Twas the office night before Christmas…

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the office
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,
which is not really surprising as the very night before
was the office Christmas party and everyone’s heads were quite sore!

Off in Lapland they had partied as well.
And poor old Rudolph wasn’t feeling too well.
Did he not get the memo on the office policy
that you must turn up for work the next day filled with glee!

Nope his red nose was shining, from too much champagne.
And poor Vixon was blushing; she’d been on the copier again!
The head elf had bought the worst Secret Santa of all
So the PA was cross, shocked and appalled!

Then the big man appeared and said “this just will not do”.
Go grab some coffee we have much work to do!
So they all pulled together through the morning from hell.
Saying Don’t tell HR and all will be well!

And so a happy Christmas to all and all a good night

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.

We’ll be back on 2nd January 2018…

 

Office parties – a word of ‘festive’ warning!

For HR departments and employment lawyers alike, it is as much a Christmas tradition as turkey and mince pies. Every December we bring out articles on the perils of holding an office Christmas party, so as not to disappoint here are this year’s top tips.
Venue
It’s worth thinking carefully about the venue for your Christmas party. Is it accessible to all? including those with a disability? Can people get home easily? Choosing a venue that might encourage people to ‘drink and drive’ is clearly not advisable. So consider whether you have good public transport links or ready access to taxis.
Invitation list
When compiling the invitations be as inclusive as possible, no one should feel left out. Remember to make an effort to invite those who are currently away from work, whether because of maternity leave, sickness or any other reason. If employees are encouraged to invite their partners along, allow for the reality of unmarried couples and same-sex relationships.
Party planning
Think how you can make the party appealing to all. Organising an event based solely around the consumption of large quantities of alcohol will no doubt please some of your employees, but it could well be a turn-off for others. In particular, be sensitive to the religious and other beliefs of your employees; make sure there are plenty of non-alcoholic drink options and any food on the menu contains a vegetarian option.

Also be mindful of any guest speakers or entertainers you choose to use. There is a very well-known Employment Tribunal case circa 1996 that arose out of the booking of the ‘stand-up comedian’ Bernard Manning. You can probably guess what went wrong there!

Discussion topics
When a lot of alcohol has been consumed, people become less inhibited and more likely to say (or do) precisely what is on their mind. As a result, the risk of discrimination and harassment claims rears its ugly head. So make sure people understand that this is a work event and a level of professionalism is still required. Oh, and if you’re the boss, remember that alcohol and conversions about pay rises don’t mix!
The morning after
Make sure people understand whether they are required to be in work the day after the Christmas party. If they phone in sick, carefully consider whether it is genuine sickness or the result of over-indulgence. Then consider whether disciplinary action is required.
Policy revision?
You don’t need a policy specifically to cover your Christmas party, but it is worth considering whether your existing policies on conduct, harassment etc. are clear about what is expected of employees in this context. Take a look at HR Revolution’s Employee Handbook, it helps set out core Company expectations in terms of general conduct and includes all of your integral UK policies and employment legislation.
Lastly; enjoy, let your hair down and have fun!
Finally, and before we begin to sound too much like the equivalent of ‘Scrooge’, the Christmas party is a chance to come together, celebrate a successful year and thank your colleagues/employees for their efforts. It is also an opportunity to have fun. So having taken some sensible precautions, relax, unwind and enjoy yourself. You deserve it!
If you need any help or advice with any issues discussed above or updating any office policies all found in our comprehensive Employee handbook, why not get in touch HR Revolution and make sure your office Christmas passes without incident.

Give us 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.

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

 

Plan ahead for the January productivity slump

So December is only a couple of weeks away and around this time of year spirits are generally high with everyone looking forward to the opportunity to take a little time out with friends and loved ones.

However, by the New Year the general mood and feel has often shifted slightly. With nothing but rainy dark days and credit card bills to look forward to, productivity in the workplace can come to a grinding halt. Here are our best tips for overcoming the January slump!

Give thanks…

It’s likely that your employees may have worked longer shifts over the Christmas period. They’ll have dealt with stressful situations and difficult discussions, and it’s understandable if they’re feeling a bit burnt out. Some might even be asking themselves what the point in all of it even was.

