How to Use an OHS Policy Register

OHS compliance is not optional in Australia. You will need to have compliance tools in place such as policies, procedures, checklists, safe work methods….etc

Online OHS comes with over 60 pre-loaded documents including ohs policies and procedures. Check out more of its major features here.

But having all the documents in the world are no good if your people can’t access them 24 hours a day. That is the advantage of an in the cloud OHS system like Online OHS. Our OHS policy register keeps everything neat and tidy and easy to retrieve when you need a document most.

In this tutorial you will learn what a policy is, what is the difference between a policy and a procedure, why you need them, how to write a policy and how to build a policy using the Online OHS policy register.

Contact us today for an online demonstration of why Online OHS is right for your business.

Major features of the Online OHS system

online ohs cloud systemThe Online OHS management system has a raft of major features that make it an ideal in the cloud OHS solution for a wide variety of businesses.

  • Site Management feature for multiple location management
  • Permission Levels for different levels of access
  • Over 60 Pre-Loaded legal Documents (major selling point)
  • Employee Management System with Qualification and Induction Modules (major selling point)
  • Risk Management Section to help in compliance to Hazard Management
  • Action Register to show a history of your efforts
  • Incident module which generates comprehensive Graphed Reports and Statistics (major selling point)
  • Contractor Management System (major selling point)
  • Plant and Equipment, SWMS and Chemical Management Registers
  • Environmental Management
  • Checklist and Meeting Builders (major selling point)
  • Help and Support with ticketing system section

The main feature of course is that it is a cloud based management system, so that means you can access the system from anywhere with a device with an internet connection. Also if your computers are stolen, lost or destroyed in a fire – your data is safe in the cloud and there ready for you when you are ready to go again. For more details on the Online OHS system just click here.

Contact us for an online demonstration today and see why this system is right for your business.

DIY Recruiting Webinar – How to Attract and Recruit the People you Want!

recruitingMost, if not all, small to medium business employers start out with the dream that they will hire and employ people with the same work ethic and attitude as them. All will be rosy and there never will be any problems with their staff.

Then reality steps in.

So how do you attract and recruit the best candidates for your business? Recruitment companies are expensive and don’t understand your business like you do. So how do you set up a structure to minimise the risk of a bad hire and maximise the chances of getting the best people available?

Join us for a free webinar on attracting and recruiting the people you want.

This 30-45 minute webinar will help you set up a recruiting process and just might make the difference in your business that you’ve been looking for. There will be lots of tips and advice and you can feel free to ask questions as well.

Look forward to seeing you at our DIY recruiting webinar. For more details click here.


Recruiting Tips for Small Business Employers

The recruiting of new staff can be a time consuming task for most small businesses. All that work in advertising, interviewing and starting someone can be expensive if it comes undone with a bad hire.

In a small to medium business where every employee is important and carries weight, a bad hire can severely affect a small business employer. Depending on the role it can set back a business months or years or even spell the end of it.

A few statistics to consider around recruiting:

Over 50% of the people recruited in to an organisation will leave within two years.

  • One in four people recruited will leave within six months.
  • Nearly 70% of organisations report that staff turnover has a negative impact.
  • Nearly 70% of organisations report having difficulties in replacing staff.
  • Approximately 50% of organisations experience regular problems with employee retention.
  • Cost of staff turnover is anywhere between half and three times the cost of salary.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers Private Business Barometer found that for the second barometer in a row, sourcing talent was the top issue for employers.

But what can you do to improve your ability to attract and hire the right person? Here are some recruiting tips and advice to improve your recruiting process:

1: Company VisionWhy would they come to work for you?

Having a clear concise vision for your business that is easily understood can drive candidates to your business. Candidates are looking for like minded businesses and can more easily picture themselves working for you if you have a vision that fits with their ideal workplace. A great company vision focuses current and prospective employees on where you want your business to go.

2: Core Values – what attitude do you want your employees to have?

The core values of a company are those values you hold which form the foundation on which your staff perform work and conduct themselves. Setting a list of core values for your business is very important in getting employees to have the right attitude to drive your business forward. A positive workplace culture is very important these days in attracting and retaining employees.

3: Profile – Who do you want working for you?

Businesses are always profiling their perfect customers or suppliers, but how many profile their ideal new employees? Who is your ideal worker for the role at hand? Take the time to write down all the attributes of your ideal employee – you may not actually get that exact person but you’ll be closer than if you didn’t undertake this task. Remember the task is to look for positive aspects, not weeding candidates out through negative aspects (discrimination).

