FibreHR Blog

We share some of our recruitment strategies in our blog. FibreHR, your people are our business.

Make-A-Wish Sass and bide necklaces

Lisa Spiden - Monday, May 19, 2014
Here are the fibreHR team wearing Sass & Bide's Make-A-Wish necklace. Thank you Make-A-Wish Australia for bringing hope, strength & joy to seriously-ill children #wishuponastar #sbmakeawish Sass & Bide - Wish Upon A Star necklace has raised over $100,000.00 so far!!

 


New Financial Year Changes

Lisa Spiden - Monday, July 01, 2013

There have been a number of changes taking affect today that will affect your business, these changes include;

  • Minimum wage increases, including many allowances;
  • The superannuation guarantee has increased to 9.25%; and
  • The high-income threshold and compensation limits for unfair dismissal have also increased. This means that if you have employees who earn above $129,300 per annum, they are unable to claim unfair dismissal, however you are still required to follow a fair and appropriate process when exiting employees at this salary level.

On Friday 29 June, there were also a number of ‘family friendly’ amendments made to the Fair Work Act 2009, including unpaid parental leave, special maternity leave and the right to request flexible work. These changes will require you to make amendments to your HR policy manual. If you would like fibreHR to assist you updating your HR policy manual, please let us know.

Along with the ‘family friendly’ amendments, the Fair Work Information Statement has also been amended with effect from today. The statement will now include details of the range of circumstances as set out in the Fair Work Act in which an employee may request a change in working arrangements. The new look statement is currently not available as yet, however employers are recommended to continue use the existing statement (link to pdf file attached). If fibreHR has created your new starter pack you'd be aware that you need to send this statement to all employees and we recommend you update your old version with the new statement that fibreHR will provide once available.

Fair Work Commission Announces Minimum Wage Increase

Lisa Spiden - Friday, June 07, 2013

The Fair Work Commission has announced a 2.6% increase in the minimum wage in its annual review. Effective from July 1 2013, the national minimum wage will be $622.20 per week for employees who are not on modern awards. This is an increase of $15.80 per week, or 41c per hour.

According to the commission, the decision was based on a number of factors, including the anticipated positive outlook for the Australian economy, social and lifestyle considerations of lower paid employees, and the increase in the cost of living. Due to the increase in employer superannuation contributions that is also to take effect in July, both the modern award and minimum wage increases are smaller than they would otherwise be. However, the Commission though did not quantify the effect.

New wage details for those employees who are covered by modern awards will also be available from July 1. As an employer, there are a number of steps you should take to prepare your business for the changes, and make sure you are in compliance with the new award increases:

  1. Review your budget to prepare for the increase from July 1.
  2. Make sure you receive the updated award information from Fair Work Australia so you can check that your employees are being paid the correct amounts for the relevant awards.
  3. Update your payroll systems so they are ready to go for July 1.
  4. Don’t forget there is a rise in superannuation payments effective from July. This will take the employer contribution from 9% to 9.25%.

In addition to the standard wage increases, there are a number of special provisions that have been made for employees who have disabilities, and are not on a modern award or workplace agreement. Casual employees that are covered by the national minimum wage (as opposed to an award or workplace agreement) will receive a 24% casual leave loading. You can read the full decision here

Contact us to find out more about the changes and what they mean for your business, or to check the new entitlements against your employees’ specific awards.

What you need to know about changes to Superannuation

Lisa Spiden - Tuesday, April 09, 2013

As a business owner, you are probably aware that there are some changes planned to superannuation and the minimum requirements paid to employees, but do you know exactly what they are, and how they will affect your business? 

Some changes were implemented last year, and there are further changes that will take effect from July 1 this year. 

Here is a summary of what is coming up.

Increase in compulsory super contributions 

As an employer, you are required to make minimum superannuation contributions on behalf of your employees. The amount you contribute is calculated as a percentage of your employee’s salary, and is currently set to a minimum of 9%, which is paid into a nominated superannuation fund.

The main change to super arrangements is that compulsory employer contributions will rise from 9% to 12% incrementally over the next seven years. As an employer, this means that you need to start planning now.

The superannuation rate changes are noted below

Year Rate
Current rate 9%
1 July 2013 9.25%
1 July 2014 9.50%
1 July 2015 10.00%
1 July 2016 10.50%
1 July 2017 11.00%
1 July 2018 11.50%
1 July 2018 onwards 12.00%

What does this mean for your business?

Employers are going to be faced with increased superannuation costs, which they will either have to pay on top of normal salaries or mitigate via reduced remuneration and the restructuring of an employee’s overall package.

Although you might be tempted to reduce your employees’ remuneration to make up for the extra superannuation contributions, please be aware that this may not be as simple as it sounds. A change in package might breach the employment contract and your employees will need to agree to any changes or new clauses, before you can legally implement them. If they don’t agree, you may need to pay the extra amount.

