Freshhrinsights, Author at Fresh HR Insights Human Resource Experts |Gold Coast | South East Queensland | Brisbane

When Is It Time To Bring In Human Resource Professionals To Your Business?

You didn’t start a business for the love of acronyms per department, deep knowledge of the law or professional jargon. Unfortunately, with business comes many layers of law etc. One time intensive but vitally important part of your business is human resources. It’s not only about motivating the staff (which is also valuable). It is also about knowing and following the complex labour laws, being objective in stressful times and documenting every single thing.

What Does A Human Resources Supplier Do And When Do You Need Them?

When you are starting out, it may seem wasteful to pay for a Human Resources professional to be involved. As you will most likely have a relatively small number of employees to manage, you might think you can get by perfectly, especially as you are legally astute and gifted at administration.

The challenge comes when you are backlogged in personnel issues or skipping human resources tasks as the company is growing so fast that you are flying by the seat of your pants.

Human Resources can handle recruitment, onboarding, payroll, employment policies, counselling and benefits. They are great for employee-manager arbitration, as well as being the hub for company information from training policies to maternity leave.

What is undervalued is its vital link to business success. A H.R. professional should be invited to work with managers/business owners to develop long-term growth strategies, development plans, and training procedures.

When Should You Change From Outsourced HR To In-House HR?

Every business is different, but a few common points at which a manager or business owner will have to change from an outsourced relationship to outsourced-inhouse or fully in-house. These are:

The company is growing very fast – Well-chosen employees = happy team, happy you, successful company. So when the time comes to employing more headcount, it might be difficult to attract, interview and secure the best staff without dedicated HR intervention.  From job descriptions, correct specifications, advertising, interviewing and reference checking – these will all ensure top talent is retained.

Reviewing your employees’ performance regularly, identifying improvement opportunities and making recommendations are also functions of HR.

Monitoring changes to employment law – Laws change; you can bet on that. HR will ensure your company policies, handbooks, contracts, training and treatment of staff is up to date with employment law.

Disputes Appear To Be Increasing – More headcount = more disputes. If you are not a professional, then it is prudent not to handle these, or some could have legal ramifications.  HR handles conflicts and avoids lawsuits. Harmonious employee relations = successful companies.

Personnel Issues – Time spent on personnel issues is time away from strategy and business development. The quantification of the value of that time versus the cost of an HR professional no doubt weighs in favour of strategy and growth.

If you wish to concentrate on business, then an HR person is the solution to a plethora of vital employee, legal and quality issues.

Contact our experienced, efficient professionals for the management of your human resource requirements. We can work in-house or remotely within your budget.

 

When Should You Review Your Policies And Procedures?

When Should You Review Your Policies And Procedures?

Human resource policies and procedures should not gather digital dust. Your busy company is most likely changing, as are the risks, the technology and the legislations. An annual revision with additions, tweaks and some ditching will address your business’ strategies.

Annual revisions are helpful as they avoid mammoth, complex overhauls which can occur if revisions are only done irregularly.

Of course, there will be unplanned changes required, if, for example, dramatic new legislation is passed.

Economics And Labour Trends

Your business is seen as archaic in today’s world if you do not consider flexible hours or work from home options. If your business is seen as archaic, you will not attract the highest quality talent resources. Particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic working from home and flexible working became the norm. What we saw as not possible is suddenly very possible and employers need to adapt.

Along with the arrival of Generation Y, what other aspects of employment in 2021 might make you dramatically reconsider your HR policies?

Here’s our run-down:

Tough financial times usually bring about an increase in disciplinary and grievance procedures, increasing your risk of unfair dismissal case pay-outs which can  prove very costly particularly when your business may be struggling already. There is a trend of opportunistic employees who will give it a go so the proactive approach is to be one step ahead.

In that instance, to protect yourself, a revision of compliance processes, termination processes and internal investigation policies would be essential plus training of management on effective, non-confrontational leadership. And make sure that the employees are being regularly taken through these and signing off on them.

Multiple Generation Workforces

A multiple generation workforce has diverse experience, needs, expectations and strengths. In general, the older generation lives to work while the younger generation work to live and are fiercely protective of their work-life balance as well as not respecting decades of loyalty.

Revise your policies and procedures to check that managerial training is sufficient to handle larger diversity and ensure full inclusion.

Succession planning needs adjustment in line with this. Health care policies include preventative health care, health and safety, providing all staff with skills updating to remain relevant and formalising flexible working practices, including work from home.

Retention

Gen Y employees start their careers with enormous student loan baggage. They will choose the path that reduces their debt most quickly. Expect employee turnover to occur every 18 months  or so unless you have compelling starting salaries, retentive salary packages, strong multi-phased career paths, ongoing development opportunities and inspiring line managers.

Data Security

Threats of data breaches and mismanagement of information are amplified with the plethora of digital devices not under your direct control. Thus the data protection policy needs frequent reviewing.

New employees must have thorough background checks done by your HR professional and all employees’ access should be A.I. monitored with suspicious activities flagged.

In larger corporations, continually review employees’ full contact details and the areas of the organisation they now work in.

Ensure all employees are trained with practical how-to guides regarding data security.

Conclusion

Business resource management (objects, data and people) continues to grow in complexity.  Your successful business could be irreparably harmed if policies and procedures do not protect you OR your staff sufficiently.

Contact our experienced, efficient professionals for assistance in reviewing your human resource policies and procedures so that you and your team are protected and can focus on achieving your business goals. We can work side-by-side, or remotely, with you within your budget parameters.

 

Termination And Making It Less Stressful For All!

Termination And Making It Less Stressful For All!

Termination is stressful for everyone and it is important to keep the trauma of it away from the rest of your team or, at the very least, keep it to the absolute minimum.

Regardless of warnings and performance meetings, very few employees believe termination will happen.

Here are some top tips to help you deal  with the termination of a staff member:

Face-To-Face

Terminating employment using any digital method is not acceptable. Your other employees will be shocked if you use a phone call, email or letter – an if you are faced with an unfair dismissal clim the way you deliver the news could be deemed to be harsh. Best practice, no matter how cross or annoyed you are and regardless of the employee’s past behaviour, is to hold a respectful meeting. This can earn you much loyalty and trust from the other employees whereas a deemed to be harsh and disrespectful termination process may cause angst among the staff and may lead to a negative and toxic environment. Not to mention bad press and potential  social media posts grumbling about the workplace. There are websites that allow employees to rate their employer – negative reviews do have an impact on recruitment strategies.

Nothing Impetuous

Follow a proven procedure of employment termination or get help with it unless an appalling act occurs. It is too late to say “I wish I got advice” when the matter has already exploded and you find yourself with a claim.

All employees have the right to coaching and performance improvement plans (PIP) over time.  PIP allows for the cause of the underperformance to be ascertained. Employees need to be given the opportunity to respond and the chance to improve.

