Case Study – Boutique Build Australia
Boutique Build Australia Pty Ltd is a boutique building company based in Sydney that specialises in the design and build of high-quality designer homes for the Sydney metropolitan and surrounding areas. The company has been operational for four years.
The company employs the following staff:
Managing Director, Operations Manager, Marketing and Sales Manager, Sales Consultants (4), Office Manager, Human Resources Manager, Human Resources Support Officer, Learning and Development Coordinator, Construction Manager, Site Manager (2), Production Draftsperson (2), 6 Carpenters and a range of contract staff, including plumbers, electricians, tilers, painters and plasterers.
The workforce is predominantly male with the only four females employed (the Office Manager and the three Human Resources positions).
The company’s vision as stated in its Strategic Plan is to be the best boutique home builder in Australia. Its values are listed as quality, innovation, leadership, respect and honesty and reliability.
Information relevant to completing Section 1 and 2 of the Project Portfolio
The Human Resources Manager is responsible for a small team of staff including the Human Resources Support Officer and the Learning and Development Coordinator.
The Learning and Development Coordinator is a new appointment in place for the last two months.
The Human Resource Support Officer has recently returned to the workforce after staying at home to raise her four young children for the past nine years. She has Iranian heritage and follows the Islam religion.
The Human Resources Manager is responsible for:
- Taking a key, and at times, leadership role in the development and implementation of generalist HR strategies, policies and projects.
- Identifying, designing and implementing general HR strategies and solutions to achieve agreed outcomes relating to: organisational design, organisational change, performance management, workforce and strategic planning and other generalist HR activities inclusive of effective negotiation and consultation with staff.
- Taking ownership of the HR results and outcomes.
- Providing high level, timely and professional advice to senior managers and staff, in interpreting and implementing human resource policy including: change management; HR planning; industrial relations; retention, performance management; workplace health; and organisation development and change.
- Delivering a high level of proactive and reactive support, management and advice to managers and staff in employee relations, encompassing, equal employment opportunity/diversity case management.
- Leading developing and motivating a small team.
- Contributing as a HR team member to develop and/or enhance policies, procedures and systems to support HR ‘best practice”.
- Representing and providing high level advice and support on internal and external forums and committees.
- Developing effective, collaborative relationships and networking with all internal clients and external stakeholders.
- Assisting the team to produce best practice learning aids and presentations
- Producing a quarterly review of people statistics and analysis for distribution to internal stakeholders.
|Time: January 2021|
After reviewing the Operational Plan, the HR Manager identified the following actions required by his team and team members to implement the tasks/priorities in the operational plan:
|Task/Priority||Actions required||Person responsible||Timeframe||Start|
|Employ and induct at least 3 permanent site staff||Advertise position||Human resource officer||2 weeks||1 February|
|Recruitment process||Human resource officer||1 month||15 February|
|Choose best applicants||HR Manager Operations Manager||1 week||15 March|
|Induct applicants||Learning and development officer||3 months||12 April|
|Develop and implement work-life balance programs||Research best practise||HR Manager||3 weeks||1 February|
|Brainstorm program ideas to suit organisation||HR team||1 day||22 February|
|Develop and approve program||HR Manager Learning and development officer||5 weeks||22 February|
|Promote program||Human resource officer||3 weeks||5 April|
|Personalise employee learning||Survey staff on their learning preferences||Learning and development officer||1 month||1 February|
|Update staff information to include learning profiles||Human Resource officer||2 months||1 March|
After the HR Manager delegated the work tasks to the team, the Human Resource Support Officer requested that she perform some of the work from home to make school drop-off and pick-ups simpler. The HR manager has agreed (via email) to allow for flexible work hours to limit the time the Human Resource Support Officer is at the office to school hours only. All other work may be completed at home.
