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7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas to Build Love in Your Teams!

7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas to Build Love in Your Teams!

Want to know a powerful way to reduce your employee turnover and gain a strong competitive edge over your competitors in 2021?

As an entrepreneur, you know that appreciating a job well done is desirable. But did you know that more than 50% of employees leave an organization if they are not tangibly recognized for their efforts on the job? Multiple studies confirm that employees would go above and beyond in their job roles if they feel meaningfully recognized for their contributions.

In this blog, we have 7 creative employee recognition ideas you can put to work right away to build love in your teams! When you make a simple employee appreciation plan and implement it consistently, you can see stronger team bonding coupled with better organizational outcomes.

7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas for Your Workplace

Make a recognition calendar

When you make an employee appreciation plan, add it to your yearly calendar. Mark the employee recognition activities to be done month-wise and assign them to a responsible team member. Pick a handful that look easy and are simple to implement. Adding it to your calendar ensures that you will assign time and importance to it.

Mark important employee days

Make it a point to celebrate your employees’ birthdays, even if you do it virtually (with the pandemic raging!) Give them a day off or order a special lunch for the team. Even a gift card from a global retailer would be a thoughtful employee appreciation idea that shows the person some love! Such a personal touch on their special day will also make it more memorable for them.

Get the team appreciation flowing

When cheers come from peers, it feels better and strongly boost the team bonding. Ask all co-workers to choose a good or positive action done by any employee (except themselves) and give a team shout out to that person. When you do this activity monthly, it becomes embedded in the employee and team psyche, automatically building love and recognition for employees.

Don’t fly blind

Once you start the employee appreciation plan implementation, ask your employees to take a quick 2-minute survey. Ask them what activity/action would they like for appreciation (with and without a budget). You may be surprised at what makes them tick and ensure that you align rewards with their expectations.

Have surprise treats

Everyone likes treats! Especially if they are not expecting one and it turns out a complete surprise for them! Order a pizza lunch for the team on a Friday just to treat them. Take the team out to a popular eatery if they just delivered a big client project successfully. Want to treat your remote team virtually? Ship them some company swag or a box of curated treats and snacks that they’ll freak out on!

Showcase your team

Appreciations work wonders if it’s done publicly. Showcase your team on your company website by adding their photographs and bios (if they are comfortable with that, of course). Public appreciation can work remarkably well and help them feel valued and loved in the team.

Get Ready to Build Recognition & Love in Your Teams

With these simple and actionable creative employee recognition ideas, you’ll be on your way to creating an employee appreciation plan that helps develop love and recognition in your team.

Want to add in a new employee recognition tip? We would love to know your ideas! Share your suggestions and feedback in the comments section below.

Related Tag: Performance Improvement Plans

 

 

Is Your Booming Business Running Wild Without Human Resource Policies?

Does the phrase ‘human resources policies and procedures’ make you groan because you realise your company lacks just that?  Has business been so good that you are chasing logistics, customer care, stock levels, and just don’t have time for these policies and procedures?

These are important as they underpin how human resource issues will be handled. They also tell your employees what your brand’s values are and how you expect them to behave and perform. They also set out the implications of transgressing the policy rules.

Workplace policies include a statement of purpose as well as some guidelines on how to achieve that purpose. They also explain standard operating procedures.

You do not need to have 100’s of policies. For some processes an S.O.P. is sufficient. Our manual on H.R. Procedures and Policies will guide you through the different requirements, simplifying the whole process for you. Download it here.

What Do You Gain From A Workplace Policy?

It will be easier to achieve standard values across the organisation; it will ensure compliance with myriad legislation and will show employees (or investors) that your business is efficient and professional.

Decision making will be more comfortable, and operational procedures will be easier for staff to learn or to step into when someone is off ill.

You will definitely gain legal strength for labour disputes, will avoid lengthy disagreements over miscommunications and give employees confidence in their chosen actions.

Workplace policies will also feed into business planning, performance assessments, accountability parameters and job descriptions.