If performance improvement is possible, provide the employee with whatever help they need to achieve improvement. Track this via the PIP with measurable improvement requirements. It is not relevant if it is clear the employee cannot improve.

Document EVERY step in the improvement or termination process.

 Witnesses, Always

A witness is a second employee who hears and participates in the termination meetings in addition to the manager and is often an HR representative. The HR person usually has more staff procedure experience so will keep the process relevant and legally compliant. They make sure that the meeting is held fairly and that if there is any dispute over the facts there is someone to clarify and support.

An HR representative will also ensure fairness and limit liability.

Keep It Short

If you have reached the termination meeting phase, don’t use it as a platform to harangue the employee. Have an honest, detailed, non-blaming SHORT summary of the reasons for termination.  Wish them well in their future endeavours and with finding a position better suited to their talents. Make sure you have followed a procedurally fair process before you get to this final meeting. It would be best practice to look to have a final show cause meeting. A final opportunity for the employee to say why they should not be dismissed.

Be Clear

Don’t allow the employee to think that there is an opening to negotiate if there is no way back. Be respectful but straightforward. The meeting’s opening statement should state that the meeting’s purpose is to inform them of your employment termination decision.

Company Property

Ask for company keys, passes, badges and all company-owned equipment or supplies during the meeting. Go to the employee’s work area, preferably during lunch hour, to collect all the company-owned items. Always accompany the employee. Escort the employee to his car or off company premises.

Employee Access

If the employee is too upset to collect their personal items, make an after-hours option available for this or deliver them to the employee’s home.

Minimise the employee’s contact with other employees at the office and preserve the employee’s dignity. Ensure NO company-owned documents or items are removed.

Terminate the employee’s access to your electronic systems slightly before the termination meeting. At the very start of the termination process, get IT staff to monitor what company information might be leaking. If an employee wishes to send a goodbye note to everyone, post it on their behalf.

Checklist

Your HR support person will have a termination checklist which provides guidance on what to tell the employee about what they can expect legally from the company after termination.

It is also legal proof of the topics shared with the employee.

Conclusion

Termination is a dirty word in anyone’s language but by being effective and supportive, you can benefit everyone in your team. Realise, too, that the rest of the team may need reassurance from you about their own jobs for a short time.

Contact our experienced, efficient professionals for assistance in smoothing the employment termination procedure, so that you and your team can  remain productive and happy. We can work side-by-side or remotely with you, within your budget parameters.

 

 

 

What To Expect From An Unexpected Unfair Dismissal Claim

What To Expect From An Unexpected Unfair Dismissal Claim

As a business owner, director or manager, you might find a notification on your desk one day that indicates that an employee has submitted a claim to Fair Work Australia (FWA) for unfair dismissal.

Before getting stressed, remember that FWA first assesses if the following three factors are true:

1) Was the employee actually dismissed?

2) If yes, was the dismissal harsh, unjust, unreasonable or constructive dismissal?

3) Or, was the dismissal, not a true redundancy?

But what does it mean to be dismissed

The term dismissed is defined in the Fair Work Act as a situation where: a person’s employment has been terminated at the employer’s initiative, or. a person was forced to resign because of the conduct or course of conduct engaged in by the employer.

The expression ‘termination at the initiative of the employer’ is a reference to a termination that is brought about by an employer and which is not agreed to by the employee.

The analysis of whether there has been a termination at the initiative of the employer for the purpose of s.386(1)(a) of the Act is to be conducted by reference to termination of the employment relationship, not by reference to the termination of the contract of employment operative immediately before the cessation of the employment.

A dismissal does NOT include where:

  • a person is demoted in his or her employment without a significant reduction in duties or remuneration and remains employed by the employer,
  • a person was employed under a contract for a specified period of time, specified task or for the duration of a specified season and the employment comes to an end at the end of that period, or
  • a person had a training arrangement with their employer which:
  • specified that the employment was limited to the duration of the training arrangement, and
  • whose employment ends at the end of that training arrangement.

What Is Deemed Unfair?

There are several factors that would lead to a conclusion of harsh, unjust, unreasonable or constructive dismissal. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Did the employee’s conduct or capabilities warrant a dismissal?
  • Was a reason given to the employee previously and were they given a fair chance to respond and be heard?
  • Was the employee bullied by not being allowed a support person, an interpreter or other requested support person at any discussions relating to dismissal?
  • If the dismissal was relating to performance, what performance management plan was put into place?
  • If a performance management plan was put into place, but the employee failed to meet the agreed goals were they put through a correct and documented disciplinary process?
  • Does the size of the business affect the dismissal process, e.g. the absence of an HR manager in a four-person SMME?
  • There is a long list of factors considered by the FW.

Next Steps By The FWA

The primary aim of Fair Work Australia (FWA) is to reduce conflict and get a fair solution for all parties involved. It also seeks to resolve them away from courts. A solution by agreement is their main aim. They follow these steps:

1. The unfair dismissal claim is lodged.

2. The claim documentation is checked by the relevant FWA department to ensure it is complete and valid.

3.  A formal notification is sent to the head office of the employer.

4.  A conciliation date is proposed, and parties are instructed to attend.

5.  The FWA attempts to conciliate the application to achieve mutual resolution with all parties.

6.  If the conciliation is unsuccessful, the FWA will file the application as unresolved, and a new process for court proceedings will start, with legal specialists now taking over.

Under the Fair Work Act s.385 a person has been unfairly dismissed, if the Fair Work Commission is satisfied that an employee (who is protected from unfair dismissal) has been dismissed and the dismissal:

  • was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, and
  • was not consistent with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code (in the case of employees of a small business), and
  • was not a case of genuine redundancy.

Contact our professionals for assistance before setting up conciliation meetings with the FWA – best step is to contact us as soon as you think an employee may lodge a complaint so we can prepare the response. We can work side-by-side with you to bring about the most successful outcome possible.

Ideally however having the correct support BEFORE any dismissal takes place may well stop any FW applications. We have support packages that are there when you need them – https://www.freshhrinsights.com.au/hr-support/

Case Law

Sharpe v MCG Group Pty Ltd [2010] FWA 2357 (Asbury C, 22 March 2010).

An employee who had notified her employer that she would be unable to attend work due to medical reasons, and was then terminated, was found to have been terminated at the initiative of the employer. An argument that the employee had abandoned her employment by not attending for work as directed was rejected. It was held that the employer had terminated the employment.

Nohra v Target Australia Pty Ltd [2010] FWA 6857 (Roberts C, 22 October 2010), [(2010) 204 IR 389].

The applicant employee had submitted a letter of resignation which effectively gave 7 months’ notice. Her employer purported to accept the resignation but make it effective immediately. It was found that the termination of employment occurred at the employer’s initiative.

Related Tag: Unfair Dismissal Claim

A Quick Support Guide To HR Solutions For SMMEs In 2021

A Quick Support Guide To HR Solutions For SMMEs In 2021

The majority of SMME business leaders find HR a time liability and categorise it as a pure cost centre. These companies often consider their HR solutions as inappropriate and a ‘little risky’. However, something that is never quantified is the cost of risk nor the profitability of good HR. On the flip side to being risky some see them as constraining their business and they should be able to do what they want when they want.

