As a business owner you have the greatest investment into the success of your business. It often takes you beyond reasonable limits and you find yourself putting in the extra hours to achieve what’s needed. You employ staff as demand increases and you trust that your employees will honour their commitment to you and your business. But this is not always the case.
Let’s look at a case study.
A Beauty Salon has a challenging worker. She’s great with her customers and is building on her technique. However, she seems to call in sick at the drop of a hat, leaving her coworkers to pick up the slack. On employment, she told her employer she is qualified but now, over nine months in, she has yet to show her employer her papers. And, while the Beauty Salon has its own social media pages (Facebook and Instagram) this Beauty Therapist is always taking pics of nail art and posts them on her own wall.
Many employers struggle when things don’t quite go to plan with their staff. They don’t know how to broach it. Many employers don’t discuss nor document performance discussions or inappropriate behaviour and when it comes to releasing staff the staff member hits them with an unfair dismissal claim costing the employer even more time and money. Figures from the Fair Work Commission show that 2014 recorded the highest number of dismissal applications since records began, with 17,806 claims. There are about 70 claims of unfair dismissal each working day – more than one in every seven minutes that the Fair Work Commission is open.
Sometimes just a basic HR System implemented by HR consultants will avoid repercussions when employers choose to release staff. Staff that simply should not be in their business.
Let’s look at the case above.
First there was the lack of demonstration of qualifications. This can be addressed with a checklist at the application stage. If qualifications are required they must be sighted at interview. Starting and paying an employee at a certain level is harder to retract or change when you’re further down the employment path.
When employees take sick leave often it is disruptive to a business. Some employees never take sick leave while others always seem to max out. While you can’t stop an employee taking sick leave you can request they call you (not text) when sick. Employers can really benefit from having a leave policy in place. In addition to the requisites around normal leave, employers can put in place certain parameters around the taking of sick leave (for example the presentation of a Dr’s certificate on Day 1 of the leave) and discussions that may take place around excessive sick leave. One step better is to address attendance at interview and reference checking stages before you go to hire your new staff member. If you find its been a problem with former employers then you may find yourself inheriting a less than dedicated worker.
The final issue this case presented was the staff member’s use of social media. This is fast becoming a burning topic for employers. Whether staff are being disparaging to their employer on social media, are using it inappropriately at work (to the point of distraction) or, in this case, using it for self promotion during employed and paid time. With a plethora of self authored pics and posts on her wall the Beauty Therapist had already done the PR to go out on her own and potentially take clients with her. A robust social media policy gives employers solid ground for disciplinary discussions and, where there is a breach of policy, termination.
While the implementation of HR policies may seem burdensome, you can see that having essential ones are key.
Staff know where they stand, they know the rules and if they abuse the system there are consequences.
As an employer you want the best. Rules of engagement ensure your business continues to operate smoothly and that staff challenges can be effectively addressed.
If you need help getting your HR policies and procedures in place call 1300 363 128.
Article written by Maree Herath, Director of Geelong Recruitment Agency, Harvest Recruitment.