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Inspire Success

Providing hints, tips and ideas that help you maintain high performing workplaces that are customer focussed and free of conflict

Public Holidays Christmas 2016

Rae Phillips - Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Sunday 25 December - Christmas Day
Monday 26 December - Boxing Day
Tuesday 27 December - Additional Day**
Sunday 1 January - New Year's Day
Monday 2 January - Additional Day**


** applies as Christmas Day and New Year's Day fall on a weekend

Have a look at this guide from the Fair Work Ombudsman about Requesting and Refusing to Work on Public Holidays

Don't forget if you need help working out how this applies at your place, get in touch 1300 620 100 or hr@inspire-success.com 

Getting Staff to Work: Reducing Absenteeism

Rae Phillips - Monday, November 14, 2016

It seems that absenteeism is causing a lot of stress for many of us – not only because employees who are consistently absent or late to work cause headaches, but they also impact on our bottom line!

Here are our top 5 tips for reducing absenteeism at your place:

1. Set standards of attendance
Start right at the start –your induction and your leave policy should outline what you expect if they are going to be late or are not able to get to work. For example employees should;

  • tell their manager they will be absent;
  • phone their manager within a certain time-frame to advise why they are unable to make it to work, the nature of their illness and when they expect to return;
  • know that they will be contacted if you haven’t heard from them about why they are absent; and
  • provide certain evidence that they are unfit for work i.e. a medical certificate or statutory declaration, in a certain way and within a certain time-frame.

2. Keep an eye on why people are absent

Collect information on patterns of absence, regardless of how many employees you have. Only with these statistics are you going to know if you have an issue in your workplace. Keeping an eye on these trends can assist you to:
  • identify if you have a problem with absence at your workplace;
  • determine what type of absence usually occurs in your workplace i.e. is it mainly Monday morning ’sickies’ or cases of longer-term sickness?; and
  • highlight patterns in absence levels. For example, are absence levels higher in one particular team or at a specific time of year?

3. Conduct return to work interviews

For longer term absences, a return to work interview allows you to determine whether the employee is able to return to their duties and if modifications to their duties are required. It also assists you to determine if there is enough reason for disciplinary action. The focus on their absence gives notice to the employee that it hasn’t been noticed. Of course this will depend on the employee’s absence record, and any patterns.


4. Promote opportunities for flexible work
We know it is a legislated requirement, but why not be a trail blazer and help employees achieve a balance between their work, family and lifestyle commitments? There are lots of statistics that show that work-life balance reduces absenteeism. Just looking at your workplace and the roles differently might unearth a few opportunities to work flexibly that you didn’t know existed.

5. Make the job as good as it can be
Research suggests our people spend only 20%, or one day each week, doing tasks for which they have a genuine aptitude. Of course they are busy all the time. You can add real value and unearth strategies to engage and fulfil your staff by identifying roadblocks and helping remove them. In your informal discussions ask, "How can I help make your job more fulfilling, engaging and productive?"

These conversations with your people have economic benefits. All investments yield a return. How can you get your staff to work?

Is this something that could be an issue at your place? Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. Contact Inspire Success for further information hr@inspire-success.com or 1300620 100


Shut downs and being on call over the holiday season

Rae Phillips - Thursday, November 10, 2016

 

Does your business shut down over Christmas and New Year period? Many Modern Awards have clauses which allow the employer tell their employees to take annual leave when they shut down their business for a day or more. Employees do have an entitlement to public holidays during shutdown periods. You can ask your employees to take paid annual leave during a shut down if:

  • The relevant award or agreement allows it, or
  • Your business is not covered by an award or agreement.

If an employee does not have enough leave you can discuss with them the option of them taking unpaid leave or annual leave in advance. 

While Christmas can be a quiet time for many businesses you may want to keep things ticking without the need for employees to be on site for the full working day. Or you may need to have things in place so that if an emergency /incident occurs there is a procedure in place to manage it. A good way around this is to have employees on call. Taking advantage of technology can make this a handy option nowadays. Having your on call employees organised in advance of the Christmas shut down period means that any calls that come in can be managed quickly and efficiently without an employee having to sit in the office all day. If required, having employees on call ensures the best customer service for your clients.