This guide to HR solutions touches on employee retention, company benefits, improved employee engagement, strengthening company culture and more profit increasing tools. It also brings in the all important legislation with the employment relationship.

What Is HR Management?

The three main legal-related responsibilities of this function are hiring + dismissals, employee compensation + benefits, and job definitions. The business responsibility of HR is to leverage business productivity by achieving the best employee effectiveness.

Why Is HR Necessary?

Without employee performance, engagement and retention, your business will struggle to achieve its objectives. Companies with a good HR reputation attract quality resources.  Employees will put up with a lot more, if they feel actively listened to and are directly contributing to solutions. Very few employees quit a company because of the money. 63.3% of companies in new research say retaining employee is actually harder than hiring them.

Mistakes To Avoid

Every SMME owner or leader has similar questions needing to be answered. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

1) Hiring Mistake

SMMEs are mostly under pressure and hiring is very time-hungry but hiring someone who clashes with a company culture drops everyone’s productivity and engagement.

Thorough background checks should never be avoided. What if a back ground had stop you from being the subject to upward bullying and an application to stop bullying at the Fair Work Commission – it does happen.

Get advice on what behavioural questions best gauge candidates.

2) Job Descriptions

‘Jack-Of-All-Trades’ and ‘general admin’ doesn’t clearly show the role the person will be doing. How do you hire against that description? How do you retrench or dismiss against those descriptions?

3) Organisational Socialisation

Time spent on organisational socialisation (onboarding) sets the base from which your new employee will take their first steps to success, AND it will set their engagement levels. Research has shown

  • 30% of job seekers have left a job within 90 days of starting
  • 43% of surveyed employees claim corporate culture was the main reason for their search for a new job.

4) Documenting

All performance reviews (Performance Improvement Plans), meetings and challenges must be documented from the first observation. Dismissal without full documentation leads to legal action.

Positive records motivate staff to aim for raises and promotions.

5) Employee Handbook

An employee handbook reflects legislatively-aligned company policies and procedures including leave day requests, the drug and alcohol policy, background checks, discrimination and harassment policies.

The handbook is signed by every employee and must be easily accessible.

Contact us today for a free employee handbook template 

6) Classification

Employees must know their correct classification, i.e. casual, perm part-time, perm full-time, temporary or contract worker. The bookkeeper needs this information documented as well as they need to have the correct classification on the payroll and this is particularly important when using payroll systems that align with award provisions.

The information outlined above is only a guide – we recommend you use an HR specialist to review your HR solutions to ensure you are compliant. Contact our helpful professionals for assistance. We can work side-by-side or remotely, with you, within your budget parameters.

Performance Improvement Plans That Create Success

Performance Improvement Plans That Create Success

Everyone has their ups and downs, and that means in their work as well. It might be underperformance or inappropriate performance.

Too often, executives don’t address it early enough, then approach HR, and with frustration, implement a Performance Improvement Plan with a disciplinary hearing purpose.

With greater empathy showing better results for businesses over the decades, we would like to propose new approaches for businesses.

Establish a Performance Improvement Plan designed to have an outcome of a more successful employee, a more motivated team (observing your support of their team member) and the possible improvement of failing processes in your business.

“Old-fashioned” reviews, i.e. review processes used today which have been inherited, have been proven to only be 43% effective and 72% believe the review is inaccurate. Still, they sign it to get out of the office. That’s a waste of everyone’s time and money.

This is possibly more resource-light versus termination and creates a culture of independence, loyalty and self-improvement.

The Positive Outcomes

Having encouraging performance improvement plans (PIPs) will help employees experiencing challenges and will show the team that everyone is respected. It will also show the team that the company wants THEM to succeed, and through THEM, then achieve company success.

A positive PIP says that the company understands that its team has times of challenges, has long-term goals, and the company wants to help them be successful. This breeds loyalty, care and productivity.

PIPs outline in detail any challenges, work or behaviour, that need to be changed as well as the cause, the solution and the support available.

When Are Performance Improvement Plans Helpful?

PIPs should not only be used in times of challenges but also for staff who have outgrown their jobs and want to step into a new role. The PIP will establish a gap analysis. This will help remove negative connotations being connected to PIPs whilst supplying a structured transition process for the growing staff.

When you spot productivity dropping and off days increasing, and there is a clear trend, then positive change and improvement should be started. The overall outcome that everyone should strive for is the opportunity for the employee to right the ship rather than a tool for firing. Managers should seek out what employees need to succeed.

What Makes A PIP More Successful?

  • Make the PIP a collaborative process.
  • Issues should be true, specific and supported with examples.
  • Focus on the positive things that the employee time with the company.
  • Make the new goals precise, clear and measurable.
  • Set up mentoring meetings with the staff member. Minimum every 30 days with you taking notes and once a week short, uplifting chats.
  • Listen to their concerns along the way.
  • Focus on progress.

Just as much as success and progress must be focussed on, it should also be made clear that if success is unattainable, then another course of action will be required – this should be understood from the beginning. Want to learn more about HR? See the Top 10 trending HR questions for 2020!

If you do not have the time to do this, don’t ignore it, bring a professional [https://www.freshhrinsights.com.au/contact-us/] who can work side-by-side with you developing a positive, productive performance improvement plan. Don’t rush through the process into a disciplinary hearing. It costs time, money and general productivity of the team.

Learn Which Poor Performance Warrants Dismissal To Avoid Payouts

Learn Which Poor Performance Warrants Dismissal To Avoid Payouts

Poor performance is primarily the difference between what the judge (coach, manager, company, teacher) expects and what is delivered by those being judged (athlete, staff member, executive, student).

You can break it down in different categories as it is not always about the volume of work, deadlines or customer relations.

The Categories

Category 1:

This is the one that everyone thinks of. It covers work content, i.e. poor quality, low quantity, slow turnaround times, tardiness, poor communication.

Category 2:

This category covers company handbook guidelines, procedures and company rules. Endless days off, stealing, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, ignoring health and safety, intoxication.

Category 3:

This category covers employees ‘at home’ issues that affect their work like, unfortunately, an abusive partner.

Now that we have clarified that, let’s look at the process.

Where To Start

First, identify the category, and you could invest in a helpful HR manual to guide you effectively. You start with interviews. The questions and feedback therein identify the problem and the causes. You then explore possible remedies such as restructuring the job scope or description, upskilling or seeking out mentoring, coaching or therapy. Remedies can be the company supplying transport from an area that is not serviced by public transport.

Before trying to find causes, make sure the employee fully understands ‘what’ is the exact issue and the difference between what needs to be delivered and what is delivered. Also, clarify whether the issue is increasing.

