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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Top tips to support the older generation in the workplace

New data from the Office for National Statistics has revealed that over 10 million over-50s are now in employment. The potential reasons could include the fact that the state pension age has increased, and we’re also living longer than we were just a couple of decades ago. The fact of the matter is that we have more older people in the workplace, and as employers, we have a duty to make sure that we’re supporting our staff and ensuring that diverse needs are being met.

So what exactly do you need to know about your responsibilities? And how can you tap into the opportunity that exists when it comes to harnessing the skills of the older generation? Here, we share some of our top tips for making sure that your business is riding the silver wave.

  1. Don’t write off older staff when it comes to learning and development

There’s often the assumption that older people have one eye firmly on retirement, so there can be a tendency to neglect learning and development provisions, and keep the bigger opportunities for younger employees. This is potentially discriminative, and it’s also extremely short sighted.

Invest in your older workers, and you could see many benefits. Be aware of the skills that they may be lacking, and focus on what you can do to ensure that they’re brought up to speed, and can continue to contribute to the bigger picture.

2. Consider reverse mentoring initiatives

Technology is often a stumbling block for older employees, and they can sometimes lack confidence when it comes to getting to grips with new systems and processes. This is obviously a generalisation, though it’s well worth considering whether this could be the case within your business.

A fantastic option here is to create a reverse mentoring programme. Younger staff, who tend to have less overall experience but more confidence with technology, could share their knowledge with their older colleagues. It’s easy to jump to the assumption that you need to fork out for formal training, and it’s true that this is sometimes necessary, but there are many other options that can be just as effective.

3. Be aware of the needs of older workers

At every different life stage, there are things that employers need to be aware of when it comes to making sure that they’re supporting their staff and giving them a degree of flexibility to help them to meet their needs. One thing that you might want to consider for older staff is how you can support them when it comes to their caring responsibilities.

Many older workers will want to spend time with grandchildren, and taking this into account could keep them motivated and engaged. As a rule of thumb, offering flexibility, as long as you keep operational requirements in mind, can be great for morale and motivation.

Our workforces are becoming more diverse, and this can be a wonderful thing for your business. But you do need to take the time to make sure that you’re fulfilling your responsibilities, and doing all you can to keep your policies and practices fit for purpose.

If you want to ensure that you’re getting things right, get in touch with HR Revolution and we can carry out a review of where you are, and what changes may need to be made to keep your business thriving.

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It’s time to unite in the face of Brexit

Many businesses across the country will still be facing the challenge of a divided staff with all of us wondering what is going to happen now following the result of the EU referendum.

It is clear from the close result that there will be plenty of people in your business who would have voted to remain and are rightly concerned about what their future will hold. It has become apparent that even those who voted leave are starting to question what they have let themselves in for.

The whole country is in a huge state of uncertainty, with the financial markets diving, Cameron’s resignation, the division of the Labour party and Farage’s unhelpful speech at the EU Parliament following the announcement of Britain’s decision to the leave the EU. This is not helped by comments such as those made by EU Council President, Donald Tusk, who has predicted the end of western political civilisation if Brexit was to prevail and who has since announced at the recent summit in Brussels that “Leaders [have] made it crystal clear that access to the single market requires acceptance of all four freedoms – including freedom of movement.”

What you must remember is that although a lot of rash decisions have been made by the government over the last week you should remain calm and remember that this initial reaction will quieten down, although the issue of uncertainty is not going to go away any time soon.

As business leaders, you have a tough job ahead of you in uniting your staff in this decision. Your job today, and over the next few weeks is to reassure your staff in any way that you can. Of course it is neither right, nor fair, to be unrealistic but whilst staying in the real world, try to reassure your team about the company’s ability to ride out whatever may be thrown at your organisation.

It is all too easy for people in this type of situation to talk their way into a hole; for us collectively to talk our way into a recession. The way to counter that trend is to look for constructive ways to move forward, to be creative and to find ways to protect the organisation against the more dramatic effects of the Brexit process.

It is unlikely that western political civilisation will end, that is a dramatic statement for the EU Council President to have made in the wake of a tough decision. All that we can do now as a country and, you as a business, is unite in the face of uncertainty and continue to do great work, while there is still great work to be done.

 

This article was first published by Melissa Jones, Digital Marketing Assistant – Breathehr  www.breathehr.com 

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Is your office ready for the long hot summer*?!

This week finally the temperature is set to rise. Conversation in the HR Rev office has turned to bikini diets and summer holidays. I will be making the most of my lunch hour basking in the sunshine, watching the world go about its business will a smile – amazing what a blue sky day can do for moral of the masses, so as ever the optimist summer is very firmly on the horizon!!

However, is your business ready?

As always, a little preparation can go a long way. Here, are a few considerations that you might need to think about to make sure your business is ready…

Are you keeping spirits high?

The summer can be a bit of an issue for employers and there are often many factors at play that can present unique circumstances. Employees are taking time off, sunny beer gardens seem much more appealing than the office, popular sporting events Euro 2016, Wimbledon, Ascot, the 2016 Olympics in Rio to name but a few are scheduled for right in the middle of the working day.

So it’s easy to see why motivation and engagement can sometimes be lacking over the warmer months. Instead of trying to firefight problems once they arise, be proactive and consider what you can do to raise spirits. Organise an outdoor picnic during the lunch hour, treat your staff to an ice cream, or organise to have the biggest sporting events (see above) streamed into the workplace. Small gestures can often go a long way and will make for a happy workplace.

How will you handle a heat wave?  (we can live in hope!!!)

Every now and again, the weather throws a pleasant surprise our way and it is the topic of most offices during the summer months as to whether the Met Office has got its predictions right and we will have the “hottest summer on record” and be able to wheel out the BBQ on a daily basis.  But as an employer do you know what’s expected of you when it comes to managing the working environment when temperatures soar? There’s no upper guideline or legislation to refer to, so it’s about using a bit of simple common sense. Is the office getting hot and stuffy? Is it uncomfortable for your staff? If so, think about making some adjustments. Fans can make a good quick fix, and you should always ensure that fresh cold water is available for drinking.

Also, it may be wise to revisit your dress code policy with employees and set some parameters for summer dress, what is acceptable or what is not in the office.  Nobody wants to have the conversation summer casual vs. summer sloppy!! And in my experience there is always a lot of scope for interpretation!!

Download our free ready to use Dress Code policy template here

Have you mapped out staffing requirements?

More often than not, the summer months pose challenges in terms of making sure that you effectively manage the annual leave rota so work still gets done. The starting point here must involve working out what you need. How will you ensure the phones are answered, and queries are dealt with in a timely manner? How many team members need to be present at any given time? Go back to basics.

Don’t forget to think about how you can use this period to create opportunities. It can be a time to engage employees who are eager to progress and step up and contribute to ongoing projects whilst their colleagues are away, or take on a more diverse range of responsibilities to assist with their professional development.

Perhaps you’ve got your plan of action mapped out, and you are confident that you’re ready for the long hot summer*. Or maybe you’re feeling unorganised and worried about the issues you know you’ll have to handle in the very near future.   If so, don’t hesitate to give us a call to discuss any concerns you may have.

*wishful thinking

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Childcare Vouchers – Important information

Are you an employer discouraged from offering a Childcare Voucher scheme because of the terms and conditions during maternity leave? Have you offered a scheme in the past, but removed it when you discovered the HMRC advice relating to an employee receiving Statutory Maternity Pay?

If you answered yes to any of the above and you haven’t heard the news yet, this email might be one of the most important ones you read today.

The reason being, is the final barrier for offering the scheme has been removed by a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision.

Yes, that’s correct – employers offering a Childcare Voucher scheme are no longer required to pay for their employees’ vouchers during maternity leave when only Statutory Maternity Pay is paid.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has released the following statement: “It had not been the intention of parliament to require employers to continue providing vouchers at a time when there was no salary which could be sacrificed in respect of them.”

Please note however – employees who receive enhanced maternity pay are still allowed to sacrifice the vouchers from their pay should they wish to do so.

So it’s not too late to offer the scheme.

Tax-free Childcare isn’t set to launch until 2017 and research reveals that 80% of working families would still be better off using Childcare Vouchers.

Now, with this final barrier removed, it is the perfect time to take advantage of the National Insurance savings for your business. If your employees sign up to the scheme now, they will still be able to access Childcare Vouchers when Tax-free Childcare is introduced.

If you don’t already offer Childcare Vouchers, set up a scheme now to ensure your employees can benefit from maximum savings on their childcare during the next year.

If you are already an employer that offers Childcare Vouchers you can make great National Insurance savings on the Childcare Voucher scheme.

For more information, download HR Rev’s FREE guide to Childcare Vouchers…

 

 

Please detox your desk now…

After reading a few articles on office hygiene, I thought it would be interesting to share the following information.  I’m sat at my desk right now writing this, with a banana and grapes within easy reach…  I’m not so sure I will be keeping them on my desk from now on!!! I’m off to wash my hands and pass the anti-bacterial spray!!

Workplace illness is one of the leading causes of inefficiency and falling behind in your daily tasks and unhygienic working conditions are a key contributor, is it any wonder when there are 10 million bacteria lurking between your keyboard, hidden on the mouse and nestled in your phone and chair….that’s 100 times more than your kitchen and 400 times more than your toilet seat….eeew!

So your average desk is a prime breeding ground for infections…

In a recent survey it was reported that 50% of office workers admit that they don’t wash their hands regularly particularly after using the toilet!!   80% of common infections are transmitted by touch, so  if someone in the office fails to wash their hands, their colleagues can pick up their bacteria by touching door handles or any surface they come into contact with.  The bacteria is then at risk to being transferred when people touch their eyes or mouths, causing colds, coughs, flu, norovirus and food poisoning.

