Is your Employee Skills Matrix keeping you awake at night?

Did you know that 85 per cent of SME’s are non-compliant with their Employee Skills matrix? To meet legislation requirements, a company must have “Evidence of a Trained and Competent Workforce”. Try standing in front of a coroner and explaining how you “thought” the person had the training!

The majority of company directors and operators have no idea that they are putting employees and their business at risk, as there is often a disconnect between what they think is happening and what is actually reality.

Poor processes, untrained data entry staff and confusion as to what is evidence are some of the common contributing factors that impact on fundamental lifeblood of a company – employee competence.

What are SMEs doing wrong?

Here are the key reasons why businesses may not have employee training qualifications up to date:

  • Training record management is not core business for most businesses.
  • Reliance on a digital system which is often a plugin to another system which is being used and maintained by untrained employees.
  • No one source of truth, with responsibility for the records covering multiple divisions from receptionist, recruitment safety, HR, and operations.
  • Invalid data entry, incorrect evidence, wrong documents, filed under wrong names, PFD with multiple tickets on one page with many of them expired, no names, no dates, or a combination of all the above.
  • Time-poor employees.
  • No documented mandatory matrix requirements for each Job Description, therefore inability to track or measure compliance.
  • Australia’s complex training framework and the variables in documentation supporting training and licences.

Any one of the above could cause noncompliance and the fines and penalties are significant.

The solutions

Ok, so what can you do?

  1.  Ensure the company has documented the mandatory requirements for each employee’s job description including;
    • Legal requirements  of licences and mandated training.
    • Company inductions and safety training.
    • Client training and any site access.
    • Validation of Competency (VOC) for plant and equipment.
    • Supervisory and management training if required.
  2. Self-audit the training and licence records, and match the evidence to the mandatory, check currency, and then identify gaps in evidence.
  3. Depending on company size, appoint one department or one person to be the “One Source or Truth” to manage the collection and maintenance of employee’s records.
  4. Alert your employees to their duty of care to provide the company with updated licences and records (as they can get fined alongside the employer) and provide them with process and who is responsible.
  5. Review internal documents to ensure all in-house training, inductions and VOC and recorded and the evidence saved is valid.

If you find all the above overwhelming, and
you have no time to attend to your Employee Skills Matrix and the lack of
visibility and accessibility of employee records keeps you awake at night, then
you might consider engaging a virtual training team.

A virtual training team provides an interactive platform, training professional, data entry and monitoring of your compliance to provide peace of mind and keep employees and your business safe.

This year, COVID-19 has taught business many things and one of the few good changes is that “Virtual” is now a mature and accepted business practice.

Kareena Waters, Founder, Industry OneCARD

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Richmond, Damien Hardwick, girlfriend, Alexandra Crow, who is she, club employee, sales, wife, players, future

The Richmond employee in a new relationship with Tigers head coach Damien Hardwick has been unveiled as Alexandra Crow.

The footy world was abuzz with talk of the romance on Monday – just a few weeks after it was revealed the 48-year-old mentor had split with his long-time wife Danielle.

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Crow, reportedly in her 30s and a member of the Tigers’ commercial sales team, appeared to prepare for her new-found fame by deleting all of her social media pages, including Twitter and Instagram.

The Age reported she had been in a relationship with a staffer from another Melbourne-based AFL club before linking with Hardwick. Her ex has been helped through the break-up by his club.

Richmond is adamant Hardwick’s job is secure despite intense speculation in recent days he was preparing to stand down.

The club has confirmed its aware of the relationship between the two and The Age reported Hardwick had it approved by the club’s human resources so he could continue as coach.

The Herald Sun received a statement from the club on Monday after rumours were running wild in the footy community about the long-time coach.

“The club is aware that coach Damien Hardwick is currently in a relationship with a member of the club’s administration staff,” the statement read. “The club has no concerns with this under club policy. Beyond this, it is a private matter and we ask that privacy be respected.”

But the Herald Sun reported it has “rocked staff within the club and could affect the playing group”.

It comes after it was revealed Hardwick separated from his wife Danielle, with who shares three children.

Danielle was incredibly well-liked at Richmond and was referred to as the “second family” of Tigers captain Trent Cotchin and his wife Brooke in an Instagram post at Christmas.

She replied to the picture by writing: “What a special Christmas Morning. Our hearts are full. Love you Cotchins.”

Hardwick, one of the most successful coaches of the modern era, has guided the Tigers to three premierships in the past four years, including last year’s triumph against the Cats.

After leading the Tigers to a grand final win against Geelong, the 48-year-old had flagged the personal toll the season had taken on him.

