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Our 5 key takeaways from the 2019 HR Summit

By August 29, 2019November 23rd, 2020Blog

What did we learn?

In July, some of our team attended the 2019 HR Summitt in Melbourne with a wide range of exhibitors and presenters, including Australia Post, Accor Hotels, Spotify, The Workplace Lawyers, Gold Coast Health and Reward Gateway to name a few!

These presenters shared their stories and case studies, allowing us to keep up to date with the current HR climate and providing insights on changes, laws and culture.  We wanted to share some of our team’s key takeaways and how they can be applied to small business.

Culture changes – how leaders can promote and lead change

Developing or changing a workplace culture may be a little easier to manage in a small business compared to a company with 1,000 people, but the principles are always the same!

Know what your company values are, and live and breathe these every day.  Understand what your mission is, why this mission must be achieved, and how your company and employees will need to behave to make that happen.

Culture is everchanging, and companies need to be adaptable and flexible with their approaches to survive. Don’t just tick a box by putting a bowl of fruit in the lunchroom, or have a yoga session once a week. While these can be good initiatives and make your organisation a nice place to work, it only scratches the surface.

If you don’t have a company mission/values, then it may be time to define them. Work with your employees to get feedback or suggestions. Engage your team to build the culture you want to see but it must starts with and be lead from the top.

Flexible and remote working

Our workplaces have changed in the last 10 – 20 years. Our workforce is getting younger – by 2020, the majority of the workforce will be Millennials (born 1981-1996). Gen Z (1997-2015) is also starting to emerge, with baby boomers now retiring and leaving the workforce.

These employees have different expectations of how to work, and they want to be trusted to work flexibly and remotely.  The expectation is to be able “log in” whenever they want, work in remote locations, and use up to date technology for most, if not all aspects of their job.

With studies showing that 64% of employees willing to sacrifice pay to work from home for at least two days per week (PwC’s NextGen study), there is a significant shift in employees needs. With the wealth of technology available, it is up to business owners to identify what will work for your company and build the trust and expectations around flexibility at work.

Reward and Recognition

This is always a popular topic for employees who are focussed on the benefits, rewards or recognition they will receive for doing a good job.

There can be a broad range of incentive programs or bonus structures, and some can come with a high dollar cost. Not everyone has the budget to spend and there are plenty of alternatives that are low cost or no cost but will still promote a genuine recognition culture in your business.

The cheapest and most effective program is to say “thanks”!  Never underestimate the value of acknowledging a job well done.

Allow peers to provide praise or thanks to their fellow team members.  This may be achieved with a card, an email, a social media post, a get together for drinks, an ice-cream, a badge. Basically, anything that will make someone smile and feel appreciated!

Invest time in your team. Include them in the decision making process. Share information. Engaged employees will be more innovate so listen to their ideas and implement where you can. Demonstrate to your employees that you trust them and you are all heading in the same direction.

Check out our article 5 Non-Financial Ways to Motivate Employees for more ideas.

Technology – how to implement and transform your digital world

If you find yourself growing from a one-person business to a 10 person business, then congratulations are in order!  But with growth comes additional complications as you are now managing people.

Technology can be exceptionally beneficial to your business and, if used effectively, can cut your administration time down. The first thing to consider is what you need technology to achieve. Do you need a payroll system, somewhere to book appointments, a communication tool, an HRIS system, a recruitment tool?  The list is endless!

Understand what your business needs now also look to the future. Many programs encompass a range of essential services and you may not find the solution that ticks all the boxes but find the one that suits your business, is adaptable, and that you can build on.

It is also helpful to get your team on board and excited about any new implementation. Get employees involved from the start. Ask them what do they need, how would they use it, why would this be helpful? Engaging staff in the process from inception to implementation will ensure buy-in and return on investment.

Employee Health – physical and mental wellbeing

Unhealthy employees can be costly for small businesses through increased sick leave, lack of engagement and a decrease in productivity.

As people, we want to be healthy (mind and body), financial stability, to be part of a community/tribe and to have a purpose in what we do. As a business owner, you can provide this support with your employees in a variety of different ways:

  • inclusion – making them feel important to the business
  • providing a fair (market value) remuneration package
  • implement an Employee Assistance Program or access to psychological support services
  • introduce ‘mental health days’ or ‘doona days’ as part of their leave entitlement
  • take on something physical! Gym or swimming pool access for employees, a sponsored walk, a pedometer challenge – something to get the heart pumping!
  • organise volunteer activities to do as a team

By genuinely showing care and taking the health of your employees seriously, you are providing a metally safe workplace. Employees that feel safe will be more engaged and productive. So everyone wins.

Frances Orr

Author Frances Orr

Frances is a Human Resources professional with a passion for supporting small business. She is also an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor.

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