ONE in every four Australians is older than 55 – and the United Nations estimates that this will increase to one in three at some point in the next 10 years.
As the average age of the workforce continues to rise, companies will increasingly be faced with issues of managing employees who are approaching the traditional retirement age.
This can be particularly challenging in some industries where certain skills are being phased out, or when workers' fitness levels may impede their ability to keep doing their jobs as they get older.
How can you handle these challenges in a way that is fair for everyone?
Protection for older workers
While in the past it was generally accepted that Australian workers would retire at 65, today Australia has no compulsory retirement age.
If you believe an employee is no longer able to fulfil the requirements of their position, you will need to manage their performance through the standard channels – usually via a formal performance review system.
Retirement must be entirely voluntary – it is illegal to compel an employee to retire, to deny them opportunities or to change their working conditions in a way that forces them to leave.
You also cannot ask employees to sign a document agreeing to retire at a certain age.
Doing any of the above will be an example of direct age discrimination, and forcing an employee to retire because of their age alone would also constitute unfair dismissal under the Fair Work Act 2009.
However, it is a general exception to anti-discrimination legislation if a person receives a benefit due to their age – such as the introduction of an approved early retirement scheme (ERS).
In other words, while it is illegal to compulsorily retire an employee, you can develop a policy that provides benefits for certain groups or classes of employees to encourage them to retire early.
How early retirement schemes can work for you
ERSs aren’t easy to establish, but they can be a very useful part of a plan to reorganise business operations – when a company is aiming to achieve a specific short-term objective.
This can be anything from introducing new technology or processes, to replacing employees with those that have different skills, or even closing or relocating part of the business.
The ERS should be available to a broad group of employees within the business – such as all those who have reached a particular age or with a particular occupational skill. It could also be open to all company employees.
For example, in 2011 Loy Yang Power Management obtained approval for an ERS to reduce its labour costs – and invited its employees to apply for up to 40 positions in the scheme on a first come-first served basis, though there was a veto on applications from certain areas.
Those who accepted the scheme were paid six months’ salary if they had worked for the company for fewer than 10 years, or 12 months’ salary if they had worked there for longer.
Like redundancy payments, ERS payments are eligible for tax concessions – but ERS systems must be approved by the Commissioner of Taxatiosn before any payments are made.
An ERS is unlikely to be approved if it is too similar to a typical redundancy scheme.
The two schemes are fundamentally different – while a redundancy occurs when no-one is needed to perform a role, in an ERS the role can remain open for the position to be refilled quickly.
Further to this, while you may choose what you want the ERS payments to be, redundancy entitlements are set out in the Fair Work Act 2009 and are allocated according to the period of continuous service with the company.
If you are considering using an ERS in your business, you may also wish to consider the implications for any long service leave payments – as the law concerning these will vary from State to State.
Transitioning towards retirement
Employees aged 55 years or more have the right to request a flexible work arrangement – varying either their hours, patterns or locations of work – but you may have a right to refuse it on reasonable business grounds.
You may ask that your employee, when requesting a change in their role, sets out a business case for the change
Survey of service providers finds only 47% could keep pace with demand and just 57% said they had sufficient resources in 2017
This important article is originally from the Guardian 04 December, 2017
Disability service providers are struggling to keep up with growing demand and increased costs under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, according to a new report that warns the speed of the rollout is potentially affecting service quality.
The National Disability Services 2017 state of the sector report, released on Monday, warns that policy uncertainty and inadequate price-setting by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has seen business confidence and financial stability among disability service providers fall in the past 12 months.
A survey of 516 service providers found that only 47% could keep pace with demand and 73% saw an increase in demand for their services in the past 12 months, while only 56% actually increased the scale or range of services they offered to meet that demand.
Only 58% of service providers in 2017 said they planned to expand their services, down from 68% in 2015, and only 41% described their financial position as strong or very strong, down from 53% in 2016.
Sixty per cent of organisations said they were worried about their ability to adjust to changes resulting from the NDIS and only 57% said they had sufficient resources in 2017, down from 60% in 2016.
The report will be presented to industry chief executives at a meeting in Sydney on Monday, before a meeting between industry and the NDIA CEO, Rob De Luca, on Tuesday.
The number of participants in the NDIS has grown from 30,000 to 113,000 in the 15 months since the trial period ended in July 2016.
At the same time there was an almost sevenfold increase in the number of complaints about the scheme to the commonwealth ombudsman, which service providers said reflected problems with the process for designing individual service plans.
