Your December survival guide…

Well I don’t know about you, but this year just seems to have flown by! There is no denying it – December is here… A slight panic rose in my stomach this morning thinking of all the things I have to do in just a few weeks!! I hope I’m not the only one that is experiencing feelings that seem to put in me in a very odd and slightly snappy mood when really I should be full of festive spirit, skipping around singing falalalala’s in my head!

So how about the rest of the world? Are you stressed, working every hour, trying to do a million and one things at work and at home? So what is the best way to deal with December’s impending chaos… I have a few tips to share with you all to ensure you get the balance and enjoy the best of the festive season!

First thing, stay calm…

Control – If a difficult situation arises don’t lash out, be calm and controlled and take lots of deep breaths take a moment and think about your response, think it through, you will be less likely to say or act in manor you will regret! Be it with a work colleague or a queue of stressful shoppers waiting to purchase the last of their Christmas gifts!

Communicate – We are all guilty of communicating via email, with colleagues or Managers even if they only sit across the desk! Remember emails can be misinterpreted; arrange a meeting, or pick up the phone, talk to each other and you will not be misunderstood! This carries through with home life too, remember it’s good to talk!

Calm – If someone upsets you at work, try and separate the person from their actions. You cannot stop stressful situations happening, but you can change your attitude towards them.  Think of your success and strengths and this will boost your self-esteem!

Stay healthy – Take time to look after you, you cannot function through illness or tiredness so make sure you eat well and get lots of sleep. We all over look our well being at this time of year, especially as we have such busy lives.  However to function at our best  we need to do all of the above.

Remember to take time and enjoy the festivities, find your Christmas ritual or maybe just believe a little bit!!!

Give HR Revolution 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.

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Overcoming the January productivity slump

The festive season is well underway and spirits are often high in the workplace. Everyone’s working towards shared goals, pulling together to make big things happen, and looking forward to the opportunity to take a little time out with friends and loved ones.

However, by the time the New Year comes, the general mood and feel has often shifted slightly. With only cold dark days, credit card bills and diets to look forward to, productivity in the workplace can come to a standstill. So how do you overcome the negative vibes…

 

Thank your employees for their hard work

Saying thank you is so simple and it’s something that you should be doing regularly, but it’s all too easy to overlook the basics in favour of developing complex strategies. Make sure your employees know that their contribution did not go unnoticed.

It’s funny how just two little words really can make someones day!

Get everyone together to set new goals

January can be a time when everyone settles back into their usual routines. The pressure might be lifted slightly, and whilst this can be a positive thing, it can also sometimes encourage complacency. Instead of letting this happen, make sure that you have a plan of action to guide you through the first quarter.

Call a team meeting, invite feedback and opinions, and ensure that everyone is fully up to speed and engaged with your new priorities. This will act as a timely reminder that it’s time to get back to business!

Lead by example and get your head in the game for 2017

You might be the boss, but that that doesn’t mean that you’re immune to the January blues! You should ensure that you celebrate your successes and take time to reflect on your achievements over the past 12 months, but it’s important that you also look at ways in which you can improve your skills and start the New Year with a bang.

Ask your staff to give you an open and honest assessment of how you’ve performed as a leader, and what you can do to support them better in the future. The best business owners are always considering how they can step up and lead by example.

Do you need some help with crafting your growth plans for 2017? We can make sure that you get the year off to a flying start. Give HR Revolution a call today to arrange an initial no-obligation consultation on +44 (0) 203 538 5311. We would love to hear from you!

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Why is Christmas just so stressful…

They say Christmas is the wonderful time of the year, for me it totally is, but for many, it can be the most stressful time of the year… but why?

At work;

  • Getting through the office Christmas party
  • Gifts for the office (those who you want to buy for!)
  • Secret Santa
  • Getting in early enough to get the holiday week off work!
  • Making sure you have all your work up to date before you finish up.
  • Handing over to anyone who may have chosen to work the holiday season.
  • Letting your clients now that you are out of the office and when you are back!

and that’s before you even begin at home;

  • Getting your decorations up in time
  • Buying the tree and decorating it perfectly!
  • The food
  • The drinks
  • Planning and hosting your parties
  • Catering for your Christmas day festivities
  • Wrapping everyone’s presents
  • Keeping everyone smiling!
  • ….The list is endless!