How To Develop HR Procedures and Policies

Management needs to set sufficient time aside to develop and assess the policies required. Once a final draft is created, you need to involve your employees. This is a helpful step as it often shows up any unintentional policy conflicts or omissions. It also helps the staff gain a more in-depth insight into the company’s mission.

It is important that the wording is precise and doesn’t contain clumsy jargon.

It must simply say:

  • What is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, including measurables? E.g. blood alcohol levels.
  • What does a calendar month mean to the company?
  • What to do when applying for sick leave? E.g. a sick emoji is insufficient.
  • Who does XYZ policy apply to? E.g. full-time employees or part-time contractors.
  • What happens if transgressions occur?
  • What are the company values relating to emails, social media or behaviour at a company event?

The Next Steps

Now that the policies have been drafted and reviewed with staff input, they can be published internally. All employees must have access to them: casual, part-time or salaried employees. If anyone is on leave at the time of publication, they should receive them via the agreed holiday communication channel.

The original policy must be in English but consider translating the guidelines into the appropriate languages for employees whose first language is not English. The original policy must be stated as the lead document with the translated one being a guide.

How To Increase Compliance

You can use training or town hall events to increase staff knowledge of these policies and should have an annual reminder session with informal references to them in staff meetings regularly.

The Launch

The start date of the policies must be known by all employees, whether on leave or at work.

Breaches of policy should be addressed quickly, ethically and legally.  See our blog on disciplinary and termination processes.

After launch set a diarised date to review the policies to make sure they are still aligned to legislative requirements as well as the structure of your business. Big changes should follow the new policies process from scratch.

Which Policies Are Needed?

Here are some examples of workplace policies but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

  1. code of conduct
  2. recruitment policy
  3. internet and email policy
  4. mobile phone and personal laptop policy
  5. non-smoking policy
  6. drug and alcohol policy
  7. health and safety policy
  8. anti-discrimination and harassment policy
  9. grievance handling policy
  10. discipline and termination policy
  11. social media including usage of photographs taken at work
  12. training policy

There is no perfect list, but this is a good start. Our H.R. Procedures and Policies manual  will save you lots of time whilst providing solid guidance on how to set these up.

Alternatively, contact Fresh HR Insights for our hands-on involvement in setting up the processes for you or to assist revising existing ones. Our services start from the info only to DIY to the ultimate bespoke packages – something for every business.

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.

Unfair Dismissal: The Potential Costs To Your Business

Unfair Dismissal: The Potential Costs To Your Business

It is true that the great majority of unfair dismissal claims in Australia are resolved before they reach a hearing with the Fair Work Commissioner. However, these disputes can still end up costing companies significant time and money.

A person has been dismissed from their employment when:

  • Their employment has been terminated at the initiative of the employer, or
  • They have resigned their employment but the resignation was forced by something the employer did.

 What Can Be Considered An Unfair Dismissal?

We can say that an employee has been unfairly dismissed when the Fair Work Act labels it as such. If a dismissal is found to have been:

  • Unreasonable, unjust, or harsh;
  • Was not a genuine redundancy;
  • And was not consistent with the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.

 2018-2019 FWC Annual Reports

The Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) annual reports highlight emerging trends within employment law in Australia. The latest report for the 2018-2019 financial year advises that employers have greater regard to the general protections provisions when interacting with members of the workforce.

To summarise the findings within these reports, there has been significant growth in the number of general protections claims over the previous financial year. It is interesting that while the number of applications lodged and finalised has decreased (5,287 in 2017-18 down to 4,932 in 2018-19), an increasing number of agreements are only achieving approval once there has been a provision of undertakings. Here are some of the key findings regarding unfair dismissals within this report:

  • 13,422 applications for unfair dismissal were finalised, 78% of which were resolved after a conciliation.
  • Just 5% of applications were resolved by the FWC. Only 19% of which were found to be harsh, unreasonable or unjust dismissals.

The Costs

The costs that a claim such as this can have on your business extends further than just the monetary kind. Some of these can include the cost of disruption to the business, management time, the cost of legal representation, and more still.

On average, an unfair dismissal case can cost a business up to $13,500.

One case in August 2017 saw a basic error cost an employer more than $10,000 in an unfair dismissal case.