How to pay employees on call:

A call-out allowance is payable to employees who are rostered to be on call. It is best to refer to the relevant award/agreement for the amount of the allowance. Fair Work Australia refer to it as an “Availability for Duty” rate. Where an employee is on availability duty, the employee must be paid availability for duty allowance of a % of the weekly standard rate per week and if required to work must be paid at the appropriate rate for actual time worked. Availability duty means that the employee concerned must be available to the employer by means of telephone at any time the employee is receiving the availability for duty allowance.

Further information on “availability for duty” allowances are available from Fair Work Australia or contact Inspire Success and we can advise you. 

Is this something that could be an issue at your place? Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. Contact Inspire Success for further information hr@inspire-success.com or 1300620 100


Top 10 tips to minimise risk at your work party

Rae Phillips - Thursday, November 10, 2016

End of year parties are getting booked, soon it will be time to share the details with your employees. You want your team to enjoy themselves and the party to be a relaxed and enjoyable get together. However, a relaxed and sociable environment mixed with alcohol means that there is an increased chance of risky and/or inappropriate behaviour, which you will be held liable for, even if the event is not held on work premises..


 

Follow our top 10 tips to make sure you can have some fun together, celebrate the end of a year and get ready to welcome in a new one together.  

The obligations of employers serving alcohol falling into four key areas:

  • Duty of care - encompassing a common law duty to provide a safe workplace;
  • Sexual harassment - while not isolated to functions, this is "obviously an area that is exacerbated by drug and alcohol taking", and is the biggest area of risk at end-of-year celebrations;
  • Workplace health and safety - "Under WHS legislation an employer has very serious and primary obligations to ensure the health and safety of employees (and others), and excessive consumption of alcohol and/or drug taking can have a direct impact upon that obligation"; and
  • Workers' compensation - "If there's an incident at a work function, it will be work related and workers' compensation will be applicable, which has a direct impact upon premiums but most importantly the expense, cost and time of having to rehabilitate an injured worker."


In most legal contexts, the Christmas party (same rules apply for any work function) will be considered as part of the 'workplace' even when not on the work premises. As such, all the duties and obligations of the employer that apply in the office/workplace continue to apply for the duration of the function or party.

Here are our top 10 tips to minimise risk at your work party:

  1. Ensure all your HR and Work, health and safety policies are up to date – with particular focus on discrimination, bullying, harassment, workplace behaviour, alcohol and drug use. Ensure you have a clear grievance resolution procedure in the event that there is an incident at the party. Circulate these policies now!, discuss them at weekly team meetings, ensure the messages of these policies are clearly understood by all employees and any questions they may have answered. This will ensure your employees know what is expected of them in terms of behaviour at all times;
  2. If you are using an offsite venue make sure you go and have a look and conduct a safety check (you are looking for clear emergency exits, fire equipment, lighting etc);
  3. While alcohol is usually the norm at parties, have non-alcoholic drinks available also. Provide plenty of water so employees consuming alcohol can slow down the pace if required. When supplying/serving alcohol ensure normal responsible service of alcohol standards are adhered to;
  4. Do not allow any types of drinking games, high alcohol consumption prizes etc;
  5. Food and plenty of it should be provided at the party;
  6. Let your employees clearly know the start and finish times;
  7. Consider providing transportation for employees after the party ends, like a mini-bus or Cabcharge vouchers (or at least inform employees of transport options available). Providing transportation is not obligatory for employers but can be a very effective risk minimisation measure;
  8. Ensure responsible managers clearly understand substance abuse and alcohol policies and that they know to step in should any situation get out of control;
  9. Check your insurance covers work party activities;
  10. Clearly advise employees beforehand that any festivities continuing after the work party conclusion time are not endorsed by the employer and are on the employees’ own time.


With organisation and good preparation, you can ensure that it is a happy, safe and incident-free holiday season. Enjoy!

Is this something that could be an issue at your place? Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. Contact Inspire Success for further information hr@inspire-success.com or 1300620 100


3 things you can do to reduce your employment costs

Rae Phillips - Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Are you coming in to a challenging cash flow period at this time of the year? Is your biggest expense your staff? Are you thinking about restructuring your business and reducing your head count? Did you know you can implement some innovative cost saving ideas before you do that?

