Inadequate HR is a reputational risk
The number of reported cases citing poor HR practices has increased. This may well be because the cases of poor HR that are reported may better be described as extremely poor, horrendous or to borrow a phrase from Deputy President Asbury in a recent case “deplorable”.
The cases themselves, although often salacious and therefore make for an interesting read, are also usually related to a unique set of circumstances from which there is little to be learnt by the HR community or business owners as a whole. This is exemplified by a recent case in which the HR approach was referred to by the Fair Work Commission as “deplorable”. This case involved an Apprentice who was unfairly dismissed by his employer, Smerff Electrical, because he would not among other things, provide the employer, Mr Hickey, with the personal information of a former employee so as to enable Mr Hickey to further his pursuit of revenge against that former employee.
I am confident that the vast majority of employers would never do what this employer did. Further, the vast majority of employers would not consider that an employment contract is properly drafted if it contains the following “if you are unhappy with your wage you can f**k off”. Shockingly, Mr Hickey thought this was both reasonable and appropriate, as it is a quote from the employment contract for the Apprentice.
Even if the HR approach is not as completely bizarre as that engaged in by Smerff Electrical, the business reputational risk can be just as damaging. Smerff Electrical is likely to always be remembered as the company with a deplorable approach to HR. In terms of business reputation, is this really any worse than being known as the company with poor, inadequate, hopeless, defective, sub-standard or flawed HR? Customers, stakeholders, current and future employees are unlikely to consider the nuances between the labels and merely look to do business or make a career with a company without a negative HR reputation.
If you would like your business to avoid reputational risk from inadequate HR practices, you need to ensure your decision making always has the people component as a consideration. This can easily be achieved either through a competent internal HR professional or through trusted external HR advisors. Providence HR offer expert HR and IR advice to clients as well as a unique outsourced model of HR service delivery which gives a business all of the benefits of their own HR professional without the salary costs. If we can assist you please contact Cheryl-Anne.Laird@providencehr.com.au or (07) 3218 3014.