Did you know that young people in Australia are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as the general population? According to recent figures, those aged between 15-24 had an unemployment rate of 11.6%, as compared to the general population of just 5.4%. Across the world, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, so as World Youth Skills Day approaches on 15 July, we thought it was the perfect time to share our ideas on how employers can help young job-seekers enter the workforce.

  1. Ask yourself, does this role really need someone with 3+ years’ experience?

We understand that in many cases, the default position for a position vacant is to look for someone with experience. An experienced person requires less training, is potentially more mature and saves you the time of teaching someone the ropes. In reality though, most businesses still have a lot of systems and processes that are unique to their business, which means that EVERYONE has to be trained in ‘the way things are done here’.

The other plus side of hiring a young person, potentially with little to no experience, is that they haven’t learned any ‘bad habits’ from your competitors! Whether it’s making coffee, learning to bake bread, use a cash register or booking appointments, the right attitude and someone to show them to ropes means an inexperienced person can learn to do things your way.

 

  1. Consider whether your new position could be flexible around study commitments.

This doesn’t always mean creating a part-time position, however, it could mean accommodating study-leave where required. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that around 84% of people aged 15-19 and 44% of people aged 20-24 are enrolled in formal study. With so many young people involved in formal studies, it’s understandable that full-time positions might not always work around lectures, tutorials and study time. On the plus side, as an employer, hiring someone who is studying means hiring someone who is soaking up information, ideas and concepts that could be beneficial to your business!

 

  1. Take the time to explain expectations.

Young people entering the workforce may not know what’s expected of them on their first day or as an employee in general. They may need extra support in the basics, such as:

  • arriving to work on time, suitably dressed,
  • when lunchtime and breaks are,
  • how to interact with others,
  • what to do when all their work has been completed,
  • how to complete their timesheet,
  • how to read a roster, and
  • workplace health and safety

What do you do to help young people start work in your workplace? If recruiting and managing staff is challenging for you, talk to our Workplace Partners about our workforce management solutions today.

Are you aware of the Codes of Practice relevant to your industry? In Queensland, Codes of Practice (or equivalent or higher standards) must be followed by employers, otherwise, enforcement action can be taken by a safety inspector. This is due to changes that came into force from 1 July. Previously, inspectors could only issue improvement notices, or other enforcement action, for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 or the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

 

Although this may sound daunting, Codes of Practice are a more practical resource which can help you to achieve the required health and safety standards for your industry, whilst also helping identify and manage hazards and risks.

 

It is possible that more than one Code of Practice could apply to your workplace. For example, many businesses would need to follow the following Codes of Practice (CoP):

First Aid in the Workplace CoP 2014

Hazardous Manual Tasks CoP 2011

How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks CoP 2011

Managing the Risks of Falls at Workplaces CoP 2018

Managing the Work Environment and Facilities CoP 2011

Work Health and Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination CoP 2011

Plus, also potentially following more industry-specific Codes of Practice.

 

This is a significant list of reading; however, these documents are written in straightforward language, with many requirements that business owners would implement as a matter of course. For example, in the Managing the Work Environment and Facilities CoP 2011, regarding Housekeeping, it states what we would expect to be the standard business practice of:

 

2.2 Housekeeping

 An untidy workplace can cause injuries in particular, injuries resulting from slips and trips, therefore good housekeeping practices are essential for all workplaces. For example

  • spills on floors should be cleaned up immediately
  • walkways should be kept clear of obstructions
  • work materials should be neatly stored
  • any waste should be regularly removed.

 

It will be much easier to keep the workplace clean and tidy if it is well laid out with sufficient space for storage and for the movement of people. Space close to workstations should be allocated to allow for the storage of tools and materials that are used frequently, for example providing racks for hand tools above workbenches.

 

Tidiness throughout the working day can be difficult to maintain in industries where there is rapid production of finished goods and/or waste. In these situations, training all workers in good housekeeping procedures and their co-operation with these procedures is necessary to keep the workplace tidy.

 

Suitable containers for waste should be conveniently located and regularly emptied. While it may be reasonable to expect workers to leave their immediate work area in a clean and tidy condition at the end of the working day, other options for carrying out the general cleaning of the workplace should be considered, for example engaging cleaners.

