employers so let’s take a look at them.
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?
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?
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?
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!
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!
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?
The HR Staff n' Stuff team all contribute to our blogs. Enjoy the read!