Here are some suggested questions to propose to the employee:

  • Are you (employee) aware it is increasing, and do you understand the consequences to the company and yourself?
  • Are you aware of how serious this issue is and how very seriously the company views this?
  • Do you feel you do not have the skills required to perform the job, and if not, do you think you could learn them if trained? When you have them, do you think you would be capable of using them?
  • Do you want to perform the job well, is the outcome important to you? If not, what would make the outcome important to you?
  • Is something stopping you from performing that you don’t have the authority or capability of changing? E.g. extreme temperatures, the performance of another colleague, network downtime, inadequate office equipment, chronic illness.
  • How can the company help remove these barriers or re-engineer the work process? 

Distinction Of Causes

Some causes are a combination of employer and company problems, e.g. bad equipment, creates low motivation. It should be very clear, though, what is their issue and what is the company’s issue?

Examples:

  1. a) Bad quality equipment, lack of tools to perform, risky or uncomfortable working conditions:

a.i) The company should commit to fixing the problems which might require a safety audit or an agreed phased spend.

  1. b) Productivity bottlenecks, rules and procedures ignored, poor management, uncorrected faults

b.i) Work re-engineering, enforcing company procedures, start targeted performance reviews of managers.

  1. c) Salaries, overtime quantity, work/life balance.

c.i) Review salary compared to market levels, review why excessive overtime is taking place, get a consultants advice on how to get your company in a position to offer your staff better work/life balance.

  1. d) Poor recruitment: the job was not what it was advertised to be, i.e. not diverse or no growth possible or too difficult.

d.i) Review HR recruitment procedures urgently which might involve training HR staff or an HR manager. Plan an advancement program for the staff member or redeployment. If underqualified and upskilling is not feasible, then redeployment or a new job description is the right thing to do.

  1. e) Team incompatibility due to personality clashes, sexual harassment, culture-work clashes, different cultural values, poor supervision.

e.i) Redeploy the clash, redesign jobs so that culture clash items can be done by cultures that find it acceptable, bring in a team coach or culture sensitivity coach, put the supervisor under performance management.

Conclusion

Performance management is not about being a detective with a stick called Disciplinary Hearing. It is far from that and starts early. You must take pro-active steps early on and implement fixes early on. It requires time, input, commitment, support and assessments on an ongoing basis.

If you do not have the time to do this then don’t ignore it, bring a professional who can work side-by-side with you developing a happy, productive team. Don’t rush through a performance appraisal into a disciplinary hearing and execute an unfair dismissal as you may end up owing a hefty payout for unfair dismissal. Call Fresh HR Insights today to protect your assets.

Employee Termination And The Need For Solid Preparation

Employee Termination And The Need For Solid Preparation

Employee termination procedures is not the first, second or even third thing you think about in a business. Business owners are worried about sales, staff morale, customer service, contractor management and rush hour traffic.

Casual employee termination can be complex, and it can be fraught with unnecessary stress if you have not prepared your business for it. It is generally thought to be challenging to understand and cumbersome to manage, for SMMEs and large conglomerates.

If handled poorly, your valued team that is remaining will see this and judge you accordingly. It will impact trust and morale. As a business owner, you are legally responsible for knowing what your employees are entitled to and what legislation you must adhere to.  Any errors may not be attributed to “it was my HR department’s responsibility”. The buck stops at the top.

Do Termination Reasons Matter?

No doubt reasons for termination may seem unique to your industry, but they all boil down to uncommon derlying factors. No matter what the reason if an unfair dismissal application is files the commission must consider if the dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. This in terminology is called “determining the merits of the unfair dismissal claim”.

It may be that the dismissal is:

  • harsh but not unjust or unreasonable
  • unjust but not harsh or unreasonable, or
  • unreasonable but not harsh or unjust.

The concepts of harsh, unjust or unreasonable may overlap

A dismissal may be:

  • unjust because the employee was not guilty of the alleged misconduct
  • unreasonable because the evidence or material before the employer did not support the conclusion
  • harsh on the employee due to the economic and personal consequences resulting from being dismissed, or
  • harsh because the outcome is disproportionate to the gravity of the misconduct (the punishment does not fit the crime).

Criteria for considering harshness etc

In considering whether a dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, the Commission must take into account:

  • whether there was a valid reason for the dismissal related to the person’s capacity or conduct (including its effect on the safety and welfare of other employees)
  • whether the person was notified of that reason
  • whether the person was given an opportunity to respond to any reason related to the capacity or conduct of the person
  • any unreasonable refusal by the employer to allow the person to have a support person present to assist at any discussions relating to dismissal
  • if the dismissal related to unsatisfactory performance by the person—whether the person had been warned about that unsatisfactory performance before the dismissal
  • the degree to which the size of the employer’s enterprise would be likely to impact on the procedures followed in effecting the dismissal
  • the degree to which the absence of dedicated human resource management specialists or expertise in the enterprise would be likely to impact on the procedures followed in effecting the dismissal, and
  • any other matters that the Commission considers relevant.

It can be quiet daunting so whether you are considering dismissing an employee or whether you have received and unfair dismissal claim from the Fair Work Commission it is always best to seek expert advice.

Notice Periods

The NES (National Employment Standards) legally requires you to stipulate a minimum notice period in a signed contract at the time of employment. This applies to every business in Australia. The notice period is linked to the length of the service period.

Here is an extract from the NES regulations showing a table of minimum notice periods depending on the number of years the employee has worked for you.

Period Of Employment Minimum Notice Period
Less than 1 year 1 week
1-3 years 2 weeks
3-5 years 3 weeks
Over 5 years 4 weeks

There are two variations that deviate from the above standard notice periods for all companies in Australia. A longer notice period for termination may be negotiated between you and the employee at the time of employment. Documentation of this with appropriate signatories is essential. This longer notice period will supersede the above standards. You also need to check your specific award as some awards have a longer notice period requirements which supersedes the NES (see Professional Employee Award 2020 cl27.1)

The other variation to the regulation standards applies if an employee is over the age of 45. If on the day that you give an employee over 45 notice, and it is calculated that they have worked for at least 2 years they qualify for an additional week’s notice.

Knowing the standards, the variations, and the pitfalls is part of your preparation. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Your Preparation

If your booming business has kept your eye off the HR ball, then you probably have many questions. Here are some questions you should know the answers to:

  • When does a termination procedure start to be measured from by law?
  • How should an HR policy and procedures handbook be structured? If it exists, is it clear or unclear? Will it help us and drive us down an HR rabbit hole?
  • Where do we start on this as a business?
  • What handbooks do we need in order to be compliant?
  • If we have handbooks, are they out of date or up to date? As some labour contraventions are a crime, it is imperative you are up to date.
  • If I am not prepared, when will I have time to do it? If I have an internal team doing it when will I have time to verify their work?

Fresh HR Insights can smoothly resolve the employment termination procedure of your business starting today. It is simple and easy to work with the team at Fresh HR Insights with a four-step process.

