How to prepare and conduct a grievance meeting

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In any business it is important to have a good grievance procedure as it allows employers the opportunity to resolve workplace issues early, saving them from the breakdown of employment relationships and, ultimately, tribunal claims.

Here are the the key steps to carrying out a fair grievance hearing:

1. Decide whether or not the grievance can be resolved informally or if the formal grievance procedure should be used.

2. Make sure you comply with both the terms of your company’s grievance procedure and the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

3. Appoint an appropriate manager to deal with the employee’s grievance.

4. Carry out a full investigation into the grievance and obtain all relevant evidence. Send the evidence to the employee in advance of the grievance meeting.

5. Invite the employee to the grievance meeting and remind them of their statutory right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.

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6. Ensure that someone who is not involved in the case is appointed to take notes on the proceedings.

7. Allow the employee to explain the details of their grievance and how they would like it to be resolved.

8. Adjourn the grievance meeting to give proper consideration to all the evidence before making a decision.

9. Once the decision whether or not to uphold the grievance is made, inform the employee in writing with details of why that decision was reached.

10. Notify the employee of their right to appeal against the outcome of the grievance procedure.

If you would like any further guidance or reassurance contact HR Revolution on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we are friendly expert HR professionals who can help you resolve any issues whilst supporting your employees and minimising any risk to your business.

Remember getting the process wrong, can result in costly repercussions for your business, so let HR Revolution help you gt it right.

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Best practice guidelines for employers with employees who give birth to sick or premature babies

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“Working parents deserve support at work, and those who have premature babies should expect nothing less than total backing from their employers at what can be an exceptionally difficult and worrying time.”                          (Business Minister Margot James)

As an employer, are you aware of the statutory entitlements and the best ways in which to support your employees with premature or sick babies? Here are some of the best practice guidelines to help employers manage employees through this difficult period.

MAT B1

MAT B1 forms must be provided in order to receive Statutory Maternity Pay. In such circumstances as a premature baby, mothers are unable to obtain a MAT B1 form before the baby is born. In the chaos of it all the parents may forget or not be aware of the statutory requirements for SMP so, when/if appropriate, the employer could give the employee a supportive reminder.  HRREV recommends providing expectant employees with a Maternity Pack which highlights points such as this. This will prepare the employee should something like this happen and be a central point of reference during any stage of their pregnancy/birth.

Whilst the employee is waiting for their SMP to kick in it may worth considering providing the employee with financial aid such as a loan or advance in salary. Whilst handling offers like this sensitively you should always formalise such agreements in writing.

Communication

Communication is always a grey area when an employee goes on maternity leave. Employers should always ask the parents if they are happy to be contacted and what the best way of doing so is.

Take care when first communicating with the employee after the birth of their child. Usually congratulations are in order, however it may not be appropriate in some circumstances but it is still important to acknowledge the birth perhaps a “thinking of you and baby card” or a personalised video message from the team.

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Fathers/ Partners

It’s important that an employer is compassionate towards the father/partner of the mother. They will also be stressed and their main priority will be supporting mother and baby. As an employer you may need to be flexible with time off or working hours. It is important to remind fathers and partners that they are eligible for Paternity leave and pay, which they can take within 8 weeks of the actual date of birth or within 8 weeks of the expected date of birth.

Family Friendly Entitlements

To further support the parents, remind the employee about their entitlement to parental leave, special leave and/or (if you are happy to accept shorter notification) shared parental leave. Perhaps refer them to the policies within your employee handbook so they can digest the information in their own time.

Communication to their colleagues

Employers should sensitively ask the parents what they would like to tell their colleagues. The extra support of their work colleagues could really help the parent feel supported by their company, making the transition back to work easier when they are ready.  Some parents will prefer privacy and it is then up to the employer to ensure that this is communicated to their colleagues to ensure no upset it caused.

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 Death of a baby

Sadly some parents experience the death of their premature or sick baby. It is important to remember that the mother is still entitled to take up to 52 weeks of Maternity leave and 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity pay (if eligible). Similarly the father/partner of the mother is also able to receive Paternity leave and pay (if eligible).  Ensure that this is communicated this to the employee compassionately and at an appropriate time.

Returning to work

Returning to work can be a difficult time for most parents, however if the baby is born early or sick and still in hospital this can leave the parents feeling more anxious and worried than normal.

Employers should recognise the need to support the employee by providing them with a flexible return to work plan, balancing the needs of the business and their parental pressures. It is also important to provide a return to work plan that is well structured and eases the employee into their role at a pace they are comfortable at.

Employers should always seriously consider formal/informal flexible working requests. Refer to a flexible working policy and discuss the options with the employee upon their return. This may help make them feel more supported and alleviate their work worries.

