Employee Relations
Setting New Employees Up for Long Term Success

Setting New Employees Up for Long Term Success

Setting New Employees Up for Long Term Success

Make your employees feel valuable, empower them to feel included in outcomes, and make them feel welcome that’s a sure-fire way of setting them up for long-term success. It’s as simple as that. On their first day have someone ready to induct them into the business. Make sure their computer is set up if they need a computer, make sure there are all the tools they need to do their job. The number of times I’ve heard people have turned up, “Ah, we weren’t ready for you. Oh, you need to sit over there. Oh, here’s a handbook, here read it.”

Make sure you’ve got their workstation all set up and ready to go. Give new employees all the tools and equipment they need to succeed from day one

Remember to give them a tour of the premises. Show them where the tea and coffee area are located. Show them where the toilets, familiarize them with the fire exits and health and safety notices. Introduce them to other staff members. If you can, I suggest doing a stationery box up. Pens, pencils, rubbers, staplers, everyone fights over staplers, getting that all set up. Having that all there and even if during the interview they said, “Oh, I like Turkish delight chocolates, ” have some at their workstation.

“Oh, they listen. I’m not a number on the payroll record; I’m just not your employee. I’m important.” So, it’s the first 90 days that someone decides whether they’re going to stay or leave a business.

The first day is crucial; it’s setting everything up. Sitting down with the line manager and discussing what is required of the employee. Giving the employee an orientation and training schedule. The person knows what their job will be, how they’re going to do it, and what tools are available for them, and what support is available for them as well. So, they go home feeling excited.

There are health and safety obligations, as well.
  • Identify the emergency exits
  • Walk through the evacuation procedure
  • A copy of the employee handbook.
  • Essential facility locations, i.e., restrooms
  • Signed off.

You need to get the induction sign-off on because if they come back and say, “I didn’t know.” “Well, on this day at this time we went through this with you,” and not every new employee is going to work out. That is just the way it is. No matter how good your induction is, no matter how good your business is, there is always going to be that bad apple in the basket.

The more documentation you have, the more that’s written down, the more that are signed off, the greater your protection. And I do hope you don’t have to go through it, but should you hear someone come back and try to bite you with a fair work case, for example, then you know that you’ve got all the documentation ready to state your case.

If you’re a business owner and you’ve got at least 15 staff, an employee can go for unfair dismissal if they’re out of jurisdiction until about at 12 months anyway. And if you’ve got more than 15 staff, at six months that they’d be out of jurisdiction for unfair dismissal.

But you could have unlawful or adverse actions, so you need to cover those off. Checking in at the end of the first week:

  • Hey, how are you going?
  • Have you any questions?
  • Is there anything that you need?
  • Is there any support?

Adding, it’s been great having you here, really looking forward to that next week. Your people aren’t just a payroll number; they’re not just another employee either. Make them feel important because everybody wants to feel important. Everyone wants to feel valued, and everyone wants to feel welcomed and appreciated for the skills that they bring to the table.

Make sure you’ve given them your policies, practices, and procedures before their first day of work, including any fieldwork statements if necessary. Now, that’s important. There are quite hefty fines if you don’t, which not many people realize. So do make sure you get them the fieldwork statement on or before because it is in the national quality standards. Fieldwork statements should be included in your induction package, and it’s a good idea to have your employees sign off.

And you’ve got a brochure about your company, including that something the more prominent companies have. A brochure illustrating about us, this is what we do, company mission statement so they can get up to speed quickly. Make sure you’ve got everything ready to go when you’re taking on a new employee.

And the most significant thing, I see this all the way along, this is how I operate, treat others the way you want to be treated.

You’re instilling the company culture in the new employee. Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you treat people well, you’ll get the same treatment back in return in most instances.

You can grab lots more information in our Probationary Employment Manual

Probationary Employment eBook cover - Setting New Employees Up for Long Term Success

We also have “Building your Dream Workplace” – check it out by clicking below

Building your Dream Workplace 8 top tips - Setting New Employees Up for Long Term Success

 

Workplace disciplinary procedure – updated blog

Workplace disciplinary procedure – updated blog

What Is the Definition of a Disciplinary Action?

Disciplinary action is a reprimand or corrective action in response to employee misconduct, rule violation, or poor performance. Depending on the severity of the case, a disciplinary action can take different forms, including:

  • A verbal warning
  • A written warning
  • A poor performance review or evaluation
  • A performance improvement plan
  •  A reduction in rank or pay
  • Termination

Employers are sometimes confronted with having to discipline employees ‚ possibly leading to dismissal ‚ over a range of matters. What is regarded as reasonable criteria for a workplace disciplinary procedure? This question was sent to Workplace Info’s editorial team in 2013.

QUESTION: We are currently reviewing our company policies and procedures. Our counselling/disciplinary procedure currently refers to an employee receiving a verbal warning initially, then three written warnings, then possible dismissal. While the Fair Work Act 2009 identifies factors that Fair Work Australia (FWA) takes into account when determining the harshness, etc, of a dismissal, it makes no mention of an appropriate disciplinary procedure.

Because our company employs more than 100 employees, we are not subject to the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code. Is there a counselling/disciplinary process that could be regarded as ‚ ‘fair’ when defending an unfair dismissal application before FWA?

ANSWER: The Fair Work Act (s387) provides the criteria for considering harshness, etc, which FWA must take into account when determining an unfair dismissal application. These criteria are:

  • whether there was a valid reason for the termination related to the employee’s capacity or conduct
  • whether the employee was notified of that reason
  • any unreasonable refusal by the employer to allow the employee to have a support person present to assist at any discussions relating to dismissal
  • if the termination related to unsatisfactory performance by the employee, whether the employee had been warned about that unsatisfactory behaviour before termination (disciplinary procedure)
  • the degree to which the size of the employer’s business would be likely to impact on the procedures followed in effecting the termination
  • the degree to which the absence of dedicated HR personnel would be likely to impact on the procedures followed in effecting the termination
  • any other matters that FWA considers relevant. Reasonable . . .

The company’s current disciplinary procedure would appear adequate on the issue of ‚ ≤procedural fairness’, although an employee must be given a reasonable chance to rectifying the problem before a subsequent warning is issued, which may involve counselling the employee or providing additional training.

Warnings While a warning plays a critical role in the context of the fairness, or otherwise, of an employee’s dismissal, other important matters may need to be applied in addition to an appropriate warning procedure. The disciplinary procedure is not unbreakable in that certain types of misconduct could alter the procedure by issuing (say) a final written warning to the employee. However, in the normal course of events, failure to warn an employee that their conduct or behaviour may lead to dismissal would be considered a major omission by FWA.

