The three most common things we hear from clients (that make us cringe)
1) Nah, we don’t need policies – we all know what the deal is here
2) Nah, I’ll just let them go, they’ll understand / they’re not the type to go to Fair Work about it
3) What’s the worst thing that can happen?
The Full Circle HR Team often opens our conversations with this – If you’re looking for ‘HR Fluff and Stuff’ you won’t find that here. Our core objective is to develop, protect and strengthen your business, and we aren’t shy about it.
The reality is that not all businesses have on site, dedicated HR. Just as many businesses don’t have an accountant or lawyer in their employee mix. Often, small businesses engage these skills and services only on an as needed basis, and that’s a reality. And for HR, it’s often when you are in the process of terminating employment, engaging in disciplinary action or actioning redundancies. Which is understandable and absolutely part of what we do.
But we want you to consider how we can best protect your business from risk, liability and adverse action taken against it in the first place.
You’ll hear us talk a lot about our pit crew and the importance of regularly engaging experts. Our reasoning is that if you regularly incorporate this expertise into your business, the less nasty surprises or missed opportunities for you down the track.
This has never been more obvious than in small businesses dealing with the COVID-19 impacts to their normal operations. Businesses without HR in house or policies, and not regularly engaging with HR have found the process of scale/shut downs, redundancies, alternating to work from home, and changing work conditions, all quite scary. The stress has been an unavoidable consequence of this health crisis we find ourselves in and its impact to employment and businesses everywhere.
What we know now is that for those with existing policies and processes, these processes, however difficult, have been actionable in real time, transparent to all impacted and actioned in a compliant and best practice manner. With significant stress avoided, costs mitigated and jobs spared.
The truth is, everyone needs policies at some point in their business. They provide a clarity around expectations and responsibilities, processes to enable good working practices and relationships, and the sharing of employee entitlements provided under the law. But in addition, they inform ourselves as employers, and our employees equally on how we will manage situations impacting employment – avoiding any fear or uncertainty while businesses navigate their way through COVID-19. Good policy ensures employers and employees are accountable and protected in equal measure, avoiding unnecessary risks, costs, claims and stress through non compliant actions, terminations, and conduct – often in the ‘000’s of dollars in damages if not done correctly.
The same goes with Accountancy during this time. The difference between an accountant and a great accountant, is their willingness to identify opportunities for improvement and efficiency as well as the regular compliance of your financial management. Our CPA Justin Robson plays an important role in our business. From our BAS oversight to end of financial year reporting, his role might be considered a bit mundane month to month. But it’s the opportunities he identified for our business, and our clients around Job Keeper, the small business cash flow boost, small business grants and so on, that have made all the difference. This would have been so much more difficult had he not had a regular and active insight into our business.
The reality is this – You do need policies (there’s some great free resources detailed in our recent blog) in order to create clarity, a baseline of expected behaviours and performance and to pre-empt the normal employment related matters that come with running a business.
And No, you can’t just ‘let someone go’ and hope for the best. Australia has one of the best workplace relations systems in the world, in which employees have clear and protected rights under the law. One of those rights is to seek representation in the event of ill treatment or non compliant process in the course of employment, that includes claims of unfair dismissal, discrimination and so much more through Fair Work Australia.
What’s the worst that can happen? Well we’d hate to scare you off – but businesses and owners should be aware of the costs, liabilities they may incur for getting these things wrong – and it’s worth asking, is that peace of mind not worth having a policy and process in the first place?
Not sure what your obligations, rights or responsibilities are in your business? Make a free half hour appointment with our team to discuss this further.