HR basics for small business – five key safeguards

When you are a small or medium business, it is easy to focus on the outcomes of the business and forget about the HR platforms that should be put in place to safe guard and build it.

Investing in human resource (HR) expertise can be a vital step to your success.  These days, HR is more than simply recruitment and employee benefits, both of which are the primary associations of HR in Australia.

However, if you do nothing more with your HR than to safeguard your business from the pitfalls that are associated with not having the HR fundamentals in place; I recommend doing these five key things;

1. Be legislatively compliant; ensure that your employment contracts provide the legal minimum requirements as set out in the national employment standards, any awards or enterprise/registered agreements that may apply to your business. And of course ensure you and your employee have a signed copy and that yours is stored in a secure location on your premises.

2. Have a core set of HR policies and a code of conduct to mitigate against workplace risks such as bullying, harassment, discrimination and setting clear expectations regarding behaviour including social media use. Remember that it is not enough to simply have the policies, you need to ensure that your staff are aware of and understand them, and know where they can be located if they need to access them.

3. Develop robust role descriptions.  Role descriptions provide clarity for individuals and should outline the duties expected of staff and contain reporting relationships, work locations and any other expectations regarding the position.   Role clarity is arguably the foundation of team effectiveness.

4. Ensure that processes for performance management are transparent and actively used. Under performance in a small business can drag the business down and managing an under performer out of a business without a clear process can be costly and time consuming in the Fair Work Commission.

5. Maintain effective records, such as information about the business including the company name and ABN, staff records such as rates of pay, hours of work records including penalty rates and time and attendance or rosters, leave records including how much leave an employee has taken and how much should be paid out at the end of their contract.  Special consideration should also be given to any individual agreement you may have with a particular staff member.

If you have any HR requirements in your business please get in touch today.

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