Are you due for an HR check-up?
24 January 2020
There is no better time than the present to form new habits and tune up your business operations. Sure, you could wait until the New Year or spring, but why wait? A great place to start your operations audit is by reviewing your human resources and WHS practices. Who knows? You could be missing something crucial that could come back to bite you at any time.
Below we outline 12 common areas of HR and WHS that can be missed or become disorganised. Read through the checklist below to see if you’re due for an annual check-up.
1. Keeping employment records
While employment contracts can be verbal in Australia, we recommend you always record an employee’s terms and conditions when you hire them. In fact, it’s always better to issue a formal employment contract to keep a record of all employees. In New Zealand, every employee you hire must have a written employment agreement that is agreed upon and signed by the employee before they start work.
Regardless of the rules, in both Australia and New Zealand keeping employee records is not optional. An HRIS, like enableHR, lets you identify employees who don’t have a signed and complete employment agreement on file specifying the appropriate pay rates and leave entitlements. Simply run a report in enableHR to check employee records are complete and up-to-date.
2. Managing seasonal workers
If you’ve ever ramped up staffing to cope with seasonal demands like Christmas and summer holidays, double-check you’ve chosen the right employment arrangement. When you’re not an expert it can be difficult to determine whether a casual, fixed term, or contract arrangement works best. Leverage the Employment Contracts/Agreements in enableHR to ensure you engage your workforce in the most appropriate way.
3. Work Health and Safety – inductions
In any business, ensuring your workforce understands workplace safety protocols is essential to complying with relevant legislative requirements. This includes the systems you have put in place (i.e. reporting accidents, fire evacuation plans etc), and outlining employee responsibilities. Consider how long ago your employees were inducted and whether there has been much change to your WHS management system or employee turnover. Even if they have done it before, there may be employees who could use a refresher course!
It’s a good idea to require your workforce to undertake the WHS Induction process every year or two. This helps ensure workplace safety policies and procedures are well understood and become a routine-based activity. At the very minimum, ensure all your workers have completed the WHS induction and that this is recorded in their employee records for easy reference and audit.
4. Work Health and Safety – training assessments
It’s important to conduct regular assessments to ensure adequate supervision and training is provided to all workers. If you provide on-the-job training, make sure your employees demonstrate understanding and you continue to monitor them.
With enableHR, you can capture training and competency data and systemise record keeping, alerts and reminders for follow up to ensure there are no gaps or potential training risks. Run a report to identify all the training and competencies that have expired. Also, look at anything expiring in the next 3-6 months to build into the New Year training plan to renew any expired certificates.
5. Enforcing workplace policies
Introducing robust and compliant workplace policies is good business practice. But if you don’t enforce them, they are meaningless and won’t protect your business in the event of a claim. For policies to be effective, you must:
- Formally communicate policies to all employees
- Have evidence that they have accepted the policies and any subsequent changes
- Retain such evidence in the employee record
Using enable Self Service (eSS) or Employee Self Service (ESS), managers can ensure all your workers are bound by your workplace policies. By giving workers the ability to acknowledge company policies using the self-service portal, you can easily identify if any employees have not accepted a policy and prompt the required follow up.
During your check-up, ensure you have an auditable record of each employee acknowledging your policies. Also, review your policies to check that they haven’t fallen out of step with current legislation. The policies in enableHR are always up-to-date and available for use.
6. Onboarding and induction
Research shows that poor onboarding and high turnover often go hand-in-hand. And it’s not surprising that disappointment in the early stages of a new job often leads to an employee’s super speedy departure. How well do you look after new hires? enableHR’s pre-employment workflows help ensure employment records are complete upon commencement. And the platform provides easy access to HR and WHS policies for viewing, acknowledgment and ultimately enforcement. Use enableHR’s induction workflows to adopt a consistent and standard new employee induction process and ensure all the key bases are covered.
Hiring a worker as an independent contractor when they should be an employee amounts to sham contracting. This is something that attracts large penalties whether it was unintentional or not. If you’re hiring contractors, make sure your workers meet the relevant tests that distinguish a contractor from an employee. Use the enableHR Contractor Module and Contractor Agreement to manage contractor engagement and records.
8. WHS and volunteers
As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you must consult with all workers who carry out work for the business who may be affected by work health and safety.
Double-check that you:
- Make volunteers aware of standard safety protocols
- Conduct regular WHS training
- Invite volunteers to participate in WHS consultations if appropriate. (enableHR’s volunteer module manages the inclusion of volunteers in your safety management practices.)
9. Unpaid interns/graduates
In Australia and New Zealand, unpaid internships must benefit the individual as a genuine training or learning opportunity. The more the internship requirements start to look like work, the more likely that it is work, and you must pay them. The same is true for trial periods. All workers should be paid for work trials. Double-check what you expect your volunteers and interns to do. It’s important to make sure that you are not inadvertently underpaying them and breaching workplace laws.
enableHR’s volunteer module will also manage engagement, inductions and record details of any interns or graduates. Further, a record will be kept of who has been an intern or graduate for future hiring or re-engagement opportunities.
10. Keeping up for renewal
Whether it’s fixed term employment contracts, probation reviews, visas, licenses, certificates, policies, or documents there are a raft of activities that are up for renewal or require periodic review. With enableHR you can run reports to determine what may have expired or is up for renewal, whether it’s training, document, policy, or task related, among other things. You can also run reports across the HR and WHS Checklist Processes to see what’s been completed and whether any critical actions are still outstanding.
11. Workplace Health and Safety – hazards and accidents
Check your hazard and accident registers. Mark complete any hazards that have been eliminated or accidents that have been closed to remove them from your registers. Check any controls have been put in place and consider getting an independent review of your registers to identify any new controls or actions that may assist in improving workplace safety.
It’s never too early to anticipate hiring needs, so it’s a great time to plan your hiring strategy year ahead. Identify any gaps in your staff and try to anticipate any freeing up of budget that could allow the business to bring on more staff. How do you plan to attract the right candidates? Now is also a good time to think of culture and employee incentives that will allow the business to hire top talent.
If you have read this article, or just conducted an HR audit of your own, and decided that enableHR could be the solution for you, give us a call today!
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