For those of you that love it all (like me! I may not be very good at it, but love it all the same) you will have no problems, you’ll plough through everything and just get it done with a Christmas smile, but for those of you that don’t its a mountainous chore that can be seriously stressful!

We get it! Christmas isn’t for everyone! 
We understand why the festive period is so overwhelming, with the pressures from online magazines and social media, of smiling, organised people that seem to be skipping through the festive period without any issues or stress what-so-ever!  The smoothly run Christmas parties, perfectly wrapped gifts, homemade goodies, beautifully decorated homes and not to mention the turkey!

But fear not – remember this is the world of social media where “everything is awesome” in the REAL world you choose how stressed you get, you choose to what levels you really want and need to be at… is getting super stressed REALLY worth it!  Not when it ruins your Holiday season that’s for sure!

Over the last few years, the portrayed image of a ‘perfect’ amazing Christmas with everything in its place with no dramas, has overtaken the festive spirit.  General responses from those we asked said that their top two stresses include:

  1. Unrealistic expectations for your big day;  setting your expectations (or indeed expectations on others!) too high comes with the risk of just ending up disappointed, and at the top of the Pinterest fails list! Facebook stories and smiling photos of family and friends enjoying each others company just pile on the pressure! Remember I very much doubt you would want to pin or post a photo of your kitchen after you’ve burnt the turkey, the office party where everyone is grumpy, your family day mid row!  Well remember neither does anyone else. These Social Media sites are for those wanting to show all the fabulous times – which we love by the way!! We just don’t want you using these as guidelines to a stress-free Christmas.   Take the pressure off – personally I think  Christmas is better when its a little crazy!
  2. Too much commercial focus, too much to buy; Life is busy enough without having to go overboard with the extras which are now becoming more and more common-place, like home-made wrapping paper & cards, elaborate catering ideas and the need to come up with ridiculously inventive antics for the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ on a daily basis to name a few!  Take a deep breathe and decide what’s important to you and make that happen!  Jot down your list and take the top 5 things and these you focus on – the rest if they are important delegate!! Getting everyone involved in the process makes for a much more healthy and happy holiday.

So here’s to a very merry, stress-free Christmas

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Keep your employees focused during the festive period…

Although Christmas is technically celebrated over three consecutive days, Christmas obsessed, festive loving individuals will always go out of their way to make Christmas a month long celebration. Now I am no Scrooge, but the business world doesn’t stop just because copious amounts of fairy lights go up and Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ gets stuck on repeat. For this reason it is good to strive for a balance that reflects ‘being all for the Christmas celebrations’ whilst keeping your businesses productivity levels high.

How to integrate Christmas into your business without losing sight of ‘getting the job done’.

1. Start a Christmas committee; anyone who LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Christmas can get involved. The idea is to have an initial meeting surrounding the planning of Christmas activities and then allocate time throughout December to carry them out. When you allocate time to Christmas andthe celebrations from ‘worktime’ it will give those who love Christmas something to look forward to, making them less inclined to lose focus at the times where they shouldn’t. This could be secret Santa, decorating the office, planning the office Christmas party, organising a Christmas bake off/morning tea or encouraging ridiculous dress up themes.

2. Have a Christmas or end of year party away from the office and after hours; when you put on a paid for function, you will generally find that people are happy to attend in their personal time and it also means you’re not taking your employees away from their work. Parties during work hours are fine too, however be prepared for the best part of the day to be unproductive.

3. Set the pace; if your business is generally quiet this time of year, create proactive things for your teams to do/put in place to ensure they continue to keep busy (while you continue to pay them). This will keep the team focused on getting organised for the New Year which is integral if they are not dealing with their typical busy work load. These things could be anything from a spring clean, to getting your team to write their ‘to do list’s/plans’ for the following year. You could also use this time for training and development, to ensure all that training that you’ve been meaning to do actually gets done!

4. Set the expectations AND the right tone; try to avoid the condescending “keep focused emails” as they tend to make your team feel like you have no confidence in their commitment. Instead send THANK YOU emails! Say how much you appreciate their hard work this year and that would you love their help in making December productive, so you can finish the year with a bang! Reminding your team how much you value their dedication and commitment is a great way to ensure it continues throughout December.

