HR Basics – What You Need To Know

Human Resources Management… it all sounds rather clinical, doesn’t it!

But as we all know, people are NOT simple machines. They are complex creatures, and managing them takes time, energy, and understanding.

The people that work in a business are its biggest asset. They can mean the difference between exponential growth and success, and mediocrity – or even failure.

Getting your HR systems and processes in order should be a top priority for any company, regardless of how many employees it has. With the right foundation, any pain points that may appear down the line are easier to manage.

Here are the most important HR basics for any business.


HR Basics – What You Need To Know


Skills and experience are important, but recruiting someone who is the right fit for the role and culture is equally important. When employee values align with company values, employees are happier, more productive, and more loyal. Bad hires are costly and time-consuming, so getting the right person should be a top priority.


Clear Individual Employment Agreements

To protect both the employer and employee, a solid contract is essential. Both parties should understand their rights and obligations. Employment agreements are an opportunity to legally set up the working relationship and are a crucial term of reference if any disputes should arise.


Simple, Up To Date Job Descriptions

A well-written job description is a vital part of a healthy employee/employer relationship. It is useful in the recruitment phase as it helps to match the right person to the position. But it doesn’t stop there. It also allows managers to set employee expectations and manage performance.

Without a job description, there’s no way to track, measure, or manage what your employee does in their role, which can be a recipe for disaster.


Welcome And On-Boarding

Every new employee should be given a standard induction and a chance to be appropriately welcomed into a business from day one. This allows them to review all the paperwork, understand what is expected of them, get familiar with how things work, and start integrating into the team. It also introduces them to the culture of your workplace and ensures they feel part of the team from the very start of their employment.


Handbook And Expectations

Your employee handbook is a vital tool to communicate all the most important company information succinctly and clearly. It should include company policies, health and safety information, codes of conduct, discipline and termination information, as well as any other information specific to your workplace.

Each employee should sign to indicate they have read and understood the handbook.


Regular Feedback

Every person in your business needs feedback, no matter what level they are working at. Feedback helps set goals and expectations for all parties, track progress, and nip any issues in the bud before they get too serious.

Annual performance reviews aren’t enough. Instead, try to create a culture of immediate, helpful, and honest feedback given regularly. Think one on one discussions, informal catch-ups and conversational reviews.


Training And Development

Developing and upskilling your staff is a great way to boost employee satisfaction and retention. Not only will it directly benefit your business when employees learn new skills, but the productivity and engagement that people put back into your business will be well worth the investment.


Need to nail the HR basics at your workplace? Then give us a call here at Spice HR. We can help you to create the foundation for the kind of workplace your employees love to come to. Getting the HR basics right is the first step towards a great workplace culture and a productive workforce.

Get in touch with us today.

Why Great Staff Engagement is Vital to Your Business

If you had the choice, would you rather eat a bowl of plain rice or a delicious, spice-filled curry?

Sure, the plain rice would satisfy a need and ease your hunger pains, but that is all. The curry would not only satisfy those hunger pains, but also provide you with the added bonus of enjoyment and nutrition.

Why are we talking about curry?

Well, it displays the difference in attitude you can receive from your team. The plain rice team will show up to work for their pay, to tick the boxes and go home again. However, that spicy curry is the team that is engaged and invested in not only their own success but that of the company too.

They both technically get the job done. The plain rice team will be just fine. But to take your business to the next level, you need a bit of spice. And how do you get it?

Staff Engagement!

Staff engagement should not be considered a buzzword. It packs a powerful punch that can level up your business, and create a productive and happy work culture.

While the concept can seem overwhelming, in reality, staff engagement doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It often comes down to simple processes and gestures that you can weave into your workplace.

So, sit back and read on to find out why staff engagement is so important. We will also explain how you can boost it in your business.

What Does Staff Engagement Look Like?

Staff engagement is more than saying hello when your team walk in the door in the morning. It is about investing in your team so that they invest themselves in your business.

Engaged employees don’t just show up. They are focused, energised, and productive. They also tend to go above and beyond in their work, as well as in their attitude. They are invested in the success of the company.

