If you have a larger business that operates across Australia, you will probably have employees in multiple offices and across different states. However, having numerous employees can offer challenges when it comes to management, particularly if you do not regularly have face to face contact with them. In this article, we provide six useful tips to manage employees spread across multiple offices.

1. Use Clear Employment Agreements

As many medium-sized businesses do not have a Human Resources team, oversight of employees often falls to the managers in each office.

Firstly and most importantly, a clear employment agreement for each worker will help your managers oversee employees. The employment agreement should include details regarding:

  • pay;
  • performance indicators;
  • employee entitlements;
  • termination arrangements; and
  • confidentiality obligations.

2. Use Enterprise Bargaining Agreements

Sometimes, having several different employment agreements in place can be confusing. Accordingly, some larger businesses choose to use enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs). This is common in industries with unions and complex industry awards, like the retail industry. 

Managing many employees across different states may be easier under an EBA, particularly since your managers do not have to calculate different items under industry awards for each employee.

However, do note that setting up an EBA is a lengthy process. It involves negotiating with the relevant union and the Fair Work Commission for it to be accepted. Furthermore, employees must also be better off overall under an EBA than they would be under an industry award.

3. Set Up Detailed Policies and Procedures

Having uniform and coherent workplace policies across your offices will also assist in employee management. A clear set of policies provides a reference for your managers when it comes to keeping track of employee behaviour and workplace standards. 

Consistent policies also ensure that there is uniformity of standards and processes across your offices. Managers can follow the stated procedures to deal with certain events (e.g. a bullying complaint). In addition, implementing and following a well-drafted procedure not only gives employees peace of mind, it also reduces the risk of an employee feeling like they have not been treated fairly.

Additionally, consider implementing policies for employee bonuses or incentives. They can assist managers when assessing staff performance, especially if they do not have many resources for overseeing them.

Tip: Refer to your workplace policies in each employment agreement.

 

4. Keep Track of Employee Information

Your managers should be able to keep day-to-day oversight of employees based on your policies and procedures. This oversight should include:

  • signed employment contracts and policies;
  • expense reimbursements;
  • length of service; and
  • key performance indicators (KPIs).

Additionally, there are several tools available to help assist managers keep on top of this information including:

  • employee management apps and software;
  • online accounting and payroll software; and
  • performance management software.

5. Follow State-Based Employment Laws

When managing employees, you will need to abide by the nationally-applicable modern awards and national employment standards (NES).

However, if you have employees in multiple offices, you may also have to deal with other state or territory laws. These laws can include differences in:

  • long service leave entitlements;
  • workers compensation schemes;
  • work, health and safety (WHS) requirements; and
  • the qualifications required for particular employees (e.g. licensed real estate agents or trades people).

Accordingly, when you are setting up your employment policies and procedures in each office, make sure they are based on the appropriate laws. 

6. Employ a HR Professional

Finally, if you are struggling to manage your employee hiring, grievance or oversight processes over multiple offices, consider hiring an HR professional to handle these issues.

For example, some medium-sized businesses engage an employment lawyer to ensure a consistent approach towards:

  • onboarding;
  • performance management; and
  • exit processes.

They may also use an accountant or accounts team to manage payroll for employees. 

Key Takeaways

To effectively oversee employees in multiple offices, ensure your employment contracts are clear and you have well-drafted policies in place. In addition, use online tools and apps, plus the expertise of employment law professionals, to navigate the legal landscape in each state. 

LegalVision’s Employment Advisory Service may be a good alternative to hiring a HR manager. For end-to-end employment advice that covers contracts, policies and procedures, contact LegalVision’s employment lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Sam Auty
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