New webinar series on HR compliance for small businesses

New webinar series on HR compliance for small businesses

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New webinar series on HR compliance for small businesses

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From next month, we will be running free monthly webinars specifically designed to assist small to medium businesses in understanding their legal obligations as employers and to provide them with guidance on how to manage those obligations in practice. We are doing this because we are going through the biggest period of change in employment laws, modern awards and compliance requirements ever and that is further complicating what is already an extremely complex obligation for business owners and employers . There are seven sessions running from May to November.

The first of these webinars (on Tuesday 21 May 2024 from 10.30 to 11.15) is about all of the changes that are happening in the Fair Work Act, modern awards and other legislation….there are around 70 changes over a period of 3 years. See our video with the timeline on all of these changes: https://ridgelinehr.com.au/navigating-the-biggest-era-of-change-in-hr-ever/

Unfortunately, there is a lot of noise out there about changes that have little if any impact and lack of clarity about the ones that do. We’ll cut through the noise and tell you what matters and what you should do about it. Book in for free at https://www.trybooking.com/CQQHD or via the QR code in the image.

The subsequent webinars are:

  • Episode #2: Tuesday 18 June 2024: Understanding the Fair Work system and the players
  • Episode #3: Tuesday 16 July 2024: What do these new positive duties mean for SMBs?
  • Episode #4: Tuesday 20 August 2024: What are National Employment Standards? 
  • Episode #5: Tuesday 17 September 2024: What are modern awards and how do they work?
  • Episode #6: Tuesday 15 October 2024: What are psychosocial hazards and how to deal with them?
  • Episode #7: Tuesday 19 November 2024: Preventing sexual harassment and gender-based behaviours

If you have any questions that you need answered urgently, please contact us on 1300 108 488 or at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Opportunity knocks!

Opportunity knocks!

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Opportunity knocks!

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So you have new positive duties to eliminate sexual harassment and to eliminate or control psychosocial hazards, right?

And people are telling you that this is another layer of compliance and risk that you have to negotiate as a business owner or manager or find yourself in hot water, right?

What if I told you that, if you really do value and want to care for your people, this is a great opportunity…..to validate what you are doing right as well as to identify ways that you can do it better?

Like most “compliance questions”, it is about your mindset – are your people assets to be cared for or risks to be managed?

What would it look like if we flipped it?

Let’s revisit a few of the psychosocial hazards in Safe Work Australia’s “Model code for managing psychosocial hazards” and picture them as strengths:

  1. The work demands on our people are reasonable physically, psychologically and emotionally
  2. Our people have reasonable control over their jobs
  3. Our people are well supported.
  4. Our people are clear about the roles that they play in our organisation.
  5. People believe that we manage and communicate change effectively.
  6. People believe that they are properly and appropriately recognised and rewarded for the contributions that they make.

And so on for the rest of the psychosocial hazards. 

When you look at them in that way, how many of those statements do you think might be true in your organisation?

Where do you see that there might be opportunities for improvement?

Changing the language can make a real difference to how you look at the subject matter can’t it? 

And guess what – when you see this as an opportunity knocking, you will find it is actually the best way to manage the risks.

How can we help 

We have been encouraging and helping organisations to adopt a positive mindset to improving workplace culture, communications and people practices for many years so, for us, the new positive duty stuff just adds some context to what we have already been doing with our clients. It is nothing new for us and it needn’t be especially challenging for you with the right guidance and support. 

So for us it is just business as usual with a few more tools in the toolkit. 

Need help?

  • Give us a call on 1300 108 488 or email enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au to arrange your free first consultation to see how we can help with advice and support on this or any other HR matter

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Supporting women experiencing family and domestic violence

Supporting women experiencing family and domestic violence

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Supporting women experiencing family and domestic violence

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Today is the “International day for the elimination of violence against women”.

So it is an opportune time to refresh on what we all (and particularly we men) can do to influence reductions in both the incidence and effects of family and domestic violence on women.

According to Our Watch, a not for profit established by the Victorian and Federal Governments in 2013 to lead the fight against violence against women, “Violence against women is any act of gender-based violence that causes or could cause physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of harm or coercion, in public or in private life.”

