Is reference checking worthwhile?

Is reference checking worthwhile?

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Is reference checking worthwhile?

great resignation

That is a question that is often asked and, like lots of things in the people and culture space, the answer is “that depends on how you do them”.

Properly structured and executed, reference checks can be invaluable.

They provide a real opportunity to explore the candidate’s fit with your business and the role in question through the lens of others’ real life experiences with and knowledge of them.

However, too often, there is a standardised HR procedure with generic questions ostensibly designed to ensure equal opportunity in the selection process, but which delivers little real intelligence about the candidate’s fit with your business and the role in question.

Here are our rules for conducting effective reference checks.

Rule #1: Do your preparation

Understand the role that you are recruiting to, the skills and knowledge that are necessary to perform the role effectively and the character attributes that exemplify your culture.

As you should do throughout the recruitment and selection process, think about the best ways that you can ascertain whether someone has those qualities.

Consider what you have learned about this candidate in the recruitment process to date  – what, based on the evidence at your disposal, you have reasonably determined that you are satisfied with and what you still have questions about. 

One simple way to do this is to get out a set of highlighters (physically or electronically), look at the Position Description for the role and use the traffic light method to work through each function and attribute to give you a good graphic picture of where the candidate is at – green means “yes”, yellow is “maybe” and red is “no”.

Then consider why you think that and how you can best answer the questions that you need to get answers too.

Rule #2: Purposefully design the conversation 

Remember that you need to know if this person is a fit with the role in your business and your culture – not the referee’s. 

Also remember that the referee can only effectively answer your questions if you firstly engage with them in a positive way and secondly give them the information on your needs so that they can respond in the right context.

So, in planning the conversation, you need to: 

  • Verify that the person is happy to act as a referee for the candidate and that the time is OK with a clear indication of how long it is likely to take (book a time that is convenient for the referee)
  • Provide a concise explanation of the nature of your business, the desired culture and the contribution that this role is expected to make so as to give the referee an accurate context in which to respond to your questions
  • Pose a series of questions that are based on your needs asking the referee to provide you with evidence of the candidate’s fit with those qualities based on their experience but very much in the context of your business
  • Express gratitude for the referee’s participation (that is just courteous but, if you want an extra reason, giving thanks builds goodwill and enhances your reputation and that might just pay off sometime).

Rule #3: Make it a conversation 

People are often nervous about providing referee’s comments especially if there is anything that might not be complimentary. 

It is important that you put the person at ease by making the process as informal as possible – make it a conversation rather than an interrogation. 

Start by thanking them for agreeing to act as a referee and confirm the process and time commitment for them.  Give them a brief overview of your business and the role for which the candidate has applied. 

Ask a few questions about the referee’s background eg “before we start talking about Mr XYZ, tell me a bit about yourself and your background.” This helps to give you context about the referee and helps the referee to relax into the conversation. 

Then establish the connection and level of the referee’s experience with and knowledge of the candidate. Explore the nature of the role(s) that the candidate had, what their key responsibilities were and how effective they were in meeting those. 

Also explore the culture of the organisation – ask what the core values were and how well the candidate fitted with those, asking for examples of situations and ways in which they practised the values in real terms.

Now it is time to drill down into the questions that you identified in the planning process as needing answers, making sure that you contextualise the questions to your needs. For example, “here at ABC Inc, our staff work closely with people in difficult circumstances, and we need to ensure that we are continuously supporting them and their mental health. How do you think Mr XYZ would manage that for the team he would lead in this role and why, based on your experience with him, do you think that is the case?” 

When you have finished your questions, ask the referee if there is anything that they would like to add. 

Finally, close off the conversation, thanking the referee for their time and information about the candidate. 

Rule #4: Reflect and revise 

Now revisit those questions that you came up with in the planning phase and the Position Description for the role. Adjust your ratings where appropriate based on the feedback that you received from referees. 

Ready to make the call now?

If you need a hand with recruiting staff and getting them onboard and up and running in your business, we can help. Check out our “Find and Engage” services.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

New minimum payments for part-time employees under Social and Community Services Award

New minimum payments for part-time employees under Social and Community Services Award

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New minimum payments for part-time employees under Social and Community Services Award

Social services

The Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 covers employers in the:

    • crisis assistance and supported housing sector;
    • social and community services sector;
    • home care sector; and
    • family day care scheme sector.

Currently, there is no minimum period of engagement for part-time workers under that Award which is quite unusual. Employers and employees could agree to work less than the new minimum payment period.