A few of the claims within the case include the business having failed to appreciate its exposure to an adverse outcome leading to an aggressive stance, reneging on a settlement agreement, a failure to maintain communication during settlement discussions, a number of failures to produce witnesses, damaged credibility of statements, and more.

The outcome of this case was an unsurprising loss and an unfair dismissal payout of $10,695 (roughly 13 weeks’ pay) to the dismissed employee. The costs did not stop with this amount, there was an additional $3,000 ordered against the business due to indiscretions and reneging on the settlement agreement.

Behind the scenes, there were no doubt plenty of other overheads proving the importance of remaining compliant with the legal system and having access to specialist advice.

Save yourself the headache and the hidden costs of remedy payments by seeking expert advice. Fresh HR Insights is well-versed in the legal ins and outs of the commerce sector and can help your business remain on the straight and narrow and avoid these kinds of costly expenses.

We have helped various business owners across various industries in the preparation of unfair dismissal claims and acted as an agent in the conciliation process. The ideal however is don’t go there in the first place and ensure you have the right documentation, the right process and approach all dismissals fairly and in line with legislation. Need pragmatic support – call Fresh HR Insights.

Why Expert HR Support And Advice Is So Important

Why Expert HR Support And Advice Is So Important

Expert HR support and advice is something that every company needs. Protect yourself and your workers from fair work breaches and have that peace of mind in times of turbulence with an HR Expert supporting you every step of the way.

What Is The Benefit of Using HR Consulting Services?

No matter the size of your company, Human Resources is the glue that holds all of the elements together. This department does a whole lot of good for businesses including damage prevention and control. Among these functions are:

  • Recruitment
  • Training and development
  • Compliance
  • Performance management

Expert HR solutions can come in many forms such as virtual, outsourced and internal. One convenient way that these solutions can be accessed is through an on-call consultant or agency for times that you require advice on anything from workplace procedures to conflict resolution and beyond. Having these services at your beck and call will mean less stress and a positive impact on your business’s bottom line.

Here is a closer look at some of the benefits that expert HR services provide.

Expertise

A HR consultant can provide expert advice on areas that are in need within your business. From establishing procedures to troubleshooting disputes, a professional HR consultant will be able to help guide you and ensure that everything is done by the book. It is a requirement of the Australian Human Resource Institute (AHRI) for all Certified Professional members (Which Fresh HR Insights Director Paulette McCormack is)  to maintain Continued Professional Development (CPD) hours giving you confidence in up to date current support and advice.

Compliance

Each industry comes with strict rules and regulations, expert HR services can help keep you in line and your professional hands clean. This saves businesses a lot of trouble down the line as some rules may overlap or seem murky to the untrained eye.

Workplace may fall under a model Award. Awards provide pay rates and conditions of employment such as leave entitlements, overtime and shift work, amongst other workplace related conditions. Most modern awards relate to particular industries or occupations. There are currently 122 modern awards of general application. Awards can change so its vital that you keep up to date. A breach of award conditions can attract substantial civil penalties for a corporate employer and individuals involved can also be penalised for each breach

Employee Development And Training

You may have stellar methods for training and developing employee skills but there are several points within these procedures that need to be considered. For instance, employee motivation and making sure that they feel heard is extremely important. With the right advice, your workforce will feel appreciated and productive so that your business can grow.

Performance Management

Paired with the above benefit, this assistance from a consultant will greatly influence productivity. With the company goals in mind, it is good to be sure that your workforce is on the same page as you. A HR consultant will guide you toward implementing a comprehensive performance management plan and help you utilise it to its maximum potential.

Some other benefits that expert HR consulting services and packages can offer businesses include:

  • Effective recruitment
  • Time management

At Fresh HR Insights, it is our passion to keep business booming. Let us assign a HR expert to you today.

The Emerging Workforce

The Emerging Workforce

We are all dealing with an overabundance of concerns about the future of work. And what the future could bring. The topic of the future workforce has been a highly debated topic for over a decade, with differing information from various experts regarding what impact automation technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will have on jobs, not to mention the fluctuation in remote workforce implementation and viability. And all of this was happening before the COVID-19 pandemic.