There are certain instances that should always result in disciplinary action because of the egregious nature of the misconduct. These include:

  • Threats or acts of violence, especially if against employees or customers
  • Sexual harassment or assault, especially in the workplace
  • Fraud, including unauthorized use and misappropriation of funds
  • Theft
  • Discrimination

It is always recommended that an investigation is carried out prior to any action being taken. A workplace investigation is a process of fact-finding. An investigation should commence as soon as possible after you become aware of a serious conflict or allegation of misconduct in your workplace. Why? because ultimately, engaging in timely and effective workplace investigations will save your business time and money. Workplace investigations may be subject to challenge. It is therefore important that you establish a process for investigating conflicts and allegations that is rigorous and procedurally fair.

Need more help with either a workplace investigation or alternatively a disciplianry process? Fresh HR Insights can assist you with your specific people management issues and problems. Contact us today to book yourself in on 0452471960 or paulette@freshhrinsights.com.au

Termination – No opportunity to respond – unfair dismissal (from 2012)

Termination – No opportunity to respond – unfair dismissal (from 2012)

Recently we have written an article – Termination and Making it less stressful for Everyone. We gave some tips and advice on how to handle terminations which let’s face it no one ever said that they actually like doing them. We often hear from employers “its impossible to terminate employees” which we get when you see time and time again case law (like the below) pops up in the media. This does not show the true extent of unfair dismissal claims however as many are settled at conciliation and never make it to public knowledge. 

If a termination procedure is not managed appropriately and carefully, employers can be subject to numerous post-termination claims, including unfair dismissal, adverse action, discrimination and harassment, workers’ compensation and breach of contract – among others. Even if the termination is by mutual agreement or the employee resigns, the employer should ensure they have proper termination procedures in place so as to best protect the employer’s goodwill and property. 

Below are some key areas to watch out for when you are looking to terminate an employee – you can also get some guidance from our Termination Checklist which you can find as a FREE resource HERE 

      1. Ensure that you have workplace policies and procedures in place including code of conduct, performance management, disciplinary, and termination;
      2. Ensure that the expectations are clear to all employees and where someone is not meeting those expectations have a meeting to set them out – ensure you document this process and follow up in writing with the employee the expectations, support to be provided, and timelines to improve;
      3. If the employee is not improving despite support and guidelines being clear you can start the formal process;
      4. When you invite to a meeting make it clear that it is a formal process and ensure that a support person is allowed. You would also give a reasonable time frame of notice for the meeting;
      5. In your communications make sure you include consequences of the conduct or performance is not improved – such as further disciplinary action leading up to and including termination of employment
      6. If a serious conduct issue comes to light, ensure the employee is given a reasonable opportunity to respond prior to any final decision being made;
      7. Ensure overall that the employee is generally given ‘a fair go all round’.

If you need support then you can book a discovery call in with our team by using the button below

schedule an appt - Termination - No opportunity to respond - unfair dismissal (from 2012)

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No opportunity to respond ‚ unfair dismissal

The dismissal of an employee for poor work performance has been deemed to be unfair. The poor performance had only been one of the reasons for the dismissal ‚ the other being unacceptable behaviour towards colleagues and superiors ‚ and the employee had not been given an opportunity to respond to either of the reasons.

[Full text of this case: B v SPI PowerNet Pty Ltd [2012] FWA 5962 (25 July 2012)]

Unacceptable behaviour due to domestic stress

A procurement coordinator employed by an electricity provider was short-tempered at work and received a written warning on 25 March 2010 because of his behaviour. He was under serious stress because his former wife would not give him access to his young son (who had just started walking) and because he had been involved in a car accident and the person liable for damage to his car was refusing to pay.

In October 2010, the employee also had run-ins with some of his superiors because he thought they were breaching the company’s purchasing policy and exposed it to monetary losses. He then received a final warning in January 2011. In June 2011, he requested to work part-time until early 2012 so that he could care for his son two days a week, but the employer did not respond to his request.

The employee went on leave and returned on 12 September 2011. He was put under pressure because the employer had introduced new software and gave him only half an hour’s training on the new system. Another employee felt frustrated by the new system too, even though she had been given two hours of training.

On 7 October 2011, the employee was told there were concerns about his performance and behaviour and he was given a performance improvement plan. Over three weeks, weekly meetings were held to assess his performance against the plan. At the third meeting, on 28 October 2011, his behaviour and conduct were raised but issues relating to work performance were not. He was dismissed after the meeting, and the reason given was that his work performance had not improved sufficiently.

The employee applied to Fair Work Australia for an unfair dismissal remedy according to s394 of the Fair Work Act 2009, claiming the termination of his employment had been harsh, unjust or unreasonable. A conciliation conference on 29 December 2011 was not successful.

Evidence before Fair Work Australia

Before Fair Work Australia (Commissioner Cribb), the employer claimed a number of formal and informal conversations had been held with the employee about his conduct. He had frequently absented himself from work without permission and had raised his voice in uncontrolled and aggressive outbursts towards his colleagues and manager at work. He had not completed the majority of the tasks set for him, and the quality of his completed work had been poor.

The employee claimed his employer had set him up to fail after he returned from leave. It had changed his job, provided inadequate training in the new system, and made it difficult for him to convert to part-time in order to care for his child. He also alleged that the performance management process had been a sham ‚ a process set up in order to manage him out of his job. The performance plan had been unachievable because it had required him to complete not only his regular weekly work but also a backlog of eight months of work that had not been done while he had been on leave.

Poor work performance

During the three-week performance improvement review period, the employee had worked three days a week and had been on sick leave for two and a half days; so, instead of assessing his performance over three weeks, it had been assessed on only 6.5 days of work.

The tribunal accepted that at the final meeting on 28 October 2011 the employee had not been told where he had not met the performance plan and had not been given an opportunity to speak about the tasks he had completed. Although the behavioural concerns had not been mentioned in the dismissal letter, it was clear that they had also been part of the reason for the dismissal.

The tribunal found that the employer had not established that there had been a valid reason for the employee’s dismissal based on his work performance.

Unacceptable behaviour

The employee’s behaviour at work, with uncontrolled and aggressive outbursts, had undoubtedly been unacceptable. In his witness statement, he said that he had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety already some 21 years previously and that it had been successfully controlled then. His employer, however, had not been aware of his history of depression, but at the same time, it had not enquired either whether his inappropriate behaviour could be related to a medical condition.

The tribunal found that on the basis of his unacceptable behaviour there had been a valid reason for the employee’s dismissal.

Conclusions – compensation awarded

As the employee had not been notified of one of the two reasons for his dismissal, he had not been given the opportunity to respond to that reason. Even in relation to the work performance reason, his performance during the final week had not been discussed at the meeting on 28 October 2009, so it could be argued that he had not been given the opportunity to respond to that either. The tribunal concluded that the dismissal had been harsh, unjust, or unreasonable.

