How SME owners can prevent an always on culture

hr revolution - outsourced hr

Small businesses are the powerhouse of the UK economy, employing 15.7 million people and accounting for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the end of 2016. So what can small business owners do, if anything, to prevent this always on culture from manifesting and resulting in an absence epidemic as research findings predict?

We’re all trying to keep up

Wendy Read, Founder and Managing Director of HR revolution, an HR consultancy with the mission to revolutionise the way in which businesses work with HR, says that in her experience many business owners have an open attitude to absence. “A lot of business owners expect to be able to see if there is a problem and hope that their employees will let them know when they are feeling stressed or in need of down-time, but in reality many working environments are so fast-paced, highly-energised and driven to succeed that anyone not on the treadmill gets left out of the loop quickly.”

outsourced hr - hr revolution

She goes on to say that, “a standard working week is no longer Monday to Friday it can be 24/7, we all have mobile devices that keep us in the loop whenever we request and a culture that means we want to be included and up to speed constantly updating our apps and email to see what’s going on. Downtime is often still ‘online’ so there is still no real separation angle. This does then tend to lead to a mentality where we are always on. If this is not managed properly it can lead to many more stress related absences and longer-term workforce management issues.”

Business owners want action

Wendy believes that it’s tough for business owners to change this mentality. ”They want action,” she says. “If someone is thriving on working long hours to deliver and over achieving, why should that be a bad thing? The employee wants to develop and build their skills; the business gets the input and ultimately the success rates rise. As a business owner myself I get it, I can really see why many of my peers will always ask, ‘What’s the issue?’”

However, the issue is that, according to breatheHR’s sick report, not only do one in three business owners think it’s fair game to contact staff whilst they are on holiday, over half (51%) of business owners contacted staff whilst they were on sick leave. The source of their persistence is clear with 85% of business owners admitting that staff absences have an economic impact on their business. This is leading to more than half of employees (54%) not taking their full annual leave entitlement and feeling pressured to continue working despite being on paid leave, with 52% responding to work emails whilst on annual or sick leave.

Setting a good examplehr revolution - outsourced hr

Spin the situation round and we see it really is truly a short-sighted vision for your workforce and not a positive example to set. Business owners don’t take holiday themselves (on average business owners have taken 18 days annual leave in the last 12 months) and they contact employees whilst they are on holiday which in turn leads to employees calling in sick to have rest, but not succeeding. It’s a vicious circle that businesses are increasingly becoming caught up in.

“Short-term it leads to stress, anxiety and lack of sleep, which then potentially leads to workforces that don’t take their full holiday, fearful they may miss out or lose work. This is likely to result in more time out with stress and ultimately burn out. This is not a sustainable solution and makes for a stressed-out unhappy workforce that means ultimately your business will lose them through absence, resignation or burn-out” warns Wendy.

She goes on to advise that helping to change this mentality has to come from the top and that business owners, managers and mentors have to embed a sense of achievement and success, alongside the ability to be able to take some time out. “We almost have to start retraining our workforces to encourage downtime to allow true focus when employees are working and switch off when they are not. Always working; actively monitoring emails, apps and web traffic is not a healthy way of working. There are many ‘switch off and slow down’ policies that are starting to work their way into the workplace, but many of these still aren’t taken seriously.”

How you can prevent an ‘always on’ culture

It’s clear that this always on culture isn’t manifesting itself in a positive way for employees. What can begin as a refreshing thirst for drive could soon lead to burnout. But how can you redefine your workplace culture? Here is what Wendy thinks you should do to prevent this from happening because it’s not as simple as rolling out a policy.

“Rolling out a policy and hoping that resolves things won’t work. I believe it’s about setting an example, providing support, and training staff to explain why switching off and taking your holidays is important; for wellbeing, for longevity and for business success. This isn’t just the case for employees. As a business owner or manager you need to lead by example. It’s so important that you have down-time and are fresh and energised, as you are responsible for the development and support of not only yourself, but also your business and your workforce.”

Making sure your workforce has a way of raising any issues that enables them to seek support when they really need it is as important and is how you can ensure you get to the root of the problem. Here are some of the ways you can make this happen in your workplace:

  1. Set up great management, mentoring and support functions. Employees need someone they can turn to.
  2. Utilise an Employee Assistance Programme
  3. Research more holistic solutions such as massage or relaxation programmes like yoga. Chill out areas are built as standard to many office environments as its important to have somewhere that employees can get away from work.
  4. HR support for allocation and usage of holiday time to ensure employees are fully supported in scheduling time out of the office.
  5. Return to work support for those that are absent due to stress or illness.
  6. Wellness training in-house to help support your team’s development
  7. For the more serious levels of support many workplaces offer counselling support through their medical or EA programmes that can help directly with specific issues.