The NDIA is working towards a target of 475,000 participants by 2019-20 but a productivity commission report in October warned that deadline would not be met because the sector was not growing fast enough
The chief concern listed by disability service providers in the state of the sector survey was that the service prices set by the NDIS were not sufficient, with 50% of providers saying they would have to reduce the quality of the service they offered to fit within NDIS cost parameters.
National Disability Services has warned before that organisations were faced with shutting down regional or remote services because the price structure set by the NDIS did not cover the actual cost of services.
Sixty per cent of organisations said they wanted the NDIS to set prices aligned with the cost of supply.
An independent review of pricing under the NDIS, commissioned by the NDIA board, is due to report its findings this month.
Organisations also raised concerns about poor-quality NDIS plans, which the report said were being undertaken by local area coordinators who were under pressure to meet rollout targets and often cutting corners.
“Planning was rushed, often conducted over the phone and existing services were frequently disregarded as a starting point for considering the supports needed,” the report said. “Essential supports were omitted from plans and rectifying these omissions was not easy.”
The number of organisations that said the government was neither anticipating nor responding to the needs of disability service providers rose from 62% in 2016 to 74% in 2017, and 67% said the NDIA was not working well with providers.
“The NDIA cut corners to meet ambitious targets to get people with disability into the scheme,” the National Disability Services CEO, Ken Baker, said. “I think it recognises now that it needs to focus much more on improving the quality of the NDIS experience for providers and participants.”
Baker said the disability sector would work with the NDIA to resolve problems.
“We are determined to see the NDIS succeed,” he said. “Too much is at stake to let it fail.”
Originally - November 23rd, 2017 Carol Louw Employment, Human Resources, Industrial relations
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: TASMANIAN PROTESTERS ACT BURDENS FREEDOM OF POLITICAL COMMUNICATION
By a majority of 5 to 2, the High Court has held that the substantive prohibitions and ancillary provisions of the Workplaces (Protection from Protesters) Act 2014 (Tas) impermissibly burdened the constitutional freedom of political communication and so were held to be invalid.
Brown & Anor v State of Tasmania (2017) 69 AILR ¶102-879;  HCA 43
TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT: WHEN LEGAL “ASSISTANCE” BECOMES LEGAL REPRESENTATION
A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission held that the term “representation” under s 596 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) extends beyond oral advocacy at a hearing. The full bench found that a lawyer “assisting” the employer at the hearing of an unfair dismissal application was in fact legally representing the employer.
Fitzgerald v Woolworths Limited (2017) 69 AILR ¶102-880;  FWCFB 2797
GENERAL PROTECTIONS: EMPLOYER TO PAY OVER $57,000 IN COMPENSATION AND PENALTIES FOR ADVERSE ACTION AGAINST PREGNANT EMPLOYEE
The Federal Circuit Court ordered an employer to pay over $37,000 in compensation, and a $20,000 pecuniary penalty, after it took adverse action against a pregnant employee by bringing forward the date of her redundancy so that it took effect two days before she went on paid parental leave.
Power v BOC Pty Ltd & Ors (No 2) (2017) 69 AILR ¶102-881;  FCCA 2387
ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS: EMPLOYER PREVENTED FROM RE-LITIGATING DISPUTE
The Federal Court set aside an employer’s originating application for a declaration interpreting an enterprise agreement on the basis that there was no “matter” to be determined because the issue in dispute had already been resolved in a private arbitration before the Fair Work Commission.
Energy Australia Yallourn Pty Ltd v AMWU (2017) 69 AILR ¶102-883;  FCA 1245
WORKING WITH CHILDREN: TRIBUNAL INCORRECTLY APPLIED “UNJUSTIFIABLE RISK TO THE SAFETY OF CHILDREN” TEST
The Supreme Court of Victoria found that the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal erred when reviewing a decision refusing to grant an assessment notice under the Working with Children Act 2005 (Cth). The Tribunal failed to properly administer the test specified in the legislation which required determination of whether “giving the assessment notice would not pose an unjustifiable risk to the safety of children”.
PQR v Secretary, Department of Justice and Regulation (No 2) (2017) 69 AILR ¶250-072;  VSC 514
UNFAIR CONTRACT: CONTRACT FAILED TO PROTECT FROM BULLYING AND ARBITRARY TERMINATION
A contract which failed to protect the worker from arbitrary and immediate termination, and did not adequately protect against bullying and harassment, was declared to be unfair and harsh by the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The plaintiff will receive a payment in connection with the contract, adjusted for a settlement reached with the second defendant.
