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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

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 

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

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

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 or 1300620 100

End of Financial Year Must Dos

Rae Phillips - Friday, May 06, 2016
Given that the financial year is almost at an end, here are our TOP 4 people related processes for you to get started on:

1. Employee Details 
Now is the perfect time to issue new employee details forms to all your people and get them to update addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and emergency contacts. It's helpful for when you are sending out payment summaries, but also to ensure nothing has slipped through the cracks.

Here is one we prepared earlier to help you get started - EMPLOYEE DETAILS FORM

2. Your Workplace Policies. 
Having clear and legally correct workplace policies (such as workplace bullying policies, drug and alcohol policies and e-mail and internet usage policies) can help you guide the behaviour of your employees and help you avoid being held liable under various types of legislation. It is essential that you review and update your policies on a regular basis. 
At this time of the year, send out any policies that have been updated and get a fresh declaration signed that shows your people know your policies and have signed to say they understand and have read them. Here's an example of one we use - POLICY DECLARATION

3. Your Awards, Agreements and Employment Contracts. 
Are you sure that all of your employment agreements and contracts are 100% up-to-date? Have you made amendments since the most recent changes to the Fair Work Act? To avoid liability to your business, it is imperative that your awards, agreements and employment contracts are legally correct. 

Contracts that are limited tenure and tied to the financial year will need to be rewritten now. Get to work on it now so you don't inadvertently miss them.

Need a hand with updating your policies, contracts and agreements? Contact us for more information. 

4. Your WHS Procedures. 
Make it a priority to review all your WHS procedures at the beginning of each year and check they are running smoothly. You could even consider conducting a few drill tests to make sure your employees are completely clear about what to do in an emergency situation. 

Need help ensuring your business's WHS practices are up-to-date? Contact us for more information. 

Did I raise something here that could make your life simpler? Call Inspire Success on 1300 620 100 or email for more information.

How to deal with Unacceptable Workplace Behaviour

Rae Phillips - Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Workplace misconduct relates to deliberate or careless acts of unacceptable behaviour by an employee and it can disrupt productivity and cause lasting damage to your business. It needs to be addressed quickly.

  1. The first thing you can do to try and avoid acts of misconduct from occurring in your workplace is to clearly outline the standard of behaviour and performance you expect from your employees.
  2. This means implementing concise workplace policies as well as disciplinary guidelines to assist managers in dealing with difficult employees.
  3. You also need to be prepared to investigate allegations of misconduct fairly as to minimise any legal risks.
  4. Finally, you need to be 100% certain that misconduct is serious enough before you decide that it warrants disciplinary action or dismissal.

If you don’t have sufficient evidence, you could have a fight on your hands.

So here are the key considerations:
      • Get your workplace policies in order;
      • Develop discipline management guidelines;
      • Investigate allegations of misconduct;
      • Avoid legal implications when dismissing for misconduct; and
      • Know when misconduct warrants summary dismissal

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 or 1300620 100

Key workplace policies for your business

Rae Phillips - Saturday, January 23, 2016
Workplace policies are there to help you guide workplace behaviour and protect your business. In many cases there is legislation underpinning policy so they can be overwhelming and confusing. But we believe that policies should not be implemented just for the sake of it. At all time we try to keep the policy suite of our clients SIMPLE. 
There have been many times when we have been asked, so what are the basic policies we should have in place? This is a difficult question because it depends on the size and complexity of your business, your industry and culture and what you are trying to achieve. 

Having said that, here are the ones that make up our Top Ten workplace policies:

1. Appropriate Workplace Behaviour Policy
2. Code of Conduct
3. Computer Usage and Social Media
4. Dispute and Grievance Resolution Policy
5. Exit Policy
6. Leave Policy
7. Performance Management Policy
8. Recruitment and Selection Policy
9. Training and Professional Development Policy
10. Work Health and Safety Policy

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 or 1300620 100.

What should be in employment contracts

Rae Phillips - Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lets keep this simple - the purpose of an employment contract is to document the work agreement between the employer and the employee. It can be in writing or verbal.

Having a written employment agreement ensures that expectations are clear before the work begins. It doesn't need to be a War and Peace document, but it does need to include certain things.

In general, all national system employers must provide 10 minimum entitlements to full-time and part-time employees and this should be referenced in the contract. These minimum entitlements are called the National Employment Standards (NES). You can visit the National Employment Standards page to find out more. 

The Top Ten things to include in your employment contracts are:

  1. The name of the Employer;
  2. The title of the job to be performed by the Employee;
  3. The commencement date of employment;
  4. The basis of the employment - full time, part time, fixed-term or casual;
  5. The amount of the employee’s remuneration and how it is made up;
  6. The amount of notice that is required to be given by both Employer and Employee to end the employment relationship;
  7. A provision clarifying the status of company policies - are they part of the contract or things that the Employer has a discretion;
  8. A provision to include the 5 Allowable Matters to be included in an over-award salary;
  9. Acknowledgement that the employee has a legal right to work in Australia;
  10. A signed offer from the Employer and a signed acknowledgement of acceptance by the Employee.

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 or 1300620 100

The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code

Rae Phillips - Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code applies to small business employers with fewer than 15 full time equivalent employees and is there to ensure that any termination follows a fair process.

