Make sure you download your HR policies from a reputable source…

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As an employer you need people policies and procedures, employee handbooks etc, to make sure that you are compliant with the law.   Maybe you carried out a quick Google search to get some guidance as to what you need, I’m sure it seems an obvious place to start, as search engines often become your trusted advisor when it comes to the things that you just don’t know.

In reality though it pays to exercise more than just a little bit of caution. You wouldn’t search for medical advice online… or I hope not… So should you really trust Google to give you the policies and templates that have the power to make or destroy your business?

Here are 3 reasons why you might want to have a rethink…

  1. You have no real idea where your advice is coming from

You don’t have to be an expert legal advisor, or HR consultant, to create a website and share your views and opinions online.  These days pretty much anyone with a laptop and access to YouTube videos can do it.  You might argue that it would be pretty pointless for a someone to intentionally give you the wrong advice, but it is not worth leaving anything to chance is it?

Working with HR Revolution, we will make sure that your documentation is informed by legal requirements and forward looking best practice, after all it’s our speciality!

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2. The law changes regularly

What applies right now in terms of good HR advice isn’t necessarily going to be good advice in 6 months from now. New legislation is released on a regular basis, so you need to make sure that you are compliant.

You need a reliable source of information when you access information and templates online, you can never be certain when they were last updated. Of course, at HR Revolution we will always keep you up to date with what you really need to know, go to our HR online shop with up-to-date people polices, templates and free guides.

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3. One size doesn’t necessarily fit all

It’s true that the law applies across the board, regardless of what kind of business you run. You’re not exempt from following the rules just because you have just a few employees, for example. Still though, there are certain things that only apply to businesses of a certain size, and what works for a large multinational corporation isn’t necessarily going to work for a small family business.

When you work with a professional to get what you need, you can ensure that your practices are fit for purpose. HR Revolution can get to know your individual needs, and craft a strategy accordingly.

There are times in your business when doing a few online searches is going to give you exactly what you need. But when it comes to managing your most valuable asset – your people – it’s never worth cutting corners.

If you’re concerned about whether your practices are hitting the mark, get in touch with HR Revolution and we can have a no-obligation chat about where you stand, and what your options are, or visit our online shop and download all the up-to date HR policies you will ever need.

HR policies

 

6 daily desk exercises you should incorporate into your routine

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Whilst doing some research we found these great desk exercises from totaljobs.  Award winning health journalist Helen Foster, developed these 6 simple desk exercises to help you incorporate activity into your working day, every little helps especially in a world where we are aware about the impact sedentary lifestyles have on our bodies.  Try and repeat these exercises daily, so you get into the habit; they’ll help revitalise you when you’re having a morning or afternoon productivity slump.

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simple daily exercises - outsourced hr

If you combine the exercises mentioned above everyday, it will help you burn 234 calories per day, which amounts to 1,170 calories a week and that’s enough for a portion of dough balls and a Le Reine pizza or breaded scampi, chips and peas and a large glass of wine.

Happy exercising…

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Odd employee behaviour – what does it mean?

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It’s very interesting how we interpret other people’s behaviour; often our perception can be skewed by how we are feeling ourselves or from a previous experience.

I was recently asked about an employee who had started to arrive late for work on a regular basis, and kept ‘popping out’ to take phone calls. At this point most of you are already thinking clearly looking for another job!. That was my colleague’s immediate thought, however, being quite an empathetic soul I also wondered if something had changed in their personal life; had a family member been taken ill? or other circumstances changed?

The point here really is how important it is to talk to your employees.  Say that odd behaviour is a result of covert calls to a Recruitment Consultant, how do you feel about the employee leaving? Are they a talent you want to keep in your business? This could be a wake-up call to address any issues that are making them feel dissatisfied or underappreciated.

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Alternatively, they could be dealing with real difficulties within their personal life and it’s now impacting their ability to be fully focused on their role. I have seen many good, productive employees suddenly start to fall away from expected standards, and I’ve seen the massive impact a show of concern; a listening ear; a hand on the shoulder to say ‘we support you’ can have.