4: Job Description – What are they going to do for you?

If you don’t have a job description, how can you explain the role to the candidates or even know who you are looking for? If you are recruiting to replace an employee – try reviewing the role and reviewing the job description. Having a position description at the ready also makes your business look good to candidates.

5: Now write the Job AdSell the business to potential candidates

Use all the elements of the first four steps to write your job ad. Use it to sell your business to the jobseekers reading it. Remember your job ad is competing against all the other job ads so it needs to stand out. Make sure your vision and values are stated and you use the profile and job description to frame who you want to apply and what they will be doing.

6: Now for the InterviewsThis is a two way process for you and the candidate to ask questions

The applications are in, and you’ve shortlisted some candidates based on your criteria over the first few steps…so now for the interviews. This is an opportunity for both you and the candidate to discover if they are right for the role and the role is right for them.

Interviewing candidates is time consuming so put some thought into it and prepare some questions.

Phone interviews…

  1. Develop a set list of interview questions.
  2. Look to gauge interest: phone manners, technical ability and communication skills.
  3. Filter out the ones not suitable and save time and money on the face to face interviews.

Face to face interviews…

  1. Have an application form.
  2. Develop a set list of interview questions.
  3. Include a technical test for candidates.
  4. Include a written section of the questions.
  5. Include questions around your Core Values.
  6. Have them sign off on the interview questions.
  7. Conduct a second round of one on one interviews to follow up any concerns or questions from the first round.

By having a prepared set list of questions for each candidate you can more easily compare them and you can also reduce a discrimination accusation. If you have a role that requires technical know-how – make sure you test people on it – it’s not something you want to regret later. Make sure you get a sense of someone’s ability to read and write by including a section where they have to write answers to questions – ie/ hypothetical situations. This is particularly important in roles requiring communication with customers and/or suppliers.

By including questions on your core values you can more easily identify people aligned with your business culture.

7: Reference ChecksGet the fullest picture possible of who you are considering to hire

Have a set list of questions to ask their referees so you can compare. Make sure you follow up on claims of achievements and get an idea of what they like to work with. Consider doing a Google search on their name as well. It can be well worth researching the background of candidates and there are plenty of cases where businesses have been made to regret not doing due diligence. Better to be safe than sorry.

8: Use an Employment AgreementSet expectations of their performance and behaviour in writing

So you’ve finally decided on a candidate. They’ve ticked off all your boxes and they are ready to start with your business. So many small businesses still don’t use an employment agreement of any type when employing people. If it isn’t written down – it didn’t happen. You can bring great financial risk to your business by failing to use an agreement. If you do not document your expectations of their employ with you and their performance and behaviour – what usually happens? It is much harder to argue your case in court if you have nothing written down, signed and agreed to.

9: Orientations and InductionsGuide your new recruit into the business

Make an impression with your new hires and leave nothing to chance by having a structured orientation and induction program. The sooner you make new employees comfortable and productive in their new role the sooner your new hire will bond with your business. Include any necessary OHS information as well so that you don’t get an accident in the first week. Also have new staff sign off on their inductions and orientations.

So in summary…

  1.  Profile the ideal employee for that role – skills, personality, etc
  2. Write out the position description – know what they are going to do.
  3. Write the job ad using the above – and sell your business in the ad.
  4. Prepare Q’s in advance for the phone and face to face interviews.
  5. Make sure the candidate knows what is expected of them.
  6. Do reference checks – and ask around, Google them.
  7. Use an employment agreement.
  8. Induct them into the business.

Other things you can consider are:

  •  psychometric testing to get a fuller the picture of the candidate
  • alternative recruiting sources – online, social media, your website or word of mouth

Many small to medium businesses often only use steps 5 and 6 of the list above and hire the candidate on a handshake. For whatever reason (time, money…etc) you might not use all the steps listed here, but the more you use the better the bottom line result for your business in the long run.

Whether you employ one, a few or dozens of people you are introducing risk to your business. So creating a refining your own recruitment process is just as important as your marketing and sales strategy.

Give your business the best chance of success and attract and recruit the best people available.

Feel free to contact us for any assistance in developing your recruiting process or documentation.

recruiting tips

Seven Top Tips for Firing an Employee

Firing an employee can be easy or it can be fraught with danger. It really depends on how you approach it and if you let your head or your heart do the talking. With the current laws around unfair dismissal these days the Donald Trump approach of firing someone on the spot may not serve you well. Usually the reason for a successful unfair dismissal claim is that the employer has not bothered to get proper advice and gone ahead with a dismissal based on what they think is right.