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

Set new goals…

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

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

Get ahead in 2018…

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

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

If you need any help, why not let HR Revolution give you the HR solutions you need to get 2018 off to a flying start…

Give us 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.

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

 

How to manage gender reassignment in the workplace – Part 3

In yesterday’s blog we discussed disclosing gender identities, so in this blog we cover how to support your employees and what changes you can make in the workplace.

Managing changeover of an employee’s personal details:

Terminology – You should ask the employee how they wish to be addressed. If the employee is in agreement inform their colleagues and ensure they use the correct terminology.

Documentation – Employer and employee should agree what details need to be changed i.e personal records, access passes etc. A discussion of what will happen to previous records relating to gender should take place to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

Appearance and dress code – A gender neutral dress code could be applied or if not appropriate the employee should be able to follow the dress code in a way which best fits their gender identity.

Toilet, changing and shower facilities –  An employee should never be segregated and told to use particular facilities but be allowed to use those they feel best match their identity following gender reassignment.

Dealing with a sensitive gender identity matter – Issues such as names and/or gender not matching their passport/ID need to be handled sensitively whilst still ensuring the company is compliant in its checks.  Having a third party a business can turn to, to handle these issues can be reassuring for both employer and employee.

Company health insurance scheme – To ensure trans employees are treated fairly, it is recommended for an employer to include treatments and procedures for gender reassignment in its scheme.

Absence from work because of gender reassignment – It is discriminatory to treat an employee, who is absent from work to undergo gender reassignment, less favourably. Depending on an employer’s policy for managing absence, they may wish to record absences due to gender reassignment, but shouldn’t include them in ‘absence triggers’. It may be worth considering if you offer limited special leave (at your discretion) which maybe paid or unpaid

Performance – It is recommended to make allowances for the trans employee’s job performance during transition and a short period afterwards, as surgery is likely to have temporary side effects.  An employee may ask to move to another role or change some duties which may cause difficulties whilst they transition or they may request a phased return to work, wherever possible this should be considered and catered for.

Trans and mental health – A person questioning their gender may experience mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. An employer can support the employee, by providing a welcoming and safe environment at work.

Support an employee with a family member transitioning – It is a type of direct discrimination to treat an employee less favourably than another because of the gender reassignment of someone they are associated with. The impact on an employee with a family member who is transitioning can be considerable; therefore you should treat them with sensitivity and provide them with support such as time off.

Develop trans inclusive policies  – Trans inclusive policies will need to be rolled out. Matters covered should include:

  • Transitioning at work including leave and pay
  • Dress code
  • Toilet, changing and shower facilities
  • Employee’s personal records and how these will be dealt with
  • If possible how an employee can transition to another role/department
  • How an employee should report any gender reassignment discrimination
  • Unacceptable behaviour towards employees inclusive of those of non-binary identities
  • Maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental leave

These processes are always best supported by HR and it may be advisable to outsource your projects where possible. HR Revolution can carry out any project to ensure the process is performed unbiasedly.

If you need further information or guidance, give HR Revolution a call +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@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.

 

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU), and will apply from 25 May 2018, changing the way businesses manage personal data.

GDPR’s main concepts and principles are much the same as the current Data Protection Act, so most of your approach to compliance will remain valid under the GDPR and can be a great point to start from. However, the GDPR does come with some new elements which you will need to change and incorporate into your current processes and practice. Here we highlight the key areas you need to be aware of and act upon:

Awareness:  This may seem simple but you must make key people aware that the law is changing to the GDPR.

Information you holdIt will be necessary to document all the personal data you hold including where it came from and who you share it with.

Communicating privacy information: Review your current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes.

Individuals’ rights: Check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have.

Subject access requests: Update procedures and plan how you will handle requests within the new timescales

Lawful basis for processing: Identify the lawful basis for processing activity, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.

Consent: Review how you seek, record and manage consent. Refresh existing consents if they don’t meet GDPR standards.

Children: Put systems in place to verify individuals’ ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent.

Data breaches: Put procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.

Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments: Familiarise yourself with the ICO’s code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments and the latest guidance from the Article 29 Working Party. Work out how to implement these.

Data Protection Officers: Designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance. You should consider whether you are required to formally designate a Data Protection Officer.