Sutton v BE Australia WD Pty Ltd (No 3) (2017) 69 AILR ¶200-588;  NSWSC 689
By Andrew Hobbs - Employment Law Handbook, Friday 1 December, 2017
WE’VE all been on the answering end of a job interview, but when it is our responsibility to hire a new employee, it can be a real challenge to find the right person for the role and the business.
Below we list some of the points you should keep an eye on when preparing to hire a new worker, either to replace a person who has left or because of an increase in business.
It might take a long time
Recruiting often takes longer than you think it will.
It usually takes between 45 and 50 working hours to fill an average position, and about 70 hours to hire someone in middle management – assuming the relevant hiring managers are available to interview and not out of town or simply too busy.
How do you want to source the talent?
Advertising on job boards like Seek or MyCareer can often deliver hundreds of resumes, so be prepared to devote the time to reading all the resumes you will receive. If you prefer not to advertise, you can always approach people directly or via LinkedIn.
LinkedIn tends to be a great resource for senior roles, but proves less effective for more junior roles. This is because for a junior role, it is better to consider a large number of resumes, but to find the right person for a senior position, networking is likely to be much more effective.
When using social media to assess an applicant’s suitability, be sure the information you obtain has direct relevance to the job requirements – such as cultural fit, discretion, maturity and ability to spell correctly.
Do not breach discrimination laws or privacy laws in any conclusions you draw from accessing an applicant’s social media accounts.
Be clear about what you want
To hire effectively you will need a position description drawn from a job analysis – by interviewing the current employee and their peers, conducting focus groups of informed people or documenting the activities of another person doing that job.
A good position description will outline the tasks and responsibilities you expect to be met and the competencies and behaviours you want the person to demonstrate.
Many organisations focus on one or the other, rather than both. This means they tend to hire people who fit in well at the company, but can’t do the job, or people who can do the job, but don’t fit in.
Be clear about what you will offer them
In order to attract the best possible candidate, you need to be clear about what you can offer them – in terms of training, salary, location, hours, parking and any other terms.
You need to be able to deliver anything you promise during the recruitment process, unless you are making a statement about a future matter – in which case you must have reasonable grounds for making the statement.
If you do not do this, you could be liable for misrepresentation and are likely to find yourself managing a very unhappy and unproductive employee.
Use the right interview techniques
The best interviews are relaxed and informal with a core of questions that are asked of every candidate to allow objective comparisons to be made.
If you are going to conduct one interview, make sure you include both technical and behavioural-based interview questions.
If you decide to hold two interviews, ensure the second interview builds on the first or delves into areas not covered in the first interview.
Remember that it is unlawful to ask an applicant of a particular group – that is, age, sex or race – questions that you would not ask of a different group, unless it relates to the inherent requirements of the role or concerns a health and safety matter.
Check their referees
Once you have decided on your shortlist, ask for a minimum of two referees from each candidate.
Ensure the people you are taking a reference from directly managed the candidate, and try to ask them questions relating specifically to the needs of the job once you have confirmed the previously stated facts.
If you have any niggling doubts about any aspect of the person’s ability to perform in the role, explore these with the referee.
Many things to consider
The process of recruiting a worker may differ depending on the role you are trying to fill – a permanent role or a casual one, a contractor, officer or company director?
Even writing a job advertisement can be challenging, let alone knowing what to ask of both applicants and their referees.
Go to our friends at the Employment Law Practical Handbook which covers these topics and more, including a checklist of what to consider if an employee has a criminal record, the role of post-employment restraints and template job analyses, position descriptions and letters for unsuccessful applicants.
Healthcare continues to evolve into a paperless industry as the professional reliance on mobile and tablet devices grow concurrently. In fact, majority of healthcare professionals are becoming ‘digital omnivores’ as they work between a desktop computer, tablet and smartphone.
But what does this transition mean for companies marketing to and communicating with healthcare professionals in this digital age? Here at Liquid State we understand the value of knowing your customers’ needs and the latest industry trends. So, we took a look at the digital habits of healthcare professionals to see how app creation and app content management could bridge the gap between health marketers and their audience.
Healthcare as a Paperless Industry
According to recent study by Transparency Market Research (TMR), the healthcare industry is in the midst of transitioning from paper-based to paperless records. This will result in the expansion of the electronic health records (EHR) market and digital health marketing worldwide. Forbes reported in 2013 that less than 2 percent of American hospitals were paperless in regards to patient records, administrative tasks and medical research. However since then, the pressure has increased for more healthcare professionals to adopt a paperless approach. In 2015 the US government introduced a new scheme whereby, hospitals will receive reimbursement incentives for transitioning to digital records and hospitals, which fail to adapt will face serious financial penalties.
