Getting Prepared for 2022

Jan 4th, 2022

It’s the New Year, and it provides everyone with the chance to realign their priorities and “get their house in order”. It’s the perfect time to perfect time to implement new HR systems or formalise pre-existing systems and working arrangements in writing. We all know that high functioning businesses rely on systems and processes to maintain a high level of productivity and quality work, and this should be no different when it comes to HR matters. Implementing robust HR systems will:

  • Ensure high staff performance and staff engagement
  • Help to protect against claims of non-compliance with relevant legislation
  • Help to settle disputes surrounding the employment conditions and job responsibilities  
  • Provide clarity and consistency for staff in relation to expected behaviours and drive positive culture
This article will look at a few key areas to prioritise.

Employment Contracts

To ensure each employment relationship is compliant with the Fair Work Act 2009, it is strongly recommended to provide a written employment contract that clearly states the terms and conditions of the employment relationship at the outset.
Businesses who provide written employment contracts at the start of the employment relationship tend to not need intervention for disputes around the terms and conditions during the employment relationship or at its conclusion. It is highly recommended to provide written employment contacts for all employees, even if an employee only works casually or part time one or two days per week.
Job Descriptions

Job clarity is what separates high performing employees and high performing businesses from the rest of the pack.  The most simple and effective way to establish job clarity is through a written job description (JD).
While many believe a job description to simply be a list of tasks undertaken by an employee, a well written JD is much more than this. When developed properly with clearly defined technical competencies, personal attributes, and reporting relationships, the JD will help guide behaviours, identify training needs, and identify gaps in the tasks being performed at the business.
The JD should also include some key indicators and measures to guide strong performance. The JD can then also be used to facilitate an employee’s performance review or address underperformance issues.

HR Policies and Procedures

Another major tool to help guide behaviour and create the right culture in your business is the HR policies and procedures. Having up to date, relevant and effective HR policies and procedures are crucial for a practice to function at the highest level. This will ensure all staff related matters are dealt with consistently, appropriately, fairly and will also help to avoid potential legal claims before the Fair Work Commission.

HR policies and procedures should be kept together as one consolidated manual, and all staff should be made aware of their existence and location in the business so they can access and view the manual. The manual should cover areas such as employee leave, social media use, discipline and termination processes, and workplace dress code to name a few.
Work, Health and Safety

To avoid potential exposure, it is crucial to ensure your business is WHS compliant. If you are unsure about your obligations or what is required, the New Year is the perfect time to find out. 

Australian businesses (barring Victoria) will be covered by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and it was drafted to create a nationalised WHS system. 

Under the Act, an employer’s WHS responsibilities typically fall into four categories:
  • Risk assessment and management
  • Development and implementation of tailored WHS policies and procedures
  • Regular consultation
  • Training
Building a strong safety culture in your workplace is critical to ensure wellbeing and mitigate key legal risks, and is an essential requirement for any modern-day business owner in Australia.

Typically, harmonious businesses are ones that have established a great culture through clearly defined roles, clear direction on the expected behaviours, and manage performance or behaviour related issues and disputes appropriately. All of which can be achieved by implementing the above HR tools.  

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