Like it or not, believe in it or not, the carbon tax is coming. For months now Australian's have heard all sides to the story. Countless forums, community meetings, even letter box drops, have endeavoured to explain the impacts the tax will and won't have on our economy and environment.
Now as we know the tax is targeted at the big polluters…But what about small business?
My local fish and chip shop has a "carbon footprint", so how will the tax effect/assist them?
Having attended a number of meetings with small and medium business owners, it is apparent that perhaps some economists have neglected to properly assess the impact such a tax will have on them. In fact a number of business owners have no doubt that the tax, once implemented, will raise the cost of living and drive their businesses to the wall.
Sounds like armageddon doesn't it? Well to the owners of a 3rd generation family business, it is.
So as I was saying, like it or not, believe in it or not, the question must be asked….How as a business do I manage it?
The tax is complex, but in terms of business, the greatest expense, and the greatest asset, you have is your staff. Implementing sound employee relations strategies, even in your fish and chip shop business, can help you work towards ensuring the longevity and viability of the business you have struggled so hard to maintain.
Here are my suggestions.
1. Map out the peaks and troughs that your business goes through and roster staff accordingly. Establishing a robust rostering system, with input from your staff, will ensure effective use of labour, thus limiting unnecessary overheads.
2. Controlling of wastage is imperative. This is particularly focused at the hospitality industry where throwing away a meal, is throwing away money. Ensuring staff are constantly aware that controlling wastage is vital to the long term economical viability of the business can be done through ongoing performance management principles and workplace policy.
3. Don't be afraid to use casual or on-call labour. Although pay rates, and loadings, in the modern awards can deter you from doing so, if you utilise your casual workforce to its full potential, it can have a positive impact on your end of month wages bill.
4. Performance Management of staff is an on-going communication process. Instigating a system will ensure that the productivity in your business reaches an attainable, and sustainable, level. And remember, if your employees go above and beyond, don't be afraid to reward them.
Now I don't proclaim to be a carbon tax expert, but I know one thing is for certain. Small business, and inevitably the consumer (us) will be impacted financially by it.
It's what we chose to do about mitigating it's impact financially on us, and what we do ourselves about climate change, that will help us rest easier at night.