4 reasons why small businesses should invest in HR…

When starting up a business, spending money on HR initiatives and policies can easily slip to the bottom of the to-do list. The general focus is to drive immediate returns, and so it can take time to see a real return on investment of HR. As a result, HR is being thrown in the mix with ‘business admin’ and is reduced to a mere box-ticking exercise.

In place of an effective HR strategy, small business owners frequently try to encourage friendly and informal relationships, working under the implied promise of trust and  casual compliance with ‘this is the way that we do things around here’.

Many of the start-ups that began life this way, in a burst of enthusiasm, optimism and sheer hard graft, do not make it past their fifth birthday. Unfortunately, relying on their inherently goal-orientated and collaborative start-up culture to support people management requirements is not an effective plan for growth and longevity.

Small businesses need to strike the balance between managing ground-breaking innovation and challenging the status quo, with ensuring that they have streamlined processes in place that pave the way for long lasting growth. HR is not there to squash these cultural ideals, it’s there to form the foundations on which a successful business can grow and thrive.

So why should small businesses invest their time and money in HR from the beginning and ensure they get a return on their investment? Here are four reasons why small businesses should invest in HR.

1. HR adds value

Small businesses see little, if any, distinction between the strategic and transactional elements of HR. As a result, it is systematically undervalued and under resourced. And yet there is plenty of evidence to show that strategic HR delivers real dividends – especially among disruptive companies that are challenging the status quo. Netflix is a good example of fresh thinking about people management and how centralising and prioritising the employee experience can deliver exceptional results. This innovative culture has been a key factor in the company’s success.

2. Small businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable

With their relaxed attitude to people management, small businesses are leaving themselves exposed to claims that they may struggle to defend in an Employment Tribunal. By investing in HR and developing policies and best practice they will have a fundamental framework to fall back on.

Employee handbooks are essential in today’s workplace as they help set out core Company expectations in terms of general conduct and integral UK policies and employment legislation, take a look at HR Revolution’s employee handbook template designed to cover everything your business requires to remain compliant.

3. It will come back to haunt you if you don’t

The value of HR is often downplayed in the early stages of a business and this can come back bite them, just look at Uber. And they are not alone. There has been no shortage of news stories revealing issues within larger businesses that could have been avoided if even the most basic of HR procedure was in place. Unfortunately, these companies thought about it too late and it rebounded back on them ten fold because by this time they are no longer a small start-up.

4. Managing HR admin is a misuse of individuals’ skillsets

As a small business, you probably don’t have a dedicated HR person – this is typically because at this early stage, survival is the biggest business priority. As a result, the management of HR administration such as approving holidays, managing sickness, and approving expenses, is landing in the laps of busy senior employees by default.

According to recent research, CEOs of small businesses are spending, on average, eight hours a week on all HR-related tasks. That’s more than office or operations managers who spend seven hours a week and might more realistically be expected to spend time on administrative activity. To put that into perspective, the median average cost of CEO time spent on HR equates to £18,700 each year and is an absolute misuse of individuals’ skillsets.

This is where HR Revolution can help you save valuable time and money by automating your all consuming HR tasks…  with breatheHR, an online HR information system starting from as little as £9 per month.

It has been shown that dedicated HR software saves small businesses, on average, four hours a week on HR admin with the use of software that can assist you with your day-to-day tasks.  Take a look at breatheHR below and manage your people, not paper!!

Summary

It’s no longer acceptable for small businesses to allow HR due process to fall by the wayside, prioritising new business over their people management. In the current business economy, where 40% of businesses fail within the first five years, enthusiastic entrepreneurs need to change their tact. Whilst your investments may not bring about immediate returns, your return on investment will be clear when your trained, supported and rewarded employees grow with you.

Call +44 203 538 5311, email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit http://www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

A version of this blog first appeared on breathehr.com

Don’t lose track of who’s in and out of the office this summer…

HR Revolution are a gold partner of breatheHR and we couldn’t be happier to recommend them, we love their HRIS software and our clients love it too.  However, this isn’t a sales pitch we want to show you how easy it can be for you to manage who’s in and out of the office over the summer period when the workforce tends to be at minimum strength.

Running a busy office is timely enough without having to check spreadsheets for who’s in and who’s due to go off, can you approve holiday? is your system up to date? well why not let technology to do the leg work for you!

Just for the holiday season alone, here’s how breatheHR can help:

Holiday Booking

Most HR Managers agree that holiday booking is the most time consuming aspect of people management unless it is fully automated. Employees can request holidays online at any time through the website or an app.