More than merely being satisfied and happy at work, engaged staff are passionate about it.

 Why Is It Important?

An employee who is invested will try harder, volunteer to take on more, work faster and be more creative. They are great ambassadors for your business, helping to lift customers and other team members with their hard work and positivity.

Employees who are just there for the money are more likely to jump ship. Give them a reason to stay that is less about money and more about purpose.

If you need more motivation, consider the fact that businesses who put effort into engaging employees can outperform those who don’t by up to 202 percent!

How to Encourage Staff Engagement

Great staff engagement does not happen by accident. You will have to put in some work to build the kind of culture you want.

Try some of these ideas…

  • Make it a constant part of your culture from the top down.
  • Clearly communicate your company’s vision and purpose with employees. Explain your “why” and connect them with the part they play in achieving it.
  • Measure engagement regularly in a meaningful and authentic way (once a year surveys capture a moment in time, not an overall picture).
  • Listen to your employees. Provide a safe, confidential feedback loop to hear their honest views.
  • Support your team to grow and learn no matter what level they are at.
  • Maintain an open and honest management style to inspire trust.
  • Support work-life balance with flexible work schedules and encourage breaks and downtime to refresh.
  • Get to know your employees as individuals, not just workers. Connecting with colleagues on a social level is one of the most significant aspects of creating engagement.
  • Invest in building strong team relationships through social activities or team bonding exercises.
  • Offer incentives and rewards for hard work, and cater them to the individual where possible.
  • Acknowledge and celebrate success as a team.
  • Hire the right people to fit with the culture of your business.
  • Appreciate and celebrate your team, not only in their professional goals but personal as well.
  • Make your workplace fun! Encourage laughter, and think of ways to help them blow off steam after a hard week.

Staff engagement is not just about a pool table and free coffee in the break room. More than an afterthought, it is something that should be a part of your company’s ethos and culture.

Modern workers are looking for meaning and purpose. Provide those things, and you will enjoy all the perks of a healthy, innovative and productive business.

Are you a bit stuck on how to instill this culture at your workplace? Then get in touch with us here at Spice HR. Encouraging great staff engagement is one of our specialties!

Our Spicey Perspective on the Domestic Violence – Victims Protection Act

We’ve recently heard some negativity around the new Family Violence legislation.  There seem to be concerns that this legislation is unnecessary, will end up being costly to employers, and is open to abuse, much like sick leave can be seen by some as an extra 5 days of leave, a given right.  Here’s our thoughts on this which will hopefully provide a little perspective.

The Statistics

Family Violence is a very real problem in New Zealand.  We have the highest rate in the developed world, our police attend around 200 family violence incidents a day, and despite this they estimate that only 18% of family violence is actually reported.  About half of the homicides and violent crime in NZ are due to family violence.

The Reality

However, people who are impacted by family violence mostly don’t talk about it.  It is extremely difficult for them to ask for help.  They often feel shame, and believe they are at fault.  If they have reached the point where they are asking for help, you can be sure they are pretty much at the end of their tether.

In terms of the risk of false claims, we believe this is extremely unlikely, mainly because of the stigma associated with family violence.  Whilst it’s true that some people fake illness in order to take sick leave, we believe the likelihood of people faking being a victim of family violence is minimal. For most people, this is as hard to imagine doing as lying about having cancer.  And remember, employers still have the right to ask for proof if they have genuine doubts.

We believe that in reality the impact on businesses will be minimal.  Certainly the businesses that already offer this support (e.g. The Warehouse Group and ANZ) report that employees do not lie about being victims of family violence.

More importantly though, what’s the impact if we don’t offer this support?  If you have provided a safe enough environment that someone being abused feels they can ask for help, your actions may end up saving their life.  If you don’t, one of your staff members could become another statistic.  It’s real.  These are your people.  Keep them safe.

If you’re keen to make this legislation change into a positive for your workplace, then feel free to get in touch with us here at Spice HR.  We can help you to establish a policy and processes that work for you.  Drop us a line today.

Reward & Recognition – Recognise Great Staff and Manage Not So Great Staff

No matter what kind of business you are in, it is the people in your team that will determine its success. Your employees are your most valuable asset and managing them well should be one of your top priorities.

