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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?

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.

Top 6 Reasons You Need To Be Investing In SEO

Understanding the basis of what search engine optimisation is, or SEO, will set the stage for you determining whether or not it’s something your business should be investing in, what’s the importance and what you should know about SEO as a digital marketing channel. We’ve put together 6 things you should know about investing in SEO.

Top 6 reasons you should be consistently investing in SEO.

 

6. Get FREE website traffic

Once you’ve had an SEO expert look over your business, website and online marketing strategy they will be able to determine the best keywords for you to target based on the outcomes you are trying to achieve, ranking in the organic section of Google is free which means it does not cost you any money when a customer clicks on your listing. This makes SEO much more cost efficient over time.

5. Target customers that are READY TO BUY

Google is the largest search engine in the world and is the most used search engine for customers looking for relevant and local businesses. It’s a place where people go to search for products and services when they are ready to buy. This means you can optimise your website to show up for the search terms that are more relevant to your business.

4. 94% of Australians use Google when they are looking for a product or service

So, if you are not ranking on page #1 of Google you are almost invisible to majority of your market. Only 2% of people click through to the second page of Google, so its imperative to be pulling out all the stops to get you ranking as high as possible.

3. Cheaper leads

For most businesses if they target the right keywords then over time SEO will generate the cheapest leads compared to any other digital marketing channel.

2. 70% of people click on the SEO listings

Compared to that of 30% of customers who click on Google Adwords. Why? Because ranking on page #1 in the organic section of Google makes you more credible and trustworthy. More tend to be sceptical when they see an ad as opposed to a ‘genuine’ listing as ranked by Google.

1. SEO is like wine, it gets better with age

Once you stop, your competitors will eventually outrank you.  SEO is an ongoing investment and is something that only gets better and cheaper with age! If you want your garden to bloom, keep watering it!

If you are still unsure if you should put your marketing dollars into SEO or if it’s the right move for your business feel free to contact us today and schedule a free consultation.

Or view more of our Digital Marketing Solutions.

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4 Reasons Why You Should Invest In Google Adwords

Have you ever liked the idea of running some Google Adwords but never really know whether you should or if it will work? Here 4 reasons why you should be using Google Adwords, the leading platform for search engine marketing (SEM).

1. Get to Page #1 FAST with Google Adwords

If you are eager to get onto page #1 then Google Adwords is the best way to do it.  You can have a campaign ready to go in just minutes. You make want to speak directly with a Google Adwords consultant Melbourne on how to get to page #1 using Google ads

2. Target customers that are READY TO BUY

Google Adwords is a way to reach the top of Google fast and you can select which keywords you would like to bid on in order to be on page #1 for. This means you can target people who are specifically looking for a service that you offer. Make sure you have done thorough research into which keywords have buyer intention and which keywords are just simply used for general search.

3. Featured at the TOP of Google Results

Google allows the Adwords to be featured at the top of the page which means Ads get featured higher than the organic listings for greater visibility.

4. Retarget Customers

Google Adwords has the added functionality to be able to create marketing lists to segment your website traffic into different categories based on their interests, you can then use these lists retarget them with specific ads for whatever service or product they were viewing on your website. If your customers did not convert the first time then this is the best way to retarget them and get them to  come back.

If you are still unsure if you should put your marketing dollars into SEM or if it’s the right move for your business, feel free to contact us today and scheduled a free consultation.

OR you can keep learning more about Digital Marketing Solutions here

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