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Small Biz Matters – a half hour program each week where you can work

ON your business rather than IN it.

Inducting New Staff Members

We’re really in that Admin part of the year so this program follows on from the last couple of weeks’ shows – Processes and Procedures and Forms and last weeks’ show which was all about preparing for the end of the Tax Year. If you’ve missed them, don’t worry they are all available as podcasts on my website just go to the Blogs & Podcasts page.

So this week we’re chatting about Inducting new staff members. Now getting this right in the first place makes your staff happy and keeps everyone clear on expectations, their role and how new staff fit in. This is quite a practical step-by-step show so don’t worry if you get lost in the content.

We’re not going to discuss how to find that employee – we’ll cover that topic in a few weeks… That’s a whole other kettle of fish.

Part 1 – A good Induction Procedure is all about the admin

  •  Now, we did cover this a few weeks ago, but I thought I’d just touch on these elements again and go into a little more detail. Don’t worry about keeping track of all the finer points; these will be available on my website after the show, as always.
  • Good forms to have in place when employees start work:
    • Emergency contact/details form – make sure you have 2 contacts listed, you should update these forms annually
    • Employees info – contact details, banking details etc
    • Superannuation Standard Choice Form – although you don’t need to send this anywhere you do need to prove you’ve asked the employee what they choose and this is a great way to show that.
    • Tax File Declaration form from the ATO
    • Remember to file all of these hard copies, along with the employee’s signed employment agreement in their own personnel file.

Staff Manuals vs. Employee contracts

  • You should have both.
  • A staff manual is not binding since staff do not sign it but referring to it in the contract means you have clearly said the staff member has to adhere to the contract,
  • A contract is not generally updated but a staff manual can be continuously updated by owners and their staff ( a good opportunity for staff to make a contribution) and so using language in the employment agreement/ contract such as “there is an expectation to adhere to company policy or “there may be circumstances when…” doesn’t tie you down to specifics and means that flexible document which is your Staff Manual still has some legitimacy in the contract.
  • f you do refer to the Staff Manual make sure you include a note which states clearly that you reserve the right to change the Staff Manual at any time.
  • Keep the wording around policy strong but loosen it with the consequences and the time line for enforcing them.

Employment contract – probably the one document I would suggest you have a solid legal person look over. According to the SEEK website the basic information you should include is:

  • The name of employee and company
  • The Date
  • Location of work
  • Hours of typical day
  • Remuneration (whether it includes or does not include super)
  • Probation period
  • Termination
  • Types of acceptable leave, pay cycle,
  • As per above – Compliance with company policies & procedures – now this is where it is a good idea to get this checked with a legal expert.
  • You should always include a CLEAR section on Harassment/racial vilification/discrimination to cover yourself in the event of such workplace bullying.
  • Computer use – which programs are acceptable, introducing viruses into the workplace
  • Confidentiality – protects your business from misuse of info which an employee has access to. You might like to refer to intellectual property here (and the fact that what the employee produces remains the property of the company they work for) Make sure you have a clear indicator of the consequences of breaching this section of the contract.
  • Acceptance section where they date and sign

 Part 2 – The Admin Process of Inducting a New Employee

As your IT consultant or department to set up their email address and access to programs. Supply your bookkeeper with all their payroll details. Also make sure the staff member has the correct email signature.

  • Make sure they have signed and return their employee agreement before commencement of employment.
  • Via their new email address, issue new staff member with the following in digital format:
  • Staff Manual
  • Important after hours numbers
  • Your letterhead
  • Templates such as expense forms and leave forms
  • Create a File named with employee name. Here you file the original signed employment agreement and ATO form below.
  • Once the employee has completed the ATO Tax File Declaration form complete the bottom and send original to ATO. Keep the copy and file in the employee’s file.
  • Once the employee has completed the Emergency Form for Staff email this to yourself in pdf format.
  • If there is an alarm process or key make the decision in advance of them starting If you intend to supply them with a key etc.

Part 3 – The Walk-Through

  •  Work Health and Safety obligation – what to do if they see a risk, incident or experience a medical situation.
  • Fire exits, bathrooms, who the first aid officer is etc
  • Have a nice welcome morning tea or maybe some drinks after work – and make sure you don’t talk about work!
  • What if it all starts going wrong??
  • Keep records of all conversations & meetings – remember a written record with a date and time is a legal document.

Next week we’re going to be taking it to the streets and chatting to local businesses in Hornsby and Kuring-Gai about the local issues that matter to them. We want to hear from you about how you think local government can support small businesses better and better address your concerns. Got something to talk about? Get in touch via the Breakfast Boys Facebook page or email me at