FRIDAY HR FAQS – Employee or Contractor?

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

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

The three main differences are:

1. Control

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

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2. Pay

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

3. Benefits

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

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

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

If you need any HR help, advice or tips, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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Does your company suffer from ‘Leavism’?

Ok, so what does ‘leavism’ actually mean?

It’s the latest term for defining employees who end up working, during non-paid work hours, annual leave or whilst off sick. According to new research from CIPD, 69% of employees have said that ‘leavism’ has happened in their workplace in the past year.

Unfortunately, it is an increasing issue for all types of companies and needs to be taken very seriously.  If you don’t combat low morale and increased stress levels among your employees eventually it will affect your productivity.

Below we’ve outlined a few red flags you should look out for:

Employees working out of hours

Answering urgent calls and messages is one thing. But if an employee is consistently working late at night or very early in the morning in order to finish work they couldn’t get done during working hours it clearly needs to be addressed.

Employees constantly checking emails

We can’t escape it, the world is connected these days, however, your employees may feel pressure to be available at all times, even while they’re away from work. They may think you expect them to read and answer emails 24/7, and see it as a sign of their commitment to your business.

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Employees too scared to book holidays

Research shows that 23% of UK workers struggle to book time off or take allocated annual leave because they are too anxious to leave their work in a fellow colleagues hands.

As an employer – what can you do?

If you start to see a trend in your business of your employees regularly working beyond their contracted hours and spending their annual leaving completing jobs, then you should strongly consider redistributing their workloads or hiring extra employees.

You should also make sure you aren’t promoting a culture of fear, where your employees are scared of what will happen if they don’t finish their work.

If you ignore these signs, you may think in the short term, you’re saving money because employees are completing work without getting paid for it! but at some point down the line you’ll need to weigh this against the cost of employee burnout, mental health issues and retention.

If you need any advice on any HR issue, big or small, then please get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

HR Revolution; supporting you, your employees AND your business.

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Tips for less workplace stress

Following on our theme of Stress Awareness Month, it probably comes as no surprise that research often finds that work is the most stressful factor in peoples lives and this can be caused by a number of things, such as poor management, an excessive workload or being set unrealistic targets.

Stress-related absences are one of the biggest costs to businesses every year, so most could really benefit from taking a closer look at the way they manage their people, especially how they cope in stressful situations.

Below we have put together a few tips that business owners/managers can do to improve the way they manage their employees ensuring they are not the cause of any unnecessary stress and frustration.

Listen

Taking time to listen to your employees is imperative as it not only makes them feel valued, it can have a massive impact on their performance and productivity. An employee might be trying to tell you how a different approach to a task could be more efficient or cost effective or they may have a creative idea that could help you solve a long-standing problem. It can also alert you to an employee who may be struggling with a personal issue or heavy workload and who needs more support.  Taking the time to listen is invaluable and ensures you really take in what your employees may (or may not!) be telling you.

 

Be available

As as a business owner/manager, supporting your employees is part of the day job – and this can only be done effectively if you are available and approachable. Make sure your employees know it’s alright for them to ask questions or seek advice if they’re unsure about something. Also if you are often out or in meetings, let them know your movements so they can plan the best time to catch you. A couple of minutes spent answering a quick question not only gives them reassurance that they are doing the right thing, but will save trouble further down the line if they were headed in the wrong direction.

Be trustworthy

Make sure that your team knows they can trust you and have your support even if things don’t go to plan. If people are afraid they will be unfairly blamed for anything that goes wrong, they will be constantly operating in a state of anxiety and won’t do a good job. Equally, make sure credit is given where it’s due and that you acknowledge the work of your team when things go right. Don’t make promises to people if you’re not sure you will be able to deliver, if you operate with honesty and integrity your employees will do the same.

 

Be open and direct

Uncertainty is the cause of much of the stress and anxiety in many businesses and if you don’t let your employees know what is happening they will speculate, gossip and often wind themselves up into a frenzy over a rumour which is completely unfounded.  If there are changes on the horizon, tell employees what you know – or if you don’t know, let them know when you expect to know more. Open and honest feedback on performance is also vital, employees will want to know how they are doing and if they need to be doing anything differently. Don’t just wait for the performance review to come around, if you give people feedback on an ongoing basis they will be clear about what their priorities are, secure in the knowledge they are approaching tasks in the right way and that you will support them in any areas where they may need further development.