International: If your company operates in more than one EU member state, you must determine your lead data protection supervisory authority.

Although the new law doesn’t come into effect until May 2018 it’s a good idea to start protecting your data as best you can now.

Cyber security is a huge part of GDPR and this week our blogs will help you to understand what you need to know.

Look out for our blog tomorrow “Cyber Security, what is it?”

Get in touch and let HR Revolution run through a GDPR audit to see where and how quickly changes can be implemented.

Call +44 203 538 5311, 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.

 

Three signs that your business isn’t ready for the festive rush…

The decorations, tinsel and chocolate tubs are filling up the shops.  There is no way to avoid it, Christmas is most definitely on its way.. and it offers some wonderful opportunities for businesses, but if you are not prepared, you could find yourself hugely disappointed come January when you’re taking a look at your figures and assessing how your operations shaped up.

So how do you know if you are ready?  Below, we’ll take a look at three important indicators that you’ve still got some serious work to do.

You haven’t started recruiting your Christmas staff

Maybe you’re planning on getting started with your festive recruiting as soon as possible.  You already know that it’s a really important task, but you just can’t seem to find any spare time to give it the attention that you know it deserves.  Before we get into anything, it’s vital that you don’t panic, that isn’t going to help you and it’s not going to help your business.

You don’t have a back-up plan

Even the most inexperienced business owners realise that Christmas presents its own unique challenges and opportunities, so they get to work creating a plan that will help with them to get the best results possible.  The problem is that this is often where the preparation ends, you need to ask yourself whether you’ve got a Plan B and whether you know what to do if things don’t work out the way you first imagined.

What will you do if your new recruits decide that the role isn’t for them, and leave you in the lurch? What if your management team comes down with a nasty bug and can’t get to work? What if your Christmas party turns into a disaster that could do some serious damage to your business’s reputation?  Hopefully, these things won’t happen, but you don’t want to find yourself in a situation in which you have no idea how to pick up the pieces.  Having compliant Employee Handbook will help you manage your staff effectively, take a look at HR Revolution’s ready to use handbooks.

You haven’t made customer service training a priority

High levels of customer service are essential at any point in the year, but now is the time to make sure that it is firmly at the top of your agenda.  There are numerous reasons for this, you’ll hopefully have more customers coming through your doors and you need to ensure that standards aren’t gong to slip, as well, you’ll probably have the opportunity to impress prospects for the very first time.

Refresher training should be rolled out so carry out an audit of where you are right now, and where improvements can be made.  You don’t necessarily have to invest huge amounts of time and money.  It’s about establishing your current position and working out where you want to go next.  HR Revolution will be happy to carry out a full HR Audit of your business, click here to read more. (Free when you mention “Festive rush” normal audit price £750).

Of course, you now have an option, do you want to do all of this on your own or do you want to call upon some expert help? HR Revolution have a wealth of  HR experience and can work to tackle the issues you may face by providing you the HR solutions you need to overcome them. Have a look at our Outsourced solution below…

If you’ve recognised that you need to make improvements, you are already in a great position for making sure that you really raise the bar this Christmas, acknowledging that there’s work to do is the very first step and HR Revolution can help.

Call +44 203 538 5311, 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.

 

 

4 reasons why small businesses should invest in HR…

When starting up a business, spending money on HR initiatives and policies can easily slip to the bottom of the to-do list. The general focus is to drive immediate returns, and so it can take time to see a real return on investment of HR. As a result, HR is being thrown in the mix with ‘business admin’ and is reduced to a mere box-ticking exercise.

In place of an effective HR strategy, small business owners frequently try to encourage friendly and informal relationships, working under the implied promise of trust and  casual compliance with ‘this is the way that we do things around here’.

Many of the start-ups that began life this way, in a burst of enthusiasm, optimism and sheer hard graft, do not make it past their fifth birthday. Unfortunately, relying on their inherently goal-orientated and collaborative start-up culture to support people management requirements is not an effective plan for growth and longevity.

Small businesses need to strike the balance between managing ground-breaking innovation and challenging the status quo, with ensuring that they have streamlined processes in place that pave the way for long lasting growth. HR is not there to squash these cultural ideals, it’s there to form the foundations on which a successful business can grow and thrive.

