August 19, 2019

The ultimate guide to hiring employees (Part two)

Welcome back to our two-part blog around best HR practice when it comes to hiring and recruiting employees. If you missed our first part, you can read it here.

We’ll pick up where we left off – what happens once you’re ready to actually ready to hire someone?

4. The employment contract

If you’re satisfied with the reference checks, make a formal offer. Once it’s accepted be sure to let other unsuccessful candidates know why they missed out.

Beyond that, it’s time to draft your employment contract. It almost always pays to have this done professionally by an expert – especially as it will always be read in conjunction with laws and regulations governing the employment relationship, as well as any relevant modern awards.

5. Your employment and HR policies

Once you have recruited your employees, you should also have standard HR policies and procedures ready to implement. Consider this your bible for your day-to-day business operations, setting out expectations when it comes to workplace behaviour and something you can refer back to when it comes to keeping employees accountable.

As you’ll rely on these policies to regulate your workplace and uphold standards, it’s important that you communicate them to your teams. And, as your business will no doubt grow and evolve, it’s also important that you keep them flexible and review them regularly.

6. Improving performance and terminating employment

Perhaps no aspect of running a business is more fraught and less understood than performance management and termination. But, given the very real prospect of unfair dismissal and unlawful termination action, every employer should understand this area. It’s human resources 101.

Here’s what you should be across:

– Every employee has a ‘qualifying period’ – here you can terminate an employee and request they part with the company. If you’re a small employer (under 15 employees) the good news is that this qualifying period runs for 12 months. For larger employers, it’s just six.
– You should give warnings for underperformance – before you dismiss any worker. Warn them that they are not performing and provide them with a chance to improve. Do this both in a private face-to-face meeting and in writing. Let them have a support person present and give them a reasonable period to improve. Record keeping here is vital.
– You don’t have to give notice or warnings for misconduct. If someone is guilty of serious misconduct, you can terminate their employment summarily. Examples of serious misconduct include theft, fraud, threatening behaviour and a serious breach of your policies.
– Everyone else is entitled to a notice period – this ranges from one week to employees who’ve given you less than 12 months service to four weeks for employees who’ve been with you for more than five years. If a worker is over 45 and has served more than two years, they’re entitled to another two weeks. You can make a payment in lieu of this notice period.
– Redundant employees are entitled to an extra payment, but only if you are over 15 people. Again, this is based on age and length of service.
– Employees have 21 days to bring an unfair dismissal claim – if you get payments or procedure wrong, they may be entitled to compensation and potentially even reinstatement.
– You can never terminate an employee for a prescribed reason – this includes on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or union membership. If you do, you’re likely to be penalised under the unlawful termination provisions, which are separate to unfair dismissal.

Are you ready to embrace the hiring process?

I hope you found our two-part blog helpful – these are the basics of recruitment that I feel that every business owner should know needs. But remember, these really are just the ‘basics’ – human resources can be complex, challenging and there are some areas which are more likely to be grey than black and white. If you find yourself in a situation that could lead to serious exposure for your business, you should always pay for an employment lawyer or HR professional. Otherwise, you risk suffering far greater long-term damage both to your reputation and your bottom line. If you’d like an independent review of your HR processes or are keen to revamp the way you hire in your organisation, then speak with us today. We’d love to help.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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