We recently sent out a survey to a number of small businesses to ascertain how compliant they are around current employment legislation – and it made for stark reading. We had respondents from a wide range of industries such as travel, IT, finance, accountants, events, publishing and interior design to name just a few. The main issues centred on three key areas – Hiring, Performance and Culture.
The main results were as follows:
- A significant number of businesses do not review salaries annually – although this is not a requirement it does ensure compliance with the Award and also benchmarks the business against competitors
- 86% of respondents had fired someone, predominantly for non-performance or fraud and 25% had received a complaint raised against them as a result through the Fair Work Ombudsman – this is a high proportion and could so easily be avoided by following some processes and having documented meetings. For everyone the experience meant a financial penalty
- Over 40% did not know what Modern Award their business falls under – this is a requirement and it’s therefore highly likely that you are at risk of a breach with fines of $52k per breach
- Two thirds used recruitment agencies but only 50% felt that they got value for money for this spend
- 60% did not have a Workplace Health and Safety Policy in place and many were unaware of their legal obligations in this space – this is a high risk approach and I would encourage this to be fixed ASAP
- 45% did not have a company policy on Sexual Harassment, Bullying and EEO and 86% had not appropriately trained their employees on appropriate workplace behaviour – this dramatically increases direct exposure to a claim and damages costs
- 55% did not understand their obligations under Flexible Work and almost half still believed that the parent on parental leave needed to return to work full time at the 12 month mark – this is not the case – employees can request a further twelve months. They can also request leave up until their youngest child is at school, flexible work which could mean part time, a compressed week or working from home
- One great result – 85% of respondents felt that their employee morale was either good or really high – this is a fabulous result and one I would encourage you to continue to build and reap the rewards from
The good news is that this is all easily fixed and doesn’t have to cost very much. The best thing is that it will save you money and, not only that, you will make more money as a business by hiring the right people, firing the non-performers and building high performing teams. We have all the policies you require plus we can help you hire (and better still fire) effectively. Please call me if you would like to chat about this further.
Natasha Hawker owns Employee Matters Pty Ltd; an HR Consultancy that assists small to medium businesses with their HR functions to make them more efficient and profitable. Their offering includes HR Management, Recruitment, Training, Coaching, and Exit Management – find them at www.employeematters.com.au