5 mins with HR Revolution’s CEO Wendy Read

In 2011 Wendy started HR Revolution, an outsourced HR business with one goal in mind, to show the business world how positive, energetic and fun HR and talent management can actually be… Simply put to revolutionise the way businesses work with HR.

Wendy loves a challenge, especially one that involves creativity, entrepreneurial thinking and adds value and positivity to the workplace.

Tell us about HR Revolution

At HR Revolution we do things a little differently, we deliver bespoke outsourced outsourced HR solutions.  Of course we cover everything you would expect from your HR team, admin, documentation, policies and procedures, but these things should be a given with any HR support you receive.  However, utilising the HR expertise we have in our team, we are able to positively push the performance of our client teams to help them become more accountable, more focused and enjoy their role, which in turn helps them grow the business.

What excites you the most about the work you do?

I love nothing more than seeing our solutions make a difference and breaking the mould when it comes to how HR is seen, used and delivered in business.  People are an amazing commodity in any business and by having the right HR support for them, you can really kick start the process of growing their success.

How do you make your employees happy?

Being part of the HR Revolution team is not for the faint-hearted, we are a team of positive, driven and energetic HR professionals who love what we do and keeping the team happy is something that everyone takes part in.  Autonomy is very important in our business, everyone no matter how long they have worked with us has a say, we love ideas!  To keep the team buzzing we have an office environment that we like to think helps stimulate creativity with space to think.  We are a social team and love nothing more than challenging ourselves to a boat race or marathon!  But the biggest driver for me is ensuring we support, train, develop and grow the team and have fun doing it!

What qualities do you look for most in your employees?

The core values we look for in our employees are:

Teamwork: We work as one team and we respect, support and protect every member of our HR Revolution family.

Accountability: We take responsibility and are accountable for our clients, promises, project tasks and deadlines.

Integrity: We are genuine, open and honest.  Real people, providing real solutions, for businesses with real drive.

Energy: We drive every project with high energy and commitment.

Drive: We love what we do and it is this passion that drives us to provide the very best solutions.

Tell us about a challenge you faced in your business and how you overcame it?

Breaking the mould of traditional HR has taken a while, and we are still not quite there.  It’s a tough one because there is nothing wrong with “traditional” HR but when speaking to colleagues and clients there is a lot of debate about how we could switch it up a little and make it more valuable and utilize the true essence of what HR is all about; ‘people!’  So because of this HR Revolution was born.

Other than your own, which other businesses are exciting you right now?

Entrepreneurial businesses excite me – those that are driven to succeed in their industry.  We work with businesses of all sizes and the one thing they all have in common is their attitude.  We love working with businesses that are passionate about their success, looking to push to the next level and wanting us to truly help them do that.

What is your best piece of employee management advice?

Your people are the most important commodity you have, hire and on-board them well, manage and develop them thoughtfully and encourage them to succeed.  Your people are a reflection of you; treat them well, allow them to be accountable and you will build a strong and committed team that love what they do.

If you could employ one famous person who would it be and why?

Wow, that’s a big question, there are so many to choose from but Seth Godin, (Marketing Guru who’s outlook on life I love), Tom Peters (the guy whose book Re:Imagine helped me define what I wanted from HR Revolution); Davina McCall (TV personality, because she’s a committed business woman who loves a challenge and is always tremendously positive)… the list this goes on…

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk



4 ways outsourced HR can help you save money…

Think that you can’t afford an HR consultant?  Think again…

We understand, you need a helping hand with some HR issues that are bubbling away under the surface, but wondering whether you can really spare the budget? Or whether you’d just be better off hoping for the best and carrying on as you are?

We know it can be scary to make that leap and bring in some HR help, however, the reality here is that we can often actually SAVE you money.

That has to be a great investment to make in your business.

Here are four ways in which we could save you money…

1. We can keep you out of tribunals

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re a fair employer who tries to do your best by your employees, that you are not at risk of having to face a tribunal. Not necessarily true.

Employment law is very complicated, and if you miss something, you could find yourself with a potentially very costly situation on your hands. We will make sure that your people practices are on the right side of the law.

2. We can increase the performance of your workforce

Imagine if you could double the output of your workforce overnight. Ok realistically, that’s probably not going to happen straight away, but we can dive deep into your business, pinpoint the exact issues that are at play, and create a step-by-step plan to fix them.

This can absolutely grow your productivity and make sure that your employees are firing on all cylinders. You might think that a big marketing budget, or some fancy social media tactics are what are going to give you the edge.  No the real breakthrough happens when you look INSIDE your business, rather than outside.

3. We can educate your managers

We don’t just come into your business, work some temporary magic, and then leave. We can give your managers the skills to ensure that they’re playing an active role in driving your business forward. This means less of a learning curve, less mistakes, and more strides forward.