Another thing to be aware of is that reducing your employees’ remuneration might lead to them dropping below their minimum award entitlements which is a breach of the Fair Work Act.

One way that you might approach these changes, and keep your costs under control, is by keeping the increase in mind when conducting annual pay reviews. Additional superannuation costs can be factored in there, rather than by reducing overall employee remuneration.

Removal of upper age limit

Where previously compulsory super contributions stopped once an employee reached the age of 70, under the new legislation, there is no upper age limit - which means that employers will need to continue paying compulsory superannuation contributions as long as the employee is working. This is a move designed to encourage older workers to stay in the workforce longer.

This change is taking effect from July 1 2013, and will affect businesses with older employees. You will need to make sure you are paying the compulsory superannuation contributions for any employees you have that are 70 or older.

Payslip changes

Currently it is mandatory that payslips show the number of superannuation payments and the amount accrued to date. A number of changes to how superannuation payments are reported on payslips and group certificates took effect on July 1 2012.

If you haven’t already, you will need to ensure that your employees’ payslips display the following information:

  • The name of the super fund they are contributing to 
  • The dates of the next contribution to be made 
  • The amount of all the contributions made, including any upcoming payments 
  • The time period during which any contributions were made

Failure to provide this information on payslips can lead to penalties for your business. Your employees’ group certificates also need to be updated with the relevant information. These changes are designed to keep employees better informed about their super contributions, and allow them to identify any errors or insufficient payments before they go through. This is particularly important with the planned employer contribution increases that are due to take place over the next seven years.

As an employer, it is important that you make sure your payroll systems are updated to reflect these changes, so you can make sure you are in compliance, and don’t end up facing fines.

MySuper

The new MySuper product is a single standardised default super product that can be offered by different superannuation funds. It is designed to modernise and streamline the superannuation process, and make it easier for employees who don’t nominate a specific super fund to their employer.

There are a number of standards that funds offering a MySuper product will have to abide by. These include a ban on hidden fees, standardised reporting policies, and removal of commissions in relation to group insurance, as well as a number of additional changes and features.

Under the new legislation, employees who don’t nominate a superannuation fund will have to have their superannuation contributions automatically paid into a MySuper product and therefore it is the employers responsibility to ensure the businesses default fund is part of MySuper. Employees will still have the same options to nominate alternative superannuation funds, including self-managed super if they wish.

Director responsibilities

As part of the new legislation, company directors are to be held more accountable for any lack of compliance on the part of their business, especially in making payments to superannuation funds. Where previously there were limitations on the responsibility of directors in certain circumstances, these have now been addressed and accountability has been increased.

As the director of a company, you are personally responsible for any non-compliance with the new superannuation legislation. This means that you can personally face fines if your business doesn’t follow the new superannuation rules. The amount you will need to pay if you have failed to make sufficient contributions will be the same as the amount of the outstanding contribution.

The fines for non-compliance with procedural and documentary legislation are $510 per contravention for an individual, and $2,550 per contravention for a body corporate. If your business or company pays the fine on your behalf, you will no longer be considered liable. Your personal liability is also removed if your company appoints an administrator or begins liquidation proceedings before being issued with a penalty notice, or within 21 days of its issue.

The planned superannuation changes are going to affect all businesses that have employees.

Make sure you are prepared and know what your business needs to do to comply with the new legislation, and that your employees are informed of how the changes will affect them, particularly in regards to remuneration and pay increases.

Planning now means that you have a greater chance of a smooth transition when the changes come into effect in July 2013, and reduces the likelihood of your business being disadvantaged financially as a result of the changes.

Data and e-commerce standard

A new data and e-commerce standard is also being introduced to make arrangements for employers to send contributions to all superannuation funds in one standard electronic format. In future, employers will no longer need to provide this information to separate funds in different formats.

To make this change possible, from 1 July this year, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) regulated super funds and retirement savings account (RSA) providers will be transitioning to the new e-commerce standard. Once this is complete, from the 1st January 2014 (or earlier depending on the fund), employers will be able to send super contributions to APRA or RSA approved funds according to the new standard.

From 1 July 2014, all large and medium employers (with 20 or more employees) must use the standard for sending contributions to funds. From 1 July 2015, all small employers (with less than 20 employees) must use the standard for sending contributions to funds.

However, small employers may be eligible to use the free Small Business Superannuation Clearing House. Employers can register for the service by visiting the Department of Human Services website www.humanservices.gov.au/smallbusinesssuper or by phoning them on 1300 660 048.

If your an employer who is paying superannuation through an accounting package, payroll or other internal system, it prudent that you start thinking now about your options for implementing the changes, to ensure that your business is compliant with these new changes.

