10 inappropriate questions interviewers need to stop asking!

According to new research, the vast majority of organisations have asked candidates inappropriate and potentially illegal questions during a job interview.

Researchers of the study found that 85% of interviewers have asked questions such as ‘Are you physically fit and healthy’, ‘Have you any plans to start a family’ or ‘Did you grow up outside of the UK’.

All of the above questions are potentially breaching the law, which requires all potential employers to treat candidates fairly.

It’s true though however that many interviewers could be completely unaware that what they think is innocent questioning could be a legal grey area, with 47% saying they have never had official training on what questions to ask in an interview.

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Below are the top 10 inappropriate interview questions that hiring managers have asked:

  • What year did you graduate? (59%)
  • What year were you born? (55%)
  • Do you have any children? (56%)
  • Are you physically fit and healthy? (53%
  • Are you in a relationship or married? (51%)
  • Have you got any plans to start a family? (42%)
  • Where is your accent from? (46%)
  • Will you need flexible time for family life? (46%)
  • Did you grow up outside of the UK? (45%)
  • Will you need time off during half term? (43%)

This highlights the need for training for any person involved in the process of interviewing prospective candidates, so they know what is and isn’t acceptable in the recruitment process.  Ensuring all prospective employees are given a fair and honest opportunity to secure a job based on their skills and ability not their gender, personal choices or maternity/paternity choices.

If you need any HR help, advice or tips on interviewing, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@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.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Employee or Contractor?

The rules around distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor may be subtle, but getting it wrong and breaching IR35 rule can result in serious tax and legal consequences for your business!

We thought we’d try and clear this blurred line and clarify the differences!

The three main differences are:

1. Control

Employees generally have limited control over their work, their hours these are set in place at the commencement of employment and the relationship is ongoing. They are restricted from working for another company, customer or generating their own work. Contractors on the other hand cannot be treated with the same level of control, dictating their own working hours, working on multiple projects for multiple businesses simultaneously. A business has no obligation to provide the contractor with work and employment rights do not apply to the relationship.

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2. Pay

Employees are generally paid a regular set amount, agreed on the commencement of their employment in return for working the set agreed hours. The employer will also deduct tax and national insurance contributions from their wages, whereas contractors will need to invoice for their services at an agreed rate per day/week month or fixed price basis. They are not paid via PAYE therefore are responsible for looking after their own tax and NI contributions.

3. Benefits

Whilst contractors do have certain protections, for example for their health and safety whilst on business premises and, in some instances, protection against discrimination, they are not entitled to any employee benefits such as paid holidays, sick pay, company pension or medical insurance.

This can be a grey area, which many employers struggle with, so hopefully the above has given you some starting points to think about!

There is a third status known as a ‘worker’, sitting somewhere between an employee and contractor. This category of the workforce have some, but not all employment rights, as an employee would but more than a contractor. The classification depends on the level of flexibility of the working relationship … but we’ll leave that for another day!

If you need any HR help, advice or tips, get in touch:+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.

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What are the signs of a toxic workplace culture?

I’m sure most businesses don’t have a toxic workplace culture per se, so the point of this blog is to identify the clearest signs and what you need to do to change them.  Remember a toxic workplace can cover such a broad range of physical environments and human behaviours, that for the most we don’t actually realise we are operating in it.

Quite often business owners and managers don’t notice there is a problem until it’s much too late and that can cause a catastrophic result of low morale, flatlining productivity, and employee retention issues, end result little or no business success.

This situation must be avoided at all costs and here is what to look out for.

Be proactive

Make sure that you are proactive in taking steps to avoid a toxic culture ever developing by creating a happy and positive working environment. Remember it doesn’t always take or cost a lot to boost morale, perks like sweet treats, a team meal or maybe even financial incentives  for top performing employees.

Just busy… or drowning?

Unrealistic expectations, big workloads and pressure from business owners and managers can all be root causes of a toxic culture.

