How to handle employee incidents and grievances

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When incidents occur that affect the well being of employees or undermine the company culture, it is important to address issues in a way that is effective and legal. Far too often, employee incidents and grievances are swept under the carpet just with the explanation that the issue is “under investigation.” Since incidents that have not been handled correctly have the potential to detract from employee satisfaction, raise turnover and cause legal troubles, it is sensible to follow the actions below to handle any such problems.

Address Complaints

It is always a good course of action to address any employee complaints; sitting down and listening to their grievances or description of how an incident occurred is an important first step. Far too often, employees’ complaints are brushed off or even mocked, which can make employees feel under valued and can cause dissatisfaction in the workplace. If it makes more sense, allowing employees to report incidents or grievances using messaging or the telephone may also be helpful.

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Document, Document, Document!

Having a written record of when an incident occurred and having all relevant information can be helpful in an investigation. Make sure that all individuals that were involved, including employees, customers, and even bystanders, are interviewed and statements taken. If disciplinary action is required or if accident reports are relevant, these should be filled out and notations made on all documentation detailing the actions that have been taken.

Perform an Investigation

Investigations may differ depending on the type of incident, but an unbiased investigator should always be the one in charge. Bringing in a third party to investigate, such as an outsourced HR company (HR Revolution) is always a good idea and can save much hassle further down the line.

Performing an investigation can help to ensure that an incident occurred the way that it was reported, but can also help to identify issues that can be changed to prevent future incidents and complaints.

Take Action to Make Changes

Taking decisive action is important and shows employees that the company is serious about resolving issues. However, actions taken may widely vary and not everyone is going to agree with the actions taken in any given situation.

If a grievance stems from harassment, for example, instituting training to identify and discourage harassment may be helpful. If a grievance stems from theft, implementing cameras may work to prevent future problems.

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Keep Everything Confidential

Talking too much about an incident, especially with individuals not affected by it can be damaging to an investigation and can even result in legal action. Employees that could have been helpful to an investigation may clam up after being forewarned about what is going on. If a person has been accused of something and finds out because of a rumour, the individual may also have grounds for a libel case.

Use Disciplinary Tools Wisely

In many cases, employers are tempted to immediately dismiss anyone accused of wrongdoing, but this may be the wrong approach. If someone made an honest mistake that had affected others unfavourably, coaching may be more helpful and change the situation rather than dismissal. If employees have engaged in violence, predatory behaviour, or theft, dismissal is appropriate after the incident has been investigated adequately.

Dealing with an employee grievance can be daunting if you don’t know how to handle the situation correctly. HR Revolution are here to help you every step of the way, from the initial advice through to running the entire process for you, so if you don’t know where to start why not give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email us info@hrrevolution.co.uk

Remember getting the process wrong, can result in costly repercussions for your business, so let’s get it right, together!

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Job Descriptions – Why getting them right is so important!

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Job descriptions vary from company to company. Some companies don’t understand the need for job descriptions so they put very little time and effort into them often resulting in a description that isn’t a true reflection of the job. In addition to this some companies don’t update job descriptions as the role evolves with the business needs, thus leaving the descriptions to become outdated.

On the other hand, some companies create detailed job descriptions, which in some cases can be overwhelming. A detailed and well-structured job description gives clear guidance of what is required by the employee but it can also leave the employee little flexibility to think and perform outside of the box.  For the majority of companies the ability to think and perform outside of the box allows for fresh ideas and pushes the company in exciting new directions. The inability to be flexible can also disengage employees which could cause issues with their performance.

Let’s strip it back:

What is a job description? Wikipedia tells us…

“A job description is a document that describes the general tasks, or functions, and responsibilities of a position. It may specify the functionary to whom the position reports, specifications such as the qualifications or skills needed by the person in the job, and a salary range”.

These details help to illustrate the type of job, how it is supposed to be performed and what is expected to be delivered. It also outlines the important reporting relationships creating a clear communication path between the employee and employer.

