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The Impact of Poor Human Resources Practices
By Sonya Buck, Australia


Whether you are a large organisation with a Human Resources department or a small business owner looking after the personnel function yourself, you need to take care of this important part of your business.

Poor human resources practices can not only affect the daily running of your business and your profitability, they can also affect your business' brand.

Whether by word of mouth or sometimes for larger employers via the media, your company brand can be tarnished, in turn leading to loss of customers and reputation. Certainly, you don’t want the first thing you hear when someone mentions your business is that you underpay or treat your employees badly.

Here are some of the key HR issues:


  • No matter what your business size, you will need to adhere to legislation. Seek out websites such as and
  • You’ll need well-defined job descriptions for each employee which aids accountability.
  • Ensure you are aware of current award rates and conditions.
  • Agreements or employment contracts should be used for all employees.
  • An awareness and records of training given will allow you to ascertain ongoing training needs.
  • Employees have a right to access their personal information. Ensure it is made available to them.
  • Hold employee performance reviews not just to identify poor performers, but to identify your stars who deserve recognition or promotion.
  • Exit interviews are a must, particularly if you are experiencing a high turnover of staff. You will be able to address the problem and improve employee retention.
  • Unplanned or rushed recruitment practices can lead to ‘the wrong fit' for some positions leading to loss of productivity and staff turnover, let alone the cost of recruiting for the same roles again.


Don’t forget you will need up to date human resources policies and as well as the websites mentioned above, there are some Australian legal websites where you can purchase 'off the rack' policies should you need assistance. The most important thing is that your staff are aware of the policies and sign off on receiving them.

If you are a small business or just very busy, sometimes the Human Resources function may appear to be just more 'on your plate', but taking time out to get it right can make an enormous difference to your business.

You won’t be able to tell how many customers or sales you have missed out on because of a poor reputation in relation to the treatment of employees, but remember there is a large multiplying factor with negative word of mouth.