You need to combat this by reviewing your team’s to-do lists and share the work out equally. Make sure you watch out encourage for employees that seem to be struggling and give them the support they need.

By reducing extreme workloads it gives you a good chance of keeping employee stress levels low and productivity high.

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 “Banter” is that all it is?

One of the possible elements of a toxic culture, is at how your employees behave.

Bullying and harassment always create a distressing working environment, but remember this can sometimes take a subtler form; an aggressive behaviour that crosses the line but gets shrugged off as “banter.”

Always make sure you have a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment, and make you have robust policies in place that explain your company’s position on these matters.  It is also essential that you have reliable grievance procedures in place so you can address complaints in a serious and professional manner.

Think healthy

Supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees is vitally important, making sure your company has policies outlining what support will be offered during times of ill health is essential for your company handbook.

Why not consider offering sick pay or even give your employees access to an employee assistance programme (EAP) which can offer health and wellbeing support either in person or over the phone or online.

If you look out for these signs you will be on the right road to avoiding a toxic workplace culture and the outcome?  you keep your business, your people in a happier, healthier and more productive situation.

If you need any HR help or advice on workplace culture, get in touch:+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.

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Our new website has launched…

We are excited to announce our new and improved website has been launched…

We’ve listened to our clients and customers and made some key changes.

We our proud that we take an innovative approach to HR, cutting through the industry jargon to help make a real difference to any business, by providing excellent HR consultancy and HR support.

We know HR can be a scary prospect for businesses both big and small and there is a lot to take in.  However we ask questions that other HR consultancies don’t, because we want to make a positive impact on your business and understand your people, by providing excellent HR and Talent services in the form of employee documentation, support, management and advice regarding employment queries and processes.

Come and take a look:

Website Launch 1 - hr revolution - outsourced hrIf there are any of our services that you would like to discuss in more detail or
might be interested in then please give us a call on: +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.

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FRIDAY FAQS – Can an employer ask about my mental health when applying for a new job?

Thanks to awareness days like Wednesday’s World Mental Health Day, the conversation surrounding mental health is getting louder. The stigma attached to talking about our mental health in the same way that we do for our physical health is being lifted and with that there is a growing acceptance that it’s okay not to be okay and to seek support.

The workplace is undeniably an environment that for many people can cause stress and anxiety. If you have a mental health issue then being in a pressured working environment, that may not be supportive of your mental health, can cause further damage to your health and overall well-being.

It’s therefore the role of employers to ensure they have fair practices in place with regards to their approach for identifying and supporting their teams with mental health issues, just as they do for physical health.

As an employee you should expect to be supported by your employer and provided with the necessary support for a mental health issue.

However, is it a concern for those seeking new employment that if they have an existing mental health issue, it may impact upon their likelihood of getting a job?

We want to help debunk some of these crucial questions and shed light on an area of HR that is vital for a happy and productive workplace.

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1. Can I be asked about my mental health issue when I apply for a job? 

In short, no. It’s unlawful for an employer to ask a candidate if they have a history mental health issues during the application process.

If you are asked about your mental health, you are not obliged to answer this, however, if you do choose to disclose this information it is recommended that you do so honestly.

Asking candidates health questions before a job offer is made is unlawful and can be reported to the Equality Advice and Support Service.

If you are asked about your mental health during the application process and then don’t receive an offer, you may want to challenge this as it can be classed as discrimination on the grounds of disability.

2. Are there situations when an employer can ask about my mental health before making a job offer?

There are a few situations when an employer may need to ask about your health before a job offer is made, these can include:

  • To find out if you can take an assessment for a job.
  • To find out if you need reasonable adjustments to the application process.
  • To find out whether you will be able to do the requirements of the job, whilst they also consider any reasonable adjustments that may need to be made.
  • To find out if applications are coming from a diverse group of people.
  • To establish if you have the particular disability required for the job.
  • To assess you for national security purposes.

