FRIDAY HR FAQS – First Aid at work – What do I need to do?

First aid at work is a very important element of ensuring compliance with your duty of care as an employer in regards to Health & Safety. While of course we hope it is never needed, you must consider the risks your employees may be exposed to while carrying out their duties to prevent any accidents, and if they do occur, are well prepared and able to deal with them.

As an employer, you are legally required to take care of your employees should they become ill or have an accident while at work. Having trained first aiders could make the difference in preventing minor incidents becoming major ones. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981, state that employers should provide adequate and appropriate equipment and enough trained first aiders to help injured or ill employees.

The rules and regulations surrounding first aid at work can be confusing and perhaps a little vague, so we have put together the basics to help you understand what is needed, to meet you obligations as an employer.

Firstly you must assess the first aid needs based on the nature of your business and provide adequate equipment and appropriate training. So, start off by considering what are the potential health and safety risks within the business, in order to decide what needs to be put in place. For example, the number of employees, the nature of the work carried out, the layout of the office/site environment, whether any employees have any existing medical conditions or disabilities that need special consideration?, whether employees travel for work?, out of hours working/shift work, whether you have a high number of visitors to the site?

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Also consider practicalities, for example, if you decide to have one first aider, would all shifts be covered? and what happens if the appointed person is off sick or on holiday?

Businesses which are considered small low risk environments, may decide they only need to have a first aid box and someone responsible for stocking this, recording accidents and calling the emergency services if necessary.  Whereas larger or higher risk environments such as a factory or construction site, where there are greater health and safety risks, at least one fully trained first aider would be required. All first aid arrangements put in place must be communicated to employees.

We would recommend keeping a record of this risk assessment, to prove you have duly considered all risks and made a judgement on the provision for first aid within the workplace.

Once you have a risk assessment completed, you can decide how many first aiders are needed. As mentioned, there is no right or wrong answer by law, but it needs to be ‘adequate and appropriate’, but what does that mean?! This can be open to interpretation, but we would recommend as a guide that for low risk companies with 5 to 50 employees, you have at least one person formally trained in first aid, holding an Emergency First Aid at Work certificate, then another first aider per 50 additional employees. Under 5 employees, you should at least have an appointed person to take responsibility of first aid at work, they may not be first aid trained, but they will be responsible for ensuring the first aid box is fully stocked and calling the emergency services if required if an accident occurs.

First aid training is readily available from a variety of providers and locations, if you would like to have a discussion on how to implement it in your business, 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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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Can an employee take annual leave whilst on long term sick leave?

Understandably an employee who is on long term sick leave and taking their annual holiday might make some employers raise their eyebrows, after all if they are well enough to take annual leave, why can’t they return to work?

Not quite, employees on long term sick leave are entitled to take annual leave and there are a multitude of reasons why an employee might be on long term sick leave from work and this does not impact their ability to use their accrued annual leave.

Some key points to consider:

  • Employees on sick leave continue to accrue holiday in line with the Working Time Directive.
  • If company policy is that holiday cannot be carried over into the following year, it is not lawful to enforce this onto employees on long term absence, they must be entitled to carry it over.
  • Even though employees are entitled to take annual leave, as an employer you are not able to force employees to take it whilst on sick leave nor are you able to tell them that if they don’t use it they will lose it on their return.

As an employer you have a duty of care to your employees so it is important to consider their rights in this situation.  Think about the reasons why they may be taking their annual leave, rather than presuming this is indicative of them being well enough to return to work.

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One key reason that employees might want to use some of their accrued leave during their absence is financial necessity. Whilst some employers are able to offer benefits to their employees such as Income Protection or Critical Illness, a large majority, particularly small to medium sized business, are not able to. For this reason and depending on the employer and the length of the absence, they may no longer be on company discretionary sick pay, but on statutory sick pay and beyond the 28 weeks of statutory sick pay, be living on no pay at all. Taking annual leave, which is paid at their usual salary rate, can be a financial necessity at a difficult time.

Other reasons for employees taking leave might be to reduce the amount they have in preparation of a return to work, or they may need to take annual leave for their own well being. Taking annual leave doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going abroad or taking a wild holiday!

As an employer, it can be beneficial for the employee to take some of their accruing annual leave whilst on long term sickness:

  • It can help improve the well being of the employee – financially and psychologically.
  • Allowing leave to be taken during extended periods of absence, will reduce the amount that they will be entitled to when they return to work, which would then therefore reduce them needing to take more time out of the business for holiday.
  • If the employee decided to leave the company, any accrued leave not taken would need to be paid out and depending on the length of the absence, this could be a substantial sum of monies to be paid at one time.
  • Remember, there is no real reason for refusing annual leave and doing so could potentially put an employer under breach of contract (for lack of trust and confidence), as they have no valid reason for declining leave, as they can not claim operational reasons.