Join Wendy for this webinar to see how you can implement these ideas in your small business to prevent your staff from taking sickies.

Conclusions

Fostering an always on culture is causing an absence epidemic. Whilst business owners reap the rewards from an engaged and driven workforce they are subsequently not considering the long-term effects this has on their employees. Small businesses are thinking about their people too late, and are being hit in the bottom line because of it. Through setting a good example, encouraging communication early on and supporting their staff this can all be prevented.

outsourced hr - hr revolution

The heat is on! Are your staff dressing appropriately for this extreme weather?

dress code policy

This week has seen temperatures well exceeding 30 degrees, which to be honest is fairly rare in good old blighty. Non the less, for many workers the heat has been unbearable, in particular in offices and on public transport.

The Workplace Regulations state that an employer must maintain a reasonable temperature but it does not specify a maximum temperature and that can lead to people being in offices that feel more like the heat you would experience on a beach in Dubai than at work, only without the cocktail bar and swimming pool!

So it is really important that at times like this, companies help their employee’s feel as comfortable as possible and part of that it ensuring staff know what they can and can’t wear in the office. In fact it is times like this that a company’s dress code policy should exist!

Before I continue though, I would perhaps use this week as an example of when you may wish to relax the dress code, such as allowing men to do away with the jacket and tie, you can still look smart without them.

 

dress code policy

I agree that it is perhaps easier for a woman to dress for work in the heat, a short sleeve dress can still look professional, but there are people out there that just don’t know where to draw the line, and you need to ensure that “beach vibe” doesn’t creep into the workplace; unless of course you are happy with hot pants and strings vests all over the place!

The corporate world still often requires very much a “business dress” code to be followed, but if it is not part of your company handbook as a policy, employees don’t really know where they stand.

So if you don’t want people turning up to work in crop tops, hot pants and flip flops then be sure to put it in writing. Here are some key points to remember when putting together your dress code policy:

  • Avoid unlawful discrimination in any dress code policy.
  • Employers may have health and safety reasons for having certain standards.
  • Dress codes must apply to both men and women equally, although they may have different requirements.
  • Reasonable adjustments must be made for disabled people when dress codes are in place.

Your dress code policy should always be reasonable and relate to the job, for example employees may be required to tie their hair back or wear a head cover for hygiene reasons if working in a kitchen.

As we have mentioned, the policy must be non-discriminatory and apply to both men and women, however, the requirements may be different i.e. you might state “business dress” for women but more specifically state “must wear a tie” for men, again it would be worth relaxing this on days where temperatures hit the high twenties (just be specific!).

It is always good to remember the reasoning behind your decisions in regards to the dress code policy you put in place, after all, if an employee does not comply with the standards contained within it, it may result in disciplinary action.

If you are still unsure whether you have the correct policy, then get in touch, we’re here to help, but in the meantime we hope you are keeping cool and helping your employees to do so too!

outsourced hr - hr revolution

Hung parliament – what does it mean for HR and employment law?

outsourced hr - hr revolution

We have a new government of sorts, after all the campaigning, the Conservative party didn’t get enough votes to form a majority government meaning they will be forming a minority government in alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party.

The main priority for the Government will be Brexit negotiations but the following points will be good to keep an eye out for:

  • There will be lots of attention to those working the in the “gig economy” and the introduction of legislation to make clear their worker/employed status.
  • There could be limited changes to National Insurance payments – they could rise but this has not be stated clearly yet.
  • It is likely there will be an increase in the personal tax allowance to £12.5k and £50k for higher tax payers.

Things for businesses to look out for

Brexit negotiations around the rights to work, both for UK and EU nationals and EU workers currently in the UK, should be kept under careful review for any developments.

With increased attention on the “gig economy”, it may result in the re-assessment of contracts between businesses and self-employed workers and will also require greater analysis of the status of an employee, worker or contractor.

If you need any HR advice give us a call, we are here to help +203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

outsourced hr - hr revolution

 

Your new improved bespoke HR Outsourcing website has landed

hr revolution - outsourced hr

At HR Revolution we have streamlined our website, so all our great HR solutions are in one place. So whether you’re looking to outsource your HR support or download a contract of employment, it’s all just one click away.

With more small businesses outsourcing their HR function, you need to know you are making the right choice.  As your outsourced HR Partner we work alongside you to tailor a bespoke HR solution, ensuring your employees are properly contracted, fully committed, highly engaged and your business thoroughly protected.

HR Revolution are real people, providing real solutions for businesses with real drive. Performance focused HR that builds your business with you.