Show empathy

Even though you are in charge of a team and you need to make sure they get the right results that doesn’t mean you can’t show kindness and sympathy where appropriate – show your human side! Many business owners/managers are uncomfortable displaying any kind of ‘emotion’ in the workplace and shy away from difficult or personal conversations with employees. However, stepping outside of your professional role and communicating with people on a personal level will help you build a much more motivated and engaged team. Remember be as flexible as possible when people are dealing with difficult personal issues – and if someone’s performance is not up to scratch, make sure you look a bit more deeply into what may be behind the issue.

If you need any further help or guidance about how to deal with stress in the workplace, 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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Is your HR planning on track?

You might have blinked and missed the first quarter of 2018 and while it may seem like five minutes have passed since you mapped out your big goals at the end of last year, it’s actually a good time to stop, take stock and refocus.

Ask yourself honestly, have you successfully met your HR obligations during the first quarter, or are you lagging behind? Of course it’s undeniable that other things can get in the way, but if you want to be compliant and you want your business to thrive, then it’s absolutely vital that you take time to get your people practices right.

Need some pointers around where to get started? Here’s our checklist for assessing whether your HR planning is on track.

1. Have you made provisions for new legislation?

It can be hard to keep up with changes in employment law, but it’s absolutely non-negotiable. Neglect this area and your business could seriously pay the price, you must regularly be pinpointing relevant changes, and making adjustments to your policies and practices accordingly.

2. Is your paperwork in order?

Having a paper trail of key HR decisions might seem like a dull admin task, but if you don’t put some time into creating and filing the right documents, then you may live to regret it. If you run into any problems, your paperwork could make a huge difference to how you rectify the situation.

3. Have employees had performance discussions?

If you only discuss performance with your employees once a year, then you’re seriously missing out on many opportunities. Encouraging your team to thrive should be part of day-to-day processes, but at the very least, formal conversations should be carried out and recorded once a quarter.  Take a look at our effective performance review documents ready to use for your own business.

4. Have you planned the summer holiday schedule?

The second quarter tends to be the time when employees start to think about booking their summer leave. The weather’s getting warmer, and everyone wants to enjoy a little downtime. Make sure that you update any policies that you might have if necessary and consider operational demands in advance.

5. Have you identified training needs?

Some of your employees may need to brush up on their knowledge and skills to keep moving towards your goals. Work out where the gaps are and create your plan so you know exactly what you’re going to do about it. The options are plentiful, and include formal training, coaching, mentoring, job shadowing, and more.

6. Have your managers been brought up to speed with your priorities?

It’s pointless setting wider strategic goals if you aren’t going to make sure that the right people are on board and know how their work plays a part. The end of the quarter is a good time to bring your management team together for a catch-up and refresh.

7. Have you collected feedback from your employees?

Identifying potential issues before they get out of hand could save you headaches later in the year. An employee survey could be a great option here. Just make sure that you act on your findings!

8. Have you arranged a discussion with your payroll provider?

The end of the quarter coincides with the end of the financial year, so if you outsource your payroll, it makes sense to have a chat with your provider so you can ensure that you’re both on the same page. There may be loose ends that need to be tied up, and it’s always best to action these matters in a timely fashion.

9. Have you commissioned an HR audit?

It can sometimes be hard to take a critical look at your own operations. You might feel inclined to brush tricky issues under the carpet, especially if you’re not quite sure how to tackle them, so why not let HR Revolution carry out an HR audit – it is an ideal way to assess the set up and compliance of your HR function.

After reading through the checklist, you might have realised that you missed the mark at least once or twice when it comes to keeping your people practices in order.  When you are running a business, you’ve got a lot of plates you need to keep spinning; between acquiring new customers and clients, managing the finances, and everything else that needs your attention, HR can sometimes get put on the backburner.

However, HR isn’t just another task to add to your to-do list, it can have a real and very tangible impact on your bottom line and at the most basic level, it can ensure that you don’t face costly damaging legal cases against your business. Embrace it, as its full potential could increase your profits, create a much happier and more productive workforce, and help you to smash through your strategic goals.

So isn’t it time that you started giving your HR practices the dedication that they really deserve? If you know that you need to make the change, but you’re not sure what to do first, then get in touch with HR Revolution, we can help you to establish a plan of action that will get your business to where you want and need it to be.

Get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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6 month extension to the Childcare Vouchers Scheme

Important news for all employers, on the 13th March 2018, the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds announced a 6 month extension to the closure of the Childcare Voucher scheme.

The government had previously advised that childcare vouchers would be closed to any new joiners after 5th April 2018. However, further to this new announcement you can allow employees to continue to sign up to receive the childcare voucher benefit for another six months.

A definite scheme end date is yet to be announced, but this is good news for parents that may have missed the April deadline.

