• Leah Norman

Are you wearing too many hats?

As a small business owner, you have to wear a lot of different hats – finance, marketing, sales, workplace safety and people management. 


If you are like me, you didn’t get into your business to do accounts or worry about how you are going to get your ad words in google to work; outsourcing needs such as these to experienced consultants can save both time and money, but the reality is that when you are growing your business you can’t always afford a specialist to help and you have no choice but to do it yourself.  That is something that I have set out to change.


When it comes to managing staff most business owners simply want their staff to get on with the job.


When things go wrong (and they do) they find themselves in a bit of a bind. 


Let’s imagine that you have discovered that one of your staff members has stolen a product from your retail shop.  You discover the loss during a stock take and review your camera footage to see what happened.  You can see your employee taking the item and putting it in their bag. So, what now?  Your first reaction is going to be to call them an tell them what you found and tell them they are fired – you would be justified right? Well kind of.


In NZ employment law you need to give the employee a chance to tell you their side of the story, they need to have all the evidence that you have and have the chance to have a representative or support person at this meeting. You also need to assume that they are innocent until you have all this information. A hard thing to do if you have camera evidence!


While you would be justified in terminating their employment for theft but if you don’t follow the process you would still end up losing a personal grievance claim in the Employment Relations Authority, which can be very costly; costs for losing a Personal grievance can run up to $30,000 when you factor in paying lost wages (usually 3 months lost wages) and hurt and humiliation payments of between $17,000 to $20,000.  This seems ridiculous when you consider that the employee stole from you. 

Getting this process right is both simple (with a little specialist help) and much cheaper than paying the personal grievance costs.  So, you may think that getting help will be expensive, but it will save you in the long run. 


Often business owners struggle to see things that are obvious and necessary in their business because they are so focused in their everyday operations - it's easy to take for granted something you see all the time. This is where it is useful to have a fresh set of eyes looking at your people management processes to determine what is needed to take your business further. 


Our workplace relations consulting services can be engaged on an hourly or ad-hoc basis, or hired on a contract basis to fill interim HR management positions.


All businesses, regardless of size, need expertise across all areas of HR and H&S. For small businesses this can sometimes be a struggle since many do not have a dedicated department in one or both of these areas, yet still need to be able to deal with the related issues as they arise. Having access to an external consultant gives small business owners the ability to leave these functions in capable hands while they dedicate their time and focus to overall business development.


You do what you do best, leave the people admin to us.


Disclaimer This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.