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Opportunities to build a better business during and post COVID 19

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Australia has managed to challenge every aspect of business operation in a very short period of time.

I am sure the experience has exposed many strengths and weaknesses in your business and continues to do so.

I understand that many business owners, managers and employees are feeling a mixture of emotions: sadness, anxiety, stress, helplessness etc. However, I write this article, not to further communicate the horror effects COVID 19 is having on businesses, but to talk about the opportunities to build a better business post COVID 19 through good HR systems, practices and strategies.

This experience has certainly highlighted the need for businesses to future proof themselves, and now is your opportunity to develop and implement changes that will achieve this.


Some trigger points indicating there are opportunities to improve in your business are:


• Drowning in paperwork?

• Using antiquated or inapt technology?

• Losing focus from the bigger picture?

• Experiencing too many employee issues?

• Unsure how to manage your employees?

• Lacking updated policies and procedures?

• Concerned about meeting your legal obligations?

• Wasting money on inefficient HR and payroll systems?

• Experiencing high staff turnover?

• Hearing employee excuses instead of ownership?

• Losing your best employees and customers?

• Concerned your processes are a compliance risk?

• Confused about who to ask regarding HR matters?

Below I look at 5 opportunities you can implement during this period to future proof your business.


Implementing better HR and Payroll systems and processes


A good starting point that won’t cost you a fortune is implementing HR and Payroll technology such as EI Payroll and Employment Hero (HR Platform). Although they are two different platforms, they seamlessly integrate. Just by implementing these systems alone you will reduce time spent on HR administration and payroll processing by 70-80%. This means you do not need to allocate full-time resources to manage these activities across your business. Here is a list of what the benefits are:


Creates a paperless environment – saving you thousands on paper and stationary, all activities will be completed via the platform, such as timesheets, rosters, employment contracts, ever-occurring letters including salary increases, promotions, job transfers, warnings and terminations and any other events that may arise.


Improves and makes less confusing compliance - reducing the risks of underpaying or overpaying staff, fines from Fair Work Ombudsman for non-compliance and legal fees to defend an employee claim.


Boosts efficiency and productivity – Everything is securely kept in the cloud. This means there’s no such thing as lost files, relevant staff can work remotely, it’s easier to work with external consultants, your employees can check their details on the go and new starters can onboard and commence induction activities before they walk in on their first day. Goodbye filing cabinets.


Engaging with your people – through employee self-service, staff can maintain their own personal details, have access to company policies and procedures and other important information. They will also have access to Learning online, receive Company announcements, complete performance reviews online and much more.


EI Payroll and Employment Hero was built here in Australia and empower SMEs by providing automated solutions for employee management and engagement, payroll and employee benefits.


Check out Employment Hero at https://www.esshr.com.au/hr-software

Performance Management System


In my experience as a HR professional working across the SME industry, the number one pain point is employee performance. Often there is either no review process and employees simply miss out on getting any feedback and development or the process in place is all-encompassing, inconsistent and often has little impact in improving performance.


Having a high performing team and maximising the return on your investment is going to be key to future proofing your business. Ultimately your business is only as good as the people in it.


A performance management system does not need to be complex, time consuming and about filling out paperwork – these do not work!


What a performance management system needs to achieve is a culture of learning and development through constructive feedback, encouragement and mentoring, empowering people to take responsibility to achieve great things and recognising and fostering talent. It also needs to cater for those who are not doing a good job and work with them to improve or exit the business.

Workforce Restructures


Many SME’s grow organically and as a result may reach stages of growth where the organisational structure becomes ineffective. Often the resources you employee in the early days of growth are not the resources you need later. You may experience the constant exiting of staff who no longer suit the needs of the business, replacing them with new resources to accommodate the needs of the business for that moment in time. This can be a very costly and stressful way to grow your business.


Now is the perfect time to set up an organisational structure to accommodate your future growth. Ideally you want to build a structure of your organisation to ensure you govern the workflow of your company making it easier to add new positions and provide flexibility and ready means for growth.


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Create an organisational structure where team members are the “doers” and the leaders are the “enablers”. The leader of a team does not necessarily need to be the expert in the product or service the team members are delivering.


Too often I see a high performing “doer” promoted to a leader, only to struggle in the leadership role. A team leader or manager should be an expert in leadership where they can effectively resource against demand and budget, they have strong commercial acumen to be able to understand the bigger picture, they can mentor and develop people, they have an ability to empower people to take ownership and responsibility and do not micromanage staff, they are very effective communicators and not afraid to deal with issues and challenges as they occur.

Have HR policies that protect your business

Often HR policies and procedures are either out of date or absent in the workplace making it difficult to consistently embrace any action or decision when an employee event or issue arises.


Having well written, up-to-date policies creates an environment of assure uniformity of action throughout the business. They provide managers a guideline by which they can effectively manage employees. They also provide tools to communicate the standards and responsibilities of your employee’s and what they can come to expect of your business.


Over the last few years there have been many changes across the Industrial Relations landscape, and these changes should be reflected in your HR policies and procedures to ensure compliance is adhered to.

Updating Employment Contracts


Every single employee in your business requires an employment contract and if they are not carefully drafted, you run the risk of ambiguity and failure to meet legal requirements. If any issues do arise, an ambiguous contract could prove very costly down the track.


Recently, the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision for annualised wages as part of its four-yearly review of modern awards


The decision requires employers to comply with certain new modern award annualised wage clauses from 1 March 2020. This means employers must ensure that an appropriate set-off clause is included in the employment contracts for those employees, which covers and specifies all award entitlements for the employees for all hours worked.


Now might be a good time to review and re-issue new employment contracts that detail new legislative changes.


How can we assist


Essential HR in partnership with Employment Innovations are leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium-sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, outsourcing payroll, payroll software, human resource management & HR software.


We can assist you to build a better business ready to thrive post COVID 19. Contact me directly at Justine.pepper@esshr.com.au


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