 

To reduce overwhelm when considering all the Codes of Practice that might apply to your business, we suggest reviewing all the Codes that would apply, then start with implementing the Code that would likely make the biggest impact to your business. From there, you can then work through each of the Codes, ticking off each aspect as you go.

 

If you’re concerned about your implementation process, or simply don’t have enough time to add this process to your list, get in touch with our Workplace Partners, who can work with you on your workplace health and safety needs.

 

For more:

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/forms-and-resources/newsletter/esafe-newsletters/esafe-editions/esafe/june-2018/work-safety-codes-toughened-to-better-protect-workers

3, 2, 1…Happy New (Financial) Year! Yes, it’s that time of year again! The new financial year is a great time to check in with your personal and business goals, to assess if you’re on track, or if perhaps you need to ramp-up or re-evaluate the way you’re doing things. When it comes to your workplace, we’ve got a few ideas for your mid-year, workplace resolutions.

1. I will provide feedback to my team in a timely manner.
Providing both positive and negative feedback to your employees in a timely manner, i.e. not waiting for an annual review, helps others know what’s expected of them. It creates consistency and clarity, which makes for a more productive team.

2. I will invest in training.
As the old saying goes: “What if I invest in my people and they leave?” “But sir, what if you don’t, and they stay?” We understand for many small businesses, budgets are tight. Effective training provides a decent return on investment (ROI). Employees become more knowledgeable, providing a more effective service to your customers, whilst also improving engagement with your team. It’s truly a win-win.

3. I will review my health and safety processes.
We find that many businesses become ‘store-blind’. Because they see the same things, day-in and day-out, potential hazards get missed because it’s simply always been that way. Take the time to properly review your physical working space, as well as the work practices of your team. To make it engaging, you could hold a competition for your employees to identify improvements in workflows, keep a clean workspace or identify safety concerns, with a winner chosen at the end of the month, rewarded for their contribution.

4. I will celebrate the wins.
Whether big or small, we think recognising the successes along the way makes for a much more enjoyable workplace. There are a million different ways to celebrate, whether it’s with a shared meal, Friday afternoon drinks, thoughtful gifts or simple recognition. The main objective is for the celebration to remind people of the joy of the journey, and provide energy for the more challenging days.

5. I will work smarter, not harder.
Using systems and outsourcing non-core processes can help you to manage your time more effectively. This could include improving timesheet collection processes through online systems, outsourcing recruiting responsibilities, or perhaps reviewing your entire workforce management requirements.

At Workplace Central, we’re here to help with all your workforce management needs. Our team are only a call away!

 

Want an excuse to take your best friend to work? This Friday 22nd June is International Take Your Dog to Work Day, so if your pooch is feeling a little lonely at home, this is the perfect day for some social interaction! The initial idea behind the day was to encourage pet adoption through local shelters.

Bringing a pet to work (one that’s toilet-trained and friendly to people and other dogs, at least) is said to reduce stress and have a calming effect on the workplace. That is, after the initial ruckus and excitement from the novelty of having a dog in the office!

If your workplace management does agree to bringing your dog to work, we’ve got a few tips for making the most out of the day.

1. Get introductions and photos out of the way early. Bringing a dog to work can create a ‘celebrity’ effect, where there’s a lot of excitement and selfies. To make it easier on the workplace, and the dog, arrange introductions to the team, and then, if they’re not overwhelmed, perhaps some photos and fun before the work day begins.

2. Check with the team that there’s no one with a fear of dogs. If there is, it might be better for the dog to stay at home, or in a larger workplace, find a way for the dog and the person to be less likely to cross paths.

3. Create a quiet place for the dog to rest. This is important for workplace productivity, as well as the dog’s health. Understanding where there’s a safe place to relax and simply enjoy being in a new environment is critical to ensuring work gets done and the dog doesn’t spend the day roaming around the workplace.

4. Check the workplace for safety risks. Dogs can and do end up in places you wouldn’t expect, so do a quick safety review of the workplace before the dog arrives and put away anything they may accidentally eat, damage or break. Plus, make sure they can’t get in areas where there’s traffic, tools or other plant and equipment. We recommend that the dog owner be responsible for their pet wherever possible, rather than disappearing through the workplace with a colleague, to reduce risks of accidents for the dog and staff.

5. Don’t forget bathroom breaks! Adjusting your schedule to manage additional bathroom breaks, play time and interaction is an important part of pet ownership that doesn’t stop when your dog comes to work.