This push towards a paperless industry is not only a bonus for corporate social responsibility (CSR) but will also result in lower overheads as the cost of stationery, paper and storage is removed. Many argue that digital storage is also the safest way of storing and transmitting medical records and relevant information. Therefore, this transition will impact healthcare marketing and communication, as marketing efforts will also shift towards a paperless approach, including app creation. Many have already taken the lead in creating apps to target healthcare professionals and publish essential information directly to their device. Effectively marketing your business through an app will ensure that your communications become an integrated part of the healthcare professional’s digital work process.
Healthcare Professionals are ‘Digital Omnivores
’To ensure a paperless industry, healthcare professionals are adopting an integrated communication approach by working between smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. This behaviour is a characteristic of ‘digital omnivores’. According to the Mobile Trends Report published by Epocrates, in 2015 there was a predicted surge in ‘digital omnivore’ healthcare professionals as the technology becomes more accessible and user friendly.
Specifically, 74 percent of healthcare providers will identify as ‘digital omnivores’ working between tablets, smartphones and desktop computers in a professional capacity in 2015. These healthcare professionals require an integrated communication system with a functional interface and enhanced user experience. The Mobile Trends Report asserted that:
“In this era of easy access to and widespread proficiency with computers, smartphones, and tablets, the conversation must move beyond hardware and into the data and design that can be delivered to any health care provider’s preferred screen.”
Therefore, when marketing to healthcare professionals it is important to ensure consistency and functionality between each device. The best way to ensure this is by publishing your marketing communications through an app that can be downloaded on smartphones, tablets and even desktop or laptop computers. That way you can ensure your communications are integrated across their chosen devices.
Product and Brand Loyalty
Healthcare professionals also exhibit strong product and brand preferences when working between devices. In the past five years, numerous reports show that doctors have clear choice for the Apple iPad and iPhone in a professional context. According to a 2011 survey of healthcare workers by health marketing company Aptilon, 79 percent chose Apple’s iPad. Now in 2015, it is reported that 59% of doctors and medical practices are integrating tablets as part of their daily operations with the iPad as the most popular choice. Furthermore, 68 percent of physicians use an iPhone compared to 31 percent who use an Android device. Therefore, this Apple brand loyalty has strengthened with each product update as the iPhone and iPad’s capabilities better support professionals in the health industry.
Although, Android is becoming a strong competitor against Apple with the release of premium devices by Samsung, HTC and LG. Research suggests that Android holds a sizeable lead in market share with the younger age group of 34 years old and under whereas Apple is closing the gap within the 35-54 age demographic. However, many health tech and marketing companies are making the mistake of adopting an ‘iOS only’ strategy by creating apps that are only available on iPhone and iPad. Although this approach may cater to the majority of healthcare professionals, it is essentially boxing out Android users from downloading their app. Therefore, to better cater to a larger portion of healthcare market, it would make the most sense to create content that is available on all brands and products. For example, an app available for download on all Apple and Android devices.
Digital Habits of Healthcare Professionals with Apps
Ultimately, understanding these digital habits will inform how health marketing firms communicate with their target their audience in this technological age. Creating an app would allow marketers to consistently publish communications directly to the healthcare professional’s device – no matter the brand or product.
tAKE ENSURING that you can provide first aid in your workplace is an essential part of your duty of care, but it can be challenging to know how best to do this.
They say you can work out the answer to any big question by relying on the five Ws – What, Who, Where, When and Why.
Today, we take a look at the 5 key questions you need to ask yourself about first aid in your workplace.
What do you need to provide?
This might be the first question many of you will ask – what does the law require me to do?
Health and safety legislation in each state and territory says the primary duty of care holder, i.e. the employer or person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), has an obligation to provide adequate facilities for the welfare of their workers.
First aid is one of these requirements. Under the harmonised Work Health and Safety Regulations, which apply in the ACT, NSW, NT, SA, Queensland and Tasmania, you have a duty to supply:
Your first aiders should also be trained in your workplace emergency management process and safety management systems.
Who are your first aiders?
A first aid officer is someone who is able to administer first aid should an injury occur – they will hold a current first aid certificate and have been trained in a first aid course from a registered training organisation.
With the exception of WA, all states and territories suggest ratios for numbers of first aiders depending on the number of workers. In low-risk workplaces, this could be 1:50. In high-risk environments, it is recommended that there is one first aid person per 25 workers.