Businesses wanting to survive and thrive in the new year recognise that losing staff now means they lose their competitive edge in the future. There are simple things you can do now that really make a difference to your bottom line.
Here are 3 things businesses are implementing NOW to reduce their people costs:
1. Review your staffing mix.
Do you need to have everyone set up as permanent? Why not consider a mixture of casual, part time, full time, limit term contracts and trainees? Does anyone want to take unpaid leave? You could save 20% of your wages cost by changing your 5 day workers to 4 days! 2. Reduce your liability.
Keep salaries down and look for compelling alternatives to pay rises. Considering the alternative, staff are often prepared to negotiate. Limit salary increases and paid overtime. Defer or reduce bonus payments. Keep annual and long service leave accruals to the allowable minimums. 3. Focus on Retention.
What is unique about your workplace? Why should your team stay and help you succeed? Offer work practices that are flexible for both of you. Rework superannuation salary sacrifice arrangements to assist with their cash flow. You could reduce your wages cost by 10% if you work on 9 day fortnights for a fixed period! Make it easy for your people to get on with work during this time. Talk to them more than you ever have before. Lasting relationships are built in hard times – this is true for your staff, your suppliers and your customers!

I challenge you to look from a different perspective and implement one or some of these strategies to prepare your business and team for great times to come. No one wants to let staff go, why not give these ideas a try before you get to that point?
NB: there are legal issues associated with changing employees terms and conditions. It is critical you research and plan before having conversations like this with your people. Contact Inspire Success on hr@inspire-success.com or 1300 620 100 to talk through your situation.  

Benefits of Outsourcing your HR

Rae Phillips - Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Small business owners might think that outsourcing HR functions only benefits large companies. The perception is that outsourcing is designed to help only these larger operations streamline their business functions and cut down on costs. Of course, usually in a small business, someone has been handed the HR Hat - either by default or because they may have administrative responsibilities. But in today’s economy, there is an increasing need for small businesses to consider the financial and other potential practical benefits of outsourcing human resource functions to a trusted provider.

Some of the advantages of small business HR outsourcing may include:

1. The ability to focus on business productivity: Instead of spending time handling routine administrative tasks, employers can focus on more strategic functions of the business that can have greater rates of return.

2. An enterprise-class solution: Small businesses may be able to enjoy enterprise-class benefits from HR outsourcing, which can help them save costs and compete more effectively with other small businesses and their larger counterparts.

3. Access to latest technology at a manageable cost: Growing enterprises may have minimal resources to invest in infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment to run their businesses. With an outside expert running some of the functions, businesses may enjoy better technological systems without necessarily having to own them. This may help cut down on their operating costs.

4. Help with compliance: This is one area where many small businesses struggle to keep up, especially with the changing laws pertaining to hiring and firing, insurance and bullying claims, work health and safety and payroll, penalty and overtime requirements. The greatest challenge is that failure to comply can lead to serious financial consequences. Outsourcing HR functions to a trusted provider can help business owners understand and take action to comply with these laws and regulations.

When you’re ready to outsource HR functions, consider a company’s experience, “How long have they provided these services, and for how many businesses?”, their financial stability, “Is their financial information a matter of public record?”, and do they offer personal service, “Can I work with an HR professional on-site?”, "Can I call them only when I need them?"

Is this something that could be an issue at your place? Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. Contact Inspire Success for further information hr@inspire-success.com 

Is Work Making YOU Stressed?

Rae Phillips - Monday, September 12, 2016
Stress in the Workplace

Unlike other health hazards in the workplace, stress may not be easy to detect. Managers may see it as a potential problem but have so many other responsibilities they 'push it under the carpet'. It could be a major stressor for them!

Likewise staff may worry that they cant fix the problem or that it is a failure to cope on their part.

Either could lead to a breakdown in the communications vital to the support and maintenance of good teamwork, potentially setting your business up for accidents and injuries, workers compensation claims, complaints from customers and costs attributed to high staff turnover.

Be aware of these signs:

  • An increase in overall sickness absence – especially frequent short absences 
  • Poor work performance – less output, lower quality of work, poor decision making, poor timekeeping, increased occurrence of accidents 
  • Relationships at work – poor relationships with colleagues and clients, bullying, harassment, conflict 
  • Employee attitude and behaviour – poor timekeeping, loss of motivation or commitment, working long hours but with decreasing effectiveness 

While each individual’s response to stressors is unique, some common symptoms are obvious.