It is no cliché that your team is only as strong as your weakest employee. So, it is in your best interest to create a well-rounded, high performing team.

Good management involves two key areas. The reward and recognition of great employees and dealing appropriately with poor performers.

Here are some effective strategies to guide you with both.

Recognition of Great Performance

We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to show recognition to the valuable employees who help your business succeed. Every team member wants to feel valued and the simple act of showing appreciation will boost motivation, engagement and loyalty. This leads to a high-functioning and positive team environment.

Take time to acknowledge the daily small wins as well as the big successes. Drop in to say thank you in person, or take a minute to personally send an email. Make sure you clearly state what the employee did that was appreciated so they can strive to do it again.

It can also be helpful to publicly acknowledge an individual in front of colleagues. Done in the right way, this can motivate the rest of the team. Just be careful that the recognition is not perceived as favouritism. Share the love around all your team members every time they do something good. Also be aware that public attention can make some people uncomfortable, so do it in a welcoming way.

You know those lovely comments you receive from clients, customers or other team members? Always make sure you pass them on to the relevant staff member and their direct manager.


Using tangible rewards can be a great way to show recognition and to give credit where credit is due. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • shouting a team lunch after a successful completion of a project
  • implementing a bonus scheme,
  • granting special leave or an extended lunch break
  • having the occasional early finish at the end of the week

These small gestures can go a long way to making people feel appreciated and cost very little to implement in the greater scheme.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is genuine recognition. Employee of the month programmes are not necessarily an effective idea. They are considered to be an old-school “ticking the box” style of recognition, that means you have to hand out a reward every month even if there is nothing noteworthy to celebrate.

Instead, put efforts into getting to know your team, understand their personal and professional goals and reward hard-working employees with things that support these ambitions. You can offer them the opportunity to attend courses, conferences and seminars that further their career and at the same time, enhance your business.

As with any management program, ensure your entire team knows the standards and expectations for success and reward. That way, everyone has something to strive for and an equal opportunity to gain reward and recognition within the business.

However managing staff is not always a bed of roses.  Let’s now turn our attention to a few ways you can deal with the negative aspects of managing a team!

Dealing with Poor Performance

Managers often struggle with how to deal effectively with consistently poor performers. It can be an unpleasant experience, but if you don’t take the time to address the behaviour, it can have a negative effect on your entire team, and your bottom line.

The impact can cause your best team members to become resentful at carrying the load for the underperformers. It can also reflect negatively on your business as a whole. It could signal to other members of your team and your clients for that matter, that your business is prepared to accept mediocrity. Along with this, you will end up wasting precious time and resources.

So, what can you do about it?

The very first step is to ensure you have clear, concise and up to date Job Descriptions that clearly outline the expectations of each role.  Once you have confirmed that the JD’s are reflective of the role requirements, there are a couple of strategies that you can take to deal with poor performance:

Introduce a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan)

A PIP is a great way to help underperformers to reach their potential. The first step is to have a meeting with the employee addressing your concerns. Show them the areas where they are falling down, and then put a plan in place to help them improve. That could include extra training or support, as well as a realistic timeframe and a realistic way to measure the improvement.

The simple act of implementing a PIP can markedly improve performance as the employee is aware of the expectations placed on them. To make the PIP effective, meet with your problematic employee on a regular basis to provide and receive honest feedback on how things are going.

If things are going well then you can celebrate and put the negativity behind you. But if things are not going so well, then it might be time to formalise the process.

Starting the Disciplinary Process

If your underperformer is still not performing to the desired or required level and continues to display a bad attitude, then the next step could be starting the disciplinary process.  This is an in depth, specific process that requires formal meetings and written documentation.

If you do not have a specialised team member who is qualified to handle this process, then we really encourage you to seek HR advice. This is not a process that you want to get wrong, as it could involve a personal grievance claim or worse.

Here at Spice HR we are the HR specialists you have been looking for. Get in touch with us for any advice or support that you need for both the positive and negative processes involved in effective people management.

