Broadspring Consulting

HR News May 22 2017

Our wrap up of key HR news and Fair Work insights’ tag

Statistics may confirm what employers feel

HC Online published an article confirming the statistics of employer success results at Fair Work. Many people (including an ex Vice President of the Fair Work Commission) have felt that the system is biased against employers.

Impressions of bias include the complexity of the system, perceptions that employees “win” more cases than employers and the reverse onus of proof concept (where rather than innocence being assumed, employers must prove that what was alleged did not happen)

The article is here – http://www.hcamag.com/hr-news/employer-success-rate-in-unfair-dismissal-cases-hits-historic-lows-236490.aspx

Effectively the article states that less than 40% of cases in 2015-2016 were successfully defended by employers. This is a decline from 50-60% in 2003.

Should we lose hope as employers? Definitely not!
The article itself probably has bias as you can imagine. With a contribution from an ex Vice President who left claiming that the system was imbalanced, his comments are likely to follow the same thread.

What ought we to be looking for from this article?
1. Reinforcement that it is not just about doing the right thing – having proof and evidence of doing the right thing is important
Remember that proof of what happened is equally required by both parties. An employee who makes claims or allegations must be able to establish before the Commission that what is claimed did or was highly probable to have happened

2. Decisions to terminate employment must never be taken lightly or when in an emotional state.
The concept of “fair” is underpinned by words such as “reasonable” and while not well defined in the act, can certainly be defined and described.

3. Communication at all stages of the process is vital. Being able to act swiftly and early to calmly identify for an employee what improvements may be required in performance. Being able to explain what is happening or about to happen in a way that is consistent with policy and the principles of natural justice. Being able to describe to a third party why decisions were made and actions taken.

The Fair Work system does not necessarily encourage legal representation but it does place value upon an unbiased and impartial perspective in employment situations.

Case study of how staff training is an investment in your business

MyBusiness article https://www.mybusiness.com.au/culture/2959-the-training-dilemma-will-it-deliver-a-return?utm_source=MyBusiness&utm_campaign=22_05_17&utm_medium=email&utm_content=2

This article really struck a chord with me , having delivered information sessions to several business groups on this very topic. Many businesses are concerned at “training for the competition” or investing in staff who may well leave. A much repeated quote allegedly from Henry Ford is “What’s worse – training them and having them leave, or not training them and having them stay?”

There is the heart of the dilemma for employers. How much should you spend on training? What sort of training?
The case study in the article is fabulous and the key comments to accompany the article are:
1. Training “good” behaviours is good for business. If an employee seems keen to do something but is doing an off target behaviour – help them to do the right thing. The individual will value the attention and care you show (yes, as humans people often perceive training as a sign that they are valued by the employer). Your clients (or suppliers or co-workers) will experience the improvement and that will flow on to business and financial results.

2. Remember the 70-20-10 rule. Training in formal (and often costly) environments is usually only 10% of the way we learn work related skills. The other 90% comes from on the job (70%) and structured non classroom methods. When you have an employee doing things the way you hope, consider pairing another employee with them or creating a “buddy” system. The new or learning employee will feel appreciated and the experience employee often sees this as something to be proud of and perceives it as being valued.

3. Training only works if there is a skill related issue. If a situation needs improving due to a lack of motivation/interest or “will” then training is rarely the answer. Have a conversation with staff about what they are doing and what needs to be done.

Well trained staff are an asset, invest in their maintenance.

Why your employer brand is important

And finally an article about beer!
Well, not exactly but this article from Aberdeen Essentials uses a couple of beer companies as examples to explain the subject of employer branding.
Read it here http://www.aberdeenessentials.com/hcm-essentials/4-mistakes-employers-make-hurt-employer-branding/

Let me start saying that employer branding is not just about advertising. The article refers to the impact of advertising and impressions that prospective employees can gain.

There are 4 areas mentioned in the article as tips to improve brand (talk about how well you pay, describe employee benefits, be easy to find and be easy to deal with while a candidate)

I suggest that there are a few more and that there are some fundamental reasons behind why these areas are important.

1. In a social media world, it is never been easier for employees to share their experiences with others.
And not just their immediate friends, but with the connections of their friends. That means that a positive comment about your company can go across the globe. As can a poor experience.
Employers in small communities have recognised for a long time that “people talk” and that what is said influences the willingness of applicants to submit interest in an opening.

2. With the rise of technology and communication by technology, people are curiously seeking more quality in face to face interactions. Including at work. Technology makes it easy to connect (and disconnect). In many ways it makes us all the more sensitive to who we spend our personal time with. Potential employees consider companies not just in terms of role and salary, but as a community.
It becomes a case of presenting the “experience” of working with you that prospective employees seek out.

3. The internet remembers everything. Many small companies engage with rating sites and carefully work to gain good feedback and ratings from customers (typically in hospitality) and similar rating sites exist for employers.
It’s time to think deeply and act according to how we want to be perceived in the “history books” or on the internet which keeps a record of everything. Forever.