Holidays over – our back to work survival guide!

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!

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!

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.

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

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

5 mistakes employers are making with Employee Handbooks..

A recent survey has stated that over 90% of companies have created an employee handbook to share with their employees; that is positive, but in reality are these handbooks HR compliant?  Just listing policies and sharing some mission statements, will not cut it!!!

So based on the statistics, you’ve probably made a token attempt at creating an employee handbook for your business – but are you missing the mark? Here, we uncover the mistakes that too many businesses are making, and explain how you can turn things around.

Taking a cookie-cutter approach

Of course there are certain things that all employee handbooks should include, but this certainly doesn’t mean that you should just download a free template from Google, fill in the blanks, and hope for the best. Your business is unique. Its culture and practices make it individual, and your handbook needs to reflect this. After all, first impressions count, so you need to make sure that you’re giving your employees a quality document that reflects what you’re really all about.

Don’t be scared to showcase your business’s personality and create something that demonstrates what it’s like to work for your company. Your new employees should feel inspired, motivated, and ready to face their new challenges.

Neglecting to seek out a professional opinion

You wouldn’t finalise your end-of-year accounts without speaking to an accountant, so why should your employment documentation be any different? HR Revolution can advise you on anything that you might have missed, unearth any points that could potentially get you into hot water, and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything’s in order.

Speaking in legal lingo

Your HR practices need to be created in accordance with relevant legislation. Staying on the right side of the law will save you a whole load of time and hassle. Before stuffing your handbook with jargon though, take a step back and think about how you can make the important information as easy as possible to digest. A better understanding of what’s expected will ultimately lead to higher rates of compliance.

Consider your audience, and keep things as straightforward as possible. At the end of the day, your handbook should be there to help people – not overwhelm them.

 

Letting the document gather dust

The world of business changes and adapts every single day. New legislation is rolled out, light is cast on exciting and innovative ways to get the most out of a workforce, and advances in technology present new challenges. What works right now isn’t necessarily going to be fit for purpose in the near future.

Before signing off your document as completed, set a date for review. Keeping on top of changes can be a manageable job only if you make sure that you don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Shockingly, 2.8% of employers don’t know when they last carried out any reviews or changes – don’t fall into this camp!

Forgetting to make sure that every employee has their copy

Creating a document to be proud of is only the first part of the story. It isn’t going to make any difference unless you ensure that all employees get their copy, and that they’re given time to digest the information. These days, this is easier than ever before. Many companies decide to distribute their handbooks via email or an intranet system.

And finally, be sure to lead by example. When’s the last time that you familiarised yourself with the content? Do you have a copy on your desk? Are you confident that you could answer questions about the points that are covered? If not, consider this your wake-up call!

Ready to seek out some advice that you know you can trust? Whether you’re starting from scratch with your handbook and you’re not sure where to begin, or you’ve done the work yourself and just want a second opinion, HR Revolution can help. Contact us for a no-obligation chat about working together.

HR Revolution’s employee handbooks will help you to set core business policies and expectations and help portray your business culture, values, branding and vision, setting the tone for your business and employees, whilst maintaining HR compliance and best practice for all.

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

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

School’s out for summer…

It’s that time of year again. All across the country, teachers are breathing a sigh of relief and getting ready to wind down for the summer holidays, whilst parents are forced to consider how they’ll balance childcare responsibilities with their working lives.

The bottom line here is clear. When the kids are off school, either due to organised breaks throughout the academic year, or because of other factors, it can have a big impact on businesses. As an employer, it pays to take a proactive approach.  Below, HR Revolution shares our advice and guidance for managing the associated challenges effectively.

Harness a more flexible approach

Giving your staff more flexibility can help to ensure that an appropriate balance is struck. Consider whether you could offer your team members the opportunity to work from home, or slightly alter their hours during the summer holidays.

When most people think of flexible working, they think of arrangements like the above, and it’s true that these can really help. Don’t be scared to get a little more creative though and think outside of the box. Many businesses have successfully offered term-time only contracts for employees who are balancing their careers with caring responsibilities.

Be prepared for an influx of holiday requests

At this time of year, many of us are tempted by the prospect of booking a last-minute getaway. We all like a bit of sun and sand, but when your staff are planning a mass exodus, the situation can turn into a major headache. Remember that giving priority to employees with children could be discriminatory.

