Managing employees: The HR essentials all employers and managers need to know!


Video Ten – Small Business HR Rescue – Summing it all up for success

Kath: Hi, and welcome to the 10th and final video in our series HR Essentials, Managing Employees: What Employers Need to Know. I’m Katherine, Compass Business Support. Thanks for coming along for our final video today with Paulette.

Paulette: I know.

Paulette’s from Fresh HR Insight, so she’s our HR expert. You’re really excited to get this video done today.

It is. It is. So it is the 10th and final one. We’ve had some amazing feedback through this whole series. We’ve pretty much been running them the whole year. If you haven’t been watching it, do go back and have a look at them. So what we’ve covered, and the way we’ve done it is we’ve actually gone from the start of the employment relationship, or even thinking about starting the employment relationship, right through to the end. I’m just going to give the overview.

Today’s a bit of a wrap up for all the sessions.

So, we looked at first when it’s time to bring an employee on board. We looked at whether to bring a casual, permanent full-time employee, and we really talked about some practical strategies around preparing for that, as well. Financially, as well as within the business, and the business procedures.

Making sure that you can actually afford to take on that employee.

Definitely, because it’s so important to get that right. Then we looked at the policies and procedures. Now, the policies and procedures to get the expectations of what you want in the workplace. Say, for example, you’ve got an employee who’s not doing the right thing. They say, “But I didn’t know.”

But you’ve got all the policies and procedures to back it up to say, “Yes, you did actually know.”

And should it get to the point where there is actually a disciplinary matter coming up, or you need to actually talk to that person about poor performance, it would be very hard for you to defend an allegation if the person actually had nothing to go by.

It’s important to make sure you’ve got all those policies and procedures in place, and the employee is actually aware of them.

Yes, and they certainly support you should you end up in front of Fair Work, as well, having those policies and procedures in there.

And their contract, as well, their contract of employment.

And their contract of employment, as well. Then we went from there looking at recruitment and selection, and the process around the recruitment and selection. That can be really costly, using recruitment consultants to do that. There’s some really good ones out in the Gold Coast, and there’s some that maybe you should stay clear of, but we’re not here to put anyone up or put anyone down. But just be mindful, and look for the reputations. Look for the star ratings, and potentially get referrals from people who have used recruiters before. But go with your gut instinct a lot of it, as well.

That’s right, and if you do want to employ someone on your own without using a recruitment company, there’s lots of great information in that video, as well.

Yes, there was. There was in there, as well. Then we look at the induction process. So, the first 30, the first actually 90 days, sorry, of someone being in the workplace is when they’re going to decide whether they’re going to stay with you, or they’re going to leave. So, it’s about they’re testing you out as much as you’re testing them out, and so it’s the getting it right.

Think about your first day in a job. What made you feel welcome, or what made you feel unwelcome? Then use those same things, because they’re probably not going to be too much dissimilar to what you need and what you want. We went through about setting out a nice box for them as well. We had staplers, because everyone deserves a stapler, if it’s in an office as an example. Yeah, stapler, notepad, anything else they said in the interview they like.

That’s right. Make sure they’ve got their own things that they’re not having to share with someone else. That they’re all set up and ready to go for the day.

The computer’s there, the email address is all set up. People know they’re coming they’re coming on board. They’re going to be here on Monday, here’s a little bit about them. Okay? So really make them feel welcome within the business as well.

We went from there, we talked about probation period. Though having a three or six-month probation within the business, and actually holding on is sometimes worse than letting go. So using the probationary period, if someone’s just not working out, despite providing the support, providing them training, you may be failing them within the probation period. It’s just not worth holding on sometimes. Because once you hit the 6 or 12-month end, depending on the size of your business, you’re going have to have a new performance manuscript written. It can take a lot longer than just firing someone in probation.

Yeah. Sometimes it’s better to take the early option.

Yes, if they’re with that. Then, we looked at absence management, went through that. Now, this is a big problem as people either not turning up for work and not letting you know they’re not at work. Which, has impact on our rosters, has impact on operations, operational factor, of clients as well, and letting down the customers. Same thing as well, because you will see, you think you got your main staff in the workplace. People turning up late for a variety of different reasons and when some of those are AWOL, so absent without leave. So how to manage that process, and it is important, but some of that comes down to communication.

