Servicing Australia wide HR consulting for employers Australia wide.

Should you do your own HR?

Saving money in business by doing things yourself makes sense. But should you do your own HR?

Last week I received a call from an employer (not a Bare Bones Consulting client) asking for assistance in responding to an application for unfair dismissal from an ex-employee. They were seeking my help in completing Fair Work Commission Form F3: “Respond to a claim for unfair dismissal” within the 7-day timeframe requested by the Commission.

The employer informed me they had “made the employee redundant” after doing an internet search on the steps around redundancy. After undertaking their research, they felt the process was fairly straightforward so they proceeded with the redundancy. I asked about their website search and the process they followed and in less than one minute identified the information they had relied on was flawed. And that got me thinking: as a business owner, should you do your own HR? Here’s two reasons highlighting why doing things yourself may not be the best idea.

1. Cost of getting things wrong

You can Google for guidance with a lot of things…HR included. But as much as Google has a lot of useable content, there’s also no shortage of advice on this and any other search engine that’s simply not relevant for every employment situation and decision. Might that it’s written for a market outside Australia, for a business different than yours, by a writer without genuine HR experience…the possibilities go on.

I often equate doing your own HR to maintaining your own car: not impossible for basic stuff, but when you’re faced with something a little more complex, most people understand a qualified specialist is where you should head.  I’ve heard more than once from clients that when I’ve provided advice and documents on their intended action that they never realised a certain step (or steps) was required. Case in point? Redundancy…and the requirement to consult with any employee who may suffer “significant effects” from a proposed change to their employment, including the employer’s obligation to issue any such employee with a written record of the consultation.

Missed that step? Prepare to have your termination decision challenged by the ex-employee through the Fair Work Commission as one that is not a “genuine redundancy”. Meaning unfair dismissal or potentially worse: a breach of General Protections laws. In the case of unfair dismissal, the maximum financial penalty the Fair Work Commission can order is the lower of these 2 amounts:

  • half of the employee’s annual wage OR
  • the compensation cap, which is $83,750 for 2023-24 and changes on 1 July each year.

When it comes to general protections jurisdiction, compensation is uncapped. A court may make orders compensating an employee for future economic loss, including hurt and humiliation, pain and suffering and general damages.

How’s that DIY HR decision looking now?

2. Time in getting things right

A second consideration when considering DIY HR is around how much time drafting your own employment documents or actioning your response to a HR matter might take. Factor in time taken identifying what you really need, researching relevant content, putting things together and making sure everything works as intended. You might find it would have been more cost effective sourcing a HR professional to do it for you.

There’s a reason big business has in-house HR professionals: HR is a recognised specialist profession. Good HR people have the skills and experience to tailor cost-effective solutions to the specific matter, taking into consideration the business, people and laws around employment; getting things right first time. Doesn’t that sound like a smarter alternative to the DIY HR thing?

Call Greg from Bare Bones Consulting on 0401 279 065 for a chat today. Once you see what we can do you’ll wonder why you ever considered doing things yourself.

  • PO Box 3956,
    Burleigh Town 4220,
  • 07 5576 4693
  • 0401 279 065
  • Bare Bones Consulting

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.