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International Women’s Day – Through the Eyes of a Managing Director and New Mum

It’s the night before my deadline and my marketing manager has asked me for this article for the last 5 days! Checking my phone this morning I see a ultrasound of my now 10 month old son and am reminded of the stark difference in my life 12 months on.

Let’s not dwell on my age, but to say I’m in my 40s and have lived a long and fortunate life of holidays, sleep-ins and independence up until 12 months ago and to say that it’s been an adjustment is an understatement!

Within the workplace, not having children until now has been a double edged sword. On the one hand I was free to attend all those late night networking events, schmooze clients at functions without worrying about bedtimes and routines, free to be promoted because I didn’t have the “challenge of a family” and cheaper than my male counterparts because as one CEO explained to me, I “didn’t have a family to support!” On the other hand, when inevitably asked if I had children and responded “no” I would be looked at with pity, or told “maybe one day!” or just assuming I didn’t want children at all. Most people being none the wiser to the 10 years of IVF!

Having watched friends and colleagues come and go with having children, I was convinced of two things – one, I wasn’t going to be surprised at the changes that my son would bring to my life, I was all over it! And two, I wouldn’t really change that much – I would still hold onto me, my identify and would not talk about my son incessantly!

You will need to ask my friends and colleagues if I have fully succeeded in the second! (Editor’s note: half the time, yes, haha). But as for the first, I could not have been more wrong – I have been equally parts pleasantly surprised and side swiped by the changes he has bought to my life.

Given it’s International Women’s Day, I want to share what I have learnt 12 months on and what this day means to me now.

‘Having it all’ is a huge myth

You can’t have it all but you can have choices, and it is up to you to decide what that looks like for you, even if it changes day to day, week to week or even hour to hour! The reality is that if you have a child you have an extra new very important (very noisy, stinky and luckily very cute) factor in your life.

You’re no longer just balancing your work life and your personal life. You have someone that completely needs and depends on you. But you also have yourself to consider, making (sometimes just a little) time to do the things that are important to you outside of work and/or child. And in my case I still have a business to run, and the buck stops with me so taking a year of parental leave just wasn’t the right option for me. So what that looks like is sometimes finishing emails inside the playpen or ballpit. And delegating things out to my team and trusting that while it may not be perfect, they will do a good enough job and always the right thing by our clients. It’s taking turns with my partner to allow for ‘self care’ (and yes that phrase is a little vomit inducing but it is true). For my partner that means a good session of gardening. For me it’s dinner with friends. At some point we also plan to have a date night! It’s not easy to make these things happen but it’s so important.

So you can kind of have it all, but not all at once, and you need to make choices on what’s right for you.

Mums have your back

There is a secret undercover mothers support network that I never knew existed until I gave birth. You hear and read about mums being ‘judgy’ towards each other and competitive about whose baby is ‘advanced’ (ugh, has there ever been a more pretentious way to talk about a child?!) but I have to say that this has not been my experience.

One of my other mum friends checked in with me nearly every day when I first had my child. Another of my colleagues told me what I needed to know without sugar-coating it at all which can sometimes be a little confronting but I’d rather have someone tell me how it really is than find out absolutely everything the hard way.

There are now online networks of business women who are also mothers supporting each other, giving advice and even business referrals as we’ve built a strong level of trust bonding over hilarious epic fails with diapers and stories of sleep success. Side note: I’ve never been as obsessed with sleep as I am now. I track it, measure it, I think I even dream about sleep while I’m sleeping.

You certainly don’t need to be a mum to be an amazing woman

Stop making assumptions about women and their desire to have or not have children! Some, like me, secretly struggle for years and don’t need to reminded that they’ve been unsuccessful – I was made redundant the day after I was told I would never have children and couldn’t say anything because of the secrecy surrounding unsuccessful pregnancies.

I’ve also found that you don’t have to be a mum to support other mums. It’s ok to not want children and it doesn’t mean someone doesn’t care about your kids or should be left out of a conversation or looked at differently – my strongest supporter doesn’t have children and has had my back and understood me every day the last 12 months!