For example, a lawful question about your health and whether this affects your ability to do the job would be; if you were applying for a job erecting scaffolding and the employer asked questions at the application stage regarding disability, health and whether the applicant has a fear of heights.

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3. What questions can I be asked about my mental health once I’ve been offered a job?

Once you receive a job offer then your new employer is lawfully able to ask you questions about your health.

If your new employer asks questions about your mental health and subsequently becomes concerned due to a mental health issue you may not be able to carry out your job, then it is the employer’s responsibility to seek further advice from your doctor or occupational health.

Should your new employer ask a question about your mental health and then withdraw the job offer without first consulting advice or conducting a further assessment or investigation, then this may be seen direct discrimination and therefore unlawful.

Mental Health is a really important HR issue in the workplace and If you need any help or advice on how to approach it, get in touch:+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.

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World Mental Health Day 10th Oct 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day, aimed at raising awareness and educating people on a subject that has been too stigmatised for too long.  It’s an opportunity for us all to reflect on our own mental health and wellbeing and those around us. Unfortunately, mental ill health isn’t something that affects people for just one day a year, for some it really is something that affects them long term.

When we talk about Mental Health, what do we mean? Well in short it’s our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing – fundamentally the part of us that affects how we think, feel and act in certain situations. It determines how we handle stress, the choices we make and more importantly how we relate to others.

Mental illness can range from feeling a little down to debilitating anxiety and less commonly the severe conditions bi-polar or schizophrenia, but even feeling down can affect us and the people around us.  Most people will feel some level of stress or anxiety as our daily life throws different pressures and expectations at us, so never assume someone is always happy and never struggles with mental ill health as this will rarely be true.

The statistics show that 1 in 4 will experience mental ill health at some point in their lives and it is now a real issue that needs to be addressed and not swept under the carpet. Luckily awareness is on the increase and some big charities and household names are at the forefront of ensuring that we are all able to talk about our issues openly and promoting positive mental health.

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There are steps we can all put in place from employers and business owner to colleagues and peers to promote positive mental wellbeing in the workplace.  Below are just a few things that should be in place and we would encourage all employers and their employees to get involved, not just to help promote positive mental health in the workplace, but support those already suffering with mental ill health.

Employers

1. Take time to understand the impact to your business.

2. Ensure your managers are informed and aware, include training if necessary, but most importantly ensure they are open to having conversations with their employees.

3. Openly show that you are committed to positive mental health.

4. Deal with the issues that could be causing your workforce stress and anxiety.

5. Reduce negativity, tell people it’s ok to talk and reinforce that they won’t be punished as a result.

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Managers

1. Ensure you know how to handle a potentially difficult conversation effectively and don’t be afraid to ask for help if not.

2. Promote a positive work-life balance in your teams, and yourself too!

3. Don’t think you’re the expert because you’re a manager, really understand mental health and the issues associated with it.

4. Build a good relationship with your team – this is probably the most important; your employees need to feel like they can come to you.

Employees

1. What causes you anxiety? Do you really know what your stress triggers are? Think about it, and how you manage it in the workplace, or at home.

2. Look after your wellbeing, do things that you know make you feel positive and happy.

3. Take notice of your peers and support them.

4. Lastly but most importantly talk! Don’t keep things to yourself, if you are struggling let your manager know and then you can work together.

FACT: Stress is the major cause of long-term absence in manual and non-manual workers.

Let’s work together to change this and stop people suffering in silence.

If you need any help or advice on how to approach Mental Health in your workplace, get in touch:+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.

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Signs it might be time to initiate a disciplinary

Disciplining an employee is always a difficult decision for an employer or manager to face and equally being disciplined is one of the most stressful things that can happen in a person’s life, so taking this decision can weigh on a someone’s conscience. However, disciplinary action can sometimes be necessary to maintain the health of a business and the satisfaction of its workforce.

Before making a final decision about whether to go down the disciplinary route with an employee, it can be helpful to have some guidelines to distinguish between an employee that needs extra help and one where disciplinary action is necessary.