What this means for employers:

  • Any agreed invoice changes for March vouchers will be processed.
  • Any schemes that had been closed, have been re-opened.
  • Employees can continue to register for Childcare Vouchers for a further 6 months.

Rest assured, we will keep you updated on any further changes to policy or deadline dates.

If you would like to discuss further or get any advice please do get in touch: 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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Key dates for HR in 2018

In 2018, businesses with an obligation to comply with employment law will need to be abreast of the important changes listed below:

Minimum Wage – 1st April
The annual minimum wage increases will become effective, so you will need to check if you have any employees who will be affected, and also remember to pre-empt any birthdays that may be coming up that will push staff into the next band.

Most affected age brackets are 18-20 and 21-24, with the largest increase in 10 years and they are predicting this is where most employers will fall short.

Gender Pay – 5th April
Gender pay reports must be available for the public to view, organisations who have 250 or more employees must have published their gap on their own websites and submitted them to the government’s web page.

Statutory Payments – 6th April
Statutory payments will increase. The weekly amount for statutory family pay rates will increase to £145.18. This encompasses maternity pay, adoption pay, paternity pay,
shared parental pay and maternity allowance.

Statutory sick pay is also increasing from £89.35 to £92.05.  To be entitled to these statutory payments, the employee’s average earnings must be equal to or more than the lower earnings limit and the lower earnings limit is increasing from £113 to £116.

Auto Enrolment – 6th April
Auto-enrolment minimum contributions will be increasing to a total of 5% (2% made by the employer and 3% made by the employee).

GDPR – 25th May
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which updates and harmonises data protection law across the EU will become mandatory. The Regulation will apply to the UK post-Brexit, as the GDPR has been incorporated into the Data Protection Bill. Organisations should be conducting data audits and policy reviews in the lead up to May’s deadline, to ensure their data protection practices are GDPR compliant.

If you need any help or guidance on any of the above topics, please get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Think you wouldn’t benefit from an outsourced HR service? 4 ways we can help you save money

Thinking your business could do with some help with issues that are bubbling away under the surface, but wondering whether you really can spare the budget to outsource?

Is it easier just hoping for the best and carrying on as you are?

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

And that’s an astute investment to make in your business.

Outlined below are just a few of the ways in which we could help you reduce your costs…

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 all your employees, that you’re not at risk of having to face a tribunal. This isn’t necessary true though.

Employment law is complicated, and if you miss something, you could find yourself with a potentially very costly situation on your hands. We can 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. Realistically, that’s probably not going to happen, however, HR Revolution 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 could increase your productivity and make sure that your employees are firing on all cylinders. You might think that a marketing budget, or some social media tactics are going to give you the edge. But 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 provide on-site services and 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, take responsibility and talk to us to get things moving in the right direction.

4. We can provide a flexible, pick-and-mix service

Maybe you’re not quite at the stage where you need full-time, permanent HR help. That’s exactly why we can assist you; we don’t tie you into ridiculously long contracts that you don’t need, we can create a bespoke package that’s perfect for your needs.

Just what you really need to move forward and solve your problems, right now. Our aim is to make you a better employer, not tie you up with unnecessary bureaucracy.

HR Revolution can save you money, and can seriously add to your bottom line. Get in touch, 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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HR Revolution’s guide for a successful 2018 – PART 2

HR Revolution specialise in giving SMEs the tools, frameworks, and knowledge to get the most out of their employees ensuring that people practices help them achieve big things.

In part two of this guide, we are  going to walk you through more key action points that you need to consider:

How can you get the most out of your employees?

Productivity can go through peaks and troughs throughout the year. To a certain extent, this is to be expected, and is sometimes unavoidable. Still though, you must unsure that you have mechanisms in place to encourage your employees to make their best possible contribution.

Address these points:

  • How have you recognised the achievements of your team over the busy Christmas period?
  • If organisational priorities have shifted over the past few months, how has this been communicated?
  • When’s the last time you said thank you?
  • How confident are you and your managers when it comes to initiating difficult conversations about performance?
  • What did you discover about how to get the most of your employees during 2017?

How will you retain your best employees?

You might think that your employees are happy and loyal, but January is a prime time for getting itchy feet, and imagining what other opportunities are out there. Can you really be confident that you won’t lose your key talent, and if this did happen, how would your business cope?

Ask yourself:

  • When’s the last time you assessed the workplace climate? Are you welcoming open and honest feedback? Can you be sure about how your employees are feeling?
  • How would you manage if a member of staff handed in their notice? What would happen in terms of covering the work, and reallocating responsibilities?
  • Have you considered external factors such as new businesses opening in the area?
  • How do you ensure that your business offers an attractive package to its employees?
  • If employees leave, are you holding exit interviews to collect meaningful feedback?