Job descriptions are not only used for hiring but are also effective for the management of an employee. If kept up to date job descriptions can act as a well devised job plan for the employee and become a significant tool to great business success.

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Download HR Revolution’s Job Expectation Pack HERE…

Purpose – The purpose of this powerful yet underrated document.

There are various areas of a business that a job description can be useful for. The first use, perhaps the sole use, that probably springs to your mind is the use for recruitment and selection; used to accompany a job advert and outline the role the company is recruiting for. The world of recruitment is fast becoming a ‘buyer’s market’ which means companies need to appeal to not only new talent but the right talent.  Job descriptions can be used as a platform to reflect and promote the companies goals, values and company culture to attract the right person.  The job description then forms a basis for the interview questions and ultimately helps inform hiring decisions. Many employees become disengaged from their new roles as ‘it wasn’t what was expected’; a detailed job description should hopefully mitigate this, encourage behavioural accountability and instil commitment to the company mission.  This should also discourage employees from refusing work because ‘it’s not my job’.

You’ve done the hard work, your new employee is hired, their employee file is created, their job description is (or should) be saved and then … it’s forgotten about. Now I won’t tarnish you all with that brush, I am sure there are some of you out there who realise the many uses’ of a job description long after the employee is hired. However for those of you who don’t, I’ll let you in on a few secrets:

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  1. You can use the new starter’s job description as a basis for the induction. The job description could provide a great structure by working through each expectation in the order of importance or frequency of use. For example, a receptionist answering the phones would be one of the first tasks they would need to become familiar with, whereas building the knowledge of staff movements may be something they begin to develop towards the end of the week as they get to know everyone. This approach ensures that the new starter is comfortable with all tasks they are expected to carry out and sets them in good stead to passing their probation.
  2. The job description can then be used during the probation review and later on performance reviews. The job description will provide areas in which the employee can be assessed against and determine areas in need of additional training and development. This creates a great communication line between the employee and employer providing a supportive culture and promoting career progression. Performance reviews are also a great time to assess the roles purpose and update the job description as required to fit the business needs.
  3. Businesses can use an up to date job description for reward and remuneration decisions such as job levelling, salary increases or obtaining comparable industry salaries. This ensures the salaries within the business are competitive enough to encourage employee engagement and performance and stay in line with the industry.outsourced hr - hr solutions
  4. Periods of absence such as holiday, sickness, maternity leave requires a role to be covered. With an up to date job description this makes for easy planning and anyone stepping in to cover the role will easily be able to see what is required and expected. In the event of long term sickness or maternity leave the job description can be used to map out a return to work programme to ensure the employee is fully supported back into their role.
  5. Finally and this is a rare use of a job description but they are useful in the event of a disciplinary. Job descriptions are a legal document and are helpful when outlining an employee’s key responsibilities which may be in dispute. If the role and the expectations of the role are clearly communicated in a document which can be referred to by each party, throughout employment, the excuse of not being aware of what was required is less likely to be a valid point.

As you can probably tell from the above you’d be crazy not to invest some time and energy into your company’s job descriptions, it may just save you a headache down the line.

HR Revolution can help why not give us a call +44 203 538 5311 or email us: info@hrrevolution.co.uk or download our Job Expectation template pack HERE

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What to do when an employee unexpectedly resigns…

So things are ticking along nicely in your business… Your employees are engaged, productive, and they’re smashing their goals. Sales are on the rise, and you’re feeling pretty pleased with the fact that you’ve managed to grow and nurture such an awesome team.

However quite out of the blue there’s a spanner in the works.  A key employee tells you that they’re moving on to pastures new and in a small business, we know this can be a serious blow and have a real impact on your bottom line if it’s not managed effectively.

So in practical terms, let’s take a look at what you need to do…

Establish exactly when they’ll leave

You might already have a policy in place surrounding the necessary notice period. Of course though, things don’t always go according to plan, so don’t make any assumptions. Make sure that you know the precise date that your employee will leave. This way, you can sort out any outstanding admin arrangements, including payroll, and you can also start to work out your next steps so there’s minimum impact on your business.