Take a look and see how we can help you revolutionise the way in which you use HR…

Flexible HR solutions to suit any business… come and have a browse…

Need to outsource your HR… we have a solution for you…

Remote HR support for your business…

hr revolution - outsourced hr

Lets keep you compliant… handbooks to suit your business

outsourced hr - hr revolution

Contracts to keep your business fully compliant and protected and your employees on fair and consistent terms…

Contact HR Revolution for practical HR support and advice +203 538 5311 or email: customerservices@hrrevolution.co.uk

outsourced hr - hr revolution

 

How will the political parties manifestos effect employment and HR?

outsourced hr - hr revolution

Today, Thursday 8th June is the General Election 2017, where the people of the UK will head to the polls and elect a new government.

So what is each political party pledging around employment, talent and pensions? and which of the major parties’ policies will affect HR?

All the main parties have focused on employment matters and worker rights as fertile ground for winning votes – perhaps more than ever before.

Here’s our detailed round-up of who’s pledging what:

The Conservative party will:

  • Introduce a national retraining scheme. Under it the costs of training will be met by the government, with companies able to use the apprenticeship levy to support wage costs during the training period
  • Continue the campaign for fairer corporate governance. The party has stated that there will be new rules for takeovers and executive pay, with proposals around annual shareholder votes on pay packages and a requirement to publish pay ratios
  • Reduce the ‘triple lock’ on pensions to a ‘double lock’, with the state pension to rise by the higher of average earnings or inflation
  • Not increase VAT, but scrap a 2015 election pledge not to raise income tax or National Insurance
  • Make universities that are charging maximum tuition fees sponsor academies or help found free schools
  • Retain all workers’ rights currently guaranteed by EU law
  • Put worker representation on listed company boards
  • Introduce a statutory right to a year’s unpaid leave to care for a relative, and statutory leave for parents whose child has died.

The Labour party will:

  • Ban zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships
  • Raise the minimum wage to £10 by 2020 and scrap the public sector pay cap
  • Abolish university tuition fees
  • Offer an immediate guarantee about the status of EU nationals in the UK
  • Stop all planned increases to the state pension age after 66
  • Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether they’re part time or full time, temporary or permanent
  • Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining
  • Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces
  • Abolish employment tribunal fees
  • Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay
  • Strengthen protections against unfair redundancy for women
  • Create a million “good jobs” and rebalance the regions through setting up a National Investment Bank (which will leverage enough private finance to invest £250 billion in infrastructure over 10 years), a network of regional development banks, and a national transformation fund
  • Add four new public holidays per year.

The Liberal Democrats will:

  • Initiate a second EU referendum, with an option to remain in the EU
  • Expand Shared Parental Leave with an additional ‘use it or lose it’ month to encourage fathers to take time off with young children
  • Unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK
  • Strengthen worker participation in decision-making, including staff representation on remuneration committees and the right for employees of a listed company to be represented on the board
  • Introduce a ‘good employer’ kitemark covering areas such as paying a living wage, avoiding unpaid internships, and using name-blind recruitment
  • Introduce a right for those on zero-hours contracts to request a fixed contract. The party would also consult on rights to request more regular working patterns
  • Aim to double the number of businesses hiring apprentices.

The Green Party will:

  • Phase in a four-day working week with a maximum of 35 hours
  • Scrap age-related wage bands and raise the national minimum wage to living wage levels for all
  • Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income
  • Introduce a ban on exploitative zero-hours contracts
  • Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid
  • Ensure a minimum 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards are women
  • Abolish the cap on National Insurance contributions so the wealthiest pay more
  • Provide free early education and childcare for all children, with formal education starting at age seven
  • Initiate a referendum on the detail of whatever deal is negotiated for Britain’s departure from the EU, with the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU
  • Immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and urgently seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens living in the EU.

UKIP will:

  • Declare 23 June Independence Day, and make it a bank holiday
  • Introduce a flexible state pension window, so people can opt to retire earlier for a lower state pension or work longer for a slightly higher pension, as is the case at the moment
  • Bring forward legislation requiring employers to advertise jobs to British citizens before they offer them overseas.

The SNP will:

  • Devolve to allow Scotland to have its own policies after Brexit
  • Guarantee a living wage to all adults aged 18 and over
  • Lobby for the scrapping of the Skills Immigration Charge – a charge for employers of £1,000 per non-EEA worker per year
  • Call for the full reinstatement of the Post-Study Work Visa scheme, which allows foreign students to stay in the UK after graduation
  • Increase free childcare to 30 hours a week by 2020
  • Ensure companies engaging in blacklisting or ‘exploitative’ zero-hours contracts are barred from publicly-procured contracts
  • Incentivise oil and gas businesses to invest in renewables to protect jobs in the energy sector.

outsourced hr - hr revolution

A version of this article first appeared in HR Magazine

Is an HR disaster looming on the horizon?

outsourced hr - hr revolution

You might not be surprised to hear that at HR Revolution high percentage of the enquiries we receive are from businesses who are experiencing what they consider to be ‘a bit of a disaster’, to say the least.

