Select Page
Building a team in a small Australian business

Building A Team In A Small Australian Business

Quick summary

Building a team in a small Australian business can be challenging. Great workplace culture is important for teams to perform. If it’s just you, then you need to be kind to yourself, listen to yourself both physically and mentally, and get support.

Building a team in a small Australian business.

Running a small business is about the people. If it’s just you, then you need to be kind to yourself, listen to yourself both physically and mentally, and get support.

If it’s a new business with more than 1, then that’s a team.

Jeff Bezozs famously once said, “if you can’t share 2 pizzas with your team then the team is too big”.

Although your team may begin with one or two founders or employees, if you find success you will soon need to consider how to manage multiple people, teams and groups, and all that comes with it. Below is from Kelly Salmon at Growth HR – the people experts. They tackle the hard work for you and guide organisations on their people strategies.

Growth HR know that people are the core of any business and have developed agile, future oriented people plans so you can gain confidence in your business and empower your team. COG Branding engage Growth HR today and let our people manage your people.


When building a team in a small Australian business, it’ll be a human team – and looking to hire new staff one of the first things you need to consider is what capacity they will be – an employee or contractor?

There are different obligations for taxation, superannuation and employment law for each. Here this issue can get early stage business owners and founders into trouble. Factors determining whether a worker is a contractor or employee are examined below.

Special Note
Importantly, you cannot call a worker a contractor while treating them as an employee (a ‘sham contracting’). The ATO is all over businesses that mischaracterise workers to avoid their employment law obligations, you won’t beat the ATO.

Control: Does the hirer have the right to exercise detailed control over the way work is performed or does the worker have full autonomy?

Separate place of work and advertises services: Is the worker required to wear a uniform or display material that associates them with the hirer’s business?

Provision and maintenance of significant tools and equipment: Is the worker required to supply and maintain any tools or equipment (especially if expensive)?

Right to delegate or subcontract work: Is the worker free to work for others at the same time? Can the worker subcontract the work or delegate work to others?

Income taxation deductions: Is taxation deducted by the hirer from the worker’s pay?

Remuneration: Is the worker paid according to task completion, rather than receiving wages based on time worked?

Further Research
If you are unsure, use the employee/contractor decision tool on the ATO’s website to determine whether your team member is an employee or a contractor.



New businesses and startup companies may also allow interns to function in the office while they study or broaden their professional experience. For an intern it can be a worthwhile learning experience that offers the intern access to senior mentors in the team and further skill development they wouldn’t get studying or in part time work. Internships do get used and abused from time to time, and it’s important founders remember that an individual on an internship does not replace employees.

Internship Purpose
There are dual purposes of internships, they help the job seeker and also the business. Before onboarding an intern, your first filter can’t be “free human resources!”. You need to first consider “what is the purpose of hiring an intern, and will they learn what they are expecting to”.

When taking on interns the business has a responsibility to provide a benefit to the individual and the business. Though if the benefit is overwhelming towards the business as a free source of labour then it is likely to resemble an employment arrangement.

Knowing the primary benefit derived from the internship should flow to the individual, it’s clear when an intern is an employee and vice versa. Interns and provide a great contribution to the business instead of just observing when they are currently enrolled in tertiary education.

Do Internships Get Paid?
If you bring on an intern, your internship agreement needs to clearly state that the role is unpaid and for a finite agreed duration. The business may choose to offer lunch and commuting expenses, though if this line becomes blurry and payments are comparable to wages then it can mean the internship is becoming an employment relationship.

How Long Should Internships Last?
As an internship’s primary function is for the individual to learn about the business by being inside it, the business and the intern should ensure they both agree on the internship’s length prior commencement. An internship should not be looked at as an indefinite placement, and should have a formal concluding date.

If the business makes the decision to host an intern, it’s a good idea to create an internship agreement from a pre-built template that can be used for each intern. When they start you can fill out their role, learning objectives and obligations together. This will ideally ensure that you avoid the intern becoming an employee.

Special Note
There are Consequences for Mischaracterising a Relationship when a business owner or startup founder engages interns, and uses them like employees. If determined by the Fairwork Ombudsman the business may be liable to back pay the intern including other employee entitlements. Plus the business could also face fines for each breach of the Fair Work Act.