The tribunal was satisfied that reinstatement was inappropriate as a remedy. In calculating compensation, it took into account the employee’s 22 years of service and his salary at the time of the dismissal. It determined that he was entitled to $19,939.28 in compensation. Up until 3 February 2012, he had not been able to undertake alternative work, and after that, he had been able to work two days a week. Hence, a discount of 15% was deemed to be appropriate, leaving the compensation as $16,948.38. However, the figure could not be finalised until the tribunal had information of any other possible payments the employee had received since 3 February 2012.

B v SPI PowerNet Pty Ltd [2012] FWA 5962 (25 July 2012)

Source: http://www.workplaceinfo.com.au (06/09/2012)

A Look At Casual Employee Engagement, Termination And Definitions

A Look At Casual Employee Engagement, Termination And Definitions

Casual employees are quick workforce solutions for the unseasonal, unexpected or inconsistent workload. Casual is a misleading word because it does not place the ‘casual employees’ casual treatment in a good light.

Some casual employment relationships become ‘regular’ or ‘systematic’. Take note that this may allow entitlements not available to casual employees. Here are some case study overviews.

Casual Versus Regular

A truck driver, employed on a casual basis, could be recategorised as a regular even with varying hours week on week and a three week period away from the employer.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) found that the work commenced at the same time, involved similar functions and occurred for similar reasons as thus was regular and systematic.

A telemarketer was also reclassified as a regular and systematic casual employee. Their weekly hours varied from 20 – 70 hours per week and had different start/end times. The FWC ruled the employee had worked consistently.

Breaks. Including seasonality, between periods of casual employment do not disrupt the regular and systematic nature of the casual employment.

Another case study example is a dump-truck driver employed to work a rotating roster, preset for twelve months, twelve-hour days, every 2nd week and with a flat rate payment. At the time of their ‘casual employee termination”, they disputed their casual employee status, declaring permanent employee status with benefits due.

The Court confirmed that true casual employment is irregular, unpredictable and intermittent.  There is a lack of pattern in the work and no forward commitment.

The employee was recategorised as a permanent employee with accrued benefits due upon termination of the employment.

What Employers Need To Know

It is prudent to examine casual employment arrangements currently in place. Employment must be on an ad hoc basis. Ensure you are aware of any minimum engagement periods for casual employees and any obligations to notify casual employees of conversion-to-full-time rights.

As a casual employee, there is no guarantee of ongoing or regular work and there are no minimum or maximum hours that are guaranteed. Hours worked will be as directed by the employer and may include weekend work. There is no obligation on you to accept the hours as offered. As a casual employee, you are not entitled to paid annual leave or paid personal/carer’s leave. Your unpaid leave entitlements are set out in the National Employment Standards.

Any termination or dismissal has to be valid as ruled by FWC. A written termination letter or explanation must be issued and a Statement of Service. An Individual Flexibility Agreement (IFA) with an employee requires a 4 weeks’ notice of termination by either party.

Under most modern awards, a “regular casual employee” can request to convert their employment if they have worked:

  • for a period of 6 or 12 months or more; and
  • a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis, which the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee (as applicable), without significant adjustment.

Recent decisions impacting on Casual employment

In WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 the Full Federal Court determined that Mr Rossato had entitlements under the National Employment Standards (NES) in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) and the relevant Enterprise Agreement; These were – being paid annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave, paid compassionate leave, and payment for public holidays.  This came about when the court made the finding that Mr Rossato was not a casual but a permanent employee.

The essential question asked was – “ if an employee agrees to a contract that labels them a casual but their work is systematic (rostered well in advance for example) and regular (set hours and days) and longer-term (happening for years) are they still a casual?”

In the WorkPac decision, the Federal Court says NO

Conclusion

If a casual employee has become a regular and systematic casual employee, the employee will have to serve a minimum qualifying period before being entitled to file an unfair dismissal claim.

It is, however, advisable to seek H.R. professional advice before proceeding with any terminations.

Contact our experienced, efficient professionals for the management of your casual employees’ engagement and termination.  We can work in-house or remotely within your budget.

Reasons for having written policies

Reasons for having written policies

Reasons for having written policies

Number of reasons

There are a number of good reasons for having written workplace policies in place. Not the least of these is the fact that workplace policies are useful documents to rely on when a legal dispute arises between an employer and an employee. In many cases, where the employer can point to a policy to show that the employee ought to have known what his or her responsibilities were in relation to the disputed matter, the employer is likely to be in a much stronger position before a court or tribunal. Well-written company policies aim to help businesses in many ways.  Policies demonstrate that the organisation is being operated in an efficient and businesslike manner, raise stability and ensure consistency in the decision-making and operational procedures.

Other reasons for putting policies in place are explained below.

Legislative requirements

Some employment related laws include a requirement that a policy be in place and that the policy fulfils certain specifications. For example, workplace health and safety laws require employers to put in place a rehabilitation policy outlining the responsibilities of the employer. Where no policy is in place this will constitute an offence under the legislation. In other areas of the law, such as equal opportunity, there is no specific requirement in the legislation that policies be put in place. However, where an employer can point to a policy, that will go some way towards substantiating the employer’s compliance with the law should the matter arise before a court or tribunal. To this end, many organisations have policies on EEO, workplace harassment and grievance handling procedures.

Policies that are required by the law, either directly or indirectly, serve the function of stating in the least what the minimum legal rights and responsibilities of both the employer and the employees are. This gives employees a clear indication of what is expected of them and what they can expect from their employer. Some employers choose to have policies that set a standard higher than that required under the law.

Codes of conduct

Many companies introduce policies relating to matters that are not regulated by law but are based on standards set by the employer in an effort to ensure a high standard of behaviour in the workplace. Such policies usually deal with employees’ behaviour at work, including the way employees relate to each other, as well as their responsibilities towards the employer and to company property. Setting policies in these areas again indicates to employees the standard of behaviour that is expected of them at work and what the consequences of a breach will be.

Policies can deal with such matters as: fighting, language, dress standards, alcohol, drugs, smoking, confidentiality, other employment, maintaining the workplace, borrowing of company property, theft, and statements to media.

Examples we have in our code of conduct are;

  • Be honest and fair in dealings with customers, clients, suppliers, co-workers, management and the general public.
  • Display the appropriate image of professionalism at your workplace. Wear the required uniform, safety equipment or work clothes, and if a workplace participant wears their own clothes, ensure their appearance is neat and tidy.
  • Treat customers, clients, suppliers, co-workers, company management and the general public in a non-discriminatory manner with proper regard for their rights and dignity. In this regard, discrimination, victimisation or harassment based on a person’s race, colour, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, union membership or non-membership, mental or physical disability, or any other classification protected by law will not be tolerated.
  • Promptly report any violations of law, ethical principles, policies and this Code.
  • Maintain punctuality. If a workplace participant is late or cannot report for work, please telephone and let the supervisor know as soon as possible.
  • Do not use work time for private gain. If a workplace participant is required to leave the work premises for personal reasons, they should advise their Manager well in advance.
  • Maintain and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to carry out duties and responsibilities.