These days I would say there is no appropriate way to ask someone about their procreation plans or otherwise. If you’re close with someone it can sometimes be ok to ask a friend if they have a view on having kids or not, but making a joke out of it or pressuring someone can be extremely hurtful. Honestly, the best thing to do is wait to be told. And if no one offers you an insight, the message you might (read: should) take from that is that it’s none of your business.

Baby on board(room)

The boardroom has evolved, but not everywhere and not for everyone.  I am fortunate to have the flexibility to work when it works for me and my family. However, during December I needed to attend two key meetings with two different business leaders and had to bring my son. Both could not have been more supportive, at 8 months my son was in some very prominent boardrooms and I was greeted with genuine care and flexibility – as the male CEO stated “I want to have an important conversation with you and we can do that equally as well with your son sitting next to you!”

How refreshing!

But let’s be real – this won’t be possible for everyone – the receptionist can’t bring her child to work and some women will need to go back to work sooner than they want and don’t currently have the choices that I do in the workplace, but change will occur as more men and women see new possibilities and innovative ways to approach flexibility.

Some businesses are getting it very right, others are a million miles behind – my partner has an extremely progressive (by Australian standards!) workplace that has allowed her to use her paid primary carer support one day a week over a 12 month period instead of all in one block. This is invaluable as it allows me to work in the office one day a week, and her to spend one day a week with our son in these formative first 12 months.

Unfortunately, our HR division gets too many of the other phone calls – male leaders wanting advice on how to get rid of that pesky maternity leave or wanting to know why you can’t ask a woman in an interview when she plans to have kids (in case you’re wondering why this is unfortunate it’s important to note that it’s illegal).

Female leaders are creating their own ‘next step up’

When will the corporate world wake up and wonder why so many leading women are leaving to start their own business or work in small business? These women have realised that some of the top corporate jobs are actually $hit jobs. They’re not set up for success, the expectations of availability are obscene and therefore the likelihood of flexibility is dismal. Instead, many have taken their enviable experience and made it available to other business as a consultant, or joined a smaller firm on a part time basis. Indeed, my own business consists of a few people that fit this bill so I’ve directly benefitted from this movement! But this shouldn’t have to be the only option if you want career progression AND a life.

Leaders would be well placed to remember that their business is made of men and women, young and young-at-heart, mums and dads, families of all types and combinations, people going through personal or mental health challenges, parents tired from a sick child the night before, and employees without children but with other caring responsibilities. It sounds too simplistic but I believe leaders need to stop thinking of the ‘company’ and start thinking of the business as ‘family.’  I bet if your leader is considering the needs of a ‘family member’ they will be more empathic than a faceless company.

Balance for better

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BalanceForBetter. It’s about each of us, regardless what gender you are, asking ourselves how we can get closer to a more gender-balanced world. How we can celebrate women’s achievements. Raise awareness against bias – don’t be a silent bystander. Take action for equality.

Every year we have the opportunity to learn more and get better at this. At Businessary we’re passionately committed to living these values. Even if we’re doing it from a children’s ballpit.

-Annabel Rees, Businessary Managing Director and Lincoln’s mum (not usually in that order)

 

Businessary bolsters team with top talent acquisition and employer branding leader

Melbourne, Australia: Businessary is pleased to announce recruitment and employer branding leader Jason Burns has joined the team as the Head of Talent Acquisition & Employer Branding.

After nearly four years since inception, Businessary has well and truly established itself as a preferred provider of business advisory, marketing and HR services. With more than ten years of talent acquisition experience gained both locally and overseas, Burns’ appointment bolsters Businessary’s capability in the HR advisory space.

“Attracting top talent through a strong EVP and getting it right when it comes to recruitment strategy and process is a frequent pain point for business leaders. Being able to offer our clients these services backed by someone of Jason’s calibre is a huge coup for our business,” said Businessary Managing Director Annabel Rees.

Previously, Burns headed up Talent Acquisition for REA Group, and was the Head of Recruitment for Gallagher Australia. Most recently, he’s been providing ad hoc consulting services to a select group of businesses. Renowned for his ability to understand different industries and businesses and translate that into a compelling offer for candidates, Burns is passionate about ‘making great companies ace at talent acquisition.’