Most employers agree that these types of conversations are not always easy to have, but it doesn’t have to be a big production. Dependent on your relationship with the employee it can be a formal conversation in a meeting room or quick chat in the kitchen, or perhaps you have someone fairly senior within the business who is more at home talking to people on that level.

Always approach people with the benefit of the doubt, experience has shown you never know what kind of answer you’ll get in return. Start by telling them that you have noticed a change in their behaviour recently, what those changes are, and how it’s impacting their work or their colleagues.   Try to ascertain if there is anything troubling them at home or work and whether they would like to discuss the issue so that you can help them? It is imperative to be fully supportive.

outsourced hrIf they are looking for another job, this could be the catalyst for an open conversation that needs to happen.  If they have already decided to leave, there may be little you can do to change their minds, so it’s important to remind them of what is expected whilst they are still an employee.

Whatever the outcome by talking to your employees you are creating a more positive, loyal productive workforce.

Sound daunting, then give HR Revolution a call we can give you the guidance you need to approach these situations.  +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Are you clear on your National Minimum Wage obligations?

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Given the amount of press coverage recently about big companies being fined for failing to pay the minimum wage, if you are an employer it may be time to check your processes.

Argos has been forced to pay £2.4million to 37,000 current and former workers and also been fined £1.4million, after an investigation by HMRC.  Argos now owned by Sainsbury’s admitted that employees had not been paid for attending briefings before their shifts started and were also required to undergo security searches outside their working hours.  The government is now “naming and shaming” these companies and so far two big employers Sports Direct and Debenham’s have been found to be underpaying staff.

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The National Minimum wage (NMW) is enforced by HMRC and most complaints are usually instigated by an employee or third party.  However, HMRC officers also have the power to carry out inspections at any time without providing a reason and can require employers to produce records and other information or access to determine the level of pay received by workers.

Under 25’s receive the NMW, which is currently £6.95 for 21 to 24 year-olds, and £5.55 for 18 to 20 year-olds.  The National Living Wage is for workers over the age of 25 and was introduced on 1 April 2016 and is currently £7.20 an hour rising to £7.50 in April.

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The NMW is worked out at an hourly rate, but it applies to all eligible employees even if they’re not paid by the hour.  This means that however someone gets paid, they still need to work out their equivalent hourly rate to see if they’re getting the minimum wage.

There are different ways of checking that workers get the minimum wage depending on whether they are:

  • paid by the hour (known as ‘time work’)
  • paid an annual salary, under a contract for a basic number of hours each year (known as ‘salaried hours’)
  • paid by the piece – the number of things they make, or tasks they complete (known as ‘output work’)
  • paid in other ways (known as ‘unmeasured work’)

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As an employer you must be wary that certain activities, even though they are not work as such, may still count as working time such as:

  • at work and required to be working, or on standby near the workplace (but don’t include rest breaks that are taken)
  • travelling in connection with work, including travelling from one work assignment to another
  • training or travelling to training

As an employer you need to be clear on your NMW obligations, if you have any questions or need guidance then let HR Revolution save you time and money, call + 44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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National Apprenticeship week… 20 key facts about apprenticeships

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Yesterday marked the start of the 10th annual National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2017). The week will highlight the success of apprenticeships over the last decade, celebrating the positive impact on individuals, businesses and the economy.

Below are 20 key facts about apprenticeships.