Habitual Lateness and Absence

If lateness or absence is a perpetual problem with an employee, it’s important to first speak with them to establish whether there may be personal problems that can be addressed with scheduling changes or other means, before making the decision to initiate the disciplinary process.  However, if these types of conversations have not resolved the issues, it will be time to follow the formal disciplinary process.

Noticeable Apathy

Apathy can be a sign that an employee isn’t feeling challenged enough, but it can also be a sign that an employee has given up on a company or is considering leaving. Before assuming that an employee has given up on their job, try to find out whether they are feeling unchallenged or whether they are overwhelmed and inadequately prepared to handle tasks. A simple conversation can often be instrumental in identifying the source.

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Performance Issues

Organisational performance can be unpredictable and multiple factors can influence it. However, if one employee’s performance has noticeably declined or is lagging way behind organisational trends, it can be concerning. Coaching or mentoring should be offered and if their performance still doesn’t improve then disciplinary action will be required.

Frequent Conflicts

If an employee is argumentative with colleagues or management, it may be because they are no longer satisfied with their job or are having personal problems that are affecting their work attitude. While employees should be encouraged to come up with creative solutions to problems, ideas should be expressed respectfully. Continual argumentative tones and behavioral issues should be addressed with disciplinary action.

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Unwillingness to Adapt to Changes

Changes are bound to occur within any type of business, especially as technology develops and more efficient processes are discovered. While adapting to change is difficult for many, a complete unwillingness to make adjustments or a poor attitude about every change that’s introduced can be warning sign that an employee isn’t going to fit into your company culture well anymore.

Lack of Development

If there are programs in place to educate employees and development is encouraged, a lack of development can be a warning sign that an employee is no longer as interested in or as loyal to your company as they may have been previously. While not every employee hopes to move into management, employees should at least show interest in learning about making developments relevant to their job. Employees that refuse to learn may burden a company.

I think the main point that we are trying to highlight here is that in the first instance you should always talk to your employees to establish if there are bigger issues at play, but when this doesn’t work as hard as it may be, disciplinary action may be necessary. If that is the case for you, then the one thing you must remember is disciplinary action is a formal process that must be followed correctly, or it can result in costly repercussions for your business.

If you are unsure whether disciplinary action is the right course of action or if the process you have in place is compliant please get in touch:+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.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – What are the implications of AI in talent management?

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) within the HR sector and its ability to transform the way we interact with candidates and employees is a topic of interest for many businesses.

Recent surveys have revealed the buzz around AI and it’s potential to change HR practices. An IBM survey revealed that almost half of employers believe AI would transform their talent acquisition capabilities as well as transform their payroll and benefits administration.

Businesses are using AI technologies to reduce costs and save time when it comes to their HR – and talent management is an area that AI promises innovation for.

Recruitment is traditionally a labour and time intensive process and can cost your business thousands in recruitment fees and HR salaries when you total all of the time invested in the process.

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AI presents a way to streamline a business’s approach to talent management and to bolster their understanding of talent pools and existing teams, helping businesses to find their next employee and nurture them once they’re onboard.

We’ve explored some of the talent management areas that AI is impacting upon, as well as the potential downsides that the AI trend could have upon candidates and employers alike.

1. Automate candidate screening

AI can be used to reduce the time businesses spend finding the right employee by automating the process and providing more rigorous selection methods that filter out unsuitable CVs before a shortlist reaches the hiring manager.

2. Candidate assessment

AI software is changing the candidate assessment stage by combining techniques such as digital video and overlapping this with predicative analysis, thereby allowing the hiring manager to gain a data-driven understanding of the candidate’s suitability.

3. Skills matching

An applicant’s skill-sets, personality traits, and salary preferences can all be determined by an AI enhanced application system. Similarly, AI is also reinventing the traditional personality test and can produce a ‘score’ which candidates can publicise on their CV so that hiring managers can quickly assess their suitability.

4. Reduce human error

Human error is an inevitability of traditional talent management approaches and one that AI is supposedly able to eradicate completely, whilst also speeding up the process of collecting and compiling candidate and employee data.

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5. Employee onboarding

Ensuring your new hire is regularly contacted throughout the onboarding process can now be overseen by a bot, meaning that tasks such as document collating through to answering employee questions can all be relived of HR teams and carried out by AI powered virtual assistants.

6. Customise training

Once your new team member is onboard it’s vital that they remain engaged. Businesses are using AI to provide the right training for employees by creating a needs-based learning experience using learning data.

7. Entrenching biases

There are concerns that AI designed to enhance talent management could instead serve to perpetuate established biases within hiring and promotions – a very real concern when you consider that AI is a software which will inevitably be infiltrated by the biases of those who set it up.

8. Lack of humanisation

A lack of human interaction throughout the people management process due to the rise of automation is a concern for many within the HR sector. Nothing can compare to a human touch when it comes to talent management, and so while the transactional elements of the process can be enhanced by AI, businesses will need to work hard not to overlook the importance of human interaction – and hopefully in time come to realise it’s ever growing importance.

If you need any HR advice or guidance, please get in touch:+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.

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The UKs 10 most irritating office habits

In a recent UK survey, employees were asked to list what the most irritating habits of their co-workers were, while some of the findings might surprise you, are there any of them that you are guilty of?

In reverse order…

10. Wearing the same clothes – what does this say to your bosses? could you be giving the impression that you don’t care about your appearance?

9. Cooking smelly foods – be mindful of what you bring in to the office to microwave, fish and eggs not being the best choice for lunch!

8. Smelling of cigarettes – if you do smoke – why not pop a mint in after having a cigarette break.

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7. Talking loudly on the phone – you could take calls in a meeting room or corridor, or lower your voice if you need to stay at your desk.

6. Staying in the toilet too long – don’t be seen a time waster, only go to the loo when you really need too!

5. Interrupting when people are speaking – implement the ’10 second rule’, listen and wait before you speak.

4. Messy desks – keep your work area clutter-free – get a desk organiser, filing tray…anything that helps you get organised.

3. Not washing up – don’t expect somebody else to do it for you,  it should go without saying that you do your own washing up.

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2. Ignoring emails – this is unprofessional, if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of emails you receive, allocate a particular time each day to deal with your inbox instead of dipping in and out and not actually achieving anything.

1. Offensive body odour – top of the list and this is a difficult one to deal with, as you might not notice it yourself, but wearing clean clothes and showering daily will help.

Can you think of any other annoying habits that weren’t listed, we’d love to hear them, why not comment below?

If you need any HR advice or guidance, please get in touch:+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.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Can an employee be dismissed during their notice period for gross misconduct?

If an employee is dismissed or resigns they’ll most likely stay at work for their notice period, as agreed or outlined in their contract of employment. For some employees this can be a difficult time, as they can loose motivation or feel awkward working in an environment after they have been dismissed.

If an employee were to do anything which is classed as gross misconduct, contrary to some beliefs an employer CAN terminate an employee, even during their notice period as long as the proper process is followed. Giving notice that you are ending the employment relationship does not change the employer’s right to independently end the relationship first if it is appropriate.

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Is it worth it?

In practice, dismissing an employee on their notice period is very rare and is usually not worth the expense and possibility of legal action. Employers cannot make any deductions to pay in respect of time already worked due to an employee leaving before their notice period is up, unless this is specifically allowed by the employment contract.

If you dismiss someone without following the proper disciplinary process you could be subject to an unfair dismissal claim. If this was they case, a tribunal could drag on for months.

With this in mind if you are considering dismissing an employee for gross misconduct whilst they are on their notice period, it would be important to consider the individual situation and the cost and time implications to the business of each case and therefore in these instances we would always recommend seeking professional HR advice.

If you would like HR guidance on any issues you may have in your business get in touch: +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.

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