“I’ve worked with Annabel and the team in previous roles and I know the exceptional level of services they provide and quality of clients that the business attracts. I’ve got a reinvigorated energy and empathy for the challenges that come with building an employee brand and internal recruitment and joining Businessary gives me the opportunity to apply my skills and expertise,” emphasised Burns.

“The competition for talent is cutthroat, and if you’re not being proactive in this space you’re going to miss out on some great candidates.”

For all media enquiries please contact:

Melissa Montang, Head of Marketing and Communications at Businessary
+61 431 251 339
[email protected]

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About Businessary

After holding numerous high level corporate roles and successfully transforming the performance of many organisations, Businessary Founder, Managing Director and CEO Annabel Rees recognised that she could make a real difference by providing business expertise previously only available to large businesses to small and medium businesses.

Employing all the diverse knowledge, experience and expertise gathered over many years consulting and leading businesses in the corporate realm, the team at Businessary provides a range of business advisory solutions to help organisations find a clear path to business success.  A trusted advisor that supports businesses to meet their business challenges to optimise business performance.

Our expertise lies in:

Businessary solutions range from online toolkits through to bespoke consulting solutions.

Maternity Leave – Burden or Mutual Benefit?

The most common types of questions we get on the topic of maternity/parental leave are around whether an employee can be made redundant whilst on maternity leave, and what the employer’s rights are when it comes to an employee returning from maternity leave and requesting flexibility to their working arrangements.

If we dig a little deeper into the underlying concerns managers have when they want to explore these questions, it is often the unknown as to the productivity and commitment of the employee upon their return.

Promoting flexibility and supporting parents back into the workplace isn’t just your responsibility and obligation, it’s an important part of your people management strategy. Done well, it can also be an opportunity to truly demonstrate your integrity in the modern workplace and can be a real point of difference for companies who get it right.

The challenge for managers when faced with a returning employee or request to change previous arrangements is to think bigger picture and flexibly themselves, as it is often a case in which actions speak louder than words and they start to question if the role is really needed.

So, what are the facts when it comes to parental leave and flexibility?

With regards to what an employer is permitted to do within legislation, an employer can make an employee on parental leave redundant if the redundancy is genuine and the correct process is followed.  Furthermore, there is no requirement for an employer to agree to a request for flexible working arrangements, therefore, an employer can also refuse a flexible working request provided the refusal is based on reasonable business ground.

Businessary HR Manager Lauren McCleery comments “While the legislation allows for redundancies of employees on parental leave, I’ve found that in most cases when talking through the situation and the business needs with the manager, a redundancy and refusal of flexible working would not be genuine, and in some cases fabricated – leaving the business open to risk.”

Are you missing an opportunity? Viewing parental leave as an HR tool

Returning parents to the workforce and allowing increased flexibility can be an opportunity for employers.  Employees returning are often more motivated, productive and better able to juggle demands because they are very conscious of time restraints and being as efficient as possible.  This is something that can be utilised and fostered by managers and will ensure greater engagement, loyalty and performance for the business! It also helps ensure that you don’t lose the investment you’ve made in that employee, and the valuable intellectual property they’ve developed within their role. It can cost 1.5 – 2.5 times an employee’s salary to replace them if they leave because of the money spent on recruitment, retraining and inducting people into your business. And in specialist roles, where skills are hard to find, these costs are significantly higher.

Parental leave and flexibility makes business sense (and cents)

A study done by the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) found that paid parental leave schemes give medium to large employers an advantage and can actually help cut costs and deliver a better result to your bottom line. This may be due to reduced turnover/recruitment costs,.

On the flip side, employees that are not supported, refused flexibility and potentially terminated upon return not only send a person back out into the job market with a negative experience of the business, but also sends a negative message throughout the business for employees that remain, that may potentially be in that exact situation in the future.

Taking it up a level – prepare for the future workforce

Embracing parental leave, carer’s leave and flexibility arrangements can be more than an engagement and retention tool. It can also help to attract the best available talent and work to normalise caregiving – making it okay for single people, men, senior executives, anyone really, to take a block of time off or make flexible arrangements to care for an ailing family member or new child. Some countries and companies have begun to mandate parental leave for both men and women, which helps level the playing field for men and women at both home and work.

In a recent Forbes article, author Shelley Zalis noted ‘It’s unfortunate because we’re losing our best leaders to caregiving, yet caregiving qualities make the best leaders today.’