If you feel like you’re struggling to manage holiday requests, it might be time to implement a more robust system. This can ensure that your processes are fair and equal, and that you’re fully prepared for the challenges that the summer period can bring.

Take the time to rethink your priorities

Many workplaces experience a bit of a lull during the summer months. Employees are away on holiday and you might find yourself slipping into the trap of letting the time just pass you by. Instead of going down this route, take the opportunity to get your leadership team together and focus on where you’re going.

What are your priorities for the second half of the year? What challenges do you need to overcome? What opportunities exist that you aren’t tapping into? A little planning can go a long way.

If the summer season is causing you HR headaches in your business, seek out HR Revolution’s assistance, we can help you get things back on track and stop small issues from escalating into something more serious.

Give HR Revolution a call we’d love to help, call us on +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

 

Do you really communicate with your colleagues?…

It’s easy to stop and moan about work or discuss a work related project but how often to you ever stop and just have a little chit chat with your work colleagues on a more personal level?

At HR Revolution we like having a bit of office banter, finding out what our colleagues did during their holidays or at the weekend, we think it’s important to remember that we all have interesting lives outside the workplace.  Establishing a conversational comfort level with your colleagues will allow you to talk to them about anything and make it easier to share your ideas.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Be the first to speak. It doesn’t pay to be shy, so just go ahead and ask a question to get the conversation started. They might be pleased that someone has stopped to talk to them.

It’s ok to be nosy, sorry I mean inquisitive! People generally like being asked about themselves, just don’t get too personal or sound like you’re trying to get the dirt, you’re supposed to be having a light hearted conversation.

Be positive,  again it’s meant to be light hearted so don’t drone on about a miserable experience, focus on something good, like a new fantastic restaurant you’ve tried, maybe a new box set that has you hooked (if you’re like me, I love a box set, Game of Thrones, Line of Duty, Walking Dead to name but a few!), this will definitely get them interacting.

Remember to listen in return. If you plan too hard what you are going to say they won’t get a word in edgeways, and next time they won’t bother engaging with you at all. Besides they might have some great ideas you can use too.

Be discreet. They may also be “inquisitive” about you but they don’t really want to know the in’s and out’s of your life’s back story and remember you do have to work with these people so keep some things to yourself!

Know when to draw the conversation to an end. Remember this was a quick chit chat, and shouldn’t detract from your working day, but make sure you end it on a high, maybe with a “we’ll talk about that next time”! which also then lends itself to be an inner for the next one.

I hope this helps and encourages you to talk to each other, communication is a key factor in good relationships and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Click this link now to download your FREE guide to Communicating Effectively:

HR Revolutions Guide – Are you communicating effectively

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

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

!

 

Why business owners shouldn’t turn a blind eye to a ‘sickie’

Pulling a sickie is becoming such a norm that there is now a National Sickie Day (it’s the first Monday in February in case you were wondering!). But this is a very unhealthy attitude towards sickness and employers have a vital part to play in preventing it from infecting their teams.

What is a sickie?

We all know that there are some days when your employees will wake up and just want to roll over because they couldn’t think of anything worse than having to be at work. And whilst the majority sip their morning coffee to feel human and fuel themselves for the day ahead, many workers are burying their heads under their duvets, whilst trying to think of a credible excuse regarding their whereabouts to give to their employer.

National Sickie Day

So what is it about that fateful February Monday, that makes it a prime day for calling in sick? Could it be that many are getting over (or still continuing) their drinking binge after partaking in dry January? The findings from the latest Sick Report by breatheHR shows that 21% of workers have pulled a sickie because of a hangover.

Apparently we also need more time in bed during the winter and we’re more likely to get ill, making it the perfect season to feign illness. In a study by The Fine Bedding Company, a staggering 69% of the country’s workforce said they would be tempted to make the most of the national sick day.

Sickies aren’t just for skivers

Whilst there are some that pull a sickie because they are hungover or want to start their weekend early (21% and 14% of respondents respectively), the research showed that nearly half (42%) of those that pulled a sickie did so to rest and another 19% have done so to avoid a stressful situation at work. And it appears that this isn’t happening in isolation, as those that pull a sickie tend to do so on average 3 times a year. All of these reasons for pulling a sickie should be a red flag to an employer and shouldn’t be something that they turn a blind eye to.