Are you up to speed with legislative changes?

Employment legislation changes and evolves on a very regular basis. This should be seen as a positive thing, as it often contributes towards fairer and safer workplaces. Still though, you can’t afford to get complacent.

You need to consider:

  • What legislation will come into force during 2018 that you need to comply with? What processes will you need to follow to ensure that you meet deadlines?
  • Will your policy documentation need to be updated?
  • Who will take responsibility for rolling out the changes?
  • How will you communicate any new provisions to your employees?
  • How will new legislation impact on any working relationships that you have with contractors, e.g. your payroll provider?

How will you develop your leadership skills?

It’s really easy to get caught up with all the finer details of running your business. At the end of the day though, you need to recognise that you are a leader, and you need to be keeping your skills sharp. You expect development from your team, so why should you be any different?

Consider the following:

  • What are your strengths, and how can you build upon them further?
  • How do you really know that these are your strengths? Would your staff say the same? And how can you find out?
  • Where do you need to bring your skills up to speed, and have you developed a plan for doing so?
  • How will your monitor your own progress? How can you stay objective? How will you keep going when the initial motivation wears off?
  • Do you need help and accountability from a mentor?

Look out for the final installment of HR Revolution’s guide, Part 3 on Friday and don’t forget we’ll be attaching the full guide for you to download and keep!

If you would like to contact us to discuss anything in the meantime, please call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk or click here to visit our website.

HR Revolution, expert CIPD HR professionals, supporting your employees and business.

 

 

HR Revolution’s guide for a successful 2018 – PART 1

So the end of the year is getting closer, and as a business owner I’m sure you’re no doubt taking a little time to reflect on your successes during the past 12 months, and assess your growth plans for next year.

So we thought we’d would take the opportunity to put together this three part guide, giving you the perfect opportunity to take stock, get your head well and truly in the game, and work out precisely what needs to be done to allow you achieve your big goals during 2018.

If you haven’t already started the planning process, then you might be feeling the pressure. It’s true that a head start can give you a great advantage, but help is at hand to make sure that you have the key points covered.

HR Revolution specialise in giving SMEs the tools, frameworks, and knowledge to get the most out of their employees ensuring that people practices help them to achieve big things.

In this three part guide, we are going to walk you through the key action points that you need to consider:

Have you translated your business goals into tangible policies and practices?

Your HR policies and practices aren’t just there so you can demonstrate that you’ve ticked a few boxes. They should guide your business, help you to navigate your big challenges, and bring you closer to your goals.

So with this in mind, grab a pen and brainstorm the following points:

  • Do your employees fully understand their personal and team objectives, and how these fit into the bigger picture?
  • Have you considered how you can use reward practices to motivate employees and drive productivity?
  • Do you encourage ongoing learning and development? How can you engrain this into your workplace culture?
  • Are your line managers confident in their roles, and playing a part in your growth plans?
  • Can you clearly articulate how everyday working practices are translating into key results?
  • How confident are you that your plans are robust enough to guide you forward?

Sometimes, taking the time to really assess where you are can make it clear where you need to make changes, or perhaps adapt your approach.

Will you need to bring in new employees?

Recruiting new employees may be essential if you want to expand, so it’s possible that you’re starting to think about how your team will grow during 2018.

Consider:

  • Do you need temporary employees? Could using the services of contractors give you more flexibility?
  • Are your recruitment processes in line with relevant legislation? Do you know your responsibilities in terms of ensuring that you don’t discriminate during the selection process, for example?
  • Do you have a strategy around how you’ll tackle the war for talent? Do you know where to find the very best candidates, and how to get them excited about the opportunity to work with your business?
  • Do you have an induction and onboarding process to help new recruits to really hit the ground running and get off to the best possible start?

Look out for Part 2 of HR Revolution’s guide on Wednesday!

We’ll be attaching the guide in full for you to download and keep in our final installment, so keep an eye out for Part 3…

If you would like to contact us to discuss anything in the meantime, please call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk or click here to visit our website.

6 signs it may be time to initiate a disciplinary

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

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

Habitual Lateness and Absence

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

Noticeable Apathy

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

Performance Issues

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

Frequent Conflicts

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

Unwillingness to Adapt to Changes

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

Lack of Development

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

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

If you are unsure whether disciplinary action is the right course of action or if the process you have in place is compliant just let us know, we are here to help.

If you would like to discuss any HR issues, please give HR Revolution a call we’d love to help, call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk