Don’t blame the weather, after all it is Winter…

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Ok so I am a self confessed lover of winter, all that snuggling up in cosy jumpers and endless mugs of hot chocolate, but even as a fan of the colder months the constantly changing weather can be frustrating.

All we hear about is “floods looking set to hit the south again” and “the El nino effect is happening this year”, we’ve even had the odd tornado, but even with all the warnings one thing is for sure, the roads will be impassable and the rail network will at some point come to a halt due to icy tracks!  Now we blame the government all the time for not putting in the correct measures to ensure that Britain keeps moving, after all this is not the first time “winter” has come to our country! But as employers, what are you doing to make sure your business continues to operate?

Ok, so you can’t grit the roads, and you certainly can’t dredge our canals and rivers, but you can ensure that your employees know where they stand and what they can do when they really can’t get to work.

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Have you put working from home measures in place? Do you have an alternative office to work from? Have you allowed any flexibility for your staff that can get in but might just take that bit longer? No, well now is the time to do it!

If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan, or adverse weather policy you are leaving yourself vulnerable.  Take a look at HR Revolution’s online document shop, where you can access professional HR policies, documents and templates ready to use in your business straight away.

Alternatively, download below.

Employee Handbook

Severe weather and travel disruption policy

Employee Handbook

Disaster contingency plan

 

 

 

 

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Has LinkedIn taken over from the CV…

linkedin or CV, HR docs

2017 is fast approaching, so you may be thinking New Year, new career?

If you want to give your job search the edge, you need more than an up to date CV!  But is LinkedIn gaining ground over the traditional CV?

Where to start?

With 467 million members worldwide at the last count, LinkedIn is a great way to connect and be found, and many recruiters search LinkedIn to find relevant candidates.

LinkedIn or CV, @HRREV

The average CV is a record of achievement, so it’s very often a static, backward-looking document. Until you’re actively hunting for jobs, most people put a CV to one side and forget about it. A LinkedIn profile is different, it’s an active document that can be regularly revised as we add status updates, receive and provide recommendations and interact with others. There’s no restriction of what you can fit on a page –  and from that perspective, it’s much more than a CV alternative.

Get yourself noticed!

LinkedIn or CV, @HRREV

If you think of it in terms of recruiters and employers, LinkedIn is a great way to find candidates. LinkedIn is a huge database and by using relevant key words they can quickly find the people they need.  Include your own key words to support this, and pick out the highlights from each job that you want to share. On top of that, you can upload videos and documents to showcase your experience even further.

Used properly, LinkedIn can be a very effective way of raising and marketing your profile online. It’s less about a list of what you have done in the past and more focused on letting people know what you can do and how you can help.

That said, a CV is still a must as a career overview and introduction to employers, recruiters or your network, and then many may seek to find out more about you. But remember, it’s not always CV first, LinkedIn second. Quite often you can be found on LinkedIn first – for example by a headhunter – and your CV will be what they ask for if the reader likes what they see. It’s what they want to send to your next prospective employer, not a link to your LinkedIn.

So, the answer is that LinkedIn may be inching in front, but CVs are still very much in the running! HRRevolution recommend that your CV and LinkedIn are used as part of an integrated job seeking strategy, providing much more flexibility in the way you present yourself.

LinkedIn or CV, @HRREV

Get the right balance between your CV and your LinkedIn profile, and you may not have to refresh your CV for years. If you’re asking yourself ‘where do I start?’, contact the HRRevolution Team, or check out our website for how we can help. A small investment can give you all the tools you need to get you the interviews you want and the next step in your career!

Contact the team now: (0) 203 538 5311

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An HR nightmare at the christmas party

xmas-office-party6

Today is the 1st December and the office party season is now well underway.  It’s a time for most employees to unwind, let their hair down and have a few drinks after working hard all year. While most parties pass without incident, people can sometimes let their hair down a little bit too much and indulge in actions and behaviours which cause distress to others and serious headaches for HR.

office party hr problems, outsourced hr

When you bring together an office full of people who only really know each other in a work capacity and give them loads of alcohol, the results can be unpredictable, but what should you do if one of your employees crosses the line at the office Christmas party?  We’ve put some possible scenarios together and how they should be handled by HR.

SCENARIO 1: Inappropriate advances

A drunk employee repeatedly tells a colleague how gorgeous they think they are and that they’d love to get to know them better. He/she does not report this, but it makes them feel very uncomfortable and they tell a colleague in confidence.

It seems like the employee doesn’t wish to make a scene at the party but is clearly uncomfortable with what has happened – this is highlighted by their need to express their concerns to another colleague. As a result, this should not be discussed during the party so as to no make them feel uncomfortable.  It is always better to wait until everyone is sober before broaching any kind of issue.

The next possible working day an informal meeting should be scheduled to find out what hr problems, outsourced hr, office christmas partyhappened and whether it was a regular occurrence.  If, after exploring this, it was found it was a one-off event then I would ask if he/she wishes to take things further, in which case we would have to follow procedure for inappropriate behaviour towards a colleague, and if not, it would just be noted down on file.

Separate enquiries should be followed up with the employee concerned, asking them their recollection of the event and whether he/she feels that the approach they took was entirely appropriate. It would be best to remind them that relationships at work are not encouraged by the company and advise that there would be no further follow up, unless further complaints were received.

SCENARIO 2: Loose lips

A drunk employee lets slip that the boss is planning to make a number of redundancies in the coming weeks. This information is highly confidential but now a handful of people know.

I’m making the assumption here that it would be a Senior Manager releasing this kind of information, which would make the breach of confidentiality more extreme. I wouldn’t act on this information at the party but on the next possible working day it would be necessary to meet with the employee and establish what had happened a the party.

inappropriate behaviour, outsourced hr

It may be necessary to conduct a full investigation with the individual to ascertain what was said and the reason this might be. It would be wise to speak with those employees that had been told about the redundancies and note their account of the events. At this point we would also ask how far the information had spread and look to gain general reactions. Unfortunately, such information could have a serious impact on employee morale and gossip often circulates quickly, so it is extremely important that it is dealt with quickly and with discretion.

If it can be proven that the employee let slip this information, then we would have to follow the disciplinary process with them, as they have breached their trust by divulging this information. The company itself should look into sending a company-wide email to alleviate any fears and ensure we communicate effectively with staff members. It may also be necessary to follow up on this email to ensure everyone understands and is on the same page.

SCENARIO 3: The fight

As the drink flows two party goers start to have a disagreement. Temperatures boil over and the two start pushing each other and squaring up. Blows are exchanged by both, before colleagues break it up.

Make sure the fight is broken up and both parties are put in separate taxis and sent home.

The next possible working day invite both employees to a disciplinary hearing, where they will receive a warning for bringing the company into disrepute and failing their roles as ambassadors of the company.

hr nightmare, outsourced hr, zero toleranceUnfortunately, when everyone has had a lot to drink, emotions run high and unresolved issues can turn into full-blown arguments.

Although employees are outside of work hours, they are still representing the company and should behave accordingly. As a result, it’s important to have procedures in place to deal with any conflict that may arise eg. a no tolerance policy towards violence within the workplace, which extends to any organised work event, and the procedure is exactly the same as the one that would arise should employees get in a fight in the office.

SCENARIO 4: Sex in the stationary cupboard

An employee is heading into the stationary cupboard to collect another case of red wine that has been stored there when they discover two colleagues having sex. Embarrassed, they both straighten their clothes and re-join the party. The person who discovered them goes back into the party and tells some colleagues about the hilarious discovery.

In this case, I would not address them at the party, although I may try to defuse the jokes that could arise from the person who discovered them telling other people, as this could result in bullying.office party, hr, outsourced hr

I would meet with both parties separately on the following work day to establish what had gone on and hold an investigation. We don’t encourage relationships within the workplace and it is certainly not appropriate to have sex at a work party. However, it would be necessary to understand exactly what happened and not just listen to gossip. Both parties should be dealt with in exactly the same manner and the person who discovered them in the cupboard would need to be interviewed to establish the facts.

I would also ask the person who discovered them whether they thought it appropriate to tell their colleagues and have a joke about the couple, as this could lead to further issues down the line.

If you want to discuss any of the issues above or need a bit of guidance, please do get in touch with HR Revolution, we’d be happy to help (0) 203 5385311 – www.hrrevolution.co.uk www.hrrevolutionshop.co.uk

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A version of this article first appeared on breatheHR

 

National living wage set to rise to £7.50

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Last week’s Autumn Statement from the Chancellor confirmed that the national living wage will rise to £7.50 per hour from April 2017.

The new rate will apply to workers aged 25 and over, and will mark the first rise in the new statutory minimum rate since it was introduced in April 2016, at £7.20.

In Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement as Chancellor and the first since Theresa May came to power as Prime Minister, he promised the Government would be committed to “fiscal discipline” and would make strategic investments to improve the UK’s productivity gap.