Do you want to talk to an HR Manager about your specific business situation? Get 30 Min Free HR Advice by calling (03) 9662 9900.

Another win for equality!

The Fair Work Ombudsman recently announced its successful litigation against an employer for racial discrimination against employees.

The employer had been treating two Malaysian employees differently to Australian staff in the form of underpayment of wages, as well as requiring them to perform additional work hours but failing to record them. This different treatment had resulted in over $28,000 in underpayment of wages.

This was the first time Fair Work had taken legal action against an employer for racial discrimination against employees, and the successful litigation saw both the company and the owner operator receive penalties totalling more than $200,000.

This was an important win for equality for employees. There has been significant focus over previous years on ensuring that employees are receiving minimum entitlements from employees, however this win will highlight the importance of ensuring minimum provisions are provided, and for employers to be aware that they are held accountable for treating all workers fairly!

Concerned your business may have workplace discrimination and unconscious bias?  Give us a call on (03) 9662 9900to discuss and get you back on the right track!

New financial year – new minimum wage

It’s that time of year again! Fair Work has announced a 3.5% increase to the minimum wage.

That means that come 1 July 2018, all Modern Award minimum base rates of pay will increase by 3.5%, and the national minimum wage will increase to $719.20 per week.

The Fair Work Ombudsman office is currently working to update all the online pay guides for each Award which will be available in due time.   However, now is the time to prepare your business for pay changes to be processed in the first full pay cycle in the new financial year.

Not sure where to start? Need help interpreting an Award or your employees pay rates?  Contact us!

7 Steps to Setting Up Your Google My Business (GMB) Page

First, let’s talk about what a Google My Business page is.

A Google My Business (GMB) page is simply a business listing that shows up in Google when your customers search for your business name e.g. “Businessary” or when they search for services that you provide within your local area e.g. “Human Resource Consulting”.

Your GMB page will display relevant information like your address, trading hours and phone number as well as a place for customer reviews, questions and suggestions.

If you’re an online business owner, have a physical store or operate within a service area as a mobile agent you should be using Google My Business to help promote your business and attract new customers. It’s not only a free platform, but it will also help your business to show up in front of potential customers when they are searching on Google for a product or service you offer.

You can also use GMB to engage with your current and potential customers and prospects and gain further exposure by posting regular updates and information they need to make a purchase decision. You can send customers directly to your website through a post, blog or “marketing hook” to learn more about information or special offers. If you would like to start engaging with your customers you can download a FREE content plan here to help you get started.

But for now, let’s get back to setting up your GMB page first.

 7 Easy Steps to Setting up your Google Business Page!

 

Start by signing up to Google Business via this link https://business.google.com/

1. Sign into your Google Account OR Sign up if you don’t already have one

Just click on the green start now button if you already have a Google account OR select sign in if you don’t already have an account with Google.

2. Enter your business name – click next

3. Enter your full business address – click next

Google will need this information to be accurate when they sent you the verification postcard (which you will read about in steps 6 and 7)

4. Select your business category – click next

5. Enter your business phone number and website address – click next

If you don’t have a website you don’t need to enter one but if you would like to enquire about one click here

6. Request a postcard verification – click continue

Google will now post you a postcard to the address you provided earlier in about 5-10 business days. Keep an eye out for this in your mailbox.

7. Verify your business on Google

Once you receive the postcard you will need to log back into your Google My Business account here go to your listing and enter the 6-digit code to activate your listing. Your listing will only go live on Google once you have verified your listing.

Get assistance in setting up your Google My Business site

**NEW SERVICE** Don’t have the time or patience to set up your own GMB? Let Businessary take care of it for you for just $99+GST! We can take the hassle out of it for you.

If you need to talk to a marketing consultant to help you with setting up your listing give us a call today on (03) 9662 9900 or claim 30 mins of FREE marketing advice.

Long Service Leave Act Changes Have Been Made 15th May

Victoria: Exciting new Long Service Leave changes for parents taking parental leave and employees reaching 7 years of continuous employment! 

New changes just passed on 15 May 2018 in the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament mean that employees will have greater flexibility and access to Long Service Leave (LSL) sooner under the new legislation.

