How To Hire The Right Employee

Hiring a new employee to join the business is an important task that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Employers should scout out talent in the same way that a good sales person hunts for new clients. Many employers enter the selection process unprepared and end up settling for a candidate who is not right.

Employers should take their time to find out whether their candidate really has the character and credentials to fit the position available.

Hiring the wrong employee can end up costing an employer a lot of time and money through reduced sales, poor morale, lost productivity and interview costs.

Here are a few ideas to help employers land the right employee:

Screen For Organisational Fit
Successful companies believe that having a candidate fit into the organisational culture is more important than the candidate's skills. This is because employers can teach job skills; however, they cannot teach character.

Although 'organisational fit' is more subjective than job skills, it is still able to be determined.

First, an employer needs to understand their own company's culture and decide on the characteristics and personality required by a new employee to fit in.

Questions should be asked in the interview to reveal the candidates character and how they like to work. For example, 'talk about the most difficult culture you have worked in and how you dealt with it.'

Screen For The Right Job Skills
It is also important to screen candidates to determine if they have the necessary job skills. Companies should avoid screening candidates on outdated or generic job descriptions as candidates will be prepared for the standard interview questions, such as their strengths and weaknesses.

The best predictor of success is a candidate's past behaviour and results, not their interview expertise. Ask about the candidate's successes at past jobs and what they achieved after six months, one year and three years.

Verify Credentials
A key step in hiring a new employee is to verify their credentials and ensure that they have achieved what they are claiming.

It is important to spend the time and money performing background checks and assessments as it will only cost more in the long term if the candidate is not the right fit.

Dealing With Unhappy Customers

All businesses aim to offer an excellent service; however, it is not possible to please everyone.

Ultimately businesses will come across customers who are unhappy with the service and/or product
they have provided.

By following these tips businesses can learn how to deal with unhappy customers in the best way:

Don't React First
It is a lot easier to understand customer complaints once the problem is looked at from their point of view. Businesses should aim to put themselves in the position of the customer before reacting to a complaint and taking the time to consider why they have become unhappy. This will help the business to solve the problem, as well as showing that they truly care about their customers.

Acknowledge The Problem
When a customer is unhappy with a service or product the most important thing is for them to understand that they have been heard. Simply stating 'yes, I can see that there is a problem' will go a long way in helping to solve the complaint.

Apologise To Them
Don't be afraid to be personal and apologise for the problem the customer has occurred. Even though the business might not see it as an issue, it is to the customer.

Be On Their Team
Employees should be taught to be on the same team as their customer, and to always offer to help even if the customer has made a mistake. This will allow the customer to see the business as an ally, not an enemy.

Have A Plan
Ensure that the business has a set procedure for dealing with customer complaints. For example, apologise for the problem, if possible offer a refund, and offer an additional benefit. It could also be ideal to have a set strategy for specific problems. However don't forget to personalise the service to the individual customer.

Use Their Insight
Unhappy customers can be a vital source of information on how a business can improve their product or service. The complaints given by customers should be recorded, and treated as a way to help the business grow even stronger, not as an annoying problem.

Wise Words
'Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning' Bill Gates.

Common Website Building Mistakes

 It's uncommon these days for a business not to have a website. Most businesses understand 
 the power of having an online website and its ability to increase sales.

 However, simply having a website doesn't necessarily mean it is going to drive the results that 
 are expected.

 A lot of businesses find themselves falling into common traps and overlooking important
 aspects when designing and building a website.

 Below is a list of four common mistakes business owners are likely to make when building a

1. Difficult To Navigate
Customers don't want to waste their time clicking through a number of website pages to make a purchase. Websites that drive the customer to purchase will have only one call to action button.

When designing a website businesses should decide on what action is most important and emphasise that option above all others.

For example, if a business is focused on online sales, then the 'buy now' button should be most prominent on the page.

2. Too Much Content
Clients don't want to waste their time reading through an overload of text. Instead, consider whether the information is best displayed visually, through an image or video.

3. Not Thinking About Mobile
Most businesses are focused on designing a website for desktop traffic that they often forget about Mobile traffic. Mobile traffic is only going to increase, so businesses should design a website with both desktop and mobile traffic in mind.

A good mobile website should be structured similar to an app, designed for easy navigation and a constant visible call to action button.

4. Overly Complex Jargon

Businesses often struggle to describe what they do without using complicated industry jargon. Any text used on the website should be structured towards the target audience and be written in a way that is easily understood by them.

Promote YouTube Videos

YouTube is an effective tool in placing a business's brand, product or service in front of millions of potential viewers and connecting with both existing and potential customers.