To support the newly appointed Learning and Development Officer, the HR Manager has decided to place a printout of the team work tasks on the office notice board, and update the plan as the team progresses. This will also help the Human Resource Support Officer understand the team’s work position as she is not always in the office.
|Time: August 2021|
Six months after the work plan was implemented, the HR manager sought further feedback from all employees about their HR experience, in particular how they are able to relate to and interact with the HR team. The survey results included:
|Recruitment process rating (out of 5)||Induction process rating (out of 5)||Overall impression of the HR team (out of 5)||Comments on work place relationships with individual team members|
|Employee 1||4||3||3||The HR team is great, I loved working with the HR Support officer.|
|Employee 2||5||4||4||Great recruitment process, induction was fun.|
|Employee 3||4||3||3||Happy with the overall HR team performance, especially the HR Support Officer. She went out of her way to get to know me personally. However, I sometimes struggle to understand what she is saying as she has an accent and speaks quite quickly.|
The HR Manager also had an informal catch-up discussion with the HR Support Officer and Learning and Development coordinator to find out how they were getting along and whether any workplace relationship difficulties were evident.
The HR manager was surprised by the HR Support Officer’s feelings of discrimination as all the feedback about the HR Support officer’s performance had been very positive. The HR Support Officer complained that the Learning and Development Officer often made remarks about her clothing (burka) and would use negative facial features when referring to her working from home arrangements.
In response to the feedback from staff, and the informal meetings with the HR team members, the HR Manager sent an email thanking the staff members for their honesty. He affirmed the organisation’s commitment to ethical conduct and assured the staff that steps would be taken to prevent ethical misconduct in the future. He also referred the staff members to the organisation’s conflict management policy and procedures for steps they may take in future should they wish to take any complaints any further.
To address the ethical misconduct of the Learning and Development Officer towards the HR Support Officer, the HR Manager created a poster to visually display the staff code of conduct principles. He also decided to provide guidance and counselling to the Learning and Development Officer on appropriate cultural respect and body language awareness.
To address the communication difficulties experienced by staff due to the HR Support Officer’s accent and fast-talking habit, the HR manager decided to email the HR Support Officer and explain the feedback he had received. As part of the email, he would provide a few you-tube video links on effective communication. He would also follow up with a coaching session on communication.
Information relevant to completing Section 1 and 2 of the Project Portfolio
|Time: December 2021|
After a period of time, the HR Manager sent out another survey to all employees about their HR experience to monitor the issues previously raised. Feedback showed that in general, the HR Support Officer’s communication (pronunciation and speed) had improved.
The HR manager also requested a short meeting with the HR Support Officer to find out whether her relationship with the Learning and Development officer had improved. The HR Support Officer said that the Learning and Development Officer had stopped making remarks about the burka, but still raised eyebrows when she left the office for school pickup. The HR Manager used this meeting as an opportunity to provide feedback to the HR Support Officer about her improved communication skills. He also asked for her feedback on his management and leadership skills regarding workplace management. The HR Support Officer appreciated the support and open communication of the HR manager.
After meeting with the HR Support Officer, the HR Manager met with the Learning and Development Officer. He explained the feedback he had from the HR Support Officer about the Learning and development officer’s improved ethical conduct but emphasised that body language had not improved. The HR manager also asked for the Learning and Development officer’s feedback on his management and leadership skills regarding workplace management. The Learning and Development officer expressed his disappointment that he had never been asked for his side of the story that had led to the unethical conduct and continued raised eyebrows. He requested that in future, all stakeholders’ opinions, experiences and points of view be considered and documented before corrective action or support is planned.
Staff Code of Conduct
This code aims to guide the conduct of staff in the performance of their duties as an employee of Boutique Build Australia and is intended to provide practical assistance for staff faced with ethical challenges.
All staff of Boutique Build Australian are expected to perform the duties associated with their position skilfully, impartially and diligently in order to contribute to the efficient and economic achievement of Boutique Build Australia’s strategic goals.
