"Your employees should be your greatest strength, but they could be your greatest risk."
Director, Employee Matters
We can be your in-house employee experts - coming in & out of your business as & when you need us. Offering an unrivalled level of HR service and expertise, on a fully flexible basis. We partner with businesses who want to maximise profitability & productivity through their employees. Because employees really do matter.
The prospect of an employment dispute is terrifying to me, despite 40 years of legal experience, mainly in large firms. Now that I am the principal of a boutique planning and environmental law practice, employing 7 people, my salvation has been Natasha Hawker's book 'From Hire to Fire & Everything in Between'. It is a gem: well written and practical, it nicely balances my need for simplicity with sufficient detail to make it useful. The book is empowering in that it helps me identify the issues and questions I need to have in mind when analysing and addressing a problem. Thank you Natasha, you have literally improved the quality of my life by reducing my stress when it comes to dealing with employment matters.
We were referred to Employee Matters by our business coach, to provide coaching and support for our management team, make sure we were compliant with our HR responsibilities, and build on some of the structure that we already had in place. Employee Matters and the team were knowledgeable, responsive, flexible to the needs of our business, and Nardia became an integral part of our team. Employee Matters will continue to be part of Technium as we grow, and I'd recommend anyone who has employees to not wait for a problem, but to take a proactive approach and engage with Employee Matters sooner rather than later.
The Hire to Fire toolkit subscription from Employee Matters has been the exact match to the structure of our HR system and has definitely proven useful. We found the checklists the most helpful part of the toolkit because it's scary to think that if we miss something small, or get something wrong, in HR, there is the possibility of some fairly high penalties.
Client Services Manager
Natasha was engaged to develop and facilitate a half day training session as part of our annual global conference. The brief was to educate our people leaders on hiring excellence and optimising team performance. As a fast growing small company, we were looking for someone to train our relatively new people leaders from both commercial and technical backgrounds (and multiple geographies). Natasha was willing to understand our organisation and particular needs, and tailor the content and workshop accordingly. She also set up an expectations model in advance so we could reflect on the desired outcomes and we debriefed against this model after the event. The training session itself was very well run, with a nice mix of theory, discussion and practice sessions for behavioural interviewing in small groups. Natasha's experience as well as her passion and enthusiasm for effectively recruiting and managing people is impressive. The session was very highly rated by our people leaders and we frequently hear people talking about Natasha's interviewing techniques. We would happily recommend Natasha to organisations seeking to invest in their recruiting and people-management capability.
Chief Product & Engineering Officer, Rokt
Natasha did a fantastic job of both presenting key information in a pre-planned structure that was informative and easy to understand, and dealing with the many questions that came thick and fast from Q and A. It was really great to get the opportunity to speak to an expert who could help with any challenges a company is facing in the HR space no matter how big or small. I particularly liked that Natasha’s focus wasn’t just advice on how to stay on the right side of employment law, but also how to build a company with great culture and a happy, motivated and cohesive workforce. Great Job Natasha, looking forward to learning more from you in the future.
Director, XAM Consulting Pty. Limited.
"In 2017, my company launched its first group coaching program, designed to provide small business owners in their early years with the knowledge and support they need to grow, whilst effectively managing commercial risk. Employees and contractors are such a high-risk area for business owners, specifically those who cannot afford – or do not know where to find – reliable advice. I met Natasha in 2015 when she was delivering a presentation to a group of small business owners. With years of experience of my own in HR, within corporate organisations, it was obvious Natasha knew her subject matter inside-out. She was engaging, relevant and it was obvious that she cared. Upon launching my group coaching program, Natasha was an obvious choice to deliver a workshop on recruitment and employee engagement. Natasha was – as usual – engaging, and the content of the presentation was very relevant to the audience. As was evident from our surveys, my clients were extremely satisfied with the workshop – they felt that Natasha was the “right balance between knowledgeable and approachable”, and that the workshop resulted in increased awareness relating to HR matters which are relevant to them, and the confidence to expand their business through more clarity on the hiring process and employee engagement strategies. Since then, all the clients who attended the workshop have hired employees and they have found the strategies they learned to be extremely useful. I recommend Natasha to all my clients who currently, or plan to, employ staff, and I hope Natasha will continue to facilitate the HR workshop for our future group coaching programs."
Director, Momentum Lab
"I was very fortunate to meet Natasha Hawker at a Conference and felt so inspired by her enthusiasm that I got hold of her book “From Hire to Fire”. I found it to be an excellent summation of events that occur every day in the workplace with ready tips in how to deal with these situations. Natasha’s goal in writing the book was for it to sit "doggy eared" on managers desk and being referred to as a guide when these situations arise unannounced. This objective has been achieved and I would recommend any small business owner who is unfamiliar with managing staff to get hold of the book as it is a great knowledge base to deal with these situations".
Founder and Director, The Outsourced CFO
“Honoured to have Natasha Hawker sharing her entrepreneurial journey and incredible achievements with us. Her presentation has added value, inspired and empowered our start-up students’ businesses and mindset significantly. Her lessons and insights arounds Internal Communication, Retention strategies and Risk assessments were incredible. Thank you so much for sharing such powerful strategies with us.”
CEO, Academy of Entrepreneurs
“Thank you thank you thank you for bringing the wonderful Kevin into my life. You always told me having the right person in the job would do just that 'change my life'. While I never doubted you...one can never truly know the impact until it happens. Big kisses and thank you to you and of course Sally. Myself and my business are forever truly grateful to you both. “
Managing Director, Blue Toro Pty Ltd
By Catherine Tratsellas As we have highlighted in previous articles, a recent Federal Court of Australia decision found that ...Read Post
By Morgan Howard In the media lately, we hear A LOT about bullying and harassment cases; disturbing accounts of incidents and ...Read Post
By Paul Ackerman Following a recent decision by the Fair Work Commission, Modern Awards have been amended effective August ...Read Post
In this video, Natasha talks about: Accessorial Liability Employee Lifecycle Employee Asset Model Unfair Dismissal...Read Post
I am sure you have heard the saying that there are two things that keep business owners up at night: Cashflow and People. It's said so often because it's basically true. The financial viability of your business is, of course, critical; your business survival depends on it. But the source of virtually all of your potential for a growing, profitable and sustainable business, lies in your people. As a team of skilled and experienced HR Consultants, Recruitment and Employee experts servicing Australia from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Employee Matters exists to ensure your business is achieving the success it deserves, by tapping into the talent, drive and commitment of your people. What Kind of Business Are You? At Employee Matters we typically see four types of business:
- Crisis business - This is a business that is in despair. Typically we see these businesses being unaware of the People risks they have. For example, breaches of employment laws such as the Fair Work Act, Modern Awards or Health and Safety rules. In many cases they may even be aware of breaches but they either don’t care or don’t feel they can do anything about it - “how can I afford to pay my people Award rates and run my business?” is a typical catchcry. Often their workforce is hostile and their business performance is best described as dysfunctional. The key to moving out of this ‘Red Zone’ business space is to recognise that you are in this state, and to have the courage to spend time, money and effort in turning the business around. If you feel you are in this space and, importantly, if you are prepared to invest in the change, Employee Matters is here to help you.
- Directionless Business - This is a business that is somewhat disillusioned. If your business is in this space you are typically unaware of your risk profile and what you need to do to meet your Employment Relations compliance requirements. You have a workforce that is disengaged; they turn up for work in body but with little spirit or motivation and business performance is inconsistent. There is a focus on the cheapest price possible for your business investments. If you are in this ‘Amber Zone’ we can help, by first of all, assessing the state of your business with our ‘Employee Metrics’ HR diagnostic tool and then set out to build a program that ensures you manage your people-risk effectively and then move on to establishing some great practices across all nine stages of the Employee Life Cycle (more about the Life Cycle later).
- Achieving Business - This is a good place to be! You have a people strategy underpinning your business plan and you are aware of your risks. Your employees perform well, are happy working for you and you have good business performance. This ‘Green Zone’ is a good place to be, but the question is, is it good enough? We call the line between this level of business and the next the ‘Good Enough’ line. Things are good, but are they great? If you want a great business where ‘good enough’ really isn’t good enough and you really are striving for people who can take your business forward, where to from here?
- Mastery Business - You have mastered your business, when you have your risk well managed and you have systems in place to ensure you are always on top of, and mitigating or eliminating, risk. You have a ‘Volunteer’ workforce who are fully engaged with your business and perform so well, that they can manage your business without you. This allows you to move out of the business and work on your business strategy, knowing the business will sustain itself, perform well and make great profits. More importantly, your business is now a highly ‘saleable’ asset. This ‘Blue Zone’ is better than merely good enough; it’s the key to your business and personal dreams.
- HR Distance Model - This is generally a price-driven, commoditised external service. Typically these are delivered via a call centre or helpline, where you speak to a different person every time you make a call. Your issues are dealt with reactively, so there is no help with proactively planning your HR strategy. Often you have to sign up on an extended support contract which locks you into the service, as this gives the HR support business the certainty of revenue allowing them to control their margins. So while the advice and expertise may be OK, the model is volume-based and efficient from the supplier's perspective, but the service capability is very limited.