When you formally employ staff, and begin the road to building a team in a small Australian business, they need an employment contract. Ensuring your employees have an employment agreement at commencement of their engagement to their role is required. Any employment contracts need to address a number of standard issues such as intellectual property, restraint of trade, leave requirements, and a formal job description, all items that will form the employment conditions of the agreement.

Workplace Culture

Workplace culture is the overall character of the business. Often unique to the organisation, workplace culture can include elements such as the business’s values, beliefs, behaviours, goals, attitudes and work practices. Ideally, great people make a good workplace culture.

What is a good work culture? Good work culture is one where employees are continuously encouraged to work as a team, have each other’s back, and bring the best outcomes in every project. A positive workplace culture improves teamwork, raises the morale, increases productivity and efficiency, and enhances retention of the workforce. When staff enjoy their culture their career has more meaning and depth. Job satisfaction, collaboration, and work performance are all enhanced. And, most importantly, a positive workplace environment reduces stress in employees.

Building an Exceptional Workplace Culture for Small Businesses

In today’s competitive business landscape, small businesses must strive to create a great workplace culture that fosters employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. Building a team in a small Australian business starts with a positive work environment that can attract and retain top talent, enhance teamwork, and ultimately contribute to long-term success. Here are some key strategies for small businesses that COG Branding advise to implement to cultivate an outstanding workplace culture.

Define and Communicate Core Values
Start by defining the core values that reflect your small business’s mission and vision. These values should guide decision-making and serve as a foundation for the workplace culture. Clearly communicate these values to employees through company-wide meetings, internal newsletters, and visual displays to ensure alignment and create a sense of purpose.

Foster Open Communication
Encourage open and transparent communication within your small business. Regularly schedule team meetings, provide channels for feedback and suggestions, and create opportunities for one-on-one discussions. This inclusive environment allows employees to voice their opinions, share ideas, and feel valued, leading to increased engagement and collaboration.

Empower Employees
Give your employees autonomy and opportunities to grow and develop professionally. Empower them to make decisions, take ownership of projects, and provide them with the necessary resources and support. Offering training programs, mentorship, and career advancement opportunities demonstrates that you value their skills and contributions.

Recognise and Reward Achievement
Implement a recognition and rewards program that acknowledges employee achievements and contributions. Whether through public appreciation, performance bonuses, or small tokens of gratitude, recognising exceptional work fosters a positive atmosphere and motivates employees to go above and beyond.

Promote Work-Life Balance
Encourage work-life balance by offering flexible schedules, remote work options, and paid time off. Supporting employees’ personal well-being and allowing them to maintain a healthy equilibrium between work and life commitments leads to higher job satisfaction, lower stress levels, and increased productivity.

Creating a great workplace culture is crucial for small businesses to attract and retain talented individuals and drive success. By defining core values, fostering open communication, empowering employees, recognising achievements, and promoting work-life balance, small businesses can cultivate an environment that motivates, engages, and retains their most valuable asset—their employees.

For further discussion on building a team in a small Australian business contact COG Branding.

Author Avatar



View more posts by COG.Digital.AU

See more posts

HVAC, Plumbers and Electricians can benefit from a Sydney branding agencies full service marketing approach

HVAC, Plumbers and Electricians can benefit from a Sydney branding agencies full service marketing approach

In the competitive landscape of HVAC, plumbing, and electrical trades, standing out is imperative for long-term success. Engaging a branding agency can revolutionise how these tradesmen market their businesses, unlocking untapped potential and securing a lasting legacy. By partnering with a reputable Sydney branding agency, tradesmen can access a comprehensive suite of marketing services under one roof, streamlining their efforts and maximising value.

How action sports brands connect their brand to their consumers sub cultures and strive to remain authentic

How action sports brands connect their brand to their consumers sub cultures and strive to remain authentic

How do action sports brands remain authentic? Representing dreams, ambitions and truths… that’s a lot of weight a brand must carry if it is to truly connect with something a core group of people care about deeply. In the exciting world of action sports, brands and athletes share a deeper connection than just wallets and logos. It’s a bond forged in adrenaline, shared values, and an intimate understanding of the unique subcultures that drive these sports.

The Difference Between Branding and Marketing

The Difference Between Branding and Marketing

Branding is a long-term play. It’s about building a foundation, shaping perception, and fostering loyalty. Think of it as planting a seed and nurturing it into a mighty oak. Marketing, on the other hand, can be more tactical and results-oriented. It’s about reaping the fruit of your branding efforts, driving immediate action, and measuring success through conversion rates and engagement metrics.