Office parties – a word of ‘festive’ warning!

For HR departments and employment lawyers alike, it is as much a Christmas tradition as turkey and mince pies. Every December we bring out articles on the perils of holding an office Christmas party, so as not to disappoint here are this year’s top tips.
Venue
It’s worth thinking carefully about the venue for your Christmas party. Is it accessible to all? including those with a disability? Can people get home easily? Choosing a venue that might encourage people to ‘drink and drive’ is clearly not advisable. So consider whether you have good public transport links or ready access to taxis.
Invitation list
When compiling the invitations be as inclusive as possible, no one should feel left out. Remember to make an effort to invite those who are currently away from work, whether because of maternity leave, sickness or any other reason. If employees are encouraged to invite their partners along, allow for the reality of unmarried couples and same-sex relationships.
Party planning
Think how you can make the party appealing to all. Organising an event based solely around the consumption of large quantities of alcohol will no doubt please some of your employees, but it could well be a turn-off for others. In particular, be sensitive to the religious and other beliefs of your employees; make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic drink options and any food on the menu contains a vegetarian option.

Also be mindful of any guest speakers or entertainers you choose to use. There is a very well-known Employment Tribunal case circa 1996 that arose out of the booking of the ‘stand-up comedian’ Bernard Manning. You can probably guess what went wrong there!

Discussion topics
When a lot of alcohol has been consumed, people become less inhibited and more likely to say (or do) precisely what is on their mind. As a result, the risk of discrimination and harassment claims rears its ugly head. So make sure people understand that this is a work event and a level of professionalism is still required. Oh, and if you’re the boss, remember that alcohol and conversions about pay rises don’t mix!
The morning after
Make sure people understand whether they are required to be in work the day after the Christmas party. If they phone in sick, carefully consider whether it is genuine sickness or the result of over-indulgence. Then consider whether disciplinary action is required.
Policy revision?
You don’t need a policy specifically to cover your Christmas party, but it is worth considering whether your existing policies on conduct, harassment etc. are clear about what is expected of employees in this context. Take a look at HR Revolution’s Employee Handbook, it helps set out core Company expectations in terms of general conduct and includes all of your integral UK policies and employment legislation.
Lastly; enjoy, let your hair down and have fun!
Finally, and before we begin to sound too much like the equivalent of ‘Scrooge’, the Christmas party is a chance to come together, celebrate a successful year and thank your colleagues/employees for their efforts. It is also an opportunity to have fun. So having taken some sensible precautions, relax, unwind and enjoy yourself. You deserve it!
If you need any help or advice with any issues discussed above or updating any office policies all found in our comprehensive Employee handbook, why not get in touch HR Revolution and make sure your office Christmas passes without incident.

Give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit 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.

 

New National Minimum Rates announced

Effective from April 2018, the Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed in his Autumn budget, national minimum wage increases and a new scheme affecting care sector employers who may have underpaid their employees.

New National Minimum Wage Rates

In line with the intention for the national minimum wage to increase to £9 per hour from 2020, it will increase from £7.50 to £7.83, representing a 4.4 percent uplift.  In practical terms, this will mean a pay rise of around £600 per year for a full time worker.

The other rates will increase as follows:

  • Workers aged 21-24 from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour
  • Workers aged 18-20 from £5.60 to £5.90 per hour
  • Workers aged 16-17 from £4.05 to £4.20 per hour
  • Apprentice rate from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour

The Budget was also used to announce a review of the flexibility in the way organisations may use their apprenticeship levy (large companies have been required to pay this levy since April 2017 which they can then use to fund apprenticeships) and a National Retraining Scheme to support worker’s career development.

Care employers advised to correct minimum wage wage under payments

A new scheme to encourage companies in the care sector to make good any minimum wage underpayments was launched on 1st November 2017.

Recent employment tribunal judgements have shifted a focus onto a companies minimum wage obligations in the specific area of sleep-in shifts.  HMRC’s interpretation of the legislation, in common circumstances, requires that all hours of a sleep-in shift attract the minimum wage, regardless of whether the worker is asleep.

In order to soften the impact of these decisions on social care companies, the Social Care Compliance Scheme (SCCS) will see any underpayments corrected but remove the enforcement measures applied to companies that are found to have underpaid their workers. Employers have until the end of 2018 to join up to the scheme.

Committees publish draft bill on gig economy workers

A joint draft bill containing enhanced proctections for gig economy workers has been published by two government committees.

The propsal focuses on giving individuals more certainty about their status by providing an automatic assumption of “worker” status, meaning that it would be for the company to prove otherwise at employment tribunal.  This would also mean that these workers would be entitled to certain employment rights from day one.

Some recommendations from the Taylor Report are also included in the Bill, such as considerations of a higher national minimum wage rate for those on zero hour contracts. The government is yet to provide its full response to the review and this Bill will add more pressure on the government to take action.

If you need any help or guidance on the above, get in touch with HR Revolution.

Give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit 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 article first appeared on CIPD HR-inform.

Cyber security – Managing the risk

For cyber risk to be adequately addressed, cyber security strategies should be secure, vigilant and resilient and identifying the risks is a good place to begin.

Workplace Risks

  • Sensitive information on the walls and left uncovered on desks
  • Sharing passwords/passwords kept in easy to find places
  • Unlocked computers

Home Risks

  • Document disposal is not secure
  • Unsecure networks
  • People overhearing discussions or viewing sensitive information
  • Documents left lying around
  • Burglary
  • Use of personal social media accounts may create a risk

On The Move Risks

  • Discussing sensitive information in public areas
  • Your security pass is easily accessible/visible to the public
  • Equipment is left unattended even for a brief moment
  • Sensitive documents are in clear view of onlookers

Get Technical – protect company equipment:

Malware protection: install anti-virus solutions on all systems. Consider restricting access to inappropriate websites to lessen the risk of being exposed, maybe create a policy governing when and how security updates should be installed.

Network security: increase protection of your networks, including wireless networks.

Secure configuration: maintain an inventory of all IT equipment and software.

Managing user privileges: restrict employees and third-party access to IT equipment, IT systems and information to the minimum required.

Home and mobile working, including use of personal devices for work: ensure that sensitive data is encrypted when stored or transmitted online so it can only be accessed by authorised users.

Removable media: restrict the use of removable media such as USB drives and protect any data stored on such media to prevent data being lost and malware from being installed.

Monitoring: monitor use of all equipment and IT systems, collect activity logs, and ensure that you have the capability to identify any unauthorised or malicious activity.

Ensure the correct policies are rolled out to the employees based on home working and remote working. These policies will detail the specifics on how the employee is responsible for mitigating the risks when working from home or on the move.

Training can also be rolled out to educate employees on the risks, the signs of potential breaches and how to mitigate these. For example how to conduct their business when working in exposed public places.

Make sure HR work closely with IT to incorporate appropriate IT training and schedule regular IT ‘check ups’ for employees workplace devices.

We hope you enjoyed our article, look out for tomorrow’s blog; “Cyber security – How HR can help”

Get in touch and let HR Revolution run through a GDPR audit to see where and how quickly changes can be implemented.

Call +44 203 538 5311, email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit 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.

 

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU), and will apply from 25 May 2018, changing the way businesses manage personal data.

GDPR’s main concepts and principles are much the same as the current Data Protection Act, so most of your approach to compliance will remain valid under the GDPR and can be a great point to start from. However, the GDPR does come with some new elements which you will need to change and incorporate into your current processes and practice. Here we highlight the key areas you need to be aware of and act upon:

Awareness:  This may seem simple but you must make key people aware that the law is changing to the GDPR.

Information you holdIt will be necessary to document all the personal data you hold including where it came from and who you share it with.

Communicating privacy information: Review your current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes.

Individuals’ rights: Check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have.

Subject access requests: Update procedures and plan how you will handle requests within the new timescales

Lawful basis for processing: Identify the lawful basis for processing activity, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.

Consent: Review how you seek, record and manage consent. Refresh existing consents if they don’t meet GDPR standards.

Children: Put systems in place to verify individuals’ ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent.

Data breaches: Put procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.

Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments: Familiarise yourself with the ICO’s code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments and the latest guidance from the Article 29 Working Party. Work out how to implement these.

Data Protection Officers: Designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance. You should consider whether you are required to formally designate a Data Protection Officer.

International: If your company operates in more than one EU member state, you must determine your lead data protection supervisory authority.

Although the new law doesn’t come into effect until May 2018 it’s a good idea to start protecting your data as best you can now.

Cyber security is a huge part of GDPR and this week our blogs will help you to understand what you need to know.

Look out for our blog tomorrow “Cyber Security, what is it?”

Get in touch and let HR Revolution run through a GDPR audit to see where and how quickly changes can be implemented.

Call +44 203 538 5311, email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit: 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.

 

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

HR… your secret weapon…

Without HR expertise, growing a business is very challenging and if you’ve ever had to tackle a people issue without professional help, you’ll know just how stressful it can be.

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

There is always the option to call upon help on a project-by-project basis, but if you’re ready to raise the bar (and give yourself the valuable gift of peace of mind along the way), then it might be time for you to start a retainer solution with your HR consultant.

This could be the HR secret weapon that you need and here’s why:

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will save yourself a money

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

And we know that you have a keen eye on your costs. Yet another benefit of working on a retainer basis is that you’ll know what you’re paying each month, so you’ll never have to face any nasty surprises.

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

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

Why don’t you have HR?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

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.

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

 

 

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