There are also recommendations in the codes for dealing with micro businesses where there are few workers. It is suggested that small employers on the same site could share or pool first aiders where possible.
If you were to ignore these recommendations, you might need to demonstrate the reasoning behind that decision, based on the level of risk in your workplace. Some businesses plan to rely on off-site medical staff or emergency paramedic services.
Both of these may cause critical time delays and ultimately be far more expensive.
Where are you based?
If your business is in a remote or isolated location, your first responders may need additional training and skills, such as sustaining life while waiting a long time for external responders.
You may also need to take into account workers who work away from the premises – providing them with portable first aid kits and also with instruction and training in how to administer first aid, either to themselves or another person.
Consider equipping fleet vehicles with first aid provisions including blankets, clothing and other supplies that may be required to deal with a road-side emergency. An emergency telephone or back-up battery may also come in useful.
When were your first aid officers last trained?
Over the past 20 years, the generally accepted minimum training requirements for first aiders was a level 2 (senior) first aid responder qualification – a formally assessed course by a recognised first aid provider.
A level 2 qualification covers many likely workplace medical events, ranging from burns and broken bones through to heart attacks, strokes and other life threatening injuries.
Generally, this was conducted via 1 to 2 days off-site with an initial course, and a follow-up refresher every 3 years – supplemented by a cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) refresher course every 12 months.
You must provide first aiders with refresher training at least once every 3 years so they retain the qualification and remain familiar with the latest first aid procedures and techniques.
Why do people most often need first aid at your workplace?
Most first aid training programs will cover airway and breathing management, CPR, some infection control, treating of some trauma injuries and tips on responding to medical emergencies.
However, this training can be supplemented by specific training for other scenarios or for other equipment – such as dealing with anaphylaxis, or training in the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) or other equipment that may be available to the first aiders.
When considering what specific training you might require, think about the type of work you do, where you do it and how many workers you have.
You might want to consult with your stakeholders to identify some of the major risks and the appropriate first aid controls or strategies that may be required.
Take a look at the resources we offer in First Aid via this link
Matrix Announces Collaboration with Google Glass; Marks the First Professional Beauty Brand to Pioneer the Application of Wearable Technology
JANUARY 17, 2014 (NEW YORK, NY) - Matrix, a subsidiary of L'Oréal USA and the leading professional hair care and hair color company, announces the launch of "Matrix Class for Glass™." Setting the standard in beauty and trend innovation, Matrix introduces a program featuring the wearable device for the next generation of beauty education.
"Matrix Class for Glass" is an ongoing program throughout 2014 that features a three-phase rollout, including an exclusive Blogger Video Series, The Matrix Eye for Style Google Glass Salon Chair and a salon professional education platform. Also coming in late spring, the first Professional Google Glass App will house an exclusive library of content that can be downloaded by consumers and professionals.
"This new initiative will completely transform the hair styling experience," declares VP/ Matrix General Manager Paul Schiraldi. "Wearable technology is the next frontier -poised to revolutionize the way we live and work, in the same way that smartphones and tablets have done. "We’re extremely excited to be leading the way in professional and consumer hair education with this initiative," says Schiraldi.
Exclusive Blogger Video Series
Using Google Glass technology and expertise from Matrix Celebrity Stylist, George Papanikolas and Matrix Artistic Director, Ammon Carver, intimate and in-depth tutorials will capture styling sessions directly from the eye of the stylist. These videos will offer a new and unique view from behind the chair and power the styling experience with unbounded technology. The "Matrix Class for Glass" video series will showcase a cast of America’s best known bloggers as they explore the latest trends and share their experience. Videos will live on mymatrixfamily.com, youtube.com/matrix and blogger social media channels.
By John Kelly
Editor-in-Chief, Smart Tax Handbook
Now that the Abbott Government has had time to settle in and consider the changes announced but not legislated by the previous Government, it will be interesting to see what tax changes 2014 holds in store for us.
A press release addressing which of the unlegislated Labor tax initiatives the new Government would proceed with and which they would abandon was issued just before Christmas.
The 4 main initiatives the Government intends to proceed with are:
Smart Tax Handbook
The ATO has now also released details of further compliance-related activities for 2013-14, and the following all feature on its 'to-do' list:
By Jeff Haden
Mistakes are a great way to learn. But why not skip the pain and suffering yourself--at least on these 9 mistakes.
Making mistakes is a great way to learn. Making mistakes is also not particularly fun.
