WR Series 6: Fostering Effective Communication: The Vital Link between Employers and Employees

Richard KrajewskiRichard Krajewski, WR Consultant and Author of Small Business Workplace Relations: A User-Friendly Guide & An Annotated Dictionary of Industrial Relations Terms & Expressions, joins us in this series tailored for general practitioners and small businesses to deepen their understanding of WR obligations. In this piece, Richard shares his insights on the fundamental aspect of communication through consultation; and why it is a great opportunity in the development and progression of workplace culture.



The issue of communication between employers and their employees becomes increasingly important as their relationship develops. To ensure effective communication, it is essential to implement consultation practices, both on an individual level and collectively between the parties involved.

Communication across all spectra of an organisation is so fundamental. Consultation should not be regarded as a basic or perfunctory approach but rather as a means of fostering interaction between the concerned parties. Regular consultation can be viewed as a valuable opportunity for the development and advancement of workplace culture. Particularly in small businesses, the close-knit nature of the environment provides a favorable chance to cultivate a positive workplace culture, although it is important to note that this doesn’t happen overnight.


Consultation can be applied to a wide range of subjects within the workplace. It extends from fulfilling legislative requirements, such as negotiating an enterprise agreement, to engaging in consultations regarding the terms of an employment contract, addressing grievances, and managing leave applications. All of these areas and more should be effectively addressed through a consultation process. At times, this may necessitate the application of procedural fairness to ensure that all parties are treated justly and with proper regard for their rights.


A failure to consult (which can include a failure to provide procedural fairness) may be seen to be a breach of respective legislation (in an industrial sense, the Fair Work Act, the respective Award, Enterprise Agreement, and/or employment contract). Such failure to comply can lead to serious consequences such as the following:

  • a breach of an instrument – financial penalty;
  • involving a termination of employment – reinstatement, financial compensation, or both;
  • failure to resolve a grievance or dispute – and subsequent effects;
  • reduction in levels of trust and confidence;
  • adverse workplace culture/working relationships;
  • compromise employer’s policies and procedures;
  • reputational damage

By recognising the potential serious outcomes of inadequate consultation and prioritising effective communication, employers can create a more harmonious and productive workplace, fostering mutual understanding and trust among all stakeholders.

You can read more about the importance of Consultation and Procedural Fairness in the Small Business Workplace Relations: A User-Friendly Guide.

Richard Krajewski’s articles are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication.

Richard Krajewski is an industrial relations specialist with experience across a range of industries, from cafes to paper manufacturing, from small and micro-businesses to large corporations. He has is an Associate Member of the NSW Law Society and holds a degree in Commerce from the University of Newcastle and a Master of Law and Legal Practice from the University of Technology, Sydney. Experience in recent years demonstrated to Richard that while your priority as a small business is making a success of your investments, you often need support and advice in workplace matters.

He specialises in helping small businesses manage their employee obligations and is the author of two books – both now fully-updated second editions for 2023:

Connect with Richard via LinkedIn.