Staff should be guided in their conduct by the principles established by this code. If there is any doubt as to the applicability of the code, or the appropriate course of action to be taken in certain circumstances, the matter should be discussed with a senior member of staff.
- Ethical principles
- The fundamental ethical principles on which this code of conduct is based are:
- respect for others
- economy and efficiency.
- Respect for others
- All staff are expected to treat others, including other staff and customers with fairness and respect. This involves:
- courtesy and responsiveness in dealing with others
- being sensitive to and respecting the rights and dignity of others
- making reasonable, fair and consistent decisions
- avoiding behaviour which might reasonably be perceived as harassment, victimization or intimidation
- avoiding discrimination on grounds such as age, race, sex, pregnancy, sexuality, ethnic background, nationality, disability, political conviction, religious belief, or other grounds covered by relevant legislation
- allowing alternative points of view to be expressed and reasonably debated.
- All Boutique Build Australia staff have an obligation as a citizen and as an employee to observe the laws of the State and Commonwealth.
- Staff are required to be familiar with and comply with, all relevant Boutique Build Australia’s policies, procedures and codes of practices of the organisation.
- Conflicts of interest
- Staff should be honest in performing their role and avoid conflicts between their private interests and those of their responsibilities to Boutique Build Australia.
- Conflicts of interest may arise when a staff member is in a situation where personal circumstances are affected by the decisions or duties carried out in their role. A conflict may arise when any of the following are involved:
- financial interests
- personal or sexual relationships
- personal beliefs
- outside employment
- political participation
- use of confidential information
- use of facilities, equipment and resources
- acceptance of gifts or benefits.
- All staff must act responsibly and report any actual or perceived conflicts of interest that arise as part of their role. If there is any question as to whether a conflict exists, staff must discuss the circumstances to management to determine whether a conflict exists. Appropriate strategies will be developed to manage any reported or perceived conflicts of interest.
- Staff are expected to carry out their duties in a professional, ethical and diligent manner at all times. This means staff must:
- make decisions fairly, impartially and without bias, using the best information available
- keep records and documentation to support their decisions
- always aim to achieve the highest possible standard of performance
- continuously develop their knowledge in their professional fields and areas of responsibility. Trainers and assessors must continue developing their vocational competencies to support continuous improvements in the delivery of the services provided by Boutique Build Australia
- exercise best judgment in the interests of Boutique Build Australia
- maintain adequate documentation to support decisions made
- ensure outside interests do not interfere with ability to meet the responsibilities of their role
- adhere to professional codes of conduct and standards of ethics
- act responsibly when becoming aware of any unethical behaviour or wrong doing by any other person. This may involve a report to a senior member of staff.
- Economy and efficiency
- Staff should use Boutique Build Australia resources, facilities and intellectual property only for legitimate purposes related to their role with Boutique Build Australia.
- Staff should avoid waste or minimize it where avoidance is not possible.
- Staff should maintain sufficient security and protection of Boutique Build Australia property, facilities, resources and intellectual property.
- Breach of the code
- This code of conduct is designed to promote and enhance the ethical practice of staff. If any staff member is found to have breached this Code, Boutique Build Australia may decide to take action against them. This may include disciplinary action for misconduct or serious misconduct. Any such action may result in sanctions imposed, including and up to, termination of employment.
This code of conduct is informed by the following legislation with which all staff must comply.
- Privacy Act 1988
- Copyright Act 1968
- Freedom of Information Act 1982
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Disability Discrimination Act – Education Standards 2005
Work plan template
TEAMWORK PLAN: [Team name]
|Task/Priority||Performance indicator||Actions required||Person responsible||Planned start||Planned end||Done?|
INDIVIDUAL WORK PLAN: [Individual’s name]
Internal Communication Policy and Procedures
Boutique Build Australia aims to enhance and streamline communications (internal and external) to reinforce the vision and strategic priorities. As such, we will continue to develop and trial new communication platforms, channels, and tools to improve information sharing and collaboration between all staff members.