Your employees are the most important investment that you can make, so it makes sense to nurture that investment. If you know that your managers have room for improvement, then stop blaming, take responsibility, and talk to someone who can help you to get things moving in the right direction.

5. We can provide a flexible service

Maybe you’re not quite at the stage where you cannot justify the cost of full-time, permanent HR help. That’s exactly where we can assist you. We don’t tie you into ridiculously long contracts you don’t need, and we can create scalable solutions that are perfect for your needs.

No ongoing retainers that don’t serve you. No off-the-shelf guidance. Just what you really need to move forward and solve your problems, right now. Our aim is to make you a better employer, not to bog you down in detail.  The best HR consultancy services can save you money, let HR Revolution take care of your HR needs so that you can take care of your business.

If you want to talk about how we can move forward together, get in touch today, help is only a phone call away +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Personality traits are NOT an excuse for poor behaviour!

Here in the HR Revolution office we have just undergone the DISC profile training, which is a modern interpretation of Dr. William Marston’s behavioral dimensions; a personal strengths profiling exercise that uncovers four quadrants of behaviour. Once you understand your natural behavioral patterns, it is said that you will find it easier to recognize the right opportunities to achieve the results you desire. These for quadrants are:

D – Dominance  I – Influence  S – Steadiness  C – Compliance

What I personally think the great thing about DISC is, it highlights other people’s personality traits, so you can understand better why they work the way they do, for example why one person might like to have all the facts and figures, while others are just, let’s just get on and worry about the details later…. It turns out we have both in our office which is actually a really good thing as we all fulfill different roles.

Anyway, DISC is a lot more in depth than I can offer in this blog and not the reason for me writing today, but it got me thinking… why is it that people tend to use their personality traits as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour?

How many times have you said “ignore him, you know what he’s like” or “don’t let her get to you, it’s just the way she is” or “why does everything have to revert back to them” and whilst this is true, does it make it ok?? I don’t think so.

I personally like to think that no one person is just one personality type and we are intelligent enough to know how to behave and adapt our styles towards other people.

Here is just one adjective describing a personality trait from each of the above groups: D: direct, I: emotionless, S: easily distracted and C: retreating, and I don’t think any of them are particularly positive (obviously there are lots of happy ones too!). But just because they are ‘part’ of our personality does that mean that’s how we should act? For example just because you are ‘direct’ naturally, does that mean you can use absolutely no tact whatsoever when communicating with colleagues? OR just because you tend to be ‘retreating’ does that mean you should get out of doing the things you are not comfortable with? Of course the answer is absolutely no.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, if we know what we are predominately like rather than using that behaviour as an excuse, why don’t we all try to bring through some of our other personality traits, or just take time to think about how we are being perceived by the recipient… be less blunt, show empathy or be bolder, whatever you feel would work best in that given situation.

Personality traits should be used to benefit you and others, not as an excuse to make people cry or be lazy!  Trust me, I know how difficult it is to adapt your natural behaviour to suit the needs of the situation, as my profile is DS the two most polar opposites!

If you are interested in learning more about DISC or any other personality testing within your business, please get in touch with HR Revolution +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, it may be what you need to get your team working more cohesively together.

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How to have a better Blue Monday

How is your Monday going?  It is the start of a new week, probably lots to do, reading and actioning emails and maybe planning ahead for yourself and your team members.

Did you know that today is “Blue Monday”, why you may ask,  it is because apparently the third Monday in January is labelled as the most depressing day of the year.

Its origin was once a year, due to a combination of factors: being a Monday, Christmas well and truly over, the weather being pretty dismal, holidays a long way off, all lead to feelings of negativity and impact on work productivity.

However, not all psychologists agree with this description:

“The reality is there’s no such thing as the most depressing day of the year and it trivialises serious mental health issues” says Dr. Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare.  “Mental Health and Mental illness is an ongoing matter and achieving a good work-life balance is important to being a healthier you”.

The emphasis shouldn’t focus on a “once a year” effort to cheer employees up, but should be something that is addressed all year round, encouraging better worklife balance as Dr Winwood explains.

“When you are mentally well, you are better at making the most of your life and work.  That doesn’t mean you’ll never experience any type of emotional problem, but it can mean that you’re able to deal with difficult or stressful situations more easily.  Research also shows that positive people tend to live healthier lifestyles”.

However, Dr. Winwood agrees that the “Monday Blues” can lead to less motivation, so employers should be looking at ways to improve on employee morale.

“If you think you workforce are lacking Monday motivation, identifying the reasons behind the low morale is key.  For example, improving the working environment is just one step to changing this.  Some minor improvements, such as better lighting, more comfortable chairs, or a supply of hot drinks, water and caffeine free alternatives may improve things for everyone and thus alter the mood”.

