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Contrary to popular belief (although very outdated!!), HR isn’t all about soft tactics that can’t be measured in terms of true business success.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

How to be a great Consultant…

What is Consultancy?

So let’s address the consultancy side of things: believe me I completely get that making the move from being an employee to becoming a consultant has its challenges!   So this blog is something for those of you considering the move, hopefully this is something that will help support you in your transition into the wonderful world of consultancy.

A couple of pointers that may help;

Value Add & ROI

The top of your list as a consultant/freelance/contractor should always be return on investment for your clients.  Can they look at the amount of month they have spent with you and see value add and progression? If the answer is yes then they will continue to work with you – if no then you will end up with a cancelled contract or a client who purposefully begins to distance themselves from you.

Considerations:  Make sure you can deliver a service that adds real value, something that is different to your competitors or your industry standard, even if the value is your time and specialist knowledge/experience.  Ensure you tell your client what the benefits will be to working with you and reinforce the message throughout your consultancy with them. Start building your relationship.

Visibility & Focus

Both are key to make sure that your clients really do feel that the time you spend with them is their time. When onsite with your clients always ensure you have 100% focus on their projects, never be caught out checking emails, browsing the web or generally not being focused.  It’s a very quick way to put doubt in your clients mind about how committed you are to their projects and how often you are really working on them. To make your relationship work they have to be confident that they are top of the important list.

Considerations: Make sure you interact with the client and their teams, but not to a point where you are using their time to socialise and distract their employees.  Make sure they all see that you are focused on your own project delivery. It may not be the client that you have to impress; they may ask the team what they feel about your input into the workload/projects you are working on.

Onsite Time

This is your time in front of your client and their teams. Again really important to make sure when you are onsite with them you are 100% committed to them (as far as they are concerned you have no other clients!).  If you need to take time out to do other things then shorten the time onsite and confirm it with them so that they are happy and understand time-frames.

Considerations: Confirm your time onsite – down to the last 15 mins so that your client can see exactly what you have been doing.  Use activity logs or online time tracking apps, whichever works best for you but ensure every minute of your time spent is easily accountable and able to be shown to the client on a regular basis should they need it.

Project Clarity

Making sure you are all on the same page is essential to ensure the delivery of the work you are hoping to achieve.  You can’t achieve if you aren’t sure what the outcomes and successes are meant to be. You definitely can’t succeed in the eyes of your client if they aren’t aware of what you have outlined as your successes.

Considerations:  Make sure you are clear, concise and have agreement with the key people.  Make sure you document and sign off on the projects you will be working on, what they entail and what the successes will be.

I know from experience that if I’d been told these things at the very beginning of my launch into the consultancy world  I’d have gotten to where I wanted to be a lot quicker. So I’m hoping these pointers really do help.

Happy Consulting! 

 

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Fri fun… 10 things NEVER to do or say in an interview

On my way into work this morning, I noticed a big festive recruitment drive by Tesco – there is no getting away from it now Christmas is coming! Talking of Tesco, here are a few festive facts from them which amazed me –  did you know they will sell 170,000 turkeys, 140,000 jars of cranberry sauce and over 400,000 packs of Brussels sprouts!  So safe to say they will be recruiting a lot of people over this period, so I thought it would be fun to have a list of 10 things never to say or do in an interview, just in case you fancy getting a seasonal job…. not based on personal experience I might add…

Seriously these things do happen and I’m sure they make the decision not to employ a very easy one!!!

  1. Don’t ever answer a call or text in an interview, make sure your phone is switched off and in your bag.
  2. Never swear in an interview, you must remain professional at all times.
  3. Ask for a lift home after the interview.
  4. Smell your armpits on the way into the interview, or indeed during or after.
  5. Tell the interviewer you were fired for beating up your last boss!! not sure this reflects too well on your character.
  6. When one applicant was offered food before the interview he declined, saying that he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.
  7. A candidate for an accounting position said she was a “people person,” not a “numbers person.”
  8. Applicant took out a hair brush and brushed her hair mid-interview.
  9. Being late.  I think its safe to say your interviewer will not be impressed, whatever excuse you may come up with, punctuality is key.
  10. Ask what is the annual leave and sickness policy is, this will set alarm bells ringing for the interviewer.

I have to say, numbers 3 and 4 are my personal favourites and actually made me laugh out loud picturing it happening!

Remember, the job market is very competitive these days, so don’t ruin your prospects with an ill-chosen comment.

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5 tips for getting the best out of your employees…

At HR Rev we think there are two general areas that you need to cover in order to get the best from your employees:
Firstly, Give them clear instructions about what you want from them
Secondly, Win over their hearts and minds so that they want to do a good job for you

If you can cover these two, then you are probably 90% of the way towards getting the best from your employees.  So in practice what can you do to improve these areas?