It's a lot more fun to avoid them entirely.
Here are some of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs—and businesspeople in general—tend to make:
1. Think of a plan as an end result. Say you’re agonizing over a business plan; somewhere along the way you've forgotten your goal is to actually start the business. Establish goals, create long-range plans, make to-do lists, and get going.
Most successful people are solid planners and excellent adapters. Get started so you can start adapting.
2. Assume style indicates substance. Logos, identity packages, killer wardrobes, eccentric work spaces... none of those matter if you can't deliver. Businesses are built on go, not show. Your business or personal style will create a memorable brand as long as you deliver.
Just be you. And get to work.
3. Think of business as all-you-can-eat. Ideas are thrilling. Opportunities are tantalizing. Dreams are exciting.
Great, but execution is everything. Take on too much and you do few things well. Keep getting distracted by the latest trend and your best ideas get ignored.
Check out everything on the business menu, but only select a few items at a time. Don't be afraid, or have too big an ego, to start small. Small is almost always your start-up friend.
4. Underestimate the time required. Nothing ever goes as quickly as you predict; in a start-up, time passes in reverse dog years. Create timelines but always factor in scenarios and sensitivities. If you don't reach your estimated sales in six months, what will you do?
An estimate is theoretical. Plans are more concrete. Know what you will do if your timelines are wrong. They will be.
5. Assume perfection is required. Trying to create a product that meets every conceivable customer need? Sooner is almost always better than later, so do a Tim Gunn and make it work. Get to market and then start refining your products or services based on actual customer feedback.
6. Underestimate the money required. It’s easy to underestimate cost when you let hope creep into your calculations. A start-up, no matter how bootstrapped, always has unforeseen costs. Just because you really want something to work out doesn't mean it will magically cost less.
Apply sensitivities and create plans in case your estimates are wrong. Just like your time estimates, they will be.
7. Give up too soon. Success rhymes with excess for good reason: Entrepreneurs who succeed do so because they work harder and longer. Before you give up, take a step back and decide whether additional effort is all that's required to overcome roadblocks or hurdles.
Sometimes it's not the business or the market. Sometimes it's you. Never quit until you’re sure it’s not you.
8. Stop acting silly. If you’re like me your favorite childhood stories involve something stupid you did. (How else would I know the right mixture of sulfur and saltpeter will burn hot enough to turn a Tonka truck into a glop of metal?)
Business is serious enough. Every once in awhile, do something silly. Silly is memorable. Silly makes you feel like a kid again. Laughing at yourself will make the toughest day a lot easier.
9. Adopt expectations. We are all influenced to some extent by what other people think about us. But what do you want? What really matters to you? Live your life based on the opinions of others and you live their lives, not your own.
What matters most is what matters most to you. Always be sure you're living your life. It’s the only one you get.
Heather Smith 11 December 2013.
Innovation is often touted as the secret to business success. But what exactly does being innovative involve, and how can you do it?
The late US management consultant and scholar Peter Drucker once said, “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation. All the rest are costs.” The accountant in me has always found this sentiment a bit hard to swallow (does this mean I’m just an expense?), and led me to continuously ponder what innovation in small business is and what value it has.
To explore the concept of innovation I spoke with Mark Paddenburg, CEO of Innovation Centre on the Sunshine Coast. Paddenburg says innovation in a business can take many forms – from changing your business model to the introduction of a new or significantly improved products or services. It could also involve improving business systems and processes or finding a better way of promoting and distributing your products.
“ Innovation that is misguided, not based on research, or carried out for the sake of innovation itself may prove costly and not be in the interests of the business at all. ” According to Paddenburg, the important thing to remember is: innovation shouldn’t be relied on to right wrongs in your business; rather it should be intrinsic to its progression – an “embedded, ongoing practice” as opposed to a quick fix.
When looking to innovate, he says it’s essential business owners understand the competitive environment, the direction their business is heading in and what the unique selling proposition (USP) is.
“Innovation that is misguided, not based on research, or carried out for the sake of innovation itself may prove costly and not be in the interests of the business at all,” he says.
Innovation can also help to boost business growth.
“For business – it’s essentially innovate or stagnate,” says Paddenburg. “We’re in a highly competitive environment and often it’s innovation that makes the difference.”
He gives the example of the retail sector using technology to attract and keep sticky customers, citing companies such as women’s fitness-wear line Lorna Jane, whose digital strategy has helped it secure over $50 million in extra sales.
Statistics support that innovation is important for business growth, both in terms of profit and workforce. It also helps to improve productivity.