5. Manage the festive spoilers; if someone is persistently late into work /coming back from a break or arriving at work hung-over or drunk, these behaviours need to be address separately and privately. No matter how well-meaning a group message might be, this is highly likely to disengage those who are doing the right thing. On the other hand, if it is not addressed, it can bring down the office productivity levels. Don’t be tempted to let these issues slide just because it’s Christmas… If you need to have these conversations, then you need to have them… promptly!

It is probably a good time to check your employee handbook to ensure you have relevant time keeping, alcohol and other related behavioural policies in place. Visit HR Revolution’s one stop document shop for all your policies and procedures www.hrrevolutionshop.co.uk

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An HR nightmare at the Christmas party

Today is the 1st December and the office party season is now well underway.  It’s a time for most employees to unwind, let their hair down and have a few drinks after working hard all year. While most parties pass without incident, people can sometimes let their hair down a little bit too much and indulge in actions and behaviours which cause distress to others and serious headaches for HR.

When you bring together an office full of people who only really know each other in a work capacity and give them loads of alcohol, the results can be unpredictable, but what should you do if one of your employees crosses the line at the office Christmas party?  We’ve put some possible scenarios together and how they should be handled by HR.

SCENARIO 1: Inappropriate advances

A drunk employee repeatedly tells a colleague how gorgeous they think they are and that they’d love to get to know them better. He/she does not report this, but it makes them feel very uncomfortable and they tell a colleague in confidence.

It seems like the employee doesn’t wish to make a scene at the party but is clearly uncomfortable with what has happened – this is highlighted by their need to express their concerns to another colleague. As a result, this should not be discussed during the party so as to no make them feel uncomfortable.  It is always better to wait until everyone is sober before broaching any kind of issue.

The next possible working day an informal meeting should be scheduled to find out what happened and whether it was a regular occurrence.  If, after exploring this, it was found it was a one-off event then I would ask if he/she wishes to take things further, in which case we would have to follow procedure for inappropriate behaviour towards a colleague, and if not, it would just be noted down on file.

Separate enquiries should be followed up with the employee concerned, asking them their recollection of the event and whether he/she feels that the approach they took was entirely appropriate. It would be best to remind them that relationships at work are not encouraged by the company and advise that there would be no further follow up, unless further complaints were received.

SCENARIO 2: Loose lips

A drunk employee lets slip that the boss is planning to make a number of redundancies in the coming weeks. This information is highly confidential but now a handful of people know.

I’m making the assumption here that it would be a Senior Manager releasing this kind of information, which would make the breach of confidentiality more extreme. I wouldn’t act on this information at the party but on the next possible working day it would be necessary to meet with the employee and establish what had happened a the party.

It may be necessary to conduct a full investigation with the individual to ascertain what was said and the reason this might be. It would be wise to speak with those employees that had been told about the redundancies and note their account of the events. At this point we would also ask how far the information had spread and look to gain general reactions. Unfortunately, such information could have a serious impact on employee morale and gossip often circulates quickly, so it is extremely important that it is dealt with quickly and with discretion.

If it can be proven that the employee let slip this information, then we would have to follow the disciplinary process with them, as they have breached their trust by divulging this information. The company itself should look into sending a company-wide email to alleviate any fears and ensure we communicate effectively with staff members. It may also be necessary to follow up on this email to ensure everyone understands and is on the same page.

SCENARIO 3: The fight

As the drink flows two party goers start to have a disagreement. Temperatures boil over and the two start pushing each other and squaring up. Blows are exchanged by both, before colleagues break it up.

Make sure the fight is broken up and both parties are put in separate taxis and sent home.

The next possible working day invite both employees to a disciplinary hearing, where they will receive a warning for bringing the company into disrepute and failing their roles as ambassadors of the company.

Unfortunately, when everyone has had a lot to drink, emotions run high and unresolved issues can turn into full-blown arguments.

Although employees are outside of work hours, they are still representing the company and should behave accordingly. As a result, it’s important to have procedures in place to deal with any conflict that may arise eg. a no tolerance policy towards violence within the workplace, which extends to any organised work event, and the procedure is exactly the same as the one that would arise should employees get in a fight in the office.

SCENARIO 4: Sex in the stationary cupboard

An employee is heading into the stationary cupboard to collect another case of red wine that has been stored there when they discover two colleagues having sex. Embarrassed, they both straighten their clothes and re-join the party. The person who discovered them goes back into the party and tells some colleagues about the hilarious discovery.

In this case, I would not address them at the party, although I may try to defuse the jokes that could arise from the person who discovered them telling other people, as this could result in bullying.