They quote some concerning statistics – in Australia:

  • 2 in 5 women (39%) have experienced violence since the age of 15.
  • On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.
  • In the year 2021/22, 5606 women (average of 15 women/day) were hospitalised due to family and domestic violence.
  • 1 in 2 women (53%) has experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime.
  • The perpetrators of sexual violence and harassment are predominantly men.

That is why we have to do something about this terrible situation.

The real challenge

I recently had a conversation with an employer of close on 100 people in relation to the positive duties that apply to the elimination of sexual harassment and psychosocial hazards. His view was that people’s private lives are none of his business and employers should not be expected to pry into employee’s private affairs. He really doesn’t want to know.

If we are really going to properly support women who are experiencing family and domestic violence, we need to know and we need to create workplace environments that are safe for women to let us know and to ask for help……and we need to give that help.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has published the “Small Business Employer Guide to Family and Domestic Violence”. 

This states:

“It’s critical that small business employers can recognise the signs of family and domestic violence, so they can help employees get the support they need.

Behaviours that may signal a person is experiencing family and domestic violence include:
` excessive or unexplained absences or lateness
` a sudden or sustained drop in productivity
` unexplained injuries
` social withdrawal
` frequent or unusual work breaks, or unusual start and finish times
` anxiety or fearfulness
` appearing distracted, depressed or overly jumpy
` lack of concentration or difficultymaking decisions
` inability to take work-related trips
` personal calls, texts or visits that cause the employee distress.

If a manager or co-worker suspects that an employee may be experiencing family and domestic violence, it’s appropriate for them to raise their concerns with the employee.

While they’re not counsellors, it’s important they feel equipped to raise their concerns to support their employee or co-worker.”

So the message is clear – we should care about our employee’s wellbeing and we should be asking questions if we see that something’s not quite right whether that is from causes at or outside work. 

Legal obligations

The Federal Government has introduced a couple of significant legal changes in the past year, namely:

  • A new National Employment Standard providing people experiencing family and domestic violence with 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave per annum (this is a standard entitlement for all employees whether engaged on a full-time, part-time or casual basis) – read more on this here; and
  • A positive duty on Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to eliminate workplace sexual harassment, sex discrimination and sex-based harassment – read more on this here

Additionally, sexual harassment is one of the psychosocial hazards in respect of which States and Territories are legislating positive duties on PCBUs to eliminate from workplaces. If someone is experiencing family and domestic violence, this can have a huge impact on their physical, emotional and mental health. Part of the support that an employer can provide is ensuring that work doesn’t aggravate any such condition that an employee might have as a result of experiencing family or domestic violence. 

Please also note that, in Victoria, there has been a positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment for a number of years under equal opportunity legislation. Further information is accessible here.

The Respect@Work toolkit.

The Federal Government/the Australian Human Rights Commission has set up a website (https://www.respectatwork.gov.au/) in support of the new positive duty to eliminate sexual harassment etc that was legislated last year.

This website includes lots of resources for organisations to use in developing policies, procedures and practices with respect to the prevention of sexual harassment in workplaces which are suitable for large organisations, Boards of Directors for large organisations but are not very practical for small businesses.

Our HEART approach

We believe that there are essentially 5 elements to a positive duty approach was presented in our HEART model:

HONESTY – Take a good hard look at what is really happening in your organisation with an open mind and a curious mindset.

ENGAGEMENT – Harness the passion and collective wisdom of your people to shape and drive the agenda for change.

ACCOUNTABILITY – Build and deploy the plans, processes and systems to hold everyone responsible for playing their part.

REVIEW – Recognise that this is a journey and not an event. Set goals, monitor vigilantly, celebrate milestones, learn and grow.

TRUST –  Provide a psychologically safe workplace where people speak up without fear and actions show that they are listened to.

How we can help

Whether you need to develop or review policies or procedures or you need a cultural assessment done or you want to run some educational sessions or you need help in facilitating communication and consultation processes or you need someone to support you  with an employee who is experiencing family or domestic violence, we can help.

Call us

  • Give us a call on 1300 108 488 to arrange your free first consultation to see how we can help with advice and support on this or any other HR matter

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Psychosocial hazard #13 – Harassment including sexual harassment

Psychosocial hazard #13 – Harassment including sexual harassment

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Psychosocial hazard #13 – Harassment including sexual harassment

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The thirteenth psychosocial hazard that is listed in Safe Work Australia’s Model Code of Practice on Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work is “harassment including sexual harassment”.