Carry out an exit interview

An exit interview will allow you to get some valuable feedback about why your member of staff decided to leave. You can’t retain everyone you recruit, but it makes sense to keep an eye on the reasons why people move on to different things.

Do remember that because you’re the boss, you’re not always going to get the full and complete truth. It might be worth outsourcing this part of the process, so you can be sure that you’re getting more reliable and meaningful information to work with.

Implement your continuity plan

Right now, it’s no help whatsoever for us to mention that you should have already planned for these kinds of circumstances. You already know this, and you’re probably kicking yourself. Still though, there’s work to be done. You need to establish how you’ll make sure that productivity remains high, and that your business doesn’t suffer.

Part of this is likely to involve looking for a new employee. For now, consider how you can bridge any gaps by utilising your existing workforce, without making unreasonable demands. It may not be ideal, but there’s often a silver lining. You could be giving an ambitious employee an opportunity to step up and broaden their experience.

Don’t forget to thank your employee for their contribution

We know that you don’t need us to tell you that this is a good idea, but when you’re stressed out about the future, it’s easy to overlook the most obvious things. Your employee could go on to refer business your way, or they may even become a customer or a client in the future.

And of course, you definitely don’t want to face the fallout that could come with your employee ending their time with you on a sour note. A little bit of consideration can go a long way.

If you’re currently dealing with the potential nightmare of having an employee hand in their notice, or you’re worried that you might be in the not too distant future, then get in touch.

Give HR Revolution a call today and have a chat about your options and how you can navigate your way through any potential pitfalls.  We look forward to hearing from you +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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School’s out for summer…

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It’s that time of year again. All across the country, teachers are breathing a sigh of relief and getting ready to wind down for the summer holidays, whilst parents are forced to consider how they’ll balance childcare responsibilities with their working lives.

The bottom line here is clear. When the kids are off school, either due to organised breaks throughout the academic year, or because of other factors, it can have a big impact on businesses. As an employer, it pays to take a proactive approach.  Below, HR Revolution shares our advice and guidance for managing the associated challenges effectively.

Harness a more flexible approach

Giving your staff more flexibility can help to ensure that an appropriate balance is struck. Consider whether you could offer your team members the opportunity to work from home, or slightly alter their hours during the summer holidays.

When most people think of flexible working, they think of arrangements like the above, and it’s true that these can really help. Don’t be scared to get a little more creative though and think outside of the box. Many businesses have successfully offered term-time only contracts for employees who are balancing their careers with caring responsibilities.

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Be prepared for an influx of holiday requests

At this time of year, many of us are tempted by the prospect of booking a last-minute getaway. We all like a bit of sun and sand, but when your staff are planning a mass exodus, the situation can turn into a major headache. Remember that giving priority to employees with children could be discriminatory.

If you feel like you’re struggling to manage holiday requests, it might be time to implement a more robust system. This can ensure that your processes are fair and equal, and that you’re fully prepared for the challenges that the summer period can bring.

Take the time to rethink your priorities

Many workplaces experience a bit of a lull during the summer months. Employees are away on holiday and you might find yourself slipping into the trap of letting the time just pass you by. Instead of going down this route, take the opportunity to get your leadership team together and focus on where you’re going.

What are your priorities for the second half of the year? What challenges do you need to overcome? What opportunities exist that you aren’t tapping into? A little planning can go a long way.

If the summer season is causing you HR headaches in your business, seek out HR Revolution’s assistance, we can help you get things back on track and stop small issues from escalating into something more serious.

For a limited time only, take advantage of our no-obligation HR Audit service (worth £750.00) which we are giving away for FREE.  Call today +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk to book yours now!

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Do you really communicate with your colleagues?…

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

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

Here are a few tips to get you started:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HR Revolutions Guide – Are you communicating effectively

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

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

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Handling the Summer productivity slump…

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Yes it’s Summer, holidays are being booked, the weather is hot, hot, hot, and workers all across the country are looking forward to a bit of well-deserved time away from their desks.