Holiday Approval

The approval process needs to be quick and easy too. With breatheHR the line Manager (or approver) receives an email with the holiday request, they can easily compare the request with the calendar of all their teams holidays as well as synchronising holidays through to Outlook or Google calendars.

Holiday Allowance

Not sure how much leave an employee has left to take? Well how about a reliable holiday allowance calculator for dummies. You just choose the holiday rules that apply for each employee (you can have as many as you like) for example full or part time in days or hours and it does it for you, you’ll even find the bank holidays are already in the system. At any time the employee, manager, or HR user can check how much holiday has been taken and how much is available to take.

This cloud based HR System can do so much more than just organise holidays for you, there’s sickness, appraisals, expenses, employee data review and much more.

The best part, if you don’t have time to input all the data to get you started, HR Revolution can do it for you call +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

 

 

Have you taken your annual leave?

Annual leave is a benefit all employees receive. In the UK, the typical allocation is around 28 days, during which we’re encouraged to leave our work and focus on relaxing and rejuvenating.

However, we seem to be forgetting to take annual leave!! Reports suggest that only 1 in 3 of us actually takes our full annual leave allocation each year. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of annual leave and why it’s important to take yours.

The benefits of annual leave

There are many benefits to taking annual leave. These include:

  • Health
  • Stress relief
  • Productivity
  • Trust

Health benefits

Taking time away from the business gives our bodies and minds the chance to realign. It’s our opportunity to relax, away from the pressures of our day job, and to focus on other areas of our lives that also make us happy, such as friends and family.

Much like sleep helps our bodies rejuvenate, annual leave is an important part of our year and one of very few chances we get to truly forget about work.

This in turn relieves stress. We delegate tasks to our colleagues while we’re away, which means the period prior to annual leave is usually one in which we complete tasks and re-prioritise. This helps us to focus and clear our minds, bringing our levels of stress down.

Productivity

When we work constantly, our bodies are prone to burn out. This is where we’ve worked hard for so long, we simply can’t do it anymore.

Time out of the office gives you chance to relieve that stress and think about things in a more positive manner, with clarity to help you work more productively and effectively.

Encouraging your employees to use their annual leave can also reduce the number of sick days taken each year, which has a tangible impact on your bottom line.

Building trust

It’s important we show our colleagues that we trust them with our work, and that we can rely on them to do a great job in our absence. Taking annual leave, especially if you’re more senior in a business, tells your colleagues that you do trust them and gives them the chance to develop professionally too.

Top tips for annual leave

Follow these tips to make the most of your annual leave time:

  1. Set an out of office response that gives people an alternative contact during your absence
  2. Turn off your email notifications and work phone so you can relax and forget about your day job
  3. Delegate work in advance so your colleagues have chance to ask questions of you before you leave

Time for a break?

Many companies are implementing initiatives to make working life more flexible. But despite that, we’re still failing to even take our full annual leave allocation.

It’s important that we lead the way in ensuring we take the holiday we deserve and that we make the most of that time. It is good to remember that the business won’t fall apart just because you’ve been away for a few days!  Happy holidays…

HR Revolution is a gold partner of breatheHR, a cloud-based HR employee software that is a straightforward and intuitive system that you and your team will love. You will be able to see your employees holiday allocations easily, so you can see who needs a little nudge to take a day off!

If you would like to discuss any HR issues, please give HR Revolution a call we’d love to help, call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

 

Why business owners shouldn’t turn a blind eye to a ‘sickie’

Pulling a sickie is becoming such a norm that there is now a National Sickie Day (it’s the first Monday in February in case you were wondering!). But this is a very unhealthy attitude towards sickness and employers have a vital part to play in preventing it from infecting their teams.

What is a sickie?

We all know that there are some days when your employees will wake up and just want to roll over because they couldn’t think of anything worse than having to be at work. And whilst the majority sip their morning coffee to feel human and fuel themselves for the day ahead, many workers are burying their heads under their duvets, whilst trying to think of a credible excuse regarding their whereabouts to give to their employer.

National Sickie Day

So what is it about that fateful February Monday, that makes it a prime day for calling in sick? Could it be that many are getting over (or still continuing) their drinking binge after partaking in dry January? The findings from the latest Sick Report by breatheHR shows that 21% of workers have pulled a sickie because of a hangover.

