Did you know that in fifteen minutes, I can save a business owner four hours and thousands of dollars? It’s not by snapping my fingers, but rather through the processes and ideas around Human Resources that is the result of 25+ years of experience and expertise across some of Australia’s leading organisations. Let me explain.
My approach with working with my (incredible!) clients almost always starts with a health check. It’s where I take a look under the hood so to speak to see the gaps against the organisation’s vision for their business as well as for their people.
Broadly speaking, I’m looking at:
- Existing documentation – and hopefully I’m not finding things like a uniform policy!
- Assessing the current situation, including identifying any risk factors and quantifying the exposure should those risks come to fruition.
A health check is the baseline, as it’s from here that we can put into place strategies to take a company away from struggling and move it to thriving. Just like Tolstoy’s belief that all unhappy families are different in their own way, so too with companies, but there are commonalities. Every business needs solid policies, procedures and a code of conduct. That’s the scaffolding. When mistakes happen without a framework the consequences can be far reaching and expensive as all get out. It’s usually in the space of employment and payroll that the issues can come home to roost.
I work with businesses who don’t necessarily need or have capacity for an in-house HR specialist, but it’s this HR know-how (or lack thereof) that can lead to issues. For example, recently we worked with a business that didn’t know to check visa status and had hired a person who was ineligible to work in Australia.
Sometimes, it’s something a smidge more complex. Hello, employment law! Are roles covered by an Award? Is it an industry or professional Award? What category level is the role and what you are looking to pay is at the base rate or above? What a quagmire!
Some people think that employment is just about putting a salary in a nominated bank account each fortnight or month, however even in roles paid well above Award minimums the terms in awards are important. They link to employment contracts, which has an implication on the P&L of your business. If you do pay well above the Award then you have the option of putting in a set off clause. This is an optional clause in an employment contract that allows an employer to pay their employees with a higher base pay rate to accommodate for the Award entitlements that employee is entitled to receive. If you don’t offset it could mean you are paying overtime of an already well above the award salary.
Another area I’ve seen go quickly down the proverbial toilet is unclear probation and termination periods. Termination under probation usually refers to an approach where an employee is given 6 months in a role before assessing their fit for the role and the business. These people can’t legally access unfair dismissal however they can access Adverse Action and so the first thing I ask when a manager wants to terminate is what steps have been taken for the person to be successful in the role? How have we supported them, have we told them they aren’t meeting expectations? When you sometimes examine employees being terminated in 6 months, either the recruitment process was flawed and not effective or the person had a poor onboarding experience and wasn’t given the support or training they required to be set up for success in the role. If the manager isn’t working under robust policies and procedures then their ability to manage is limited, and this is just one of the alerts that fall out of one of my health checks.