Mid Year Madness – Why You Need A Mid Year Review

Did you blink and all of a sudden, it was the middle of the year? Where did February go, let alone April and May! The year is racing by as it always does. So, now that we are in the midst of June it is time for a mid year check in.

How is your year going? Are you achieving the things you want to?

If not, don’t panic. There is still another 6 months to go.

Let’s look at the areas you should explore in your mid year review to keep yourself on track for the end of the year.


Pause And Assess

You can freak out about how much of the year has already passed, or you can look at it in a more positive light and learn from the first 6 months. What has worked well in your team, and what hasn’t? Are particular team members excelling, do some people need some help and guidance?

After 6 months of business, you will have a pretty good idea of how the year is going. Use that knowledge to build an even better second half of the year.


Recognise Changes

A lot can happen in 6 months. The year could pan out differently to what you had imagined when it started. Unexpected events could have happened, law changes such as the rise in minimum wage might have affected your business, or you could have had a staff change within a key role.

Whatever changes you have experienced, it might mean that your business is on a slightly different path to what it was before. It is important to recognise and acknowledge that. It might have changed your goals, your direction, or team dynamic. Evolve with the changes, don’t get stuck and unable to move forward.


Goal Assessment

Many businesses set goals in January for all the amazing things they are going to achieve in the year. But then business life happens, things get busy, and the goals often get cast aside. But if you set the goal in the first place, it was obviously something you were passionate about. It is not too late to reignite that passion.

The middle of the year is a fantastic time to restart progress on your goals. Why? Because you have 6 months worth of knowledge on how the year is panning out. You can tweak your goal to ensure it is not only achievable, but resonates with what you know about the year so far.

Once you have finished tweaking, it is time to establish a timeline. Look at what you want to complete and how long you have to do it, then break the goal down into what you want to achieve each month. Then break it down further to what you want to achieve each week. You will be well on target to achieve your reworked goal by the end of the year.


KPI Review

After reviewing your goals, it is vital that you then review your KPIs to check that they are still in line with the areas you want to focus on. After all, the purpose of a KPI is to ensure your business is on track to achieve your objectives. Reviewing individual and business KPIs will allow you to get the most out of the year. Even if things have not changed markedly, you still need to take the time to review KPIs to ensure everything is on track.


Employee Check In

The middle of the year is a fantastic time to check in with your team members. While we encourage regular catch ups throughout the year, we do understand that things can get busy. That is why we recommend that you make a real point of connecting with each of the members of your team individually in the middle of the year. That includes employees, contractors, service providers, and volunteers.

This doesn’t have to be a formal appraisal situation, but it does need to be a valuable meeting. Here are some of the things you should cover off…

  • Recognising achievements and positive behaviour
  • Setbacks and errors should be addressed at the time of occurrence, don’t save them all up for a mid year review, or end of year assessment. However, if they have not been addressed, now is a good time to provide constructive feedback so that the same mistakes don’t keep happening
  • Discuss how they are finding their role
  • Offer opportunity for upskilling if needed
  • Discuss each employee’s individual goals and ambitions – they may be ready for the next step
  • Ensure they are adhering to their personal KPIs


Does the thought of a mid year review send you into a panic? If that is the case, we are here to save you time, stress and energy with some great advice on how you should complete it. Get in touch with us today so that your business can have an exciting and productive second half of the year!

Creating The Ideal Workplace Culture With The Spice HR Gals!

Once upon a time there were two girls called Nic striving for the ideal workplace culture. Yes, confusingly they are both called Nic. They also both had a passion for valuing people and helping businesses succeed. So they decided to create a great little business called Spice HR.

This story does not have a happy ending. But that is only because it hasn’t ended yet. Instead, it is still being told every day across Auckland in many businesses just like yours.

Would you like to hear more of it?

The Spice Story

It has been an exciting few years for us. We began Spice HR because we saw a real need to support and educate business owners who did not have an internal HR department.

There is so much to consider in a business that HR often gets put in the too hard basket. But, without good HR practices you can end up with unhappy staff, poor systems, and not complying with NZ Employment Law.

