Broadspring Consulting

HR News – September 11 2017

Weekly wrap covering grief, casuals and social media

Grief At Work And Mental Health

On the anniversary of 9/11 in New York it’s appropriate to comment that grief affects us in every aspect of our life. Including at work.
People grieve in different ways and over different periods of time, it’s important to not judge others on their grieving process.

An important matter to be aware of with grief is the impact at different times:

  • immediately on the loss
  • prior to the loss for a long term or intense illness
  • on the anniversary of the death
  • on other special days such as birthdays
  • on days or events that were shared (such as a sporting match that the two always watched together)

By being aware, you can identify and link anniversaries to behaviour.

As leaders and managers we need to balance compassion with performance at work. It’s not easy.
Under the Fair Work Act employees have an entitlement to personal leave which includes bereavement leave.
As an employer – do you have a specific bereavement leave section in your leave policy?
If not, why not?
Grief and it’s ongoing process is often closely linked to mental health.
It is the week of RUOK? day and as employers and leaders of people, we often see changes in the behaviour of staff that indicate we need to manage the whole human.
It’s ok to ask RUOK? and you also need to make sure that you can refer people who need help to the appropriate support networks.

Remember that there are a lot of free resources available:
– RUOK? day website
– BeyondBlue
– WorkSafe
Employer bodies also often have resources from a policy perspective

It’s Important Not To Be Casual About Casuals

Casual employees have been mentioned recently as there was a proposal/recommendation put to Fair Work to change the way casuals can convert to permanent work.
This has not been changed as yet.
Ways of hiring and managing casuals remain unchanged at this point in time.

There are some great resources and information guides from law firms such as Thomson Geer and also Russell Kennedy. Visit their websites, find the relevant alert and get the guidelines.

Did you know that casuals are entitled to long service leave under the Long Service Leave Act?
It’s not something we had mentioned either because the concept of an individual being on a casual employment basis for 7 years isn’t really what Broadspring considers best practice.

What to do?
1. At least annually review the need for casuals within the business and check the records about their length of employment

2. Every 2 years, when there is an ongoing need for that casual, send a letter inviting the individual to convert to permanent part time. Note that the rate of pay will drop a the casual loading ceases once they convert to permanent part time. Make sure that you receive signed and written confirmation of acceptance of the offer or that the individual wishes to remain a casual

3. Review the needs of the business at least annually and ensure that you are making the best use of the workforce and aligning it to the needs of the business

Social media and business – is a helper or a pain?

This week has, once again, seen business news stories on the negative impact of social media.

One was a coffee shop owner who used a picture that didn’t quite send the message that he was hoping to. He got into messaging and changed the image.

Another business owner used an image that spurred a torrent of feedback saying that the issue was sexist and inappropriate. So much so that the initial message was lost in the firestorm that followed.

Another story is of whether employers can discipline employees for out of hours conduct – such as facebook and other social media posts.

With the popularity of BYOD and tele working, it makes logical sense that there will be questions and issues on this matter.
From a HR perspective, can an employer discipline an employee over out of hours social media use?
– Yes if there is a negative impact on the employer and the employee/employer relationship
– Yes if there is clear social media policy in place

What about the established social media and an “error of judgement”?
This is where social media as business activity becomes PR and communications management. The key tips are:
– avoid getting into an online argument, remain respectful
– think carefully before deleting the posts as this is often commented on with great vigour as evidence that the business has something to hide
– use social media in ways that connect the business to the target market

Social media bullying is a hot issue for businesses from a HR perspective and this is another reason to have clear social media and prevention of bullying and grievance handling policies in place.