Research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a third of businesses that took steps to innovate during 2011–12 saw an increase in productivity, while only 14 per cent of non-innovation-active businesses reported any increase in productivity.
It’s estimated that only 38.8 per cent of Australian businesses employing 0–4 persons are actively innovative. That means over 60 per cent of micro business are not taking advantage of all that innovation has to offer.
Whether it’s improving the goods or services you provide; enhancing your operational, organisational or managerial processes, or developing your marketing methods, why not embrace innovation as a part of every day practices, and reap the benefits?
How have you been innovative in your business, and has it been valuable?
How to avoid discrimination during the interview process:
✔ Select applicants for interview based on skills, abilities, qualifications and experience relevant to the role. Be consistent.
✔ Prepare interview questions that are consistent for each applicant and that do not imply discriminatory decision-making. Set aside any assumptions regarding sex, age, race, etc. Keep a record of questions and answers.
✔ Determine and assess pre-employment tests such as medical, competency or psychometric tests according to the role requirements. Check tests for any bias or indirect discrimination.
✔ Only contact referees specified and authorised by the candidate, and only ask the referred questions that relate to the selection criteria. Ensure that the information provided is recorded in a consistent way.
✔ Select the successful candidate on the basis that that they best meet the key criteria (i.e. are the best person) for the job. Record the reasons for your decision.
✔ Provide constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates.
✔ Offer similar terms and conditions for candidates of similar qualifications and experience who are undertaking the same role.
by Janna Leyde
Remember when Facebook was only for the in-the-know college kids? That was 2004. Mark Zuckerberg knew what he was doing. Almost a decade later and there are close to 800 million people posting, tagging, liking, sharing, and inviting. Just this past October, Facebook surpassed one trillion likes. Yes, some of those were engagement photos, inspirational quotes, videos of puppies barking, breakups, and babies, but do not underestimate the marketing power of this social networking behemoth, even if the teenage demographic is supposedly fleeing to Tweetier pastures.
Here’s 2Checkout with how to use Facebook to acquire more customers for your e-commerce business.
1. Create the Right Page
Keep work and play separate. Personal pages are for sharing quotes, stumbling toddler videos, vacation memories, and photos with friends. Fan Pages (Facebook Business pages) are structured differently to allow users to run advertising campaigns (Ads Manager) and track user activity (Page Insights).
2. Facebook Advertise
There are currently 23 million small business owners on Facebook. Of those 23 million, only one million are using Facebook to advertise. Facebook advertising is an inexpensive and effective way to reach out to a super-targeted market. Creating an ad is as easy as: one selecting an image; two creating a headline; three writing a few words of copy.
3. Post Photos
Facebook photo posts beat the average post — links or text-only — by a landslide. According to Kissmetrics, photos have 84 percent more click-throughs, 53 percent more likes and 104 percent more comments. Have Instagram? Link the two accounts and posting photos becomes a snap (pun intended).
4. Ask Questions
Questions are a social media call to action. Question posts receive 100 percent morecomments, says Dan Zarella, a viral marketing scientist. Close-ended questions (would, should, which) are more effective than open-ended (why, how) questions. A local record store posts, ‘Here are the top ten 2013 releases that we think sound better on vinyl. Tell us, did you buy any records this year?’ to marginal response; the post would receive more attention from a simple Yes or No question.
5. Offer Coupons
Fan-only coupons create strong incentive to buy — 42 percent of users like a page for the discounts, according to Socially Stacked. Write a short post with an image of the product or service and include a call to action word, like claim, click, use, or grab. Seattle’s Best Coffee offered Last minute grocery shopping is le mis. Grab some coffee to make it better. http://bit.ly/2offcoupon to encourage Thanksgiving shoppers to try out the brand and save $2.
6. Check In
Butcher and the Rye is the new bourbon restaurant in town. A select number of folks know about it one week. The next week people are pouring through the doors. Why? Because “I saw my friend went on Facebook.” The great advantage of check-ins, is that Facebook users who are not fans can still post, tag, and share photos of their experience with their friends. Let customers do the social media marketing. Adding Page Location is all it takes.
7. Schedule Posts
It’s easy to leave Facebook posting until the last minute, or, inversely, to choke one day with too much content; however, the key to an engaging Facebook page is consistent content. Take time each week (or day) to compose a number of posts, schedule auto-posting times with websites like Hootsuite or Buffer, and then sit back. Tip: Go to Page Insights to determine when peak engagement times are and post accordingly.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland warns business confidence in the state will be impacted after new industrial relations legislation came into effect on January 1.