 

Conditions of employment

There is a whole range of conditions of employment that may not be prescribed by law but which are agreed to by the employer and the employee at the commencement of the employment contract. Some companies issue policies on such matters so that employees are clear on what their rights and responsibilities are. Conditions of employment that may fall within this category include: attendance, absenteeism, punctuality, transfer, training, promotion, probation, performance review, discipline, abandonment of employment, exit interviews, notice, and termination.

Employee entitlements

It is useful to develop policies on employee entitlements that are prescribed by award or legislation so that employees and human resources staff are easily able to ascertain what the entitlements are. Policies included within this category will include annual leave, long service leave, bereavement leave, parental leave, carer’s leave, jury leave, special leave, overtime, shift work etc. This also now includes Family and Domestic violence leave.

Employee benefits

Some companies provide a whole range of benefits that employees enjoy as part of their job. These are often not prescribed by legislation or award but are provided by the employer for the benefit of employees – sometimes as incentives aimed at increasing productivity. Other benefits are provided with the idea of increasing employee morale. These can relate to such things as employee health, or assisting employees to balance work and family responsibilities. It is important to clarify how such benefits are awarded to employees in a company policy in order to ensure that all employees know of their availability, they are distributed fairly, and that any conditions applying are understood.

Employee benefits that fall into this category and which should be included in policies include company cars, mobile phones, employee assistance programs, salary packaging, career breaks, and study assistance.

Running a company without a rulebook is like going on a voyage without a sail.  Don’t gamble with your policies, don’t gamble with your goals. Contact us today to find out some more

You can also grab our checklist –

  • Why do you need to have Policies and Procedures
  • Communicating Policies
  • What are the benefits to my business
  • What is included in an employee handbook policy
  • What are the essentials (Must-Have) Policies that a company needs
  • How to Implement workplace policies effectively

Click HERE

 

 

5 Team Motivation Ideas – Inspire and Build Confidence in Your Teams

5 Team Motivation Ideas – Inspire and Build Confidence in Your Teams

Work can be boring sometimes. As a leader, why not make the mundane, routine work activities more fun? Using these 5 easy-to-implement team motivation ideas, you can make your team feel more inspired, contribute heartily and have fun while working!

How to Motivate Your Team At Workplace?

The workplace is not just a place where people work.

It comprises many diverse human beings with a unique set of skills, identities, and experiences. When you put them together in a team, you need to make an effort to bring out the best in them. Being a leader, you can motivate them to collaborate to generate newer work styles,  think more creatively, and innovate better than what a single individual ever could. An effective manager can bring out the best in them and help deliver successful team and organizational outcomes.

Wondering how to make it possible? Let me show you how to boost confidence and inspire your teams using these simple 5 team motivation ideas.

1.      Quit being diplomatic

Diplomacy is an art. But having it is not essential. Let your team members speak in a simple and straightforward manner and encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings. If they overthink about what others think or feel, their real views and ideas may not emerge. Create an open culture where they can say their true thoughts without being defensive about it, and you’ll soon see fresher and more innovative ideas emerge!

2.       Prioritize your people

Prioritizing your people is not just a tagline. Make it a reality by sticking with them through thick and thin. As a business owner, your employees are your first ever customers. They brought in to your vision, which is why they are with you today. Pay it back by defending and motivating each individual, and taking care of them like a close family. Have an employees first policy. (instead of customer first!)

3.      Let them be free

Giving responsibility when you assign a job task gives them the freedom to do their roles. Quit micro-managing and let them grow on their own. Once they get the autonomy along with their job roles, they’ll feel more resourceful, creative, and inspired!

4.      Allow them to make mistakes

Yes, you read that right! As a manager, let your team members fail in a safe environment. If they fear that they’ll fail at something, you’ll notice their creativity, innovativeness dying down. When this fear of failure goes away, creative ideas begin to emerge, and productivity inches up.

5.      Make it fun

Your team is full of humans, not robots. No one can even be mildly creative if they work in a monotonous or boring way. Add in a fun element so that your team wants to come to work. Ask them their definitions of fun and make it happen! Whether it is having a fun day out once a month or a game day at work, try to create a work culture that’s fun and inviting! Who wouldn’t want to go to work if they have such exciting events to look forward to each week or month!

Set up your team for success

Spend some time with your teams and ask them their idea of fun and then do it. Just by spending a couple of hours in planning and execution, you’ll quickly see how your team has fun, works together, and stays inspired together.

A strong team will then look after each other, lean on one another, and synergize their ideas into one harmonious group that’ll take your team to newer heights and be inspired every day.

 

7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas to Build Love in Your Teams!

7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas to Build Love in Your Teams!

Want to know a powerful way to reduce your employee turnover and gain a strong competitive edge over your competitors in 2021?

As an entrepreneur, you know that appreciating a job well done is desirable. But did you know that more than 50% of employees leave an organization if they are not tangibly recognized for their efforts on the job? Multiple studies confirm that employees would go above and beyond in their job roles if they feel meaningfully recognized for their contributions.

In this blog, we have 7 creative employee recognition ideas you can put to work right away to build love in your teams! When you make a simple employee appreciation plan and implement it consistently, you can see stronger team bonding coupled with better organizational outcomes.

7 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas for Your Workplace

Make a recognition calendar

When you make an employee appreciation plan, add it to your yearly calendar. Mark the employee recognition activities to be done month-wise and assign them to a responsible team member. Pick a handful that look easy and are simple to implement. Adding it to your calendar ensures that you will assign time and importance to it.

Mark important employee days

Make it a point to celebrate your employees’ birthdays, even if you do it virtually (with the pandemic raging!) Give them a day off or order a special lunch for the team. Even a gift card from a global retailer would be a thoughtful employee appreciation idea that shows the person some love! Such a personal touch on their special day will also make it more memorable for them.

Get the team appreciation flowing

When cheers come from peers, it feels better and strongly boost the team bonding. Ask all co-workers to choose a good or positive action done by any employee (except themselves) and give a team shout out to that person. When you do this activity monthly, it becomes embedded in the employee and team psyche, automatically building love and recognition for employees.

Don’t fly blind

Once you start the employee appreciation plan implementation, ask your employees to take a quick 2-minute survey. Ask them what activity/action would they like for appreciation (with and without a budget). You may be surprised at what makes them tick and ensure that you align rewards with their expectations.