AXA PPP have designed the above infographic with tips on how to power on through and stay positive whenever those feelings hit.  However, it is important to stress that depression and mental illness shouldn’t be blamed on any single day – as there are 52 Mondays/weeks in a year.

Lets have a happy Monday instead.

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A version of this article originally appeared on breatheHR

Should I change career?

After trying my hand at several things after finishing University, and my thirties getting ever closer, I had that scary thought … where am I going in my life, my career??

At that moment in time, I was working in the recruitment business and had been for three years and it started to dawn on me that this was not the career for me.

After considering my strengths, values and what I enjoy, I decided HR would be an interesting option, I had a recruitment base and as a ‘people person’ I felt it could be the right match!

Further research into this confirmed to me that this could be it, so I braced myself for the inevitable salary hit and started applying enthusiastically for junior HR roles. This career change which I thought would be an easy transition…. No way – my hopes of this change being easy were quickly dashed as the rejection emails came flooding in because I had no previous experience.

However, despite this set back, I didn’t give up, ok so I may not have the experience, so I decided to get qualified and enrolled to study for my CIPD Level 3. This was tough – studying every evening and weekends alongside working full time, not to mention the financial element as it was self-funded!

I am pleased to say though my efforts paid off…  after many applications and job interviews later, I landed myself my perfect role at HR Revolution, giving me the chance to gain the HR experience I was looking for, with the added bonus of being able to work with a variety of clients across a range of industries.

I feel a change in career takes courage, flexibility and motivation to deal with the tough times it can bring, however the rewards once you succeed are certainly worth it!  I’m 7 months into my new role in HR Consultancy, CIPD qualified and love it…

If you need any help or advice with changing career, why not give HR Revolution a call, maybe we have the job for you…

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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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Halloween in the workplace

Next Monday is Halloween and here in the UK, celebrations around 31st October are a fairly new phenomenon, but gone are the days when we used to bob for apples and perhaps make a poorly crafted costume out of a discarded bed sheet. Halloween is now a big money making business.

There are definite business benefits to Halloween, injecting a little fun and joviality into the workplace, team building and stress reduction to name a few.  But, there are a few things for employer’s to keep in mind.

Make sure if you have a fancy dress theme that your employees know what is and isn’t acceptable. Fancy dress has the scope to offend some groups. For example costumes that stereotype someone with a mental health issue or from a particular religion on nationality, could lead to a discrimination claim.

Also, what employees post on social media. Make sure that you have a good social media policy in place to make it clear that any inappropriate use of the internet could result in disciplinary action if it brings the company’s reputation into disrepute.

Your employees are adults,  but just because it’s Halloween, it doesn’t mean that normal standards should slide and inappropriate behaviour should never be dismissed as ‘just a bit of fun’.

So let your employees enter into the spirit of the season if you wish to do so and remember that it’s only a few months until you face a whole new set of challenges in the shape of Christmas!!

Next month, we’ll be exploring the issues surrounding the festivities, and your responsibilities as an employer. Be sure to sign up for our updates so you get all the guidance that you need, delivered directly to your inbox.

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How leaving work on time has changed my life… for the better!!

I’m going to take you back a few years; I’m working in London trying to forge myself a career in a very male dominated industry and I thought part of this was to be seen as completely dedicated, hardworking and for my sins, work all hours just to prove it!  I did ok, I felt like a trooper and it made me feel important… “I can’t possibly leave, I’ve got so much on”, but in reality it didn’t help my cause… my boss always left early so never saw it anyway!!!  That didn’t matter though, I thought others did and I didn’t really have any commitments outside work so what was the harm.

Well fast forward a few years and here I am, a working mum that DOES have commitments

Lessons I’ve learned on how I can do it all:

Lesson No.1 – I can get more done in a day

Seriously how much time did I waste, well, doing nothing obviously! It’s about good time management and being focused, I had to stop I’ll just make a quick coffee and then get started mentality and just crack on.  Did I really need to stop and chat with Sue in accounts about Saturday night viewing (ok well maybe I did, but I could have stuck to Strictly instead of moving on to X Factor too!) a quick hello would do just fine.  Once I was focused and generally more strict with myself about knuckling down, I found that by home time I had got everything done and actually felt much more productive than ever before.

Lesson No. 2 – Things can wait

As I said above, I had got everything done that I needed to and there are some things that really can wait until the morning. What I had done previously was action emails my boss had written in the subject, one for the morning, thinking oh I’ll just do it now quickly… or what would actually happen was I would half start it, then have to start over again in the morning anyway!! So if it says, not urgent or one for tomorrow, that is exactly what it is and it CAN wait… having a decent work-life balance can’t.