What employers can do about sickies

The celebration of a National Sickie Day and high number of employees admitting to feigning illness to get out of work makes it clear that sickies are becoming normalised in the UK’s working culture. In order to minimise the number of sickies in your business there are a few things that you can do, if you haven’t already!

Implement an absence policy

Don’t accept text messages or vague emails as acceptable ways for employees to report sickness. Put in place a process that both you, as an employer, and your employees should adhere to if a case of sickness arises – whether it is true or not. That way everything goes through the same procedure as per your sickness policy and is dealt with in the same way ensuring consistency and support for your staff. Hopefully resulting in a speedy return to work.

Record and measure sickness

There are a number of methods that you can use to record and measure absence. A number of small businesses use spreadsheets and keep a record of any return to work interviews, whereas others use absence management software to keep track of the absence data relating to their businesses. The important thing is to ensure that you are measuring and recording absence effectively so that you can pick up any trends to identify any recurring absences and help your staff with any potential issues they are having.

Engage your team

If your team is uninspired and unengaged, then it is likely they’ll find reasons not to come into work, so focus on ensuring your team stays engaged.  Make sure that employees enjoy their work, respect and support each other, and get acknowledgement, training and support.  Most importantly is that work/life balance is kept under control and if someone works late or over a weekend, they are given off days in lieu. In return you get employees who want to come to work, who want to be part of the business and who are fully engaged.

Open up communication

It is worrying to see that 19% of respondents have pulled a sickie in order to avoid a stressful situation at work. Communication is a key part of business success and you need to foster an environment where open communication is accepted. This number is easily preventable and it could be lowered if small businesses opened up clear lines of communication for their employees to be able to discuss situations.

Lead by example

Our plugged in, always on culture is leaving everyone in a bit of a conundrum on where the line is between work and life, if such a thing exists. Half of business owners questioned admitted that they have contacted an employee whilst on sick leave. Therefore, if you can set out your expectations for your workers when it comes to appropriate times to be working (whilst on sick leave shouldn’t be one of them), and adhere to them, it is likely that they will follow suit.

You’ll be lucky to completely stop sickies taking place in your company and they are certainly not something that you should ignore, but introducing a stricter policy for reporting sickness and communicating your expectations would be a good place to start.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

 

Do your colleagues like you as much as you think?

In all probability the answer to this is no! Very blunt I know, but I am just being honest with you.

In truth we all have bits about us that are completely unlikeable, but we just don’t want to believe it!

Take a look at the top reasons for being disliked in the workplace and ask yourself…  Is that me?

You gossip: and I mean the negative kind. What you don’t realise is that you are venting about someone to the very person they are best friends with. In short, neither of them like you now and they have told everyone else not to trust you!!

You lengthen meetings: with the most ridiculous questions, which in all probability have been answered already if you hadn’t been too busy doodling to notice, or just wanted to make your presence known. Now it’s past going home time you are very unpopular indeed!

You depend on everyone: for every single answer. You have google on your computer, it pretty much knows everything so use it and stop asking me!

You moan: OMG is your cup ever half full? Apparently not, it’s too cold, there are no teabags, you broke a nail, you hate Mondays, the stationery cupboard is too far away, don’t depress the office…

You tell white lies: It wasn’t your idea stop saying it was aaarrggghhh!

You know it all: about everything and you can do my job better than me!!! (even though you don’t know what you are talking about). Get over yourself your insecurity is boring!

You are lazy: and you know it. It’s never your responsibility, so why should you step up to take on extra duties? Well people might like you a bit more if you pulled your weight for one!

You are Little Miss Sunshine: really?! No-one can be that happy all of the time. The lift breaking down when you work on the 15th floor is NOT a good excuse for light exercise! I don’t want a group hug, high fives or to turn my frown upside down… so please go away.

You talk too much: and when I say too much I mean all the time! Now I don’t mind a quick catch up on last night’s TV, but seriously I have work to do and I really am not that interested in Aunt Maud’s bad back. Rein it in a bit hey!

You are always sick: I mean taking every Monday off is a bit suspect, do you really always have something dodgy to eat on a Sunday!?? I’m suspicious and I don’t really like you for it.

You smell: ok sensitive subject but it’s true no-one like to sit with someone who’s got BO or bad breath.

You suck up to your colleagues: all the time. Did you do your hair differently? I like your dress, is it new? Did you lose weight? It’s all rubbish, the boss looks the same as always and you are not getting a promotion.

