How to prepare and conduct a grievance meeting

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In any business it is important to have a good grievance procedure as it allows employers the opportunity to resolve workplace issues early, saving them from the breakdown of employment relationships and, ultimately, tribunal claims.

Here are the the key steps to carrying out a fair grievance hearing:

1. Decide whether or not the grievance can be resolved informally or if the formal grievance procedure should be used.

2. Make sure you comply with both the terms of your company’s grievance procedure and the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

3. Appoint an appropriate manager to deal with the employee’s grievance.

4. Carry out a full investigation into the grievance and obtain all relevant evidence. Send the evidence to the employee in advance of the grievance meeting.

5. Invite the employee to the grievance meeting and remind them of their statutory right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.

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6. Ensure that someone who is not involved in the case is appointed to take notes on the proceedings.

7. Allow the employee to explain the details of their grievance and how they would like it to be resolved.

8. Adjourn the grievance meeting to give proper consideration to all the evidence before making a decision.

9. Once the decision whether or not to uphold the grievance is made, inform the employee in writing with details of why that decision was reached.

10. Notify the employee of their right to appeal against the outcome of the grievance procedure.

If you would like any further guidance or reassurance contact HR Revolution on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we are friendly expert HR professionals who can help you resolve any issues whilst supporting your employees and minimising any risk to your business.

Remember getting the process wrong, can result in costly repercussions for your business, so let HR Revolution help you gt it right.

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How to handle employee incidents and grievances

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When incidents occur that affect the well being of employees or undermine the company culture, it is important to address issues in a way that is effective and legal. Far too often, employee incidents and grievances are swept under the carpet just with the explanation that the issue is “under investigation.” Since incidents that have not been handled correctly have the potential to detract from employee satisfaction, raise turnover and cause legal troubles, it is sensible to follow the actions below to handle any such problems.

Address Complaints

It is always a good course of action to address any employee complaints; sitting down and listening to their grievances or description of how an incident occurred is an important first step. Far too often, employees’ complaints are brushed off or even mocked, which can make employees feel under valued and can cause dissatisfaction in the workplace. If it makes more sense, allowing employees to report incidents or grievances using messaging or the telephone may also be helpful.

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Document, Document, Document!

Having a written record of when an incident occurred and having all relevant information can be helpful in an investigation. Make sure that all individuals that were involved, including employees, customers, and even bystanders, are interviewed and statements taken. If disciplinary action is required or if accident reports are relevant, these should be filled out and notations made on all documentation detailing the actions that have been taken.

Perform an Investigation

Investigations may differ depending on the type of incident, but an unbiased investigator should always be the one in charge. Bringing in a third party to investigate, such as an outsourced HR company (HR Revolution) is always a good idea and can save much hassle further down the line.

Performing an investigation can help to ensure that an incident occurred the way that it was reported, but can also help to identify issues that can be changed to prevent future incidents and complaints.

Take Action to Make Changes

Taking decisive action is important and shows employees that the company is serious about resolving issues. However, actions taken may widely vary and not everyone is going to agree with the actions taken in any given situation.

If a grievance stems from harassment, for example, instituting training to identify and discourage harassment may be helpful. If a grievance stems from theft, implementing cameras may work to prevent future problems.

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Keep Everything Confidential

Talking too much about an incident, especially with individuals not affected by it can be damaging to an investigation and can even result in legal action. Employees that could have been helpful to an investigation may clam up after being forewarned about what is going on. If a person has been accused of something and finds out because of a rumour, the individual may also have grounds for a libel case.

Use Disciplinary Tools Wisely

In many cases, employers are tempted to immediately dismiss anyone accused of wrongdoing, but this may be the wrong approach. If someone made an honest mistake that had affected others unfavourably, coaching may be more helpful and change the situation rather than dismissal. If employees have engaged in violence, predatory behaviour, or theft, dismissal is appropriate after the incident has been investigated adequately.

Dealing with an employee grievance can be daunting if you don’t know how to handle the situation correctly. HR Revolution are here to help you every step of the way, from the initial advice through to running the entire process for you, so if you don’t know where to start why not give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email us info@hrrevolution.co.uk

Remember getting the process wrong, can result in costly repercussions for your business, so let’s get it right, together!

