New STAR Workplace Program

Posted on 01. Dec, 2011 by andrew in News, Uncategorized, research

The new version of STAR Workplace Program was recently launched by the HR Coach Research Institute. This program dovetails perfectly with the National Human Resource Standard NS HRF 101:2010 if your business requires quality assurance.


With the silly season almost upon us it is time to start planning for 2012. The first thing you need are good metrics to measure where you are now, set your goals for 2012, decide upon the strategies to get there and measure your success at the end. You need more than just financial measures to guide and measure your progress. You need comprehensive reporting and benchmarking, you need STAR Workplace Program. Knowledge is power and that is what STAR Workplace Program gives you. Once you start it will change the way you look at your business and change the way you plan.

Survivor – Bellingen Business

Posted on 26. Nov, 2011 by andrew in News, Uncategorized, events

At the upcoming Bellingen Chamber of Commerce summer business breakfast on 2nd December at the Old Butter Factory we will be exploring sustainable business and what it may mean for you and your business in 2012.

BCoC Summer Breakfast Flyer_ 11

Sustainable Business

Posted on 26. Nov, 2011 by andrew in News, Uncategorized, events

Sustainable business means different things to different people. A common question I ask is ‘How much of your profit walks out the door each day in your garbage bin?”. Practical recycling has been a passion of mine for much of my life. My ‘other’ life is that of a vermiculturalist running ‘Promised Land Worm Products’. We have just launched a new web site for worms on the web at Go and check it out. What is waste and what is resource in your business? Moving just a few items from one group to the other will go straight to your bottom line, and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Ask us about practical recycling options available to your business.

Workplace Health and Safety – are you ready for 1st January 2012?

Posted on 18. Oct, 2011 by andrew in News, Uncategorized, research

This is a great offer for businesses struggling with ‘where to start’ with the new Workplace Health & Safety laws. The start date for the laws is 1st January 2012, so time is running out fast. Email or call today to organise an audit of your safety management systems and get compliant before 01/01/12. Workplace Health and Safety is everybody’s business!

Contact us today.

Just 1 Job Program

Posted on 04. Jul, 2011 by andrew in News, Uncategorized, events, research

BCoC & Nortec to Boost Bello Jobs

With HumanHand

Bellingen Chamber of Commerce (BCoC) applied to Nortec’s Community Grants Initiative for a grant to run our ‘Just 1 Job’ program. NORTEC Employment and Training is a not-for-profit organisation that provides employment and training solutions for local employers and jobseekers, while contributing to the community in socio and economic capacity building initiatives. We were successful with our application and thank Nortec for the opportunity to begin the program in July.

BCoC secretary and program coordinator, Andrew Sommerville said the Bellingen Chamber of Commerce understands that Bellingen’s local economy is flat at the moment, just like many other areas. But we also recognise that we can’t sit around waiting for something to happen to make it better. There is no magic wand to fix economic conditions. The only fix is planning and strategy linked to action. We have to plan for the recovery, not hope for it. No one is going to do it for us, so if we want change we have to initiate it ourselves. If we work together as a business community we can make a big difference. We want to sustain the existing jobs in the town and look at innovative ways to create new sustainable jobs for the future.

As a HR and Business Coach with HumanHand HR Help, I work with many local businesses. There are 3 characteristics I see in successful businesses:

  • The business owner/manager are passionate about their business and its future. They speak positively about business, staff and the future.
  • They have highly engaged and committed staff. They are inspired by the owner/managers positive outlook and passion and want to work for the business. They want to be successful in their jobs and contribute to the success of the business.
  • Their planning is linked to action. The business has plans in place. They have goals and targets and these are communicated to all staff. All staff, the team, work towards achieving the goals.

I want to see all Bellingen’s businesses exhibit these characteristics, and grow and be successful.

The ‘Just 1 Job’ program will consist of a series of 5 workshops run monthly for 15 participating businesses. It will culminate in a jobs expo held in early December in conjunction with Nortec Employment and Training, to showcase these employers to job seekers. The aim will be to work on the 3 characteristics noted above of successful businesses. We want to ‘flick the switch’ to stop talking about the negatives and start talking positively and passionately about our future. We want to improve our people management to get staff engaged and inspired. We want to plan for the recovery and get the whole team working towards it.

Working with the employer and employees, the program is a catalyst for open discussion in the workplace about how changes, improvements and adjustments can be made to create better workplaces, improve employee engagement and productivity and create a culture of shared responsibility.  It aims to innovate, sustain and create jobs in the Bellingen community by working with local employers to strengthen their businesses, plan for recovery and generate new opportunities.

The ‘Just 1 Job’ program has been adapted from a book (What can I do – Create, Sustain & Innovate Jobs written by Louise Broekman of the HR Coach Group of Companies 2009) and a workshop program developed as a one on one coaching tool. It was a response to the GFC, but is just as relevant in our current economic situation. I have adapted it as a series of group workshops. The idea is to develop partnerships and networks (BCoC, employers, employees, Bellingen Shire Council and Employment and training companies) and all work together to make a difference.

For more information about the Just 1 Job Program, or to be a participant, contact BCoC Secretary Andrew Sommerville on 0447 647 828 or email or go to

Paid Parental Leave

Posted on 04. Jul, 2011 by andrew in News, Uncategorized, events, research

From 1 July, employers also become responsible for the administration of Paid Parental Leave entitlements (PPL) for eligible employees.

If an employee makes an application to the Family Assistence Office (FAO) for PPL, and the employee is eligible, the procedure is:

• The FAO will contact the employer to request information to enable payments to be processed.

• The FAO will make payments to employer which must be paid to the employee as if the payments were salary or wages.

To make things a little easier, employers can pre register with the Family Assistence Office online to speed up the process.

Unfair Dismissal: Remuneration Threshold Increases to $118,100

Posted on 04. Jul, 2011 by andrew in News, Uncategorized, events, research

From 1 July 2011 the high income threshold will increase from $113,800 to $118,100. This is particularly relevant to:

• unfair dismissal eligibility; and

• the application of Modern Awards.

Unfair Dismissal Eligibility

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 only “eligible” employees can bring an unfair dismissal claim with Fair Work Australia. One test for eligibility is whether the employee earns over the high income threshold.

The increase to the high income threshold means that employees who earn over $118,100 (and are not covered by a modern award or enterprise agreement) cannot bring an unfair dismissal claim.

Application of Modern Awards

An employer can exclude the application of Modern Awards in relation to employees who earn over the high income threshold. To exclude the application of Modern Awards, employers must provide high income employees with a guarantee of annual earnings. This guarantee takes the form of an undertaking and can be included in an employee’s contract or set out in a separate agreement.

Calculation of an Employee’s Earnings

To determine whether an employee is earning over $118,100 an employer should calculate their wages, amounts paid on behalf of the employee or at the employee’s discretion (such as salary sacrifice arrangements) and the agreed value of non-monetary benefits.

However, an employee’s “earnings” do not include payments for which a value is not ascertainable in advance (such as variable performance bonuses), reimbursements or employer contributions to superannuation.

Further information

If you require any further information email