With more combined years of HR experience than we would like to admit, we knew that we had the skills to help business owners just like you. So that is what we decided to do.

The Spice Gals?

It is no coincidence that we call ourselves the Spice Gals.

We are not your ordinary HR team. Let’s face it, HR is not the most exciting topic in the world. We like to ‘Spice it up’ with a bit of interest and flavour. It does not have to be all about regulations and form filling. In fact, that is our least favourite part of HR too. We are far more concerned with the ideal workplace culture.

Sometimes we have been called into a business because the owner thinks there is ‘Something kinda funny going on’. We have had to say to a few managers, ‘Stop right now’, ‘Who do you think you are’? If you ‘Wannabe’ a true leader you might want to adopt some strategies from the ‘Spice World’ and ‘Say you’ll be there’ for your team.

Eeek, the cat is out of the bag. Now you know our secret! We are not only flavoursome – we may have also been known to occasionally sing along to the odd Spice Girls tune. But we promise we won’t bombard you with any more Spice Girl puns.

All jokes aside, we really are passionate about helping businesses perform at their best. And a business’ biggest asset is its people. It would not be able to run without them. So, we really do want to help Managers lead a team of happy and productive staff members.


Our Philosophy

Get ready, Spice has a third hidden meaning. This one is far more ingrained in us than flavour and catchy 90s song tracks…

S – Service

P – People

I – Ideas

C – Culture

E – Engagement

This is what Spice HR is really about. We truly believe that the secret to business success is getting the most out of your staff. And we cannot give you advice on how best to handle your HR until we know how your business ticks. That is why we take the time to know who your business is and what you stand for before we provide you with a tailored HR package.

We don’t want HR to be a scary thing for you. So, our process is simple. Tell us what is going on, where you are having problems, where you would like to improve and leave the rest to us. We can help as much or as little as you need us to. We know that every business is different and a one-size-fits-all solution is not going to work. Which is why we personalise our services specifically for your needs.


Creating The Ideal Workplace Culture

Your people are at the forefront of your business. They are the ones doing the doing and having the good ideas. To really let your people shine, you need to cultivate the right culture and encourage engagement. That way, each and every one of your staff will want to come to work every day. And when they are there, they will be productive and give everything they have.

That kind of ideal workplace culture does not happen by accident. But we can help you create it if it doesn’t exist at your workplace. Get in touch with us and we can really help your staff feel valued and work towards your common goals as a team.

Give us a call or shoot us an email today.

Workplace Health and Safety Systems Should Be More Than Just ‘Safety’

Alright, we know we said those dreaded three words… Health and Safety. But those words and the policies that support them are a necessary evil at all workplaces regardless of the size or type of business. We can bet you have dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s by having processes in place for safe work practices. But have you considered the health and wellness of your team as part of those processes?

On the third anniversary of the Health and Safety At Work Act we thought it was time to delve into the total safety at your workplace.


What is Workplace Health and Safety?

You probably know workplace health and safety as preventing injury, setting up safe practices and managing risks. It is all of these things of course, but in our eyes, workplace health and safety is so much more. Having all of these practices in place is no good if your team is stressed out and staff morale is at an all time low.

Why is that?

Because unhappy staff are not safe staff. Stressed staff are not safe staff.

For a completely safe workplace, you need to consider wellbeing and stress reduction as part of your policies. Let’s look at ways you can do that.


Ways to Improve Staff Wellbeing at Your Workplace 

As you well know, your staff are your most important business asset. Without them the work wouldn’t get done, the clients would not be looked after, and the sales would not be made. So, you want to do what you can to look after their wellbeing.

Stress is an absolute killer. It causes a drop in productivity, lowers the whole mood of the office, causes mistakes to be made, and results in staff taking sick days. You don’t want an atmosphere of stress at your workplace.

Here are some ways to promote wellbeing and prevent stress…


Recognise Team Strengths 

Remember that skill matrix that we talked about? It’s time to refer to it again. Knowing the specific skills of your staff members means that you can assign tasks that align with their strengths. Not only will they enjoy completing the task, but it will be done quickly and efficiently. That’s a win for everyone! Being happy in your work reduces your chance of stress and improves staff morale. Sounds good right?


