Summer HR Policies

When the May Bank Holiday is over it feels as though Summer is just around the corner.

It’s a time of year that many of us look forward to; planning holidays, a change in wardrobe and the therapeutic feeling of sunshine on our skin.

However, for a business owner, these summertime joys can feel more like a nightmare; juggling tasks whilst members of staff are off, a little bit too much flesh being displayed and soaring temperatures making working conditions uncomfortable.

Whilst it’s not possible for these stresses to disappear, it is possible to assuage them by having clear policies set out in the employee handbook.

Summer HR Policies

 

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Handling awkward conversations

This is not a conversation I want to have

How many times have you put off having an awkward conversation with an employee, hoping things will improve and the problem will go away?

The reality is, this doesn’t often happen. The situation gets worse and you regret not nipping it in the bud when you had the chance.

The boss’s problem

Awkward conversations with employees are particularly difficult within small businesses.

Chances are you, the boss, work closely with your small team. Over time you get to know each other quite well; sharing a drink after work, learning about families and what’s happening at the weekend. Friendships are made.

But there will be times when awkward conversations must be had. There are several reasons why these situations arise; poor performance, bad time keeping, a resignation even personal hygiene.

That awkward conversation can’t be put off any longer.

Nobody’s baby is ugly!

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Changes to HR legislation from April 2017

There are a number of HR legislation changes that occur in April 2017. You have probably heard about the imminent increase to the National Living Wage as this has been widely reported on the news.

National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage

Changes to National Minimum Wage

The National Living Wage (NLW), currently set at £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over, will increase to £7.50 from 1st April 2017.

At the same time the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate for 21 to 24-year-old workers will rise to £7.05 an hour.

The rate for 18 to 20-year-old workers will increase to £5.60 an hour

The rate for 16 and 17-year-old workers will go up to £4.05 an hour.

The minimum hourly rate for apprentices will be £3.50 an hour.

Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay

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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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Appraisals

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.