Jigsaw London: A compliant relaunch into the Australian marketplace

Jigsaw London is a luxury clothing brand, dedicated to creating timeless garments for woman and men, with beautiful fabrics made to last. Jigsaw has operated under a licensing agreement in Australia since 1991, with a focus on occasion and workwear. In 2016, the brand relaunched in the Australian marketplace under the full umbrella of Jigsaw London with their flagship store located in the quaint, tree-lined Sydney suburb of Paddington. Jigsaw London now has 5 new stores and 9 retail booths spread across major Australian cities representing the brand (in its truest sense).

Today, Jigsaw’s head office in London supports international stores in the United States, Ireland, Singapore as well as Australia. To support their growing franchise in Australia, Jigsaw relies on HR Assured to act as their local outsourced HR Manager.

HR Challenges

The retail industry faces a number of challenges in Human Resources and compliance with Australia’s complex employment industrial laws. In Australia, many people don’t see retail as a long term career option, which leads to a high level of turnover within the industry. In addition, store managers can often lack a depth of understanding and knowledge when it comes to HR and complying with legislative requirements, which can cause issues when transitioning employees out of the business.

Training and development is a huge HR priority to encourage longevity and to boost the bottom line for retailers. Yet, with store managers dispersed across the country, access to human resources support from Head Office can be challenging. The recent boost in the investigative powers and funding of Australia’s regulatory body, the Fair Work Ombudsman, means employers cannot afford to take chances. The Australian branch needed tailored, local advice and hands-on support to guide their new store managers through recruitment, on-boarding, performance management and exiting of employees.

Using HR Assured

To remain compliant, Jigsaw uses HR Assured to provide their store managers with 24/7 Human Resources support that they can access themselves. This way, store managers at Jigsaw don’t need a degree in HR to stay compliant with Australia’s complex industrial laws. Due to regionally separated store locations and a head office in London, a 24/7 service offering is essential. Local advice is just a phone call away for managers at all locations.

Implementation

Jigsaw was quick to get started, with the service fully implemented across all stores within a month of signing up. With the relaunch under way, the first priority for Country Manager, Nicole Hooper, was recruitment and on-boarding of new staff. To ensure everything ran smoothly, Nicole relied on guidance from HR Assured’s employment law specialists. “With HR Assured, I can call and someone always answers the phone with really clear, compliant and practical advice. Especially when you know it’s going to be a long process, HR Assured supports you through the whole process. If one of my managers email in the morning, they will always have an answer by the afternoon” explains Nicole.

New Employee On-Boarding

Jigsaw uses the HRA Cloud to tailor and download employment contracts prepared by specialist employment lawyers. This way all employees are covered under a contract which is compliant with the Fair Work Act 2009. The on-boarding checklists also empower managers to use correct procedures when welcoming a new member to the team. Further, HRA Cloud’s employee Self-Service portal also means that recruiting, signing and returning employment documents is a simple and straightforward process.

Access to Legal Template Documentation

Using HRA Cloud, Jigsaw managers across the country now have access to legal content prepared by FCB Workplace Law, leading employment lawyers based in Sydney. Documents include full-time, part time and casual employment contracts, confidentiality agreements, conduct warning letters, termination letters and even thank you letters. In addition, various workplace policies in keeping with the Fair Work Act 2009 can be downloaded and customised including a Social Media Policy, WHS Policy and an Employee Handbook. This feature makes it easy to share company policies, procedures and documentation across our dispersed store locations in Australia.

Protection from Unfair Dismissal claims

We would like to think that all the employees we hire are exactly how they seem in the interview, yet occasionally this is not the case. On two occasions over the past two years, Nicole has had to manage poor performing employees and ultimately, engage in a process to exit them from the business.

Following HR Assured’s advice, “even though one of the employees was on probation, I still had to document everything and go through the performance management process” said Nicole. Ultimately, both employees threated to call Fair Work even though she had followed correct management procedure.

To follow correct procedure and to avoid unfair dismissal claims, Nicole consulted HR Assured to guide her through the process. “They made it easy, reassured me that everything would be fine and stayed on the line while guiding me through the steps to ensure that we wouldn’t be falsely charged with an unfair dismissal” said Nicole. “I really feel that had I not had the advice and support, we could have ended up in a different situation” says Nicole. Using HR Assured, Nicole was able to protect her company from massive fines and ensure the brand’s stellar reputation stayed intact.

Lasting Results

HR Assured has helped Nicole to grow and learn in terms of Human Resources processes. “I can now impart that knowledge onto our managers as the company grows” says Nicole.

“In a corporate environment you have the structure around you. In retail, you can sometimes feel you are on your own. I don’t feel this way with HR Assured because they are just a phone call away and always there to guide us”.

Jigsaw has grown rapidly in the past two years and is continuing to make its mark on the Australian fashion retail market.

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