And now we are facing unprecedented change to our workforce, but wait a minute lets put this in perspective. COVID-19 is a global pandemic, which means it is forcing unilateral innovation (disruption) across the globe; this spells a new norm. And WE, the collective, will oversee the discovery. What will emerge as the “new normal” will ultimately be our doing (or undoing)? What will the workforce look like as we emerge from COVID-19?

Should People Be Concerned

The pandemic has been associated with a “world war.” There is reason to be concerned. But do not get overly concerned. Instead, get resolute and face the situation head-on. Perhaps at this time, we need to look to learning and development (L&D) methodology – after all, is this not like one big mixing pot of L&D?

AGILITY
The ability to move quickly and easily – the ability to think and understand quickly

When we look to the lens of L&D and learning agility we look at the ability to continually and rapidly learn, unlearn, and relearn. It is a mental midset and practices that take a variety of different experiences and applied past learning to change to the new norm. Afterall with COVID-19 we need to now more than ever future-proof yourself in an age of disruption. Do we need to look to practices to enhance an Agile Workforce?

If we go back and look at the association with a “world war” what’s different here is that we have the technology. Not just some technology but a massive amount of ever moving and changing technology that makes the world of remote working that much easier. Technology is the enabler that has allowed many businesses to continue operating in a different way.

Where to Turn – Problems V Solutions
Working from home, for those jobs that can and have, will continue with more robust work-from-home policies. With more employees working from home, there is increasing the potential for employers to improve the monitoring of their employees. That would mean productivity monitoring (measured and tracked), even if employees work outside of the traditional office and work environments. Many companies are already doing this.

For example, your employer could monitor your keystrokes on your computer to analyze your productivity. Of course, this brings up privacy concerns. But with some companies claiming that responsible monitoring is required to ensure productivity levels or leaders are looking to the bottom line to justify output. But you can here question trust – trust between employees and employers – should productivity and outcome be a more measurable way to check-in?

It might sound corny, but thankfulness at work – in life – really matters. Going along to get along simply will not cut it. Start thinking critically about the work you do. Question where the work is done and who benefits? Who is adversely affected, and at what cost?

As more people work from home, work-life and personal life have become interconnected. This has important implications for your mental health, happiness, and comfort. No longer can you think of your “work-life” and “personal life” as distinct aspects of your LIFE?

It isn’t all about where people work but also HOW the business or organization deals with these challenges. The bottom line may not be the best decider right now but the “what FUTURE” organization do we want and how can we grow that loyalty now.

Take note: this is a wake-up call to find meaningful work. Take time out of your day/ evening to meditate. If you do not know-how – learn. Take charge of the time you have, feel more inspired more often, and create more impactful moments.

 

Lacking Time? Or Unsure Of Your Legal Obligations As An Employer?

We come across many a Small Business owner on the Gold Coast and in South East Queensland that finds nothing is ever simple and situations are complex and leave them waiting for an unfair dismissal claim? Often this leave them wondering why you even bother with employees. It does not have to be this way

Inquire today about our Telephone and emailed based HR/ ER support and HR Advice Online..  We do not run a call center – you get direct access to an employment relations expert whenever you need assistance. We help you resolve HR/ ER issues & put a plan in place to avoid future problems. The hours in our ER/HR support bundles include phone, emails, forms, correspondence letters, advice, policies, procedures and onsite meetings. We have you covered

Book a call HERE

Social Loafing

Social Loafing

Social loafing describes the tendency of individuals to put forth less effort when they are part of a group. Because all members of the group are pooling their effort to achieve a common goal, each member of the group contributes less than they would if they were individually responsible[1]

Ringelmann’s Rope-Pulling Experiments

A French agricultural engineer named Max Ringelmann conducted one of the earliest experiments on the Social Loafing phenomenon in 1913. In his research, he asked participants to pull on a rope both individually and in groups.

What he discovered that when people were part of a group, they made less of an effort to pull the rope than they did when working individually.

But what happens when you are no longer in the group and instead of working remotely at home with no-one to poll your efforts with?

