As the owner of a growing long daycare centre, you’re no doubt an expert juggler. But as your business grows, you can’t do it all. Eventually, balls get dropped and you need to take a different approach to ensure your business continues to thrive. HR is one such area that often gets pushed to the end of the priority list, until something goes wrong and you’re forced to take action.
3 key indicators
Vikki Southey, Principal of HR specialist Lucamie, works with growing small businesses, and says, “There are a number of clear signs that it’s time to take a more proactive and professional approach to HR:
- Any kind of legal or compliance issue. I often have clients come to me in a panic when they find themselves battling a disgruntled former employee at Fair Work, and they realise they’ve exposed themselves to a huge raft of compliance risks. The Education and Care Sector also has the responsibility to ensure they follow the National Quality Standards, and pass regular audits.
- Underperforming staff. When a business is really small, the business owner has plenty of time to ensure their staff are happy and performing well. But as the business grows and the pressure of bringing in money to pay additional staff increases, that focus on staff naturally diminishes and with it so too does the workplace culture and general performance.
- Administrative disorder – outdated position descriptions and contracts, for example, or losing track of annual and sick leave. Usually, it’s that leap from 2 – 3 staff to 10 staff that causes the most issues. At that point, a business owner really needs to start thinking about putting some systems and tools in place to manage HR more effectively.”
So, if you’re experiencing these growing pains and want to start running your HR department like a best practice LDC, what should you focus on? These are best practices across the sector.
The number one function that differentiates ad hoc small business HR from a more professional, streamlined Long Daycare Centre approach, is automation. Look for an online system that provides Education and Care sector-specific, automatically-updated documents, streamlined processes and workflows with in-built notifications, and the ability for employees to self-service. Moving to a paperless, in-the-cloud environment gives you much greater control over your important employee data and records, and will provide huge time savings – no more battling with clunky Excel spreadsheets or searching through outdated filing systems for important documents!
A comprehensive automated, online system (per point 1) should go a long way to taking care of compliance. However making sure that whatever system you choose provides documents, contracts, and processes that are regularly updated by legal experts, per industry changes and regulations will assist in continued compliance. Laws change, as do the National Quality Standards. If you already have a HR legal advisor, then that’s great. If you don’t, then look for a system such as childHR which provides that within the service.
Then it’s a case of regularly performance managing your staff so that they’re following your compliance procedures, and ensuring your managers are fulfilling their obligations too. Again, a good automated system will give you the management framework, tools, and reminders to make this simple (and ensure it actually happens!).
An added complexity of the Education and Care sector is the necessity to comply with National Quality Standards. Element 7.2.2 The performance of educators, co-ordinators and staff members is evaluated and individual development plans are in place to support performance improvement and Element 7.3.1 Records and information are stored appropriately to ensure confidentiality, are available from the service sets out specific requirements for the sector. These are not to be overlooked, due to regular mandatory audits.
3. Employee satisfaction
With an automated system in place and compliance under control, you’ll have more free time to focus on creating a positive and proactive workplace culture. Despite the busy day-to-day running of your business, it’s important to prioritise your team’s professional development and personal fulfilment, so that you can attract and retain the best staff to keep your business growing.
Vikki Southey concluded by saying, “When a business expands from being small, it makes sense that HR must follow suit. Thankfully, there are some great, affordable online HR solutions that make this process simple and easy. With the basics of HR administration and compliance under control, business owners can then leverage the power of HR as a strategic business function, setting themselves up for the next phase of business growth.”