Changes include:

  • Employees will be allowed to take Long Service Leave (LSL) after 7 years of continuous employment (pro rata) instead of 10 years;
  • Parents taking up to 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave will have their leave included when calculating continuous employment for LSL accrual;
  • And employees will have more flexibility in how they can take their long service leave.

Employers need to ensure that you review and update relevant policies and practices so that you’re correctly accruing and administrating long service leave.

Changes come into effect on 1 November 2018, unless proclaimed earlier, so now is the time to prepare!

Give us a call on 03 9662 9900 if you would like to discuss how these changes affect your business and how to prepare. Remember we also offer up to 30 minutes of FREE HR advice on your first call!  Speak to an HR Consultant today

Talk To An HR Manager Today

How to Build a Successful Google AdWords Campaign

Is Google Adwords Right For Your Business?

Determining if Google AdWords is going to be right for your business is the first step to growing your business online. Knowing how to run a successful AdWords campaign would be the next step.

So, if you have already contacted an AdWords consultant in Melbourne and established that Google AdWords is the right fit for your business then you can start mapping out your plan today. If you’re still not quite sure and you’d like to find out, you can get a FREE consultation from one of our AdWords Consultants in Melbourne

Here’s our guide on how you can set-up a successful Google AdWords campaign.

  1. Establish your goals & select your keywords

A goal for your business for example might be to grow your sales to $1,000,000 or generate brand awareness for a new service offering. Regardless, the best tools to find out what level of demand there will be is to use Google Keyword planner that you will be able to find selected keywords that will attract buyers and generate revenue for your business.

In addition, you’ll need to understand the keywords you want to use and whether they are the right keywords that are going to drive business for you or not. Ways to check the relevance of keywords include doing a manual search in Google and see what businesses come up in the ads and more importantly the organic section of Google.

  1. Audit your website to for conversions

You may need to buy a new website all together if your website is poorly optimised and constructed. Everything from the content on the page, URL structures, main headiness right through to the appropriate use of call to actions. Make sure that your ads are going to match the landing page you are going to send them too. Loads of businesses lose a lot of money on AdWords due to poorly optimised websites.

  1. Selecting your target locations

Using the advanced settings in Google AdWords, make sure you are setting up your locations(s) correctly. If you are targeting Australia vs specific parts of Australia not its entirety,  e.g. you may be national company but want to exclude the rural and less populated areas of Australia.

If you are targeting capital cities, you can select by radius or on a postcode basis. Both options are different and will also have an effect on your campaign results.

  1. Campaign vs. an ad group

Firstly, you need to identify what campaign type is the right one for your business, as there are now many options including search network, search network with display, display network only, shopping or video. In addition, you’ll need to decide if you are wanting to create a brand-new campaign or just ad an ad group to an existing campaign.

Setting out your business goals at the start will enable you to map out a plan at the beginning rather than having to re-evaluate later on.

You may decide to create a unique campaign for each city or a new campaign for each different service offering. Each method has its pros and cons.

  1. Research

Before drafting your own ads, do your research first and have a look at what your competitors are doing, even start a file to store your competitor’s ads if you find this useful to remember and refer back to later.

This shouldn’t be used so that you can ‘copy’ their ads but more so you know what other people are offering or special offers that might be on the marketing a working well to help get some ideas flowing.

We strongly advise you to come up with a value proposition for your prospects which is going to entice them to take action when landing on your page. Driving traffic but not leads is only useful for branding exercises, which have no clear monetary goal (e.g. engagement campaigns).

  1. Ad-Copy

Great content gets the clicks, great website gets the converts!

Have a think about what your customers’ real problems are and how you can solve them. If you’re not sure of what a great offer would be you may need to have a chat to a sales professional or your top sales person and find out what your customers’ problems are to help you come up with an offer.

Split testing offers can also be helpful if you’re not sure which offer is going to work; however, this will be dependent on your AdWords budget. We wouldn’t be recommending split testing on budgets less than $500/month.

Want to know more?

In creating a successful Google AdWords campaign there are many more elements to consider, however the purpose of this blog is to help you get started. For any deeper knowledge on starting your Google AdWords campaign we recommend that you contact a Google AdWords consultant to get you started. Or call Businessary on (03) 9662 9900 for a free consultation.