Why is harassment including sexual harassment a psychosocial hazard?

This hazard involves any of the following elements:

  • Harassment due to personal characteristics such as age, disability, race, nationality, religion, political affiliation, sex, relationship status, family or carer responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status;
  • Sexual harassment – any unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, in circumstances where a reasonable person having regard to all of the circumstances, would anticipate the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated;
  • Harmful behaviour that does not amount to bullying (such as single instances) but creates a risk to health and safety.

Some questions that you might ask to assess whether there are any psychosocial hazards related to harassment including sexual harassment in your workplace include:

  • Is inappropriate behaviour like racially or sexually crude conversations, innuendo or offensive jokes part of the culture?
  • Do leaders lack understanding of the nature, drivers and impacts of sexual harassment?
  • Are there imbalances along gendered lines where one gender holds the balance of management roles, decision-making power or worker representation positions?
  • Are there increased risks on occasions when alcohol is involved in work-related activities or when people are attending events or conferences as part of their work activities?
  • Are there people who are potentially vulnerable because they are working in isolated situations like in cars or at home or in remote locations with limited supervision or access to support?
  • Are there people who are potentially exposed to harassment because they are working in unpredictable environments like in the community or clients’ homes?
  • Do workers have exposure because they interact with customers or other people face-to-face, on the phone or online ?
  • Does the organisation lack a commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity in policy or practice?

This list is not exhaustive and while we have based these posts on the model code produced by Safe Work Australia, there can be differences in the specific details for each State or Territory. So you need to check that in the jurisdiction in which your workplace lies.

Need help?

Give us a call on 1300 108 488 to arrange your free first consultation to see how we can help with advice and support on this or any other HR matter.

Note: there are additional responsibilities on organisations to eliminate workplace sex discrimination and harassment under the  Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Act 2022 (Cth) which also confers inspection and prosecution powers on the Australian Human Rights Commission. Refer our previous blog: “Time to get serious about sexual harassment”

 

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Relationships matter

Relationships matter

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Relationships matter

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There are lots of organisations around who say: “people are our greatest asset” but, when we have a good look inside them, we sometimes struggle to see how that tenet is actually being lived in practice 

It isn’t unusual to find that organisations can invest a lot in policies, procedures, surveys and metrics and individual development and performance management and still not get the cultural and performance outcomes that they are looking for.

As much as all of that investment in systems, processes, data and resources is important, we are also dealing with human beings and, to a significant degree, the return on those investments is dependent on people’s ability and engagement to utilise those resources and to collaborate with each other.

Yet it is rare that we find that relationships feature significantly, if at all,  in performance or development management processes.

If people are your greatest asset, why is that?

The simple reality

In any job that I do, there will be people whom I rely on for certain inputs that I need to do my job and there will be other people who rely on me for certain outputs from me  to do their jobs, 

Anyone who has implemented lean quality systems understands process mapping and internal customer/supplier relationships and how important they are for getting work processes right with minimal waste and optimal efficiency.

But those relationships are between human beings ie the people or teams who are those customers and suppliers.

How effective are you in assuring that the people in those process chains understand their interdependencies, have the training and resources (including time) to play their part and are supportively held accountable for doing that?

When people arrive

Whether you call it induction or onboarding or orientation or some other name, that new experience when someone joins your organisation has a profound impact on how quickly the new starter settles in and becomes productive and what they think about the culture of their new workplace and whether they will be happy there.

Typically, what we see in this entry program is a lot of stuff around rules and administration and compliance and the physical workplace and work processes/systems and sometimes some stuff around desired organisation culture, values, vision, mission, etc

There might be someone appointed as buddy but we don’t often see anything really constructive in key relationships ie the people this person is going to rely on for stuff and the people who this person is going to rely on to do their stuff.

Given what we have already said about the importance of people, wouldn’t it make sense to help the new starter to understand these key relationships and interdependencies as soon as possible?

We recommend including meetings with each of the people that the new starter is going to have a key relationship with and asking that person to answer 3 questions for the new starter:

  • What their role is
  • What they rely on the new starter for
  • What the new starter relies on them for  

Just spending a little time up front on properly inducting a new starter into their key relationships can make such a positive difference to them and their development and the relationships……..and, of course, on their performance and the realisation of return on investment.