This policy is to be implemented in a way that ensures compliance with relevant legislative requirements and standards of best practice.
Boutique Build Australia expects that staff will use the channels and for business purposes only and comply with all relevant policies and procedures, the Code of Conduct.
Boutique Build Australia has a number of internal communication channels available, including:
|Project, work or action plans||All plans should be updated to show completion of each action/process or task.|
|Feedback||Regular informal feedback should be given either via a conversation (in person or telephone) or via through review-comments on documents.|
|Staff bulletin||This contains Information from the executive to staff which is important and relevant to their interests, including training, employment vacancies and important announcements. Contributions for the Staff Bulletin must be approved in advance by the contributor’s relevant manager before being sent to the communications officer for review and inclusion.|
|Staff surveys||These are used to gather information and feedback from all staff members. Surveys should be sent to staff via email link.|
|Boutique Build Australia intranet||The intranet provides important information for staff in an easily accessible location. The intranet is to be used for conveying information which is important and relevant from the executive team to staff. It is the responsibility of the person contributing the content to ensure the content is factually correct. All contributions must be approved in advance by the contributor’s relevant manager.|
|Enterprise social networks (e.g. Yammer, Facebook)||These may be used by groups of staff to collaborate and communicate on projects online (e.g. to share and comment on work-related ideas, news and activities). Personal use of these platforms may not be used during work hours. Use of these networks must comply with the Social Media Policy.|
|Meetings and conversations||The first option should always be a conversation (face-to-ace, telephone etc.). If the conversation includes importance, consequences, deadlines, negotiation, outcomes etc, they must be followed by a summary email or document. Staff meetings are usually once a month. Team meetings may be once a week. Project meetings are according to the needs of the project. An agenda needs to be sent out prior to all meetings using the standard template. The agenda needs to go out at least 2 days prior to the meeting. All meetings should have minutes and be provided to participants within 2 days of the meeting|
|All Staff emails||Emails are used for messages to and between staff. Staff are required to read all their work-related emails.|
|Electronic calendars||The use of email and electronic calendars is essential for effective communication amongst staff. These tools are a simple and effective way to share information about projects, meetings, internal business/operations, etc. These tools also provide a record and may be considered formal documentation.|
|Notice boards and suggestion boxes||Workplaces can have a noticeboard where messages are posted up for everyone. The notice board needs to be in a prominent place. All notices posted must be approved by the appropriate manager and will be posted for up to one month, unless it is an ongoing message. Suggestion box: this is usually placed in the staff meeting room. Staff may add a suggestion at any time, which will be reviewed by the HR Manager and recorded in a Feedback register. The register will also indicate how the suggestion will be actioned.|
Diversity Policy and Procedures
Diversity management benefits individuals, teams, our company as a whole, and our customers. We recognise that each employee brings their own unique capabilities, experiences and characteristics to their work. We value such diversity at all levels of the company.
Boutique Build Australia believes in treating all people with respect and dignity. We strive to create and foster a supportive and understanding environment in which all individuals realise their maximum potential within the company, regardless of their differences.
We recognise the importance of reflecting the diversity of our customers and markets in our workforce. Boutique Build Australia’s diversity encompasses differences in ethnicity, gender, language, age, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, physical and mental ability, thinking styles, experience, and education.
Managing diversity makes us more creative, flexible, productive and competitive.
Boutique Build Australia recruits employees from many different cultural, linguistic and national backgrounds. This provides us with valuable knowledge for understanding our customers.
Career development and promotion
Boutique Build Australia rewards excellence and all employees are promoted on the basis of their performance. All managers are trained in managing diversity to ensure that employees are treated fairly and evaluated objectively.
We recognise that racism, ageism, sexism and other forms of discrimination are problems both for our organisation and society as a whole. Boutique Build Australia is committed to tackling cultural stereotypes both within and outside our organisation.
We have clear reporting procedures for any type of discrimination or harassment combined with follow-up procedures to prevent future incidents.