That’s right. That was one of our other topics as well. That was actually, the next of our story. So, the next thing we went into was the disciplinary process. We talked about that. Now, with disciplinary process, you need to provide an actual justice. You need to be procedurally fair, as well. If a meeting has a potential to end in termination, you must provide them an opportunity of a support person. The refusal to allow a support person is something that Fair Work will look at during an unfair dismissal claim, as an example.

Just to clarify that support person, it cannot be anyone that they nominate?

A support person is there to act as that, what would say a support person. They are not there to act on behalf of, they’re not there to advocate for, they’re not there to talk and to answer questions for the employee. They’re there as support person. It’s not permissible to have a lawyer or a union rep acting in the position of lawyer or union rep there as well. I’m quite often asked who’s going to be there. If the person is not appropriate or if it’s a conflict of interest, maybe they’re a witness to the allegations, then you should suspend the meeting until they can provide a more suitable support person.

That’s something I had to do before. I’ve actually had a witness to an allegation sitting in as a support person during an investigation process. I wasn’t aware that they were actually a witness until their name was mentioned, oh such and such and I’m like, “That’s you. Well, no, you can’t be in here.” I had to suspend the meeting. They needed to get a better, more appropriate, support person.

Okay. Next thing, we were talking about was the effective communication.

Yes, so we need to take a look that, how we talk to people. All I can say is, talk to people the way you want to be spoken to. It comes down to that. Pretty simple. Be quite transparent as well. There are things that an employee doesn’t need to know that’s going on in a business, but where it’s possible, be transparent. And also, listen and be present. Okay? We went through listen to learn, not listen to respond.

Another thing I like, that I’ve heard before is that you’ve got two ears and one mouth, make sure using them in proportion.

Yes, yes, definitely. Don’t forget the other one that we all like, “The fish always rots from the head”. Okay? It’s the leaders and the managers that are the ones that are going to lead with this one about communication skills.

Set the example, as the leader or manager of business, so that the team can follow.

Yes. Another one that I heard and I love it as well was “A leader lights a fire within people, and a manager lights a fire under people.”

Love it. It’s so true.

So, yeah. Then the last one was ending employment. As you can see, we’ve gone through the whole process, so this is where we ended up now with the HR rescue. Which, kind of Segway nicely into what we have available. At first with HR, we’ve looked at the whole process and we’ve actually got an HR rescue program that you can jump in there. There’s an ebook, as well, that has all the information you need for the whole process.

Yeah. It’s great. It’s such a vital tool that all businesses need. It’s going to walk you through the whole process so that you know right from, before you actually hire someone, to when you have to finish them up or they decide to leave. You’ve got every single process sitting in there. It’s all covered off, and you’re not going to wind yourself open to unfair dismissal.

I know it seems like a lot of paperwork. It seems like a big effort. It may seems like, well, it’s a cost to my business that just can’t afford. But say, for example, a person, you dismiss them, and they go for unfair dismissals. Is 4, 8, 12 grand, something you can afford to pay out? Let alone the disruption to the business? And another example, say if you dismiss someone because of them being absent. They are up for a general protections claim. General protections claims do not have a cap. There is no financial cap. Can you afford 30, 40, 50, $60,000 or more?

So, I think a way to think about it is that if you can’t afford to have all those policies and procedures in place, then you can’t afford to take on a new employee.

Riding by the seat of your pants isn’t going to work all the time. You may get away with it for a while but, you’re going to get that one employee who knows their rights. I can tell you now as a university lecturer coming through, students know their rights. We actually verse them on their rights. They are coming prepared.

That’s right. As an employer, we need to be one step ahead.

Yes. There is no room for guesswork. There just isn’t, and Fair Work is not going to accept that either.

Okay. Well, I think that’s just about it for our wrap up now.

That’s all of our videos done and we’ve covered them all up. Okay, so simple, we’ve gone through and this is just a recap. I know it’s getting long but just a recap. So when’s a good time to bring employees on board, then we looked at policies and procedures, recruitment and selection, induction, probation, absence management, disciplinary process, effective communication, and ending employment.

That’s it. So just remember, you can go back and look at these videos anytime. They’re yours to keep and look at, any time as you need some advice.

Each video has got some tip lists with them as well, got some links as well. Kath’s provided some amazing links to her products and services. There’re some other ones there from Fresh HR Insights as well. If you do have any questions, get a hold of Kath or get a hold of myself. We are always there for you.


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