There is no room for hate in the workplace

bullying

We’re currently living through some very uncertain times and there seems to be a story in the news weekly detailing the terrible things that are happening all over the world including acts of violence, racism, terrorism the list goes on. Sadly there is clearly a lot of hate around and that can sometime creep into the workplace, with people passing their opinion and judgement or just because some people stereotype and judge people unjustly.

So what exactly do employers need to be aware of, and what are your responsibilities as we navigate our way through what’s going on around us? Read on for advice and guidance.

Take a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and harassment

If you witness hateful incidents in your workplace, it’s your responsibility to take action. Leaders should never turn a blind eye to such situations, and if you were to take this route, you’d be likely to find that everything very quickly escalated out of control.

Many of our clients employ diverse workforces and enjoy the many benefits of doing so, but it’s important that you have a plan in place when problems arise. Act fast, and in line with your existing people policies. Be firm, and lead by example. This is no time for waiting around or being ambiguous with your actions.

Contact the appropriate authorities where necessary

Some problems can be nipped in the bud immediately with some clear communication and a firm stand. Sometimes though, there are deeper issues at play, and things can very quickly spiral out of control. It may be the case that you need to involve the police.

This may seem like a big step to take, but it’s vital that you remember that you have a responsibility as an employer. The authorities will be able to give you advice on what to do next, and will be able to take any necessary steps to ensure that the situation is managed in accordance with the law.

Our advice for handling such issues is short and to the point. Take action quickly, and take a stand against any such behaviour.

If you suspect that your discrimination and harassment policies may be outdated or no longer fit for purpose, then now would be a great time to complete an audit of exactly where you are, and what challenges may be ahead.

Not sure where to start? Download our FREE guide to anti-harassment and bullying in the workplace.

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Hot weather guidelines for the workplace

heatwave

Just reiterating good advice for the current spell of hot weather….

Although the Great British Summer often doesn’t result in hot temperatures there will be times when the sun does come out and workers find themselves working in hot conditions and today is that day with the mercury pushing 34 degrees in most parts of the country.  In the UK there is no maximum temperature that a workplace is allowed to be, rather advice from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states “during working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable”. What is reasonable depends on the type of work being done (manual, office, etc) and the type of workplace (kitchen, air conditioned office, etc).

The HSE offers further guidance on workplace temperatures including details on carrying out an optional thermal comfort risk assessment if staff are unhappy with the temperature – Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – Temperature.

Getting to work…

Generally hot weather shouldn’t affect journeys to work, but occasionally in the UK there might be an impact on public transport if temperatures go over a certain level. Train companies may limit the speed of trains in case the tracks buckle which may result in the late arrival of your train. You should check with your local train company to see if speed restrictions are in place or cancellations are expected and plan accordingly.

Keeping cool at work…

While employers are not legally obliged to provide air conditioning in workplaces  they are expected to provide reasonable temperatures. If you have air conditioning switch it on, if you have blinds or curtains use them to block out sunlight and if you’re working outside wear appropriate clothing and use sun screen to protect from sunburn.

It is also important to drink plenty of water and employers must provide you with suitable drinking water in the workplace. It is important to drink water regularly throughout the day and not to wait until you are thirsty as this is an indication that you are already dehydrated.

HR Rev’s tip for today, ice-creams for all employees – we are off at lunchtime to buy the office a tasty treat!!!

Increase rest breaks where necessary…

The hot weather can make workers feel tired and less energetic especially for those who are young, older, pregnant or those on medication. Employers may wish to give these workers, more frequent rest breaks and ensure ventilation is adequate by providing fans, or portable air cooling units.

Dress code…

Employers often have a dress code in the workplace for many reasons such as health and safety, or workers may be asked to wear a uniform to communicate a corporate image. A dress code can often be used to ensure workers are dressed appropriately.

While employers are under no obligation to relax their dress code or uniform requirements during hot weather, some may allow workers to wear more casual clothes, or allow “dress down” days. This does not necessarily mean that shorts and flip flops are appropriate, rather employers may relax the rules in regards to wearing ties or suits.

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Amended from the ACAS website.

Dealing with negativity in the workplace, take our advice.

negativity in the workplace

In the workplace, negativity can spread like wildfire. So how exactly should you approach the situation if you have one employee who’s bringing down the rest of your workforce? Here, we share practical hints and considerations.

