I’ve always liked the phrasing of that WWII poster, ‘Keep calm and carry on’. Never mind the blitzkrieg chaps, just keep calm and carry on!
Let’s skip the lip-service on how rewarding it is to own your own business – of course it is. Instead, let’s call it for what it is: a hard and relentless battle.
As every small business owner knows, having a good team around you is fundamental to being able to ‘carry on’. But what happens when there’s dissent in the ranks? What happens when somebody is not pulling their weight?
Dismissing a staff member is right up there with the most unpleasant aspects of business ownership. It’s stressful for everybody involved. The one thing that you can do to mitigate it is to be prepared.
As we all know, it’s no longer a case of just ‘giving someone the sack’. There must be fair and legitimate grounds for doing so. And quite rightfully – if the shoe were on the other foot, we too would be the ones to complain.
The government has poured a great deal of resources into getting the Fair Work Ombudsman site up to scratch and it’s now a one stop shop for most workplace dilemmas.
When it comes to fair dismissals, the small business sector has its own code of conduct. The checklist is specifically designed for time-poor small business employers to adhere to dismissal requirements under the Fair Work Act.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to dismissals is fairness. In cases of serious misconduct, like theft, fraud, violence or a serious breach of OH&S, you’re well within your rights to tell them to get lost – with hard proof of course.
In less serious cases, you must give the employee solid reasons why he or she is at risk of dismissal, and give them a chance to rectify the problem.
Ultimately, your small business is only as strong as those around you. The Fair Work Ombudsman is a great starting place for almost any dilemma involving your rights and obligations, and you don’t have to go it alone.