Sometimes, it’s that productivity levels have slumped to the extent that they can’t fulfill their agreements with customers and clients and occasionally, it’s because they’re facing a tribunal.

But often it is relations with employees that have spiraled out of control and they’re not quite sure what to do for the best.

Most businesses recognise that they can’t fix these problems on their own, and they then draft in expert help, this being a sensible course of action.  As good as HR consultant’s are at helping you to sort your people issues, we don’t have a magic wand.

outsourced hr - hr revolution

Of course we can help you to create a plan that’s going to give you the best chances of navigating your way out of a tricky situation and make sure that you’re acting on the right side of the law, and your next steps minimise the potential of any long-lasting damage to your business.

But prevention is always better than cure.

Consider this…

Right now, are there any issues that are bubbling away beneath the surface of your business?  Do you worry that you’re only one mismanaged situation away from landing yourself in hot water?

In so many businesses, the answer here is a very firm YES… Regardless of whether or not you’re willing to admit it.

outsourced hr - hr revolution

If so, then don’t wait until the proverbial hits the wall before you do something about it.

Fixing issues before they spiral out of control is going to save you a whole load of time, money, and hassle in the longer term.

That’s where HR Revolution can help, we have different HR solutions to help businesses whatever the budget, give us a call today and we can arrange to carry out a no-obligation review.

Don’t put your business at unnecessary risk.

outsourced hr - hr revolution

Embarrassing employee workplace gaffes…

outsourced hr - hr revolution

I’m sure we all have experienced the uncomfortable feeling of embarrassment that presents itself when least expected, crumbling our confidence and reputation as others observe with pitiful looks and concealed laughter.  Sadly, the worst part is, that the cringe-worthy story has its way of emerging, days, weeks and even years later…

However, even if your trousers have split in front of colleagues or you accidentally overshared with your boss, you can’t be reeling from embarrassment as much as the best man at Pippa Middleton’s wedding is.  Awkward.

However, these come pretty close!!! The Guardian have collated a few of the worst employee workplace blunders… read on if you dare…

Not work safe!

“My best friend had just given birth the weekend before and sent loads of cute baby photos to our group messenger. I was showing my manager the pictures on Monday morning when I swiped one photo too far back and a horrific, pornographic photo involving an obese woman and a lot of bananas captioned “it’s Friday c****, let’s go bananas” popped up.

outsourced hr - hr revolution

 

“Someone had sent it to the group ages ago as a joke and I’d completely forgotten. We both screamed and I started apologising profusely, saying I had no clue what it was doing there as this was my girly school group messenger! It was so cringe-worthy I was completely speechless and we were both completely shocked silent for a couple of hours. After I got a stern talking to about private affairs at work.”

Run for it!

“I was responsible for mixing the chemicals that processed colour slides in a professional photo lab. One afternoon I inadvertently picked up an old version of a chemical and mixed the reaction together. The result was a wall of foam that rose over 6ft high and moved like a tsunami out of the mixing room and into the main room forcing everyone to run for it. Luckily, my boss saw the funny side of it.”

Caution – hot liquids

“At an important meeting with some Board members, a colleague made me a cup of tea. Unbeknownst to me, there was no milk in it. At the start of the meeting I took a big gulp of tea, but clearly without any cold milk the liquid was boiling hot.

“My mouth on fire, I had no option but to spit the tea straight back out onto the carpeted floor. Not only was I embarrassed, but all of my mouth was burnt and swollen. I made a swift exit – fortunately my line manager followed me out and I was able to explain.”

outsourced hr - hr revolution

Put it away!

“I was in the lift at work heading down to the canteen with a mug of hot soup. It was lunchtime so the lift was full of people. For some reason the mug slipped from my hand, smashing on the floor and soup was thrown everywhere.  “All over me, over the people next to me and across the floor. In my red-faced embarrassment, I bent down to pick up what was left of the mug. It was at that point my trousers split completely, from my backside to about half way down my leg. The whole lift burst out laughing. Needless to say, I made a quick exit at the next available floor.”

Do you have any embarrassing stories you’d like to share?, HR Revolution would love to hear them, comment below if you dare!!!

outsourced hr - hr revolution