Behavioural – withdrawal, hostility, eating disorders, increasing use of coffee, alcohol, drugs or tobacco, poor concentration, poor judgement, loss of creativity, making more mistakes, being too busy to relax, absenteeism;

Emotional – loss of confidence, lack of self esteem, anxiety, frustration, anger, apathy, worry or anxiety, depression;

Physical – difficulties in sleeping, frequent and unspecified aches and pains, digestive problems, exhaustion, nausea, lowered resistance to minor illnesses.

Displaying some of these symptoms does not automatically indicate that a person is experiencing stress, but they do point to such a possibility.

Is this something that could be an issue at your place? Inspire Success is all about implementing practical solutions that help create high performing workplaces which are customer focussed and free of conflict - no matter what size your business is. Contact us at Inspire Success for further information hr@inspire-success.com


Mental health in the Workplace

Rae Phillips - Thursday, September 08, 2016

More than one million Australians experience depression each year, with depression currently the leading cause of non-fatal disability. Despite this, depression is not always well managed by organisations and stigma and a lack of awareness can be barriers to seeking help. Did you know that each year undiagnosed depression in the workplace costs $4.3 billion in lost productivity and this excludes work cover / insurance claims, part-time or casual employees, retrenchment, recruitment and training. Workplace stress is a significant risk factor for developing depression

On average, every full-time employee with untreated depression costs an organisation $9,665 per year.  In addition to absenteeism, depression accounts for more than 12 million days of reduced productivity each year.  Around 50 per cent of people with depression don't get help for it  but research shows that implementation of early diagnosis and intervention programs can result in a five-fold return on investment as a result of increased employee productivity.  Increased awareness about depression and understanding the relationship between mental health and the workplace is more important than ever.  The momentum in Australia to address these issues is growing.

Beyond Blue recently reported key results of a training needs analysis conducted in order to identify the learning needs of organisational leaders in relation to managing mental health, particularly depression, in the workplace. Their respondents were Managers/Leaders, Learning and Development and Human Resource Professionals from a variety of industries within public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Experience with depression in the workplace was common amongst their respondents, with 68 percent reporting that they had worked with, or managed, someone who was experiencing depression. Some respondents indicated the situation was related to relationship problems, with the major workplace issue being work performance.  Only 14 percent of the Managers/Leaders reported participating in specific training related to managing mental health in the workplace. They reported that the most useful part of this training was information about identifying mental illnesses, information about services and resources and workplace strategies for responding to mental illness at work.

What is clear from this information is that the following is now essential for businesses:-   

  • Leaders must promote and support good mental health in the workplace, have preventative strategies in place and develop policies and procedures around how to address mental health issues with their staff
  • There must be an understanding of the impact of working conditions on mental health
  • They must be able to identify signs and symptoms of mental health problems and
  • Have the training / knowledge to be able manage workplace mental health problems and have effective treatment approaches to common mental health problems


On RUOK day, please reflect on your team's mental health and ask them Are You Okay?

Is this something that could be an issue at your place? Inspire Success is all about implementing practical solutions that help create high performing workplaces which are customer focussed and free of conflict - no matter what size your business is. Contact us at Inspire Success for further information hr@inspire-success.com

The Top 10 Hiring Mistakes

Rae Phillips - Thursday, August 25, 2016
Over the years, we have had the good fortune to work with many people to find new talent to join their team. Some of those experiences have been very positive and some have been at the other end of the scale! 

When the recruitment process doesn't result in a fantastic new member joining the team, there are usually basic mistakes happening. Sometimes one or more at the same time! 

Have you ever made a hiring mistake, that in hindsight makes you cringe? 

Here are what we see as the Top 10 hiring mistakes:


1. Failing to analyse the vacancy and plan the recruitment; 
2. Not having key recruiting criteria (KRC); 
3. Prioritising technical skills over cultural fit; 
4. Taking the best of a bad bunch in the absence of someone who meets the KRC; 
5. Not doing background checks; 
6. Not providing an effective induction; 
7. Only considering internal applicants or not considering them at all; 
8. Not conducting rigorous behavioural interviews; 
9. Not asking for help when you need it; 
10. Not realising this is a marketing exercise for your business. 

