With the festive season behind us and the New Year upon us, consider giving you employee management a tune up to get ready for the year ahead.
Below we outline 12 common areas of HR responsibility that typically catch employers out. Consider our corresponding questions, and find out whether you would benefit from an annual check-up.
Day 1: Keeping Employment Records
While employment contracts can be verbal in Australia, make sure you always record an employee’s terms and conditions when you hire them. This can be done in a letter of engagement or through a more formal contract.
It should be noted that regardless of the rules around employment agreements, under the Fair Work Act 2009 (c’th) keeping employee records is not optional.
Do you have an organised system for managing your employee records? Getting assistance in drafting template contracts of employment is a great way to ensure you are using appropriate documentation to reflect the intended terms and conditions of any employees engaged with your business.
Day 2: Managing Seasonal Workers
If you’ve ramped up staffing to cope with the Christmas rush and increased demand over the holidays, double-check you’ve chosen the right employment arrangement.
Have you chosen the right agreement? When you’re not an expert it can be difficult to determine whether a casual, fixed term, or contract arrangement works best.
Day 3: Work Health and Safety - Inductions
In any business, ensuring your workforce understands how you manage workplace safety, the systems you have put in place i.e. reporting accidents, fire evacuation plans etc, and what their responsibilities are is an important component of complying with relevant legislative requirements.
Have all your workers completed a WHS induction? It is crucial that you ensure all your workers have completed the WHS induction and that this is recorded in their employee records for easy reference and auditability. As a minimum, we would encourage you to think about instigating practices that require your workforce to undertake the WHS Induction process every year or two.
Day 4: Work Health and Safety – Training Assessments
It’s important to conduct regular assessments and ensure adequate supervision and training is provided to all workers.
Is your on-the-job training effective? If you provide on-the-job training, make sure your employees demonstrate they understand the training and continue to monitor their understanding.
Day 5: Enforcing Workplace Policies
Introducing robust, and compliant workplace policies is good business practice. But, if you don’t enforce them, they are meaningless and won’t protect your business in the event of a claim.
Do you enforce your policies? For policies to be effective, you must:
• Formally communicate policies to all employees
• Have evidence that they have accepted the policies and any subsequent changes
• Retain such evidence in the employee record
Have you updated your policies?
It’s great that your business has policies and procedures in place, however if they are not regularly kept up to date with current legislation they may be meaningless. Make sure you regularly check that they align with current legislation.
Day 6: Onboarding and Induction
Research shows that poor onboarding and high turnover often go hand in hand. And it’s not surprising that disappointment in the early stages of a new job often lead to an employee’s super speedy departure.
Do you have a process for onboarding new employees? Make sure that employees can hit the ground running by implementing a clear onboarding process that introduces them to the business values and culture at the outset of employment.
Day 7: Contractors
Always be mindful that hiring a worker who should be an employee as an independent contractor amounts to sham contracting. This is something that attracts really stiff penalties whether it was unintentional or not.
Do you know the relevant contractor tests? If you’re hiring contractors, make sure your workers meet the relevant tests that distinguish a contractor from an employee.
Day 8: WHS and Volunteers
As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you must consult with all workers who carry out work for the business who may be affected by work health and safety.
Do you include volunteers in WHS? Double-check that you:
• Make volunteers aware of standard safety protocols
• Conduct regular WHS training with them
• Invite volunteers to participate in WHS consultations if appropriate
Day 9: Unpaid Interns/Graduates
In Australia, unpaid internships must benefit the individual as a genuine training or learning opportunity. The more the internship requirements start to look like work, the more likely that it is work, and you must pay them. The same is true for trial periods. All workers should be paid for work trials.
Are you inadvertently underpaying interns and graduates? Double-check what you expect your volunteers and interns to do. It’s important to make sure that you are not inadvertently underpaying them and breaching workplace laws.
Day 10: Keeping Up to Date
Do you keep yourself and your team up to date with changes in the HR/IR space?
You must ensure that you keep on top of a plethora of HR and WHS priorities, updates and renewals.
You should look into conferences, seminars or other learning opportunities that you could send your HR team or other management persons to next year.
Day 11: Workplace Health and Safety – Hazards and Accidents
Check your hazard and accident registers. Mark complete any hazards that have been eliminated or accidents that have been closed to remove them from your registers.
How current is your hazard and incident/accident register?
You should check any controls that have been put in place and consider getting an independent review of your registers to identify any new controls or actions that may assist in improving workplace safety.
Day 12: Hiring
It’s never too early to anticipate hiring needs, so now is a great time to plan your hiring strategy for 2016. How prepared are you for the New Year?
For more free information go to HR Advisory service or call 1300 211 311, or download HR templates from your Dashboard.