However, the platform is often overlooked in favour of sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Here are some basic strategies to follow when promoting YouTube videos:

1. Begin by using the tools that are available directly through YouTube. For example, provide a detailed and accurate title and description for each video uploaded and use associated tags and keywords that are directly relevant.
2. Incorporate a call to action within the video to encourage people to like, rate, comment on and share the video with their friends and colleagues.
3. Begin promoting the video to friends, customers and clients of the business. Ask these people to watch and share the video with their online friends.
4. Take advantage of the power and capabilities of online social networking to promote the video. Use the businesses online presence on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to provide links to the video and encourage customers to watch.
5. Incorporate the video into the businesses website/blog and use it as an alternate to writing large chunks of text, or lengthy descriptions.
6. Try to collaborate on videos with businesses that have a strong presence on YouTube and that are also targeting a similar audience. However, it is best not to collaborate with businesses that are direct competition.
7. Consider paying for keyword advertising on Google and Facebook to further promote the video.

A Guide To Warnings In The Workplace

Warnings are an important workplace tool in helping to ensure that employees understand their
employer's expectations.

They also serve as evidence of a fair performance management process and provide supporting
evidence should the employee be terminated.

Warnings can play a crucial role in defending unfair dismissal claims as it provides evidence that
the employee was aware that they were displaying unsatisfactory workplace performance and conduct.

A workplace warning is defined as a communication, be it verbal, or written, to an employee about their performance or conduct at work. Warnings are a tool used to communicate an identified area where an employee needs
improvement, or where their conduct does not meet the required standard.

The aim of delivering a workplace warning is to give the employee an opportunity to improve their workplace performance or conduct.

Verbal warnings are usually administered before a written one as they are less informal and are usually of a less serious nature. That is they do not warrant summary dismissal. Once a warning has been issued the employee's performance or conduct is usually monitored for a set period of time.

A written warning should be issued after a warning meeting has taken place. At the conclusion of the meeting, the employee is advised that they will be receiving a written warning in the following couple of days.

Generally, most written warnings will compromise of the following:

  • record who was present at the warning meeting;
  • record the fact that the employee was invited to have a support person present;
  • outline the conduct or performance which is the reason for the warning;
  • where appropriate refer to a relevant policy or the employment contract;
  • refer to previous warnings that were issued;
  • record the employee's responses to the matters in issue;
  • clearly state that the employee needs to improve, including an explanation of then consequences for failure to improve;
  • where relevant, provide support to the employee to improve such as training; and
  • preferably by countersigning by the employee as evidence of their understanding of the warning.

There is no legal requirement as to how many warnings must be given prior to termination. The unspoken rule is to use anything from one to three written warnings, to ensure that the employee is given enough notice and time to improve their performance or conduct.

However, it is always a good idea to refer to the company's policy and any performance management procedures that may be in place before deciding when to terminate an employee. There is also no legal rule that defines how long a warning remains current. Generally, it is unusual for a warning to remain current after six months had passed with no more warnings being issued.

Workplace warnings are an important tool for employers to communicate their expectations to their employees. Failure to implement, or appropriately manage, warnings can come at a high price.

Upcoming Seminars

Newleaf - Age Care Seminar
When: Tuesday 6th May 2014
Time: 12pm and 6pm
Location: Boardroom, Level 16, 333 Ann Street, Brisbane, Qld, 4000

Newleaf - Craig James Update
When: Friday, 29th May 2014
Time: 9:30am
Location: Tattersall's Club, 215 Queen Street, Brisbane, Qld, 4000   

Privacy Statement

We know that protecting your privacy and maintaining confidentiality in relation to your personal information is important to you. Our recently updated Privacy Policy outlines how we do this in accordance with the Privacy Act and Australian Privacy Principles. Most importantly, our Privacy Policy includes an explanation on how we collect your personal information, what we use it for and how we keep it secure.

A full copy of our Privacy Policy is available at all times for review on our website. Click here should you wish to review our updated Privacy Policy now.

If you have any questions about our Privacy Policy, please contact us at

Small Business Issues

If you think doing business in Australia could be easier, why not have your say on the new Cutting Red Tape website!

For example, do you think some government forms ask too many questions, that some licences are too difficult to apply for, or that some regulations are too strict?

By making a submission, you can help the Government find the common problems for small business owners, and work out how they can reduce the compliance burden on Australian small business owners.

There are multiple ways to have your say:

You can choose if your comments are made public or not.

Help make doing business in Australia easier. Have your say now!

Learn more about the Cutting Red Tape initiative.

Know other small business owners? Send them this article to ensure their voice is heard.

Sign up to the Business Consultation website to get in-the-know about other business consultations like this.

Lodgement Deadlines

21 April 2014
Due date for Monthly Activity Statements for March.

28 April 2014
Due date for Quarterly Activity Statements for March quarter; and
Deferred Lodgements.

About Us






Since 1994, Harris Black has been providing accounting and advisory services to our valued clients to help them achieve their business and personal wealth goals.


National Affiliation

Harris Black is a key participant in a network of nationally affiliated independent chartered accounting firms called the Brentnalls Group.


Our Partners



Our Location

Level 16, 333 Ann Street
Brisbane, QLD 4000 
View location map
Enquiry Form

P: (07) 3032 0200
F: (07) 3032 0201