4 HR tips for setting your business up for success


With Jess from Positive HR
Work /

What an unpredictable year 2020 has been!


With many businesses having to (buzz word alert) pivot and adjust operations and offerings we have had to find a new normal to continue into the future.

If you are looking at starting a new business, looking to grow your current business or just wanting to get legit, our following compliance information and business tips to set your business up for success is just for you!

Every business owner knows success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of sweat and tears to build a solid foundation — and to maintain it too. Successful founders like Melanie Perkins of Canva and Carolyn Creswell of Carman’s have shared time after time the ebbs and flows that come with entrepreneurship — but the common narrative they both have is they recognised the importance of people and culture early on.

All business owners at one point or another face a similar fundamental challenge, that is, how to effectively manage their structure, their employees or contractors in order to achieve the intended business goals and objectives.

Now, if you are like me, you are probably reading this blog with a glass of wine when the kids have gone to bed. Well pour yourself a “movie length” glass tonight because we are about to get into some exciting tips on what you need to do to get your people and culture off to a great start.

1. Terms of Trade

Any business should have terms of trade or an engagement agreement in place for clients. This ensures sufficient details about the scope of work, quote and services being delivered is clear and understood. Under contract law, you need to define the offer (quote) and how acceptance is achieved (via writing in email or perhaps paying the deposit).

Your terms and conditions provide as a risk management device and typically include information relating to any applicable laws, pricing and payments, tax, workmanship and warranties, damage, termination, indemnity, intellectual property and more!

Remember, no matter the size of your business or the value of your work, terms are always crucial.

Freelancing Gems members can find a contract template available in their business toolkit.

2. Get compliance confident

The Australian employment landscape can be complex to navigate. From the changing nature of casual employment to the gig economy and now JobKeeper, employers are expected to be on their toes.

Workplace compliance seems to be changing almost every day. The key to staying compliant is developing excellent HR practices from the start, not only to avoid costly mistakes but also to improve employee engagement and retention.

Everything needs to be documented in the employee ‘lifecycle’ — from the recruitment process all the way to the exit interview. Businesses are also expected to comply with record-keeping for seven years.

It’s easy to get complacent with the process. After all, we’re juggling so many balls in the air! Unfortunately, we’ve all seen big brands such as Woolworths, David Jones, and Country Road get into trouble for underpayments or for a myriad of unfair dismissals.

While with the best intentions, we have seen businesses slip up due to an innocent administrative error on Xero or have misinterpreted an award or agreement.

But don’t feel discouraged in hiring people. You need people for your business to grow and thrive. If you’re ever unsure, it’s crucial to get the right advice for peace of mind. The Positive HR team can help answer your burning HR questions specific to your business, award and industry.

3. Understand the contractor vs employee relationship

Let’s deep-dive into the great area known as the contractor or employee relationship! Ask yourself the following questions. Does your business require a contractor or employee? And is your contractor actually considered an employee for tax and super purposes? There are several distinctions between both, and we recommend you review the ATO table for further information.

But, as a general rule of thumb, the relationship between a business and an employee is a contract of service, while the relationship between a business and a contractor is a contract for service. The other key difference is the level of control they have over the work they do. This includes when they work, whether the hours are determined by them or the business and the expectations of any ongoing work.

All these elements help determine what the relationship should look like from a tax & super obligation perspective. In our experience, problems occur when businesses confuse or misrepresent the contractor / employee status. It is crucial to receive professional advice to get this right!

4. Diversity and inclusion lead to serving your audience better

The follow on from the recent event of #BlackLivesMatters, many businesses — big and small, have put the spotlight on the importance of diversity. Diversity means creating a mix that reflects the cultural differences of customers, clients and overall audience.

Considering the diversity in gender, cultural, sexual orientation, abilities and age in the workplace may be challenging to develop — but will lead to innovative ideas and creativity.

Inclusion is equally important (if not more). This refers to creating an environment where everyone is treated respectfully and has equal access to opportunities so that they can contribute fully to the businesses success.

Having diverse and inclusive teams will also lead to happier teams and in turn, leads to increased productivity and positive outcomes.

Over to you

Depending on the size of your business, you may have someone who handles all your HR matters, or you may wish to outsource your HR function to save you time and stress. No matter how you’d like to do your HR, having a people and culture focus always leads to business success. After all, the best people always want to work for the best companies. If you would like to speak with one of our consultants, connect with me via the Freelancing Gems Directory.

About the author: Jess

This guest blog was written by Jessica Bilston-Gourley, Director and Founder of Positive HR. Jessica established her HR Consulting and HR Outsourcing business Positive HR in 2018 Positive HR is about building high-quality and trusted partnerships at all levels of an organisation—big or small.

In 2017, Jessica received the LinkedIn Power Profile – Top 5 HR Professionals on LinkedIn across Australia. Since then she has continuously been seeking ways to challenge the status quo in HR and reinvent the wheel. Jessica has been the Co-Convenor of AHRI Emerging Leaders Committee in 2019 and again in 2020.

Positive HR offers multiple HR Outsourcing membership packages and has an E-Commerce website (positivehr.com.au) for HR Documents that are drafted by lawyers.