“I’m going to take a bit of a longer break this year over summer,” Hardwick told 3AW.

“It’s been a pretty full on 3-4 years and we’ve done a hell of a lot of work and had a lot of success along the way but sometimes you need to step back.”

The Tigers are scheduled to return to training on Monday. After initially suggesting he may not return until February, the Herald Sun reports Hardwick could be back next week.

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Damien Hardwick new girlfriend sparks tension at AFL club Richmond after wife divorce, cheating rumours, staff member, employee name

Richmond has confirmed Damien Hardwick is in a new relationship with a member of its administration staff just weeks after it was revealed he had separated from his wife, Danielle.

The Herald Sun received a statement from the club on Monday after rumours were running wild in the footy community about the long-time coach.

“The Club is aware that coach Damien Hardwick is currently in a relationship with a member of the club’s administration staff,” the statement read. “The club has no concerns with this under club policy. Beyond this, it is a private matter and we ask that privacy be respected.”

But the Herald Sun reported it has “rocked staff within the club and could affect the playing group”.

Round 1

Hardwick, one of the most successful coaches of the modern era, has guided the Tigers to three premierships in the past four years, including last year’s triumph against the Cats.

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Customers fundraise to send Ontario Tim Hortons employee back to school

Customers at a Vaughan, Ont., coffee shop have raised funds to send their favourite employee back to school.

Vishnu Gopansothilingan greets customers at the Tim Hortons drive-thru at Bathurst and Rutherford with positive energy that brightens everyone’s day, said customer Matthew Shulman.

“He makes your day,” said Shulman. “This guy, he fist-bumps you, he gives you weather reports. Everybody in the community thinks they’re special and he only does it with them, but it turns out he’s doing it with everybody.”

Customers start GoFundMe

Gopansothilingan was studying IT at York University, but dropped out due to financial constraints.

When Shulman heard his story, he organized a GoFundMe campaign called “Vishnu The Tim Horton’s Happy Fist Bumper!”

“In a time of such uncertainty, [Vishnu] is and always has been a ray of sunshine! I, like many others look forward to my morning coffee, fist bump, huge smile, worldly quotes, weather reviews, silly jokes and the ‘have an amazing day,’ ” wrote Shulman on the GoFundMe site. 

“Vishnu is much more than a guy in a mask working the Tim Hortons drive thru. He is an amazing human being.
AS A COMMUNITY, LET’S SHOW HIM HOW MUCH WE CARE, send him back to school.” 

The campaign has so far raised just over $9,300 of its $10,000 goal, with more than 200 people donating. 

“It’s amazing how people appreciate the small things that I do,” said Gopansothilingan, who gave out doughnuts after Shulman presented him with the money outside the coffee shop.

“I love people. This is who I am, giving back and making people smile.”

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Medical center says employee ‘intentionally’ removed 57 vials of Moderna vaccine from fridge. Local police says FDA and FBI helping investigate.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are loaded into a truck for shipping at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool
  • In a press release issued Wednesday night, Aurora Health said that an employee at their Grifton, Wisconsin, clinic voluntarily removed dozens of vaccines from refrigeration and was fired for doing so.

  • Over the weekend, Aurora initially said the incident was a matter of human error, but issued a new statement after an internal investigation.

  • The Grafton Police Department issued a statement late Wednesday night confirming that the FBI and FDA are assisting with their investigation into the employee.

  • The Moderna vaccine vials can stay at room temperature for up to twelve hours and must be stored at between 36° to 46° Fahrenheit.

An employee at the Aurora Medical Center-Grafton in Wisconsin removed 57 doses of the Moderna vaccine from a clinic refrigerator “intentionally” and did not return them, the company said, forcing it to discard at least 500 doses.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the healthcare provider said that an employee voluntarily removed the vaccines from the fridge and was fired for doing so.

Over the weekend, Aurora initially stated that the incident was a matter of “human error.” 

“We learned that about 50 vials of Moderna vaccine were inadvertently removed from a pharmacy refrigerator overnight,” a spokesperson told WTMJ-TV on Monday. “While some of the vaccine was administered to team members on Dec. 26 within the approved 12-hour post-refrigeration window, unfortunately, most of it had to be discarded due to the temperature storage requirements necessary to maintain its viability.”

But by Wednesday evening, Aurora released a statement that said that after an internal investigation, the employee intentionally removed the vaccines and did not return them.

The incident resulted in more than 500 doses of the vaccine being discarded Aurora Health added.