Lesson No.3 – No one will tell me to go home

If the boss is still working, they are not going to tell me to go home and for a number of reasons: a) they might not have noticed the time as they are working too b) they expect me to manage my own timekeeping and c) why would they if I am still working off the clock!?!?! But I needed to remember, I have been working harder and more efficiently because I have to leave on time, people are depending on me to be elsewhere!

The biggest part of this lesson is though… I never got brownie points for staying late, so I won’t get overlooked because I’m leaving when I should, especially as I am achieving more anyway!! My conscience is clear, my work is done and it is ok to leave, I do not need permission.

Lesson No. 4 – I have a life and it doesn’t start at 9.30pm!

Ok, I still have to do a different kind of work when I leave the office, but it involves doing it with the very people that I work for in the first place, my family!

Of course there are times I work a little late, there has to be, things do come up, but equally my boss understands that I can’t start a meeting at 5.00pm. There is always room to be a bit flexible but staying late is a rarity now and not the norm.  If I can work smart and leave happy, then anyone can!

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National Work-Life Week

I’m sure you’ll all agree that we could all do with a better work-life balance and I was interested to find out that at the beginning of Oct it was National Work-Life Week, an initiative set up as an opportunity for both employers and employees to focus on well-being at work and work-life balance.

I think it is fair to say that the UK workforce does tend to glorify working long hours, the very thing that has been linked with stress and anxiety in the workplace, therefore not something an employer should encourage, given the problems managing sickness and absence.

So here are a few tips that employers could implement to help redress the balance.

More hours do not equal a better quality of work

There will obviously be exceptions to the rule, but, generally speaking, if an employee has to work late are they really working at their best during their normal working hours? It is usually because they aren’t that they feel the need to overcompensate. If you encourage them to leave on time you inspire them to be more disciplined at work and motivate them to be more productive throughout the day so that they can leave at the same time as every one else.

No success is worth it if it starts causing ill health

There won’t be an employer around that thinks it’s ok to work people into the ground. Let your employees know that you expect a lot from them because you want to challenge them and allow them to contribute to the success of the business in every way that they can. However, emphasise the need for them to be living a healthy lifestyle whilst they are also striving to achieve their dreams.

Work is never worth neglecting family and friends for

A great job may seem like the highest of priorities at a particular moment in time. However, it won’t be the boss standing beside them when things aren’t going quite as they’d like, it will be their family and friends. So they need to make sure that they allow themselves some downtime to spend with their loved ones. We are not robots, its good to be reminded of it from time to time.

So hopefully at 5.30pm today, you will be shutting down your computer and getting ready to go home, surely there are always better places to be.

Is your desk job killing you… 10 tips for physical activity in the workplace

We’ve been talking a lot lately about health and well-being in the office, so when we came across this blog from System Concepts, we just had to share it!

Did you know that sitting at a desk for eight hours a day can increase your risk of premature death by up to 60%, (worryingly, it is estimated that lack of physical activity is responsible for 5 million deaths globally, each year) as recent research published in the Lancet highlighted.

The research is based on a review of more than 1 million people from 16 different studies, and should be required reading for everyone involved in employee well-being and organisational health and safety.

It shows that increased time sitting is a major risk factor for morbidity (predominantly heart disease and cancer) as well as premature mortality.   In the research, mortality rates among those who sat for at least eight hours a day and managed less than five minutes’ activity were 9.9%. This compares with a mortality rate of 6.2% among those who spent just as long seated, but who managed around 60 minutes’ of activity per day.

Researchers concluded that 60-75 minutes of medium intensity physical activity per day seems to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time.

So if you have a desk job and can’t avoid long periods of sitting each day, here are 10 tips for physical activity at work that will help you to stay safe.

  1. Use your commute to do some extra walking. Park several roads away, or get off the bus a few stops early.
  2. Use the stairs instead of the lift.
  3. Go to speak to a colleague in person rather than emailing or phoning them.
  4. Suggest holding meetings with colleagues during a walk inside or outside the building.
  5. Exercise during your breaks, e.g. visit the gym at lunchtime or take a quick walk during your morning/afternoon coffee break.
  6. Plan your day to break up long spells of working on your computer with tasks requiring movement, e.g. printing, filing etc.
  7. Drink plenty of water. Sipping water thought the day will mean more trips to the bathroom.
  8. Go the extra distance when possible: get your coffee/water on another floor (use the stairs) or use the toilets that are the farthest from your desk.
  9. Stand while talking on the telephone, and do a few stretches.
  10. Organise the layout of your office space in such a way that you have to stand up to reach often-used files or your printer, rather than having everything within easy reach.

Thanks to System Concepts for this great blog, just what we wanted to say!

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