If you need further clarification or would like to discuss any of the guidelines above, please do get in touch with HR Revolution, friendly, expert HR experts who are here to help.  Call us today +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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4 reasons why an Employee handbook is a must in any business

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Compiling an Employee Handbook might seem like an unneeded task for a small business, and perhaps time consuming, but in reality it is a very useful tool that truly supports your business and its people.

Here at HR Revolution, we want to highlight 4 of the main reasons why we think Employee Handbooks are essential.

  1. An Employee Handbook can help prevent very costly employee disputes

In certain cases employee claims can run into the thousands of pounds and the vast majority of employment law disputes can stem from confusion over what is or not accepted practice within a business.  An Employee Handbook is your opportunity to clearly state your polices and procedures in relation to issues, such as:

  • Holiday and Sickness absence
  • Disciplinary and Grievance
  • Maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave
  • Anti-harassment and bullying
  • Anti-bribery
  • Health and safety
  • Equality and diversity

Having the above policies in place can help with preventing disputes happening in the first place.

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2. An Employee Handbook promotes clear communication and manages expectations in your business

A handbook ensures that every employee knows where to find specific information on policies and procedures that need to be followed, even if they have not been discussed with them.  This gives the employee the knowledge on where they stand and is a major element of ensuring their satisfaction.

It also ensures you have covered all bases when you induct new staff, which is a vital part of your onboarding process, and will promote consistency across your business.

3. An Employee Handbook will set the tone for company culture and outlines acceptable conduct

Your employees need clear and concise information on what is deemed to be acceptable behaviour and conduct and setting the tone for the culture of your company. Leave no room for misinterpretation and set out your best practice on topics such as:

  • Dress code
  • Telecommunications, email, social media and internet
  • Company vehicle and Driving
  • Internal communications
  • Data protection
  • Severe weather and travel disruption
  • Flexible working procedure
  • Time off in Lieu
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Take a look at HR Revolution’s Employee Handbook templates…

4. An Employee Handbook underpins your Contracts of Employment

A handbook can be an effective way to complement contracts of employment with company policies and procedures.

You need to be very clear however, which parts of the handbook are contractually binding and which are not.  Also, if you are changing any contractual parts of the handbook you might need to obtain employee consent and make certain that any changes are compliant with Employment Law.

Other considerations to think about when creating your Employee Handbook, is to ensure it can be adapted.  A handbook should be flexible and have the scope to be adapted as the company grows or any new issues or situations arise.  To make sure this flexibility is clear, it is always a good idea to include a note, which reserves the right to make these amendments.  It is also very important that you make sure your employees are fully aware of any changes as and when they happen.

If you are struggling to know where to start, HR Revolution are here to help! call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Why you need HR Revolution

Do you need HR support?  Want to reduce your HR burden?

HR Revolution’s retained HR support could be the solution you are looking for, enabling you to focus on growing your business.

What are the benefits of using our HR Outsourced solution I hear you ask.

Simply put, it gives you peace of mind knowing you can call on professionals to handle HR issues, reducing the risk to your business from employee challenges.  It also helps you cut down the amount of time you spend on HR issues by making sure that all your employee documentation is legal and compliant.

For a fixed monthly fee, you can secure our expert services on a retainer basis. You can choose to get HR support over the telephone and by email, schedule regular onsite visits, or opt for full outsourcing of your HR function. We will discuss the type and level of support you need and allocate an agreed number of hours to be used as you wish.  Our aim is to provide a ‘flexible’ option that meets a changing business environment rather than tie you into a long arrangement that no longer suits your needs.

Bottom line, HR Revolution are a team who are passionate about performance based HR which means we commit to making sure your business and employees excel.

Get in contact to discuss how we can help +203 538 5311 or email info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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Have you taken your annual leave?

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Annual leave is a benefit all employees receive. In the UK, the typical allocation is around 28 days, during which we’re encouraged to leave our work and focus on relaxing and rejuvenating.

However, we seem to be forgetting to take annual leave!! Reports suggest that only 1 in 3 of us actually takes our full annual leave allocation each year. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of annual leave and why it’s important to take yours.

The benefits of annual leave

There are many benefits to taking annual leave. These include:

  • Health
  • Stress relief
  • Productivity
  • Trust

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Health benefits

Taking time away from the business gives our bodies and minds the chance to realign. It’s our opportunity to relax, away from the pressures of our day job, and to focus on other areas of our lives that also make us happy, such as friends and family.

Much like sleep helps our bodies rejuvenate, annual leave is an important part of our year and one of very few chances we get to truly forget about work.