“We immediately launched an internal review and were led to believe this was caused by inadvertent human error. The individual in question today acknowledged that they intentionally removed the vaccine from refrigeration,” Aurora’s Wednesday statement said. “We have notified appropriate authorities for further investigation. We are more than disappointed that this individual’s actions will result in a delay of more than 500 people receiving their vaccine. This was a violation of our core values, and the individual is no longer employed by us.”

The Moderna vaccine vials can stay at room temperature for up to twelve hours but must be stored at between 36° to 46° Fahrenheit.

Aurora Health Care added that more than 21,000 healthcare workers had received their first of two Moderna injections. 

The Grafton Police Department issued a statement late Wednesday night confirming that the FBI and FDA are assisting with their investigation into the employee.

When reached by Business Insider for comment, an Aurora Health Care spokesperson said more details would be shared tomorrow.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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Coffee shop employee spat on by customer

Police are investigating an alleged assault on a staff member at a Coffee Club last week.

Coffs-Clarence Police have confirmed to the Daily Examiner that the incident occurred around 9.45am on Thursday, December 24 at the Grafton Shoppingworld complex in northern NSW.

“The gutless intruder swinging his skateboard over his shoulder, entered our store … spat on a staff member and threatened her life. This is not OK,” a staff member posted on the Grafton Coffee Club Facebook page.

It’s not known if the female staff member was injured during the incident.

The alleged male offender is described as 182cm tall with dark hair, aged between 25-30 years, and wearing black jeans and jumper with a skateboard at the time of the incident.

“Someone out there will hear him brag or may have seen him dash from our store. Help us protect our staff from such scum; help us catch this guy.”

Police are urging anyone with information to contact Grafton Police Station on (02) 6642 0222 or to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

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Qantas employee who flew through from Darwin to Sydney tests positive for coronavirus

NSW health authorities say a Qantas crew member who flew into Darwin from overseas before boarding a domestic flight has tested positive for coronavirus.

The male crew member flew into Darwin on a Commonwealth-supported repatriation flight from Paris on Thursday, December 17, on flight QF176.

The man then boarded the QF841 Darwin to Sydney flight as a passenger on Friday, December 18.

NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said health authorities did not believe the crew member was infectious during his stay in Darwin before flying to Sydney.

She said she was advised the man exited the Qantas repatriation flight through the RAAF side of Darwin Airport before entering a private vehicle, commenced isolation at a hotel and then returned to Darwin Airport in a private vehicle before boarding the Sydney flight.

A NSW Health spokesperson said the department was working with NT Health to contact trace passengers who were on the same domestic flight from Darwin to Sydney as the infected Qantas staff member.

“As the person had been self-isolating at home, wore PPE on the flights from overseas and from Darwin to Sydney as well as on the drive home, the risk to public health is minimal and all close contacts are being identified and tested,” the spokesperson said.

A statement from Qantas said the man developed mild symptoms while self-isolating at home on Sunday, December 20, and subsequently returned a positive coronavirus test.

“We are providing support to a cabin crew member who tested positive for COVID-19, after operating the Federal Government’s repatriation flight back from Paris last week,” Qantas medical director Dr Ian Hosegood said.

“I spoke to him last night and again this morning and thankfully he has only mild symptoms and is generally feeling well.

“We are working with the Federal and New South Wales health departments to investigate how he contracted the virus and establish close contacts including any other crew members.”

The crew member landed in Darwin on a repatriation flight from Paris on December 17.(ABC News: Alan Dowler)

Dr Hosegood said that since the December 18 flight, protocols had changed to prevent any crew from working on overseas flights and then travelling on domestic flights.

“He travelled as a passenger on a domestic flight from Darwin back to Sydney on Friday and has been in self-isolation at home since,” he said.

“This was in line with governmentapproved protocols. Since then the protocols have changed and operating crew won’t be travelling on normal domestic flights after operating international repatriation flights.”

Dr Hosegood said the positive case was the first among Qantas crew since early in the pandemic.

“Despite operating well over 100 international flights back from COVID hotspots, including Wuhan, the United States and Europe, this is the first Qantas crew member who has contracted the virus since late March.”

International air crew rules looser in NT

When Ms Fyles was asked about the case at a press conference on Wednesday morning, she said she “would need to seek more information” around the protocols for international air crew entering the Northern Territory.

At a second press conference later on Wednesday, Ms Fyles said the crew member spent time in isolation in Darwin “under strict Chief Health Officer” guidelines.

These guidelines state flight crew members are exempt from a 14-day quarantine period if they can “remain quarantined at a suitable place”.

The CHO guideline stipulates that a suitable place for quarantine can be “a residence or a room, apartment or unit in commercial visitor accommodation”.