1.    Give them a clear job description

Oh yes, I can hear you!  You’re saying “it doesn’t matter that my staff don’t have a job description, they know what they’re supposed to be doing – and anyway we don’t need more paper around.”

Well of course you think they know what they are doing, and if you ask them they will say they do – because they don’t want to sound stupid in front of you.  OK they probably do know 80% of it, but if you want them to do the best job (not just OK) then it makes sense to start with the basics and make sure they are very clear about your expectations.  So get those job descriptions up to date and refer to them with your employees regularly so that they stay relevant and up-to-date.

2.    Set quarterly performance reviews

Of course the job description is a general statement, but the detail and the priorities will vary and for a senior job there will also be special projects that come and go.  So have a review meeting quarterly with each employee where you discuss what has worked and what hasn’t over the last quarter and then set targets for the next quarter.  I know it seems like alot of work, but believe me, everyone feels better afterwards.  It will give both you and your employee a boost and when you get into the habit it becomes easy and rewarding.

3.    Weekly 1-2-1s 

Again, I can hear you thinking that this is a waste of time, but it really does work.  It is a simple discipline of a weekly ½ hour catch up when you discuss how things went last week and set priorities for the week ahead.  But the major thing it does is provide a time when they can bring up minor concerns and you can pull them up on minor things too.  So the little niggles get dealt with while they are just niggles and don’t build up to be big issues.

4.    Listen to your employees

Find time occasionally to take relaxed moments with your employees, when you can get them talking and then listen carefully.  Hear their view of the world and what is important to them.  It may seem irrelevant, but there may come a time when you need to draw on that relationship, so it will pay off in the long run.

5.    Be seen to be fair

It is important to be fair with your employees, but even more important to be seen to be fair.  So when you catch yourself favouring an employee, just make sure they know why and, if possible, others know why too.

 

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Easy ways to improve your HR practices by the end of the year…

As we quickly roll into the final quarter of 2016, most business owners will be focusing on a couple of things. If you still have some big goals that you haven’t quite smashed, now’s the time to pull your socks up and make that final push. There should also be plenty of time for reflection though, so you can work out your wins, your losses, and what you need to do differently next year.

Make sure that you don’t neglect your people practices and how they’ve performed over the course of the past 12 months. It’s true that many HR changes can’t be achieved overnight, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take action. In fact, there are certain things that you can do over the following weeks that will help you to make positive and tangible changes.

Are you ready to take on the challenge? This is what we suggest:

Assess how compliant you are with recent legislative changes

There have been several changes to employment law this year, and many business owners would like to say that they know they’re fully compliant. When it comes down to it though, are you absolutely positive that you’re doing everything you should be?

We understand that the day-to-day complexities of running your business can sometimes get in the way, but if you haven’t done everything that’s required of you, you could be leaving yourself very vulnerable to future problems.

Start planning for 2017

At the moment, you might be caught up with the practicalities of recruiting temporary staff for the Christmas period, or ensuring that your existing employees are ready to deliver exceptional service during the festivities.

That’s great, but make sure that you’re looking a little further ahead. What key challenges will you face next year? What opportunities could you harness to help you to meet your wider strategic goals? Heading into the new year with a plan will put your mind at ease, and ensure that you don’t find yourself faced with any nasty surprises.

Take advantage of an HR audit

As a business grows, there’ll be a wider range of HR tasks and responsibilities that need to be taken care of. Keeping on top everything can be a massive job, and savvy leaders realise that they can’t do everything themselves.

It’s very likely that your business could take many benefits away from an end-of-year HR audit. Having an experienced HR professional come into your company and assess what’s working, and what needs to be improved, could be just what you need to make sure that you end the year on a high note and put practical steps in place to raise your game.

You have a few choices right now. You can carry on doing what you’re doing, and seeing the same results. Or you can recognise that there’s room for improvement, and do something about it.

Take the right route…  Contact us today for your free no obligation HR Audit +203 538 5311

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5 abilities you should look for in all employees…

At HR Revolution we pride ourselves on recruiting great employees and talent, even if I do say so myself! Here are the top 5 qualities we look for in individuals regardless of job role:

1. Positive Job Attitude

An employee’s enthusiasm for their job shines through, to managers, to employees and to clients. It is desirable for every employer to have employees that know what they are doing and enjoy what they are doing. This is one of the strongest elements that an interviewee can convey to a potential employer at an interview; their passion is something a CV can’t always portray.  If an employee is visually enthusiastic about learning everything there is to know about their particular job, this person will go far. A strong work ethic also impacts on the morale of fellow co-workers

2. Good Problem Resolution Skills

Every job role comes up against problems, it’s inevitable.  The scale of these problems can vastly vary according to the level of the role, but never the less as employees we all need to have some degree of problem resolution ability. Solving problems are a big part of every job and having skilled problem solvers in the workplace is a valuable asset and should be looked upon and appreciated as such. How do you solve common and not so common problems in the workplace?  Does the employee keep a cool head while in the solving process?