What does a great induction look like?

Recruiting is important, and so is managing performance – but don’t underestimate the importance of induction in the employee lifecycle!

Your new starters have already formed a view of your business through the application and interview process – do you think it’s a good one? Yes or no, the induction process is your chance to either turn a mediocre perception into a good one or turn a good one into a great one!

What is an employee induction?

An employee induction programme is the consistent process your business should use to welcome your new employees to the company and prepare them for their new role. Sometimes an induction is also known as ‘onboarding’, ‘orientation’ or ‘socialising’.

The process is designed to help integrate your new team member into the organisation. You’re forming the bond between your company and your employee that can withstand the normal ups and downs of a role.

A great start – what happens in an induction?

Induction can be quite formal and lengthy or informal and brief, just covering the necessities. It should mirror the culture of your organisation.

Here are the main sections that should be covered off in your induction:

  • First day logistics – i.e. what time should they arrive, who to ask for, who is organising keys/badge/uniform
  • Legal obligations – i.e. signed copy of the letter of engagement or employment contract, completed tax file number declaration form (unless declined by employee), completed superannuation choice form, etc
  • Introductions and safety – introduce your new employee to their team and schedule meetings with key contacts, show them the facilities and emergency exits
  • Culture and ‘the way we do things here’ – share the story of your business and expected values and behaviours

A great induction can help you turn your employees into your biggest advocates. This will help you improve not just your company’s employee attraction and retention, but also your client attraction and retention as well! This is the lens through which you should view your induction programme. Word of mouth can be either the best or the worst marketing for your employer brand.

Special offer: FREE employee induction checklist!

Using an new employee induction checklist is best practice to make sure you have covered all the requirements.

Simply fill in your name and valid email and we will send you your FREE employee induction checklist.

 

How do you ensure a good induction?

It’s all in the details. There are a lot of moving pieces to having someone join the organisation. Has all the appropriate paperwork been filled out? Have you ordered all the hardware and software they need, as well as setting up their desk? Having access to the network and emails is important, but so is having pens and paper to take notes during their early days.

A nice touch? Have their business cards ready and waiting on their desk when your new starter walks in.

Administrative tasks are important in induction, but so is ‘cultural induction’. Where do people go for lunch? Who can your new starter join for lunch on their first day, have you scheduled a team lunch or morning tea to properly welcome the new team member?

Does your business have a more formal culture, or relaxed? Do you have casual Friday attire? It’s a bit awkward to show up on your first Friday in your best suit when everyone else is wearing jeans (or vice versa if someone assumes you have casual Friday and you don’t!)

These are all one-percenters for sure, and if you miss one or two it isn’t likely to be a dealbreaker. But you can imagine the difference to your employee if they show up and nothing has been prepared for them, versus arriving to work their first day, confident that due thought and effort has been put into their arrival.

Interested to learn more? You can also check out our blog on getting both induction and leaving right in your business.

Need help with your induction programme or have other HR queries?

Need some additional HR Services Melbourne advice then you can Get 30 min FREE advice from an HR Manager first! Call today on (03) 9662 9900.

The information provided in this article is only general in nature – before making business decisions you should consider seeking advice specific to your situation.

Is redundancy the new performance management?

Too often we hear from an employer or manager when they’ve reached their limit with a poor performer. Our initial advice is often to begin a performance management process, but often we’re met with resistance because the problem has gotten out of hand and the employer now feels like they don’t have the time nor wherewithal to begin to manage the employee’s performance. Often, they turn the conversation to whether or not they can use redundancy as an alternative option. Is that a viable option? Let’s explore it.

What’s the difference between performance management and redundancy?

A performance process involves addressing the performance or behavioural concerns of an employee, and is focused on improvement.  This process can often involve first and final written warnings, and potentially termination of employment as a final outcome, or an immediate outcome depending on the seriousness of the issue.

In between those steps should be periods of review and assessment, during which you should provide your employee with the relevant support to assist sustained improvement.. It’s essential that a proper process is followed throughout the performance management process to ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken and documented in accordance with legislation.

Active performance management can help you create a strong culture of excellence for your business. It creates clear expectations and can help attract and retain highly motivated and productive team members.