He said: “Raising productivity is essential to deliver the high-wage, high-skill economy we want.”

autumn-statement

He pointed to the UK’s 30 percentage point lag behind Germany and the US, claiming this meant “in the real world, it takes a German worker four days to produce what we make in five; which means, in turn, that too many British workers work longer hours for lower pay than their counterparts”.

Regarding the job market, he described it as “robust”, pointing to predictions from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) that the number of jobs would increase by 500,000 each year over the course of its five-year forecast. “Every UK nation and region saw a record number of people in work,” he said.

Other key announcements included:

  • The national insurance employer threshold and employee threshold will be aligned from April 2017, meaning that both employees and employers will start paying national insurance on weekly earnings above £157.
  • The personal allowance for tax will increase to £11,500 in April 2017, and will be £12,500 by the end of Parliament, with the threshold for higher-rate tax to be £50,000 by the end of the term.
  • From April 2017, those who access employee benefits will pay same tax as everyone else, although some salary-sacrifice schemes, such as childcare and cycle-to-work schemes, will be excluded.
  • The tax advantages of employee-shareholder status will be abolished after suggestions it has been misused by “high-earning individuals”.
  • New penalties will be introduced for those who enable use of tax avoidance schemes.
  • There will be a reduction in the rate at which benefits are withdrawn from people when they start work.

Hammond also pointed to the OBR’s predictions that the economy would grow at a rate of 2.1% in 2016 (compared with 2% predicted in March); 1.4% in 2017 (down from 2.2%); 1.7% in 2018 (down from 2.1%) and 2.1% in 2020 (same), with slow growth put down to Brexit-related uncertainty.

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Many of today’s announcements were hinted at before the statement itself, with the Government claiming that Hammond’s proposals would “support ordinary working class families”, and that around three million households would benefit from changes to Universal Credit and higher wages.

However, shadow Chancellor John McDonnell called for the Government to offer a “real living wage” over and above the 30p rise announced.

Regarding the rise in the national living wage, TUC general-secretary Frances O’Grady said: “A raise to the national minimum wage for over-25s will help some low-paid workers. But the Government must also take the opportunity to boost the pay of hard-pressed nurses, teachers, firefighters and home helps, who face ten years of flatlining pay.”

The TUC believes working people will be around £1,000 worse off in 2020, if today’s predictions come to fruition.

The Chancellor also made the surprise announcement today that he would abolish the Autumn Statement itself, and that in future, there would be one main budget in the Autumn, with a “Spring Statement” that will respond to OBR forecasts.

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This article first appeared in Personnel Today on 23/11/16

 

Calling all small business owners, are you making these costly HR mistakes

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As a small business owner, would you call yourself a ‘reluctant leader’? is it a title that you identify with.

Did you start your company because you had an exciting product or service to share, and believed in the impact that it could have on the world, only to realise as you grow there are a ton of extra responsibilities that end up on your agenda.

Hopefully, one of these is building and managing a team of productive and motivated employees, who can help you to reach these goals, but it’s easier said than done!

There are a few common mistakes that many owners make, often without realising, let’s take a look at what they are, and what you should do about them…

Acting with the best intentions, without understanding the law

You value your employees and want to do your best by them.  You have absolutely no intention of compliancedoing anything that could potentially harm your business or bring it into disrepute. The reality is though, that simply trying to do what feels right and fair often just doesn’t cut it.

Employment law can be complex, and it’s your responsibility to make sure that your business is compliant. Do you understand, for example, the legislation around acceptable working hours? Or how you should support disabled members of staff? Or what to do if a worker is expecting a baby? If not, then you need to either improve your knowledge, or take advice from an expert.

Developing policies and procedures as the need arises

Perhaps you’ve never really considered how you would handle the situation if a member of staff started to underperform, or if their behaviour became unacceptable. Surely, you can address issues like this as and when they arise? This approach certainly isn’t ideal, and it can result in all sorts of problems.

HR Revolution - Shop Online - HRRevolutionshop.co.ukIf you don’t have robust policies and procedures in place, then consider this your wake-up call. Not only will making changes reduce your risk of running into difficulties, but it can also help you to drive your business forward. Take a look at HR Revolution’s online document shop, where you can access professional HR policies, documents and templates ready to use in your business straight away.

Investing in HR

While many business owners think about working with an HR consultant, they imagine that it might be something that they’ll do in the future, once they’ve built a huge team. In actual fact though, we can provide affordable solutions to businesses with just a few employees, and really help nip any potential problems in the bud, and create a clear growth plan for the future.