Apparently we also need more time in bed during the winter and we’re more likely to get ill, making it the perfect season to feign illness. In a study by The Fine Bedding Company, a staggering 69% of the country’s workforce said they would be tempted to make the most of the national sick day.

Sickies aren’t just for skivers

Whilst there are some that pull a sickie because they are hungover or want to start their weekend early (21% and 14% of respondents respectively), the research showed that nearly half (42%) of those that pulled a sickie did so to rest and another 19% have done so to avoid a stressful situation at work. And it appears that this isn’t happening in isolation, as those that pull a sickie tend to do so on average 3 times a year. All of these reasons for pulling a sickie should be a red flag to an employer and shouldn’t be something that they turn a blind eye to.

What employers can do about sickies

The celebration of a National Sickie Day and high number of employees admitting to feigning illness to get out of work makes it clear that sickies are becoming normalised in the UK’s working culture. In order to minimise the number of sickies in your business there are a few things that you can do, if you haven’t already!

Implement an absence policy

Don’t accept text messages or vague emails as acceptable ways for employees to report sickness. Put in place a process that both you, as an employer, and your employees should adhere to if a case of sickness arises – whether it is true or not. That way everything goes through the same procedure as per your sickness policy and is dealt with in the same way ensuring consistency and support for your staff. Hopefully resulting in a speedy return to work.

Record and measure sickness

There are a number of methods that you can use to record and measure absence. A number of small businesses use spreadsheets and keep a record of any return to work interviews, whereas others use absence management software to keep track of the absence data relating to their businesses. The important thing is to ensure that you are measuring and recording absence effectively so that you can pick up any trends to identify any recurring absences and help your staff with any potential issues they are having.

Engage your team

If your team is uninspired and unengaged, then it is likely they’ll find reasons not to come into work, so focus on ensuring your team stays engaged.  Make sure that employees enjoy their work, respect and support each other, and get acknowledgement, training and support.  Most importantly is that work/life balance is kept under control and if someone works late or over a weekend, they are given off days in lieu. In return you get employees who want to come to work, who want to be part of the business and who are fully engaged.

Open up communication

It is worrying to see that 19% of respondents have pulled a sickie in order to avoid a stressful situation at work. Communication is a key part of business success and you need to foster an environment where open communication is accepted. This number is easily preventable and it could be lowered if small businesses opened up clear lines of communication for their employees to be able to discuss situations.

Lead by example

Our plugged in, always on culture is leaving everyone in a bit of a conundrum on where the line is between work and life, if such a thing exists. Half of business owners questioned admitted that they have contacted an employee whilst on sick leave. Therefore, if you can set out your expectations for your workers when it comes to appropriate times to be working (whilst on sick leave shouldn’t be one of them), and adhere to them, it is likely that they will follow suit.

You’ll be lucky to completely stop sickies taking place in your company and they are certainly not something that you should ignore, but introducing a stricter policy for reporting sickness and communicating your expectations would be a good place to start.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

 

When do a few drinks after work turn into a potential HR nightmare?

In a culture where regular heavy drinking and partying hard has become the norm, many of us are no strangers to tipple after work, a glass of wine or two with colleagues to put the working week and the world to rights or an informal brainstorming session over a few beers to bond away from the constraints and routine of being tied to a desk.

But as a business owner, you no doubt fully recognise that alcohol can turn into a serious problem in your workplace if it’s not carefully managed.

What would you do if an employee turned up for their shift looking worse for wear and constantly late?  What if rowdy behaviour in the pub brought your business into disrepute? and what exactly is the difference between your employee enjoying a couple of drinks, and your business being faced with a more serious problem?

What you really need to understand is…

You have legal obligations under The Health and Safety at work Act 1974, The Transport and Works Act 1992 and The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

You must have policies that ensure that issues are handled fairly and consistently and your managers should have sufficient training and capability to deal with workers who need help.

It would be well to note here that taking a hardline approach rarely serves anyone well. You probably don’t need us to tell you that dragging an employee with a serious problem into your office and giving them a telling off isn’t going to fix anything.

As a responsible employer, you’ve got a duty of care to make sure that you support your employees through difficult times… Which is a solid reason why many employers now view alcohol and drug problems as illnesses that need to be treated through rehabilitation practices.

Of course, drugs can be a different kettle of fish entirely, as they’re less socially acceptable, and can have a much more damaging impact on a person’s life than enjoying a few drinks with workmates now and again.

Remember too that if you have a team of managers, their role is important in all of this. Can they spot potential problems? Do they have the confidence and ability to tackle them? Do they know where to turn to for expert help if things start to escalate?

If you’re just reading this blog out of interest, and you don’t have an issue like this in your workplace at the moment, then that’s great.  However, you must recognise that you do need to be prepared, firefighting issues like this is always going to be difficult for everyone involved.

This is complex stuff, and you don’t have to manage it on your own.

Get in touch with HR Revolution +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk to arrange a no-obligation and confidential discussion around how we might be able to help you deal with alcohol and drug problems at work.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

5 ways of dealing with sickness and absence in the workplace

Ok so employees’ being sick is a fact of life in the workplace, but what happens when it becomes a problem and what are measures you can take as an employer to stop it becoming unmanageable.

We have listed below 5 ways which will help you deal with it effectively:-

  1. Promote attendance

Why not praise and reward employees that don’t take time off.   Obviously you don’t want people to feel they are doing something wrong if they are genuinely ill, but an incentive like this could encourage a more positive mindset about attendance.

2. Have a strict sickness policy

Don’t take a casual approach to people calling in sick, you don’t want to give the impression you are not that bothered and encourage employees to take days off sick. A policy which names a member of staff/HR Department who must be informed before 9.15 am by telephone on the day of absence for example, would make those that are fabricating their illness think twice.

3. Follow up absences

After a period of absence don’t let an employee slip back to work as if nothing has happened. Make it policy for them to have a meeting with their manager/HR Department to provide a clear explanation and any relevant proof of their illness, such as a doctor’s note. This is also an opportunity to identify any root causes in the workplace that you may be able to deal with.

4. Be flexible about working hours

Some people just aren’t up to working at 9 a.m. Others wake up some days unwilling to face eight hours in front of the screen. Would it be impossible for your business to operate if you let employees decide their own hours? It’s amazing what a difference it can have on absence.

5. Encourage employees to adopt a self-employed mentality

It’s not really a coincidence that self employed workers rarely have a day off sick. They take complete responsibility for what they do, so they are motivated to do a good job.  Try to create some of that self-employed ethos in your workplace. Give employees control over their own work so they really want to be there to do it. As well as decreasing absenteeism this will create a positive can-do atmosphere in the workplace.

If you have any issues with sickness and absence and need some guidance, give HR Revolution a call + 44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we can help.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

Friday fun HR facts…

We hope that as well as providing our readers with useful HR advice and guidance we offer you some fun HR facts too…  Here at HR Revolution we have never been known as the ‘fun police’!

Here are a few Friday fun facts… enjoy…

  • Nearly a third of the UK’s office workers find their co-workers’ moaning to be one of the biggest annoyances in the workplace.
  • 47% of females refuse to poo at work.
  • 2.16pm is the most common time for workers to feel tired and find it hard to concentrate. This is known as the ‘office slump’.
  • Jobseekers said access to good quality tea or coffee at work outweighed other employee benefits such as subsidised gym memberships and childcare vouchers.
  • Half of British workers would walk out of their dream job in exchange for a free round the world trip.
  • 2.3% of jobseekers have witnessed an interviewer pass wind during the interview.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

10 of the best “i’m sick” excuses…

Do you remember the time last year,  when you had to call in sick because a swarm of bees were surrounding your car and you couldn’t get in it to get to work… No.. didn’t think so?

However, someone does, believe it or not that is a real excuse that was given by an employee to her manager to explain her not turning up to work, according to a survey carried out by Career Builder and this is just one of the many outrageous excuses that popped up.

Did you know that over 30% of workers have called in sick when they were actually well… Be warned though, there are quite a high number of employers that do actually check up to see if it is legitimate and some of these excuses might not cut the mustard…

In order of popularity:

  • They just didn’t feel like going to work.
  • They simply need to relax (personally I relax more at work than I do with 3 kids running round!).
  • They had a doctor’s appointment (ok, my doctor is always running late, but not by a whole day!).
  • They needed to catch up on some sleep (poor little lambs).
  • They have a few personal errands that need running (could you drop off my dry cleaning whilst skiving!).

They seem a bit lame don’t they and as an employer/employee I’m sure you’ve heard them all, but have you heard some of these “real” beauties…

I’m too drunk to drive.

I got arrested!?!

My friend is on annual leave so I can’t get a lift.

It’s my dog’s birthday and I need to arrange a party for him.

And HR Revolution’s favourite excuse to call in sick…

An employee said that someone had glued all her doors and windows shut and she couldn’t leave the house!