Assess Workloads 

There will be certain times when your whole team is under the pump. But that should not be the case on a daily basis. Overworked staff are stressed and unproductive. So keep an eye on each individual’s workload to ensure it is not getting out of control. Try to spread the load across the whole team, and encourage them to help each other out. If your whole team are constantly under pressure, it might be time to reassess your staffing levels and consider adding to your team.


Offer Flexible Conditions

A little bit of give and take with your team will show them you respect and care for them. One way to do this is to offer flexible working conditions. The nature of your business will dictate how flexible those conditions can be.

You could try…

  • Different start and finish times to avoid traffic or to accommodate staff with families
  • Remotely working for some or all of the week
  • Job sharing
  • Shorter hours or a reduced work week


Raising Staff Morale

Happy staff are productive and positive. Creating a great atmosphere for your staff to work in is really important. Here are some ideas for raising staff morale…

  • Giving credit where credit is due – recognising when people are doing a great job and acknowledging it
  • Providing a space for creative brainstorming and ideas
  • Ordering a weekly fruit basket for the office to share
  • Organising team building activities away from the office to promote camaraderie
  • Offering on-site workplace massage
  • Regular team catch ups to address issues as they arise
  • Discouraging negative office behaviours


It might be surprising to think of stress management and staff wellness as part of your health and safety procedures. But when you examine it closer, it really does make sense. Staff that are happy in their work and aren’t stressed will be safer and more productive.

Have you thought about how you can incorporate wellness into your workplace health and safety? If you have not yet considered it, now is the time to change that. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Spice HR if your wellness policies need some work! We are experts in this area and are happy to share our knowledge with you.

The End Of Financial Year Is More Than Just Numbers

Normally when you hear the term end of financial year you think numbers. Well, that’s after the groaning and stressing takes place. But it is actually so much more than that. It is a great opportunity to focus on the other areas of your business and set yourself up for a successful year ahead. Think goal setting, KPIs, having one on one sessions with key members of your team, and succession planning.

Let us help you paint a full picture for the end of financial year…


The Real End of Financial Year 

Goal Setting

The beginning of the year is always a time when people set goals. So why not do the same at the beginning of the financial year? You are through the awkward limbo of January when people are still in holiday mode and are well and truly into the swing of the work routine. You can be more realistic about what you might achieve this coming financial year.

You can of course set income goals for the business, but other kinds of goals too. Goals provide you with direction, motivation and a path to achieving what you want. So why not look at business growth, upskilling your team, developing a new product or service, or improving your internal systems.


Have One on Ones

When was the last time you sat down with each of your team members and had a one on one chat? We don’t necessarily mean a performance appraisal conversation, just a discussion about their role within the business, how they are feeling, what ideas they’ve got and where you are heading as a business. Having a one on one conversation with your staff makes them feel like an important part of the team and is great for you as a Manager as well.

You can discuss the expectations of the business and how they relate to the employee’s expectations. Find out their goals, if they are looking to progress and what opportunities your business can offer them. You can get them up to speed on your goals for the year – when everyone is working towards the same goals, you are far more likely to achieve them.

Most importantly, taking the time to meet with your team shows that you value them. Valued team members are more loyal, more productive and happier in their work.


Setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Before you start talking with your team members individually, it can be a great idea to set your business KPIs for the next financial year. Then, as part of the one on one discussions you have with your team members, you can set individual KPIs that fall in line with the overall plan for your business.

Put simply, KPIs help to determine the effectiveness of the functions and processes you are using to achieve your overall business goals. They can act as a compass that always points you in the direction of success. When setting team and company KPIs, it is important to choose indicators that are relevant to your team members, their role and focus and your overall business plan.

KPIs can be assigned on an individual basis depending on the responsibilities that each employee has. They can also be assigned on a team or department basis to ensure each team has the right thing to focus on. Then, you have company-wide KPIs that drive the whole business to achieve the goals you set out.


Skills Matrix

When considering your KPIs and One on One discussions, it is important to take note of the Skills Matrix within your business.

