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7 Common HR Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make

If you’re like most business owners and managers, you probably wear many hats and are responsible for many areas of your business. You’re the CEO, bean counter, marketing whiz, sales guru, lead developer, and more.

So you’ve typically got your hands full developing growth strategies, optimising the cash flow, managing customer relationships, product and service innovation, not to mention the human side of running your business.

At any one time, you may be trying to effectively on board new hires into your business, figure out the best way to develop a stellar employee, while you performance manage another.

Of course, when things get really busy, you tend to concentrate on the things you like to do rather than prioritise the things that need to be done.

So while you’re masterminding your latest marketing campaign, you certainly wouldn’t be the first business owner to put HR compliance in the too hard basket.

But it still needs to be done. And the problem is, the longer you leave it, the more painful it is, especially when you get it wrong.

Here are 7 common HR mistakes you need to fix right now.

1. National Employment Standards (NES) & Awards

With Australia’s complex employment laws, modern awards and agreements, underpayment of wages is alarmingly widespread. And apprentices and trainees are particularly vulnerable to being underpaid at work. But make no mistake, underpaying employees (even inadvertently) attracts big fines and back pay claims.

2. Employment contracts

You can find yourself in all sorts of trouble if you don’t record an employee’s terms and conditions when you hire them. Employment contracts written in plain English help you minimise costly and time consuming disputes by providing certainty about the legal rights and obligations of both you and your staff.

3. Independent contractors

For employers, hiring contractors is not just about the lower overheads, it’s the ability to adapt quickly to changing demands. However, while contractors run their own business and provide services to your business, you can’t classify a worker as a contractor simply because they have an ABN and they offer specialist skills. Furthermore, having a worker sign an agreement that states they are not an employee does not necessarily make them so.

4. Workplace safety

It doesn’t matter what your business does, or how low risk it is, as a business owner you have legal responsibilities to provide a safe place of work for your employees, contractors, volunteers, visitors, customers or the public. Though it may cost to implement safe practices and install safety equipment, the effect of not taking action can be costlier still.

5. Workplace policies

It’s one thing to create sound workplace policies, and quite another to actually enforce them. But your policies are only effective if they are uniformly enforced and properly communicated to your employees. Plus, you need to regularly audit your workplace policies to ensure they are up to date with relevant laws and other internal policies and procedures.

6. Performance management

While you may have a valid reason to dismiss an underperforming member of your staff, if you don’t follow due process, you’ll end facing and potentially losing an unfair dismissal claim. Procedural fairness is absolutely critical to how Fair Work Australia decides an unfair dismissal cases. If you fail to show you have applied procedural fairness before you dismiss an employee, it will usually result in a finding that the dismissal was unfair.

7. HR automation

If you’re still relying on an individual in your business to process your payroll and manage HR tasks, it’s only a matter of time until you come unstuck. HR automation can help you save time and money by streamlining business processes, and making your business more efficient, which in turn helps to improve profitability. And without an HR system in place, how can you be sure you’ll put your hands on the right HR records and documentation when you really need them?

Fix it now

Remember, HR compliance isn’t just for the big end of town. And while you may have pushed it to the bottom on your to-do list, as a small/medium business owner, it’s time to step up and fully understand what you need to do to get on top of your HR tasks and processes before things go awry.

Here at Essential HR, we live and breathe HR – it’s what we are experts in. We can quickly have you up and running, and compliant with your HR needs quickly and efficiently.

Want to know more. Visit and get in touch with us for a free 1:1 consult.


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