This is what we know about small business' and dismissal:

  • Employees working in a small business cannot make a claim for unfair dismissal in the first 12 months following their engagement;
  • If an employee is dismissed after this period and the employer has followed the Code (and can provide evidence) then the dismissal should be deemed to be fair;
  • Employees who have been dismissed because of a business downturn or their position is no longer needed cannot bring a claim for unfair dismissal. (However, the redundancy needs to be genuine and filling the position with a new employee or changing the name of the role is not a genuine redundancy).
  • It is fair for an employer to dismiss an employee without notice or warning when the employer believes on reasonable grounds that the employee’s conduct is sufficiently serious to justify immediate dismissal. (Although for this to work for you, your business will need relevant policies and the employees must have been trained in the detail)

If those points don't apply, then this is what we know:

  • In other cases, the small business employer must give the employee a reason why he or she is at risk of being dismissed. The reason must be a valid reason based on the employee’s conduct or capacity to do the job.
  • The employee must be warned verbally or preferably in writing, that he or she risks being dismissed if there is no improvement.
  • The small business employer must provide the employee with an opportunity to respond to the warning and give the employee a reasonable chance to rectify the problem, having regard to the employee’s response.
  • Rectifying the problem might involve the employer providing additional training and ensuring the employee knows the employer’s job expectations.

So  as is usually the situation, it is always best to follow a fair process, and in this case - use the form provided for us by the legislators.

Small Business Fair Dismissal Code Checklist

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 or 1300620 100

Social Media and your People Policies

Rae Phillips - Friday, September 18, 2015

People around the world are members of at least one social network. We have a permanent online presence where we create profiles, share photos, share our thoughts with friends and spend hours just catching up with what friends are doing with their life. 

As a business owner you might have nightmarish visions of your employees wasting hours on Facebook and Twitter etc. While most employers are willing to close an eye to the occasional quick browse and update, they are more concerned about those who abuse the system.

Social media is the use of web based and mobile technologies for social interaction. eg Linked in, Facebook, You Tube and Twitter, although there are many others.

Social media can be great!
We can use it to widen our business circle of contacts and advertising for free; it can can help our business remain in touch with customers and is very useful for social networking; Costs are low; In recruitment it is a useful tool for finding and attracting talent. 

But there can be big issues!

1. The main concern for organizations is not social networking sites per se but the people using them. Users’ actions are often based on impulse and not a genuine awareness of what they are doing.

2. Productivity is generally the main problem employers have with social media and the distractions it causes. When unacceptable amounts of time are being spent on these sites it is costly and can lower the morale of those who are not engaging. 

3. Although updates to social networking sites may not take up huge amounts of bandwidth, the availability of video links posted on these sites (or links taking users to sites like YouTube) creates problems for IT administrators. There is a cost to Internet browsing, especially where high levels of bandwidth are required. 

4. A comment made by an employee on social media or their actions on a social network might breach their duties to preserve confidentiality or faithfully serve their employer. For example, 

(a) a UK case involved a recruitment consultant who copied client e-mail addresses, resigned and then used Linked-In to invite them to be part of his network. He did this so he could solicit them for his own business. The Court agreed that e-mail addresses were confidential; even though once the clients accepted his invitation they ceased to be confidential. By collating them for use post-employment, the employee was breaching his duty to faithfully serve his employer, and he ought to be restrained from taking advantage of his wrongdoing.
(b) Recently, FWA dealt with a case where an employee published a blog disparaging his employer's investigation into sexual harassment and e-mail misuse. FWA ruled that the publication justified his dismissal because it was publicly accessible through a Google search and attacked the integrity of the management of the employer. This could easily be you, or me or someone we know!

So how do your small businesses remain relevant but also protect your risk?
You need to be pro-active in protecting yourself and assess whether the risk of allowing your employees to use social networking sites at work is acceptable or not. As we see it, we have four options:-

1. Block the internet
2. Allow employees to use the internet but manage what sites they can look at
3. Restrict access – allow access at lunch, before work hours and after work hours or block certain sites
4. Let them go for it carte blanche, trust that they won’t do anything they shouldn’t.

Could any of these apply at your place? Which one are you applying right now? How's that working for you?

What ever you decide, there are some things you must do:

1. Educate staff on what social media is and what they are permitted and not permitted to access. Often employees don’t fully understand what they can and can’t share on these sites. Educating them on proper use is key and also ensuring they understand the security issues that can result in what they do online.

2. Set internet usage policies – have all employees sign policies related to the use of internet at work, access to social networking sites and what they are allowed to do while employees at your business. Train your supervisors and make sure they are coaching the team.

3. Monitoring web activity is important and employees should be aware that their actions on the internet and in email are being monitored and that failure to adhere to company policy can result in disciplinary action and / or dismissal. Work with your IT team or provider to make sure the technical side of things is addressed.

Social media marketing can help small businesses boost sales and is useful for sharing information with a broad audience. As technology develops more and more, it is important for businesses to take advantage of all of the new things being offered that will help them to grow the business. The advances in social media are so fast paced, it is important to stay connected on a regular basis so new opportunities are not missed.

The one thing that is certain is that social media is here to stay. There are great benefits but potentially great problems for businesses. As we see more lawsuits arising from social media and employees, we are certain to see companies using more scrutiny and policies in relation to social media in the workplace.

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 or 1300620 100

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