So what do you ABSOLUTELY need? Here are the Recruitment Basics


If there were 3 things that could help you get the most from your recruitment and selection activities, we think they are:

1. Have a Recruitment Policy

Having a set of guidelines for how recruitment gets done at your place will make each of your efforts more focussed, more cost effective and more successful! Have a look at 'this one we prepared earlier' to get an idea of how you can set yours up, and don't forget to make sure that all people involved in recruitment understand your guidelines.

2. Key Recruiting Criteria (KRC)

Your KRC sets you up for success and can be used for so many things! Keeping your recruitment on track is obvious, but also to help with evaluation and selection, the onboarding process, for identifying training needs and for performance feedback! Have a look at this one so you know what we mean.

3. Standard Questions

Behavioural interviews are really asking 'tell me how/when/why you did this...'. Having a standard list of questions for each role is ideal, but if that is going to stretch you, at least have a collection that make sense in your workplace and can be used across the whole business. Here is an example of what I mean.

Is this something that could be an issue at your place? Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. Contact Inspire Success for further information hr@inspire-success.com or 1300620 100

Maximise Your Competitive Edge - With Your People

Rae Phillips - Monday, May 23, 2016
Get ahead of the rest! Focus on what is really important in your business...

What a challenge we have at the moment to keep working away in our businesses, providing excellent service to our customers; to be spending some strategic time looking at our product or service and determining what customers in this changing economy are looking to buy; AND trying to differentiate ourselves from other businesses in our market.

I think if you focus on the unique experience you provide for your people, they will do the rest for you. By building on employee confidence, they will become your raving fans, and sell to existing and potential customers. People coming to your business will feel the attitude and passion for your business and want to spend more time around you and your people. All of this equates to more dollars spent and more profit for your business.

So what can you do to maximise your people as your competitive edge?

1. Provide a unique experience 
  • How are you different from all the other employers? Do you provide a different environment or philosophy? Maybe you have a unique approach to your people management? 
  • EVP – the employee value proposition is what they are interested in – what’s in it for them? 
  • Do you offer flexible work practices; can they start later or finish earlier to allow them to do the other things that are important to them? 
  • Are you involved in the local community, or do you have a charity-giving program? Do you only use green products or have a carbon neutral scheme? Generation Y employees especially see this as a real positive. 

2. Forget your old paradigms! 
  • One of the hallmarks of a creative company is a willingness to listen to everyone within the business and pay close attention to their ideas and suggestions. 
  • Be flexible and open to new ways of thinking or doing things, your staff or customers can have the best way of doing things in this new environment. It might be a new product or service – keep your options open. 
  • Respect is not automatic. Gen Y staff wont give you the credit just because you are the boss – you have to earn their respect. Treat them as you want to be treated, enjoy them for who they are. (Oh – and get over it! They will soon be the majority of the workforce and it is you who must change the way you think for your business to benefit.) 

3. Be open and honest!
  • Front line employees in customer service, delivery, purchasing, operations, and sales often have powerful money saving or customer building ideas at their fingertips. Give them the forum to share them. 
  • One on one review’s should happen for 30minutes every 3 months. Your daily informal catch ups should not stop, but save some focused time for each of your people where you listen and tell them how much they mean to the success of the business. 
  • Make your staff and customer experience as good as it can be. Don’t just satisfy them – make them raving fans! 
  • Commit to a development plan, not just professional but also personal or fitness or spiritual – whatever is important to each of your people. 
  • If you need to reduce costs in your business, tell your people in advance. Consider some of the many options available before you reduce your head count. Don’t let this be a surprise, respect and support is borne from honesty. 
  • Lasting relationships are built in hard times – this is true for your staff and your customers. 

Don’t underestimate the value of your people being your competitive edge. As always, your customers experience of your product or service is your best advertisement. Your people will be remembered long after the experience of buying your product or service.

Is this something that could be an issue at your place? Inspire Success is all about making HR SIMPLE - no matter what size your business is. Contact Inspire Success for further information hr@inspire-success.com or 1300620 100

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