This in turn relieves stress. We delegate tasks to our colleagues while we’re away, which means the period prior to annual leave is usually one in which we complete tasks and re-prioritise. This helps us to focus and clear our minds, bringing our levels of stress down.

Productivity

When we work constantly, our bodies are prone to burn out. This is where we’ve worked hard for so long, we simply can’t do it anymore.

Time out of the office gives you chance to relieve that stress and think about things in a more positive manner, with clarity to help you work more productively and effectively.

Encouraging your employees to use their annual leave can also reduce the number of sick days taken each year, which has a tangible impact on your bottom line.

Building trust

It’s important we show our colleagues that we trust them with our work, and that we can rely on them to do a great job in our absence. Taking annual leave, especially if you’re more senior in a business, tells your colleagues that you do trust them and gives them the chance to develop professionally too.

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Top tips for annual leave

Follow these tips to make the most of your annual leave time:

  1. Set an out of office response that gives people an alternative contact during your absence
  2. Turn off your email notifications and work phone so you can relax and forget about your day job
  3. Delegate work in advance so your colleagues have chance to ask questions of you before you leave

Time for a break?

Many companies are implementing initiatives to make working life more flexible. But despite that, we’re still failing to even take our full annual leave allocation.

It’s important that we lead the way in ensuring we take the holiday we deserve and that we make the most of that time. It is good to remember that the business won’t fall apart just because you’ve been away for a few days!  Happy holidays…

HR Revolution is a gold partner of breatheHR, a cloud-based HR employee software that is a straightforward and intuitive system that you and your team will love. You will be able to see your employees holiday allocations easily, so you can see who needs a little nudge to take a day off! Click the link below to see what breatheHR has to offer…

HR management system

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5 mistakes employers are making with Employee Handbooks..

A recent survey has stated that over 90% of companies have created an employee handbook to share with their employees; that is positive, but in reality are these handbooks HR compliant?  Just listing policies and sharing some mission statements, will not cut it!!!

So based on the statistics, you’ve probably made a token attempt at creating an employee handbook for your business – but are you missing the mark? Here, we uncover the mistakes that too many businesses are making, and explain how you can turn things around.

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Taking a cookie-cutter approach

Of course there are certain things that all employee handbooks should include, but this certainly doesn’t mean that you should just download a free template from Google, fill in the blanks, and hope for the best. Your business is unique. Its culture and practices make it individual, and your handbook needs to reflect this. After all, first impressions count, so you need to make sure that you’re giving your employees a quality document that reflects what you’re really all about.

Don’t be scared to showcase your business’s personality and create something that demonstrates what it’s like to work for your company. Your new employees should feel inspired, motivated, and ready to face their new challenges.

Neglecting to seek out a professional opinion

You wouldn’t finalise your end-of-year accounts without speaking to an accountant, so why should your employment documentation be any different? HR Revolution can advise you on anything that you might have missed, unearth any points that could potentially get you into hot water, and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything’s in order.

Speaking in legal lingo

Your HR practices need to be created in accordance with relevant legislation. Staying on the right side of the law will save you a whole load of time and hassle. Before stuffing your handbook with jargon though, take a step back and think about how you can make the important information as easy as possible to digest. A better understanding of what’s expected will ultimately lead to higher rates of compliance.

Consider your audience, and keep things as straightforward as possible. At the end of the day, your handbook should be there to help people – not overwhelm them.

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Letting the document gather dust

The world of business changes and adapts every single day. New legislation is rolled out, light is cast on exciting and innovative ways to get the most out of a workforce, and advances in technology present new challenges. What works right now isn’t necessarily going to be fit for purpose in the near future.

Before signing off your document as completed, set a date for review. Keeping on top of changes can be a manageable job only if you make sure that you don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Shockingly, 2.8% of employers don’t know when they last carried out any reviews or changes – don’t fall into this camp!

Forgetting to make sure that every employee has their copy

Creating a document to be proud of is only the first part of the story. It isn’t going to make any difference unless you ensure that all employees get their copy, and that they’re given time to digest the information. These days, this is easier than ever before. Many companies decide to distribute their handbooks via email or an intranet system.

And finally, be sure to lead by example. When’s the last time that you familiarised yourself with the content? Do you have a copy on your desk? Are you confident that you could answer questions about the points that are covered? If not, consider this your wake-up call!

Ready to seek out some advice that you know you can trust? Whether you’re starting from scratch with your handbook and you’re not sure where to begin, or you’ve done the work yourself and just want a second opinion, HR Revolution can help. Contact us for a no-obligation chat about working together.

HR Revolution’s employee handbooks will help you to set core business policies and expectations and help portray your business culture, values, branding and vision, setting the tone for your business and employees, whilst maintaining HR compliance and best practice for all.

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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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