Have surprise treats

Everyone likes treats! Especially if they are not expecting one and it turns out a complete surprise for them! Order a pizza lunch for the team on a Friday just to treat them. Take the team out to a popular eatery if they just delivered a big client project successfully. Want to treat your remote team virtually? Ship them some company swag or a box of curated treats and snacks that they’ll freak out on!

Showcase your team

Appreciations work wonders if it’s done publicly. Showcase your team on your company website by adding their photographs and bios (if they are comfortable with that, of course). Public appreciation can work remarkably well and help them feel valued and loved in the team.

Get Ready to Build Recognition & Love in Your Teams

With these simple and actionable creative employee recognition ideas, you’ll be on your way to creating an employee appreciation plan that helps develop love and recognition in your team.

Want to add in a new employee recognition tip? We would love to know your ideas! Share your suggestions and feedback in the comments section below.

Related Tag: Performance Improvement Plans

 

 

Increase to Minimum Wage 2020

Increase to Minimum Wage 2020

At 10 am this morning (19 June 2020) the Fair Work Commission advised on the Increase to Minimum Wage 2020

The increase is set at 1.75% and will be a staggered increase due to the current economic situation

$753.80pw

$19.84PH

Modern awards will increase by 1.75%

This takes effect at differing times:

1 July 2020 – Group 1

  • Frontline Health Care and Social Assistance Workers
  • Teachers and Childcare Workers
  • Other Essential Services

1 November 2020 – Group 2

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • A range of other industries
1 February 2021 – Group 3
  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Arts and Recreation Services
  • Aviation
  • Retail Trade
  • Tourism

You can listen here  to the full speech – https://youtu.be/_4U1WrdMQOw (15mins long)

Casual Conversion Compliance in 5 easy steps

Casual Conversion Compliance in 5 easy steps

Casual Conversion Compliance in 5 easy steps

compliance in 5 steps - Casual Conversion Compliance in 5 easy steps

Under most modern awards, a “regular casual employee” can request to convert their employment if they have worked:

  • for a period of 12 months or more; and
  • a pattern of hours on an ongoing basis, which the employee could continue to perform as a full-time employee or part-time employee (as applicable), without significant adjustment.

The casual employee must put their request to convert in writing.

STEP 1 – Provide new and existing award-covered employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause

Ensure you read the award that applies to your employees carefully. Some awards contain more onerous requirements on employers to notify casual employees of their right to request casual conversion at 6 or 12 months of ‘regular and systematic’ casual employment. This means you will need to be keeping a close eye on any casual employees that are reaching these milestones. Once you have checked your award you can notify your employees regarding the casual conversion clause. You can use our Notification of Casual Conversion Clause. Also, copy the applicable section from the Award and staple to the back of the letter.

You will need to provide the clause within 12 months of their employment commencing.

Shortly after the Notification of Casual Conversion Clause, you will send a follow-up letter that sets out the nature of a casual and that of a perm employee as well as the rates of pay for both. Also included is the Casual Conversion Election Form where the employees can advise if they wish to convert.

Employees have 4-weeks to consider if they would like their employment converted to permanent employment or remain as a casual.

STEP 2: Respond to any casual conversion requests

Respond to any requests to convert to permanent in writing within 21 days to accept or reject the employee’s request for conversion. You can only reject a request convert to permanent in accordance with the terms of the relevant award. Sometimes an award will include the ‘reasonable grounds’ on which you can refuse a request.

legally responding to requests for casual conversion
Your business must comply with the obligations contained in any casual conversion clause in a modern award, this includes:

  • Providing new and existing casual employees with a copy of the casual conversion clause;
  • Responding to any request to convert within 21 days;
  • If you reject a request, complying with the requirements in the relevant award such as rejecting the request on ‘reasonable grounds’ or ‘not unreasonably refusing’ a request;
  • If you agree to convert a casual to permanent employment, complying with the provisions of any part-time employment clause in the relevant award and providing the employee with set days, hours, and patterns of work (and a new contract of employment).

How to legally refuse the request for casual conversion
It is important to note that the new clause does not mean you have to approve all requests. It is best to double-check the relevant award but generally, the scenarios where you may refuse on reasonable grounds including but not limited to:

  • The conversion would require a significant adjustment to the employee’s hours of work as a full-time or part-time employee;
  • It is known, or reasonably foreseeable that the employee’s position will cease to exist within the next 12 months or the hours of work which the employee is required to perform will be significantly reduced in the next 12 months;
  • The employee’s hours of work will significantly change or be reduced within the next 12 months.

STEP 3: Review your existing workforce

Review the use of casual employment in your business, particularly where the arrangement involves long-term, regular work patterns. We recommend that you consider doing a cost analysis between that of the cost of wages for casual employees compared to that of Perm employees.

The 25% loading is designed to compensate employees for not receiving some of the benefits of perm employees as well as for the insecurity of their employment. You may well find that the bottom-line figure is more favorable to employee permanent employees compared to casual.

STEP 4: Update your employment contracts

Update your employment contracts and ensure you at least include provisions that make clear that the position of casual;-

  • has no guaranteed hours of work;
  • will usually work irregular hours;
  • has no sick or annual leave entitlements
  • They are not obligated to always be available; and
  • can have their employment ended without notice, unless notice is required by a registered agreement, award, or employment contract.

We have casual employment contracts/ agreements available and highly recommend that if you have not done so in the last 12-24 months updated these then you do so.

STEP 5: Document and save the casual conversion process

If it isn’t written down, then it didn’t happen”.

ALWAYS protect yourself and the business by ensuring that you keep documentation about any changes to workplace relationships. Keep these documents for at least 7-years so that any retrospective claims can be defended with copies of the clear and documented process.

Recent decisions impacting on Casual employment

In WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 the Full Federal Court determined that Mr Rossato had entitlements under the National Employment Standards (NES) in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) and the relevant Enterprise Agreement; These were – being paid annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave, paid compassionate leave, and payment for public holidays.  This came about when the court made the finding that Mr Rossato was not a casual but a permanent employee.

The essential question asked was – “ if an employee agrees to a contract that labels them a casual but their work is systematic (rostered well in advance for example) and regular (set hours and days) and longer-term (happening for years) are they still a casual?”

In the WorkPac decision, the Federal Court says NO

If you have questions then please feel free to reach out to us or you can pop over and check out our article posted June 4th 2020 https://freshhrinsights.com.au/casuals-what-we-need-to-know/

 

Stand-downs, voluntary leave, redundancy and working at home

Stand-downs, voluntary leave, redundancy and working at home

Survive and Thrive With Certus Group Accountants

Stand-downs, voluntary leave, redundancy and working at home are hot topics in today’s environment. Today, David interviews Paulette McCormack from Fresh HR Insights who helps us slice through the complexity. Contact us for hr support services.