So if you want to win favour in the office, take an interest in other people, listen to a story they want to share, give the odd compliment and maybe offer to buy the coffee or make one at least!

Even as I wrote this blog I couldn’t help thinking ‘actually I do a bit of all of those’, so I will sign off and go and spray myself with some perfume, make my team a coffee or tea and not moan when there is no milk! and tell my colleague that I did notice her hair cut and I like it!

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

Top 10 causes of stress at work

In this day and age we often hear a lot about workplace stress and sadly it’s symptomatic of society’s drive for constant growth and increased wealth, the outcome of which is ever increasing pressure on companies and employees alike.

Listed below are the 10 most common causes of stress in the workplace:

  1. Being given too much work
  2. Unrealistic deadlines
  3. Not being paid enough for the hours worked/duties performed
  4. Work-life balance
  5. Fear of missing targets
  6. Expected to work more hours than contracted too
  7. Poor working relationships
  8. Bullying or harassment
  9. Fear of redundancy
  10. Lack of control over work activities

So how can you deal with it? Well, start by showing signs that you really care.

Speak to your employees: try to get them talking in a relaxed setting outside the office and show real concern for their welfare.

Make small changes to help them out – it will foster a sense of trust that you may be willing to listen when there is a larger problem. While still challenging them, be careful to keep goals realistic.

Encourage an atmosphere where employees can tell their peers about things that aren’t working or make suggestions for improvements (keep it anonymous if necessary). Make sure the good ideas get acted upon or problems dealt with – very publicly – so that everyone knows you respect the process. This will build confidence that you take their views seriously, and if something can’t be solved, make sure you explain why.

Remember that employees can be stretched more when they feel listened to and respected as people.  They will work harder for you, and it will benefit you, your employees and the company.

 

If you have any issues with stress in the workplace, give HR Revolution a call +203 531 5388 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk, we are here to help.

HR Revolution – www.hrrevolution.co.uk

Odd employee behaviour – what does it mean?

It’s very interesting how we interpret other people’s behaviour; often our perception can be skewed by how we are feeling ourselves or from a previous experience.

I was recently asked about an employee who had started to arrive late for work on a regular basis, and kept ‘popping out’ to take phone calls. At this point most of you are already thinking clearly looking for another job!. That was my colleague’s immediate thought, however, being quite an empathetic soul I also wondered if something had changed in their personal life; had a family member been taken ill? or other circumstances changed?

The point here really is how important it is to talk to your employees.  Say that odd behaviour is a result of covert calls to a Recruitment Consultant, how do you feel about the employee leaving? Are they a talent you want to keep in your business? This could be a wake-up call to address any issues that are making them feel dissatisfied or underappreciated.

Alternatively, they could be dealing with real difficulties within their personal life and it’s now impacting their ability to be fully focused on their role. I have seen many good, productive employees suddenly start to fall away from expected standards, and I’ve seen the massive impact a show of concern; a listening ear; a hand on the shoulder to say ‘we support you’ can have.

Most employers agree that these types of conversations are not always easy to have, but it doesn’t have to be a big production. Dependent on your relationship with the employee it can be a formal conversation in a meeting room or quick chat in the kitchen, or perhaps you have someone fairly senior within the business who is more at home talking to people on that level.

Always approach people with the benefit of the doubt, experience has shown you never know what kind of answer you’ll get in return. Start by telling them that you have noticed a change in their behaviour recently, what those changes are, and how it’s impacting their work or their colleagues.   Try to ascertain if there is anything troubling them at home or work and whether they would like to discuss the issue so that you can help them? It is imperative to be fully supportive.

If they are looking for another job, this could be the catalyst for an open conversation that needs to happen.  If they have already decided to leave, there may be little you can do to change their minds, so it’s important to remind them of what is expected whilst they are still an employee.

Whatever the outcome by talking to your employees you are creating a more positive, loyal productive workforce.

Sound daunting, then give HR Revolution a call we can give you the guidance you need to approach these situations.  +44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

Outsourced HRHR Documents | Talent Solutions

HR Revolution HR Documents

The French win “The right to disconnect” for employees

On the 1st January, France’s new law “right to disconnect” came into effect.  This law is for any company with over 50 employees to initiate “switching off” from email, smartphones and any other electronic medium once their working day has ended.