Seeking out HR help earlier can ensure that any niggling issues don’t become the norm in your workplace and can give you peace of mind in your role as an employer.

If you’re reading this and you know that you’re guilty of making any of these mistakes, then please do get in touch, we can arrange to have a no-obligation consultation and make a plan for getting your business firmly on the right track!

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The rise of the ‘gig economy’

gig-economy

For those of you who are not aware, a new phenomenon is upon us known as the ‘gig economy’. A new trend in which temporary or self-employed positions are common and companies contract independent workers for short-term engagements and casual employment, think along the lines of new companies such as Deliveroo and Uber.gig2

Recently the Guardian newspaper conducted an investigation into working conditions at the employer Sports Direct and as a direct result MPs launched an inquiry into pay and working conditions in the UK.

They produced a pretty damning report on them, stating that working for Sports Direct was akin to working in a Victorian workhouse.  They exposed poor working practices, agency workers being paid less than the minimum wage and exploited through suspect voluntary schemes, such as pre-paid debit cards and deductions from pay for insurance services.

This trend raises questions over employment status and lack of worker rights.  The fact being that these self-employed contractors are not entitled to earn the “national living wage” or receive benefits such as sickness or holiday pay.

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However on 28th October, there was a ground breaking UK employment court tribunal decision against Uber; read the full article in The Guardian,  where the court ruled that Uber drivers are not self-employed and should be paid the “national living wage”, a landmark case that could affect tens of thousands of workers.

So in turn this will obviously effect many employers as well, so if you have any queries or concerns about workers rights contact us at HR Revolution where we will be happy to assist.

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Your Christmas HR questions answered…

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Can you believe that two weeks today will be the 1st of December.  Most people think of the Christmas period as a time to relax and enjoy the festivities and I’m sure the office party/lunch/dinner details will dominate office conversation.  But not for business owners and managers I fear, the Christmas period can come with a whole host of issues, so why not this year, plan ahead a little and keep the period problem free.

Read the following Q&As to get the important information you need to know for your business.

Do I have to organise a Christmas party or function for my employees?

There is no legal requirement for you to organise anything for your employees.  There are some wider issues to consider here though. Just because you’re not obliged to do something, it doesn’t david-brentnecessarily mean that you shouldn’t. After all it is the season to be jolly and organising a get-together could be a great way to thank everyone for their contribution and show them that you really appreciate all that they do for the business.

Cost is always a key factor in thinking about Christmas parties, but you don’t always have to spend a fortune, keep a budget in mind and have a look at all options, there are plenty around.

Everyone wants to take time off, how can I manage this?

Getting this right all comes down to the finer details of your employment contracts. You must take the time to assess the precise terms and conditions that you’ve laid out regarding how holiday can be taken. Generally speaking, employees should know how to request time off, and how decisions will be made by the management team.

If you have certain busy periods, you may decide that you’ll only accept requests for time off between certain dates in exceptional circumstances. If you had a employee who was getting married, for example, then you may reconsider your stance.

Not all of my staff are Christian, what are the implications here?

Having a diverse workforce has a multitude of benefits. You do need to make sure though that you’re conscious of differing beliefs, and the issues that could be at play. Remember that Christmas is a national holiday in the UK, and it’s recognised among many religious groups (including the non-religious) as having a special status. If you have many employees from different religions, it may be worthwhile considering making arrangements to recognise holidaysother holidays that your employees may wish to celebrate.

This can seem like a minefield, but it’s very possible to devise an approach that will suit all needs. You may need some help though when it comes to understanding the relevance and important of various different holidays. As such, you might decide to hold a consultation exercise with your employees. Getting everyone involved in decisions that will have an impact on them will ensure that they’re accepted.

Should I give my employees a present?

I’m sure there is no employee in the world that would not gratefully a Christmas present! However there are a few things to consider.

Not the ideal christmas party scenario!

Not the ideal christmas party scenario!

First of all, make sure that everyone receives their gift. This includes anyone who may be away on maternity, paternity, or sick leave.  Also, think carefully about the nature of the gift, a bottle of wine may seem like a good idea, though not so much if you have members of staff who abstain from alcohol. Use your common sense, and get a professional’s opinion if you’re struggling with ideas.

If you need any help with updating your HR policies and procedures, get in touch with HR Revolution and will be happy to advise you or visit our HR document website www.hrrevolutionshop.co.uk, where you can download our ready to use templates and documents.

It’s worth taking a bit of time to do some planning, then you and your employees can have a very merry Christmas indeed.

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