When to ask for HR help

How big does my business need to be before I think about HR matters?

We recently visited a rapidly growing company just taking on their sixth member of staff. The Managing Director had not experienced any problems to date, but he wanted peace of mind going forward.

This is a typical scenario. It’s possibly not until you’ve employed 3 or 4 people that you start to think that you should have some formal HR procedures in place.

If I’m asked ‘When do I need HR help?’ my answer would be “As soon as you employ one person”.

The reason for this is that every single employee should have a contract and terms and conditions of employment. In addition, there should be three or four basic HR policies in place. These would include disciplinary, absence, holiday and severe weather. There may be additional policies that are relevant to your industry or if for example you employ shift workers.

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How do you know you are getting the best out of your staff?

Well there is one way to find out and that is to talk to them! And the best way to do this is through the form of an annual appraisal.

What is an appraisal?

The annual appraisal is essentially a dialogue between your employee and you as the employer or manager. It is not intended as a stick to beat anyone with, but a two-way conversation that allows you to review how your employee has performed over the last period and gives the employee the opportunity to express their views on what they have done and what they would like to be doing going forward.

Once the appraisal has been conducted and agreed it will form the basis of what the employer and employee can expect to be delivered over the next year. It is a plan by which you can both be held to account.

Spending time conducting appraisals correctly, takes you away from your general business tasks, so it is vitally important that you have the right preparation in place and do it right first time.

Top 10 tips to getting the most from the appraisal and the best from your staff:

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Impact of Brexit on UK employment laws

Some time has now passed following the historic decision by Great Britain to leave the EU, having been a member for over 40 years. During that period, the landscape of this country has changed dramatically and many of the laws by which we are governed have been taken in Brussels.

One thing is clear, and that is, there is great deal of work to be done before Britain finally exits the EU, once it formally evokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty of 2007. This will undoubtedly lead to confusion, concern and uncertainty as to where many employers and employees stand in relation to the UK’s employment laws.

So I thought I would share with you, a pretty comprehensive article I read on the matter titled The impact of Brexit on UK employment law – Summer 2016 by CMS Cameron McKenna. This gives an excellent insight as to where many of us stand and where we may find ourselves in the future of Britain.

The message is “Keep calm and carry on”.

Keep calm and carry on post Brexit decisionWe do hope you find the article useful.  If you have any questions please contact Charlie Lloyd who has a wealth of experience in this area.

You can email Charlie or call 01737 336336.






Recruiting is a PR opportunity

It has been said so many times before, that the people that work in your company, are your most important asset, so ensuring you have the best people possible, can be key to the success of your business.

Recruiting the right individuals in the first place, is therefore of paramount importance and…

“the manner by which you recruit can say much about the ethos of your business.”

Are you making the most of the PR opportunity when you are hiring?

When following the correct recruitment process, it can deliver a number of positive messages to your customers, employees, stake holders and competitors.

On the other hand, when the process is not professionally managed, the opposite is true and the costs to your business can be significant.

Recruitment best practice

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Dress code policy

How your employees dress and look in the workplace, can be a difficult issue to manage. There is a myriad of reasons as to why you may decide that you need a dress code policy

In many situations, it is decided for you, as there are standards imposed through regulatory bodies, such as the Health & Safety Executive, Food Standards Agency or the Health Service. For some employers it may be to promote a brand image and ensure that staff are easily recognized by their customers. In all cases you need to be cognisant of a number of considerations when implementing a Dress Code policy in the workplace.

Some key considerations with Dress Code policies are

• Do ensure that it applies to both men and women, although they may have differing requirements
• That there is no unlawful discrimination of any kind
• That your workers are properly protected in their environment
• Suitable allowances are made for people with disabilities
• Allowances are made for certain occasions

LOVE them HATE them (tattoos and piercings)

One area that always divides is that of tattoos and body piercings, which have become increasingly more popular over the past years. Again it is vitally important that you set out clearly what you deem acceptable and not acceptable in this area.

Protecting a brand image when dealing with clients is vitally important, here you may ask your employees to cover up tattoos or remove visible body piercings at work, in other circumstances it is from a Health & Safety perspective to protect your employees or those that they may interface with.

Additionally, we live and work in a multinational, multicultural society in the UK and consideration must be given to those with different ethnic and religious beliefs. This is an area where you need to tread very carefully, as you can open yourself to conflict and discrimination if you get the policy wrong.

If this is an area of your HR activity that requires either implementing, or stream lining, then do contact Charlie Lloyd who has a wealth of experience in this aspect.

You can reach Charlie via email  or call 01737 336336.

Equality and discrimination

Under the title ‘Leading employment judges call for law banning ‘fattism’ in workplace’, the Independent reported this week: ‘A leading judge has said overweight workers should have the power to tackle “fattist” discrimination in the workplace by suing colleagues who make inappropriate comments about body size.’

Whilst the Equality Act 2010 aims to improve equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants, as yet there is no law to protect those overweight, or indeed underweight, against abuse and discrimination. Philip Rostant, a judge specialising in employment law said in the same article that such laws would prevent prejudice against those of “non-ideal weight”, who he claims also find it more difficult to get jobs and are at higher risk of being sacked.

The Equality Act of 2010 states that it is unlawful to discriminate against people in the workplace within the following 9 protected characteristics:

  1. Age
  2. Disability
  3. Gender reassignment
  4. Marriage and civil partnership
  5. Pregnancy and maternity
  6. Race
  7. Religion or belief
  8. Sex
  9. Sexual orientation

There are several types of discrimination such as direct, indirect, harassment and victimisation. The way in which a member of staff has been allegedly discriminated against will determine which type or types of discrimination apply within their protected characteristic.

To nurture a culture of fairness within the workplace makes good business sense. Employees must feel confident that if they are a victim of, or a witness to, some form of discrimination, they feel able to report the situation and know that it will be dealt with appropriately.

All employers should have a policy in place so employees know what is acceptable and expected of them as individuals and as part of the organisation. This process will ensure companies stay within the law, promote equality and prevent discrimination.

If you would like help to implement policies to ensure that both employers and employees are protected against discrimination call Charlie Lloyd on 01737 336336 or email us.

Employer of Choice

Recruitment is so much more effective when you’re considered to be an ‘Employer of Choice’.

The benefits of being perceived as an employer of choice means you will:

  • Attract quality candidates with talent
  • Save on advertising and recruitment fees

How do you become an employer of choice?

There are certain traits that a company will have, which give them a reputation as a place where people want to work.

You may recognise some of these employer of choice characteristics:

  • A clear career path; regular meetings with staff to set and review goals
  • Training; develop skills with free or sponsored training
  • Security; share the vision of the company so that they understand and can be a part of the journey
  • Empower and engagement; involve your staff in decisions
  • Code of conduct; employees and employers are respected alike
  • Say thank you; a reward scheme that shows their efforts are appreciated
  • Conducive environment; pleasant working environment with life-style perks that enhances happiness at work
  • Commitment; employment contracts are in place and employee handbook clearly sets out the commitment between employer and employee.

One style doesn’t fit all

Companies are extremely different and diverse, as are individuals (your prospective employees). What makes one business more attractive than another will vary from one individual for another. The culture of one company may not suit everyone.

However, the characteristics listed above are good HR practices. Ones that can be tailored to reflect your business.

For example, we’ve recently taken on a number of new clients, ranging from accountants to printers and electricians to a charity, all varying sizes. When talking to them about rewards and benefits that each of these organisations could offer, they will have to differ to fit with the type of business they are.

You can’t implement a policy of working 15 minutes extra Monday – Thursday and then have early closing on a Friday if your customers are expecting you to be there for them right up to 5:30 on the last day of the week. You have to be practical and we bespoke the advice we offer with our clients and their businesses in mind.

Putting in place strategies to become an employer of choice will not only help you recruit the very best talent but it will also help you to retain the very best talent.

If you would like help recruiting and retaining the best talent call Charlie Lloyd on 01737 336336 or email us.

Employee Engagement

Do you have a list of things you’d like to achieve during the year? Activities to plan and look forward to with excitement.

You probably have your business goals too. Ones that keep you on track so that at the end of the year you can look back with satisfaction.

What about your employees? How are you keeping them motivated and inspired?

What is Employee Engagement?

You may have heard of the term Employee Engagement. Kingston Business School defines employee engagement as “being positively present during the performance of work by willingly contributing intellectual effort, experiencing positive emotions and meaningful connections to others”.

Put simply, if your employees are:

  • Thinking about how they can do their jobs better
  • Feeling positive about doing a good job
  • Actively seeking out opportunities to discuss work-related improvements with others at work

….you have a highly engaged workforce.

Benefits of Employee Engagement

It’s not hard to see that if employees are engaged and loving their jobs they will be more productive and a strong asset to your business.

Such positivity and strong relationships between management and staff are known to impact favourably on profits, revenue growth, customer satisfaction, productivity, innovation, staff retention, efficiency and health and safety performance.

Building an Engaged Workforce

To build a culture within your business that creates an engaged workforce there needs to be:

  • Strong leadership that can demonstrate how the business has been built and the vision for the future
  • Managers who can motivate their teams, empowering individuals and providing support
  • Involvement of employees in decision making and the ability for them to challenge when necessary and their suggestions and ideas to be heard and considered

It’s clear that an engaged workforce has multi-faceted benefits. If you would like to discuss how you could implement Employee Engagement strategies, please contact Charlie Lloyd on 01737 336336 or email enquiries@lloydhrconsultancy.co.uk.

Planning a trouble free Christmas party

There are many ways that you can recognise and reward outstanding individual commitment and team success throughout the year.  But the end of the year is the perfect opportunity to include everyone in celebrating the year’s successes and create the vision for the coming year.

A Christmas party, whether it is a lunch, dinner, a day out, or whatever you choose, is the perfect occasion to bring the company together.

Don’t get caught with your trousers down!

When planning a trouble free Christmas party, preparation is the key to avoiding any HR issues. You want everyone to let their hair down, enjoy themselves and have a great time, without creating an aftermath that you might regret.

Here are our top tips for an office Christmas party that can be remembered – for all the right reasons.

  1. Choosing the date
    • Avoid a Friday if you are holding your event in the evening. A Friday evening moves into personal time. They may also have another party to go to and miss out on yours
    • Your budget will go further if you choose a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday but be prepared for lower productivity the next day!
  2. Choosing the venueOffice Christmas Party
    • Consider the age range of your staff? Pick somewhere that will accommodate all age groups, including the music
    • If you are not putting on transport choose a venue that is close to public transport or not too far away so that a taxi is a realistic option
    • Better still, choose a location so that taxis for everyone falls within your budget
  3. Extend the invitation
    • If your budget runs to it invite the partner, husband, wife or a friend
    • If you use out-sourced consultants that have helped your business throughout the year, invite them too
  4. Make a speech – but keep it short and sweet!
    • Use the event to reflect upon the year and your appreciation of their hard work
    • Set the scene for the coming year and ask for their continued support
  5. Any dietary requirements?
    • You may remember to ask if someone would like the vegetarian option but don’t forget to ask if anyone has allergies. If there’s someone with a nut allergy everyone should be aware of this.
  6. Drink responsibly
    • Encourage everyone to drink responsibly. Have lots of soft drinks and water jugs available
    • Make sure that non-alcoholic drinks are not confused with alcoholic drinks e.g. punch
    • A free bar might not be such a good idea!
  7. The morning after the night before
    • Don’t expect everyone to be on top of their game the next day
    • Suggest a later start if you can
    • You could serve bacon butties for breakfast
    • If a member of staff has reported a grievance about an incident deal with it immediately

I hope your Christmas party goes with a bang for all the right reasons. If you are unfortunate enough to have an HR issues that arises , be sure to contact us on 01737 336336 or email enquiries@lloydhrconsultancy.co.uk

Nightmare on HR Street!

Have you ever experienced that heart stopping moment when you realise a key member of staff is about to hand you their notice? That feeling of an impending nightmare can be overwhelming.

I hasten to add that the story I’m about to share is not one from a client, but one that I was told recently by the daughter of a friend. Nightmare

Let’s call her Melissa. Melissa had a grin from ear to ear. She was beaming with delight and excitement, because she’d just received a job offer from a company that she’d fallen in love with!

As her story unfolded I couldn’t help but put on my HR hat and think about how some of the events that led to her leaving her current company could have been avoided or at least managed.

Firstly, as a graduate fresh out of uni Melissa’s initiation into the world of a busy London Agency wasn’t entirely welcoming. For the first nine months she was bullied by her boss. There were nasty remarks and unsociable behaviour as well as heavy workloads dumped on her often at the last minute.

To be fair the relationship did improve as Melissa’s knowledge grew and her ability to do a great job started to shine through. However, this just meant that her boss could rely on her more; claiming Melissa’s successes as her own!

Fast forward 18 months to the present day. Melissa’s experience at her first interview with the new company blew her away! She couldn’t believe how friendly they were; wanting to explain not only the successes of their business, but the team spirit and the caring nature for their employees. You even get your birthday off!

Keeping Key Employees

There were tears when Melissa handed her notice in. They were losing a bright young person, but to my mind there were some basic HR practices they could have done differently:

  • Demonstrate a zero tolerance of bullying
  • Regular appraisals to understand their employees ambitions and develop their skills
  • Create a culture of employee engagement. When they feel included in the business and love their place of work they are motivated and productive

Now clearly, if you get these HR principles right you will still say goodbye to key members of staff, but this will be done in the knowledge that you have played your part in their career development and progression. When you have a succession plan in place you won’t end up with a nightmare on HR Street!

If this story strikes a chord with you and you would like advice on the HR matter raised please give us a call on 01737 336336 or email charlie@lloydhrconsultancy.co.uk