Our 4 step guide to not getting sued

Workplace legislation can be tricky business. It’s everchanging, fraught with issues of interpretation and honestly, pretty unreadable. Unless you’re a HR practitioner, it’s the LAST thing you want to be doing on your Monday afternoon. But if you’re self employed or if you have 1 or more employee, the fact is that you NEED to know this legislation, and how it applies to your business and your employees.

Put simply you are legally required to provide a workplace that is mentally and physically safe for your employees – and key part of this is implementing the relevant legislation. In order to do this you need to follow three steps:
1. Understand the legislation and how it is interpreted in your country and/or state and the jobs your people are doing – ie not much need for steel toes boots in an office
2. Write down policies and procedures that include all aspects of the legislation
3. Ensure that your employees understand the policies and procedures and then…
4. Prove it!

Most employers quite often enlist help when it comes to step one and two, but completely forget about having a plan when it comes to step three, and don’t know about step four. Thinking that as long as they take new employees through your policies and procedures during induction, they’re covered.

Simply put, they’re not.

Writing it down your policies and procedures as a response to the legislation is not enough. It exists to protect your employees and the employee / employer relationship, so unless your people can confidently understand the how, what, when, where and why of each policy, rule, guideline or process you give them, you’re not “implementing the legislation”.

Think of it like this – Would you let the Jack from accounting drive your car to Canberra for a meeting if he had no licence? If there was no overarching method he knew the rules that govern our roadways? No. Me either. Then why is it ok to continue with business as usual when many of us don’t know the people rules that govern our workplaces?

Yep, that’s the sound of the penny dropping.

Luckily, ensuring your employees ‘get’ your policies and procedures doesn’t have to be hard. I have a step-by-step guide for making it happen, and it all starts with gauging their current understanding. So grab an employee or two who has worked with you for at least 18 months, and ask the following:
1. Do you know if we have policies and procedures?
2. Do you know where you can find them in the office/on our intranet?
3. Can you give me names and details of any?
4. How do you know if they are changed or updated?
5. Do you know if we have a sexual harassment or workplace injury policy?
6. Do you know what sexual harassment and bullying is and isn’t?
7. Do you know what to do if you are sexually harassed or injured in the workplace?
8. Do you know what to do if you observe another person being sexually harassed or bullied in the workplace?
9. Do you know whether your social media presence outside of work could have repercussions on your employment?

If your employees can answer all these questions sufficiently, well done! If they haven’t…we have some work to do.

Induction procedures are just one of MANY ways that we can ensure your employees understand the rules that govern their workplace. It isn’t about running expensive training sessions or sending around more regular emails. There are heaps of fun, non cringey and affordable solutions that automate the process add value to your company culture – gamifaction, diversity and inclusion and sick leave reduction. Click here to find out more about what we do, or email our HR Rockstar, Nathalie and ask how Shared and Halved can help.

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