I would meet with both parties separately on the following work day to establish what had gone on and hold an investigation. We don’t encourage relationships within the workplace and it is certainly not appropriate to have sex at a work party. However, it would be necessary to understand exactly what happened and not just listen to gossip. Both parties should be dealt with in exactly the same manner and the person who discovered them in the cupboard would need to be interviewed to establish the facts.

I would also ask the person who discovered them whether they thought it appropriate to tell their colleagues and have a joke about the couple, as this could lead to further issues down the line.

If you want to discuss any of the issues above or need a bit of guidance, please do get in touch with HR Revolution, we’d be happy to help (0) 203 5385311 – www.hrrevolution.co.uk www.hrrevolutionshop.co.uk

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A version of this article first appeared on breatheHR

 

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY…

To all our American friends, happy 4th of July.

 

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4 more sleeps to go!

Yep that’s right, just 4 little days until it is completely acceptable for us to eat our own body weight in delicious goodies! We’re not fussy either what those goodies are; if you are like me I will enjoy my cheese selection just as much as my selection box of chocs!! So why is it then with all that food so close on the horizon that our office is at bursting point with treats!!

Scientists have done numerous studies on this exact thing (I didn’t realise it was quite such a phenomenon) and apparently there are feeders among us. These are people who bring in tasty goods and encourage everyone to partake in the feasting other than themselves.

Whilst this may well be true, I like to think that the people in my office are not feeders and instead have taken on my philosophy, it’s Christmas, so why not!! And it is as simple as that.

We are indulging simply because we can, after all, when else in the year can you justify buying 1KG worth of chocolate just because it is only four pounds!!

Here is a little tip though from the “scientist” we eat 5.6 times more chocolate if it is placed on a nearby desk then if we had to walk two meters to get it, so just put the bowl near the printer!

As this is an HR blog I will also add, that chocolate makes you happy, happiness makes you work with more enthusiasm, sharing is caring and everyone is working wonderfully together, so really it is all for the good of team spirit!

Enjoy and indulge at its Christmas!! HR won’t mind, it’s only chocolate and we don’t as yet have a policy for Chocolate consumption in the office at Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from the HRRev Blogger @HRREV

 

8 More Sleeps till Santa!

Eek, Christmas is now only a week away, and if you are anything like me, which I hope you’re not, there is still so much to fit it!

At work I’m trying to get everything finalised before I break up and at home I have a list as long as my arm of things I need to do, including at list of at least 10 presents I need to buy and fit in a food shop to feed the 12 people I have coming for Christmas lunch! At this rate they will be settling down to turkey and twiglets as everything else is still firmly in the shops!!

We all have a Christmas wish list, mine has on a it a magic pixie to sort everything while I’m sleeping… Sadly I don’t think that will happen, so at work at least we can try and make things seem a little lighter and brighter in this final manic week!

Here are our tips…

Manage your Time like Santa! Make time for your staff, we are all stretched for time especially this time of the year! Plan your time efficiently to get the most of your day and your staff.

Smile: Happy people attract positivity; positivity creates motivation inspiration and a happier working environment. The starting point is just a pure and simple a smile!

Appreciation: Show your staff that you recognise their hard work it really means a lot, especially at this time of year when we are all dashing here and there trying to get those last minute gifts before Christmas Eve!

Communicate: Make time to communicate with your staff, take an interest in their plans for Christmas and you can then say a personal thank you for their hard work this year. This is a gesture of good-will just like the three wise men and this will show that hard work does not go unnoticed!

For more motivational festive advice contact us now for a free HR Consultation @HRREV or If you have any advice for my home Christmas Crisis, please let me know!

 

If HR Ran Christmas!

A little tongue in cheek humour for a manic Monday before Christmas!!

So if HR really did run Christmas, I bet you think it would go a little something like this…

The elves would spend their time chatting about Santa’s remuneration package and abundant holidays. Rudolph would be pulled over on suspicion of DUI and sent for counselling. Santa would be sent to wellbeing classes and retrained on Elf and Safety! God would rest “ye merry gentle people”, and the three kings would be one king, one queen and a eunuch. Charades would require a competency based assessment system, linked to a 360 and feeding into a chocolate reward strategy!

Oh

And sprouts would be compulsory! Ha ha ha

Happy Christmas from a very Christmassy HR office @HRREV!