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Working From Home During Lock-down. what employers need to know

Working From Home During Lock-down. what employers need to know

Working From Home – What you need to know and the associated Policies and Checklist

When you have employees working from home you are still under an obligation as an employer to ensure that the Health and Safety is being looked after. Any injury suffered in the course of employment, including while working from home, is likely to result in a potential exposure to a workers’ compensation claim.

Many businesses that already have working-from-home arrangements in place may not find this a challenging issue. However, for some companies, it may be necessary to take additional steps to determine whether their staff are exposed to risks and, if so, how they will be controlled.

First and foremost – You should not assume that all workers have a separate area in the house where they can set up a work station and safely work without exposing themselves to risks to their health and safety.

BUT How do you assess the risk?

Ensure that you have a working from home policy and Procedures. If you do not have one you can download and adapt the one we have attached  HERE – the ergonomics policy that is associated with the working from home policy and procedure can be found HERE

You will also need to ensure that you have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that the employee has a safe working environment – you can use this checklist HERE

What is important right now is that you provide sufficient information and instruction to all your team members that are going to be working from home how they should work safely while at home. In the current circumstances with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), this instruction should take into account the impact on some team members having to look after their children, who are at home due to daycare and school closures as they may happen.

You can convey these instructions in group emails or more detailed one-on-one instruction via virtual meet-ups. Ensure that you check in with your teams regularly as psychological wellbeing will be vital in times of isolation.

 

NEED SUPPORT

To say business owners are in for the challenge of a lifetime is an understatement. Each day what we need to know changes almost by the hour. With so many questions that are yet to be answered, we all need support and guidance as well as that caring and supportive person to listen to us.

Fresh HR Insights Pty Ltd has extended it’s 30-minute FREE general consultation to 60-Minutes for all new business connections.

No strings attached just our way of being there when business owners need us.

We have opened up more available times so jump onto our booking system and book your virtual time.

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Useful things employees can do in times of downturn

Useful things employees can do in times of downturn

Useful things employees can do in times of downturn – Let acknowledge that running a business during periods of uncertainty can be incredibly testing even to those that we see as the strongest amongst us. With what constitutes “business as usual’ being turned on its head; now poses an ideal time and opportunity to re-evaluate your business, your processes and procedures. Check out our Coronavirus (COVID-19) guide for employers.

What has worked well before may not be so effective now so let’s turn this upside down and find ways to pivot quickly. Instead of looking to reduce headcount lets look to utilize the experiences and skills otherwise unused and prepare for the ‘new’ working day and ways of doing things Useful things employees can do in times of downturn – what are they?

Let’s look where we are now – Business during periods of uncertainly looks completely different from the world we knew before. With the current Coronavirus, employers need to make allowances and take a flexible approach. There will be a high level of give and take from both sides. The most important thing during this time is communication – keep talking to your teams, be honest, be authentic and share your concerns alongside theirs. Look for solutions together and look at all options.

We can’t go past all the job losses we have heard about on the media – +and let’s not look past the panic buying (thank you media – well played) but what can we do to ensure workers do not suffer financial hardship during the Covid-19 crisis?

Employers are being forced to look at other ways, unpaid leave, using annual leave, reduced hours and reduced days, the employee working from home BUT what if we embraced this as the chance we needed to refocus? What does a NEW business model look like as a business during periods of uncertainty?
Ask yourself this question: Do I know what other skills and ideas my employees have?

I would assume that in many cases you won’t. You know what skills they have to do what your business required but we are not that business now – we need to be different so what else? What other skills do your employees have? What ideas have they got to help your business survive and then flourish in the new world that we will rise into?

ASK THEM – yes, it is that simple. I know I have mentioned communication a couple of times but that is because it is so important right now. Ask you, employees, what ideas they have, what can they do differently, what ideas have they got that they have always been too scared to say? Now is the time to embrace every idea, try every pathway you have never walked before, try that new process, that new product, that new procedure – you, after all, have nothing to lose but a lot to gain.

Here are some ideas that I have been working on with my clients – happy to share with you and also if you have more then please comment or send me an email so I can share with others. paulette@freshhrinsights.com.au

Useful things employees can do in times of downturn

  • For hospitability businesses, you can start a delivery service for those that are isolated at home
  • What about opening a drive-thru/ drive-by for collection of pre-ordered meals
  • Look at the business processes, what can do with a re-jig
  • Blogs – get the team to write blogs about your business, the business products, and services and then post onto the website, Face book, twitter, LinkedIn and all other social media platforms you use.
  • Create training videos for new employees (ready for the upturn), customers, suppliers and as a guide to what you have and what you do
  • Take photos of the team doing their tasks, update product photos, etc
  • Update the website
  • Create new resources – the options are endless
  • Look for business awards and grants and get the team to apply for these
  • Check out tenders, get on the list for tender notifications and prepare the draft documents for quick submission processes
  • Do an online SEO course and then use those skills to get your site to the top of google
  • Look for other free online courses to update skills and processes – get the team doing them Marketing ideas – be creative
  • Move all your clients into a database or update a database – what about getting birthday dates for all your customers and then create a send out card account and pre-set a card to go out on a birthday.
  • Look at ways to reduce overall operating costs – this may be electricity use, utilities, stationery, resources etc – walk around and look what can be used another way or used less or even not at all
  • What about extra office space – have you any to rent out
  • Did you need to office/ workspace updated – maybe a painting party
  • Look to maintain loyalty with your valued customers – it is proven that those businesses that do this have a better outcome when coming out of times of downturn – make the calls, touch base, don’t set out to sell but set out to support
  • Update position descriptions – get the team to look at what they do and then do some job enhancement exercises
  • Create or update the induction process – have you got everything covered – if not then get the checklist prepared – do a walkthrough or role-play of the first day and then document what you found needed to be on the checklist.
  • Develop a transition plan for employees retiring or going on extended leave as well as a succession plan for key positions – start mapping out the training needed
  • Implement mentoring and coaching arrangements between experienced and new employees
  • Plan and develop skills, knowledge, and abilities through on the job training and formal skills development
  • What about a team health plan – at times like this mental wellness is also vitally important to work together to maintain or update health goals. Maybe a walking lunch or walking meetings.

These are some of the ideas that I have come up with in my brainstorming sessions for useful things employees can do in times of downturn. As mentioned before if you have any ideas or suggestions then please feel free to email them to me at paulette@freshhrinsights.com.au so I can share with others.
Keep safe everyone at this challenging time.

Further sources of information

How to Get Your Team Healthy for Spring

How to Get Your Team Healthy for Spring

As refreshing as the spring may be, keeping your employees refreshed and maintaining a vibrant workplace is not always as easy as it looks. For one, as soon as spring kicks in, the weather starts to bring out the color in most things around us and the environment tend to turn nice and welcoming. As a result, staying inside the work environment can get stuffy and your employees can feel confined, to say the least. Surfing looks more inviting and so do days on the beach.

