We know it has been a long time between blogs, but there has been a lot going on at HR Gurus HQ! We are pleased to be getting back on the “blog” horse, and what better way than to go back to basics?

Bringing back the HR basics.

Over the past few months, we have met a lot of new clients who have gotten in touch because they have a problem that needs immediate fixing. Usually this is an underperforming employee or a date with the Fair Work Commission for an unfair dismissal claim.


Luckily, there are some simples steps that you can put in place to help you out in these tricky situations. The answer is simple and easy to implement: it’s all about getting the basics in place.

Good basic structure and rules will help manage any issues at hand, and prevent it happening in the future, which will save you time, money and headaches.

The biggest cause of performance and people issues stems from a lack of structure and guidelines around what is expected. For example: many of our new clients have a performance issue in their business, but when we ask whether they have contracts of employment, position descriptions, policies and/ or an induction process in place, the answer is often no. So, if this is the case – if your people haven’t been told what they are supposed to do, and how they are supposed to do it, then how can they be expected to do it?

We can’t assume they can read your mind. It’s not fair, not to mention against the law.

So, here’s our quick tips on how to get the basics in place:

  1. Get your contracts of employment reviewed (or developed if you don’t have any). Contracts are the starting point to a joint understanding of what is expected. If there are any performance issues, the contract is a legally binding document that will help and protect you. What to look for:
    • Simple language. Legalistic and lengthy language will not only alienate your employees, but do you understand what it means? You don’t want to have to run back to your lawyers to decipher the meaning each time someone asks a question about it.
    • Flexibility. Your contract should be robust enough to protect you, but not inflexible so that it doesn’t help you when the time comes.
  2. Have your policies in place. Like the contracts, policies should be simple and flexible. ‘War and Peace’ may protect you, but it also can set a negative tone for your business. Use the policies to help set a positive culture. And, remember, you don’t have to have a policy for everything – sometimes less is more, particularly when it comes to processes within policies.
  3. Position Descriptions. This should provide a basic framework of what each role entails. It will help guide each individual as to what is expected in their role, and you can hold them to account on this. The PD doesn’t have to be finely detailed down to the last task, because you will find that people will not use initiative, or go the extra mile. This should be an overview of the role, which will allow flexibility and growth.
  4. Induction. Employees generally make up their mind as to whether they are going to stay at a new job within the first 90 days of commencing, so a good initial induction is vital. Remember, you can only make a good impression once, and first impressions generally last. On top of this if you have any performance problems down the track, a good induction will help protect you. An induction doesn’t have to be over the top, just make sure, you include:
    • Policies and the legal stuff (ie safety and bullying). Ensuring that individuals read policies and sign off to say they understand them is a good idea
    • A bit about your business, including mission, vision and values. This is really important. You can’t have a policy around every potential situation, so strong values and mission will ensure that you can hold every to account for the same set of behaviours.

Remember, you don’t have to start big. If you don’t have anything in place right now, just start one step at a time. Look at your contracts, and think about the critical policies to get in place (safety and bullying/harassment are critical!), then go from there. You will be well on your way to having good structure around managing your people well.

If you would like to talk about getting the basics in place in your business get in touch today.

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