Whilst we acknowledge that employers generally want to encourage employees to return to work, they should also support them to improve their well being.

One way to ensure clarity for all parties, is to have comprehensive annual leave and sickness policies, which need to be reviewed regularly to ensure legal compliance.

If you would like further HR advice on handling long term absence get in touch with HR Revolution:+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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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Why is speed important in the recruitment process?

Stand-out talent with forward-thinking mindsets are in high demand, which means businesses need to be reactive to the market and move quickly to secure the best people for their teams.

The recruitment process works at its best when it is quick and there are no delays from the employer’s side, which could risk a good candidate being snapped up by a competitor.  This is particularly true for the junior and middle management market, where strong candidates can take their pick of jobs.

On top of this technological advancement means the hiring process has sped up and candidates are being matched to potential employers by AI powered tools.

To remain competitive and in with a chance of welcoming engaging minds to your team, here are some considerations you need to think about before beginning a recruitment project:

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Be quick to respond

If you want to have great talent in your team, then you need to prioritise hiring.

Recruiters might seem like they are nagging you to respond, but the reason for this is because they know what a great candidate looks like and that they will be on the radar of your competitors – so they are acting quickly to secure them.

If you’re too busy too manage the admin of a hiring project, then consider using an HR consultancy who can manage the process for you.

Know who you’re after

It pays to have a plan in place before you start looking for someone new to bring on board – even if they’re a replacement – taking the time to evaluate what you need from the role that might have been lacking before is a sensible process to go through.

You should plan the specifics of the job role, how it fits into your business vision, what skills you need, how you culture will work for you to attract talent and so forth.

Once you have a plan in place and have got cracking then the process needs to be smooth, with regular communication between you and the candidates and time set aside to dedicate to the process.

This will mean that when you find your perfect candidate, you are able to keep them engaged and get them in front of the team within days of submitting their application and show you are a proactive and organised business.

If you know they’re good, then remember that it’s likely they will be a star candidate for other job vacancies too. So, act quickly and if you don’t have anyone else to compare them to, it may be that you won’t have time to run a longer, robust process in order to have other candidates to square them up against. Be confident that they are right for the role and get them in the bag.

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Be flexible with your offer

It would be a great shame to have planned and executed your hiring process and found your star candidate only then discover that what you’re offering them isn’t enough to convince them to accept your job.

Candidates expect fair remuneration, generous benefits, interesting perks and flexible working to name a few!

If you are going to risk losing a great candidate because you don’t match up to what others in your sector are offering, then it may be time to revise your offer package.

Even if you are on a tight budget, there are still things you can do to swing the balance – such as offering a few extra days holiday, contributions towards travel costs or investing in softer benefits that add to your overall offering.

After all, if a candidate has the potential to boost your business productivity and increase your bottom line, then finding ways to bring them over the line will be well worth the effort.

If you need any recruitment advice or guidance, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@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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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.

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What are the signs of a toxic workplace culture?

I’m sure most businesses don’t have a toxic workplace culture per se, so the point of this blog is to identify the clearest signs and what you need to do to change them.  Remember a toxic workplace can cover such a broad range of physical environments and human behaviours, that for the most we don’t actually realise we are operating in it.

Quite often business owners and managers don’t notice there is a problem until it’s much too late and that can cause a catastrophic result of low morale, flatlining productivity, and employee retention issues, end result little or no business success.

This situation must be avoided at all costs and here is what to look out for.

Be proactive

Make sure that you are proactive in taking steps to avoid a toxic culture ever developing by creating a happy and positive working environment. Remember it doesn’t always take or cost a lot to boost morale, perks like sweet treats, a team meal or maybe even financial incentives  for top performing employees.

Just busy… or drowning?

Unrealistic expectations, big workloads and pressure from business owners and managers can all be root causes of a toxic culture.

You need to combat this by reviewing your team’s to-do lists and share the work out equally. Make sure you watch out encourage for employees that seem to be struggling and give them the support they need.

By reducing extreme workloads it gives you a good chance of keeping employee stress levels low and productivity high.

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 “Banter” is that all it is?

One of the possible elements of a toxic culture, is at how your employees behave.

Bullying and harassment always create a distressing working environment, but remember this can sometimes take a subtler form; an aggressive behaviour that crosses the line but gets shrugged off as “banter.”

Always make sure you have a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment, and make you have robust policies in place that explain your company’s position on these matters.  It is also essential that you have reliable grievance procedures in place so you can address complaints in a serious and professional manner.