The Fair Work Commission has decided that, from 1 July 2022, there will be a “minimum payment” provision which requires that the minimum engagement/payment for a shift or period of work in a broken shift of a part-time employee will be:

    • 3 hours for social and community services employees (except when doing disability services work) and
    • 2 hours for all other employees.
There is a transitional period that runs from 1 February 2022 to 1 October 2022 to enable consultation between employers and employees who have an Agreement for less than the new minimum payment periods made prior to 1 February 2022.
 
 
If you need assistance, please feel free to give us a call on 0438 533 311. Take advantage of our offer of a free first consultation.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Can flexible work be for everyone?

Can flexible work be for everyone?

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Can flexible work be for everyone?

juggling flexibility

So we have the “perfect storm” of lots of factors causing constriction of the labour market in the post-lockdown environment.

There is lots of talk about working from home and hybrid working from those who had to work from home during lockdowns and would like to keep doing that for at least some of the time.

Correspondingly there is a common call to employers to be flexible in this if they are going to be competitive in that tight labour market.

But what about all of those people who can’t work from home because their job (as distinct from their boss) doesn’t allow them to.

Clearly factory workers and drivers and construction workers and those in essential services and health care and childcare and aged care and many, many more cannot do their jobs at home.

So does that mean that they cannot have some flexibility?

It shouldn’t although the options might be more limited.

Here are some to think about:

    1. Introduce RDOs to give people a day off every month
    2. Have an early finish on Friday to let people get organised for the weekend
    3. Allow people to adjust their hours to attend to personal commitments (eg an employee works an extra half hour on each of four days to get two hours off on the other day – perhaps to help with remedial reading at school or to coach a child’s sporting team)
    4. Look at job sharing arrangements where a couple of employees work part-time in the same job
    5.  Trial a 4 day week (it is working well in some places)
    6. Allow people to purchase additional annual leave for extended holidays
    7. Let people use their personal/carer’s leave more flexibly to meet important personal needs that don’t involve sick leave or caring requirements
    8. Extend the use of compassionate leave to more than just the immediate family and household (eg to attend funerals for close friends and other relatives like uncles and aunts and cousins and nephews and nieces

Then there is the law

In some cases, an employee will have a legal right to request flexible working arrangements under National Employment Standards.

The Fair Work Act provides that employees who have worked with the same employer for at least 12 months can request flexible working arrangements if they:

    • are the parent, or have responsibility for the care, of a child who is school aged or younger
    •  are a carer (under the Carer Recognition Act 2010)
    • have a disability
    • are 55 or older
    • are experiencing family or domestic violence, or
    • provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family who requires care and support because of family or domestic violence.

This includes casual employees who have a reasonable expectation of continuing employment.\

Such requests can only be refused on reasonable business grounds and an employer has to respond in writing within 21 days saying whether they accept the request and, if not, why not.

Awards provide additional detail on how these are to be managed and employees are able to take the matter to the Fair Work Commission for review if their employer refuses their request.

Conclusion

There is a lot to think about in this space whether you are wrestling with hybrid working, wanting to enhance your value proposition as an employer or grappling with your legal obligations.

If there is anything in this that you would like some further advice on, give us a call on 0438 533 311. Take advantage of our offer of a free first consultation.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

FWC introduces loaded rates into the Hospitality Award

FWC introduces loaded rates into the Hospitality Award

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FWC introduces loaded rates into the Hospitality Award

bar fair work loaded rate

On 3 September 2021 the Fair Work Commission introduced loaded pay arrangements into the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020. These arrangements allow employers to pay certain employees a higher base rate of pay in lieu of employees receiving payment for overtime, penalty rates and the split shift allowance. The change was brought about after a submission to the Fair Work Commission from the Australian Hotels Association, who claimed that it would simplify Award compliance for employers.

What are the rates and who can be covered?

There are 6 tiers of loaded rates that range between 110.20% and 131.05% of an employee’s ordinary hourly rate. The rates vary depending on how many days of the week the rates apply to, which can be Mon-Fri, Mon-Sat or Mon-Sun, and the maximum amount of weekly hours an employee can work under the arrangement which can be either 40 or 45 hours per week.

It is important to note that the loaded rates can only be applied to employees who are full-time, over the age of 21, are level 3 or above in the Award, not receiving supported wage rates, and do not work on a roster with an RDO.

At this stage employers do not need an employee’s agreement to institute a loaded pay arrangement, however they must give employees at least 7 days notice of their intention to introduce the change. Arrangements must be made in writing and in accordance with Schedule L of the Award which you can view here.

Limitations

The loaded rate does not mean that employees have no entitlement to overtime, penalty rates or allowances. It just limits the circumstances where they will be payable.

