You’ve found the perfect person to join your team – you’ve agreed on the role, the remuneration, and so on. Or have you?

Put it in writing

While you have discussed both your expectations in interviews and agreed on a path moving forward, you need to put what was decided in writing so there are no misunderstandings and to protect yourself from possible legal action down the track.

A Letter of Engagement, or an employment contract, is a way of ensuring that both the employee and employer are clear about the rights and responsibilities that go with working for your business.

This document should be sent to the new employee BEFORE they commence and signed off by them prior to starting.

The Letter of Engagement should clearly outline all the details around their employment.

  • Job title
  • Status – casual, permanent, part time, trainee
  • Who they report to and where they will work
  • Any applicable award or Agreement
  • Probation
  • Rate of pay (inclusive or ex-super) and any promised salary reviews
  • Any allowances
  • Hour and days of work
  • Leave entitlements
  • Confidentiality and intellectual property protection
  • Non solicitation clauses (if applicable)
  • Workplace safety obligations
  • Termination of employment clauses

Having a clear, well-structured Letter of Engagement ensures that the new team member understands their terms and conditions of employment. It’s spelt out so that if you do need to take disciplinary action – including dismissal – down the track, and you have upheld your end of the bargain, then this document will go a long way to protecting you against potential damages.

A Letter of Engagement should be backed up by a detailed position description as well as comprehensive (and current) HR, Workplace Safety, policy and procedure manuals.