So why should small businesses invest their time and money in HR from the beginning and ensure they get a return on their investment? Here are four reasons why small businesses should invest in HR.

1. HR adds value

Small businesses see little, if any, distinction between the strategic and transactional elements of HR. As a result, it is systematically undervalued and under resourced. And yet there is plenty of evidence to show that strategic HR delivers real dividends – especially among disruptive companies that are challenging the status quo. Netflix is a good example of fresh thinking about people management and how centralising and prioritising the employee experience can deliver exceptional results. This innovative culture has been a key factor in the company’s success.

2. Small businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable

With their relaxed attitude to people management, small businesses are leaving themselves exposed to claims that they may struggle to defend in an Employment Tribunal. By investing in HR and developing policies and best practice they will have a fundamental framework to fall back on.

Employee handbooks are essential in today’s workplace as they help set out core Company expectations in terms of general conduct and integral UK policies and employment legislation, take a look at HR Revolution’s employee handbook template designed to cover everything your business requires to remain compliant.

3. It will come back to haunt you if you don’t

The value of HR is often downplayed in the early stages of a business and this can come back bite them, just look at Uber. And they are not alone. There has been no shortage of news stories revealing issues within larger businesses that could have been avoided if even the most basic of HR procedure was in place. Unfortunately, these companies thought about it too late and it rebounded back on them ten fold because by this time they are no longer a small start-up.

4. Managing HR admin is a misuse of individuals’ skillsets

As a small business, you probably don’t have a dedicated HR person – this is typically because at this early stage, survival is the biggest business priority. As a result, the management of HR administration such as approving holidays, managing sickness, and approving expenses, is landing in the laps of busy senior employees by default.

According to recent research, CEOs of small businesses are spending, on average, eight hours a week on all HR-related tasks. That’s more than office or operations managers who spend seven hours a week and might more realistically be expected to spend time on administrative activity. To put that into perspective, the median average cost of CEO time spent on HR equates to £18,700 each year and is an absolute misuse of individuals’ skillsets.

This is where HR Revolution can help you save valuable time and money by automating your all consuming HR tasks…  with breatheHR, an online HR information system starting from as little as £9 per month.

It has been shown that dedicated HR software saves small businesses, on average, four hours a week on HR admin with the use of software that can assist you with your day-to-day tasks.  Take a look at breatheHR below and manage your people, not paper!!

Summary

It’s no longer acceptable for small businesses to allow HR due process to fall by the wayside, prioritising new business over their people management. In the current business economy, where 40% of businesses fail within the first five years, enthusiastic entrepreneurs need to change their tact. Whilst your investments may not bring about immediate returns, your return on investment will be clear when your trained, supported and rewarded employees grow with you.

Call +44 203 538 5311, email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit http://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.

A version of this blog first appeared on breathehr.com

HR Revolution’s guide to organising work Christmas parties…

The Christmas period is a challenging time for many companies and business owners alike.  Profits are at the forefront of their minds to ensure sales continue right up to the end of the year and their products and services are the ones consumers want to spend their hard earned cash on.

If you’re caught up with the complexities of planning your approach to maximising sales and profits, you might not have yet thought about whether you’ll organise a Christmas party for your employees.

On paper, it’s a great idea. Everyone enjoys a chance to unwind, and you reward your employees for all their hard work that they’ve put in over the past year.

What could possibly go wrong?

Generally speaking, Christmas parties get a lot of bad press. You’re probably familiar with horror stories involving workers who have taken full advantage of the free bar, and then went on to well and truly disgrace their employers. The truth of the matter here though is that these incidents are few and far between.

Yes, of course things can go wrong. But if you do some thorough planning in advance, you can avoid problems and give your employees the motivational celebration that they deserve.

Download our FREE guide, where we will go through the bases you need to cover so you can round off 2017 on a high note for you and your employees.

Why not give us a call, or visit our website: HR Revolution, we are ready to answer any Christmas related questions you may have +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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

 

 

3 difficult questions you need to ask yourself before 2018

I’m sure by this stage in the year you have asked yourself the important questions about how your business measured up during the past year.  You’ll know how much you increased your turnover and how many new employees you recruited and what your goals are moving forward.

