"They were catering a wedding the next day and they were frantic," Mallett recalls. "I'd met with them earlier in the week and they had initially said they didn’t need my services — but in that moment they didn't know where else to turn."
Mallett, an employment barrister accustomed to the emotionally charged nature of workplace disputes, used some simple legal manoeuvres to have the book returned and the wedding was catered without a hitch. Needless to say, the caterer signed up as Employsure’s first client and still uses the service to this day.
When Mallett answered the phone that evening, Employsure was a one-man start-up with no clients, operating from a spare bedroom in Bondi. Yet the incident with the caterer would be the catalyst for Employsure to become Australia's biggest workplace relations disruptor, and one of the nation's fastest growing companies.
“That call is seared in my mind,” Mallett says. “It occurred to me at that moment that Employsure would be built on three basic pillars; giving employers the right advice, at the right time, at the right price. To me, that's what employers needed and weren't being provided through existing models.”
Early in 2010 Mallett had moved to Australia from the UK with his family, turning his back on a lucrative career as an employment relations barrister. Frustrated by an antiquated model that charged high legal fees to confused and emotional clients, he arrived in Australia intent on starting something new.
“I wanted to build a model that gave small business owners access to advice and support at an affordable price, something that could help them answer the common questions they have about workplace relations and compliance. I had a vision that Employsure could be the answer.”
He built a subscription-based service offering 24/7 workplace relations advice to clients, along with employee documentation, on-site compliance and WHS checks and legal representation. Financial backing from UK-based Peninsula Group allowed Employsure to scale, taking the service national in 2012.
Fast-forward to 2019 and Employsure has grown into Australia’s leading workplace relations consultancy with 800 staff servicing 24,000 clients. Its national team of workplace relations advisers handle more than 250,000 calls annually, while a network of field consultants travel 3.2 million kilometres each year meeting face-to-face with small business owners.
Meanwhile, Employsure’s phenomenal growth has fuelled expansion into New Zealand and led to a swag of industry awards and accolades. It has since launched its own law firm Employsure Law, offering specialist legal advice and representation for clients who are facing a claim. Employsure Protect expanded the company’s service offering, allowing clients to access a discretionary mutual that protects them against the financial costs of workplace claims, litigation and the legal risks of running a small business.
Despite the growth and success, Mallett’s vision remains simple: to support small businesses by helping them build safe and fair workplaces.
"Australia operates in an incredibly complex workplace relations system,” he says. “Between the Fair Work Act, Modern Awards, contract law, entitlements, WHS and compliance, it's not easy to run a business. And that's before they even think about typical things like inventory, tax, cash-flow and marketing.
"It takes a huge amount of courage for people to start a business, and they should be supported, not stymied. Our mission is to take away that workplace relations complexity and let them focus on running their business.”
Employsure is the largest provider of employment relations and workplace health and safety services in Australia, servicing more 24,000 clients nationally. Employsure believes all Australian employers, no matter the size, deserve access to comprehensive, quality, honest advice and support that is scalable to the needs of their business. Find out how Employsure is helping businesses around Australia.