There’s no time like the present! It’s the start of a new financial year and a great time to take stock of your people priorities and spend a little extra time focusing on your team.
We always say that managing your people well shouldn’t be hard work. And it really shouldn’t. Like most things, all it requires is commitment, focus and some creativity to get it right. With a little bit of effort you can add a lot of value to make sure that you have the right things in place for your people to set your business up for a successful year ahead.
Here are a few people-related things that we think SMEs should be doing now to gear them up for the upcoming financial year.
Get up to date
As an SME owner, there are 101 things (and then some!), of regulations, conditions, rules, etc, you need to be aware of when it comes to managing your people. We know it’s definitely not an easy task to be across all of the things you need to be across, which is made even more difficult when these rules and regulations are constantly being updated (beyond frustrating, we know!) but as tedious as it may be to get across the detail, it’s so important and in your best interests to do so.
A lot of new updates come out at the start of the financial year like new pay-rates and changes to the minimum wage, etc. Making sure you implement these new rates from July 1 is crucial. The last thing you want as a business is to get caught out for not having the right pay rates and conditions in place!
This year, there are also some new superannuation guarantee updates that employers need to be aware of, as well as well as important changes to the Fair Work Act including details around new anti-bullying measures and family-friendly working conditions. A good place to start on all of this information is the Fair Work website.
Do your research, make sure you know what’s expected of you as an employer and follow through on these expectations.
Review the year gone by and set goals for the year ahead
Now’s a great time to do a stocktake of your employees’ performance. It’s an opportunity to reflect on their individual achievements over the past year and acknowledge them (everyone loves a little recognition) and also bring to light any performance issues that need improvement.
Sure, as an SME you may not have some formal or fancy performance appraisal process in place, but we think it’s essential that you review your team’s performance in some way, shape or form.
Making sure that this is an objective, business-wide process is really important too, especially as around this time of year, the outcome of performance reviews tend to be linked to bonuses and pay-rises. You want to make sure you’ve got a fair process in place to determine how rewards are handed out to minimise any fall-out or disengagement from your team.
Now is also the time to set new or re-set existing goals and targets for the year ahead, so that your team has clear objectives to work towards. This will help ensure you’re all on the same page and moving in the right direction towards a bumper FY14.
Get the right people in the right roles
We’ve mentioned doing talent reviews before, which are basically roundtable discussions about the performance and potential of your team. Now is also a good time to conduct one!
If you have new projects or roles planned for the year ahead, then reviewing the talent in your team in order to determine whether existing team members may be suitable to take on these new projects and/or roles is an effective way at managing your resources and also cutting down on recruitment costs.
It should also highlight those employees that aren’t performing so well, so that you can sit down with them and put in place a performance improvement plan to make sure they come up to speed and can contribute towards the success of your business rather than being a burden on your team’s overall performance.
Reviewing your talent and the structure of your business may also expose any resource gaps you might have across your operations which might mean you’ll need to start hiring. The start of the financial year is a popular time for businesses to recruit, so you want to get in early to ensure that you have the cream of the crop to choose from for your business.
Focusing on your people needs should be a constant priority of any successful business, but now’s a good time to put the spotlight on them and make sure you set your people up to help deliver on, hopefully, your best year yet!
Janelle McKenzie and Abiramie Sathiamoorthy are the founders of HR firm E&I People Solutions.