  1. There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice, or start an apprenticeship.
  2. Up to 28,000 apprenticeship vacancies are available online at any one time.
  3. There were 1,656,680 on-line apprenticeship applications in 2015 to 2016.
  4. Apprenticeships are available in 1500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries, from advertising to youth work and from environmental engineering to legal.
  5. More than 2,600 employers are involved in designing the new apprenticeships standards.
  6. 270 apprenticeship standards have been published so far, of which over 84 are higher and degree apprenticeships.
  7. There have been 4,300 starts on new standards in occupations such as Software Developer and Aerospace Engineer.
  8. Apprenticeship participation now stands at a record level – 899,400 funded apprentices participated on an apprenticeship in the 2015 to 2016 academic year.
  9. Nearly all apprentices feel that they acquire or improve their skills as a direct result of their apprenticeship.
  10. Apprentices are most satisfied with the relevance of their training (89%), the quality of training (87%), their assessment on the job (86%) and the quality of feedback (86%).
  11. Almost 9 out of every 10 apprenticeship employer hoping to achieve business benefits tell us that apprenticeships deliver – including 75% reporting that it has helped their business improve the quality of their product or service.
  12. There are currently 100 higher and degree apprenticeships available, with more in development, including foundation degrees, HNDs and full honours degrees. These include job roles ranging from legal services to banking and engineering.
  13. After finishing, 7 in 10 apprentices (77%) stay with the same employer.
  14. 46% of apprentices had received a pay rise since completing their apprenticeship.
  15. 36% of higher apprentices report getting a promotion after completing their apprenticeship.
  16. Nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) apprentices were satisfied with their apprenticeship overall, and nearly three quarters (72%) were very satisfied.
  17. The majority (92%) of apprentices in work felt that their apprenticeship had had a positive impact on their career.
  18. Traineeships have been developed by employers making them a great stepping stone to an apprenticeship or other job.
  19. Traineeships are continuing to grow – there were 24,100 traineeship starts in 2015 to 2016.
  20. 94% of employers consider traineeships an effective way of increasing young people’s chances of finding paid jobs and apprenticeships.

If you are interested in starting up an apprenticeship, follow the government link here.

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Source: http://www.gov.uk

Don’t ignore your HR responsibilities

Often here at HR Revolution we are approached by a new client because they haven’t put the right HR measures in place for their employees, which has resulted in a situation they are not equipped to deal with.   Unfortunately HR always gets pushed down the priority list, but is a vitally important role and something else to be aware of is ignoring employment responsibilities may also have financial implications when it does go wrong.

If this has caught your attention read on, in this blog we have listed the most common HR risks that many small businesses take and the potential penalties for ignoring or getting them wrong.

Ignoring legal compliance or ignoring the law
By law you are required to have a number of written employment policies in place, such as disciplinary and grievance procedure and equal opportunities to name but a few.  This is where an employee handbook is imperative as it lays out what you expect of the employee.

employee-handbook

The risk if you don’t have these policies in place is, if an employee makes an unfair dismissal or discrimination claim it would most certainly count against you if you didn’t have the appropriate policies in place, leading to a larger compensation award.

Not having a written employment contract
You are required by law to provide employees with a written statement of terms and conditions of their employment (i.e. employment contract), within 2 months of them starting to work with you.  If this is not in place, you could be taken to an employment tribunal and fined between 2-4 weeks pay.

More importantly, if you don’t have any terms of employment put in writing for an employee and there is a disagreement later down the line about what was agreed, you could be looking at a breach of contract claim.  Compensation payouts for breach of contract claims can be up to £25,000 if taken to an employment tribunal or £50,000 at the High Court.  Definitely not worth taking any risks.

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Not checking an employee’s right to work evidence
You need to check that all your employees have the right to work in the UK (by taking copies of evidence, such as a passport or work permit).  If this not carried out and and employee is found not to have the right to work in the UK, you can be fined up to £20,000 per person for employing illegal workers.

Discriminating against an employee
In employment law, employees are protected against being discriminated against on the grounds of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership, race, nationality, sex/sexual orientation, ethnic origin, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, religion or belief and colour.
discrimination

In cases of discrimination, tribunals can award unlimited compensation and there is NO length of service requirement for employees to make a claim.  Also there is a particular risk with discrimination cases that if an employee has shown that discrimination could have taken place, it is then up to the employer to prove to the tribunal that this is not the case, which can be extremely difficult to do.