It is normal to feel a burst of excitement when the spring kicks in, however, it is not always easy to maintain the excitement and channel the energy into more productivity. Although spring can heighten vitality and energy, it can also result in restlessness and disorientation.

Also, the change in season often results in a change in time. As a result, routine activities like eating, sleeping, and exercise might have to change. Unfortunately, most employees find it difficult to adapt to these changes and it often affects their behavior and mood. Luckily in Queensland we don’t have a change in the clocks but as close to the boarder as we are on the Gold Coast we often need to move between two time zones with our clients. 

Behavioral changes, either positively or negatively impact workplace productivity. Whichever way it would, it is best to be prepared for these changes than to be caught unawares. To keep the workplace refreshing during spring, it is important to avoid distractions that prevent work from getting accomplished.

How you can get your team healthy for spring

  1. Make Your Schedule Flexible: Nothing says “killjoy” faster during the spring than a rigid schedule. The inability to feel the warmth outside and spend time with those you care about can play down on workplace productivity. On one hand, you can decide to let in a bit of sunlight at the workplace, however, flexible scheduling has a more psychological impact on employee productivity. This makes it possible for employees to strike a balance between their work life and their life outside work.
  2. Make the schedule interesting: since it is a fact that an average employee would rather spend time outside work than stay within the walls of an office, your best chance against negative behavioral changes is to make your employee schedule interesting so much that they would be motivated to work and not lazy around. To do this, only delegate tasks that employees would be interested in carrying out.
  3. Redecorate the workplace: if employees can spend all day outside the office, let them experience it in the office as much as they can. To redecorate the office, open the blinds and window to let in sunlight, bring in live plants or flowers, and encourage a little bit of spring cleaning. The feeling of freshness goes a long way in encouraging positivity in the workplace.
  4. Make their work challenging: one of the best ways to boost employee productivity and personal development is to make their task challenging. Such challenge encourages them to break their record and stretch themselves to their limit. To effectively implement this, create opportunities for personal development and encourage them to set new goals.
  5. Create a reward system: although the idea is for employees to spend more hours in the office during spring, you can increase workplace productivity with a reward system that guarantees time off from the office. For example, a reward system like vacation or time off will naturally encourage an employee to put in more effort in the workplace. Such program, although is a way of thanking them for a job well done, is also a way of making sure that they do not miss out entirely on the spring season.

In all, maintain a healthy workplace and focused employee can be difficult during the spring, however, you can keep your workforce engaged and your workplace productivity with the tips above.

 

 

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Employee retention – The best tools and measures

Employee retention – The best tools and measures

Employee retention is about keeping hold of your best employees so that the employees have the feeling: “able to go but happy to stay“. Employee retention measures can be applied to a rational and normative level. Rational commitment is based on the costs associated with leaving the company. But, when work is done mainly for rewards and not for the sake of the action itself; the measure misses its original purpose, and the employee loses his enthusiasm at work.

Richard quote train people s - Employee retention – The best tools and measures

An ideal employee experience during the entire employee journey sounds simple, but organizations that succeed in motivating employees and allowing them to do the right things are scarce. The Gallup Engagement Index – a study on job quality shows that out of every 100 workers in a company, only 15 people have an effective commitment – a high emotional attachment and voluntarily commit themselves beyond measure to their employer. They identify with their department and with the products of their company. Retention management requires structural work to improve the employee experience based on a well-structured employee journey.

Selective employee retention: No one likes to throw money out the window

We must admit that there is always a certain level of turnover, whether voluntary and avoidable dissatisfaction of the employee. Employee turnover, when it has a moderate level, can have a positive impact: it is then synonymous with new ideas and approaches.

Some time ago, an article appeared about staff turnover, “why Amazon offers employees up to $5,000 to leave the organization”. It can also be beneficial to let people leave via natural turnover. However, high turnover is associated with the necessary costs. It also seizes the other employees who have to train new colleagues and to fill unfilled job openings.

Keep your finger on the pulse:

It is essential for the company to put in place a strategy to retain their best employees, who represent a real competitive advantage. And accordingly, the measures should target the right employees. Experts recommend answering these questions:

  1. Which employees are hard to replace within the industry?
  2. Which employees hold key strategic positions?
  3. What are the causes of the turnover within your organization?

If you are not aware of this, we recommend conducting the exit interview. The exit interview can provide useful information when it comes to the reasons and cause of your staff turnover.

Some days and projects are more challenging than others. Talk to employees regularly and ask them how they are doing;

  • Are the employment conditions not aligned with the current time and market?
  • Is the workload too high?
  • Is the atmosphere not safe?
  • Are there too few career opportunities?

Problems can also arise due to an uncompetitive, unequal or unfair payment system. And, possible actions may include revision of wage levels based on market research and involvement of workers in the development and implementation of a performance appraisal system and a payroll system based on results.

Define the long-term vision:

New employees without proper training may experience an “adaptation crisis” when they start work.

Discuss the future perspectives of employees.

Help them set and achieve goals.

Identify whether employees are interested in this. Provide regular, informative and understandable feedback. And,

Find out what the training options are.

It is necessary to develop and launch training programs and training series that allow you to speed up for new employees the process of acquiring and learning the basic skills; skills and knowledge necessary for the successful start of their work activities.

In the past, companies mainly invested in younger employees, who then remained with their entire working life in the same company. Nowadays it’s no longer like that. Today, older employees are often more loyal. No doubt – it is also necessary to invest in them – depending on their individual qualification needs.

 

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Workplace Kindness Free to everyone, but can be hard to find

Workplace Kindness Free to everyone, but can be hard to find

Kindness in the workplace is contagious; it contributes to a culture of collaboration. Happy, optimistic people look more generous and perform better at work. That’s why many global companies realize that just as they provide their offices with the latest technology, they also need to provide a proactive work environment tailored to the emotional needs of their staffs if they hope to improve efficiency levels. As a result, the days of office environments under high pressure are coming to an end, as companies realize that these stress factors are less motivating than previously thought.

When work is soulless, we are only half human

It is a strange world. We spend more time at work than with our friends and family. Work eats away at our lives, but we see the work as separate from life. Sometimes we do not want to take the job seriously, because we as a person are not taken seriously at the workplace. A positive atmosphere in the office encourages collaboration between employees; colleagues are more responsive and easily pass on new information to each other. On the contrary, when unfair competitive behavior dominates people suffer. People need other people to do their job. Suppose you would come to me because you need some critical information. Now in an extremely competitive environment, I would not be much quicker or only partially give that information. That way you cannot do your job well, and therefore you cannot perform to the full.

