Developing a comprehensive HR system

IT is an unfortunate situation that most small to medium enterprises (employing less than 100 staff) have failed to invest in the development of human resource systems and/or practices. This factor has been reinforced recently in discussions that I have held with the Department of State & Regional Development of New South Wales.

A recent increase in workplace injuries and unfair dismissal claims has led the department to commission a series of workshops with the aim of educating business owners as to the benefits that can be derived from implementing effective human resource practices.

The focus of the seminars is to support organisations to develop human resource systems and practices that reflect current best practice principles. The key deliverable from the seminars (apart from skills development) is the development of a comprehensive human resource system for participating organisations.

The seminars will focus on educating business owners as to how human resource practices, when well designed, can influence two key characteristics of an organisation’s operational environment, namely employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction.

The development of human resource systems will include supporting participants to develop a strategy for the development of their organisation’s current employees. The human resource systems being delivered to participants will become a working guide for the management and development of the relationship between management and staff, and will enable the development of effective organisational citizenship by defining roles, responsibilities and accountabilities throughout each organisation’s operational environment for each participating firm.

The key elements of the program contain human resource policies and procedure design and development including:

p recruitment policy, interview policy and procedure, appointment policy and procedure, confirmation of appointment policy and procedure, induction policy and procedure, training policy and procedure, performance appraisal policy and procedure, study leave policy and procedure, staff loans policy and procedure;

p code of conduct policy and procedure, disciplinary policy and procedure, disciplinary interview procedure, performance appraisal policy and procedure, general safety policy and procedure, smoking ban policy and procedure, no smoking areas policy and procedure, hazardous substances procedure, stress policy and procedure; and

p alcohol and drugs policy, alcohol and drugs procedure, rehabilitation policy and procedure, dismissal policy and procedure, notice policy and procedure, exit interview policy and procedure, reference policy and procedure, equal opportunities policy and procedure, sexual and racial harassment policy and procedure.

Supporting forms for human resource policies and procedures also will be developed. Examples of forms, which will be provided to participants, include:

p job descriptions, personnel requisition forms, confidential application for employment, application for internal vacancy, job interview assessment form, reference request form, reference check – telephone questionnaire, contract of employment, annualised hours, contract of employment – homeworkers, mobility and relocation, sample action plan form, performance appraisal meeting record form, workplace inspection form, accident log, manual handling operations risk assessment;

p performance of specific task or purpose, pay notice, restrictive covenants, secondment, temporary appointment, reimbursement of training costs, evaluation of external training courses, individual training record, preparation for appraisal, performance appraisal form, performance appraisal meeting record form, display screen equipment record (user training), compliance audit record, notification of termination, notification of resignation, exit interview; and

p salary review sheet, adjustment to pay, hr/personnel change form, time and wages record, leave application form, trainee record form, application for sponsored training, loan authorisation, staff superannuation plan, sample membership record form, sex and ethnic monitoring, warning form, sample conduct report, sample disciplinary warning card, record of manual handling training, termination report.

A number of standard letters, which reflect the supporting policies and procedures, will also be developed. These letters will include:

p offer of appointment, suspension pending disciplinary hearing, general or final written warning, suspension pending investigation;

p notice of disciplinary interview, first written warning, final written warning, confirmation of dismissal; and

p confirmation of summary dismissal, sample notice of appeal hearing, letter of notification, retirement letter.

It is envisaged that the development of these systems will provide enormous benefit to the participating organisations by streamlining existing systems (where they exist) and developing a co-ordinated approach to people management practices throughout each organisation. Coordination of people management systems are essential if organisations are to induct new employees into the ‘culture’ appropriately and if participating organisations are to protect themselves from the possibility of having industrial relations claims lodged against them.

If any readers of Business News are interested in obtaining details of the program, including copies of any supporting documentation they should e-mail Chris Taylor at

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