3. Conflict Resolution Ability

How employees deal with conflict inside the work place is one thing that reveals their overall attitude.  Does the employee get involved in multiple work place relation conflicts? If so, then why?  Does this employee get along with just about everyone they come into contact with?  How they resolve minor professional conflicts will also give you a perspective as to how they will fare in more serious conflict resolutions.

4. High Quality of Work

Errors, mistakes, mishaps whatever you call them, can be costly in business. We are all human and as humans we do on occasion make mistakes, but a good employee will learn to reduce mistakes to a minimum, through a combination of careful reviewing, double checking and experience. But high levels of quality can be a combination of accuracy, attention to detail, work experience, good research and a positive job attitude and pride in the work they produce.  The quality of the finished material is an important factor in seeing what their overall work ethic is.

5. Adaptability

The ability to adapt to situations, new tasks, unexpected changes in tasks and work load and the general changes every workplace experiences is a vital ability for all employees. All businesses change, the world is changing all the time and good employees will have the ability to manage change, through a natural ability or a learned one. Without adaptability we become the person on.

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Guide to managing your SME talent…

In a small to medium sized business, the management of your talent can make or break your business and its growth. Managing an SME comes with its challenges, but your people don’t need to be one of them. We at HR Revolution have developed, through our experience and expertise as a team, a few helpful tips that may just come in handy.

  1. Sourcing your talent: No one wants to have the added expenditure of instructing an agency to do your recruitment, but sometimes, just sometimes, you do get what you pay for and after all your people are your business engine. Agencies have the expertise, skill, resources and most importantly, time that you as a business owner don’t necessarily have.
  2. The talent: You want team members that share your vision for the company and who want to take ownership of their role and the part they will play in the success of the company. Yes, this does need to be coupled with the skills and experience required to do the role, but in a SME it’s about more than that. Yes you want a reliable member of the team who turns up on time and can do the job, but every team member needs to have the mind-set of we are one, we are a team in every sense of the word.
  3. The Law! Scary!? There are some basic legal requirements that you need to be sure to comply with, but they don’t need to be scary. They range from putting in recruitment policies which include checking new employees have the right to work in the UK, to giving them a written statement of terms and conditions, in other words an employment contract, within 3 months of joining.
  4. Keeping your talent: There are several tips we can offer for keeping your talent and they don’t all involve remuneration:-
  • Communicate – effective communication doesn’t cost anything but time, and in the long run it can actually help you save time. 10 – 15 minute catch ups with your team on a regular basis can avoid issues festering and can avoid mistakes being made.
  • Open ideas forum – welcome suggestions from your all your team members, after all they are on the front line.
  • Motivation – this can come from inspiration.  It is your role to inspire your team to greater things, get them to buy into the company mission and let them see the part they play in it and keep them informed of any new developments within the business.
  1. Managing your talent: Deal with performance issues promptly. No matter how good your management skills are, you will most likely still encounter issues with poor employee performance. The key here is speaking to the individual as soon as the issue becomes apparent.  The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to resolve, and you will start to become frustrated yourself which can make things worse.  Additionally, find out the cause of the problem rather than just focusing on the symptoms – is it due to personal problems?, lack of knowledge or training?, or not feeling recognised?  A good employee does not start under-performing or making mistakes for no reason, so find out why and agree a joint action plan to address it.
  1. I need help! Knowing when to seek help is key after all we aren’t all experts in every field. Being an effective manager requires skills that not everyone has naturally. Some tasks require different or more unique knowledge and skills, such as managing internal restructures, changing employment contracts or undertaking criminal record checks.

These are just a snapshot of things to consider when running an SME and HR Revolution can help you tick them off your to do list.

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Are you the Employer they WANT to work for…

Now I’m not an employer branding specialist and I don’t have training in how employer brands should be put together or any methodologies that are used.  What I do know is though that having started a couple of businesses myself in the past that it is so important to get your branding right, it says everything about you and the business you are promoting… and has a huge impact on the people that REALLY want to work for you and the products and services you are promoting.

As business owners we all have a mission… to make a success of our business! For each of us though that success will be different; revenue, size, growth, reputation, global domination but we all have the same mission… to be successful.

To achieve this there are many key objectives to focus on; ensuring your products and services are right for the market, driving profits, hiring the right team, finding the best suppliers for quality, cost and delivery.   To get this all right you must focus on your brand message… the message that people (people being, potential customers, suppliers or employees!!) see you are giving off to the business world!