Not sure what your skills matrix is? Let us explain. It is a table that illustrates the individual skills that the members of your team possess. It helps you to understand the range of skills you have available in your team, the skills that each role requires and the areas in which you need to develop your team. Using your skills matrix, you can match up the skills required for each role with the skills of your employees and identify any gaps between the two.

The end of financial year is a great time to review your skills matrix as you can factor upskilling or training into your goals and KPIs for the year.


Succession Planning

Even if you or your staff have no plans of leaving, it is important to have a succession plan in place for your business. You never know what might come up – illness, an unexpected event, a family emergency, or a better opportunity. Having an exit plan in place will allow you or one of your team to smoothly transition out of the business.

Planning ahead ensures you will be prepared for any eventuality. Having a clear picture of what your business is worth allows you to maximise its value when it is time to exit. The end of financial year is a great time to review this as you can incorporate your growth from the year.


As you can see, the end of financial year is WAY more than just analysing your profits. You need to examine your business as a whole and really focus on all aspects. If you are stuck on any part of your planning for this coming year, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Spice HR and we can help you nail your skills matrix, implement your succession plan, or devise the best KPIs for your business.

The Importance of Staff Engagement at Your Workplace


What is the most important asset at your business? No, it isn’t your fleet of vehicles, oodles of high tech equipment, or even the accolades you have earnt. Your most important asset is your team.

So are you treating them as such? It is really important to make sure that you show your staff love. Staff Engagement can really make or break a business – you should definitely make it a priority. And you can’t love your staff unless you cover off the basics first.

Let’s look at the basics of staff engagement and what you need to have for a happy and productive team.


Why Staff Engagement? 

Staff Engagement should be a regular part of your business plan. It is more than just having happy workers (although that is one of the benefits – it also affects your business profitability and overall culture. Here is how…

Lower Employee Turnover 

Respect breeds more respect. If you show your staff that they are valued members of the team, they will want to remain a part of the team. Hence, lower staff turnover.

Improves Efficiency and Productivity

Staff that are engaged will be more invested in their work. If your whole team is involved in working towards a common goal, there will be a drive to succeed. Things will get done quicker and more efficiently.

Improved Customer Service

If your team are happy in their work then this will reflect in their attitude. Their overall morale will be higher, so they will deliver impeccable service to your customers. When your customers have a positive experience with your business then they are more likely to return and increase their overall spend with you.

Profits Increase

Engaged staff are more conscious of what they are doing. That means they are careful with their expenditure and look for ways to increase profits. They also don’t increase costs by stealing pens from the stationery cupboard to spite a nasty boss!

Happiness Rises 

Staff that are engaged are happier at work and in their life outside of work. Being engaged infuses everything they do with purpose, energy and enthusiasm.


The Basics for Staff Engagement

Happy and engaged staff do not happen by chance. You need to lay the foundations to ensure that you have a great team attitude. It starts even before your new person joins the team.  The first three foundation pieces are…

1: An Employment Contract 

Every team member should have an employment contract. That includes full time, part time, casual and even volunteer staff. An employment agreement is a legal requirement and signifies an understanding between employee and employer. It lays out the expectations on hours, remuneration, company standards, annual leave and a whole bunch of other things.

Both parties must agree to the contents and can seek legal advice should they choose to. Once signed, employee and employer know exactly where they stand with each other. It is a document that both parties can refer back to in case of a dispute.

But most importantly, it sets the scene for a good relationship between you and your staff member. It shows your professionalism, but also the fact that you value them as an important part of the team.

2: A Job Description

As part of the employment contract, an employee’s job description outlines the tasks and duties that make up their role. It should be written at an appropriate level for the role. At the very least it should include the job title, the employer’s name, the job’s purpose, tasks and responsibilities expected, reporting lines, minimum qualifications or licensing, the place of work and the performance measures.

Having a comprehensive job description again encourages a good start to the employee/employer relationship. The employee will know exactly what to expect from the role before they even begin working in it. That means no confusion and no nasty surprises. It also means the employee won’t have unexpected gaps in their knowledge or a lack of necessary skills.

