As a new business owner, there are so many competing priorities and demands. One of those priorities is bringing on board staff, and ensuring you comply with the various rules and regulations that apply to workplaces.

Getting the right people on board is essential for the success of your business. And once you have those people on board, it’s important to make sure you have good systems and processes in place to make managing your people as easy as possible, and also to safeguard your new business against costly workplace disputes.

Whilst it can be daunting for new business owners to navigate their way through constantly changing workplace laws, there some key steps that you can take to protect your business.

Perks People & Culture recommend the following essential considerations for start-ups:


  1. Job descriptions – These are critical in the start-up phase, to help you decide what skills you really need across your business, and to ensure that you are clear about your expectations of employees when they do come on board. They also become important when performance managing staff, as they enable employers to provide clear feedback against agreed KPIs and role requirements.


  1. Employment contracts – Verbal contracts and ‘handshake’ agreements are often a quick and simple solution when bringing new people into your business – but they can create uncertainty and confusion down the track, particularly if there is a disagreement or dispute about terms and conditions. Are your employees permanent? Or does it suit your business to employ casual staff? Do you want to bring people on as employees, or perhaps contractors might be a better fit? What about probationary periods and termination? These are the questions that all new business owners must consider before employing staff. And having compliant but simple contracts in place is an important safeguard for your business.


  1. HR Policies and Procedures – Having key HR policies and procedures is not only important to ensure your business is compliant with workplace laws, but will also assist to provide guidance and clarity of expectations when managing your people. Policies that deal with harassment and discrimination, staff grievances, Work Health and Safety, leave entitlements and social media are just a few examples of documents that employers should have in place to provide clarity and minimise risk.


  1. Remuneration – As a new business owner, you must be familiar the minimum wage requirements under your relevant industry award, or risk exposing your business to potential underpayment claims. Awards provide guidance about what you are required to pay your staff as wages, but also how overtime is calculated, what hours you can require your staff to work and what allowances they may be entitled to. Further, in order to attract the best people to your business, it helps to do some research about what other employers in similar industries are paying for comparable roles – salary benchmarking will help to ensure that you are not falling behind your competitors.