Human Resources is one of those areas that small businesses think they can do without. It can be perceived as administration around employing people – making sure you have a Tax File Number Declaration filled out for example, filing your employees resume in a manila folder or keeping a record of their next of kin on your server. You hardly need a specialist for that!
Managing people in the 21st millennia, in a service-based economy, in a country with strong and complex industrial relations laws is not simple. Most small businesses commence because the business owner is good at something. Just because you are a specialist in your area of expertise, does not make you a specialist in managing people and protecting the asset of your business.
As HR consultants, and the outsourced HR partner for many businesses, CIRCLE Recruitment & HR assists businesses in a wide range of areas. Starting with the very basics of how to employ, ensuring that the business owner understands the various awards that are involved in his organisation and the requirements of the National Employment Standards.
We help management make better decisions because they have an understanding of such concepts as maximum weekly hours; overtime; penalty rates; span of ordinary hours; casual conversion clauses; leave loading; annualised salaries; Individual Flexibility Arrangements and so much more.
Once the decision makers in an organisation have a better understanding of the legal requirements of their employment and their areas of risk, if they are questioned on their practises, they are in a much better place to defend any claims. Furthermore, they are able to build a stronger business, with more cost effective management and better decision making.
Once compliance is ordered, we can assist with documentation from simple Engagement Letters for casual workers to complex Contracts of Employment. We have seen clients find themselves in difficulties with employees due to issuing contracts that are either not compliant with Fair Work Australia, include the wrong clauses, because the particular business was not considered when writing the contract; or promising things they can not and did not need to deliver. A contractual arrangement between an employee and employer is just that: a contractual arrangement. It may the widest gate that an employee has to request compensation for breaches.
We assist businesses to tighten up their HR systems, so their documentation is utilised in the right way, it is Fair Work Compliant, will stand up in a court case and send clear and concise communication to all in the workplace. Many industry bodies also supply documents to their members. What our clients tell us though, is that what is not supplied, is the expertise on how to use them in the best way. It is pointless for companies to have a shelf full of documents that are not implemented correctly. You may as well not have them at all.
The consulting aspect of CIRCLE Recruitment & HR is the most valuable aspect. Clients ring us when they simply do not know what to do. They may have an underperforming employee, whom they need to manage. Perhaps they want to manage them to better performance, or perhaps they want to manage them out? There is a correct way to do this. Perhaps they have staff who are not working together as a team and their internal culture has become toxic? Perhaps the informal culture of the business needs some work. Perhaps they need to make someone’s position redundant?
As one client asked us recently ‘ Can I just have a meeting and say – your position is redundant? No, you can’t. There are legal requirements that have to be met.
When talking with some international visitors this week, one of them asked us ‘ In Australia, can’t I just sack someone if I want?’ And the answer – Well, yes you can do what you want, however, you will probably end up in court for doing that and it will cost you dearly in time, reputation and money. We would not advise that.
However, if you do end up in court, CIRCLE Recruitment & HR has assisted many clients either in telephone conferences with Fair Work, or in hearings, representing the business. Sometimes businesses do have a person assigned to HR, but they may not have the specialist knowledge that we can bring to the table. Often it is that specialist knowledge that may save you $$$$$$$!
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