Listen!

Sometimes, people simply need a sounding board for their frustrations and concerns. Burying your head in the sand and hoping that things will fix themselves is very rarely a sensible strategy. Instead of just paying lip service to the concept of having an open door policy, make sure that you live by it.

Get to know your employees. Work out what makes them tick. Find the real issues that are at play. This is what makes the difference between a manager and a leader.

Challenge negative thinking

There are always external influences that you and your business can have no control over. No one’s expecting you to solve the worlds problems.  However, if comments are being made about internal issues, you need to tackle them.

If they’re true, take the time to explain the reason why things are the way they are, and how employees can play a part in improving the situation. If false statements are being shared, speak up immediately and put the record straight. Sometimes, a little strong leadership is what’s needed to get things back on the right track.

Recognise the difference between a bit of negativity and serious mental health problems

Most of us are guilty of letting negative feelings take over now and again. Some might say that it’s all part and parcel of living in the modern world. As a leader though, you have a responsibility to know the difference between this, and mental health issues amongst your employees.

If you suspect that there are more serious problems at play, you have a responsibility to ensure that your staff are supported and given the professional assistance that they might need. In this situation, your first port of call should be to speak with an expert. Remember that discretion is key, and you absolutely must honour the confidentiality of your employees.

The feeling and mood in many workplaces goes through peaks and troughs. It’s your job to make sure that your employees are motivated and productive.

If you’re experiencing problems, it may be worthwhile to have a chat with us about your challenges. Get in touch today www.hrrevolution.co.uk | info@hrrevolution.co.uk | 0203 538 5311

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How much for HR services?

pencil 2

Are you at the stage in your business where you know you could use a little HR help, but you’re feeling unsure about the cost implications? You’re not alone. It’s an issue that many businesses have to tackle, and it can feel like an absolute minefield when you’re trying to hunt down all the relevant information.

Don’t panic though, because we’re here to give you the help you really need. In this guide, we’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about investing in HR services to help you to take your business to the next level.

Focus on investment, not cost

If you’re purely thinking about HR as a cost, then you’re missing an important part of the bigger picture. In many cases, getting some professional help can prove to be one of the best investments that you ever make. You could cut costs, improve productivity and output, and ensure that you attract and hold on to the people who are really going to drive your business forward. The potential benefits are endless.

At HR Revolution we would be more than happy to sit down with you and pinpoint the opportunities that exist within your business, and what could potentially be achieved on a realistic level. Don’t be scared to ask us plenty of questions.

Recognise that DIY could cost you a lot more

These days, you don’t have to look too far for advice and guidance when it comes to HR. In fact, a quick Google search will bring up masses of information, and you can even find templates for creating your own people policies. This can be helpful, to a certain extent, but it’s vital that you question whether or not going down this route is really a good idea.

Get things wrong, and you could end up spending a whole lot more on fixing the problems that you’ve created. Working with a professional will ensure that you get things right from the offset, and this can bring huge amounts of peace of mind.

Stop speculating and get the facts

Some business leaders wait longer than necessary to get the HR help they need purely because they’re worried about managing their budget. They assume that professional services may be out of their reach, and they continue to try to do things on their own for far too long.

The truth here is that how much you should expect to spend will vary depending on a range of factors, including the exact nature of the help that you need. Instead of guessing, why not speak with us here at HR Revolution? We are more than happy to have a no-obligation informal discussion with you about what you need, what your options are, and how much you should expect to pay.

Get in touch today at info@hrrevolution.co.uk or 0203 538 5311 or why not click below to book your obligation free HR audit.

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Summer break left you wanting a sabbatical…

sabbatical

Well if the answer to this is yes, then there is good news, as the number of London companies offering sabbaticals is increasing and even better if you work in one of the following sectors, the Government, the public sector and the finance and insurance sector, as they are apparently best for offering them.  Not particularly surprising given the increased pressures these areas have faced in recent times.

So what is a sabbatical?  Well it could be described as a grownup gap year, but essentially it is unpaid extended leave from work and taken with a purpose i.e. to travel, write a book or achieve some other life goal.

There are some fantastic benefits to taking a sabbatical, such as it being a great opportunity to enhance your work/life balance and truly give yourself the chance to achieve a real life goal.

