How to prepare and conduct a grievance meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to conduct a disciplinary hearing – an employer checklist

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If as an employer you decide that there is a disciplinary case for an employee to answer, which can relate to performance, attendance, misconduct, to name a few, then a disciplinary hearing should be arranged.

It is important that the employee is given the chance to put their case forward in response to the allegations, and that a fair process is followed when preparing for, and conducting, the hearing.

Here, we set out a checklist that employers need to follow to ensure that disciplinary hearings are conducted fairly.
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  1. Ensure that the basic principles of fairness are followed throughout the disciplinary procedure.
  2. Ensure that someone who is not involved in the case is appointed to take notes on the proceedings.
  3. Outline the procedure to be followed during the hearing and introduce the parties taking part.
  4. Set out the case against the employee.
  5. Ask the employee questions to ascertain the facts of the case and allow him or her a full and fair opportunity to state their side of events, explain his or her conduct and state any mitigating factors.
  6. Conclude the hearing or adjourn it if new matters are raised that need investigating.
  7. Weigh up the evidence and decide whether or not a disciplinary sanction is appropriate and, if so, what it should be?
  8. Inform the employee of the decision, the reasons for it and their right to appeal.

Remember, this is a formal process and must be followed correctly to avoid potential costly repercussions for your business!

If you have read the above and feel a bit out of your depth with whole process, contact HR Revolution, we are friendly expert HR professionals who can help you resolve any disciplinary issues whilst supporting your employees and minimising any risk to your business.

Give us a call today +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk we look forward to hearing from you.

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

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

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

MAT B1

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

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

Communication

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

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

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Fathers/ Partners

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

Family Friendly Entitlements

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

Communication to their colleagues

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

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 Death of a baby

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

Returning to work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. An Employee Handbook underpins your Contracts of Employment

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

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

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

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

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Why don’t you have HR?

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We know that growing a business without HR expertise is challenging at best, and if you’ve ever had to tackle a people issue on your own, you’ll know just how stressful it can be.

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

Of course, there’s the option to call upon help on a project-by-project basis, and there can be real value in that approach. 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 relationship with an outsourced HR company.

This could be the HR secret weapon that you need. Here’s why:

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

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.

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

Employers 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 do happen though, and it’s vital that you’re ready to respond ASAP as many issues can spiral out of control if you don’t formulate a fit-for-purpose 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 (during traditional business hours, of course), there’s no panicking and no fuss. You’ve already got your plan in place, and you know that your advisor has already got you covered.

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You’re probably going to save yourself a chunk of cash

Contrary to popular (though very much dated) belief, 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 smash your strategic objectives.

We also know that you have a keen eye on your costs, so yet another benefit of working on a retainer basis is that you can take advantage of some extremely savvy savings, you’ll know what you’re paying each month, so you’ll never face any nasty surprises.

Employers who are mindful of the importance of their people practices, might have an HR professional in mind who can help them when things go wrong. But those employers who have thought ahead and really stepped up and are ready for whatever their business throws at them… are working with us on a retainer!

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

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Holidays over – our back to work survival guide!

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Why is it that when children go back to school in September they get about a week’s worth of half days to ‘ease them back in’?  Ok I’m probably exaggerating and I might be a bit bitter (definitely!), but my point is; they get a nice steady transition period to help them adjust to the harsh reality of going back to school. However, workers are faced with the reality of returning to work with no settling in phase!!!.  So if your going back to work with an error 404: ‘brain not found’ message, fear not, I have put together this back to work survival guide to help you get through it.

Be an early bird

If your first day back after a holiday falls on a Monday, then I feel for you, I really do. As if Mondays aren’t bad enough, this is a workers’ worst nightmare. However, I always find that getting up early, eating a proper breakfast then heading off to work early is a good way to set you up for having a productive day.

Also, being in work early before your co-workers descend on you with queries that they’ve been building up whilst you’re away, gives you the chance to acclimatise into work mode. It also means you get the peace and quiet you need to remember your computer password that has completely slipped your mind!

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Tackle your emails head on

Inevitably, when you return from annual leave, even if its just one day, you’ll return to email Armageddon (why is it that everyone has questions for you when you’re not there?). First you should scan through and delete anything that is not critical, is that latest 20% off Gap clothing offer really something you need to look at right now. Then, when you’re down to a manageable number read and respond in chronological order. You’ll need some method to the madness or it just will never end! Top tip: when someone responds to your reply, DON’T immediately respond to them. Get through the rest of your remaining unread emails before you start engaging in conversation and get pulled away from your email-ocalypse.

Catch up on the goss

Returning to a busy office with lots to do and lots to catch up on after spending your days relaxing on the beach without a care in the world, can leave you feeling discombobulated. You’ve been ‘out of the loop’ and when it comes to the world of office goings on you’ll have missed a ton of gossip and activity.

Schedule a tea break with your colleagues to catch up on all the news you’ve missed whilst you’ve been away.

Regroup

It’s only natural to return to work after a holiday and feel a bit like workplace deadwood. You’ll be reminiscing about what you were doing this time last week and you’ll be easily distracted and when you’ve got a mountain of things to tackle at work, it’s sometimes really hard to get back into the swing of things and you’ll be struggling to get motivated!

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When this happens, regroup and remind yourself of what you’re trying to achieve at work. Giving your work some meaning will give you the boost to get stuck back in. You might be working towards a bonus, promotion or working hard to save for something special. Reassess your goals and see where you’re at with them, plan your next steps in achieving them and crack on and succeed.

Don’t let your holiday spirit be put out

We all get a boost from taking time off of work to relax and recharge, so don’t let returning to the office instantly crush your joie de vivre. Everyone in the office will want to hear you gush over what you got up to, it’s their duty, so revel in it. Show off your holiday pictures, pass round the holiday sweets and keep your holiday spirit alive just a little bit longer.

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Thinking about HR for your business?

A recent study from Recruiter Robert Walters, which surveyed 123 hiring managers, found that 89% intended to hire mid-level HR staff, while 77% planned to recruit at junior level.  43% of employers explained that growth in their businesses was driving their hiring strategies.   However, according to Laura Harrison, Strategy and Transformation Director at the CIPD, the changing economic and political environment also meant that businesses were increasingly turning to HR for expertise and advice.

She also went onto say “Businesses are trying to plan for Brexit and the potential skills shortage that will come with it, so there is a lot of change management to do.  All involves HR, so it’s not surprising that more HR professionals are being recruited.  HR is a guiding light because there is only so much that line managers can dedicate their time to.”  Harrison added that the “unprecedented levels of change and uncertainty” many organisations were facing required “fair, consistent and coherent HR.”

If you have concerns about the future but currently don’t have the budget to employ a full-time HR professional, why not explore the outsourced solutions that HR Revolution can bring to your business.

Click here to read more about our outsourced HR solutions…

We are an outsourced HR company and simply put, want to revolutionise the way in which businesses work with HR.  Wendy Read our CEO explains “We know that people are the key to any successful business, without them the wheels just do not turn.  The problem is that most businesses don’t focus on their people and only concentrate on the bottom line.  Our philosophy is simple; focus on your people, hire, on-board, train, manage and develop them and the bottom line will look after itself.”

Why not give us a call today and see how HR Revolution can help your business +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

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