Our commitment to diversity is led by our diversity champions who come from all levels of the company, from top management to the shop floor. The diversity champions make up a diversity committee, which is responsible for ensuring that our diversity policy is articulated in the day to day running and the strategic direction of the company.
All employees undergo diversity training. Diversity training encompasses raising awareness about issues surrounding diversity and developing diversity management skills.
Boutique Build Australia provides a safe and pleasant environment for our employees. We offer:
- flexible working time arrangements
- employee education assistance
- employee network and support groups
- open communications
- childcare assistance
- mentor programmes.
Conflict management and escalation Policy and Procedures
Problems, misunderstandings and frustrations may arise in the workplace. Boutique Build Australia aims to be responsive to its employees and their concerns.
The purpose of this policy is to provide a quick, effective and consistently applied method for a nonsupervisory employee to present his or her concerns to management and have those concerns internally resolved.
An employee who is confronted with a problem may use the procedure described below to resolve or clarify his or her concerns and will not be subject to retaliation for filing a complaint under this policy.
Managers must ensure that:
- they identify, prevent and address potential problems before they become formal grievances
- they are aware of, and are committed to, the principles of communicating and information sharing with their employees and volunteers
- all decisions relating to employment practices are made with consideration given to the ramifications for the individual, as well as the organisation in general
- any grievance is handled in the most appropriate manner at the earliest opportunity
- all employees and volunteers are treated fairly and without fear of intimidation
Employees must ensure that they attempt to resolve any issues through their immediate supervisor and through internal processes at the earliest opportunity.
Before escalating the process, employees and managers should provide guidance, counselling, mentoring, coaching etc. to limit additional conflict or future problems.
All parties are to maintain complete confidentiality at all times.
Step 1: Discussion with supervisor
- Initially, employees should bring their concerns or complaints to their immediate supervisor. The two parties should discuss the matter openly and work together to achieve a desired outcome. Employee may bring along a representative to this meeting.
- The Manager must ensure that the manner in which the meeting is conducted will be conducive to maintaining positive working relationships, and will provide a fair, objective and independent analysis of the situation.
- The immediate supervisor should respond in writing to the complaint within five days of the meeting held with the complainant employee.
Step 2: Written complaint and decision
- If the discussion with the immediate supervisor does not resolve the problem (or if the supervisor does not respond to the complaint), the employee may submit a written complaint to the employee’s senior (e.g. General manager, CEO).
- Take accurate and detailed notes of all conversations (including dates, people involved) and attach any supporting documentation.
- Employees may request assistance with writing their complaints from the human resource (HR) department.
- The employee’s senior should forward a copy of the complaint to the HR department.
- The submission of the written complaint is due within five working days of the response from the supervisor and should include:
- the problem and the date when the incident occurred.
- the date when the employee met with the immediate supervisor
- a copy of the immediate supervisor’s written response or a summary of his or her verbal response (If the supervisor provided no response, the complaint should state this.)
- suggestions on ways to resolve the problem.
- Upon receipt of the formal complaint, the senior manager must schedule a meeting with the employee within five working days to discuss the complaint.
- Within approximately five working days after the discussion, the senior should issue a decision both in writing and orally to the employee filing the complaint.
Step 3: Appeal of decision
- If the employee is dissatisfied with the decision of the senior, the employee may, within five working days, appeal this decision in writing to the HR department.
- The HR department may call a meeting with the parties directly involved to facilitate a resolution
Step 4: Further action
If it cannot be resolved at senior management level, it may need to be referred to an independent body such as the Fair Work Commission.
Boutique Build Australia reserves the right to impose appropriate disciplinary action for any conduct it considers to be disruptive or inappropriate. The circumstances of each situation may differ, and the level of disciplinary action may also vary, depending on factors such as the nature of the offense, whether it is repeated, the employee’s work record and the impact of the conduct on the organisation.
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