Why people leave

There is a mountain of research out there about why people leave organisations. Gallup says people leave managers, Culture Amp says that may be the case sometimes but it is more about leadership and development opportunities. Others says that money and recognition  are key issues.

I think that, in the main, people leave problematic relationships just as happens in other elements of life. That might be that I don’t think that my manager appreciates or supports me or it might be that I don’t see positive leadership that I respect and want to follow. It might be that I have outgrown the organisation and it isn’t able to provide me with the meaning that I need from work or meet my personal growth needs. Or it could be that there is one of more  internal relationship(s) that are negatively affecting me.

There is a lot that we can influence in all of that by investing in relationships with our people and having open and regular conversations with them so that we become aware of how they are feeling and can act to address any issues for them.

Of course, there are occasions when someone just gets an offer that you can’t match and they think it is too good to refuse or they leave for other reasons such as to start a family or their own business or some other personal endeavour or to retire. If the relationship is sound, those people will be advocates for you as an employer and sometimes people find that “the grass isn’t greener” and “money isn’t everything” and they might just come back if you leave the door open

There have been a couple of times in my career when, on announcing my resignation, my boss responded: “Why are you leaving? We had big plans for you”, Of course, I didn’t know of those plans because they hadn’t told me about them ie they had not invested in the relationship with me.

Don’t let that happen with your people.

The new positive duty regime

This year we are seeing the introduction of positive duties to eliminate or control psychosocial hazards and, guess what……..a lot of those psychosocial hazards are related to the quality of relationships.

Four of those are pretty obvious – “violent and aggressive behaviour”, “bullying”, “harassment including sexual harassment” and “conflict and poor workplace relationships and interactions”.

However, if you explore a number of the other psychosocial hazards, you will find that relationships have a lot to do with the risks associated with the particular hazard – for example, relationships between management and workers or between workers in the same or different businesses or between a company, its people and its customers to name a few. 

So, a key part of meeting the new positive duty is to assess relationship risk and put in place appropriate control measures.  

Of course, engaging your people in that conversation and building positive relationships is actually part of that process and the solution.

Conclusion

So investing in relationships is important because “relationships matter” – to staff engagement and wellbeing, to staff retention , to productivity and for legal compliance.

 So why wouldn’t you do that?

 

Need help?

  • Give us a call on 1300 108 488 to arrange your free first consultation to see how we can help with advice and support on this or any other HR matter

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Psychosocial hazard #8 – Traumatic events or material

Psychosocial hazard #8 – Traumatic events or material

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Psychosocial hazard #8 – Traumatic events or material

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The next psychosocial hazard that is listed in Safe Work Australia’s Model Code of Practice on Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work is “traumatic events or material”.

Why is traumatic events or material a psychosocial hazard?

This hazard is about workers who witness, investigate or are exposed to traumatic events or material. A person is more likely to experience an event as traumatic when it is unexpected, is perceived as uncontrollable or is the result of intentional cruelty. This includes vicarious exposure and cumulative trauma.

Some questions that you might ask to assess whether there are any low job control related psychosocial hazards in your workplace include:

  • Do workers witness or have to investigate a fatality, a serious injury, abuse, neglect or serious incident?
  • Are workers exposed to seriously injured or deceased persons?
  • Are there situations where workers experience fear or extreme risks due to a motor vehicle or workplace accident or a crime like an armed robbery or assault or murder?
  • Do people’s jobs require them to deal with natural disasters, terrorism or war and be exposed to their effects in the course of their work?
  • Do workers support people who are victims of painful or traumatic events?
  • Does a worker’s job involve viewing, listening to or reading descriptions of painful or traumatic events experienced by others?
  • Are there any exposures to events which bring up traumatic memories?

This list is not exhaustive and while we have based these posts on the model code produced by Safe Work Australia, there can be differences in the specific details for each State or Territory. So you need to check that in the jurisdiction in which your workplace lies.

Need help?

Give us a call on 1300 108 488 to arrange your free first consultation to see how we can help with advice and support on this or any other HR matter.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488

PARTNER LINKS

Smilsafe

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH