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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Do you need to recruit new talent?

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Are you looking to recruit some of the fabulous new talent that will be entering the job market in the form of University graduates and college leavers?  If the answer is yes, then make sure you have got your basics in order, or here’s how it could all go wrong!

Hiring a new employee is pretty straight forward; but only if it is handled correctly. Many employers however can get it so wrong, which as we know is unproductive for any working environment.

A recent survey has shown that the No.1 reason for it all going so wrong is “not managing the candidate experience”.  This may sound a little fluffy if you do not work in HR or Recruitment, but it basically comes down to communication.  It is important to keep in constant contact with the candidate, providing them with quality information and feedback and remembering that honesty is the best policy. Providing a poor candidate experience can have many negative consequences including damaging comments about your company and lack of faith in the overall brand.

Other reasons the recruitment process can fail are:

  1. Expecting dull job descriptions to attract the right people – This is your chance to sell the position and entice the highest calibre of staff, if you waste this opportunity they will be looking to work for your competitors.outsourced hr - hr revolution
  2. Not taking advantage of employee referrals – a referral means they are pre-screened.  The best companies place nearly 50% of staff through referrals.
  3. Not fully understanding the actual job – If you don’t understand about the job you want them to do, how can you sell it to them or even know if they are capable of performing it?
  4. Using the same recruiting process for different level jobs – High level jobs require a different level of service, knowledge and relationship building. If you want the best out there, they definitely want to be treated that way too.
  5. Making slow hiring decisions – The best candidates are gone quickly, and will probably have more than one offer on the table, you simply can’t afford to hang around.
  6. Assuming interviews are accurate – Interviews are traditionally weak predictors, so poorly executed or generic interviews that do not challenge the candidate, will result in poor hires and put off the right people.
  7. Just using job boards – Only posting jobs on an advertising site means that 75% of the workforce that are not ‘actively’ looking will NOT see them. Make sure that your jobs can be found on various sites.
  8. Not prioritising jobs – Make sure if you are looking for more than one employee that you get the right person first, there is no point getting an assistant if you don’t have the manager.
  9. Not identifying job acceptance criteria – Do you know what the perfect candidates needs to accept the job? If you don’t, they won’t join you.

One last thought… With so many people getting it wrong, why don’t you let HR Revolution get it right for you.  First time. Download our helpful free guide to recruiting talent below, or call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

Click here: HR Revolutions Guide – Recruiting Talent

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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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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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Do you really communicate with your colleagues?…

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It’s easy to stop and moan about work or discuss a work related project but how often to you ever stop and just have a little chit chat with your work colleagues on a more personal level?

At HR Revolution we like having a bit of office banter, finding out what our colleagues did during their holidays or at the weekend, we think it’s important to remember that we all have interesting lives outside the workplace.  Establishing a conversational comfort level with your colleagues will allow you to talk to them about anything and make it easier to share your ideas.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Be the first to speak. It doesn’t pay to be shy, so just go ahead and ask a question to get the conversation started. They might be pleased that someone has stopped to talk to them.

It’s ok to be nosy, sorry I mean inquisitive! People generally like being asked about themselves, just don’t get too personal or sound like you’re trying to get the dirt, you’re supposed to be having a light hearted conversation.

Be positive,  again it’s meant to be light hearted so don’t drone on about a miserable experience, focus on something good, like a new fantastic restaurant you’ve tried, maybe a new box set that has you hooked (if you’re like me, I love a box set, Game of Thrones, Line of Duty, Walking Dead to name but a few!), this will definitely get them interacting.

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Remember to listen in return. If you plan too hard what you are going to say they won’t get a word in edgeways, and next time they won’t bother engaging with you at all. Besides they might have some great ideas you can use too.

Be discreet. They may also be “inquisitive” about you but they don’t really want to know the in’s and out’s of your life’s back story and remember you do have to work with these people so keep some things to yourself!

Know when to draw the conversation to an end. Remember this was a quick chit chat, and shouldn’t detract from your working day, but make sure you end it on a high, maybe with a “we’ll talk about that next time”! which also then lends itself to be an inner for the next one.

I hope this helps and encourages you to talk to each other, communication is a key factor in good relationships and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Click this link now to download your FREE guide to Communicating Effectively:

HR Revolutions Guide – Are you communicating effectively

Or for more FREE guides, advice and great HR Services head over to www.hrrevolution.co.uk or Call us on +44 203 538 5311 now!

We are always looking for ways to improve, so we’d love to know what you think,  email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk with your thoughts and feedback!

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Handling the Summer productivity slump…

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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.

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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 have any questions or need help give HR Revolution 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 office tasks UK workers waste over 400m days a year on

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Research commissioned by Red Letter Days for Business found that workers are wasting time on mundane office tasks, including replying to emails, attending pointless meetings or completing admin.

The research identified six key areas where UK employees are wasting their time:

  1. Too many meetings that go on for too long (46%)
  2. Too much admin (38%)
  3. Too many emails (29%)
  4. People management i.e. misbehaving colleagues (25%)
  5. Technology being slow (24%)
  6. A micromanaging boss (21%)

Employees spend an average of 1.2 hours every single working day in meetings, totalling six hours every week, whilst 22% say their time is eaten up by admin tasks, such as filling out timesheets.

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Overflowing inboxes also prevent employees from getting things done, with 45% of workers saying they have to respond to emails out of their contracted working hours to keep up. 26% said that they have trouble finding documents due to their email volume.

It seems our modern office environment has created bad habits. Technology, such as emails, should be speeding up processes not slowing them down. Something is going very wrong here. Businesses’ need to work together to retrain on areas like email etiquette in the workplace and to encourage better collaboration and efficiencies.

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The research also found 42% of employees have seen no response from their employer to the Government’s ‘Fixing the Foundations’ plan, launched in 2015 to improve productivity levels in the workplace.

Employees were also asked about what could be put in place to help improve their output. The top five responses included:

  1. Flexible working (22%)
  2. Better technology (19%)
  3. A happy workplace (17%)
  4. Increased job satisfaction (15%)
  5. Better recognition from senior management (14%)

The fact that flexible working is at number one is very interesting, most jobs now require us to be flexible with our time; in fact 44% of employees polled confirmed they did overtime because they have a flexible role and work to complete a job, rather than work specific hours. Yet, with 57% of employees confirming they only work from the office, it seems businesses need to catch up with the flexible working idea.

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

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A version of this article first appeared in HR Grapevine.