12 - Employee Termination And The Need For Solid Preparation

 

 

New Laws Make Wage Theft A Crime. Be Warned. Be Prepared.

New Laws Make Wage Theft A Crime. Be Warned. Be Prepared.

Wage theft accusations are not new in Australia. That doesn’t change the fact that it can leave bruised brands and big dents in bottom lines. Small cafés to giant international organisations have been targeted. Their HR policies have been investigated with particular focus given to overtime payment. Industries such as the hospitality industry are hot targets with wage theft and exploitation accusations.

Wage theft can take various forms such as underpayment of wages, having entitlements such as leave and penalty rates withheld, and an employer not making required superannuation contributions on an employee’s behalf.

Business owners need to address two questions: What brings about wage theft? How can the business solve this?

Wage Theft Sources

An interesting example was brought to the public’s attention via a very public protest in Northcote, UK. Former staff had misunderstood the company’s award system (or the company hadn’t been clear enough?). Staff thought weekend portions of wages could be traded for staff meals. In addition, the staff members were unclear on the wage rates. This lack of clarity is a quick way to get a labour complaint against you, even if it is an unwitting lack of transparency.

The Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Greg Bicknell commented that “The award system is quite complex for small businesses to use.” There are other examples where businesses themselves have misunderstood their complex rewards system, short paying staff thousands of dollars.

A globally published wage theft incident occurred with Lush cosmetics stores. They purportedly unwittingly underpaid $2 million to 5,000 workers. This was apparently due to a glitch in its payroll system brought about by a 2010 transition to Modern Awards.

Another incident in the international media is that of the Super Retail group. This, again, was due to the company not correctly interpreting their own complex award system. Other areas where they tripped up were overtime, allowances and time in lieu. This purportedly was also due to miscalculations. 

Wage theft scandals (only the tip of the iceberg)

  • February 2020 – high-end restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Melbourne allegedly underpaying its staff by A$4 million
  • February 2020 – Supermarket giant Coles reveals staff payment issue, sets aside $20 million to cover costs
  • February 2020 – George Calombaris’ restaurant group, Made Establishment, has gone into voluntary administration following an ongoing underpayment scandal.
  • February 2020 – Target will be forced to pay back at least $9 million to employees after it discovered an issue with its payroll.
  • June 2020 – Supermarket giant Woolworths has revealed another blowout in its wage theft scandal, admitting it owes $390 million to short-changed workers after uncovering more in its hotel’s division.

Ignorance Is Not A Legal Plea

As we all know, pleading ignorance of a law or business fault does not protect your business from the responsibility. A very high end set of eateries Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio and Vue de Monde were put in the public eye when staff sued them. The claim is annualised salaries worked out to 38 hours of payment when 50 hours were being worked per week.  In addition, 12-hour shifts were worked with no breaks.

The restauranteur Neil Perry also came under fire and settled on a 1.6 million dollar payback.  This was also due to annualised salaries. The annualised system needs to be well understood by both staff and business owners, or you can easily make compounded errors.

There are lists of examples with payments in the millions: George Calombaris – $2.6 million back payment and a significant impact on his TV career. Bookings slowed down dramatically.

When is wage theft a crime?

New laws were passed in Queensland Parliament on 9 September 2020 amending section 391 (‘Definition of stealing’) of the Queensland Criminal Code to capture deliberate, intentional behaviour leading to under or non-payment of entitlements as a criminal offence. This could include where deliberate wage theft occurs through:

  • unpaid hours or underpaid hours
  • unpaid penalty rates
  • unreasonable deductions
  • unpaid superannuation
  • withholding entitlements
  • underpayment through intentionally misclassifying a worker including wrong award, wrong classification, or by ‘sham contracting’ and the misuse of Australian Business Numbers (ABN)
  • authorised deductions that have not been applied as agreed. 

The Impact

The impact is far-reaching. Your access to talented, top quality resources also falls away. Partnerships and collaborations will be nervous about being associated with you.

From a federal government perspective, wage theft is being viewed as a criminal offence. Queensland’s Palaszczuk government had hearings after being contacted by 169 people requesting intervention with systematic wage theft. On 16 June 2020 the Victorian Parliament passed Australia’s first laws on wage theft, the Wage Theft Bill 2020, which creates a criminal offence for underpayment of employee wages and entitlements by employers.

Using Tech, Using Specialists

The Fair Work Commission has stated that businesses need to comply with the current system and fast. Modern awards complexity requires time, money, and effort. In 2018 a Payroll Benchmarking Report stated an estimated $36.30 cost per single payslip for SMME companies (<200 employees).  Time, money and effort are also required to keep up with ongoing superannuation, and tax policies change.

There are automated systems to monitor time and attendance, employee rosters and apply modern awards. The setup is critical with regards to data quality and correct legal and administrative interpretation of company policies. A transition project with specialist stakeholders is recommended.

Responsibility And Trust

As a business owner, you are 100% responsible for paying your staff correctly. It is not the employees’ responsibility to notify you of a glitch that they didn’t see for years. What needs to be noted here however is that the new law criminalises ‘deliberate wage theft’ by an employer against an employee.

Investing in specialists to correctly review, setup, automate and manage your payroll, awards, contracts and HR disputes is a highly valuable insurance policy against public scandals in the future.

Having a reliable and fair HR Consultant for your business means happier staff, greater loyalty and the best service possible to your customers/clients.

To quote Rosie Ramirez, of Tanda software, it creates “a win-win situation because it maximises the bottom line without defrauding the front line…”

Get your payroll compliance reviewed starting today. At Fresh HR Insights [insert hyperlink to https://www.freshhrinsights.com.au/services/payroll-compliance-reviews/] we can protect businesses such as yours from wage theft mishaps or accusations.

We audit your compliance and give clarity and peace of mind to you and your staff. We can help your business set a solid foundation and support you effectively when faced with problematic employees,  unfair dismissal [https://www.freshhrinsights.com.au/how-to-protect-yourself-from-unfair-dismissal-claims/] claims or harassment claims. This allows you to focus on growing the business.

Set your appointment today to start protecting your company. Alternatively, call us on 0452 471 960 or email us.

Unfair Dismissal Claims: What You Need To Know

Unfair Dismissal Claims: What You Need To Know

Fairness’ can be quite a relative term, depending on personal perspective. Still, in terms of a business and employment scenario, certain circumstances fall within or outside of those boundaries. Whether you keep your company safely within reasonable levels depends on your overall approach to your employees. Unfortunately, however, sometimes it’s just not a good fit between the two of you, and you end up having to deal with unfair dismissal claims after letting go of an employee.

There are numerous reasons to terminate an employment agreement from outright and explicit defiance of company rules to clashes between employees that cannot be resolved due to irreconcilable differences. But, as is the case with many interactions, people can have a knee-jerk reaction out of anger, and in this case, it might well come back to bite you if you’re the one firing a staff member in a moment you feel overwhelmed.

