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Making time to work on your business: insights from business coach Tony Ozanne


As we saw in our last post on this topic, doing HR manually is a large burden for your business and in some cases a “hidden” cost that goes unchecked. To bring a whole-of-business view on this issue, easyEMPLOYER caught up with Tony Ozanne, an experienced business coach. Tony has more than 20 years’ corporate management experience, and works with clients around Australia from local businesses to national enterprises, from Canberra to Perth.Tony had some great insights to share on ways of making staff management processes more efficient.

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easyEMPLOYER: So Tony, where do you mainly see inefficiencies in HR practices and systems?

Tony: A lot of the business systems are pretty blurry and ad hoc. Their payroll may be still manual. They may not be using payroll software, apart from using a basic accounting package. When I start working with a business, one of the first things we do is walk through the pay cycle, with the basic processing and recording of actual pays itself just to get a feel for what’s working, and what maybe isn’t.

Time capturing often comes up as an issue too. You know, if they’ve got to grab their little sign on/sign off cards and add up the hours, that all takes time out of their day.

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easyEMPLOYER: What solutions do you usually recommend?

Tony: Well the alternative is to have those manual tasks computerised. You know, cutting back on data entry. You streamline it. The employee scans on and scans off, or logs in or logs off through a computer.

Where you really see some serious time-savings is if that’s integrated with your actual payroll. Say on a Tuesday, which is end of week, you run your payroll report. The software says, ‘here’s your list of employees, here’s the hours that they’ve worked’. You just check that to verify it: everyone’s logged off and taken their breaks and done what they’re supposed to have done.

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easyEMPLOYER: So how does that benefit the manager?

Tony: Anything that saves the owner or the manager time, that’s worth looking at. Even if it’s five minutes a day, that’s big for a business owner because, you know time is money. It allows them to work on something else.

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easyEMPLOYER: What sort of things could they be working on?

Tony: A myriad of things. They can use their time to develop their people, talk to customers, or plan for their business. Or it could be just taking five minutes to grab a coffee and think about where they’re at. What ties it all together is that you’ve got more time to work on your business.

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easyEMPLOYER: So why don’t more businesses explore automation?

Tony: I think a lot of businesses see software as a cost rather than an investment in their business. So they focus just on what they spend, rather than what the automation makes possible—getting that time back. I don’t know any business owner who’d knock back the opportunity to get a couple more hours in their week.

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easyEMPLOYER: So what’s a good place to start if you do want to test the waters?

Tony: I’d start small, take a look at how they manage their staff and availability. I’d look at how much time they spend changing rosters around, and see if that’s something they can automate. And talk to a good provider who can take a look at your HR systems as a whole, and see what ideas they bring to the table.

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