HR news and updates from the E.L Blue Team

Foundation for success – Establishing a robust HR structure

5 Oct 2020 | HR, Human Resource Management, Human Resource Outsourcing, Recruitment

High growth company

Typically, growing companies outgrow many of their processes and systems.  While the essential systems (finance, payroll, production, operations etc) are generally maintained, supporting systems (HR, OHS etc) are often left behind.  It is not until an issue arises or a valued advisor suggests there are business risks, that these systems are reviewed and updated.

Common issues that drive a review of human resource management are often things like…

  1. Recruitment / Retention
  2. Fairwork Unfair Dismissal Claims or compliance
  3. Downsizing / Redundancy

It is common that in addressing these concerns lays the foundation for installing a more professional and robust HR management structure.

What follows is an example of how a typical outsourced HR project rolls out

A starting point – recruitment process

A company in the retail sector was experiencing rapid growth and found it difficult to execute an effective staffing program.  They were experiencing difficulties in attracting and retaining the right quality staff to run their outlets.  Recruitment had been managed on an adhoc basis by a senior manager, and was not able to keep up with the rapid growth.

After an assessment of the existing process, it was agreed that the entire recruitment process needed a rework ;

  • Job descriptions and requirements were standardised.
  • Assessment criteria were established.
  • Interview questions and assessments were established
  • Reference andAustralian work rights checks were implemented.
  • Job advertisements and strategies were revamped and attraction processes put in place.


Building compliance – work rights and labour contracts 

Most of the sales assistants were casual employees and some international students, so in support of the general staffing of the outlets,  further compliance checks were undertaken including working rights checks and document verifications.

With a mix of full time, part time and casual employees engaged by the business, it was critical that contracts were standardised and compliant with relevant awards.   For store managers, it was also important to ensure their Annualised Wage arrangements met the “better off” standards.

Building Infrastructure – policy, procedures, inductions, checklists & manuals

While the business had been operating for an extended period of time, store managers had generally grown with the business, and as a result there was limited policy guidance or standard procedures.  It was necessary to establish a Store Manager and new sales assistant induction program, and work on standardising operations.

Checklists were established for new staff and operating procedure manuals were formulated.

It became clear that many staff did not know which managers to speak with about which specific matter, so an organisational chart and a communication structure was established to ensure guidance on different matters was consistent.

To reduce errors in payroll and ensure the company was compliant, the payroll process was reviewed, timesheets and rates were assessed and a firm set of policy and payroll processing procedures was established.

An entire regime of general policies was established in areas such as travel, reimbursements, dress standards and grooming, to support and provide consistency for all team members.   Policies were rolled out over time as new matters became apparent.

A standard performance and management policy was developed for the sales assistants as all store managers were working to different standards.   Performance standards, KPI’s and sales targets were established.  Discussion templates were established for managers to work through goal setting and performance discussions.

As staff turnover was quite common, exit procedures were established to ensure final payroll was met, shop keys were recorded and returned and that the staff departure was signed off.

Staffing mix – casual, part-time and full-time staffing

Casual employees make up the majority of the work force, and for some of the team members, they had been with the company for a long time and had been working on a regular shift pattern.  For compliance issues it was important to move as many of the long term casual employees onto a permanent part time basis.  Given the difference in compensation, a communication and discussion process was established and store managers were prepped to work through the discussions.

Project benefits..

What started as a recruitment program led to the establishment of building a solid HR management infrastructure to support the business expansion.  The outcome of this was a large reduction in staff turnover, an improvement in the quality of staff, increased people related support for store managers and a standard training program.

The risk to the business for non-compliance was reduced substantially and store staffing was streamlined as inter-store movement was much easier.   In addition it became much easier to roll-out new stores as the HR and staffing policy was complete.