If you do find yourself facing unfair dismissal claims, the best course of action starts with being thoroughly prepared.

Respect The Process

Over the years, a reasonably tight-knit structure has been developed by the commission to deal with unfair dismissal cases. This is, in part, due to employees familiarising themselves with the process and manipulating the matter in their favour.

Employers must present sufficient records of the employee failing to positively respond to warnings or performance reviews and specify as clearly as possible what led to their dismissal. Feeling justified as an authority is not going to suffice as a reasonable warrant.

Remain Consistent In How You Treat Staff

When your business is brought under investigation, there will be reviews done of the way you have treated other staff members in the past. This includes how severely they were reprimanded, which process of warning and reprimand were followed, and whether you as an employer have been inconsistent in the treatment of employees.

If it is found that your process has been erratic, there could be strong grounds for a claim that they did not know where the boundaries were drawn, or that you were harsher on them than others.

Make Your Policies Watertight

In addition to fair and consistent treatment of your employees, be sure to set out unambiguous and specific business policies as well. This includes rules for requesting leave notice as well as possible exceptions to this rule, should your employee face an emergency or have a valid reason to request urgent leave.

For those instances where a point of consideration is not clearly stated in policy clauses, introduce an open-door policy of sorts, where an employee can raise the matter with their superiors to reach a recorded decision and course of action. Should they not respect this policy, it can then be held against them if they claim unfair dismissal.

For more information and professional, guided assistance, contact us. Discover how we can help you create a better, more solid human resource policy for your business.

What will the commission look for when considering an unfair dismissal claim? 

It may be that the dismissal is:

  • harsh but not unjust or unreasonable
  • unjust but not harsh or unreasonable, or
  • unreasonable but not harsh or unjust.

The concepts of harsh, unjust or unreasonable may overlap.

A dismissal may be:

  • unjust because the employee was not guilty of the alleged misconduct
  • unreasonable because the evidence or material before the employer did not support the conclusion
  • harsh on the employee due to the economic and personal consequences resulting from being dismissed, or
  • harsh because the outcome is disproportionate to the gravity of the misconduct (the punishment does not fit the crime).

In considering whether a dismissal was harsh, unjust or unreasonable, the Commission must take into account:

  • whether there was a valid reason for the dismissal related to the person’s capacity or conduct (including its effect on the safety and welfare of other employees)
  • whether the person was notified of that reason
  • whether the person was given an opportunity to respond to any reason related to the capacity or conduct of the person
  • any unreasonable refusal by the employer to allow the person to have a support person present to assist at any discussions relating to dismissal
  • if the dismissal related to unsatisfactory performance by the person—whether the person had been warned about that unsatisfactory performance before the dismissal
  • the degree to which the size of the employer’s enterprise would be likely to impact on the procedures followed in effecting the dismissal
  • the degree to which the absence of dedicated human resource management specialists or expertise in the enterprise would be likely to impact on the procedures followed in effecting the dismissal, and
  • any other matters that the Commission considers relevant.
How To Prevent Unfair Dismissal Claims

How To Prevent Unfair Dismissal Claims

Owning a business is no simple feat. You have to deal with maintaining a continuous, focused balance between the quality of service you provide and maintaining good relationships with customers while working on acquiring new ones. Then, of course, there’s the very machine that drives your company: your employees.

Even with careful reviews and selection processes before hiring a new staff member, sometimes situations arise where said employee’s behaviour was in direct contravention to company policy. Alternatively, it caused such a sudden and intense disruption that decisions were made to terminate their employment immediately.

Whether the decision was on justified grounds or not, sometimes there will be a disgruntled employee striking back at you and demanding payout for unfair dismissal. There are several cases to reference where companies were forced to provide compensation after the release of an employee was found to be unfair.

Here’s how to reduce the chances of this happening to your business.

Be Sure To Understand The Situation From All Sides

If an employee fails to live up to their role or acts in a way that requires reprimand, be sure to take reasonable action before considering dismissal. This includes discussing the situation with the employee and clearly explaining what is required of them. Also, tend to their concerns and show that you care about their wellbeing as an employee. Sometimes there are less obvious, underlying causes for their behaviour and knowing about these will aid you in making appropriate decisions. Forming a relationship based on trust and mutual respect will also improve their work ethic while reducing the chances of things turning ugly later down the line.

Provide Sufficient, Warranted Intervention And Warnings

Always ensure that you have a concrete historical timeline of when incidents occurred and that a warning was issued to the employee, clearly stating the reason for being reprimanded. Ensure that you have sufficient documentation to prove that you have done all you could to salvage and support your employer/employee relationship.”if it’s not written down it didn’t happen

Remember that a compassionate approach and intervention at first will be far better received than immediately lashing out against the employee. Steadily increase the level of urgency and clarify what the problem areas are if they recur.

Lastly, remember that your employees are people. The longer they work for you, the more they will expect their loyalty and time to be appreciated, and their concerns heard. Scale your response and approach accordingly, and maintain objective reasonability at all times if you want to prevent payout for unfair dismissal claims in future.

Are you looking for HR solution that you can depend on? Contact Fresh HR Insights today for the ultimate preventative solution. You can also check out our – 9 Burning HR Questions Answered https://www.freshhrinsights.com.au/product/top-9-burning-hr-questions-answered/ for the answer to some of the key areas our clients often ask us about.

When Is A Performance Improvement Plan Recommended Over A Disciplinary Action Notice?

When Is A Performance Improvement Plan Recommended Over A Disciplinary Action Notice?

A performance improvement plan (PIP) can solve workplace productivity issues and help even the most unlikely of employees thrive. Not every employee is efficient at delivering projects on time. It could be that they lack focus or create more work and setbacks. To address such concerns, a supervising member of the workforce may speak to an employee with the hope that this resolves the problem. However, even if the worker tries to do better, they may continue to have difficulty completing their tasks.

This is where a successful PIP can provide employees with the necessary directions for completing specific goals. It can be an efficient tool for increasing productivity and taking care of weakness in the workplace.

What Is A Performance Improvement Plan?

A PIP is an official company document that declares the existence of any chronic performance issues and goals that a worker must achieve in order to redeem good standing with the organisation. These plans typically have a specific timeline in which it needs to be completed.

In layman’s terms, it’s like being putting an employee on probation in school – the worker will be monitored closely during this time. A PIP is meant to provide concrete ways to turn poor performance around.

When Is It Appropriate To Use A PIP?

As mentioned above, PIPs work best to solve performance issues, like a team member not reaching their mandatory sales goals or failing to complete projects on time. PIPs will commence for a fixed period (typically between 30 and 60 days) and involve routine meetings to gauge the worker’s progress.

If once this period comes to a close, the worker in question’s performance has not improved, you can decide whether to start the disciplinary process which may lead up to and include termination of their employment.

Where, a disciplinary warning is only necessary when there is a policy that the worker has violated the PIP looks to support the employee in improving their capability or conduct. The disciplinary written warning is where there is no option to improve and is typically for a severe or repeated offence and more often than not due to the conduct of the employee.

