Here’s your HR starter kit.
This is a must-read article for anyone considering expanding their team.
By setting up these core HR processes from the start, you’ll save money and time, reduce industrial risk, and be better positioned to create your ideal organisational culture.
Hi, I’m Ella, and I’m the Founding Director of Employii, an HR consultancy balancing people with processes.
I work with many small businesses and love hearing their stories; how they started, why they started, and how they’ve grown.
From my experience, HR is often one that gets pushed back or only considered once the team has already grown.
If this sounds like you, no problems – we can help.
However, if you’re right at the beginning of your journey as an Employer, here’s 4 actions for you to take right now to save you time, money, and stress in the long run.
Know your system and basic Employer obligations within that system
Did you know not everyone is under Fair Work? It’s essential you know which system (State or Federal/Fair Work) you operate in.
Your system will dictate the rules you play by, including minimum wages and entitlements.
There are lots of obligations (being a boss isn’t easy), but here are three key ones:
- In Fair Work? You must provide your employees with a Fair Work Information sheet upon commencement. Casual staff? There’s a casual information sheet you’re legally obligated to provide. Check out Fair Work’s website for copies of these sheets.
- Regardless of your system, everyone is obligated to have Workers Compensation insurance – make sure this is in place before your employee commences their first day.
- Know the difference between independent contractors and employees.
2. Contract Templates – get them done right, then duplicate and amend
All employees, including casuals, should have a written contract. This contract should be assessed against the relevant Awards, Agreements, or legislation that applies to your team members. Which Awards, Agreements and legislation applies depends on your business structure, industry type and the specific job role.
What does this mean for you?
It means you may only have one business, but you might have more than one Award in play. You need to understand what these are and how they impact your team’s pay, work hours, and other entitlements.
By getting a professional (like Employii) to draft the first contract, you can duplicate this for employees with the same job role and only seek ad hoc advice as you grow. This is cheaper than auditing all employee contracts for a team of 30, 40, 50+ people.
In addition, contracts can only be changed by mutual agreement. So, if anything does need tweaking, you’ll only lawfully be able to make those changes if your employees agree. It’s important you get it right in the beginning.
How much does a contract cost?
At Employii – only a couple of hundred dollars. Lawyers (you’ll be looking at 1-2k+ per contract) only need to be engaged for more complicated employment arrangements (e.g., Executive roles, shareholder agreements).
It’s worth investing a few hundred upfront and getting it done right. The costs of discovering an underpayment include the owed wages, Fair Work fines, Accountant costs, and potentially legal fees.
3. Your Purpose and Values – why do you do what you do?
I encourage you to think about why you do what you do and how you can articulate this to your current and future team in a way that makes sense and is meaningful to them.
Having a shared understanding of this helps you attract and retain the right team members, but it also helps guide performance conversations and motivates you through the tough times.
Your purpose and values should guide everything you do, including your policies and procedures.
Consistency and authenticity are key.
4. Policies and procedures – the key documents you need to set expectations and protect your business
I’m definitely against ‘death by policy’, but there are some key policies and procedures that every small business should have.
Why? They set expectations, allow fair processes, and (if done right) mitigate your risk should someone bring a claim against you in Fair Work.
Everything’s good while it’s good, but when it’s wrong, you’re going to wish you had these policies in place. So what are they?
- Code of Conduct: what behaviours are and are not OK? Your code of conduct should be aligned with your purpose and values. You could also include things like smoking, alcohol, drugs, bullying, discrimination, and harassment in the early stages. As your business grows, these topics may become their own policy.
- Grievance procedure: your team need to know how to raise complaints and the process they can expect to be followed when they do.
- Performance Management/Disciplinary procedure: to ensure best practice is followed consistently for all workplace investigations or matters of underperformance.
- Police clearance: legally, you cannot discriminate against an employee for anything on their police clearance unless it prevents them from performing the inherent requirements of the role. Therefore, a clear process and documentation trail are essential. This is where a simple policy comes in.
Depending on your industry, there may be others critical to your business.
These could include mandatory reporting, vehicles, social media, intellectual property, and privacy and confidentiality, depending on your contracts.
Contact Employii: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.employii.com.au / 0401 510 559