A growing number of businesses are open to the idea of, if not encouraging, a pet-friendly workplace on a long-term basis, not simply for Take Your Dog to Work Day. With the right setup, it can certainly be great for team morale, engagement and recruitment incentives! Our team has Ben’s dog, Molly, join us at work regularly. She’s settled into office-life and brings a new dynamic to our team culture. We love it!

Over the years, we’ve seen many changes in Government legislation when it comes to employment. Labour hire licensing has been on our radar for a number of years, so when the Queensland government made the decision to roll this out last year, although we weren’t a fan of an additional layer of regulation, we weren’t surprised.

What it means for us

The Queensland Government introduced the Labour Hire Licensing Act (2017) with the objective of protecting vulnerable workers and supporting responsible labour hire providers. The legislation commenced on 16 April 2018 and existing providers operating in Queensland have until 15 June 2018 to apply for their licence. It took approximately 3 weeks for us to receive our Certificate for our Licence to Provide Labour Hire Services (emailed as an editable Word document, but that’s another story) so we would expect all existing labour hire agencies that have been approved will be finalised by mid-July.

As a labour hire provider, we will be required to report to the Office of Industrial Relations every 6 months, on details such as the number of workers, how they are engaged, whether any employees have a visa, which local government area the employees are working in and compliance with relevant laws, amongst other requirements. Although it’s a big job, everyone will be operating on the same playing field and as the reporting forms and guides are released, the easier this process will become.

What this means for you

Businesses who use or are considering using a labour hire company are also required by the legislation to only use a licensed operator. Business owners and managers can check the register to ensure their operator is either licensed or has a licence pending. We recommend saving a copy of the licence search results for your chosen labour hire provider, in case there’s ever an issue down the track.

What’s happening in other states

While this legislation has just commenced in Queensland, the South Australian government, which commenced its Labour Hire Licensing Scheme on 1 March 2018 has announced it won’t be enforcing their legislation before 1 February 2019. It was due to be enforced from 1 September 2018. The South Australian government received numerous submissions from stakeholders, raising various issues regarding the legislation and the implementation of the scheme; the delay intends to resolve these issues before continuing with the requirement to be licenced. The SA legislation is different, however similar to that in Queensland.

Victoria has a Labour Hire Bill before the parliament currently, which is being strongly debated by both sides of the argument, whilst the remaining states have not put changes in motion regarding labour hire licensing at this time. Perhaps these states will now wait for the results from the Queensland approach before implementing any changes themselves.

For us, we’re doing business as usual, whilst continually improving our backend systems and data collection, to make reporting as straightforward as possible. We will continue to work with our clients and employees to deliver a positive, compliant workforce management solution and look forward to serving you.

Last month, a worker on the Gold Coast was struck and subsequently run over by a forklift in the loading bay of an industrial workplace. The worker suffered serious injuries to his leg and shoulder. Investigations are underway as to how the incident occurred and how to prevent a similar incident in the future. Although all workplaces are different and need to be assessed individually, there are some common aspects of working safely around forklifts, we’ve covered just a few of them for you:

1. Create, implement and manage a traffic management plan.
A traffic management plan is designed to keep people and vehicles, including forklifts, away from each other as much as practical. Bollards and fencing can be a solution as a physical barrier, whilst clearly painted walkways may be suitable in other situations.

Speed limits, no-go zones, blind spots and vehicle space requirements, such as the turning circle, should all be reviewed and implemented as part of the traffic management system. Training and monitoring are a vital step in keeping the plan effective. This includes inductions for new employees, as well as re-induction for existing employees on a regular basis, or when following the traffic management plan starts falling by the wayside.

2. Complete a daily pre-start check of the forklift
Although it may seem onerous to employees, a forklift can be a dangerous piece of machinery, especially if it’s not operating properly. A daily, pre-start safety check should identify issues with signage, brakes and controls, unusual noises, flat tyres and reverse beepers, lights and horns, plus much more. If there are any issues, they should be reported to a supervisor and the forklift tagged out/key removed until resolved, in line with the relevant workplace Safe Operating Procedures.

3. Ensure all operators have a forklift licence and training.
In Queensland, forklift operators are required to have a High-Risk Work Licence (LF) and be deemed competent to operate the specific type of forklift at that workplace. Once licensed, a worker will still need specific training and induction to their workplace, for instance, working in cold rooms, or moving awkward loads.