Think of a business that you would love to emulate, a business that if you were a potential employee, you would love to work for.  What attracts you to them? In the beginning it will be the brand that got you interested in the first place. Think Apple, Nike, IBM, Google, Adidas, Victoria Secret, Ralph Lauren, Porsche, VW… their brands are all very well defined and have an air of trend about them that makes you want to belong to their club!  Just like being back at school!  As human beings we naturally want to belong, to be part of a tribe, and that’s how the branding process works… learn how to build your own club/tribe and you’re half way there.

How do you know what your ‘club’ or ‘tribe’ should be?

Well that depends on what your culture is… at the centre of your brand, is the beating heart of your culture… once you have worked out exactly what that is and can put that down on paper – hey presto! your employer brand begins…

  • What are the things that make your best employees tick?
  • What is the ethos of the business?
  • What is important to you as a business owner, your morals, your ethics in business?
  • What do you expect from your teams?
  • Every brand has a promise… what is your promise to potential employees?

These are just some of the starting questions to ask yourself.

Now all you need to do is build your employee offering around that… create your job expectations, training manuals and induction and orientation programmes.  Design and tailor your appraisal and review processes and your employee handbooks to mirror and echo this brand promise and expectation and your people processes are and ready to roll.

And before you know it, you ARE an Employer of choice!

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All Startups need HR

You’ve got your idea, you’ve got your funding, you even have some customers and your startup is beginning to grow. Fantastic! You now need to hire employees to meet the demands of your customers and to begin to expand your fledgling business. Employees are your most important asset (bit of an overused phrase, but a true one never the less) and can grow your revenue as well. From sourcing, interviewing, writing job specs and hiring to contracts, policies, procedures, employee files and benefits the list goes on and on, but these are all things any startup that has visions of grandeur, and what entrepreneur wouldn’t have them, need to be compliant and have engaged, efficient and great employees.

With a daunting task like this it is critical to start with the five most important tasks and get those done first… This is where HR REV steps in.  Here are our 5 first steps:

1.  Employee Handbooks – Startups are fun and innovative, and handbooks are boring and outdated and so corporate right?! WRONG! From an HR point of view, a handbook is necessary, regardless of the company size. A handbook lets a company lay out what they expect of the employee and what benefits are offered.  This is important to have as a reference for any situations that may arise down the line and offers protection for both the employer and the employee and they are easily changed as the company evolves.

  1. Culture! Culture! Culture!  This is extremely important in any startup.  As HR professionals we often think of ourselves as Chief Missionaries of Culture.  It is part of the job of the HR team to make sure that the company stays fun and innovative by maintaining a great culture. It is important that even though we are in HR, people know they can come and talk to us about anything.  Make sure people know that they can make suggestions about improvements or new benefits. Quite often the people on the shop floor have the most practical ideas.
  1. Recruitinthe Right People is one of the most important things for any company. I can’t stress this enough. As a startup when you have only a few employees, hiring the right people is especially critical. They need to have the right experience, the right mentality and be a culture fit based on what you are trying to build. This is the time to find and implement great talent management practices and software.
  1. Documents – Once you start hiring people you’re going to quickly notice paperwork, everywhere! It’s time to create some personnel files!!  We are strong advocates for a paperless office by the way, as lots of trees can be hurt in the making of an employee file. Get everything online in a secure place such as DropBox.  I can’t stress enough how important your Contract of Employment is. It is a legal document first and is the protection you afford yourself and your business if something should happen between you and your employee and if it is badly written then your legal protection can go out the window before you even have time to blink. There are also specific legal requirements when storing personal data, ever heard of the Data Protection Act?
  1. Attraction – How do you compete with other startups to get the best employees? Remember you are competing with some of the big players for the best talent out there. Providing amazing benefits is a good way to start! Employees aren’t just looking for monetary reward; they want to know about your work-life balance.  Benefits in the standard sense are great, for example medical benefits – this is a benefit most employees look for,  but if you really want to draw people to work for you offer other things like gym memberships, lunches, versatile working environment, flexible working, holiday allowances; the list goes on and on! Some benefits can be very costly, especially for a startup, so think outside the box when considering your benefits offering and consider what packages go with what roles.

It can be daunting to start any company and have to be responsible for sales, IT, marketing, design and HR as well.  But as a startup you probably won’t need an HR Manager as a full-time employee (you don’t want the salary, the NI payments, and them sitting twiddling their thumbs for half of the month), but you will need their expertise so what do you do?  Contact us at HR Revolution, that’s the first step. We can offer all the support your growing business needs, but offer it flexibly so you don’t have all the costs of a permanent employee and don’t have an employee who is only productive half of the time they work.

 

 

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Where’s your Passion?

Love What You Do!

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

– Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Apple

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