These are all genuine – honest – please do let us know if you have any more weird and wonderful excuses, we’d love to hear them.

All jokes aside though, as an employer you are perfectly entitled to challenge the authenticity of an absence and if an excuse seems a bit too far-fetched then ask for evidence if appropriate.

HR Revolution can help, download our FREE guide to dealing with sickness and absence in the workplace HERE.

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Prime Minister pledges to “transform” attitudes to Mental Health

I think the following is going to be a hot topic for many employers in 2017 and hopefully not a workplace taboo anymore…

Recent research from Mind states that around one in six UK workers experience a common mental health problem.

Prime minister Theresa May has pledged to help schools and companies “transform” attitudes to mental health problems.

In a speech to the Charity Commission, May said she will instigate a review on improving support in the workplace, led by mental health campaigner Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of the charity Mind.

Research from Mind states that around one in six UK workers experience a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression, and one in four people will experience a mental health issue each year. ACAS estimates that mental health problems cost UK employers £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence.

“For too long mental illness has been something of a hidden injustice in our country, shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma and dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health,” May said. “Yet left unaddressed it destroys lives, it separates people from each other, and deepens the divisions within our society.

“I want us to employ the power of government as a force for good to transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society, and at every stage of life.”

Additionally, the government plans to expand treatment by investing in and extending digital mental health services. More than £67 million will be spent on a digital mental health package so that people worried about mental health issues can go online, check their symptoms and access therapy.

Mr Farmer welcomed the announcement. “It’s important to see the prime minister talking about mental health, and it shows how far we have come in bringing the experiences of people with mental health problems up the political agenda,” he said.

“Mental health is everyone’s business and we need to see sustained leadership to make sure services and support improve for all of us with mental health problems. Having been neglected for decades, we need to see it made a priority for decades to come to make sure everyone with mental health problems can live the life they want to lead.”

If you have any issues in your workplace that you’d like to discuss in confidence, give HR Revolution a call on +203 538 5311

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A version of this article was first published on HR Magazine

Extreme weather… could this year’s predictions be right

Over the past couple of weeks the weather headlines have screamed snow, snow, snow… “Met Office warns big freeze on the way as polar vortex set to hit UK”, “Snow could hit Britain within six weeks with cold temperatures to last until February”.  However, we have heard these headlines for the last few years and winter turns out to be a damp squib with warmer than average temperatures!!

However, the weather has definitely turned colder this week… so could 2016 be the year for a cold snap?

It never hurts to plan from a business perspective and indeed having extreme weather and disruption policies in place can never be a bad thing, here a few things to consider:

Employees are not automatically entitled to pay if unable to get to work because of travel disruption: There is no legal right for staff to be paid by an employer for travel delays (unless the travel itself is constituted as working time or in some situations where the employer provides the transport). However, employers may have contractual, collective or custom and practice arrangements in place for this. Discretionary payment for travel disruption might also be of use. Some companies offer discretionary payments for travel disruption or have their own informal arrangements for this purpose. Such arrangements are normally contained in staff contracts or handbooks or through collective agreements.

  • Be flexible where possible: A more flexible approach to matters such as working hours and location may be effective if possible. The handling of bad weather and travel disruption can be an opportunity for an employer to enhance staff morale and productivity by the way it is handled, for example is there opportunity to work from home. Think about other issues such as alternative working patterns or who can cover at short notice.
  • Use information technology: Information technology could be useful in enabling a business to run effectively if many employees are absent from work, for example using laptops or smartphones.
  • Deal with issues fairly: Even if businesses are damaged by the effects of absent workers they should still ensure that any measures they take are carried out according to proper and fair procedure. This will help maintain good, fair and consistent employment relations and help prevent complaints to employment tribunals.
  • Plan ahead: Consider reviewing your policy and thinking about how you handle future scenarios. It would be best to put an ‘adverse weather’ or ‘journey into work’ policy into place that deals with the steps employees are required to take to try to get into work on time and how the business will continue if they cannot.

You need to decide how to deal with lateness and what will happen with regard to pay. Having such a policy should mean, there is much less scope for confusion and disagreement.

I for one do wish that we have a snow day this year, tobogganing, hot chocolate, fun, fun, fun – but obviously over a weekend, so I can return to work on Monday!  However, I know many people do not share my personal sentiments due to the disruption severe weather can cause, but hopefully the UK will be able to cope if the bad weather does hit.

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