The following list contains the parameters for a loaded rate and all time worked outside ranges specified or scope of the arrangement will still attract overtime/penalty rates:

  • Monday to Friday: a maximum of 11.5 hours (excluding meal breaks) per day / shift rostered between 7:00am and 12:00am (midnight);
  • Saturday: a maximum of 10 hours (excluding meal breaks);
  • Sunday: a maximum of 10 hours (excluding meal breaks); and
  • if the period between shifts is 3 hours or less, a split shift allowance must be paid

Additionally public holidays payments are excluded from these arrangements and must be paid per the Award.

If you have any queries, please contact us on 0421 592 541 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

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

Increase in weekend wages in hair and beauty industry

Increase in weekend wages in hair and beauty industry

Latest News & Events

 

Increase in weekend wages in hair and beauty industry

award rate Fair work casual loading

The Fair Work Commission recently decided to increase penalty rates for weekend work performed by casual employees under the Hair and Beauty Award.

Casual weekend penalty rates will increase in 5 instalments starting from 31 January 2022 and finishing on 31 December 2023. From 3 November 2021 to 30 January 2022, casuals will continue to be paid their usual weekend penalty rate.

The penalty rate applying to ordinary hours worked on Saturdays inclusive of the casual loading is:

  • From 3 November 2021: 133%
  • From 31 January 2022: 138%
  • From 30 April 2022: 143%
  • From 31 December 2022: 148%
  • From 30 April 2023: 153%
  • From 31 December 2023: 158%

The penalty rate applying to ordinary hours and overtime hours worked on a Sunday inclusive of the casual loading is:

  • From 3 November 2021: 200%
  • From 31 January 2022: 205%
  • From 30 April 2022: 210%
  • From 31 December 2022: 215%
  • From 30 April 2023: 220%
  • From 31 December 2023: 225%

It should also be noted that award rates in the Hair and Beauty Award 2020 have been increased by 2.5% effective from 1 November 2021 in line with this year’s Annual Wage Review decision by the Fair Work Commission. This was delayed from 1 July 2021 due to the impact of COVID.

Further increases in award rates as a result of Annual Wage Reviews can be expected to apply from 1 July each year in line with the provisions of the Fair Work Act.

If you have any queries, please contact us on 0421 592 541 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

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH

New casual rule deadline is here

New casual rule deadline is here

Latest News & Events

 

New casual rule deadline is here

casual conversion running out of time

27 September 2021 is just about here and that is when the new rules on casual engagement and conversion come fully into effect.

The Federal Government made amendments to the Fair Work Act back in March. The purpose of the amendments was to provide greater surety about what casual employment is, what entitlements casual employees have and when a casual employee can be offered or apply for conversion to full-time or part-time employment. See our post on 12 May on the legislative changes: https://ridgelinehr.com.au/new-standards-on-casual-employment/

Since then, the Fair Work Commission has been reviewing award provisions relevant to casual employment and casual conversion to align them with the revised provisions of the Fair Work Act.

The changes to Award provisions that it has decided on will also take effect from 27 September 2021. In most cases, the FWC has simply decided to scrap the existing Award provisions for clauses that really just reflect or refer to the new Fair Work Act provisions.

There are some exceptions so you need to check the particular Awards that cover your operations and employees.

Key points in terms of your obligations and exposures as an employer are:

  • You must provide all current and future casual employees with a Casual Employment Information Statement which you can access at https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/national-employment- standards/casual-employment-information-statement
  • If you have 15 or more employees and you have a casual employee who has been on with you for 12 months and on a consistent work pattern for the last 6 months, you are required to assess them for conversion to ongoing employment by 27 September 2021 or, in future, within 21 days of the employee’s 12 month anniversary of commencing employment.
  • Regardless of how many employees you have, eligible casual employees can request conversion to ongoing employment, you have to respond to that request in writing within 21 days and, if the employee is dissatisfied with your response (eg you refuse the request), the employee can take the matter to the Fair Work Commission for determination.
  • What is really critical is that there is no firm commitment to an ongoing pattern of work in your contract of employment and other terms of the contract are consistent with the requirements and definition of casual employment now prescribed in the Fair Work Act.

What should you be doing:

  1. Assess the status of your casual employees re potential for conversion.
  2. Get your employment contracts professionally reviewed plus things like any position descriptions or job ads you use to ensure that they don’t have compromising content.

If you need a hand with that, give us a call on 0421 592 541 or email us at enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au.

If you haven’t the benefit of professional advice on your workplace relations compliance situation or you just want to make sure, you might want to take advantage of our Lockdown Special Offer on a Fair Work Compliance Assessment. Pay just $600 plus GST in lieu of the regular price of $750 plus GST. Check it out.

CONTACT US

Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
Abn : 24 091 644 094

enquiries@ridgelinehr.com.au

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

Peter Maguire : 0438 533 311

PARTNER LINKS

TELL US WHAT YOU NEED HELP WITH