 So, how can we connect with others? We can start by allowing a little air for ourselves and others, some space for kindness. Above and beyond, Social Responsibility has become part of the corporate culture of many companies; employees can and should actively contribute as well.

Employee’s single-combat mentality is awful for the company

Competition is stimulating, but too much competition among colleagues can do the opposite. With too much competition, the situation can topple and, employees enter into an unhealthy rivalry. Personal and hurtful attacks only damage the relationship with each other. Not only the individual employee but also the entire company suffers in an extremely competitive workplace. In addition to the possibly diminishing performance of some employees, knowledge is often kept secret among colleagues; they work in private and do not share information. Some rivalries are getting so bad that employees are looking for work elsewhere. To prevent this from happening that a superior third party would have to ask the competitors to talk.

Do not condemn or threaten your employees with consequences; reward instead

Managers sometimes pretend that kindness is an unnecessary luxury item, for which they have no time. The management team is accountable to create positive and friendly working environments that demonstrably boost productivity. Engaging as a team, working together can be a meaningful experience. Staff members should not have problems requesting help, requesting assignments and discussing management issues. Managers who demonstrate empathy and who act as mentors for their teams help improve loyalty by establishing positive working relationships. Do you know how much you benefit from appreciating somebody’s work? It forges stronger relationships with your employees, or your vendors or co-working companies.

Showing appreciation to the people that you work with is critical, so let’s not overlook benefit from appreciating. Give your employees the feeling that they can knock on your door at any time and come to you with their problems.  It would also be unrealistic to assume that every working day is always only peace, joy, and pancakes. Once a bad mood has spread, it’s not so easy to come to terms with it. But somebody always has to take the first step. Why not you?

Happy June 1st to everyone.

 

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2019 Look At The Trend Of Political Opinion In The Workplace   

2019 Look At The Trend Of Political Opinion In The Workplace   

2019 Look At The Trend Of Political Opinion In The Workplace                                           

Politics stands as one of the most sensitive and widely debated topics all over the world. From simple dinner among families to a business meeting among friends, politics has gained prominence among various social circles and the intensity generated from its discussion leaves many licking the wound of the aftermath. Or is it otherwise? Discussing politics in the workplace have generated a lot of controversies over the course of time. While it is evident that politics affects the atmosphere at the workplace, the question is how and to what extent?

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their political belief or activity. The Act does not define political belief or activity, but decided cases indicate that it refers to beliefs or activities relating to the policies, structure, composition, roles, obligations, purposes or activities of government. Government includes Commonwealth, state and local governments.

Political belief or activity discrimination examples

A council employee in a managerial position did not have his contract renewed because of his involvement with an environmental activist group which had publicly criticised the council’s policies.

At a federal election, a woman who works as a dental technician handed out how to vote cards for a local candidate. Her boss saw her at the polling booth and told her that she should look for another job, as he didn’t want someone of that political persuasion working for him.

A group of people wanted to hire a community hall to conduct a public meeting to protest about a particular government policy. They were refused hire of the hall because the manager of the hall disagreed with their views.

For an employer to understand how to manage political opinions in the workplace and how much it affects the employee relation and functionality, they need to know how their employees feel about holding political talk in their workplace and identify when the discussion is getting too much and when it sets off the wrong impression. Don’t be afraid to hear a conversation, take part BUT also know when things need to stop. 

Fundamentally, employers needs to recognise that under Australian Workplace Legislation, their employees have a right to offer their opinion about political matters anywhere, even in the workplace. What then becomes the concern for an employer is how to manage the discussions and prevent it from becoming a full-blown war among employees that belong to different factions. Hence they can establish a limit.

Employers should draw the curtain on political opinions in the workplace when any of these happen:

  • Results in a division

Whenever employees allow their political opinion to get in the way of their effectiveness in the workplace, it often leads to disunity, and employees often find it hard to corporate with one another. Whenever an employer identifies the lack of harmony between the employees, it is a sign to draw a curtain on the political discussion in the workplace.

  • Ineffectiveness and distraction

Whether your employees find common ground or not on political opinion, it distracts them from the task that they are supposed to be focused on and renders them ineffective. To maintain focus in the workplace, an employer needs to cut down political discussions as much as they can.

  • Physical altercation

This is usually described as the last straw. A physical brawl between employees is the green light for an employer to put a stop to political opinions in the workplace. Political opinions in the workplace can quickly spiral out of control and result in accusations and confrontations between employees.  Not to mention crossing the line for Serious or Gross Misconduct and the consequences of that.

Although an employer should allow a free flow of political opinion in the workplace, the negative effect of such discussion often outweighs the positive effect and it disrupts. To ensure that employees understand not to go overboard, an employer should implement the following when it gets out of hand:

  • Establish a policy concerning political opinion

The employer should seek to clarify which political opinion is acceptable in the workplace and put it into writing. The policy should cover which activities, discussion, and political clothing material is prohibited in the workplace. The employer should be clear on the punishment for harassment, threat, and derogatory comments aimed at other employees. Make sure there is an open door policy and a clear pathway for communication.

  • Work out a complaint procedure

Even with the utmost care, an employer tends to miss some acts of aggression to comes with political opinions in the workplace. To combat this, an employer should implement a legal complaint procedure through which employees can report acts of political harassment or violence in the workplace. Ideally as an employer you will already have policies and procedures in place for most things so check them over and tighten them up. If you are not sure seek the advice of an Employment Relations consultant such as Fresh HR Insights

  • Follow up on every complaint

The decision to discipline bias political opinion in the workplace should be reinforced by an employer with immediate action. Just remember to check the facts, do an investigation, don’t rely on hearsay or take one person word over another. You must ensure at all times you have a well founded basis for any disciplinary action and you also need to ensure procedural fairness. Hot headed environments are no time for you to go off the correct ways to deal with workplace complaints. Always, always get the paper trail too – if it is not written down, it didn’t happen.  

Political opinions in the workplace can be as bad as a rival sports team that can pollute the work atmosphere if it is not adequately contained. Although HR should permit such discussion, they should be fast to curtail any excesses and prevent the situation from deteriorating.

If you are unsure you can consult with the team at Fresh HR Insights – Book in a session with us HERE

Q&A

Can an employer fire or discriminate against an employee based on political beliefs?

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Act) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their political opinion. However, the Act also provides that where it is found that the action was taken because of the inherent requirements of the particular position concerned, then it will not be a breach of the applicable unlawful discrimination provisions, such as political opinion. An employer is allowed to deem an employee’s views as being inappropriate if they’re “unauthorised and inconsistent” with the employee’s role or the organisation’s values. This is particularly the case where the public can scrutinise an employee’s comments and then form an adverse impression of the organisation that the employee works at. Read more here