If you’re trying to leverage redundancy in place of performance management, it could be illegal and have unintended consequences, like a post-redundancy hit to your team’s morale and an impact to their productivity, not to mention unfair dismissal risks.

“A classic mistake that employers often make is that they don’t realise that if they make a role or person redundant, they are claiming that the position is genuinely not required by the business, therefore potentially leaving the business under resourced and open to the risks of an non genuine redundancy process,” notes Businessary HR Manager Lauren McCleery.

“A redundancy means the employer no longer wants or needs to have that position performed by anyone. And if it’s not a genuine redundancy, for example if you then try to recruit to replace the role you’ve made redundant, the employee could claim that it’s an unfair dismissal and make a claim against the company to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

“Generally we would advise clients to focus on leading by example – providing coaching, mentoring and support to their teams, including a well structured performance management program. This will help mitigate the need for a knee jerk reaction of using redundancies to exit an underperforming or unliked employee from the business.

“Your managers and leaders should have the capability and confidence to handle difficult conversations, and if you’re not finding that they are able to, then perhaps it’s at their level that more training and effort should be applied.”

But businesses can and do have the need to make roles redundant at times. Your business could consider making roles redundant for a number of reasons, including new technology that reduces reliance on the role, economic slowdown or business slowdown, closing or relocating an office, or perhaps you’re undergoing a merger or restructure.

If you’re not making a role redundant for genuine business reasons, you could be trying to cut corners. However, if your reasons are valid, making a role or roles redundant could be the answer for your business.

How do I make someone redundant?

Firstly, make sure that you are looking at a ‘genuine redundancy’, which requires you as the employer to meet three requirements, according to Fair Work:

  • You do not still need the employee’s job to be done by someone (i.e. you’re not hiring someone else to do the same role)
  • You’ve followed relevant requirements to consult with your employees about the redundancy under an award or registered agreement
  • You’ve made a reasonable attempts to find suitable alternative roles for the employee within the organisation.

You then have an obligatory consultation process to set out what you as the employer need to do, and this process should be done ASAP after you’ve made the decision to make major changes to the workplace that will result in redundancy.

Your consultation requirements include:

  • Notifying your employees that may be affected by the changes
  • Provide them with information about the changes and the anticipated effects
  • Discuss steps that you’ve taken to avoid or minimise negative impacts on your employees
  • Consider your employees’ ideas or suggestions about the changes
  • Discuss any potential suitable alternative roles available.

Making the redundancy process as smooth as possible

Strong and consistent communication is key. You should carefully plan and implement a communication strategy to avoid mixed messages or inaccurate information throughout your obligatory consultation process.

“If you’re not sure about your obligations, this is when you need to rely on your HR team or find an HR consultant,” adds McCleery. “This isn’t the time to wing it or leave it to chance.”

Provide dignity, support and respect throughout the process

The number one skill that will be useful to achieving an outcome with dignity and respect is empathy – how would you want to be treated if you were in your employee’s shoes?

Often best practice involves asking your impacted employees their input regarding any measures that might mitigate against the impact of redundancy, such as redeployment opportunities.

If the result is indeed that the employee’s employment will terminate due to redundancy, there are a number of support options that you could consider making available, such as offering a reference or giving your employee access to career management support such as outplacement services, financial advice or legal advice.  It’s also important to consider providing your employees with access to counselling and health/mental health support through a confidential service like an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Your managers and leaders will have the most regular contact with the impacted employees during a redundancy process, so it’s vital that they’re well positioned and armed with the correct information and messages to make themselves available to answer questions and discuss the change process with employees as the need arises.

To summarise

  • You need to make sure that any redundancies you’re considering meet the criteria set out by Fair Work.
  • You can make roles redundant when it’s a genuine redundancy, which can be tricky so we encourage you to get expert advice.
  • Redundancy isn’t a good replacement for performance management – you can’t use it to terminate someone who is underperforming or a ‘bad cultural fit.’
  • Focus on your performance management process NOW so you don’t run into a scenario of wanting to exit someone from your business without the structure, process, time or energy to do so.

Need to have a difficult conversation with an employee?

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The information provided in this article is only general in nature – before making business decisions you should consider seeking advice specific to your situation.