Top 10 mistakes to avoid in the recruitment process

Lisa Spiden - Thursday, February 14, 2013

Are you looking for new employees or planning to hire in the New Year? Finding and selecting the right candidate can be a challenge at the best of times, but making mistakes during the recruitment process can end up costing you more then money.

If you are serious about finding the right employee for your business then here are my top 10 mistakes to avoid during the recruitment process:

  1. Not being clear on what the role is – if you aren’t sure what the job is, it will be even more difficult for a candidate to determine if they are genuinely interested.
  2. Not getting agreement with all stakeholders prior starting the recruitment process
  3. Writing ads that are unclear, boring and company centric with no focus on the candidate.
  4. Not knowing how long the recruitment process is going to take. This is important from a candidate’s perspective. For example, if process gets dragged out to six interviews, background checks, psych testing, reference checks and takes three months, without prior notice, the candidates can get disengaged and start looking for other roles.
  5. Bad interview technique – leading questions, answering questions for the candidates and not having set questions for all candidates, so you can’t compare apples with apples.
  6. Not responding to all unsuccessful candidates – all candidates may be potential customers and not making the effort to give feedback will leave a bad impression of you and your brand.
  7. Managers who take weeks and sometimes months to make a decision… The candidates have probably found another job by the time a final decision is made.
  8. Doing informal reference checks without the candidate’s permission (which is not allowable under the Privacy Act). This can not only jeopardise the candidate’s existing job but you may end up talking to someone who is not the right person to speak to anyway.
  9. Deciding to make an offer at a $ rate significantly less than what the candidate originally asked for.  This can be offensive to the candidate if the candidate is worth the original $ and it’s the market rate.
  10. Having poor contracts, new starter documents and a bad induction.

If you are serious about finding the right employee for your business, then having a professionally run recruitment process is critical. Make sure you plan ahead when thinking of your staffing needs, so that you have time to complete every stage properly – without rushing, or making hasty decisions.

Each step in the recruitment process is essential, and omitting stages can lead to disappointment, and to your business missing out on the best candidate, or perhaps hiring a candidate that isn’t quite right for the role. Make sure you allow plenty of time when you are recruiting new staff members – finding the right employee is worth a bit of extra time and effort.

What is performance management?

Lisa Spiden - Wednesday, February 06, 2013

As a business owner or manager, performance management is a term which you are probably familiar with. Although the phrase is widely used in the business world, there are a lot of misconceptions about exactly what performance management is, and how to do it effectively.

Here is a brief guide to the process of performance management, and how a good performance review can benefit both your employees and your business.

Performance management involves monitoring an employee’s performance against a pre-defined set of goals or behaviours. Feedback can be provided in the form of formal reviews, and also more informal discussion on a regular basis.

Why is performance management important?

If you want your team to work effectively, everyone needs to be aware of their role and receive regular feedback on what they are doing well, and what they can improve on.

Performance management should be a proactive process that you undertake on an ongoing basis with your employees, rather than be just a reactive way of dealing with inappropriate attitudes or behaviours in the workplace.

What are the benefits of performance management for the employer?

Regularly undertaking performance management strategies can help ensure everyone knows what their role is within the team, and the organisation itself, and that the business as a whole is working as effectively as possible. Monitoring performance and providing feedback can also help you identify and deal with potential issues before they become major problems.

Although performance management is about individual employees, every staff member is part of a larger team. For your team to run effectively, every person in your business needs to be working towards the same goals. Conducting regular performance management can help achieve this.

Regularly undertaking performance management can also help employees feel more valued, which can make it easier to retain staff. Losing valuable employees can be detrimental to your business. Ensuring that every team member knows their role and receives regular advice and guidance as to how they can better meet expectations can help your staff develop in their role, and maintain their loyalty to your business.

What are the benefits of performance management for staff?

Having a clearly defined role and receiving regular feedback can help your employees grow and develop their skills. Demonstrating that you are paying attention to your staff helps them feel more valued and rewarded for their efforts, which can lead to a higher level of job satisfaction and lower levels of stress.

If undertaken well, a performance review can be an opportunity for employees to discuss their concerns, as well as receive feedback. Making sure that staff members are clear on the parameters of their role, and what their expectations are, makes it easier for them to do their job, and reduces any potential misunderstandings that might affect their performance.

Regular performance management activities have many benefits for both employees and employers. Your staff members are your best assets, and by demonstrating that you are prepared to invest time and effort into helping them achieve their full potential, you can benefit both individual team members and your business as a whole.

Need new staff in the New Year? Start recruiting now

Lisa Spiden - Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The New Year is a time when many business owners look at recruiting new staff. Although you may feel like you have plenty of time to find the right candidate for next year, if you are considering hiring new employees to start in January, February or March, you probably need to begin the recruitment process earlier than you might think.