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How to conduct a disciplinary hearing – an employer checklist

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If as an employer you decide that there is a disciplinary case for an employee to answer, which can relate to performance, attendance, misconduct, to name a few, then a disciplinary hearing should be arranged.

It is important that the employee is given the chance to put their case forward in response to the allegations, and that a fair process is followed when preparing for, and conducting, the hearing.

Here, we set out a checklist that employers need to follow to ensure that disciplinary hearings are conducted fairly.
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  1. Ensure that the basic principles of fairness are followed throughout the disciplinary procedure.
  2. Ensure that someone who is not involved in the case is appointed to take notes on the proceedings.
  3. Outline the procedure to be followed during the hearing and introduce the parties taking part.
  4. Set out the case against the employee.
  5. Ask the employee questions to ascertain the facts of the case and allow him or her a full and fair opportunity to state their side of events, explain his or her conduct and state any mitigating factors.
  6. Conclude the hearing or adjourn it if new matters are raised that need investigating.
  7. Weigh up the evidence and decide whether or not a disciplinary sanction is appropriate and, if so, what it should be?
  8. Inform the employee of the decision, the reasons for it and their right to appeal.

Remember, this is a formal process and must be followed correctly to avoid potential costly repercussions for your business!

If you have read the above and feel a bit out of your depth with whole process, contact HR Revolution, we are friendly expert HR professionals who can help you resolve any disciplinary issues whilst supporting your employees and minimising any risk to your business.

Give us a call today +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk we look forward to hearing from you.

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6 signs it may be time to initiate a disciplinary

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Disciplining an employee is always a difficult decision for an employer or manager to face and equally being disciplined is one of the most stressful things that can happen in a person’s life, so taking this decision can weigh on a someone’s conscience. However, disciplinary action can sometimes be necessary to maintain the health of a business and the satisfaction of its workforce.

Before making a final decision about whether to go down the disciplinary route with an employee, it can be helpful to have some guidelines to distinguish between an employee that needs extra help and one where disciplinary action is necessary.

Habitual Lateness and Absence

If lateness or absence is a perpetual problem with an employee, it’s important to first speak with them to establish whether there may be personal problems that can be addressed with scheduling changes or other means, before making the decision to initiate the disciplinary process.  However, if these types of conversations have not resolved the issues, it will be time to follow the formal disciplinary process.

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Noticeable Apathy

Apathy can be a sign that an employee isn’t feeling challenged enough, but it can also be a sign that an employee has given up on a company or is considering leaving. Before assuming that an employee has given up on their job, try to find out whether they are feeling unchallenged or whether they are overwhelmed and inadequately prepared to handle tasks. A simple conversation can often be instrumental in identifying the source.

Performance Issues

Organisational performance can be unpredictable and multiple factors can influence it. However, if one employee’s performance has noticeably declined or is lagging way behind organisational trends, it can be concerning. Coaching or mentoring should be offered and if their performance still doesn’t improve then disciplinary action will be required.

Frequent Conflicts

If an employee is argumentative with colleagues or management, it may be because they are no longer satisfied with their job or are having personal problems that are affecting their work attitude. While employees should be encouraged to come up with creative solutions to problems, ideas should be expressed respectfully. Continual argumentative tones and behavioral issues should be addressed with disciplinary action.

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Unwillingness to Adapt to Changes

Changes are bound to occur within any type of business, especially as technology develops and more efficient processes are discovered. While adapting to change is difficult for many, a complete unwillingness to make adjustments or a poor attitude about every change that’s introduced can be warning sign that an employee isn’t going to fit into your company culture well anymore.

Lack of Development

If there are programs in place to educate employees and development is encouraged, a lack of development can be a warning sign that an employee is no longer as interested in or as loyal to your company as they may have been previously. While not every employee hopes to move into management, employees should at least show interest in learning about making developments relevant to their job. Employees that refuse to learn may burden a company.

I think the main point that we are trying to highlight here is that in the first instance you should always talk to your employees to establish if there are bigger issues at play, but when this doesn’t work as hard as it may be, disciplinary action may be necessary. If that is the case for you, then the one thing you must remember is disciplinary action is a formal process that must be followed correctly, or it can result in costly repercussions for your business.

If you are unsure whether disciplinary action is the right course of action or if the process you have in place is compliant just let us know, we are here to help.