- HR Account Manager Model - Here at Employee Matters, this is our standard operating practice. We offer you a dedicated HR and/or Recruitment expert who works proactively with you, in your business. We are there to support you, coach or mentor you, in understanding the people in your business and how best to manage and lead them. Or, we can simply do the work for you, coming ‘in and out’ of the business as you need us. You have the support of a highly experienced expert, knowing that there is a wider team of experts behind them, also ready to support you. You speak to the same person all the time, so they know your business and your specific challenges and goals, and are part of your team, even if they are not ‘on the books’ of your business. Now, this is a great service; but you can go further than this:
- Employee Asset Model - What if you wanted to attain Mastery in your business, moving it into the ‘Blue Zone’ we talked about above? Where your people treasure your business as much as you do, so much so that a Bank would lend you money based on your Employee Assets, just as easily as they would on your physical assets or your Balance Sheet. Where you can step out of working in your business; allowing you to:
- Work on your business, setting the strategic direction and focussing on the bigger picture, allowing you to grow the business to new heights
- Take time out of your business and enjoy the other aspects of your life; family, travel, study
- Create a business that does not require you, and so has a high saleable value for when it comes time to exit the business, passing it on to your kids or realising the value of this great asset upon sale
- Employee Asset Model We have had so much interaction with so many clients over the years, that we’ve come to see that, at the centre of this kind of Business Mastery, is your ‘Treasury of People’ – building a business where your employees treasure your business as much as you do and, ultimately, that you are building a business treasure trove of motivated, engaged, skilled and experienced Employee Assets, that can drive your business forward, even when you are not around.
- Profit - What makes your business viable
- Growth - The key value driver for your business
- Sustainability - This is critical to survival in the long term, but also key to your ability to scale your business, ‘give back’ in whatever way motivates you and, importantly, makes your business a valuable saleable asset
- Risk Management
- Performance - High performing teams of great people are what drive your profitability and the growth of your company. To really press the accelerator on your business, you cannot rely on your skill, drive and resilience alone; this is a recipe for burnout. Having people on board who are motivated, skilled and crazy for success, creates a momentum in your business making greater performance and growth a certainty.
- Culture - A lot of businesses struggle with ‘Culture’ in terms of what it means and, importantly, what it means for them. Don’t let your difficulties in defining it, or getting comfortable with what it means for you, blind you to the power of Culture. How things get done in your business and, importantly, people's attitude to seeing that they are done - and done really, really well - are key drivers of your profitability. This is where people are interested in working smarter rather than just harder. Just as importantly however, is the potential for sustainable profitability. While it is true that aggressive, winner-takes-all cultures can produce great profits, they can’t do this for very long. It is these cultures where, eventually, we see corners being cut, rules bent and ultimately broken, and increasingly dysfunctional workplaces where everyone is trying to beat their colleagues, as well as the competition.
- Risk Management - We can hear the yawns already! Who wants to talk about risk management; it's not as ‘exciting’ as performance and not as ‘interesting’ as Culture, but when it comes to the success of your business it is just as important. It’s managing your risks, that allows you to plan your growth and keep your plans on track. It is also vital to ensure you have a long-term, valuable business. Managing risks keeps you in business, so you can eventually see the growth take hold and then manage that growth for the long-term.
- hire the best people you can possibly afford
- Attracting the right people with your Employee Value Proposition
- Finding them through advanced candidate search techniques
- Ensuring you are hiring the best possible fit for the role
- Onboarding new people, so you realise the value of your new asset quickly and effectively
- manage and optimise their input by having the systems in place to clearly identify what needs to be done and how your employees can contribute to this
- measure your, and their, progress against targets by having processes to accurately identify everyone’s contribution, what this looks like over time and what they need to change to take that contribution to new heights
- train your team for optimal performance
- Having a framework so you are clear on what competencies are needed for every role
- Identifying what development needs everyone has, for their current and future roles
- How to implement training that best meets your business needs
- build and maintain levels of engagement and understand how to measure and positively affect
- What your people say about your business
- How much they want to stay with your business
- How far they will strive to make your business a success
- have a proactive approach to the well-being of your people
- assess what people risks you are exposed to through our world class HR diagnostic tool Employee Metrics, to identify the risks, the level and the importance of the risk and recommend what you can do to mitigate or eliminate your people risk
- maintain a robust policy framework, ensuring you have all the policies you need from a compliance perspective, as well as giving clarity to you and your people around what is expected and how things will operate. Policies such as Health & Safety, Equal Employment Opportunity, Leave, Appropriate Workplace behaviour, etc., are vital for this
- know how to exit both non-performers and employees that you might like to work for you again. Exits can be difficult whatever the circumstances. If the circumstances are good, you need to manage the exit as part of maintaining your Employee Value Proposition, Where they are not good, you need to ensure you are complying with everything you need to, to best protect your business. Whatever the nature of someone’s exit, you can always learn from them or the situation
- Assess the areas where you are using this traffic light system
- Let you know relatively how important each area is to your business, so you can set priorities
- Make specific recommendations against each of your Red and Amber areas, showing you how you can improve
- A one year strategic implementation plan via our Enhance HR model
- Coming in an out of your business as you need us via our Employee Expert Retainer package
- Helping you with your hiring needs via our Recruitment Expert packages
- Our range of specific fixed-price services to help you with your specific HR needs