Recruiting, if done properly, typically takes at least six weeks – waiting until January to think about your staffing needs for the year might mean a delay until April. Can your business afford to wait that long? If not, you need to start thinking about getting the process started in December. Although many of us are winding down before the summer break, it is worth considering your needs, and the implications of waiting, before putting recruitment on the to-do list for January.

It is possible to start the search for new candidates in December, although it might require a different approach.

Use December for planning and searching for prospective candidates

Although there may be a shortage of applicants for positions through the usual avenues, such as job ads, companies that look at their recruitment strategically would use this time of the year to ensure they have mapped out their sourcing needs for the early new year, they would have identified how they will source the candidate/s (directly or through an agency) and their recruitment process would focus on identifying suitable candidates through passive means (more search focused) rather than simply placing an ad online. They would take this time to do their research via social media and industry websites, and gather a short list of candidates to contact in the New Year.

Possible avenues for finding potential recruits in December include:

  • LinkedIn
  • Personal and professional networks
  • Industry websites
  • Leading company websites in the industry you are looking to recruit from

Although candidates may not be looking for work just now, many people return to work after the New Year with the goal of finding a new position, and if you are able to get in and contact them first, you can end up with your pick of the best candidates for the job.

Get the process started in early January

If you have compiled a list of potential candidates through December, the candidates can be contacted early in January, and get the process started. If the shortlisting and interviewing then happens in early January, your new candidate may be ready to start in February.

Waiting a few weeks to start searching in early January might mean not only a longer delay filling the role, but also more competition, as the candidates may be more actively job hunting in the new year.

If you need staff for the New Year, and you don’t start thinking about recruiting now, there is a chance you might end up rushing the process, or making bad hiring decisions, which can lead to more stress, time and expense than necessary.

Starting ahead of time can give you the advantage of being able to conduct a thorough interview and screening process, and give you a good chance of finding the right person to fill the role. Your employees are the cornerstones of your business – don’t leave it too late and end up making hasty decisions.

Merry Christmas everyone

Lisa Spiden - Friday, December 21, 2012

The fibreHR wants to wish all a wonderful Christmas and a brilliant new year! Thanks to all our wonderful clients, candidates and business partners, we have had a wonderful year and this is as a result of all the great people we have worked with. Merry Xmas all. Clair, Courtenay and Lisa!

The secret to attracting the right employees

Lisa Spiden - Thursday, December 13, 2012

Recruitment used to be about picking and choosing from a pool of eager, prospective employees, but these days, it is often more about the employer selling their business and role to the right person.

Talented employees are increasing in demand, and competition can be fierce to attract the best candidates. How do you go about attracting the most talented employees to your business?

1. Make sure the role is clearly defined

Knowing who you are looking for is half the battle when it comes to finding the right person. The more detailed the job description, the more you are likely to attract the right candidate. Make sure you are realistic about what the job entails, and that you identify the personal skills and attributes required for the role, rather than simply looking for someone you get along with.

2. Make sure you are looking in the right places

Do you know where to find the ideal candidate for your role? Be aware which are the best forums and job boards for your particular industry. Use social media and other more creative tactics. Remember that a lot of the good candidates won’t be actively looking as they will be well looked after in their existing companies, so you will need to think about how to get in front of candidates that may not be looking.

In truth, the battle for valuable employees has led many companies to go to great lengths to lure candidates away from their competitors for example. The right person is out there, but if they don’t know about your opportunity they will never be able to find you.

3. Have a well defined, fast moving recruitment process

Delaying or being unclear as to the progress of your candidates through the recruitment process can mean you miss out to other recruiters. Recruitment is a fast moving process, and desirable employees are often snapped up quickly. Even if the process is likely to take a while, keeping candidates informed of their progress can help alleviate any anxieties which might lead to them looking elsewhere.

4. Effective interviewing and good communication is essential

If you don’t know the right questions to ask you may end up missing out on the perfect employee. Make sure interviews are competency based, and you have a structured progression through the interview. Try to put the candidate at ease – remember you are not trying to test them and catch them out, you want to find out if they are a good fit for the role, which means allowing them to be comfortable enough to express themselves. 

5. Sell yourself

Make sure you emphasise the positives of working for your company to your prospective employees. Even if a particular candidate does not turn out to be right for this role, there may be other roles in the future they are more suited to, or they may speak positively about your company to their colleagues and friends.

Let them know about any bonuses, flexible working conditions, parking and appealing aspects of your company culture. If they are faced with the choice between several quite similar roles, a few perks can be what swings them in your favour, and keeps them on board once they are in the position.

Remember to treat all candidates well and respond to all applications with respect as they may be potential new clients now or in the future.

OHS assessments for small businesses

Lisa Spiden - Friday, November 09, 2012
If you have less than 20 staff in Victoria you may be eligible for a free OHS assessment, click here to find more.