Think healthy

Supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees is vitally important, making sure your company has policies outlining what support will be offered during times of ill health is essential for your company handbook.

Why not consider offering sick pay or even give your employees access to an employee assistance programme (EAP) which can offer health and wellbeing support either in person or over the phone or online.

If you look out for these signs you will be on the right road to avoiding a toxic workplace culture and the outcome?  you keep your business, your people in a happier, healthier and more productive situation.

If you need any HR help or advice on workplace culture, 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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Our new website has launched…

We are excited to announce our new and improved website has been launched…

We’ve listened to our clients and customers and made some key changes.

We our proud that we take an innovative approach to HR, cutting through the industry jargon to help make a real difference to any business, by providing excellent HR consultancy and HR support.

We know HR can be a scary prospect for businesses both big and small and there is a lot to take in.  However we ask questions that other HR consultancies don’t, because we want to make a positive impact on your business and understand your people, by providing excellent HR and Talent services in the form of employee documentation, support, management and advice regarding employment queries and processes.

Come and take a look:

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might be interested in then please give us a call on: +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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FRIDAY FAQS – Can an employer ask about my mental health when applying for a new job?

Thanks to awareness days like Wednesday’s World Mental Health Day, the conversation surrounding mental health is getting louder. The stigma attached to talking about our mental health in the same way that we do for our physical health is being lifted and with that there is a growing acceptance that it’s okay not to be okay and to seek support.

The workplace is undeniably an environment that for many people can cause stress and anxiety. If you have a mental health issue then being in a pressured working environment, that may not be supportive of your mental health, can cause further damage to your health and overall well-being.

It’s therefore the role of employers to ensure they have fair practices in place with regards to their approach for identifying and supporting their teams with mental health issues, just as they do for physical health.

As an employee you should expect to be supported by your employer and provided with the necessary support for a mental health issue.

However, is it a concern for those seeking new employment that if they have an existing mental health issue, it may impact upon their likelihood of getting a job?

We want to help debunk some of these crucial questions and shed light on an area of HR that is vital for a happy and productive workplace.

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1. Can I be asked about my mental health issue when I apply for a job? 

In short, no. It’s unlawful for an employer to ask a candidate if they have a history mental health issues during the application process.

If you are asked about your mental health, you are not obliged to answer this, however, if you do choose to disclose this information it is recommended that you do so honestly.

Asking candidates health questions before a job offer is made is unlawful and can be reported to the Equality Advice and Support Service.

If you are asked about your mental health during the application process and then don’t receive an offer, you may want to challenge this as it can be classed as discrimination on the grounds of disability.

2. Are there situations when an employer can ask about my mental health before making a job offer?

There are a few situations when an employer may need to ask about your health before a job offer is made, these can include:

  • To find out if you can take an assessment for a job.
  • To find out if you need reasonable adjustments to the application process.
  • To find out whether you will be able to do the requirements of the job, whilst they also consider any reasonable adjustments that may need to be made.
  • To find out if applications are coming from a diverse group of people.
  • To establish if you have the particular disability required for the job.
  • To assess you for national security purposes.

For example, a lawful question about your health and whether this affects your ability to do the job would be; if you were applying for a job erecting scaffolding and the employer asked questions at the application stage regarding disability, health and whether the applicant has a fear of heights.

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3. What questions can I be asked about my mental health once I’ve been offered a job?

Once you receive a job offer then your new employer is lawfully able to ask you questions about your health.

If your new employer asks questions about your mental health and subsequently becomes concerned due to a mental health issue you may not be able to carry out your job, then it is the employer’s responsibility to seek further advice from your doctor or occupational health.

Should your new employer ask a question about your mental health and then withdraw the job offer without first consulting advice or conducting a further assessment or investigation, then this may be seen direct discrimination and therefore unlawful.

Mental Health is a really important HR issue in the workplace and If you need any help or advice on how to approach it, 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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World Mental Health Day 10th Oct 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day, aimed at raising awareness and educating people on a subject that has been too stigmatised for too long.  It’s an opportunity for us all to reflect on our own mental health and wellbeing and those around us. Unfortunately, mental ill health isn’t something that affects people for just one day a year, for some it really is something that affects them long term.

When we talk about Mental Health, what do we mean? Well in short it’s our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing – fundamentally the part of us that affects how we think, feel and act in certain situations. It determines how we handle stress, the choices we make and more importantly how we relate to others.

Mental illness can range from feeling a little down to debilitating anxiety and less commonly the severe conditions bi-polar or schizophrenia, but even feeling down can affect us and the people around us.  Most people will feel some level of stress or anxiety as our daily life throws different pressures and expectations at us, so never assume someone is always happy and never struggles with mental ill health as this will rarely be true.