CCIQ General Manager Advocacy Nick Behrens said the new legislation, introduced in the dying days of the former Gillard Government, had added to the compliance and cost burden in relation to workplace bullying, apprenticeships and superannuation.
“This legislation came in to effect on January 1 and the sooner the Federal Government acts to repeal it, the better,” Mr Behrens said.
“We would like to see the Government use the first Parliamentary sittings of the year to act on this legislation and offer a much-needed reprieve to the business community, which is already battling increased energy costs.
“Just when businesses feel they are turning the corner and things are picking up, they are hit with more costs and compliance obligations.”
Mr Behrens said new workplace bullying legislation meant the Fair Work Commission was now involved in resolving bullying matters despite existing safeguards already covering those cases.
Employers can also be fined if they fail to stem the bullying against a complainant when a Stop Bullying Order had been issued by the Commission.
Increases in apprentice wages from January 1 would also have a significant impact on Queensland businesses, Mr Behrens said, sparking fears the changes would deter many from employing apprentices.
“Apprentices have just received a five per cent increase from January 1, while employers now must also pay them for time they spend at work-related training and are not physically working in the business,” he said.
“That is a significant increase in costs for business owners and will certainly make many of them think twice before pursuing that employment avenue in the future.
“There have also been changes made to union right of entry laws, which grant unions representatives entry to lunch rooms and force employers to make arrangements for them to travel to remote work sites.
“These changes affect every business across the state in some way and they cannot afford to keep incurring additional business costs and being tied down with red tape.
“We are seeing some positive signs in the economy and business confidence has been on the up in Queensland, but changes like these dampen that confidence quickly.”
Health & Safety Bulletin
Health and safety legislation in every jurisdiction imposes a general duty on you as an employer to protect the health, safety and welfare of your workers, this includes doing everything reasonably practicable to prevent or reduce the risk of discrimination in your workplace.
You must have steps in place to monitor, manage and report on the prevention of discrimination in your workplace – including during the recruitment process.
Discrimination during the recruitment process
Recruiting and selecting the most appropriate person for a job is a complex task which requires trained staff who are aware of anti-discrimination laws and guidelines.
Discrimination is treating a person less favourably than another person or group in the same circumstances. There are many ways that an employee or job candidate can be subject to unlawful discrimination, including being treated unfairly due to the following protected attributes:
How can discrimination during recruitment occur and how can you reduce it?
Discrimination during the recruitment process occurs mainly during job advertising and the interview process.
Write job advertisements which do not state, or even imply, that the job is restricted to people on the basis of a personal attribute. Avoid language relating to specific attributes, e.g. age or gender.
During the interview process, you cannot request information from a candidate if:
Remember, using recruitment agencies does not remove your responsibility during the recruitment process. Make it clear in the brief you provide to the recruitment agency that it must comply with equal opportunity practices and use selection methods that are non-discriminatory to meet the needs of your business.
Sometimes pre-employment tests are used to assess candidates. You must ensure that these test scores, e.g. literacy, numeracy, medical and psychometric testing scores, relate specifically to the job criteria and performance required for the role the candidate is applying for.
Please note, the information provided here is not all you need to know about discrimination in the workplace and how to manage it. It is a complex subject and one which employers and human resource managers need to be familiar with.
Here are three changes expected for 2014…
1. Advertising on Instagram
In 2014, Instagram will be introducing targeted advertising in users' Instagram feeds. Photos and videos that contain advertisements will appear with a “Sponsored” label alerting users to the fact they are viewing an ad.
2. Facebook star ratings
Next year, we will begin to see star ratings on all company Facebook pages. The five-star rating scale is expected to appear at the top of a company's Facebook page next to the name of the business.
3. Images on Gmail
Soon Gmail will allow you to view images in your email by default, meaning that you won't get a prompt asking you whether you wish to view images or not. They will already appear.
How to make sure you include your income and deductions in the right income year
By John Kelly
Editor-in-Chief, Smart Tax Handbook
The ATO is taking an increasingly tough stance on income and expenses which aren't disclosed in the correct year.
Income needs to be included in the year of income in which it is 'derived'. The 4 main ways to tell that you have derived income are:
For example, if a large deduction was claimed in the year after it was incurred, the ATO could deny that deduction on the basis that it is not a valid deduction for that year. If the time limit for amending tax returns has expired for the previous year, you could end up not getting a deduction for that expense at all. Depending on the amount, it could end up being a very costly mistake.