Here are a few pointers to help you reduce your risk:

1: Make sure you have a clear reason. Is it a downturn in business, poor behaviour, poor performance or a breach of a workplace policy?

2: Procedural fairness. Make sure that for whatever reason you are firing someone that you follow a procedure and the employee has been given a right of reply, an opportunity to improve or counselling on a redundancy.

3: Involve a third person on conversations. Best tip is to get a third person in on the counselling or discussions on the situation with the employee. Let them bring along someone as well. Don’t make it a “your word against theirs” situation.

4: Have evidence. Make sure that the reasons for dismissal are clear and unambiguous. Do due diligence and investigate any allegations of wrong doing, poor behaviour or poor performance. Cover all of your bases.

5: Document everything. Firing someone and not having anything documented is inviting trouble. Workplace policy, performance review, counselling sessions, training, termination letter and any other interactions should all be documented. In an unfair dismissal claim they will be asked for.

6: Let them go ASAP. Do not terminate someone and let them work out their notice period. You’ve just created a very unhappy employee who can undermine the business in many creative ways. Also if you have an unhappy employee resign – let them go straight away.

7: Train your managers. If your business is large enough to have people managers for one or more business units, make sure they are trained on how to fire (or discipline) employees. Managers may not always care how they do things and open the business up to a potential pay out.

Think your way through the process and safeguard your business from the time, effort and money defending an unfair dismissal claim. Even vexatious claims cost time and money so cover all the bases and look after your business.

The best tip of course is to contact us for advice 🙂


Five Top Tips for Managing Employees

Managing employees can be a difficult and tricky proposition for many employers. Dealing with all the individual personalities and trying to get them to help you grow your business (it’s why you hired them) can be tiresome. Here are five basic tips that any small to medium business employer can use to turn those great candidates into great (read: growing your business) employees!

1: Engage your staff. Employers that fail to engage their staff risk high staff turnover. Try engaging them with staff meetings, reward & recognition, training, development, performance reviews, projects and just plain talking to them. The worst thing a boss can do is take no interest in their people. Disinterest leads to unhappy staff, which leads to poor performance and staff turnover. Find out what makes them tick and what goals or ambitions they have.

2: Develop a team ethic. Everyone likes to belong to a team. So start using it your vernacular when you speak to staff. Talk about your people as your team. Draw up a set of values or goals based on your team and get everyone involved. Start staff meetings with “Hi Team!” and make sure everyone gets a word in. A simple change like that will develop an inclusive feeling around your workplace and get everyone involved in the success of the business.

3: Workplace policies. If you don’t have them, then organise an employee policies and procedures manual today. By setting guidelines for employee behaviour you do a couple of things. Firstly you are developing a harmonious workplace culture where everyone can feel on the same page in regards to how to treat each other. Also by telling employees what they can and cannot do, you reduce the chances of poor behaviour becoming an issue and if someone does get out of line you have the rules in place to discipline them.

4: Training and development. Always be looking to improve the skills and abilities of your staff. From expensive courses down to cheap magazine or email subscriptions – there is something for everyone’s budget. Some Govt funded training schemes might actually see money back in your pocket!

5: Performance Reviews. If you don’t monitor or review their performance, don’t expect them to perform. PR’s are not a chore to be done but and opportunity to open up a two way conversation between the employer and employee. It is an opportunity to connect and be both on the same page with regards to the role and where it is headed. Strangely most employees will actually respect an employer more when they implement such reviews and people management techniques. With PR’s you are taking an interest in them and their work – a big plus for any employee.

Workplace Culture Should Start at The Top, Not in the Fridge

One of the things I try to get across to business owners and managers is how much they influence the people under them. Years ago I worked with a business owner who had had a 100% turnover in staff the previous twelve months. He had fired them all for various reasons.

After a while it became apparent that his daily mood was influencing the attitudes of the staff – a small team of six to eight at any one time. His wife also worked in the business and when they argued it lent to a not so happy office atmosphere. Both were fabulous at what they did but when it came to staff management there was a big gap (chasm really) between them and the employees.

The immediate solution was to institute a set of company core values to get everyone’s attitude aligned and working harmoniously. After months of procrastination the owner agreed to a set of values. The values were hung up around the office and the staff were inducted into them. The owner then took them down the next day. The staff turnover continued…

Business owners (and managers) need to realise early on that the company code of conduct is set by the one in charge.Their attitude, mood, performance and professionalism will influence all under them to do the same. Employers (particularly in small businesses) have an almost parent-child relationship with their staff and how they behave rubs right off on the people working for them.