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Best practice guidelines for employers with employees who give birth to sick or premature babies

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“Working parents deserve support at work, and those who have premature babies should expect nothing less than total backing from their employers at what can be an exceptionally difficult and worrying time.”                          (Business Minister Margot James)

As an employer, are you aware of the statutory entitlements and the best ways in which to support your employees with premature or sick babies? Here are some of the best practice guidelines to help employers manage employees through this difficult period.

MAT B1

MAT B1 forms must be provided in order to receive Statutory Maternity Pay. In such circumstances as a premature baby, mothers are unable to obtain a MAT B1 form before the baby is born. In the chaos of it all the parents may forget or not be aware of the statutory requirements for SMP so, when/if appropriate, the employer could give the employee a supportive reminder.  HRREV recommends providing expectant employees with a Maternity Pack which highlights points such as this. This will prepare the employee should something like this happen and be a central point of reference during any stage of their pregnancy/birth.

Whilst the employee is waiting for their SMP to kick in it may worth considering providing the employee with financial aid such as a loan or advance in salary. Whilst handling offers like this sensitively you should always formalise such agreements in writing.

Communication

Communication is always a grey area when an employee goes on maternity leave. Employers should always ask the parents if they are happy to be contacted and what the best way of doing so is.

Take care when first communicating with the employee after the birth of their child. Usually congratulations are in order, however it may not be appropriate in some circumstances but it is still important to acknowledge the birth perhaps a “thinking of you and baby card” or a personalised video message from the team.

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Fathers/ Partners

It’s important that an employer is compassionate towards the father/partner of the mother. They will also be stressed and their main priority will be supporting mother and baby. As an employer you may need to be flexible with time off or working hours. It is important to remind fathers and partners that they are eligible for Paternity leave and pay, which they can take within 8 weeks of the actual date of birth or within 8 weeks of the expected date of birth.

Family Friendly Entitlements

To further support the parents, remind the employee about their entitlement to parental leave, special leave and/or (if you are happy to accept shorter notification) shared parental leave. Perhaps refer them to the policies within your employee handbook so they can digest the information in their own time.

Communication to their colleagues

Employers should sensitively ask the parents what they would like to tell their colleagues. The extra support of their work colleagues could really help the parent feel supported by their company, making the transition back to work easier when they are ready.  Some parents will prefer privacy and it is then up to the employer to ensure that this is communicated to their colleagues to ensure no upset it caused.

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 Death of a baby

Sadly some parents experience the death of their premature or sick baby. It is important to remember that the mother is still entitled to take up to 52 weeks of Maternity leave and 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity pay (if eligible). Similarly the father/partner of the mother is also able to receive Paternity leave and pay (if eligible).  Ensure that this is communicated this to the employee compassionately and at an appropriate time.

Returning to work

Returning to work can be a difficult time for most parents, however if the baby is born early or sick and still in hospital this can leave the parents feeling more anxious and worried than normal.

Employers should recognise the need to support the employee by providing them with a flexible return to work plan, balancing the needs of the business and their parental pressures. It is also important to provide a return to work plan that is well structured and eases the employee into their role at a pace they are comfortable at.

Employers should always seriously consider formal/informal flexible working requests. Refer to a flexible working policy and discuss the options with the employee upon their return. This may help make them feel more supported and alleviate their work worries.

If you need further clarification or would like to discuss any of the guidelines above, please do get in touch with HR Revolution, friendly, expert HR experts who are here to help.  Call us today +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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4 reasons why an Employee handbook is a must in any business

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Compiling an Employee Handbook might seem like an unneeded task for a small business, and perhaps time consuming, but in reality it is a very useful tool that truly supports your business and its people.

Here at HR Revolution, we want to highlight 4 of the main reasons why we think Employee Handbooks are essential.

  1. An Employee Handbook can help prevent very costly employee disputes

In certain cases employee claims can run into the thousands of pounds and the vast majority of employment law disputes can stem from confusion over what is or not accepted practice within a business.  An Employee Handbook is your opportunity to clearly state your polices and procedures in relation to issues, such as:

  • Holiday and Sickness absence
  • Disciplinary and Grievance
  • Maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave
  • Anti-harassment and bullying
  • Anti-bribery
  • Health and safety
  • Equality and diversity

Having the above policies in place can help with preventing disputes happening in the first place.