A PIP is recommended for employees that may need a push (or support in the right direction), but the issue is not so severe that a disciplinary action and/or warning is warranted.

For HR solutions and advice when you need it, contact Fresh HR Insights. Check out our website, call or email us and let’s talk about we can help you with Performance Improvement Plans.

Key take away – What ever process you as a business owner initiate you need to ensure that you advise the employee of the areas of concern, given them an opportunity to improve and or respond, allow them a support person and have it all in writing. Download FREE our importance of documentation checklist

Virtual HR And How It Can Lighten Your Business Load

Virtual HR And How It Can Lighten Your Business Load

Virtual HR means having HR advice and support whenever it is needed – giving you the chance to protect yourself from Fair Work Breaches. This in turn means having peace of mind in times of turbulence thanks to the HR experts supporting your small business every day.

If you’re new to the world of Virtual HR, check out our Small Business New Starter Kit. With Fresh HR Insights we will manage your records, new employee procedures and more, leaving you to deal with the important things like running your business.

Advice & Support

Virtual HR means having a team of professionals that offer expert advice and support on matters such as:

  • Pay rates and BOOT calculation
  • Award and Legislation interpretation
  • Workplace legislation obligations
  • Probation periods and workplace inductions
  • Disciplinary Management
  • Absence management
  • Terminations of employment
  • Unfair Dismissal claims
  • Sexual Harassment, discrimination and bullying claims
  • Updating and developing policies and procedures
  • Casual Conversion clauses and Management
  • Employment Contracts and flexible working agreements
  • Reasonable Management Action v Bullying claims

No matter the situation, your team of HR experts will know what to do and offer support whenever you need it.

Consistent Communication

With Virtual HR, you with always have open access to your preferred consultant. Additionally, your Virtual HR team will be accessible over the phone or via email to fully support your business.

Your HR Policy Problems Solved

Virtual HR supplies small businesses with HR policies and employee handbooks in fully downloadable formats. You will never need to guess the next step or be in the dark as to the best legal course to take because Virtual HR will be there to guide you.

Fair Work Australia Legislation Updates

Virtual HR services include remaining up to date with legislation. You can rest assured that your workplace procedures are on the right side of the law by having your HR team regularly update you on legislation changes in Australia.

Are you ready to discover what Virtual HR can do to improve your small business? Our team of HR professionals here at Fresh HR Insights offer free 30-minute consultation calls. Click here to schedule your free, obligation-free consultation.

An Effective And Risk-Free Disciplinary Process: A guide for Managers and Business owners

An Effective And Risk-Free Disciplinary Process: A guide for Managers and Business owners

Managing employees can be complex, but a claim-free and happy workplace with motivated, loyal, and productive employees, is possible through a few simple steps and a fair and transparent process, free from discrimination, or harsh, unjust or unfair treatment.

Disciplinary action which is not handled correctly, can expose a business to legal risk. These risks include findings of unfair dismissal, adverse action (like unlawful termination) and discrimination. If a claim is successful, it can lead to damaging financial penalties by Fair Work Australia, the reinstatement of an unfairly dismissed employee and damage to the employer’s reputation.

Due to the minefield of legislation when it comes to Fair Work, terminating an employee is the greatest risk for employers to take. This is only because there is a chance that the employee could dispute the termination through one of four methods of claim:

  1. Unfair Dismissal
  2. General Protections/ Adverse Actions
  3. Breach of Contract
  4. Discrimination

If owners and managers are not careful, any of these methods of dispute can negatively impact businesses in some if not all the following ways;

  • Lost time,
  • Compensation and penalty costs (the compensation for unfair dismissal claims is limited to six months wages or up to $76,800k in compensation – as of the 1st of July 2020)
  • Legal costs,
  • Potential forced reinstatement of the staff member, and
  • Damage to the business’s reputation.

What about employees of less than 12 months?

Your employees can not bring an unfair dismissal claim in the first 12 months of their employment, which means they cannot take you to the Fair Work Commission simply because they believe their dismissal was “harsh, unjust or unreasonable”.

However, this does not mean you can dismiss an employee for any reason, even in the first 12 months of employment. You are still bound by the general protections in the termination provisions of the Fair Work Act.

Here are some examples when a business gets a dismissal wrong

  • Basic error costs employer over $10,000 in unfair dismissal case – In this case the employer lost an unfair dismissal case and was ordered to pay compensation to the employee in the amount of $10,695(approximately 13 weeks’ pay).  Adding insult to injury, the employee then sought a cost order against the business, arguing it had acted unreasonably during the proceedings. The costs application was successful, with the Commission found that the business acted unreasonably when it reneged on the “entirely reasonable” settlement struck during conciliation without any proper basis for doing so.  A costs order in the amount of almost $3,000 was ordered against the business (on top of the $10,695 in compensation).
  • An employer has been ordered to pay 17 weeks’ salary worth $22,882 as compensation to an employee who was unfairly dismissed by her employer after she refused to sign her revised employment contract. 
  • Farmer v KDR Victoria Pty Ltd T/A Yarra Trams[2014] FWC 6539 a tram driver was found to be wrongly accused of using his mobile phone while operating a tram after a flawed investigation into the incident, therefore there was no substantive and valid reason for dismissal. 
  • An employee was dismissed from after she was found asleep on the job the morning after the Melbourne Cup. She was sacked for being intoxicated at work, but the Commissioner found the business did not have sufficient evidence to prove she was drunk and did not provide her with an opportunity to respond to the allegation. She subsequently won the case and was awarded close to $7,000 in compensation.
  • A recent case involving a casual bottle shop worker who was unfair dismissed for not cleaning up a broken sign showed a casual worker can be covered by unfair dismissal protection if they can show they work regular shifts. The employee was awarded $7,000 in compensation after the Fair Work Commission ruled he was covered by unfair dismissal laws because he worked on a regular and systematic basis and could reasonably expect to work the same shifts each week.
  • If you encourage something, you can’t sack someone for it – an insurance broker awarded $300,000after he was sacked for passing out drunk in a hotel corridor. Employees in the company were expected to socialise and consume alcohol with clients and prospective clients and were routinely reimbursed alcohol expenses resulting from employee gatherings or entertaining clients.  Justice Taylor awarded damages of $296,650: $99,092 in lost salary, $118,182 for his lost retention bonus, $48,620 in long service leave and $30,755 in interest. – “If the employer is going to conduct a training conference that includes alcohol at dinner and paying for alcohol at a venue afterwards the employer needs to accept some degree of responsibility,” 

Did you know: The Commission has the discretion to order one party to an unfair dismissal matter to pay the other party’s legal or representational costs, but only where the Commission is satisfied the matter was commenced or responded: vexatiously or without reasonable cause, or. with no reasonable prospect of success.

