General Employment Questions
Don’t be shy. We can help, so don’t hold back. We’ve compiled a list of our most asked questions, but if you don’t find the answer here, then just give us a call and one or our knowledgeable team members will give you the information that you need. Better still, set up an appointment to meet with us.
Creating a positive work environment, setting clear goals and having regular, honest and timely communication can help grow great employees while reducing performance issues.
Following a performance management process can ensure expectations are communicated clearly between employer and employee. The three stages of a simple, good performance management system are to:
- Plan together what should be achieved and by when. What may be the consequences for goals achieved and goals missed?
- Monitor together progress toward that goal at helpful and constructive intervals.
- Review the plan and the progress together. Was it realistic? Was it achieved? What next?
The law protects an employee at work by setting minimum rights, ensuring they are safe and not unlawfully discriminated against, bullied or harassed, and by making sure an employer acts in good faith.
- The Employment Relations Act 2000 and all its subsequent amendments is a powerful piece of legislation that is there to protect vulnerable employees and ensure basic rights, for example by requiring that every employee has an employment agreement with minimum entitlements. Further pieces of legislation determine those entitlements such as the Holidays Act, Minimum Wage laws and Parental Leave laws.
- The Health and Safety at Work Act aims to protect workers from harm by ensuring workplaces are safe and risks are eliminated or minimized.
- Other important legislation includes the Privacy Act and Human Rights Act which have a wider scope beyond employment.
Employment advocates understand the Employment Relations Act and its various implications for making businesses better places to work in. Key areas include job design, recruitment and onboarding, training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, and employee relations. Employment advocates can also be involved in employment disputes and may represent either the aggrieved employee or the employer. They do their most noble work by advising employers of best practice so as to avoid the challenge of a personal grievance and help businesses achieve great results with and for their people. Employment advocates are not lawyers.
Employment lawyers specialise in the Employment Relations Act and its implications for those who are unhappy with their employment relationship(s). They prepare documentation, and advise on very complex processes. They represent employers and/or employees in disputes, particularly the employment court and High Court. They typically appreciate good HR companies that help businesses manage avoidable HR issues. They value ongoing HR support in a business as this leads to finding and growing a successful workforce, and greater chances of a happy workplace.
Entitlement to leave is one of the costliest components of employing someone. For many businesses, if a staff member is absent, they need to be replaced in some capacity, so leave can be a double cost to the employer. Processes to control access to leave, whether that be sick leave, annual leave, study leave, parental leave or leave without pay are very important, as they head off the possibility that an employee may access more or less leave than they are entitled to or be paid at an incorrect rate. Leave management can also help highlight potential issues which may need addressing such as a pattern of absence.
Leave management can be controlled through a basic payroll system, but this practical side of the entitlement should be matched with policies that work for the business. Good policies answer questions like how much notice do we need before granting annual leave? Will notice vary with the amount of leave requested? Leave entitlements are determined by the Holidays Act and the Employment Relations Act, but the specifics of accessing the entitlement can be controlled by the business, e.g. are text messages an acceptable form of requesting sick leave? Leave management ensures a good strong balance between operational considerations and staff entitlements.
Human resources, people and culture, employee experience; whatever the job title, the focus of HR is on the most important assets of a business – its people. Key areas include job design, recruitment and onboarding, training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, and employee relations. Underpinning all these areas is the requirement to ensure a business complies with the Employment Relations Act. HR practitioners often find themselves balancing a tightrope between advocating for both employees and employer! Using good HR processes and practices can add value to a business and drive success by finding and growing a great workforce.
Some employers use the term “performance management” for a thinly veiled disciplinary procedure with a view to exiting an under-performing employee. This is a risky management style as every employee has the right to ask for a review of any treatment that they consider unfair or unreasonable. HR plays a crucial part in developing and driving processes that encourage and support great performance as well as those to manage poor performance in an effective and compliant way.
Frequently Asked Questions About FixHR
We are providing a very transparent service in a world which is often full of smoke and mirrors, and uncertainty. We do what we say we do, and make great HR practice, and great HR support, accessible to any viable business.
Your suite of documents will be selected from our considerable library of resources, and tailored for your needs. We will spend time before we produce your documents to understand your business, your opportunities and your gaps. After creating your documents we offer a masterclass to take you through what we have produced, and why we have supplied each document, so you (and anyone else you nominate to join the meeting) understand what tools you have purchased and how to make best use of them. None of this comes for free online.
We fully expect our clients’ businesses will grow. We will be taking a lot of the pain out of recruitment and onboarding, and your business should start to really hum once you have your HR systems in place. We will absorb the addition of new staff members until your annual review where we re-evaluate the package we put you on. At that stage you might prefer to opt for more or fewer hours in your subscription for the following year.
You cannot relinquish your key decision-making responsibilities, no matter who is advising you. You can certainly choose to follow another course of action rather than taking our advice. You will be doing so with more knowledge and insight as to the potential consequences of your decisions than if you had not belonged to FixHR and sought our support in the first place.
We are not a law firm. Rather than providing legal advice, FixHR provides pragmatic commercial solutions and ongoing support in the workplace relations space. There are plenty of law firms in the market already! Our niche is prevention. When a business owner has his or her systems set up correctly, and knows how to follow lawful processes as they recruit, onboard, manage and exit their staff, the chances they will ever need an employment lawyer are reduced many times over.
Sorry to say, this may happen. You can follow every detail of lawful procedure and your staff member may still feel aggrieved and choose to lodge a claim against you. FixHR clients will forward the threat or claim to the HelpLine and we will handle it from there using your subscriber-hours. (This is the benefit of a monthly subscription.) We will make every effort to settle the matter before mediation. If that is not possible, we will act as your advocates, as part of your subscription with us. On the rare occasion that we cannot settle the matter in mediation, we will facilitate your connection with our lawyers of choice. We will remain with you every step of the way, and any time you are paying the lawyer does not come off your annual allocation of time with us.
Please leave a message. Our support is available from 8:30am – 5:30pm, Monday to Friday, but it is possible we are helping another client and can’t answer your call. We will get back to you as quickly as possible. We have a goal of a four hour response time during business hours.
We do not want to be taking money for nothing! Toward the end of our first year together, and going forward just before every anniversary, we will review your access to the HelpLine and assure ourselves you are on the right package. We will send you an email to advise you of this exercise along with any recommendations. Of course, the onus is on you to use the service you are subscribed to and FixHR won’t be required to refund you for any hours that are not used at the end of the contract term.
If you require more than the hours you have joined for, as per our terms and conditions, we are available at an additional hourly-rate which will be invoiced on top of your subscription amount. Additionally there is an opportunity every year to increase your subscription if needs be.
For legislative updates or important industry information, we will include MUST READ in our subject line. Please note that we will be emailing you from time to time with less critical information which we hope you will find helpful, short and interesting.
If you need to cancel our agreement before the end of the initial contract term, it is possible to do so by paying an early termination fee equal to 25% of the remaining subscription fee. There can be good reason to cancel an agreement, but we wouldn’t expect there to be any issues with the service delivery. If that were the case, please give us a chance to put it right before you leave.
There is the slim possibility that you have an employee who is resistant to moving onto more modern documentation. If this were to occur, we would coach you through the conversation to have, and/or write the letter to your staff member soliciting details about their concerns. Ultimately you cannot make someone do something they are not willing to, but we will be accumulating evidence that you have done your best to treat your staff in a reasonable and fair manner for if there is ever a challenge or review.
FixHR’s Straight-Forward Approach
Our straight-forward consultative approach to HR leaves no doubt about how we engage with you and the results you can expect. Our processes are all designed to take the mystery out of great HR, and help you achieve the benefits of good HR practices.
What our clients say
Our team’s professionalism and dedication is rewarded time and time again by what our clients say about us. Every one of us strives to excel at each opportunity and the results show.