Section 4 – Personnel (Staffing) Issues

In this section you will study:

Employers – Need to.

Employee’s Needs Include.

The Dept of Industrial Relations

Industrial Awards

Enterprise Agreements

Entry Level Training Requirements

Employing Staff

Key Issues

Retraining & Multiskilling


Employer Associations


Union Structures

Roles of Industry Personnel







Industrial Relations

The NSW Department of Industrial Relations has a significant role in developing effective and workable industrial relations in this state. In summary, the history of the NSW Department of Industrial Relations is as follows.
In the workplace, employers and employees alike have needs and objectives they wish to be met.
Employers need to:
Conduct an efficient business.
Make a reasonable return on their financial investment and have a productive workforce.
Employees needs include:
Earning a reasonable income.
Having the security of employment.
Deriving satisfaction from their work.
Having a career path.
The current industrial relations system allows all parties to enter negotiations, as employer associations, independently or to be represented by bodies such as unions or employer associations.

Industrial Award

An industrial award is an agreement between employers and employees on the tights and obligations for all those involved  in a specific type of  work. 

It is most commonly negotiated by organizations representing employers and organizations representing employees (unions).

These organizations either apply  to  the  Commission  to  have an award prepared or develop an award through the resolution of an industrial dispute.

Enterprise agreement

An enterprise agreement is also  an  arrangement  between  employers  and  employees  on the rights and obligations for all those involved in a specific type of work.

It is also negotiated by employers and either organizations representing employees (unions) or employees themselves usually on a specific  work site. 

Agreements  may cover some or all of the employment conditions present in an award but they must also comply with  NSW laws that provide employment tights and obligations.
Enterprise agreements must have the approval of the Industrial Relations Commission.

Entry Level Training Requirements

Employing Staff
Choosing and keeping the tight people is central to the successful functioning of your business. Objectives should be set which will ensure that conditions are created and maintained to provide profitable and efficient use of your personnel. This is best achieved by treating staff as human beings and being concerned about their total work environment.

Key Issues
This means advertising vacancies in a variety of ways and providing adequate information to prospective employees. Advertising in local newspapers is an excellent method of attracting applications to job vacancies.

Consider the skills, qualifications and experience required to do the job. Separate these into "essential" and "desirable". This will help in selecting the best applicant for the job.


And apprenticeships, office skills traineeships are all excellent methods of employing new staff. Contact your nearest Employment National office and find out what subsidies or allowances you may be entitled to.

At the same time ask what other services Employment National may be able to provide your business.
Another option is to use a private employment agency. Private agencies typically charge between 10% and 15% of the employee's first year's salary as a fee.

The basis of selection is fact finding, either by asking questions or by requiring applicants to demonstrate the skills they claim they have, such as operating a particular machine.
Prepare an outline for the interview but be flexible about it. After you have made a short list, check references and send an offer letter to the successful candidate. Inform unsuccessful candidates as politely and as soon as possible.

When commencing a new employee:
Make the first three months of employment probationary. During the probationary period, the employee should be assessed and, if unsuitable, either retrained or, where appropriate, dismissed.

Training the New Starter - informal on-the-job training is probably the most common training method used, except for highly skilled or technical positions. Formal training workshops should also be considered once employees are established.

Retraining & Multiskilling

Also called job training or occupational training and vocational instruction for employed persons.
During and after World War 11, in-service training by employers became a common practice.

The rapid changeover in industry from peace to war led to training schemes for semiskilled workers, for workers transferred to new jobs, and for women newly brought into industry.

Thereafter, the rapid contemporary advance of technological change made training a necessity in almost all walks of life.


Most large industries have employer associations, which work  to  safeguard  the  interests of their members and the industry as a whole.

Some of the services that trade unions provide for members include:

Maintaining and improving wage rates

Improving conditions of employment

Looking after health and safety on the job

Maintaining job security for members

Ensuring that workers injured on the job get access to worker's compensation

Protection from discrimination and harassment


Claiming back pay

Financial services

Legal services

Access to training

Child care and family friendly policies

Promoting equal employment opportunities for men and women

Lobbying governments on behalf of members.

Unions are legally established  and  must  be  registered  within  the  federal or state industrial relations systems.

To maintain registration, unions must demonstrate that their funds, elections and day-to-day operations  are  properly  administered.

Union structures:
These vary with the size of the union and its activities.

Members can usually be involved with policy making through job meetings, local branch meetings and the union five state conferences.
State conferences are generally held every two  years  and  delegates  are elected to represent the membership of the local branch.
Large unions like the CFMEU usually have a national executive as well as state executives and local branches.
At the national level there are also peak bodies such as the ACTU, which represent the union movement as a whole in negotiations  with  governments  and  large employers  on matters of national industrial concern.
At the shop floor level in larger enterprises, a union representative will usually be elected to liaise with  management  on  matters,  which concern the members.

Roles of Industry Personnel

Due to the diversity of industrial organizations it is difficult  to  give an accurate picture of the structure of each type.

 The following is a pattern common to many engineering firms

Management may be defined as use individual or group  responsible for decision  making in a firm. It will attempt to anticipate future consumer  demand,  and  will  produce  on  the basis of those anticipations.

Production takes place  by labour working  with  machine  tools to transform raw  materials into finished  products.  It is the  task  of  management  to organize and coordinate the process of manufacture  from  the  raw  material  stage  to the sale of the finished product.

With the growth of large companies, the function of management is generally in the hands of salaried managers or directors.