From an employer’s perspective there are benefits to be had for them too. They are able to retain some great talent that they have spent time and money nurturing and knowing that upon their return they will have an employee who is possibly better educated about life or indeed themselves. There are also salary cost savings, especially if they do not need to cover the absence.

We do have some advice for those of you thinking about taking a sabbatical…

Firstly, remember it is unpaid leave, so plan ahead to ensure you can cover the costs, and if you do, the reward in exchange for your salary will be complete clear headspace, revitalisation and the potential to see life, including your job, in a whole new light.

Secondly, make sure you have a clear purpose for taking the sabbatical, it could be easy to lose sight of what you are doing, so put a time limit on it and set goals that you need to reach allowing you to accomplish what you set out to do.

Lastly, you will need support from friends, your employer and most importantly your family, as they will be embarking along this journey with you, even if not in the physical sense.

Employers, don’t be afraid to offer sabbaticals as a perk, it can attract the talent you want and help retain them. Being fully supportive and helping them get back into work will be rewarded with an employee that is willing to give it their all with a fresh new approach.

If you need help, why not download HR Revolution’s sabbatical guide below,  which also includes a process for an employee’s return to work.

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How to handle the summer productivity slump…

summer productivity slump

Well summer is well and truly underway and workers across the country are looking forward to a bit of well-deserved time away from their desks, or have just returned and their head is still on a sandy beach somewhere sipping margaritas!

But whilst many people will be worrying about how much they can squeeze into their luggage allowance and whether last year’s swimwear still fits, many business owners will have a more pressing concern;  how do you ensure that the summer season doesn’t have a negative impact on productivity?

As always, we’re here to help with some practical suggestions. Read on to find out more about what you can do to ensure that you’re doing all you can to avoid any problems.

Organise the holiday rota in advance

If you find yourself in a situation whereby 50% of your employees are off at the same time, it’s quite likely that you’re going to run into difficulties.

Obviously, it might be a bit late to get this sorted out for this year, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to think about how you’ll approach the working calendar next summer. As well, it won’t be long before you’ll have to start thinking about how you’ll manage your staff over the Christmas period, so you can probably take away some very important lessons.

Bring the summer feeling to your office

When the weather’s warmer and there are – let’s face it – many other things that your employees would rather be doing than sitting in the office, it could be worthwhile to think about how you can raise spirits and inject a bit of oomph back into proceedings. If some members of staff are away on holiday, you can ensure that those who are left behind aren’t feeling deflated and demotivated.

Your approach here needn’t cost you a fortune, and there are many options for you to choose from. Could you get in touch with a local ice cream seller and have them come round your workplace with some cool treats, paid for by you? Could you contact a nearby personal trainer and ask them to lead an outdoor workout for your staff? Small gestures can make all the difference.

Give your HR processes an overhaul

It’s natural that there will be certain times of the year when you notice a change in productivity. Sometimes, slight fluctuations are unavoidable, and you need to simply do all you can to minimise the impact. If reduced productivity has become a longstanding problem though, it’s time to address the reasons why, and do something about it.

Your people processes and procedures will often provide you with clues, and they can also be the remedy. Is your business suffering as a result of poor management practices? Are you using outdated systems? Are your employees dissatisfied with certain aspects of their roles, or the way in which the business is being operated?

An overall HR health-check could be exactly what you need to start making some positive changes. We’d be delighted to have an initial chat with you about how we could help. Pick up the phone today and give us a call!

In the meantime why not download our Free Essential 10 point HR Checklist to get you started.

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Suns out, clothes off… Not in the office please!

susmmer dress

Summer months and warm weather are, I believe, the reasons that dress codes in the workplace should and do exist.

Now I don’t know if you have ever been to the great British seaside, but it seems that the minute we get above 21 degrees in this country, anything goes… which is fine and each to their own of course, but we do need to ensure it doesn’t creep into the workplace, unless of course you are happy with hot pants and string 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.

There are times when you may wish to relax the dress code, in summer for example where the men can do away with the jacket and tie, but if you do want to impose any specific restrictions such as no shorts or flip flops then this must be included in the company policy.

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, download our FREE Dress Code policy which provides a generic approach to dress code, and includes the main areas you need to consider, as well as taking into account religious beliefs and health and safety.

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