The very real reality that we are now faced with and for employers, this also brings the BIG question on many employers’ minds as they no-longer have the visual indicator of work – “how do I know that my team is completing their hours?”

When we think about the social loafing one of the things that Psychologists have come up with as the explanation is Motivation. Employees who overall are less motivated are more likely to partake in “social loafing” – well that’s in a group setting but how does that motivation stack up when you are working from home, possibly in self-isolation with minimal interaction with others? Does it still exist – well yes it does!

What can counteract this is the fact that in a group those that are prone to social loafing no-longer have a feeling of less personal accountability – there is no longer other people’s efforts to hide behind and when we send information electronically it has our own individual footprints. Where once their lack of effort may have gone unnoticed and had little impact on the outcomes they now will be standing out on their own and highlighted. Or do they?

In an article by Forbes March 2020 – It was suggested that “Just because your team is suddenly remote and may only be so for a relatively short period, you shouldn’t ignore passive-aggressive social loafing. If left unchecked, it will destroy the morale and productivity of even the best team

The nature of working from home is that you cannot keep an eye on everyone and the efforts that they may (or may not) be putting in. Afterall in the office, you can see who the early starters and late finishes are and who’s always got their head down – not when you are limited to virtual catch-ups. Social Loafing can quietly fall into the virtual background of not called out. You will also get to know about workplace policies and procedures.

When we look at what Psychologists set out for prevention of Social Loafing, they advise the following;

  • establish individual accountability;
  • develop standards and rules;
  • define tasks clearly;
  • assign responsibilities;
  • evaluate personal progress, and
  • highlight the achievements of individual members.

Now lets for a moment look at the working from home effectiveness suggested guides. (we wrote a blog about this in March – read it here) as employers you can easily set these in place with open communication as the first one is – Know the ground rules – here are some areas to set out first and foremost

  • Does your employer require a nine-to-five schedule, or is there flexibility?
  • Which tech tools might you need, such as Zoom for video conferencing, Slack or Microsoft Teams for group chats, or Trello for project management?

It’s really important as an employer that you set out the ground rules and ensure you have the appropriate equipment for the teams, such as a laptop, as well as network access available for the employee – so they can get into their work  –  and you will also need to ensure that you have given them the heads up on the Workplace Health and Safety as employers STILL have that obligation when employees are working from home.

Not all employees will have a dedicated space, but you do need to have clearly established policies and procedures for working from home, flexibility, and ergonomics. Get them to fill in a Working from the Home checklist and send it back, signed with a photo of the space they will be working in. You need to ensure that loafing about on the sofa in front of the TV is not happening and clearly not an acceptable working environment and may cause more harm than good. You can grab our fact sheet and info HERE for working from home during COVOD-19.

Be sure to do trial runs and work out any problems that might impede workflow – obviously at the speed of adaption in the current COVID-19 situation it has not always been easy to do trial runs but you just need to be adaptable and patient.

You will also need to up the ante on the social interactions with the teams as being at home and be very isolating especially when you are used to being in the hustle and bustle of an office environment. Some employees love the thought of working in solitude, but even the most introverted among us can start feeling a little claustrophobic after a few weeks at home, alone, staring at the same project for long hours. It can get lonely. Be ready for that and try to schedule some connect-with-the-outside-world time. What about a staff “virtual’ lunch date, a video conference setting out new developments at work and a social Friday afternoon “virtual drinks”? You can even have some fun with this as what about a fancy dress – who said that being remote means being boring after all.

With so much happening and so quickly as we navigate the world of COVID-19, we can become overwhelmed. Add to this mixing pot of uncertainty an employee who is sitting in fear and the unknown which is never a good combination for irrational thought patterns. Protect yourself from an opportunist attempt at unfair dismissal claims or worse by seeking advice and avoiding acting in haste.

We have support and guidance at special COVID-19 rates. Find out more below.

COVID-19 Support

[1] https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-social-loafing-2795883

Smack it hit me in the face

Smack it hit me in the face

So today is the 1st April 2020 and this morning people are playing pranks on each other and finding humor in amongst the posts on FaceBook of “cleared my office today” “I don’t know when I will be back in” “I miss everyone and the fun” and “what now?”