Unfair dismissal of an employee
Dismissing an employee without having a legally fair reason or not following the correct legal process, can lead to an employment tribunal awarding the employee up to £74,000 compensation or a year’s pay if this is lower.

In addition to that, you will have to pay your employment lawyer’s fee even if you win, which could amount to several thousands of pounds!  However, employees need to have had 2 years service to claim unfair dismissal, although if they can show that they were discriminated against unfairly when dismissed they can make a tribunal claim regardless of their length of service (see above).
unfair-dismissal

Underestimatinng the knowledge of employees
Employees can now find any information about their rights on the internet, so tend to be very knowledgeable about their rights at work and processes their employers should be following.

As an employer if you don’t do things properly this can lead to your employees being demotivated and lower productivity. So make sure you treat your employees fairly and lawfully and it will lead them to be happier and more productive at work.

If you are struggling with any of the issues we have outlined above and need some HR help, please do give HR Revolution a call, we know we can save you time with practical guidance on how to handle your daily HR tasks.  Call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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The French win “The right to disconnect” for employees

On the 1st January, France’s new law “right to disconnect” came into effect.  This law is for any company with over 50 employees to initiate “switching off” from email, smartphones and any other electronic medium once their working day has ended.

Employers have a duty to regulate the use of emails to ensure employees get a break from the office.  However, if employers and employees can’t come to an agreement on the new rule, companies must publish a charter that explicitly defines their rights in regards to out of hours communications.

The French win "The right to disconnect" for employees

France’s Ministry of Labour was quoted “These measures are designed to ensure respect for rest periods and balance between work and family and personal life”.

Concern has been building for a while in France as recent studies found that approximately 3.2 million French workers are at risk of “burning out,” defined as a combination of physical exhaustion and emotional anxiety.  Also a study published by French research group Eleas showed that more than a third of French workers used their devices to do work out-of-hours every day. About 60 percent of workers were in favor of regulation to clarify their rights.

The French win "The right to disconnect" for employees

Although France is known for its “official” 35-hour workweek, for many companies it’s in name only. Many French employees continue working remotely long after they leave for the day. In fact, now that France has a record-high unemployment rate of nearly 11 percent, the 35-hour work week law has been called into question.

The “right to disconnect” law was part of a larger set of labour laws introduced in France last spring. The set was designed to combat some of the unintended negative consequences of the 35-hour workweek. One proposal, would give companies the right to renegotiate longer hours and to pay less in overtime to employees who stay longer. Another proposal would make it easier for firms to hire and fire employees. The “right to disconnect” legislation was the only one of the proposed laws that did not generate widespread protests and strikes in France.

France is actually not the first nation to enact such a law. In 2014, Germany’s labour ministry passed legislation banning managers from calling or emailing their staff outside of work hours except in an emergency. Nevertheless the law prompted several German companies to reduce the burden of overwork. Car manufacturer Volkswagen blocked all emails to employees’ Blackberries after-hours, while competitor Daimler said it would delete emails received by employees while they are on holiday.

The French win "The right to disconnect" for employees

Laws such as the one in France will certainly encourage better dialogue about effective work/life balance.  If companies can no longer dump as much work as possible on their employees regardless of working hours, they will hopefully make a concerted effort to define their expectations, what’s truly important, and how employees can contribute in the manner that’s in the best interest of their own health and the health of the company.  However, will this cause France to lose ground in the competitive global marketplace because its employees are working less than those in nations without such a law?  Many multinational companies already take a dim view of French business regulations.

Although, the “right to disconnect” law is unlikely to be introduced for UK workers, employers should not ignore the issues that can arise from excessive use of digital devices and establish boundaries that protect employees, encouraging all employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle and promote work/life balance.

If you need advice on any HR issues, give us a call at HR Revolution  +44 203 538 5311 or email info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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