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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Holidays over – our back to work survival guide!

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Why is it that when children go back to school in September they get about a week’s worth of half days to ‘ease them back in’?  Ok I’m probably exaggerating and I might be a bit bitter (definitely!), but my point is; they get a nice steady transition period to help them adjust to the harsh reality of going back to school. However, workers are faced with the reality of returning to work with no settling in phase!!!.  So if your going back to work with an error 404: ‘brain not found’ message, fear not, I have put together this back to work survival guide to help you get through it.

Be an early bird

If your first day back after a holiday falls on a Monday, then I feel for you, I really do. As if Mondays aren’t bad enough, this is a workers’ worst nightmare. However, I always find that getting up early, eating a proper breakfast then heading off to work early is a good way to set you up for having a productive day.

Also, being in work early before your co-workers descend on you with queries that they’ve been building up whilst you’re away, gives you the chance to acclimatise into work mode. It also means you get the peace and quiet you need to remember your computer password that has completely slipped your mind!

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Tackle your emails head on

Inevitably, when you return from annual leave, even if its just one day, you’ll return to email Armageddon (why is it that everyone has questions for you when you’re not there?). First you should scan through and delete anything that is not critical, is that latest 20% off Gap clothing offer really something you need to look at right now. Then, when you’re down to a manageable number read and respond in chronological order. You’ll need some method to the madness or it just will never end! Top tip: when someone responds to your reply, DON’T immediately respond to them. Get through the rest of your remaining unread emails before you start engaging in conversation and get pulled away from your email-ocalypse.

Catch up on the goss

Returning to a busy office with lots to do and lots to catch up on after spending your days relaxing on the beach without a care in the world, can leave you feeling discombobulated. You’ve been ‘out of the loop’ and when it comes to the world of office goings on you’ll have missed a ton of gossip and activity.

Schedule a tea break with your colleagues to catch up on all the news you’ve missed whilst you’ve been away.

Regroup

It’s only natural to return to work after a holiday and feel a bit like workplace deadwood. You’ll be reminiscing about what you were doing this time last week and you’ll be easily distracted and when you’ve got a mountain of things to tackle at work, it’s sometimes really hard to get back into the swing of things and you’ll be struggling to get motivated!

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When this happens, regroup and remind yourself of what you’re trying to achieve at work. Giving your work some meaning will give you the boost to get stuck back in. You might be working towards a bonus, promotion or working hard to save for something special. Reassess your goals and see where you’re at with them, plan your next steps in achieving them and crack on and succeed.

Don’t let your holiday spirit be put out

We all get a boost from taking time off of work to relax and recharge, so don’t let returning to the office instantly crush your joie de vivre. Everyone in the office will want to hear you gush over what you got up to, it’s their duty, so revel in it. Show off your holiday pictures, pass round the holiday sweets and keep your holiday spirit alive just a little bit longer.

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Why you need HR Revolution

Do you need HR support?  Want to reduce your HR burden?

HR Revolution’s retained HR support could be the solution you are looking for, enabling you to focus on growing your business.

What are the benefits of using our HR Outsourced solution I hear you ask.

Simply put, it gives you peace of mind knowing you can call on professionals to handle HR issues, reducing the risk to your business from employee challenges.  It also helps you cut down the amount of time you spend on HR issues by making sure that all your employee documentation is legal and compliant.

For a fixed monthly fee, you can secure our expert services on a retainer basis. You can choose to get HR support over the telephone and by email, schedule regular onsite visits, or opt for full outsourcing of your HR function. We will discuss the type and level of support you need and allocate an agreed number of hours to be used as you wish.  Our aim is to provide a ‘flexible’ option that meets a changing business environment rather than tie you into a long arrangement that no longer suits your needs.

Bottom line, HR Revolution are a team who are passionate about performance based HR which means we commit to making sure your business and employees excel.

Get in contact to discuss how we can help +203 538 5311 or email info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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

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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:

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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 or plick the link below to see how it could really help you and give you back the time you need to get on with growing your business.

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Have you taken your annual leave?

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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

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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.

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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! Click the link below to see what breatheHR has to offer…

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Employment Tribunal Fees New Ruling – Will it affect you?

Employment Tribunal Fees

After arguably one of the biggest employment law rulings this year, the Supreme Court has ruled that Employment Tribunal Fees are unlawful, that they prevent access to justice and have been abolished with immediate effect. You may now be wondering what this means for you?