I can almost say with certainty that we will never face another 1st April like the one that we have today. In our wildest dreams, we could have never imagined that what played out on the movie screens would play out in real life. Central Park in New York City, the place that’s on my bucket list to a carriage ride through is now set up as a makeshift hospital to help with the ever-increasing numbers of Coronavirus cases. Where once you may have said “I would die to go to Central Park” now the reality is that people may die “in” central park.

As an employment relations consultant, my phone and emails have been running hot with business owners and managers asking, “what do I do now?”. The reality is other than going back with what is coming out with Fair Work, ensuring that any stand-downs, redundancies, reduction in hours, etc to minimize the business impact are done as per the Act and as per the Awards so we don’t have a nasty backlash at the other end – it’s not business as usual anymore and what was once certain is now very uncertain.

I remember going to a Tony Robbins event and he got up and said that “Certainty is Boredom” – gee I wish I was bored right now as this uncertainty is to a whole new level.

Like many parents, I have my kids at home, and they are looking to me for guidance and support in what for them is challenging. They can’t understand why suddenly, they are unable to go to school, unable to see their friends and unable to go out whenever they want to. There are also the financial constraints – how do you explain that the food we have in the cupboard needs to go further than it has ever gone before as we really don’t know if we can fill it up again. We will help you to find the HR outsourcing services.

We are lucky (so so lucky actually) that my partner still has worked (for now) and so do I till May at least but no-one really knows how long we will all be in this place, these 4 walls, behind the rendered brick wall that we have been told to stay at unless it is an essential trip. (in mental well-being and sanity an essential trip?)

I have been positive till today then – SMACK it hit me in the face – I have no control over the outside world and no control over what will happen next. Sure, I have control over my thoughts and my mindset and coaches will tell you to focus on you and what you need but what is that?

The rules of the game have changed and shifted. I have my own business as well as teaching but looking at the invoices out to invoices this morning it’s a stark difference and you can guess which one is the less, no actually, t non-existent, I have no invoices to go out. Like many many others it’s going to hurt. I have been busy but I have been giving advice FREELY as this I believe is the right thing to do in all the pain – I don’t see its fair to be charging people when they also have no idea where their next payment will come from but at least I have a few weeks more to deal with that.

I was honored to get a text last night saying “I was ringing to take you up on that offer for a friendly ear” I had missed the call but rang straight back. The person is a client but also becoming a friend and they had to tell their whole company today that they will all be stood down as there was no more work as the industry they relied on had all but been decimated. She asked me how I deal with this kind of thing as she was struggling with having to tell all these people, you won’t be getting paid. Depersonalise it – was the only answer – as this was not them nor was this a conversation anyone else would naturally and normally want nor to have to say BUT we are not in normal times.

I read an article last night from a seasoned academic who had been through so extremely challenging times (here is the link – https://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-You-Should-Ignore-All-That/248366?fbclid=IwAR2ylDxT4tAy9neThzB4X0TcH1JSCh2hUO0MoGg9iXfPvfBlPtIKy2kXAgU)  and what was the first stage is – Security.

Your first few days and weeks in a crisis are crucial, and you should make ample room to allow for a mental adjustment. It is perfectly normal and appropriate to feel bad and lost during this initial transition. Consider it a good thing that you are not in denial, and that you are allowing yourself to work through the anxiety. No sane person feels good during a global disaster, so be grateful for the discomfort of your sanity. At this stage, I would focus on food, family, friends, and maybe fitness. (You will not become an Olympic athlete in the next two weeks, so don’t put ridiculous expectations on your body.)”

I will leave my post at that as I need to consider the above for my own self – today, 1st April 2020 is no matter to be laughed at, joked at, or put down to “just a bad day” – today is the first of what is the new reality and new pathway for many.

Stay safe my friends, my clients, and everyone that reads this – we will rebuild somehow, we will be stronger, and we will be OK. XX

If you need anything then please reach out to us at Fresh HR Insights HERE