Also, workers that eat at their desk and don’t clean up afterwards by not throwing away rubbish or clearing their cutlery and crockery away can attract a host of disease carrying vermin, including cockroaches and mice…

So take a minute out of your busy work day to wipe down your desk or workspace, your health might just thank you for it…

 

 

 

Monday fun – 10 excuses for being late…

I was a little late for work this morning, tut tut and although my reason was genuine, at least 16% of the working population admit to rolling into the office late at least once a week. Of course there are the usual suspects up there in the top 10 with 33% claiming “traffic”, 24% go with “lack of sleep” and around 10% citing “childcare issues”, I wanted something a little more amusing on a Monday morning, so here are my 10 favourite made up excuses you may or may not want to try!!

  1. I feel like I’m in everyone’s way if I show up on time.
  2. My left turn indicator wasn’t working so I had to make all right turns to get to work.
  3. My husband thinks it’s funny to hide my car keys before he goes to work.
  4. I wasn’t late. I just failed to be on time.
  5. I got distracted watching The Jeremy Kyle Show!
  6. I did a really hard aerobics class last night and I couldn’t move my legs when my alarm went off this morning.
  7. I lost my glasses and got on the wrong bus.
  8. I forgot it was Monday.
  9. I was at a job interview.
  10. A hamster got stuck under my accelerator pedal.

But a good rule of thumb is, DON’T BE LATE! and if you are be honest!!

Happy Monday…

 

Can small businesses benefit from an HR function?

Small businesses make up more than 99% of private sector business and accounts for 60% of the private sectors employment, so there are a lot of them out there. Unfortunately another statistic is that the lack of the correct management skills is responsible for the failure of over 50% of small businesses.

Budgets are tight when small businesses start out and therefore a lot of the managers are expected to multitask which means dealing with employee issues as well as growing the business. This focus on rapid growth, results in the need for investment in an HR function being overlooked, which can actually have the opposite effect and halt the growth in its tracks. Without the training required or the skills that HR brings, decision makers are not often able to identify and use the talent within their business to be able to push it forward in the right way.

In most cases, and we see this a lot, small businesses approach us once the problems have already started or when a major change happens in employment legislation. It seems that the mindset of small businesses is that the HR function is a reactive one, when in reality it should be part of the strategic planning they need from the outset.

This is supported by CIPD who have been piloting a scheme that gives small businesses access to HR, allowing them the same benefits that the bigger companies have. Obviously this has been met with mixed reactions from HR Consultancies who feel it is encroaching on their territory.  Maybe that’s true, but at least it has put the need for HR in the spotlight which is a positive thing. It is also known that small businesses like to deal with other small businesses, such as HR consultants, as they understand each other, so a national scheme won’t be for everybody.

Wendy Read, Owner of HR Revolution comments,  “People are the key to a 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”

For more help and advice on growing your business, training your people and planning for the future please get in touch.

Call: +44 (0) 203 538 5311 OR email us: info@hrrevolution.co.uk today, to find out more…

The HRRev Blogger

 

Why you should invest time in appraising your appraisal process

The Traditional appraisal is often the cringe-appraisal, the none-value-add appraisal, the I can’t be bothered appraisal, the I don’t have the time appraisal, the you don’t deliver on any of your promises appraisal… so no wonder no one gets excited when it comes around.

It seems that there are a number of reasons why employees seem to hate performance reviews:

Employees hate getting performance appraisals because they always expect the worst, or they assume nothing will be actioned from them as there is never any follow up. Managers hate preparing and giving performance appraisals because they take up too much time and attention when they could be focused on hitting sales and delivery targets. HR hates administering the performance appraisal process because no one really buys into it and it takes for ever to get feedback. HR always seem to be blamed for the process not happening!

So why stick with the traditional appraisal?

There is no need to stick with the old ways… make your appraisals your own, build them into your culture, turn them into something that your employees look forward to and use to improve on their skills and careers.

Consider why you need appraisals:

1. What value do they add to your employees?
2. What value do they add to your managers and their management abilities?
3. How can they support the growth of your individuals and your business?
4. How do you make sure they are used properly and really taken seriously?

Think about the objectives you need to fit with the business, how the culture of the business expects your employees to be and work with that. Build your appraisal process as part of your business planning. Build them in line with your job expectations and consider who you hire and you have the start of an amazing development program that will ultimately self-manage itself. By training your management and employees on the positive results from delivering the appraisal process fully and running the complete process regularly you can truly gain value.

If you need ideas there are plenty of articles online, how to and how not to.. Your HR teams should thrive on the opportunity to redesign your performance reviews and if you don’t have one then contact your HR consultancy.

Get it right and make a true difference to the engagement and development of your team and ultimately the growth of your business and its constantly learning culture.

HRREV Blogger, HR Revolution | HR Outsourcing UK