But whilst many people will be worrying about how much they can squeeze into their luggage allowance and whether last year’s swimwear still fits, many business owners will have a more pressing concern. As temperatures start to rise, and they certainly have this year!!! how do you ensure that the summer season doesn’t have a negative impact on productivity?

As always, we’re here to help with some practical suggestions. Read on to find out more about what yothe time to think about how you’ll approach the working calendar next summer. As well, it won’t be long before you’ll have to start thinking about how you’ll manage your staff over the Christmas period, so you can probably take away some very important lessons.

Click on the link below to see HR Revolution’s HR software solutions in partnership with breatheHR, which will save you time, energy and money by managing your HR online, giving you access to all of your employee documents, employee holiday planner and appraisal management system from wherever you are.

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Bring the summer feeling to your office

When the weather’s warmer and there are – let’s face it – many other things that your employees would rather be doing than sitting in the office, it could be worthwhile to think about how you can raise spirits and inject a bit of oomph back into proceedings. If some employees are away on holiday, you can ensure that those who are left behind aren’t feeling deflated and demotivated.

Your approach here needn’t cost you a fortune, there are many options for you to choose from. You could you treat the office to an ice-cream, or you could contact a nearby personal trainer and ask them to lead an outdoor workout for your staff? Or maybe a lunchtime picnic in a local park, small gestures can make all the difference.

Give your HR processes an overhaul

It’s natural that there will be certain times of the year when you notice a change in productivity. Sometimes, slight fluctuations are unavoidable, and you need to simply do all you can to minimise the impact. If reduced productivity has become a longstanding problem though, it’s time to address the reasons why, and do something about it.

Your people processes and procedures will often provide you with clues, and they can also be the remedy. Is your business suffering as a result of poor management practices? Are you using outdated systems? Are your employees dissatisfied with certain aspects of their roles, or the way in which the business is being operated?

If you have any questions or need help give HR Revolution a call today +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we look forward to hearing from you.

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Where has “Customer Service” gone???

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I’ve had to deal with a couple of suppliers over the past fortnight that quite clearly missed the training sessions on “Customer Care” and “Customer Relations” and quite frankly have left my blood boiling!

It is so frustrating that good customer service seems to be completely non-existent now days and companies think it’s acceptable to do the absolute minimum for their customers and usually all whilst hiding behind an email.

Being a people focused company,  I want to share my top 3 tips for you to share with your teams to ensure you don’t offer the same, what I consider unacceptable, level of service!

  1. Don’t tell your customer that you “don’t do something” – There is a reason they contacted you in the first place, they trust you and know you will be able to help them.   So even if it is a service that you don’t provide, then offer to help them with something you do!  Even if in the end, you offer them an alternative source of supply, they will still come back to you in the future and will leave the conversation on a happy note knowing how you tried to help them.outsourced hr - hr revolution
  2. Don’t put the onus on them – They are calling you because they want someone to do what they can’t or don’t want to, so saying the words “if you do…” or “you need to…” just irritates. What you think is an easy task others may not and fobbing them off in this manner is just giving them the excuse to find someone that will actually help…. And guess what, they may not come back to you next time.
  3. Don’t hide behind an email – If you must tell the customer you can’t help, or that things will take longer than expected, pick up the phone! It is so much harder to be cross with someone if you are actually speaking to them. Also lazy typing and the use of text speak just gets peoples backs up and will lead no further than the complaints department.

Playing devil’s advocate though just for a second, perhaps it’s not their fault they are providing a less than adequate service, do they even know what’s expected or been fully trained for the role? Either way, if we all try that little bit harder to provide a service that is over and above expectation, then good customer service will prevail once again!

We have a saying at HR Revolution “look after your people and the bottom line will look after itself” and that can apply to your customers too.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on “Customer Service” comment below or give us a call on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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