“[The crew member] did spend some time in Darwin but it was under strict CHO directions,” Ms Fyles said.

“There is a section that allows for flight crew to be in the community but strictly under guidelines.

“He did spend time in isolation here before he left the Northern Territory.”

Natasha Fyles stands in front of micrphones and looks serious.
Ms Fyles said Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie was in contact with NSW health authorities.(ABC News: Michael Franchi)

When asked what accommodation the man was staying in, Ms Fyles said she was not able to provide specifics.

“This is a pre-approved plan from the CHO to allow them to be in the NT but under strict conditions,” she said.

“These vary whether it is from a private residence through to a hotel, but I’m not able to provide advice on the specific hotel.”

The positive case follows the introduction of stricter quarantine rules for international air crews arriving in NSW and Victoria in the wake of the current NSW outbreak.

Last Friday, NSW and Victoria announced international aircrews arriving in the respective states would be required to stay in supervised hotel quarantine.

When asked if the Government would consider tightening its protocols for international air crew arrivals, Ms Fyles said authorities “need[ed] to be practical”.

“We need to allow for the freight. We need to allow for vital medical equipment to be flown to the NT and Australia more generally,” she said.

“We have, under our direction the CHO has in place, measures for flight crew to get off international flights and [they are] under strict conditions how they must interact with our community or take precautions to protect our community.

“We need to be realistic about that. We have seen travel domestically and internationally severely impacted, but there is a certain amount of travel that needs to take place.”

Ms Fyles, however, did not rule out tightening rules around air crews.

“This is something that the jurisdictions continue to work [on] at a Commonwealth level, and we will continue to evolve that and if we need to put in place further precautions we will do so,” she said.

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Former Shell employee admits conspiring to embezzle S$49m worth of gas oil from Pulau Bukom site

SINGAPORE: A former Shell employee who was part of a syndicate that routinely embezzled millions of dollars’ worth of gas oil from the Pulau Bukom manufacturing site for sale to other vessels pleaded guilty to his involvement on Tuesday (Dec 15).

Indian national Sadagopan Premnath, 40, is the first Shell employee involved in the heist to admit to his charges.

He pleaded guilty to four charges of abetting criminal breach of trust as a servant involving S$49 million worth of misappropriated gas oil in 2017 and 2018. Another five charges will be considered in his sentence.

Gas oil is a type of commercial fuel product used in many industries, including the marine sectors.

Sadagopan began working at Shell Eastern Petroleum around 2012 as a fieldman or panel operator, drawing a basic salary of about S$2,400 and earning up to S$4,000 with overtime pay.

As a fieldman, he took instructions from the panel operator to manually open or close large, heavy-duty valves. When functioning as a panel operator, he learnt to operate the black oil control panels that digitally controlled valve movements. 

The heist occurred at the manufacturing site on Shell Pulau Bukom, Shell’s largest wholly owned refinery in the world in terms of crude oil distillation capacity and its largest petrochemical production and export centre in the Asia Pacific.

The conspiracy to misappropriate gas oil began in 2007 with co-accused Juandi Pungot and Abdul Latif Ibrahim, both Shell employees, and grew to involve more people over 11 years.

READ: Chief officer of tanker in ‘unprecedented’ S$3.5 million Shell oil heist jailed

The accused was recruited by Juandi and joined the syndicate in mid-2017. Juandi hired him because he was worried that another colleague was being deployed as a panel man too often and Shell management might discover the crimes.

Sadagopan agreed to join the syndicate in part because he was worried that his more senior colleagues might treat him with hostility, the court heard.

There were several methods of misappropriating the gas oil, including configuring the flow through carefully planned routes that avoided certain meters; ensuring that multiple pumps and tanks were operating at the same time to mask the acts; and carefully timing legitimate loading of purchased gas oil to transfer the stolen oil.

Sadagopan’s role was to take directions from his co-conspirators and act as a black oil panel man to open and close valves so that awaiting vessels could receive the misappropriated gas oil.

As Sadagopan was more junior than the rest, he initially sat beside his accomplices and observed the acts before controlling the panel to mask the pattern of illegal loading. He did not know who was buying the stolen gas oil.

He received about US$150,000 (S$200,300) from the criminal proceeds and has made no restitution to Shell, the court heard.


In early 2015, Shell noticed significant unidentified oil loss at Pulau Bukom using its accounting process. It engaged a group of experts from its other offices to conduct a review, but the misappropriation was not detected.

Shell Pulau Bukom then implemented various measures, including enhancing its accounting processes, improving its custody transfer meters and operational improvement items, but continued to experience unidentified oil loss.