Never assume that because someone has a forklift licence that they are confident in all aspects of using a forklift. Vice versa, never assume that someone who knows how to use a forklift is appropriately licensed.
By implementing these points, along with the relevant Codes of Practice and a good attitude towards safety, you’re taking the right first steps towards improved safety around forklifts in your workplace. For specific advice for your business, contact our workplace partners today.

Remember, this is general advice only and does not take your circumstances into account.

It’s Queensland Small Business Week, one of our favourite weeks of the year! To recognise the week, we’re sharing our top five reasons we love small businesses. As the backbone of the Australian economy, we love seeing small businesses thrive in the community!

1. Small businesses are often a reflection of someone’s dreams and heartfelt desires. Want to escape the rat race? Want to be in control of your future? Love something so much you’ll work in it, day in, day out (possibly for less money than in you had a ‘job’, at least initially)? That’s small business owners; having a go, taking risks and hoping to make a few bucks along the way. We think it’s impossible to not love this courageous, determined, passionate attitude!

2. They invest and spend in their local community. As the saying goes ‘when you buy from a small business owner, someone does an actual happy dance.’ Because they know what it’s really like to get the sale that puts food on the table, we believe they’re much more likely to support other smaller businesses in the same situation. Thriving small businesses builds a greater, stronger, community-focused city.

3. Not only do small businesses invest and spend in their local community when running their business and households, they also tend to pay their fair share of taxes and rates (no sending profits offshore).

4. Small business owners tend to be creators, with a unique angle on their chosen industry. Sure, it’s great to know that a Big Mac is the same everywhere you go; but what’s also brilliant is experiencing new and different ideas! Small businesses can take risks and try things that big brands struggle to do. Being smaller allows businesses to be nimbler, get ideas to the market faster so we all benefit from their personal touch.

5. They employ local people, providing meaningful jobs and training. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says small businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) employ approximately 44% of all workers in Australia. Employing people isn’t always easy, so taking the steps required to employ almost half of the workers in Australia is a significant contribution to society.

We think small businesses are such an integral part of our community. If your business needs support in employment, human resources or safety matters, have a chat with our workplace partners today!

With only a little over a month until the end of the financial year, we’ve put together a checklist of important tasks to make your year-end transition a smooth one. Even if your business slows with winter on its way, this is often one of the busiest times of year for paperwork!

1. Review budgets and goals for the remaining half of the year
The new financial year is a great time to review and adjust, if necessary, your goals and strategy for the remainder of the year. When combined with a new budget for the financial year, taking a day or two to assess progress, hurdles and desired outcomes for the remainder of the year, is time well spent.

2. Ensure you’re ready for Single Touch Payroll
If your business employs over 20 people, STP is a significant change to the way you manage your reporting to the ATO. Before 1 July arrives, you must have found a payroll system that will manage this reporting; and you’ll need to communicate the relevant changes to your employees. STP will mean no longer needing to provide payment summaries for the 2018-19 financial year and onwards, so educating employees regarding myGov access could help with a smooth transition.

3. Be prepared for wage increases
In early June, we expect the Fair Work Commission to report on their decision for a minimum wage increase, which then flows onto the 122 Modern Awards, and often, enterprise agreements. Wage increases generally apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 July. If your pay week starts on a Monday, the new pay rates would apply from Monday 2nd July.

4. Reconcile payroll information
There’s nothing more stressful than running your end of year payment summary reports, only to find that the figures aren’t balancing. It’s good practice to reconcile your payroll and superannuation payments monthly, even more so once STP applies.

5. Start to review information for Workers’ Compensation
The new financial year will require you to submit projected wages information to your workers’ compensation insurer. You’ll also need to provide accurate information on this year’s wages expenses. Giving some thought to projected employee numbers and wage growth will help to give more accurate projections so you’re not over or underestimating dramatically for the year.

If there are a million things you’d rather do than what’s covered above, our managed payroll solution may be just what you need. Our online solution, managed by real people on the Sunshine Coast, makes it easy to be prepared for all your payroll requirements, so you can focus on the parts of your business that you love!

In the ever-evolving workplace, being on top of the latest trends can help attract the best staff, increase productivity and reduce surprises along the way. Today we cover 5 of the HR trends we’ve seen in 2018 that could change your HR practices.