The statistics show that 1 in 4 will experience mental ill health at some point in their lives and it is now a real issue that needs to be addressed and not swept under the carpet. Luckily awareness is on the increase and some big charities and household names are at the forefront of ensuring that we are all able to talk about our issues openly and promoting positive mental health.

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There are steps we can all put in place from employers and business owner to colleagues and peers to promote positive mental wellbeing in the workplace.  Below are just a few things that should be in place and we would encourage all employers and their employees to get involved, not just to help promote positive mental health in the workplace, but support those already suffering with mental ill health.

Employers

1. Take time to understand the impact to your business.

2. Ensure your managers are informed and aware, include training if necessary, but most importantly ensure they are open to having conversations with their employees.

3. Openly show that you are committed to positive mental health.

4. Deal with the issues that could be causing your workforce stress and anxiety.

5. Reduce negativity, tell people it’s ok to talk and reinforce that they won’t be punished as a result.

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Managers

1. Ensure you know how to handle a potentially difficult conversation effectively and don’t be afraid to ask for help if not.

2. Promote a positive work-life balance in your teams, and yourself too!

3. Don’t think you’re the expert because you’re a manager, really understand mental health and the issues associated with it.

4. Build a good relationship with your team – this is probably the most important; your employees need to feel like they can come to you.

Employees

1. What causes you anxiety? Do you really know what your stress triggers are? Think about it, and how you manage it in the workplace, or at home.

2. Look after your wellbeing, do things that you know make you feel positive and happy.

3. Take notice of your peers and support them.

4. Lastly but most importantly talk! Don’t keep things to yourself, if you are struggling let your manager know and then you can work together.

FACT: Stress is the major cause of long-term absence in manual and non-manual workers.

Let’s work together to change this and stop people suffering in silence.

If you need any help or advice on how to approach Mental Health in your workplace, 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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Signs it might 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.

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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.

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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 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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FRIDAY HR FAQS – What are the implications of AI in talent management?

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) within the HR sector and its ability to transform the way we interact with candidates and employees is a topic of interest for many businesses.

Recent surveys have revealed the buzz around AI and it’s potential to change HR practices. An IBM survey revealed that almost half of employers believe AI would transform their talent acquisition capabilities as well as transform their payroll and benefits administration.

Businesses are using AI technologies to reduce costs and save time when it comes to their HR – and talent management is an area that AI promises innovation for.

Recruitment is traditionally a labour and time intensive process and can cost your business thousands in recruitment fees and HR salaries when you total all of the time invested in the process.

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AI presents a way to streamline a business’s approach to talent management and to bolster their understanding of talent pools and existing teams, helping businesses to find their next employee and nurture them once they’re onboard.

We’ve explored some of the talent management areas that AI is impacting upon, as well as the potential downsides that the AI trend could have upon candidates and employers alike.

1. Automate candidate screening

AI can be used to reduce the time businesses spend finding the right employee by automating the process and providing more rigorous selection methods that filter out unsuitable CVs before a shortlist reaches the hiring manager.

2. Candidate assessment

AI software is changing the candidate assessment stage by combining techniques such as digital video and overlapping this with predicative analysis, thereby allowing the hiring manager to gain a data-driven understanding of the candidate’s suitability.

3. Skills matching

An applicant’s skill-sets, personality traits, and salary preferences can all be determined by an AI enhanced application system. Similarly, AI is also reinventing the traditional personality test and can produce a ‘score’ which candidates can publicise on their CV so that hiring managers can quickly assess their suitability.

4. Reduce human error

Human error is an inevitability of traditional talent management approaches and one that AI is supposedly able to eradicate completely, whilst also speeding up the process of collecting and compiling candidate and employee data.

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5. Employee onboarding

Ensuring your new hire is regularly contacted throughout the onboarding process can now be overseen by a bot, meaning that tasks such as document collating through to answering employee questions can all be relived of HR teams and carried out by AI powered virtual assistants.

6. Customise training

Once your new team member is onboard it’s vital that they remain engaged. Businesses are using AI to provide the right training for employees by creating a needs-based learning experience using learning data.

7. Entrenching biases

There are concerns that AI designed to enhance talent management could instead serve to perpetuate established biases within hiring and promotions – a very real concern when you consider that AI is a software which will inevitably be infiltrated by the biases of those who set it up.

8. Lack of humanisation

A lack of human interaction throughout the people management process due to the rise of automation is a concern for many within the HR sector. Nothing can compare to a human touch when it comes to talent management, and so while the transactional elements of the process can be enhanced by AI, businesses will need to work hard not to overlook the importance of human interaction – and hopefully in time come to realise it’s ever growing importance.

If you need any HR advice or guidance, 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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