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.

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.

 

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.

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

Handling the Summer productivity slump…

Yes it’s Summer, holidays are being booked, the weather is hot, hot, hot, and workers all across the country are looking forward to a bit of well-deserved time away from their desks.

But whilst many people will be worrying about how much they can squeeze into their luggage allowance and whether last year’s swimwear still fits, many business owners will have a more pressing concern. As temperatures start to rise, and they certainly have this year!!! how do you ensure that the summer season doesn’t have a negative impact on productivity?

As always, we’re here to help with some practical suggestions. Read on to find out more about what yothe time to think about how you’ll approach the working calendar next summer. As well, it won’t be long before you’ll have to start thinking about how you’ll manage your staff over the Christmas period, so you can probably take away some very important lessons.

Click on the link below to see HR Revolution’s HR software solutions in partnership with breatheHR, which will save you time, energy and money by managing your HR online, giving you access to all of your employee documents, employee holiday planner and appraisal management system from wherever you are.

Bring the summer feeling to your office

When the weather’s warmer and there are – let’s face it – many other things that your employees would rather be doing than sitting in the office, it could be worthwhile to think about how you can raise spirits and inject a bit of oomph back into proceedings. If some employees are away on holiday, you can ensure that those who are left behind aren’t feeling deflated and demotivated.

Your approach here needn’t cost you a fortune, there are many options for you to choose from. You could you treat the office to an ice-cream, or you could contact a nearby personal trainer and ask them to lead an outdoor workout for your staff? Or maybe a lunchtime picnic in a local park, small gestures can make all the difference.

Give your HR processes an overhaul

It’s natural that there will be certain times of the year when you notice a change in productivity. Sometimes, slight fluctuations are unavoidable, and you need to simply do all you can to minimise the impact. If reduced productivity has become a longstanding problem though, it’s time to address the reasons why, and do something about it.

Your people processes and procedures will often provide you with clues, and they can also be the remedy. Is your business suffering as a result of poor management practices? Are you using outdated systems? Are your employees dissatisfied with certain aspects of their roles, or the way in which the business is being operated?

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

 

Hung parliament – what does it mean for HR and employment law?

We have a new government of sorts, after all the campaigning, the Conservative party didn’t get enough votes to form a majority government meaning they will be forming a minority government in alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party.

The main priority for the Government will be Brexit negotiations but the following points will be good to keep an eye out for:

  • There will be lots of attention to those working the in the “gig economy” and the introduction of legislation to make clear their worker/employed status.
  • There could be limited changes to National Insurance payments – they could rise but this has not be stated clearly yet.
  • It is likely there will be an increase in the personal tax allowance to £12.5k and £50k for higher tax payers.

Things for businesses to look out for

Brexit negotiations around the rights to work, both for UK and EU nationals and EU workers currently in the UK, should be kept under careful review for any developments.

With increased attention on the “gig economy”, it may result in the re-assessment of contracts between businesses and self-employed workers and will also require greater analysis of the status of an employee, worker or contractor.

If you need any HR advice give us a call, we are here to help +203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

 

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

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!

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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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Should you let your employees work from home?

Did you know according to recent research, more than half of employees feel trapped by the rigid structure of their workplace. A whopping 74% said that they wanted more freedom and flexibility, so it’s no real surprise that homeworking is a trend that’s here to stay and that many forward thinking employers are taking it into consideration.

Homeworking provisions vary between businesses, but the main principle is that you let your employees carry out their tasks from the comfort of their own space. Being anything from once or twice a week, to maybe a more permanent solution.

It’s an approach that’s likely to be welcomed by those with caring responsibilities, and let’s be honest here… Probably everyone else, too. After all, no one enjoys doing the daily commute, or being stuck in the confines an office all day long.

As a business owner though, you’re likely to have a few concerns. Could it really work? Will it provide your employees with the temptation to find something else to do? Or is actually a wonderful way to give your employees what they really desire, utilise the benefits of modern technology, and strengthen your reputation as a desirable employer who people want to work for?

There’s no denying there is a lot to consider, if you’re to get it right.

You need to think about how you’ll make sure that team members are in communication, and they all understand their responsibilities and how they fit into the bigger picture. In some cases, you’ll also have to look at how you can ensure that everyone has the equipment they need.

Also homeworking won’t be right for everyone. Some of your employees will crave face-to-face contact, and will be able to imagine nothing worse than just staring at the same four walls all day, with only their dog for conversation.

But it’s 2017 now, and you need to move with the times. Fail to give your employees what they really crave, and they WILL start to look elsewhere… regardless of how much they might enjoy their work.

The concept of a job for life is over, and you have to work hard to win loyalty.

If you’re not looking at ways to bring more flexibility into your business, then you’re seriously missing a trick and we know it can be a difficult shift to manage, but get it right, and it could work some real magic with your employees.

If you need any advice with planning your approach, get in touch with HR Revolution today and see how we can help +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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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

Feeling the January blues? They are real you know!

What was once just a phrase following all the happy frivolity of Christmas and New year is now an actual recognised health complaint!  And I’m not joking!  Well I don’t know about that but feeling tired, bloated and skint can certainly be a little depressing.

The mornings are dark and if not cold, the very least dreary and it can be very hard to get yourself motivated to even get out of bed, let alone embark on the ever more difficult journey to work! Also, to cheer you up even more, as temperatures plummet across Europe, they have now said that snow is almost certainly on it’s way this week, so that won’t impact the commute to work… much!!  Sorry about that…

Ok, so I realise I am not making you feel any better at this point, so let me help you snap out of this maudlin mood and get Monday motivated!

Here are a couple of tips that I am going to put in place and hope you do to…

First give yourself meaning.  Do you know why what you do is so significant? Are you aware really, of how you are impacting on the company, clients and even your colleagues.  No? Then find out. Who wants to be working with a “what’s the point” attitude – Not me! Look at your goals, targets and see the bigger picture; feeling like you have a purpose is a huge motivator, after all don’t we all want to make a difference.

Next…. Stimulate your brain…

If you have a number of tasks to work through, I am pretty sure you will find some much more enjoyable than others. So instead of doing a whole day of the fun stuff knowing that you will dread the bore of tomorrow, why not break all the tasks up into more palatable chunks; perhaps morning and afternoon sessions could work for you? After all they do say variety is the spice of life!

Now you need clear thinking. Sometimes even the most comprehensive to-do list can be overwhelming and you feel like you’re on a never ending hamster wheel achieving very little and getting nowhere fast. In reality you are probably getting through more than you think. There is always “stuff” that comes up that you deal with, distracting you from your tasks, and this is what makes you feel that you aren’t getting through your core jobs. These distractions are probably very important but they just get forgotten about, so why not make a “done” list so you can see what you are really getting through and you will be surprised just how satisfying it is…. Go on, I can already see that little smirk of over achievement!

And finally…. It’s time to set yourself up to manage your own work. You’ve got your brain pumped and ready, you know what needs to be done now let’s take responsibility for the task in hand.
Autonomy in a role is a wonderful thing, that’s not to say you are not part of a team, but it really allows you to take ownership of your work.  Set out your ideas and get the training you might need to allow you to truly pick up your projects and run with them and in turn get the results you want. Achieving your goals, what better motivator is there than that.

If all the above fails to get you motivated… there’s only 14 weeks until the next Bank Holiday!!

For more advice on how to give your team a little boost, then get in touch with HR Revolution +203 538 5311 we’d love to hear from you!

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Workplace predictions for 2017

Ok, so it may have been the first day back in the office for many today and believe me I so wanted to turn off the alarm at 7am and just turn over and go back  to sleep!!!  But getting back into the work routine isn’t so bad and I find I’m excited by what is in store for HR Revolution in 2017 and my part in it’s journey.

Looking ahead, I came across this interesting article on 5 predictions of how our working lives may change in 2017.  Food for thought for the coming year…

1. New talent will be harder to come by than ever

UK unemployment has hit its lowest level in 11 years, at 4.8% and there’s a shortage of people for many significant roles. Companies are finding it difficult to attract talented new people and will find 2017 harder to keep their employees.

Garnering staff feedback will be crucial in ensuring that employees are happy, and that changes can be made.

2. Everyone will be more vocal

The race to find the best and most talented employees, mean companies will have to showcase their employer brand and with an increasing number of employees speaking up about both the strengths and weaknesses of the business, it will be imperative that employers need to take constructive criticism on board. 

Employees feel the have got something to say and they want to be taken seriously.

3. Employees will insist on greater flexibility

Technology allows many workers to have the ability of getting things done from anywhere, and with the constant delays and strikes, commuting has become a stressful and miserable experience for many of us. Over the course of 2017, it is inevitable that more and more people will be requesting to work from home some of the time, and that companies must listen and take this on board to keep their employees happy.

4. Millennials will drive companies to success

Recent research highlighted that 83% of millennials, Generation Y or Generation Me as they are also know, disagree that people should spend years in a role before expecting a promotion regardless of status and performance. They are driven and don’t’ want to wait for what they’re working towards, so employers will need to ensure that their employees have a clear career path and feel valued if they want to hold on to them.

5. A comeback for the work/life balance

Since technology has evolved, it has become increasingly common for people to check their work emails late at night and run work errands over the weekend. While this is not likely to change, there will be more of a balance when it comes to leaving work at work in 2017.

Some years ago companies experimented with a ‘no email day’. That didn’t really work because emails are such an integral part of our working lives that it wasn’t really practical.  However, responsible employers are now becoming concerned that we haven’t got the balance right and that it’s a contributing factor to staff sickness and stress in the workplace.  Could the UK follow France, who’s government has introduced legislation giving workers the right to disconnect from work emails outside office hours…  I’m sure many UK employees would welcome this change…

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A version of this article was first published on HR Grapevine

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

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

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

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

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

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