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2. An Employee Handbook promotes clear communication and manages expectations in your business

A handbook ensures that every employee knows where to find specific information on policies and procedures that need to be followed, even if they have not been discussed with them.  This gives the employee the knowledge on where they stand and is a major element of ensuring their satisfaction.

It also ensures you have covered all bases when you induct new staff, which is a vital part of your onboarding process, and will promote consistency across your business.

3. An Employee Handbook will set the tone for company culture and outlines acceptable conduct

Your employees need clear and concise information on what is deemed to be acceptable behaviour and conduct and setting the tone for the culture of your company. Leave no room for misinterpretation and set out your best practice on topics such as:

  • Dress code
  • Telecommunications, email, social media and internet
  • Company vehicle and Driving
  • Internal communications
  • Data protection
  • Severe weather and travel disruption
  • Flexible working procedure
  • Time off in Lieu
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Take a look at HR Revolution’s Employee Handbook templates…

4. An Employee Handbook underpins your Contracts of Employment

A handbook can be an effective way to complement contracts of employment with company policies and procedures.

You need to be very clear however, which parts of the handbook are contractually binding and which are not.  Also, if you are changing any contractual parts of the handbook you might need to obtain employee consent and make certain that any changes are compliant with Employment Law.

Other considerations to think about when creating your Employee Handbook, is to ensure it can be adapted.  A handbook should be flexible and have the scope to be adapted as the company grows or any new issues or situations arise.  To make sure this flexibility is clear, it is always a good idea to include a note, which reserves the right to make these amendments.  It is also very important that you make sure your employees are fully aware of any changes as and when they happen.

If you are struggling to know where to start, HR Revolution are here to help! call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Why don’t you have HR?

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We know that growing a business without HR expertise is challenging at best, and if you’ve ever had to tackle a people issue on your own, you’ll know just how stressful it can be.

Between trying to manage your legal obligations, and meeting your operational requirements, firefighting can become part of your everyday routine if you aren’t careful.

Of course, there’s the option to call upon help on a project-by-project basis, and there can be real value in that approach. But if you’re ready to raise the bar (and give yourself the valuable gift of peace of mind along the way), then it might be time for you to start a retainer relationship with an outsourced HR company.

This could be the HR secret weapon that you need. Here’s why:

You get to know and trust your dedicated advisor so you can get straight to the heart of any issues

If you’ve ever outsourced work to a consultant in the past, you’ll know that there’s often a steep learning curve called ‘getting to know each other’ and before you can really get down to business, the right foundations have to be laid. You have to gain an understanding of how they operate and they need to find out what your business is really all about.

So if you have a pressing HR issue and you’re working with someone who you’ve never worked with before, it’s inevitable that you aren’t going to immediately hit the ground running. When you’re using retainer services though, this isn’t a problem. You know your consultant, you know how they do things, and you trust in their decisions and advice. It’s not difficult to see the massive difference this will make.

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You don’t have to face the prospect of hunting down a skilled professional when something goes wrong

Employers often don’t expect to go into work on any given morning and find themselves faced with handling the fall-out of an HR issue. These things do happen though, and it’s vital that you’re ready to respond ASAP as many issues can spiral out of control if you don’t formulate a fit-for-purpose solution within a quick timescale.

By the time you’ve contacted your business peers, asked for recommendations, and managed to get hold of someone who has a solution, serious damage might have already been done. When you have an HR expert who you can get in touch with at any time (during traditional business hours, of course), there’s no panicking and no fuss. You’ve already got your plan in place, and you know that your advisor has already got you covered.

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You’re probably going to save yourself a chunk of cash

Contrary to popular (though very much dated) belief, HR isn’t all about soft tactics that can’t be measured in terms of true business success. The best HR professionals understand their role in contributing to the bottom line of your business and play a role in helping you to smash your strategic objectives.

We also know that you have a keen eye on your costs, so yet another benefit of working on a retainer basis is that you can take advantage of some extremely savvy savings, you’ll know what you’re paying each month, so you’ll never face any nasty surprises.

Employers who are mindful of the importance of their people practices, might have an HR professional in mind who can help them when things go wrong. But those employers who have thought ahead and really stepped up and are ready for whatever their business throws at them… are working with us on a retainer!

Are you ready to make the change? Give us a call today for an initial chat about how we might be able to work with you +44 203 538 5311 or email us at info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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