Broadspring Consulting

HR News Wrap June 5 2017

Getting Advice On Curly HR Issues Is Vital

This week the first reference is to a podcast rather than an article (although the transcript is listed on the lnk too from My Business https://www.mybusiness.com.au/podcasts/2996-curly-legal-questions-on-hr-explained-mark-gardiner-and-nicole-billett-teddington-legal?utm_source=MyBusiness&utm_campaign=MyBPodcast03_06_17&utm_medium=email&utm_content=1

Without going into the details some of the key points made are the same as I share with my clients:
1. Get your employment contracts written and clear.
Make sure they are robust in terms of compliance with the overarching National Employment Standards and the relevant award in terms of remuneration and entitlements.

Also be sure to NOT include policy details in the contract – refer to them.

2. Make sure you have workplace policies that outline what is expected from staff, and review and update them periodically to ensure they continue to fit the business and keep pace with legislative change.

3. be clear about both rights and responsibilities. Many employees are very clear on their right to not be bullied, yet are unclear on their responsibility to treat others with respect and without bullying.

The lawyers involved suggest having an accountant look over rates that you are paying yet I suggest doing more than this as accountants do not necessarily know the full details of payroll compliance.

When you seek advice, first check that the advisor has the expertise and not just answers.

Creating and building your own skilled employees

Many companies and industries are experiencing difficulty in hiring the right number and the correctly skilled employees. This article from Aberdeen Essentials is US based but does raise some relevant tips http://www.aberdeenessentials.com/opspro-essentials/refilling-the-shallow-labor-pool-in-ehs/

This is relevant as a number of clients recently have been experiencing challenges in recruiting staff. The challenges have been in terms of responses to an ad as well as getting the right caliber of applicants.

Clearly the strategies in the article are longer term – they won’t provide an immediate fix, but will create a very solid ongoing foundation.

1. Engage employees so they want to stay. Have a working environment that brings out the best of employees and taps into their discretionary effort.
You will achieve better performance and those employees will say positive things about your company to others – which will encourage more to apply when you do advertise

2. Invest to develop the skills of your staff so that they can work with less supervision and can also coach and train each other. By strengthening and deepening the skills internal to your organisation you help prevent reliance on outside sources of skills.

3. Conduct workforce planning well in advance and get creative about how to resolve short notice skill gaps. A well structured internship can be an excellent way to gain a new employee and with some programs there is also a financial component (such as the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry who run a program linked to 9 universities and that reimburses part salary costs at the end of the 4 month program)

Clearly these are generic comments and won’t capture the solution to every situation, however they are worth considering.

Life After Workplace Injuries

The final article referenced today is intended to provide ope and insight to both employees who have been injured as well as employers. HRD online included this case and the outcome is quite relevant http://www.hcamag.com/hr-news/employee-demands-100000-uni-degree-after-suffering-workplace-injury-236931.aspx

The situation involves an employee who was injured at work and who clearly feels that return is unreasonable.

Many employers would be intimidated by this ind of situation and could feel “in the sights” however there are some clear hints and good practice tips to note

1. An injured employee is eligible for compensation and retaining once it has been determined that a return to the previous workplace is not suitable.
There is a process to be followed with workcover and nothing is assured or certain until that process has been completed.

2. An injured employee unable to return to work may be eligible for reasonable retraining to allow employment in another field.
For example, during my time as a sessional TAFE teacher one of my students was a painter who had been injured at work and was retraining under WorkCover doing a Cert IV in Front line Management.
It was an equivalent level qualification, not an upgrade at the expense of the insurer.

3. At times the greatest injury to overcome is the breakdown of the relationship rather than a physical injury.
This is the complicated and highly case by case nature of workplace injuries.
It’s why you really can benefit from expert, independent advice from a return to work specialist or a good case manager at your insurer.