In just about every survey I’ve ever seen, the top reason (usually about 70%) why an employee leaves is their relationship with their boss. Get a great boss and why would you leave a job? Sure the money and work your doing must be good, but get a supportive and helpful boss and you are set!

This quote from James Sinegal is on the money…“When employees are happy, they are your very best ambassadors.” That happiness trickles down from above. Work on creating a great and happy workplace culture and you create happy employees. And those happy employees create happy customers, and happy customers create a happy bottom line.

Set the tone and be the person you want your employees to be.

Small Businesses more likely target of FWO litigation

A report by the University of Melbourne shows that the Fair Work Ombudsman was more likely to engage in litigation against small businesses rather than medium to large ones.

One worrying sign for small business employers is that the FWO is strategic in picking its targets and it usually wins with a 95% success rate. Also interesting was that the most common target of this litigation was small to medium enterprises in the accommodation and food services, administrative support services, and retail trade industries.

Perhaps the reason for small businesses being the most targeted sector is that these companies typically don’t have the resources to manage their compliance with the Fair Work Act.

Our Small Business HR Package is an ideal step for small business employers to take towards becoming compliant with the Fair Work Act and reducing the risk of a visit from a Fair Work Inspector.

Or download our NES and Modern Award Risk Checklist and then contact us for assistance.

The Benefits of Workplace Policies

workplace policiesSomething I regularly come across with employers is that they don’t have any guidelines in place for staff behaviour. Usually this is discovered because I’ve been called in to help deal with an errant employee.

Whether you have one employee or one hundred, you need to set basic guidelines on behaviour. Why? The main reason is litigious – simply put you, the employer, may be held responsible for their actions in the course of their employ. It’s called vicarious liability.

You need a set of workplace policies in place that you can point to and show that the employee ought to have known what was expected of him/her in a disputed situation. In a legal dispute you will be in a much stronger position if you can show this and show that the employee was inducted into the relevant policy.

But workplace behavioural guidelines do more than just give the business a better defence in a legal matter, they communicate to all employees (and managers) a set of standards by which all can work in a harmonious, safe and prosperous work environment.

Employees don’t come to work to be bullied, sexually harassed or mistreated – they come to work to do a good job, enjoy doing a good job, earn a living and be satisfied. If employers don’t create the right workplace environment they risk losing staff on a regular basis – which directly impacts the bottom line of the business.

Another aspect of having behavioural guidelines in place that many don’t consider is that they are there to stop staff putting themselves in positions that can result in them being fired. Imagine that you have hired a top gun sales manager and he is setting the business on fire and sales and profits have never been better! Now imagine you have to fire him. Why? Because he’s been using the company network to download, store and spread hardcore porn. There was no policy against it so he felt he could do it with no repercussions. Oh, and by the way, he probably will sue for unfair dismissal because he didn’t know he could be fired for doing it.

When you hire staff you automatically create risk in your business. You need to set expectations on performance and behaviour straight away. Prevention is better than the cure – so make sure employees are inducted into your workplace policies and sign off on them.

Workplace policies…
• Set guidelines for all staff
• Set a level playing field in terms of behaviour
• Reduce the risk to a business from litigation
• Enable a more professional business image
• Increase productivity by reducing stress
• Reduce staff turnover
• Stop employees from having to be fired
• Create a more harmonious workplace

Also don’t hide your policies away after employees have signed off on them. Keep a copy in the kitchen, break room or in other relevant places – like a motor vehicle policy in the company cars. Go through the sexual harassment policy with employees just before the office Christmas party.

Reduce risk in your business today and contact us to get your employee policy and procedures manual started…

Six Easy Steps to OHS Compliance

OHS Compliance for small to medium employers has never been easier!

Nor has OHS compliance been more important with stringent laws and penalties for employers who don’t comply. With the Online OHS system it’s a quick and easy six steps to set up your system and start complying with your OHS obligations. The system is cloud based and designed to be user friendly with an icon driven interface so that it is easy to navigate and start using straight away.

OHS laws are there to protect your best asset and make sure they are available to come to work every day. So show your commitment to your people and implement an easy to use system that they can all have a part in using and keeping themselves healthy and safe.

Check out the video below to see how easy it is to setup and start managing your OHS obligations.