3: An Induction

Once all the legal paperwork is out of the way it is important for your new hire to have a positive start with your business. That means being ready for them before their first day on the job. Have a functioning workspace ready to go when they walk in the door.

Meet them as they arrive, introduce them to the team and begin a pre-planned induction and training schedule. Get rid of some of the nitty gritty beforehand and send them any forms to complete before their first day of work. That way they can hit the ground running and immediately be part of the team.

Being prepared for their arrival will show your new hire that you are pleased they have joined their team. They won’t have to question their place with you and can just focus on learning the ropes. Not only do they get a positive experience, but there is no wasted time for you as an employer.

As you can see, staff engagement means more than just happy employees. The morale of the team can affect the overall performance of your business. Make sure you nail the basics in the beginning and you will set the relationship on the right path.

Taking on new team members, or lifting the morale of existing staff can be hard to navigate. If you are having trouble with this at your workplace, then you need the Spice Gals. Not only will we help you with dotting the legal i’s and crossing the t’s, but we will inject irresistible fun and flavour into your workplace so that your whole team will look forward to coming into work each day. Get in touch with us to see how we can help your team today.

Planning Your Business Strategy for a Great Year

Is your business full of optimism at the start of the new year? The exciting promise of what could happen in the year ahead. It is a perfect time to start planning. While setting business goals is a vital cornerstone of your plan for the year, you will need to consider your entire business strategy. Revenue targets and client acquisition should definitely be part of your business strategy, but so should your internal processes. Let’s look at what you should plan for…

Plan Your Kickass Business Strategy By… 

Being Clear on Your Vision

Knowing what you are focusing on and what you are going after will help you achieve success this year. Define a clear vision that aligns with your business purpose. Ensure that it services your ideal client, but also works for your team.

Once you are clear on your vision, you need to make sure your whole team understands it. If everyone is on the same page then you can work towards common goals. Doing this will influence the way your team approach their daily tasks, the decisions they make regarding costs and revenue, and how they interact with your clients.

Ensuring the information is distributed team wide will also help to promote a positive culture. Everyone will want to do their part to realise the vision. Working collectively as a team will increase productivity and motivation. There will be no need for office politics as everyone’s contribution is respected and needed.

Planning for Changes

Small business is an ever changing world. There is always something new to learn and changes to adapt for. This year there is a pretty major change coming up on 1st April 2018. Minimum wage is set to increase from $15.75 to $16.50 and then to $20 by 2020. This means that if you have any staff currently on the minimum wage, you will need to raise their hourly rate to meet the national standard from the 1st April.

While you need to factor this into your budget and cashflow, there are also some other things you will need to do. Legally, all persons earning minimum wage should have their rate increased by 1st April 2018. That means you need to have your payroll system amended so that the correct rate is paid. You will also need to make sure that all employee wage records in their personnel file are updated to reflect the increased wage rate.

Planning for Conversations

When we say the word ‘appraisal’ we often hear very loud groans from anyone that manages staff. But appraisals don’t need to be a horrible task. They shouldn’t have to take weeks to complete during which the whole workplace sits under a cloud of negativity.

In fact, why don’t you plan to have conversations this year? Instead of holding an annual appraisal, you could have a monthly conversation with each of your staff members to discuss how they are tracking. Make sure the conversation centres around forward thinking. Look to the future instead of dwelling on mistakes. If there have been mistakes made, look at what learnings you can take from the situation. Discuss how each team member is moving forward, development opportunities and how they are improving.

By involving your team members in a conversation, they will feel valued and heard. It will give them the opportunity to discuss their concerns, or voice their side of the story. It also encourages a great team atmosphere as you, as their manager, are in constant contact with them and supporting them in their work.

We guarantee that you will get much more buy in from your team if you approach your appraisal process in this way.

Time for Help?

We get it, HR can be a complicated part of running a small business. Especially when you have so many other things to do. So why not get some help so that you can focus on what you do best?

Find out how we can help you become clear on your business strategy for this year, handle those monthly employee conversations, or even to revamp your mission. Get in touch with us today for a free no obligation chat about maximising the value in your staff.