Planning sessions can be hugely useful, but it can be easy to miss the less obvious measures of what you are and are not achieving.  If you are serious about making 2018 a success, you really need to delve a little deeper and consider the questions that probably haven’t even crossed your mind.

So have you really thought or asked yourself the following questions:

 

What HR mistakes have you made over the past year?

Running a business is a steep learning curve, so whether you are completely new to entrepreneurship or been in business for years, the world is constantly changing and adapting and you need to make sure that you are keeping up.  What worked in the past won’t necessarily bring about desirable results right now.

So have you make any mistakes in HR during 2017?  Think about operational issues, as well as the bigger strategic picture.  Are your employees on-board with organisational goals?  Does everyone understand and embrace their role in achieving growth?  Only when you get really honest with yourself, can you start to work out how you won’t fall into the same trap.

Are your managers really capable?

It is safe to say that your managers are, in many respects, the backbone of your business.  They deal with the day-to-day issues, they handle unexpected events, they make sure your policies are implemented and adhered to and they keep things ticking over when you can’t be there.  So its vitally important that they can perform to the best of their ability.

It is important to note here that identifying problems when it comes to capability isn’t about pointing the finger.  You need to avoid knee-jerk reactions and carefully consider where there is room for improvement, and create a plan that will help you get to where you want to be.  This may involve training, coaching, mentoring etc.

What do you need to do to grow as a leader?

It’s easy to overlook your own personal development when  you’re trying to grow a team, but it is crucially important.  How can you be expected to get the most out of everyone else, if you aren’t constantly improving and growing yourself?  This should be a consideration throughout the year, but it is easy to drop the ball and now is a good time to look back and reflect.

Remember, asking questions can be a huge source of growth in your business, but you need to be really honest with yourself when working out the answers! Jot down your thoughts, then scrap them and work on being really truthful… It’s not necessarily easy, but the powerful tactics rarely are!

HR Revolution are here to help you get answers and get organised for 2018, get in touch today +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

 

HR… your secret weapon…

Without HR expertise, growing a business is very challenging and if you’ve ever had to tackle a people issue without professional help, you’ll know just how stressful it can be.

Between trying to manage legal obligations, and meeting operational requirements, solving HR problems can become part of your everyday routine if you aren’t careful.

There is always the option to call upon help on a project-by-project basis, but if you’re ready to raise the bar (and give yourself the valuable gift of peace of mind along the way), then it might be time for you to start a retainer solution with your HR consultant.

This could be the HR secret weapon that you need and here’s why:

You know and trust your dedicated consultant so you can get straight to the heart of any issue

If you’ve ever outsourced work to a consultant in the past, you’ll know that there’s often a steep learning curve called ‘getting to know each other’ and before you can really get down to business, the right foundations have to be laid. You have to gain an understanding of how they operate, and they need to find out what your business is really all about.

So if you have a pressing HR issue and you’re working with someone who you’ve never worked with before, it’s inevitable that you aren’t going to immediately hit the ground running. When you’re using retainer services though, this isn’t a problem. You know your consultant, you know how they do things, and you trust in their decisions and advice. It’s not difficult to see the massive difference this will make.

You don’t have to face the prospect of hunting down a expert when something goes wrong

Leaders often don’t expect to go into work on any given morning and find themselves faced with handling the fall-out of an HR issue. These things happen though, and it’s vital that you’re ready to respond as soon as possible. Many issues can spiral out of control if you don’t formulate a solution within a quick timescale.

By the time you’ve contacted your business peers, asked for recommendations, and managed to get hold of someone who has a solution, serious damage might have already been done. When you have an HR expert who you can get in touch with at any time, there’s no panicking and no fuss. You’ve already got your plan in place, and you know that your consultant has already got you covered.

You will save yourself a money

Contrary to popular belief (although very outdated!!), HR isn’t all about soft tactics that can’t be measured in terms of true business success. The best HR professionals understand their role in contributing to the bottom line of your business, and play a role in helping you to exceed your strategic objectives.

And we know that you have a keen eye on your costs. Yet another benefit of working on a retainer basis is that you’ll know what you’re paying each month, so you’ll never have to face any nasty surprises.

Are you ready to make the change? Give HR Revolution a call today for an initial chat about how we might be able to work with you. Tel: +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk