What’s ahead for HR in 2019?

2019 has arrived and business owners turn our minds to the year ahead while quietly reviewing the year that has been. How was your year? Better or worse than you had expected? Or pretty close to what you thought it would be?

Regardless of the sort of year you’ve had there are some HR challenges you should be thinking about for 2019 and beyond. Think of them as new year resolutions for your business:

  • Make sure you and your managers are having regular catch-ups with staff. By regular I mean at least once a month but preferably even more often than that. The catch-up doesn’t need to be formal or documented. It’s absolutely vital that you don’t just rely on an annual performance appraisal process as your only means of discussing performance. Employees’ strengths and a strong focus on improvement should always be on your management team’s agenda. You and your managers should make it the number one priority for 2019 and every year after that
  • Get your managers and staff trained in workplace harassment awareness, no matter how big or small your company is. You don’t want the Fair Work Commission knocking on your door when one of your employees lodges a formal complaint. Avoid the on-line versions of this type of training. They are purely a tick-the-box response and deliver very little learning. A better way is to use a skilled facilitator to conduct short workshops (around 1-2 hours) for managers and employees. Managers will learn how to handle a complaint and your staff will know you’re serious about eliminating harassment in the workplace
  • Don’t forget to allow staff to have a support person with them if you’re having one of those meetings where you’re discussing someone’s future with your company. If you refuse to allow a support person that alone could be grounds for unfair dismissal, regardless of how well documented your termination process is.

2 other interesting HR items have recently emerged:

  • Casuals – make sure you understand the difference between casual, contract and permanent employment. There is a big focus now on casuals actually qualifying for permanent employment and thus gaining an entitlement to paid leave and other benefits of permanent employment
  • Family and domestic violence leave – This new entitlement allows employees experiencing family and domestic violence to use up to 5 days of unpaid leave. This includes taking time off to:
    • make arrangements for personal safety, or the safety of a family member
    • move house
    • attend court hearings
    • access police services.


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