Effectively it means it is easier for an employee to take a case to an employment tribunal if they feel they have been unfairly treated or they feel their employer has broken the law.  Since the introduction of fees in 2013, the number of employment tribunals brought to court has dropped by almost 70%.  The removal of fees is highly likely to now mean this number will rise.

With some of the most common errors made during a disciplinary process including; not following the ACAS Code of Practice, including new allegations without investigation, not warning the employee of possible consequences and not checking what penalties are allowed under the disciplinary policy there are many areas that can mean your employee may successfully win in a case against you even if in your eyes they have done something wrong.  With the fees now removed to bring a case against an employer, it is much more likely that these cases will be taken to an employment tribunal and it is therefore essential you have done everything right first time.

“Protect your business from the potential risk of increased claims”

With collectively over 30 years’ experience of handling situations such as this, we at HR Revolution can support you to reduce this risk by giving advice to ensure you are following the correct processes and procedures and ensure you don’t breach any legislation as an employer.  Disciplinary, grievance and redundancy situations are complex and need to be done right for both the employer and the employee.  We can help simply by guiding you through the process to undertake yourself or run the process for you ensuring you avoid the pitfalls as well as any risk of a claim of unfair dismissal.

If you would like to talk to us about how we can help you in any employee relations situation whether you are at the start or mid-way through the process, please contact us at 0203 538 5311 or email info@hrrevolution.co.uk in confidence.

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5 mistakes employers are making with Employee Handbooks..

A recent survey has stated that over 90% of companies have created an employee handbook to share with their employees; that is positive, but in reality are these handbooks HR compliant?  Just listing policies and sharing some mission statements, will not cut it!!!

So based on the statistics, you’ve probably made a token attempt at creating an employee handbook for your business – but are you missing the mark? Here, we uncover the mistakes that too many businesses are making, and explain how you can turn things around.

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Taking a cookie-cutter approach

Of course there are certain things that all employee handbooks should include, but this certainly doesn’t mean that you should just download a free template from Google, fill in the blanks, and hope for the best. Your business is unique. Its culture and practices make it individual, and your handbook needs to reflect this. After all, first impressions count, so you need to make sure that you’re giving your employees a quality document that reflects what you’re really all about.

Don’t be scared to showcase your business’s personality and create something that demonstrates what it’s like to work for your company. Your new employees should feel inspired, motivated, and ready to face their new challenges.

Neglecting to seek out a professional opinion

You wouldn’t finalise your end-of-year accounts without speaking to an accountant, so why should your employment documentation be any different? HR Revolution can advise you on anything that you might have missed, unearth any points that could potentially get you into hot water, and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything’s in order.

Speaking in legal lingo

Your HR practices need to be created in accordance with relevant legislation. Staying on the right side of the law will save you a whole load of time and hassle. Before stuffing your handbook with jargon though, take a step back and think about how you can make the important information as easy as possible to digest. A better understanding of what’s expected will ultimately lead to higher rates of compliance.

Consider your audience, and keep things as straightforward as possible. At the end of the day, your handbook should be there to help people – not overwhelm them.

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Letting the document gather dust

The world of business changes and adapts every single day. New legislation is rolled out, light is cast on exciting and innovative ways to get the most out of a workforce, and advances in technology present new challenges. What works right now isn’t necessarily going to be fit for purpose in the near future.

Before signing off your document as completed, set a date for review. Keeping on top of changes can be a manageable job only if you make sure that you don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Shockingly, 2.8% of employers don’t know when they last carried out any reviews or changes – don’t fall into this camp!

Forgetting to make sure that every employee has their copy

Creating a document to be proud of is only the first part of the story. It isn’t going to make any difference unless you ensure that all employees get their copy, and that they’re given time to digest the information. These days, this is easier than ever before. Many companies decide to distribute their handbooks via email or an intranet system.

And finally, be sure to lead by example. When’s the last time that you familiarised yourself with the content? Do you have a copy on your desk? Are you confident that you could answer questions about the points that are covered? If not, consider this your wake-up call!

Ready to seek out some advice that you know you can trust? Whether you’re starting from scratch with your handbook and you’re not sure where to begin, or you’ve done the work yourself and just want a second opinion, HR Revolution can help. Contact us for a no-obligation chat about working together.

HR Revolution’s employee handbooks will help you to set core business policies and expectations and help portray your business culture, values, branding and vision, setting the tone for your business and employees, whilst maintaining HR compliance and best practice for all.

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