There are telltale signs when you’ve got work to do in your HR practices. You will start to hear yourself saying things like:
- ‘Oh, why doesn’t that person just do their job?’
- ‘I was totally blindsided by that person leaving’
- ‘I’m stuck in back-to-back meetings’
- ‘I can’t get this project off the ground’
- ‘I’m stuck in a spiral of hiring and training’
- ‘I have to do this myself, or it doesn’t get done.’
People often come to us at Amplify HR when something like that is happening. They’re not getting projects up and running, they’re losing big customers, or great people are leaving the business. At other times people come to us because they want to grow or scale their business. Growing a business is heavily dependent on people because it’s not the company entity that does the work, it’s the people within your business. You need to focus just as much on your people and culture as you focus on cash flow, finance, technology and sales.
‘You need to focus just as much on your people and culture as you focus on cash flow, finance, technology and sales’
One of our clients is a technology business with about 30 employees that’s been in business for a few decades. Within a month of working with Amplify HR, the owner said, ‘we should have done this years ago.’ She told me, ‘Before, we had to do everything through trial and error; we had to make it up as we went along. We made some really big mistakes.’
It’s because ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’!
Instead of trial and error, put in professional HR processes to help you move your business forward. This will give you three things.
You’ll know where to focus. Rather than just responding to employee requests or news articles about the next best thing, you’ll know what will work for your business and what you’re focusing on regarding people and culture.
You’ll also be more compliant. As I discussed in my previous post, big changes are coming in 2023 and staying on top of those changes is part of running a business.
When you have consistent people and culture processes within your business, trust develops, leading to engagement and satisfaction. You’ll be able to keep people for longer, and they’ll be more productive. If you keep fighting fires, you won’t be able to work on the reasons for the pain because you’re only looking at the symptoms.
You must start with compliance. Think of your business like a house; if the foundations aren’t right, you will not be able to build the house. It’s the same with your workplace. If you’re not compliant, you can’t build a business. For example, if you’re not paying people correctly or you don’t have your legal obligations covered, you will not be able to build a great culture. With compliance in place, you can add the walls, doors, windows and roof to house your workplace culture. However, I often see errors when it comes to compliance.
In Australia, almost all employees are covered by the Fair Work Act. Almost all employees are also covered by one of the 122 modern awards (“Awards”). I often come across business who owners believe that if they give an employee a contract of employment, they don’t have to worry about the Award. This is simply not true. You cannot contract away Award provisions.
‘You cannot contract away Award provisions.’
You must ensure that even if you have a contract of employment, you understand the Award provisions. This can come up with things like annual shutdowns, where a company shuts down for a couple of weeks and you need to give a certain notice period. This is not usually in a contract of employment, but it is often covered within Awards.
Another error I see is not having the required policies in place. This includes WHS policies but also policies required to keep compliant with the Fair Work Act. These don’t need to be complex, 12-page-long pieces of red tape, but they do need to set out the expectations within the business. Because as soon as your business has an issue that goes to a regulatory body, the first thing you’ll be asked is, ‘where’s your policy?’ How did people know what was required?
For more, see my podcast episode 4 on reducing complexities with policies that matter.