Employers often tell us that the system is geared towards the employee BUT NO –you’re your case right and you, as a business can get orders awards in your favour too – In Green v Toll Holdings Pty Ltd (2015 / 8793) – The Fair Work Commission made an order requiring an employee who filed an unfair dismissal claim against his former employer “without reasonable cause” to pay the employer’s legal costs of $18,618.31.

Key Takeaways

  • Unfair dismissals can be upheld where terminations are substantively unfair, that is where there is no valid reason to terminate employment.
  • Procedural fairness is also an important consideration in determining whether are dismissal is unfair.
  • The FWC also takes into consideration whether the termination is otherwise unduly harsh in relation to the effect on the dismissed employee.

This is where a disciplinary manual can guide businesses safely through the disciplinary process step by step through the provision of templates, tips and advice and to ensure procedural fairness. If this manual is followed, you will be drastically reducing the risk of having an unfair dismissal claim filed against your business. However, it must be said that this manual is paired best with expert advice to ensure that each unique case is taken into full consideration.

For a disciplinary process to be considered effective and risk-free, business owners and managers need to understand:

  • What can be viewed as an unfair dismissal;
  • How and when a business can lawfully dismiss an employee;
  • How a business’s policies and procedures can help you manage dismissals in the workplace;
  • The alternatives to a dismissal; and
  • The notice and termination compensation requirements.

Fresh HR Insights has assisted various business owners in the preparation of unfair dismissal claims while also acting as an agent in the conciliation process. Even so, we sincerely hope that you adhere to our procedures so that this is prevented. We can help make sure that you have the right documentation, the right process, and approach all dismissals as per the Fair Work Australia Legislation. Do you need practical support? Click here to book a consultation with us today,

The Importance Of A Performance Improvement Plan

The Importance Of A Performance Improvement Plan

Many businesses make use of performance improvement plans to gauge the current performance of their employees and analyse this data to assess how things can be done better.

As HR specialists, we have seen that performance improvement plans can assist businesses in a myriad of ways. By implementing a performance improvement plan, you could experience the following positive results:

Retention of Employees

Hiring new employees is a time-consuming and expensive task, so you want to retain as many of your valued employees as possible. Performance improvement plans help to retain your current employees, as they pick up on ways that employees’ performance and work satisfaction could be improved.

The fact that you are devising a plan, will also show your current employees that you care about their job satisfaction. Once a performance improvement plan has been set in place, it can be used as a reference for when employees face certain struggles.

Skill Enhancement

As your business grows and expands, the skills of your employees may have to grow and expand with it in order to keep up.

You don’t need to hire new employees necessarily, as a performance improvement plan can indicate where further education and training will be most valuable for your current employees.

Heighten Your Standards

A performance improvement plan allows you to take a good hard look at your current standards and assess which standards and expectations should be improved upon. These improved standards should be communicated to employees so that they know the new business benchmarks.

Reward Assessment

One of the most enticing factors of performance improvement plans (well for employees at least) is the assessment of rewards. Incentives can be a great way in which to improve production, performance and general atmosphere. Performance improvement plans can help assess which rewards will work best for which goals.

Make Use Of Employee Skills

One of the greatest benefits of performance improvement plans are the insight that they give you into your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. After an assessment of the plan, you may want to offer certain employees more responsibilities and provide other employees with further training.

This is a real morale booster and shows your employees that you care about seeing them succeed.

Protection against unfair or unlawful dismissal claims

Have you ever heard the saying “if it wasn’t written down it didn’t happen” Paperwork and process is the key to performance issues. Without a performance management process in place you are hard stretched to terminate without the risk of being found harsh, unjust and unreasonable.

In 2020 with job prospects low and a recession on the horizon after the COVID-19 pandemic there will be a greater and almost certain chance of an application for unfair dismissal occurring.  The reality is what does someone have to lose? The current application fee is $73.20. and this fee can be waived in cases of serious financial hardship.

Make sure it is not you losing some money out of your bank account let along the time and effort to defend such a claim. Get the expert support on the process NOW.

We have a comprehensive manual currently under development. We will be covering off the following areas;

  • Performance management
  • Communicating expectations
  • Providing Opportunities to improve
  • Disciplining for poor performance
  • Performance reviews
  • Step by Step guides
    • Counselling under performance
    • Performance issues arising from an illness or injury
    • How to discipline a poorly performing employee
    • What to do before dismissal and underperforming employee

If you would like to be on the list to receive one at the introductory new release offer when they are released, kindly email us today. You can also sign up to our newsletter and not only keep up to date with all things related to Employment Relations BUT you will be there when we announce our Performance Management, PIPS and Perfromance Appraisals release. you can contact us for human resource policies and procedures.

What An HR Consultant Could Bring To Your Small Business

What An HR Consultant Could Bring To Your Small Business

Whatever the size of your company, Human Resources has to form an essential part of your business in order for your business to run effectively. For small businesses especially, there are lots of advantages to using a HR consultant.

As a professional HR consultancy firm, we have helped many businesses solve HR issues through our expert services. An outsourced HR consultant could truly transform your business through:

Urgent Responses

When you have an HR emergency, but no HR department to deal with it effectively, it can cause major issues throughout the running of your business. By making use of the services of an outsourced HR consultant, you are able to hand over HR issues as they arise and have the peace of mind that they are being dealt with effectively.

If you’d like to hear how our team, at Fresh HR Insights, can take care of HR tasks and solve any HR problems you may be facing, feel free to make use of our free, 30-minute, obligation-free consultation call.

With Fresh HR Insights we understand that business is not always a 9am – 5pm so we are available when you need us. If that means weekends or evenings – no problem. Just because others have stopped does not mean that you don’t have the support you need when you need it.

Time Management

Most small businesses consist of a small team, with each team member having to take on a few roles, and operate somewhat outside of their job description, in order for operations to run smoothly. Sometimes these additional tasks can take up valuable time, especially if the person doing them is not an expert.

Outsourcing will save you both time and money as it will allow for the more efficient running of your business and ensure that tasks are delegated to the right person. Having the expert at the helm also means that the job not only gets done properly but also quickly. No fumbling about trying to find the information.

Expertise

You can’t argue with expertise and sound advice. An HR consultant has all the knowledge and experienced needed to give you insightful advice as to how your operations, methods and procedures could be improved. HR consultants focus on making small, easy adjustments that make for greater outcomes in the grander scheme of your operations. There are many things that they may be able to see that you don’t. At Fresh HR Insights we pride ourselves on our academic achievements, continued professional development and real world experience – a combination of expertise above many others.

Compliance

Within every industry, there are a variety of intricate rules and regulations that businesses need to abide by. If you don’t have a HR consultant or department in place, you may be breaking laws that you do not even know about. When it comes to matters of employment legislation ignorance is no excuse. Give yourself the peace of mind by outsourcing a professional HR consultant.

Want to experience what a HR consultant could do for your business? Our team at Fresh HR Insights offer free 30-minute consult calls. Click here to book a free, 30-minute, obligation-free chat.