Employers have a duty to regulate the use of emails to ensure employees get a break from the office.  However, if employers and employees can’t come to an agreement on the new rule, companies must publish a charter that explicitly defines their rights in regards to out of hours communications.

France’s Ministry of Labour was quoted “These measures are designed to ensure respect for rest periods and balance between work and family and personal life”.

Concern has been building for a while in France as recent studies found that approximately 3.2 million French workers are at risk of “burning out,” defined as a combination of physical exhaustion and emotional anxiety.  Also a study published by French research group Eleas showed that more than a third of French workers used their devices to do work out-of-hours every day. About 60 percent of workers were in favor of regulation to clarify their rights.

Although France is known for its “official” 35-hour workweek, for many companies it’s in name only. Many French employees continue working remotely long after they leave for the day. In fact, now that France has a record-high unemployment rate of nearly 11 percent, the 35-hour work week law has been called into question.

The “right to disconnect” law was part of a larger set of labour laws introduced in France last spring. The set was designed to combat some of the unintended negative consequences of the 35-hour workweek. One proposal, would give companies the right to renegotiate longer hours and to pay less in overtime to employees who stay longer. Another proposal would make it easier for firms to hire and fire employees. The “right to disconnect” legislation was the only one of the proposed laws that did not generate widespread protests and strikes in France.

France is actually not the first nation to enact such a law. In 2014, Germany’s labour ministry passed legislation banning managers from calling or emailing their staff outside of work hours except in an emergency. Nevertheless the law prompted several German companies to reduce the burden of overwork. Car manufacturer Volkswagen blocked all emails to employees’ Blackberries after-hours, while competitor Daimler said it would delete emails received by employees while they are on holiday.

Laws such as the one in France will certainly encourage better dialogue about effective work/life balance.  If companies can no longer dump as much work as possible on their employees regardless of working hours, they will hopefully make a concerted effort to define their expectations, what’s truly important, and how employees can contribute in the manner that’s in the best interest of their own health and the health of the company.  However, will this cause France to lose ground in the competitive global marketplace because its employees are working less than those in nations without such a law?  Many multinational companies already take a dim view of French business regulations.

Although, the “right to disconnect” law is unlikely to be introduced for UK workers, employers should not ignore the issues that can arise from excessive use of digital devices and establish boundaries that protect employees, encouraging all employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle and promote work/life balance.

If you need advice on any HR issues, give us a call at HR Revolution  +44 203 538 5311 or email info@hrrevolution.co.uk

Outsourced HRHR Documents | Talent Solutions

HR Revolution HR Documents

Visit HR Revolution’s document shop, for all your HR document needs  

How long should you stay in a job?

Ok so we know that a job is not for life anymore, gone are the days where you joined a company from leaving school or university and stayed there until you collected you golden carriage clock!!

So what is the norm now? research shows that in fact, a UK worker will change employer on average every five years but is there a magic number that will make sure that you don’t stop progressing or doesn’t make you look flighty?

Ok so moving jobs every 3 months without extenuating circumstances wouldn’t look good, but most employers would probably look favourably on a prospective employee who had changed roles every three to five years.  What’s important to see, is that candidate has an open attitude and continuous learning approach, driving him/her to embrace new challenges.

Also the size of a company can often be a factor in determining how long a person stays, with a smaller company often offering less opportunity for people to progress than a larger rival.

However, the most influential element driving how often you change jobs is age.   Millennials, those born between 1980 – 1999 have a drastically different outlooks from previous generations who were used to working in large corporate firms and work a set number of years in a particular role before progressing.  Millennials aren’t motivated by the same factors, such as a job for life, but instead good work-life balance and a sense of purpose beyond financial success.

With this in mind, it poses a challenge to companies, as losing employees and their knowledge and having to recruit and retain replacements is costly.  Companies need to be more creative in their ways to retain employees and holding regular chats on career progression is a good place to start.

It’s also important for companies to stay on good terms with departing staff, who may decided to return at a later stage in a different role adding wider experience to their already existing knowledge.

Do you have any issues surrounding recruiting and retaining good employees, HR Revolution can help, give us a call on+44 203 538 5311 or email: info@hrrevolution.co.uk

Outsourced HRHR Documents | Talent Solutions

HR Revolution HR Documents

Visit HR Revolution’s document shop, for all your HR document needs