Navigating small business through the workplace and employment law jungle

In conjunction with Realise Business, Employsure are currently running a series of seminars to help small business owners understand their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Work Act.

We caught up with Employsure’s Managing Director Ed Mallett to gain his insight into workplace relations, leadership, management, and what it takes to achieve success in small business.

A former professional rugby player with a University of Cambridge education, Ed moved to Australia from the U.K. in 2010 to set up Employsure. Working for over 15,000 SMEs across the country, Employsure is widely regarded as Australia’s leading experts in employment regulations and WHS services. Their focus is taking the burden out of navigating complex workplace regulations for their clients, allowing them to fully concentrate on the other areas of their businesses.

With many hands in any given team working towards achieving one common goal, Ed believes that you cannot create a long term successful business without ensuring that it is built on solid foundations. He ranks treating your staff fairly as a top priority, ranging from day-to-day management style to how much employees are paid. The Fair Work Act stands as regulatory framework that establishes how to treat staff equitably, Ed says, meaning it is crucial to the way in which a business is managed.  While workplace relations regulations are not why most get into business, they can very possibly be the reason that some end up falling out of it.

Having witnessed many small businesses struggle with issues including wages and modern awards, policies and procedures, dismissals, redundancy, performance management and WHS compliance, Ed strongly recommends seeking assistance with ever-complicated workplace stipulations.

He also believes that there are a few qualities that business owners cannot succeed without, namely, genuine enthusiasm and concise communication. That means the ability to explain and empower others with a personal vision is critical. With Employsure having grown from scratch to over 500 staff and 15,000 clients, Ed credits the projection of his passion onto others as the key. “People only join that growth if you can sell your dream to them,” he says.

Innovation is another core ingredient for the success of Employsure. Ed describes the company as “the first of its kind”, providing Australian businesses with a new and more efficient way to deal with workplace relation issues. Recruiting a team of professionals into one place, Employsure has changed the system of business owners being forced to individually seek out support, usually at a high price tag.

Having challenged the status quo of how Australian, and now New Zealand, businesses access these professional services, the company mirrors the sentiment of going above and beyond in their own workplace. “We only employ people who want more than a job and want to be part of something bigger – to truly support Australian business owners,” Ed explains. Reporting an incredible sense of pride amongst his staff, Ed likens his them to a high-performing sports team in their identity and culture. Using a performance equation to form the basis of everything they do, that being ‘performance = capabilities x values’, has ensured staff are constantly empowered and company morals remain at the core of the business.

A hands-on manager, Ed lives by the concept of ‘servant leadership’. He expects a level of humility amongst his team; an understanding that no one is above anyone or anything. Having started Employsure undertaking all roles in the business, including cleaning offices and building desks, all the way through to his current accomplishments, Ed is uniquely placed to understand and respect what every person in his organisation does. He anticipates others will share this understanding as they are all mutually dependent on each other for success.

Ed’s top 5 tips for businesses include: 

  1. Business planning. Establish key milestones to achieve is key to plotting a growth path for your start-up;
  2. Know your customer. When you understand what’s happening in the customer’s world, when you can step back and see things from their perspective, you can connect your business into their world and really treat the client as king;
  3. Talent acquisition. Recruiting skilled staff underpins sustained growth. Our focus has been to efficiently recruit team members who fit the organisation and the client base, as well as having the appropriate capabilities;
  4. Be single minded. Be determined and committed to being the very best at one thing; and
  5. Get the right advice. Just like small business requires financial advice, tax advice and so on, it’s important that you access experts that have the knowledge and support so you are not reinventing the wheel.



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