Big milestone – you have your first few permanent or casual employees and work is starting to get done. You’re no longer doing BD, programming, marketing, secretarial work, accounts and being the ‘chief bottle washer’ – phew! But hey… that also means that you’re the boss and with this role comes legal obligations– some with significant ramifications if they’re not met correctly. Let me ask you a few questions:
- Does everyone in your business understand what bullying is? Do you have a policy and adhere to it? (You should)
- Do you assume everyone knows that telling a dirty joke is OK because Sarah is ‘one of the boys’? (Not a good idea)
- Is it OK to place all your employees under significant workload stress by insisting they regularly work late? (A big no-no)
- Can you fire someone or dock their pay because they made a mistake? (No way)
- Do you have to give an employee a play slip when they are paid? (Absolutely!)
As an employer, you have a number of legal responsibilities – including Workplace Health and Safety, treating your employees equally and not forgoing any of their Workplace Rights – to name just a few.
How can you protect yourself and your business? One way is to implement some basic HR policies; but beware, policies are to be followed at all times. You can’t, for example, use them for George but not for Ben, just because Ben is not performing.
There are added benefits of having a policy-controlled structure in this space:
- Potential reduced legal exposure and liability
- Ability to grow quickly with the appropriate framework in place
- A sense of equity amongst the team
- Team members can read up on the policy without having to ask you each time
- Your ability to terminate non-performers in a compliant manner
- Employees feel a sense of comfort that your business has a holistic and long term focus
- Future proofing your business
Here are some policy topics I would recommend as a starting point, in no particular order:
- Prevention of Sexual Harassment & Bullying
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- Annual, Personal and Parental Leave
- IT Use
- Performance Management
- Managing Grievances
When you implement an HR policy piece, it is also worth walking your team through the policies over a ‘lunch ‘n learn’ session. I would also recommend that you get them to sign off to confirm that they have read the policies and agree to adhere to them while they are your employees.
If you need assistance with deciding what policies you need and their implementation, then talk to us today.