Industrial Relations. DIY or Outsource?

Photo Credit: Coastline Windows & Conservatories via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Coastline Windows & Conservatories via Compfight cc

Your business has grown and employed a number of additional staff members. With this growth comes the additional challenges of deciding which tasks/duties to outsource, and which ones to handle in house.

One of the most common for small business to outsource or ignore altogether is industrial relations.

Both in house and outsourced management of industrial relations have their benefits and drawbacks, though how do you decide which ones to handle yourself and which ones not to?

When To Outsource

Even though I am of the belief that any competent manager should be able to adequately handle a majority of industrial relations challenges, there may come a time where outsourcing it, is the best option for the company.

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Episode 09: IR Simplified podcast

After a little bit of a break, the IR Simplified podcasts have returned.

This episode is an overview of the coming series which will be on enterprise agreements.

Future podcasts will be 7 days a week with Friday’s episode being a case study or review of a particular challenge that a client has faced, and how it has been solved either with a better understanding of industrial relations, or having a consultant come in to put a particular procedure or process in place.

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Unfair Dismissal. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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On one side of the coin, you have business groups, and those pandering to that agenda telling anyone and everyone who will listen how Australia’s unfair dismissal laws are restrictive and holding business back from employing more people.

Then on the other side of the coin are the unions and The Greens who say that the laws don’t go far enough to protect workers.

With both sides getting time in the press, who is the business owner to believe?

Unfair Dismissal – The Good

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Will Penalty Rates Really Kill My Business?

Penalty Rates Image
Penalty Rates Image
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Penalty rates. If you believe business and industry groups, they are restricting employment, holding the economy back, and are responsible for businesses closing their doors on weekend and public holidays.

Are they really the big bad evil that they are claimed to be, or do businesses deal with worse things?

If they aren’t that bad, what can be done to manage them?

About Penalty Rates

Something that seems to be forgotten or overlooked in the propaganda battle is that penalty rates are a penalty imposed on a business for doing a particular task that is outside of normal operations. This could be working on weekends, working overnight,  working in the rain, or even in extreme heat or cold.

Penalty Rates Are Avoidable

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Scott McIntyre, Social Media, and Company Policy

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alt text
Scott McIntyre source: twitter

Social media and company policy.

Two of the things that are often seen to be in conflict with each other, and have been the subject of an unknown number of discussions, and unfair dismissal complaints.

These have both come to national attention lately with the comments and subsequent termination of former SBS Football Reporter/Presenter, Scott McIntyre.

While I am not going to repost or repeat his tweet here, SBS found the numerous tweets to be inappropriate and in breach of both their Code of Conduct, and Social Media Policy.

What makes this example interesting is that every backyard lawyer is coming out of the woodwork saying SBS is silencing free speech. Actually, there are even lawyers and barristers saying the same thing.Continue reading

Can Workplace Bullying Be Prevented?

Workplace Bullyingvvvv
Can Workplace Bullying Be Prevented?
Photo Credit: oligarh2 via Compfight cc

In the previous article I discussed what workplace bullying is, and gave an example of a behaviours that could be classified as workplace bullying.

With this piece I will go over a few things that your business can do to minimise the chances of one of your staff members falling prey to a workplace bully.

With workplace bullying being a high profile subject at the moment, it seems that every second day there is some major headline about it. Depending on who you talk to, Australian workplaces are either a breeding ground for workplace bullies, or a random occurrence.

Capitalising on that, there are some who claim that doing X, Y or Z will prevent workplace bullying from happening.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that while you are employing humans who are able to think for themselves, bullying in the workplace may happen, though there are steps you can take to minimise your risk to it.Continue reading

Workplace Bullying. Is It Or Isn’t It?

Do you know what workplace bullying looks like?

Could you easily define it as behaviour x?

Or, does it depend on the workplace, and who is involved?

Consider for a minute the two clips below, from the Channel 10 program Studio 10, with both featuring Sarah Harris and Joe Hildebrand.

Clip #1, titled Joe Gets Creamed shows Joe having an ice cream shoved in his face a number of times by Sarah.Continue reading

5 Tools Everyone In Industrial Relations Should Be Using

Industrial Relations is one of those interesting areas where despite very little changing legislation wise, there is always something happening in it.

As industrial relations professionals, we need to stay abreast of these changes, and developments. One of the easiest ways to do this is through the use of technology.

With this in mind, and in no particular order are 5 essential tools that I believe every industrial relations practitioner should be using.


Ever since I discovered this app in 2011, I have been a full blown convert to it, and would be lost without it. The software is useable across all platforms and devices. Something that you start on your Mac or PC can be synced with, and continued on your smartphone/tablet.

Not only are there browser plugins that will allow you to clip webpages to be stored in Evernote, there are apps that will allow you to draw free-hand, and even a smart notebook from Moleskine that has been created with Evernote in mind.

With both paid and free versions of Evernote available, it won’t cost you anything to try it out. In fact, if you follow the link, and install Evernote on you computer, you will get free access to the premium version for one month.

Google Drive

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Episode 08: IR Simplified Podcast

In this episode of the IR Simplified Podcast I dispel some of the most common myths surrounding industrial relations.

* Industrial Relations is all about fighting with unions

* The Fair Work Act is the enemy of business

* Without a degree you are wasting your time

* The unions are out to shut businesses down

* Anyone can ‘do’ industrial relations.

Episode 07 – IR Simplified Podcast

This episode is dedicated to answering listener questions.

The first question is from Owen in Sydney who has a question about investigations.

The second comes from Madeline in Palm Beach who asks a question about a staff member constantly arriving late.

You can subscribe to the podcast using one of the links below

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Episode 06 – IR Simplified Podcast

Episode 06: IR Simplified Podcast

This episode is dedicated to answering listener questions.

The first question comes from Simon in Templestowe who asks a question about termination of employment.

The second question comes from Tania in Brisbane who asks a question about enterprise agreements.

There is also the opportunity for listeners to receive a massive 50% discount off the price of a premium access pass to the IR mini Summit in February.
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