1. Video Applications
They’re not yet status quo, but video job applications are appearing more than ever before. A written resume often fails to show the personality of the applicant, so video can be a good way to ‘meet’ applicants in the initial recruitment steps.

2. No More Annual Reviews
Workplaces are getting better at providing feedback to employees as it happens, which means saving it up for an annual review is a thing of the past. Instead, regular formal meetings are being used for support in goal setting and achievement.

3. Personal Projects
Businesses such as Atlassian and Google may be the big-name businesses creating personal projects programs, but smaller businesses can get on board with this great idea too. Effectively, individuals can use 10-20% of their work time on a ‘personal’ project. These projects are still owned and for the benefit of the company but haven’t been set as a task in a position description, for example. These projects might include improving workflow, introducing recycling initiatives or experimenting with new designs.

4. AI Improvements
Recently, Google Assistant was seen making appointments via phone, incredibly successfully.
As AI continues to improve and become more widespread, we expect to see that some positions will become redundant. This is also an opportunity to upskill, find new ways to add value and, to put it bluntly, not be replaced by AI.

5. Online Everything
From Tax File Number declarations, to staff satisfaction surveys, time sheets and rostering, there’s a huge push to get all your staffing details online. It helps for record-keeping purposes and for the looming Single Touch Payroll obligations. If you haven’t moved your HR requirements online yet, have a chat to our team about our simple solutions.

Our Workforce Management team love working with businesses who are interested in improving processes and building a successful team. If this is you, contact us here.

There’s a growing opinion amongst younger generations, that working in a 9-5 job, with the same company until retirement and pensions, is not a dream of theirs, that is shared by their parents and grandparents.

Instead, moving through various roles and multiple career paths is the norm. Roles that provide meaning and purpose, plus time to enjoy the extra-circular activities they love, or looking after growing families, are relished and revered. Workplace flexibility provisions can become a great recruitment tool, engagement booster and overall productivity improvement model.

Award Flexibility

Award flexibility clauses can be found in all 122 Modern Awards. An employer and individual employees can agree to vary award clauses regarding:

  1. Arrangements when work is performed;
  2. Overtime rates;
  3. Penalty rates;
  4. Allowances; and
  5. Leave loading.

These variations should meet the genuine needs of both parties. Importantly, these agreements can only be entered into once the employee has commenced work with the employer. They must be in writing (there’s specific requirements regarding what the agreement must say, which we can help write) and the agreement must demonstrate how the employee is better off overall.

Traditional Gender Roles and Flexibility

These award provisions are useful in some circumstances and for many people, any access to workplace flexibility is appreciated. However, flexible working conditions can come with their own stigma. According to a study by Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women, shared by the Workplace Gender Equity Agency (WGEA), men working flexible hours were 6 times less likely to be engaged with their company; feeling judged and less supported. This was in stark contrast to the female workers, who reported to be more satisfied and equally, or more satisfied with their careers. Perhaps, with traditional gender roles regarding home, family and work life, expecting men to be the bread winner, this stereotype isn’t easily overcome.

Technology and Flexibility

Will these social norms continue through to the Gen Z’s workplace, or are flexible workplace terms becoming expected for both men and women, throughout their careers? As our access to technology improves, so does the cross-over between work and personal life, through email alerts, ‘just a quick message’ notifications late in the evening, and voice recognition assistants reminding us of tomorrow’s to-do list. As the lines get blurred, the legislative and common-sense frameworks of managing ‘work-time’ and ‘personal-time’ need to adjust. We know first-hand that flexibility is critical for our business, and that of our team. Whether working from home, working varied hours depending on personal commitments, or starting and leaving early, flexibility works both ways.

What’s next for Flexibility?

Perhaps as a sign of the times, a provisional clause for family friendly working arrangements has been released by the Fair Work Commission, with opportunity for interested parties to comment before Friday 1 June 2018. You can read the Provisional Model Term and find details on how to comment, here. Once finalised, it’s expected that Modern Awards will have a family friendly flexibly clause, to complement the existing Award Flexibility clause.

 

If creating a business that allows flexible working conditions is on your to-do list, have a chat with our team about what’s working for us and what we’ve learned along the way. From there, we can provide you with the tools and resources you need to manage a more flexible workplace yourself.