In early 2017, Shell engaged a third-party consultant to conduct a five-week review of its hydrocarbon losses, but no conclusive explanation could be found.

Around the same time, Shell Pulau Bukom had its highest hydrocarbon loss since 2015, and the team tracking and investigating the losses began to suspect misappropriation.

READ: 11 charged over multi-million dollar Shell oil heist in Singapore

The company engaged a global multidisciplinary team of Shell analysts to monitor tank movements and analyse the available data. After the suspected theft of gas oil via unauthorised transfer to other vessels was detected, Shell filed a police report in August 2017.

Since the discovery of the large-scale misappropriation, Shell has taken many costly measures to improve its systems and processes including the installation of new and additional custody transfer meters and anti-theft closed-circuit television cameras and developing monitoring software.

By the end of this year, the estimated cost directly incurred or to be incurred by Shell to manage the consequence of the long-term misappropriation will amount to about S$6 million.

Sadagopan will return to court for mitigation and sentencing in February.

The cases for several of Sadagopan’s accomplices are pending. Several officers from the tankers that received the stolen gas oil from Pulau Bukom have been jailed, including a chief officer who was imprisoned in July last year.

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Enhancing the employee experience with flexibility

Following months of lockdown and orders to work from home, we are beginning to see a new outlook on what an ideal work-life balance looks like for Aussie workers.

Unlike big corporations who may be subject to more complex workplace regulations and multiple higher-ups when it comes to making a decision, SMEs are in a much better position for change. The reduced layers of complexity allow these businesses to better adapt to and take advantage of flexible work arrangements within reasonable cost and timeframes.

So, what are the key things to consider when essentialising flexibility in a small team?

Putting mental health at the forefront

Mental health and employee well-being have been a key focus for many years. From improved diet to more regular exercises, employers should be looking at these outcomes as valuable reference points when designing the structure of flexible work arrangements in a post-COVID environment, ensuring the appropriate balance of organisational and employee needs and expectations.

Ongoing effective communication is key

Given the current uncertainty facing Aussie workers, SMEs need to be ready for a series of conversations with employees to find out what they value and what works best for them. Due to the high variability in the nature of work that could be done remotely, productivity may fluctuate. Where one employee may enjoy not having to commute at all, another may find it hard to focus at home with children or pets causing distractions. Flexibility works out differently for each employee, so employers must start to engage in these conversations to keep up the changing needs across the workplace and employee expectations.

Communication is also key to keep the workforce connected in spite of the physical distance. The opportunity to work flexible hours at flexible locations should be accompanied by the necessary tools to ensure collaboration and “learning by seeing” aren’t disrupted. A hybrid model, consisting of both online and offline communication, remains the most practical and sustainable way in maintaining teamwork.

Adding flexibility to the job ad

Our research suggests Aussie workers’ desire for flexibility will continue after the COVID-19 pandemic. This will have a huge impact on the way businesses recruit new talent in the coming months and years, as our research shows 71 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 would prioritise work flexibility over fixed pay. This isn’t about reducing the average wage or trading off salary increases for flexible policies, but rather recognising the demand and value employees now attribute to flexibility in the workplace. SMEs who want to remain competitive in the current climate but don’t have the deep pockets of their larger competitors must embrace and promote the flexible policies that will attract the brightest talent.

Being flexible with flexibility

SMEs must also be flexible in the way they offer flexibility. As the pandemic mandated employees to work from home, the veil was lifted on the ability to allow flexible arrangements without the associated drop in employee efficiency and productivity many businesses have traditionally feared. From remote working and purchased leave through to flexible hours and on-demand pay, employers should now be looking at the array of practices that comprise flexibility. Whilst organisational needs and the reality that some roles are not amenable to types of flexible arrangements must be considered, organisations should carefully consider whether reverting to a pre-COVID framework in a post-COVID world is the right strategy.

Flexibility has grown to become a vital component in workforce management and potentially, future talent acquisition. With smaller sizes and simpler business structures, SMEs have the natural advantage of adopting flexibility with relative ease, and should be doing so where they can.

Richard Breden, General Manager, Ascender 

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Starbucks to hike employee pay 10% or more on Dec. 14: memo

FILE PHOTO: A Starbucks cafe is seen in Los Angeles, California March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

November 18, 2020

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp <SBUX.O> will hike pay for baristas, shift supervisors and cafe attendants by at least 10% effective Dec. 14, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The wage increase, first reported by Business Insider on Wednesday, will also boost starting wages by 5% in order to help attract and retain employees.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; editing by Diane Craft)

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